Monday, October 26, 2009

This week: Grooooooo!

Link: Sean T. Collins posted the Sparknotes video for 1984, which is a summary of the novel, with illustrations by Matt Weigel. Good stuff, although I'm fine just looking at the pictures (which Sean also provides links to, if that's what you prefer).

New comics this week (Wednesday, 10/28/09):

Abe Sapien One Shot (One-Shot Wonders)

Looks like Dark Horse is promoting single-issue sales, with stuff like last week's Sugarshock and this Abe Sapien pamphlet. I don't know if it's new material or something reprinted from somewhere, but hey, it's Hellboy-verse stuff, which is almost always good.

Batman the Killing Joke #1 new printing

Keep trying to milk the cow, DC. Who knows how many versions of this they've put out over the years, so here's another one, although it looks like it's replicating the original format and contains the original, garish colors rather than the new, muted recoloring that Brian Bolland did for that recent reprint. Wait, I see that this version was created to go with an action figure set. Yes, enjoy this tale of rape, murder, and disfigurement, kiddies!

Boys #1 Dynamite Edition

Dynamite is apparently jealous that they didn't get to publish this series from the start, so they're putting out their own reprint of the first issue. Didn't they already get their own version of the first trade? Why bother? Comics are sure weird, aren't they? Maybe this is supposed to be a preview issue, since it only costs a dollar, hoping that people might pick it up and try the whole series. Well, I guess that's not too terrible an idea; if you like Garth Ennis and his angry, condescending attitude toward superheroes, and you haven't already read this series for some reason, check it out.

Casper & The Spectrals #1

Whoa, how did I miss hearing about this? It's a relaunch of Casper the Friendly Ghost, with him and his pals Wendy the Witch and Hot Stuff the little devil teaming up to fight some otherworldly menace or something. That's crazy, and I have no idea why people haven't been talking about it. Or maybe I'm just not as up on comics current events as I thought I was. Anyway, it's by Todd Dezago and Pedro Delgado; here's a preview, in which we see some pretty wild redesigns of the non-Casper characters. Whoa.

Cowboy Ninja Viking #1

This came out last week, at least at my store, but it's still worth mentioning, I think, being another creator-owned series from Image in the oversized format of King City and Viking. It's by A.J. Lieberman and Riley Rossmo, and it's about a secret agent/assassin with multiple personalities (guess what they are). I've read that first issue, and I'll write more about it sometime, but it's not bad, fast-paced and full of ideas and witty dialogue. Give it a look, says I.

Fantastic Four #572

Jonathan Hickman is still doing his FF thing, with an army of Reeds solving the multiverse's woes and getting attacked by Celestials. More to come here, I expect. I should have a review up at Comics Bulletin tomorrow, so watch for that, if you care what I think.


Here's another release from Radical, in their double-sized, five dollar pamphlet format, with the typical computery artwork and subject matter involving vampires and zombies. It's written by David Hine, with art by Roy Martinez, and it involves an agency that fights those monsters, who have been appearing throughout history. Not bad if that sort of thing floats your boat, I suppose.

Groo Hogs of Horder #1

Ah, here's my big exciting release of the week, since I'm an acknowledged Groo fanboy. It's always awesome to see new Evanier/Aragones show up on the stands, so I'm all over this thing. I guess he fights some monstrous pigs, and we'll see if there's any satirical intent or if it's just mindless chaos and funny jokes. Either way, I'm as excited as ever to read it. Mulch!

Hunters Fortune #1

It's another new series from Boom!, about a guy who inherits a fortune, but has to follow in the steps of his treasure-hunting uncle in order to claim it. Sounds like it could be a source of fun globetrotting Indiana Jones-style adventures. It's written by Andrew Cosby and Caleb Monroe, with art by Matt Cossin. Hope it's good, although I don't really have any emotional investment in its success or anything.

Ignition City #5

The finale of one of Warren Ellis' many Avatar miniseries; I don't know if this one went over too well, but I'll probably try to pick it up at some point, for I cannot resist the lure of Ellis. This one has spaceships and rayguns, I think.

