Love Song For a Pulped World

*Short week from the holiday.


Slam Dunk Vol. 1 (of 31)

Afro Samurai Vol. 1 (of 2)

'Tis all.

*DC may have sent the latest All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder to the funnybook execution pit (if only to be born again later this month), but plenty remains unmolested -


Krazy & Ignatz 1943-1944: He Nods in Quiescent Siesta: And that is that. Fantagraphics presents the final years of George Herriman's Krazy Kat, hanging on by the love of a dead patron, approaching its end with its artist, in burning desert color. Your $19.99 gets you 120 pages of wrap-up, with various concluding materials from series editor Bill Blackbeard. Slideshow here. Herriman's work may not scream accessibility, but he was one of the few truly superb writers I've come across in early American comics, and his Sunday work exists more as poetry than anything of the stage or the spoof, his avowed love of vaudeville and slapstick silent cinema aside. I think Fantagraphics is still planning to double back and reprint all of Eclipse's old 'early years' Sunday collections next, so you'll soon have a shot at getting back on in front.

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Omnibus: Your Golden Age of Reprints ingot of the week - what I do believe is every goddamned one of Gilbert Shelton's vintage underground humor comics, possibly the most popular stuff of the period, allegedly selling toe-to-toe with Spider-Man in its headshop prime. And Knockabout Comics is only running ya $35.00 for the 624-page softcover whole of it. Go! Run to your vinyl!

Omega: The Unknown: A deluxe, $29.99, 240-page hardcover collection of Marvel's odd, rewarding 2007-08 miniseries, seeing prose writer Jonathan Lethem grab the beginnings of the Steve Gerber/Mary Skrenes/Jim Mooney cult classic and wrench it into a prolonged urban meditation on eccentricity, franchise homogeneity, superhero exploitation and The End of the Fantasy, aided and abetted by co-writer Karl Rusnack, artist Farel Dalrymple, colorist/back-up artist Paul Hornschemeier and special mystery guest artist Gary Panter. I went over the whole series here, but there's spoilers aplenty so maybe you should just take my word that it's really good?

Eternals by Jack Kirby Book 2 (of 2): And, as always, there's an option for the more classically-inclined superhero fan - the 188-page remainder of Kirby's latter day Marvel saga in a $24.99 softcover.

American Widow: A new hardcover book from Villard, a $22.00, 224-page comics memoir centered around writer Alissa Torres's experiences following the loss of her husband on September 11, 2001. Art by New York Times illustrator Sungyoon Choi. I'll be frank: the advance word I've gotten on this hasn't been positive -- convolution and narrative aimlessness came up, which I suppose could work either way -- but do see for yourself. A few pages here.

Prince of Persia: Probably the highest-profile of First Second's books this season - a 208-page color softcover ($16.95) based on creator Jordan Mechner's venerable computer game series. It's written by poet, essayist and comics newcomer A.B. Sina, with art by animators-illustrators-cartoonists-spouses LeUyan Pham & Alex Puvilland. It does look more ambitious than the average licensed comic; might be something to look out for. Sample pages here; nail-biting video preview here.

Sixteen Miles to Merricks and Other Works: I don't know a blessed thing about artist Barnaby Ward, but he's got a striking sense of style, and he's put together this 208-page collection of comics stories and illustrations. Published by Frogchildren Studios; $29.95. A long peek here; review by Chris Mautner here.

Dugout: New from AiT/Planet Lar, a seven-years-in-the-making, 88-page piece of historical baseball fiction from Adam Beechen & Manny Bello, of the publisher's Hench, covering a prison exhibition game that's the front for a jailbreak. Here's a page.

Interiorae #3 (of 4): I wasn't bowled over by the first two issues of Gabriella Giandelli's saunter through dreamy fantasy icons and abbreviated soap opera, but it was just interesting enough in a visual sense to keep my interest for its second half. In the $7.95 Ignatz format from Fantagraphics/Coconino Press; slideshow. Diamond is also offering the fifth and final issue of Ted Stearn's Fuzz & Pluck in Splitsville again, if you missed it the first time.

I Kill Giants #2 (of 7): The first issue of this Joe Kelly-written Image series was a little disquieting; it was one of those Courtney Crumrinish comics about a frowning, mostly obnoxious cool kid protagonist who embarrasses the lame happy kids' uninteresting parents and generally acts antisocial outside of the fantastical world she's connected to. Except, this was an especially self-aware take on the material, holding out the real possibility that the heroine is only ever using fantasy as a means of escaping people she'd just rather not deal with. That'd be an odd thing to pull through what appears to upfront kids' entertainment (it bears the Man of Action brand), but it might be worth a look as a type of adorned slice-of-life thing. Artist J.M. Ken Niimura has a nice style going. Have a look.

B.P.R.D.: The Warning #3 (of 5): Davis.

Dark Tower: Treachery #1 (of 6): Oh Jae Lee, you'll always pull be back to this, won't you? Marvel also has The Stand: Captain Trips #1 (of 6) this week, in case you needed two barrels of adaptation.

Criminal 2 #5: Comic artist trouble, part 2 of 4.

Wolverine: Saudade: Hey, anyone remember Marvel Europa? The House of Ideas' attempt to break some superhero material into the European market by tapping various bandes dessinées talents for standalone albums? I think some of them have been collected in the UK for a while now (and others, like Milo Manara's X-Men project, apparently never got made), but here's a $4.99 pamphlet version of one of them primed especially for the Direct Market. It's something about Wolverine saving the day in Brazil, from Jean-David Morvan & Philippe Buchet of the ongoing Delcourt sci-fi series Wake (Sillage), which is in currently in the midst of an NBM translation. Preview here.

Watchmen: International Edition: Whoa, did Goblin redo the soundtrack? No... no such luck - this appears to be yet another new printing of the Moore 'n Gibbons ironclad, intended specially for English-speaking environs beyond North America, and sporting a new cover more ironic than iconic.

Batman: The Black Glove: Being the third hardcover collection of writer Grant Morrison's run on the flagship Bat-book, scooping up the J.H. Williams III-illustrated tale of the title, plus all other non-The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul Morrison material up to the present R.I.P. storyline (so, issues #667-669 and #672-675). It's $24.99 for 176 pages. You won't be missing too much by skipping the Resurrection hardcover altogether, actually - just grab the initial Batman and Son collection (now $14.99 in softcover) and you're good to go.

Bad Boy 10th Anniversary Hardcover: Ok, ok, I hear your cries - you want your Frank Miller this week, Batman or not. No problem: here's a new oversized (11" x 7.2") hardcover album edition of Miller's and artist Simon Bisley's rude fable of nanny state madness and individual liberty, originally created for the British GQ and later presented to North America as I believe the first-ever comic published by Oni Press. Now it's from Dynamite; $14.99 for 52 pages. Refresh yourself.