Unusual Output

*Fuck, I wrote some words! That's a change.


Powr Mastrs Vol. 2 (of 6)

Batman #682


Marvel's holiday funnies (Moon Knight: Silent Knight #1; The Punisher MAX X-Mas Special #1)

Criminal Vol. 2 #7 (see ya in five months, gang)

All at The Savage Critics!

*Yes, Marvel's site says Incognito #1 is due this week. No, it's not on Diamond's list. Don't bank on it showing up, though you never know.


Nocturnal Conspiracies: Nineteen Dreams From December 1979 to September 1994: Hell yeah - new David B.! This time it's a 128-page, $14.95 softcover from NBM, an English-language edition of a 2005 Futuropolis edition collecting the former Pierre-François Beauchard's dream comics. Now, in all candor, this is probably the weakest of David B.'s material to see a North American release; I tend to consider the great strength of his work to be the iconographic power his visuals build to compliment his autobiographical musings or adventure plots, but here he focuses more on the conveying the "chaotic and poetic structure" of dreams through straightforward panel-to-panel procession, which sometimes leaves his in-panel visuals leaning heavily on semi-realist representation, and his caption narration reciting what we can plainly see for ourselves. Still, David B. is a master, and his black, white & blue color scheme gives many of his depictions an eerie might. Preview here.

Nicolas: The newest release in Drawn and Quarterly's Petit Livres series of small (5" x 8"), inexpensive ($11.95) art books - it's a 64-page package of episodes from Quebec artist Pascal Giraud's ongoing understanding of his younger brother's childhood death. The Beguiling looks interested. D&Q also has a $16.95 softcover edition of Rutu Modan's acclaimed Exit Wounds this week; here's my review of the first edition.

Sulk Vol. 2: Deadly Awesome: The latest in Jeffrey Brown's old-school one-man anthology from Top Shelf, this time spending 96 pages on an action-heavy story of mixed martial arts. Have a look. It's 6 1/2" x 4 3/4", and $10.00.

Black Jack Vol. 2 Limited Hardcover: Finally, the second of three Direct Market-only $24.95 hardcover editions of Osamu Tezuka's mad medical adventure. Note that it lines up with vol. 2 of Vertical's softcover series, save for a special bonus episode that hasn't even been seen in some of the Japanese reprint efforts. Have you seen this sample story, perchance?

Bat-Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan Limited Hardcover: And in other manga expansion news, here's a $60.00 deluxe edition of the Chip Kidd, Geoff Spear & Saul Ferris collection of Jiro Kuwata's 1966-67 domestic Batman jamboree, newly stocked with an exclusive story featuring "a band of rogue alien robot art thieves at large in Gotham City," which sounds about right. My review of the softcover is here.

Herbie Archives Vol. 2 (of 3): And here! A $49.95, 256-page hardcover for Dark Horse's fat 'n furious reprint project, featuring a deluxe edition-only... er, everything, since the deluxe edition's the only edition. We all love Herbie, though. Collecting issues #6-14, from 1964 and 1965. Richard E. "Shane O'Shea" Hughes writes and Ogden Whitney draws; many suckers are sucked, and days are comedically saved over and over by the most laconic science hero of the all. Just look at it.

Camelot 3000 Deluxe Edition: It'd be pretty funny if there was new story content in this one, since we could all just say it was especially late. Boy would we laugh, because that would be a truly funny joke. We might even die of mirth. But no, this is just a new Camelot 3000 hardcover with bonus production materials from writer Mike W. Barr and artist Brian Bolland. It's 320 pages for $34.99.

Daredevil: The Man Without Fear Premiere: Marvel's got some hardcover stuff too this week, with a $24.99 reprint of the 1993-94 Frank Miller/John Romita, Jr. revised origin project for the superhero character, which I think was based on a movie script Miller had written. How time flies - we'll all have the option of intimacy with Frank Miller's movie prowess in a few weeks, won't we?

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, the Complete Newspaper Dailies: Vol. 1, 1929-1931: Golden Age of Reprints? Still happening. This week's event arrives courtesy of Hermes Press, which debuts its line of 9" x 12" hardcover reprints of the first sci-fi comic strip, based on the creations of Philip Francis Nowlan and initially drawn by Dick Calkins. With an introduction by Ron Goulart, and all the expected suppliments; 336 pages for $39.99.

