*Mandatory Dept: Ok, first things first: Osamu Tezuka’s short films! Yes, the manga and anime legend made some nice cartoon shorts, and now you can watch two excellent exhibits. There’s 1984’s Jumping, and 1985’s Broken-Down Film. The latter is filled with great gags, and the former made me kind of dizzy, even at YouTube resolution, and I actually exclaimed “Holy shit!!” to my uncaring computer during the bit with the chickens. Watch them both. Tezuka is known for his fascinating experimentation in the short anime form - his most famous piece, 1987’s Legend of the Forest, told an ecological fable while visually traversing the history of world animation in 29 minutes. There’s a US videotape release of it floating around somewhere.

But if you want further instant viewing, there’s always the weird Tezuka-produced Male from 1962, and the lengthy (38 minute) Tezuka-written The Story of a Certain Street Corner from the same year. Also, I have no idea what the hell this is, but it’s goddamned awesome, so you should watch it too. Oh, just watch them all. (partially found at TCJ)

*Ok, now that we’re done with that -


Super F*ckers #277 (but really it's the third issue of James Kochalka's high-spirited teen superhero smasher - good times)

Mineshaft #17 (a magazine to seek out, loaded with stuff from many underground greats)

Ethel & Ernest (& the passage of time)

I feel so naughty breaking up my routine! Ooooooh!

*Very nice Warren Ellis interview up at Newsarama, all about the past and future of Desolation Jones. This chat stands out from the pack thanks to some fascinating information from Ellis on how each script in a given comic ought to be tailored to the specific strengths of whatever artist is attached (obviously this won’t always work in Big Two superhero comics, but all of Ellis’ examples come from his non-superhero work, so it’s useful to presume that’s where he’s coming from). Thus, if J.H. Williams III exits the book, all the scripts that have been completed for upcoming issues need to be torn apart and reassembled, as Danijel Zezelj is a totally different guy (all of this is ironic, as Jones began its life being written ‘blind,’ with no knowledge of who might be providing art).

The artist carries the load of first-impression - anyone picking up a book for the first time and seeing bad pages is going to say, ‘wow, that guy can't draw comics,’ not, ‘Jesus, the writer really screwed that page progression up,’ or ‘My God, the writer just crushed that guy into the ground with those eleven off-grid panels, seeing as the artist's not George Perez or Matt Wagner…’”

Interesting reading, and tomorrow promises a chat with Williams, looking back on his time with the book.

*Forward Thinking Dept: Three things.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier is finally set for release in October. It’s hardcover, $29.99, 208 pages, and will feature the Tijuana Bible bonus and the 3D glasses. Looks like no musical element, unfortunately.

Kramers Ergot 6 is set for August. The preview section at the Buenaventura Press site has been revised with new images, including a tasty glimpse of pre-Tezuka manga superstar Suiho Tagawa, whose works will receive a generous airing.

Alice in Sunderland, the new Bryan Talbot graphic novel, is apparently coming out February 2007, from Dark Horse in the US, and Jonathan Cape in the UK. That's from Rich Johnston, quoting Talbot himself. Be sure to read the whole thing for a nice 'yellow light' tidbit about Grant Morrison holding 52 hostage, the ransom being the eventual publication of Seaguy 2.

*Oh boy, there’s certainly enough to think about for the more immediate future…


Casanova #1: Jumbo-sized, $1.99 debut issue for Matt Fraction’s and Gabriel Ba’s new ongoing series from Image. Good, dense reading. I reviewed it here. You should buy it.

Continuity: A new urban fantasy-horror book from Jason McNamara and Tony Talbert, published by AiT/Planet Lar. Review tomorrow.

MOME Vol. 4: The Spring/Summer issue of the Fantagraphics anthology, boasting a new 30-page story from David B. I really can't rave enough about his superb story in the previous volume, a magical folk tale about religion and madness and talking geese - all the things that make comics good! This new one's called Veiled Prophet and I don't expect David B. to let anyone down. Be tantalized here. Also featuring the rest of the sick crew, as detailed here.

