It’s a good week for fans of classic comics as publishers roll out collections ranging from Nemesis Archives, Vol. 1, and Showcase Presents: Metal Men, Vol. 2, to Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: The Barks/Rosa Collection, Vol. 3, and The Complete Terry and the Pirates, Vol. 4.
Looking for something a little more recent? Then try the Absolute edition of Frank Miller’s Ronin, the premiere hardcover of Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones’ Marvel Boy miniseries, or the special edition of Dan Clowes’ Ghost World.
But if single issues are more your thing, there’s a new Solomon Kane series, the end of The Ultimates 3, the introduction of Lady Bullseye in Daredevil, and the finale of the Atlas story arc in Superman.
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: Tamara Drewe
British cartoonist Posey Simmonds has been satirizing upper middle-class English life for decades now, though she didn’t attain any real notice in the U.S. until the release of Gemma Bovary a few years ago. Now, Simmonds has dived into her milieu once again, this time with a story about an enclave of writers in the countryside, and the attractive young woman who turns everyone’s head. A loose adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd — just as Gemma was an “adaptation” of Emma Bovary — Drewe is a smart, funny examination of social mores and romance that American readers will recognize, despite the cultural differences. Readers nervous about approaching a book with such overt literary influences and hoity-toity atmosphere can relax: Tamara Drewe is an immensely readable, highly entertaining, great work of comics.
Kevin’s pick of the week: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Vol. 1
Here’s something that likely will draw squeals of delight from fans of the video game — hi, Chris — and leave others scratching their heads. It’s Capcom’s comic-book adaptation of the incredibly popular Phoenix Wright series about a bright but inexperienced defense attorney. Players collect evidence, examine witnesses, and work toward a not-guilty verdict. So, it’s like Law & Order, but with better hair.
This 304-page graphic novel, from Del Rey Manga, features characters from the game series: Phoenix’s mentor Mia Fey, his assistant Maya Fey, homicide detective Dick Gumshoe, prosecutor Miles Edgeworth;,and others.
Abe Sapien, Vol. 1: The Drowning
Kevin: This collects Abe Sapien’s first solo miniseries, by Mike Mignola and Jason Shawn Alexander.
Solomon Kane #1 (of 5)
Kevin: Dark Horse kicks off a new series starring Robert E. Howard’s rapier-wielding 17th-century Puritan. This time, writer Scott Allie and artist Mario Guevara adapt Howard’s 1968 short story “The Castle of the Devil,” which finds Kane facing an evil baron and an intelligent wolf in the Black Forest of Germany.
100 Bullets, Vol. 12: Dirty
Kevin: This incredible series, by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso, is best read in trade format. The release of a new collection invariably fills me with a mix of excitement and dread: excitement because, hey, it’s another volume of 100 Bullets, and dread because it puts us that much closer to the end of the series.
Kevin: He’s the goddamned ronin. Wait, wrong Frank Miller comic. This miniseries predates Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Sin City — and, well, pretty much everything else for which Miller is now known. In case you’re not well-versed in Early Miller, Ronin is about a disgraced 13th-century samurai who’s given a second chance to avenge his master’s death and regain his honor. When he’s reborn in 21st-century New York City. The $100 Absolute edition includes promotional art, fold-out pages and other features.
Ambush Bug: Year None #3 (of 6)
Chris: Probably the only pamphlet book I’ll be picking up this week. Gotta save that gas money, yo.
Captain America #42
Kevin: And so ends that “Death of Captain America” saga that began more than 1 1/2 years ago.
Kevin: Ed Brubaker & Co. introduce Lady Bullseye in what Marvel describes as “the perfecting jumping-on point.” The character design looks great, but every time I see the words “Lady Bullseye,” I hear them in the voice of Emily Howard from Little Britain. “I’m a lady!”
Marvel Boy Premiere Hardcover
Kevin: The 2000-2001 Marvel Knights miniseries by Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones gets its first hardcover collection.
Samurai: Legend #1 (of 4)
Kevin: Released as part of Marvel’s deal with French publisher Soleil, Samurai: Legend is the English-language version of the best-selling comic by Jean-Francois Di Giorgio and Frédéric Genêt about a young warrior and an influential general who are linked by a secret.
The Ultimates 3 #5 (of 5)
Kevin: I’m not sure many readers will take the solicitation text quite the way that Marvel means it: “This is it, the ending you’ve been breathlessly waiting for!”
Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: The Barks/Rosa Collection, Vol. 3
Chris: I wasn’t aware that Gemstone was doing this, but it seems like a neat idea on the surface: Take a classic Barks story, in this case “The Golden Helmet”, and pair it with a Don Rosa “sequel.” Nifty.
Best American Comics 2008 hardcover
Chris: Matt Madden and Jessica Abel take on the overseer chores for this yearly look at quality comics, courtesy of Houghton Mifflin. Lynda Barry is the official editor this time around. Your guess is as good as mine as to what’s inside, though I’m sure there won’t be any Paul Pope Batman comics.
Black Summer trade paperback
Chris: Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp’s meditation on the excesses of vigilantism and corruption of power is collected into trade paperback format. Lots of stuff gets blowed up real good.
The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 10: 1969-1970 hardcover
Chris: A lot of folks argue that the ’60s was the pinnacle for Peanuts, but, for me, the early ’70s was Charles Schulz’s best work. It’s not just the arrival of characters like Woodstock; the strip gained a looseness, and a jovial absurdity about itself that really appeals to me. Some of my favorite story lines are in this new volume, including a riot that commences at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm, a banquet dinner for Joe Shablotnik, and Snoopy ascending to the job of Head Beagle. Great stuff all around. Mo Willems handles the introduction chores.
The Complete Terry and the Pirates, Vol. 4: 1941-1942 hardcover
Chris: Heavens, are we up to Vol. 4 already? Well, there goes my gas money. Oh, for those who are interested, I believe this volume has the famous “Death of Burma” sequence.
Fairy Tail, Vol. 4
Kevin: Chris and I both have raved about Hiro Mashima’s fun and quirky series about members of magical guilds who go on missions in hopes of fame and fortune. So, I’ll just tell you to buy it.
Flash Gordon #1
Kevin: Attempts to “modernize” Alex Raymond’s classic space-adventure comic haven’t been all that successful. (See the 1980 movie, or the 2007-2008 TV series.) So, what chance does this comic-book adaptation, from Ardden Entertainment, have? I don’t know, but the “modernized twist” includes Dale Arden as a CIA agent and Hans Zarkov as an allegedly insane scientist accused of creating a weapon of mass destruction.
Garry Trudeau: Doonesbury and the Aesthetics of Satire
Working With Walt
Stepping Into the Picture
Chris: The esteemed University Press of Mississippi has a number of scholarly books on comics and animation out this week, on such varied topics as Trudeau’s influence on the modern comic strip, interviews with Disney artists about what it was like working for Uncle Walt, and an examination of the work of Maurice Noble.
Ghost World: Special Edition hardcover
Chris: This latest repackaging of the Amazing Adventures of Enid and Rebecca contains not just the original comic book story and subsequent film screenplay, but also new strips by Dan Clowes, concept drawings, movie posters, merchandise, artwork created for the film and lots more, with annotations by Clowes hisself, no less.
Punk Rock and Trailer Parks
Chris: I really only know of Derf’s work through the “My Friend Dahmer” short story that I read in some issue of Zero Zero way back in the heady days of the late 1990s. He’s got a unique, idosyncratic style, though, and what little I’ve read suggests a talent for storytelling. So I think I’m reasonably safe in assuming that this SLG collection of what I think are autobiographical tales will be rather entertaining.
Chris: Rising star John Pham makes his big graphic-novel debut with this book (part of which was serialized in Mome) about a loosely connected group of LA residents, including two white supremacist brothers, a recluse and a guy who likes to put a sheet over his head. Sounds Altman-esque.
Tezuka’s Black Jack Px, Vol. 1 hardcover
Chris: Why should you buy the special hardcover edition of Vertical’s new serialization of Osama Tezuka’s seminal medical melodrama rather than the paperback that’s out in book stores now? Well, there’s the fact that this version contains several additional stories that aren’t in the paperback — stories that, for whatever reason, Tezuka left out of his “official” collection. Whichever version you get though, this is all great material — classic crazy Tezuka with a bloody medical heartbeat tuning out the sound of man’s inhumanity to man. For kids! Jog has a really great review here.
With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child, Vol. 3
Chris: Keiko Tobe’s slice-of-life stories about a couple dealing with the day to day difficulties of having an autistic child edges close to syrupy sentimentalism at times, but it’s honest and smart and wins most of its tugged heartstrings by creating compelling characters and presenting information about the disability in a straightforward but decidedly non-didactic fashion. I don’t know what else to say except it’s really very charming and deserves wider attention.
The full list of titles shipping this week can be found here.