It's still my (site's) birthday.

*No tears. All links.


Batman: Gotham Knight (anime is... straight from the corporate bosom!)

Cat Eyed Boy Vols. 1-2 (Kazuo Umezu, between worlds)


The Goddess of War Vol. 1

At The Savage Critics!

*And words about upcoming comics. Those are the monies of my internet economy, and even they are worth more than the US dollar right now. Did you know if you flash a euro at an American right now, they have to let you put them on a leash for ten minutes? Thank heavens I was into that stuff before...


The Comics Journal #291: I never take the decal off the covers of these 'new look' Journals, even though there's a "PEEL HERE" at the bottom corner. I guess I'm just antiauthoritarian to the core. This issue's feature interviews are Tim Sale and Josh Simmons, and the feature review is surely Gary Groth's 30-page(!) take on Ralph Steadman's The Joke's Over: Bruised Memories: Gonzo, Hunter S. Thompson, and Me (excerpt here). With a 32-page chunk of vintage comics by animator Dan Gordon and an 11-page preview of Danica Novgorodoff's Slow Storm (coming later this year from First Second). 'Tis 216 pages for $11.99.


Omega: The Unknown #10 (of 10): I don't know if anyone's read the new issue of Comic Foundry, but there's this two-page interview with Jonathan Lethem where he just lays out a lot of the themes he's been working with in this series, like how Omega and the Mink are amplified Marvel versions of Superman and Batman (streetwise Marvel version, it seems to me), one alienated to the point of autism (which bring to mind a reading floated over at Tucker Stone's), the other a brand-crazy arch-capitalist in his 'real,' costumed life, and how they deal with a world of endless franchising, which is all a corporate superhero world often seems to be. It's implied that just as Omega fights against the insidious franchise element -- cooking and eating his own birds -- so does the series begin with the original Gerber/Skrenes scenario, only to drift away from what Lethem always felt were Marvel U interests (Hulk, villains, etc.) trampling a sort of Omega ideal. Obviously, just as Lethem's reading of the original comics doesn't necessarily line up with authorial intent (he admits as much), we don't need to accept his take on this now-ending series as the take, although it's a compelling one. Compelling series too - spoil yourself with pages.

Howard the Duck Omnibus: Ah, but for that real Steve Gerber flavor, what can beat a $99.99 brick of classic color Howard? Collecting issues #1-33 of the original Howard the Duck series, plus pertinent contents of Adventure Into Fear (#19), Man-Thing (#1), Giant-Size Man-Thing (#4-5), Marvel Treasury Edition (#12) and Marvel Team-Up (#96).

Zot! 1987-1991: The Complete Black and White Collection: God, I really loved Zot! back in the day, when I was pretty much dead-center in its suburban teenager demographic - the sheer longing that existed in those wispy, thoughtful superhero comics spoke to me a lot more directly than the manufactured angst that a lot of the genre dealt in. I never read it when it was new (1984-91), though - there were apparently a lot of copies of Kitchen Sink's first hardcover collection floating around upon its 1996 publication, so I managed to get my own for, oh, two bucks or something off of a remaindered books mail-order service. It was even signed by Scott McCloud, who was only 23 himself when he started working on that stuff. And lucky me, the very material collected in that old book, which I still have -- the full-color issues #1-10 of the original series -- are exactly what's not included in this 576-page softcover omnibus from HarperCollins. No, your $24.95 will net you the whole of the series' later, b&w material, with 10,000 or so words of extra commentary by the author. Big preview here. Found in Diamond's crafty Merchandise section, along with something called a Dark Knight Attack Bat, which I hope is what Batman uses when someone's blocking his parking spot on the streets of Gotham.

How to Draw Stupid and Other Essentials of Cartooning: I'd totally forgotten that Kyle Baker had a 'how to make comics' book coming up from genre specialists Watson-Guptill Productions, but here it is in all its 112-page, $16.95 glory. Dramatic video preview here. This was also found in Diamond's glittering Merchandise section, sharing space with a "Tin Robot 2000." What is that, nostalgia? I'd better hear Santana and Rob Thomas as I open that box...

