Two guides to upcoming things.

*First things first: anyone who’s been reading either this site or Comic Book Galaxy on a frequent basis knows that few upcoming books are more heavily anticipated by me than next month’s “Or Else” #3 by Kevin Huizenga. Back around Free Comic Book Day, Brian Nicholson informed me that Drawn and Quarterly’s entry in the promotional giveaway sweepstakes had offered some awesome clues as to what would be in this upcoming issue, including a piece on future Eisner Hall of Fame inductee Floyd Gottfredson. Well, I’ve finally managed to secure a copy of that free D&Q book, and I’ve pulled out a magnifying glass to examine the “Or Else” cover art provided therein, and I’ve uncovered some very choice info on Mr. Huizenga’s site.

Most vitally, here’s part of (or maybe the whole of) the Gottfredson piece, subject to revision. I don’t know if this has been published before; Huizenga even has a much rougher version from his sketchbook uploaded. I hope there’ll be more!

Almost everything in “Or Else” is a somewhat revised reprint of something that already appeared in Huizenga’s long-lived fourteen-issue “Supermonster” minicomic series. This pattern will continue into issue #3, and presumably issue #4. Huizenga has also noted, however, that he’s considering beginning a new series titled “Ganges”, named for his signature character Glenn Ganges. This material may, however, simply be folded into a fifth issue of “Or Else”. But why consider a split? Perhaps Huizenga is planning to produce brand-new material in pamphlet form, and wants to keep it separate from the wider-distributed revised “Supermonster” that is “Or Else”? It’s all speculation on my part, but here’s a piece of tentative cover art for the possible new series to delight you.

As for “Or Else” #3, the rest of the material listed on the cover (which I sadly can’t seem to find an online version of) seems to be coming from different issues of “Supermonster”, as it was in issue #1. “Al and Gertrude” hails from “Supermonster” #12; Huizenga has provided the entire story here, though (as always) he may be updating it for the new D&Q presentation. “March 6, 1999” is from the same issue. “I Stand Up for Zen” was the (sub)title story from “Supermonster” #13, and “Phone Story” may be a version of “Phone Story 3” from “Supermonster” #11 (which, along with issue #9, also provided material for “Or Else” #1). There’s one final story, the title of which I can’t even make out; might be all-new, might be from somewhere else. But for a sloth like myself who didn’t get on at anywhere near the ground floor, all of these reprints are causes for excitement, as those long-gone minis are totally out of reach.

Be sure to check out Huizenga’s online archives and current comics page; there’s tons of stuff there, including several full stories from all sorts of gigs and assignments, plus a lot of good sketchbook stuff!

*And, if you don’t want to have to wait for an established independent comics company to repackage some potentially great work, you should buy some minicomics online! And look: The Catastrophe Shop has updated their stock! And Poopsheet has an all-new store! Go get ’em!

*As for our dear Direct Market, well, there‘s once again quite mercifully slim pickings…


Strange Eggs #1: There’s some interesting pamphlet-format anthologies out this week. This first one is from Slave Labor, bearing a typically gothy cover, and featuring several of their mainstays. The premise of the book is that a pair of kids keep getting shipments of eggs, which hatch into different stories by different contributors. Very dark, nasty humor on display, apparently, but seeing names like Roger Langridge of “Fred the Clown” in the credits give me hope. Only four bucks too. May be worth a flip.

Drippytown Comics and Stories #4: Probably more enticing to me is the fourth installment of this somewhat-annual pamphlet-format anthology. As usual, some big names contribute pieces (Tony Millionaire and Marc Bell this time) to draw attention to lesser-known creators, with an emphasis on humor, if I recall correctly. Fifty-six pages for $6, full contributor list here. Good to see this thing is still kicking, as they haven’t had a release since 2003.

Dark Horse Book of the Dead: All of this isn’t to say that the deluxe hardcover anthology format is taking a rest, oh no. Here’s the third installment of Dark Horse’ horror-themed house anthology, complete with its largely-constant slate of artists. I’m sure there’s some of you out there willing to plunk down the fifteen bucks just for the new “Hellboy” story, but you’ll also get the latest installment of Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson’s “Stray”, plus new work by Eric Powell of “The Goon” and the great Guy Davis, and a story by much-admired “Batman” and “Deadman” artist Kelly Jones, last seen working on some Steve Niles books. And for the obligatory prose selection, we get a Robert E. Howard short, illustrated (not sequentially adapted) by cover artist Gary Gianni. That’s a pretty damned strong line-up, and fifteen bucks for a 96-page hardcover is pretty damned good (if probably a bit beyond my means at the moment).

The Goon #12: Speaking of Powell, we also get the latest issue of his own book, continuing the saga from the issue prior, although last issue was actually pretty self-contained when you think about it. Anyhow, Dr. Alloy attacks the town, and the Goon defends it, and all of that. Robots will be hit!

Seven Soldiers - Guardian #2 (of 4): Of the four currently executing miniseries, this and “Zatanna” fall into the ‘underwhelming’ side of things, with “Shining Knight” and “Klarion” holding my attention much more. The last issue of this title in particular felt uniquely predictable among these books; it was an extremely run-of-the-mill superhero origin tale, though I guess the atmosphere of Kirby homage was enough to keep it humming for many readers. I just thought it was sort of dull, though not particularly deficient in any one area. Cameron Stewart’s art also felt oddly uninspired, though certainly far from displeasing. It’s the kind of book where I’m not sure how to articulate my feelings, as it’s plainly not bad. It’s just very uninspired. Maybe it’ll pick up this issue.