Land of Learning

*As you can tell, the holiday weekend wound up bumping our poor Eurocomics series around a bit - T10 (concerning The Metabarons) will conclude our Jodorowsky coverage on Tuesday/early Wednesday at this site, after which Tucker Stone will raise the issue of Enki Bilal at his site on Wednesday evening.

As for what's gone before...


--Désastre Hurlant: We Really Are Only a Few Days Behind Schedule, I Swear--

I wrote:

Part 6 (a closer look at The Incal)

Part 9 (Bouncer, Megalex and the brief revival of Métal Hurlant)

Tucker wrote:

Part 5 (Jodo's Son of the Gun)

Part 7 (Jodo's The White Lama)

Part 8 (Jodo's The Technopriests)

And I didn't really write much else.

*Drama Dept: But who needs essays when you've got acting? A while ago I wrote a little appreciation of Starstruck, a very fine work of supercompressed sci-fi world-building created by Elaine Lee & Michael Wm. Kaluta, which I cited as one of the few comics I could think of that started out as a stage production, written by Lee, Susan Norfleet Lee & Dale Place (I also came up with James Vance's Kings in Disguise and Rich Johnston's Rich Johnston's Holed Up, while Johnny Bacardi suggested First Comics' Warp, from the play by Stuart Gordon & Bury St. Edmund). I eventually went so far as to track down a copy of the May 1983 issue Heavy Metal (Vol. 7 No. 2) for its photo-illustrated visit to one of the play's stagings.

Well it may not be the '80s anymore, but all of my left coast readers will want to sear August 15, 2009 into their minds, because the original Starstruck play is coming back to life, in support of comics artist Gene Colan. It'll be a live reading-styled event at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, CA, with sound effects and the like, in anticipation of a later studio recording(!) of the work, with a subsequent radio series(!!) planned.

And my oh my, and what's going on at the bottom of the press release?

"On the cusp of the benefit reading, an equally exciting announcement is to come regarding the “StarStruck” comic series’ return to print. Truly, 2009 is the year of the Female Freedom Fighters! Up the Brigades!"

More on that as it develops.

*We've got an emphasis on education going on -


Adventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Your Doodles Into Comics: Being First Second's latest entry in the 'how-to' genre, following 2008's Drawing Words & Writing Pictures, a classroom-ready text 'n pictures book-as-semester. This one looks to take a opposing approach, as a comics-format educational guide for children. The authors are noteworthy: cartoonist and Center for Cartoon Studies director James Sturm and CCS alumni Alexis Frederick-Frost & Andrew Arnold (not the former comics critic for Times.com). CCS also "presents" the landscape-format tome, which is $12.95 for 112 color pages. Fat excerpt here.

The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA: Uh-huh. This certainly does appear to be a comics-format guide to the history and science of genetics, written by no less than Mark Schultz of Xenozoic Tales and the Prince Valiant newspaper comic! And the artists are Zander Cannon & Kevin Cannon from Big Time Attic - very interesting team. An asexual alien travels to Earth to fill us in on the basics of DNA and organic evolution, with the fate of its people on the line; do I sense some metaphor in my textbook? From Hill & Wang, $14.95 for 160 b&w pages; preview slideshow here, animated promo cartoon here.

The Best of Simon & Kirby: I don't know if this one'll be educational or not, but it's certainly a 240-page, $39.95 Titan Books publication that's uninterested in mincing words, at least when it comes to titles. Although I guess it's also eager to get to the good stuff, seeing how it's apparently the start of a complete collaborative works project. Contains over two dozen complete stories, hand-selected by Joe Simon himself and "fully restored to their original vibrancy." Authorized by the Kirby estate; introductions by Simon and Mark Evanier.

Alex Toth Goes Hollywood: But some days, you just wish you had 160 b&w pages' worth of Alex Toth drawing comics based on movies and television shows. Pure Imagination (of The Alex Toth Reader and various Steve Ditko collections) is here to serve, with this new $25.00 softcover.

The Dylan Dog Case Files: Or, since this is the Golden Age of Reprints and all, you can always elect a 680-page b&w brick of Italian suspense-horror comics, which Dark Horse has thoughtfully priced at a low $24.95. This Tiziano Sclavi-created series (which kinda-sorta inspired the 1994 film Cemetery Man) has been ongoing since 1986 under various creative contributors, many of which will doubtlessly be found underneath Mike Mignola's cover art. Join dirt-poor occult investigator Dylan on his many (many, many) cases, spiked with surrealism and class commentary. A movie adaptation, Dead of Night, is coming soon from TMNT director Kevin Munroe. Have a look.

Essential Dazzler Vol. 2: Paul Chadwick totally pencils five issues of this! And then he wrote that one story in Dark Horse Presents #1 based on his experiences. Good times in the 1980s.

100%: Aah, this should be nice - a new deluxe Vertigo hardcover for my personal favorite Paul Pope comic, in which the essence of his Smoke Navigator manga joined with floating ideas for the European-flavored Escapo and expanded madly into an emotionally delicate, visually engorged tour of young (and no-longer-quite-so-young) people longing for fulfillment, romantic and otherwise, in an impersonally carnal near-future NYC. Really fine stuff, heady with the big ideas but sensitive in its human observation. Your $39.99 gets you 256 pages, with bonus production art backmatter.

100 Bullets #100 (of 100): And in other '100' news, well - you've gotta give it up for this. I've never quite gotten into Brian Azzarello's & Eduardo Risso's monster Vertigo crime saga, but it really did strike a chord with some faithful readers, who will no doubt be thrilled to savor these last 32 pages. Expect up-to-the-minute Tucker Stone coverage in the days to come. No preview; nobody's spoiling nothing.

Gødland #27: Joe Casey & Tom Scioli - always a pleasure. We don't have too long anymore, but that's the story of life under and among the stars. Preview.

Incognito #3 (of 5): Further dispatches from the secret world of science villains, care of Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips. Have a look.

Rampaging Wolverine #1: You might think there's a lot of Wolverine comics out there -- moreso than usual now that the movie's out and soon to be released (yep) -- but how about an all-Logan pamphlet anthology in glorious black & white? Ha ha, they haven't tried that... wait a minute, holy shit Ted McKeever's in this! I mean, not in this, but in this. Wanna part with your $3.99 now??

Wolverine: Noir #1 (of 4): Hmm, and C.P. Smith is drawing this other Wolvie thing, one of Marvel's 'noir' versions of their popular superheroes; it does look a good deal more subdued than Smith's awesome/deranged work on The Programme, but it might be worth a peek nonetheless. Written by Stuart Moore; priced at $3.99, in the mighty Marvel manner.

Herbie Archives Vol. 3 (of 3): It is completed.