I thought it was bedtime at two this afternoon...

*And I was wrong.


Sky Ape: King of Girls

Batman: Year 100 #2 (of 4)

American Virgin #1

Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer #4 (of 4)

And damn if I still am.

*Ha ha, a trade for one and all


Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators: Ah, here it is at last - Fanfare/Ponent Mon’s hotly-anticipated 256-page anthology, gathering 8 Japanese and 9 French-speaking creators to provide stories about the nation of the title, whether based on hometown experience or assigned two-week study trips. A veritable dream team of talent is present, like Moyoko Anno (Flowers and Bees, Happy Mania), Joann Sfar (The Rabbi’s Cat), Kazuichi Hanawa (Doing Time), François Schuiten & Benoît Peeters (Les Cités Obscures - actually, I’m not sure if these two are working together or separately), Taiyo Matsumoto (Blue Spring, Black & White), Frédéric Boilet (Yukiko’s Spinach, Mariko Parade), Kan Takahama (Kinderbook, also Mariko Parade), Jiro Taniguchi (Hotel Harbour View, The Walking Man), Daisuke Igarashi (Witches), and many more. Full contributor list and art samples here - some of these talents are making their English-language debuts. I’ve spotted a few of Fanfare/Ponent Mon’s tomes in chain bookstores recently, that distribution deal apparently bearing fruit; maybe this book will get some wider exposure.

Jimbo’s Inferno: Oh boy. Comics legend Gary Panter’s oversized 2004 hardcover original Jimbo in Purgatory has become somewhat legendary in its daunting nature, mixing literary allusion, pop culture citation, wild wordplay, visual parody, teeny tiny panels packed into enormous pages, and general intellectual gamesmanship into what some dubbed “completely unreadable,” “[v]astly over-conceptualized,” and “so impossibly dense I doubt anyone with less than a Ph.D. in classical literature will be able to parse it.” And that was just Andrew Arnold. Here’s the prequel, culled from the pages of Panter’s 1995-97 Jimbo Comics series from Zongo (the short-lived alternative wing of Simpsons licensing monolith Bongo Comics), and presented in the same staggering format as that last hardcover object, 12” x 17 ¼” with fancy gold trim. It apparently follows Dante canto-by-canto, though stopping for subversion and horseplay at every opportunity. Retaling at $29.95 for 40 pages, though if it’s anything like the last one you’ll be spending at least half an hour on every page anyway. Forms kind of an unofficial triptych with Panter’s landmark 1988 collection Jimbo: Adventures in Paradise, which (as I’m required by law to inform you) contains the best drug trip sequence I’ve ever seen in a comic, plus what’s maybe my favorite 11 pages of comics ever in the infamous concluding ‘horse’ sequence.

MOME Winter 2006: The third edition of Fantagraphics’ comics anthology, featuring a complete 36-page story by the ever-excellent David B. of Epileptic fame. Also, a series of new comic strips by R. Kikuo Johnson of Night Fisher, and other stuff by the great-looking lineup as seen here.

Billy Hazlenuts: A brand-new 100-page graphic novel by Tony Millionaire, creator of Maakies and Sock Monkey, though this one’s set in a different world than everything else. The preview Tom Spurgeon posted highlighted the invitingly creepy aspects of Millionaire’s visual style, as well as his handsomely irreverent folktale-informed approach to longform storytelling. Pretty much guaranteed to delight.

Every Girl is the End of the World for Me: In which writer/artist Jeffrey Brown follows up the conclusion of his ‘Girlfriend Trilogy’ with an epilogue to said trilogy consisting of another 104 pages worth of relationship troubles, this time concerning no less than five girls in three weeks, events chronicled day-by-day. I can’t say I was very impressed with Brown’s last relationship book, AEIOU or Any Easy Intimacy, which saw his style of delicate, rhythmically-structured emotional beats break down into haphazard flashes of half-vignettes from which little character could emerge; it felt simply unformed and unsatisfying. Maybe sticking to a stricter structural format will aid in this one’s cohesiveness.

Gun Fu: Showgirls are Forever: AKA - the Dave Sim issue. Sure, the Cerebus legend only co-writes this one-shot book and contributes art to the cover (along with longtime visual partner Gerhard and others - interior art is provided by creator/co-writer Howard M. Shum and Darryl Young), but everyone might still want a peek at the man’s first post-Cerebus comics project. The WWII-era plot concerns secret agent Cheng Bo Sen and his efforts to save the United States from Nazi-collaborating French showgirls. From Image. Sim has also dropped word that he’s working on a pair of new original one-shots of his own, and that’s sure to be something to see whenever it happens.

Supermarket #2 (of 4): More from this lovely-looking miniseries from Brian Wood and Kristian. If my luck holds out, I should finally get around tomorrow to that Brian Wood post I’ve been planning for a good while…

Hawkgirl #50: In which writer Walt Simonson and artist Howard Chaykin take the reins and drive the works forward by one solid year. Ian has a pre-release review up, indicating that the superhero elements are decidedly toned down (no surprise there with Chaykin involved) to emphasize suspense and horror (which naturally brings to mind Chaykin’s admission in Solo #4 that he’s never been able to manage a decent horror story - maybe with another writer at the helm?). I’ve never read a damn issue of Hawkwhatever before, but there’s no way I’m missing out with this team at the helm.

Iron Man: The Inevitable #4 (of 6): Just posting this to assure you that this series is still very good. I momentarily thought it was also going to entirely pass out the regular Iron Man series, but that one is set to finally conclude its 6-issue opening storyline after a mere sixteen months. I’ll still be there.

Nextwave #3: Which Diamond has now opted to begin calling Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. (after appropriate punctuation is added, of course). This is an interesting departure from last time’s Next Wave style of title rendering, but I’m sticking with the legal indicia myself. Hey - it’d be kind of funny if Diamond just devised new ways to spell this thing every issue, leading to endless semantic confusion and general hi-jinx amongst the internet community. There should also be a laugh track to that. Never doubt my instincts.