Monday, October 12, 2009

This week, I feel like I'll never get caught up

It's like the comics keep piling up, with only small dents occasionally being made. Man, if only I could just read and write, instead of work, chores, TV, movies, family interaction, eating, sleeping, etc. Yes, that would certainly make for a lovely existence. Anyway:

New comics this week (Wednesday, 10/14/09):

Anchor #1

This new series from Boom! Studios looks cool; it's written by Phil Hester, with art by Brian Churilla, and it's about "God's leg-breaker", a super-strong, demon-fighting holy warrior who single-handedly stops Hell's attempts at invading Earth. That's a cool concept, and judging by the available previews, it should be pretty awesome. Check it out, says I.

DMZ #46

It's probably obvious that I think this is a really good series, considering the praise I lavish on each new collection that comes out, but I do think it's fascinating and thought-provoking, and I hope people are still reading it. So here's another issue that they can check out, although I'll continue to kill comics by waiting for the trade.

Fables #89

And here's another example of trade-waiting, on a series that I like but don't read nearly enough of. I think the current storyline is about the various witches, but I try to avoid details, so I can go into each volume fresh. That means this one will probably take a while to get to me, dammit.

Godland #29

And so will this, since Joe Casey and Tom Scioli's series comes out kind of irregularly these days. I sure do like it when I can get it though. I think it's scheduled to end with #36, so that probably means the current storyline is nearly over. Maybe I'll get to read it soon after all!

Hector Plasm Totentatz One Shot

I haven't read any of the adventures of this character, outside of maybe a short story or two in various anthologies, but I like the idea, of a ghost hunter and his adventures, and the art was quite nice in the ones I did see. So here's a single-issue Halloween story, written by Benito Cereno with art by Nate Bellegarde; I hope it doesn't disappoint.

Hellboy The Wild Hunt #7

The latest Mignola/Fegredo miniseries is getting closer to ending, so I'll be able to catch up when it's collected. I hope it's good, but I imagine it will at least be gorgeous to look at.

House of Mystery Halloween Annual #1

I'm not so sure about this series anymore, but this special is notable for sort of crossing over with other Vertigo titles, including Hellblazer, Madame Xanadu, and the upcoming I, Zombie, or at least containing stories featuring those characters with a sort of framing sequence by the regular series creative team. There's also a Merv Pumpkinhead story by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, and Kevin Knowlan, so that's also something to look out for, I guess. Vertigo doesn't really have as much of a cohesive "universe" as they used to, so it's interesting to see something that sort of gestures in that direction, however effective it ends up being.

Liberty Comics A CBLDF Benefit Book #2

It's another one of those fundraiser books, which are almost always notable due to high-profile creators contributing exclusive stories. That means something by Neil Gaiman and Jim Lee, a Painkiller Jane story by Jimmy Palmiotti and Jim Rugg(!), a Mr. Gum story by Mike Allred and Jamie Rich, The Apocalipstix by Ray Fawkes and Cameron Stewart, Channel Zero by Brian Wood, a preview of Ben McCool and Ben Templesmith's Choker, Martha Washington by Dave Gibbons, and "exclusive material" (which probably means pin-ups) by Paul Pope, Gail Simone and Joelle Jones, Kathryn and Stuart Immonen, Chynna Clugston, Paul Grist, and Jason Aaron and Moritat. That's a lot of worthwhile talent, and even if it's kind of lightweight, it's for a good cause. I'll buy one.

Life Undead

IDW has this one-shot/single-issue-story/album about a cop who has been turned into a voodoo-style zombie and is out for revenge. It's by Lost writer Paul Zbyszkewski and artist Stephen Thompson. 48 pages for $7.99. Maybe worth a look?

Nomad Girl Without a World #2

The first issue of this miniseries written by Sean McKeever seemed to be a return to his Marvel style of storytelling, with some action and intrigue and also high school conflict. Not bad, but we'll have to see how it goes. David Baldeon's art isn't bad either. I should have a review up at Comics Bulletin tomorrow, so watch out for more intensive analysis.

Punisher #75

I think this is the final issue of the current incarnation of the MAX Punisher series that Garth Ennis made famous, with the title being relaunched next month as PunisherMAX (a pretty stupid title if you ask me, but obviously nobody did), with a new creative team of Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon. But for the swan song of this post-Ennis version that has been limping along in his shadow, we've got a bunch of short stories by pretty good creators, including Peter Milligan and Tomm Coker. Wait, that's only one story that's probably good, and you never know with Milligan. The others are all by the various post-Ennis writers, which, from what I understand, have not been very good. All right, shove them all into one issue for a last bit of crappiness! Maybe Aaron and Dillon will do something interesting next month, and maybe not. Ah, the Punisher: trudging along for 30 years or so and remaining inexplicably popular. Or not, really; people like murder.

