Oh yes yes yes!

*Triumph Dept: As Ingwit points out in yesterday’s comments thread -


The news is out in a couple places. Vol. 1 sees release in February, 2006. And oh! Oh heavens!! A 'best of'?! Are they bringing over the 13 Greatest Hits series, just like I wanted?!?!

Oh wow. Oh I'm happy now. I am the very opposite of bored. Oh yes.

(Wait... you mean you… *gasp* *choke*… haven’t heard of Golgo 13?! Have a look at my two part special feature, hopefully not too riddled with errors and misleading conjecture!)

*Tom Spurgeon reviews a book you really really really need to procure post haste, even though there‘s a fairly good chance it’ll totally confound you: Gerald Jablonski’s self-published Cryptic Wit, released in 2002 with help from a Xeric Grant. I wrote a little about the same book way back in November of 2004, and I’ve since gotten to read Jablonski’s only other collected comics release, Fantagraphics’ 1996 Empty Skull Comics. Jim Woodring wrote an introduction to that book:

I don’t know Gerald Jablonski well enough to say whether or not he is crazy, but if he isn’t he’s the most gifted mimic since the leaf hopper. His comics, have that alarming glass-hard veneer of isolated intellect that distinguishes the product of the bona fide lunatic. There is no sense that he intends his work to be read, much less understood by others… There is no point in judging these comics by conventional standards any more than there is to critiquing an epidemic… Reading this book will be like your first parachute jump, or your first successful ménage a trios. Exhilarating new sensations will wash over you, the world will seem fresh and new for a short precious time. And afterwards, like the supplicant whose life of devotion culminates in a reality-shattering vision, your personality will bear the imprint of this experience for the rest of your days.”

Now that’s what I call an endorsement! You may have seen Jablonski’s obsessive renderings in various The Comics Journal Specials - once you’ve read a few of them, and become initiated into the world of Howdy and Dee Dee and Farmer Ned and the teacher who’s an ant and has a message for the people of the world, there’s no reason for you ever to leave, and you won’t want to.

*Wow, there’s a lot of stuff


Or Else #3: I need say no more. It’s the latest Kevin Huizenga release. I have the utmost confidence that it’ll wind up being the best thing out this week. I strongly recommend you all check this out, unless you’ve already got a copy (as seems to be the case with a number of you). Yeah, I’ve gushed enough. Just get it.

Smoke and Guns: New AiT/Planet-Lar release, written by Kirsten Baldock with art by Fabio Moon. My review is here (scroll down a bit).

Pure Trance: Early work from the popular Junko Mizuno, released not by her usual English-language home base of Viz, but by the venerable Last Gasp. Sure to be incredibly odd and poisonously cute. In the words of Chris Butcher: “Listen, I'm not going to lie to you. That book will fuck your shit right up.” Yes.

Japan: Hmmm, now this makes for a lovely contrast. A $12.95 Dark Horse release of a 1992 single-volume manga, written by Buronson with art from Kentarou Miura. Both are popular fellows as far as violent action and manly intrigue go - Buronson (who also works under the alternate pseudonym of ‘Sho Fumimura,’ though his real name is Yoshiyuki Okamura) has written such strapping epics as Sanctuary and Fist of the North Star, while Miura is best known as the writer/artist behind the popular gore-soaked barbarian fantasy, Berserk. This one sees a macho Yakuza thug, his measurably less-macho brother, a beautiful reporter, and a bunch of high school kids whisked away to a desolate future Japan for no-doubt thrilling escapades. The preview doesn’t have all that much to show; given the creative team and the premise, not to mention the solicitation promise of plenty of 18-and-up explicitness, it might be decent enough trash.

überbabe: [same as it ever was], the lost books of everything [or something] volume 1: Sure to be lavishly designed, this is a print format version of the graphic novel released online earlier this year, which itself was a collection of four comics put out individually since 2001 as gorgeously little design bites. Primarily written by Lisa Voldeng, with scads of lovely art by Rebecca Dart, among other contributors. I wrote a bit more about this stuff the other month; you might find it to your interest.

