An extra early post...

*...for an extra fat week.


The Shaolin Cowboy Vol. 54, #7 (yes, that's it)

*Yes! An attention-getting week! Everybody please rush to the stands for -


The Comics Journal #283: Featuring a nice cover interview with Lewis Trondheim - enjoy a fat excerpt. Also, David Sandlin interviewed by Dan Nadel - savor a weighty slice. Plus: secret adventure and mystery.

*But you know, there’s a damn load of interesting stuff catching my attention -


House: Very creepy little wordless comic from Josh Simmons and Fantagraphics, ready to crawl right under your skin. My review is here. I liked it a lot.

The Black Diamond Detective Agency: Very nearly polishing off First Second’s third wave of releases (I think we’re still waiting on Vol. 2 of Grady Klein’s The Lost Colony), it’s Eddie Campbell’s comics adaptation of a screenplay by C. Gaby Mitchell, concerning detectives and terror and conspiracy and identity and the seeming twilight of all reliable things at the close of the 19th century. A dusty, dirt-crusted, guns-occasionally-blazing western comic, tightly compressed and dotted with bold visual flourishes, oddly satisfying even as it threatens to pop right apart with story. Full review tomorrow, if the fates allow.

I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets: The Comics of Fletcher Hanks: Far and away the one book among Fantagraphics’ many archival offerings that I’ve been most anticipating, a big bad 120-page $19.95 softcover collection of what I consider to be the very essence of Golden Age superhero/fantasy adventure comics. The works of Fletcher Hanks are blunt, cruel, absurd, and utterly devoid of any pretense toward narrative sophistication - they exist only to embody kaleidoscopic violence heaped upon the wicked in hallucinations of power and retribution, fearsome in their exactness. I mean, just look at this. Fifteen big adventures await, plus an all-new comics-format Afterward by editor Paul Karasik that vows to reveal the final, enigmatic fate of the artist. Don’t miss this, world.

Shiny Beasts: But if maybe you’re in the mood for reprints of the ‘80s illustrated fantasy magazine variety, you probably won’t go wrong with this new King Hell collection of writer/artist Rick Veitch’s various and sundry short comics from the pages of Epic Illustrated, complete with special guest appearances by Alan Moore and Stephen R. Bissette. Much preview art here. This is book two of what a I believe is an intended three-volume retrospective of Veitch’s work from the period, following the compilation of his Abraxas and the Earthman serial, and to be followed by a new edition of his 1983 graphic novel Heartburst (that's Marvel Graphic Novel #10, True Believer) in a little while.

Stuck in the Middle: 17 Comics from an Unpleasant Age: I’ve seen this large (224-page, 10.8” x 8.4”) softcover anthology in bookstores for a couple weeks now - it’s got the publishing might of Viking behind it, and goes for a very reasonable $18.99. Edited by Ariel Schrag, it’s a collection of tales from middle school, featuring a very nice line-up of contributors, including Gabrielle Bell, Dash Shaw, Lauren Weinstein, Aaron Renier, Ariel Bordeaux, Cole Johnson, Schrag herself, and many more (full list here), plus pertinent reprints from Dan Clowes (Like a Weed, Joe) and Joe Matt (a selection from Fair Weather). Obviously worth a flip.

The Three Paradoxes: That Fantagraphics is a pretty prolific publisher of things that interest me. For example, here’s the long-awaited new graphic novel from Paul Hornschemeier, a formally ambitious autobiographical hardcover piece, $14.95 for 80 color pages. Tom Spurgeon has a nice review.

Exit Wounds: Not to be upstaged, Drawn and Quarterly also has something this week, a graphic novel from acclaimed Israeli cartoonist Rutu Modan. It’s a very attractive-looking tale of mystery and introspection in Tel Aviv, and I think I’ll link to Tom Spurgeon again.

MPD-Psycho Vol. 1: And on the absolute opposite end of the comics landscape, we’ve got the virgin installment of writer Eiji Otsuka’s and artist Sho-U Tajima’s infamously gory, sensationalistic detective/horror series about a man with multiple personalities facing off with extreme atrocity. The material has apparently already inspired one initial licensing English-publisher to come down with a case of the jitters. Dark Horse does the honors here, and if the earth doesn’t split and money is made, there’ll be plenty of stuff to release - the series is still ongoing in Japan, having racked up 11 volumes of material since its 1997 debut.

Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor #8 (of 8): Dark Horse does still put out some manga in pamphlet format, though. But this final issue sees another of the old trees rumble to the ground.

Superior Showcase #2: Another issue of AdHouse’s intermittent pamphlet-format follow-up to its Project: Superior anthology of superhero comics from creators you maybe wouldn’t expect so much of that stuff from. This issue features Farel Dalrymple (one day, Omega the Unknown, one day…), Maris Wicks and Joey Weiser.

The Punisher MAX #48: Many a shooting.

Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #5 (of 7): Many a slinging.

Sock Monkey: The “Inches” Incident #4 (of 4): Possibly a socking.

Black Summer #0 (of 7): Ah, one of Avatar’s signature tricks. You see -- and anyone who gets writer Warren Ellis’ Bad Signal email dispatches already knows about this -- this issue #0 is actually the first issue of the new Ellis/Juan Jose Ryp project. If you only pick up issue #1, you won’t get the beginning of the story, because #1 is not the start. I recall Avatar did this a few times early on, back in the late mid-going-on-late ‘90s, where I think there was a brief vogue for collectable ‘zero’ issues (or had the trend already passed by then?). I presume some sales goosing resulted. Today, it looks like the issue #0 thing is simply an opportunity to price the debut of Ellis’ and Ryp’s superhero-kills-the-president epic at 99 cents (albeit with only 16 pages in it), although I hope interested parties won’t mistake it for one of the preview thingies Avatar tends to put out at the same price point in the same format.