Maybe a more focused week?

*We can only hope.


The Caterer #3 (strange mock-up mockery and abject appreciation; laffs)

and two movie reviews (Let the Right One In and Synecdoche, New York)

*Several things forgotten or once anticipated -


Capacity: Quite possibly the most acclaimed under-the-radar comic of 2008, a 336-page softcover collection of minicomics and original works five years in the making by Portland-based artist Theo Ellsworth; this one seemed to wow just about everyone that got hold of it, although online chit-chat was still somehow next to nil (god knows I wasn't much help) - maybe this Direct Market release will lead a few more people to check out the artist's playful blend of fantasy, autobiography, dream exploration and restlessly inquisitive tinkering. Review coming soon. From Secret Acres; $15.00.

Kaspar: A new one from Drawn and Quarterly's line of small books, this time a 96-page, $12.95 work that tracks the infamous life of Kaspar Hauser, who claimed to have lived in a cellar for his first decade and a half and became a subject of much curiosity in and beyond his own time (see also: the 1974 Werner Herzog feature The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, additionally known by its original and far more wonderful title Every Man for Himself and God Against All). Quebec artist Diane Obomsawin pursues minimal graphics and intimate observation. Samples here.

Pixie Vol. 1 (of 2): Unless I'm totally wrong, this is the first entry in Tokyopop's new series of translated French comics that bear some extensive manga/anime influence. It's a 2004-07 series from writer Mathieu Mariolle and artist 'Aurore' (Demilly), concerning magic and kingdoms and creatures and things. Note that this will be printed larger than manga digest size (thank heavens) but maybe not quite as big as a typical French album, I don't think. It's $12.99 for 108 color pages; for some reason, Diamond says the series is four volumes long, but since each Tokyopop book is collecting two French albums, there's only enough content for two books total. Preview (in French) here; click the lil' up arrow at the bottom of the cover.

Orange: And don't forget the manhua (albeit originally published in France)! Also from Tokyopop, this is a $14.99 full-color book by Chinese digital media artist 'Benjamin,' a 144-page story of a suicidal girl who doesn't believe in a single damned thing in her colorful world. Also presented in the large(r) format. Preview here; good interview with the artist here.

Manhwa 100: The New Era for Korean Comics: Ah hell, let's be really multicultural this week - here's a $19.99 compendium of samples 'n info concerning 100 recent Korean comics of every genre and style. From Netcomics; 248 pages.

Journey: The Adventures of Wolverine MacAlistaire Vol. 2 (of 2): Wrapping up IDW's b&w reprint effort for writer/artist William Messner-Loebs' much-admired 1983-86 historical fiction adventure series (not something you see every day) with a 288-page, $19.99 package. I don't think this includes the subsequent, unfinished Journey: Wardrums revival miniseries, so you might have to track down those two extant Fantagraphics issues if you're in a comprehensive mood.

glamourpuss #5: Hey, Dave Sim used to publish Journey before Fantagraphics did! God, that was such a great segue. Fantastic. This is another issue of glamourpuss, which is a comic book about the history of photorealist comics art in newspaper strips that's also a pretty girl pin-up project and a parody of material vanity. Wordless preview here.

Criminal Vol. 4: Bad Night: The newest softcover collection of Ed Brubaker's & Sean Phillips' creation, this time taking a swing at the ol' "lovesick dope led to ruin by a femme fatale" routine. Unless it doesn't. Spoiler-loaded review here. Good as always; $14.95.

The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #3 (of 6): Gabriel Bá.

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

Dead Ahead #2 (of 3): Alex Niño. Zombies, water.

Berserk Vol. 27: Kentaro Miura. Blades, armor. Still at 33 in Japan.

Crossed #3 (of 9): Horrible gore and liquids from the body. Writer Garth Ennis and publisher Avatar also have a $19.99 trade for Streets of Glory, a mostly straight-on, death-of-the-wild type of Old West gunfighter thing with artist Mike Wolfer.

Garth Ennis' Battlefields: Dear Billy #1 (of 3): Being the latest in writer Ennis' Dynamite Comics continuation of his old War Story series from Vertigo, which seems to have also developed into a focused effort to write female protagonists (not a common thing in Ennis' bibliography). This time the conflict sees a nurse plunged into tragedy during the 1942 Japanese invasion of Singapore, then set on revenge during a romance with a wounded British pilot. Art by Peter Snejbjerg, who's filled in on a lot of Ennis projects before, but never had a proper collaboration until now. Have a look.

Final Crisis #7 (of 7): Probably my favorite part of Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3-D last week was how it totally egged on the whole Final Crisis/Seven Soldiers comparison by serving as this Event's very own Mister Miracle - a thematically linked side-story disguised as an important tie-in, carrying the seeds of some future, possibly also-linked Event inside it (in the way Mister Miracle 'introduced' Final Crisis). Unless writer Grant Morrison opts to pour the whole bag of tricks into this crisis finale, his last comics work until April. It's drawn by Superman Beyond's own Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy & Tom Nguyen. Preview here; at least it's got a sense of humor, huh?