The Gulf (All You Can Eat): From the Staff

As an individual that enjoys pop culture, I actually don’t frequent many conventions (when I say I don’t frequent them I 1 001mean I don’t enjoy them much at all). There’s a myriad of reasons why, but that’s not what this is about. What it is about though is this amazing annual convention that I went to in Small Press Expo (SPX). Since its inaugural year in 1994, SPX has become well renowned as a longstanding festival for writers and artists from all over the world to share their own independent comics and artwork. The intimacy of the festival in addition to being an outlet for these artists to present and sell their works that aren’t accessible through more commercial means is what instantly piqued my interest. As I made my way through the small (but immensely crowded) venue, I made it to this small booth in the corner of the room and here is this young and charming indie artist by the name of Nguyen Khoi Nguyen. I walk up assuming to do the same thing I always do at these things (or the few I have been to); browse around, window shop a little… and walk away (I’m broke, sue me). But this time was different. It didn’t take long at all for him to ingratiate himself as opposed to simply shilling whatever he had on display. Our short conversation did inevitably (as it should have) lead to his current work and what I found out is that sometimes less really is more.

Now many want to try to share their vision with the world through the extraordinary. Fantasy
and fiction rule the world of comics and graphic novels with an iron fist. Buyers (like me) consume their fill of super-powered heroes struggling against whatever opposition floats the author’s boat. We all by our share of illustrations depicting people in extenuating circumstances whether it be a post-apocalyptic land of mutant people or a futuristic setting where the planet is taken over by a technologically advanced overlord. Tales of life, death, love, action, and adventure, get told over and over in these works and while always fun, can be overwhelming (or underwhelming). For a serene break from the norm, I suggest The Gulf (All You Can Eat).

2 002This multimedia graphic novel illustrates the life (both past and present) of author, Nguyen Khoi Nguyen and his Vietnamese-American family. It may seem unassuming at first glance, but it is filled with interesting hidden gems of humor and captivates you in a fascinating way when you finish. Even the chapters themselves flip both between the author’s life as a young child growing up in Cape Coral, Florida in 1987 and a fairly interesting conversation had between his brother and sister in his current home of Washington D.C. Now as a hyper-exuberant kid whose family owns a Chinese buffet restaurant, one would expect the hi jinks to ensue a fair amount… and you’d be right. 2 004It is so funny to see these young siblings (his brother and sister are very prominent characters) and never fails to put a smile on my face as it resembles my own siblings a great deal. The art seems simple in the beginning, but the subtle use of music and traditional vernacular all help to bring life to the panels and the story in an original way. The dialogue is honest and endears you to the characters as if you know them yourself (or know people like them in your life).

In the scene of modern-day art (of any genre), ego reigns supreme and everyone is trying to make the biggest story alive in a thinly veiled attempt to make themselves a larger name. Sometimes, it’s creating the most convoluted piece you can, and sometimes it’s pandering to the lowest common denominator (and those things don’t have to be mutually exclusive). “Pretentious” can be a common word for me to use, but rarely could I use the word “humble” 2 003for a lot of works that I’ve seen. Fortunately for me, The Gulf is the embodiment of the term “humble”. So many times we pick up a book and use it to escape reality and whatever problems we have. While it can be fun and therapeutic, sometimes we become so disconnected from what reality is we lose sight of what is important. Nguyen Khoi Nguyen has created a piece of work in which its strongest asset and appeal isn’t the flash and flare of other comics or novels. It isn’t the grandiose and intimidating expansion of its world. It isn’t any of the common tropes of other written works (highly regarded or not). It is the intrinsic ability minimize the experience for the reader and relate to the common experiences of people through the life of the author and his family. It’s a reminder of the importance of love and family and that maybe the escape that people are looking for can be found in the catacombs of one’s fond memories of their youth (and we all have our fair share).It’s definitely what I would describe as a “colorful” autobiography shaped in the form of a graphic novel. The chapters (4 available, 10 total scheduled) are short in length, but gives you your fill of fun and a bit of introspection. It’s not an ambitious read at all, and why should it be? It’s fun stories about a guy and his family bound together by the business of food and personal experiences. It is reflective in its own right and for me, it’s got everything I need when I want to take a break from what I usually read. It’s a good read and I am happy that I got a chance to pick it up when I did. Nguyen Khoi Nguyen is an intriguing man. He’s a jazz musician and a filmmaker on top of his aptitude for comic art. If you want to purchase his work, you can find it on iBooks or tiny.cc/nguyenmade. To learn more, check out his website at ngknguyen.com. I think it’ll be worth anyone’s time.


