New Tezuka Week: A Good Week Indeed

*What came before -


Herbie Archives Vol. 1 (of 3) (from the pages of The Comics Journal, a review of Fat Fury Deluxe)

Wednesday Comics #1 (of 12) (oversized superpower, weekly)


If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? (the 1971 Ron Ormond anti-Communism Christian horror picture, as taken with the comics work of Jack T. Chick)

At comiXology!

*One man's always bound to be on top, when he's around -


Swallowing the Earth
: Ah, new Osamu Tezuka! Never the wrong time. This particular joint hails from 1970, marking one of Tezuka's first attempts at a gekiga-informed 'adult' style - a cruel seductress connives to throw society into chaos as penance for its exploitation of women, and only a stone-dumb alcoholic sailor can stop her! No doubt worthwhile to watch the God of Manga grapple with sex and sexism; the former looks great, and the latter should hopefully tease out an aspect of Tezuka (a girls' comics innovator, remember!) we haven't really seen in his English releases, which betray little idea of what to do with female characters at all. From DMP; $24.95 for 520 pages, with an introduction by Frederik L. Schodt. Big preview here.

All Select Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1: Yet another of Marvel's commemorative $3.99 pamphlets, matching new stuff with old. But this one deserves special dispensation for the presence of an all-new Michael Kupperman short, starring Marvex the Super-Robot. Worth a flip at the very least; All Kupperman interview and preview here.

IDW: The First Decade: Ha ha ha, holy shit! It's a $75.00, two-volume slipcased hardcover package published by IDW... about IDW! Looks pretty comprehensive too, with testimony and chats by/with/between various founders/editors/artists in vol. 1 and every cover to every book ever published by IDW through 2008 in vol. 2. Also: a delightful bonus comic book with contributions from Ashley Wood (new Popbot!), Ben Templesmith and others. But y'know - this'll be some well-designed self-indulgence.

Captain Britain by Alan Moore & Alan Davis Omnibus: The title's probably a little misleading on this one, a $99.99, 688-page hardcover that actually collects all of Marvel UK's 1981-85 Captain Britain revival stuff, from the pages of Marvel Superheroes, The Daredevils, The Mighty World of Marvel and Captain Britain, including pre-Moore writing by Dave Thorpe and a big stack of latter-day scripts from Jamie Delano, in some of his earliest comics work.

Still, there's no doubt the feature presentation is the Moore-powered Jaspers' Warp storyline, the Magus' first extended superhero narrative to reach completion; it still reads pretty fine today, its unstoppable kill-creature and early bare-handed ultraviolence leavened with a lighter tone than what would soon come after (if anything, all that dimension-hopping and alternate selves recall Moore's ABC work). Plus: a 1985 Michael Carlin & Paul Neary piece from Captain America #305-306 and a pair of 1986-87 Chris Claremont & Alan Davis stories from New Mutants Annual #2 (1st appearance of Psylocke OMG) and Uncanny X-Men Annual #11.

Lost Girls: And in other expensive Alan Moore reprint news... well, actually this new edition of the much-discussed 2006 Melinda Gebbie-illustrated literary smut fable is a good deal less expensive than prior versions (it's $45.00), if decidedly less lavish to match (one-volume, 320 pages, hardcover w' dust jacket). Still, if you've been holding off, Top Shelf's got your number. Peek.

Dan Dare Omnibus: Being the return of the always-most-likely survivor of Virgin Comics, a 2007-08 Garth Ennis/Gary Erskine revival of the seminal British space hero, now collected into a $19.99 softcover from Ennis specialists Dynamite. This wound up being a pretty unique project for Ennis, marshalling the elemental military sci-fi of the franchise into an old-fashioned saga of virtuous warfare, battlefield gallantry and mighty shipbound clashes, albeit on the sea of stars; it's by far the least critical, most irony-free war story the writer has ever told, perhaps owing to the distance provided by green space villains of weighty vintage. Good reading for those interested in some straight-arrow Ennis. Samples here.

Preacher HC Book 1: On the other hand, if you prefer your Ennis 'classic' rather than 'classicist,' well... you probably already own this in some form. But the tender and curious have never had a better chance to test the hype and hop onto this 1995-2000 Vertigo bookshelf mainstay, illustrated primarily by Steve Dillon, concerning God and America and Men and everything else primal to the writer. Your $34.99 gets you 352 pages of stuff, covering the first dozen issues of the series and a suite of bonus images from later on. Tiny little sample here.

Spider-Man: Torment: Oh shit, this is that one Todd McFarlane story they launched a whole series for. Like, I think Spider-Man spends 40 pages or something rolling on the ground listening to drums, and the Lizard's in it? And it sold 2.5 million copies of issue #1? Relive the magic of 1990 in this $19.99 hardcover.

Creepy Comics #1: Sure, Dark Horse brought Creepy back! Why not? Now it's 48 pages and $4.99, still b&w, on a quarterly schedule, with one classic reprint per issue to set off the new work. Angelo Torres and Bernie Wrightson participate. Eerie's coming soon too! Preview.

Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #1 (of 3): Ha, that's a little comedy there in the title. DC is also launching the main Blackest Night series this week -- in which Geof Johns, Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert relate the rising of the DCU dead in some Green Lantern-related form or another -- but I feel compelled to note the presence of artist Chris Sprouse somewhere in this $3.99 companion anthology miniseries, along with Doug Mahnke, Jerry Ordway and many others. Preview. Admirers of the always-welcome Sprouse will also want TwoMorrows' Modern Masters Vol. 21: Chris Sprouse, a $14.95 softcover devoting 128 pages to discussion with the man and appreciation of his work.

Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?: Wait, hold off on that 'goodnight, stack of dollars' joke you're planning; this may be a $24.99 hardcover titled for a 60-page hooray-for-Batman-comics Batman comic, one which, at its crescendo, achieves levels of preciousness heretofore unseen outside of laboratory conditions, but be aware that there's other Neil Gaiman-written Bat-stuff tucked away too, like that one Riddler story he did with Bernie Mirault, Matt Wagner and colorist Joe Matt(!!) in 1989's Secret Origins Special #1 (an early lament for the Silver Age within the post-Dark Knight Batman world). Also: further '89 work with Mark Buckingham from Secret Origins #36 and a Simon Bisley teaming from Batman Black and White #2 (1996). Gaiman also did some framing stuff with Mike Hoffman & Kevin Nowlan in that Origins Special, but I dunno if that'll be in here.

RASL #5: Jeff Smith; more.

Incognito #5 (of 6): Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips & Val Staples continue the flight of a (domino-)masked man between vile villains and possibly-worse crime-stompin' pulp avengers. This is probably where the plot starts to go crazy.

Young Liars #17 (of 18): Not that it was planned to be 18 issues, but a countdown never hurts.

Wednesday Comics #2 (of 12): Gonna be nice to pick this up, charm to burn and lots of good feelings in the air, but let's face it - if we're up to week 7 and it's obvious that three-quarters of the content is DC Annual back-up fodder drawn in blown-up traditional styles, the bloom's coming off the rose really damn quick. But I have faith.