Monday, July 27, 2009

This week, content is overwhelming


San Diego news: Jeff Smith has more information about the new Bone books, including a sort of correction to the assumption that they would be comics. Nope, they (the "Quest for the Spark" trilogy, that is) will be novels, written by Tom Sniegoski will illustrations by Smith. Those suddenly got a bit less interesting, although I'll probably still want to read them. The Tall Tales volume will reprint Stupid, Stupid Rat Tails, now in color, along with a story that originally ran in Disney Adventures that has never been reprinted, and a couple new Big Johnson Bone stories. So, not as exciting as I originally thought, but still pretty cool.

The other big news out of San Diego seems to be Marvel's announcement that they've acquired the rights to Marvelman, which is a pretty big deal, since it's been caught up in legal entanglements for years (decades?) now. Of course, I don't know if this means that they'll be able to reprint the Alan Moore series (which, for anybody who doesn't know, was called Miracleman here in the U.S.), or just tell new stories with the character. I'm sure we'll be hearing lots more about this.

And here's some less-impactful news, but something I still found interesting. Vertigo announced a couple new graphic novels, and the one I'm most interested in is Revolver, by Matt Kindt. It's apparently about a guy bouncing back and forth between two realities. The other one is Dark Rain (not to be confused with Marvel's Dark Reign, ha ha), by Mat "Incognegro" Johnson and Simon "Paris" Gane. And check out that link to see Mike Allred's cover to I, Zombie, along with covers for Grant Morrison's upcoming Joe the Barbarian and a Fables miniseries (or is it a graphic novel? I dunno) called Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love. And hey, since we're talking Fables, you can read a one-page story that was apparently a free handout at a panel here, and also see the news that Bill Willingham and Jim Fern are going to be doing a graphic novel starring Bigby Wolf called Fables: Werewolves in the Heartland. Man, that franchise just keeps on expanding.

Wow, lots of stuff this week, but probably not all that much that I'll actually buy:

New comics this week (Wednesday, 7/29/09):

Complete Dracula #2

I haven't heard much about this adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel by Leah Moore and John Reppion, but I'm curious as to how it compares to Boom!'s adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. I bet Dynamite doesn't get pissy about it being called an adaptation, at least.

Dark Reign The Hood #3

Jeff Parker and Kyle Hotz keep attempting to do something interesting with this hood-wearing guy. Didn't all his powers get taken away in New Avengers? Why is he still around? I didn't read the second issue, so who knows what is actually going on here.

Dark Reign The Sinister Spider-Man #2

The first issue of this miniseries wasn't bad, but most all of the positives can be directed toward Chris Bachalo, who is as awesome as ever. Brian Reed does try to have fun with an unrepentant bad guy as the lead though. We'll see more about what I think tomorrow; I should have a review up at Comics Bulletin.

Detective Comics #855

More pretty Batwoman action from Dini Rucka (duh!) and Williams III. I'm still not all that interested in actually reading this, but any chance I get to look at the amazing artwork, I'll take it.

Fantastic Four #569

It's the big final issue of the Mark Millar/Bryan Hitch run on Marvel's flagship series, only without Millar and Hitch, oddly enough. Well, that's not entirely true; Millar plotted the issue, but Joe Ahearne is picking up the slack on the script, and Stuart Immonen is doing his best Hitch impression on the art. We've got double-sized action, the big finale to the Master of Doom story, and probably a disappointment that it all seems to be trying to hard to feel large-scale and important. Also, a wedding. Eh, now I'm ready to see what Jonathan Hickman is going to do when he takes over next next month.

Fearless Dawn #1

This first issue of Steve Mannion's new series seems interesting, at least judging by Caleb Mozzocco's description. I haven't read Mannion's previous book, The Bomb, but I certainly woudn't mind checking it out. Hot girls and monsters, that's kind of cool, right?

Garth Ennis Battlefields Tankies #3

Oh, man, I've been loving these war comics by Garth Ennis. I finally got around to reading Night Witches and Dear Billy, and now that this one is going to be finished, I'll read the issues all in one go and probably be blown away. This is good stuff, full of violence and awful heroism and acknowledgment of the psychological toll that war can take on people. Man, I love me some Ennis war comics.