Stephon W. is a contributing Editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and sorry, he doesn’t do social media. But you can follow the team on facebook (Teh Lunchbox Publications), and on twitter @tehlunchboxpub

 

Soulless: Novel or Manga? Does it Really Matter?

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Have you read Gail Carriger’s novel Soulless?  Did you read the manga? Yes she has a manga! For those who haven’t heard of it, I’ll run a quick summary for you.


The life of a spinster in Victorian London isn’t an easy one on the best of days, but such a life becomes infinitely more complicated when said spinster is “Soulless” – A Preternatural, bridging the gap between the natural and supernatural worlds. Miss Alexia Tarabotti has this unique distinction, and when she is assailed at a formal gathering by a Rove Vampire , an encounter that results in the death of the half-starved creature, her circumstances become exponentially more complicated indeed!!

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Now caught up in an intrigue with life or death stakes, Alexia must rely on all her talents to outmatch the forces conspiring against her, but it may be the man who has caught her eye -Lord Conall Maccon- and their budding flirtation that truly drives her to her wit’s end!


Verdict: This Victorian era manga is absolutely phenomenal, not only is the story great, but the art as well! It’s beautiful, clean, and the romance is quite steamy. Gail Carriger, you definitely get an immense amount of praise from me for this piece of work.

So check it out  if you haven’t, you won’t be disappointed!

Soulless gets a 5 out of 5

+ Amazing story

+ Outstanding artwork

+ The romance actually helps makeu the story rather than hurt it


Sherita M. is a contributing Editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and she’s says…bobobo-bo bo-bobo…Follow us on twitter@tehlunchboxpub.

Another Kamisama Kiss?

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I had just picked up and read the first volume of The Demon Prince of the Momochi House and so far it is a great read with great art. But I couldn’t help but notice how similar this manga is to Kamisama Kiss.


0001-012On her sixteenth birthday, orphan Himari Momochi inherits her ancestral estate that she’s never seen. Momochi House exists on the barrier between the human and spiritual realms, and Himari is meant to act as guardian between the two worlds. But on the day she moves in, she finds three handsome squatters already living in the house, and one seems to have already taken over her role.

The only difference between the two manga is that the main protagonist in The Demon Prince of the Momochi house is only human with no special powers… or so it seems, as I haven’t read very far. She’s basically just a landlady who gets herself into trouble and collects rent from three demons. Even though this manga is similar to the other,


Verdict: I would still like to give Momochi House its due for its art and hilarity. So if you don’t mind reading another Kamisama Kiss with different characters and background story, then I suggest you check out The Demon Prince of the Momochi House.

The Demon Prince of the Momochi House gets a 4 out of 5

+ Good art

+ Great humor

– A bit too reminiscent of another familiar manga (though that could change)

Volume one of The Demon Prince of the Momochi House is available now


Sherita M. is a contributing Editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and she’s chasing her dreams and she thinks you should too… Follow us on twitter@tehlunchboxpub.

80s meets Zombies with Alpha Girl!

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It’s 1984, and Judith is your typical 17-year-old girl. She chain smokes, cuts class, sells her tamps to perverts, and she just might be the last sane woman on the planet. When a third-rate cosmetics company creates a pheromone that turns women into crazed man-eaters, the world image.comics.alpha_.girl_.three_dives into chaos. Judith must break her little brother out of juvie, all the while dodging rabid women and the men who hunt them. Already a proven survivor, she picks up some interesting strays along the way and kicks some serious zombie butt! Judith is ALPHA GIRL!!

