I Can't Believe I Have the Day Off Work

*But I do.


The Carbon Copy Building (a 48-page book by Ben Katchor, and also an opera)

review nuggets (featuring Blade #5, The Punisher MAX #43, 52 #36)

The Grave Robber's Daughter (aka issue #14 of Richard Sala's Evil Eye)

Night and the Enemy (why review a Harlan Ellison/Ken Steacy 'comic' from 1987? BECAUSE I CAN)

*God, what is this, movies? January is pretty empty.


Batman: Year 100: This is the collected edition of writer/artist Paul Pope’s recent Batman alternate future thingy (they used to call ‘em Elseworlds), and it’s probably going to read better as a single book. Which isn’t to say that Pope wasn’t careful to attune his style to the demands of superhero serialization -- unlike, say THB, the visual approach is far more constrained, subdivided via panel, which at least provides the illusion of more ‘stuff’ actually occurring -- but that doesn’t quite erase the fact that a huge chunk of this material is one big action sequence. As far as Batman Elseworlds go it’s quite good, cleverly folding bits of the Batman mystique (the mask! the shadows!) into a fable of personal privacy in a terrorism-addled, nerve-jangled US of ambitious power players and endless Federal (out-of-)control. Sure, the ending is kind of a letdown, basically the finale of Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination with the anarchistic edges filed smooth, but the spectacle of Pope’s art is always captivating.

Wisdom #2 (of 6): Issue #1 of this Marvel MAX miniseries was actually a lot of witty, self-contained fun, despite the fact that Marvel seem to have slapped it with the MAX banner for no reason other than to charge an extra dollar (it’s $3.99). Ah, so little faith in former Excalibur characters headlining their own miniseries, even if writer Paul Cornell isn’t quite writing ‘em like we know ‘em (actually, the only way I know Pete Wisdom is through my piecemeal memories of whatever Warren Ellis X-Comics I’ve bought, so it doesn’t matter much to me). Also note that this is the final issue to feature artist Trevor Hairsine, who will be replaced by penciller Manuel Garcia and inker Mark Farmer, perhaps in anticipation of issues appearing at a greater frequency than not-quite-bimonthly. I’ll confess I’d have probably waited, but maybe Marvel wants this over with sooner than later.

Ghost Rider #7: And in other news, here’s Richard Corben’s second (and last) issue on this title. It’s not like it’s an offensively bad comic or anything, but I don’t think I’ll stick around longer.

The Spirit #2: The P’Gell issue. Preview.

Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor #4 (of 8): This current storyline (concluding here) is particularly interesting in that it serves to integrate the Motoko Aramaki character from Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface into the cast of the original series, possibly addressing (or at least dancing around) the issue of what everyone thought of the disappearance of Motoko Kusanagi following the original Ghost in the Shell. And while preceding sentence was entirely incomprehensible to anyone who isn’t intimate with this series, those folks probably aren’t going to find much interest in an eight-issue miniseries of deleted pages anyway. The rest of us can continue to slap our heads and go “no Shirow, why’d you cut this stuff...”

Zombies vs. Robots #2 (of 2): The conclusion of this pleasingly odd (you know, even despite the done-to-death joke premise), very very pretty miniseries from writer Chris Ryall and future Tank Girl artist Ashley Wood. Preview here, if you scroll down. On the topic of the Tank Girl revival (which, to be precise, will be a four-issue miniseries beginning in May 2007, titled Tank Girl: The Gifting) - I can’t recall Wood ever tackling something dense and gag-packed like the classic Tank Girl shorts, tales that always seemed particularly attuned to Jaime Hewlett’s visual outlook, as opposed to Wood's often meticulously smudged ‘n scratched designer’s eye. Though he has demonstrated a lot more spontaneity (or the illusion of such) in recent projects like, er, Zombies vs. Robots. At least it’ll be a unique calamity if things go wrong.

George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead: The Beginning #2 (of 3): Stuff will also get eaten in this.

52 #37 (of 52): So, the big news regarding this series is how issue #50 is going to arrive accompanied by an entourage of four one-shots, all on the same day, collectively titled WWIII, that are apparently going to expand the individual issue’s scope while also serving as an all-purpose dangling plot thread refugee shelter for the series as a whole, and indeed the entire One Year Later concept. They’re also not going to be written by the usual writing team (or bear covers by J.G. Jones), falling two books apiece to Keith Champagne and John Ostrander, which basically counts me out. I can just imagine the 52 board meeting this little plan rose out of, with a big chalkboard toward the rear of the room filled with nagging plot points the regular writing team either forgot about or don’t feel like tackling anymore. I’m sure the extra 300,000+ comics sold for DC in April will soothe the pain...