Monday, October 19, 2009

This week is this week

This is cool: Viz's Shonen Sunday site has posted the first chapter of Rumiko Takahashi's Mermaid Saga. I've never read that series, but that's a pretty good start; I hope they continue to post more.

Another week, another batch of randomness:

New comics this week (Wednesday, 10/21/09):

Azrael #1

Oh god why.

Beasts of Burden #2

If you didn't read the first issue of this, you missed out; it was awesome. Gorgeous art by Jill Thompson, a nice expansion of the stories into something bigger and with higher stakes, enjoyable characters, weird stuff happening, the works. This series is awesome; don't pass it by just because it's all about cute doggies and kitties.

Chew #5

It sounds like the backlash against this series has begun; for a while, everybody was talking about how good it was, and now they're all saying it's overrated. I'm not sure what to think, but I imagine it's a decent bit of comics, with some good art and an enjoyably strange premise. Maybe I'll find out for sure whenever it gets collected. Maybe.

Citizen Rex #4

Gilbert Hernandez! I'll read this eventually. Hope it's good.

Comic Diorama One Shot

Top Shelf has this small collection of stories by cartoonist Grant Reynolds, a bunch of surreal little tales about stuff like mermaids, explorers, and an anthropomorphized planet Pluto. Looks interesting; here's a preview.

Dominic Fortune #3

Howard Chaykin, with more debauchery, one expects. This has been pretty fun so far; we'll see if it keeps it up.

Ex Machina #46

Coming closer to the end. Collection, please.

God Machine Preview Book

Archaia seems to be making a bit of a comeback after their recent financial troubles. This is one of their releases this week, a pamphlet-format preview of an upcoming graphic novel release. It's hard to tell what the hell it's about from the description, which mentions a guy whose girlfriend died, except she might still be alive, and he gets mixed up with a couple of goddesses named Good God and Evil God, and who knows what happens. Weird, but kind of intriguing, maybe? This CBR article has a preview.

Invincible Iron Man #19

It's the end of the "World's Most Wanted" arc, as Norman Osborn catches up with Tony Stark, and Pepper, Maria Hill, and Black Widow attempt to escape from the bad guys. This hasn't been a bad arc, and it should be interesting to see where Matt Fraction goes from here. I'm still not big on Salvador Larocca's art, but whatever.

Robotika For A Few Rubles More #3 & 4 Double-Sized Issue

Here's another long-delayed Archaia book, and I believe it's finishing up the second miniseries in Alex Sheikman's comic about a robot samurai. At least, I think that's what it's about; I've been meaning to check it out, since it looks pretty cool. I'll watch for a collection, I guess. You can see preview pages from all of the issues here.

Sugarshock One Shot

This is a single-issue collection of the story that Joss Whedon and Fabio Moon did for Myspace Dark Horse Presents, and although you can read it for free online, here's your chance to own it if you really have to. It's pretty fun, although it's very Whedon-y, so if you're averse to his style of dialogue, you probably don't want to inflict it upon yourself. But Moon's art is pretty great, so there's that. Enjoy, maybe?

Swordsmith Assassin #3

I haven't been keeping up with this series from Boom!, but I did like the first issue pretty well. I'll read the next ones at some point, and let you know if there's anything worth commenting upon, good or bad. But it's probably safe to say that the next issues follow the same sort of ground, so take that as you will.

Titanium Rain #1 & 2 Double-Sized Relaunch

And one more from Archaia, reprinting the first issue of this miniseries about futuristic global war and adding a second one that hasn't been previously released. I haven't read any of it, but it does look interesting. As always, I'm flush with backhanded recommendations. You can see a preview of issue 1 here.

Underground #2

Hey, here's a definite recommendation though. The first issue of Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber's series about cave action, corrupt businessmen, small-town economics, and fucking park rangers was quite good, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. Get it!

Arkham Asylum Living Hell TP New Printing

This miniseries from a few years back by Dan Slott and Ryan Sook was a pretty decent bit of supervillain violence and mayhem, looking at a regular criminal who got sent to Arkham and was terrorized by the likes of the Joker, Mr. Freeze, Killer Croc, etc. Not exactly essential, but if you like your Batman comics to be creepy and nasty, it works pretty well. Probably a good Halloween book, come to think of it.

