*A lot to get to, sooo...


The Looking Glass Wars: Hatter M #4 (of 4)

Blade #3


Welcome to the N.H.K. Vol. 1

*Ok, ok...


Moomin: The Complete Tove Jannson Comic Strip Book 1: I saw a copy of this 8.5” x 12” beastie SPX where it debuted; I didn’t have the spare $19.95 on hand to pick it up, but suffice to say it’s yet another impressively-mounted collection of a classic newspaper strip to arrive in a half-decade that’s been stinking with the things. Really, these are fantastic days for fans of vintage strips, and here’s where enthusiasts of Jannson’s beloved creations get their moment in the sun. There were a number of Moomin children’s books, of course, but here we’re looking at Jannson’s own run on the official newspaper strip, 1954-60. It was syndicated across 40 countries in its prime, but never broke into North America, so there’s a whole new audience ready to be piqued. Here’s a preview. I’ve really liked what I’ve seen of this stuff.

Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon Vol. 6: Meanwhile, Checker gets back to their own classic strip project, aiming to put creator Raymond’s run on the seminal sci-fi strip back into print. If my estimate is correct, there should be only one more volume to go.

The Comics Journal Library Vol. 7: Harvey Kurtzman: Another sure-to-please archive of words and pictures, this time all about the famous talent from EC, Mad and elsewhere.

Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow: New from Anders Nilsen, published by Drawn & Quarterly, a collection of letters, photos, comics, and drawings compiled in tribute to the author’s fiancé, who passed away in late 2005. Nilsen also has a new issue of his bizarrely compelling ongoing series Big Questions (#9), all about the lives and adventures of a flock of birds and the curious environment they live in.

Lucky: A collection of stories by Gabrielle Bell, new from Drawn & Quarterly, which is having a really big week of releases. Some of Bell’s stories are quiet, unadorned autobiography or semi-autobiography, while others launch into delicate magical realism. The material collected here I believe are mainly loose, wordy diary comics, “the exact type that sends your average doltish champion of punchy-kicky books into anti-elitist apoplexy” in the words of Tom Spurgeon, who has a good interview up, though I think material from other sources (Kramers Ergot) seeps in as well. Official preview.

Swamp Thing Vol. 9: Infernal Triangles: Here’s something I wasn’t expecting - the third trade collection of Rick Veitch’s run on the beloved Vertigo precursor, with the heretofore uncollected (I think) Swamp Thing Annual #3 thrown in as well. This’ll be the penultimate Veitch collection, as it ends with the Invasion crossover issue (#81) that sends Swampy on his infamous journey through time. Jamie Delano’s in here too.

New X-Men Omnibus: No need to wait for anything with this; in a single, brick-like, 1096-page $99.99 color hardcover package, you too can now own writer Grant Morrison’s entire run on Marvel’s mutants, from Quitely to Silvestri, with Kordey and company in between. Action, homage, widespread destruction, jarring visual jumps, and all the Xorn a reasonable person can possibly handle, without any of that bitter retcon aftertaste.

Blab! Vol. 17: Gosh - a new Blab! I’ve really fallen behind on Blab!, haven’t I? Umm… I’m sure it’ll look nice? God, I’ve lost my grip on Blab!…

World War 3 Illustrated #37: Unnatural Disasters: Also in anthologies, the new installment of the comics magazine that aims to please the left side of all of us. This issue focuses on man-made disasters all over the world.

Angry Youth Comix #12: Laffs.

Red Menace #1 (of 6): Wait, didn’t we just have a superheroes-in-the-‘50s political miniseries from Wildstorm? The American Way? Was that about something else? I guess if sales are to be believed, nobody much remembers it anyhow. This one’s from Danny Bilson & Paul DiMeo of the current The Flash: Fastest Man Alive series, joined by a third writer, Adam Brody of television’s The O.C. Who knows? Pencils by Jerry Ordway, so that’s something to bank on…

Elephantmen #0: This warrants a bit of explanation. Elephantmen is Richard Starkings’ creation, currently an ongoing series from Image. The nominal protagonist of the series, Hip Flask, started out as a mascot for Starkings’ Comicraft lettering service. In 2002, Hip Flask made his comics debut in a one-shot titled Hip Flask: Unnatural Selection, which featured writing by Starkings and Joe Casey, and art by Ladrönn. That’s what’s being reprinted here, now under the banner of a #0 issue for the ongoing Elephantmen series. The remainder of the Hip Flask comics drawn by Ladrönn all pertain to the ongoing Mystery City storyline (with the 2003 Hip Flask: Elephantmen one-shot acting as a prologue and the 2005 Hip Flask: Mystery City #1 providing the formal first of three issues), and will presumably be reprinted in collected form once the storyline is finished in 2009 or whenever. Just so you all know what to expect.

Gødland #14: Meanwhile, Casey and Tom Scioli have their own series to continue, as a monthly schedule looks nice and realistic again. And for an even speedier release, Casey also has the second issue of his Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes II miniseries out this week; I’d totally not realized it was a bi-weekly book.

Casanova #6: Also out from Image, the new issue of this reliable performer, the penultimate issue of the 16-page wonder’s first storyline. It’s now tied with its sister book Fell in number of issue produced, and primed to pass it out, though it too will go on a short hiatus after issue #7.

Punisher War Journal #1: But meanwhile, Casanova writer Matt Fraction will also helm this much-delayed relaunch of Frank Castle as a participant in the Marvel Universe, killing supervillains and tying into the almighty Civil War. Art by Ariel Olivetti. We still haven’t gotten close to the Great Punisher Overload of 1993, where we had three ongoing series plus The Punisher Armory plus whatever specials and the like were coming out - I was 12 for that, and The Punisher War Zone was my favorite, for some reason.

John Woo’s 7 Brothers #2: And the other contemporary Punisher scribe continues his journey into Virgin Comics, as the eponymous team is assembled and perhaps something is set into motion.

52 #29 (of 52): Brian Bolland handles the origin of the Joker, and other stuff occurs.

Asterix and the Falling Sky: Oh, hey! It’s the newest Asterix book, in Diamond-serviced Direct Market stories at last. Asterix, of course, is one of the godheads of Franco-Belgian comics, written and drawn by surviving co-creator Albert Uderzo, but this latest adventure sees him getting into some rather… interesting territory. You see, there’s these rival outer space forces zipping around the Earth. One of them is comprised of soft, ‘funny animal’ type creatures who share space with a bunch of musclemen superhero clones (that type is all the same, ha ha!), the leadership of which has a nasty habit of barging into foreign lands to relieve them of their destructive weaponry. They are struggling against the Nagmas (look closely), a destructive horde of shifty, Velveeta-hued insect things who’ll stop at nothing on their mission of conquest… no no, that’s really the iconography at work, here in the 21st Century, I swear. Most comments I’ve read place this somewhere near the bottom of the Asterix pantheon in terms of quality, but I think it just might be worth flipping through to enjoy the potential high-profile spectacle of a culture anxiety meltdown, right on the page.