*Today was pretty huge. I was trying to take an evening nap, when a group of youths decided to sit around setting off firecrackers outside my window. For about two hours! That’s a lot of firecrackers, but also the type of adventure you can’t merely dream of.


DCU: Brave New World (well, about 22 pages of it was definitely good, which probably puts it ahead of some comics given the $1 tag)

New Avengers #21, Hawkgirl #53 (I'll still take the latter)

Babel #2 (this is good)

And a film review of Superman Returns, a case study in trying too hard and falling too short for even the benefit of the doubt to register.

Was there some sort of bulk deal on firecrackers?



has three distinct themes, which I shall delineate below (note that many US stores aren’t going to have anything until Thursday, due to the 4th of July celebration of John Adams’ miraculous transformation of British tea into fireworks at the Battle of Bunker Hill).

1. - Collections and Anthologies Have Arrived to Kill You:

Epileptic: Now in softcover! From Pantheon! Only $17.95! I named it the best comic of 2005! I went on and on forever about it! I think it is a good choice for purchase! And if your heart and/or mind was won by Babel #2 last week, the timing is perfect!

Pussey!: Oh boy. It’s the last remaining ‘major’ work of the Eightball-era Dan Clowes to return to print, and its tardiness is perhaps unsurprising - loaded with bleak industry satire and bilious funnybook-fixated humor, it’s probably the least immediately accessible of Clowes’ works to the bookstore patrons whose eyes might be caught by a new tome bearing his name. But for Direct Market mavens hungry for laceration, it’s bound to be manna from heaven for $9.95: witness the rise and fall of awkward comics superstar Dan Pussey, his lamentable life crossing the paths of speculation superheroes and indy snobs and the ‘fine’ art world and oh so much more. Paul Gravett hails it as “a 'How Not To' guide that would make any aspiring comic book artist take his drawing board out and burn it.” Sounds good to me! Fantagraphics has provided a six-page preview, which you can hopefully somehow enlarge to the point of readability.

Flight Vol. 3: Now published by Ballantine Books, this latest installment of editor Kazu Kibuishi’s much-loved anthology is sure to reach its widest audience yet, though for folks like me who’ve been constantly bouncing the prior two tomes up and down in their hands, only to put them back on the shelf upon recollection of various ‘good looks, feather-light content’ criticisms - well, early word indicates that this one won’t change any minds. Still, the fans are waiting, and $24.95 for 352 full-color pages won’t kill their wallets. Extensive preview material and full contributor list here.

Monologues for the Coming Plague: More Fantagraphics, this one a 260-page, $18.95 array of stream-of-consciousness sketchbook arrays by Anders Nilsen. Gags, soliloquies, politics, puns, surrealism, more. Preview. I think some of this stuff (or at least material in the same vein) has been released elsewhere, but never in a big book. Fanta says it’s “experimental, absurdist art comics” andlaugh-out-loud funny” and “not so muchlike [sic] reading comics as it is watching the artist make connections between ideas, find patterns, and set down the story as it happens.” I’ve gotten to appreciate Nilsen’s work a lot more recently, thanks to the unlimited interest and generosity of Sean T. Collins, who is also the most patient man in the world.

Death Note Vol. 6 (of 12): In case you haven’t picked it up at a bookstore over the last three weeks or something, another $7.99 brick of tasty pop misanthropy will swiftly be present in comics stores. Over in Japan, part 1 of Death Note: the Movie has been quite a success, handily fending off The Da Vinci Code in theaters. Stay tuned for Death Note: the Anime, Death Note: the Video Game, Death Note: the Prose Novel, and (seriously) Death Note: the Tribute Album! The sooner I hear of Death Note: the Soft Drink the better, because I need the refreshment of mass-murder in my throat.

Love Roma Vol. 3: I really enjoy this Minoru Toyoda series (still ongoing in Japan, I think); unlike some of the relationship comedies I’ve seen in manga, this one is genuinely funny (as in occasionally laugh-out-loud), and a has a lovely, unique art style. It’s about a boy and a girl in high school, and their eccentric, sweet relationship. The storytelling is a tad formulaic, or at least is was in Vol. 2, but Toyoda keeps it fresh page-for-page. Recommended.

2. - Avatar Horror Comics Have Also Arrived to Kill You:

“…I'm basically never going to order an Avatar comic for my rack ever again, because they're such an epicly [sic] fucked up, irresponsible, and incompetent publisher… I'd rather be gang-raped by a group of angry, AIDS-infested, Samoans, then to give Avatar comics a single penny of *my* money EVER again.”

- Brian Hibbs, on this week’s offerings

Friday the 13th: Jason vs. Jason X #2 (of 2): This one will be distinguishable by the images of old-school Jason and Moonwalker Jason clashing on the covers. Written and drawn by Mike Wolfer, who’s generally a steady hand with this sort of thing.

