A divine shape manifests from beyond the falling snow...

*A... a miracle!


Blurred Vision Vol. 4 (with a special look at some abstract concepts)

The Boys (22 issues into the Garth Ennis/Darick Robertson series)

Could it be?!

*Important Publishing News Dept: This December, on the final day of 2008 -

The Winter Men Winter Special.

Just a little something to warm your hands on. Fond memories here.

*And in more immediate concerns -


Burma Chronicles: The newest of Guy Delisle's observational travel comics (released in French in 2007), following Shenzhen: A Travelogue From China (2000) and the highly-regarded Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea (2003). As with the others, Drawn and Quarterly brings it to English; it's a 208-page hardcover, $19.95. Preview here, lots more stuff in French here.

All Star Superman #12: Final eye-twinkling issue! Who will live? Who will die? Who will stay mostly the same? Will anyone cry? Shall punches be thrown? Might Batman appear for the purposes of saying "goddamn" and leaving the readership swooning? How many lasers should appear on-panel? Can the black bars prove sufficient for Jimmy's mouth? Perry's? I don't know any of these answers, but I do know that Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant have indeed gotten shit done. Don't look at this preview; save it all for later.

Vagabond VIZBIG Edition Vol. 1: By which VIZ's Takehiko Inoue assault continues, this time collecting the first three volumes of the Slam Dunk and Real creator's ongoing swordsman series (currently at Vol. 28) into a somewhat larger (8.5" x 5.8"), 728-page package for only $19.99. And with all that money you saved, you can get a head start on saving up for both of the $34.99, 164-page softcover Inoue art books VIZ is also releasing this week, Sumi: Vagabond Illustration Collection (covering b&w pen and brush works) and Water: Vagabond Illustration Collection (covering various color works). I've heard they look really nice. VIZ also has the Death Note Collector's Edition Hardcover Vol. 1 this week, which appears to be Vol. 1 of Death Note as a $19.99 hardcover. In light of this cracked case, I hereby declare myself L.

Astro Boy Vols. 1 & 2 (of 23): But why let VIZ have all the fun with thicker editions of completed manga series? This new Dark Horse presentation of Osamu Tezuka's signature work might still be 4 1/2" x 6 3/4" (i.e. small), but its 424 pages will collect two prior Astro books for the $14.95 price of one and a half (or so). Relive the magic. Note that Dark Horse also has your regular Kazuo Koike/Goseki Kojima dose this week with Path of the Assassin Vol. 13 (of 15): Hateful Burden, which is even smaller (4" x 6") but still pretty fat (304 pages), for an even lower $9.95.

Afro Samurai Vol. 1 (of 2): More manga? How about anime tie-in manga? Yes - how about that? I didn't like this one much, but maybe you'll find something to this Tor/Seven Seas production, $10.99 for 176 pages. Found in Diamond's red-spattered Merchandise section, along with Vol. 4 of the dvd series Mistreated Bride. That's right ma'am, the ballroom rate doubles after three hours! Ha ha ha ha haaaaa!!

Speed Grapher Vol. 1 (of 3): Wait, TokyoPop has an anime tie-in book this week too, also based on a Studio GONZO television series; how about that? I don't think anyone's going to mistake the 2005 source material for a crowning masterwork, but it is one of the very few GONZO works I've actually sat all the way through (another being Afro Samurai, actually), maybe because it had a certain crackpot propulsion the rest of the studio's catalog lacks. It's the magical saga of a burnout combat photographer who infiltrates an elite underground torture-orgy ring and finds himself kissing a teenage sex goddess, giving him the power to cause anything he photographs to explode. He and said sex goddess -- a shy, neglected rich girl who just wants to be free -- go on the run from various supervillains while taking on the abuses of capitalism. Really. The last episode had a werewolf attack in a skyscraper full of money. The manga has some art by Yusuke Kozaki, the anime's original character designer (who also did character designs for the Nintendo Wii game No More Heroes, plus some comics for Robot), but the bulk of the interior art is by someone who goes by 'Tomozo.' I know nothing more. Note that TokyoPop also has the eighth and final volume of the otaku slash-'n-burn Welcome to the N.H.K. this week.

Look Out!! Monsters: A Xeric-powered oversized pamphlet from artist Geoff Grogan, offering up 32 pages of monster-themed collage and comics, b&w and color, all for just $9.95. Looks neat. Sample images and additional info here, review by Alan David Doane here.

Local: A big ol' 384-page b&w hardcover from Oni, collecting the 2005-08 series from writer Brian Wood and artist Ryan Kelly, tracking a young woman's growth into some uneasy maturity, chapter-by-chapter, year-by-year, city-by-city. It's $29.99.

Superman: Kryptonite: Lost track of that Darwyn Cooke/Tim Sale story that ran somewhat irregularly in Superman Confidential? This is a $24.99, 160-page hardcover collecting the whole thing.

The Sandman: The Dream Hunters #1 (of 4): Yes, it does look like there's a little more water in that well; thus, a P. Craig Russell-drawn comics adaptation of Neil Gaiman's 1999 prose story, a franchise-tuned reworking of an old Japanese folk tale. Original illustrator Yoshitaka Amano does not appear to be involved. Still: P. Craig Russell.

Greatest Hits #1 (of 6): Also from Vertigo this week, the start of a David Tischman-written 'superheroes as pop stars' thing, following UK megateam The Mates through decades of style and strife; I promised the voices I'd make mention of any new comic that has Glenn Fabry interior art. And if you're reading Scalped, issue #21 will show up too, for the start of a new storyline.

glamourpuss #3: Sim.

Conan the Cimmerian #3: Corben. He's not in the preview, though.

Gødland #25: Cosmos.

Foolkiller: White Angels #3 (of 5): Frank Castle. Further: The Punisher MAX #62, also from writer Gregg Hurwitz.

Captain Britain and MI: 13 #5: This was the only Secret Invasion-related comic I read, and it was ok enough, retaining some of the wit and flavor of writer Paul Cornell's previous Wisdom miniseries (to which this is essentially an expansive sequel), though a bit hustled by the whole tie-in angle; I'd like to see how it stands on its own, which it's supposed to do starting here. Preview.

A Tribute to Gene Colan: Being a co-production of Marvel and The Hero Initiative, a $9.99, 96-page collection of selected Colan works -- plus comments by the folks who selected them -- with net proceeds going to aid the artist.

Heavy Metal Vol. 32 No. 5 (Nov. 2008): Worth noting as the first issue of this magazine in god knows how long to reprint material from... Métal Hurlant! Granted, that's the 2002-04 revival of the latter publication, which already printed everything in English, but it's the thought that matters! The specific story is Tears of Gold from issue #12, an Alejandro Jodorowsky piece about a young boy whose family discovers that he's capable of weeping literal liquid gold; their greed prompts them to move from killing the lad's beloved pets in front of him to taking him on lucrative tours of human suffering. Ah, but a boy's body doesn't stay the same for long... er, it's probably a bit more profound in the abstract than in execution, actually, but it does have some rare sequential art by (José) Ladrönn as well. Also: other stories, breasts.