As we skid into October, I find myself having a bit of an off week, at least comics-wise. I just don’t see much that catches my eye.
Chris Mautner, on the other hand, has spied a veritable treasure trove, from a Baby Huey collection to Batman #680 a Complete Peanuts box set.
So, maybe it’s just me.
Wednesday also sees the Dark Tower: The Long Road Home hardcover, the debut of Steve Niles’ future-noir City of Dust, and a one-shot dedicated Bruce Campbell’s My Name Is Bruce movie.
To see what other titles Chris 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: Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Vol. 3
How did I ever manage to make it through my childhood — nay, my early adulthood — without being aware of Moomin? Suffice it to say I’ve completely fallen head over heels for Tove Jansson’s utterly charming, gentle, but occasionally bittersweet comic strip and want to offer hosannas to whoever it was at D&Q who first came up with the notion of reprinting it. I just keep being charmed by it with each reread and would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for a comic they can share with their kids.
Kevin’s pick of the week: Four Eyes #1 (of 7)
I’m a sucker for alternate-history fantasies, such as Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco’s Arrowsmith, and the movie Cast A Deadly Spell. So I perked up at the announcement of Joe Kelly’s latest miniseries, Four Eyes, which appears to insert dragons into Depression-era Brooklyn.
Because if there’s one thing that will make a financial crisis seem less grim, it’s the presence of enormous, fire-breathing creatures. In Kelly’s 1930s New York, “they’re the pitbulls of the world,” used in underground fights to entertain the down-and-out populace.
Of course, there’s more to the seven-issue series than that: It’s a revenge tale about a 10-year-old boy who trains a disfigured dragon — the “four eyes” of the book’s title — to become the fighting champion and avenge his father’s death.
Sure, it has potential to go completely off the rails, but I’m willing to give it a whirl for its sheer novelty. Plus, Max Fiumara’s art looks really nice, reminiscent of Adam Pollina’s more recent work.
Gantz, Vol. 2
Chris: Oku Hiroya’s sci-fi manga for grown-ups continues. And by “grown-ups,” we all know that means “lots of boobies and visceral, gory violence,” right?
Harvey Comics Classics, Vol. 4: Baby Huey
Chris: Dark Horse gets around to that overweight “baby” duck that wrecks havoc wherever it, um, lays. I don’t remember having any particular fondness for this character the same way I did for Casper or Richie Rich, so I’m a bit skeptical as to whether the overall quality will be as consistent. Still, Dark Horse has done a good job with these collections and my daughter really likes these books, so I’ll probably be picking it up. And, hey, it’s $20 for 480 pages of comics! How often can you get a deal like that?
My Name is Bruce
Kevin: This one-shot, a companion to the upcoming film of the same name, likely will only appeal to fans of Bruce Campbell. But, then again, who isn’t a fan of Bruce Campbell?
Chris: Novelist Jonathan Ames takes a stab at writing for the graphic-novel market with Dean Haspiel handling the ink-slinging. It’s a nakedly autobiographical tale of Ames’ struggles to overcome his addiction to alcohol and drugs, with lots of cringe-worthy anecdotes sandwiched between tales about Monica Lewinsky and 9/11. It’s a very good, though not necessarily great, graphic novel, with some sharp observations and solid handling by Haspiel and one of the best stand-alone books Vertigo has published in a long while.
Chris: The comic that everyone will likely be blogging about come Thursday morning. Unless Marvin and Wendy get eaten by dogs or something again.
The Batman Strikes! #50
Kevin: Some six months after the end of The Batman, the animated series on which this is based, DC brings this all-ages title to a close. It goes out with a bang, though: a Halloween issue guest-starring The Demon.
The Spirit, Vol. 2, hardcover
Chris: This wraps up the second half of Darwyn Cooke’s run on Will Eisner’s masked crimefighter. That’s issues 7-13 for those of you keeping score at home.
