The center... is giving way...

*Say... over there! W… what’s that coming out of Cloak’s cape?! Oh… oh god, I thought you were gone forever! It’s… it’s…

Last week’s column!

Yes, dangerous fireworks displays may have kept it in hibernation for the 4th of July weekend, but now it’s back and more relevant than ever! Do enjoy!

*Eagle-eyed readers like dear Ian have probably noticed something missing from this site in the last couple days, mainly my big July 3rd post featuring thoughts on War of the Worlds (pretty good but declines in quality as it goes along) and reviews of Darwyn Cooke’s issue of Solo (decent enough writing for lovely art and a nice sense of coherence as a total package) and Albion #1 (promising, but then so was Wild Girl issue #1; I have higher hopes for this one). It was a big post, and I have no idea what happened to it. I’m currently working on recovering it (thanks, holiday weekends at my parents’ house! and a special shout-out to the hard drive that I saved the HTML to!). Internet gremlins and all that. They should develop a spray. EDIT (7/7/05, 12:22 AM): Ok, I've got it back up! and the other day's 'Last Week's Reviews' has been adjusted too. I even reconstructed the comments section. I do it all for you.

*I am suddenly surrounded with things to read. That’s good. But there’s still time to look forward to


Cinema Panopticum: Another hardcover album from Fantagraphics devoted to Swiss scratchboard maestro Thomas Ott, crafter of dark suspense and gallows humor with a flair for clingy detail and taste for EC-type twist endings, all without a single word of dialogue. Contains four new short stories (Ott’s work has been gradually released in the US in recent years, creating a domestic illusion of prolificacy; this is actually his first brand-new comics in roughly a decade) and a reprint from the Comix 2000 anthology. I’m ready for the sure-to-be lavish production values; Ott is one of those artists Fantagraphics lavishes love upon, despite a seeming indifference to his work on the part of many readers. You’d think that his pulp sensibilities would spark a bit more interest. Or maybe it’s the deluxe $18.95 price tag. At least you’re getting an album-sized visual experience, though. Check it out. And check out Bart Beaty’s review of a European edition of the same stuff. Check everything out!

Ocean #6 (of 6): Fashionably late conclusion to the Warren Ellis/Chris Sprouse miniseries, which unfortunately took a turn for the worse in the most recent issue. My world-renowned, non-stop optimism (you've probably read about it in Time) commands me to hope for the best here, since somewhere in the back is lurking a good little story about a force far stupider than stupid humanity aching to spin that vicious cycle of violence one more time. A jumbo-sized 48 pages for only fifty cents more, so there’s that to consider too.

The Intimates #9: Amusingly, this book is managing a multi-part ‘summer vacation’ story that runs all the way through the actual summer. It says something about current comics marketing and release that I even consider this worthy of mentioning, but yeah. Neat trick. I liked last issue, even if it was (shall we say) highly reminiscent in part of that one issue of Automatic Kafka where they defeat a hurricane with the power of orgasm (#6, I believe); something about Joe Casey and female superheroes releasing their might through sexual energy. This book reminds me of Automatic Kafka a lot, in that it was slow-starting but had gotten to be genuinely interesting by the end, enough so that I was bothered when it was cancelled so suddenly (I literally didn’t know the last issue was coming until I read the story therein, which basically spelled out the book’s cancellation for everyone). Anyhow, this book has now lasted exactly as long as Automatic Kafka, and there’s two more issues already solicited, so that’s good.

Daredevil Vs. The Punisher #1 (of 6): Dave Lapham as writer/artist. Hmmmmm. I’ll flip through it. I sure like me that Frank Castle, and giving Lapham control this extensive might make everything turn out swell. On the other hand, advance word isn’t too hot. The very definition of a flip-through for the shelf.

*And that’s all I see. Why not spend your extra reading time going over Chris Butcher's adventures with Canada Customs (surely a constant concern for Canadian retailers, one that many US-based readers like myself don't always consider), including his rousing defense of Co-Ed Sexxtasy as a work of artistic merit. You will enjoy it.