This week seems kind of light.

*Get going.


House (horror of a type from Josh Simmons - get it when it's out)

52 #52 (of 52)

and a big special on Free Comic Book Day 2007

*I sure hope I'm not missing anything of too much interest -


The Collected Hook Jaw Vol. 1: Here’s an odd one, which may not show up in many North American shops - a new collected edition of a notorious serial from Action (“The Sensational Paper for Boys!”), a 1976-77 British comics anthology, created by Pat Mills, which became something of a magnet for controversy at the time due to its depictions of violence. The experience would later inform the launch of 2000 AD. Hook Jaw was one of the more famous features, an unabashed Jaws riff packed with both dismemberment on the high seas and environmental politics, from writers Mills & Ken Armstrong, and artist Ramon Sola. Further information and pretty pictures here. From Spitfire Comics, at a pricey $24.99 for 104 pages.

Criminal Vol. 1: Coward: The collected edition of the first storyline from Ed Brubaker’s and Sean Phillips’ creator-owned crime book, which is set to begin its next bunch of issues soon. It’s a perfectly fine little crime caper, jumping from a big heist to a man-on-the-run, with plenty of nice bits of character observation, only slightly undone by a somewhat silly guns blazin’ action movie finale. Far from bad, though - these two know their entertainment.

Eternals: Also out this week, in both Direct Market and chain bookstore-targeting covers, is a hardcover collection of this Neil Gaiman-scripted exercise in explaining Jack Kirby concepts (at trying length) for new readers, and retooling everything for the current Marvel continuity. Lovely, appropriate art by John Romita Jr. can’t disguise the fact that Gaiman just doesn’t seem to have an awful lot to say about these characters beyond the broadest suggestion of religious and mythic themes, which is too bad, since his wide envisioning of Civil War-era Marvel is not without wit. They can stuff it in a $29.95 hardcover and make it look like a proper novel if they want, but this really feels like one of those relaunches of an ongoing series where a ‘name’ creator is brought on for the first storyline to quickly attract readers and provide vague direction to the subsequent teams to follow. Classic superhero thinking in a contemporary superhero package, then.

Parasyte Vol. 1 (of 8): In which another artifact from an earlier era of manga-in-English makes its way back to the shelves. Parasyte, from writer/artist Hitoshi Iwaaki, was one of the first-even released from Tokyopop, way back in 1998 when it was known as Mixx Entertainment. I do believe they eventually got the whole thing released, in 12 volumes. The new Del Ray editions are a good deal fatter and less expensive (288 pages for $12.95), which is why there’ll be less of them, and they’re also unflipped. Parasyte hails from 1990-95, sporting a visual style that looks old-fashioned for even that time, but the point of the whole enterprise lays quite clearly in watching horrific alien pods do awful things to the human body, while a boy with an alien for a hand struggles against something. Shaenon Garrity has more info, and many pictures.

Buddha Vol. 7 (of 8): Prince Ajatasattu: And in other manga releases, there’s the softcover version of the penultimate volume in Osamu Tezuka’s opus (among other opuses).

Garth Ennis’ Chronicles of Wormwood #3 (of 6): The third issue of this religious comedy thing, which actually is written by Garth Ennis, so don’t be fooled by the possessive title, which often denotes that a certain person is not so much involved with the book - he is. Comics are very confusing.

Guy Ritchie’s The Gamekeeper #2: The second issue of this decent action thing, which really has very little at all to do with Guy Ritchie. Ah! See what I mean?

India Authentic #1: Ganesha: Also from Virgin this week, something that was originally going to be titled Deepak Chopra’s Ganesha, but I guess they decided the India Authentic banner would do a better job. First in a line of one-shots, as the book's writer confirms in the comments below, telling stories of famed Indian figures of myth. One suspects Virgin is trying to start over to gain some attention - next month will see various relaunches and special new reader-friendly issues of various titles, presumably reflecting the influence of new story consultant Ron Martz.

Blade #9: Continuing the exciting travails of Blade in England.

The Immortal Iron Fist #5: Continuing the exciting travails of multiple Iron Fists.

Punisher War Journal #7: Continuing the exciting travails of Frank Castle and his America Fuck Yeah outfit down at the border.

Countdown #51 (of, er, 1?): You see, the numbers go backwards down to #1, so next issue will be #50. Good thing I won’t have to label this every week!