Lordy, it’s hot on the East Coast. (“How hot is it?”) It’s so hot that — eh, I don’t know. But it’s hot. Probably not hot enough to keep folks out of the comic book store tomorrow, but still …
So, if you do venture out of the air conditioning on Wednesday, what’ll you find? Not much on the Big Release front, honestly.
There’s the first volume of IDW’s Little Orphan Annie archive collection, Invincible’s big 50th issue, the first original graphic novel from The Amazing Joy Buzzards, the conclusion of Local and the beginning of another Eternals series. Otherwise, it’s pretty quiet — even with the debut of The Incredible Hulk just days away.
To see what other titles Chris Mautner and I think are worth mentioning, just keep reading. As always, let us know your choices in the comments below.
Chris’ pick of the week: Complete Little Orphan Annie, Vol. 1
Many have touted the aesthetic values of Harold Gray’s Depression-era strip to me, though the few samplings I’ve read in books like the Smithsonian collection haven’t exactly won me to the cause. Still, I’m eager to check out this new, fancy collection featuring the little chatterbox with auburn locks. The first volume collects the earliest strips from 1924 to 1927. My understanding is Gray didn’t really find his footing until a few years later, but no matter. I was mightily impressed with IDW’s job on the ongoing Terry and the Pirates books, and I’m eager to see how they tackle an even more beloved comic strip figure.
Kevin’s pick of the week: B.P.R.D.: War on Frogs #1
I have a confession to make: I’ve never been a big fan of longtime Incredible Hulk artist and industry workhorse Herb Trimpe. (Sorry, Mr. Trimpe.) So, when I read that he’d be illustrating the first of four B.P.R.D. one-shots, I had my doubts. But then I saw the preview of War on Frogs #1 and, well, now I’m reconsidering that opinion. This isn’t the somewhat stiff artist I remember from The Incredible Hulk, but a looser, more cartoonish one more in line with series regular Guy Davis, who I believe provides the inks. Trimpe purists may disagree with me, but I can live with that.
The story itself might end up being a little confusing, because it takes place before the events of The Black Flame miniseries, which came out in 2005-2006. And to complicate things a little more, its picks up on the two-part B.P.R.D.: Revival comic that appeared on MySpace Dark Horse Presents in March and April of this year. But I have faith in Mike Mignola and John Arcudi.
Besides, the step back to 2005 allows them to use Roger, which more than makes up for any time-warp whiplash.
Penny Arcade, Vol. 5: The Case of the Mummy’s Gold
Chris: My favorite thing about these Penny Arcade collections? The fact that the titles have absolutely nothing to do with the contents. I find that highly amusing.
Absolute Sandman, Vol. 3
Kevin: With its $100 price tag, this Absolute Edition is far too rich for my blood. But if I had an extra wad of cash lying around, I’d definitely grab it, especially for the extras, such as the script and thumbnails for The Sandman #50 the award-winning “Ramadan” story illustrated by P. Craig Russell.
Chuck #1 (of 6)
Kevin: I realize I’ve been a little down on Wildstorm these past few weeks, but … well, the imprint pretty much deserves what it gets. That said, I enjoy the action-comedy TV series Chuck, about a retail computer nerd who has the top-secret contents of a U.S. government server subliminally embedded into his brain. It’s an unlikely premise that leads into a somewhat redundant mission-of-the-week scenario — important intelligence information flashes through Chucks mind, and he and his handlers react — but it gets by on the charm of the actors.
So, how does that translate to the comics page? We’ll see, I guess. On the plus side, this miniseries has a solid creative team: Chuck co-executive producer Peter Johnson and writer Zev Borow, and artists Jeremy Haun and Phil Noto. On the minus side: no Zachary Levi or Adam Baldwin.
The Programme, Vol. 1
Kevin: Now’s my chance to try Peter Milligan and C.P. Smith’s miniseries about superpowered Cold War weapons who are reawakened in the present. It makes me long for the still-unfinished Wildstorm mini Winter Men, by Brett Lewis and John Paul Leon.
Will Eisner’s The Spirit Archives, Vol. 24
Chris: The final volume in the massive hardcover collection, containing the “moon” stories by Wally Wood and others where the Spirit and friends become space explorers. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think anyone likes these tales very much.
