Saturday, April 4, 2015


Loot Crate was my gateway drug. Recommended to me by my pal Roger Price of Mid-Ohio-Con fame, the subscription service sends me a box of over $40 of cool geek and gamer stuff every month. The service costs between $13.95 (for a one-month plan) to $11.95 for a full-year plan that includes an extra gift. There is also a $6 shipping and handling charge.

Loot Crate delights me and my family. I usually wait until Barb and Eddie are with me before I open each monthly box. Kelly and Simba aren’t into Loot Crate, but even non-geek Barb thinks the idea is fun. Eddie generally ends up with the t-shirt and at least some of the cool stuff so he’s really into it. In the near future, I will be posting monthly reviews of my Loot Crate boxes

Since getting hooked on Loot Crate, I’ve started to sample a couple other subscription boxes of stuff. I’ll be writing about those as well, starting with...Comic Bento.

Comic Bento is “A surprise selection of fantastic Graphic Novels with at least $60 worth of comics in every box and mailed right to your door!” I’m currently on the automatically renewable one-month plan which costs $25 with shipping and handling.

It was the “bento” part of Comic Bento that caught my eye. Here’s how Wikipedia describes bento:

Bento is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento holds rice, fish or meat, with pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container.

The making and eating of Bento figures, sometimes prominently, in several of the manga series I have enjoyed over the years. It can define a character or show a character’s love or regard for another character. Think of it as a Happy Meal with class, imagination and style. I’m getting hungry just writing about it.

My first Comic Bento box arrived earlier this week. Inside, there were four books. The first was...

The Shadow Volume One: The Fire of Creation is by Garth Ennis and Aaron Campbell [Dynamite; $19.99]. From the back cover:

It’s 1938 and The Shadow returns in a tale of blazing action and deadly intrigue, as a night of carnage on the New York waterfront plunges the mysterious vigilante into a conspiracy involving the fate of the world itself. As storm clouds gather across the globe, American military intelligence meets with a certain Lamont Cranston, determined to beat a host of spies and assassins to the greatest prize of all...but what that might be, only the Shadow knows.
Digression. I like descriptive back-cover blurbs. I recognize them as sales come-ons, but I have often been swayed to purchase a book because of its back-cover blurbs.

Next up was The Coldest City by Antony Johnston and illustrated by Sam Hart (Oni Press; $19.99]. From the back cover of this hardcover spy thriller:

As Communism collapses and the Berlin Wall crumbles, an undercover MI6 spy is killed while carrying priceless information - a list containing the name of every spy in Berlin.

But no list is found on his body.

MI6 sends veteran operative Lorraine Broughton to recover the list. But she walks into a powder keg of social unrest, counter-espionage, defections gone bad and secret assassinations.

The third book was Hit List by Ralph Tedesco, Sami Kivela and Bryan Valenza [Zenescope; $15.99]. From the back cover:

As a young boy, Jordan Bale’s life was drastically affected by unthinkable violence few people can relate to. Driven by that anger, Bale grew to become one of the wealthiest businessmen in the country.

Now, a group of hired killers will be brought together to carry out Bale’s intricate plan for vengeance thirty years in the making and it’s a plan that could very easily spiral out of control.
Finally...Unity: To Kill a King by Matt Kindt, Doug Braithwaite and Brian Reber [Valiant; $14.99]. From the back cover:

The world’s most dangerous man, Toyo Harada, has been struck by the one thing he never thought possible - fear. Halfway across the globe, a new power threatens to topple modern civilization and, to preempt the cataclysm that is to come, Harada will unite the most unforgiving team the world has ever known - UNITY. Their mission: defeat the threat responsible for the destruction of MI-6, the decimation of an alien world and the occupation of Eastern Europe. Unseat the warrior king armed with the universe’s most powerful weapon. Kill X-0 Manowar!

At full-cover price, these four books would cost a buyer just over $70. Even with the sometimes generous Amazon discounts, the books would cost in the neighborhood of $50. So far, Comic Bento strikes me as a pretty good deal.

Keep watching the bloggy thing. I’ll be reading and reviewing each of these four books later this month.


A quick schedule note. For today’s bloggy thing, I planned to give you an update on Indiana’s discriminatory “religious freedom” bill  and announce my decision on whether or not I would be attending a convention in that state. That piece is taking a little longer to whip into shape. Look for it on Monday.
There won't be a new bloggy thing on Easter. For those of you celebrate that delicious and sometimes religious holiday, I hope you have a great day.

© 2015 Tony Isabella

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