I'll be here all night!

*Because life never lets up!


Robot Vol. 1 (good-looking, story-light anthology of color manga and pretty drawings)

Gun Fu: Showgirls Are Forever (the return of Dave Sim to comics, and it's amusing in a very cozy way)

Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators (outstanding collection of French and Japanese shorts, all of them unified by more than just the titular nation - one of the best books of the year thus far)

Hawkgirl #50 (Simonson and Chaykin arrive, hands are shaken, tables are set up)

Mome Vol. 3: Winter 2006 (man, I didn't plan on reviewing all these anthologies this week - anyway, this one has great work by David B. and Kurt Wolfgang, along with other stuff of varying interest)

Getting tired already.

*Which won't do.


Or Else #4: Another release in Drawn & Quarterly’s Kevin Huizenga minicomics reprint/revision series, this time showcasing a new presentation of The Wild Kingdom from Supermonster #12. It’s 100 pages for only $5.95, and I really don’t need to tell you all again how much I like Huizenga’s work, right? I’ve been told this one sails out into some more experimental territory, with plenty of laughs to spare. Look for it.

East Coast Rising Vol. 1 (of 3): The new series from writer/artist Becky Cloonan (Demo, American Virgin), arriving courtesy of Tokyopop, who are fresh off their hot new deal with HarperCollins - it’ll involve the latter taking over the former’s distribution to the book trade, and the former producing comics adaptations of up to two dozen prose books, starting with selected works by bestselling 'young adult' author Meg Cabot. Buckle up for dozens of invigorating arguments as to the definition of ‘manga’ as a marketing and cultural signifier in the near future! But before you do that you should buy Cloonan’s book, which involves much high seas adventure, looks great, and will run you only $9.95 for 192 pages. You can access preview images from the first two chapters here, though you’ll have to register to read the entire segments.

Buddha Vol. 8 (of 8): Jetavana: In which Vertical concludes this latter-period Osamu Tezuka saga with one last crisply-designed $24.95 batch of over 350 pages. You might have seen this around already, but this Wednesday it hits the wider direct market. Unless it already did, and I just missed it. Actually, I’ve missed a lot of volumes of this thing. Next up in regards to Vertical’s manga plans is another religious-themed Tezuka epic, Ode to Kirihito, which was published in three collected volumes in Japan in 1970. Bypassing any form of serialization this time around, Vertical plans to release the whole shebang in one 800+ page brick. That’ll secure my immediate purchase; I like Tezuka’s stuff a lot, but I’ve fallen way behind on Buddha, though maybe the upcoming $15 paperback editions will be easier to collect.

Dragon Head Vol. 2 (of 10): More tunnel-trapped claustrophobia and apocalyptic teenage nerve jangling in this new installment of Minetaro Mochizuki’s excellent survival horror series. The plot concerns a trio of high school students, survivors of some sort of disaster that occurred whilst the train they were riding on passed under a mountain. Now they’re stuck in the dark, breaking down emotionally, and scraping together any means of getting by until they find a way back to the outside world. But is there a world left to return to? Good, fast reading pleasure.

Lady Snowblood Vol. 3 (of 4): Retribution Part 1: Huh. I'm used to these Kazuo Koike-written swordplay extravaganzas pushing forward for zillions of volumes each, so it's strange to note that this third release starts up the concluding storyline. Sure to be a real freakshow of action and historical tidbits, as this preview demonstrates.

The First Kingdom Vol. 2 (of 4): Taking us up to the halfway point of reprinting Jack Katz’s wildly idiosyncratic multi-generational sci-fi/fantasy magnum opus, a single work serialized over 24 issues of independently published comics from 1973-1986. Katz had been active in comics work since the mid-’40s, perhaps best known (as much as he is known) for some interestingly drafted pre-Code horror material, but it wasn’t until the post-underground days, the Direct Market in an embryonic state, that he received the inspiration for this, apparently via dream. Much more information in Derik Badman’s review of volume 1, with plenty of samples of Katz’s feverishly detailed, machine-lettering bedecked pages, which Bob Levin once described (in his fine book Outlaws, Rebels, Freethinkers & Radicals: Essays on Cartoons and Cartoonists) as drawn “…with a consciousness that seemed to feel that the innermost circles of Hell were reserved for those who did not fill every square millimeter of their allotted space and an imagination fired by the most garish effluvia 6000 years of myth and pulp could generate…” Couldn’t hope to put it better myself!

Gødland #9: In other space-spanning news (haw haw), here’s the latest issue of this most reliable of monthly superhero reads. That’s ‘reliable’ in that it actually arrives every month, and in that it’s actually good. This issue: Basil’s delightful Spring wardrobe, and colorful lasers. Preview here.

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #3 (of 5): In which two teams of dead folk struggle to obtain a good old fashioned revival. Perfect reading to commemorate this week’s return of the Blue Beetle, even if it’s a different person or something! Well, actually you can probably just buy the debut issue of the new Blue Beetle series to accomplish that, but you should buy this book too because it is good.

Iron Man #6: In which we bid a fond farewell to writer Warren Ellis and interior artist Adi Granov; hard to believe we’ve all been together since November of 2004, back when this site was but a burbling four months of age (I’ve since moved up to drooling). Tears will be shed as Tony Stark, having internalized the power of technology to represent the benevolent potential of man/machine futurist melding, sets off to foil villainy in some manner. Rounding off ‘blast from the past week’ at Marvel, we also have another funny-new-dialogue-in-old-stories book with Marvel Romance Redux: Guys & Dolls, and a $69.99 hardcover collection of all 28 issues of the Brian Michael Bendis-scripted Alias, that What If? story included.

All Star Superman #3: I’ve heard of this book.