Blade of the Immortal Vol. 20: Demon Lair: Woah, this thing's 280 pages - is Dark Horse trying to synch its releases up with the Japanese editions now? This is, of course, the newest installment of Hiroaki Samura's much-admired ongoing samurai fantasy-horror opus (currently at vol. 23 in Japan), in which a tragically immortal swordsman must kill to die. I think this one puts us at or near the end of the series' supposed penultimate 'big' storyline. Have a look.

Phonogram 2: The Singles Club #1 (of 7): I'll cop to having not read past issue #1 of Kieron Gillen's & Jamie McKelvie's original Image miniseries (despite my hopes at the end of my initial review), a sort of fantasy evocation of writer Gillen's experience with Britpop, cosplaying as a Hellblazer homage with music literally acting as magic. An awful lot of people enjoyed it a good deal. Here's the second series, a now-in-color arrangement of short stories taking place on the same night, at the same club. This issue's got three tales, including a McKelvie-illustrated piece about a girl who learns "just how deep shallow actually gets," plus back-ups from artists Marc Ellerby and Lauren McCubbin. Big preview here.

Elephantmen #14: Also returning from Image - Richard Starkings' saga of walking, talking animals in a sci-fi gritty city. I think Ian Churchill & Boo Cook are doing the art on this one. Here's the entirety of issue #13, in case you missed it.

B.P.R.D.: War on Frogs #2 (of 4): This isn't quite a proper miniseries, remember, but a numbered collection of one-off tales from writer John Arcudi and various guest artists, set during the team's battle against those goddamned frog things. Not a monthly deal either - I think these comics pop up basically whenever a handy space appears in the Hellboy family schedule. This time it's the always-welcome John Severin drawing the pictures, and a squad of human Bureau operatives taking on the monsters. Preview.

100 Bullets #98 (of 100): Running low on ammo, are we?

Captain Britain and MI: 13 #8: British.

Savage Dragon #142: Larsen.

Watchmen #1: They found another way to sell this? Sure: a special $1.50 hit of Rorschach's first investigative steps. Leave them in playgrounds or inside baby carriages. They're pretty big, so they can cover several Jack T. Chick tracts at once; I'm planning to write an oath to accept Dr. Manhattan as your personal savior in the back of all mine.

Ythaq: The Forsaken World #1 (of 3): Another of Marvel's attempts to translate a series from French publisher Soleil to both the English language and the $5.99 pamphlet format. This one's Les Naufragés d'Ythaq, by writer Christophe Arleston and artist Adrien Floch, in which a space cruiser runs aground on an odd world, and fantastical shit ensues. Looks anime-informed on the visual front. As usual, be aware that this 'miniseries' will actually only collect part of the French run, which is currently up to vol. 6.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz #1 (of 8): Oh this is odd - Marvel is releasing a new Oz comic, written by franchise veteran Eric Shanower (also of Age of Bronze), with art by Skottie Young. There used to be a preview here, but I guess it's on the can.

Final Crisis #5 (of 7): Has evil still won?

Punisher War Zone #1 (of 6): Boy, Marvel sure missed the boat not getting this out last week to satisfy the hordes of filmgoers pouring into comics shops, famished for more Punisher! But you know, speaking as one of the 35 or so people that actually saw the movie in theaters last weekend, I didn't think it was that bad. Sure, it's mostly an early '90s Chuck Dixon storyline made tongue-in-cheek flesh (albeit with a few of Garth Ennis' characters tossed in for laffs), with an utterly uninteresting plotline involving Jigsaw (who's presented as sort of a knock-off simplification of the Joker, complete with a 'moral choice' trap at the end... or is that more Saw than anything?) selling biochemical weapons to terrorists via the Russian mob, and the Punisher is really sad that he killed an undercover FBI guy by mistake but then he saves the man's wife and daughter so it's ok! I liked a lot of the aesthetic to the action scenes - really direct and bloody, a lot of blunt force and ragged style (save for an awful The Matrix/bullet ballet bit at the top). The big problem was the lack of inspiration, both in the plot -- which I'm convinced could have been sort of spicy and mildly cunning-in-a-pulpy-subversion-way with more effort -- and in some of the action setups... too much of Ray Stevenson (who looks great) just walking into battles from one side of the frame. More flair! More spice!

Anyhow, this isn't an adaptation or a tie-in or anything at all - it's a new weekly miniseries from Ennis & Steve Dillon, seeing the former return to his 'earlier, funnier' Marvel U iteration of Frank Castle, although the preview doesn't have a lick of humor at all, which is maybe noteworthy for admirers of flair and spice, and blood-chilling despair.