Remember, no comics or diabolical literature 'till Thursday.

*It's just nature's way.


West Coast Blues (new Jacques Tardi in English; for your further noir needs)

That is all.

*Hm? Oh, right - I should have had a movie column up too, regarding Akira creator Katsuhiro Ōtomo's live-action adaptation of Mushi-Shi, but, entirely due to my own fuckery, it won't be posted until tomorrow or Thursday. I'll let you know when it's up.

*In lieu of that, however, please allow me to link to a different comiXology presentation: Shaenon Garrity's tribute to The Comics Journal on the occasion of its imminent 300th issue. A fine look back indeed, particularly the bits about the Journal's apparently very cheap ad rates, which all but assures a very special mix of micro-mini one-man ballyhoo (hell, I bought Cryptic Wit off an ad in the Journal) and projects of aesthetic value so dubious they could headline some sequential art medicine show -- and I'm not talking Captain Hadacol -- on top of the usual klatch of retailers and such.

So in this spirit of celebration, here's my all-time favorite Journal ad, from way back in November of 1979. Keep in mind, this was a full-page ad that ran right next to Martin Pasko's review of that John Badham Dracula movie starring Frank Langella:

WOW!! I mean, I know people claim Gary Groth is in league with the devil, but I didn't think he used to sell him ad space. Cheap white paper, eh? The Eighth Satanic Empire had watermarks and shit; I read that in high school theology. They're based out of Lancaster.

Still, you know what? I'd have mailed you in a heartbeat, Azathoth. Frank Brunner's cover feature kiss-off letter to Marvel had me 100% in the mood for murder, pain and/or death, albeit of a jubilant type. And after the dressing down Bill Sherman gave Star*Reach Productions' Quack! - god, why doesn't the Journal run more mail-order agony solicitations by satanists?! Did they all go online or switch to Comics Buyer's Guide? Just another mystery from the vast history of the Journal...

*I also waited until now for -


West Coast Blues: You've done the important work of reading my review; now read the comic that started it all! Seriously, Jacques Tardi is always worth reading, and this 2005 crime novel adaptation offers valuable exposure to his famed talent without the burden of the 'masterpiece' label on it. Makes a great companion piece with Darwyn Cooke's Richard Stark's The Hunter too. An oversized Fantagraphics hardcover, 80 b&w pages for $18.99; preview here. Note that there appears to be some licensing restriction in effect that limits the book's distribution to North America.

Love and Rockets: New Stories Vol. 2: On the other hand, the whole world is free to enjoy Los Bros - AS IT SHOULD BE. This is nothing less than the newest 100 pages of Hernandez hi-jinx, including the grand finale of Jaime's superhero serial and a 39-page wordless Gilbert joint. Everybody so much as glancing at this knows where their $14.99 is headed, but here's a preview anyway.

The Squirrel Machine: Yep, it's Fantagraphics week at Diamond, and I've gotta say - there's a lot of interesting stuff due. I'm unfortunately not all that familiar with the works of artist Hans Rickheit, although his Chrome Fetus series comes renowned for freakishness. This is his biggest work yet, a 192-page b&w hardcover concerning two 19th century brothers and their musical carcass creations, and the weirder things they find. Preview here; exciting video here. It's $18.99.

The Art of Tony Millionaire: Another one of these deluxe Dark Horse artbooks, this time dedicated to the creator of Maakies, Sock Monkey and Billy Hazlenuts. Contains 200 pages of color images, such as these, with an introduction by Elvis Costello. An oversized hardcover, priced at $39.95.

Yotsuba&! Vol. 6: Marking the return to print of Kiyohiko Azuma's much-loved ongoing series about a little girl's comedic antics in the world of grown-ups, surely among the most successful crossover products of the moé-inclined monthly otaku fest Dengeki Daioh. But strip away the mildly-creepy-in-context conceit of wee lil' Yotsuba having a daddy that just happened to 'find' her somewhere -- thus helpfully scrubbing the ongoing cuteness of any implication of the reader identification figure engaging in gross gross sexual congress with an actual, sweating woman -- and this really is a well-observed, genuinely funny slice-of-life comedy fit for all ages; shit, it even took home an Excellence Prize at the 2006 Japan Media Arts Festival. From Yen Press, taking over from ADV Manga, $10.99 for 208 pages. Note that despite the nearly two-year gap in releases, the series is still only up to vol. 8 in Japan; if you've got catching up to do, Yen is also dropping its reprints of the first five books, at the same price point, all on the same day.

The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book: But getting back to Fantagraphics, one of the more striking North American debut projects they had going in 2006 was Scrublands, a collection of short works by South African cartoonist and animator Joe Daly, mixing lush and fluid visual styles with oddball fantasy and observational comedy set in a sort of 60s underground comics version of Cape Town. This follow-up 112-page hardcover production is actually a two-in-one deal, pairing up a pre-Scrublands serial-turned-album of stoned-out mystery-adventure (The Leaking Cello Case) with an all-new story in the same vein (John Wesley Harding). This dude can draw. All in color for $22.99; have a look.

