This was enough time.

*In case you didn’t see it, I updated twice yesterday, so scroll way on down to two reviews of recent comics, which I managed to write just in time for this week’s new comics to come out. Yay me.


Mighty light on the wallet this week. That’s good, though. I could use the break. And maybe if you’re buying as few new pamphlets this week as me, you might want to put some of that extra cash toward…

100%: Sure it’s twenty-five bucks, but it’s over 250 pages of awesome Paul Pope art, building an unusually convincing future urban world with gritty, steaming detail. There’s murder on the streets. People pile into clubs to enjoy the latest pleasure: Gastro - the art of an exotic dancer cavorting around on stage with the sloshing mass of her inner organs captured and beamed onto viewscreens surrounding the stage. Nudity is no longer enough; the latest fetish is peering literally under the skin. But the workers of one of these clubs (and the people they know, or used to know) are still looking for friendship and love. Really, this is a romance comic, with several pairs of characters hooking up for the first time or reconnecting after a long period. And still the City surrounds them, maybe defining them, the progression of the world defying the tenderness of their hearts. Even if you missed Pope’s excellent recent issue of “Solo” (that’s issue #3), this is a fine introduction to his long-form storytelling, and possibly his single finest complete work. And the more seasoned fans will doubtlessly enjoy the way in which Pope carefully reconfigures previously unrealized ideas, bits and pieces of his abandoned Japanese-market “Smoke Navigator” story (itself collected in the long out-of-print but painfully pretty “Buzz Buzz Comics Magazine”) here, notions from a long-promised but never-produced “Escapo”-related story titled “The Fighter” there. And yet, it all fits together in this city, these old and new stories, these old and young people. This collected edition will feature a whole bunch of design sketches and other bonuses, and hopefully all of Pope’s background-setting prose material from the various individual issues of the original serialization. You really want to try this book out; I highly recommend it.

Tony Millionaire’s Sock Monkey: That Darn Yarn: Although, for far less money you can score the latest “Sock Monkey” epic from the incomparable Tony Millionaire. I see that “Sock Monkey” has more or less abandoned the pamphlet form to focus entirely on original hardcovers. The last outing, “Uncle Gabby”, was basically an extended color issue in hardcover book format. This is also a hardcover, weighing in at 40 pages, but each side of the book features a different storyline, the left side regarding the title character’s creation, and the right side focusing on his unraveling after snagging himself on a tack. Both plots eventually meet, as creation and destruction shake hands. At eight bucks for what I suspect will be a storybook sort of production, well, it’s actually still a damn sight cheaper than other “Sock Monkey” hardcovers, and fans will surely want to press it to their bosoms. It’s guaranteed that it’ll look amazing, given Millionaire’s ever-impressive attention to detail.

Shaolin Cowboy #2: I wonder what details will be revealed in this new issue of the better half of Burlyman’s output? Will there be a plot? Or will the action become even more frantic and consumptive? I’m kind of hoping for a little more downtime, not because I think Geof Darrow’s action sequences won’t be delightful and goopy, but because he actually did a pretty nice job with the playful, wandering dialogue in the premiere issue. Here’s a double-page splash from issue #2; the dialogue is a bit more arch, but it made me smile (it‘s extra funny when you follow the balloon tails to the characters who‘re speaking the lines). “We ain’t here to such on out teeth and scratch each other’s asses… agreeable as that sounds.” It fits Darrow’s art very nicely, just as well as Frank Miller’s (unless I’m mistaken, most of “Hard Boiled” involved the protagonist delivering dialogue along the lines of “Jiminy Crickets! I gotta find th’ wife and kids!” while smashing his car into a massive on-stage orgy or something). Here’s hoping, eh?

Wild Girl #5 (of 6): And speaking of books where not much happens… ah, I’ll be nice. This is a perfectly good-hearted book, with some truly excellent art, that just happens to have been spinning its wheels for the last two issues. Silly old six-issue trade-minded structure. Writers Leah Moore and John Reppion (a recently minted wife/husband team, as I learned in the most recent issue of “Comic Book Artist”) will also be scripting the upcoming Wildstorm British superhero revival project “Albion”, with a plot by Alan Moore, father of the bride. Cautiously looking forward to it…