If you prefer your comics in hardcover form, this is the week for you.
DC Comics collects Batman #667-669 and 672-675 in The Black Glove, as well as the first three arcs of Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s celebrated Gotham Central.
Marvel, meanwhile, celebrates the 10th anniversary of Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada’s Daredevil: Guardian Devil storyline with a premiere hardcover, releases a collected edition of the recent Omega: The Unknown miniseries by Jonathan Lethem, Farel Dalrymple & Co.
Plus there’s another volume of Krazy & Ignatz from Fantagraphics, American Widow from First Second, Good Neighbors, Vol. 1, from Graphix, and Naruto: Collector’s Edition from Viz Media.
And those are just some of the hardcovers.
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: Krazy & Ignatz, 1943-1944: He Nods Quiescent Siesta
This isn’t the last Krazy Kat book that Fantagraphics will publish — they plan to go back and reprint the early strips Eclipse put out back in the 1990s — but it nevertheless has an air of finality about it, since it collects the strip’s final two years. The strip lost little of its vitality in its sunset years — if anything it was more eloquent and poetic than before — and this book offers a real, honest testament to George Herriman’s abilities. Also included along with the strips are samples of original, hand-colored art, an essay by series editor Bill Blackbeard and a number of daily Krazy strips, also taken from Herriman’s final years. For me, it’s must-own.
Kevin’s pick of the week: Gotham Central, Vol. 1: In the Line of Duty hardcover
More than two years after its cancellation, DC Comics finally gives the stellar police-procedural the treatment it deserves.
This 240-page hardcover collects the first 10 issues of the award-winning series by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, which followed the detectives of the Special Crimes Unit as they grappled with Gotham’s costumed villains — and the long shadow of Batman.
Despite the compelling characters — Renee Montoya, Crispus Allen and Maggie Sawyer, among them — riveting storylines and gritty, realistic art, Gotham Central never sold well in the direct market. And while the series ended with a bit whimper that tied into Infinite Crisis and sent Renee and Crispus on their way to assume (sigh) costumed identities, it stands among the best monthly comics in recent years.
Although this hardcover is named for the series’ opening arc, it includes “Motive” and perhaps the best-known Gotham Central story, “Half a Life.”
Star Wars: The Clone Wars #1
Kevin: Designed to complement the CGI-animated movie and upcoming television show, this new comic features back-up stories by artists from the TV series.
Batman: The Black Glove hardcover
Chris: Collecting issues 667-669 and 672-675 of Batman, including the great murder-mystery trilogy featuring J.H. Williams’ art work that, for my money, has been the best part of Grant Morrison’s run.
Watchmen: International Edition
Kevin: This new edition, with a new cover by Dave Gibbons and recolored pages, will come as welcome news to retailers and readers scrambling for copies of the trade paperback in the wake of the movie trailer-fueled Watchmen frenzy.
Big Hero 6 #1 (of 5)
Kevin: I feel as if I should be slightly embarrassed to admit that I own, and like, the original Sunfire and Big Hero 6 miniseries from 1998. Not only that, but as I wasn’t reading comics in 1998, I tracked down and ordered the issues a few years ago! With that out of the way, I’m not free to confess I’m kind of looking forward to this second go-around, even if my tolerance for Chris Claremont’s writing isn’t what it once was.
Criminal 2 #5
Chris: In which our new hero Jacob no doubt sinks even further into a morass of double-crosses, mean people, lawbreaking and just plain bad luck.
Daredevil: Guardian Devil 10th Anniversary Edition Premiere Hardcover
Kevin: There’s undoubtedly a joke to be made about the tardiness of Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada, but I’ll leave that to you. Instead, I’ll point out that this collects the first eight issues of their Marvel Knights series.
The Eternals by Jack Kirby, Book 2
Chris: Any week which includes the release of a trade collection of some classic late-period Kirby is a good week for comics.
Omega: The Unknown premiere hardcover
Chris: I loved the hell out of this series. I can honestly say, with four months to go, it was one of my favorite books of the year and definitely my favorite superhero book of the year. It’s such a smart, trippy comic that takes some really unconventional chances and pays off in spades. I know quite a few folks who were waiting for the trade on this one, so here’s hoping it gets a wider audience this time around.