I’m a zombie fan and to be honest… I’m feeling a bit burnt out on them. Today’s zombie comics just don’t give me that chill anymore. Instead, they make me bored and a tad irritated. Alpha Girl unfortunately did not give me that chill I was looking for. The art style is unique in its own way and I like that, but I couldn’t help but noticed how some things look like it was photoshopped into the comic. Was that suppose to be on purpose? Not sure but all I can say is that while I  it threw me off a bit.
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The story started off good, but as I read further along it started to drag on. The humor was pretty cheesy, but I’m sure others will like it. The backstories of the main characters are interesting and makes me want to know more about them. So if you’re not tired of reading about the apocalyptic world then I suggest you pick up Alpha Girl.

Alpha Girl gets a 4 out of 5

+ Story has a fairly strong start to it

+ Original artwork (for the most part)

+ I did enjoy the backstories and made the main characters entertaining

– Humor could have been better

– Still missing that spark that puts it over the top

Get your copy of Alpha Girl now!


Sherita M. is a contributing Editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and she’s currently playing Corpse Party… Follow us on twitter@tehlunchboxpub.

Wayward! Have You Guys Heard?!

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Have you checked out Wayward yet? You should!


Rori Lane is trying to start a new life when she reunites with her mother in Japan, but ancient creatures lurking in the shadows of Tokyo sense something hidden deep within her. The creatures threaten everything she holds dear. Can Rori unlock the secrets of her power before it’s too late?

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Jim Zub (Skullkickers, Samurai Jack), Steve Cummings (Legends of the Dark Knight, Deadshot), and John Rauch (Invincible) team up to create an all-new Image supernatural spectacle that combines the camaraderie and emotion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the action and mystery of Hellboy. The colors are bright and bold which works extremely well with the artwork and the story as a whole. The design of the characters is anime-esque and makes for a familiar look. The attention to detail in all departments cannot be understated and makes the book visually stunning.


Verdict: Jim Zub and Steve Cummings Wayward gets a strong start with a spunky young protagonist, incredibly meticulous artwork, and phenomenal coloring. This comic is so highly recommended that I don’t want to spoil it for you by telling you what goes on in this series. Do yourselves a favor and head to the nearest comic book store (or bookstore) and pick up a copy. Seriously, it’s worth it.

Wayward gets a 5 out of 5

+ Strong artwork

+ Rori is a great main character

+ A story that’s pretty hard to put down


Sherita M. is a contributing Editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and she’s a boss in GTA V..Follow us on twitter@tehlunchboxpub.

Magical Girl’s are Creepy, Scary, and INSANE!!

images (2)When you think magical girls, you think of colorful dresses, sparkles, and friendship. Mahou Shoujo of the End will change your way of thinking.


High-schooler Kii Kogami is stuck in a rut, loathing the monotonous doldrums of his everyday life. If only something amazing would happen. But be careful what you wish for…images (1)

Kii gets his wish, but more than he can imagine and not in a good way. When a little girl in goth-style lolita attire appears at his school things really begin to get crazy. She starts to gruesomely batter, dismember, and mutilate all who cross her path. She does all of this while chanting the mantra “Magical”. It is then that the school devolves into a state of bloody chaos. Will Kii escape from this murderous girl?

To make matters worse, the magical girls victims reanimate and joins the killer rampage. Almost like zombies… magical zombies. Did I mention they also say “Magical” too?q022


Another zombie apocalypse manga but with psycho magical girls who’s outimg000018 for your blood. At first this caught me off guard but as I read further in, I realized that this manga is no different from the other apocalypse manga. You have your usual big busted girls, scrawny protagonist, damsel in distress (who turns out to be a yandere), hormonal crazy guy, and a tsundere girl (who always falls for the main character).

