Back from my blood-soaked birthday vacation.

*I was at the ocean this weekend, reddening my skin and congratulating myself on making it through one more year without falling off of anything particularly high or being hit by dangerous things.

It was nice; I went for several swims, bought some coffee drinks. One of those in particular had me making a trip past a certain hotel, one with the hoses for washing the sand off your feet - there was a lot of runoff onto the walkway, and I slipped and hit the ground with my big toe. For a split second, right after I turned to look, I thought I'd sheared my toenail clean off, but happily it was just a big chunk of skin stripped right off the tip of the toe. Ha ha!

Didn't spill a drop of the coffee, though. And I didn't even keep hold of it. Shit knows where it wants to be.


The Hunter
and Made In U.S.A. (one's the new crime comic from Darwyn Cooke, starring Parker, the other's a '66 film by Jean-Luc Godard, sort of starring the same - and there's more to join the two than Richard Stark)

That one's at comiXology. Also:

The Color of Earth
(comics from Korea from First Second; among the more curious and rewarding of the big-distribution comics to see little fanfare this year)

From Bookforum.

*Hope you like spending -


Abstract Comics: The Anthology
: You wanted this. You may not have known it, and you probably didn't say it, but your heart was read, your soul scoured, your eyes met to understand what your mind could only scream in silence. Abstract comics. Wednesday is almost here. Let them in. I can vouch for Fantagraphics' production values too: the copy I fiddled with at MoCCA was a really lovely hardcover item, very nicely produced. Editor Andrei Molotiu presents 232 pages of works, ranging from vintage pieces to new efforts, by artists both well-known (Robert Crumb, Gary Panter, Victor Moscoso, Patrick McDonnell, James Kochalka) and less familiar (though you might know a few). Large sample here, but don't stop there; your $39.99 gets you what's looking like the most intriguing comics anthology of 2009.

The Complete Jack Survives: And speaking of MoCCA, here's another striking collection - a 14.25" x 10.5" hardcover from Buenavantura Press, featuring all of Jerry Moriarty's painted funnies as showcased in RAW, with added images and an appreciation by Chris Ware. I've seen a few of these, and I really liked the sense of humor at work, but it's difficult to explain. Slapstick of the super-mundane? That's probably wrong, and even if it's right it's limited, so look through this thing if you get a chance. The price is $34.95 for 80 color pages.

The Gigantic Robot: Also from Buenaventura this week, another tall tome (hardcover, 8.25" x 10.5"), this one presenting an original 32-page story by the always amusing Tom Gauld, alternating minimal text on one page with the artist's characteristic sprawling constructions on the facing side. Images here.

Locas II: Maggie, Hopey & Ray
: And also from Fantagraphics, in this big big week for big big hardcovers - no, what you've heard is right, these large editions probably aren't the best way to sample Love and Rockets - I'd kinda hope that'd be evident from looking at them. But those hungry for another big gulp and unwilling to wait for additional unified format softcovers -- or maybe just looking for a bigger sturdy edition of stuff they already have -- can now enjoy an additional 424 pages of Jaime Hernandez at 8" x 11.25", culled from 1997's Maggie and Hopey Color Fun Special (color not included in this edition) and the collections Dicks and Deedees, Locas in Love, Ghost of Hoppers and The Education of Hopey Glass. That's all post-L&R Vol. 1 material, as in 'produced in the last 12 years,' just so we're on the same page. Did you know Fantagraphics has a help page set up for all this? Sample.

When we fall
: Being a 222-page collection of comics, "autobiographical fiction," by London-based sculptor and artist Mr. Clement; self-published, I believe, and filled with rabbits and items, and some spot color. It's $18.75, and what little I've seen of it recommends more. Preview snapshots here.

Big Questions #12: I know it's great that Drawn & Quarterly is still releasing this Anders Nilsen philosophical suspense project in the pamphlet format it started with, but seriously - my experience with prior issues suggests that only longtime followers will get much out of these fragments of activity by talking creatures and odd humans, and back issues are very hard to come by. Nonetheless, here's the newest, priced at $5.95. Tiny preview here.

Frankenstein's Womb: The latest in writer Warren Ellis' line of b&w prestige format (or thereabout) releases for Avatar, 48 pages and period-specific. This one, $6.99, sees the future Mary Shelley arrive at Castle Frankenstein in 1816, two years before the anonymous publication of a now-famous novel; secrets of alchemy and other mad science in the 1700s are duly revealed. These projects (Crécy, Aetheric Mechanics) tend to be fun; one Marek Oleksicki is the artist this time around. Preview.

Slam Dunk Vol. 5 (of 31)
: Really hoping this one makes it all the way, 'cause it just builds and builds and builds.

Abhay Khosla's Bram Stoker's Dracula #2 (of 5)
: Definitely the best new issue of an internet-format miniseries this week. I learned a lot about Dracula and the ladies' restroom this time, because comics can be educational too. Full contents here.

Kramers Ergot 6: Get 'em while they're here! This is the one right before the really tall new(ish) one, which means it's only 8.75" x 10.75", now offered once again by Diamond at the $34.95 cover price. There's 336 pages of color blast and markings in here; I particularly liked the sample of wartime work by Suihô Tagawa, one of the beloved pre-Tezuka manga artists. Pages.

The Boys #33: I'm pretty sure this one's all-action, as you like it. Or at least leading up to that.

Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels #2 (of 5): Mignola of the week.

Greek Street #2: Milligan of the week.

Wednesday Comics #5 (of 12): Wednesday of the week.

Tyrese Gibson's Mayhem #1 (of 3): Some of you have been following this online, wondering "what is this?" This is week is where this gets so you see it. There it is.