Ah, Election Day, when a citizenry whose collective brain has been scrambled by 24-hour news channels and poll-tracking websites finally stumbles, zombie-like, into the voting booth.
What’s that have to do with this week’s comics shipping list? Nothing, really. But as “Can’t Wait for Wednesday” is a couple of hours late, I’m pointing to the election as an excuse.
If you’re not as election-obsessed as I am, your attention may be turned to what titles are hitting comics shops tomorrow.
From DC Comics, we’ll see the final volumes of New Teen Titans Archives and The Absolute Sandman, as well as Final Crisis: Resist and the first issue of The Sandman: The Dream Hunters adaptation. Marvel rolls out the Daredevil & Captain America: Dead on Arrival and Wolverine: Chop Shop one-shots, and the first issue of the big Ultimatum event. Dark Horse, meanwhile, collects Dean Motter’s Mister X sci-fi saga.
Elsewhere, IDW Publishing releases Kevin Colden’s Xeric-winning Fishtown, Macmillan publishes the autobiographical Alan’s War, and … Chris Mautner recommends porn. Really.
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: Alan’s War
When French artist Emmanuel Guibert made friends with the older American expatriate Alan Cope, no doubt he did not realize he had the makings of what would arguably be his finest work to date. And yet in translating Cope’s memoir of his time spent in Europe during WWII and afterward, he’s managed to craft a work of deep insight. In many ways, Cope’s story confounds the traditional war tale — there’s no Private Ryan heroics here or “war is hell” type battlefield scars. Instead we have the story of a man who, through the luck of the times, was introduced to people and a world he would have never experienced otherwise. It’s a compelling, superbly executed book.
Kevin’s pick of the week: The Sandman: The Dream Hunters #1 (of 4)
Sometimes I don’t understand DC Comics and its Vertigo imprint. Take, for instance, this P. Craig Russell adaptation of the well-received 1999 illustrated novella by Neil Gaiman and Yoshitaka Amano. Given the creators, the subject and the milestone — January marks the 20th anniversary of The Sandman — it would seem logical to release The Dream Hunters as a graphic novel. Instead, we get a four-issue miniseries. It’s a bit puzzling.
No matter, though. As you would expect from P. Craig Russell, who illustrated the famed “Ramadan” story from The Sandman #50, the adaptation is beautiful. If you’re a fan of Japanese folklore and Gaiman’s expansive Sandman universe, this is probably for you.
Gigantic #1 (of 5)
Kevin: Rick Remender and Eric Nguyen unleash an enormous armored alien upon downtown San Francisco in what’s being billed as “a twist on The Truman Show.”
Kull #1 (of 6)
Kevin: Arvid Nelson and Will Conrad adapt Robert E. Howard’s 1929 story “The Shadow Kingdom” in this sword-and-sorcery miniseries.
Mister X Archives hardcover
Chris: Way back in the heady days of the black and white boom there was Dean Motter’s sci-fi saga of a fantastic city of madmen and the architect who tries to make everything better. This hardcover collects most, if not all, of the saga, which features art from a number of noteworthy illustrators, including Seth, Jaime Hernandez, Ty Templeton and Dave McKean.
The Absolute Sandman Vol. 4 hardcover
Kevin: This final volume collects Issues 57-75 of the influential series, plus a story from Vertigo Jam #1 and lots of behind-the-scenes extras.
Adventure Comics Special Featuring the Guardian
Kevin: The third part of the sprawling “New Krypton” storyline, this one-shot spotlights the Guardian of Metropolis and, I presume, teases the expected relaunch of Adventure Comics.
Final Crisis: Resist
Kevin: I’m not a fan of most of the ancillary one-shots and miniseries that DC and Marvel, for some reason, feel they need to release to support, or prolong, their event comics. However, this 40-page special may be worthwhile for two reasons: One, It’s co-written by Greg Rucka, and illustrated by Ryan Sook, whose sequential work is increasingly rare. And two, it focuses on Snapper Carr, Mr. Terrific, Checkmate and Cheetah.
New Teen Titans Archives Vol. 4 hardcover
Teen Titans: Year One trade paperback
Terra #1 (of 4)
Terror Titans #2 (of 6)
Kevin: It’s interesting that four titles that highlight three different eras of the Teen Titans franchise come out in the same week. The fourth, and final, volume of the New Teen Titans Archives collects classic tales from the Marv Wolfman-George Perez ’80s revival. Teen Titans: Year One collects Amy Wolfram and Karl Kerschl’s entertaining revisionist take on the original Titans lineup. And Terra #1 and Terror Titans #2 offers a look at part of the current Titans universe.
Daredevil & Captain America: Dead on Arrival
Kevin: Originally released by Italian publisher Panini, this 48-page one-shot by Tito Faraci and Claudio Villa appears to employ the classic team-up premise, with Daredevil and Captain America unknowingly investigating the same case: a series of bizarre murders possibly committed by a long-dead villain.
Franklin Richards: Sons of Geniuses #1
Kevin: More all-ages fun from Chris Eliopoulos and Marc Sumerak.
Ultimatum #1 (of 5)
Kevin: I was going to say something like, “Jeph Loeb destroys the Ultimate Universe,” but I figured that would only invite complaints about The Ultimates 3. So, um, here’s the beginning of the big table-clearing miniseries by Loeb and David Finch. It sports four covers, so you just know it’s a big deal.