Glamourpuss #8

Oh, Dave Sim, always with the narrow-focused interests. Does this title actually meet the Diamond minimums that seems to kill every other indie book these days? If so, crazy; I wouldn't think there would be enough Sim fans/old comics enthusiasts to keep it going. This issue apparently is about the romance strip The Heart of Juliet Jones, which might or might not have been written by Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell. And probably some of Sim's usual fashion-related misogyny, but that's par for the course.

History of the Wildstorm Universe

Ha ha ha, who would pay to read this? Oh, that's right, nobody, so DC is giving it away for free. Here you go, if you're really interested in the various Wolverine clones and hot chicks that Jim Lee and pals dreamed up. Sure, there might be a few others that Warren Ellis or Ed Brubaker or Adam Warren threw in at some point, but it's all pretty lame stuff that can be intermittently made interesting by a decent writer. Enjoy, nerds.

Ignition City #4

I've heard that this Warren Ellis series isn't all that good, but I can still hope that I heard wrong. Maybe I'll read it someday.

King Of Pop Michael Jackson The Comic Book #1

Already? Comics usually take some time to get produced, what with all the scripting and layouts and drawing and trying to make shit readable. For something like this to get rushed out to capitalize on the media frenzy since MJ's death means this will most likely be terrible, and haven't we all learned every detail anybody would want to know from the media frenzy of the last month or so? If you buy this, you're probably an asshole.

Muppet Show Treasure of Peg Leg Wilson #1

Hoo man, Roger Langridge don't quit! It's another four-issue miniseries, this time with a little bit more issue-to-issue continuity, but still staying nicely within the confines of the old TV show. I predict awesomeness and hilarity. Boom! is really on the rise as a company, and quality books like this one are the reason why. Go Animal!

New Avengers #55

As if one giant-sized issue of Stuart Immonen art wasn't enough for the week, here's a second comic that he drew. This marks his debut as the new regular artist on what might be Marvel's biggest book, and it's a welcome departure from the ugliness of Billy Tan. Of course, whether you want to read it depends on how much you like Brian Michael Bendis's tiresome dialogue and villain-centric antics, but at least there's something good about the book now.

Northlanders #19

Vikings! Fighting ladies! Danijel Zezelj! I gotta read this, so hopefully it will be collected before too long. It's the second and final issue of a story about Valkyries (or their inspiration, or something like that), and I bet it's a good read, as this series pretty much always is.

Rawbone #3

Jamie Delano! Pirates! Perversity! I hear that this series is hilarious in its over-the-topness; I'll have to look for it when it gets collected.

Secret Warriors #6

And so marks the end of the first arc on this series, and I believe the last one that Brian Bendis was involved with. After this, it's all Jonathan Hickman (writing, that is) all the time. Unfortunately, I haven't been too impressed with the title, but it hasn't been terrible or anything. I think it's pretty much just a big fight, with Nick Fury, his super-team, and a bunch of ex-SHIELD guys trying to steal a helicarrier or something. Fun is where you make it.

Stuff of Legend #1

This series from some company called Th3rd World Studios has to do with a bunch of toys fighting an evil boogeyman to save a little boy, which could be either overly cutesy or kind of cool. Judging by the art samples, I'm leaning toward the latter. It's certainly something I would check out if I saw it. Apparently there was a Free Comic Book Day issue that came out, and you can read it for free here. Looks neat.

Ultimatum #5

Oh my, here's the train wreck of the week. While I'm probably wrong about this, I can't believe anyone is seriously excited about or interested in the developments of this series; everything I've read of or about it is just awful beyond belief. Why would Marvel publish something like this, that gleefully dismembers (versions of) their beloved characters to no visible purpose? It's baffling. I'm curious to look inside, just to see what sort of nastiness Jeph Loeb came up with and passed off as a real comic book, but that's not a recommendation. Don't actually buy this, I implore you.

Ultimatum Spider-Man Requiem #2

Speaking of which, here's more of that boo-hoo sad stuff about Ultimate Spider-Man dying and people remembering how awesome he was. I think it might be Stuart Immonen's last work on the character? Plus, there's some Mark Bagley in here; it might be readable, but that doesn't mean I condone it.

Unknown Soldier #10

Vertigo, Africa, violence, real-world political commentary. When is the first collection of this series coming out? I want to read it.

