They can never see your face.

*In honor of Batman Begins having recently appeared in theaters to supple praise and warm reception, this week’s column covers matters of patience and reserve, and probably bald-faced skepticism. Apply these lessons to your weekly comics purchases today! Or another day, if that’s when you buy your comics! Print it out, then clip ‘n save! Carry your monitor around with you! Anything!

*There’s an awful lot of comics-related stuff in this week’s (and next week’s) double-sized special issue of Entertainment Weekly (#826/827), and you’ve probably already heard of some of it at Fanboy Rampage today. But just a peek at the cover will reveal even more, and maybe tell you a bit about the coverage of comics as a whole within the issue: future Superman Returns stars Brandon Routh and Kate Bosworth are right on the cover, and take up slots #1 and #2 on the annual ‘Must List’ of things to love over the summer. I except that there’s no sort of qualitative ranking intended by one’s slot positioning in the feature; it doesn’t appear to be a Top 122 list. Indeed, the list is broken into subcategories, to separate the new from the young in all-important Mustness.

Which is maybe why it’s at least understandable as to why the comics-to-movies stuff appears far higher and more prominently than actual real-live comics professionals; of course the movies will get the bigger accompanying photos and longer explanatory articles. That’s what a wider audience in interested in. Sitting at #25 is Thomas Haden Church, whose entry is almost entirely devoted to his role in the new Spider-Man movie. “Let’s just say he’s an amorphous collection of protons, electrons, and neutrons, of different colors,” he says of his still-unannounced villainous part. Need I mention Jessica Alba of Fantastic Four at #3 and Mickey Rourke of Sin City at #61, both of their comics movie works prominently mentioned?

If you want authentic comics folk, you’ll have to flip down to #60 for Robert Kirkman’s piece, then over to #93 for Larry Young (in reference to subcategories, Kirkman is among the ‘establishment,’ while Young is one of the ‘up and comers’). I was a little saddened that neither man got to have a photo featured, like pretty much everyone else who wasn’t a product (the Must List accepts people, groups, projects, and finished creative works into its rank); I wanted to see Kirkman riding a motorcycle in black and white or Young sprawled across a leather sofa and holding a puppy or something.

But no, both men are represented by art from their comics, though the artists involved aren’t ever mentioned in EW’s write-ups (Ryan Ottley and Bill Crabtree for Invincible and Jon Proctor for Black Diamond are credited in teensy type over in the photo credits section). Kirkman (positioned on the same page as Coldplay) also gets to eat up 1/3 of his space talking about his favorite superhero movies (winner: Blade II). His work on the Invincible screenplay is duly noted. Young (located right across from The Arcade Fire) enthuses about talking monkey comics, and Brian Wood’s Demo, Rick Remender and Kieron Dwyer’s Black Heart Billy, and Matt Fraction’s Five Fists of Science are also noted among Young-published works (all books, you'll notice, are identified by only their writers, save for the more mixed case of Black Heart Billy which simply omits Harper Jaten). Don’t worry; they ask Larry about movies too, specifically Universal’s interest in Wood and Rob G.’s The Couriers.

But hey, comics getting hyped next to Joss Stone and ‘The Women of Deadwood.’ You’ve gotta trade off to get the coverage, especially when others are editing your comments into what they think their readers want to hear about.

Elsewhere in the issue, just to close the circle here, Batman Begins gets an ‘A’ from Lisa Schwarzbaum, continuing the amazing streak of critical raves (even Jeff Wells liked that movie, and he hates superhero flicks). Also, the ‘Movies’ section sports a short interview with manga author Hayao Miyazaki, whose new film Howl’s Moving Castle is playing in a few US theaters now. He expresses amazement that any US distributer wants to release his movies since Japanese audiences find them baffling enough (obviously not too much, considering that Miyazaki is probably the most reliable box office hitmaker working in Japan today). He also keeps his chin up regarding the fate of 2D animation: “Once in a while there are strange, rich people, who like to invest in odd things. You’re going to have people in corners of garages [making cartoons] to please themselves. And I’m more interested in the people who hang out in corners of garages than I am in big business.”

And if that’s not quite enough, guess who pops up in the front-half ‘News’ section? Here’s a hint: he’s taken some much-discussed shots at a big-time producer who’s working on the film adaptation of one of his comics scripts…

Even with the requisite Hollywood connection, it’s kind of weird seeing Alan Moore becoming the focus of a half-page news story in a major entertainment magazine (no photos, just to continue my little theme here; we get art by David Lloyd, who’s never mentioned in the article, and snapshots of Sean Connery and Natalie Portman). Surely Rich Johnston is pleased with his work. Moore was newly interviewed for the piece, but there’s no information revealed that you couldn’t get from Lying in the Gutters. Still, there’s some nice quotes (since it is Alan Moore after all): “I’m a snake worshiper, so I wouldn’t want to make too big a point of how reasonable I am.”

And finally, like Johanna, I also got a little subscription card for Ultimate Fantastic Four, probably the most direct comics marketing out of everything in the issue. Except... for some reason, my card omitted the price of a subscription. Really. It tells my that I'm saving 44% off the newsstand price ('newsstand'?), and it tells me how much a 24-issue subscription will be (how many Marvel books even last for 24 issues?), and it tells me how much money to add if I'm outside the US. But it never tells me exactly how much a 12-issue subscription costs. And apparently, Johanna's card didn't have the problem. Weird...

*I sure wish I had something to review for you all, but I haven’t even had time to read most of my comics with the way my week has been going; still trying to get used to my new routines. Lots of huge catch-up to come over the weekend, I promise you that.