Monday, August 31, 2009

This week, Marvel's releases impress me for once

Links: Anders Nilsen has organized an auction to benefit advertising in favor of healthcare reform, and there are some really cool items up for bid, including various paintings and original art by people like Ivan Brunetti, Chris Ware, Jeffrey Brown, Souther Salazar, Lilli Carre, Daniel Clowes, and others. I can't afford most of it, but I might see if I can snag one of the lower-priced items. If nothing else, give them a look; there's some great stuff there.

I like this post on the official Vertigo blog that shows Brian Bolland's process creating a cover for Jack of Fables.

I wanted to point out this post by Tim O'Neil about the Ann Nocenti/David Aja story in Daredevil #500. It's a really good piece of criticism, and it spotlights a really good story that might get passed over in favor of flashier stuff. Check it out.

And here's the weekly roundup; it's a busy one this week. Yikes.

New comics this week (Wednesday, 9/2/09):

Agents of Atlas #10

Jeff Parker, still going strong (for now). Word is, this series is getting cancelled, or going on a sort of hiatus as it gets relegated to backups in Incredible Hercules or X-Men crossover series. Hopefully it'll be back soon enough though; it's just about the best thing Marvel's publishing right now. This issue sees more fighting with Jimmy Woo's ex, with art by Gabriel Hardman, the best of the rotating creative team, and Paul Rivoche. Read it!

Boys #34

Ennis and McCrea (or whoever) keep things rolling. As I always say, I'm waiting for this story to end so I can read the collected version, and I'm even more eager after digging the previous volume.

Daring Mystery Comics #1

This is getting monotonous, but here's Marvel's latest anniversary celebration book, although they seem to have run through the well of recognizable creative talent, not to mention characters. This one is by David Liss and Jason Armstrong, and it stars some character named the Phantom Reporter. Still, it looks like it could be all right. Maybe give it a look?

Fall Out Toy Works #1

Ooh, it's the Fall Out Boy comic! Apparently Pete Wentz got jealous of Gerard Way's success with Umbrella Academy and decided to do his own. Of course, he didn't actually write it, and rather than trying to do something unique, he just did some thing related to his band. Sounds lame, but it is written by The Wintermen's Brett Lewis, so maybe something interesting will come out of it.

From The Ashes #4

Bob Fingerman continues to wander the post-apocalyptic landscape. Fun times?

Greek Street #3

Peter Milligan continues to take the names of mythological characters and do something or other with them. Dunno if I'll bother keeping up with this one. Maybe it'll be worth some bargain bin searching in a few months.

I Am Legion #5

The Humanoids thing with John Cassaday art is still going. I do want to read the collected version of this, so let's get it done already.

Immortal Weapons #2

Part two of the Iron Fist spin-off, with this issue focusing on Bride of Nine Spiders. It's written by my man Cullen Bunn (The Damned), with art by Dan Brereton, and I expect it will be good. Apparently, it's the only installment of the miniseries that isn't an origin issue. Interesting.

Incognito #6

Brubaker and Phillips finish off their superhero noir (for now; I think they've announced a follow-up for sometime next year), so they can finally get back to doing Criminal. I've been waiting; not that this has been bad or anything, but I prefer my crime stories to be spandex-free.

Invincible Iron Man #17

Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca keep going with the deconstruction of Tony Stark; this has turned into a very interesting story arc. This issue is a good one; I love how Fraction is showing Tony's mind crumbling as more and more of it gets erased and he gets dumber and more forgetful. It's actually painful to read. It should be cool to see how he manages to come out on top here; this is definitely bringing a character to his lowest before (presumably) building him back up again.

Irredeemable #6

Mark Waid keeps doing the evil Superman bit, and it's still not bad. If you refuse to stray away from the superhero genre, this is worth checking out.

Mystic Comics #1

And hey, Marvel has another anniversary book coming out this week. This one is a bit more high-profile, I guess; David Lapham is writing and drawing it. It stars the golden age version of the Vision, who was a supernatural, ghostly character or something. Also, a couple of backup reprints by Jack Kirby from 1940 and 1941! Neat!

Northlanders #20

Brian Wood and the Vikings, go! This starts a storyline that is actually a sequel to the first story, bringing us up on what happened to Sven after he moved away from Orkney. Davide Gianfelice is back on art, and I bet it'll be good, as this book seems to continue to be. I'll read it eventually.