Wednesday Comics #4

And more of the really nice-looking large-size visuals. I suppose I could try to review this each week, but I'll just say that I'm enjoying it, for the most part. Superman is still dumb though, Teen Titans is near-unreadable, Metal Men is kind of silly, Wonder Woman is interestingly ambitious but a bit confusing, and not much has happened for two weeks in Metamorpho. Everything else has been pretty good though, at least on an art level. I like the week-to-week storytelling in Batman, Hawkman has taken a cool turn, as has Demon/Catwoman, Supergirl continues to be fun, Strange Tales rocks your face off, Kamandi is gorgeous and involving, and even Green Lantern and Flash aren't bad. Is that everything? This week: more of the same, I'm guessing.

A Drifting Life TP New Printing

Oh man, I still haven't read this. I'll get to it soon, I hope, but I'm desperately trying to catch up with all the stuff on my to-read pile. Soon, man, soon (I'm probably lying).

Al Williamson's Flash Gordon A Lifelong Vision of the Heroic HC

This looks like a cool book, collecting all the "major" stuff that the great illustrator did on the character from the 60s all the way up through 1994. I bet it will be a gorgeous collection of artwork, and it might even be a good read too.

Beanworld Book 2 Gift Comes HC

More strange, flat adventures of weird little oblong creatures. I still don't really get this comic, but I haven't read enough of it to really do so, I think. I'll have to find volume one and try to dive in and see if I can get into the right frame of mind. I believe this volume collects all the previously-released material, in anticipation of the all-new volume 3 that comes out this fall.

Cell Block Z TP

I had not previously been aware of this, but apparently it's a semi-autobiographical comic from rapper Ghostface Killah? It seems pretty fictionalized, being about a boxer who gets framed for murder and thrown into prison, where he is experimented on like Luke Cage or something. Maybe it's the autobio of the Ghostface persona. Interesting?

Evil & Malice Save The World TP

This is a collection of a sort of kids' book from Bomb Queen creator Jimmie Robinson, originally published in 1998. Something about a supervillain's kids, well, saving the world. Maybe fun? I dunno, Robinson's claim to fame at the moment is a sex-and-nudity-filled supervillain book, so who knows if he can do kid-friendly. It might be all right.

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 The Authorized Adaptation

It's a good thing this is official; you don't want to cross Ray Bradbury. Just ask Michael Moore. Anyway, this book is one of the great ones, so here's your chance to check it out if you haven't read it, because doesn't everybody try to get either the movie or comic version of a classic book when they have to read it for school? Tim Hamilton is the artist doing the adaptation here, and it looks really nice; you can see some samples at the Amazon page for the book. I love that cover.

Festering Romance GN

This is a new graphic novel from Oni Press by Renee Lott, about a two young people forming a relationship and trying to get over the wounds of their past, hence the "festering" part of the title. That sounds interesting; I'm always glad to see comics about subjects that don't get used very often (at least not in the U.S. comics industry). There might be a supernatural element to this too, but who knows. I'd check it out, given the chance.

Fire And Brimstone Vol 1 TP

This is from Antarctic Press, who are usually ignorable purveyors of faux manga, but this one might be worth a look, since it's by Richard Moore, creator of Boneyard. He's got a nice style and can write some entertaining stories, so this comic about an angel and a demon teaming up to fight evil or something might be good. Maybe. Here's a preview.

Gauze TP

This appears to be a sort of horror comic from Arcana Studios, with three interweaving storylines involving a drug-addicted divorcee, one of those obsessed detectives, and a computer nerd all coming into contact with a serial killer. It's by Gerrin Tramis and Dave Hamann; here's an interview with what appear to be some unfinished art samples.

Ghost Rider Last Stand TPB

I keep hearing that Jason Aaron's run on this series has been tons of fun, with lots of exploitation cinema-style touches. I guess this would be as good a place to check it out as any, especially since Tan Eng Huat does the art, and it's supposed to be quite good. Maybe the library will have it?

Invincible Iron Man Vol 2 HC

Here's the beginning of the second arc on Matt Fraction's Iron Man run, in which Tony Stark decides to erase his brain while on the run from the bad guys. It's all right, I guess, although it seemed to go through some fairly boring bits before picking up in the last few issues, which won't be included here. I can't really recommend it, but it's a decent read, I suppose. As long as you can stomach Salvador Larocca's photoref-style artwork, that is.

