I’ve written enough about Halloween-appropriate books over the past couple of weeks, so I won’t highlight titles like Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein, or Screamland, or Cthulhu Tales #7, or Hellboy: The Chapel of Moloch.
Instead, I’ll focus on a Batman manga twofer: the collection of Yoshinori Natsume’s Batman: Death Mask, and the much-anticipated Bat-Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan.
If Batman, or manga, isn’t your cup of tea, there’s Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns, which further lays the groundwork for DC’s next big events. For those in a more political mood, there’s American Presidents and more biographies of John McCain and Barack Obama.
Or, while we’re on the subject of biographies, there’s always Bill Schelly’s Man of Rock: A Biography of Joe Kubert.
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: Acme Novelty Library #19 hardcover
Have people grown blase over Ware’s work? Is he in the midst of a backlash? The last volume was by far the finest thing he’s done, and it seemed to go largely ignored. Part of that may be due to the fact that it came out toward the close of the year, when most people had already put together their best-of-the-year lists. So let’s hope this latest volume, which continues the “Rusty Brown” storyline, gets some more media attention.
Kevin’s pick of the week: Bat-Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan
It’s not hyperbole to call this one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of the year. Edited by Chip Kidd, Geoff Spear, and Saul Ferris, and translated by Anne Ishii, this 384-page book collects Jiro Kuwata’s 1966-67 stories from Shonen King magazine, which were spurred by the popularity of the Batman TV show. The strips have never been collected in Japan, and never (officially) translated into English. Until now, that is.
See the Dynamic Duo, as envisioned by 8 Man illustrator Kuwata, battle aliens! And mutated dinosaurs! And villains who won’t stay dead! Grant Morrison, eat your heart out.
Bat-Manga! includes photos of vintage Japanese Batman toys, and an interview with Kuwata.
Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein hardcover
Chris: Originally released in 1983, this is a lavish hardcover edition of Wrightson’s illustrated version of the classic Mary Shelley tale. Wrightson did some pretty impressive work here, so if you haven’t seen this book yet it’s worth a perusal at the very least.
Empowered, Vol. 4
Kevin: Adam Warren’s over-the-top superhero series gets a fourth collection, which includes the story that previously appeared on MySpace Dark Horse Presents.
Hellboy: In the Chapel of Moloch one-shot
Kevin: Here’s a rare treat, just in time for Halloween: a Hellboy one-shot written and drawn by Mike Mignola! Hellboy investigates an ancient chapel in Eastern Europe, where an artist is compelled by something sinister to sequester himself to finish his life’s work. I’m not reading anything into that, though. You can see a preview here.
Speak of the Devil hardcover
Chris: I don’t think this caught a lot of people’s attention when Dark Horse serialized it earlier this year; hopefully this new collected edition will prove to be a different story. Gilbert Hernandez goes all Devil’s Rejects in this B-movie-style story about a teen gymnast who gets her kicks wearing a mask and peeping into other people’s homes. But then a friend discovers her secret and things start to go horribly, horribly wrong …
Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns #1
Kevin: I haven’t been following Green Lantern or Final Crisis, and I’m not sure which color-coded Lantern corps is which. I presume, though, that the Red Lanterns are angry. I do know, however, that this oversized one-shot kicks off the “War of Light” storyline that leads into next year’s much-ballyhooed Blackest Night event. So, if you’re a fan of Geoff Johns’ DC superhero work, this’ll undoubtedly be essential reading this week.
Kevin: DC Comics has been giving this original graphic novel, by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, a big push — and with good reason: Its version of The Joker is reminiscent of the one movie-goers saw in The Dark Knight, making it a good “transitional” comic for any new fans. It’s dark and violent, with new takes on villains like Killer Croc, The Riddler and Harley Quinn that will either entertain Batman devotees or drive them over the edge.
Kill Your Boyfriend (new printing)
Chris: My least-favorite Grant Morrison comic — like, ever (though keep in mind I haven’t read Skrull Kill Krew) — rears its ugly head via a new printing.
Mirror’s Edge #1 (of 6)
Chris: With this, World of Warcraft and Gears of War, Wildstorm is quickly becoming your one-stop gaming tie-in shop. This is a comic book adaptation of an upcoming video game about, as far as I can tell, running across rooftops and not getting shot. Which is a big change from most video games, which are usually about running and shooting.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier
Chris: Alan Moore’s “everything but the kitchen sink” fan fiction ode hits the trade paperback format. Still no plastic record of Moore singing, though.
Kevin: Writer Brian Wood is joined by Local collaborator Ryan Kelly for the second major storyline of the Vertigo Viking saga.
