More Than I Thought

*In new comics, that is. I did about as much as expected for a holiday weekend in -


Batman #678 (hey, did you know Grant Morrison is blogging? that's the "exclusive content" for registered users at his revamped website; there's only been one post in the two weeks it's been up, but it's a longish, amusing one)

minicomics roundup #1 (featuring Swell #1, Hyperbox #2-3 and Part 12 Chapter 3 of "Together Forever")


Hellboy: The Crooked Man #1 (of 3)

At The Savage Critics.

*Be warned: comics probably aren't showing up at US locations until Thursday. That didn't stop Diamond from releasing a list of products today, though - I hope it's the final list. For example, the new issue of The Comics Journal isn't present, although the online sampler (and full edition for subscribers) is up now. Another hint: only one of four Secret Invasion #4 variant covers listed! I'll stay alert for you, reader. Lover.


Red Colored Elegy: New old gekiga, vintage 'dramatic pictures' from Japan - often worth mentioning first. And this one -- a 1970-71 tale of aimless young things -- is especially mentionable as closer to the graphically bold dream comics of the great Yoshiharu Tsuge than anything that was likely to develop into wide-appeal seinen, although creator Seiichi Hayashi made sure to draw from contemporary pop culture and European cinema as well. Some capital-AC Art Comics here, and quite a talked-about work in its time. Drawn and Quarterly's 240-page hardcover is $24.95, and probably just as pretty as their Yoshihiro Tatsumi books. Preview here.

Cola Madnes: Yeah, I spelled that right. At first I thought this might somehow be the first time ever that Diamond carried the 2001 Funny Garbage Press edition of Gary Panter's ill-fated 1983 foray into manga, but then I realized that PictureBox had it reprinted for TODAY. Your $24.95 gets you 212 pages of Jimbo seeking refreshment at two panels per page, inside the head of the tribal dreamer Kokomo. I couldn't tell you any more. PictureBox also has issue #1 of Lauren R. Weinstein's oversized fantasy opus The Goddess of War this week, and its blend of myth, angst, passion, spoof and adventure is well worth that $12.95.

The Fart Party: Also in the 'finally from Diamond' category, here's the much-liked Atomic Books collection of Julia Wertz's comedic autobiographical comics. Cartoon violence; a relationship declines. Your $13.95 gets you 178 pages of delite.

Nat Turner: Hell, I think this 208-page Abrams collection of Kyle Baker's 2005-07 image-driven series has been out for a month or something too. It's about the famous 1831 Virginia slave revolt, and the man who led it. Both a $12.95 softcover and a $24.95 hardcover are available. Exciting video preview here.

Snaked: On the other hand, I am confident that this Clifford Meth/Rufus Dayglo collection -- great for "folks who enjoyed really heavy, nastily-tinged, brutishly handsome comics made possible by the direction of the comics market 1988-1995 or so," in the words of Tom Spurgeon -- will actually be showing up in four-walls retail establishments for the first time, this week. Featuring conspiracy and fangs. From IDW, 104 pages for $17.99.

Magic Whistle #11: Body Armor For Your Dignity: I have no dignity when confronted with the latest Sam Henderson release, especially when it's an even-numbered year and therefore time for a fresh installment of his signature series. The 2008 edition is a 96-page, $11.95 stack of laffs from Alternative Comics, in b&w and color.

Aces: Curse of the Red Baron: This is a $12.95, 112-page AiT/Planet Lar collection of a serial from Image's Negative Burn (#7-10), created and co-written by animation veteran Shannon Eric Denton, co-written by essayist and Vertigo/DC scribe G. Willow Wilson, and illustrated by Curtis Square Briggs. It's about a pair of WWI fighters that discover a treasure map on the corpse of the Red Baron; adventure, one might presume, follows. Have a look.

The New York Four: And speaking of DC, this is the new Minx book from the Local team of Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly, 176 pages of an NYU freshman ('n pals) having teen-appropriate adventures on the town. Big ol' preview here. It's $9.99.

B.P.R.D.: The Warning #1 (of 5): Restoring the whole of the core creative team, with the added bonus of Kevin Nowlan on cover inks - man, he was supposed to draw Hellboy: The Third Wish back in the day, but I think this is his first 'official' contribution to the extended family of comics. I think. Anyhow, this is the first of what's to be a suite of three storylines aimed at fucking around with the B.P.R.D. status quo; count me in. Preview here. Elsewhere in the franchise, this week has the third of those prose story anthologies, Hellboy: Oddest Jobs, with Joe R. Lansdale, China Miéville and more contributing.

Berlin #16: Unless I'm hopelessly lost, this is actually the concluding chapter to Vol. 2 of Jason Lutes' historical trilogy. That's right, bookshelf holdouts - your seven-year wait is almost over. And since I'm back to Drawn and Quarterly here, I'll also note that they've got a new $14.95 hardcover edition of Raymond Briggs' 1980 classic Gentleman Jim, about a restroom cleaner that lets himself drift on fantasies of a mightier life.

Wolfskin Annual #1: I wound up sort of liking the original Warren Ellis/Juan Jose Ryp Wolfskin miniseries from Avatar, in the way I'll probably sort of like any barbarian comic that culminates with the entire supporting cast dying and the title character coming down from his drug rage to flee the scene in disgust, at which point the plot simply stops. This is a one-off sequel (anticipating a new miniseries), now co-written by Mike Wolfer and drawn by Gianluca Pagliarani, who will also be illustrating Ellis' next Apparat book, Aetheric Mechanics, later this year.

Captain America: White #0 (of 6): Also from Avatar this... wait, no... this is Marvel pulling the issue #0 stunt. I haven't read a damned one of these Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale projects set in the early days of various Marvel characters, but I'm sure Sale's pencils and Dave Stewart's colors will mix well. For example. The series proper doesn't start until later in the year, but this $2.99 pamphlet will include a new story, a b&w version of that same story (gotta fill those pages!), plus the expected sketches, script excerpts, etc. Also from the Marvel U this week, Captain Britain and MI: 13 #3, the fourth and final Whedon/Cassaday Astonishing X-Men trade, and that thing with the aliens.

Criminal Vol. 3: Dead and Dying: That's Vol. 3, covering Series 2 so far, a trilogy of stories set in the series' past, all of them overlapping in time to some extent, shining different lights on a common set of characters. It helps to read the prior two volumes, for maximum resonance, but this is where the series gets awfully good. From Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips, $11.99 for 104 pages.

Bone Color Edition Vol. 8 (of 9): Treasure Hunters: My my, we're almost to the end of Scholastic's very lucrative second life for Jeff Smith's epic. I recall this particular material feeling like treading water back when it was new, but I suspect it might come off better knowing it's the calm before the final storm. The hardcover is $19.99; the softcover is $9.99.

Comic Foundry #3: Being the newest issue of this lifestyle-focused magazine about comics (and such). Details here.

Batman and Son: Gee, there's five separate Bat-items out from DC this week... almost as if some sort of large-scale production was opening in less than two weeks. This is a $14.99, 200-page softcover edition collecting the first chunk of writer Grant Morrison's run on the title, all the way up through the big #666. I bet Batman will be in Final Crisis: Requiem too, although I don't think the promise of Doug Mahnke pencils will get me to sit for a one-shot about the Martian Manhunter's dying wishes. Um, Jason Aaron's writing The Joker's Asylum: Penguin, which is a one-shot about the Penguin. Jason Pearson is drawing it. Detective Comics #846 starts up that title's R.I.P. tie-in, although it doesn't look like much of a direct tie-in (like, it has Batman dealing with Hush, again). I dunno, not much of a tie-in guy myself...