All Various

*One of each -


Jessica Farm Vol. 1 (of 6) (and Josh Simmons will make '6' mean something)


Gutsville #3 (of 6) (this issue: indigestion!)

At The Savage Critics.

*A chicken for every pot -


Phoenix Vol. 12 (of 12): Early Works: There can only be one comic sitting at the top of this week's list, even if this VIZ release isn't quite so much part of Osamu Tezuka's unfinished magnum opus as a 192-page spread of discarded, if probably fascinating preliminary published materials. Yes, your $14.99 will net you Tezuka's early (1954-57) attempts to launch the series in magazines for young boys and girls -- including an aborted early draft of the Dawn storyline, and a trilogy of original shōjo romances -- prior to the proper 1967 start of the project in the artist's own COM anthology. If you've come this far, there's no reason you wouldn't want it.

Strangeways: Murder Moon: God, I remember doing a pre-release review of the never-published issue #1 of this project over two years ago, back when it was set to be an ongoing series at Speakeasy Comics. Now its intended first storyline is finally being released as a 144-page, $13.95 original b&w graphic novel, published by writer/letterer Matt Maxwell's own Highway 62 Press. It's a fusion of two legends -- werewolves and America's old west -- with art by Luis Guaragña and assorted guest images by Steve Lieber, Guy Davis, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá. Extensive preview here.

The Boy Who Made Silence #1 (of 12): Joshua Hagler -- probably best known at the moment as co-artist of the Sam Kieth-created My Inner Bimbo -- won a March 2006 Xeric Grant to self-publish early portions of this fantastical color work, but now Markosia Enterprises has stepped in to publish the whole spread. It's about a deaf boy who creates zones of silence around him, prompting realizations among other people as the lad grows. Could be something to keep an eye on. Big ol' heap of preview here.

Dungeon Monstres Vol. 1: The Crying Giant: Few sprawling European comics megaseries can seem more sprawling and mega to English-only readers than Joann Sfar's and Lewis Trondheim's Dungeon, particularly when you consider that part of the project's very concept (at least, by now) is that it's so fucking big and jumps around so fucking much on its own timeline that the creators couldn't possibly finish the whole thing if they devoted the rest of their lives to it; as such, big chunks of the story are deliberately left to the reader to imagine. It's enough for today's purposes to know that Dungeon Monstres is a series of one-off albums set in different points on the Dungeon timeline, each focusing on a specific denizen of the series' fantasy world, with a unique artist filling out Trondheim's breakdowns to Sfar's scripts. This $12.95 NBM edition collects the first two French albums, showcasing the visuals of Pierre "Mazan" Lavaud and famed critic & publisher Jean-Christophe Menu. Here's a look.

Al Capp's Complete Shmoo: The Comic Books: Well, here's a 176-page hardcover collection of every damned issue (so, all five) of Al Capp's Shmoo Comics from 1949-50; surely the diehards will delight. Until they realize it's a Dark Horse Archives release, which means it's $49.95. Maybe they can check their local library? The digital restoration is also rubbing me the wrong way -- too clean, too bright -- although I don't have the book in front of me or anything, and your tastes in reproduction may differ.

Batman: The Killing Joke: Special Edition: Speaking of which, the 'special' part of this new 64-page, $17.99 hardcover edition of Alan Moore's and Brian Bolland's famed 1988 one-off is an all-new coloring job by Bolland himself, plus the addition of his Batman: Black and White story, An Innocent Guy. Moore has publicly grown sick of this quintessential dark superhero story (I couldn't say it's one of my faves either), so it makes some sense for DC to shine as much light on Bolland as possible.

With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child Vol. 2: Being Yen Press' second 528-page collection of Keiko Tobe's ongoing drama. I've seen tons of copies of Vol. 1 in every chain bookstore I've been to, although it might just have been a symptom of the series serving as the publisher's manga debut.

Princess at Midnight: I do believe this 64-page, $5.99 book from Image is an expanded standalone version of Andi Watson's contribution to The Mammoth Book of Best New Manga Vol. 1, so if you liked it there you'll probably dig it now. Peer.

War is Hell: First Flight of the Phantom Eagle #1 (of 5): This is writer Garth Ennis' new MAX project, a revival of ye olde character The Phantom Eagle as a flamboyant WWI ace who learns the hell of war (which one might expect to happen in a Garth Ennis comic of this type). I think Marvel wants to set up the War is Hell title as a general MAX-rated war comics banner, although I don't know if Ennis is attached to anything beyond this miniseries. Featuring art by Howard Chaykin, with Brian Reber (as opposed to frequent Chaykin collaborator Edgar Delgado) on colors and (huh) Todd Klein on letters. Have a gander.

Foolkiller MAX #4 (of 5): Oh, this is back. Since I have time, I might as well link to some totally unrelated MAX news: Richard Corben's three-issue Haunt of Horror: H.P. Lovecraft series has finally been given a start date, June 2008. Same format as Corben's last Haunt of Horror series - comics followed by the original stories and poems, although this time Corben will be doing all of the writing and art by himself. He's also got a Conan miniseries and a new Hellboy storyline coming up, so there's no slowing him down...

The Immortal Iron Fist #13: Penultimate chapter of the fighting tournament storyline. Co-writer Matt Fraction also has the penultimate issue (#9) of The Order this week. Oh, Fraction will now be Ed Brubaker's co-writer on Uncanny X-Men too, starting with #500.

The Programme #9 (of 12): I don't know why issue number nine of twelve gets a preview, but it does! Ha ha ha, we rule the future! Sit, humanity, on your deserved throne!

Mineshaft #21: A welcome new issue of the magazine for odds 'n ends from underground comics veterans and fellow travelers. You might just see something about it tomorrow, if this feature I'm working on actually happens.

All We Ever Do Is Talk About Wood: This is a $9.95 bunch of Tom Horacek gag cartoons from Drawn & Quarterly, and the art is pretty. I crown thee: informed!