So I got a new scanner, after having gone a few scanner-less months. Which means the return of poorly-drawn colored pencil-on-index cartoons at the top of this column each week. Hooray…?
This week looks like a big one at the comic shops, with a lot of pretty interesting and widely varied books. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Batman: The Brave and The Bold #16: This is one of those cases where the cover of the comic speaks much more eloquently about its contents than I could hope to. Let’s take a look:
That appears to be Vincent Price playing Egghead, from the live-action Batman TV show, laughing maniacally while holding crystal eggs in which Batman and Wonder Woman are imprisoned. And Wondy is wearing a hella conservative skirt. Writer Landry Walker and Eric Jones are the creative team for this issue, and, as if all of that wasn’t eggs-citing enough, Egghead isn’t the only egg-themed villain in the issue, as the solicitation also promises Egg-Fu. This from all appearances, this is going to be an egg-cellent eggs-ample of an egg-stordinarily egg-cellent comic book.
Civil War #1: Considering how well this sold, and the fact that the trades and Civil War Chronicles collections have been around so long, it’s kind of hard to believe there’s anyone around who’s interested in this comic who hasn’t already had the opportunity to read it yet. But if you are interested and have been holding out, you can’t pass up this $1 reprint of the first one-seventh of Mark Millar, Steve McNiven and Dexter Vines’ game-changing Marvel miniseries. There are some…problems with it, but if I recall correctly, this is the strongest issue, as the series gets more and more nonsensical as it goes on. Also, Captain America surfs on a jet plane in it.
Detective Comics #864: Batman reclaims his original title from Batwoman, with the first part of a two-issue story arc dealing with Dr. Jeremiah Arkham and Black Mask II , by writer David Hine and artist Jeremy Haun (The Question back-up, by Greg Rucka and Cully Hamner, remains in the back of the $4 book). Just look for the gorgeous Cliff Chiang cover. The home page also has a preview here.
Gigantic Vol. 1: It’s Rick Remender, Eric Nguyen, a giant monster from space and smashing, all in an $18, 145-page trade paperback package. Take a look.
Foiled: The name Jane Yolen might be new to comic shops, but it’s well known in libraries and bookstores. Yolen’s the writer behind the How Do Dinosaurs… series of children’s books, as well as the Caldecott-winning Owl Moon and The Devil’s Arithmetic. For her graphic novel debut, she teams with artist Mike Cavallaro for a book about a young, alienated fencer who discovers a fantasy world in need of her sword skills. It’s $16 for a 160-page trade paperback. You can read an excerpt here.
Fraggle Rock #1: Archaia launches the latest Jim Henson Company license-based comic, a miniseres based on the 1983 Muppet series featuring a unique interdependent ecosystem…and pretty great music (I’ve had the Convincing John song stuck in my head for about 25 years now). It’s a $3.95 comic, in the Mouse Guard eight-inch-by-eight-inch format, and will feature a main story by writer Heather White and artist Jeff Stokely. It’s slick work, but even more exciting? Back-up stories by Jeffrey Brown and Katie Cook, both of whom have unique styles that lend themselves to intersting interpretations of the characters. (Not sure if you want to make the investment in a Fraggle Rock comic? Well, you could wait until Saturday, and you can pick up a Archaia’s Free Comic Book Day offering, a Mouse Guard/Fraggle Rock flip book, for the irresistable price of free).
Green Lantern Corps #47: Perhaps the greatest testament to the health of DC’s Green Lantern franchise has been the continued popularity of this secondary GL title, starring past Hal Jordan replacements Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner, plus a whole bunch of aliens. It’s been consistently outselling the bulk of DC’s superhero line for quite a while now, in large part because of how successfully writer Peter J. Tomasi has been able to tie it into Blackest Night and the various “War of Light” business. It will be interesting to see where the title goes now that Blackest Night is over. Next issue it gets a new creative team (and a cast tweak, with John Stewart joining the ensemble as Gardner leaves it), making this oversized, $4 issue Tomasi and artists Patrick Gleason and Rebecca Buchman’s farewell for now.
DC’s also got a bargain-priced, $1 reprint of Green Lantern #29 available today as well. That’s the first chapter of the six-part “Secret Origin” storyline, which retells Hal Jordan’s origin, now retconned in order to be seeded with hints about the eventual Blackest Night storyline. Can’t beat the price.
Image Firsts: Invincible #1: Hey, more bargain-priced comics! Image has two entries into their $1 reprint program this week, the first issue of Robert Kirkman’s extremely popular superhero series (seriously, how often does a brand new superhero click like Kirkman’s Invincible did in the 21st century?), featuring art work by the series’ original artist, Cory Walker (The latest issue of Invinicble is also out this week, so new readers can completely catch up with the series…provided they don’t mind skipping the 69 issues in the middle; Invincible #71 features pencil art by Ryan Ottley). The publisher’s other $1 offering this week is Image Firsts: Proof #1, the first issue of Alex Grecian and Riley Rossmo’s book about a unique cryptozoologist: Bigfoot himself.