Arsenic Lullaby Pulp Edition Omega

I've never really been into this series; it mostly seems to be gross and offensive without being all that funny. It's not Johnny Ryan, that's for sure. Of course, I haven't read all that much of it, so if you're in the same situation and must experience this bit of supposed hilarity, here's your chance.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid HC Vol 4

So, this series is popular, right? I wouldn't know; I've never read any of it. Is it even comics? From what I've seen, it's mostly illustrated text. But it always gets nominated for lots of Harveys, if that means anything. Yeah, maybe I'll check it out at some point. But probably not; I've got better things to do than relive my days as a wimpy schoolboy. Now I'm a wimpy adult! Take that, posterity!

Detectives Inc HC

I'm not familiar with this series from the 80s by Don McGregor, Marshall Rogers, and Gene Colan, but it sounds like it was pretty groundbreaking, dealing with real-world social issues like homosexuality and abortion. Now IDW is reprinting it, and it'll cost you $25. Interesting; I might have to try to check this out.

Dread And Superficiality Woody Allen As A Comic Strip HC

It's the comic strip for fans of the Woodman's "early, funny" period, although I don't think he had much to do with it beyond lending his name. Stuart Hample was the writer and artist, and it was published back in the late 70s. Judging from the samples I've seen, it seems to be based on Woody's stand-up comedy. It's not a bad imitation, I suppose, but I don't know if there's a lot of affection for that sort of thing these days, outside of nostalgia. But hey, if What's Up, Tiger Lily is your favorite of his films, you might love it.

Five Fists of Science GN

This graphic novel is one of Matt Fraction's earlier, possibly lesser-known works, and it's awesome, all about Mark Twain and Nicola Tesla teaming up to fight the eldritch horrors of JP Morgan and Thomas Edison, and featuring nice art by Steven Sanders. If you missed out on it when it first came out, don't make the same mistake again.

Frankenstein Mobster Vol 1 TP

I've seen this series around here and there, but I've never read it, so I don't know if it's any good or not. It's got a nice premise though, with this version of Frankenstein's monster being put together from three mob bosses and fighting against himself to control his murderous urges. Maybe I'll check it out sometime. It's by Mark Wheatley, and this edition from IDW will run you 20 bucks. Enjoy Halloweenies.

Fro Origin GN

I don't know about this. I guess this was a reject from Who Wants to Be a Superhero?, which isn't a good sign of quality, if you ask me. I guess it's about a guy who gets a magical, musical afro wig, and now he fights crime by surfing on a guitar or something. Yikes. But hey, maybe it will surprise me and turn out to be the next big thing. Yeah, I can't even say that faux-seriously. If you're interested, here's an interview with the creator and some sample art.

Garth Ennis Battlefields HC Vol 01

Continuing their trend of charging too goddamn much for their collections, Dynamite has this hardcover that includes all three of the war miniseries that Garth Ennis did, Night Witches, Dear Billy, and Tankies. This version is a bit better, costing $30 for what was originally three $12.95 paperbacks. But it's still kind of pricey for nine issues worth of material, isn't it? Still, if you haven't read these, this is probably the easiest and most cost-effective way to do so, and I implore you not to miss out. Ennis is usually at his best when doing war comics, and I thought all of these were excellent, especially the latter two. I might end up posting a review of all of them at some point, but by a friend who borrowed the issues from me. How about that?

Jonah Hex Lead Poisoning TP

You know, I often hear that this series is good, but I have yet to read any of it, even when artists like Darwyn Cooke or J.H. Williams III show up. I should remedy that at some point. Anyway, here's the latest volume. Enjoy, facial scarring fetishists.

Lockjaw & the Pet Avengers HC

Didn't the collected version of this already come out? Well, if not, here it is. I reviewed an issue or two of the series, and it's not bad, but nothing really noteworthy or spectacular either. Cute animals fighting bad guys, and that's about it. I don't know if this contains any extras, along the lines of earlier appearances by the characters, but if not, it's way expensive at $25 for four issues. But if you gotta have your Lockjaw, here's one way to get it.

Miserable Dastards Vol 1 Punching Bags GN

Ripping off Adam Warren (and getting a movie deal to boot), this book is about some henchmen who set out on their own to be real supervillains. Not a bad concept, I suppose. I'll be surprised if it ends up being all that great though. You can see some preview pages at artist Jeremy Dale's blog, if you're curious. (EDIT: As Mr. Dale points out in the comments, this is certainly a strangely negative blurb, and I don't remember why. Cynicism about superhero comics? A bad mood that day? Lack of editing? Who knows. Please take my comments with a grain of salt, and feel free to bitch-slap me in the comments if you think I'm being a douche.)

