Woo I'm Tired

*Who'd have guessed not sleeping would wear you out? I didn't even do anything.


Final Crisis #5 (of 7)

Shirtlifter #3 (I got an email today expressing hope that I'd follow every review of a high-profile superhero comic with porn coverage; you may yet see your dreams come true, internet friend, but this comic has a little more going on besides getting in on)

*Is there a holiday coming? Not yet?


The Quest for the Missing Girl: Oh man, Christmas just came a little early - it's a Fanfare/Ponent Mon sighting! But I'd caution you not to take the rarity of this particular manga release as some seal of unassailable quality, or even an indication of anything particularly innovative; it's really more of the 'airport read' type of book that I suspect a good deal of seinen manga looks like, though it's a rare enough thing around here that it carries a certain air of especial sophistication. Still, it's hard to go wrong with Jirô Taniguchi -- I just re-read Benkei in New York the other day and god, that all-fighting chapter with the wide panels still kills -- and here he's applying noir tropes to the urban youth troubles that puzzled Japan back in the late '90s (the Japanese edition hit back in 2000), as a mighty mountain man enters the concrete labyrinth for reasons carefully encoded in the work's title. Can he rise above? It's 336 pages for $25.00. Preview here; my review here.

Naoki Urasawa's Monster Vol. 18 (of 18): In which this nasty business reaches its fond farewell to moral strife and all of you. No need to cry, though - VIZ and Urasawa will be back in early 2009 with 20th Century Boys and Pluto, the latter featuring adaptation work by no less than Osamu Tezuka expert and manga-in-English godfather Frederik L. Schodt. I picked that tidbit up from the new Electric Ant zine from creator/publisher Ryan Sands and designer/illustrator Evan Hayden, of the Same Hat! blog, available for purchase at the bold link.

Vagabond VIZBIG Edition Vol. 2: That's vols. 4-6 of Takehiko Inoue's ongoing tale of the swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, making it a 632-page chunk of manga for only $19.99. Just seven more of these and you'll be almost caught up to the singles!

Hellblazer #250: No, I can't believe it either. But Vertigo's making sure the occasion doesn't pass without remark, since this special 48-page, $3.99, five-feature holiday anthology special is chock-full of excellent folk. To wit: (1) Jamie Delano & David Lloyd (they were there near the very start; also the team that brought you The Horrorist); (2) Peter Milligan & Eddie Campbell (Milligan is the series' new continuing writer, starting next issue; Campbell's providing the visuals, but he's also written the series in the past, #85-88); (3) Dave Gibbons & Sean Phillips (Gibbons is also new to the title, and, if you stop and think about it, probably one of the most recognizable comics 'names' in the world at this particular point in time; Phillips drew a good number of issues years ago, including the aforementioned Campbell run); (4) Brian Azzarello & Rafael Grampá (teaming a veteran Constantine scripe with the ever-striking artist of Mesmo Delivery, in his first North American pamphlet); and (5) China Miéville, Giuseppe Camuncoli & Stefano Landini (a pair of recent series artists join a popular prose specialist for what I think is his comics debut, save for a strip in one of his books, as pointed out by Chris Randle). C'mon, that's worth four bucks. One page from everyone here.

The Complete Ro-Busters: But if you want vintage Dave Gibbons -- not to mention a touch of early Alan Moore -- you'll need to hunt down this 336-page, $30.99 Rebellion collection of the famed Pat Mills-directed Thunderbirds parody-cum-social satire from 1978-79 (with periodic revivals through the early '80s), torn from the pages of Starlord and 2000 AD. Also featuring art by Kevin O'Neill, Bryan Talbot, Steve Dillon and others. Much info here.

The Boys: Definitive Edition Vol. 1: So let's say you have $75.00 burning a hole in your pocket, and instead of food or fuel or philanthropy or English robot comics from the late '70s, you want to spend it on superheroes all messed up real good. No problem, here's a Dynamite oversized (11" x 7.2") hardcover collection of issues #1-14 (or, the first two trades) from Garth Ennis' & Darick Robertson's ongoing superpowered-people-keep-superheroes-in-line project. Contains revisions, production art and the complete script to issue #1. My review of this content and more is here.

