Medium Rare Reviews

I don't write many reviews, not that I have anything against 'em. Maybe I don't write many because there are tons of people online and off who specialize in providing really thoughtful reviews, and I would rather just leave it up to them. Nevertheless, I do want to post a few reviews of some zines and some mini-comics that I've read recently and enjoyed.

First up is Kaiju Big Battel's Rogue Soup & Bug. Now, back in the early part of this decade, when the Kaiju Big Battel DVD series was surging in popularity, I visited the website to see what it was all about. I remember leaving the site with the impression that KBB was a pretty fun time for the people who were actually attending the Japanese monster-costumed wrestling matches, but maybe not something I would appreciate watching on DVD. I've always loved kaiju flicks, but WWF-style wresting was never my thing. Nonetheless, when I learned that a comic book based on Kaiju Big Battel had been made, it seemed like the kinda' thing that I could actually appreciate. This was proven when the copy of Rogue Soup & Bug (a play off the manga and film series "Lone Wolf and Cub") that I ordered made it to my mailbox.

Rogue Soup & Bug #1.

Spread between the covers of this fun-filled mini-comic is a sword-weilding soup can pushin' a wooden baby carriage with an infant that only a mother could love inside, some female ninja intrigue, and an amusing battle between the hero Kung-Fu Chicken Noodle (?!) and the evil Dr. Cube. The story is credited to Studio Kaiju, and the art chores are nicely handled by Jeremy Arambulo. If you're a fan of Kaiju Big Battel, I won't have to tell you to check this out. But if you, like me, appreciate comic book battles more than WWF faux fighting, check out Rogue Soup & Bug. [ 28 pages, 1/2 size, $5 postage paid ]

Oh, and I should also mention that each issue comes with a sketch by the artist inside the front cover. I got a very nice drawing of the "gorgeous but evil Tsuya of the Rippou Secret Ninja Clan Z," and I look forward to seeing what I'll get in the other issues that I'm planning to order.

Neon Girl #1

Next up is Dennis Pacheco's Neon Girl. This is a title that I ran across while browsing on Etsy.com for something interesting to read among the numerous mini-comics posted there. Call me a sucker for a panty-shot, but the full-color cover featuring two semi-costumed super-heroines grabbed my interest by the collar. The better-than-average looking illustration by Dennis Pacheco also had a lot to do with my choice too.

Only two pages into issue #1, the brawl between the chicks on the cover (Neon Girl & Atom Girl) begins, and it's 1 part brutal, 2 parts sexy, and 3 parts seriously funny -- which is a winning recipe in my book. I'm not really one for spoilers of any kind, but there's some really cool soap opera drama bubbling under the surface.

Neon Girl #0

That said, I also have to recommend you buy Neon Girl #0, a prequel issue that provides the backstory on the caped catfight. Unfortunately, it seems that Pacheco lost interest in his title character after only these two issues and moved on to making other minis. But I did like these books and I wish that he'd made just one more issue of Neon Girl. [ 28 pages, 3/4 size, $3.50 + P&H ]

My Time Annihilator

Next up is My Time Annihilator: A Brief History of 1930's Science Fiction Fanzines. It would be more than fair to say that I have a long list of geekish interests, but I place my interest in history near the top of the list. So when I learned about My Time Annihilator by way of a nice review in a recent issue of Xerography Debt, I made it a point to make it the very first zine in the shopping cart when I placed my last order with Microcosm. Christopher of Olly Olly Oxen Free (and other zines) plays history detective and gives readers a rocket blast into the days of 1930's and 1940's fanzines. Contained within is information on old school printing techniques, the (lack of) art in early fanzines, an "angry rant from Spacewarp #36" and more. If history is also one of your favorite subjects, My Time Annihilator is the zine for you. [ 30 pages, 1/4 size, $1 + P&H ]

Samurai Dreams #6

Last but not least is Samurai Dreams. This is a gritty lil' zine put together by a team of serious cinephiles: Greg, Andy, James, Kevin and Max. It's one of my favorite zines being made today, and the one that I always want to share with my film fanatic friends...but wind up keeping selfishly all to myself. Each issue of is chock full of witty and well-considered reviews of movies pulled from the very top shelves of video rental stores and the very bottom of the dollar store bin. Issue #6 of Samurai Dreams offers fifty-plus pages of razor-sharp reviews of flicks like Charles Bronson's Cold Sweat, the Frank Miller scripted Robocop 2, the Hammer/Shaw Brothers co-produced Legend of Seven Golden Vampires, the misleadingly titled Dracula vs. Frankenstein, the Japanese anime World of Hans Christian Anderson, and many, many more.

Whether you consider yourself a fanatical film buff, or simply somebody who wants to get a glimpse into the world of cult films and VHS culture, you should let Samurai Dreams be your guide. This zine has certainly become mine. [ 56 pages, 1/2 size, cool trades or a few bucks to: Samurai Dreams, 60, Fairgrounds Rd., Cummington MA 01026, samuraidreamszine@yahoo.com ]

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