Jack of Fables #39

I always note a new issue of this series, but I won't be reading it for a while yet. I still need to get to the most recent collection, and follow that with the upcoming Great Fables Crossover. Don't let me down, Jack.

Jennifer Love Hewitts Music Box #1

Oh, man, the jokes write themselves, at least for dirty-minded individuals.

Marvel Divas #4

It's the big finale of the chick-bait superheroine story, which probably isn't as bad as I've made it sound, but still kind of annoys me with its attempts at pandering. Will Firestar die from cancer, or just mope about losing her hair? Will Black Cat make up with her boyfriend? Will Captain Marvel hook up with Doctor Brother Voodoo? Will Hellcat autograph some more books? Will anything superheroic happen at all, or will there just be lots of talking, crying, and hugging? Will any women read this at all? I think we know the answer to that last one.

Marvel Holiday Spectacular

Whoa, Marvel, hold your horses! You're too early; it's not even Halloween yet! At least department stores have the decency to wait until November 1 to put up their decorations; is it that hard for you to do likewise? It's not like this is a slow week where you need to fill out the release list or anything; there are something like 30 other Marvel pamphlets coming out. And people wonder why the Direct Market is having issues.

Northlanders #21

Brian Wood Vikings, aw yeah. This issue starts a new storyline with art by Leandro Fernandez, taking place in 11th century Russia, and it's supposedly the most brutal story to date, which is saying something. Pretty cool; I'll read it eventually.

Spartacus Blood And Sand #1

Hey, gladiator comics. This one is from Devil's Due, and I don't know if it has anything to do with the movie; the description says it's about a Greek warrior named Arkadios forced into Roman slavery. Maybe the series is just a gladiator anthology taking the name of a famous combatant? Eh, it could be good, with lots of bloody fun. Or not, who knows.

Tom Corbett Space Cadet #1

I rarely pay attention to releases from Bluewater, since I am biased toward the more respectable (and non Obama-whoring) publishers, but this could be an interesting release, reviving a multimedia sci-fi property from the 50s that was based on a Robert A. Heinlein kids' novel. Hey, why not; retro-future stuff can be cool. Here's a preview.

Ultimate Comics Armor Wars #2

More Warren Ellis, with the science and the action and the tough-guy dialogue and the hey hey. I liked the first issue, so hopefully it will stay good.

Ultimate Comics Avengers #3

I've also enjoyed this relaunch by Mark Millar and Carlos Pacheco, so hopefully it will also continue to thrill with big action and whatever the hell Millar thinks is entertaining. This franchise is often where Millar does his best work, so let's pray he doesn't disappoint.

Wolverine Art Appreciation #1

Oh lord, does anybody need this? Sure, the various variant covers that Marvel recently did in which artists did versions of paintings and artistic works throughout the years that included Wolverine were often cute and nice-looking, but it wasn't exactly an event that cried out for collection for posterity. In this economy, a luxury like this is nothing less than an assault on the values we hold dear. Where will it end? Oh right, cannibalistic apocalypse, like always.

Wolverine Weapon X #6

This issue starts the new arc on Jason Aaron's Wolverine series, in which artist Yanick Paquette illustrates the hairy clawed one as an amnesiac inmate of a mental institution that's run by a mad scientist or something. Hey, why not, could be fun.

Unknown Soldier #13

This is one of the best series Vertigo has running right now, doing a great job of shining a spotlight on a place where forgotten atrocities are happening every day. And interestingly, for this story arc, writer Joshua Dysart wanted to get a fill-in artist who is actually from the region where the story takes place. That's a great idea, and Vertigo's blog has more information about said artist (Pat Masioni), along with samples of his art. Looks good; I can't wait to read it.

Batman Monsters TP

Why this is being reprinted is unknown to me, but it's a collection of stories from Legends of the Dark Knight by James Robinson, Warren Ellis, and Alan Grant, with art by John Watkiss, John McCrea, and Quique Alcatena. Maybe it's decent stuff, maybe not, but I figure it's notable, I guess. Enjoy, Bat-addicts.

Bob Dylan Revisited Illustrated

Not really a comic, I don't think, this book collects artwork interpreting various Dylan songs by
a bunch of famous international artists, including Dave McKean, François Avril, and Lorenzo Mattoti. Probably very nice-looking; maybe I'll get it for my wife for Christmas (it's okay, she doesn't read any of this).

