The near future is a better deal.

*But the past is ok too, with


Wally Wood’s Lunar Tunes (spellbinding late work by the comics legend, struggling to find a way onto the page through the body's limitations)

Gødland #4

Doomed #1 (a pretty welcome return for the b&w horror comics magazine format)

Electric Girl Vol. 3 (sweet, attractive cartooning in this popular series)

Super F*ckers #271 (vulgar, attractive cartooning in this actually only one issue long thus far series)

Plus, we've got minicomics by Marcos Pérez over at Comic Book Galaxy.

*Good night, there is a whole lot of nothing goddamned interesting in DC’s January solicitations. I mean, I’m still buying All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, and it kind of tickles me that Infinite Crisis is now apparently launching satellite one-shots to specifically tie the megaproject into its own lead-ins, but man. Underwhelming stuff for sure. Still:

- The next issue of Planetary is out. I think this is the point where the series is allegedly going monthly until the end, which I think is only three or so issues away. We’ll see how that pans out, but hell, if you’ve come this far…

- Ok. Seriously now. Is Seven Soldiers - Frankenstein actively trying to evoke The Wachowski Brothers’ Doc Frankenstein? Is there some sort of ‘blue-hued pulp monster gone wild and wooly action hero’ one-upsmanship at work? Because that’s what it’s looking like to me, and frankly I love it. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a direct ‘response’ comic released to address another current work, and doing it in the context of a larger megaproject is right up Morrison’s alley. Man, I hope that's what he's going for.

- Joining that one extant volume of a similar Batman project, Superman Chronicles Vol. 1 reprints 200+ pages of Superman’s earliest exploits in color, for only $14.99.

- And in case anyone out there doesn’t already own this stuff, we’ve got the new and improved Alan Moore DCU omnibus collection, DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore, which drops Batman: The Killing Joke and Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? into what’s basically the same contents as the prior Moore omnibus, Across the Universe: The DC Universe Stories of Alan Moore. Still, if you don’t have this stuff, it’s now only $19.99 for everything.

And that is everything that caught my eye. Jeez.

*On the other hand, this is going to be a good week. In that there’s a lot of continuations (or conclusions) of stuff I’m already enjoying, and the interesting new material comes very highly recommended. I’m looking forward to


Black Hole Collected Edition: For those who’ve opted to live in the outer reaches of the ‘waiting for the trade’ environs and have thus avoided exposure to Charles Burns’ decade-plus labor of love, well, the moment of reckoning is at hand. And I’m with you - I’ve never so much as glanced at an issue of Back Hole during its prolonged Fantagraphics serialization, but now the whole thing is compiled into a huge 368-page hardcover beast from Pantheon, still barely able to contain all of the body horror, sexual anxiety, and cultural uncertainty housed therein. The plot follows a group of youths in the mid-1970’s, as a weird, incurable sexually transmitted disease gives rise to capricious mutations in the barely adult bodies of the infected; some of the mutations are grotesque and comprehensive, while others are deceptively subtle. Metaphors a plenty here, along with what I’ve been assured are phenomenally disquieting visuals. Sample art here; note the ultra-precise cartooning, and how it acts as a finer conduit for Burns’ atmosphere of creeping illness. Easily one to check out.

NYC Mech Vol. 1: Let’s Electrify: Collecting the original six-issue miniseries from writers Ivan Brandon & Miles Gunter and artist Andy MacDonald, only now with new colors and enhanced effects, creating a very different effect from that of the single issues. It’s gritty tales from the streets, but set in an all-robot urban sprawl, better for MacDonald’s intense metal stylizations. NYC Mech already has a second series (NYC Mech: Beta Love) in action, but now you can catch up right from the beginning, and $14.95 is not bad for a full-color collection. Give it a look.