Rawbone #4

Jamie Delano keeps going with the nasty piratical action. I don't know if I'll bother to read this once it's collected, but it's tempting.

Strange Tales #1

Ah, here's the big release for the week, the long-awaited Marvel indie book, featuring tons and tons of cool creators, including Nick Bertozzi, Paul Pope, Molly Crabapple, Junko Mizuno, Dash Shaw, James Kochalka, Johnny Ryan, Michael Kupperman, Peter Bagge (with his long-shelved "Incorrigible Hulk" story), Nicholas Gurewitch, and motherfucking Jason. Holy shit, that a lot of awesomeness to cram into 48 pages; it's totally worth the five dollar price tag. I've already taken a peek, and I love it; I'll pay money for it even though I have an electronic review copy. Don't miss out on this, people!

Sweet Tooth #1

It's the debut of Jeff Lemire's ongoing Vertigo series about a guy with antlers trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic American landscape. Sounds like kind of a departure for Lemire, but I bet it will still be good, and it should be interesting to see his work in color. Don't let me down, Lemire!

Torch #1

In less-interesting Marvel releases, here's the thing that apparently revives the golden age Human Torch and brings him into the modern Marvel universe, or some crap like that. Yawn. Alex Ross is apparently spearheading the project, which means lots of overly-reverent worshipfulness of the character and blah blah blah. I advise ignoring it, but I doubt many will actually do so.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #2

Bendis and Lafuente continue with their relaunch (of sorts) of this book, and it will probably continue to be decent. Maybe people will still read it, even.

Wednesday Comics #9

Weekly newspaper reading appears, but it's almost over. Superman is threatening to become interesting, but I bet he'll go back to whining soon enough. Batman is still cool, Kamandi is still gorgeous, Metamorpho is silly fun, Hawkman is still awesome, Metal Men are increasingly lame, Teen Titans still suck, Sergeant Rock needs to kill some Nazis, Supergirl is still cute, Wonder Woman is still adventurous, Deadman is still neat, Flash is still not bad, and Green Lantern still bores me. Oh, and Paul Pope is still super-cool. I like this series a bunch.

Young Liars #18

I think this is the final issue of David Lapham's acclaimed-yet-unread Vertigo series; I've heard it's weird and cool and batshit insane, so maybe I'll try to check out the collections or something. Maybe.

Absolute V for Vendetta HC

Ah, absolute editions, you continue to be overpriced and unnecessary, and yet you still continue to come out, and people continue to buy you. I guess the draw here is that the books are really big, so the art looks nice all blown up? And there are usually some extras of some sort, but for something like this, is there really all that much to add? I dunno, I'm probably just cheap, but why spend 100 dollars on an oversized version of something you can get for less than $20 in paperback, and probably not that much more if you must have a hardcover? You people have too much money to spend, dammit.

Absurd Adventures Of Archibald Aardvark Vol 1 Bullets Booze And Beelzebub TP

I've seen issues of this series here and there, and it looks interesting, but I've never actually read it. It appears to star an old-timey cartoon character (literally; he's a washed-up old actor who used to star in cartoons) as he has violent adventures saving various holidays like Christmas and Easter. It might be all right, but I haven't heard all that much about it, so maybe it's not really worth the attention. Anyway, it's written by Dara Naraghi, Dwight L. MacPherson, and Grant Bond, with art by Bond. Here's the character's Myspace page, if you want more info.

Amulet Vol 2 The Stonekeepers Curse

Kazu Kibuishi! I really liked the first volume of this series, and here's part two, featuring more kiddie adventure, monsters, and robots. I bet it's good, and if nothing else, it will look amazing.

Batman Gotham After Midnight TPB

I don't know how good this 12-issue series was as a story (it was written by Steve Niles, and I for one can take him or leave him), but the art by Kelley Jones was pretty awesome, judging by all the samples I've seen. It's at least worth a look, if only to see what sort of craziness Jones came up with, like the Bat-Unicycle, the pipe-organ-like Bat-Computer, or a giant Bat-Robot used to fight Clayface. Good times.

Cars Rookie TPB

This is the collection of the first Boom! miniseries tying into the Pixar movie, giving readers a look at Lightning McQueen's early days racing on dirt tracks. I haven't read it, but it certainly looks nice, and I bet kids who are fans of the movies will enjoy it. Yes, supply your brats with endless licensed product! That's the American way!