Absolute Death HC

Another week, another hugely expensive book that takes previously published material and prints it at a bit larger of a size, then asks for tons of money. Really, $100 is a lot to ask for six issues' worth of material (plus a couple issues of Sandman, and a few other short stories), isn't it? Am I that cheap that spending that much seems crazy to me? I mean, I wouldn't think it was a good deal even if you cut the price in half. I guess high-end items are always going to be around, but they'll still bother me.

Act-I-Vate Primer HC

Ah, here's the release of the week, if you ask me. It's an anthology of material from the various creators who publish webcomics on the Act-I-Vate site, but these are all-new. That means work from Dean Haspiel, Michel Fiffe, Mike Dawson, Joe Infurnari, Roger Langridge, Nick Bertozzi, Molly Crabapple, Mike Cavallaro, and plenty of others. That's a great lineup; I can't wait to dive in and see what they've got. Here's a preview.

Air Vol. 2 Flying Machine TP

I think this Vertigo series was supposed to get better around this point, or at least toward the end of the first collection. How did that work out, anyway? I wouldn't mind giving them a read, just to see what happens.

Blood and Water TP

Here's another Vertigo series, probably getting a new collection because it's about vampires, and, in the words of Will Ferrell, those are really hot right now. I dunno, I've never read it, but it's by Judd Winick (back before he dove into the depths of the crap pool, so it might not be terrible) and Tomm Coker. Maybe not awful? There's a recommendation for you.

EC Archives Frontline Combat HC Vol. 1

This is apparently the week where I complain about overpriced books (wait, that's every week); I would love to read these collections of EC comics, but they're so goddamn expensive at $50 for six issues' worth of material. Probably some great stuff herein though, with stories that are reputed to be some great anti-war tales and contributors like Harvey Kurtzman, Wally Wood, Will Elder, John Severin, and Jack Davis. To the library!

Epic Chronicles of Hagar The Horrible HC

Did Hagar ever have any "epic" stories? I've only read strips from the past couple decades, but they all seem to be him drinking at the tavern and getting bitched at by his wife (ha ha, just like modern man! Nothing ever changes, get it?). Maybe it was different in the beginning, but probably not too much. Here's the chance to find out though; this volume collects the first two years of the strip, from 1973 to 1974. Enjoy, Viking-lovers.

Garth Ennis 303 TP New Printing

If you haven't read this Garth Ennis/Jacen Burrows miniseries from a few years ago, here's your chance. It's good stuff, following a hard-edged Russian soldier from Afghanistan to Texas to Washington, D.C., where he completes some deadly business in a story that garnered a surprising lack of controversy, considering that it came out during the height of the Bush years. I liked it, but I'm a whore for Ennis. Read it anyway though, says I.

Groom Lake TP

I read some of this series by Chris Ryall and Ben Templesmith, and it was pretty entertaining, if not among either creator's best work. Aliens, robots, government conspiracies, that sort of hilarity. If that's your thing, and you like Templesmith's always-fun artwork, check it out.

Hatter M The Looking Glass Wars Vol 2 Mad With Wonder

Speaking of Templesmith, I never did read the first volume of this series, which he illustrated, adapting (or maybe just tying into?) a series of novels that offer a weird riff on Alice in Wonderland. It seemed interesting enough though, so I might still check it out. And here's the second, Templesmith-free volume, continuing the story of Hatter Madigan, bodyguard to Queen Alyss, and his adventures in the "real" world. As with so much else, I might get to it someday.

Heavy Liquid TP New Printing

Wait, another new version of this Paul Pope comic? Didn't it just come out a year or two ago? Maybe that was a hardcover, and this is the paperback. Whatever the case, it's pretty awesome, so give it a read if you haven't before. $25 might be a bit steep, but Pope is worth it.

Mome GN Vol. 16 Summer 09

Dude, this is late; it's not summer anymore. Not around here anyway; the temperature was 30 fucking degrees this morning (Note: I think this is a typo; it's actually the fall issue. I refuse to pass up the chance to bitch about the weather though). This installment of Fantagraphics' house anthology would probably warm me up if I read it though, even though I haven't been following the series at all. This "issue" features a lot of the usual suspects, like Dash Shaw, Renee French, Laura Park, and Lilli Carre, but there's also a Cold Heat story by Frank Santoro, and stories by Ted Stearn and T. Edward Bak. Good stuff, I imagine. I should try to read some of these, yes I should. Here, have a preview.