Invincible Iron Man #25: With the movie right around the corner, this double-sized , $4 issue seems to be designed as a perfect jumping-on point (oh hey look, it says so right in the solicitation!) It kicks off a new storyline by the creative team of Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca and, just to make sure you realize this is an important issue, it looks like Marvel will have at least a half-dozen covers, from Larocca, David Finch, Herb Timpe, a “foilogram” cover by Ryan Meinerding and one featuring what looks like a re-purposed movie poster.
Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet #3: That’s how publisher Dynamite refers to the Green Hornet miniseries based on Kevin Smith’s abandoned script for the movie, although the title of the book on the cover of the comics just reads “Green Hornet,” with Smith and artist Jonathan Lau’s names above the title. But on the Diamond shipping list, it’s just “KEVIN SMITH GREEN HORNET.” Which makes me think of “Kevin Smith, Green Hornet,” which makes me think it’s about Kevin Smith as The Green Hornet and, wow, that would really be a series I’d like to read! (This one ain’t too bad as is, however). It’s a $4 comic.
The Last Unicorn: IDW has enlisted writer Peter B. Gillis and artist Renae De Liz to adapt Peter S. Beagle’s 1968 fantasy novel about a unicorn that fears she’s the last of her kind, and goes looking for another. You may remember it from the early eighties Rankin/Bass animated adaptation. It’s going to be a six-issue series, at $4 a pop. I’m looking forward to seeing how it looks, buy I wonder if the story will be the same without having the stage set by America’s theme song…?
Giant-Size Little Lulu Vol. 1: This massive 665-page, $25 trade paperback collects some of the earliest, out-of-print volumes of Dark Horse’s program reprinting John Stanley and Irving Tripp’s classic…wait, what? Out-of-print? Damn! I was collecting these in the slimmer, digest format, but I’m still missing plenty of the earlier volumes, and I hate when the format of series changes and my bookshelf looks all jumbly. This is horrible news! Just horrible! Well, for me and my own mental issues with bookshelf appearance. It’s pretty damn great news for anyone who missed Dark Horse’s collections the first time around, and wants to start reading Little Lulu. And trust me, you want to start reading Little Lulu. You might not think you do, but if you like comics, you’ll love these. I was a skeptic once myself, but these are really great comics.
Siege: Secret Warriors #1: This week’s Siege tie-ins including this special one-shot from Jonathan Hickman and Alessandro Vitti, as well as Brian Michael Bendis, Mike McKone and Ron McCain’s $4 New Avengers #64.
Songs to Make You Smile: Stories from the Creator of Fruits Basket: As the subtitle indicates, this is a book by Natsuki Takaya, the creator responsible for YA hit manga Fruits Basket. This $13, 200-page isn’t the start of a new series, but rather an anthology of five short stories all tied together by subject matter: Love and music.
Spider-Man #1: Marvel is relaunching their Marvel Adventures line and, curiously, the re-named, adjectiveless Spider-Man that’s replacing Marvel Adventures Spider-Man on the schedule will have the exact same creative team of Paul Tobin and Matteo Lolli. Their work on MA Spider-Man was superb, and while it looks like this book will be re-focused in a different direction, I don’t see why it won’t be just as good. This first issue is $4, but it’s an oversized book.
Star Wars: Invasion Vol. 1: Well, the DC Universe had their Invasion! in the ‘80s, and the Marvel Universe just recently had their Secret Invasion, so I suppose it’s high time the Star Wars-iverse had an series entitled inasion of their own. This $19, 145-page trade collects Star Wars: Invasion #1-#5, plus a zero issue, and deals with an invasion of the galaxy far, far away from hostiles from the next galaxy over. It’s set “twenty five years after the Battle of Yavin,” which I assume means something to Star Wars fans who have followed the narrative beyond the movies. It’s by writer Tom Talylor and artist Colin Wilson, and the preview page looks pretty nice.
Tale of One Bad Rat: Wow, I hope the fact that Dark Horse has a new printing of this doesn’t mean that it’s been out of print before, because Bryan Talbot’s gut-wrenching graphic novel is a true classic of the then still burgeoning medium (and it’s an actual graphic novel, as opposed to some of the other works we assign that flawed term to), and something pretty much anyone into the modern history of comics should read, if they haven’t already. This version is a $20, $135-page hardcover including a new foreword by Neil Gaiman, updated background material and new color separations (which look pretty fine in this brief preview; I’m certainly curious to see how the new separations read).
Wilson: This brand-new original graphic novel by Daniel Clowes features a somewhat unlikeable, lonely, middle-aged protagonist who loses a family member, discovers one he didn’t even know he had, and tries to force some relatives into forming a new family unit, which might not be such a great idea. Unsurprisingly, the art looks great and Drawn and Quarterly has designed a beautiful-looking package. It’s a $22, 80-page hardcover. You can download a preview here.