I usually do this on Monday, but I'm traveling tomorrow, so let's see if I can get it finished tonight. UPDATE: looks like I didn't make it. Now we'll see if I can actually get it done on Monday.
New comics this week (Wednesday, 7/23/08):
Black Summer #7
About fucking time. Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp got behind on this one, even starting another series (No Hero, which does seem pretty good so far) before finishing this story about violent superheroes. It's been all right, if not world-shaking or anything. We'll see if they can wrap it up satisfactorily.
Boy Who Made Silence #5
Oh, man, I've been meaning to write about the last couple issues of this series, but I haven't gotten to it. It's been pretty incredible, beautiful, impenetrable stuff, so I look forward to each new installment. Keep it up, Joshua Hagler!
Dan Dare #7
Speaking of delayed miniseries that are finally ending, this Garth Ennis/Gary Erskine revamp of a classic character is finishing up as well, and it has been quite good. Ennis writes war comics like nobody else these days (especially since nobody else seems to want to), and that's basically what he's doing here. It's still quite excellent, and the last issue promised a huge action finale. The issue is $5.99, so I imagine that means it's extra-sized, for more explosions (and probably the reason for the delays). Let's hope Ennis doesn't let us down.
Who knows what will show up in this issue. Will there be a narrative? More drawing with running commentary on drawing tools and whatnot? Satire? Bizarre rants? Who knows, but it's interesting stuff from Dave Sim. If it's just like the first issue, I don't know if I'll be interested in continuing to read the series (will he just talk about art techniques for 20 issues?), but I won't have regretted buying these two. Sim is a hell of an artist, and I don't mind indulging him a little bit, but only so far. I'm sure he cares immensely about my opinion, so there we go.
Immortal Iron Fist #17
This issue sees the debut of the new creative team to the title, and a probable exodus of a massive amount of readers. I read a review PDF of the issue, and it seems all right, not a horrible drop-off in quality or anything. New writer Duane Swierczynski is following Brubaker and Fraction's formula to a T, with current-day Danny Rand exploits interspersed with Russ Heath-illustrated flashbacks to adventures of a previous Iron Fist. The plot has an attention-grabbing hook, but the threat seems kind of impotent, since Marvel isn't about to kill off a newly-popular character. So, I guess if you're hooked on Iron Fist's kung-fu adventures and need a monthly dose, you can keep reading, but Fraction/Brubaker fans probably shouldn't bother. But I doubt you needed me to tell you that.
Liberty Comics A CBLDF Benefit Book 1 Shot
One of those "for a good cause" books that just happens to contain some really cool stuff. Contributors include Mark Evanier, Sergio Aragones, Mike Mignola, Garth Ennis (with a new "Boys" story), Darwyn Cooke, Ed Brubaker (with a new "Criminal" story), and Rick Veitch. Methinks I'll get me a copy.
War Heroes #1
With yet another variation on "what if superheroes were, like, real, man?", Mark Millar gives us this super-powered war story. It should look nice, with Tony Harris on art, but I'm so sick of this stuff, so I won't bother with it. When does that next Ex Machina trade come out?
I hope I didn't overpraise the last issue of this series, but I'm really liking it these days. So here's another one. I bet it will also be good.
If I still cared about the X-Men, I might be interested in this, since it marks the debut of the new writing team of Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction. But I'll skip it, the two-word reason being: Gred Fucking Land (I guess that was three words). I actually read a PDF of the issue, and it seems okay, with some setup for plots that might not suck. And the Terry Dodson-illustrated pages are fine, but god, the Land pages are as terrible as you would expect. I cannot read anything he illustrates. So screw it; there's no way I'm throwing any money away on this.
Aldebaran Vol 1 Catastrophe TP
British publisher Cinebook has this European sci-fi series that looks pretty nice. I doubt I'll ever see it, but I wouldn't mind if I did. Here's the official site, with a couple preview pages.
American Flagg Definitive Collection Vol 1 HC
Okay, it looks like this is the new reprint collection of the famous series. I've almost always been underwhelmed by Howard Chaykin's work, so maybe if I read this, it will help me understand why he's supposed to be so great. I don't really have the fifty bucks to spend on it, but at least it's now out there and easily-attainable. So, someday I might be able to find out what the hell everybody else is talking about.
