I plan to stride into my polling place at 7:00 AM, as the doors open.

*This way I can maximize my return on freebies handed out by patriotic merchants eager to bribe US citizens into exercising their hard-won rights. I love it. I'll be picking up my plain tall coffee dressed as Uncle Sam. On stilts.


Bat-Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan


Unknown Soldier #1

At The Savage Critics!

*Will there even be funnies this week? Not if your favored candidate loses, dear reader. That other guy's gonna shut down the Direct Market as part of his victory address. Then Bush'll ban anime and declare war on Iran. Those events will not be unconnected.


Alan's War: New from First Second, compiling the whole of Emmanuel Guibert's 2000-08 biographical comics series into a single 336-page b&w softcover. It's the story of Alan Cope, a man Guibert approached on the street one day to ask for directions; the two became fast friends, with the former telling the latter of his WWII experiences, and the latter creating comics to convey the former's bursts of witness, apart from the rigor of historical magnitude or the boom of battle themes. The final volume is currently a sélection officielle for Angoulême 2009. It's $24.00. Preview here; process video here. Note that the publisher also aims to show the more candied aspect of Guibert this week with Sardine in Outer Space Vol. 6, which is 96 color pages for $14.95.

Forever Nuts Presents: Happy Hooligan: Oh hell yes, it's volume two in NBM's series of samplers from early 20th century slapstick newspaper funnies. This time around - Frederick Burr Opper's 1900-32 megahit about a dirty hobo with a can on his head. God, like it's a hat. Your $24.95 will win you 112 pages of 11" x 8" landscape-format frolic. Samples here; over 50 more strips here.

Liquid City: Your 1,014th Image-published anthology of 2008, although this one -- edited by Flight regular and Malinky Robot creator Sonny Liew -- boasts the unique mission of presenting artists from the often overlooked-in-North-America southeastern Asian countries of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Any book with Lat has to be worth flipping through. Complete lineup and extensive previews here. Full color, 312 pages, $24.99.

Mister X: The Archives: New from Dark Horse, a deluxe hardcover omnibus of the original 1984-88 wave of Vortex comics that creator Dean Motter got looking so pretty on the shelf. I've never really felt Mister X was ever much of a series, but there's no denying its aptitude for picking up hungry young talent: these 384 pages will bring you Jamie, Gilbert & Mario Hernandez, Dave McKean, Neil Gaiman, Seth, Paul Rivoche and Ty Templeton, among others. With a Foreword by Warren Ellis. It's a hefty $79.95; preview here.

Aliens Omnibus Vol. 5: Another one of those color bricks of licensed comics reprints from Dark Horse, $24.95 for 364 pages, and now reaching into the oddball era of the stuff when some very special folks got a crack at it. Case in point - Aliens: Kidnapped, a 1997-98 three-issue thrill with art by the great Francisco Solano López and a script from the minds and hearts of Jim Woodring & Justin Green. Yes, of Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary, that Justin Green. It's about Aliens killing the rich and lazy! The 1997 Aliens: Alchemy miniseries from John Arcudi & Richard Corben probably has its merits too, now that I think of it. As would the 1998 James Vance/Guy Davis Aliens: Survival, I imagine. Plus: the (also) 1997 Mark Schultz-written 'jam' project Aliens: Havoc, featuring the art of Moebius, Geof Darrow, Guy Davis, Mike Allred, P. Craig Russell, Art Adams, Gary Gianni, John Totleben, Duncan Fegredo, D'Israeli, Sean Phillips, David Lloyd, Kevin Nowlan, Gene Ha, Igor Kordey, Peter Bagge, Jon J. Muth, Travis Charest, Sergio Aragonés and several others. Should make for a hopping back cover at least.

The Dreamer (&) To the Heart of the Storm (&) The Name of the Game (&) The Will Eisner Reader: In which W.W. Norton breaks up its 2007 hardcover Will Eisner autobiographical comics omnibus, Life, in Pictures, into a quartet of $16.95 - $17.95 softcover tomes. Note that this incarnation of The Will Eisner Reader is apparently only four stories long, in contrast with the seven stories included in the old 1991 Kitchen Sink edition.

The Myth of 8-Opus Wrecks: I do believe this is the first-ever collected edition for issues #1-5 of Gødland artist Tom Scioli's solo sci-fi series, which started up back in 2000. It's $24.99.

Freakangels Vol. 1: I'm totally sure this is the first-ever collected edition for Warren Ellis' & Paul Duffield's sci-fi webcomic, scooping up episodes 1-24 into a 144-page, $19.99 color softcover from Avatar. Preview the entire comics content of the book here.