Jersey Gods Vol 1 I'd Live and I'd Die For You

This comic seems to have gotten some acclaim, with a story about Jack Kirby-esque cosmic gods getting involved in the life of a girl who lives in New Jersey. I really need to check it out, and now here's the volume where I might try to do so. For anybody like me, who still hasn't read any of the series, you can read the full first issue here. They always try to hook you with the free taste.

Jesus Christ In The Name Of The Gun Vol 1 Hollow Cost TP

I don't think I was aware of this before, and it doesn't sound like the type of thing that would slip from my mind (unless my mind is going in my old age). It's about Jesus, who has been resurrected to fight Nazis in World War II, or something. Sounds fairly funny and sacreligious. Apparently, it's a webcomic, and this is the first collection, but you can read it online starting here. Enjoy, blasphemers!

Leo Pulp TP

IDW has this translation of an Italian series that seems to be a humorous riff on the noir stories of Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett. Cool. I can't find a whole lot of information about it online, but I'm always happy to see European stuff get translated. Hopefully this is one of the good ones.

Lobster Johnson Novel Book 1 Satan Factory

Not a comic, but a novel based in Mike Mignola's Hellboy-verse by Tom Sniegoski. It looks to have a WWII-era pulp feel, and the cover is pretty cool. I really should try to get caught up on all the Hellboy/BPRD stuff.

Marvel 1985 TPB

I didn't like this comic, but I seem to keep mentioning it every time a new version of it comes out. How silly of me. Anyway, it's Mark Millar writing about supervillains invading the "real world", and Tommy Lee Edwards doing a bang-up job on the art. Read it if you must.

MOME Vol 15 Spring 2009 TP

Another installment of the respected Fantagraphics anthology which I feel like I should be reading but never do. This one has T. Edward Bak, Gilbert Shelton, Dash Shaw, Andrice Arp, Sara Edward-Corbett, Robert Goodin, and Paul Hornschemeier, among others. I bet it's good. Here, have an excerpt/slideshow.

Northlanders TP Vol 2

I mentioned the new issue of this series above, but for those of us who read in collected format, here's the second volume, containing Brian Wood's latest collaboration with Ryan Kelly, which I'm very excited to see. "The Cross and the Hammer", faith and violence, awesome Viking shit. I'm all over this.

Sabre 30th Anniversary HC Signed & Numbered Edition

I was not aware of this book's existence; apparently it's a classic graphic novely by Don McGregor and Paul Gulacy, about some guy with a sword in an evil future. It was probably quite ambitious at the time, but who knows if it holds up today. This version is a fancy one, but there's also a simple hardcover version for $14.99, which seems like a lot for 48 pages, but whatever. I guess there's going to be a new GN continuing the series, so this probably gets everybody up to speed.

Scourge of the Gods Prem HC Vol 1

This is one of those French comics that Marvel is publishing, about some futuristic intergalactic Roman empire. I have no idea if it is any good. Anybody wanna weigh in? Or is there anybody who has actually read it? I was excited about the deal Marvel did with Soleil, but I'm wondering how long it's going to last, when I never hear anything about any of the books. I blame myself; I should make more money so I can buy all of these things.

Skin Deep GN

Fantagraphics has this new version of Charles Burns' graphic novel. It's one of his earlier, pre-Black Hole books, featuring some of his weird stories. I should read it; I have not experienced enough of Burns to satiate my hunger. You can see a couple preview pages here.

Skull & Bones TP

This was apparently a three-issue miniseries that DC published back in 1991; it's being collected in one volume now by Moonstone. From what I can tell, it's about espionage, computer hackers, and biological weapons in 90s Russia. Maybe decent?

Surrogates Vol 2 Flesh And Bone TP

I still haven't read the first volume of this futuristic series from Top Shelf, even though I've been meaning to for a couple years now. And now it's getting made into a movie, and a sequel is out, and I'm behind on everything else, so who knows if I'll ever read it. Hopefully, it will come into my possession at some point, and I won't be disappointed.

Suspended In Language Niels Bohrs Life GN New Printing

Jim Ottaviani seems to really be pumping out these science comics lately; I really ought to check some of them out. This one is about the father of quantum mechanics. I like science, reading about it makes me feel smart, except when I don't understand it and feel dumb. I hope this does the former.

