What you expected, eh?

*Dang, that's a lot of original productions in there along with the collections and pamphlets here in


The Cute Manifesto: Hopefully poised to do better business than writer/artist James Kochalka’s American Elf collection, though I don’t know if “A powerful mixture of philosophy and comics that can literally change your life forever” will be more palatable than a big block of whimsical slice-of-life anecdotes. Still, fans will absolutely want it, even if only as a career-spanning extended statement of intent; the book collects Kochalka’s infamous ‘Craft is the Enemy’ letters to The Comics Journal (read ‘em here - ooh, will Jim Woodring’s response be reprinted too?!) as well as a bunch of notable minicomics. Sure to be inquisitive, yet undeniably cute.

Hellboy: The Island #2 (of 2): The last issue to be written and drawn by Mike Mignola for the foreseeable future. That’s reason enough to pick it up, right? The story is more frenzied and abstract than usual, but I liked it a lot, and I really want to see what Mignola does with the second half.

Dead West: The latest release from the Teenagers From Mars crew of Rick Spears and Rob G., a zombie western about a bounty hunter who reluctantly protects a pregnant whore against the undead, self-published by Spears‘ Gigantic Graphic Novels. Rob G. did some nice work on the duo’s last project, the AiT/Planet-Lar noir outing Filler, even though the script didn’t do the trick for me. This one seems more gregarious, and it might make for better entertainment.

Hee: Evil evil gag cartoons by Ivan Brunetti, in this sequel to his similarly-intentioned Haw. Expect single-panel disgust and malicious feelings all around.

Alan Moore’s Hypothetical Lizard #3 (of 4): I really dug the first issue of this; one of Antony Johnston’s smoother translations of a Moore prose work to the comics form, with some lovely art by Lorenzo Lorente. But I didn’t dig it quite enough to go to Internet lengths to track down issue #2; just seeing it sitting in a store will be prompting enough, thank you. Still: pretty good.

Albion #2 (of 6): And in other not entirely Alan Moore news, we have this. It’s pretty tight so far, I don’t think my having heard of none of these revivified English supercharacters has damaged the reading experience; just think of it as Terra Obscura, which also sported dozens of near-forgotten characters utilized to amusing effect by the plotting arm of Moore and the executing fingers of divers hands. No, it’s not as good as a pure Moore script, but it is good…

Promethea Book 5: However, this is great. Oh, how I went on and on about this thing, especially the final issue; now you get to enjoy the End of the World in hardcover splendor, with a revised pull-out poster version of issue #32. I don’t need to say anything more, save for the fact that you really shouldn’t make this your first Promethea purchase; go back to Book 1. The rest of you already know what you want, so have at it, and let’s hope for a softcover before the actual conclusion to all things.

City of Tomorrow #4 (of 6): Hmmm, I really need to get working on that Time2 survey I was planning. Soon, very soon.

JLA Classified #10: In which DC dusts the cobwebs off a six-stack set of 2003 Warren Ellis scripts and presents it to an artist to draw (Butch Guice, in this case). I know Desolation Jones was also written a while ago, before any artist was attached, and that turned out ok. And the same thing will be happening with Jack Cross, I believe. It’s like the rays of the sun just lighting our eyes right now, innit?

Combat Zone: True Tales of GIs in Iraq: Hey! Look what’s actually coming out! Sure, Marvel might be pushing it out the door with a broom and locking up behind it, with nary a peep emitted on the advertising front, but wow - it’s really being released. For those who haven’t heard of this tumultuous tome, it’s a chronicle of events concerning the real-life 82nd Airborne, and its time fighting the most recent War in Iraq. The title was originally announced as a 5-issue miniseries back in late 2004, though it allegedly spent a considerable amount of time in production, with a number of artists signing on and dropping out mid-project for undisclosed reasons. But why would any ever-lovin’ Mighty Marvel Maven not want to hop aboard the good ship’s maiden 21st century voyage into fact-based comics?

The key, perhaps, lies with the writer, one Mr. Karl Zinsmeister, also editor-in-chief of American Enterprise Magazine, official fan-addict glossy of The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy and Research, a noted conservative think-tank with ties to The Project for a New American Century, an “educational organization whose goal is to promote American global leadership,” which counts such modern policy superstars as Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and Jeb Bush among its founding members. Also, Publishers Weekly dubbed his last book about the 82nd, the prose-based Boots on the Ground: A Month With the 82nd Airborne in the Battle for Iraq “…both a conservative polemic and a vivid portrait of American infantrymen in action” featuring “pages and pages of splenetic rants against the anti-war movement and Zinsmeister's fellow journalists, whom he dubs "left-wing, cynical, wiseguy Ivy League types.”” (I found it on Amazon)

This has perhaps dribbled a concern or two onto some minds as to the political slant of the book, but I say: why not? Even if it’s more 'polemic' than 'vivid portrait,' it probably can’t be much more grating than the opposite-aisle likes of SPX 2004, and Marvel is perfectly free to deploy as many frothing neo-con bon-bon boxes into the Direct Market as they see fit (not that the book is 100% ironclad guaranteed to even be such a thing, but I must admit that the weight of circumstantial evidence is, er, weighty). But damn, they sure don’t want to make a big deal about it, and this is Marvel we’re talking about. Maybe they’re just concerned about the quality of the book, and the fact that it’s a $20 original graphic novel being sent out into the bad old Direct Market, its quivering body denuded of spandex?

Also, Dan Jurgens did the art, and I’m not a huge fan.

Is it time to dust off my old theory that the project may have been initially cleared as 'balance' for Marvel’s ill-fated peace-themed 411 miniseries (the final issue of which was never published), then languished in production hell as time and artists wore on, and the political heat cooled?