Nana Vol. 13: More fuel for followers of Ai Yazawa's ongoing romance series, which saw Vol. 20 hit the shelves in Japan this past September. Meanwhile, in closed-circle manga, Hitoshi Iwaaki's 1990-95 Parasyte sees Vol. 5 (of 8) of its current incarnation drop into the right hand of lovers everywhere.

Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion #1 (of 6): Being the latest opus of Easy Company, now written and drawn by Shi creator Billy Tucci. I've read this - it's a studied melding of fictional and corporate-owned characters into genuine WWII events, specifically the October 1944 'Lost Battalion' rescue of outnumbered men from the Texas-steeped 141st Infantry Regiment by the mostly Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which lost almost half its roster in the process. Very detail-oriented; a bit like a Garth Ennis war comic in that very specific way, really, but with a far more generous attitude toward human nature and battlefield gallantry, and perhaps a greater tendency to let the characters slip into war fiction shtick. Preview here; it's very possible that Tucci's lacquered heavy realist visual approach -- primed for noble, heroic poses, if little of the visceral -- will say enough on its own.

Back to Brooklyn #2 (of 5): Meanwhile, Ennis himself presents more of this Image miniseries about family affection and sunny days.

The Sandman: The Dream Hunters #1 (of 4): Hmm, this thing actually showed up on Diamond's shipping list back in mid-September, but it looks like it never got to stores. I wasn't really checking for it, mind you; my original Yoshitaka Amano-illustrated edition of Neil Gaiman's 1999 prose story suits me just fine. But I'm sure a P. Craig Russell comics adaptation of the material will have its own attractive qualities, and Vertigo is giving it as deluxe a release as a $2.99 pamphlet is likely to see these days, stripped of ads and armed with a short essay by Gaiman himself. Have a look. And feel free to spend that spare $99.00 you've been carrying around on Absolute Sandman Vol. 4 (of 4), wrapping up the remainder of the series in big ol' 608-page form. Unlike a lot of Gaiman's other works, I've always felt The Sandman ended much stronger than it began, and Marc Hempel had some cool visual stuff going on in The Kindly Ones...

Punisher War Journal Annual #1: This appears to be a comic book about Frank Castle fighting a guy named Captain Pepper. Or, "a kaleidoscopic killfest featuring super hero groupies, brain-sucking Nazi midgets, scale replicas of the Devourer Of Worlds and lots and lots of ninja teddies." Don't try too hard now. I like writer Simon Spurrier (of the irregular Image series Gutsville) good enough, and artist Werther Dell’Edera has a slick style going. Look see.

Grant Morrison's Doctor Who #2 (of 2): Collecting the entire 1987 The World Shapers storyline from Doctor Who Magazine into a $3.99 IDW pamphlet, provided I'm not totally misreading everything. Art by Tim Perkins & John Ridgway.

Sub-Mariner: The Depths #3 (of 5): Milligan & Ribic.

Army@Love: The Art of War #4 (of 6): Rick Veitch.

Top 10: Season Two #2 (of 4): Gene Ha. Did you know he drew part of an Aliens comic once?

Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson Vol. 1 (of 3): Hey, why not? Note that this newly-dressed softcover series is apparently not going to hew exactly to the 2000-01 Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller trilogy that last presented the material; this new first volume contains Daredevil #158-161 & #163-172, with Spectacular Spider-Man #27-28, thereby combining the first Visionaries book with bits of the second, plus stuff from that old The Complete Frank Miller Spider-Man collection. I'm so glad I knew all that. I mean, if someone was choking in front of me I'd probably start breathing into their mouth or something, but I could totally quote a bunch of Frank Miller issues numbers at the funeral.

Absolute Watchmen: Ah yes, Watchmen. This is the one with the vampire dickgirls, right? Howard Chaykin? It's $75.00, with all the extras from the old Graffiti Designs hardcover. DC also has a new, smaller hardcover out this week for $39.99, with all the updated colors of the Absolute edition and its own selection of sketches in the back.

Watching the Watchmen: Or shit, how about a whole $50 book of production materials from the Dave Gibbons archives, tracking the visual development of the story across 272 pages? It's 9" x 12"! Hardcover! From Titan!

Otaku USA Vol. 2 No. 3 (Dec. 2008): Hell yeah I'll buy an anime magazine with all the money I saved on election day - that's what makes this country amber and waving. Death Note may be on the cover, but the real feature will no doubt prove to be a look back in wonder toward Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, the only cartoon about pop music mediating a resolution to a transforming robot war in space that ever needed to be made. But I'm glad they made more anyway.