BPRD TP Vol 11 Black Goddess

Your latest collection of Mignola/Dysart/Davis stories, which I will read someday, dammit.

Charles Darwins On The Origin Of Species A Graphic Adaptation HC

The highbrow comics stuff is coming out of the woodwork lately; here's a version of Darwin's famous text with lots of pictures in panels. I don't know how effective it is, but it should be interesting to look at, at least. I did get a review copy, so hopefully I'll be able to write about it sometime soon. We'll see how it goes.

Classics Illustrated Vol 6 The Scarlet Letter HC

And speaking of literary comics, I believe this is a reprint of one of them adaptations, notable for being drawn by Jill Thompson. I do love her work, so maybe I'll check it out sometime, even if I kind of hate the book (reading and tediously discussing it in high school English can have that effect).

Dead Speed GN

PCB Productions, a "digital content creation company", has this new graphic novel out, by Keith Arem and Christopher Shy. It's about a post-viral-apocalypse world (Chicago!), where guys called Rippers have to drive fast vehicles through the wasteland to retrieve organs for transplantation, and they discover a girl who might hold the cure. Could make for some nice action and visuals, I suppose. Interestingly, it "stars" actors Michael Ironside and Yuri Lowenthal, meaning that characters were based on their likenesses, I guess.

Fat Freddys Cat Omnibus TP

I guess this is a spinoff of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, which I've never read, but I often hear is very funny. It's also by Gilbert Shelton, and is probably a good time, even if you probably can't get a contact high from touching the pages.

Fixer And Other Stories TP

Drawn and Quarterly has this collection of journalistic comics by Joe Sacco. In addition to the title story, it also includes the book War's End, which itself contains the stories "Soba" and "Christmas with Karadzic". The unifying theme is Bosnia, and the war where all these took place. I read The Fixer several years ago (it might be the only full-length Sacco work I've read, which is a travesty), but I don't remember much about it, so this might be a good opportunity to revisit it.

Freakangels Vol. 3

More Warren Ellis? He's got new stuff showing up every week, doesn't he? This is the third collection of his ongoing webcomic illustrated by Paul Duffield. I should really start reading it and get caught up.

Infex GN With Metal Cover

Here's another release from PCB Productions, by Keith Arem and...others? It's hard to tell, judging by the confusing website, which is full of annoying Flash navigation and an attempt at a high-tech interface that doesn't actually tell you much about the book itself. You can find some previews and a trailer if you hunt for them though, and apparently it's about some girl whose chemotherapy treatment turned her into a "living weapon", and she has to escape from the facility of evil scientists who did it to her. Sounds like a video game, which is another area where PCB works, so that makes sense. Worth reading? I dunno, but I guess it's at least worth mentioning.

Invincible Iron Man TP Vol 02 Worlds Most Wanted

This is the paperback collection of the first half of the recently-ended story arc by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca, and it's not bad, although I remember it starting kind of slowly. It does pick up and become pretty great though, so I'll give it a recommendation. I wish Fraction would return to Casanova and that sort of indie work, but if he has to keep slaving away at Marvel, he could certainly do worse.

Kabuki TP Alchemy

This collects all nine issues of the current volume David Mack's series about the mental landscape of a reformed assassin, or something like that. I've tried to read some of it, and while it's full of gorgeous artwork, I can only take so much of the writing, which is full of goofy poetry-style ramblings and internal emotional examination. Not that it's bad, but it just doesn't float my boat. Still, pretty. If that works for you, then by all means, get it.

Key Moments from the History of Comics SC

This would be the Beguiling-published translation of François Ayroles' book showing pivotal scenes in the lives of history's greatest comics creators, although it's being distributed by Drawn and Quarterly, apparently. I'll have to try to get this thing, because it looks great; here are some sample images.

Map Of My Heart TP

I should try to read some John Porcellino comics sometime, since he's never really grabbed me as somebody whose work I enjoy all that much, but everyone seems to love the guy. One of these days, I'll check out some of his stuff, like maybe this new volume of his collected autobiographical minicomics. Someday.