2020 Visions: Man, talk about up from the past! This is writer Jamie Delano’s 1997-98 Vertigo maxiseries, all twelve issues of which are now collected into a single trade by Cyberosia. It’s basically a quartet of three-chapter short stories, all of them set in the same nasty futuristic world, with a different artist set loose on each. The most notable of them today is obviously Frank Quitely (in his first post-Flex Mentallo major work), though you’ll also get some choice Warren Pleece, James Romberger, and Steve Pugh. I’ve heard it’s interesting work, and at only $19.95 for 296 pages, it’s not too big a financial risk. Look at the pretty pictures and spin it around in your head.

Solo #6: Covering the art of Jordi Bernet, an artist I’m not familiar with. This issue sees the needle moving back toward the Tim Sale direction of the ‘solo’ scale, since there’s five writers, five colorists, and two letterers credited in addition to Bernet himself. Apparently it’s going to be heavy on the mid-20th century newspaper adventure strip style, cheesecake most certainly included. I expect the cohesive single-unit construction of the past few issues of this book will be out the window for this one, but it might be worth checking out, $5 price tag notwithstanding.

Seven Soldiers - Shining Knight #4 (of 4): Is the bloom off the rose for old Shining Knight? I keep hearing it brought up as the weakest Seven Soldiers book; I suppose it suffers from having simply maintained a certain level of quality while Guardian and Zatanna jumped forward and Klarion gently drifted back. Then again, last issue was awfully wordy. Ah, no matter. This is the first of the conclusions of the project, and it’ll be nice to see how Morrison handles it.

BPRD: The Black Flame #1 (of 6): The latest miniseries (though really it’s an ongoing series with lengthy breaks in between arcs - there’s been a common, continuing plot running through each miniseries thus far) to feature the Hellboy supporting cast, and I’m still kind of torn. Artist Guy Davis is a gorgeous craftsman, and probably the best alternative to creator Mike Mignola imaginable, his scratchy renderings beautifully crafting all sorts of nasty sights and beasts while still managing some elegance for the main cast. But co-writer John Arcudi just doesn’t do the trick for me, and his arrival on the book coincided too neatly with a turn towards dumbed-down characters and less successful humor. Hey, as far as I know Mignola (also co-writer) himself may have devised that awful new Hardcore Ass-Kicking Zombie Captain to lead our heroes; whoever came up with the idea, it was a very bad one. So I don’t know. Looks reeeeeeal pretty!

Tom Strong #34: This time, we’re back to Steve Moore, former workhorse of Tom Strong’s Terrific Tales and future contributor to that Tomorrow Stories Special that’s coming soon. Art by Paul Gulacy and Jimmy Palmiotti. Can’t say I’m quivering in anticipation, but it’s remarkably tough to screw up a Tom Strong story, I’ve gotta say.

JLA: Classified #11: More of Warren Ellis toying with Major Superhero Icons. I don’t know about you, but I keep having to remind myself who’s working on this thing - ‘JLA: Classified’ is such a nondescript title to give a comic, it’s like a cloak of invisibility draped over the damn thing. I keep passing issues of this by in the store. And It doesn’t help that now we’ve got JSA: Classified to deal with. They should just convert these things into miniseries simply to benefit me - I think that’s the best direction for the DCU to take, actually. Benefiting me.

Astonishing X-Men #12: Interesting to hear the conversation regarding this one shifting to whether or not writer Joss Whedon is, well, actually writing the book. That’s hardly a vote of confidence. But few can deny that the title has suffered a rather sharp downturn in writing quality in the past arc (not that it was blowing minds to begin with, but at least it was entertaining, uninsulting X-Action). Cassaday is keeping up the pace to a certain degree, though. I mean, we could wind up with…

Daredevil: Father #2 (of 5): …this. Not that it’ll change sales a whit. You don’t even really need sales data to figure that out - I simply presume that if I’m willing to wait however many months for the new Planetary or Optic Nerve, the Joe Q. faithful (god bless ’em) will probably turn out for this, yearlong gap or not. Hell, there might even be an increase in sales, with all the notoriety this book has attracted. Same goes for Kevin Smith... hell, it’s probably double for him.