Don’t worry, Fraggles. Just because you’re comic book stars now doesn’t mean you have to share story space with other underground-dwelling comic book characters, although you may have to share shelf-space with some of them every once in a while.
This week sees the release of Fraggle Rock Vol. 1, a $20, 110-page hardcover collecting the first four issues of Archaia’s anthology comic featuring the Fraggles. I haven’t read every single story in here yet, but I’ve read about half of them, and those ones were all somewhere between pretty great and really great. Whether you grew up with the characters or are new to them, this is a rock-solid all-ages comic. In fact, you might say it’s a Fraggle Rock-solid all-ages comic (Tee hee!).
This volume contains stories by Katie Cook, Jeff Stokely, Jeffrey Brown, Leigh Dragoon, Paul Morrissey, Tim Beedle, Joanna Estep and many more.
What else is out this week? Oh, only about 5,000 other comics (Seriously, Comics Industry, you really need to learn to pace yourself a bit). Here are some things that grabbed my eye on this week’s shipping lists…
1 for $1: Groo: It’s a good week for cheap comics. One dollar will get you a reprint of Dark Horse’s first issue of Sergio Aragones’ Groo comic, or the first issue of Star Wars Legacy by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema, or the first issue of Image Comics’ The Darkness (by Garth Ennis and Marc Silvestri) or Radical Premiere-Mata Hari, an introduction to Rich Wilkes and Roy Allan Martinez’s comic book take on the legendary title character. That’s an awful lot of comics for just $4.
The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects: The title story comes from a 2002 Mike Mignola one-shot so deeply weird it makes his Hellboy and BPRD stuff seem like prosaic, slice-of-life stuff. Here’s how publisher Dark Horse describes it:
When Emperor Zombie threatens the safety of all life on earth, President Lincoln enlists the aid of a mechanical head. With the help of associates Mr. Groin (a faithful manservant) and Mr. Dog (a dog), Screw–On Head must brave ancient tombs, a Victorian flying apparatus, and demons from a dimension inside a turnip.
Here’s how I personally describe it:
This is my favorite Mike Mignola comic ever.
Anyway, this $18, 100-page hardcover collects no only the Screw-On Head one-shot, but also the “The Magician and the Snake” from 2002′s Dark Horse Mavericks: Happy Endings and nearly fifty pages of brand new material, “all as weird and hilarious as the beloved Screw-On Head.” You can check out a brief preview here. What’s that? Not enough Mignola for you this week? My God, you’re insatiable! Well, there’s always Baltimore Plague Ships #2 and Hellboy: The Storm #3.
Batman: Cacophony: Is this the very worst Batman story ever published? Probably. Don’t believe me? If you’ve got $15, your local comic shop will be happy to hand you this 145-page trade paperback collecting Kevin Smith, Walt Flanagan and Sandra Hope’s terrible, terrible 2009 miniseries.
Buffy The Vampire #36: This is the start of the next story arc, “Last Gleaming”…which is also the last story arc in the “Season 8″ series of the Buffy comic. The story features the return of Spike…and the return of Joss Whedon to the role of writer. Georges Jeanty and Andy Owens remain the art team.
Classic G.I. Joe Vol. 9: IDW continues its collection of Marvel’s original G.I. Joe series by Larry Hama and company with this $25, 250-page trade paperback. That’s the tip of IDW’s G.I. Joe iceberg for this week, though: There’s also G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #158, the next issue in the recently begun continuation of the Marvel series and continuity by Hama and artist Agustin Padilla, and G.I. Joe: Hearts and Minds #4, by Max Brooks, Howard Chaykin and Antonio Fuso.
Freedom Fighters #1: After testing the waters with an eight-issue miniseries in 2006 and then retesting them with another eight-issue miniseries in 2007, DC has apparently decided there is enough market support for an ongoing featuring the latest versions of the old Quality Comics characters. Hence the previous FF series’ writing team of Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray coming back for a third, this time supposedly permanent go-round. Travis Moore and Trevor Scott as the art team for this attempt. Preview here.
Heroic Age: One Month To Live #1: I love weekly comics! Marvel’s last attempt, Heralds, didn’t really turn out so great, but it certainly had some fun moments. This one has a bigger creative team—Rick Remender, Stuart Moore, John Ostrander, Rob Williams, Andrea Mutti, Koi Turnbull—and features a new character who gets superpowers in an accident. Superpowers, and one month to live. Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four and The Avengers are among the previously established Marvel characters who will appear along the way. Like Heralds was, it’s a five-issue weekly series.
I Am An Avenger #1: Marvel may currently be publishing somewhere in the neighborhood of 56 Avengers ongoings, but is every character who has ever been an Avenger getting an opportunity to star in a comic? No. That’s where this new five-issue miniseries comes in! Iron Man, Captain America, The Thing, Iron Fist, Justice, Firestar, Squirrel Girl, Nova, and The Young Avengers are among the characters being featured, while Jim McCann, Duane Swierczynski, Chris Samnee and Tom Fowler are among the creators telling their stories. It’s a $4 comic book. Preview here.
Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard #3: The penultimate issue of the miniseries in which David Petersen invites other artists to join him in playing in his Mouse Guard sandbox. This time, those artists are Katie Cook, Guy Davis and Nate Pride.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse Vol. 1: What the…? Another version of the Neon Genesis Evangelion story? Given that I’ve lost count of ‘em, I’m tempted to say that this may be one (or two…or three) too many, but, on the other time, I’m totally curious about what this version is all about. The writer/artist is named Ming Ming, and in this version Shinji Ikari is being raised by Ryoji and attending the private NERV Academy, where he and the other numbered children go out at night to mix it up with people-sized Angels using hand-to-hand weapons. You can see a brief preview here.
Our Army At War #1: DC begins their month-long resurrection of some of their old war titles with one-shot specials, priced not to move at $4 for 22-pages. This one features Sgt. Rock and Easy Company back in the day, and a modern unit in the present day and is written by Bat-editor Mike Mrts and drawn by Victor Ibanez. Nice cover by Joe Kubert, but then aren’t all covers by Joe Kubert?
Ratman Vol. 2: I really dug the first volume of this superhero-friendly manga series about a boy who wants nothing more than to be a superhero when he grows up, and he comes awfully close when a secret organization gives him a code name, a costume and fantastic powers. Unfortunately for him, that organization is named Jackal, and they’re the bad guys, making him a supervillain. This second volume is $11 for 210-pages.
Taskmaster #1: Fred Van Lente and Jefte Paolo launch a four-issue miniseries about the popular title villain, who’s been function as more of a hero in the pages of Avengers: The Initiative over the last few years. It’s a $4 book.
Veronica #202: This is the issue that introduces new character Kevin Keller, which Archie Comics is referring to not as their first gay character, but their first “openly gay character.””So speculate away!