How many of you went to the comics shop at lunchtime only to realize — too late! — that the new books don’t hit the shelves until Thursday?
Pesky Labor Day.
But when you return tomorrow you should find another issue of Buffy Season 8 — complete with centaur-Dawn! — a new Love & Rockets series, the first volume of Takehiko Inoue’s popular Slam Dunk, and a things-will-never-be-the-same 75th issue of Fables.
Oh, and strangely enough, a pair of miniseries about missing or sunken submarines — one each from Marvel and BOOM!
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: Love & Rockets: New Stories #1
So does the arrival of this bookstore-friendly volume of comics by Jamie, Gilbert and Mario (yes, Mario!) Hernandez signal the death knell of the indie comic-book pamphlet? Who knows, but it sure is an impressive collection, what with Mario and Gilbert’s oddball Mexican sitcom/satire, Jamie’s return to superhero fantasy and Gilbert’s … well, just Gilbert, man. Hey, it’s a book-sized Love and Rockets collection featuring entirely all-new material! Do I have to draw you a picture or sumthin’?
The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Vol. 7
With the end of the Brubaker/Fraction/Aja run on The Immortal Iron Fist, this offbeat horror manga is easily my favorite series. That’s not say it has much, if anything, in common with the Marvel superhero comic, other than an occasionally wry sensibility.
No, while Iron Fist is about a superhero with a mystic legacy, The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service is about recent graduates from a Buddhist university who help the spirits of the dead move onto the afterlife. And often that means the couriers have to transport the corpses to a requested resting place, or track down the people responsible for their grisly murders.
It’s nowhere near as somber or disturbing as it sounds. Well, not always. In previous volumes of the series, by writer Eiji Otsuka (MPD-Psycho) and artist Housui Yamazaki (Mail), the members of the delivery service have dealt with what may be the remains of an alien, cryogenically frozen heads, and a holdover from ancient Egypt.
This latest volume promises “zombie robot otaku and plastic surgery disasters,” which leads me to believe more light-hearted, if disturbing, moments still lie ahead.
Crayon Shinchan, Vol. 4
Chris: This kid cracks me up.
Kevin: Vertigo is being tight-lipped in the taunting solicitation for the milestone issue of what’s become the imprint’s flagship title: “Have you ever read those new-comics blurbs that promise things like, ‘After this issue nothing will ever be the same again,’ but you know in a few months none of those so-called big events will have mattered? Well, this isn’t one of those times. This time when we say Fables will never be the same again after this issue, that’s a promise you can take to the bank. So, without further ado: After this issue of Fables, nothing will ever be the same again. Oh, and someone dies.”
Fringe #1 (of 6)
Kevin: This is the comic-book prequel to J.J. Abrams’ heavily promoted and highly anticipated sci-fi TV drama. Comic prequels seem to be the hot new things for television shows and movies.
Hellblazer: The Laughing Magician
Kevin: I really enjoyed these issues, by Andy Diggle, Leonardo Manco and Danijel Zezelj. Heck, I’ve loved Diggle & Co.’s entire tenure on Vertigo’s longest-running series.
The Immortal Iron Fist, Vol. 2: The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven
Kevin: Speaking of Iron Fist, and Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and David Aja, this gathers the mostly wonderful ode to fight manga and martial-arts movies, “The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven.” I say mostly because I think the energy and pacing of the story arc suffered because of the detours (which, by themselves, were great). Ah, I miss them already.
Sub-Mariner: Depths #1 (of 4)
Kevin: What is it about water-dwelling superheroes that makes them so troublesome for creators and publishers? Here, Marvel takes another jab at Namor — is this the first solo outing we’ve seen since the failed “teen Namor” title from the Tsunami imprint? — with this four-issue miniseries from Peter Milligan and Esrad Ribic.
Chris: It’s a big week for Fantagraphics, but be sure not to ignore the latest issue of this ongoing Ignatz series by Igort, about a boy growing up in Japan and two cartoonists plying their trade in South America. It’s mighty good.
Beetle Bailey by Mort Walker, Vol. 1, hardcover
Chris: It is kind of amazing to me how stalwart strips like Beetle Bailey can be so beloved by newspaper readers that they holler and scream if it should be dropped, yet seem to show no interest in picking up a trade collection in their local book store. Beetle’s been around long enough, though, that Checker’s fancy new collection of the strip’s early years — which are very different in style and execution from the strip we know today — will interest your average strip scholar.
Berlin, Book 2: City of Smoke
Chris: The second portion of Jason Lutes’ epic story of life in pre-WWII Berlin gets compiled into a 200 page graphic novel.
