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*Promotional Messages Dept: This Wednesday, issue #276 of The Comics Journal hits the stands - it contains the first installment of the brand-new Cape Fear, a column I am writing on the topic of superhero comics. I hope you’ll all find it interesting. The feature interview this issue is Terry Moore of the soon-to-conclude Strangers in Paradise, and there’s sure to be other good things too.

*That said,


Haunt of Horror: Edgar Allen Poe #1 (of 3), All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder #4

Batman: Year 100 #4 (of 4)

The Hollow Grounds (a long examination, with detours into other corners of artist François Schuiten's work)

And a film review of Metropolis, Fritz Lang's silent classic, which I finally got to see on a big screen. Everything is magnified.


*Hey! Jeff Smith is blogging!

*There are comical books being released


Scott Pilgrim Vol. 3 (of 6): Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness: Long-awaited, much anticipated. I don’t need to say much about Scott Pilgrim, right? Writer/artist Bryan Lee O’Malley is sure to provide the laffs and fizz and sparkly clashes. At Demonhead, no less.

Carl Barks’ Greatest DuckTales Stories Vol. 1 (of 2): Nothing like a little nostalgia tie-in to move those reprints, eh? This is a short, inexpensive ($10.95) series of books from Gemstone, dedicated to presenting all of the Carl Barks duck epics later adapted into episodes of the popular 1987-90 animated television series DuckTales. Seasoned Barks scholars will probably have no use for this, as all this stuff as been reprinted a bunch of times already, but Gemstone isn’t targeting them; this one’s for folks who fondly recall the show, but might not be all that familiar with Carl Barks. Or curious folks just looking to snap up a clump of Barks cheap and easy.

Walt Kelly’s Our Gang Vol. 1: Also classic reprints of media license comics by a beloved Disney animation veteran turned comics superstar, though these will prove less familiar to most readers. Prior to the genesis of the seminal Pogo newspaper strip, creator Walt Kelly worked for Dell on 59 issues of Our Gang (based on the big screen short comedies featuring Hal Roach’s Little Rascals, produced from 1922-44) starting in 1943, the same year Pogo himself debuted in Dell’s Animal Comics. This Fantagraphics series will strive to reprint all of Kelly’s material in 96-page softcover bites.

Concrete Vol. 5: Think Like a Mountain: This is the one where Concrete becomes mixed up with environmentalist extremists. It might suffer the most of all these works from losing the lush color of the original trade collection, though it still looks pretty decent. I’m getting the feeling that I’m actually going to wind up buying the next volume, Strange Armor (the revised origin, based on creator Paul Chadwick’s never-produced Concrete film screenplay), since I’ve never managed to get a hold of a copy of the prior edition - it’s been out of print for a while now.

Cromartie High School Vol. 6: More in English of the recently-concluded humor series from Eiji Nonaka; the total number of volumes should end up around 17 or so. This latest release comes hot on the heels of the series’ Eisner nomination and anticipation of the live action film adaptation’s July 11 R1 dvd arrival, so maybe there’ll be a bit more heat than usual behind it.

Scrublands: I’d have had no idea what this was, were it not for Free Comic Book Day. It’s the first-ever collection of work from South African cartoonist Joe Daly, who demonstrated a nice grasp of dry surrealism in Fantagraphics’ Funny Book #2; now Fanta offers 128 pages of his stuff, in b&w and color. Just thought I’d make that little FCBD connection there.

52 #3 (of 52): This series has not fallen off schedule yet.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Grind #1 (of 3): This one, however... well, that A Nightmare on Elm Street: Paranoid thing is still going on too, so this third New Line horror license series from Avatar isn’t too grossly behind, I guess. You’re not getting any Jacen Burrows, though (he’s busy working on the upcoming Garth Ennis’ Wormwood miniseries) - Brazilian artist Daniel HDR takes over the visual side of things this issue, though Brian Pulido is still writing. Pulido, however, is scaling back his writing duties to only the Freddy stuff in the upcoming third wave of releases, a set of ‘Fearbook’ one-shots - Mike Wolfer will handle the Friday the 13th script for artist Sebastian Fiumara (Wolfer is also currently writing and drawing the Friday the 13th: Jason vs. Jason X miniseries) while Antony Johnston heads down to Texas for more with Daniel HDR. There’ll also be an Escape of the Living Dead ‘Fearbook’ one-shot, written and drawn by Wolfer. I just deleted my high school calculus knowledge to make room for all that, by the way.

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #5 (of 5): This is a fine story, firmly in the upper tier of X-Statix adventures, and I look forward to this final issue.

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #5: In which things will no doubt happen, in a series of panels, colorfully.

Hawkgirl #52: I hope you all enjoyed the big ‘it was all a dream!’ resolution of the opening cliffhanger last issue - it gave my heart a wee jump. But I still like this series; something about its clumsy, old-fashioned superhero chiller charm appeals to me, as if it’s a book unstuck in time.