America Demands Peeks!

*Wow! New solicitations! Right on!

*Note that Marvel’s stuff is here and everyone else is excluded from the cool kids’ clubhouse so their solicitations are here.

Indy Publishers (the first shall become last, etc.)

- Yes, I know what you’re thinking as you roll and writhe at night under your sweat-soaked sheets, unable to sleep, driving your significant other to anger with your thrashings:

Sweet Lord above, why can’t I read another 600 or so pages of Dave Sim’s exotic and delightsome prose?”

WAKE UP. THE SUN HAS RISEN. “Dave Sim Collected Letters 2004” is now your personal messiah. A 580-page long “Cerebus” letters column for $30. All new stuff. No more needs to be said.

- Lots of awesome stuff from Atomeka! First, we’ve got a 48-page collection of vintage “Mister Monster” shorts (some of them culled from his old Eclipse series) in “A1 Bloodmoon Special Mister Monster” #2. Then, we finally get the much-delayed “A1 Bojeffries Terror Tomes” #1 (of 3), which continues to collect Alan Moore and Steve Parkhouse’s title series while presenting a bunch of other horror shorts from lots of big folks like Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis, David Lloyd, and more.

- Seriously. You want Bud Plant’s $15 softcover version of Kitchen Sink’s “The Yellow Kid”, collecting the entirety of the famed Richard F. Outcault character’s starring appearances. Running for only a short time in US papers (1895-1898), the Kid, housed in strips of different titles (“Hogan’s Alley”, “McFadden’s Row of Flats”, “Around the World With the Yellow Kid”, etc), achieved an extreme level of national prominence before swiftly vanishing into the haze of war and progress. It’s glorious historical material, and Bill Blackbeard’s lengthy (100+ page) essay sets it all in its proper context. Full-color too. Get this.

- Drawn and Quarterly collects two short Joe Sacco comics about characters on separate sides of one conflict, in “War’s End: Profiles From Bosnia 1995-96”. I’ve not seen these works before, although I believe they have been previously published somewhere. I’m sure it’ll be good stuff.

- Fantagraphics, meanwhile, spews out all sorts of goodness. We’ve got the new “Meatcake” #14 from Dame Darcy. There’s “Seeing Things”, that Jim Woodring illustration hardcover collecting his images from his recent stage collaboration with musician Bill Frisell. And then there’s the new iteration of the anthology formerly known as “Blood Orange”, now called “Bete Noire”, a four-issue limited run series of 88 pages per installment, featuring shorts and continuing serials from the best of the European and Japanese scenes, with a few English-speakers like Ben Jones and cover artist David Heatley tossed in. Now that’s an adventurous lineup!

- Say, what’s this “20th Century Boys” thing Viz is putting out? I just know I’ve heard of this somewhere


- God. I make one “Venom/Carnage” joke yesterday and Marvel decides to punish us all by having Peter Milligan write a miniseries about some all-new alien symbiote named “Toxin”. Well, actually the solicitation text seems to think that we all know who dear Mr. Toxin is, although I certainly don’t and I’ve never heard anyone mention him before. Is this the “X-23”/”Arana” gambit appearing again, whereby if Marvel keeps pretending that everyone cares about a character and they close their eyes and wish and wish then magically everything will come true? Well I’m doing the same thing and I’ve not yet developed the power to transform Honey Smacks into precious rubies, so you’ll just have to call me a skeptic.

- In other news, a whole bunch of Spider-Man titles are tying into the recent “New Avengers” arc, in addition to an all-new Spidey miniseries, “Spider-Man: Breakout!”. This is apparently because April is 'Spider-Man Month'. Except, pretty much all of the special material seems hinged on “New Avengers” events, not Spider-Man specific stories. But Spider-Man Month is a lot catchier than Let‘s Hype Up Our New Book As Much As Possible By Dropping A Load Of Tie-Ins Onto A Popular Character While Pretending That We‘re Celebrating Said Character And Not The Aforementioned Book In Need Of Hyping Month. I learned things like this in my undergraduate Marketing classes between fits of narcolepsy.

- “Power Pack” has returned. You may all blow out the candles and get back to your daily lives.

- I should say something positive. Man, I was all ready to snark about the solicitation writer/transcriber’s inability to differentiate between it’s and its in the “Astonishing X-Men” text, but that would be low.



Unicorns Daisies Pancakes Happy Yellow Christmas POSITIVE!

Ah, Frank is fighting an 'ubergangster' in the next “Punisher MAX” arc. That sounds good.


- Oh wait: a reprint of Alan Moore and Alan Davis’ “Captain Britain” run! That’s nice; not the best work by either, even considering their relative youth, but it holds up pretty well as far as early-80’s superhero smashups go.

