The Truth is Out

*Sleep was invented by Hell to steal me.


Omega: The Unknown #1 (of 10)

Town Boy (Lat, autobiography, First Second, good)


Gumby #3

Infinity Inc. #2

column #11 (all about the manga Tekkonkinkreet and a little on its anime adaptation)

All at The Savage Critics!

*I think a mini-review has slipped into the first slot down there...


Manga: The Complete Guide: Being a nearly 600-page Leonard Maltin-type capsule review doorstop... for manga! The beauty of this Del Rey publication, however, is that the world of manga-in-English is still just small enough that writer Jason Thompson (and two dozen additional freelancing writers, Chris Butcher, Shaenon Garrity, Adam Stephanides, Otaku USA EiC Patrick Macias and the great Carl Gustav Horn among them), can actually cover everything. Not counting Korean, Chinese, or OEL works, or AniManga, or scanlations or most anthologies or light novels... but that's still a whole lot of everything. I really liked how they cover all the porn too; call me a pervert, but I think it's valuable to catalog and comment on the full breadth of 'lowdown' shit out there too. Oh, and whomever decided to include the originating anthology and years of initial Japanese serialization with every single entry in the book deserves a kiss from someone especially kissable.

The reviews are nice. Compulsively readable. A little too generous with the raves for me, but there's an interesting willingness to value especially mad and eccentric entertainment follies that I liked a lot. Also featuring some brief, knowledgeable history overviews, and no less than 38 mini-essays on various manga genres and types. I might be using it more for quick research than anything else, but it's already been worth my $19.95, and I suspect it'll be far greater a resource to newer (or simply less obsessive-compulsive) manga readers.

Town Boy: New edition of Lat's 1980 autobiographical continuation, from First Second. My review is here. The publisher is wrapping up its current line of releases this week, which will also see Sardine in Outer Space Vol. 4, the last volume of the series, if I'm not mistaken, to feature artist Joann Sfar's participation. Writer Emmanuel Guibert handles the art himself afterwards.

Mineshaft #20: New issue of the neato underground comics-affiliated magazine, filled with drawings and comics and stuff. Review coming up eventually.

Walt & Skeezix Vol. 3: 1925-1926: You know the Drawn & Quarterly/Gasoline Alley drill: another two years of gently funny, emotionally tender, and visually lovely strips from Frank King, paired up with a monster 80-page historical supplement section, this time focusing on the strip's marketing. And yes, that absolutely does mean a tour of designer Chris Ware's toy collection. What...? Chris Ware's toys aren't enough for you?

Sundays with Walt & Skeezix Vol. 1: Ok, hotshot, how about plunking down a big $95 for this massive (16" x 21") 96-page hardcover from Sunday Press Books (of the famed Little Nemo in Slumberland: So Many Splendid Sundays!), presenting a selection of restored Sunday pages from Gasoline Alley's first 15 years in their original color and publication size. Ware's onboard this one as designer too; check out these essays by him and Sunday Press' Peter Maresca, then leaf through these samples, knowing that it'll never be the same as owning this very costly, very tempting tome. NEVER.

Shortcomings: Collecting the recent three-issue storyline from Adrian Tomine's Optic Nerve. Look, the book even has its own site. I thought this was actually one of the author's livelier, funnier recent(ish) works, but if Tomine's maladjusted lead characters, 'literary' sensibility, and icily cinematic approach to the funnybook form piss you off to no end, you're still going to wind up punching something over this book, and then you'll have to pretend you got into a fight so your friends won't make fun of you over your wounds. Adrian Tomine: Pope of Humiliation.

James Sturm's America: God, Gold, and Golems: Yes, when it rains Drawn & Quarterly releases, it pours. This is a new $24.95 hardcover omnibus of James Sturm works, including the excellent old-timey religion short The Revival, the dying-gasps-of-gold-fever novella Hundreds of Feet Below Daylight, and the much-admired baseball 'n Judaism graphic novel The Golem's Mighty Swing. Easier than ever to read 'em all.

The Complete Nemesis the Warlock Vol. 2: And at the other end of the reprint rainbow, here's a $29.99 brick of fun and games from the life of 2000 AD, presenting Books 5-7 (of 10) in the mystic/demonic war against religious and political tyranny, along with shorter things. From writer Pat Mills, and brimming with art by Bryan Talbot and Kevin O'Neill, among others.

Appleseed Hypernotes: Wow! Akira Club the other month, now this?! There must be an 'actually publishing our promised manga supplements' renaissance going on at Dark Horse. This here is the long, long-awaited collected edition of stuff that ran back in the old Super Manga Blast anthology, a bunch of character and tech info pieces coupled with an 80-page comics story from writer/artist Masamune Shirow, which may go a ways toward fooling you into thinking he's actually going to finish the Appleseed series proper someday, which he's not. $14.95 for 160 b&w and color pages.

B.P.R.D.: The Killing Ground #3 (of 5): This is always worthwhile. Say, speaking of supplements that don't show up, what of Hellboy: The Companion? Dark Horse's site says it's a mere seven months away, so start saving those pennies...

Yotsuba&! Vol. 5: Presenting more frolic from Kiyohiko Azuma's beloved green-haired pixie. Better savor this one - I don't think ADV even has a release date set for Vol. 6, and Vol. 7 just came out in Japan a few weeks ago, so we're nearing the limit.

Yearbook Stories: 1976-1978: In this week's 'random item' slot, Top Shelf has a 32-page, $4.00 pamphlet collection of autobiographical comics from... Top Shelf Publisher Chris Staros. I've read some of this stuff, and it doesn't quite stack up with Chris Oliveros' The Envelope Manufacturer, let me tell ya.

Tank Girl: The Gifting #4 (of 4): All things must pass, and thus goes the Ashley Wood incarnation of this franchise, for now. Writer/co-creator Alan Martin will supposedly next be teaming up with artist Mike (Mick) McMahon for Tank Girl: Carioca, from Titan, whenever.

Black Summer #3 (of 7): Maim for politics. Also from Avatar: Garth Ennis' Chronicles of Wormwood trade, presenting a somewhat tedious but disarmingly personal account of spiritual matters and penis jokes from the writer in the title and artist Jacen Burrows.

The Punisher MAX #51: Finally, back on track! Featuring the art of Goran Parlov, and hopefully many cute baby shots like in Ghostbusters 2. Also new from Marvel this week are Punisher War Journal #12, a World War Hulk tie-in, and Wolverine #58, which I'm buying strictly for the Blade team.

Captain Carrot and the Final Ark #1 (of 3): Well, here's the most interesting thing DC's got out this week. Really. It's a Countdown tie-in! From writer Bill Morrison and artists Scott Shaw! & Al Gordon. I don't think I need to explain it? Oh, there's a new Steve Niles/Scott Hampton ongoing Batman thing out called Simon Dark. They did Batman: Gotham County Line. The one with the jetpack? I think? Not so swell a week for DC.