MMW Inhumans HC Vol. 1

And here's your other source of Lockjaw for the week, also overpriced at the usual rate of $55 for Marvel Masterworks volumes. This one collects some backup stories from Thor, the Jack Kirby-written and illustrated Amazing Adventures, and some other appearances, including a couple issues of Not Brand Ecch. Yeah, I wouldn't mind owning this.

Noir An Anthology Of Crime Comics TP

So, is this the paperback version of the book that already came out a few months ago, or is it the only version, and I'm just misinformed? Whatever the case, it's Dark Horse's anthology of crime comics, with lots of good creators inside, including Becky Cloonan, Fabio Moon, Gabriel Ba, Paul Grist, Brian Azzarello, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Rick Geary, Jeff Lemire, Eduardo Barreto, and others. Nice. I'm excited to finally read this one.

Runaways TP Vol 09 Dead Wrong Digest

I'm confused; I guess this is the latest digest collection of the series, to match the others that have previously come out, but it's coming right as Marvel is rereleasing the earlier digests as full size trade paperbacks. They can't seem to make up their minds when it comes to format. Eh, it's a moot point anyway, since this short run on the series by Terry Moore and Humberto Ramos was pretty awful. I recommend not getting it.

Runaways Rock Zombies TP

And here's the second part of Terry Moore's run, which was a bit better, but mostly just because of Takeshi Miyazawa's art. The story was still pretty blah. Um, there you go; I'm not sure what you're supposed to do with that information, but don't blame me if you buy it and don't like it. Not that you should really be counting on me to make your buying decisions for you anyway...

Scalped TP Vol. 5 High Lonesome

Another volume of the acclaimed Vertigo series comes out, and I get further behind. I'll catch up someday, hopefully...

Showcase Presents House of Secrets TP Vol. 2

More black and white reprints of old horror comics. No Swamp Thing here, so it's not necessary to get that bit of history. But the list of creators includes Berni Wrightson, Mike Kaluta, Alex Nino, and Sergio Aragones, so it does sound like something worth checking out. If I had the money and time to afford getting reprints like this, I would probably do so.

Uncle Sam Deluxe HC

Doesn't this one get reprinted all the time? It's Alex Ross's big breakthrough comic, a Vertigo miniseries from the 90s that was all about the title character being a bum, or something like that. I haven't read it. Maybe I should sometime.

Waiting Place GN

Speaking of reprints, here's a collection of the teen drama series by Sean McKeever and Mike Norton, including a new story. I've never read it, but I do like McKeever's work on Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, so I wouldn't mind checking it out. Someday, someday.

Wolfskin Vol. 01

This Warren Ellis barbarian series was interesting, if kind of inessential. I wouldn't really recommend this collection though, since even the paperback version is $18 for contents that consist of three issues and an annual. If the story was awesome, sure, maybe, but this is only decent, even by Avatar's standards. Look for back issues, says I.

Wolverine Noir Prem HC

I have little interest in Marvel's "noir" books, but this one did seem interesting, if only for C.P. Smith's idiosyncratic artwork. Not that I ever need to read another Wolverine comic, really. And oh yeah, I gotta complain about the expensive hardcover: 20 bucks is too much, buy back issues, wait for paperback, blah blah blah. You know the drill.

Art Of Osamu Tezuka God Of Manga HC

Here's your big coffee table book, with author Helen McCarthy looking at Tezuka's life and art, with lots of images included. I don't know if I can afford the 40 bucks, but I certainly wouldn't mind owning this, since I do love Tezuka unreservedly. Maybe I'll put it on my Christmas wish list for some of my fans to buy me. Wait, I don't have fans? Damn!

Naoki Urasawas 20th Century Boys Vol 5 GN

Ooh, time for more Urasawa intrigue involving conspiracies, cults, bizarre psychic shit, nostalgia, and clunky technology. I love this series, and if I get this volume, I'll be all caught up. That never happens!

Real Vol 6 GN

See, this is what I'm talking about. I haven't even read volume 4 of this series yet. I'll get to it though; I love Takehiko Inoue's story about fucked-up individuals playing wheelchair basketball. Good times.


