Big news from all over!

*If the folks at Kino on Video aren't careful, they’re going to wind up ruling the world. I just recently found out that they’re putting out a lovely looking R1 disc of Luis Bunuel’s 1930 classic, “L’Age D’Or”, co-written by Salvador Dali, which provoked riots and bannings upon its initial theatrical release. That’s out on 11/23. Now I discover this new press release Kino’s put out, announcing a four-disc box set of Edison Company films, some of them dating back to the late 19th century. It’s called “Edison: The Invention of the Movies” and it streets on 2/2/05. There will be over 140 short films, ranging from the earliest shots of people sneezing (still spellbinding entertainment!) to all sorts of genres like the western, comedy, documentary, even advertisement. Also: hours of interviews with Edison scholars and lots of rare photos and documents. At first glance, there appears to be some content overlap with Kino’s essential “The Movies Begin” box, which covered a far wider range of world material in its five discs. This will be a far more focused set, and will doubtlessly prove no less vital to fans of the infant cinema. There’s a ton more great stuff out now, like a Wong Kar-Wai box set and a pair of new silent Fritz Lang releases: a freshly restored extended cut of “Spies” and his lesser-known post “Metropolis” sci-fi epic “Woman in the Moon”. It’s just too much.

*Fantagraphics has so many neat things coming out in the Spring and Summer of 2005. That new second anthology we've heard about (with the fixed roster) is called "Mome" and it's a 136-page book, with new editions released quarterly. There's Jim Woodring illustration book "Seeing Things" which we now discover will feature many of the charcoal drawings Woodring did for his stage show with Bill Frisell. There's the Winsor McCay collection "Daydreams & Nightmares". And then there's "The Freebooters", the second of the three "BWS: Storyteller" hardcovers culled from the aborted Barry Windsor-Smith series. I recently got the first five of the nine published issues from a local shop for $1.50. It's really cool stuff, but don't expect an ending out of this hardcover; much like "Young Gods and Friends" we'll get a lot of story fragments and unpublished chapters and more of the 'Party' epilogue, but that's it. (Found at Tom Spurgeon's)


Kramer’s Ergot 5: You won’t be seeing this one on Diamond’s list or at your local shop for a few weeks, but you can order it from here right now if you want to be the first on your block to check the stuff out; the mere availability of a new “Kramer’s Ergot” makes it the instant highlight of the week. In case you missed out, “Kramer’s Ergot 4” was one of the most acclaimed anthology releases of 2003, striking a nearly perfect balance between storytelling and visual splendor. The creators were mainly young, but the material was very high quality, well above the average for a big anthology. Also above average was the production itself, a lavish, full-color 300+ pages. This new installment is just as big (320 pages, full-color again) and even wider in scope with long-established talents like Gary Panter and Chris Ware and rising stars like Kevin Huizenga joining such fine returning folks as Marc Bell, Mat Brinkman, Ron Rege Jr., plus several names I‘ve never heard before. This is one of my most anticipated releases in a while, and I hope editor Sammy Harkham maintains the high level of quality that volume 4 established (and if you haven‘t seen that one yet you can order it here; I deprived myself until just a few weeks ago and I‘m striking my breast in penance).

Blab Vol. 15: Unfortunately, the new “Blab” now has to face off with Kramer’s for my attention, and there’s little contest. It feels like the last “Blab” just came out a few months ago; I recall being under whelmed. I like most of the usual crew that contributes to this long-running anthology title, like Doug Allen of “Steven” and underground vet Spain. But “Blab” has gotten farther and farther away from storytelling in recent years, focusing mainly on pure visual design and less on plot or theme. It’s always an attractive production, and I’m sure editor Monte Beauchamp’s historical presentation will be interesting (I adore his art book of Christmas-themed Krampus postcards, “The Devil in Design”, featuring an evil anti-Santa who terrorized old-world children if they were naughty). But it’s getting harder to work up a lot of enthusiasm for the familiar “Blab” effect with so much great new work coming out.

The Comics Journal Library Vol. 4: Drawing the Line: The first of this invaluable compilation series of Journal interviews to focus on more than one talent at a time. Here we've get four: Ralph Steadman, Jules Feiffer, Edward Sorel, and David Levine. The Journal’s interviews are sure to be comprehensive and probing, and the large format will accommodate many tasty art samples, no doubt, but I’m just not very interested (or even familiar) with some of these subjects. Fans of the above will want to jump on it though.

Challengers of the Unknown #6 (of 6): Final installment of Howard Chaykin’s somewhat padded (maybe just repetitive) but smashingly entertaining gunfire meditation on current politics. If you’re still onboard this far out, I doubt you’re getting off.

Wild Girl #1 (of 6): Interesting looking ABC mini from Leah Moore (of various ABC short stories) and John Reppion; in a few months the two will also be co-writing some revived IPC/Fleetway superheroes in a miniseries for Wildstorm titled “Albion” with ABC mastermind Alan Moore. This book features art from Shawn McManus with additional work by J.H. Williams III of the elder Moore’s “Promethea”. ABC minis without (Alan) Moore at the script are always a little dicey, but I'm giving this one a try.

Ocean #2 (of 6): I wasn’t bothered much by the pacing of the first chapter of this Warren Ellis/Chris Sprouse mini; I think it was the novelty of a new Ellis world keeping my attention. We’ll see how much develops in this second part, as we draw ever closer to the secrets under Europa’s waters. Besides, if you really want to waste money on Warren Ellis tomorrow there’s nothing to top:

Warren Ellis’ Apparat Preview: For those who just can’t wait another week or two for the actual books to be released, here’s a $2 sampler for Ellis’ upcoming set of four Avatar one-shots. I’m interested in the books, but most certainly not in this. You know, I bet you can find some nice info on these titles online, complete with art samples, without paying two bucks for the pleasure.

Iron Man #1: Making it a hat-trick. It’s the latest Ellis superhero project at the House of Ideas, joining the slothful mini “Ultimate Nightmare” and a questionable arc on “Ultimate Fantastic Four” (with another to come). Forgive me if I don‘t combust from the heat of my enthusiasm. But “Iron Man” sure sounds like the most Ellis-ready of his Marvel pursuits…

Avengers Finale #1: If only every awful storyline could be commemorated by a star-studded tribute book! The Spider-Clone Finale would probably rival “Kramer’s Ergot” in size and breadth…

Identity Crisis # 6 (of 7): I have not heard of this book. Somebody fill me in on this story!