I'm stocked up on gas for this week's weather threat.

*So I'm glad to settle in and type things on the internet about comic books as I sway back in forth in this lukewarm bathtub that is the meteorological state of fear.


Why I Killed Peter (new Eurocomics in English, and the first noteworthy bookshelf thing to peruse in 2009)

2008 End of Year Toast of Twenty (a best of list, now twice as long)


various 'n sundry (Final Crisis: Secret Files, Punisher: War Zone #4 of 6 and Incognito #1 of 5)

At The Savage Critics!

*Anime Dept: Anime.

*Back to Wednesday for the US -


Wormdye: A new 128-page Secret Acres collection of interwoven comics by Eamon Espey, promising comedic visions of "the human struggle: work, religion, death and human sacrifice." I know exactly nothing about any of this, so here's a review by Sean T. Collins, who sums up the artist's vocabulary as "that one-two punch of cruelty to children and animals coupled with sexualized violence that we've seen from Josh Simmons, and to a certain extent Hans Rickheit or even Al Columbia at times." Could be worth a peek; it's $13.00.

Fatal Faux Pas: Yeah, sometimes it saves money for small publishers to ship a lot of books out at once, which means Diamond sometimes seems to dedicate weeks to particular sources. That's a long way of leading into this week's Secret Acres release #2, a $10.00, 96-page collection of strips, gags and drawings by Center for Cartoon Studies alum Samuel C. Gaskin. The publisher tells me it's "the definition of youthful exuberance." Review by Dick Hyacinth here.

Blue Monday: Thieves Like Us #1 (of 5): I'm not very familiar with artist Chynna Clugston's signature series, a stylish teenage comedy thing from Oni, but I know it's well-regarded among a lot of readers, and here's the newest stuff. Interview and preview here.

RASL Book 1: The Drift: So soon? Yep - it's issues #1-3 of Jeff Smith's ongoing b&w series about a thief's journeys across dimensions, in a deluxe 9" x 12" softcover format that'll probably flatter Smith's airy visuals (I swear the whole thing looks like some lost Katsuhiro Otomo-influenced seinen manga from a quarter of a century ago, which is not a complaint), although the story is still in startup mode. Do note that Smith has added a bunch of new art for the collection, in keeping with the proud Bone tradition. The page count is now 112; it's $13.00.

Me and the Devil Blues Vol. 2: Being Del Rey's latest 576-page chunk of Akira Hiramoto's fantasy biography of Robert Johnson and his sold soul and his mutant fingers and his friend Clyde Barrow and... I said it's fantasy. This puts us even with the Japanese collected releases, so don't expect to see more of this ongoing series for a while. The fee is $19.95.

A Treasury of XXth Century Murder: The Lindbergh Child: Rick Geary's murderous new one, an overview of the infamous event, now in $9.95 softcover from NBM. Preview here; my review of the hardcover here.

Harold Gray's Little Orphan Annie Vol. 2: The Darkest Hour is Just Before the Dawn: You'll recall Vol. 1 of this IDW project from many Best of 2008 lists that didn't disqualify archival reprint projects for arbitrary and wholly unfair reasons. Here's your second dose, a 384-page, $39.99 brick covering Oct. 1927 - Nov. 1930. I expect the same high quality as all of the publisher's Library of American Comics releases.

Agents of Atlas: Oh, here's something nice - not only does this 256-page, $24.99 package present writer Jeff Parker's & artist Leonard Kirk's 2006-07 homage to the Marvel/Atlas superhero Golden Age in softcover, but it looks to carry over the extensive bonuses from the hardcover edition, which is close to 100 pages' worth of interviews, designs, vintage tales from 1947-56, and the 1978 issue of What If...? (#9) that inspired the new project. Ye olde costumed heroes in the modern day, presented in an affectionately goofy style.

Daredevil by Frank Miller & Klaus Janson Vol. 3 (of 3): Scooping up the remains of the classic run into a 336-page, $29.99 softcover, along with the related What If...? #28 and, oddly, the 1986 Marvel Graphic Novel Daredevil: Love & War, which is not by Miller & Janson (or even part of a run primarily featuring them), but Miller & Sienkiewicz. Or is Marvel's solicitation incorrect?

Groo: Hell on Earth: Those of you still riding high on the return of Tales From the Beanworld and/or the news that Usagi Yojimbo is getting one of those big-ass $95.00 omnibus collections (from Fantagraphics) will do well to note that this Sergio Aragonés creation is still going strong, and now has a new $17.95 softcover collecting a 2007-08 Dark Horse storyline. The topic is environmental disaster in the midst of global strife, although I think that title is funny in any context. Preview here.

American Splendor: Another Dollar: And even longer-lived series turn up! This $14.99 softcover collects Vertigo's 2008 sophomore batch of Harvey Pekar life funnies, with art by Dean Haspiel, Darwyn Cooke, Rick Geary, Hunt Emerson, David Lapham, Chris Weston, Darick Robertson, Hilary Barta, Josh Neufeld, Ty Templeton, Warren Pleece, Ed Piskor, Gary Dumm and more.

DC Universe Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 1 (of 3): I hadn't even realized this was in the pipeline - a series of $39.99 hardcovers collecting all of the influential artist's stray works, cover illustrations and short runs from the publisher (so, everything DC that's not Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Batman or Deadman). It's 192 pages; partial list of contents here.

The Sandman: The Dream Hunters #3 (of 4): Russell.

No Hero #3 (of 7): Ryp, pouring on the hallucinations; I hope this whole issue is a superhero going crazy on drugs! Writer Warren Ellis has a bunch of other stuff out this week from Avatar, including issue #7 of Gravel (ending the current storyline), issue #11 of Doktor Sleepless and the concluding issue #5 of Anna Mercury (don't worry, a sequel's already on its way).

Sub-Mariner: The Depths #4 (of 5): Milligan & Ribic.

Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #2 (of 8): Fegredo. Er, and Guy Davis, since this issue is starting up the 'shorter serial chapter + bonus backup short' format. Written by creator Mike Mignola, as always.

The Boys #26: This is a longer-than-average storyline, so we're only looking at part four of seven of X-Men antics. Preview here; contrary to what CBR's credits say, I believe John Higgins is serving as Darick Robertson's inker for the next few months, not as a fill-in artist. EDIT 1/7: No, CBR was right and I was wrong - John Higgins is this issue's fill-in artist, despite Darick Robertson's credit on the cover (which I suppose is meant as a general credit rather than issue-specific; a little misleading, if you ask me!).

Wolverine: Switchback: Aces! Another Wolverine comic! But this one's notable for being drawn by Das Pastoras (Julio Martínez Pérez), a Spanish artist who's got a really tactile, Corbenesque style going. I liked his work in the revived Metal Hurlant, and DC/Humaniods put out an all-in-one edition of his (and writer Carlos Portela's) 2002-03 series Deicide (Les Hérésiarques), back when DC/Humanoids was a going concern. He also worked with Jodorowsky on one album of a Metabarons prequel, Castaka, from 2007. This thing, meanwhile, looks quite nice, even though I did a double-take at the setting of 'Pottsville,' which does not appear to be the Pennsylvania city an hour or so out from where I'm sitting. It's about Logan hunting car trappers up in the mountains? Written by Joseph Clark, and priced at $3.99.