After the avalanche of titles last week, this Wednesday seems far more manageable.
Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi take the reins from Joss Whedon and John Cassaday on Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men, and DC pulls the plug on The All-New Atom while launching the certain-to-be-adorable Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! (by Herobear‘s Mike Kunkel).
Fantagraphics delves into the world of Steve Ditko with Blake Bell’s Strange & Stranger, Mike Mignola and Richard Corben reteam for Hellboy: The Crooked Man, Ross Campbell surfaces at Minx with Water Baby, and Keith Knight’s The K Chronicles receives the “omnibus” treatment.
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.
Kevin’s pick of the week: Astonishing X-Men #25
It’s been nearly since Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi were announced as the successors to Joss Whedon and John Cassaday on Astonishing X-Men. In that time we’ve seen how the Whedon-Cassaday run wrapped up — with a little delay between Issue 24 and Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men — and been tempted by glimpses of Bianchi’s art. But now, finally, we get to see what Ellis has in mind for the title’s “Second Stage.”
Chris’ pick of the week: Strange & Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko
Honestly, how can I pass up a loving, coffee-table sized tribute to the man who helped bring Spider-Man and Dr. Strange into the world? Especially when I had the chance to look at an early proof at NYCC, and let me tell you, it’s a stunning-looking tribute. Despite Ditko’s own anger towards the project, I have little doubt that Blake Bell’s project will be a fascinating, insightful look at the artist’s life and career.
The Complete K Chronicles
Wondermark: Beards of Our Forefathers
Chris: Dark Horse ramps up their ongoing print publication of just about every Webcomic of note with this one-two punch this weekend. Of course, Keith Knight’s The K Chronicles isn’t a webcomic, per se; it began as a weekly in various alternative papers and I believe was still running in many of them, until he started his daily strip. This “comprehensive omnibus” ($25 for 500 pages) collects the entirety of Knight’s pointed social humor in one volume.
Beards, meanwhile, is the first official collection of the popular “vintage clip art meets modern day sarcasm” strip that creator David Malki has been doing for some time now.
Hellboy: The Crooked Man #1 (of 3)
Kevin: Mike Mignola and Richard Corben, last paired together on Hellboy: Makoma, reunite for this tale set in the mountains of West Virginia in 1956. The Hellboy and B.P.R.D. miniseries just get better and better. With this one I particularly look forward to seeing how Mignola integrates Appalachian folk beliefs into Hellboy’s past.
Chris: Not dead yet, but getting there. Give him time.
Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #1
Kevin: Herobear creator Mike Kunkel tackles the World’s Mightiest Mortal for DC’s all-ages line, pitting Captain Marvel — and an 11-year-old Billy Batson — against the likes of Mr. Mind and a young Theo Adam. This should be loads of fun, even if you’re not exactly the market for the Johnny DC books.
Kevin: I haven’t yet read the previous issue — the triumphant return on the series — because my monthly comics shipment doesn’t arrive until tomorrow. Still, I have so much faith in Marc Andreyko and Michael Gaydos that I’ll readily endorse this, the second part of the storyline that takes Kate Spencer to the U.S.-Mexico border so solve a missing-persons mystery.
Crayon Shinchan, Vol. 3
Chris: Ah, more hilarious vulgarity and 5-year-old shenanigans, courtesy of creator Yoshito Usui. Can’t wait.
Chris: Emma author Kaoru Mori moves forward in time from the Victorian era to the Edwardian for yet another shojo romance involving English servants. I know Emma had a pretty well-established fan base, so I imagine quite a few folks will be eager for this book.
Storming Paradise #1 (of 6)
Kevin: This Wildstorm miniseries, by Chuck Dixon and Butch Guice, offers revisionist take on World War II as mishap prevents the United States from developing the atomic bomb, thereby forcing an invasion of Japan.
Amazing Spider-Man #564
Kevin: I don’t follow this title, but I’m interested to see how writers Marc Guggenheim, Bob Gale and Dan Slott pull off this Rashomon-style tale, told from three perspectives.
The Boys #20
Chris: Ah, more hilarious vulgarity and 35-year-old shenanigans, courtesy of creators Garth Ennis and Darrick Robertson. Can’t wait.
Lucky Vol. 2 #2
Chris: This is the latest issue in Gabrielle Bell’s ongoing pamphlet series for Drawn and Quarterly. I’ve talked about Bell quite a bit before and I don’t know what to add other than to emphasize that she’s an important and entertaining cartoonist, and you do yourself a disservice if you ignore her work.
Cowa, Vol. 1
Chris: I’m not a huge Akira Toriyama fan. I haven’t, for example, read any of the Dragon Ball books. I do, however, adore his breakthrough series, Dr. Slump, and this latest book, about a cute little bunch of monsters, seems to be in the same vein, which is enough to raise my interest.
Fairy Tail, Vol. 3
Kevin: It’s little surpise that Hiro Mashima’s shonen fantasy-comedy-adventure has proved so successful for Del Rey Manga: It’s fast-paced and playful with an intriguing setting, likable cast, and plenty of twists and turns. Want a second opinion? Chris liked the first two volumes, too.
Gun Blaze West, Vol. 2
Kevin: I didn’t enjoy the first volume of Nobuhiro Watsuki’s Western adventure quite as much (though I really wanted to). I think maybe the “I’m going to be the best ___ ever!” elements, common in so many shonen adventures, just wore too thin too quickly. Still, I’ll give the second volume a try.
In Odd We Trust
Chris: OEL creator Queenie Chan and best-selling author Dean Koontz join forces. I did not like this book one bit.
Tezuka’s Dororo, Vol. 2
Chris: Another brilliant volume in the ongoing story of a swordsman out to reclaim the various body parts that demons stole from him. I think what I’m in awe of here isn’t so much the characters or storyline as much as it is Tezuka’s utterly brilliant pacing. The way he builds tension or gives you a sense of place before cutting to the action. It’s just utter genius.
Fruits Basket, Vol. 20
Naruto, Vol. 30
Chris: The two biggest heavy-hitters in the manga revolution take to the streets, and the bestseller lists.
Station #1 (of 5)
Kevin: Boom Studios, Johanna Stokes and Leno Carvalho roll out this thriller that’s probably being shopped around Hollywood as I type this: Astronauts from five countries are sent to an international space station, where one of them ends up dead. Is it an accident, sabotage or … murder? Hey, I’d watch it. And read it.
Absolutely Fabulous — Absolutely Everything DVD Box Set
Chris: You know, I can’t afford this at all, and I know there’s no way my comic store would stock such an item. Still, I kind of wish it would.
Kevin: I’d never have pegged Chris as an Ab Fab fan.
The full list of titles shipping this week can be found here.