Nostalgic Bookshelf

Snarky recaps of nostalgic media, including Making Out, Baywatch, Blyton and Baby-Sitter's Club
7
Sep 2018

That Alisa's so hot right now

Title: Alisa of the Silver Hair

Japanese Title: Gin’iro no Kami no Arisa

Author/Artist: Shinji Wada

Translaions: The Distaff Side & 4chan

Summary: As a child, the eponymous heroine is betrayed by three jealous friends who throw her into a pit and leave her to die. But Alisa perseveres: She trains herself to be smarter, faster, and more beautiful than any of them and returns for revenge. Years of living underground have left her with the silver hair of the title, so her victims can’t be sure whether the resemblance is real or only the product their guilty consciences…

Initial Thoughts

For July I wanted to do some more comic related posts for Point Horror and Nostalgic Bookshelf since it’s Comic Con International time. For Nostalgic Bookshelf, alongside the Molly recap I wanted to do a manga recap and a comic recap.

So “Alisa” is an obscure gem I learned of because of its creator, Shinji Wada. He’s the genius who created “Sukeban Deka,” a.k.a. “Delinquent Girl Detective.” It’s the story of Saki Asamiya, a juvenile delinquent recruited by the Japanese police force as an undercover detective within the country’s school system. Armed with a special yo-yo, Saki goes up against drug dealers, rapists, and international terrorists while the threat of her condemned mother’s execution is hung ovee her head.

But that is not this story.

“Alisa of the Silver Hair” is a very short story, only two chapters long, and came out years before “Sukeban Deka.” While I would’t say I’m the total authority on “Sukeban Deka” I’m familiar enough with it to realize “Alisa” appears to be some sort of prototype for “Sukeban.”

Alisa by Retrosofa

(Alisa by Retrosofa: Sal’s a big fan of Sukeban Deka so I thought he’d be a natural for a commission of Alisa)

Wada’s style evokes the shoujo tales of the 1970s, but his use of the tropes masks some truly sinister and depraved villains, many of whom are teenage girls. In fact, as pointed out over on Empty Movement, one of the later stories is eerily predictive of “Revolutionary Girl Utena,” a 90s anime masterpiece that deconstructs misogyny and incest in fiction through picking apart the Prince/Princess/Witch dynamic.

(Analysis on the story seen here: https://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?id=2740)

Because no one talks about this story, and “Sukeban Deka” is pretty niche itself (the manga still hasn’t been officially distributed through English markets), I decided to do a recap to shed some light on this beautiful little story of vengeance. But no, I have no idea if her name is supposed to “Alisa” or if it’s “Arisa” and the name was romanized by the translation.

You can read the entire story here: https://mangadex.org/manga/6931/alisa-with-silver-hair

(TW for suicide)

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Other Comics , , , , ,
28
Aug 2018

It’s convention season again and I’m returning from Flame Con. It’s a con created by GEEKS OUT for queer fans of all shapes, sizes, genders, and orientations. I missed the first one because I was sick, but I’ve attended the last three. Today, National Power Rangers Day, I’m visiting a different area of 90s Nostalgia: the Power Rangers.

Related image

Go Go Power Rangers!

Any 90s child would remember the Power Rangers; five teenagers with attitude recruited to fight the forces of evil.

I’ve been a Rangers fan since I was a kid, back when the original show was on TV. I guess you’d call me a fair weather fan; I’ve lost track of the show several times over the years. There are plenty of seasons I’ve never watched, yet they remain dear to me.

I devoted Flame Con to collecting some PR sketches because I don’t normally focus on them. I ran it by Wing and offered to make this special post showcasing what I acquired. I’ll also be talking a little about who the Rangers are and how they came to be.

[Wing: I know very little about the Power Rangers except that I saw maybe one episode of one of the shows in the 90s and promptly had an intricate dream about them and that the 2017 movie combined a heartfelt chosen family high school story with a ridiculous sci-fi adventure story that included giant dinosaur robots, and I love the hell out of it.]

