Today the wind stripped the skin from my hands but I'm still typing, love, I'm still here.

*It might actually be less quiet around here when I'm on vacation.


Larry Marder's Beanworld Holiday Special (newly sprouted, for real)


Hellblazer #250

At The Savage Critics!

*Forthcoming Anime Dept: Oh my god, Mamoru Oshii's The Sky Crawlers might be so awesome. It opened in Japanese theaters this past August, and a US home video license is supposedly imminent! But now I'm not sure the actual movie can possibly compare to the caustic brew of time loops, basset hounds, war without end, formal-generic confrontation, purposefully vacant non-characters, chats, knuckle-cracking no-smiles satire, perversely subdued visual ultra-realism and miscellaneous cattiness I've got stuck in my head. God, for a scrap of that reality!

*Comics will be shipped for Wednesday, since Christmas Eve isn't really a holiday, but I guess it's up to your store how long (or if) they'll be open. I plan to beat the crowd by waiting 'till evening and knocking on my retailer's grandma's door during the family supper; I know he's got the stuff hidden in back.


Kramers Ergot 7: The infamous monolith from editor Sammy Harkham, editorial assistant Alvin Buenaventura and publisher Buenaventura Press, and the latest of the influential art-focused comics anthology series. Yes, the salon rumors are all true - it's 96 pages, 16" x 21" in dimension, and $125.00 on the cover, although if you really didn't want to pay that much there were (and are) considerable discounts around. The theme: lots of cartoonists draw stories with a small page count on sheets the size of ye olde newspaper funnies. I've barely gotten the shrink wrap off this bad boy yet, but I'm pretty amused that the book is large enough an item that it managed to fit all 60 contributing artists' familial names on the spine, in case anyone really had to make sure they didn't mishear Matt Groening's involvement. Also: at least one contributor includes a life-sized baby nestled in the center of his double-page spread, while another urges the menfolk to lay it down on the page and see how they measure up to the legends of classic comics. Top range is "Marmaduke Country." Some comics you want to put on your lap; with Kramers 7, you sit on it. Full list of folk and fun facts here.

Masters of American Comics: This is being offered again by Diamond; it's the 2005 Yale University Press accompaniment to the popular gallery exhibition that debuted around the same time, showcasing the works of 15 noteworthy cartoonists from Winsor McCay to Jack Kirby to Gary Panter to Chris Ware. Frankly, the most vivid thing I remember about it was Dan Nadel's very critical piece on the whole affair from Comics Comics #3, in which this very tome is excoriated for its reliance on featherweight artist-specific essays by fellow artists and 'name' scribes like Dave Eggers and Glenn David Gold in lieu of probing analysis by more attuned writers, among other faults ("love those word-balloon chapter headings. Who thought of that? Ingenious! I guess we should be lucky the exhibit wasn't called Splat Boom Pow, though the net effect of its content is no different"). There's also a big overview piece by editor John Carlin, and lots of reproduced art. Hardcover, 328 pages, $45.00.

No Enemy, But Peace: Being a one-off, b&w, 24-page pamphlet from Machinegun Bob Productions, concerning the true story of Navy Cross-winning Sgt. Marco Martinez, caught in an ambush in At-Tarmiyah in 2003. Written and drawn by Marine Corps. veteran Richard C. Meyer, who has a larger Iraq War work, The Bridge, planned for later in 2009. Preview here.

Lillian the Legend: I don't know a damned thing about this 80-page Conundrum Press release from writer/artist Kerry Byrne, save that it's about a Russian immigrant trying to walk and float her way back home from North America in the 1920s, and the cover looks kinda neat. It's $15.00.

Mister X: Condemned #1 (of 4): In which creator Dean Motter's sleepless architect returns to comics, still pondering the grave psychic effects his plans had on the good citizens of his finished city opus. This time there's serial murder, a heap of dead designers, urban renewal and more, written and drawn by Motter himself. From Dark Horse, $3.50. Preview here.

Captain America Theater of War: America First!: Nope, I didn't know Howard Chaykin was writing and drawing a Captain America one-off either. But here it is, a no-doubt wry piece set in the Commie-smashin' '50s of red-blooded patriots. Note the $4.99 price tag, and the presence of an authentic period reprint to fatten the package. In other Chaykin news, Image has the $19.99 American Flagg! Vol. 1 softcover ready for your Christmas tree, although be warned that it's smaller (198 pages) than the hardcover, thus collecting only issues #1-7 and cutting off in the middle of a storyline. I think it's missing the new prelude short too.

Unknown Soldier #3: Still liking this.

Patsy Walker: Hellcat #4 (of 5): Haven't read this, but I know a lot of people who love it, and David LaFuente Garcia's & (colorist) John Rauch's art does look pretty. It's one of those light-hearted superhero frolic books, in which amusing adventures and good times are had with Eskimo witches and polar animals (in contrast to superhero comics wherein tears dribble onto headstones). Check out Tom Spurgeon's interview with writer Kathryn Immomen for more stuff.

Punisher: War Zone #3 (of 6): Ennis & Dillon.

Savage Dragon #143: Larsen (boy, he's getting these out).

The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #2 (of 6): .

Top 10: Season Two #3 (of 4): Ha.

Batman #683: So, for the record, after this final Grant Morrison-written issue (which will actually more-or-less conclude in Final Crisis #6, although I'm sure some kind of denouement will present itself here), we're in for the second half of a Detective Comics crossover from writer Dennis O'Neil (#684), then the second half of a second Detective crossover from writer Paul Dini (#685), then the first half of a third Detective crossover from Neil Gaiman & Andy Kubert (#686), after which I think the ongoing series takes a rest while Batman: Battle for the Cowl becomes its own miniseries from writer/artist Tony Daniel, although Daniel is also slated to return to the main series in some capacity directly after, and then, sometime in the unknown future, Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely might do a Batman story, somewhere, in some monthly format, maybe. It was charming that the rumor saw fit to assure us that Quitely was already hard at work. Oh well, live in the present, right?