Cat Burglar Black GN

Richard Sala! Here's his new book from First Second, and it looks really nice. A cute girl doing thiefy stuff; what's not to like?

Cosmic Odyssey TPB New Printing

I've never read this story by Jim Starlin featuring Jack Kirby's Fourth World characters (and probably other DC people), but I think it's supposed to be pretty good? On the scale of people trying to live up to Kirby, anyway. It's got some early art by Mike Mignola, so that's probably interesting to look at.

Dead Irons HC

This supernatural western series from Dynamite looked like it could be good, but I haven't really heard anything about it. It's written by James Kuhoric (have I read anything by him? I have no idea), and the art by Jason Shawn Alexander is probably the strongest selling point. Maybe I'll check it out, given the chance?

DMZ Volume 7 War Powers TPB

And here's another volume of a series that I like a lot, just in time for me to get further behind on my reading. I sure dug the previous one; I'll get right on this.

Hulk Gray HC

This is one of those color-coded miniseries by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale that oh-so-tiresomely explores the past of various Marvel characters; at least, that's my impression; the only one that I've actually read was Daredevil: Yellow. I think Loeb is a pretty terrible writer, but Tim Sale tends to bring out the best in him, and even if he doesn't, the art is always pretty stellar. I'm sure there have been earlier editions of this collection, but this one seems to be the fancy hardcover style that Marvel likes to overuse. If you want to spend the money on it, go ahead, but I'll glare at you behind your back.

Incredibles Family Matters TPB

Another Boom!/Pixar book, this one written by Mark Waid, since he knows about superheroes or something. It's supposed to be pretty good, I think? It's a perfect series for comics, so I'm sure Boom! will have more coming soon.

Katman TP

A kids' (young adults'?) graphic novel from Kevin C. Pyle, the creator of Blindspot, this one seems to be one of those teenage coming-of-age things about a kid hanging out over a summer and forming a relationship with an artistic girl. Probably pretty good? Pyle is a good cartoonist, and I imagine he can capture the emotions of a young relationship pretty well. This will be one to look out for.

Lords Of Misrule HC

This was apparently a fantasy graphic novel and miniseries from the early 90s, written by Dan Abnett and John Tomlinson, with art by Peter Snejbjerg and Gary Erskine. Radical is collecting it and adding painted color by a French artist named Jean. Sounds interesting; maybe worth a look?

Magic Pickle And The Creature From The Black Legume TP

Scott Morse! I haven't read any of this kids' series, but it's supposed to be quite enjoyable. Plus, the pun in the title makes me laugh. Another one to watch for.

Nocturnals HC Vol 02 Dark Forever and Other Tales

Another volume of Dan Brereton's series. I've never read any of it; I should try to remedy that.

Rebel GN

IDW is publishing this translation of an 80s graphic novel from Spanish artist Pepe Moreno, who is probably best known for Batman: Digital Justice. It appears to be one of those Heavy Metal-style nasty urban future stories; I haven't read enough of those, so this might be one to check out.

Secret Science Alliance And The Copycat Crook HC

Wow, lots of notable kids' books this week; this one is by Eleanor Davis, which automatically makes it worth seeking out. It's about three kid inventors who have to stop an evil scientist who has stolen their designs. I like Davis a bunch and I'm always interested in more of her work, so yes, I'll have to look for this one too.

Stitches HC

This autobiographical graphic novel by David Small has been getting a lot of attention, so it's one that I'm definitely going to have to try to read. I guess it's all about his terrible childhood, so it sounds nice and depressing. Good times.

Toon Treasury of Classic Children's Comics HC

Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly put together this collection of a bunch of old kids' comics, and I bet it's pretty good reading, containing artists like Carl Barks, John Stanley, Sheldon Mayer, Walt Kelly, and Basil Wolverton. One to check out if you see it.

Trouble With Katie Rogers Vol 1 GN

Hey, this looks like it could be one of those vaunted "comics for girls"! It's about a young woman living in New York and working in the fashion industry, and it's got a nice design and art style and everything. Of course, it's still written and drawn by a guy, but that doesn't automatically preclude it from being decent. Like just about everything else I mention this week, it could be worth a look. Here's the official site for more information.

Wind Raider TP

Like the last entry, this book is from Ape Entertainment, and I haven't read it. I might be inclined to check it out though, since even though I don't know the writers, I like the work of the artists, Micah Farritor (White Picket Fences) and Gabriel Hardman (Agents of Atlas). It's about some martial artist types that can control wind, I guess. Yeah, I might give it a look.