Kevin: The “New Krypton” storyline, which started last week in Superman: New Krypton Special #1, continues here. It’s a 10-part crossover, so steady yourselves.
Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes #1 (of 2)
Kevin: This Astonishing X-Men tie-in, by Warren Ellis, Alan Davis and Adi Granov, fleshes out the back story of the mysterious villain Subject X.
Incredible Hercules #122
Incredible Hercules: Secret Invasion premiere hardcover
Kevin: One of Marvel’s most enjoyable titles gets a new issue and a premiere hardcover, all in one week. The former features the Lion of Olympus slugging it out (again) with the Prince of Atlantis. The latter collects issues 116-120, and includes the debut of the God Squad.
Marvel 1985 #6 (of 6)
Kevin: Is it just me, or did this Mark Millar-Tommy Lee Edwards miniseries get completely overshadowed by Secret Invasion and about half of Marvel’s regular lineup? For all the build-up, it didn’t seem to bowl anyone over.
Ultimate Captain America Annual #1
Kevin: I’ve almost convinced myself this is a marketing ploy designed to make us appreciate the title by Ed Brubaker & Co. that much more. It has art by John Romita Jr., though, so there’s it has that going for it.
Chris: Caricature and political cartooning may be on the decline in this country, but at least we can all revel in the great work that’s come before, like that of New York Review of Books artist David Levine. As the title suggests, this volume from Fantagraphics culls together five-plus decades of not very friendly portraits of those who have sat in the big chair in the Oval Office, from John Quincy Adams to Dubya.
BloodRayne: Tokyo Rogue #3 (of 3)
Kevin: Shameless self-promotion alert: I edit this title. If you’re a fan of the video games, you’ll probably like this miniseries, which features the character Severin. If you’re not a fan of the video games … you should buy the comic anyway. (I kid, I kid.)
The Boys #24
Chris: Not much to say this time around except to acknowledge the existence of the latest issue, which I now have.
The Complete Omaha the Cat Dancer, Vol. 5 (offered again)
The Complete Omaha the Cat Dancer, Vol. 6 (offered again)
The Complete Omaha the Cat Dancer, Vol. 7 (offered again)
Chris: If you’ve been following the NBM reprints of this Reed Waller/Kate Worley NC-17 funny-animal soap opera but have fallen behind, well, here’s your chance to catch up. No need to thank me.
I Luv Halloween, Vol. 1 (offered again)
Kevin: Tokyopop is really banging the drum for this seasonally themed series by Benjamin Roman and Keith Giffen. Earlier this month the publisher unveiled a full-color Ultimate Twisted Edition, collecting all three volumes plus bonus material. Now it re-releases the first of the individual volumes. It’s that time of the year, I suppose.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Chris: If I ruled the world, or at least owned a comic shop, I would make every person who came up to the cash register to buy this do the dance.
Man of Rock: A Biography of Joe Kubert
Chris: Bill Schelly provides an in-depth look at the seminal Silver Age DC artist in this new biography. Courtesy of Fantagraphics, who has a slide show preview here.
Chris: I know next to nothing about this new graphic novel, except that it’s by Matthew Forsythe, published by Drawn and Quarterly and seems to involve little girls and octopi. I like the art style though.
Or Else #5
Curses hardcover (offered again)
Chris: Ah, the latest issue of Kevin Huizenga’s semi-regular, pocket-sized series is always cause for celebration. Sean Collins has a review of it here. If that’s not enough Huizenga for you (and since when is there such a thing as too much Huizenga?), Drawn and Quarterly is also offering his seminal hardcover collection of short stories, Curses, once more.
Sardine in Outer Space, Vol. 5 (offered again)
Chris: First Second brings out a second round of the latest adventures of the young space pirate.
Chris: Jason’s collection of humorous, wordless strips involving mummies, vampires, zombies, cavemen and Darth Vader gets a new printing.
Will Eisner’s The Spirit: A Pop-Up Graphic Novel hardcover
Chris: Well now, here’s an interesting movie tie-in, one that takes Eisner’s classic “Sand Sarif” tale and adds lots of paper levels to pull and things that pop out when you turn the page. I don’t know that the story really needed an extra dimension, but I’m certainly curious enough to want to flip through a copy.
As I See: The Fantastic World of Boris Artzybasheff
Chris: Oh, the things you find in the merchandise section! Like this (I think) reprinting of a collection of work by one of the most unique and surreal commercial artists of the 20th century. A book well worth tracking down and purchasing, I should think, which makes me wonder what it’s doing on Diamond’s list next to the Batman Shield Metal Keychain.
The full list of titles shipping this week can be found here.