A full week of passion beckons.

*This doesn't look like much, but that damned festival pushed last week's version of today's post over to Wednesday anyhow.


The Sky Crawlers (a new R1 dvd release of Mamoru Oshii's 2008 theatrical anime; a world of cold fighter jets, arrested development and sorry, looping time as a metaphor for wounded art - Seaguy is duly referenced)

At comiXology.

*Oh gee, well here's a surprise up front -


: Holy shit, it's a new Jack Katz comic!! It's... it's 100 pages long! Yeah... Jesus, yeah - Jack Katz the pre-Code horror guy and all-around funnybook hand, who divorced himself from the mainstream in '74 to spend 12 years on a massive, dense, idiosyncratic fantasy opus, The First Kingdom, one of the original post-underground 'bridge' comics. Man, I had no idea this was coming. It's about a dead man and his insanely large fortune, left to an unknown-to-the-family woman who speaks no English, and the intrigue that follows an insurance investigator's arrival. Published by The Hero Initiative, for the benefit of longtime cartoonists in need of health care; Hero's Charlie Novinskie serves as co-writer, going by the cover. It's $14.95. Jack Katz. Boy.

Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?: Being the new book by Brian Fies, the artist behind the noted 2004 webcomic memoir Mom's Cancer (published in hardcover by Abrams in 2006); there was some excited chatter around that one, mostly owing to nobody having heard of Fies before or seen any of his art, although his work showed some intuitive grasp of comics storytelling. Here, he covers over 35 years of father-son relations in the face of advancing technology and shimmering ideals, with authentic photographs and faux-'period' adventure comics mixed in. It's 208 color pages, hardcover, and also from Abrams; $24.95, preview here.

The Fart Party Vol. 2: The next collection of funny autobiographical comics by Julia Wertz, following her travels around the U.S. and tossing in a few never-before-seen strips. Introduction by Nicholas Gurewitch. From Atomic Book Company; $13.95 for 200 pages.

Nexus: As It Happened Vol. 1: In which the long-lived Mike Baron/Steve Rude creation kicks off a new, low-priced reprint campaign from Rude Dude Productions that'll basically track Dark Horse's Nexus Archives series, but with everything in b&w and sized 6" x 8.5", at a $9.99 cover price. Less Nexus Essentials than manga-style, but it's an option; first one's 216 pages, collecting the 1981-82 magazines and issues #1-4 of the comic book series.

Wonton Soup Vol. 2: The sophomore outing for an Oni Press series featuring outer space cuisine and intergalactic truckin'. Creator James Stokoe has an eye-catching style going; only $11.95 for 192 pages too. I'd flip through it; have a look.

20th Century Boys Vol. 3 (of 24): Naoki Urasawa, still chuggin' along. This really is a fun, lively series with a type of depth -- a sweetly moody sense of adults sorting out their formative choices and attitudes as kids and adolescents -- that's missing from a lot of fantastic suspense-driven comics of this sort. Still early too; plenty of time to hop aboard.

Elephantmen #20: Concluding artist Marian Churchland's run on this Richard Starkings-created vignettes-from-the-future Image series with a look at hippo detective Hip Flask's human trainee Vanity. I'll miss that soft coloring. Have a look.

Madman Atomic Comics #16: Penultimate issue for the Image incarnation of Mike Allred's creation; this one's all about the music.

Phonogram 2: The Singles Club #3 (of 7): And speaking of which - Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie, with shorts drawn by Leigh Gallagher and Lee O'Connor. Big week for Image; peek.

Hellblazer #256: Peter Milligan, new storyline, yes.

Mysterius: The Unfathomable #6 (of 6): Jeff Parker, Tom Fowler, Wildstorm, gone.

Sleeper: Season One: Very handy, this. A shiny new Wildstorm trade collecting the complete 2003-04 superhero espionage series from Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips (later of Criminal) into a 288-page, $24.99 package. Samples. Expect a second brick compiling the sequel series shortly.

Incognito #4 (of 6): And look at that! The new Brubaker/Phillips superhero series, a crime thing from Icon, right on the same day! I think Brubaker might have some Marvel superhero thing this week I heard about on the news, but then they had a story about chihuahuas barking at a mountain lion and I forgot all about it. Those chihuahuas were barking!

Herogasm #2 (of 6): Fun and games from Garth Ennis & John McCrea; preview here. DC also has Hitman: A Rage in Arkham this week, a $14.99 reissue of vol. 1 for a prior Ennis/McCrea experience, for those who're truly insatiable.

Starman Omnibus Vol. 3: Golden Age of Reprints? Why not?! Yet another $49.99 brick of this beloved James Robinson-written DC series, its 432 pages covering Starman #30-38, Starman Annual #2 and Starman Secret Files #1, with Tony Harris presiding over art by various hands. Note that this volume also collects a complete spin-off, 1997's The Shade #1-4, boasting no less than Michael Zulli, Gene Ha and J.H. Williams III & Mick Gray on individual issues.

Batman: The Black Casebook: Meanwhile, this isn't so much a product of the Golden Age of Reprints as some hopefully fun tie-in antics for your $17.99, as Grant Morrison introduces 144 pages' worth of ye olde Batman, Detective Comics and World's Finest Comics stories that informed his pre-Batman and Robin run with poor lost Bruce Wayne. And hey - you never know what the future may hold.