Ready for another killer tomorrow.

*Fourth of July should be nice.


Detective Comics #854 (J.H. Williams III: more than just a pretty draw)


Batman (that's right, just "Batman" - it's the 1943 movie serial that gave the character his silver screen start and drained the blood from pundits' faces for decades after)

At comiXology.

*No Gotham for seven days at least. I have a medical restriction.


The Comics Journal #298: Man, only two issues until the big Siege of Asgard prelude. Until then, we'll have to make do with the always-fine Bill Randall's feature essay on the alternative manga anthology AX, coming soon in cherry pickin' anthology form courtesy of Top Shelf. Interviews this issue concern Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá, Nicholas Gurewitch and Trevor Von Eeden (artist of DC's Thriller!). Plus: selections from Percy Crosby's Skippy, a preview of Jirô Taniguchi's A Distant Neighborhood (upcoming from Fanfare/Ponent Mon) and oh so much more.

And -


Far Arden: The debut graphic novel by Kevin Cannon of Big Time Attic, a $19.95, 400-page(!) Top Shelf hardcover that got its start as a wildly ambitious battery of monthly 24-hour comic drawing efforts -- albeit often not 24 hours all in a row -- forming a massive, improvisation-heavy 288-hour comic (the results remain online), and later expanded yet further for print publication. It's a tale of adventure, with a grizzled sea dog questing toward the promise of an island paradise. Preview here; interview with Tom Spurgeon here.

Syncopated: An Anthology of Nonfiction Picto-Essays: Yeah, "picto-essays" means "comics," just so you know. Your big publisher lit comics project of the week, a Villard anthology of new "memoir, history, journalism, and biography," edited by Brendan Burford, King Features Syndicate comics editor and self-publisher of three prior editions of the series. Nice lineup, including Paul Karasik, Nate Powell, Nick Bertozzi, Dave Kiersh and more. A $16.95 softcover, 160 b&w pages.

Greek Street #1: Nice! A $1.00, 40-page first hit of writer Peter Milligan's new Vertigo ongoing, a repositioning of bloody sexual Greek tragedies in contemporary London, with artist Davide Gianfelice of Northlanders. Extended advertisement here.

Voice of the Fire: Golden Age of Reprints... FORM OF PROSE!! This, of course, is Alan Moore's 1996 prose novel, newly reprinted by Top Shelf in softcover form at $14.95; it's one of the Magus' very best works, a cycle of 12 stories spanning nearly six millenia of history in Moore's home town of Northampton, following mystics, patsies, madmen, witches, frauds, nobles and severed heads as they navigate the eternal flux that is the pursuit of the true nature of this human life. People will tell you otherwise, but I'd recommend you read each story in order; Hob's famous Bronze Age dialect might slow you down up front, but there's a rewarding effect to teaching yourself to read again -- to see the world again for the first time, at Moore's dawn of time -- that resonates through the rest of the work. Samples are online, including Neil Gaiman's full Introduction and a few of José Villarrubia's color plates.

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Complete Newspaper Dailies: Vol. 2 1930-1932: But as far as comics go, how about a big ol' 9" x 11.5" hardcover chunk of ye olde sci-fi funnies, six complete stories for $39.99, with an extensive Introduction by Ron Goulart. From Hermes Press.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: Being the official one-off manga prequel to director Mamoru Hosoda's 2006 anime feature film about a silly girl who gets limited time travel powers and runs into steady-building emotional trouble; it was sort of nice, maybe? Woah, woah, wait a minute - didn't this come out in English the other year? No, you're thinking of CMX's two-volume release of A Girl Who Runs Through Time, a 2004 shōjo manga take on Yasutaka Tsutsui's original 1967 novel, which Hosoda's anime serves as a sequel-but-mostly-a-remake to. So yeah, this is the tie-in manga to the anime, a prequel to a sequel that's a remake, the whole affair spanning three mediums. Art by Ranmaru Kotone, whom I've never heard of. From Bandai, $10.99 for 200 pages. But if it's a prequel, does she even leap through time at all?!