Kentaro Sato’s concept is very intriguing, I mean who would’ve thought magical girls can be so deadly and a down right living nightmare. Not me! The art style just makes them more terrifying. I’m not too big a fan of how some of the characters feet look too small (looks kinda weird), then again what artist don’t have trouble with feet? But this could be a part of Sato’s unique art style. Art Style: ⅘


Verdict: There’s not much detail I could give about the manga because it’s still going on (so I can’t give a solid rating on the story), but all I could say that this is an interesting read and you should definitely add this to your list of manga. That is, if you like gore, psychopaths, ecchi, and horror.

No Score (Yet)

+ Interesting concept pairing magic with horror and gore

+ Solid art-style

– Still has the same common tropes for these types of manga 


Sherita M. is a contributing editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and she loves crafting games. Follow us on twitter @tehlunchboxpub.

My Love Story: A Unique Twist On A Classic

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Kazune Kawahara says anyone can find love.

Takeo Goda is a giant guy with a giant heart. But it seems the ladies only have eyes for his good-looking best friend, Sunakawa. Use to being on the sidelines, Takeo simply stands tall and accepts his fate of being forever alone… in the romance department that is. However, that all changes when he saves a girl named Yamato from a harasser on the train. It is in that moment that his love life takes an incredible turn. Takeo can hardly believe his luck! But with his best friend Sunakawa around, does Takeo even stand a chance?


a9thejJLadies, don’t judge a book by its cover. This manga is cute, funny, heartwarming, and is hard to put down. When you think shojo manga, you think of a typical male with a charming personality. This manga actually goes outside of that. Takeo is a big (and I mean big), strong teenager with a sweet, caring personality (albeit, a bit dense). He loves helping out his friends, family, and random strangers when they need help and he’s looking for love.

Yamato is not your average teen that falls head over heels for thtumblr_ngymq7KN331sgb6xqo1_500e first cute guy she sees. No, rather she is an adorable girl who loves to bake sweets, especially for Takeo. After he saved her from a harasser on the train, Yamato had fallen in love with him. Love at first sight is a beautiful thing and she spends most of the first issue trying to show Takeo that she wants to be with him. Unfortunately, he is too dense to see that. Can’t really blame him though. Throughout his life all his love interests had fallen for his best friend, Sunakawa.

31Now don’t get the wrong idea. Takeo and Sunakawa’s friendships is really strong. Sunakawa has always looked out for him. Even though he seems to be a cold person that doesn’t really care for anything but studying, he really cares for Takeo. It is the reason why he always helps him out when Takeo needs advice. Even when Takeo doesn’t need help, Sunakawa is always there for him. It just shows how strong their friendship is after knowing each other for 10 years.


I love how this story tells us that not all hot guys are the protagonist and get the cute girl. Nice guys who may not be picture perfect get a chance too. To me the art fits just fine with the story. Honestly, it did throw me off the first time because it was different but in the end I had come to love it. I highly recommend this as a read especially if you’re looking for a quick reading. Now it’s still early in the manga with only three volumes available, so lets follow Takeo and Yamato’s relationship as it slowly develops throughout the series.


My Love Story gets a 5 out of 5

+ More original take on shojo manga

+ Great theme of friendship between Takeo and Sunakawa

+ More relatable narrative on aspects of love and attraction

But that’s not all! My Love Story is now an anime and will be released this spring in April. Hope you guys are as excited as I am.


Sherita M. is a contributing Editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and she love zombies!! Follow us on facebook (Teh Lunchbox Publications) and on twitter@tehlunchboxpub.

The Walking Dead Vol 22: A New Beginning

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 Well, I guess It’s time to talk about the newest volume in The Walking Dead comic book series. It’s been about two years since the end of the war with Negan with him now encased in a jail cell in a basement, he seems to be no longer a threat to any of the other neighboring systems. Now, all parties can begin to rebuild for a better future (hence the name “A New Beginning”).


I really like where this is going as we pick up things with things as normal as they possibly can be. Carl wants to make weapons as a blacksmith at the Hilltop and Rick is debating it as he should. I thought it was the right idea as there are people still there to watch him, but if Carl is still alive after all the stuff he’s been through then this should be one of the easier things he has to do in his life, I enjoy seeing Maggie as a more authoritative person because of her experiences and it looks much more like she stands beside Rick as a leader and not behind him. Even Rick notices this when he says “I believe in Maggie Greene”.