Garth Ennis’ 303 #6 (of 6): On the plus side, after a time-consuming colorist switchover (and maybe the sudden acquisition of that New Line horror license by publisher Avatar), this book got back on schedule in pretty short order. Here’s the last issue of what’s probably writer Ennis’ best current series, following a hugely efficient Russian master killer as he observes many murderous facets of the dominant US from the position of a superpower already fallen. And now he’s really going to do something about it. It’s been a strange, episodic melding of War Stories, The Punisher, and strident political polemic, but it’s tied directly to Ennis’ usual obsessions with violence and Good Soldiers, tracking the sad corporatized status of the nation’s killing heart, and the lack of time it has for honor in its slaughters. All rendered in screaming pulp style, with Jacen Burrows serving up the usual mix of vivid gore and deceptively clean character designs. There’s a lot of mystery as to what the final chapter of this episodic series has to offer, and I’m really looking forward to cracking it open.

The Intimates #12: And speaking of things ending, here’s the last issue of writer Joe Casey’s pleasing superhero teenage thing, featuring guest appearances from cast members of the similarly-snuffed Wildcats 3.0. I’ll miss the book; it turned out to be pretty good, and here’s hoping Casey manages to pull some of those plot strands together in these final pages (also, I hope there’s behind-the-scenes gossip in the infocrawl like there was last issue). Original art team Giuseppe Camuncoli and Sandra Hope have been gone for a while now, by the way; they resurface this week in the Will Pfeifer-written Captain Atom: Armageddon #1 (of 9), the latest aspect of the ongoing project to steer Wildstorm back toward traditional superheroics.

Shaolin Cowboy #4: Ah, and there’s always time for this, when it actually shows up. For my money, writer/artist Geof Darrow is very hard to beat in pure, crazed comics entertainment, and this perpetually off-balance title is one of the most purely fun books on the stands. Who knows what Darrow has waiting in part two of the current storyline; most of part one was taken up with discussion of the career of Robert Mitchum and a big fight with a trio of flying dastards who distribute educational history facts while kicking ass (but not the Cowboy’s talking Ass; that‘s different). No preview this time around, but do enjoy the cover art, proudly proclaiming the book to be a “2005 Eisner Award Loser.”

Seven Soldiers - Klarion the Witch Boy #4 (of 4): In case you were wondering, Zatanna will be back on November 2, along with the debut of The Bulleteer. Since even DC’s trade program is now implying that this thing reads best as a 30-issue maxiseries (albeit one mostly devoid of tight issue-by-issue connection), I guess this counts as the project’s first ‘major’ scheduling slip, though it’s nothing too big. Given the number of talents involved in this thing, it’s actually been running pretty smoothly on the whole in a basic ‘getting stuff in on time’ sense. Anyway, Klarion is my favorite of the ‘series’ here; it’s also been the most effective at staking out its own unique tone, which is maybe why issue #3 didn’t impress quite as much - it seemed to be brought down just a little bit by the onrushing force of the project as a whole. Still, I’m really looking forward to this issue, as Our (Semi)Hero returns to the land of his birth, maybe completing his journey toward becoming a Witch Man.

The Surrogates #2 (of 5): The next chapter of Top Shelf’s acclaimed, capable enough, but largely unimpressive foray into ‘mainstream’ comics. Still, I know there’s some people that have been waiting for more body-swapping action.

Top Ten: Beyond the Farthest Precinct #3 (of 5): And hopefully this issue won’t be broken or something. I’ll have to flip through before I buy, spoilers or not. Pretty good series, though, if broader and more comedic. Worth your time.

Marvel Monsters: Fin Fang Four #1: A one-shot special drawn and co-written by Roger (not Richard) Langridge, the man behind Fred the Clown and other fine works. The other co-writer is Scott Gray, not, as Marvel’s site amusingly lists, Promethea and Zatanna inker Mick Gray. Excellent work in keeping those creative teams straight! If nothing else (and I expect far more than that), it’s sure to be better than the also-debuting and dreadful-looking Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos #1, which the Marvel Monsters series seems geared toward promoting…