No, it’s Fantomah, the white Queen of the Jungle who wears a black negligee and whose face melts off when she uses her super-powers, which are about as random and god-like as Stardust The Super-Wizard’s! She’s on the cover of this week’s You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!, the second and final collection of Fletcher Hanks’ Golden Age superhero and adventure comics work, covering the period in his career where his work took a turn toward the more representational and naturalistic, and began addressing issues relevant to—Aw, I’m just kidding. It’s a bunch more bat-shit insane weirdness and violence. Paired with I Shall Destroy All Civilized Planets!, You Shall Die will comprise a complete collection of Hanks’ small but potent body of work. It’s 225-pages and will cost you $25. You can download two preview stories here.
It’s but one of a slew of worthwhile projects out this week. Join me after the jump for a rundown of some of the others.
A Drifting Life: The term “graphic novel” gets applied to a ton of different kinds of comics work, a whole lot of which has little in common with a prose novel. But Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s slightly fictionalized story of growing up and into the manga field in post-war Japan? It most certainly does read like a novel, in terms of size, scope and narrative thrust. If you missed Drawn and Quarterly’s earlier release of the 840-page, $30 book, there will be a new printing available in shops this week. With a variant Red Hulk cover. Naw, I’m just kidding. It’s actually a zombie variant.
Amazing Spider-Man #600: Marvel has two big #600 issues out this week, and ASM is the one that got there with the less dodgy math. For a mere $5, you’ll get 104 all-original pages, including a lead story by Dan Slott and John Romita Jr., another by Stan Lee and Marcos Martin, and plenty of other content, plus a dynamite cover by John Romita Sr. (Or at least it’s one among the many variants). And it will only cost you $5; that’s only $1 more than the price of 22-pages of New Avengers!
Captain Britain and MI13 #15: The final issue of Paul Cornell, Leonard Kirk and company’s awfully good ensemble serial about Britain’s government super-agency dedicated to fighting Skrulls, Mindless Ones and vampires. This is the climax of the storyline in which Dracula has been trying to overthrow the UK and turn it into the homeland of the world’s vampires. Since this is the last issue and all, maybe Cornell will let him win.
Dethklock Vs. The Goon: Well here’s one for the unlikely crossover pile. Eric Powell teams up with the creators of Adult Swim’s Metalocalpyse to for a one-shot that promises “to make crossovers metal.” The first three pages are free; the rest will cost you $3.50.
Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #5: Oh hey, it’s the very last issue of the very last Final Crisis (July 2008-March 2009) “tie-in” series! How late is this thing? Well, it will apparently explain how Kid Flash II and Superboy II came back to life in the far-flung future and how they got back to the present to appear in The Flash: Rebirth and Blackest Night #1. Or, for another illustration of how late it is, a hardcover collection of its fellow tie-in series Final Crisis: Rogue’s Revenge is also out this week, as is the third issue of Final Crisis Aftermath series Dance.
From Wonderland With Love: Danish Comics in the Third Millennium: Straight from publisher Fantagraphics’ website: “In all the excitement over manga from Japan and bandes dessinées from France, it’s easy to forget that other countries have a thriving comics culture all their own. This eye-popping anthology, assembled by Danish publisher/editor/ translator Steffen P. Maarup, introduces adventurous readers to 19 exciting talents, most of whom are taking their first bow on the English-speaking stage.” So, not to be confused with Return To Wonderland, then. Preview here.
Green Lantern #44: Well, they’re not slacking on the pace of this current big crossover any, as the events of this issue—Hal and Barry vs. Black Lantern J’onn J’onnz—flow directly from a scene in Blackest Night #1, which shipped last week. J’onn should be able to ice those two in about two seconds flat, if he actually used all his superpowers, but given that he’s already announced himself, I imagine Hal and Barry are gonna win this fight. Well, that and the fact that there are still seven issues of Blackest Night to go, and Hal is the hero. I’m rooting for J’onn anyway.
Incredible Hulk #600: And here’s Marvel’s other #600 issue, the one I can’t figure out how the math actually works out. I couldn’t read the whole solicitation, because it is in ALL CAPS, but the lead story will be by the Jeph Loeb and and Ed McGuinness team, there will be a Fred Van Lente-written back-up story and the first issue of Loeb and Tim Sale’s Hulk: Gray will be reprinted in the back for some reason. It will cost you $5.
Larry Marder’s Beanworld Vol. 2: A Gift Comes!: Beanworld is a tough comic to explain, or even understand an explanation of. Like, you can read an incredibly specific synopsis of what it’s about, and you still won’t understand exactly what Beanworld is until you sit down and read it. Which I’d highly reccomend anyone who digs comics doing at some point, since how many comics can that truly be said of? Anyway, if you’re all caught up on Beanworld, here’s the next 320-page, $20, hardcover insallment. Short preview here.
Marvel 1985: Those of us who waited for the trade need not wait anymore. Although now that I’ve waited this long, I’ve almost completely lost interest. Did anyone read this whole thing? Was it any good? Should I pick up this $20, 176-page trade? If you need reminding, this is the Mark Millar and Tommy Lee Edwards story about a little boy meeting Marvel characters who have come to life and visiting his/our world, the series that was going to be done in a Fumetti style until someone realized how impractical and expensive that would be just to sell somewhere between 50 and 100,000 copies of a comic book.
Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four: 4, 3, 2, 1: This is a $10, 96-page digest written by Paul Tobin and illustrated by Ronan Cliquet, John Buran and Pere Perez. Not to be confused with the Grant Morrison and Jae Lee’s Fantastic Four: 1, 2, 3, 4.
Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka Vol. 4: The first three volumes of this were awesome. It would be really weird if it started sucking all of a sudden, wouldn’t it?
Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation: Artist Tim Hamilton’s graphic novel adaptation comes with both the authroization and participation of the classic novel’s author, Bradbury himself, who provides an original introduction. It’s 160 pages and will run you $17 or $30, depending on whether you go for the trade paperback or the hardcover.
Weasel Patrol: I don’t know much about this book beyond the fact that comics blogger and retailer Mike Sterling says it’s funny. And Mike Sterling also likes Swamp Thing and Sluggo and Nancy a whole lot, and therefore has pretty good taste…at least in swamp monsters and kids comics. It’s $10 for a hundred pages of black-and-white adventures featuring cartoony-looking weasels. You can learn more, and see a preview, here.