Happy feast of summer's end!

*For some reason, all of the neighborhood children celebrated Halloween last Thursday. No idea why. I understand that tonight’s a school night, but why not last night or Friday? Was there a big sporting event that pre-empted Halloween? Was Thursday the day all the local schools decided to acknowledge the holiday’s existence, and thus went the attentions of parents?

But it’s certainly Halloween here at Jog the Blog World Headquarters, because I’m being haunted… by the yowling spirits of books that I dropped! Yes, I visited the local bargain bin (expanded by a special holiday sale) and found a whole lot of quasi-awesome shit, particularly series that I’d dumped back during their original release; now that everything’s a buck, my awful collector’s impulses can easily commandeer my body and make me hand out plenty of one dollar bills for things that won‘t entirely satisfy me. And that‘s really what comics are all about.

Like “Tokyo Storm Warning”! You remember that one, right? Warren Ellis trying to do these three-issue ’pop comics’ miniseries? This was the anime homage, “Neon Genesis Evangelion” providing the most specific influence. I dumped it after one issue since I was getting really tight on cash back then and the book didn’t seem to be doing anything original. But now that I can buy the rest of it for only two dollars I can declare with confidence: the book doesn’t do anything particularly original. What? Fantasies about giant monsters and robots wrecking cities might seem delightful and entertaining but there really a core of violence and cruelty at the center of the amusement? YOU DON’T SAY!?! But you see, now I can declare this with certainty! That’s a lot better than a stale Snickers bar in my basket!

And how about “The Clock Maker”? I’m sure you recall this one: it’s the projected 12-issue Image miniseries that folded outward to create a magazine-sized comic. Which had 12 pages per issue. And many of those pages sported big space-filling panels of clock gears; at $2.50 per issue, this got old kind of quick. The plot, by Jim Krueger, involved the daughter of the recently-murdered keeper of a secret clockworks underneath Switzerland which apparently controls the Earth’s rotations. She’s naturally a reluctant new clock-keeper. We wander around the Guy Davis-designed environs, guided by the hands of no less than four different artists, but sinister plans are afoot! That’s as far as the plot went by the end of issue #2, when I dumped it. But how can I resist getting the rest of the story this far for only $3? That’s including issues #3-4 and the newly reformatted “The Clock Maker: Act II” which dropped the oversized format, shrunk down the art for issues #5-8 (which is still only 48 pages) and released it all as an omnibus book. With a new penciler. And I’d say the resulting story is more or less worth $3, although I haven’t quite read it all just yet.

And more! I got issue #21 of “Rare Bit Fiends”, the final issue (I think) and the only one never to have been collected in trade form. It’s technically the first part of the new “Subtleman” arc, but the story serves as a lovely coda to the series, with a giant dreaming Rick Veitch hugging the Earth from outer-space as the closing image. I’ve also heard a lot of people talking about Robert Kirkman’s “Brit” so I got that too. Because again, it was only $1.

So happy Halloween, and I hope that the spirits that haunt your soul are just as benevolent as the spirits of Warren Ellis miniseries. Instead of, like, the tormented phantoms of murdered infants dripping gore and bile onto your bedclothes while a thousand demons storm from the maw of Hell to flay the muscle from your bones. That’s worse.