Monday, May 12, 2008

This week is not as expensive

Still no scanner, dammit. Maybe I can do more word-type posts. We'll see. In the meantime:

New comics this week (Wednesday, 5/14/08):

Batman #676

Although I've stopped reading Grant Morrison's run on this title, I'm still intrigued by what he's doing, and this issue kicks off the "Batman R.I.P." storyline that's been teased for a while now (most prominently in the recent DC Universe trailer-fest). So while I don't plan to buy it or anything, I'm still kind of interested, so I'm half-assedly keeping track of what's going on, and maybe I'll read it someday by getting it from the library or something. How's that for an endorsement?

Casanova #14

I'm all over this book though. God, I love Casanova; it might be my favorite ongoing series. This issue is the big finale to the second story arc, with the promise lots of explosions and such. And maybe some revelations about what the hell has been going on with the title character, who we haven't seen since issue #8. But even if it makes little sense, it should be a great read, with fun plotting and dialogue, and some beautiful art by Fabio Moon. I don't know if the book is going on hiatus again after this issue, but if so, I hope it won't be any longer than a few months, like last time. Anyway, go Matt Fraction!

Fiction Clemens #1

From Ape Entertainment, this is an interestingly-stylized sci-fi/western that might be worth checking out. You can go to the official site for a preview.

Genext #1

If you're dying to see Chris Claremont do yet another revision of the X-Men (didn't he just spend 18 or so issues wanking about in X-Men: The End?), here's your chance. This one (which was voted on by fans to be his next series, so I guess that's his excuse) imagines the Marvel Universe as occurring in real time, so if the original X-Men stories took place in the 60s, the characters would all be in their 60s or 70s now, and we get to follow the adventures of their children. Ah, Claremont writing teen characters; I can't imagine a more apt choice. I expect many monologues about the dangers teens face today, like pregnancy, meth addiction, or, I dunno, Myspace?

Goon #24

Is this the one where the Buzzard returns? Will Goon ever get around to blowing up that burlesque house? Is Mr. Wicker running around again? What's the deal with Labrazio? What kind of feces/vomit-based humor will Eric Powell resort to this time? Can I just shut up with the questions and enjoy the issue already?!

Newuniversal Shockfront #1

Warren Ellis finally follows up his revival of Marvel's New Universe, although this time around, the art is being provided by Steve Kurth, rather than Salvador Larroca. I did like the first six-issue series, although it did end pretty abruptly, so it's good to see that it hasn't been abandoned. We'll see if I decide to get this one or wait for the trade (I'm leaning toward the latter).

Soleil Sky Doll #1

Ah, Marvel's first issue of their new editions of French publisher Soleil's comics. This one looks interesting, in a pervy, manga-ish way. I should have a review of the issue up at Comics Bulletin tomorrow, provided I get around to reading it.

Transhuman #2

The second issue of Jonathan Hickman's genetic engineering "mockumentary". Keep it interesting, Hicky!

2 Guns

Steven Grant's crime series from Boom! Entertainment gets collected. I heard it was pretty good, so I really should check it out.

Almighty GN

A post-apocalyptic story by cartoonist Ed Laroche, who is self-publishing the book. It might be interesting, and it's always good to support small publishers like this. The official site has a preview, but be forewarned, it's an annoying Flash-based interface.

Amor Y Cohetes

I thought this came out a few weeks ago, but it looks like it's showing up at my shop now. The final volume in the reprints of the first volume of Love and Rockets, this one contains various stuff that isn't really connected to Jaime's "Locas" stories or Gilbert's "Palomar" tales. Plus, stuff by the lesser-known third brother, Mario. I'll definitely get it at some point.

Batman The Resurrection Of Ras Al Ghul HC

I mentioned Grant Morrison's run on Batman above, and here's a good example of why I haven't been reading it, since it tends to get caught up in lame, probably editorially-mandated crossovers like this. I only heard bad things about the story, which makes me glad I'm not reading. Then I hear about some of Morrison's crazy concepts, like Bat-Mite and weird golden age stories, and I feel like I should be reading it. Then I look at the awful art, and I'm glad I'm not. Stick with good writing, and get a decent artist on there, and you'll win me back, DC. How hard is that?

Life Sucks

Looks like this teen vampire book from First Second is also showing up at my shop this week. I'll keep an eye out.

New X-Men by Morrison Ultimate Collection Book 1

Speaking of Morrison, here's a new collection of his awesome run on X-Men. I think it was originally available in hardcover form (and also a massive one-volume omnibus), but this is a new softcover edition. It's still $35 though, which can't be too much of a savings over the hardcover. If you still haven't read it, you could consider this format, but you'd probably get a better deal by just searching through back-issue bins.

