Still broken, still not much to say.



Biomega Vol. 1 (of 6) & All My Darling Daughters (two recent Viz releases, unabashed sci-fi/horror action and unabashed relationship drama from the abashment-scarce world of mature audiences manga)



(well, Diamond's site is still mostly down, so once again I'm going by Midtown Comics' listings, which do not necessarily reflect everything Diamond is actually going to release this week, and indeed may reflect books distributed to Midtown Comics by other means - for example, Comix Experience is apparently getting in the ten-years-in-the-making color print edition of Jason Shiga's Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities -- an insane comics take on the old Choose Your Own Adventure books, $15.95 from Abrams, original webcomic here -- as well as Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys vol. 7, while Midtown is getting the new Dark Horse edition of Mesmo Delivery, and ne'er the twain shall meet, so keep your eyes peeled)

Almost Silent: In which Fantagraphics goes about compiling some of its many albums by the ever-prolific, Norwegian-born Jason into the same fatter, squatter $24.99 hardcover format as the artist's recent story collection Low Moon. 'Not Much Talking' seems to be the theme of its 304 (mostly b&w) pages, featuring the artist's wacky shorts collection Meow, Baby!, the interesting silent comedy-as-suspense thriller fusion experiment Tell Me Something (a model for his future genre-bending albums), the not-as-interesting zombie romance The Living and the Dead, and his secret masterpiece, You Can't Get There From Here, a beautifully paced, quietly experimental slash of emotional agony by way of vintage Frankenstein imagery, and my choice for best comic of 2004, back when I'd just starting doing this internet deal.

A good overall sampler of an excellent stylist in the mature form that's, sadly, never quite attracted the critical hosannas which accompanied his aberrational 2001 agony-of-ruined-expectations funny animal lit comics breakthrough Hey, Wait..., the agony (and the funny animals) having mixed with a restless desire to explore the absurd melodrama and heartbroken comedy of generic forms as half-recalled, a subjective popular library. Of course, 2001 was almost a very long decade ago. Many samples here.

Bone Handbook: Celebrating the completion of the new colorized iteration of Jeff Smith's enduringly popular series with something that might even catch the eye of folks who've yet to upgrade from their b&w Cartoon Books trades - a 128-page Official Guide, crammed with character bios, a timeline of events, cover art, process info, interviews and more. From Scholastic.

Starman Omnibus Vol. 4: Another $49.99 nets you issues #39-46 of the James Robinson/Tony Harris opus -- including a pair of Jerry Ordway-written crossover issues of The Power of Shazam! (#35-36) and a quite a few guest artists, Gene Ha among them -- but I suspect the real item of interest here will probably be 1999's Batman/Hellboy/Starman miniseries, drawn by no less than Mike Mignola himself and, unless I'm totally mistaken, never before collected in North America. Also rescued: the 1998 one-off Starman: The Mist and the 1999 Starman 80-Page Giant.

DC Universe Origins: This might be fun - a $14.99 collection of all those little origin summaries DC stuck in the back of 52 and Countdown, mostly written by Mark Waid or Scott Beatty, and drawn by a whole lot of people. Brian Bolland, Kevin Nowlan, Adam Hughes, Howard Chaykin - many more.

Joe the Barbarian #2 (of 8): Man, could you believe last issue? Where the hell does Vertigo get off in couching all those visually dominant opening pages in the context of a $1.00 introductory issue?! It's like they expect controversy or something over a perfectly evocative prelude, and feel the need to circumvent prospective trouble by lowering the price! What the fuck do they take us for?? Well, I'm not going to stand for these insults, although I am going to buy this $2.99 second issue from Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy.

Simpsons Comics #163: Being an all-Aragonés, Sergio special, which automatically makes it worth a flip. It's $2.99.

Hellblazer #264: In which Peter Milligan wraps up the Indian storyline with primary artists Giuseppe Camuncoli & Stefano Landini. Primary secondary artist (and cover illustrator) Simon Bisley returns for another two issues starting next month.

