Trio of Terror!

*I am determined to drive myself mad with... determination by presenting no less than three regular features today! I shall start with


Spawn - Batman (and why this choice wheel of early Image cheese is better than All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder)

Hellboy: The Island #2 (of 2)

JLA: Classified #10 (first Warren Ellis issue, don't mind the deja vu)

Suicide Club (Jisatsu Circle) Vol. 1 (of 1) (scanlation review of the unique and somewhat successful movie adaption from Usamaru Furuya)

Gødland #1 (Joe Casey and Tom Scioli cover The King)

And also, some stuff on Avatar's Nightjar books at A Certain Galaxy of Comic Books.

Ok! One down.



I’ve got a quick review of the four-issue minicomics series Earth Minds Are Weak from creator Justin J. Fox of Cliff Face Comics. It’s a fascinating (if rough) series of wordless comics sporting a decent tap of the dreamscape. Have a peek. And after that, have a second peek at Galaxy columnist Shawn Hoke’s new minicomics blog, an expansion on his Size Matters column - it’s good.

*Ok, almost there. Much much heavier on the trades than the floppies


Top Ten: The Forty-Niners: With a brand-new miniseries coming soon featuring the participation of a whopping 0% of the original creative team, coupled with the recent news of a possible feature film adaptation from producer Akiva Goldsman, now couldn’t be a more poignant time to see the release of writer Alan Moore’s swan song on this title, an original graphic novel with artist Gene Ha. At $24.95 for 112 pages it’s quite pricey, it’s most certainly not Moore’s first original graphic novel as the ads have been claiming (obviously not too many A Small Killing fans over at Wildstorm), and it looks from the preview like we’ll all get to enjoy some edited profanities, even in shrink-wrapped hardcover format, which is just sad. But even sadder will be Moore’s departure from this very successful world; just as the related Smax miniseries veered into the ultra-bright cartoon stylings of co-creator Zander Cannon, this long-in-production work swings into heavy realism from co-creator Ha, offering a sense of balance, of compliment. And just as the original Top Ten and Smax explored different facets of the world, this book travels backward in time to the founding of Neopolis, that fabled all-superhero city of dreams. Moore has not disappointed under this banner, and I wouldn’t bank on him screwing up now; either cash in on Wednesday or start saving your pennies now.

Bambi & Her Pink Gun Vol. 1: S… say! Is that title some kind of joke? Surveying the current state of comics in the US, it’s impossible to ignore the influence that manga is already having on the domestic art. However, as some of you have already inquired, doesn’t it go in both directions? What about manga that’s thoroughly influenced by western comics? This week has an answer - the first installment of Atsushi Kaneko’s saga of a heat-packing gal, the toddler she keeps on a leash, and the scores of killers and crazies that strive to collect the 500,000,000 yen price on her head. Publishers Weekly insists that it owes as much to Love and Rockets and Sin City as Japanese books; the preview art (click on the Bambi picture) suggests to me a cleaner Taiyo Matsumoto with whispers of Paul Pope. Dirk Deppey reviewed it back in The Comics Journal #268, citing a Geof Darrow feel and calling it both “supremely stylish” and “as empty-headed as its protagonist.” I bet it’ll make for good fun, and a bit of an education on visual cross-pollination.

Drawn & Quarterly Showcase Vol. 3: The main event in this installment of D&Q’s homegrown forum for new standalone works from acclaimed young creators is an original tale from Kramers Ergot mastermind Sammy Harkham, who also has a new series titled Crickets out from D&Q starting this fall. The art looks really nice, in lovely two-color style (I‘m still more excited about the cover art for the hotly anticipated Kramers 6, however). But don’t underestimate fellow contributors Genevieve Castrée (one billion art samples here) or Matt Boersma (er, can’t seem to find anything); they’re probably formidable too.

Ed the Happy Clown #2 (of 9): The paper quality is going to be just barely above that of toilet tissue, the size is going to be small, it’s still going to cost three bucks, and the whole thing will possibly appear in a revised collected form another two years down the road anyway, but goddamn it if these early Chester Brown comics aren't still crackling with life today! I also don’t own any of the prior (and now out-of-print) collections, so I have a better reason to get these books than some folks, Brown’s all-new annotations providing mere icing on the cake rather than the sole reason for purchase. They’re good annotations too, though…

Hip Flask: Mystery City (The Big Here & The Long Now - Episode One of Three): Wow. I guess it’s time for another 36-or-so-page issue of Hip Flask; this is actually issue #3, but I guess issue numbers don’t really count for much when you’re taking two years between installments. Joe Casey is also no longer scripting, leaving the writing chores to Richard Starkings (also head of the Comicraft lettering studio, which the title character here once served as mascot for) and Jose Ladronn, who also provides the ultra-rich European fantasy album flavored art, with a divertingly realist take on funny animal possibilities. It’s in standard comics pamphlet size, however (an limited-edition album-sized hardcover of issue #1, Unnatural Selection, was made available at some point). Still, it looks nice in any dimensions; check out some preview art here. I think I recall enjoying issue #2 (Elephantmen); I wonder how forgiving I’ll be with a three-part story. Ooooh, it’s just like Optic Nerve!

Marvel 1602: The New World #1 (of 6): On one hand, I guess it’ll be nice for writer Greg Pak to expand on the conclusion of Neil Gaiman’s crashingly unimpressive (but unsurprisingly mega-selling) 2003-2004 miniseries event, considering that Gaiman’s (to borrow the phrase from Michael J. Weldon) irritating non-ending all but provided a blank concluding page with a post-it reading “Insert Sequel Here” affixed on top. And Greg Tocchini and Mark Morales’ art has to be an improvement on the dull, smeary visuals of Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove. On the other hand, is this really necessary at all? Was anyone clamoring for a big return to this particular universe without Gaiman at the helm, considering that the original miniseries was hyped largely on the basis of nobody knowing what the fuck it was about but hell man, Neal Gaiman's writing?! Ah well, money to be made, I’m sure.

The Ballad of Halo Jones: We start with new Alan Moore, we end with old Alan Moore. In case any of you missed out on the Titan Books release of this series, considered by many to be the very best of Moore’s 2000 A.D. work, here’s a new DC-backed printing. Moore and artist Ian Gibson released three of an intended nine Halo Jones stories yearly from 1984-1986, until the increasingly acclaimed and popular Moore grew disenchanted with the magazine’s work-for-hire policies and stingy royalty payments, pulling the plug on future installments. What survives, though, is a lovely story about a smart, restless woman who sets off into universe and learns a thing or two about war and people, and it’s all contained here. Any Moore fans who’re missing it: now’s the time.

*All right. I am flexed and mighty.