I generally only talk about the huge numbers of Batman books being published in any given month as if having a bunch of books featuring the same character is a bad thing, as the overlapping books compete with one another for a shrinking number of regular readers. But there’s a positive side as well! For example, no matter how long you like Batman’s ears to be, there’s a Bat-book for you!
This week, for example, you can choose between the modestly-eared Batman of artist Neal Adams and Steve Scott (available in Batman: Odyssey #4 and Batman Confidential #49, respectively), the long, horn-like ears of Bernie Wrightson (in Batman: Hidden Treasures) and the exaggeratedly elongated ears of Kelley Jones (Batman: Unseen).
For more on those last two books, and other interesting releases for the week, read on!
Batman: Hidden Treasures #1: I love the title of this comic book, as it sounds nothing like the title of a Batman comic book (Er, I mean the sub-title; obviously “Batman:” sounds exactly like the title of a Batman comic book). “Hidden Treasures” sounds more like the name of a lingerie store or a type of indulgent chocolate candy or maybe even a self-help book than a Batman comic book. Will the contents live-up to the connotations? Considering that it’s a quote-unquote lost Bernie Wrightson story of nothing but splash pages or illustrations (featuring a script by Ron Marz and inks by Kevin Nowlan), paired with a reprint of a 1972 Len Wein and Wrightson issue of Swamp Thing probably not. It’s probably something much, much better. That adds up to 56 pages, give or take a bunch of ads, for $5.
Batman: Unseen: This is a 130-page, $15 collection of last year’s “scarifying” five-issue miniseries pitting Batman against an H.G. Wells-style Invisible Man (Don’t look at me; they used the word scarifying!). But it’s the creative team that sells this more than the concept—the reunited ’90s Batman creative team of writer Dough Moench and Kelley Jones. Jones’ art is, of course, something of an acquired taste, but I’m an unabashed fan of the man’s work, and consider him one of the least boring superhero artists of all time. This story is a pretty good example of what’s so un-boring about his artwork, with continual, innovative ways to illustrate invisible or only semi-visible men throughout.
Blondie Vol. 1: If you only know Blondie from the last few decades’ worth of domestic comedy rehashing running gags, the content and look of creator Chic Young’s earliest strips can be downright shocking. This 280-page, $50 collection starts with Young’s very first 1930 strip and collects the next three years’ worth, chronicling the courtship of flapper Blondie Boopadoop by weird-haired Dagwood Bumstead. It’s published by IDW, who will also have the 300-page, $50 Bloom County: The Complete Library Vol. 2 available this week.
CBLDF Liberty Annual 2010: This year’s 48-page, $5 special benefiting the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund stars The Boys, Milk & Cheese, Conan and Boilerplate, and features contributions from an all-star line-up including, but not limited to, Frank Miller, Geoff Johns, Garth Ennis, Dave Gibbons, Jeff Smith, Paul Pope, Darick Robertson, Larry Marder, Terry Moore, Rob Liefeld and Jill Thompson. There’s a five-page preview available here.
Deadpool Max #1: These days, a new Deadpool series isn’t really much to get excited about. A new David Lapham comic or a new Kyle Baker comic, however, is generally cause for excitement. A new Deadpool series written by David Lapham and drawn Kyle Baker? Yeah, that sounds kind of exciting (even if Baker uses that weird style he did his previous Deadpool work in). This is a $4 book and, as the “Max” part of the title no doubt tipped off, is being published under Marvel’s mature readers Max imprint. And you know what that means—swears!
DC Comics Presents: Green Lantern #1: I could be wrong (I often am), but I believe this and DC Comics Presents: Jack Cross #1 mark the beginning of DC’s new use of the phrase “DC Comics Presents” and their new mini-trade format, which seems to offer about 90-pages of reprinted comics for the price of two $3.99 comics. It’s a format I’m pretty excited about, especially since they seem to be focusing at least in part on books that they might not be able to be collected otherwise. This week it’s Green Lantern, which collects four Jade-centric issues from writer Judd Winick’s run on the previous volume of the title (back when Kyle Rayner was the only Green Lantern, and Hal Jordan was as dead as a doornail. Or a big green ghost. I forget which, exactly). The issues are illustrated by pencil artists Daryl Banks and Dale Eaglesham. Jack Cross collects four issues of Warren Ellis and Gary Erskine’s comic about a “one-man anti-terrorist unit.” The latter has gotta be the best value of the week.
Fantastic Four In…Ataque De M.O.D.O.K.! #1: Tom Beland and Juan Doe, the creative team responsible for Fanstastic Four: Islad de la Muerte! and Spider-Man & The Human Torch in…Bahia de lost Muertos! have found another reason to send New York superheroes to Puerto Rico—M.O.D.O.K.! As with their previous collaborations, there will be a Spanish language variant, which I’m tempted to get…if only to find out what “Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing” is in Spanish.
Image Firsts: Haunt #1: Were you mildly interested in Todd McFarlane’s new superhero for Image Comics, who first appeared last year in a comic written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by McFarlane and frequent McFarlane and Kirkman collaborators Greg Capullo and Ryan Ottley, but not so interested that you actually bought any of the comics yet? (Really? Wow, you and I have so much in common!) Well then, good news! Image is reprinting the first issue for only a buck, so you and I can finally, finally figure out what’s going on in that cover. I have to assume it’s not what it looks like. Preview here.
Hopeless Savages: Greatest Hits Vol. 1: This massive, $20, 360-page trade paperback collects all of the existing Hopeless Savages miniseries and shorts by writer Jen Van Meter and a who’s who of Oni artists, including Bryan Lee O’Malley, Christine Norrie, Chynna Clugston, Ross Campbell, Andi Watson and others. The premise? Two 1970s-era punk luminaries married and moved to the suburbs, where they raised their large brood of punk children of various ages. Wonderfully-cartooned hilarity ensues. I haven’t read every single story collected here, so I can’t vouch for the book cover to cover with 100% certitude, but I bet I’ve read a good three-fourths of it, and I’ll definitely vouch for that part. Good stuff.
Klaws of The Panther #1: Marvel’s latest strategy for a Black Panther comic is apparently going to be handing T’Challa the numbering, setting and sub-title of Daredevil for a while, which I believe is known as “pulling a Hercules.” Before that, the plan seemed to be a series of miniseries, and this was one of those. It’s a four-issue series by Jonathan Mayberry and Gianluca Gugliotta starring Shuri, the Black Panther who is also a lady, and, presumably, T’Challa’s archfoe Klaw (That, or I see a major typo right on the cover of this comic). It’s a $4 comic.
Metalocalypse: Dethklok #1: Dark Horse’s 2009 Dethklok vs. The Goon crossover must have went well, since the heavy metal band from Adult Swim cartoon Metalocalypse are now back in their own comic. Series creator/writer/star Brendon Small and director/designer Jon Schnepp co-write with Jeremy Barlow, while Lucas Marangon and Eduardo Francisco handle the art. It’s a 40-page, $4 book.
The Nipper Vol. 1: This $17, 110-page trade paperback collects two years worth of Canadian master cartoonist Doug Wright’s signature creation, from 1963 and 1964. Publisher Drawn and Quarterly’s plan is to publish one such volume a year. You can download a preview here.
Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit: This is no doubt the release of the week. Darwyn Cooke’s second full graphic novel adapting one of Donald Westlake’s Parker novels into comics. It’s a $25, 160-page hardcover, and you can bet you’ll be hearing a lot about it on the comics blogosphere in the months to come.