Little things add up.

*But who can put a price on


Elephantmen #1

Haunt of Horror: Edgar Allan Poe #3 (of 3), Gumby #1

Casanova #2 (it might just be coming out near you this week, so you should get it if you see it)

And there was also a very up-to-date video game review of 2001's Ico.

Such a time.

*Authorial Intent Dept:

"Spanning the period between the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and the years just after World War I, this novel moves from the labor troubles in Colorado to turn-of-the-century New York, to London and Gottingen, Venice and Vienna, the Balkans, Central Asia, Siberia at the time of the mysterious Tunguska Event, Mexico during the Revolution, postwar Paris, silent-era Hollywood, and one or two places not strictly speaking on the map at all.

"With a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead, it is a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred.

"The sizable cast of characters includes anarchists, balloonists, gamblers, corporate tycoons, drug enthusiasts, innocents and decadents, mathematicians, mad scientists, shamans, psychics, and stage magicians, spies, detectives, adventuresses, and hired guns. There are cameo appearances by Nikola Tesla, Bela Lugosi, and Groucho Marx.

"As an era of certainty comes crashing down around their ears and an unpredictable future commences, these folks are mostly just trying to pursue their lives. Sometimes they manage to catch up; sometimes it's their lives that pursue them.

"Meanwhile, the author is up to his usual business. Characters stop what they're doing to sing what are for the most part stupid songs. Strange sexual practices take place. Obscure languages are spoken, not always idiomatically. Contrary-to-the-fact occurrences occur. If it is not the world, it is what the world might be with a minor adjustment or two. According to some, this is one of the main purposes of fiction.

"Let the reader decide, let the reader beware. Good luck

- Thomas Pynchon, apparently, on the topic of his new 992-page novel, tentatively titled Against the Day, now set for a December 5th release in the US.

*Some neat short-format tidbits


But I Like It: Yet we'll start with a new 120-page, $24.95 hardcover from Fantagraphics, collecting writer/artist Joe Sacco's music-themed early strips. You've probably already read the book's centerpiece, In the Company of Long Hair, since this is the fourth time (to my knowledge) Fantagraphics has published it - the material was first presented in Sacco's 1988-91 solo series Yahoo, then appeared in the 1995 Sacco collection War Junkie, and also popped up in Fantagraphics' most recent Sacco collection, 2003's Notes from a Defeatist. This, however, is some sort of 'extended' version, also augmented with sketches & notes, a collection of Sacco-designed German rock posters, a batch of never-collected shorts (some of which, having been created for European outlets, have never even appeared in English), and a bonus CD containing live music from the Miracle Workers, the punk band featured in the book's main story. And that main story is quite good, if you've not seen it, a funny and intense trip across Europe's music scene in the '80s, well worth a look.

Castle Waiting Vol. II #1: According to Tom Spurgeon, Fantagraphics had already moved one hundred copies of their hardcover compilation of writer/artist Linda Medley’s fantasy saga by only halfway through the San Diego show last weekend; all of those happy buyers will be doubly thrilled to pick up this week’s 64-page debut issue of the new continuation of said series. In the interests of accuracy, it’s 64 pages because it reprints the two issues omitted from the hardcover book on the grounds of their starting a new storyline - only 24 pages are thus brand-new, but the $5.95 asking price isn’t too high, and it’ll all be original to new fans anyway. Future issues will be $3.95 on a six-week schedule.

Fuzz & Pluck in Splitsville #4 (of 5): Talk of six-week schedules makes for a nice contrast with this excellent and extremely intermittent Fanagraphics miniseries from writer/artist Ted Stearn; issue #1 arrived in mid-2002, back when it was conceived as only four issues. Now it’s longer, and kind of drawing near completion, and I’m certainly happy, though I have no idea if it’ll be accessible to anyone without access to the first three chapters. Pluck is a featherless chicken and Fuzz is a naïve teddy bear, and the two of them traverse a surreal world of seething house comforts and underground gladiatorial clashes, all on a quest to get by. Very funny, and genuinely involving, though you might want to start with Fanta’s 2000 Fuzz & Pluck collection to see where it all starts before sifting around for the sundry issues of this second story.

Meatcake #15: Jesus, it this ‘Fantagraphics pamphlet week’ or what? Another welcome slice of whatever from creator Dame Darcy. There’s no telling what might show up in any given issue, but fans know it will radiate with handmade letters-wrapping-into-the-margins charm, and will probably concern witches or rock stars or blood. Any issue’s a good jumping-on point here!

Bluesman Vol. 3 (of 3): The final 80-page, $8.95 installment of writer Rob Vollmar's and artist Pablo Callejo's tale of a musician's flight from the law. From NBM, which has a preview up on their site. Plenty more info on the book's homepage.

Museum of Terror Vol. 1 (of 10): If you were to name, say, five manga artists that've totally broken through into the popular consciousness of US comics readers at large, one of them would have to be Junji Ito, the writer/artist behind such horror treats as Uzumaki and Gyo. Now Dark Horse has scored the license to this career-spanning omnibus series, the first two volumes of which will be dedicated to compiling Ito's original breakthrough hit Tomie. I believe this material was released in English before about half a decade ago by Comics One, in a two-volume series simply titled Tomie and packaged as part of something called 'The Junji Ito Horror Collection.' Dark Horse's edition of this particular tome is 376 pages for $13.95. Here's a preview. The art's pretty rough compared to what would come later, but the atmosphere is still potent.

Batman #655: Hey, it’s Grant Morrison, starting up his run on the other half of the World’s Finest. The start of a multipart story with ties to Batman exploits past, but if anyone’s going to keep things equally interesting to the hardcore and the dabbler it’s going to be Morrison. Art by Andy Kubert, a talent I’ve not been all that taken with, but certainly has an audience.

Gødland #12: Last issue before the hiatus, and there’s an extra-sized 26 pages of story set aside to wrap up some of the outstanding plots, and no doubt introduce a few more. Here’s a preview - the series will resume in October.

Hawkgirl #54: So yeah, judging from the solicitation copy (screwy date and all), artist Howard Chaykin is off the book after #56, off to work on Blade at Marvel. I guess he’s still on covers, though #57’s looks weirdly hustled (that face is pretty freaky); I’ll miss him, though, as his peculiar art has been vital to the tone that writer Walter Simonson has been pursuing.

52 #12 (of 52): A new backup feature (mercifully) starts up this issue: Secret Origins, from series co-writer Mark Waid and a different guest artist every week. I’m looking forward to upcoming work from Eric Powell, Kevin Nowlan, and series cover artist J.G. Jones, but first up is Adam Hughes to join Waid on the origin of Wonder Woman. It’s surely no coincidence that Hughes has also just recently been confirmed as both writer and artist for the upcoming All Star Wonder Woman, so consider this and Castle Waiting your instant gratification for the week.

Savage Dragon #0 (of 3, technically): Ok, let’s say you used to read Savage Dragon way back in the day. Like, issue #3 of the original miniseries from back in 1992 was the first Image comic you ever owned. And you followed creator Erik Larsen into the ongoing series that directly succeeded it - the series that's still going on today. You stuck with it for a little while. You hopped back on a few times, such as when it hit #100. You still think it's a good-looking book, and that Larsen's style (he's still writer/artist) has held up quite well over the past fourteen years, but you don't buy every issue. And you certainly didn't buy that Image Comics hardcover that featured the Dragon's secret origin as the Larsen contribution. I get the feeling you still might be interested in checking out this new $1.99 pamphlet-format version of the same material, a 32-page book formatted to act as a prelude issue to that initial 1992 mini. Just for old-time curiosity's sake.