Coordinated with the Japanese release, it's the latest manga by Rumiko Takahashi. If you haven't read it online, you'll have to do so soon, since they're taking it down once this volume is released. It's pretty enjoyable, about a girl who can see ghosts getting mixed up with a human shinigami (grim reaper) who is always poor. The series seemed to get a lukewarm reception in online manga circles, but that might have been because the first volume or so mostly consisted of setting up the situation and characters. It was kind of low-key and goofy, which I found fine, but some apparently didn't like. If you stick around though, bigger and longer conflicts have started to develop, and Takahashi tells the story impeccably, as always. Give it a chance, people!

Vagabond Vizbig ED GN Vol. 05

Speaking of Takehiko Inoue, here's the latest omnibus volume of his samurai manga, collecting what would have been volumes 13-15 of the series, I think. It's yet another series that I should really get caught up on...

What a Wonderful World GN Vol. 01
What a Wonderful World GN Vol. 02

And here's the "prestige" manga release of the week, with both volumes of this series by Inio Asano coming out together. I haven't read them yet, but I will soon, and I'm really looking forward to them, since I loved Asano's Solanin. This one has several intersecting stories, with at least some of them being about unfocused young adults, I believe, but it's not just a retread of familiar ground. If you like manga for adults that tells serious stories about realistic characters, this is for you. Don't miss it.

That's everything, I guess. Posting might be light this week, since I'm mostly caught up in my reading. That probably means more Kirby, which is good. I loves me some Fourth World.


  1. The Wimpy Kid books are like crack for my 8-year old. He isn't really the world's biggest reader (he can read well, but he doesn't pick up a book unless he's required to, usually), but he devours these Wimpy Kid books on the day of release. Then he rereads them the next day. There's something going on inside those covers, but damned if it looks like something I'd want to read.

    Alex Ross did Marvels well before Uncle Sam.

  2. Re: Uncle Sam - Huh, how about that? I see, according to Wikipedia, that Uncle Sam even came after Kingdom Come. For some reason, I was under the impression that it was his first major work. Well, never mind then.

  3. Rumiko Takahashi's Mermaid Saga was the first manga I read by her, and I believe the best. Glad to see it's finally getting some exposure!

  4. i'm pretty sure you can buy The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga book for less than 40 bucks - try the internet... and the new AstroBoy film is great too!

  5. Hi there Matthew~

    Saw you were confused about "The God Machine" from Archaia. I hope that I can help explain a little more about the plot~

    The quick run down is that the lead character, Guy Salvatore, is suffering from a depression after his girlfriend, Sith, has died. But, that's not just the beginning of his woes! He's starting to see monsters and things. He's pretty sure it's not just because of the depression, it has to be something else!

    Then he's confronted by a mysterious man claiming to be "Satan" telling Guy that his girlfriend is still alive, and that she is floating in and out of "Dream Worlds," and that Guy is the only one who can go into these Dream Worlds and save her!

    Mischievous Gods are mixed into all of this, along witha whole cast of weird characters. Also the story blends dark-comedy, horror and sci-fi all together.

    The title "Preview" is slightly misleading as well. It's 48 pages, of the first chapter of what will be seen in the graphic novel. --Think of it as a complete single issue, with extras.

    Hopefully this helped a little in understanding what the book/series is about...

    Thank you for the mention~!

    -Chandra Free

    p.s. Titanium Rain is indeed worth picking up too!

  6. Thanks for the... words? Not really kind or fair, considering what was said...

    And whereas it's as far from a rip-off of Adam Warren as you could get, you're more than welcome to your opinion.

    I myself have read a lot of Adam Warren's work, and I assume this is in reference to Empowered on some level-- but I really doubt Richard (the writer) has even heard of it, to be honest. The tone and look and plot are way off from that, outside of there being superheroes and villains and henchmen involved.

    Hope your opinion changed once you'd read it! Have a good one.

    - jeremy dale

  7. Hi Jeremy; sorry if I offended. Looking back, I was kind of needlessly negative there, wasn't I? Sorry about that. It probably stems from being tired of superheroes, which isn't anything against you. And yes, I was referring to Thugboy and his Witless Minions from Empowered, which was probably just a coincidence rather than a ripoff. If I get the chance to read the book, I'll let you know what I think. Thanks for commenting!