That wasn't a retirement post last Tuesday.

*Just lingering evidence of free time left less liquid than fumes. Let's get to work, 'cause there's a lot of stuff coming -


Delphine #4 (of 4): Yeah, new Ignatz books! It's been a while since these oversized, $7.95, 32-page Fantagraphics/Coconino Press pamphlets have made it out; this one's the big wrap-up for Richard Sala's thriller, just in time for his new upcoming project for First Second: September's Cat Burglar Black. And since Ignatz books travel in packs, keep an eye out for Sergio Ponchione's Grotesque #3.

You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!: Big ol' Fantagraphics release #1 - the second, concluding installment of editor Paul Karasik's complete comic book works of Fletcher Hanks in softcover form, this time with a text-format introduction and samples from the man's growth and education, though the guts tell their own story, of the volcanic birth of the superhero cooling into some rocky form. It's $24.99 for 224 pages; sample stories here.

Willie & Joe: The WWII Years: Big ol' Fantagraphics release #2 - the same super-deluxe, 600-page two-volume hardcover slipcased edition of Bill Mauldin's revered wartime soldier cartoons, now marked down to a startling $45.00. That's twenty bucks off an already rather low price, considering the extent of this collection; think about it.

Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter: This came out last week in certain places; I liked Kevin Melrose's use of "limited distribution," which brings to my mind a movie's limited release before going wide. I think we might have gotten the same effect - nice reviews (see: Tucker Stone), a little mainstream media chit-chat; whets the appetite for this chill-hued, 144-page Donald Westlake by way of Darwyn Cooke project from IDW. Likely the top shelf crime comic of the year, a hardcover original priced at $24.99; extensive preview here.

Flight Vol. 6: That's right, everything is coming out this week. Still fat (288 pages), still colorful, still the highlight of the season for many readers; editor Kazu Kibuishi returns for another candy banquet. From Villard; $25.00.

From Wonderland With Love: Danish Comics in the Third Millennium: Very nice - this is one of the books I'd meant to get at MoCCA this year (before running out of cash), a 176-page Fantagraphics/Aben Maler sampler of recent cartooning from Denmark, edited by Steffen P. Maarup. It's $29.99, and quite a lovely production; many samples here, contributors here, and yet more here.

Larry Marder's Beanworld Vol. 2: A Gift Comes!: Oh wow, maybe this wasn't the best week for a lil' Dark Horse hardcover to show up and get lost, so keep your eyes peeled - 320 b&w pages of the alt-comics favorite, collecting all remaining material up to the present (save for the most recent color stuff). Only $19.95; preview. The all-new, 186-page vol. 3 is due in November, in the same format.

Leonard Starr's Mary Perkins on Stage Vol. 6: Comprehensive. More soapy floorboards, March 10, 1963 to October 11, 1964. Introduction by Batton Lash. Landscape-format softcover, $24.95.

Forever Nuts: George McManus' Bringing Up Father: Selective. I've liked the prior two volumes in this series of NBM hardcovers (covering Mutt and Jeff and Happy Hooligan), so here's a probably-worthwhile 11" x 8 1/2" survey of the first two years of McManus' Irish sweepstakes, which ran from 1913 to 2000. Join Maggie & Jiggs as they overstep their low breeding to mirthful results. 'Tis $24.95; samples, notes.

The Impostor's Daughter: A True Memoir: I had no idea this was coming out until this very moment; it's an original hardcover release from Little, Brown & Co., a comics memoir by Glamour contributing editor and lifelong (unpublished?) cartoonist Laurie Sandell, concerning her search for the truth about her yarn-spinning father and his obscure dealings. Based on a story for Esquire. It's $24.99 for 256 color pages. Seriously: these days, 200+ page color hardcover comics come out of nowhere.

Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation: Ha ha ha, oh my god what the fuck? I'm still more than a dozen books from the bottom here! So, this is a comics adaptation of the Ray Bradbury classic -- with a Foreword by Bradbury himself -- fashioned by Tim Hamilton of ACT-I-VATE (and The Trouble With Girls). A Hill and Wang hardcover, $30.00 for 160 color pages; note that a $16.95 softcover will be available too at some point.

Pluto Vol. 4 (of 8): More Urasawa-on-Tezuka; hard to believe it's half over. VIZ, as usual, $12.99 for 200 pages.