POP Wonderland: Thumbelina: Ahhhhh ha ha ha ha, holy shit it's the Moetan guy! Er, POP is a guy, right? I read somewhere that he was. Oh boy, you see... Moetan started out in 2003 as this zany series of English study guides aimed at Japanese otaku, adorned with all the cute lil' gals it takes to make the money. The whole thing quickly got out of control (seriously: this is a commercial for English study books), spawning audio CDs, video games and a 13-episode anime television series in 2007. Now Dark Horse brings us the super-slick flavor of POP in wholly kid-friendly storybook form, with writer Michiyo Hayano adapting beloved fairy tales to serve the illustrations. This is just the beginning; there's six of these in Japan. It's $16.95 for 32 pages. Gaze!

Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels #1 (of 5): Only the latest Hellboy universe project from writer Mike Mignola, this time delving back into the 19th century for some occult mystery with Sir Edward Grey. The artist is Ben Stenbeck, of last year's origin one-off B.P.R.D.: The Ectoplasmic Man. Preview.

The Muppet Show #4 (of 4): Concluding this widely-enjoyed Roger Langridge miniseries with a focus on Miss Piggy, as expected. Don't lament the series finale too hard; a second four-issue run from Boom! is due in short order. Preview.

Batman and Robin #2: Morrison & Quitely, keeping it regular. Peek.

Crossed #6 (of 9): Well, nothing horrible happened last issue, so they're probably saving it up.

The Boys #32: Spoilaz in here. It's probably going to be interesting to see how this series deals with notions of 'death' and the threat thereof; Ennis pretty explicitly cast the idea of mortality into doubt early on in the book, just as a basic element of superhero worldbuilding. You can die, but that doesn't mean you won't come back in at some point, whether you want to or not, in an especially degraded form. This is part two of the "oh shit, game is changing" just-past-the-midpoint storyline, so Dynamite also has vol. 4 of the collected softcovers this week, We Gotta Go Now, covering that X-Men story and its direct aftermath from issues #23-30 for $19.99.

Brat Pack: Or, you can always head back to one of the fonts: Rick Veitch's 1990 wallow in the dumb, dirty world of the grim 'n gritty. No niceties in this friendly old classic; Veitch presumes up front you've grasped the essence of late '80s 'mature' superheros, and indeed how gross and doltish it got, and thus seizes the style by the neck and attempts to mash it so far down into the manure that maybe it'll pop out the other side, Loony Tunes style, into a better place. Marvel over 176 big pages of a horrible superhero quartet subjecting their hapless kid sidekicks to countless atrocities, in detail, all in the service of running the most head-slapping carryovers from old superhero times through the dark paces. Often repulsive, arguably reactionary, but not without a sense of humor, and strangely endearing at times; unlike The Boys, this is very clearly the product of affection, if more for the ideas behind superheroes than the stories and industry around them, a tone that comes through better in the work's subsequently published prequel, The Maximortal. From Veitch's own King Hell Press; this new softcover edition sports an original cover and a $19.95 price tag. The entire first chapter is here, featuring the famous death of Jason Todd parody. They really don't stay dead, huh? Wait - Jesus Christ, that actually was a motif in Brat Pack too! Like, specifically so! Huh...

Savage Dragon #150: Gosh, look at that. One hundred and fifty from Image founder Erik Larsen. The first issue of this I owned was #3 from the initial Malibu-handled miniseries, 1992. I was 11 years old then; my great aunt bought it for me, as my unwitting induction to the Image Revolution. She passed away recently. A few months back. Bought me my first comic, actually, a Mickey Mouse thing with Floyd Gottfredson reprints, back when Gladstone had 'em. Boom! has 'em now, if not necessarily Mickey; they don't publish that anymore, for all the properties shuffle and reconfigure. Yet here's Erik Larsen and his Dragon, that last smooth strand from here to now. For Image that seems improbable, given what happened, but the kids expected miracles back then, feats and immortality. She always had taste.