Be strong! Be fast! Be cheap!


Hate Annual #5: The thing with Peter Bagge is that I usually still find the obligatory Buddy story included in these more-or-less annual books to be pretty funny, even though his other projects haven’t left me nearly as satisfied. “Sweatshop” was an amusing idea for a DC book: a satire of the production of a different form of comics art, namely newspaper strips. But the book was slow in getting its footing, only really springing to life around issue #4 or 5. The book also sold poorly enough that those left waiting for the trade will probably be waiting forever now, which puts one into an awkward position regarding Bagge’s Dark Horse title, “Apocalypse Nerd”, which has also been getting pretty mixed reviews. Maybe it’ll get better later. But waiting may entail jumping in right at the center of a storyline, with only back-issues as a possible guide, the security of a collected format yanked away. Not that I really mind hunting around for back-issues; I think it’s fun. Some don’t. At least I’m pretty sure I’ll like one story in here, and this’ll also be my first look at Bagge’s “Bat Boy” strips from “Weekly World News”, and I’m confident they’ll prove to be an improvement over that thing with the internet-addict husband and wife that used to take up the same space in these annuals.

Four Letter Worlds: Image is just banging out these anthologies, aren’t they? The very popular “Flight” series, the delayed-but-still-forthcoming “Negative Burn” revival, and now this inexpensive ($13) 244-page volume of creators tackling eight-page stories based around the words ‘love’ ‘hate’ ‘fear’ and ‘fate’. Partial contributor list right here; clearly this one is gravitating toward more established ‘names’ than “Flight”, with quite a few familiar Image, Oni, and AIT/Planet-Lar talents on the roster. Probably worth a look, and certainly a decent value in terms of sheer volume of content.

Bilal Library: Memories: Well, if you’re still bummed by the end of DC’s Humanoids deal and you don’t really mind sacrificing page size for content volume, here’s a new collection of two early Enki Bilal albums to soothe your burning temper; I‘m certainly planning to catch up on my Bilal as soon as I have more money, and this four-page preview looks pretty neat, which also reminds me that they just elected a new Pope, some German fellow by the name of Ratzinger, which he really should have retained as his papal name. ‘Pope Ratzinger’ is awesome, and simply ‘Pope Zinger’ is potentially even more awesome, but ‘Pope Benedict XVI’? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

Batman: Jekyll & Hyde #1 (of 6): …zzzzzzzzzzWHAT?!?!?! A NEW BATMAN MINISERIES?! That certainly woke me up! But yeah, Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee reunite, if only for the first three issues. Since that’s all Lee managed to complete before DC got pissed with the progress he’d made. Ooops! I mean: to reinforce the duality of Two Face by splitting the book between two artists! Haha, that’s it. I love me that Jae Lee art, but I don’t know about this one.

Seven Soldiers - Klarion the Witch Boy #1 (of 4): And thusly we’re bestowed the fifth and final issue #1 in a row from the “Seven Soldiers” project, with the next not due until September. Soon we’ll dig into how the books actually plan to work off one another thematically or plot-wise or whatever. But not before this latest introduction.

Billy the Kid’s Old-Timey Oddities #1 (of 4): In which Billy the Kid fakes his death and falls in with a troupe of sideshow freaks who then tour Europe with the intent of stealing treasure from Dr. Frankenstein. Written by Eric Powell of “The Goon” with art by Kyle Hotz, who‘s worked with Powell in the past (like in a back-up story in “The Goon“). I think I’m supposed to say “With a wild and wooly set-up like that, well, who can resist?! This is what comics needs more of! Lols!” but actually there’s always a fair shot that these stories can just kind of sit there, coasting on premise. Powell usually manages some decent storytelling in his own book, however, so it’s worth a shot.