Stuff happened on Monday.

*A variety of material ready for today, so let's get into


ABC: A-Z #2 (of 6): Greyshirt and Cobweb, Friday the 13th: Bloodbath #1 (of 3)

DMZ #1

It is as it was.

*Cast Gauntlets Dept: Oh my. Or, as Lea Hernandez said, “Holy shit!”

Seven Seas Entertainment, OEL manga specialists, has elected to alter some of their current creator contracts in order to offer full creator ownership (link seems to be down at the moment).

Apparently, such action was prompted by Seven Seas founder Jason DeAngelis’ examination of the online conversation surrounding Tokyopop’s contracts. The new deals have apparently been offered to all creators whose works were completed without input from Seven Seas. “…how could I justify asking for partial ownership?” asks DeAngelis. Ouch! Quite a fascinating development in this increasingly major area of manga-related concern; predictably, I’ll be providing additional updates as they come in.

*Comic Book Galaxy has a very nice review of the recent Acme Novelty Library collection by one of my favorite internet people, Mr. Brian Nicholson:

Ware wants a better world. He wants people to care about each other... I have thought, in the past, that if I were ever to meet Chris Ware, I would give him a hug, as such a gesture seems like something he needs. But not necessarily because he's depressed. That theoretical gesture, to me, seems like it would express a greater understanding of his work and what he's trying to do than any essay I might attempt to write.”

Yes. Too often Ware is appreciated from afar as a master technician, with fast-following criticisms levied against either the perceived chilly detachment of his approach or the ‘depressive’ nature of his tone; it’s a failing on my part, I suppose, but I can’t understand how anyone can look at something like Quimby the Mouse and not be overwhelmed with the emotional drive of it all - it’s immaculately rendered, yes, but that’s because it means to convey profoundly personal revelations through the mechanics of the simplest comics iconography, and many of those revelations center around a deeply-seated understanding of love, in all its variations. It can hurt, yes, but I often think the critical focus on Ware’s ‘depression’ denies the presence of additional tones in his work - it’s a frankly a caricature of his works’ emotional milieu, but one that’s proven to be oddly enduring. Still, there are examinations of his stuff that go deeper, and this is one of them.

*Your strange news of the day - Howard Chaykin is the new penciler for Hawkman, which will be written by old Chaykin friend Walt Simonson. The pair will begin with issue #50, and the title will be changing to Hawkgirl to reflect post-Infinite Crisis changes. To the best of my knowledge, this will be only the third time in sixteen years that Chaykin will be illustrating someone else's script (the other two were the 1989 Marvel graphic novel Wolverine/Nick Fury: The Scorpio Connection, written by Archie Goodwin, and a short story in Tom Strong #19, written by Alan Moore). That's certainly... something.

Also note that the upcoming League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novel is now titled The Black Dossier, and will apparently feature a section in 3D. That's in addition to the enclosed music cd and other goodies.

(All this was found at The Beat)

*This one’s gonna cost ya’ll…


Late Bloomer: Carol Tyler never quite gets the respect she deserves, perhaps because her work is intermittent, and largely confined to short stories in anthologies; without a ‘major’ extended work to her credit or a visible short story collection (her last ‘bookshelf’ release, The Job Thing, appeared in 1993), she easily slides under the radar of even many alternative comics-savvy readers, only a few of which will ever discover her gorgeously rendered art and witty stories tucked away in various multi-artist enterprises. But now Fantagraphics is releasing this 136-page major hardcover collection (complete with major hardcover price - $28.95) of Tyler’s short work, which should prove to be quite eye-opening to inexperienced parties; Tyler’s painted work is especially gorgeous, sparsely swirled with gentle watercolors and fine lines, and her autobiographical stories (which sometimes spin off into the biographies of people around her, such as in her most acclaimed work, The Hannah Story, from Drawn and Quarterly Vol. 2 #1) are smart and funny and tender. It’s sure to be a formidable testament to a still too-unfamiliar talent in most minds. Check out her homepage for art and information.

Local #1 (of 12): New Brian Wood/Ryan Kelly series. Slightly advance review coming tomorrow.

The Complete Omaha the Cat Dancer Vol. 1: All of you who haven’t already collapsed into paroxysms of “OMG FURRIES DIE” internet rage should know that this series is coming back into print from NBM (perhaps the most consistently under-appreciated publisher in comics today). The brainchild of artist Reed Waller, Omaha the Cat Dancer debuted as a feature in a 1981 issue of Kitchen Sink’s Bizarre Sex; the writing side of the book was soon taken over by the late Kate Worley, and the title became quite popular and acclaimed for its mature, complex soap operatic plotting and gorgeous visuals. It also became noted as a high-profile target for busts and seizures due to its scenes of highly explicit sex amongst anthropomorphic animals (at one point Toronto police asserted, following a raid of a local comics store, that the book was depicting bestiality). Unfortunately, the Waller/Worley team dissolved before the story could finish, and the two only returned to friendly terms shortly before Worley’s untimely death in 2004. However, detailed outlines were completed for the final stories, and Waller will be finishing the tale for NBM’s Sizzle adult comics magazine (and eventual trade compilations), with assistance from Worley’s husband, James M. Vance (himself a writer of comics like Kings in Disguise). But first comes the reprints. I’ve not read the thing, but there’s no denying it looks pretty great (but it's NOT SAFE FOR WORK), and a lot of people really seem to love it.