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Other Comics , , , ,
2
Aug 2018
Mermaid Saga Part 7: Dream's End by Rumiko Takahashi

Mermaid Saga Part 7: Dream’s End by Rumiko Takahashi

Title: Mermaid Saga Part 7 – Dream’s End

Author/Artist: Rumiko Takahashi

Initial Thoughts

It’s a good thing I chose this chapter for July because I’ve been incredibly backlogged the last couple of weeks ever since I got sick around Independence Day.

Dream’s End is another oddity in the series because it provides more world building, even though it’s the shortest story at only 22 pages not counting the splash title page. It’s the only time the series explores the concept of the Lost Souls beyond their typical usage as a plot device and warning against consuming mermaid’s flesh. It also has a bit of a “Beauty and the Beast” vibe.

 

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Mermaid Saga ,
31
Jul 2018
Confessions of a Teenage Vampire: The Turning by West and Ellis

Confessions of a Teenage Vampire: The Turning by West and Ellis

Title: Confessions of a Teenage Vampire #1 – The Turning

Writer: Terry West

Penciller: Steve Ellis

Inkers: Rich Perrota and Ravil Lopez

Letterer: Fred Van Lente

Colorist: Michelle Wulf and Ryan Dunlavey

Summary: I used to be a pretty average teenager. True, I didn’t have tons of friends, and I liked studying history, but I was basically not very unusual.

But that all changed when I met Phillip Lemachard. You see, Phillip is not like the rest of the kids in my high school. He’s not like anyone I know, in fact. When Phillip tells stories about history, it sounds as if he was really there. And he has this skin condition that keeps him indoors during daylight.

Now I’m beginning to change, too. And these changes are, well, really unusual.

Initial Thoughts

Here’s a special little treat from a story I haven’t read since middle school. This is the first of a two-part, stillborn series of YA horror graphic novels published by Scholastic in the late 90s. It definitely shows in both the setting (the characters mention “Surfing the net”) and the artwork (it’s got that high-waisted, long thigh Rob Liefeld/Art Adams look to it).

I thought it’d be fun to pull up this old jewel for Comic Con month, and I’m planning on reviewing the second book in October for Halloweenus.

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Other Comics ,
26
Jul 2018
Batman: The Book of Shadows by Mills, Gallagher, and Mighten

Batman: The Book of Shadows by Mills, Gallagher, and Mighten

Title: Batman – The Book of Shadows

Writers: Pat Mills and Debbie Gallagher

Penciller: Duke Mighten

Inker: Bill Oakley

Colorist: Digital Chameleon

Summary: “…One must choose that victim who contains the greatest and purest force.

The Holy Fool.

The Hanged Man.

The King of the Lonely.

The Batman.

Thus shall the demon Archon arise and bathe the Earth in blood.”

— The Book of Shadows

Initial Thoughts

Back in the 1990s, one of the semi-big things in the comics industry were prestige format one shot stories. They were bound with glossy covers like trade paperbacks, but small enough to be individual issues. Their placement in the continuity of ongoing comics was debatable at best, since they were so rarely every mentioned in the main titles published by DC and Marvel. What was great about them is they were often self-contained stories which featured original antagonists and supporting casts beyond the main characters, but like I said the characters would hardly ever appear in the regular comics if they were lucky.

I own, well, I wouldn’t say a HUGE number of Batman prestige format books, but the entirety of my Batman collection of trade paperback issues and similarly printed stories takes up most of one shelf in my collection. “Batman: The Book of Shadows” was a story I stumbled into blindly, having never heard of it before my purchase and the action taken solely because the title intrigued me. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything else written by Pat Mills and Debbie Gallagher, but from what I’ve determined the two are frequently published under 2000 A.D.. Likewise, I’ve only fond Duke Mighten’s artwork in an early 90s Marvel series called “Wild Thing.” “Book of Shadows” is a pleasant, creepy little story using tarot card themes and a group of monstrous villains whose designs are reminiscent of the Xenomorphs from the “Alien” franchise.