Secret Invasion #6 ( of 8 )
Chris: Now with 50 percent more hitting! But also 25 percent less reader comprehension.
Kevin: If there’s one thing the world doesn’t need, it’s another Wolverine title. However, this may be an exception: It’s a one-shot by Spirou and Fantasio writer Jean-David Morvan and his Wake collaborator Philippe Buchet set in 1980s Brazil.
X-Men: Magneto: Testament #1 (of 5)
Kevin: Eventually, all of the X-characters will have their origins retold. Unlike Angel, Beast and a few others whose back stories recently have been given a fresh coat of paint, Magneto is one of those characters — Nick Fury and Captain America or two others — whose origin is fixed to a specific point in history. So I find it interesting to see how creators and editors grapple with the passage of time.
American Widow hardcover
Chris: Alison Torres chronicles the emotional turmoil she went through after her husband died in the 9/11 attacks in this memoir, dealing with paperwork, unhelpful volunteers, grief and the birth of their son. Art is by relative newcomer Sungyoon Choi.
The Complete Crumb Comics, Vol. 14 (new printing)
Chris: As with last week’s of Vol. 11, this is not a new volume but a reprinting. It’s a pretty good collection of Crumb’s early ’80s work, though, featuring classic material like “Uncle Bob’s Mid-Life Crisis” and “I Remember the Sixties,” as well as some collaborations with Harvey Pekar.
Freak Brothers Omnibus
Chris: And, hey, speaking of underground comics pioneers, Knockabout Press has this mammoth, 624-page collection of every (allegedly) Freak Brothers story ever set down on paper. While largely labeled as “the Three Stooges for the hippie set,” that sort of creator Gilbert Shelton’s deft and frequently hilarious satirical skill. I’ve always been impressed with how well the various Brothers stories I’ve read over the years have held up. I look forward to delving into the rest of this material.
Fuzz & Pluck in Splitsville #5 (of 5)
Chris: Man, I could have sworn this came out several months ago. In fact, I’m pretty sure I picked this up at MoCCA back in June. Oh, well, it’s the final issue in Ted Stearn’s latest absurd and hilarious adventure involving a plucked, surly chicken and a timid teddy bear. Stearn really doesn’t get enough credit in the alt-comics world, and I hope the eventual collection of this series changes that, and soon.
Good Neighbors, Vol. 1: Kin
Chris: Spiderwick Chronicles author Holly Black and SLG stalwart Ted Naifeh team up for the first part of what I imagine will be an epic fantasy saga. Our own Michael May reviewed it here.
Kevin: Tokyopop releases Kendi Oiwa’s adaptation of Otsuichi’s thriller about two death-obsessed high school students who become caught up in a series of grisly murders.
Chris: The penultimate issue of Gabriella Giandelli Ignatz series sees more strange happenings going on in the apartment complex. A slide show may be viewed here.
Naruto: Collector’s Edition, Vol. 1, hardcover
Kevin: Viz Media continues its celebration fo the 40th anniversary of Weekly Shonen Jump, and the fifth anniversary of Shonen Jump, with this oversized hardcover edition of Masashi Kishimoto’s hit series.
Prince of Persia
Chris: First Second is betting a lot on this graphic-novel adaptation of the popular video-game series. Though written by the game’s creator Jordan Mechner, along with a cast of thousands (oh, all right, three), the book is more of a thematic tie-in than a direct sequel or prequel to the games themselves. Still, if it’s as half as enjoyable as Sands of Time, it’ll still be worth buying.
Sixteen Miles to Merricks & Other Works
Chris: I quite enjoyed this debut graphic novel by Barnaby Ward. Perhaps you will as well.
Town of Mirrors: The Reassembled Imagery of Robert Pollard hardcover
Chris: It’s another big week for Fantagraphics releases. In addition to all the comics, there’s this art-book release featuring over 175 collages by the former Guided by Voices frontman.
The full list of titles shipping this week can be found here.