Recidivist: If I’m not mistaken (and I may be, since information is scant), this is the third and final edition of the dark, surreal, morbidly funny solo comic by Zak Sally, founder of La Mano, which also published John Porcellino’s Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man. Sally is also formerly of the band Low, as the internet will not stop telling me. I think I’ll defer to The Comics Journal’s Matt Silvie, who has a good overview of Sally’s comics. Definitely might be worth checking out.

Concrete Vol. 2: Heights: Continuing the smaller-format comprehensive reprint project for old Conc. This one polishes off the remainder of the original ongoing series, throws in the Concrete Color Special (which is apparently, perversely, being presented in b&w) and distributes a bunch of short stories and illustrations to go with it. Only $12.95, and it certainly cuts down on the hunting for assorted uncollected stories and issues that I had to go through. For those who like their comics classics in color, in hardcover and really expensive, there’s always Tarzan: The Joe Kubert Years, 200 pages of vintage material for a mere $49.95. I wonder how much Steve Rude would pay for this?

All Star Superman #1: As you might have noticed, both of the Seven Soldiers books originally intended for this week have been pushed back; I’m getting the feeling that this is going to keep happening until we get to one week in which half of DC’s releases will be Seven Soldiers related. Still, it’s perhaps for the better this time - any other Grant Morrison book would doubtlessly be overshadowed by this, the hotly anticipated debut of Morrison’s continuity-free evocation of the essence of DC’s most recognizable (yet rarely most popular) superhero property. Oh, and that Frank Quitely feller is doing the art, and I hear he and Morrison work pretty good together (also available: a profoundly ugly Neal Adams variant cover). I doubt there’s any other book that’ll be getting as much online coverage this week, so batten down your hatches, and try to savor the experience - as the writer himself has implied, who knows when issue #2 will turn up?

Tomorrow Stories Special #1 (of 2): Ah, Tomorrow Stories. Never the most popular of the original ABC books, but always good for a laugh, with writer Alan Moore flexing his short story muscles at a frequency unseen since his years at 2000 A.D. (and indeed, what is the beloved Jack B. Quick but an American Midwestern youth revision of Moore’s Abelard Snazz?). Here’s the first of two jumbo-sized (64-page) specials released to conclude these characters’ stories and commemorate the continuing death throes of the ABC line, complete with new scripts from Moore himself (though some of the writing is handled by ABC stalwart Steve Moore, who did some nice work in last week’s ABC: A-Z). Almost the whole gang is here on art detail (Rick Veitch - Greyshirt; Melinda Gebbie - Cobweb; Hilary Barta - Splash Brannigan; Kevin Nolan - Jack B. Quick), with the addition of a serial concerning Jonni Future from Tom Strong’s Terrific Tales (though her story is apparently being illustrated by Seaguy’s Cameron Stewart rather than co-creator Art Adams - at least, that’s what I can dig up since, as demonstrated last week, the official solicitation info is way too cool to give us complete or accurate credits or anything). Next issue will present the rest of the Jonni stuff, Jim Baikie and The First American, the long-awaited (by me) return of the Eric Shanower-illustrated Promethea spin-off Little Margie in Misty Magic Land, and a concluding team-up by America’s Best, the only official story ever to be presented regarding that legendary superhero team. Ah, the poignancy is overcoming me!

The Fountain: The Vertigo adaptation of Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming film (teaser here) concerning a man’s romantic journey through a trio of time periods - past, present, and future. “A story so grand, one medium couldn’t contain it…” Um, considering that this looks to be a typically straightforward comics adaptation of an upcoming film, couldn’t we have said the same about Catwoman? Still, Kent Williams is handling the adaptation and art (and given that these are two separate credits, I think it’s safe to presume that Aronofsky’s writing credit extends as far as his screenplay for the film - someone correct me if I‘m wrong here), and he’s a pretty solid talent. It’s also $39.99 for 176 oversized pages; I mean, it’s not like we’re looking to buy in bulk here or anything, but I wonder if such a tall tag is going to scare away curious readers, who’ve maybe had their interest piqued by the premise or the trailer. Perhaps Vertigo is only looking to cater to established Aronofsky fans? Who knows? EDIT (11:32 PM): Reader Justin has informed me that the version of the screenplay adapted for this project is actually an earlier version of the script, intended for when the project was a big-budget Brad Pitt thing. The actual film has been scaled back, but this comic will give us a vision of the project pre-contraction, which I agree makes this a more interesting thing for Aronofsky fans than I'd thought (it also neatly explains Vertigo's little mention of the grandness of the story).