Panel by Panel: April 2011 in Review

April has come and gone and it's hard to believe the year is now over 1/3 of the way finished. I had more of a return to form this past month, though I find myself still reading an abnormally low number of indie books. This month also seems me dabbling more with digital comics, something that I think will be a trend as the year goes on and I work more from my computer and less with paper books. I'm not keeping a digital versus print count--yet, though it's something I may consider doing soon.

This month also features a new category, Single Issue Superheroes, as I expect to be reading more indie superhero stuff digitally, and thus not in a collected form.

That all being said, let's see how April 2011 shaped up for me in terms of my reading plans...

Indie Books (2)
  1. Zombie Tales: Good Eatin' by Various Writers and Artists
  2. How To Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less by Sarah Glidden
Zombie Tales was just okay, as the stories and art felt generally rushed. Probably only needed reading for the most hard-core zombie fans. How to Understand Israel is a candidate for non-2011 book of the year.

Manga/Manhwa (14)
  1. 20th Century Boys Vol 4 by Naoki Urasawa
  2. Chi's Sweet Home Vol 1 by Konami Kanata
  3. Bleach Vol 9 by Tite Kubo
  4. Bleach Vol 10 by Tite Kubo
  5. Bleach Vol 11 by Tite Kubo
  6. Ranma 1/2 Vol 13 by Rumiko Takahashi
  7. Ranma 1/2 Vol 14 by Rumiko Takahashi
  8. Ranma 1/2 Vol 15 by Rumiko Takahashi
  9. Ranma 1/2 Vol 16 by Rumiko Takahashi
  10. Ranma 1/2 Vol 17 by Rumiko Takahashi
  11. Rin-Ne Vol 1 by Rumiko Takahashi
  12. Rin-Ne Vol 2 by Rumiko Takahashi
  13. Rin-Ne Vol 3 by Rumiko Takahashi
  14. Rin-Ne Vol 4 by Rumiko Takahashi
As this was the Year of Takahashi's month to host the Manga Movable Feast, Takahashi dominated my mange reading, accounting for 4/7ths of the manga I read this past month. It was some of the best of Ranma 1/2, but the jury is still out on Rin-Ne. All of these books were discussed in reviews on Panel Patter.
    Mini-Comics/Zines (8)
    1. Magic Bullet 1 by Various
    2. Magic Bullet 2 by Various (2011)
    3. Dogs of Mars 1 by Tony Trov, Christian Weiser, Johnny Zito, and Paul Maybury
    4. Fried Rice Issue 1 by Sean K. Dove (2011)
    5. War of the Woods #1 Season 1 by Matthew Petz
    6. Valentine 1 by Alex de Campi and Christine Larsen
    7. Valentine 2 by Alex de Campi and Christine Larsen
    8. Valentine 3 by Alex de Campi and Christine Larsen
    With the exception of Magic Bullet, these were all digital comics, and they were all pretty darn good. Definitely worth seeking out, and most of them are on Comixology. Look for some reviews soon.

    Superhero Stuff (7)
    1. The Mighty Volume 1 by Peter J. Tomasi, Keith Champagne, and Peter Snejbjerg
    2. The Mighty Volume 2 by Peter J. Tomasi, Keith Champagne, and Chris Samnee
    3. Flash Rebirth by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver
    4. Daredevil: Yellow by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale
    5. Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War Vol 1 by Geoff Johns and Others
    6. Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War Vol 2 by Geoff Johns and Others
    7. Spider-Man and the Secret Wars by Paul Tobin, Patrick Scherberger, Terry Pallot, and Clayton Henry
    Spider-Man and the Secret Wars was a rare Marvel Adventures miss for me, as instead of getting the competent hero, Tobin opts for making Peter young, inexperienced, and a bit of a jerk. He's miscast here as an antagonist to the Hulk and then thrown out of his depth against Galactus and Doom. Not one I'd recommend. Geoff Johns continues to do what he does, and while it's interesting on some levels, I'm just not the target audience for his Hal Jordan is awesome and Barry Allen is more important than we've given him credit for type of stories, where Silver Age ideas are given the bloody 2000s treatment. I would love to see him do Metamorpho: Rebirth, however, just to see if he tried to claim Rex was more important than Wonder Woman.

    Daredevil: Yellow was the best of this bunch, an underrated Loeb-Sale collaboration.

    Single Issue Superheroes (1)
    1. Action Double Feature #1 by Tim Seeley, Sophie Campbell, Dennis Hopeless, and Mike Norton (2011)
    This was fun, and I hope to see a second issue soon. See my review for more details.

    Erased the Panels

    I figured I'd give one of the Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon bio-comics a try, but I found Che to be a dry slog and gave up after awhile. Colon's art is okay for what he's given, but despite death and desperation, there's just no life in the panels. It's like looking up someone in the encyclopedia--you get what you need, but it's not something you want to make a habit of reading. Anyone care to me there's better example of their work, or is this typical?

    That was my month in reading for April 2011. How was yours?