Garth Ennis' Battlefields: Happy Valley #3 (of 3): Another air campaign concludes, like so. After this comes a first for Ennis' war stories: a sequel, following up on line standout The Tankies, with artist Carlos Ezquerra riding along once more.

The Mighty Thor by Dan Jurgens & John Romita, Jr Vol. 2: Sure, you could buy that deluxe $24.99 Kick-Ass hardcover out this week, but know that Marvel has seen fit to provide a more traditional superhero alternative, in the form of this new (also $24.99) softcover collection of late '90s JRJR, along with guest art by John Buscema & Jerry Ordway and writer Dan Jurgens himself. Collects issues #9-13 and Annual 1999 of the pertinent series.



Near Death Highway Star



(Note that while Diamond's site is sort of up now, kinda, their new release list apparently isn't, so I'm going by Midtown Comics' list, which is generally near-complete, although it really only guarantees that the items in question will show up at Midtown Comics, which, close as it gets, does not equate to every Diamond-serviced shop, not that all of them will even be open and/or receive their books tomorrow, what with the east coast of the United States getting shit on by a beatific polar ass aimed terrestrially. I didn't break anything driving home.)

Barron Storey: The Marat/Sade Journals: Robot 6 says Drawn and Quarterly is supposed to have their new edition of Dylan Horrocks' Hicksville out this week, while Dark Horse should manage their snazzy printing of Rafael Grampá's Mesmo Delivery. The former is quite possibly the least-actually-read of the acknowledged 'literary' comics landmarks of the past 15 years, while the latter is a fairly recent art showcase action-horror thingy enjoying a larger post-buzz print run. Neither are on Midtown's list for the week, nor is Little Nothings Vol. 3: Uneasy Happiness, NBM's promised third volume of Lewis Trondheim's autobiographical webcomic series, so... I dunno, keep your eyes open?

As such, the 'available again' crown for the week of 2/10 in comic book stores can therefore only go to this elusive 1993 Tundra Press commission, a selection of journal images from the influential illustrator Barron Storey, related by citation to Peter Weiss' 1963 play and consumed with the theme of broke-down love. Publisher Graphic Novel Art promises a deluxe presentation more in line with Storey's actual journals, plus a David Mack introduction, a bonus Dave McKean drawing, and a new afterword by Storey. It's a 136-page color hardcover, priced at $39.00.

King - A Comics Biography: The Special Edition: In which Fantagraphics again collects Ho Che Anderson's 1993-2002 chronicle of Martin Luther King, Jr. (last published in '05), this time with over 70 pages of supplements, ranging from an essay to notes to preliminary art to a shorter comics story. Big preview here.

Newave: Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s: Because the Golden Age of Reprints assures that no comic shall be left behind, we're now into compiling minicomics from the alternative comics era. An eye-watering 892 pages of them, at a winsomely appropriate 5" x 6.25" size. And while you'll certainly find Gary Panter, Dan Clowes, Peter Bagge, Mary Fleener, Rick Geary, Fred Hembeck, Mack White, J.R. Williams, Hilary Barta, Sam Henderson and other recognizable names tucked away in there, the real fun will likely be in editor Michael Dowers' selection -- honed in on life signs of the older 'underground' period -- of now-obscure period talents with access to pens, paper and photocopying, with a few pertinent interviews thrown in as well. Full table of contents here, historical introduction here, samples here, Tom Spurgeon review here. A Fantagraphics hardcover, only $24.99.

Hellblazer: Pandemonium: Being the gala return of originating series writer Jamie Delano to a longform John Constantine story, in the form of a 128-page hardcover original seeing Our Man off to Iraq, presumably for a taste of the no quarter relevancy horror upon which this house was built. Art by Jock; the price is $24.99. Vertigo also has vol. 2 of its hardcover reissue of Preacher this week -- collecting issues #13-26 -- while Vertigo's own Grant Morrison enjoys the actually-not-from-Vertigo-at-all vol. 2 softcover release of All Star Superman.

