You probably wouldn’t know it to look at ‘em, but those little cartoons I usually draw to kick off this column so that there’s some non-comic book cover art to post each week take time to make. I spend minutes and minutes on ‘em each Monday night. Unfortunately, my schedule contained fewer minutes than usual this week, so I didn’t make one this time. I’m sorry to derpive you all of the poorly-drawn colored-pencil-on-index-card imagery you have come to expect at the top of each week’s here-are-some-comics-coming-out-this-week column.
But I did do the writing part! So join me after the jump for an all-words, no-pictures look at some of thise week’s noteworthy releases.
Abe Sapien: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi collaborate on this special one-shot featuring the most recognizable member of the BPRD that isn’t Hellboy. The art come courtesy of Patric Reynolds, a relative newcomer who provided art for the back-up in a recent issue of Hellboy: The Wild Hunt. You can check out a six-page preview here.
Ambush Bug: Year None #7: No, you didn’t miss an issue of this long-delayed series, which began as a six-issue montly way back over a year ago, DC apparently decided to number the last one “#7 (out of 6)” and incorporate the bizarre lateness into the gags (For exmaple, the story of this issue is entitled “Whatever Happened to Ambush Bug #6?” Whatever did happen to it? I don’t know. The series’ original editor, Jann Jones, has long since left DC, which might have had something to do with it, although it’s more fun to speculate that maybe Keith Giffen and company told a few jokes that went so far that rewrites were necessary to excise them. Nice Darwyn Cooke cover, at any rate.
Batman #692: Former Batman artist Tony Daniel returns, this time both scripting and drawing, as he did during Batman: Battle for the Cowl. The Penguin, Black Mask and Catwoman all appear, as does a character I’m guessing is The Reaper from Batman: Year Two, but that’s just a guess. If that doesn’t sound like the flavor of Batman you like best, don’t worry, DC’s got plenty of others. Landry Walker and Eric Jones turn Batman into a giant monster and pit him against The Atom and Green Arrow in Batman: The Brave and the Bold #10, an all-star creative roster pits Bruce Wayne against a variety of monsters in Legends of The Dark Knight collection Batman: Monsters, Sterling Gates and Julian Lopez launch a miniseries teaming up the current incarnation of the Superman and Batman families with World’s Finest #1 and, finally, if you prefer your Batman to be a woman, Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III finally tell the tale of Batwoman’s origin in Detective Comics #858. Whew! That’s a lot of comics featuring people dressed like bats in one week, isn’t it?
Blackest Night #4: In addition to a new issue of the main series, Green Lantern #47 also ships this week. And, if you can’t get enough Blackest Night, there’s also the third and final issue of Blackest Night: Titans by J.T. Krul, Ed Benes and Rob Hunter.
Dark Reign: The List—Punisher #1: The amount of punctuation in this title exceeds the limit allowable in quality comic books, but the latest of these $3.99 List one-shots looks a little more promising than the others that have preceded it. First, it’s drawn by John Romita Jr., and that guy can almost save just about anything (Need proof? Please see Kick-Ass). Second, it’s about Norman Osborn and the Dark Avengers going all-out to kill Frank Castle, and writer Rick Remender’s upcoming story arc in The Punisher seems to be about an undead Frank Castle. So there’s a good chance this book won’t just be a stalemate. Other Dark Reign-related releases this week include Dark Reign: The List—Wolverine #1 (by Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic and Tm Palmer), Dark Avengers: Ares #1 (Kieron Gillen, Manuel Garcia, Stefano Gaudiano), Dark Reign: Young Avengers #5 (Paul Cornell, Mark Brooks, Karl Story) and Avengers: The Initiative #29 (Christos Gage, Rafa Sandoval, Victor Olazaba). I’m not sure who I feel worse for this week, Batman completists or Dark Reign completeists.
Groo: The Hogs of Horder #1: New Groo! I love the sound of that, and not just because it rhymes. Sergio Aragonés’s potato-nosed barbarian returns for a new, four-part miniseries. You can see a brief preview here. This one will you $4, but you’re sure to be getting your money’s worth when it comes in detailed background art full of funny-faced extras.
Hulk #16: Jeph Loeb’s never-ending Red Hulk saga adds a new player: Red She-Hulk. (Or is she being called “She-Rulk”?) I think if there’s a lesson to be learned from the popularity of the post-World War Hulk Hulk comics and Blackest Night, it’s that comics fans love when you introduce new versions of old characters, but change the colors. Dynamite Entertainment should probably get to work on Red Hornet and Black Hornet spin-offs of their upcoming Green Hornet stuff.
Wolverine Art Appreciation #1: Remember all those sweet variant covers that consisted of Wolverine drawn in the style of various famous artists? Well this $3.99 gallery puts ‘em all in the same comic. I know this can’t possibly be worth $3.99 and is going to be a terrible waste of mony, but I can’t help myself. I’m totally buying this.
Map of My Heart: This is Drawn and Quarterly’s new collection of John Porcellino’s King-Cat Comics, which Porcellino has been touring in support of. You can download a preview here, you can read a Newsarama interview with the author here and you can read a long, tedious write-up of one of those tour stops here.
Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer: The title says it all, doesn’t it? The wooden puppet with a stake for a nose swears vengeance on the undead bloodsuckers who killed Gepetto in this 130-page, $11 graphic novel by Dustin Higgins and Van Jensen. I bet P.’s glad he’s not a real boy now.
Red Snow: Drawn and Quarterly had been introducing the term “gekiga,” the work resulting from a Japanese movement of making manga-for-adults, into the Western comics vocabulary over the last few years, and this collection continues the effort. This $25, 230-page collection contains short works by Susumu Katsumata, all focusing on the “pre-modern” Japan of farmers and peasants of the countryside of the artist’s youth. They share the setting with creatures of Japanese folklore, including kappa (heroic and menacing), ghosts and a little talking fox (or is it a tanuki? I always mix those up). The work is subversive in how cartoony and kid-friendly it looks, and while a lot of it is charming and fun, some of it also quite serious. I dug it; here’s my colleague Michael C. Lorah’s review, just in case you missed it. (Yes! I made it all the way through without any kind of yellow snow/red snow joke! You have no idea how hard that was for me…)
X Necrosha: This one-shot will kick off an X-books crossover, and it looks like it will be a miniature, X-Men franchise-specific version of Blackest Night. I imagine that’s good news for X-Men fans. This particular book is written by Mike Carey, Craig Kyle, Zeb Wells and Christopher Yost, and will feature art by Clayton Crain, Ibraim Roberson and Dustin Weaver. It’s $3.99 for an unrevealed number of story pages…probably more than 22 though, given all the creators listed, right?