A big bowl of candy that is comics.

*What's better than anything I wrote last week? News that the heavy 'alternative' manga anthology AX -- descendant of the grand old Garo, and currently up to Vol. 65 -- is getting an English-language airing as a 400+ page Top Shelf sampler sometime in 2009. You've heard about it already, but now you're hearing it here.

I've looked at a tiny bit of the stuff in Japanese - lots of striking visual diversity, very impressive on the surface. Hopefully the English book won't glom onto the more established (ha ha) names; I'm not saying they ought to preserve the magazine-like 'artist showcase' features of the anthology or anything, but this would be a good chance to expose readers to some artists doing interesting work today, as opposed to scrapbooking smaller works by mangaka already afforded some (valuable!) retrospect. I'm just sayin'.


Prince of Persia (with general thoughts on games-as-comics)

solanin (with general thoughts on manga-as-a-plunge-from-a-cliff)

*So yeah, I didn't even buy last week's books until today. Don't fret; nothing can stop my insatiable futurism. I am seated, yet I have no bottom.


Speak of the Devil: Collecting the well-regarded 2007-08 Gilbert Hernandez miniseries into a $19.95 Dark Horse hardcover. It's another of Beto's 'movies' that exist inside his Love and Rockets stories, this time a sexually-charged (if rather front-of-Previews modest) knife-kill thingy, pregnant with eye-pops and not a few winks. It's good, buy it, etc. Preview here; my review here.

ACME Novelty Library #19: Man, I just know I'll nail the cut-out project this time. You'll never see my tears again, Chris Ware. A $15.95 color hardcover; 78 pages. Rusty Brown this time; Drawn and Quarterly.

Or Else #5: New from Kevin Huizenga, and isn't that all you need? This is his Drawn and Quarterly series that used to collect his minicomics stuff (sometimes updated), but I'm not sure if anything in here hails from there. Contains a comics adaptation of a Giorgio Manganelli story about a foreigner in a land of religious war, plus updates on household animals, several important questions, and exclusive previews of the next 19 issues of Or Else ("OE 13: The ambassador is visited by four ghosts. Glenn explores the underground zoo."). All in 40 pages; $4.95.

Bourbon Island 1730: A First Second release of a 2007 book by artist/co-writer Lewis Trondheim (who must release 20 books per year at minimum or the bomb in his heart goes off; this made his 2004 'retirement' pretty hopping) and co-writer 'Appollo' (Olivier Appollodorus), concerning pirates and treasure and colonialism and racism and all the stuff. Big sample here. It's 288 pages, $17.95, and Trondheim, and thus worth checking out.

Man of Rock: A Biography of Joe Kubert: A 220-page Fantagraphics prose release by Bill Schelly, being just what the title says it is. Slideshow here; Tom Spurgeon interview here.

Travel: Nice - the second PictureBox release of manga by Yuichi Yokoyama, this time a 208-page account of stuff that's observed when a group of people go on a train ride. Being Yokoyama, I presume the observations made will be those as glimpsed through the fiber of reality from an alternate dimension devoid of human preoccupation. It's $19.95, and includes an introduction by Paul Karasik, plus a 'commentary' by the artist that consists of almost nothing but dryly recounting what is happening on page after page, which is oddly helpful in a comic like this. Preview here.

Bat-Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan: Oh shit, some good manga this week. This one's from Pantheon, a 352-page collection of 8 Man artist Jiro Kuwata's 1966-67 Adam West-inspired take on the character, which has never before been collected in book form, anywhere. Which means that it's not a complete collection - co-authors Chip Kidd & Saul Ferris simply couldn't find some of it, plus they're holding stuff back for a possible volume two (not to mention a 32-page piece that'll only appear in the limited edition hardcover, not out this week), but helpful re-caps will step you around the missing passages. Note that the pages aren't scanned either, oh no; additional co-author Geoff Spear photographed every last one on its own, for that extra touch of crinkled authenticity (think Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz). Plus: lots of color pictures of vintage toys and a new interview with Kuwata. It'll run ya $29.95. Note that DC is running some delightful cross-promotion this week via their $9.99 collection of Yoshinori Natsume's Batman: Death Mask, the newest of the Bat-manga.

Joker: And, on the other side of the planet - a new hardcover tome about the title villain's adventures in a crime comic that's eventually a superhero comic, sort of like a certain superhero movie is also a crime movie. It has its moments? Here's my review; from writer Brian Azzarello, penciller/sorta-inker Lee Bermejo and mostly-inker Mick Gray; $19.99 for 128 pages. Previews here and here.