Little Nemo in Slumberland Hardcover Set: Or hell, why not the complete Winsor McCay classic in a pair of 300(ish)-page, 9" x 12.5" hardcovers? We can buy such things (for $99.99) these days, because our world is a lucky world. I'm 99% sure these are the 2007-08 Checker editions bundled together, which means they'll also throw in the complete Tales of The Jungle Imp and the 1926 Nemo revival at no added cost. Act now!!

Spaghetti Brothers Vol. 2 (of 4): There was a solicitation gaffe a while back that made it seem like this IDW English-language edition of Carlos Trillo's & Domingo Mandrafina's Italian-American crime opus was going to be abridged or something. However, vol. 3 is set for March 2009, so I presume we're going to see it all (although I've never seen a copy of vol. 1 in person myself). It's a 204-page b&w hardcover, priced at $24.99. Found in Diamond's holly jolly Merchandise section, along with the official Hugh Hefner 1953 Edition Bobblehead. Yeah, '53 had a good line of Hefs... nothing like the shrunken ones we've got today.

Aldebaran Vol. 2: The Group: Also in European comics this week, here's Cinebook's second collection of Les Mondes d'Aldébaran, a humanistic saga of space colonization from the Brazilian-born writer/artist 'Léo' (Luiz Eduardo de Oliveira). It's been an ongoing project since 1994, although it's currently in its third planetary section (Antarès), which some consider to be a third distinct series. Not Cinebook - this volume collects vols. 3-4 of the French release, and the upcoming vol. 3 will pair up the fifth and final tome of the initial Aldébaran section with the first portion of the saga's second section, Bételgeuse. Here's some pictures.

Beanworld Holiday Special: Being writer/artist Larry Marder's first new work on his signature creation in over a decade. I've never read much Tales of the Beanworld, but I know it was a very nearly era-defining 'indy' comic for many readers in the late '80s and early '90s, so I'm guessing a lot of people are gonna be stoked. It's a 24-page color comic from Dark Horse, priced at $3.50. Preview here.

The Programme Vol. 2 (of 2): The concluding Wildstorm softcover collection ($17.99) for Peter Milligan's & C.P. Smith's ambitious, not-terribly-successful-but-still-sometimes-interesting interrogation of national identity and political ideology in the extreme form of superhero Cold Warriors. It's like they're activated to whisk us all away from the nasty ambiguity of wars on terror and such, except nothing's so simple. My review of the endgame is here.

Conan the Cimmerian #6: Corben and others.

Punisher War Zone #2 (of 6): Ennis & Dillon.

The Punisher MAX #65: Last issue of the Gregg Hurwitz, Laurence Campbell & Lee Loughridge run. Featuring Jigsaw, for the purposes of massive movie monies.

Thor God-Sized Special #1: Another godly, high-impact Thor piece from writer Matt Fraction, this time concerning Thor and Loki's mighty team-up to figure out what happened with the god Skurge, most badass. Art by Doug Braithwaite, Dan Brereton & Marko Djurdjevic.

Madman Atomic Comics #12: Allred.

Armageddon Now Vol. 1 (of 6): World War III: Liefeld. As in the 112-page kickoff for Rob Liefeld's new Image series -- all bookshelf-ready hardcover tomes, sign of the times -- in which America is brought to its knees by terrorist attacks, prompting a military investigator to ship off to Jerusalem and encounter the cataclysmic truth behind biblical prophecy. That's right, it's the End of Days - Liefeld style. Co-written by megachurch pastor Phil Hotsenpiller, with colorist Mike Capprotti working straight from the creator's pencils. The cover alone features 14 pouches, two hidden feet, one huge gun and a nuclear explosion. Call it fanservice. Only $24.99; you can't take it with you.