Tasty Bullet GN

I don't know if this is a collection of some previously-published comic, but Image has this book by Jonathan Vankin and Arnold Pander, and it looks sufficiently crazy, about an advertisement come to life in a future world who fights against the evil energy drink company that created her. Weird.

War Stories A Graphic History TP

This is one of those classy reprint-type books, full of classic war comics that span several eras. Good, informative reading, hopefully.

Werewolf by Night TP Blood in the Moon

I never read the recent Marvel MAX series; was it any good? They've done a couple things like this recently, doing a more "adult" (that is, violent, maybe with some swears) take on some of their old horror properties. Duane Swierczynski and Mico Suayan did this one; if anybody has read it, give me a verdict.

Will Eisners Life on Another Planet TP WW Norton Edition

And another Eisner book in a nice package. I haven't read this one, but I would sure like to.

Black Bird Vol 1 TP

Manga! Lots this week, starting with the first volume of this shojo series from Viz about a girl pursued by demons. I talked about the first chapter when it was previewed in Shojo Beat a few months ago, and it seemed interesting. I wouldn't mind giving it a try.

Cirque Du Freak Vol 2 GN

It's the second (manga) volume of Darren Shan's multimedia thing about vampires at a circus. I heard the first one was decent; I could see myself giving this series a look, given the chance.

Crimson Hero Vol 11 TP

Volleyball! I liked this series in Shojo Beat, although probably not quite enough to seek it out now that the magazine has ended. Does this volume have the whole "attempted rape" subplot?

Hayao Miyazaki Starting Point 1979-1996 TP

Viz is putting out several of these books focusing on Miyazaki's career, and I bet they're quite nice-looking. I do love Miyazaki's films, and this is probably a nice resource, full of pictures, sketches, essays, and interviews. Yeah, I could read it.

Kimi Ni Todoke -From Me To You- Vol 1 GN

This is another one that was previewed in Shojo Beat, and I liked it well enough. It's about a girl who is unpopular due to her resemblance to a ghost in a The Ring-style Japanese horror movie. But she meets a nice boy and falls in love, as is the way things work in shojo manga. I bet it's a cute, nice read. Awwww.

Magic Touch Vol 3 TP

Oddly, this series about massage seems to have met a fairly cold critical reception, or so it seems from the reviews I've read online. I liked the first chapter when it ran in SB, but maybe the rest of the series doesn't live up to its promise. Oh well.

Otomen Vol 3 TP

On the other hand, this series (which was also excerpted in that same issue) about a girly-boy seems to be doing well, at least in terms of online reviewage. I liked it too; it goes to show that you never know what's going to turn out well.

Pluto Urasawa x Tezuka Vol 4 TP

Oh man, I'm getting behind on this series already. I've only read the first volume, so I've got three more to go, and I should do it sooner rather than later. Gritty Astro Boy FTW!

Slam Dunk Vol 5 GN Viz Edition

And here's another one on which I've fallen behind, dammit. I love this series; Takehiko Inoue is just amazing. Read it.

Tena On S-String Vol 1 GN

One of the only non-Viz manga that I found notable this week, this one appears to be about a boy who can see invisible musical strings connecting everyone, and also a Gothic Lolita girl who recruits him to do something or other. Sounds weird, but, hey, I like weirdness. I hope this isn't the skeevy kind.

Vampire Knight Vol 7 TP

More Shojo Beat manga! I don't know if I'll bother trying to follow this one too closely now that the magazine has ended, but it is kind of a guilty pleasure, so I could see myself checking out a volume or two somewhere down the road. This one is still catching up on stuff that I've already read though; I don't know if it will get to the big game-changing reveal, or if they're saving that for next volume. Be prepared to freak out, fangirls.

WaqWaq Vol 1 TP

And finally, here's a strange shonen series about robots hunting humans in a post-apocalyptic future. I read the first chapter in last month's Shonen Jump, and it was interesting enough to at least pay attention to. I might go on and read this volume as well, since Viz did send me a review copy. Weird and wild stuff, man. Manga!
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Is that everything. Wow, lots of stuff. I've turned back into a weekly regular at the comic shop; looks like I'll be there once again. It's a good thing I love comics.