Dark Horse

- HOLY CRAP!!! They’re translating Hideyuki Kikuchi’s “Vampire Hunter D” prose novels! Or at least the first one. Two of these books were adapted into animated films: the marvelously stilted, badly-aged super cheese 1985 “Vampire Hunter D” and the sleeker, smoother 2000 “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” which admirably managed to retain a lot of the cornball sleaze charm of the first despite much more lavish production value. It’ll be interesting to see how much of that feeling is present in the original prose. Basically, the mysterious D wanders around a faux-medieval blighted future on a cyber-horse kicking the shit out of aristocratic monsters while his talking left hand (which even has a face) chatters away. With cover art and irregular illustrations by the great Yoshitaka Amano; that 1985 movie sported his character designs, and it was the first place a whole lot of American fans heard of him (either that or in “Final Fantasy”).

- In more bittersweet news, issue #6 of “Michael Chabon Presents the Amazing Adventures of The Escapist” features a crossover with The Spirit, in a story written and drawn by the late Will Eisner, the first new outing for the character in a long time, and now the last one under the pen of his creator. Also featuring art by Jason, Howard Chaykin, and Eddie Campbell, making it a pretty amazing line-up.

- And we get a third volume of those little Dark Horse hardcover anthologies, “The Dark Horse Book of the Dead”, with all of the usual suspects, like a new “Hellboy” short by Mignola, more of that neat dog series by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson, and another Gary Gianni illustrated vintage prose short, this one by “Conan” creator Robert E. Howard (oooh, nice tie-in to another Dark Horse book). Plus, new stuff from Eric Powell and Guy Davis, which seals the deal for me. Can’t wait!


- LOL! Oh, DC, yer too much! You see, “Batman: Jekyll & Hyde”, a new six-issue miniseries, will be sporting art by Jae Lee on only the first half of its length. This is because Lee only ever finished that much work since the project was announced long ago and now he’s jumped ship to go exclusive with Marvel, right? Right? NO WAY! It’s actually an expression of the dual nature of Two-Face, the book’s villain! HAHAHAHAAAAAAAA, oh good one DC! I raise my glass to you! Sean Phillips will be filling out the remainder of the series.

- “Adam Strange” draws to a close, although probably not really since it’s leading into “a major miniseries later in 2005!” Well, I’m staying POSITIVE! HAMBURGERS AND SPARKLES! POSITIVE!

- In a curious shift from the status quo, upcoming issues of “Solo” will actually feature a single creator doing everything solo. Leave it to Paul Pope and issue #4’s Howard Chaykin to rage against the machine in such a way. Chaykin will be crossing genres (as every creator on this title has done), even into autobiography, so I’m all set.

- Very weird: Mick Gray suddenly vanished from Alan Moore’s “Promethea” in its concluding issues, leaving J.H. Williams III to ink himself. Now he resurfaces as half of the art team (with Ryan Sook) on Grant Morrison’s “Zatanna”, part of the “Seven Soldiers” project, which also involves… J.H. Williams III, but working alone on a different branch. Curious.

- For the Garth Ennis fans, good news: all of his and Glenn Fabry’s Kev material is getting traded in “The Authority: Kev”. Maybe now I’ll read it…

- Wildstorm also presents the new Howard Chaykin solo mini, the six-issue “City of Tomorrow”. The Navy SEAL son of a billionaire fights to free the artificial island paradise of Columbia from its own municipal authorities, who are really robots ravaged with a nasty computer virus. Good times; Chaykin is usually better when illustrating himself, and this month there’s a lot of that.

- Eek! A new $75 Absolute Edition of “League of Extraordinary Gentleman” Vol. 2! Featuring Alan Moore’s full script! Oversized art! Now the bookshelves of the wealthy will look more even, as I wail and gnash my teeth after my delicious supper of $1 Wal-Mart French bread. I should learn to save my money.

- Hmmm, Vertigo is releasing a hardcover comics adaptation of Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming movie “The Fountain” by Kent Williams (advance solicited for August). Looks to be much more upscale than the average movie-to-comics adaptation, particularly considering that the movie isn’t originally based on any comics. Aronofsky looks to be at least semi-involved with the production too; might be a fascinating comics project (I dearly hope that the film, Aronofsky’s first in half a decade, manages to tone down the self-absorbed flash that more often than not worked directly against the story content of “Requiem for a Dream“, creating a profoundly irritating cinema experience).


- FUCK. For a second I thought the creative team on the Nazi-fighting action mini “Iron Ghost” was Chuck Dixon and Sergio Aragones, not Sergio Cariello. That would have been so cool.

- Yeah, that’s it.