Good, the streets are made of road again.

*I knew stealing that wizard's staff would pay off.


Robot 3 (more of Range Murata's glossy, largely vacant manga/design anthology)

review nuggets (starring: 52 #37, Wisdom #2, Zombies vs. Robots #2)

Gumby #2

Shadowland (another great collection from Kim Deitch, worth many words)

*No fuss, on to -


Paper Rad, B.J. and da Dogs: Oh hey, it’s the big colorful book of delite from Paper Rad (Jacob Ciocci, Jessica Ciocci, Ben Jones) that I named the #3 best comic of 2005 - it’s now out in the Direct Market from Diamond, just in time for Paper Rad’s new book, Cartoon Workshop/Pig Tales, to go on sale direct from publisher PictureBox, Inc. It’s kind of hard to explain Paper Rad, B.J. and da Dogs; it’s both a pair of short graphic novels and individual patches of color and b&w and monochrome comics smashed up against one another in a hodgepodge of paper stocks and comedy, and somehow it adds up to a personal philosophy of creation. Certainly a fine way to drop your $29.95.

Cold Heat #2 (of 12): More from PictureBox in this gala ‘Diamond is releasing our books’ week, we have the second issue of Ben Jones’ and Frank Santoro’s action-fantasy genre pamphlet in artcomics clothing, now available in the Direct Market. I reviewed it here. Also: another of Santoro projects, Incanto, a small booklet of drawings that Derik Badman reviewed here, plus The Drips, a collection of works by Taylor McKimens.

Tanpenshu Vol. 1 (of 2): Dark Horse’s long-awaited anthology of Hiroki Endo (Eden: It’s An Endless World!) short stories is finally here, and it’s gonna be 232 pages of swell times, provided the one story in here I haven’t read doesn’t turn out shit. I can assure you, however, that For Those of Us Who Don't Believe in God is a perceptive (if slightly sitcommy) tour of collegiate theater students and their efforts/foibles, and The Crows, the Girl, and the Yakuza is a superior piece of bloody crime comics, boasting the sort of polished, assured presentation that makes its perhaps-not-wholly-unique plot properties seem fresh as the hour just passed (it’s also the subject of the obligatory preview). Which I suppose means none of my recommendations are unqualified, but all of them are enthusiastic.

The World Below: Huh. I wasn’t expecting this at all. Comprised of two miniseries, four issues each, The World Below represented writer/penciller Paul Chadwick’s 1999-2000 attempt to establish a second ‘major’ series for himself (and inker Ron Randall), something he could use to tell the weird adventure stories that his Concrete couldn’t quite facilitate. The effort did not meet with popular success, but now Dark Horse is giving it a collection anyway, apparently a comprehensive one given the size (192 pages), in the same low-priced ($12.95), shrunken proportioned, b&w tones format they’ve reconfigured Concrete into. Although only the first four issues of this were in color anyway; the initial miniseries sold bad enough that they had to switch. I guess The World Below will never escape the shadow of its vastly more successful older sibling, but it’s very much a fun, bizarre adventure series, concerning the affairs of a team of six explorers sent into the bowels of the Earth by a software magnate to recover mysterious technologies, only to encounter single-issue parables for the human condition. The standout issue is probably The Spire, overloaded with manic sexual imagery, although the final issue also manages a special blend of intimate fantasy and horror. Here’s a preview - check this book out.

Blecky Yuckarella Vol. 2: Back in Bleck: The second heartwarming collection of Johnny Ryan’s weekly strip. I don’t know if it's in the book, but I laughed pretty hard at this one.

Criminal #4: Still going strong & steady.

Punisher War Journal #3: In which the book concludes its Civil War launch. Frank and Captain America beat each other silly, though not so silly that Cap’s role in future Civil War functions might be upset. Presumably, the book’s subplots then pick up the slack, so as to launch the series into the future. I’m looking forward to that future more than even one issue of additional Civil War, but I’m sure I’ll survive.

Ramayan 3392 AD #5: I may have lost interest in John Woo’s 7 Brothers (issue #4 of which is out this week), but I’m still taken by this night-and-fire sci-fi adaptation of the exploits of Rama. Do not make me explain in detail.

52 #38 (of 52): Oh Buddy, what have you gotten into now?!

Eternals #6 (of 6... no, 7): This used to be the double-sized final issue of the Neil Gaiman/John Romita, Jr. series, a series unfortunate enough to seem largely forgotten before its even finished, yet dull enough to seem like it maybe deserves it. I don’t know if this is running into the same problems that nagged Gaiman’s last Marvel project, 1602, which suddenly had its last issue expanded in page count (it didn’t help), or if things are moving slow enough that the double-sized issue #6 has merely been split into a normal-sized issues #6 and #7. Either way, this issue sees the endgame launch, as the characters presumably stop walking around in a haze, confusedly reacting to things, and/or talking to each other about backstory, so something affirmative might possibly happen. At least it will look nice.