I couldn't get to sleep.

*Got stuck on strange, repeating dreams that fooled me into thinking I was awake. That's a hoary storytelling technique there, so it's kind of odd to live it.


The Five Fists of Science (fun, fast Matt Fraction/Steven Sanders graphic novel)

The Punisher MAX: The Tyger, Garth Ennis’ Chronicles of Wormwood Preview, Warren Ellis’ Blackgas #3 (of 3)

Uptight #1 (new ongoing by Jordan Crane, some clever storytelling on display)

Art Out of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries, 1900-1969 (some fine stuff in this Dan Nadel collection of lesser-known samples from the comics past)

At least I'm awake now, right?

*Updates Dept: Oh Jesus. Now, according to information released at Wizard World Philly, the upcoming League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier graphic novel will also contain a Tijuana Bible-type insert, along with the previously announced 3D sequence (glasses included) and that cd of original music, featuring the velvet pipes of Alan Moore himself. Actually, nobody’s been mentioning the cd for a while now, so maybe that’s out the window. I wonder how much farther Moore and Kevin O’Neill can take the whole ‘interactive 20th century pop trash’ angle without including an actual packet of sea monkeys in with the shrink wrap? We are assured that the price of the whole shebang will be “possibly reasonable.”

And speaking of possibly reasonable, Jim Lee (at the same link) answers the nagging question of how he’s planning to relaunch WildC.A.T.s with Grant Morrison while working on All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder with Frank Miller (at least until Neal Adams climbs aboard at some point in the future): he’s going to do both at once, with each book operating on a bimonthly schedule. This is, I think, the first official word that All Star Batman is firmly off its previously established six-week schedule, not that it’s been on time in any capacity.

*And speaking of artists and Wildstorm books, it looks like Danijel Zezelj is the new artist for Desolation Jones. As Rich Johnston (who broke the story, later essentially confirmed by Jones writer Warren Ellis via Bad Signal) notes, it’s certainly shaping up to be a departure from the look of J.H. Williams III, but maybe it’ll be a fruitful one.

*A little more easygoing than usual,


Arf Museum: The second installment of Craig Yoe’s Fantagraphics-published, heavily illustrated study of the crossroads between comics and ‘fine’ art (the prior book in the series was Modern Arf). There’ll be a ton of rare material in here, as this lengthy (and NOT SAFE FOR WORK) preview indicates, featuring work by R.F. Outcault, Chester Gould, Rube Goldberg, Stan Lee & Don Rico, Ernie Bushmiller, Patrick McDonnell, Dan DeCarlo and more, not to mention an new autobiographical strip by Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey) concerning a fateful confrontation between Roy Lichtenstein and the National Cartoonist Society, a history of gorillas kidnapping young women throughout illustrated history, a focus on tattoos in comics, and a showcase for 19th century British cartoonist Charles Bennett, as well as Art Young’s visions of Hell (as glimpsed in The Comics Journal #273). Plenty of appeal, all that.

Embroideries: Oh hey, it’s the $10.95 softcover version of that book Persepolis author Marjane Satrapi did for a diary-type ‘off the cuff’ line for L'Association (the Cotelette line), which Pantheon then brought over to the US, stripped of all context, leading to people complaining that Satrapi was being especially hasty with her art. She was, of course, since that was the concept of the line that the book was a product of, and I still have to wonder if releasing this thing essentially as the follow-up to Persepolis without any indication as to the very specialized environment in which it was created was the best way to go. Er, anyway, now Diamond is carrying this new edition. It’s actually a charming book, by the way, even enlightening in its cross-section of Iranian sexual mores and attitudes among women, though extremely text-heavy and really not a model of sophisticated formal aptitude, if that’s what you’re hungry for.

Action Philosophers! Giant Size Thing Vol. 1: The first trade paperback compilation of writer Fred Van Lente’s and artist Ryan Dunlavey’s popular edutainment series, transforming the lives and messages of prominent philosophers into amusing comics. There’s three stories available for free up at the book’s homepage, covering Bodhidharma, Thomas Jefferson, and Carl Jung, though the trade will also feature Plato, Friedrich Nietzsche, St. Augustine, Ayn Rand, Sigmund Freud, and Joseph Campbell, bringing us up through issue #3. If you’re interested, note that it’s only $6.95 for 96 pages, quite a bargain.

BPRD: The Universal Machine #3 (of 5): Which, as the inside front cover will no doubt tell you all, actually means it’s BPRD #26. That means last issue was the big milestone chapter, and I have to say this book’s really leveled out quality-wise in the last ten or so issues - there used to be far too much jarring slapstick and tough guy posturing in early issues, something I mostly attributed to the presence of co-writer John Arcudi (creator Mike Mignola is the other writer), but the series has since become quite effective in its jumpy, almost pleading ‘damaged people facing the end of the world’ tone. And hey - Guy Davis on art, which can’t be beat. So last issue really solidified the book’s appeal to me, with the previously annoying Captain Daimio character’s origin revealed, a veritable typhoon of grotesque spirits, maddening visions, and some surprisingly extreme violence, though the storyline’s running ‘death need not be forever’ theme is still served. This is a much darker, more desperate book than Hellboy, but it’s become genuinely compelling in its own right.

52 #5 (of 52): This series has not fallen off schedule yet

The Punisher MAX #34: Large fish.

Fury: Peacemaker #5 (of 6): Nazis.

A Treasury of Victorian Murder Vol. 8: The Case of Madeleine Smith: I’ll confess that I’ve never read any of these small graphic novels by Rick Geary, providing infamous true crime tales from the UK and the US, scrupulously researched yet executed in a tongue-in-cheek style. This one’s 80 pages for $15.95, tracking the 1857 case of an upper-class Glasgow woman engaged to wed a man of her social station, but carrying on an affair with a foreign laborer; broken promises and poison soon enter the equation, not to mention one of the more sensational trials of the day. Preview here. Plenty of material to pull a story out of, and I’m sure fans of this series will not want to miss it.