Terror Titans #1 (of 6)
Kevin: Somebody at DC seems determined to transform into a multi-title franchise, whether or not demand and overall quality support that. We’ve seen solo miniseries, a spin-off starring the lineup from the Wolfman-Perez era, a “Year One” mini that, while lighthearted and fun, had little in common with the ongoing title (primarily because it was lighthearted and fun). Now we get the six-issue Terror Titans, which showcases the young legacy villains from the recent Teen Titans storyline.
Vixen: Return of the Lion #1 (of 5)
Kevin: Thirty years after her first comic was canceled before it even debuted — it was a casualty of the legendary DC Implosion — Vixen finally gets a solo title, even if it’s just a five-issue miniseries. Cairo and Air writer G. Willow Wilson and Black Panther artist Cafu send Mari Jiwe McCabe back to her homeland to seek revenge against her mother’s killer.
The Acme Novelty Datebook, Vol. 2
Chris: Diamond has apparently seen fit to dump every single new book from Drawn and Quarterly this week, including offering the second volume of Chris Ware’s stellar sketchbook series again. Seriously, if you haven’t picked this up I highly recommend it.
Chris: How much Ron Rege Jr. can you handle? Myself, I can handle quite a bit. But those on the borderline may feel otherwise since this book collects just about every short story, book cover and illustration he’s done in the past 10 years or so, including some ads for Tylenol. What makes this collection especially worthwhile, however, is the inclusion of Boys, Rege’s intimate, revealing and sex-soaked collaboration with Joan Reidy. That was a really great comic.
Aya of Yop City
Chris: I really, really enjoyed Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie’s first Aya book. It was a warm, sentimental, but never overly nostalgic or less than honest look at a culture that I heretofore had been completely unaware of (in this case, the Ivory Coast in the 1970s). This new collection picks up more or less right where the first one left off, with Aya and her friends dealing with young love, troublesome parents and, in one case, a question of paternity. I can’t wait to find out what they’re up to next.
The Boys #23
Chris: Ennis and Robertson start a new storyline involving the Boys facing down yet another corrupt group of superheroes. Nice Animal House homage on the cover, though.
City of Dust #1 (of 5)
Kevin: Steve Niles’ new miniseries is a horror-noir set in a future where police patrol for crimes of the imagination and are ill-equipped to deal with a threat born of old-world superstition.
The Complete Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy, Vol. 5
Chris: Tracy tackles such oddball crooks as “Chief Shellberry,” Karpse,” “Scardol,” and “Whip Chute.” Still not near the classic era yet, but we’re getting closer, we’re getting closer.
The Complete Peanuts: 1967-1970 hardcover box set
Chris: I have to say, those Peanuts box sets are rather nifty and fit on the shelf a little neater than the individual volumes.
Lucky Luke, Vol. 12: The Rivals of Painful Gulch
Chris: It’s a shame that Lucky Luke is so consistently overshadowed by Asterix (both being written by Goscinny, dur), because it really is a fun series. Is it just that it’s a Western thing? Does Morris’ art turn people off? A distinct lack of magic potion? Someone explain why more American comic fans haven’t noticed these books yet.
Meat Cake #17
Chris: Tom Spurgeon pointed out the other week that this is pretty much one of the last of the indie/art pamphlet series of the 1990s to still be going strong. No offense meant to creator Dame Darcy in any way, but it certainly wouldn’t have been my pick, had you asked me.
My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down
Chris: So, feel like owning yet another version of David Heatley’s impressionistic comic about his dad? ‘Cause by my count this makes the, what, fifth time I’ve seen this material? Also contained in this new Pantheon Books round-up of Heatley’s autobiographical work is his classic “Sex History” as well as a new story about black people he’s known (no, I’m not kidding). Heatley’s one of those love/hate cartoonists. You either find his work unflinchingly honest and revealing or write it off as trite and self-absorbed.
Oh, don’t let the title fool you. The Ramones don’t show up anywhere in this book.
The full list of titles shipping this week can be found here.