110 Per¢: New Top Shelf release from Tony Consiglio, "a humorous and scathing commentary on the American obsession with celebrity culture" as the publisher puts it. It's about middle-aged women obsessed with a pop group, and Consiglio comes much recommended.

I Love Led Zepplin: Says it all, eh? A collection of comics from Ellen Forney, published by Fantagraphics. I had a laugh at the preview, featuring a wide variety of personalities like Margaret Cho and Camille Paglia, and pro tips on safe toking and the successful twirling of tassels. Looks good.

The Comic Book Holocaust: Hey, I just mentioned this yesterday. It’s Johnny Ryan’s collection of sketchbook-style parodies of comics and the people who make them, from Buenaventura Press for a measly $9.95. I hear some of the jokes are dirty.

My Most Secret Desire: Freshly reworked edition of Julie Doucet's 1995 collection of dream comics, culled from the pages of her beloved Dirty Plotte series. Doucet is largely absent from the comics scene these days, though Drawn & Quarterly did release her Lady Pep art book not long ago. They're behind this one too, and fans probably won't want to miss out on this expanded tome.

Octopus Girl Vol. 2 (of 4): I’ve still not read the first installment of this Toru Yamazaki manga from Dark Horse, but I’ve been assured it’s funny, revoltingly gory anarchy from start to finish. I’ve never seen it in a bookstore, oddly.

Golgo 13 Vol. 3 (of 13): Power to the People: Oh, but I know I’ve seen this - it’s been in bookstores for weeks now. I reviewed it here, and at least half of it is delightful stuff.

Naoki Urasawa’s Monster Vol. 3 (of 18): This has been around too, but I’ve not gotten to buying it yet. Money’s a wee bit tight, you see. If it’s anything like the last two volumes, there’ll be great suspense and probably lots of people weeping or something.

Eternals #1 (of 6): Inevitably going to be a ‘off the rack preview’ purchase, if indeed I purchase it at all. Surely we all know of this John Romita Jr. illustrated final obligation of writer Neil Gaiman’s two-series deal with Marvel. It’s based on the Jack Kirby characters, and finds Gaiman back on the familiar ground of tremendously aged secret cosmic entities confronting things about themselves, apparently after a long absence. This introductory issue is 48 pages for $3.99. The thing is, Gaiman’s hit and miss with me, and the first product of his Marvel deal, 1602, was very much a miss. I do recall sort of enjoying it for the first two issues or so, playing the ‘spot the character in ye olde garb’ game, but swiftly thereafter came the sick, sinking feeling that I’d already grasped Gaiman’s one and only idea for the book - sure enough, the rest of it was a dishwater-dull slog through ultra-typical universe-shaking superhero team-up tropes, dotted with, concededly, a couple flashes of interesting characterization, and seriously weighed down by smeary, indistinct art from Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove. Never mind the irritating non-ending, which didn’t feel like naked sequel begging so much as the creative team simply running out of pages. But hey, maybe Big Time Superheroes knocked Gaiman off balance. This is plainly more in his comfort zone, and the preview looks decent. We’ll see.

All Star Superman #4: No hesitation about this one. It’s the Jimmy Olsen issue, and I’ve really enjoyed what writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely have done with the character in his sparse appearances thus far. I hear there are many transformations and zany antics in store, so it should be well worth the usual wait. I mean, just look at this.

52 #7 (of 52): Unlike other books Grant Morrison is involved with, this series has not fallen off schedule yet.

Haunt of Horror: Edgar Allen Poe #2 (of 3): I don’t even want to think about how this b&w Richard Corben horror showcase series is selling, even with the handy Marvel mark on it, but it’s mostly good, weird old-school grue and atmosphere, MAX rating present and accounted for. It’s better when it’s merely ‘inspired by’ Poe. This time we’ve got The Tell-Tale Heart, Spirits of the Dead, Eulalie, and The Lake. As usual, the Poe originals will also be included for you, and there’s no ads for your $3.99. Seek it out, horror fans!