Tuesday, December 22, 2015


I read a lot of stuff every day/week/month/year. With some of the things I read, I read them a chapter or story at a time while also reading other. I like the variety of this method.

Here what I’m currently reading...

Ellison Wonderland by Harlan Ellison. Published by Edgeworks Abbey and PS Publishing, this is the “52nd Anniversary, 9th Edition” of the legendary collection of tales, “using only revised, updated and preferred texts and the very best butter.” It’s part of a special deluxe signed edition limited to 200 copies with a second thinner book - Pebbles from the Mountain - included in a spiffy slipcase. This ninth edition has a new forward by J. Michael Straczynski, the original Ellison introduction from 1974/1978, a new introduction, and an afterword by Josh Olson. I’ll be reading this set well into next month.


Komomo Confiserie Vol. 2 by Maki Minami. This shojo manga about a rich girl cast into poverty and working for the son of one of her former household staff started out cruel and has become much more layered and positive in this second book.


Garfield Volume 1. Written by Mark Evanier with art by Gary Barker, Dan Davis and Mike DeCarlo, this softcover collects the first four issues of the comic book published by Kaboom!, which is an imprint of Boom! Studios. Having read and greatly enjoyed random issues of the comic book, I splurged and bought all the volumes published to date. I’m happy with that decision.


The New Yorker. I ordered a test subscription to this magazine to make it easier to post links to Andy Borowitz’s satirical columns on my Facebook page. Then I started reading the magazine. This will surprise folks who know of my dislike for New York City, but I look forward to this weekly publication. Not everything in a given issue will interest me, but no issue goes by without my finding myself interested in some subject that I never thought I’d be interested in. I renewed my subscription for a full year.


Every year I swear I’ve read my last edition of The Best American Comics, an anthology historically dismissive of mainstream comics. Every year I end up getting a copy of the new edition from my local library system. Every year I’m disappointed and sometimes angered by the editorial choices. Then the vicious cycle repeats

I’m about a hundred pages into The Best American Comics 2015. Guest editor Jonathan Lethem has already made dismissive comments about mainstream comics, but has earned a reprieve from my wrath because his introductions to the overall book and its individual chapters are in comics form drawn by him. Some of this year’s stories and excerpts are choices I agree with. Some others have me shaking my head and exclaiming “Really?” in a sarcastic tone. Maybe this will be the year I break the vicious cycle one way or another.


The past few days, the mainstream comic books I’ve been reading are mostly from Marvel. I’m working my way through various Secret Wars series and, on rare occasion, finding something I like. I am also enjoying the final issues of the pre-Secret Wars issues of Silver Surfer by Dan Slott and Michael Allred.


I’m reading the third double volume hardcover of Emma, a historical romance manga by Kaoru Mori. Wikipedia describes this series thus:

Set in Victorian London at the end of the 19th century, Emma is the story of a maid who falls in love with a member of the gentry. However, the young man's family disapproves of him associating with people of the lower classes.

Emma is a wonderful character. The overall stories are complicated with a large cast of characters who are difficult to keep track of, but the books are filled with compelling drama and a real feel for the era. There are enough of life’s little victories to keep hope alive no matter what forces act to keep Emma and the man she loves apart. The art is stunningly beautiful.


Boy Commandos by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby Volume Two reprints over two-dozen stories originally published in Detective Comics, World’s Finest and Boy Commandos in 1943 and 1944. After Captain America, Rip Carter and his young warriors were Simon and Kirby’s biggest success. At DC Comics, only Superman and Batman sold better. It’s easy to see why when you read these stories. They are packed with action, heroism and humor. Some stories will make you chuckle out loud, others will make you shed a tear. These are comics completely of their time and a window into their World War II past.


Last but by no means least, I’m slowly savoring Peanuts: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz in which over forty artist show their love for the great cartoonist and his work. The variety is breathtaking. I’m about forty pages in and loving every one of them.

That’s what I’m reading. How about you? 

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2015 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. Let's see... I set aside Sarah Vowell’s latest, disappointed, to crack open the new edition of The Annotated Alice (just revisited for the original Alice book's 150th anniversary) with Paul Levitz’s Will Eisner tome on deck. I’ve also been catching up on comics and lamenting how I consistently fall behind even with my favorites: The Fade Out, Archie, Lumberjanes, Astro City, and the Hellboy/BPRD titles in issue form; the brilliant and now-concluded Hawkeye, Daredevil, and Ms. Marvel on 6-month delay via Marvel Unlimited. I still read the daily newspaper, too, although the print versions of Time and Entertainment Weekly often get passed right on, now that I have an iPad, supplanted by the digital tablet editions.