Nobody can afford all of this.

*If I encounter a bigger week than this for bookshelf-ready comics in 2006, I may well lose my grip on my bowels. How about I calm myself down with


Klezmer Book 1: Tales of the Wild East (this is both good, and out on Wednesday, so I'll just be linking to it again further down the page - new series from Joann Sfar, fine-looking, etc.)

Air Gear Vol. 1 (you'll feel kinda skeevy or your money back!)

American Splendor #1 (of 4) (new Vertigo incarnation of the Harvey Pekar omnipresence)

And then I talked about an anime called The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and forgot to put up any links, so now the review has got one.

These things keep me regular.

*Ho ho, oh how about that. Something like twelve different high-profile graphic novels or comics collections or publications or whatnot, all arriving on exactly the same bloody, crowded, teeth-gnashing day. Good thing these puppies are built to last on the shelf, because few would otherwise survive


Abandon the Old in Tokyo: I think I’ll let Yoshihiro Tatsumi slip in first, since the first Drawn & Quarterly hardcover compilation of his classic ’60s gekiga works, The Push Man & Other Stories, landed at #4 on last year’s top ten list. This is the second 224-page, $19.95 tome, no doubt filled to the brim with seething tales of the grimy city, sexual anxiety and social disconnection run rampant, hazardous poetry ripped from dejection’s chest. Here’s a taste. Don’t gulp down the whole book at once; D&Q is only promising one more volume.

Kramers Ergot 6: Er, you really probably want this thing too, if you didn’t already order it from Buenaventura Press. Just another 300+ page, full-color explosion of the very best in comics art and stories, that’s all. But despite being perhaps the premiere cutting-edge comics anthology of today (or maybe because of it), Kramers Ergot cannot sit still. This edition sees Assistant Editor Alvin Buenaventura join Founding Editor Sammy Harkham, as Kramers dips into vintage material, with selections from the work of Dutch artist Mark Smeets and pre-Tezuka manga legend Suiho Tagawa. As for the rest of those pages, here’s a close-to-complete list of contributors. I just don't expect Kramers to let me down.

Comic Art #8: I already reviewed the bonus book that comes included with this, Seth's Forty Cartoon Books of Interest, but you really should check out all of this new issue of mastermind Todd Hignite's freshly redesigned magazine, now published annually by Buenaventura Press. I've read it all, and it's totally worth the $19.95 for 176 full-color pages (plus that 96-page Seth book). There's truly something for everyone, from Thierry Smolderen's eye-opening history of the speech balloon in comics, to Douglas Wolk's analysis of Jim Starlin's '70s Adam Warlock tales, to a comic by Zak Sally on The Man Who Killed Wally Wood, to extensive features on illustrator extraordinaire Drew Friedman and elusive RAW alum Richard McGuire, the latter of whom gets his excellent 6-page classic Here presented in its entirety, along with an analysis by no less than Chris Ware. Just top-flight, mind-expanding stuff all the way.

MOME Vol. 5: Fall, 2006: There is another option out there though, from Fantagraphics, gunning for your anthology dollar, and bizarrely enough it also contains a comic by Zak Sally. Surely we have stepped into some comics-purchasing dimensional rift. New serials by Kurt Wolfgang and Tim Hensley also begin, along with stuff from the usual semi-fixed lineup of creators, which you can check out for yourself.

First Second’s Fall Line: Wow! Just look at them all: I’ve reviewed Kampung Boy, American Born Chinese, and Klezmer Book 1: Tales of the Wild East, and that still leaves Journey into Mohawk Country, Missouri Boy, and Sardine in Outer Space Vol. 2 for you to check out, though I’d say you should really buy Kampung Boy before the others, if you were going to twist my arm over it. Some places around might be having release events, like Isotope is holding for American Born Chinese, but yeah - the day of comics flooding has surely arrived.

Doom Patrol Vol. 4: Musclebound: Gaze! Gaze, comics-devouring world! Set your eyes upon the magnificent sight of cover model Flex Mentallo, his manful authority looming over the corridors of military might! It gives one cheer for the future, though the present does hold issues #42-50 of writer Grant Morrison’s famous run on Doom Patrol, 256 pages for a measly $19.95, including the now-infamous origin of Flex. I think it’s going to be a bit like last volume, in that it ends on a natural stopping point, but not really the end of a storyline. Perhaps leaving room for extras at the end of Vol. 6! I refer, of course, to Doom Force.

Pride of Baghdad: This is the allegorical based-on-a-true-story Brian K. Vaughan/Niko Henrichon graphic novel about talking lions who escape from a zoo in Iraq and learn things about the nature of liberation. I’ve never much warmed to Vaughan’s writing, especially not his political writing, and there’s about a dozen different ways a story like this can go calamitously wrong, but there’s no denying that this is a very big release for Vertigo, at the top of many a reading list, and here’s hoping that it turns out to be something special. I believe there’s a preview on MySpace, though it’s friends-only.

Crying Freeman Vol. 3 (of 7): Finally! A manga about attractive people knifing one another and also having sexual intercourse.

Casanova #4: Actually the same thing might happen here, although it’s not a manga. And the quarter-plus of the book up as a preview doesn’t seem to indicate such, though there’s some nice fighting.

52 #19 (of 52): This issue: more fun with Booster (who is dead) and time (which is wacky), as we return to the weird chalkboards full of stuff. Also, Brian Bolland happens by for the origin of Animal Man, which might possibly involve Mark Waid writing Grant Morrison, if the planets align.