No Hero #2 (of 7): This will also be a violent superhero comic. I hope someone else's ears come off!

Hellboy: In the Chapel of Moloch: Just in time for Halloween, a whole damned $2.99 comic book written & drawn by that Mike Mignola fellow of Cosmic Odyssey fame. Looks like old times.

Hellblazer: The Family Man: Also home for the holidays - volume 4 of the complete Jamie Delano, wrapping issues #23-24 and #28-33 into a $19.99 softcover. Note that this arrangement skips the Grant Morrison/David Lloyd and Neil Gaiman/Dave McKean issues, but includes the Dick Foreman/Steve Pugh issue #32, which I'm pretty sure has never been collected anywhere; the Morrison/Lloyd stuff is in the Hellblazer: Rare Cuts trade, while the Gaiman/McKean story most recently graces Constantine: The Hellblazer Collection, which was released in conjunction with the 2005 film (I'd say you should go for the old Neil Gaiman's Midnight Days compendium from 1999 instead; or, you know, look for the issue itself). There's probably two of these Delano softcovers left to go, if they're gunning to throw in the Hellblazer Special: Bad Blood miniseries from 2000; do note that Delano (on top of the hardcover project he's doing with Jock) is also set to pop up with a new short in next month's #250, along with Lloyd, Eddie Campbell, Peter Milligan (the new regular writer!), Brian Azzarello, Rafael Grampá, China Miéville, Keanu Reeves... wait, one of those is wrong...

Kill Your Boyfriend: However, your Morrison reprint jones will probably be satisfied by this new $5.99 edition of a 1995 one-off. A young lady's wild side sprouts when she meets a cute agent of actualization, and they show some people a thing or two. Art by Philip Bond & D'Israeli. I've never been much for this book; Tucker Stone compared it to Wanted (sélection officielle of the 2009 Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême, enfoirés!) in the new issue of Comic Foundry, which strikes me as apt, in that both works adopt a satirical posture that quickly gets lost in a rush of image-conscious transgression fantasy (although Millar hoists the banner of satire back up in the last five or so pages of his book to claim literary victory over you). Still, if you haven't read it: here it is.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier: And here's a $19.99 softcover edition of the Alan Moore/Kevin O'Neill project that wrapped up America's Best Comics in terms of involvement by its creator, 3-D glasses still included. My review is here.

The Tick: The Complete Edlund: More more reprints more. I've never read any of creator Ben Edlund's 1988-93 series, but interested parties might want a look at this 400-page, $35.00 collection of the original 12 issues, plus the non-Edlund 'pseudo' issue #13 from 2000, early newsletter comics and various bits 'n pieces. Still from New England Comics.

Garth Ennis' Battlefields: The Night Witches #1 (of 3): Kicking off a new series of miniseries from Dynamite that'll function essentially as a continuation of writer Ennis' irregular War Story project at Vertigo, but with multi-chapter tales. I presume the difference with Marvel's extremely similar-sounding War is Hell series is that writers who aren't Garth Ennis might participate in the latter (if there's even going to be more of it). The initial artist is Russ Braun, and the subject matter is Soviet bombers piloted by women in 1942. Here's some now. Also from Dynamite this week is a dispatch from a more formal DC refugee, The Boys #24. Meanwhile, Ennis' Streets of Glory ends at Avatar with issue #6.

Giant-Size X-Men: First Class #1: Halloween! Terror! Bite into the apple and taste the razor of Jeff Parker! Wait, I mean that as a compliment! Also this issue: Roger Langridge! Preview!

Heavy Metal Eerie Special: By which they mean the usual Fall 2008 special; no particular Warren content. It is Halloween, though, so we do get a treat in the form of The Telescope of Charon, tome 2 (of 4) in Éric Liberge's damned cool 1996-2005 undead society series Mister Mardi-Gras Ashes, last seen in the 2006 Halloween Special. How time flies, and space fills.

Bernie Wrightson's Frankenstein: Okay, it's Halloween and shit, right? Got it? So how about a new Dark Horse edition of Wrightson's 1983 opus of illustration, adding 47 famously intensive full-page images to the Mary Shelley original? It's a $29.95, 9" x 12" hardcover, with an introduction by Stephen King. Have a look.