Reading Kosuke Fujishima’s classic manga rom-com Oh My Goddess! reminds me of watching one of my (many) favorite ’80s or early ’90s movies. To be specific, it reminds me of rewatching them now, as a 30-something.

First, there’s that familiar sense of wistful nostalgia. Oh, to be back in the simple days of big hair, shoulder pads, and scrunchies. Then, there’s an acute sense of embarrassment and discomfort as I look through those innocent dreams, and watch painful stereotypes play out. The media of my youth, stripped now of its trappings, awkward growing pains bare for all to see.

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If you know nothing else about Svetlana Chmakova’s Awkward, know this: it needs to be on the shelves of every school and public library. That may sound bombastic, but Awkward deserves the high praise. It’s one of the best reads I’ve had—comic or otherwise—in years.

Middle schooler Penelope (Peppi) Torres is new in town. That’s hard enough in and of itself, but unfortunately for her, she quite literally fumbles her first day at her new school. Not only does she trip in the middle of the hallway and scatter all of her belongings, but she freaks out under the pressure of jeering passersby and pushes Jaime Thompson, the unpopular nerd who stops to help her pick up her books. She regrets it immediately, but is too shy to apologize. Every time she tries to work up the nerve to speak to Jaime, she’s overcome with awkwardness.

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Dream Fossil, Satoshi Kon, Vertical May 2015

Dream Fossil is a trip. The collected stories of Satoshi Kon have little in common other than their creator and the fact that they’re all snippets and facets, daydreams of life. As he honed his artistic and storytelling craft, Kon’s topics ranged from baseball to robots to historical Japan. Are they all amazing? Nope. To borrow a metaphor from the book, there are some strikes and some home runs—but that doesn’t really matter. Kon, rather than his varied subjects, is the focus of this anthology.

Before Satoshi Kon helmed any of his hit anime projects—Paprika, Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers,Perfect Blue and more—he was a mangaka. Not only did he write and illustrate his own doujinshi and serialized stories, but he also worked on Akira with Katsuhiro Otomo. He collaborated with Mamoru Oshii on Seraphim 26661336 Wings and crafted his very own OPUS. It’s no exaggeration to say that Satoshi Kon was a master storyteller. Sadly, he died in 2010 at the young age of 46, and we—his fans—are left to mine his existing material and mourn the loss of whatever beautiful, insightful stories he didn’t have time to tell.

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Swords of Sorrow continues! The latest installment of this massive crossover event features classic pulp characters Dejah Thoris and Irene Adler. In London in 1894, a lion-like monster has eaten members of Parliament, and notoriously competent and discrete Irene Adler is put on the case by the elder Mr. Holmes (not to be confused with his famous younger brother). In the kingdom of Barsoom, Dejah Thoris muses on the trouble that follows behind her mysteriously gifted sword of sorrow and vows to protect her friends and her citizens.

Just what will happen when these women and worlds collide? We’ll find out together! Wendy Browne and Amanda Vail each chose a character to focus on. Read on to learn a bit about Dejah Thoris and Irene Adler as they’re portrayed both before and within Swords of Sorrow.

Read the rest at Women Write About Comics!

So you pull up your game console or log in on your computer and you’re there in another realm. Maybe you’re there alone, intent on battling through the enemies or solving the puzzles on your own. Maybe you’re there with friends—physically next to you on the couch or virtually next to you via the magic of the Internet—and you’re all working together to take on risks and overcome challenges. Whatever the format, whatever your preferred mode of playing, you’re immersed. For the next five minutes or five hours (or five days, no judgment!), your thoughts and actions are focused upon a virtual world built by human hands.

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Giuseppe_Castiglione_-_View_of_the_Grand_Salon_Carré_in_the_Louvre

You have blank walls. You like fine art. You’d like to combine those two things, but your household doesn’t pull in an astronomical amount of money. That’s a pickle. How do you upgrade your mass-market poster of Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss to an original print, painting, or drawing? (By the way, no judgement! I had one of those posters, plus a Jackson Pollock and a Georgia O’Keefe, all proudly mounted to the wall with tape.)

The fine art market has the well-deserved reputation for being the realm of the rich. On the heels of Art Basel, which ended last week, that’s even more apparent. As Scott Rayburn of the New York Times reports, numerous multi-million dollar works of art were sold by galleries over the course of the show. Rayburn even quotes the New York dealer Paula Cooper, who says, “It’s all about power and money.”

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xxxHolic Omnibus 3 pg. 23. © CLAMP/Kodansha Ltd. All rights reserved.

Watanuki Kimihiro sees spirits. Even worse, they want to eat him, and so they chase him. All the time. Big, scary, coiling masses of darkness, shadows, eyes, and pointy teeth find him on his way to or from school. He scrambles away, running and hiding from these things that only he can see, hear, and feel. Then one day, he stumbles into the yard of a shop, and the spirits stop at the gate. The shop’s fortune-telling, opium-smoking, sake-guzzling, always elegantly attired proprietor Ichihara Yûko grants Kimihiro his wish: to be rid of his unwelcome pursuers—but only after he’s paid for the wish by, of course, working at the shop. Read more →

Bruce Lee on the set of "Way of the Dragon". Courtesy The Wing Luke Museum. ® & © Bruce Lee Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

I have a confession to make. In spite of being relatively well-rounded in other areas of nerdom (video game RPGs, tabletop games, anime and manga, sci-fi and fantasy novels, and 80s movies), there is one area in which I have fallen resoundingly flat. I hope my friends will still speak to me after reading this.

I know next to nothing about martial arts movies. There, I said it. Read more →

Seraphim 266613336 Wings, Satashi Kon, Mamoru Oshii, Dark Horse 2015

Suppose the end of humanity approaches in a manner different than that depicted in the Book of Revelation, the Poetic Edda, the Vedic Scriptures, or any other written account of the end of days. The apocalypse is a time of transformation, after all. (You thought it was just about death and destruction? Think again!) What if salvation comes in the form of a disease that soothes its victims with compelling hallucinations?

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Marvel's Agent Carter, 2015

Let me start by saying that I’ve had a blast watching Agent Carter. There are many reasons why the show is fun and important and awesome and all those good things. Others (including the amazing Rachel Edidin) have already done a great job outlining the good stuff; there are some good critiques out there too, like this rundown of how Agent Carter could have done better with its gender politics.

With that in mind, I’m going to focus on one small moment in the last episode that really turned my stomach.

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