A Special Message for the People of the World, This Post Today

*I guess I can look over how little got done last week.


Regards From Serbia

Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #1 (of 7)

Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil #1 (of 4)

February has been a thick month.

*Requests Dept: Well, now that the ‘Spider-Man killed his wife by ejaculating cancer or maybe kissing with his tongue too much’ thing is swiftly approaching full-blown meme proportion, I think I ought to air something that really needs to be said:

Marvel, it’s time for the Spider-Man manga.

Oh yeah, it’s time.

You know what I’m talking about, Marvel. The 1970-71 production? Initially written and drawn by Ryoichi Ikegami, and later written by Kazumasa Hirai? You put out an edited, incomplete pamphlet-format translation, 1997-99, under the title Spider-Man: The Manga? Yeah, you know.

Well it’s time to do it right.

And there’s no more excuses, no more “Oooh, we can’t show a man’s head being blown apart by a sniper’s bullet, or eyes popping out of people’s skulls, or naked, naked breasts! Naked breasts mean spider-sense false alarms!” Sure, you never actually said those things, but that’s what you implied through your edits the last time around. No more, Marvel. We’ve all seen Spidey’s penis now.

Yes, Spider-Man: Reign is an alternate universe thingy.

As is Spider-Man: The Manga.

So come on, Marvel. You can’t unring the bell. It’s time to move forward.

Five volumes. Digest format. Bookstore-ready. You know there’s an audience. You know Spider-Man will be a recognizable face outside of the Direct Market. Ikegami’s still got some name value himself. Shrinkwrap it. Play up its historical status. Hell, be educational about it. There is potential in this, Marvel, and reality too, now that our inhibitions have fluttered away like so many cherry blossoms on a breezy Spring’s afternoon.

There may never be a finer moment than now.

(unless the license is unavailable - then forget everything I just said)

*I am full of complications -


Casanova #7: Last issue in the current storyline; the series will now be taking a break while the first trade is released. Obviously this isn’t a great jumping-on point for new readers -- the unacclimated would be better off just waiting another few weeks for the collection -- but I suspect regulars will be very pleased indeed with what’s in here. Casanova must confront his cross-dimensional sister in the body of a giant cryptomech, while several previously seen characters return, a delightful new find is made, plots are twisted, and roles are as gently redefined as one can reasonably expect from a book featuring a battle royale inside a huge robot and lines like “Grandmother is very excited to kill some white people.” It’s also the funniest issue so far, and maybe a little abrupt in its epiphanies, but nonetheless far more satisfying than a lot of comics that have more than 16 pages of story to play with. Also featuring writer Matt Fraction’s most loaded stretch of backmatter ever. If you’re wondering how this book turns out, it turns out well. If you haven’t tried it at all, I think the trade will be something of value to you.


Krazy & Ignatz 1939-1940: A Brick Stuffed With Moombins: Wheeee! More Krazy Kat Sundays, as one of Fatagraphics’ preeminent series continues to march on. Two softcover volumes left after this, and then it’s supposed to lap itself and begin repackaging the earlier material collected prior to Fanta’s taking on the project. The next Krazy Kat book from Fantagraphics, however, actually won’t be 1941-1942 - August’s Krazy & Ignatz: The Kat Who Walked in Beauty will be a deluxe hardcover compilation of the best of creator George Herriman’s daily strips from the first two decades or so of the strip. Just buy all of it.

Borgia Vol. 2 (of 3): Power and Incest: Meanwhile, way on the other end of the comics world, we’ve got the second installment of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s and Milo Manara’s historical exploitation film in comics form, covering the many abuses and intrigues of the infamous Borgia clan, the particularly wicked Pope Alexander VI providing the center of the universe for all else to orbit. It’s not easy being Pope, and this book will show you just how its done with enough historical flavor to convince you of the bits Jodorowsky might have just made up. Organized religion is madness, but so is life - there’s your theme. Good poison for the heart, initially presented in Heavy Metal, and now collected by them. Don’t expect the final chapter particularly soon; I don’t think the album’s out in Europe yet.

Hellshock: The Definitive Edition: This is the $19.99 trade paperback edition of writer/artist Jae Lee’s newly-completed, newly-colored opus, finally available for consumption. I haven’t seen any copies of the hardcover around, so I’ll be glad to look for this.

Gødland #16: Ah, the sixty cent issue. Apparently a jumping-on point for new readers. Not much risk to find out.

The Punisher Presents: Barracuda MAX #1 (of 5): The title makes me really anxious to see Frank Castle ‘presenting’ each issue at the front and back, Crypt Keeper style (speaking of which - EC Archives: Tales From the Crypt Vol. 1 is also out this week), but I don’t think that’s actually going to happen. We all loved The Punisher Shoots Enron back when it ran in the proper series, and the creative team of writer Garth Ennis and artist Goran Parlov are now back for the MAX book’s very first official spin-off. I’m maybe slightly wary; Barracuda worked as a character in the original storyline as one ingredient in a whole stew of ruefully comedic race and class collisions and ironies, but he could easily go quite spectacularly wrong left to his own devices (so to speak). Still, The Punisher MAX is one of the few places left where Ennis rarely missteps, and Parlov works very well with him; the two are already set to reunite yet again for the main series’ gala issue #50 double-sized bash. Be sure to scroll way down in that link for Ennis’ dismaying comments on the long-awaited City Lights: “…don’t hold your breath at all.”

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #12: Final issue. Warren Ellis also has a new Thunderbolts out this week, for those who want their Ellis superpeople somewhat (and I do mean somewhat) less comedic.

The Immortal Iron Fist #1: Director’s Cut: I wish this was actually a new issue of this nice series being released, and I know I’m not going to buy it again just for the Civil War: Choosing Sides story that’s included among the other bonuses. But maybe a few more folks will get hooked; who knows. Also, which one is the director? Brubaker? Fraction? Aja? And what exactly are they cutting?

Blade #6: You see, if Blade had a Director’s Cut this week I could make a rib-tickling ‘cutting’ joke and finally nab that MacArthur Fellowship I’ve been after. Thanks for nothing, Marvel!

Batman #663: In which regular writer Grant Morrison returns for a one-off tale of the Joker’s return. Oddly, it’s apparently being done (at least in significant part) as an illustrated prose story, said illustrations by John Van Fleet. Check out some pages here. I wonder if the format has anything to do with the fact that originally-solicited artist Andy Kubert has been moved back an issue; indeed, the issue as a whole was supposed to appear just before the recent fill-in run. I also note that issue #665 seems primed to explain the Batman bits in 52, which makes me curious as to exactly how much stuff in this run has been reconfigured on the fly to suit DCU continuity. The joys of shared universes!

52 #41 (of 52): I do think Montoya actually fights the dragon in this one.

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