*Right in.


B.P.R.D. 1946 #1-5 (of 5)

Color of Rage (Kazuo Koike, out of a comfort zone)


Sky Doll #1 (of 3) (and everything that little title can mean)

at The Savage Critics!

*Never a dull seven.


(no, the new issue of The Comics Journal is not on Diamond's list for this week - preview here anyway)

The Bottomless Belly Button: Being Dash Shaw's massive 720-page brick of a graphic novel from Fantagraphics, tracking the Loony family as a six-day family reunion brings separation, mystery, longings, hauntings, and terribly sad comedy. Preview here, Table of Contents here, character intros here. 'Dad' or 'Mom' variant covers available! Really! I'll have a review up once I'm finished reading it.

Skim: I've seen this $18.95 hardcover graphic novel sitting in bookstores for months -- and it's been getting talked up a bunch in broad-sweep media outlets -- but I guess the Direct Market is only now ready to enjoy it. It's a 140-page b&w production from cousins Mariko (writer) & Jillian (artist) Tamaki, following the tangled private lives of outsider-type private school girls in 1993 via an illustrated diary-as-comics format. Suicide, homosexuality, Wicca and affairs with older lovers figure in. From Groundwood Books. Some preview pages here.

Explainers: The Complete Village Voice Strips (1956-66): Golden Age of Reprints - charge forward! Now we've got a 568-page landscape-format Fantagraphics presentation of Jules Feiffer's classic early weekly strip, tackling every topic under the sun. Gary Groth's intro is here, and a big preview is here. It's $28.99. Fanta also has a dandy new $18.99 softcover edition of the first volume of Hank Ketcham's Complete Dennis the Menace, covering 1951-52.

Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution 1963-1975: Fantagraphics released a hardcover version of this, Patrick Rosenkranz's modular chronicle of the day and its people, back in 2003, but be aware that this new $34.99 softcover has been expanded and revised, with a new visual design. Foreword here, video & audio info here, preview here.

Comic Arf: The latest in Craig Yoe's always-striking Fantagraphics collections of funnies on the cusp of finery, or vice-versa. I read through a copy at the NYCC this year, and the standout feature is a long stretch of famed cartoonists finishing a deliberately incomplete Milt Gross strip from the '20s - Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Peter Bagge, Kaz, Johnny Ryan, Jaime Hernandez, Mike Mignola, Bil Keane (who's actually pretty damn funny!), Mort Walker and many more contribute. You'll also get a tribute to Dudley Fisher, a nightmarish kids' strip by Walt Kelly, a suite of anti-war cartoons from all over American history, and more. It's $19.99 for 120 pages.

Hellboy: The Companion: If you happen to be following the various Hellboy family titles in pamphlets rather than trades you've definitely heard of this, since its extreme lateness (I think it was first due in 2006) has become something of a running joke. But now it's here for real, and a mere $14.95 will net you 200 pages' worth of Official Handbook-type joy. Contains a timeline of events stretching from before the dawn of humankind up to the present day, and info on all 17 trillion characters attached to the series, including some that never quite got to appearing on the page. You can read editor Scott Allie's intro here. Also out this week is the trade collection of Hellboy: Darkness Calls, from creator/writer Mike Mignola and artist Duncan Fegredo, with two new epilogues, one drawn by Mignola.

Grendel: Devil Quest & Grendel: Devil Child: Meanwhile, Matt Wagner's creation gets a pair of $14.95 lavished upon it; the former (64 pages) is a compilation of that painted serial Wagner did in the back pages of Grendel Tales in the mid-'90s, while the latter (56 pages) collects a 1999 miniseries written by longtime editor Diana Schutz with art by Tim Sale and colors by Teddy Kristiansen. The current Grendel: Behold the Devil miniseries also has its penultimate issue (#7) out this week.

Tim Sale: Black and White: Oh - speaking of Sale, Image has an expanded, 272-page hardcover edition of his career retrospective out, now accounting for his work on Catwoman and the television show Heroes. It's $39.99.

Mushishi Vol. 4 (of 10): Yeah, supposedly this lovely Yuki Urushibara manga is now set to conclude upon the completion of its 10th volume, which shouldn't arrive for a bunch of months. Not that Del Rey's quarterly English edition is likely to overtake it. Ah well, many more Mushi ahead for us.

Swan Vol. 13 (of 21): Gosh... my lack of faith may be showing here, but I'm kind of amazed that CMX is still plowing through Kyoko Ariyoshi's 1976-81 shōjo ballet classic. I'm not even reading it and I feel like I ought to point out its continuance. So there!

Tank Girl: Visions of Booga #1 (of 4): God, I'd totally missed that IDW was going to have another one of these things. This time Rufus Dayglo performs full art duties for writer Alan C. Martin, with Ashley Wood doing the covers. It's a long storyline involving a "transcontinental Kerouackian odyssey," which is suppose is not to be confused with Peter Milligan's Joycean odyssey from a decade and change back. Pages pages pages.

Dead, She Said #1 (of 6): Another IDW debut, this time seeing Bernie Wrightson apply ink to his pencils in the comics form for the first time in a while. It's a Steve Niles story about a private eye who's shot dead, but gets back up anyway. Exciting futuristic video preview here.

Gødland #23: Cosmic reset - threatened! Scroll down for preview.

The Programme #11 (of 12): National unity - ruined! Behold the end of the American family.

War is Hell: The First Flight of the Phantom Eagle #3 (of 5): Wartime romance - soured! Never avert your eyes.

X-Men: Divided We Stand #2 (of 2): Anthology series - contains art by Frazer Irving! Lookit.

The Boy Who Made Silence #3 (of 12): Shhh.

Incredible Hulk Omnibus Vol. 1: Upcoming film - promoted! Contains Lee, Kirby, Ditko, Kane, Romita, Buscema and others across Incredible Hulk #1-6, Tales to Astonish #59-101 and Incredible Hulk #102. It's $99.99 for 752 pages, and no dount available by the popcorn when the time comes.

I.R.$. Vol. 1: Taxing Trails: From Cinebook, a $19.95 English-language collection of the first two (1999 & 2000) albums in Belgian creators Stephen Desberg's & Bernard Vrancken's action series about the dangerous exploits of a two-fisted branch of the Internal Revenue Service, dedicated to uncovering all the financial secrets that good citizens might try to hide. Short preview here. There is a comic for every occasion.