Choker #1 (of 6): A new sci-fi noir series from Image, written by Ben McCool with art by the always-welcome Ben Templesmith. Sneak peek.

Phonogram 2: The Singles Club #7 (of 7): Ending Kieron Gillen's & Jamie McKelvie's music-as-magic project overall, for the immediate future. One last look.

The Muppet Show Comic Book Vol. 2 #2: Langridge, ongoing.

Daytripper #3 (of 10): Moon, Bá, continuing.

Starstruck #6 (of 13): Lee, Kaluta, revised.

PunisherMax #4: Aaron, Dillon, shootings, preview.

B.P.R.D.: King of Fear #2 (of 5): Mignola, Arcudi, Davis, preview.

Batman and Robin #8: Morrison, Stewart, Lazarus, preview.

Groo: The Hogs of Horder #3 (of 4): Evanier, Aragonés, financial crises, preview.

World War 3 Illustrated #40: Bipartisanship.



Just a note.

*New comics info is delayed until tonight, probably, because Diamond got snowed in. I'm personally looking forward to another foot over today and tomorrow after last weekend's 18 inches, and I had it easy. See ya later.


Ongoing Adventures



Captain Hadacol (NEW AND EXPANDED!! MORE PICTURES! MORE VITAMINS! Presenting the story of the first-ever patent medicine superhero, powered-up on a 24 proof dietary supplement YOU can buy at home, provided it's 1951! Also: songs, cartoons, testimonials, and a special plea. Don't leave me hanging.)



Demo Vol. 2 #1 (of 6): Aaaah, you know what that is, reader? Nostalgia. And don't you tell me it's too early for '00s nostalgia - we're an entire month into 2010 now, long enough for a man to starve.

And Demo truly was a product of its time, primordially steeped in the millennial Jemas era of Marvel -- wherein writer Brian Wood formulated a number of 'street-level' mutant ideas for use in Joe Quesada's NYX project, which was originally intended to be a MAX line launch title drawn by David Choe, who split with Marvel acrimoniously and I think later presented some of the visual concepts in his 2002 collection Bruised Fruit -- then realized in 2003 as a 12-issue suite of self-contained young-people-with-strange-powers comics from AiT/Planet Lar.

If you were around then, swimming in internet rhetoric, you'll immediately recall what it meant for that publisher to release non-bookshelf comics, the whole slew of period funnybook politicking behind the format. It was a talked-about series, one of the inescapable 'blogosphere favorites' from back when comics blogs were scant enough that favorites could emerge in a way that some commentary on them seemed nearly compulsory to remain current in thinking; Scott Pilgrim was another one, maybe the one that broke wide away from the public readership ricochet chamber. To have been there at the time -- and I was reading blog posts before I was writing 'em -- is to render Demo inseparable from the looming mutation of online writing-on-comics, which soon after the series' 2005 collection found itself unable to keep up the pretense of holding the whole world in its palms.

Demo underwent its own transformation over those original 12 issues - dual transformations, actually, relating to both principals of the creative team. First was artist Becky Cloonan restlessly sprinting through a dozen variations on a visual style, like a one-woman demonstration of the multitudes within the broad idea of 'manga' influence, there within the first heat rush of the Japanese comics boom. Then there was Wood, working his way through some occasionally painful on-the-nose mutant youth scenarios in early issues to develop increasingly roundabout and expressive takes on a 'weird powers' premise that finally seemed to dissolve like a pill having performed its duty, and effected some desired change in the body.

Ironists in the crowd likely grinned at the completed series' 2008 republication by Vertigo, both an imprint of Marvel's longtime rival and itself representative of superhero concepts swallowed up and dispersed. They're the homebase for this new sequence of $2.99 Wood/Cloonan stories, which the writer has mentioned as delving more into the "supernatural" than the super-powered. I wonder how it'll manifest, being the work of far more seasoned creators; the title Demo always denotes some vulnerable run-through, and oh was that accomplished back then, from back to front. Preview.