MMW Atlas Era Menace HC

This collection of the Marvel/Atlas series from the early 50s seems to be in the vein of the horror comics of EC and the like; maybe it's worth reading? I think most of the stories were written by Stan Lee, with art by a bunch of greats, like Bill Everett, John Romita, Gene Colan, Russ Heath, Joe Sinnott, and George Tuska. Sure, it's a pricey "Masterworks" volume, but it's probably a good one.

Pinocchio Vampire Slayer GN

This one is from Slave Labor Graphics, and I guess maybe it's a semi-natural premise, since Pinocchio was made of wood and all. It might be an enjoyably goofy book, as long as it doesn't take itself too seriously. You can never tell with these gothy SLG comics.

Rockpool Files GN

Is that title supposed to be a James Garner pun? This sure seems like a bizarre book, about an intergalactic detective/lawyer named Crusht Acean, who has a clamshell for a head. Cute? Dumb? Who knows, besides those who want to spend the time reading it.

Sandman the Dream Hunters HC

Vertigo collects the recent miniseries which saw P. Craig Russell adapt Neil Gaiman's story (which was originally published as prose illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano). I'll probably try to read it sometime, since I love Russell's art, but I do think the whole thing is pretty unnecessary. Still, I bet it's pretty.

Spider-Man Newspaper Strips HC

Whoa, neat. This is a complete collection of the Spider-Man newspaper comic strip by Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr., which ran back in the 70s. It's surely not as good as the original comics, but still, it's probably neat to read the stories in a slightly different format. Expensive ($40)? Yeah, but that's kind of to be expected, I guess.

Tank Girl Remastered ED TP Vol 4

This probably wouldn't be the place to start reading Tank Girl, but I'll try to get to it someday. It collects Tank Girl: The Odyssey, by Peter Milligan and Jamie Hewlett, and I'm sure it's full of raucous nuttiness and violence. Someday, someday.

Transmetropolitan Tp Vol 04 The New Scum New Printing

And here's another one that I need to catch up on. I thought Vertigo was repackaging their latest reprints of this series, collecting multiple previous volumes into new collections, but maybe I was wrong about that. Whatever; I'll read it at some point.

Two-Fisted Science TP New Printing

A new version of the educational comic from Jim Ottaviani and GT Labs, featuring comics about scientists like Einstein, Galileo, Heisenberg, and Bohr, and featuring work from a bunch of good artists, such as Paul Chadwick, Gene Colan, Guy Davis, Colleen Doran, David Lasky, Steve Lieber, and Bernie Mireault. Yeah, I'd like to read this at some point.

Vatican Hustle TP

NBM is publishing this crazy-looking blaxploitation riff from artist Greg Houston, featuring a hero named Boss Karate Black Guy Jones, who searches for the missing daughter of a mob boss everywhere between Baltimore and Rome. The art I've seen looks incredible, and it's sure to be full of wackiness and violence; yeah, this one is going on my "obtain this!" list right away. Here's a preview.

Wolverine HC Old Man Logan

And one last bit of superhero nonsense for the week, a fancy, expensive collection of the recently-finished Mark Millar/Steve McNiven storyline that had its moments, but ultimately wasn't very good. Definitely not worth $35; if you must own it, wait for the softcover. But you really don't need to own it.

Aria Vol 5 GN Tokyopop Edition

This is one of those manga series that I really need to get to at some point. I hear it's full of beautiful imagery and nice character moments. Someday, someday.

Queen Of Ragtonia GN

I don't know if this has been published before, or if it's a new release, but it's by Chika Shiomi (Yurara, Rasetsu), who seems to be popular in manga circles. I guess it's about an exiled princess or something? Maybe it's worth a look.

Red Snow HC

This is Drawn and Quarterly's latest gekiga (manga for adults, basically) translation, by Susumu Katsumata, about country life in pre-modern Japan. It's probably pretty good; while I haven't loved all of these artsy mangas, they're at least worthwhile for historical context and a look at the more artistic genres of manga that lie outside of the popular work that's usually translated. Yes, this is one to check out.

Everything? Probably. More reviews and content coming? I hope so. Stay tuned? Yes, you should.