Told You I'd Be Busy

*God, for more time in the day. I should have more time this week at least.


Little Nothings Vol. 1: Curse of the Umbrella

Narcopolis #4 (of 4)

*It's not like I don't have enough things to write about, I mean.


Comics Comics #4: Another big 16-page installment of that 23" x 36" b&w newspaper tabloid from PictureBox, all about the world of funnies we hold so dear. With articles and/or comics by Frank Santoro, Tim Hodler, Dan Nadel, Sammy Harkham, Brian Chippendale, Jon Vermilyea, Dan Zettwoch, others, and me (on Crypic Wit and the comics of Gerald Jablonski). Only $2.95, and if your shop doesn't have it you can get it online.


Special Forces #3 (of 6): I've really been enjoying Kyle Baker's two-fisted blazing combat satire from Image, so it's great to see it back from hiatus. This preview instills fire in my soul. The publisher also has Jack Staff #18 from Paul Grist, making it a noteworthy week in the hearts of lovers.

Army@Love: The Art of War #1 (of 6): And in other wartime returns, this Vertigo project from Rick Veitch & (inker) Gary Erskine is back as a miniseries. It's also an Iraq satire, although its particular blend of cultural extrapolation and romance comic soap operatics is very much unlike any other series on the stands right now, or really anything else I can think of. This may be a good issue to jump in with.

Blurred Vision Vol. 4: The 229-page newest edition of a softcover anthology blending works from an experimental comics and 'fine' arts perspective. With K. Thor Jensen, Toc Fetch, Matt Madden, Andrei Molotiu (I didn't realize his Abstract Comics: An Anthology had been cleared for publication by Fantagraphics until I read his author's bio), Ethan Persoff, Tobias Tak and more. Full lineup here. Review coming soon.

Massive Swerve: I don't know a damn thing about this 96-page, $19.95 collection of comics by animator Robert Valley, but it looks slick.

Eagle Annual: The Best of the 1950s Comic: This is a $19.95 Orion hardcover from 2007 that's just making its way to Diamond-serviced shops now - 176 pages collect various strips from the vintage British comics source, including some classic Dan Dare material. Found in Diamond's extensive Merchandise section, wherein a Patlabor 2 Hellhound Model Kit challenged my notions of security in a globalized state.

Creepy Archives Vol. 1: Being the start of Dark Horse's big ol' deluxe hardcover reprint project for the venerable horror magazine. Bad news - it's at the typical $49.95 price point for Dark Horse's 'archival' hardcovers. Good news - it's bigger than average in every way, preserving the original magazine dimensions of 8 3/8" x 10 7/8" for 232 b&w pages. Contains the first five issues (1965), and the contributions of a bevy of EC and related artists, like Frank Frazetta, Al Williamson, Jack Davis, Alex Toth, Joe Orlando, Angelo Torres, Gray Morrow and Reed Crandall, with many stories written by Archie Goodwin (editor as of issue #4). Samples here.

The Mask Omnibus Vol. 1: Detailing classic oozing slapstick exploits by John Arcudi & Doug Mahnke, from the initial 1989 Mayhem serial through 1995's The Mask Strikes Back. Childhood fondness aspect: pertinent. I'm not sure if Mark Badger's abortive 1987 Dark Horse Presents incarnation of the character (initially created by Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson for early '80s fanzines) will be in here, but those 376 color pages will provide plenty of room. It's $24.95; preview here.

The Complete Zombies Vs. Robots: Ashley Wood. Will he ever stop? No. This week brings a $19.99, 160-page softcover collection for all of these Chris Ryall-written genre mash-up stories (thus far), including, I think, completed serial stuff intended for Wood's stalled D'Airain Aventure anthology series.

Foolkiller: Fool's Paradise: Well, it's no Omega: The Unknown in terms of verve or thoughtfulness. Actually, it pretty much ignores Steve Gerber's explicitly satiric intent altogether in favor of a dry, raised-eyebrow tone of crime comic decadence. But I did kinda dig writer Gregg Hurwitz's ultra-lurid MAX saga of doom, gloom and online gambling, and Lan Medina turns in some deluxe, men's action magazine-ready art. It's $17.99 collected, which is pretty good for a $3.99 pamphlet series. Also in bookshelf punishment this week: a new $24.99 hardcover printing of Garth Ennis' and Steve Dillon's The Punisher: Welcome Back Frank.

Crossed #0 (of 9): Speaking of Ennis, here's his newest Avatar project with frequent collaborator Jacen Burrows, a horror series in which a strange infection brings out the latent wickedness in very nearly everyone on the fucking planet. This issue #0 is your typical $1.00 Avatar prelude chapter, which the writer promises will be "all-out carnage, horror piled upon horror to the point of sensory overload." The series proper will begin in October.

Criminal 2 #4: The start of a new four-part, present day story for Ed Brubaker's and Sean Phillips' multi-perspective crime opus, this time focusing on the affairs of Tracy Lawless' comics artist friend, the man behind the beloved Frank Kafka, P.I. newspaper strip. Still 40 pages for $3.50; have a peek.

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #1: The start of Terry Moore's run on this superhero-flavored high school romance title, with artist Craig Rousseau. A look. Moore's Echo #5 is also out this week.

Tor #4 (of 6): Kubert.

Punisher War Journal #22: Chaykin. I'm pretty happy to have recently gotten (cheap!) hold of four out of five issues of the old series Sword of Sorcery, which was DC's 1973 attempt to answer Marvel's Barry Windsor-Smith-powered Conan the Barbarian with adaptations of Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories. It's better known today as Chaykin's first 'major' comics work (with prominent contributions from Walter Simonson and Jim Starlin), and the product of a brief period in which DC attempted to marry eager young talents to regular, pulpy, non-superhero work (see also: Michael Wm. Kaluta on The Shadow, which also began in '73), with all accordant visual lapses - issue #1 sports a credit for the Crusty Bunkers (Neal Adams' irregular backing zoo crew of the day), issue #3 involved the work of "about a dozen" inkers (by writer/editor Dennis O'Neil's letters column estimate), and issue #4 had one of those dreaded deadline doom jam stories (a la Chaykin's The Scorpion #2 from '75). But man, there's some energy in there.

Infinity Inc. #12: Closing out writer Peter Milligan's well-intentioned, more interesting than not follow-up to 52 with a Final Crisis tie-in. And speaking of...

Final Crisis #3 (of 7): In which Darkseid kicks the crap out of the world. Is this gonna be an extended, DCU-wide version of the beating scene from Mister Miracle #3? Can Batman count on retaining all of his Bat-parts? Time (and, in all likelihood, internet posts) will tell. And don't miss the special 64-page, $4.99 Director's Cut edition of issue #1, in which historians on three continents work to integrate footage from newly-discovered prints so as to reestablish Carl Th. Dreyer's original vision.

Well... ok, actually it looks like some sort of annotated version of issue #1, which might turn out to be pretty neat, but god that label gets on my nerves...