Giraffes In My Hair: A Rock 'n' Roll Life: And just to push your Fantagraphics tab ever closer to the $100 mark, how about 136 pages of new Carol Swain? Creator of various striking short stories (to be collected this December in the Dark Horse omnibus Crossing the Empty Quarter and Other Stories) and the Fanta original books Invasion of the Mind Sappers (1995) and Foodboy (2004) -- along with the painted colors to Peter Milligan's & Brendan McCarthy's notorious Skin -- Swain remains somewhat obscure, despite counting the likes of Alan Moore among her admirers. This particular project will serve as a change of pace, drawn from an autobiographical script by the artist's companion, Bruce Paley, an American youth that stormed through the hippie haze of the late '60s into hard drugs and punk rock. Anything Carol Swain draws is worth looking at, in my opinion. Start looking here; it's $19.99.

Grimwood's Daughter: Alright, enough with the Fantagraphics! This is a nice-looking $12.99 IDW hardcover, collecting some old Fantagraphics stories... AAAAAAGH!! Ok... ok. Hang on. Ok. Start over. Jan Strnad and Dennis Fujitake used to have this old sci-fi pamphlet series titled Dalgoda back in the day (1984-86). This was a Strnad-written back-up serial from a few of those issues, a fantasy tale of elf warfare that boasted some of the earliest published art by Kevin Nowlan. Sketches and stuff will round this new package out to 64 b&w pages. The b&w boom lives on.

Process Recess Vol. 3: The Hallowed Seam: Aaaah, no Fantagraphics here. No, this is all-AdHouse, all James Jean, a fat 248-page, $34.95 collection of sketchbook material. Like this. Sure to go fast, if tradition holds.

All and Sundry: Uncollected Work 2004-2009: Also in odds 'n sods, Fanta... fant... Those At Their Satanic Majesties Request present 208 pages of Paul Hornschemeier's uncollected work (strips, illustrations, etc.) from the past half-decade, or at least that of it that isn't bound for its own private collection (like his MOME serial). Consult; another hardcover, $29.99. Yeah, that's right: a Stones reference. Fuck you, The Beatles: Rock Band - I'm not playing real music, I'm just pushing stupid plastic buttons on a toy! And fuck you Grand Theft Auto IV - I'm not running from the cops, I'm just yanking a joystick! And fuck you Tecmo Super Bowl - I'm not playing football, I'm just screaming in ecstasy after I get the blue screen to stop! The last decent video game I played was the Police 911 motion sensor deal in the arcades - and I didn't even really get shot! What a crock of shit, gang.

Tank Girl Remastered Edition Vol. 3: Alright, enough laughs. Now we're into the serious business of dropping $14.95 on this final Titan Books collection of Alan Martin's & Jamie Hewlett's original shorts, in chronological order, with a new introduction and various bonus features. It's softcover, and 96 color pages.

Elephantmen #21: It feels like this hasn't been around for a while, although it might just be a lot of it coming out in short order a ways before. So, right, this is part 6 (of 8) in the current run of standalone short stories concerning the supporting cast, although this kind of thing is more the norm for the series than anything else. Still $3.50. Preview.

Dead Space: Extraction: Also from Image this week, a one-off $3.50 franchise tie-in pamphlet by the returning and very qualified team of writer Antony Johnston and artist Ben Templesmith. Preview.

B.P.R.D.: 1947 #3 (of 5): Mignola! Dysart & Moon & Bá! Look!

Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #6 (of 8): Mignola! Fegredo & Gianni! See!

Kick Ass #7 (of 8): This too! Insert Disney joke!

Wednesday Comics #10 (of 12): Summer is almost over. Or somewhere past over if you're a teacher or in junior high or something. Um, if it's the latter, never mind all that Satan stuff above! Becasue the P.O. box probably doesn't work; look for Satan online.

James Robinson's Complete WildC.A.T.s: There's a few interesting names squirreled away in the C.A.T.s library, most of which have made it to bookshelves. I've never read any of these Robinson-scripted comics (sprinkled around, 1994-98), but you never know. A fair amount of Travis Charest art is in there, at least, with a little bit of Jim Lee and even a dab of Barry Windsor-Smith (as part of the inevitable linewide crossover, Wildstorm Rising, sure, but you can't expect such nice things for free). It's 224 pages for $19.99.

Tarzan: The Jesse Marsh Years Vol. 3: Hmm, these must be doing all right. And they're due to go up to 1965, so it's looking like a "we'll keep printing 'em if you keep buying" deal. for the record, this 240-page volume covers late 1949 to mid-1950, Gold Key issues #11-16. It costs the usual $49.95; look see.

The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the 21st Century: Oh, you have so much money left over! That's great. All the better for the comics economy. Oh sure, I don't recall the political message of this erratic but long-running (1990-2007) Frank Miller/Dave Gibbons series focusing too much on the free market, but surely it's in the spirit of the (unsubtle, very very very much so) allegory to exercise your personal liberty to slap down a cool $99.95 for the complete 600-page saga as a Dark Horse hardcover, newly restored with a fresh Miller introduction and commentary by Gibbons. Especially if you've already dumped all your Frank Miller back-issues into the harbor. Buy it again! Your country needs YOU!