Well, Lockjaw and The Pet Avengers may not want to add him to their legion of animal heroes yet, but this week you can spend some time with the porcine parody of Spider-Man, thanks to the release of Peter Porker: The Spectacular Spider-Ham Vol. 1, a $20, 145-page collection of Spider-Ham stories by the likes of Steve Skeates, Tom Defalco, Mike Carlin, Fred Hembeck, Mark Armstrong and others.
What else is on the menu this week?
Artichoke Tales: Megan Kelso (The Squirrel Mother) returns with her most ambitious work to date, a $23, 230-page hardcover about three generations of a family amidst a civil war in a world a lot like our own—save for the fact that the people there seem to have artichoke leaves on their heads instead of hair. You can download a preview here.
Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne #1 2nd Printing: So I take it there’s still a market for second-printings of popular comic books? I guess there must be, since I always see second printings on the Diamond shipping lists, but it strikes me as rather odd given how quickly every thing gets collected these days. Return of Bruce Wayne is just a miniseries, after all, and will be one-third of the way over by the time this issue is reprinted (And it will be half over next week, when #3 ships). Are there that many folks who didn’t think they’d want it the first week it was released, and decided they couldn’t want a couple extra months for the trade? Well, I guess there must be. Anyway, speaking of trade collections and Grant Morrison-written Batman comics, Batman: R.I.P. is availagle as a $15, 225-page trade paper back this week.
Billy Hazelnuts and The Crazy Bird: Prolific Maakies cartoonist and Sock Monkey creator Tony Millionaire’s long-awaited second Billy Hazelnuts graphic novel finally arrives. In this adventure, Billy attempts to reunite a just-hatched owl chick with its mother. It’s a $20, 105-page, digest-sized hardcover. You can download a preview here.
The Book of Mr. Natural: Fantagraphics is having a pretty damn huge week (and there’s a couple more swell-looking books below). This is a $20, 130-page hardcover collection of classic R. Crumb comics. Preview here.
Brightest Day #4: According to co-writer Geoff Johns, the story of the new Aqualad begins with this issue (I’ve got some thoughts on Aqualad II here, if you’re terribly interested). It’s by Johns, Peter J. Tomasi, Ivan Reis, Pat Gleason, Ardian Syaf, Scott Clark and Joe Prado, and you can see a preview of it here.
Conan: The Spear and Other Stories: This $15, 130-page trade paperback collects five King Conan-era comics written by Timothy Truman and drawn by Paul Lee. Preview here.
Joker’s Asylum: Harley Quinn #1: It sounded so simple. There are five week’s in June this year, and there are five issues of Joker’s Asylum, a kinda sorta miniseries (although each issue is given its own #1 because DC thinks you’re stupid, apparently) with a different creative team focusing on a different Batman villain each issue. It was going to ship weekly, which would mean one issue on each Wednesday in June, right? Well, something went wrong somewhere, and no issues of Joker’s Asylum shipped last week, but two issues of it will ship this week. Isn’t it weird DC managed to ship 52, Countdown, Trinity and Wednesday Comics without that ever happening, but it happened with a little five-issue miniseries? The Harley Quinn issue is written by James Patrick and drawn by Joe Quinones, and Joker’s Asylum: The Mad Hatter #1 is by Landry Walker and Bill Sienkiewicz.
Little Adventures in Oz Book 2: This is a new, $10, 136-page collection of Eric Shanower’s Oz stories, including “The Forgotten Forest of Oz” and “The Blue Witch of Oz.”
Meatcake: This $23, 240 softcover collection includes the best of comics creator, character and all-around renaissance woman Dame Darcy’s first decade of Meatcake comics. You can download a 20-page preview here.
New Avengers #1: In the wake of Siege, Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen’s New Avengers ongoing has been canceled to make room for…New Avengers, by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen? Oh comics, how you confound me! This issue unveils a new line-up, which, judging by one of its many covers, includes a member of the Fantastic Four and, according to the solicitation, a member of the Dark Avengers. It was originally solicited as a $4, 32-page book, but there’s also a back-up so…count the pages before you buy it, I guess?
PunisherMax: Kingpin: I haven’t read a bad Jason Aaron story yet, so I’m assuming the writer’s work on Marvel’s swearing version of The Punisher with Steve Dillon is pretty top-notch. Has anyone read the stories collected herein, the first five issues of PunisherMax introducing Wilson Fisk to the Punisher’s Max-iverse, who can either confirm or deny its quality? This is the premiere hardcover collection of the material, so it’s $25 for 120 pages of Punishing and, um, Kingpinning.
Temperance: This is the new graphic novel by Cathy Malkasian (Percy Gloom). I read it a few weeks ago, and it’s easily one of the best comics works I’ve experienced so far this year. It’s an extremely ambitious story set in a fantasy world that explores the various ways in which war and fear can tear people apart while knitting communities together. It’s occasionally touching, occasionally scary, always thrilling and remarkably complex. I hope to review it in this space sometime soon, but I’d like to give it another read or two before I attempt doing so. In the mean time, allow me to at least wholeheartedly recommend it. It’s a $23, 240-page hardcover, and you can download a preview here.