Jeff Smith: Bone & Beyond: The concluding installment of this week's Diamond Merchandise section trilogy; might I interest you in a Hannah Montana Holiday Singing Doll? All your Arbor Day favorites, and perfectly comparable to a 96-page, 10.5" x 9.5" hardcover exhibition catalog memorializing Jeff Smith's Wexner Center/Cartoon Research Library show, still running through August 3rd. Contains 96 pages of art from all of the artist's recent comics projects, plus samples of works that influenced him and essays by the likes of Neil Gaiman and the aforementioned Scott McCloud. It's $24.95. Preview here.

Houdini: The Handcuff King: A $9.99 softcover version of the Jason Lutes/Nick Bertozzi book on the man of the title.

Real Vol. 1: This week's big manga debut is actually something a side-project, an ongoing series about wheelchair basketball that superstar Slam Dunk and Vagabond creator Takehiko Inoue has been chipping at since 2001. Seven volumes have been released in Japan, to brisk sales and much acclaim - it even won an Excellence Prize for manga at the 2001 Japan Media Arts Festival. Now it's the latest VIZ Signature release, in a deluxe, 224-page format for $12.99. Several pages here.

Conan the Cimmerian #1: Being the official, 40-page relaunch for Dark Horse's ongoing chronicles of the Robert E. Howard character. It'll run ya $2.99. Written by Tim Truman, with drawings by Tomás Giorello and color by José Villarubia, plus covers by Frank Cho and Joe Kubert, though the real draw for me will inevitably be Richard Corben's flashback sequences. For those keeping count, this is now the third simultaneously-running series to feature Corben's art. Preview here.

Gødland #24: Counting down the final year in this starry series. Also from Joe Casey & Image this week is Charlatan Ball #2; the first one was short and manic enough -- and so stuffed with world-tripping setup -- that it seemed like something that might drop out of the official NES cart's box. I was upset with the lack of tips 'n tricks in the back, though I want to see what Stage One plays like.

Tank Girl: Visions of Booga #3 (of 4): I do like that Rufus Dayglo.

Universal War One #1 (of 3): Marvel's second $5.99 release of material from French publisher Soleil, and I believe the first one that hasn't been seen at all in English. It's writer/artist Denis Bajram's series about a band of damned soldiers sent to investigate a black wall that's suddenly cut the solar system in two, right in the midst of a civil war. What's odd is that this is a six-album series, while Marvel only has three issues set for release, which I don't think are fat enough to accommodate two albums each. Huh. Look a little. On the same front, this week also brings Sky Doll #3 (of '3'), which is close as you'll be getting to an ending anytime soon, True Believer.

The Punisher MAX #59: Only one bullet left in Frank Castle's clip after this, and it's going somewhere warm. You'll see. Also from Garth Ennis this week is War is Hell: First Flight of the Phantom Eagle #5 (of 5), with Howard Chaykin. Also from Howard Chaykin this week is Punisher War Journal Vol. 3: Hunter Hunted, starring Frank Castle. It's the circle of life. While you're at it, you can also pick up Foolkiller: White Angels #1 (of 5) (formerly Foolkiller: Short Time), the second of Gregg Hurwitz's tongue-clucking MAX epics (art by Paul Azaceta and colorist Nick Filardi, they of B.P.R.D.: 1946), this time sporting a cameo role by... Frank Castle! Whose MAX series Hurwitz will be writing as of issue #61! Oh my god, I think I just gave birth to myself!!

Hellblazer #246: This is the second half of a Jason Aaron/Sean Murphy fill-in story, which is a fun little bit of Jamie Delano homage with its Newcastle setting and a set of young pop punks failing to appreciate either the danger of the place they're in or the texture of John Constantine's Mucous Membrane - the politics of old Hellblazer, perhaps? Also from greater DC this week is the Aaron-written Scalped #19, and Astro City: The Dark Age Book 1, a 256-page, $29.99 hardcover compilation of the first half of a long story from Kurt Busiek & Brent Anderson.

Batman: Faces: Say, I think a movie is opening this week. That would explain this new $12.99 collection of Matt Wagner's Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight story (#28-30), all about a betrothed English girl's scheme to invite three men to her upcoming wedding, one of which must be her father: Batman, the Joker or Two-Face? Better dial S.O.S. - some will die, but all will dance! How the hell Hollywood turned this into something like Space Chimps I'll never know.