*Wow - that sun made a whole lot of sport of my delicate porcelain complexion. More on my vacation exploits tomorrow (and thanks for all the comments while I was gone!).

*But now there are things to do!


Shaolin Cowboy #6

The Escapists #1 (of 6)

That's it. Time waits for nobody!

*More extreme unloading -


The Comics Journal #277: The swaggering 30th Anniversary issue! Featuring a tribute to Alex Toth, new material by and on Donald Phelps, a short history of the Direct Market, and a bit fat suite of interviews with assorted creators, editors, and publishers from all across the comics spectrum. Various excerpts and complete presentations of various pieces (plus a full contents list) are available at the Journal’s site. Looks like a fine issue, and a fitting finale to Dirk Deppey’s run as Managing Editor.

yoshitoshi ABe lain illustrations ab# rebuild an omnipresence in wired: He might have a vendetta against proper capitalization, but Yoshitoshi ABe remains one of my favorite anime designers - many have come to associate the programs his characters and illustrations have graced with his own unique vision, from NieA_7 to Texhnolyze, though the project he’s truly been closest to is almost certainly his cult favorite baby Haibane Renmei, which he scripted from his own doujinshi. The first place I (and many others) got acquainted with ABe’s work was the first project to be released in the US bearing his stamp: 1998's 13 episode television series Serial Experiments Lain, the saga of a young girl and her multiple personalities, and how the internet replaced reality and we all fell in love with the manmade ideal and killed God and brought Him back to life. It remains my favorite anime of all time, but it was ABe’s haunting art on the VHS sleeves that initially caught my eye. This new 144 page, $24.95 softcover (a $39.95 slipcased hardcover is also available) is a revised, updated new edition of a Japanese art book originally released in 1999 and subsequently imported by my fanboy self for way more than $39.95 - it covers the whole of the Lain series, and ought to be worth a flip-though if only for the now-in-English text and a new ‘how-to’ section. Details here. Published by DMP, who’ve also brought to the English-reading world Range Murata’s Robot anthology, ABe a featured contributor.

Sloth: From Vertigo, a new original b&w hardcover graphic novel from Gilbert Hernandez, 128 pages for $19.99. It's supposed to be a dreamy, surreal piece about ghosts and murder and moving through life slowly. A preview is up, for those who need convincing. Surely the most exciting thing put out by either of the Big Two this week, though Marvel has their own big hardcover prepped up...

The Halo Graphic Novel: From game developer Bungie and comics publisher Marvel, working together to spin a 128-page hardcover compilation of four short stories and a stack of pin-ups as some sort of ‘novel.’ Still, the prospect of that Brett Lewis (The Winter Men) & Moebius team-up does exert a certain pull toward my plunking down $24.99. I don’t know if it’s pull enough, but do peruse the full contributor list (omitting Lewis, oddly) here.

24seven: Not that there isn’t another option for the spending of your anthology dollar - a full-color, $24.99 tome from Image, chronicling the affairs of robots in the big city. Preview here, with list of contributors. Sure to look very nice.

Afterworks 2: Or hell, Image also has this anthology of stories and art by talents from the Pixar Animation Studios, a completely insane 360 full-color pages for $24.99. Here’s a peek, and if you scroll down here there's a partial list of contributors, though you can also find that in this somewhat outdated press release. Speaking from my experience, comics anthologies from animation talents tend to heavily favor dazzling visuals over story content, but even if this brick of stuff (the original Afterworks was originally self-published, though I think Image has since put out their own reprint) proves to be the same, at least you got a thick slice of fluff, right? Hm. No, I guess that's not much of a relief. Well, at least Pixar has a reputation for good stories to flaunt before its advance.

Casanova #2: Image also has this, the sophomore issue of this delightful Matt Fraction/Gabriel Bá series, now shifting into the Fell format of 16 pages for $1.99; I expect the density of the storytelling to give the book a very ‘full’ flavor, despite the reduction in page count from the debut issue.

Elephantmen #1: Hmm, Image sure has a lot of stuff coming out this week. This is a spin-off of the Hip Flask series, which is a (thus far) trio of comics from writer/creator Richard Starkings (who developed the title character as a mascot for the company he founded, lettering/design/font provider Comicraft), artist José Ladrönn, and occasional writer Joe Casey, published by Active Images. This is an ongoing spin-off series, presenting side-stories set in the anthropomorphic animal noir universe of the parent book. Script by Starkings, art by Justin 'Moritat' Norman. Here's an extensive preview, sporting material from as far into the future as issue #9.

Gumby Comics #1: Definitely an intriguing team on this new full-color series for the venerable animation icon: writer Bob Burden (of Flaming Carrot Comics) and artist Rick Geary (of A Treasury of Victorian Murder). Preview here, official site here. This is actually Burden’s return to the Gumby world, having also scripted Gumby’s Summer Fun Special (with Art Adams art) for Comico way back in 1988. Chris Butcher says there's a free toy included!

52 #11 (of 52): Kind of gets lost on weeks like this, eh?

Eternals #2: That book Neil Gaiman is writing over at Marvel. Issue #1 was pretty strong, some interesting fire ‘n brimstone religious undercurrents coupled with a little poking at current political concerns. I’m interested in where Gaiman might be going with it all.

Haunt of Horror: Edgar Allen Poe #3 (of 3): A final batch of disreputable horror comics adaptations of fine verse and prose, from Richard Corben & company. Maybe Marvel will have another deluxe b&w series of this sort ready for next year too? They’ve kept up a nice pace so far, and this particular series has been fast and rewarding enough to inspire hope for new projects.