Much media!

*The holidays held everything up, like this site’s features.


X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #5 (of 5), The Last Christmas #1 (of 6)

Following Cerebus #8 (always interesting)

Kings in Disguise (the 1990 James Vance and Dan Burr graphic novel, back in print)


*Tube Dept: Oh, this brings me back. Forgive me while I lapse, but while poking around YouTube recently I found a bunch of footage from the 1984 anime feature film Super Dimensional Fortress Macross the Movie: Do You Remember Love? - it was an original theatrical remake of the beloved 1982-83 television series Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, brought over to the US in 1985 under the title Robotech, and then continued for 49 additional episodes by monkeying with the plots of two unrelated shows (1984’s Super Dimensional Calvary Southern Cross and 1983-84’s Genesis Climber Mospeada) to tie them all into a US-only cosmology.

The movie has never been available on R1 dvd; some feel it never will be. I still have my 1995 dubbed VHS tape from Best Film and Video (titled simply Macross), which I treasure, even though it slices out the triumphant cheesy concert scene from the closing credit scroll. That’s an important bit, as the overarching theme of Macross requires the presence of cheesy ‘80s Japanese pop music - you see, there’s these various groups of aliens that humanity’s having a war in space with, and the heroes are all housed in a city/fortress that doubles as a gigantic transforming robot, and there’s a ton of smaller outer space fighter jets housed in it that can also turn into robots, and anyway they’re separated from the earth and they have this pop singer on board, and somehow they find out that hearing magical, shimmering J-pop has a curious effect on the aliens, soothing their desires for war and violence (I’m simplifying vastly).

So anyway, the climactic battle sees the pop singer finally (after many a reel of love triangle shenanigans and robot space combat) agreeing to do her part, so they launch a final robot jet assault on the villains whilst the pop singer dresses up in a pretty pink & white dress and bounces around on a space platform singing the title ballad as important things explode. It’s very possibly the most profoundly retarded idea one can conjure for the ending of a space warfare epic, and it’s absolutely brilliant. This is uncut anime camp of the highest order, and I can watch it forever. Just the beginning, with the hands almost connecting as the music strikes up, the explosions and gunfire used as laser light backdrops chintzy dance gestures, sweet poppy tones accompanying people’s heads being sliced off in a gush of blood... is war finally entertainment? Are they one and the same?

Actually, I guess the theme here is that culture, even ephemeral, ‘trashy’ culture, can join people together, bringing them to peace and understanding. Although there’s also the bit when the pop star opens her hand and then the hero bursts into the main villains lair and blows his head apart. So I guess J-pop will either bring nations to peace or shoot them in the head with space gunfire. But man - how about that missile animation? And the robots? And the villain’s ship fading to white, then exploding, just like such headquarters would later do in Castlevania and Mega Man and things.

Here’s that closing concert footage too, in which the pop star becomes really famous, and is apparently transfigured and assumed into heaven, body and soul.

Hi yaaaaaahhi yaaaaaaaa….

*And in the interests of live-action cinema culture, here’s all the surviving bits of Quentin Tarantino’s abortive 1987 non-debut My Best Friend’s Birthday, 34 minutes worth of stuff. It got pieced together on weekends, the last reel literally went down in flames in a lab accident, and it never got shown to more than a few people; parts of the script got recycled in later projects, like True Romance.

*Comics are held back in the US until Thursday! Reporting for new comics this Wednesday is a felony for domestic citizens, and you’ll be sentenced to hard labor!


Five Fists of Science: The much-anticipated Matt Fraction/Steven Sanders graphic novel from Image. Review tomorrow.

The Punisher MAX: The Tyger: Another one-shot from writer Garth Ennis, this one set way back in the day, when Frank Castle was but a lad of 10, confronting suicide and dark secrets, and wicked forces. This one's especially notable for featuring the art of Golden Age legend John Severin, a veteran of various EC titles, a long run with Cracked, and many other books. This is actually his second MAX book, after the infamous 2003 Rawhide Kid: Slap Leather. Those were the days.

