No wait, it wasn't my band, it was my stomach... and my band.

THIS WEEK IN COMICS (is quite big):

Fred the Clown: I’ve heard this rumor that blogs are supposed to point people toward things they may not have heard of before. Ok then. This is a new release by Fantagraphics, collecting the entirety of Roger Langridge’s amazing self-published humor series. I really want you to look through this stuff, because I think it’s totally excellent work and I think you‘ll agree. It’s beautifully drawn depression humor, with a sad-sack clown named Fred wandering through all sorts of tragicomic exploits, ranging from romance to adventure to the book’s longest piece, a rapturous evocation of the soul of silent comedy, with the works Buster Keaton providing particular focus. Look for the gorgeous cover with the shining heart on it. This was one of my favorite series during its run, and it deserves far greater exposure in collected form. Give it a try!

Solo #1: And by ‘solo’ DC actually means ‘a whole bunch of collaborations.’ Anyhow, I first heard of this project a long time ago; basically, DC is going to hand 48 pages to an individual artist and have them do whatever the hell they want (presumably within certain boundaries, like no porno), including recruiting a bunch of scripters to help them out, like our first issue’s spotlight, Tim Sale, who’ll no doubt attract a lot more sales than most of the projected line-up, although I personally find him less interesting that most of the announced future contributors. Not to say that he’s bad; I’ve only read “The Long Halloween” and it certainly looked attractive. It moved about as well as a 200-page origin for Two-Face could. I’m told that he and Jeph Loeb work really well together (Loeb’s other scripting jobs seem to be more-or-less critic-proof), and I’ve been tempted by “A Superman for All Seasons”, which is the style the pair reunite on in this book. The two of them also did a lot of stuff at Marvel, like “Spider-Man: Blue” and “Hulk: Gray” and “Daredevil: Yellow” and “Punisher: Black” and “Iron Man: Rust” and “Heathcliff: Orange” and “Team America: Red, White, and Blue” and “Kickers Inc: Teal With a Whisper of Cinnamon” and many other exciting projects that retell older stories, but not in a manga style because that would be Marvel Age. Er, anyway, Sale also teams with Brian Azzarello for a Catwoman/Batman thing, and Dark Horse’s Diana Shultz for some Supergirl action. Darwyn Cooke also writes something, but DC’s solicitation didn’t bother to say what it was so it must be some dumb old non-superhero story. But I’m sure Sale genuinely loves drawing those superheroes, and I’m certain they’ll sell a lot better than anything else he chose to draw given his blank canvass. I’ll probably look in to this; I’m sure it’ll look good. But I’m really looking forward to next issue’s Richard Corben spotlight, featuring Tales of Terror (and a story with The Spectre), and issue #3, which features Paul Pope; oh where did you go, "100%" trade? And then we’ve got Mike Allred and Howard Chaykin lined up for the future, so I’m glad the book is out there.

Adam Strange #2 (of 8): A victory for blogs. I wouldn’t have even looked at this hadn’t everyone started buzzing about it. Issue #1 was a nice solid sci-fi thing, and it looked great. Pascal Ferry and colorist Dave McCaig are doing some bang-up work.

Planetary #21: With issue #22 already set for a January release, it looks like this book is pretty securely back on a quarterly schedule, despite Ellis and Cassaday taking on all sorts of other projects in the meantime. Both issues will focus on Snow’s escalating battle with The Four, this one bringing us action, and #22 filling in gaps in history. And that’ll take us to about April 2005. At least this book’s been able to keep up a high enough level of quality that it’s rarely dipped below “Oh! If only it’d come out more often!” on the collective fan enthusiasm charts, which at this point is a miracle, certainly not an achievement to overlook.

We3 #2 (of 3): Awwwww, now that wasn’t too bad a wait, right?! Get out your umbrella for the shower of praise that will doubtlessly accompany this latest Morrison/Quitely dispatch, and don’t get too agitated; it’ll probably deserve it, even if it takes 2 minutes to read. But that’ll be 2 better minutes that most comics can manage these days…

Green Lantern: Rebirth #1 (of 6): A turning point in the history of Green Lanterns! That is, turning things back around. I hope Hal decides to choose evil after all and just spends every issue committing wicked deeds with his ring. That would be great: every issue would be new, from wholesale genocide and trans-dimensional havoc to stealing all of the ice cream in town and putting cats in trees. But he’d still have the ring and thus be a Green Lantern, because that’s what the fans want too. None of those heated pleas for Hal’s return specified a nice Green Lantern, right?

Black Widow #2 (of 6): One of the better Marvel solo hero miniseries (and yes, now it's definitely a miniseries). Except, Sienkiewicz is no longer penciling. He’s down to inks only now, and Goran Parlov is handling the pencils. I have no idea why. I know I heard the name Goran Parlov attached to this project early on, but I had no idea he was replacing the Sink on pencils. Is that why Sienkiewicz was adopting a more subdued style for issue #1? To keep the art looking more consistent for the inevitable trade? And it looks to be staying this way until issue #4 at the least. So yeah, if it matters to you: BILL SIENKIEWICZ IS ONLY INKING THIS TITLE FOR THE FORSEEABLE FUTURE. But the story’s not bad either. I’ll give next issue a browse; I suspect that the visuals won’t be changing that much.

Amazing Spider-Man #513: The Internet is amused!

Frank Miller’s Robocop #7 (of 9): Well speak of the devil! Just last week we get a new “Nightjar” (which I still can’t find anywhere) and now we have the latest installment of Steven Grant’s adaptation of Frank Miller’s “Robocop 2” screenplay, with garishly satisfying art by Juan Jose Ryp? IN BLOOD-SOAKED COLOR?? Must be for Halloween.