Friday the 13th Fearbook #1: This, on the other hand, is a capstone one-shot that follows up the Brian Pulido-written Friday the 13th: Bloodlust miniseries. It’s written by Wolfer, with art by Sebastian Fiumara - the same team will be featured in the upcoming George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead series, albeit with John Russo involved in some plotting capacity. I’d say the Jason wing of this New Line license effort has been the most entertaining, by the way, if only because Jason is probably the least constricted by mythology or concept (though I’m sure New Line has a nice set of use restrictions anyway).

A Nightmare on Elm Street Fearbook #1: Meanwhile, Pulido returns to his specifically-conceived Freddy universe of dream suppressant drugs and adult lies harming children. Like Pulido’s work on some of the Leatherface books, there seems to be some sort of message drifting around about today’s society, but this title probably cohered the least, especially sad since Juan Jose Ryp probably had the most potential for the bizarre visions that Freddy demands. Ryp is gone from this one anyway, to be replaced by Dheeraj Verma of Escape of the Living Dead. Beware! Avatar is slipping in a die cut variant cover of issue #3 of the recent A Nightmare on Elm Street: Paranoid miniseries to mingle with this book’s eight variants.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Grind #3 (of 3): Why yes, issue #2 did come out just last week! I guess Avatar really wants all this New Line stuff out the door? From writer Brian Pulido and artist Daniel HDR, the latter of which returns for -

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Fearbook #1: which features Antony Johnston on the scripting duties. This one is about dirty hippies! The other one is about choir girls. Do not get bedazzled by the fourteen Leatherface covers in total!

3. - Other Comics Only Wanted Tender Companionship, But Society Drove Them to Kill You:

They Found the Car: Ok, ok, actually I think the full title is Wish You Were Here #2: They Found the Car, this being the second installment of the Ignatz series by ‘Gipi’ (Gianni Pacinotti), which started with Wish You Were Here #1: The Innocents. I’ve not read any of this, but god that’s still an awesome title. Ignatz fans will also want to take note of issue #2 of Matt Broersma’s Insomnia #2 - I enjoyed Broersma’s work in Drawn & Quarterly Showcase: Book 3, and I think this is his first series to see release in North America.

Hate Annual #6: Another 40 pages of stuff from Peter Bagge, featuring the obligatory Buddy short (this time, secrets from the past return!) and a smattering of other stuff, like music essays (Alice Cooper) and miscellaneous funnies (more Bat Boy).

BPRD: The Universal Machine #4 (of 5): I’ll mention again how nice this miniseries (though really for all intents and purposes it’s BPRD #24-28) is - selections from the secret origins of most of our crew, while the oft underutilized Kate Corrigan attempts to negotiate a deal with a tricky, collecting-happy ghost in a phantom dimension. Lots of gory and melancholic scenes, tracking the path of the cast through the mystery and evident impermanence of death - no rest for the wicked and the sensitive alike! With the art of Guy Davis, which always works.

Ed the Happy Clown #8 (of 9): I read miniseries!

Fantastic Four: First Family #5 (of 6): Some are not yet over.

Fury: Peacemaker #6 (of 6): And some of them are.

Umbra #2 (of 3): I think issue #1 of this just came out the other week? Anyway, it’s an Image miniseries, with art by Mike Hawthorne of Hysteria and a script by Steve Murphy, whom some will know from The Puma Blues way back in the day. More on the Blues tomorrow, but just a heads-up for those who remember.

Battler Britton #1 (of 5): The third installment of Wildstorm’s ongoing effort to revive IPC’s cadre of British comics heroes. You might recall prior elements of the project, like the still-unfinished Albion and the recently concluded Thunderbolt Jaxon - that latter series dipped below 5500 copies sold to Direct Market retailers for its penultimate issue, so one might presume that brand recognition isn’t quite doing the trick. This new one does have Garth Ennis scripting, though, and it’s devoted to an American-stationed RAF wing commander clashing with the Nazi war machine - very much in the writer’s comfort zone. A preview is here, for those who’re piqued.

The Punisher MAX #35: Stalkings. Silk?

52 #9 (of 52): Don’t worry! I bet you still have money for this!

The All-New Atom #1: Ah, this was one of the better books previewed in DCU: Brave New World (as you can see for yourself from the link above), a good slice of funny adventure from writer Gail Simone and artists John Byrne (pencils) & Trevor Scott (inks), concepts by Grant Morrison humming in the background. The premise sees young professor Ryan Choi immersed in the eccentric experimentations of the faculty at Ivy University, sci-fi hi-jinx that will result in Choi slipping on tights and getting really small. From what I can gather, these early issues will have the title hero investigating weird mysteries and the like, which sounds good to me. Might be worth a look.