Potential GN Touchstone Edition

A collection of Ariel Schrag's high school memoir comics. Has this been published before? Apparently, it was done while she was still in high school, so it's probably pretty rough, but it still might be interesting to look at her earlier work.

Rex GN

The English translation of Danijel Zezelj's European graphic novel, about a cop who gets framed for drug-running and ends up in prison, then gets out and seeks revenge, or something like that. Zezelj is quite the artist, so this should definitely be worth reading.

This Is As Bad As It Gets TP

Humor cartoons from French artist Vouch. Here's a page with some samples. Looks enjoyable, in the classic, deadpan, New Yorker single-panel cartoon style.

Ultimate Hulk vs. Iron Man Ultimate Human

Another Warren Ellis book, collecting the recent four-issue series illustrated by Cary Nord, in which Ultimate Hulk and Ultimate Iron Man fight Ultimate Leader, with lots of Ultimate violence. $20 for a hardcover; expensive.

Vertigo First Cut

Another one of those five-dollar Vertigo samplers, containing the first issues of Army@Love, Crossing Midnight, DMZ, The Exterminators, Jack of Fables, Loveless, and Scalped. A decent introduction to all of those, I guess, although the way comics are these days, you usually need to read at least two or three issues to get a real feel for a series. And haven't at least two of those series been cancelled? Still, you can't beat the value, I guess.

Wacky Packages HC

This is on my store's list, but I can't find any information about it. I believe it's a collection of the trading card set that Art Spiegelman did that was a precursor to Garbage Pail Kids, with brands and logos reimagined as naughty versions of themselves. Like, Skittles were changed to "Spittles". Oh, the hilarity! Actually, I probably would have loved that sort of thing when I was eight.

Aria Vol 2 GN Tokyopop Edition

Plenty of manga this week, starting with this latest volume of the "gondoliers on Mars" series that I hear is excellent. One of these days.

Manga Sutra -Futari H- Vol 2 GN

I never read the first volume of this "instructional porn" manga, and I didn't hear that it was exceptionally good or anything, but it seemed interesting, if only for the novelty of having this sort of product that probably seems natural in Japan but wild and crazy to Americans. Maybe I'll get to read it someday.

Marchen HC

A $47.99 Yoshitaka Amano artbook, with illustrations based on European folklore. Amano always has beautiful art, but his books are so damn expensive. Here's a preview.

Parasyte Vol 3 GN Del Rey Edition

Ooh, I've been waiting to read this one ever since I finished the second volume. I'm behind on manga these days (I've got volume 10 of Nana and volume 8 of Drifting Classroom at home, and I still need to get caught up on Monster, to name but a few series), but it looks like I'll need to grab this one as soon as I can as well.

Shoulder A Coffin Kuro Vol 1 GN

This one looks pretty wacky; it's a "4-koma" (four-panel gag strip) manga about a girl who carries a coffin on her back and gets in strange adventures while in search of a witch. I doubt I'll ever read it, but I had to include it, because the title cracks me up for some reason.

Sgt Frog Vol 15 GN

Man, this series keeps plugging along. I'll probably get around to reading the last few volumes one of these days. I can only go for so long without goofy slapstick alien-invasion nonsense.

Toto The Wonderful Adventure Vol 1 GN

From Del Rey, it's one of those "boy with a dream" manga, about a boy who wants to travel around the world, so he stows away on a zeppelin. I have been wanting to read more shonen series, so this might be one to check out.

And wow, I think that's pretty much it. Not too big of a week, but there are a few things to grab, along with some manga. Comics: slowly leeching away at my monthly income!

Anyway, maybe I'll get to another review or two tonight, depending on what happens with my scanner and how much I feel like writing without it. Stay tuned?


  1. I promise to half-assedly review "Batman R.I.P.", to help keep you informed.

    I only read an issue or two of 2 Guns, but thought it was pretty decent.

    I really liked the first volume of Manga Sutra, and wish I had read it as a teenager. It's pretty pricey to keep following though...five volumes at $20 a pop and all.

  2. "Ah, Claremont writing teen characters; I can't imagine a more apt choice. I expect many monologues about the dangers teens face today, like pregnancy, meth addiction, or, I dunno, Myspace?"

    Why you gotta be like that, Matt? Why?

  3. I wrote that paragraph just for you, Jason.

    Actually, since I'm on the subject, I've been loving your looks at Claremont's classic issues during his run on X-Men (anybody who hasn't been reading it should check it out). I don't mind Claremont's writing (or really the dialogue; his action plots are a different matter) in those stories, because they seem very "of their time" (whether that's true or not); I can put myself in the mindset of reading something thirty years old and enjoy it. But his stuff seems hopelessly old-fashioned and out of date today; has he written anything notable in the last, say, fifteen years? So if he's trying to portray the lives of modern teenagers (and they are modern, based on the concept as I understand it, rather than kids from some imaginary future whose society Claremont can dictate), it'll be amazing if he doesn't make them seem awfully unconvincing. So, yeah, I'm not expecting it to be good. Not that I really buy any X-Men comics anyway...

