Large money gobbler ahead.

*Gosh I’m tired.


Nextwave #1, Blackgas #1 (of 3)

Local #3 (of 12)

Hotel Harbour View (older manga release - beautiful, sensitive tales of ultimate killers, from the team that brought you The Times of Botchan)

And a film review for the George Clooney film Good Night, and Good Luck.

I wasn’t as tired back then.

*Coming Attractions Dept: Chris Reynolds is very, very good. Remember yesterday when I provided that link to some new collections of his mid ‘80s-early ’90s comics shorts? Well I purchased them (good old instant gratification downloads!). And having finished reading both of them (Cinema Detectives and Adventures From Mauretania), $11.76 for 108 pages of comics on your computer, I’m absolutely convinced that Reynolds is a significant, sadly obscure talent, eminently worthy of rediscovery. It’s a cliché, but his work truly is unlike anything else I can think of, thick black lines filling tight grids, forming perfect little tales, tone poems and allegories and considerations, building up to a marvelous portrait of a sci-fi/magical-realist world unstuck in time, fabulously melancholic and disarmingly witty. Tomorrow’s post will be devoted exclusively to examining these works, so get out your copies of The Comics Journal #265 (for Seth’s eye-catching appreciation of many of the same works) and click on over to Marc Sobel’s review of a prior (print format) Reynolds collection at Comic Book Galaxy, because I’m taking an express train to the same nation.

*A load of things coming soon to your friendly shop. Something for everyone


Bluesman Vol. 2 (of 3): I recall picking up the first installment of this graphic novel series from writer Rob Vollmar and artist Pablo G. Callejo in 2004, based on Alan David Doane’s enthusiasm. At that time, it was published by Absence of Ink Press. Now the title has switched over to NBM Publishing, and the second third is here. It’s an intriguing look at traveling blues musicians, and their lives and situations, and the very big trouble they ultimately encounter. The prior volume ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, and I’m interested to see where it all goes. Vollmar has a nice grip on the dialogue and period detail, and Callejo’s visuals are very good, reminiscent of Spain Rodriguez at times, but uniquely rounded. NBM has also released a new edition of Vol. 1; check the official site for more details.

A Disease of Language: Those of you all stoked from reading that Eddie Campbell interview in the Journal’s most recent issue might be interested in this, a hardcover collection of Campbell’s pair of one-shot comics adaptations of Alan Moore performance pieces, The Birth Caul and Snakes & Ladders (performances of which are also available on CD, though the former is tough to find), plus the lengthy interview with Moore that Campbell conducted in the second (and final) issue of his Egomania magazine. Top Shelf is carrying it in the US. I already have this stuff in pamphlet form, and I’ll vouch that the interview is a very good one, heavily magic-focused but quite comprehensible, and fun for the casual reader. The comics are simultaneously some of Campbell’s finest visual achievements and some of Moore’s most challenging, dense writing, fixated on questions of life and death and words and mysticism (frankly, if I were to pick a Moore performance piece to take with me to a desert island, it’d be The Highbury Working, an excellent collection of anecdotes and stories centered on the titular town, uncovering its soul by poking at its secrets). Not to every taste, but impressive to all.

City of Tomorrow: Not Howard Chaykin’s best work, but a fun, fast tour of a future culled from several areas of the Chaykin catalog, buffed to a pleasing texture. I went on and on about Time2, but I actually reviewed this miniseries too at the bottom of the same post, if you want some more info.

Concrete Vol. 3: Fragile Creature: My very favorite Concrete story, now back in print at last, though shorn of its gentle, awkward, and altogether fitting original coloring job. The first proper Concrete miniseries, hailing from 1991, it’s a meandering tale of life on a movie set, with Our Hero pondering art and commerce as writer/artist Paul Chadwick explores influences ranging from Polish sculptor Stanislaw Szukalski to the live-action Masters of the Universe film. Fine, soothing comics contemplation, at a low $12.95 price.

Hellboy: Makoma, or, A Tale Told by a Mummy in the New York City Explorers’ Club on August 16, 1993 #1 (of 2): Oh, oh the eyes are getting a little moist - it’s the first ‘post-Mignola’ Hellboy miniseries. Which doesn’t mean that Mignola is gone - actually, he’s still writing the book and drawing a framing sequence, but the lion’s share (I hope Dark Horse intended that pun) of this Africa-based adventure will be illustrated by the esteemed Richard Corben, and there’s no more natural a fit for Hellboy, I don’t think. Preview here. You want this.