Wonderful Wizard of OZ HC

Marvel has this collection of their adaptation of the original novel (rather than the movie) by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young, and it might be one to read. I glanced at the original issues when they came out, and damn, they look nice. Gorgeous art; hopefully it reads well too.

Zomnibus GN Vol 01

This is a weird sort of themed collection from IDW, containing several zombie comics that aren't really related to each other. They include Feast!, Eclipse of the Undead, and the complete Zombies Vs. Robots. The latter is by Ashley Wood, and what I've read of it is quite enjoyable, but I don't know about the other two. Still, it's a decent amount of content for $25; if you're not completely sick of zombies, you might consider it.

Honey And Clover Vol 7

On the manga front, Viz has the latest volume of this excellent series, which contains the last of the material that was serialized in Shojo Beat. Or maybe not the last of it; new material starts in volume 8, but with the magazine being cancelled, that volume might have the last chapter or two that they ran. Anyway, I love this comic, so I recommend people read it. That is all.

NANA Vol 18

I love this comic too, but I am very very behind on it. I'll get to this volume eventually. I hope.

Ninja Girls Vol 1

It's a new series from Del Rey, about a lost prince aided by, well, ninja girls and hoping to regain his kingdom. Probably not very historically accurate.

Pumpkin Scissors Vol 5

This military-themed series is supposed to be good, but I've never read it. Maybe someday, but if volumes keep coming out, who knows when I'll get the chance to start.

Sand Chronicles Vol 6

Another Shojo Beat series that I really like, and it's the same situation as Honey and Clover; new material starts next volume. Catch up while you can!

Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei The Power Of Negative Thinking Vol 3

I keep hearing that this book is hilarious (if also loaded with impenetrable cultural references), so I've gotta try to read it. Someday.

Silent Mobius Complete Edition Vol 1

I haven't read this sci-fi manga from Kia Asamiya, but it's kind of one of the classics of translated manga, isn't it? Maybe I should check it out sometime.

Tegami Bachi Letter Bee Vol 1

People seem to be talking about this series, but from what I've read in Shonen Jump, it doesn't really grab me. It's kind of interesting, I guess, with some detailed art and a bizarre premise, but I'm not all that impressed. But if it's your thing, I won't judge you.

And that's all, for this staggeringly busy week. Oy. More posting to come, I expect.


  1. More comments later, but do NOT read Young Liars. It is awful. I think the only people who liked it are people who want to show they read more than just superhero books. My brother loved it, though, which surprised me because his taste is usually impeccable.

  2. Young Liars is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

    I second the Strange Tales recommendation -- and your sentiment of having the advance copy on the computer and still buying it.

    Cosmic Odyssey is a pretty decent book. Starlin does his cosmic thing with DC and it has the moment when John Stewart basically screwed up and an entire planet was destroyed.

  3. I remember loving Cosmic Odyssey when I was a kid. Mignola's art just seemed so cool. I remember wanting to see him draw cooler things than superheroes, too.

    I bought the Absolute Watchmen book because I was a sucker. I probably shouldn't have bought it, but it seemed like a fun treat for myself that day. It is nice having all the pages blown up so I can really study the details in each panel, but probably not worth the money.

    Young Liars is awful because it never said anything. The characters were all poorly developed and flat, the premise would constantly change and ask the reader to suspend more and more belief, and the references smacked of "look how cool I am to reference this!" It was an absolute waste of Lapham's talent and made me feel like he should really only do limited crime noir series, like Murder Me Dead. 8 issues in, Young Liars had all the problems of Stray Bullets - it was collapsing under all the stuff Lapham wanted to do because he wasn't taking the time to establish anything. I mean, yeah, a perpetual status quo isn't any fun, but when it's plot twist after plot twist and everything is in perpetual motion, it just becomes boring.

    Anyway, I'll buy Amulet v2. I'm waiting for the inevitable collection for Strange Tales.

  4. as weird as this sounds I actually kinda liked Torch #1. maybe it's just the fact that Ross was able to get a great writer to help him out on this (Mike Carey)

    not great, but a good halfway point between say Bru's Captain America and Avengers/Invaders

  5. also Cosmic Cosmic Odyssey had Darkseid, Batman and Etrigan working together to save the universe. I shouldn't have to say anything else.