  4. Confessions of a Claremont-aholic ...

    Thanks for the kind words about the reviews. It's always heartening to get any positive feedback. I need all the encouragement I can get to sustain me through such a long project.

    As for the last 15 years, I guess it depends what you mean by notable. I mean, he's written some stuff that I thought was really entertaining ... your mileage may vary. I actually really loved his JLA: Scary Monsters miniseries. It ends with an attempt to float a new series about a solo superhero in the typical "Claremont female" stereotypical style, but in spite of that I thought it was a perfectly solid Justice League story. I *loved* what he did with Batman/Superman, eschewing the fashionable "Bruce is unstoppable and Clark is a wimp" dynamic in favor of something more balanced and credible.

    Also, I have to say, his attempt at an "all-new, all-different" Gen-13 in 2002 surprised me. I thought he created some likable and relatable teenagers, and the first seven or so issues were extremely readable. I don't know how realistic the teenager-dialogue was, not having been one for 12 years (gasp!) myself. But it certainly struck me as no less contrived than, say, the dialogue in "Juno" for example.

    But I have more Claremont-love than most, so maybe I'm wrong about this stuff. But if there were a trade collection of JLA: Scary Monsters, I'd totally treat you to a copy because I'd love to hear your thoughts on that one. Honestly, I thought it was great.

    (Oh, he also did this great two-parter in Fantastic Four that was, I kid thee not, "The FF enter the Matrix and fight Batman." It was *absurd*, but in a way that was totally awesome.)

    And just to show that I'm not a complete CC-sycophant, I 100% agree with your characterization of "X-Men: The End" as "wanking about." Cause yeah, that really did suck. Equally sh*tty is his new "New Exiles" comic.

    You'd think after getting burned on those two, I'd have learned my lesson, but no -- I am still going to buy the first issue of "GeNext."

    I have a problem.

    In the meantime, I really respect you for not buying any X-Men comics. I love that you follow all these intelligent self-contained projects instead, be they mainstream or indy. As I've said before, the comic-book world needs more people like you.

    (Do you follow Scalped, by the way? I just decided to start buying the trades.)

  5. You know, I shouldn't lay any claim on being an expert in teen matters either, since it's been 11 years for me.

    I haven't read those Claremont books you mentioned, but I suppose I could check out the JLA one, given the chance. I've never been too interested in Gen 13, although I suppose I could check out some of the Adam Warren-written issues.

    But yeah, I was mostly just teasing you because I know you're a Claremont fanboy. What about X-treme X-Men? Did that fall into the "wankery" category? It sure seemed like it whenever I looked at it, especially since it was coming out alongside Morrison's run.

    Oh, and by the way, I kind of lied when I said I don't buy any X-Men comics, since I've been reading Astonishing. But I've only got one more issue to go of that one. I've thought about continuing to read it once Warren Ellis starts, but I'm just not interested enough in current X-Men continuity to really care. But who knows, maybe it'll be awesome and I'll have to pick it up in trade or something.

    I guess I'm not opposed to X-Men and other superhero comics, but so many of them just don't interest me these days. I like the good stuff, but it seems few and far between. And there's the money issue too, which is why I haven't read Scalped yet, but I do plan to someday, since I keep hearing that it's good. So, no, I don't read it, but I certainly wouldn't mind.

  6. The first seven issues of Claremont's Gen-13 had virtually no connection to the original incarnation of the comic; it was almost all his own original characters. And, I must say, I liked them. BUT -- it all fell apart midway through, when the original Gen-13ers came back (I think at editorial behest) and everything descended into utter incomprehensibility, and then a quick cancellation.

    I'm glad of any teasing about my Claremoncy. It's good to be challenged on this stuff, too, since it forces me to think harder about his work. I know I'll never be able to view it objectively, but anything that forces me to see flaws (or strengths) I wouldn't have noticed on my own is great. So keep it up, Brady! :)

    X-Treme X-Men did look like wankery. Slick artwork by Larroca, whose work I think was scanned from pencils? But story-wise it seemed to be a mess. (I only ever skimmed it.)

    I know you do read some mainstream superhero stuff, but you seem admirably free of any addictive traits that have hold of so many of our peers, i.e., buying every chapter of some massive crossover, or becoming worried about continuity minutia (that bug still bites me from time to time). I love that you're able to just ignore all that effluvium, and buy what you like. That should be so easy to do, but few of us comics fans seem able to make such a basic philosophy work.