This post has many aspects.

*Like a shining gem, if gems were internet writings on comics. Which they practically are anyway.


The Vagabonds #2: Of Two Minds (new from writer/artist Josh Neufeld, a pamphlet-format trip through various brands of collaboration)

WildCats #1, The Authority #1 (neither of these Grant Morrison WildStorm relaunches work all that well out of the gate, but one might have some real potential)

John Woo's 7 Brothers #1 (actually written by Garth Ennis, mind you)

Desolation Jones #7 (with thoughts on differing visuals)

Golgo 13 Vol. 5: Wiseguy (I'd hate to break up a run of parentheses at the end)

And why waste time in waiting for this week's reviews to begin?

Mineshaft #18

Another entertaining issue of the magazine devoted to seemingly anything its contributors decide is worth discussing, said contributors including an awful lot of ‘60s underground or underground-styled cartoonists. It’s an odd little book that publishers/editors Everett Rand & Gioia Palmieri run, but I never fail to find interesting things in it, and I can’t think of any other publication that’s run unseen work by Robert Crumb, Kim Deitch, and Frank Stack for its last handful of issues. It’s 52 big pages for your $6.95.

The miscellany-bound construction of each issue continues here: we’ve got a suite of mid-20th century circus strongwoman photographs by Orrin J. Heller, with commentary by his son Larry, an appreciation of the rubber-suit movie monster costume work of Charles Gemora by Simon Deitch (Kim’s brother, co-writer of Boulevard of Broken Dreams) with accompanying drawings, six pages of comics by writer Jay Lynch (of Nard and Pat, who grace the back cover) and artist Ed Piskor (a younger cartoonist, younger than me actually, of Isolation Chamber and recent American Splendor), illustrated autobiographical prose by Kim Deitch, sketchbook drawings by Crumb, another installment of Stack’s spicy serial The Adventures of Dirty Diana, a story excerpt by Ace Backwards on the topic of drugs, movie-themed sketches from Peter Poplaski (many of them silent-themed), and more.

If any underling concern emerges, it’s an interest in the nostalgic and autobiographical; most contributors either seek to illuminate some favored aspect of cultural ephemera, or some incident from their personal past; the title Mineshaft is thus even more pertinent, as if the reader is descending through the innards of long-passed days. The letters pages also tend to be lively, with Crumb turning in another appearance, plus a more downcast issuance from Bud Plant Comic Art on their difficulties in selling the magazine. I think this thing needs more attention, so go have a look at their website, from which all issues can be ordered.

*And there's even more coming up -


Ode to Kirihito: Vertical’s big new Osamu Tezuka graphic novel release, a one-off, 832-page softcover for $24.95. Virtually nobody I’ve read had heard of this 1970-71 work until Vertical picked it up, and it looks like a wild one: Christ metaphors and medical drama mix as a mysterious disease transforms people into dog-like monsters, and a pair of doctors clash over what to do with the denizens of an infected village. All the weighty spiritual concern of Vertical’s prior Tezuka release, Buddha, with hearty doses of Black Jack-style medical fantasy kneaded right in (although really this work is proto-Black Jack; that famous Tezuka series would not begin for another two years). Every Tezuka fan around is going to get this anyway, but the handy one-volume format might also make a good sampler for those interested in dipping their toes into the Tezuka world without committing to a multi-book epic.

The Vagabonds #2: I linked to my review above, but I’ll link to it again, since the book hits shops this Wednesday. Published by Alternative Comics.

Seven Soldiers #1: Collector’s item first issue! Marc Singer has a nice get-back-in-shape piece on some of the megaproject’s key bits of mythology, so read it and refresh yourself. I’m prepared for bigness. If this project’s going down, it’s going down in flames. Hell, it’s hardly been a flawless emerald brooch of a narrative thus far, cheerily stumbling over writer Grant Morrison’s own fevered structural self-hype (not that Morrison isn’t known for toying with expectations or indulging in outright misdirection in interviews), suffering an ugly artist upheaval on one of its segments, temporarily falling out of order only to pick itself up again, and let’s just face it - Shining Knight was kind of crap when all was said and done. For further night terrors, I direct you to both the official Barbelith Seven Soldiers Sucks thread, and the more macrocosmic (if somewhat less successful) Grant Morrison Sucks thread. But oh, the good was very good, and sheer, blissfully hopeless sweep of all the tearing down your bad parents and revolutionizing your world, your genre, yourself - it gets to ya! I’m hoping for plumes of fire, one way or the other.

Planetary #26: Meanwhile, another right-on-time project reaches an end of sorts, though an additional epilogue issue Warren Ellis/John Cassaday project is set for release sometime in 2007. The main plot concludes here, anyway, and while I’ve kind of cooled on Planetary over the last batch of issues I’m still interested to see what happens with the Planetary squad and the remnants of the evil Fantastic Four and all that, and I’ve got to confess there were revelations both stultifying and tantalizing in the previous issue. Here’s to the best.

Abraxas and the Earthman: Collecting the classic full-color Epic Illustrated serial by Rick Veitch, sending Moby Dick screaming through the hallucinogenic sci-fi wringer. Here’s a preview, which will doubtlessly indicate if this thing is for you. Obviously, it was for me.

EC Archives: Weird Science Vol. 1: Hey, the debut of those new $49.95, 212-page hardcover collections of EC material, apparently with the bookstore market in mind. This one’s got the first six issue of Weird Science, complete with ads and letters pages. Featuring an introduction by George Lucas, and revised coloring that everyone seems to be nervous about, given prior releases from publisher Gemstone. We’ll see.

Gødland #13: Back from its summer break, the resumption of fun and games in the style we’re now accustomed to.

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #9 (of 12): Might as well toss up the countdown there, since Planetary isn’t the only Warren Ellis-written book of the week nearing its end. Artist Stuart Immonen is jumping over to Ultimate Spider-Man pretty soon, so the series is going the X-Statix route of miniseries-only after issue #12. Recent issues have been good.

52 #25 (of 52): In which George Pérez shows up for the origin of Nightwing, as 52 plunges further into back-up stories that probably won’t have much to do with the main plot since they’re running out of pertinent characters, I guess.

Meathaus Vol. 8: Headgames: The latest edition of the much-admired anthology, released in partnership with Alternative Comics, who seem to be undergoing a revival of productivity (I also have a review of their new Dash Shaw graphic novel The Mother’s Mouth, which will hopefully be up tomorrow). Plenty of great talents will be front and center, like Becky Cloonan, Troy Nixey, Jim Mahfood, James Jean, Jim Rugg, the aforementioned Mr. Shaw, Farel Dalrymple, Tomer Hanuka, and many more. Visit the Meathaus homepage for all the pleasures of the flesh.