Mely has just informed me that the latest volume of Y: The Last Man is coming out on Wednesday. Woo-hoo! Brian K. Vaughn is the main reason why I haven't entirely abandoned non-manga comic books.

In Y, every living being with a Y chromosome instantly drops dead... except for a slacker named Yorick Brown (his Dad was into Shakespeare and his sister is named Hero) who is on the phone with his girlfriend Beth in Australia, and his pet monkey, Ampersand. Power structures are instantly turned upside down, and countries now live or die depending on just how much power women had in them before: Israel immediately becomes the world's top military power, Australia is the only country that can use its submarines, and everyone is after Yorick for one reason or another.

There are great characters, almost all female; crisp dialogue; and really terrific plotting, much of it leading to evil cliffhangers. Pia Guerra, its main artist, draws women who look like real women with real bodies, not inflatable sex dolls. A completely addictive series.

I also adore Vaughn's Ex Machina, in which a man gets super powers, finds that being a powerful vigilante isn't all the comics would make you believe, and gives up his powers-- mostly-- to become mayor of New York.

His third major series, Runaways, is the one which got me hooked on his writing, but it's less mature and complex than the other two (though still great fun.) A bunch of teenagers find that their parents are supervillains. It's a rich and funny metaphor, but recent issues have lost touch with it in favor of comic geeking with other Marvel universe characters: amusing, but not what I'm reading the series for.
Mely has just informed me that the latest volume of Y: The Last Man is coming out on Wednesday. Woo-hoo! Brian K. Vaughn is the main reason why I haven't entirely abandoned non-manga comic books.

In Y, every living being with a Y chromosome instantly drops dead... except for a slacker named Yorick Brown (his Dad was into Shakespeare and his sister is named Hero) who is on the phone with his girlfriend Beth in Australia, and his pet monkey, Ampersand. Power structures are instantly turned upside down, and countries now live or die depending on just how much power women had in them before: Israel immediately becomes the world's top military power, Australia is the only country that can use its submarines, and everyone is after Yorick for one reason or another.

There are great characters, almost all female; crisp dialogue; and really terrific plotting, much of it leading to evil cliffhangers. Pia Guerra, its main artist, draws women who look like real women with real bodies, not inflatable sex dolls. A completely addictive series.

I also adore Vaughn's Ex Machina, in which a man gets super powers, finds that being a powerful vigilante isn't all the comics would make you believe, and gives up his powers-- mostly-- to become mayor of New York.

His third major series, Runaways, is the one which got me hooked on his writing, but it's less mature and complex than the other two (though still great fun.) A bunch of teenagers find that their parents are supervillains. It's a rich and funny metaphor, but recent issues have lost touch with it in favor of comic geeking with other Marvel universe characters: amusing, but not what I'm reading the series for.
Y: The Last Man # 6, by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, is in stores now. I can pick up my copy on Friday, and I am extremely excited about this.

Barbara Hambly's Circle of the Moon, sequel to Sisters of the Raven, apparently received a stealth release in trade paperback. It's set in a Middle-East-esque, male-dominated fantasy land where for time immemorial, only men (and only some of them) have been able to work magic. Then one day, men lost their power, and women gained theirs. Cue social uproar. The second book stands on its own quite well if you haven't read the first, and gains extra interest from being past the period of male outrage and denial, and into the period where society is starting to shift to accomodate the new order. As is typical for Hambly, this is all wrapped in a sword-and-sorcery adventure that also functions as a mystery. Well-characterized (my favorites are the dandyish King Oryn and the beggar woman-turned-mage Pomegranate and her imaginary friend, a pig named Pontifer Pig), page-turny, and fun.

Yet another reminder that Peter O'Donnell's Modesty Blaise series (described in my memoir; she's like a female James Bond, only much, much cooler) is back in print. I haven't seen it on the shelves much, but you can order all the books via amazon.com. If you are even remotely into pulp fiction or adventure novels about women who kick ass, I cannot recommend these too highly. She battles evil Siamese twins, she gets locked in a cage with a gorilla, she performs emergency appendectomies with one hand broken, she has affairs but not a boyfriend, and she has a lovely (non-sexual) relationship with her second in command, the cockney knife thrower Willie Garvin. They save each others' lives on a weekly basis, they spar literally and verbally, they amuse each other with humorous stories about their love lives-- it's charming.

On the manga shelves, supposedly Nana # 1 (HIGHLY recommended), Naruto # 8, and Fruits Basket # 12 are out now, but I haven't seen them yet. Maybe when I go to pick up Y.
Y: The Last Man # 6, by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, is in stores now. I can pick up my copy on Friday, and I am extremely excited about this.

Barbara Hambly's Circle of the Moon, sequel to Sisters of the Raven, apparently received a stealth release in trade paperback. It's set in a Middle-East-esque, male-dominated fantasy land where for time immemorial, only men (and only some of them) have been able to work magic. Then one day, men lost their power, and women gained theirs. Cue social uproar. The second book stands on its own quite well if you haven't read the first, and gains extra interest from being past the period of male outrage and denial, and into the period where society is starting to shift to accomodate the new order. As is typical for Hambly, this is all wrapped in a sword-and-sorcery adventure that also functions as a mystery. Well-characterized (my favorites are the dandyish King Oryn and the beggar woman-turned-mage Pomegranate and her imaginary friend, a pig named Pontifer Pig), page-turny, and fun.

Yet another reminder that Peter O'Donnell's Modesty Blaise series (described in my memoir; she's like a female James Bond, only much, much cooler) is back in print. I haven't seen it on the shelves much, but you can order all the books via amazon.com. If you are even remotely into pulp fiction or adventure novels about women who kick ass, I cannot recommend these too highly. She battles evil Siamese twins, she gets locked in a cage with a gorilla, she performs emergency appendectomies with one hand broken, she has affairs but not a boyfriend, and she has a lovely (non-sexual) relationship with her second in command, the cockney knife thrower Willie Garvin. They save each others' lives on a weekly basis, they spar literally and verbally, they amuse each other with humorous stories about their love lives-- it's charming.

On the manga shelves, supposedly Nana # 1 (HIGHLY recommended), Naruto # 8, and Fruits Basket # 12 are out now, but I haven't seen them yet. Maybe when I go to pick up Y.
I have almost nothing to say about volumes 2-4 of Y: The Last Man, because other than the excellent and unstereotypical characterization, good art, and fine dialogue, what caused me to read three volumes in one day was the terrific and consistently surprising yet logical plotting. Run out and buy.

I was relieved to learn via Vaughan's website that Y will conclude at issue # 60, projected to come out in 2007, as that suggests that he does have a conclusion in mind.

What follows is not analysis, just random thoughts on the series. Do not, under any circumstances, click on the cut below unless you've already read through volume four. If you've read past volume four, spoil me and die.

here be spoilers )
I have almost nothing to say about volumes 2-4 of Y: The Last Man, because other than the excellent and unstereotypical characterization, good art, and fine dialogue, what caused me to read three volumes in one day was the terrific and consistently surprising yet logical plotting. Run out and buy.

I was relieved to learn via Vaughan's website that Y will conclude at issue # 60, projected to come out in 2007, as that suggests that he does have a conclusion in mind.

What follows is not analysis, just random thoughts on the series. Do not, under any circumstances, click on the cut below unless you've already read through volume four. If you've read past volume four, spoil me and die.

here be spoilers )
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