Odysseus The Rebel GN

It's the latest print volume from Big Head Press, who has also done online comics like La Muse. This one is by Steven Grant and Scott Bieser, and it's apparently the umpteenth retelling of The Odyssey. The classics never get old, do they? Oh wait, they do; that's what "classic" means, sort of. Still, it might be all right; if you're cheap like me, you can read the story online starting here.

Poem Strip TP

Well, this is interesting; it's a graphic novel of sorts from 1969, well before anybody was using the term. It's by Italian artist Dino Buzzati, and it's all about a guy traveling through bizarre dimensions trying to find his missing girlfriend, or something like that. This blog has a bunch of sample images, and it's striking stuff, reminding me of Tom Gauld in places, but seeming really unique and strange. I'll have to check it out; to the library!

Runaways Teenage Wasteland TP

It seems like I have to mention each new reprint volume of this series that comes out (which seems pretty frequent lately), but the standard line applies: It's good, read it if you haven't before, yada yada yada. This is the second storyline from the first volume, in case you were wondering. Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona, Takeshi Miyazawa, read it.

Ultimate Wolverine VS Hulk PREM HC

This took its sweet time getting collected, didn't it? Ha ha, that was a joke, because the series was notoriously late. But it seems like Marvel collects things nearly immediately these days, and this series (finally) ended a couple months ago. Whatever; it's probably not worth reading anyway, unless you really need to find out what happened after Hulk tore Wolverine in half in that image that everybody must have seen by now. And actually, it probably doesn't read all that well in collected form; I recall the first issue after the years-long delay being mostly a recap of what had come before. That's not the kind of thing you want in the middle of a book. But overall, it's decently enjoyable, with lots of violence and mayhem and the creation of Ultimate She-Hulk and Huly sexiness and fairly boring moral quandaries. Enjoy, fanboys.

Weird Fishes GN

Slave Labor is publishing this webcomic collection by Jamaica Dyer, about kids with overactive imaginations who grow up into mentally-disturbed teenagers. That's what it sounds like, at least; Dyer's cartooning has a nice look to it, and there seems to be some playful humor to the concept. It could be quite good. As with most all of these types of books, you can read the strip online for free if you're cheap. Enjoy, fellow frugals.

Wicked City Novel Vol 1 Black Guard TP

Unless I'm mistaken, this is a translation of the novel upon which the notoriously freaky anime movie was based. You know, the one with the demon lady whose vagina turns into a toothed maw and kills a guy, or something like that; I haven't actually seen it. This version has illustrations by Jennyson Rosero, who has done some OEL manga with Seven Seas like No Man's Land. So if you want to read the original story with some Americanized pictures, here you go.

You Are There HC

Fantagraphics' other big release of the week is this second entry in their line of Jacques Tardi translations, a satirical story about a landowner on a small island losing everything and being forced to eke out a living by collecting tolls. Weird. I think it gets into some crazy, fantastical, metafictional stuff at some point, but I'm not sure. I do know that I want to read it though, along with all the other Tardi stuff that Fanta is releasing. Here's the usual preview/slideshow; enjoy, Eurotrashies.

Zombie Survival Guide Recorded Attacks GN

Max Brooks might have been influential in stoking the flames of the zombie craze with his books, but he almost seems like a latecomer to the trend with this graphic novel that tells stories about attacks of the undead from throughout history. It might still be decent enough, but the trend certainly seems to be dying out, finally. Or maybe that's just wishful thinking; I think Marvel is doing their usual month of zombie covers, and DC has their zombie lantern event going, so it's not over yet. I've been tired of them for a while now, at least in comics. Maybe the rest of the world will catch up to me soon enough.

Akira Vol. 1 Kodansha Edition
Ghost In The Shell Vol 1 GN Kodansha Edition

Finally, it's the first of the books released by Japanese publisher Kodansha in English. Of course, it's nothing new, being popular licenses reclaimed from Dark Horse. They've finally made their move though, so it's only a matter of time before we see some new material being released in English, right? I'm hoping for some salaryman manga, and there's probably plenty of other untranslated gems that we can lust after. We'll see what happens, oh yes, we'll be watching. Until we get distracted by the latest volume of Pluto or something...

Destinys Hand Ultimate Pirate Collection TP
Hollow Fields Complete Collection TP

I mentioned Seven Seas above, and here they are with some comprehensive collections of a couple of their OEL series. I haven't read either one of these, but they sound like they could be all right, with the former being about pirates (always a potentially enjoyable subject) and the latter about a girl attending a boarding school for mad scientists. Has anybody read either one? Should I bother giving them the mental energy of consideration?

Gantz TP Vol. 7

Finally, it's the latest volume of action and violence in this series. I should really try to catch up. Someday, someday, someday.

And that appears to be everything. I will hopefully have some writing of some sort on this here blog, so stay tuned, to use the obsolete parlance.