Plunge into muscles on the internet!

*So, let me tell you about -


Powr Mastrs Vol. 1 (of 6, as publisher Dan Nadel revealed in the comments)

New Engineering (the proudly inhuman manga of Yuichi Yokoyama)


The Punisher MAX #51

two superhero comics (The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite #2 and The Programme #4)

At The Savage Critics! Go arrange your finances so you can spring on the first episode of Sam & Max Season 2 -- featuring the writing of Jeff Lester -- as soon as it's up. I love those lil' episode games.

*In case you're wondering where my newly and unofficially biweekly column is, I'm expecting it for tomorrow or Thursday. It's one I've been meaning to write for two years now, so another day or two isn't that long a wait for me...

*Good reading of the moment: ComiPress' ongoing English-language presentation of Manga Zombie, a 1997 collection of artist profiles/critical summaries by cultural commentator Takeo Udagawa, focusing on the idiosyncratic extremes of the '60s and '70s. It's translated by John Gallagher, and author-approved.

So far it's only up to the first of 31 total essays, and the author's already invented his own name for one school of visual style (Fleshbomb!!), so you know plenty of good times are ahead. Udagawa's a passionate (if somewhat fannish), detail-oriented writer, and brings a perspective to manga criticism that's otherwise totally absent from English letters: an art-oriented, excess-happy longtime reader who views the famously lucrative post-'70s system of big-time manga production as a hopeless drag on the form's vitality, and regards the rise of otaku culture with barely-restrained disgust. He rhapsodizes about works with titles like Pirate Ship of Hungry Slaves and Saint Muscle, but also knows how to connect the unique style of artist Masami Fukushima to the popular drive of later hits like Fist of the North Star.

Granted, he does fuck up the Moebius bit in his Preface - Giraud created Arzach in 1976, two years before he began working with Jodorowsky, and the latter had nothing to do with the former's visual transformation away from the Blueberry style. Still, he's a guy worth reading on his own, transformed comics culture.

*Anyway, onward to -


(note that a bunch of sites are listing a quartet of PictureBox books coming out, including Maggots and the hardcover reprint of Frank Santoro's Storeyville, plus both the books I reviewed at the links above from my SPX spending spree... note that Diamond is not listing them for this week, so they may or may not show up at your store)

Winsor McCay: Early Works Vol. 9 & Dream of the Rarebit Fiend: The Saturdays: You've gotta hand it to Checker - they're not ready to let up on old Silas. Of these two books, the former is yet another installment of the publisher's trade paperback format editions of McCay miscellany, likely heavy on illustration and editorial cartooning. The latter is an inexpensive ($19.95), limited edition (1000 copies), oversized (9" x 12') landscape-format hardcover, compiling 190 episodes of the master's famed series at very nearly their original newspaper print size. It'll be a nice choice for readers curious about the material, although they'll want to act on that curiosity quickly. Also this week, Checker has Growing Old with B.C., a 50 Year Celebration, so you can see for yourself if it really was funny back then.

Cromartie High School Vol. 12 (of 17): It's sort of hard to believe that this thing might seriously run the whole way in English. But it might!

Southland Tales: The Prelude Saga: I think this movie is actually going to hit theaters for real in a few weeks, so here's a big 360-page omnibus collection of those Graphitti Designs prequel comics that creator Richard Kelly wrote and Brett Weldele drew. It's $29.95, and seems to have photos of actors on the cover.

Foolkiller MAX #1 (of 5): In which prose novelist Gregg Hurwitz tries his hand at an extended comics storyline, following the Steve Gerber concept of a vigilante killer who acts to erase the 'fools' from society. Hurwitz has expressed great admiration for Garth Ennis' work on The Punisher MAX, and penciller Lan Medina (replacing Juan Barranco, man of mystery - that's his art at the interview link, so here's Medina's) is fresh off a recent Punisher run, so it might not be outrageous to expect a somewhat similar tone.

Casanova #10: This is a comic book that I am reading.

Streets of Glory #2 (of 6): I was none too impressed with the debut of this Garth Ennis/Mike Wolfer cowboy affair, but I'll give it a little space. Avatar also has some Warren Ellis stuff out, like issue #3 of Doktor Sleepless and Black Summer Alpha, which is a bumper edition of issues #0 and #1.

The Authority: Prime #1 (of 6): Yeah, the other one's not coming out. So let Christos Gage & Darick Robertson massage the pain out of your back. Ahhhh. Um, that's kind of all that's new and eye-catching from Greater DC this week, although the first hardcover collection of Darwyn Cooke's The Spirit revival, collecting issues #1-6 and the Jeph Loeb co-written Batman/The Spirit special. It's cute material, and as pretty as you'd expect.

Schulz and Peanuts: I had an awesome joke all ready to go about how we find out in this new biography that Charles Schultz was going to wait for three months after the strip ended and then 'out' Shermy in a q&a session, but I've decided it's so good I'm going to preserve it for a really special time, like the birth of my first grandchild or my inaugural address.