Delayed Reaction:

*It's apparently less than a week until Christmas. I should probably try and finish my shopping, though I'd hate to miss out on the fun that'd await me at the mall on Saturday the 23rd. I don't think I'm the only one who's been caught off-guard.


Kramers Ergot 6

The Spirit #1

review nuggets (52 #32, Blade #4, Ghost Rider #6)

Moomin Book One (of five): The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip

*Another varied time at the shop,


The New Adventures of Jesus: The Second Coming: Fantagraphics is well known for their various collections of classic strips and publications, and this one’s particularly striking; Frank Stack’s The New Adventures of Jesus is arguably the first of the ‘underground’ comics from that famous generation, having originated as a strip in Texas student and counterculture papers, which was eventually compiled into a 50-copy collected edition to be distributed among friends in 1964. This 160-page, $19.95 paperback collects a whole lot of Jesus from across the decades, as Stack sends the Savior out to bring the message to a particularly fallen world. If you only know Stack from his work on American Splendor, you may well want to look into this.

Robot Vol. 3: And now we switch gears to the most different comic imaginable. Robot, as you well know, is editor Range Murata’s deluxe full-color anthology of pretty pictures and things often resembling manga stories, though US publisher DMP tellingly lists it in the ‘illustration books’ section of its website. That’s because, provided that this volume’s like the two before it, Robot is all about luxurious color and surface appeal, which is probably to be expected from an anthology populated significantly by anime and video game designers. Also likely: disconcertingly young women, not fully clothed.

Action Philosophers Giant Size Thing Vol. 2: Collecting issues #4-6 of the much-liked series, covering a crapload of people you can read about here, since it’s easier to link. Ahhhhh, links.

MOME Vol. 6: Winter 2007: More from the Fantagraphics house anthology, this time debuting a new autobiographical comic from Lewis Trondheim. The rest of the crew (or at least as many as generally show up in one volume) is around too, and you can look at a list of contributors here.

Terr'ble Thompson: As if stretching to cover all of their bases this week, Fantagraphics also doles out a fresh newspaper strip reprint project, this done-in-one compilation of Gene Deitch’s short-lived mid-’50s feature, dailies and Sundays, the latter newly recolored by the creator. Deitch abandoned the strip fairly early to work at Terrytoons -- this paperback book is but 112 pages -- but the sense of graphical sophistication evident in the work went on to inform his later moving pictures. You may have seen some of this stuff in Dan Nadel’s recent Art Out of Time collection, but here’s it all. As an extra bonus, Deitch and Fanta have made free for download (scroll down) a 1955 musical production of Terr'ble Thompson, recorded for a children’s Little Golden Record.

Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon Vol. 7: More newspaper strippery. I’m pretty sure this is the concluding volume of Checker’s effort to reprint the entire Alex Raymond run on the seminal newspaper strip. Hardcover, landscape format, as usual.

Golgo 13 Vol. 6 (of 13): One Minute Past Midnight: Man, now that VIZ has somehow managed to synch up their bookstore and Direct Market releases for once, I couldn’t even tell you what’s actually in this particular volume. The safe money’s one someone being shot. At night?

Naoki Urasawa’s Monster Vol. 6 (of 18): This is here too. I sure wish I had something thrilling to say about all eighteen volumes, but no.

The Vault of Michael Allred #3 (of 4): Continuing the publication of Allred’s scrapbook in pamphlet format; last issue ended with the publication of Red Rocket 7, so we’re moving a little closer to the present and (most fortunately) away from the hype tsunami that was the breakthrough of Madman. Not that I mind that Allred had a very successful book (I like Madman fine myself), but page upon page upon page of seemingly everyone in the comics universe (except the Comics Journal) all but inventing fresh English terms to heap additional praise onto the title does get a little numbing after a few dozen pages of it in a collection like this. But that frankly says more about the contemporaneous comics press’ status as booster and buzz factory as it does about Allred, who’s nothing if not a comprehensive compiler of stuff from aboveground publications and his own output.

John Woo’s Seven Brothers #3: Ok, I think we’re almost through with the premise-setting. And by that, I mean sequences of characters literally sitting around and hearing another character explain to them the premise. Hopefully done with that.

Ramayan 3392 AD #4: Meanwhile, here’s a Virgin book that’s captured my attention without the benefit of familiar names on the creative team (at least beyond a supervisory level). A blood and thunder dim future retelling of the legendary exploits of Rama; not the freshest idea in sequential art, but fairly entertaining in execution.

Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor #3 (of 8): Starting a new storyline, despite what Dark Horse’s online solicitation says. Please consult this preview for large guns and explosions and girls in skintight glowy suits and tall buildings. And footnotes, can’t forget those.

Elephantmen #5: Just an ongoing series I’m reading.

Criminal #3: Same here.

52 #33 (of 52): It’s the obligatory Christmas issue, featuring Batwoman. You can also enjoy a ho ho horrific origin of disfiguration and madness with Mark Chiarello’s Two-Face backup. Unless the Joker one shows up, which I think would be even more festive.

The Punisher MAX #42: Last issue was a particularly good one, underlining the sense of futility and half-comical resignation as to awful human affairs that runs throughout this book, in between the bringing down of planes and the hiding of handy blades inside oozing wounds. Sometimes you save the village, sometimes you step on an unexploded landmine in the middle of a conversation. This is the last issue of the storyline, and I’m going to wager that absolutely none of the recurring cast members are left standing save for Frank and probably that British guy who had a cameo a few issues ago.