Oishinbo Vol. 4: Fish, Sushi and Sashimi: Ha ha, Derik Badman - you'll never be caught up! I also love this goofy, ultra-formulaic, arch-mainstream food manga, so here's another 276 pages on the topic of things that swim, which probably won't include any of the legendary pro-whaling episodes, though I can dream! It's $12.99, from VIZ.

Berserk Vol. 30: Swords... Kentaro Miura style!! Up to vol. 33 in Japan; $13.95 for now from Dark Horse.

Blade of the Immortal Vol. 21: Demon Lair II: Swords... Hiroaki Samura style!! Up to vol. 24 in Japan, although I don't think the editions directly correspond; $19.95 for now from Dark Horse.

Vagabond VIZBIG Vol. 4: Swords... Takehiko Inoue style!! You'll have to take my word for it!! Up to, er, vol. 30 in Japan, but since these VIZBIG horse chokers collect three volumes per book, I guess it's really vol. 10; $19.99 for now from VIZ, who also have Inoue's Real vol. 5 this week, for the basketball fans.

Creepy Archives Vol. 4: Gosh, you know what? I'm not doing separate listings for all the Dark Horse reprints out this week. So, buy this ($49.95) if you'd like 240 b&w pages of Gil Kane, Neal Adams, Steve Ditko, Johnny Craig, Jeff Jones (in his comics debut), Reed Crandall, Joe Orlando and more (and the final early stories written and edited by Archie Goodwin); buy Nexus Archives Vol. 9 ($49.95) if you want 216 color pages of Mike Baron & Steve Rude (and others, like Paul Smith and a 22-year old Adam Hughes); buy Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 23: Bridge of Tears ($17.95) if you want issues #94-102 of Stan Sakai's saga (including the special issue #100, with guests Frank Miller, Jeff Smith, Matt Wagner, Sergio Aragonés and others); and buy MySpace Dark Horse Presents Vol. 3 ($19.95) if you want various 'n sundry (Mike Mignola, Chris Onstad, Becky Cloonan) internet stuff that's no longer hosted on MySpace.

Spawn: Origins Vol. 2: Hm, this series appears to be just another means of packaging the early issues of that high '90s sensation in handy $14.99 trade form, albeit with some production art and commentary and such, but do note that here begins the 'guest writer' era of the title, with contributions by Alan Moore and Frank Miller striking and spreading the Todd McFarlane landscape. Six chapters included, excluding the Neil Gaiman issue, for obvious reasons, and the Dave Sim issue, due to being the Dave Sim issue. I always liked how the Dave Sim issue started out as a creator ownership metaphor cum statement of purpose, then took it all so far it wound up essentially ending the series; yet the series continued! Such were the Glorious Mysteries of the Image Revolution.

Elephantmen: Damaged Goods: Not quite the third Elephantmen trade proper, I don't think; this one skips ahead a few chapters to compile the recent three-issue run by artist Marian Churchland (#18-20), with a new bonus story also written by Churchland included, along with an Afterword by King City artist Brandon Graham. These stories focus on the major female characters of creator/writer/letterer Richard Starkings' walking-talking-beasts-among-us world, via the series' usual vignette-driven manner of framing characters as contending with social and political forces nobody in particular can control. From Image, $12.99 for 128 color pages.

Groom Lake #4 (of 4): This one completely passed me by, but yeah - IDW miniseries from Ben Templesmith, with writer/publisher/EiC Chris Ryall. This one's about aliens, and it ends here for your $3.99.

Phonogram 2: The Singles Club #4 (of 7): More from that one night in that one place, this time starring a bunch of self-absorbed snobs. Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie; backups drawn by David Lafuente (of Marvel's recent Patsy Walker: Hellcat) and Charity Larrison.

The Spirit #31: In which Mike Ploog assumes the role of writer/artist for the final two issues of this current incarnation of the Will Eisner creation.

Captain Britain and MI13 #15: Speaking of final issues, here's one now.

Hellblazer #257: Milligan; middle bit of a love story.

Herogasm #3 (of 6): Ennis, McCrea; filth.

Youngblood #9: Written and drawn by creator Rob Liefeld. No, some of you were wondering. It's alright, I'd want to know too.

Wednesday Comics #3 (of 12): I hope Wonder Woman wakes up at the end of every one.