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Batman ,
22
Mar 2018

Title: Mermaid Saga Part 3-4 – The Village of the Fighting Fish

Author/Artist: Rumiko Takahashi

Initial Thoughts

This immediately isn’t one of my favorites stories in the series. While two of the characters are pretty cool, it doesn’t really have the same horror feel as the other tales. The tone and setting comes across similar to Takahashi’s other series, “Inuyasha.”

It also seems weird she’d do a story about Yuta’s past, long before Mana was in the picture, as the immediate second tale after the opening two parts.

I’m not sure how you’re gonna feel about this one, Wing. I don’t think you’ll like the ending, but I do think you’ll like the bad guy.

[Wing: It does seem like a strange choice to do a backstory so soon after the series begins.]

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

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14
Feb 2018

The Abandoned by Sophie CampbellTitle: The Abandoned aka “Howard, They’re Zombies”

Creator: Sophie Campbell

Summary: Big-hearted volunteer worker by day, unruly rocker by night, Rylie is one of the most-liked residents of the small island-town of Buffalora. When she sets her sights on Naomi, the new girl in town, love is definitely in the air. Unfortunately for Rylie, so is a storm. The kind in which nothing good ever happens… suddenly all the adults die and quickly rise from the dead! These flesh-craving zombies seek out the last remnants of youth and hope for society. With death in the air and love on their minds, Rylie and Naomi must make their way through the vast swamplands to salvation.

Initial Thoughts

For Valentine’s Day I’ve given you all two things – lesbians and zombies, the gifts that keep on giving.

Seriously though, “The Abandoned” was one of many OEL manga comics published by Tokyopop in the 2000s. This was written and illustrated by Sophie Campbell back when she was still going by the name “Ross” and it’s been out of print for a while. It’s a very gory but not too explicit zombie horror tale, one full of genuine despair and apathy. Sophie colors the pages in very drab tones of grey, white, black, and what might be puce or mauve, with the use of red a shocking apparition throughout the landscape.

It features some of the stuff Sophie does very well, gore and plus-sized women. You guys really need to check out her work on IDW’s “Jem and the Holograms” series with Kelly Thompson, it saved comics. She’s exceptional when it comes to variety in body types and sizes. Although since this IS one of her earliest works her some of the characters appear a bit off-model in some panels.  There’s also this one sequence in the beginning that has not aged well at all.

Also, I want to ask everyone NOT to tag or send a link for this to Sophie. I think she’d prefer not to look back on this because it’s so old and was made when she was still using her old name. And from what I’ve read, she does NOT have fond things to say about Tokyopop, which is something of a shared sentiment with a lot of people.

Content Note: References to abuse and sexual assault.

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Comics ,
9
Jan 2018

Cover of Mermaid's Scar by Rumiko TakahashiTitle: Mermaid Saga Chapters 10 & 11 – Mermaid’s Scar

Author/Artist: Rumiko Takahashi

Cover Summary: N/A

Initial Thoughts

For Wing’s birthday I’m recapping the best part of Mermaid Saga by far. I know it’s my favorite, certainly. It gets to showcase how freaking awesome Mana is. [Wing: This month is full of fun recap surprises for me. I’m thrilled!]

This is the second story besides Mermaid’s Forest to be adapted more than once, receiving an OVA in the 90s and included in the TV series from the 2000s. Personally, I feel the OVA is the better of the two adaptions, sporting rather beautiful early 90s anime art.

I only defer to this version when I need commission reference for Mana and Yuta.

I’ve watched the English dub, which used to be on Youtube, but you can still find the original version online somewhere. They still haven’t released it on an official DVD, but luckily I’ve got the complete soundtrack on CD. What shocked me about the dub was learning Yuta’s voice actor was Jason Gray-Stanford, who also voiced Sherlock Holmes in “Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century,” and was RANDY DISHER, the dorky police detective, on “Monk.”

This is also one of the bloodiest stories in the series. And, keep in mind, this is one of those stories where we, the readers, know more about what the villain is really up to before the main characters do. Also, a bit of clarification. One character never got a name in the actual story, but the OVA dubbed her “Misa,” so I’ll be referring to her by that name.

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Mermaid Saga ,