The Amazing Joy Buzzards, Vol. 1: Here Come the Spiders
Kevin: Mark Andrew Smith and Dan Hipp return with their first Amazing Joy Buzzards original graphic novel, in which the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll adventure band does battle with the Spider Syndicate. I love this series.
Kevin: Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley and Cory Walker’s superhero reaches its 50th issue, a milestone for most any series, but extra special for an independent comic — an independent superhero comic.
Captain America: The Death of Captain America, Vol. 1
Kevin: As the title suggests, this collects the first part of Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s sweeping “Death of Captain America” storyline that set the mainstream media buzzing and very nearly cracked the comics Internet in half. With this, as with the rest of his work, Brubaker demonstrates that he’s not in it for the gimmickery; he has a long-term plan.
Captain Britain and MI: 13 #2
Kevin: Speaking of media attention: The first issue of this series, by Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk, got a lot of press for its inclusion of the British prime minister in the storyline. Maybe they should rename the title Gordon Brown and MI: 13 … No? Okay.
The Eternals By Jack Kirby, Book 1
Chris: Some will undoubtedly seek this new series by Daniel and Charles Knauf and Daniel Acuna about this mysterious race of uber-powerful, nigh-immortal beings, which, I imagine, follows up on Neil Gaiman’s less-than-stellar miniseries. I’d prefer this new trade that collects the first 11 issues of Jack Kirby’s original series. I’m just funny that way.
Hulk: Raging Thunder #1
Marvel Adventures Hulk #12
Kevin: For the past month or so Marvel has been filling the shelves with archival editions, but it occurs to me that the publisher hasn’t released anything that mirrors The Incredible Hulk movie, which opens on Friday. Spider-Man was forced back into the black costume in time for the third film. Iron Man got a brand-new series, plus a mini written by director Jon Favreau. But the Green Goliath? Well, Hercules has taken over his flagship title — not that I’m complaining — and in the spin-off, the Hulk is read and, well, not really the Hulk.
That leaves these two all-ages, neither of which look anything like the big-screen version, for movie-goers to zero in on, should they decide to wander into a comics shop on their way home from the theater. I don’t know, that just strikes me as odd.
Classics Illustrated: The Invisible Man
Chris: Another older Rick Geary adptation, originally done for the Eclipse Comics series so long ago, now gussied up in a spiffy hardcover and let loose on the unsuspecting public once again. Aaaa!
Freddie & Me: A Coming-of-Age (Bohemian) Rhapsody
Chris: Mike Dawson’s autobiographical tale regarding his obsession with all things Freddie Mercury comes to comic shops, though I think it’s been out in book stores for a bit (Dawson was also signing copies at MoCCA). I’ve been hearing mixed things about the book, but I’ve enjoyed Dawson’s work before, so I’ll likely check this out in the near future.
Local #12 (of 12)
Chris: Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly’s episodic look at North America through the eyes of one young woman finally comes to a close as Megan settles down in rural Vermont. I think the quality varied a bit from, but I do confess that I’m a little sad to see it end.
Out of Picture, Vol. 2
Chris: A new anthology of short stories from the Blue Sky Studios folks. Attentive readers who hang on to my every word might remember that I didn’t care much for the first volume. Maybe this one will be better.
Chris: Picked this up at MoCCA last Saturday, I did. Elijah Brubaker (courtesy of Sparkplug books) continues to tell the fascinating story of controversial psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich. They had the fourth issue also at MoCCA so I would imagine that will be showing up on Diamond’s list soon as well.
Superior Showcase #3
Chris: I always enjoy this Adhouse-sponsored anthology, which gives various alt-comix artists a chance at doing a stand-alone superhero tale. This issue features Brian Maruca, Jim Rugg, Dustin Harbin and Laura Park, with a cover by Roger Langridge.
Chris: Anyone have an idea of how this magazine is selling? Just curious.
Reading Comics and What They Mean
Chris: The softcover edition of Doug Wolk’s very good book about comics and assorted tomfoolery arrives, hidden for some reason in the “merchandise” section, amidst the Lady Death statue and the Superman Dome Tin Tote.
The full list of titles shipping this week can be found here.