The Boys #22
Chris: The conclusion of the “I Tell You No Lie GI” storyline. It’ll be hard to top the stunning audacity of that last issue, though, won’t it?
Challenger Deep #1 (of 4)
Kevin: How often do you get two sunken-submarine mysteries/thrillers in the same week — and both set in the Marianas Trench? Not often, I’d guess. But tomorrow we get the aforementioned Sub-Mariner: Depths, and this BOOM! miniseries, which centers on an experimental nuclear sub marooned on a deposit of methane ice.
The Complete Crumb Comics, Vol. 11, trade paperback (new printing)
Waiting for Food: Crumb Placemat Drawings, Vol. 2, hardcover (new printing)
Waiting for Food: Crumb Placement Drawings, Vol. 4, hardcover
Chris: Several years ago Fantagraphics promised to reformat the Crumb Library to fit specific eras and books (ie, “Hup”). Wonder whatever happened to that plan? Oh, well, here’s a reprinting of Vol. 11, which has some classic work, including Mr. Natural being shuffled off into a mental hospital and “Josephine and the Cross-Eyed Quadroon.” If you’ve already got a copy, Oog and Bilk has a new collection of Crumb drawings done on restaurant placemats. Vol. 2 is back out again as well if you’re interested.
Chris: Perhaps the oddest release this week, Pictorama is a blend of comics, illustration and prose stories by the Deitch family, including Gene, Kim, Simon and Seth. One of which seems to be a retelling of the golem story. Color me intrigued.
Dilbert: Pretend to Add Value
Chris: Be sure to buy two copies! One for your bookshelf and one to clip out and thumbtack to the wall of your cubicle.
Fokke & Sukke
Chris: I take it back, this is the oddest release of the week. A collection of highly potentially offensive gag strips by Dutch artist Jean-Marc van Tol, translated into English just for you dear reader. Eurocomics expert Bart Beaty raved about the comic here. Official website is here.
Impossible Territories: An Unofficial Companion to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Chris: Completely confounded by The Black Dossier? This little book, which collects Jess Nevins‘ lengthy footnotes to the graphic novel, should help immensely.
Krazy & Ignatz, 1925-1926: There Is A Happy Lend Fur-Fur Away (new printiing)
Chris: Not the new and final volume — that really should be coming out any day now — but a reprinting of the first volume of Fantagraphics’ series devoted to perhaps the greatest comic strip ever. It shouldn’t be confused with the Eclipse series, which Fanta will eventually go back and print new versions. Got all that?
Life Sucks Collector’s Edition hardcover
Chris: A fancy version of Jessica Abel, Gabe Soria and Warren Pleece’s book about slacker vampires. From First Second.
Pinky & Stinky (new printing)
Chris: James Kochalka’s kid-friendly story about pigs in outer space gets a new printing from Top Shelf.
The Portable Frank
Chris: A pocket-sized book collecting some of Jim Woodring’s best Frank stories. For neophytes only. If you’re inclined, you can read what else I had to say about it here.
Mushishi, Vol. 5
Kevin: I’ve said it many times before, but it bears repeating: Yuki Urushibara’s supernatural fantasy, about a mysterious man who travels from place to place looking for the equally mysterious Mushi creatures, is really good.
Slam Dunk, Vol. 1
Chris: Do you know how many copies of Slam Dunk have sold in Japan? 100 million, that’s how many! When was the last time a comic sold even a million copies? I doubt Takehiko Inoue’s seminal basketball manga will attain the same sort of sales records here in the West — in fact, I’ll be impressed if it simply attains Naruto-like levels of popularity. All the same, it’s fun to play “what if.”
Chris: Having made a strong initial impression with her minicomic A Late Freeze, Danica Novgorodoff officially makes her graphic-novel debut with this book from First Second. It’s about a female firefighter who shelters an illegal immigrant falsely accused of arson.
Chris: The trade paperback version of Dan Goldman and Anthony Lappe’s satire about a journalist covering the Iraq War in the near future. I didn’t care for it too much, to be honest.
Tezuka’s Dororo, Vol. 3
Chris: Ooooo, you’ll want this. The third and final volume in Tezuka’s “samurai must win back his body parts” saga ends abruptly — apparently the master got distracted by other works — but it’s still a journey worth taking, warts and all.
Chris: Fiona Mallratte holds court on the drag lifestyle, with noted indie Steve Lafler providing art chores. Don’t know much more about it than that.
The Comics Journal #292
Chris: A lengthy interview with the Deitch family — see Pictorama, above — is the highlight of this latest issue of the magazine that Groth built.
The full list of titles shipping this week can be found here.