The Flying Friar: Rich Johnston, pontiff of internet whispers, wrote this 48-page b&w one-shot from Speakeasy - readers of his column may or may not have noticed him mentioning it at some point in recent months. It’s a fictionalized biography of St. Joseph of Copertino, a 16th century Franciscan priest who, according to legend, could fly and perform feats of incredible strength. Johnston recasts him as something of a Catholic superhero, with art by Thomas Nachlik. Preview here, six pages. I think I recall smirking at Johnston’s prior comics effort, the Avatar miniseries Rich Johnston’s Holed Up, which never did ship its final issue - ah, but more on Avatar later.

Seven Soldiers - Bulleteer #3 (of 4): In which Alix attends a superhero convention while guarding a mermaid, meets up with a face that will prove familiar to project obsessives, and squares off with a character conclusively proven dead last issue. The preview will provide spoilers.

ABC A-Z #3 (of 6): Terra Obscura and Splash Brannigan: Ha ha ha ha haaaa, those last issues of Tom Strong and Tomorrow Stories will never ship! Never!! Well ok, for the record, Tom Strong #36 has been bumped way back to March 15, and Tomorrow Stories Special #2 is simply lost in space. Until the fated day arrives, you can read this, another Peter Hogan-written guidebook in comics form, with some lovely art by Bulleteer’s Yanick Paquette and the always-welcome Hilary Barta.

I (heart) Marvel: My Mutant Heart: February, as you all know, is the month of love and kisses, because that’s what various merchants declared it to be - I personally never kiss anyone without the go-ahead from big business, and I don’t see why anyone would act differently. So now Marvel wants in on the action, and we have a whole month of romance-themed superhero things, kind of like that (better than expected) Marvel Monsters month last year. Things kick themselves off with this compilation of three new X-Men relationship stories, one of which is written and drawn by Tim Fish of Young Bottoms in Love, revisiting the old ‘Cannonball and his rock ’n roll girlfriend’ thing from Billy the Sink era New Mutants, perhaps providing much of the attraction for otherwise uninterested persons. Also: Peter Milligan of X-Statix provides a sensual tale of Doop. Wolverine’s in there too, don’t worry.

Marvel Romance Redux: But He Said He Loved Me #1 (of 5): More merry Marvel machinations for this most melodious month. Here we have classic romance shorts, featuring the art of Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Gene Colan, and Dick Giordano, with all of the word balloons cleared out and filled up with silliness courtesy of Keith Giffen, Jimmy Palmiotti, John Lustig, and Roger Langridge. Some great visuals, to be sure, and I love me that Langridge writing, but I don’t know if this’ll be worth $2.99. Also, for those of you who like their vintage love funnies untrammeled, there’s Marvel Romance, a 176-page collection of authentic pinings and dramatic collapses into waiting arms.

Rex Libris #3: Yeah, issue #1 of this ongoing series by James Turner, creator of the graphic novel Nil: A Land Beyond Belief, was too cute by one quarter (maybe one third), and I didn’t even bother with the running bottom margin commentary until after I was done. The second issue, however, kind of tightened things up, jettisoning much of the collateral and keeping the focus on the title’s fairly amusing core group of characters, including the title adventurer, a planet-hopping librarian who’ll do anything to keep the peace and retrieve overdue tomes. It was enough that I’ll maybe look into this new issue.

The Punisher MAX #30: People slammed against a shatterproof window.

Fury: Peacemaker #1 (of 6): Also from writer Garth Ennis this week, a non-MAX look at Sgt. Fury, as he battles his way through the Tunisian desert. Looks like another nice opportunity for Ennis to slip in one of those war stories he so loves, under the guise of franchise servicing. Plus, he’s reunited with Darick Robertson, who worked with him so well on The Punisher: Born, a prior tale of Marvel properties in the shit. It probably won’t give George Clooney a heart attack like Ennis’ Fury MAX apparently did, and it’s got to be better than that one issue of Ghost Rider I managed to read, right?

Frank Miller’s Robocop #9 (of 9): Well sound the goddamned trumpets - after a mere thirty months of serialization, this license/adaptation miniseries finally draws to a close with its heartwarming denouement. In case you’ve forgotten, or have just recently come of age during the release schedule, this series adapts to the comics form Frank Miller’s original screenplay for the film Robocop 2, before everything got changed (and a lot of stuff got changed). Basically it’s a hyperactive barrage of extreme violence and sledgehammer-driven socio-political satire, kind of the like Paul Verhoeven original only without all that subtlety. You recall the subtlety, right? Steven Grant handles the sequential adaptation, and Juan Jose Ryp provides fittingly wrinkly flesh art, punctuated with the thrashing and sparking of blood-stained chrome. All jokes aside, this is a pretty decent guilty pleasure, and its frequency of release averages out to around that of Planetary, so at least we’re not looking at an unprecedented situation. And lord knows it trumps the six-issue, forty-three month epic journey of Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do to the consciousness of comics assembled. Check and mate, Marvel. CHECK. AND. MATE.