Apocalipstix Vol 1 GN
Oh, man, here's one of the fairly major releases for the week. Written by Ray Fawkes and illustrated by Cameron Stewart, it's about a girly rock-band trio in a post-apocalyptic world. I've been looking forward to it ever since I first read about it, since I really dig Stewart's art, so I'm all over this one.
Army@Love Vol. 2 Generation Pawned TPB
Ooh, another one that I'm excited for. I decided to wait for the trade after loving the first story arc of this satirical Rick Veitch series, so I'm stoked to read the rest of the first "season" of the series. I guess it didn't sell all that well, so the book went on some sort of hiatus after the twelfth issue, and it's scheduled to return in another (mini-?)series sometime in the next few months. I think I'll have to buy that one monthly, in hopes that it won't get "cancelled" again.
Art of Witchblade TPB
Heh. Ha ha. Ha ha ha! Hee hee hee! Hahahahahahaha! Heh heh. Hoooo. Yes, please enjoy this highly artistic offering of "sexy" girly drawings with goop barely covering the naughty bits. It's like fucking Michelangelo up in here.
Comic Book Tattoo
Here's another big offering for the week, the Tori Amos-themed anthology featuring work from tons of comics creators, including Carla Speed McNeil, Mark Buckingham, Hope Larson, Ryan Kelly, Christopher Mitten, Pia Guerra, David Mack, Jonathan Hickman, Lauren McCubbin, and many others. Fifty bucks hardcover, thirty bucks softcover, for over 500 pages. I'll probably get it, if only because it's something I can get my wife to read. But hopefully I'll like it too.
Complete Popbot TP
A huge collection of Ashley Wood's creation, at $50. I don't think I can afford it, dammit. But it will certainly look cool.
Zot Vol 1 Complete Black And White Stories 1987 To 1991 TP
I mentioned this last week, but I don't know if that was this or not. Wait, that doesn't make sense. Anyway, this is the actual collection that has been under discussion as of late, and I've found that it's not the stuff I've read. I only got to the color stuff, but apparently the series got much better in the stories collected here. Looks like I'm going to have to try to read it.
Flight Volume 5 TPB
While I still have yet to read an actual volume of Flight, I love the look of every one that comes out, and I really need to pick one up one of these days. Yes, my comics to-do list grows ever longer...
Jack Kirby Checklist TP Gold Edition
Now, I love Kirby, but I don't think I'll be spending fifteen dollars for a listing of everything he's ever done. Sure, I bet there will also be pictures and whatnot, but I have enough trouble getting to major Kirby works like The Demon and Kamandi; I don't really need to own a book telling me about all the 40s romance comics I'll never be able to get to. But if you're trying to put together as complete a collection as you can, it looks like this is the resource for you.
Kitty Pryde and Wolverine Prem HC
Isn't this supposed to be terrible (although, since it's by Chris Claremont, I bet Jason Powell will find some way to defend it. Ah, I love ya, Jason!)? Even though it has a reputation as a dreadful miniseries, Marvel is giving it the fancy-pants hardcover treatment; I guess they're running out of ways to bilk the fanboys of their money. My recommendation: don't buy it.
Korgi Vol. 2 Cosmic Collector TPB
I read the first volume of Christian Slade's cute, wordless kids' fantasy series, and while it looked nice, it was feather-light; I think I blew through it in ten minutes or something. So here's the next installment, in which we'll see more monster battles and the characters will continue to develop new powers, I expect. I wouldn't say no to reading it, but I don't plan to spend any money on it.
Madman Atomic Comics Vol 1 TP
I've enjoyed parts of this new volume of Mike Allred's signature characters' adventures, but it's been so meandering and disappointing, with some really anticlimactic resolutions to long-running plots and lots of nonsensical mumbo-jumbo. So I can't really recommend it to anybody, unless you're a long-time Madman fan who was waiting for the trade and has to know what all that business about "the four" was. But you'll almost certainly be disappointed, so you'd be better off hunting down issue #3, which was the one where Allred aped the styles of just about every great comics artist ever. That's about the only one that I would really call "good" out of the bunch.