Smile (A Dental Drama): Being a newly colorized and expanded 224-page Scholastic edition of artist Raina Telgemeier's autobiographical webcomic about tooth-related calamity in the sixth grade. Available as a $21.99 hardcover and a $10.99 softcover. It looks really cute.

Ultimo Vol. 1: I can imagine few more wonderful possibilities in this world than Stan Lee riffing like a madman over otherwise completed manga pages he's never before laid eyes on, so hope burns eternal for this East-West collaboration with Shaman King creator Hiroyuki Takei, filling out comics pages from a concept by Stan the Man, who's supposedly playing a role in the English localization, although I don't think it's the all-out Marvel Method mania I crave. Katherine Dacey deems it "competently executed but utterly forgettable," and I can see that possibility cropping up as well. From Viz; $9.99 for 216 pages.

Slam Dunk Vol. 8 (of 31): Also Viz; more from Takehiko Inoue's breakthrough.

Knights of the Zodiac Vol. 28 (of 28): And also a long-coming grand finale to one of the past decade's seemingly doomed attempts at bringing over 'classic' shonen manga - but somehow, Masami Kurumada's big '80s Greek myth fighting team super smash Saint Seiya has persevered since 2003, shining the light of hope on all of us fretting over the prospects of some fellow golden-oldie-as-far-as-manga-in-North-America-goes, like... Slam Dunk, for instance. Anyway, I don't know what the fuck is supposed to happen here, but Shaenon Garrity says all the series' dead characters come back evil like in Blackest Night, and that sounds neat. Again, $9.99, 216 pages.

Berserk Vol. 33: This, however, is from Dark Horse, and it feels like it comes out biweekly. Actually, life is just passing me by! Up to vol. 34 in Japan, $14.99 in English. Hats! Scarves!

Little Lulu Vol. 22: The Big Dipper Club and Other Stories: Nothing beats it.

Fall Out Toy Works #3 (of 5): Brett Lewis of The Winter Men - his current series, from Image.

Criminal: The Sinners #4 (of 5): Brubaker, Phillips. Have a look.

The Boys #39: Ennis, Robertson. Preview.

Batman Confidential #41: Part 2 of 4 for Sam Kieth, cultivating an unnervingly regular presence of late.

Greek Street #8: And here's your Peter Milligan of the week.

Ultimate Comics X #1: In contrast to all that, here's what's intended to be an ongoing superhero presence for the considerably elusive, influential Art Adams - a new bimonthly Ultimate series from writer Jeph Loeb, poised to introduce some crucial new character to the mix. Still, yeah: Art Adams.

Indomitable Iron Man: This is one of two $3.99, four-story anthologies Marvel is putting out this week, although it doesn't appear to have the holiday tie-in of Marvel Heartbreakers - and believe me, I've been trying to think up a Groundhog Day joke for hours. It instead appears to be a throwback to the b&w Marvel magazines of yore, albeit in typical Marvel comic book size and almost certainly without the gratuitous nudity (otherwise they'd be charging more). The highlight will probably be whatever writer/artist Howard Chaykin comes up with, in that he knows the terrain damn well. Preview.

Dominic Fortune: It Can Happen Here and Now: And just to mark the occasion, Marvel is also releasing this $19.99 softcover devoted to Chaykin's swashbuckling rogue-for-hire, including an actual b&w piece of the type, from 1975's Marvel Preview #2, plus 1980's patchy color Fortune tale from Marvel Premiere #56 -- plotted by Chaykin & Len Wein, scripted by David Michelinie, laid out by Chaykin and finished by Terry Austin -- along with Chaykin's very fine 2009 MAX miniseries and a Dean Motter/Greg Scott story originally published as an online serial.

Komiks: Comic Art in Russia: And finally, here's a really interesting-looking new study from José Alaniz of the University of Washington, Seattle, burrowing into a uniquely troubled comics tradition having "borne the brunt of ideological change--thriving in summers of relative freedom, freezing in hard winters of official disdain." It nonetheless endures. From the University Press of Mississippi; 288 pages for $38.00.