I like these early mornings.

*It lets me fool myself into thinking I'm a hearty farmer who rises with the sun.


Sock Monkey: The “Inches” Incident #1 (of 4)

52 #21 (of 52)

Batman #567

Following Cerebus #9

Don't ask me to milk a cow; that will be sad for everyone.

*Hm, this is a lot of stuff.


Chicken With Plums: The ‘new’ one from Marjane Satrapi (in that it’s the first English-language edition of a French original from 2004), a 96-page account of the final days of her great-uncle, a famous Iranian musician whose beloved tar is broken, prompting him to lay in bed and wait for death. It won Best Album at Angoulême in 2005, and comes much recommended. From Pantheon, $16.95.

The Complete Peanuts Vol. 6: 1961-1962: What can be said? Intro by musician Diana Krall.

Premillennial Maakies: The First Five Years: A nice new 256-page, $24.95 hardcover collection of the first five years of Tony Millionaire’s famous strip, freshly reformatted in landscape form to match the rest of your Maakies collections on the shelf.

God the Dyslexic doG: This was a fun series, from what I read of its b&w single issues, with some lovely art from Alex Niño and a bizarre story from writers Brian & Phillip Phillipson concerning all sorts of mythological hi-jinx. This is the newly colored collected edition, featuring an entire fifth issue that was never published in pamphlet format. Official site here.

Old Jewish Comedians: Nice! A new 10” X 10”, 32-page, $14.95 book of drawings from Drew Friedman, on the titular topic. No more, no less. You already know if you want it.

The Winter Men #5 (of 8): Yeah! Another issue of writer Brett Lewis’ and artist John Paul Leon’s unfailingly excellent Wildstorm miniseries; this time it’s a special holiday issue (hey, it’s almost that time of year again), in which all your favorite characters get together for sophisticated mayhem. Get ready to dust off those back issues and remind yourself who is who, because it’s always worth it with this one.

The Vault of Michael Allred #1 (of 4): Ah, this should be interesting - the first in a set of 64-page, $6.99 tomes compiling rare and unseen Mike Allred stories and scrapbook bits, arranged in chronological order, some of them apparently featuring new colors from Laura Allred, with running commentary throughout. “My goal was to stick EVRYTHING in that has never been featured before, no matter how lousy.” So says the man of the title, and if you’re as big a fan as me that still manages to come off as a ringing endorsement. I love Allred's early grotesqueries, and this book should be chock full of 'em.

Criminal #1: Have you heard about this one? It’s the inescapable new creator-owned Icon series from writer Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips, and I’m eager to see if the comic itself meets the formidable hype that’s been built up around it (though it’s careful hype - everybody is prudent in noting that this isn’t as much a ‘reinventing the wheel’ type book as a shimmering, polished cut of genre). Hey, let’s not be disingenuous; you’ve got to sell like your life depends on it to move a creator-owned pamphlet in today’s Direct Market, even if you’ve got the distribution force of Marvel behind you. A recalcitrant criminal pro is approached by an old pal and a dirty cop to plan a big heist - oldest story in the book, but the preview (smoothly culled from bits of various pages with original lines) makes it look like a good time.

The Other Side #1 (of 5): Meanwhile, a new Vertigo miniseries starts up from writer Jason Aaron and artist Cameron Stewart, “[a] surreal exploration of the Vietnam war from opposing viewpoints.” With walking corpses, hallucinations, general desperation, two young opposing soldiers trying to get by, and pure war comics pulp lines like “Do not disgrace us, Dai. Choke the villages of America with the blood of its sons. That is all I ask.” Here’s a preview, and it does look pretty.

A Nightmare on Elm Street #1: Technically, Snakes on a Plane was the first in Wildstorm’s wave of New Line license books, but here’s the first that picks up on one of the big time horror franchises that Avatar did a bunch of issues of before. Written by Chuck Dixon, with art by Kevin West. To be honest, Brian Pulido’s and Juan Jose Ryp’s version of the book kind of stank of missed opportunities, though the preview of this one essentially promises about as much cheesecake and muted gore.

Dragon Head Vol. 4 (of 10): More survival horror mayhem from Minetaro Mochizuki. It’d be pretty nice if the recent distribution clash inspired a few more people to pick the book up!

Elephantmen #3: Another pair of stories from the Hip Flask world, this time featuring some special guest art from Tom Scioli of Gødland.

All New Atom #4: Featuring new penciller Eddy Barrows, though inker Trevor Scott is sticking around. Last issue's homage to Attack of the 50 Foot Woman was pretty neat.

52 #22 (of 52): With Ivan Reis and Marc Campos on the origin of Green Lantern.

American Splendor #2 (of 4): Eddie Campbell! Richard Corben! Many more in this new issue.

The Best American Comics 2006: Huh. I know I’ve seen this sitting on comics store shelves already, but I guess this week is the ‘official’ week of release from Diamond. From Harvey Pekar (guest editor) and Anne Elizabeth Moore (series editor) comes a fat 320-page, $22.00 hardcover anthology from Houghton Mifflin, a sequential installment of their Best American series. Basically, it’s a collection of noteworthy comics stories from various places and excerpts from larger works, now under one cover. I expect the voluminous reader will run into the same problem with this that they did with the Chris Ware issue of McSweeney’s a while back: a distinct familiarity with much of the contents. But I expect this thing isn’t targeted at them; rather, it’s for the bookstore browser or those with a casual interest in seeing what comics can do. And they’ll certainly see some excellent stuff, like Rebecca Dart’s Rabbithead and that Joe Sacco Iraq story that ran in the Guardian a ways back.