Maintenance Vol 3 TPB
Here's the third collection of one of my favorite ongoing series. This volume contains the fun story in which the cast goes on a rescue mission to space to retrieve Mendy the receptionist. It's a lot of fun, and it's got a pretty nice climactic finish to the action. Robbi Rodriguez, whose art you might recognize from the recent Tek Jansen issue, continues to do a bang-up job on this series, and Jim Massey doesn't stop with the funny writing. Check it out, if you haven't already.
Meathaus SOS TP
Man, here's another pricey anthology that I definitely want to pick up, since it contains work from so many cartoonists that I dig. You've got the likes of Farel Dalrymple, Jim Rugg, Corey Lewis, Brandon Graham, Dash Shaw, James Jean, Tomer and Asuf Hanuka, Ross Campbell, and many more. Damn, I gotta get this. It's normally $30, but you can get it for $25 along with a postcard set at nerdcore.com (which also has some preview pages).
SCUD The Disposable Assassin The Whole Shebang! TPB
Well, I've still never read any of this series, but it's supposed to be decent. I doubt I'll spend the money to buy it (although it's a pretty good value, at $30 for 24 issues worth of material), but I suppose I could read it and see if it's any good.
Scrambled Ink HC
This collection of comics by animators from Dreamworks looks interesting. It'll cost you $20. You can read more about it in the comments to this post, where one of the artists dropped by to chat.
This new graphic novel from Boom! Studios looks like it could be entertaining. It's about a future in which humanity built robots to do menial labor, but they contracted with the lowest bidder, so all the robots are as lazy as the rest of us. It's written by movie guy Adam Rifkin (he directed Detroit Rock City and wrote a bunch of crap like Underdog, Small Soldiers, and Mousehunt) and illustrated by Les Toil. Like all Boom! stuff, I've got a review PDF, so I'll try to write a review if I think it's worth it (and ever get the time and energy to do so).
World War Robot TP
Ashley Wood seems to be trying to get a bunch of my money this week, because here's another book from him that I'll want to buy. It seems like some sort of follow-up (prequel?) to Zombies vs. Robots (vs. whatever), with similarly-designed automatons engaging in a globe-spanning conflict. No, I didn't need a thesaurus for that. Only $12.99, so I might actually be able to afford it. We'll see.
Code Geass Lelouch Of The Revolution Vol 1 GN
On the manga side of things, Bandai has this tie-in to the anime series that I haven't seen, but am aware that it's currently showing on Adult Swim. Can anybody tell me if it's any good? Should I commit myself to the draining work of tuning in on a Saturday night (or rather, setting the DVR) and finding out? And is this manga worth a look? Will we ever know?
Gon Vol 5 TP New Printing
Tiny, angry dinosaurs are awesome. I keep saying I should buy these new editions, and one day I will actually do so.
Kasumi Vol 1 GN
Del Rey has this very shojo-seeming series about a high school girl who can turn invisible when she holds her breath, which somehow leads to romantic complications and whatnot. On one hand, it sounds kind of dumb, but on the other, it's exactly the sort of thing I enjoy every month in Shojo Beat, so who knows, it might be worth a look.
Kujibiki Unbalance Vol 1 GN
Also from Del Rey, this one seems more on the shonen side of the fence (the young girl upskirt on the cover is kind of a tip-off). It's about a boy with bad luck who goes to a school where everything is decided by chance and also has a student council that goes on missions to fight evil. Or something. I dunno, sounds like it could be enjoyable. Or stupid.
Red Colored Elegy HC
Did this already come out? It's the eagerly-anticipated new art-manga volume from Drawn & Quarterly by Seiichi Hayashi. Sure to be a contender for a lot of "best of the year" lists come January. I'll have to try to read it (he said, for the 25th time in this post).
And I think that's everything worth mentioning. I finally made it back from vacation, and I've got an ass-load of stuff to write about, so expect lots of content over the next week or two. Or a total burnout, and me curled in bed in a fetal position babbling about Wolverine or something. Good times. Later.