Weapon X: First Class #1 (of 3)
Kevin: This miniseries is different from Wolverine: First Class, but I’m not sure how or why. On the plus side, it’s by the talented duo of Marc Sumerak and Mark Robinson.
Wolverine and Power Pack #1 (of 4)
Kevin: It’s Marc Sumerak Week at Marvel, apparently. (I was about to say it’s Wolverine Week, but virtually every week is Wolverine Week at Marvel.) In any case, the Power Pack series of all-ages books, with the artist duo Gurihiru, is highly entertaining.
Wolverine: Chop Shop
Kevin: Speaking of a certain sideburned mutant, here’s a decidedly not all-ages one-shot by Mike Benson and Roland Boschi in which Logan appears to tackle that urban legend about waking up in a bathtub of ice, minus an organ or two.
X-Men/Spider-Man #1 (of 4)
Kevin: Although the world certainly doesn’t need another X-Men or Spider-Man miniseries — or an X-Men and Spider-Man miniseries — I like the preview of this first issue, by writer Christos Gage and Italian artist Mario Alberti.
Kevin: This 488-page tome collects IDW’s Angel series The Curse, Old Friends, Spotlight and Auld Lang Syne by the likes of Peter David, Jay Faerber, Dan Jolley, Jeff Mariotte, David Messina, Nicola Scott and Mike Norton.
Asterix Omnibus, Vol. 2 softcover
Asterix Omnibus, Vol. 10 hardcover
Chris: These new three-in-one books collect, respectively, Asterix the Gladiator, Asterix and the Banquet, and Asterix and Cleopatra; and Asterix and the Magic Carpet, Asterix and the Secret Weapon, and Asterix and Obelix All at Sea. Trust me, you want the second volume, not the tenth.
Chris: Kevin Colden’s Xeric-winning comic turned webcomic sees print courtesy of IDW.
Forever Nuts Presents Happy Hooligan hardcover
Chris: I really like the concept behind NBM’s Nuts series, to cull the best from noteworthy strips that don’t necessarily warrant the full “collect-’em-all” treatment. Last time up it was Bud Fisher’s Mutt and Jeff. This time around it’s Frederick Burr Opper’s Happy Hooligan, a doofus with a can on his head who gets the crap beaten out of him at just about every opportunity. Fun times!
Maka Maka, Vol. 1
Chris: OK, pay attention, because this is the only time I’m going to recommend porn (well, one of the only times). I first became aware of Torajirō Kishi’s x-rated lesbian love story via Dirk Deppey’s scantillations guide. Being a complete perv, I naturally downloaded the entire series, only to be completely taken aback by Kishi’s depth of characterization and genuine eroticism, two traits rarely associated with porn. Seriously, when was the last time you read a sex comic that displayed genuine romance and dared to wear its heart on its sleeve? Yeah, yeah, it’s sexually explicit and hits all of the typical, um, spots you’d expect in a manga of this type, but it’s still one of the most tender, heartfelt comics I’ve read in recent years and I heartily recommend it. Plus, boobs!
Mao-Chan, Vol. 1
Chris: Oh, man, this has to be one of the worst manga I’ve read recently. So overstuffed with cutie-pie, little-girls-in-short-skirts, save-the-world nonsense that I don’t know why they didn’t just call it Moe-Chan and be done with it. Even attempting to describe the contents makes my back teeth ache. Diabetics would do well to stay away.
The Myth of 8-Opus Wrecks
Chris: Godland artist Tom Scioli collects the first five issues of his homage to ’70s-era Jack Kirby in this new trade paperback.
Parasyte, Vol. 5 ( of 8 )
Chris: More smart, shapeshifting horror courtesy of Hitoshi Iwaaki. I was getting caught up on this series recently and was really struck by how, despite Iwaaki’s awkward art at times, well-thought out and involving this series is.
Sardine in Outer Space, Vol. 4 softcover (offered again)
Sardine in Outer Space, Vol. 6 softcover
Chris: If Alan’s War seems too serious and sober for you, there’s also the sixth volume of Guilbert’s ongoing (and apparently very popular) series about the cute and wacky space pirate and her friends. She doesn’t appear on the cover, but I wonder if we’ll see more of Sardine’s Eastern cousin Manga in this latest volume. That last book seemed to just sorta end without any resolution. Anyway, First Second is also offering the fourth volume once more, for all those completists out there.
Tintin Hardcover Boxed Set
Chris: The exclusion of the controversial Tintin in the Congo makes this a far from complete box set. Then there’s the fact that it collects Herge’s stories in the smaller three-in-one volumes rather than the original large album formats. Still, Tintinologists still have plenty to drool over in this set, most notably in the addition of a bonus volume, Tintin & Co. by Herge expert Michael Farr.
The Name of the Game
To the Heart of the Storm
Will Eisner Reader
Chris: WW Norton goes into Will Eisner overdrive with the release of four — count ‘em, four — of the master’s works. The Dreamer is a fictionalized account of his time spent in the early days of the industry. The Name of the Game follows the trials of a family over a century. To the Heart of the Storm deals with anti-Semitism during WWII. Reader collects seven short stories.
Prince of Stories hardcover
Chris: Capitalizing on all the Sandman brouhaha, this book, by Hank Wagner, Christopher Golden and Stephen Bissette, examines Neil Gaiman’s legacy, both inside and out of comics.
The full list of titles shipping this week can be found here.