It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a new group of people with such of the focusBGy0sxM being on the war but now that that’s over we see another group led by a woman Named Magna. They eventually become apart of the Alexandria community but that doesn’t stop them or Magna from being Leery of their surroundings. Magna seems very similar to Rick in a lot of ways. From checking out the entire compound to finding Negan and not falling for his stories and even breaking in  Andrea’s home to interrogate her for the sake of herself and her crew, these would have all been moves Rick would (and did) make at one point or another.

The biggest thing by far has been what was thought of as talking zombies which turned out to be a group of people whThe-Walking-Dead-132-talking-zombie-masko wear the skin of zombies as active camouflage to move freely about. I actually thought they would go for the angle of actually giving the zombies some sort of humanity to which I would have not been a fan and just see it as grasping at straws (although it surprised the heck out of me when it first happened). I am much more happy with the actual result as it is something not touched or alluded to before and is something I would have never really thought of (guess that’s why I don’t write comic books), but is something i wanna see play out. The revelation blew my mind in a way that the series hasn’t in quite some time and opens a world up to new possibilities for story angles.


Verdict: I’m alright with another angle of Rick and the gang going against another group as I feel the angle hasn’t gotten old yet. The way it is written each time whether it be the Governor, the cannibals, or Negan is all different and presents deeper stories and challenges all types of ideologies and ways to survive. In the end that is what this world is about and it’s Rick’s job to show that survival is easier when you work together than when you work against each other. I don’t know how much longer Rick can last the way he is now, but he has been amazing thus far and through everything he has been an inspiration in a way nobody in that world thought someone could be. This will be a different challenge all together and even though he and the others will have their work cut out for them I think they’ve got enough to succeed. In some way much like it’s television counterpart this new arc could be a return to the glory days in the eyes of many (don’t count me among the many, I’ve always love TWD). It’s got potential and I certainly look forward to the coming issues now more than ever.

 The Walking Dead Vol 22: A New Beginning gets a 5 out of 5

+ New group members like Magna make for endless possibilities

+ Potential for the return of Negan

+ Great plot twist to set up the upcoming story arc

+ Original intro for new adversaries of this arc

Apocalypse no Toride

image_large_52fc972b685a0_cov_fortress_of_apocalypse_1-1Apocalypse no Toride (also known as Fort of Apocalypse), that’s right its a manga about zombies. Right now you’re probably thinking (sarcastically) oh wow, another zombie manga. Well, let me tell you my friend you are in for a surprise. Apocalypse no Toride is about a group of teenagers, who are inmates, surviving the zombie apocalypse and no not like High school of the Dead, so don’t expect any type ecchi. This manga is legitimately about surviving, friendships (in my opinion), and saving the world (but can it be saved?). Oh and did I mention psychopaths?


Apocalypse no Toride is intense, bloody, and gruesome. Even though the d014story may seem dull and the same as others, I feel that it’s still a good read because in its own way it’s different than the others. Now the art is fantastic. Inabe Kazu had actually focused on drawing the gruesome, grotesque, and monstrous beast. There’s really no huge boobs or other ecchi stuff all over the page (good job Inabe). Like seriously, there are hardly any females in this manga except that one lady.

Anyway, time for a quick summary Maeda has been falsely accused of murder and detained along with delinquents from all over the Kanto region in the juvenile correctional facility. Maeda is a typical boy (and a bit of a sissy…..so far, I feel that he has potential for growth later in the series) so when he finds himself living in this violence-ridden prison, he can’t think of anything worse. Suddenly, a prison van crashes into the facility and what shambles out of the wreckage are flesh-eating zombies.


Apocalypse no Toride overall is very good. If you love horror and zombies and are into great art contributing to what’s already a solid story then I would totally recommend this as a solid read.

 Apocalypse no Toride gets a 4 out of 5

+ Very unique and original story

+ Stunning art

+ No ecchi type images