Garth Ennis' Chronicles of Wormwood Preview: And if that's not enough Ennis for you, Avatar has this 99 cent sneak peak at the writer's upcoming miniseries with artist Jacen Burrows, concerning the exploits of the antichrist. This is the team that brought you Garth Ennis' 303, a successful melding of assorted zones of the Ennis approach into a ferocious little thing - let's hope this one turns out as well.

Samurai Executioner Vol. 10 (of 10): In which another Kazuo Koike/Goseki Kojima ‘70s sword-swinging saga draws to a close. But don’t fret, fans! Koike and Kojima will be back in June with the first installment of their 1978-84 ninja epic, Path of the Assassin, concerning the legendary Hattori Hanzo and his minding of a young man who’ll grow up to be a great shogun. Fifteen more volumes from the indefatigable team, brought to you by the Koike specialists at Dark Horse.

Uptight #1: Debut issue of the new quarterly series by Jordan Crane, featuring the first installment of his Keeping Two serial as presented in Fantagraphics' Funny Book #2, as well as two short stories. All in 20 pages, all for only $2.50. Crane is quite a talented visual stylist, so keep an eye on this.

Skyscrapers of the Midwest #3: And here's a new 56-page issue of an established alternative series, Josh Cotter's popular solo stage from AdHouse. Have a preview.

Local #5 (of 12): In which we leave the United States, and settle down in Halifax, Nova Scotia, witnessing the events that mark the decline of an arthouse movie theater.

My Inner Bimbo #1 (of 5): Pulling it back around to debuts, here's a new miniseries from Oni, written by Sam Kieth of The Maxx and Oni's Ojo, the latter of which is set in the same world as this book. The art duties are shared between Kieth and Joshua Hagler, and the story concerns a relationship between two people of widely divergent ages, a theme present in other Kieth works (like the Zero Girl books) and reflective of his own personal life. The expected surrealist touches arrive in the form of the titular bimbo, a mysterious young lady out to force a bit of self-analysis on the part of a young man in a relationship with an older woman - the bimbo, you see, might actually be a projection of the young man's own hidden personality. Kieth books generally have a way of starting out fascinating then falling to bits, but that doesn't mean they lose their strange power to compel.

Gødland #11: It was recently announced that this reliable title will be going on a three-month hiatus following issue #12, during which the second trade collection will be released. It's interesting in that it really does feel kind of like news that this book won't be out each month, so regular it's been in output.

ABC A-Z #4 (of 6): Top Ten and Teams: Because something needs to come out while waiting for that last League of Extraordinary Gentlemen book to arrive, after which I expect the windows will be boarded up. Still, it’s new art from Gene Ha, Zander Cannon, and Rick Veitch, which is surely worth something - I expect the lattermost is on hand for the America’s Best segments, probably in period style. Written by Peter Hogan and Steve Moore. Apparently the next volume of this (which is not out this week, according to Diamond) will feature Kyle Baker doing The First American!

Iron Man: The Inevitable #6 (of 6): Wrapping up this good miniseries from Joe Casey and Frazer Irving.

Alan Moore's Hypothetical Lizard #4 (of 4): Wrapping up this good (and late) adaptation of the Alan Moore prose work from writer Antony Johnston and artist Sebastian Fiumara. From Avatar, who're not quite done with the Fiumara family...

Warren Ellis' Blackgas #3 (of 3): ...as brother Max provides the art for this conclusion to the Ellis-scripted Euro-style zombie affair. Whose unmentionables will be forcibly repositioned this time?

Superman/Batman #26: The special 40-page Sam Loeb tribute jam issue, featuring a wide variety of talents - full list here - as well as a special short by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.

52 #4 (of 52): This series has not fallen off schedule yet.

Seven Soldiers of Victory Vol. 3 (of 4): But this… aw skip it. It’s another low-priced ($14.95 for 176 pages) trade collection of the noted Grant Morrison-powered project. This one wraps up Zatanna and Klarion, and takes us up to the halfway points of Mister Miracle and Bulleteer, with Frankenstein #1 tossed in too. After this the waiting game truly begins, though the June 21st date for Seven Soldiers #1 is still holding for now.