I’ve only published one, going-on-two comic books in my entire life, so I’m not exactly an expert in publishing decisions. I’m also not a comics retailer, so I know very little about the business of selling funnybooks to readers in comic shops. My lack of qualifications now clearly established, it still seems to me that releasing Captain America #615.1, Captain America and Batroc #1, Captain America Comics #1, Captain America: Man Out of Time#5 and Marvel’s Greatest Comics: Captain America: Reborn #1 (not to mention an Essential volume), all on the very same day might be a few Captain America comics too many.
Arctic Marauder: One of the most interesting looking releases of the week, this is Fantagraphics’ representation of Adele Blanc-Sec creator Jacques Tardi’s 1972 Jules Verne-esque, Edwardian era “icepunk” adventure. You can learn more about it, and read a preview of it here.
Batman Incorporated #4, Batman: The Dark Knight #2: The two best-selling Batman books, Grant Morrison’s franchise flagship and David Finch’s auter take, both show up on the same week, after unfortunate, difficult to understand delays (Morrison works with a different artist every three pages or so on his Batman work, and if Finch didn’t have two books in the can, why launch his book when they did?). In Batman Inc, Morrison and artist yanick Paquette send Batman back to Gotham to team-up with Batwoman; he’s probably going to break the news to her that her solo book is pretty much never going to happen (Check out the online solicitation for laughs, though—”And don’t miss the first issue of BATWOMAN’s new monthly series, on sale this month!”) In Finch’s book, Batman broods while looking at an unconscious lady’s breasts, while a giant Penguin looks on (Er, I’m just guessing by the cover).
Bookhunter: Jason Shiga’s critically acclaimed 2007 original graphic novel about a guy who hunts books is offered again. It’s a $15, 145-page book, and shouldn’t require too much hunting to find. In fact, I imagine it will just be sitting there waiting for you at any of your finer local comic shops.
The Cardboard Valise: Everyone who’s encountered Ben Katchor’s $26, 128-page hardcover graphic novel from Pantheon so far seems to love it.
FF #1: This looks like both the most interesting as well as the most important (yeah, yeah, as much as any of these are important, smarty-pants) Marvel book for the week. In the wake of one of the Four’s temporarily dying, Marvel’s original super-team, the characters and concepts that defined the whole Marvel Universe, get a new #1 and a new title, as well as a new team name, new costumes and a new recruit. Jonathan Hickman begins his second act as the Fanstastic Four franchise’s writer, while Steve Epting and Paul Mounts handle the art. There are, naturally, a lot of covers for the book; I like Stan Goldberg’s best, and would be sorely tempted to buy the book if the interiors looked just like that, even if it is at the $3.99/22-page, I-can-either-read-this-or-put-gas-in-my-car-price-point.
Green Lantern #64, Green Lantern Corps #58: It’s the first two parts of the “War of the Green Lanterns” story that will play out through all of the GL books for the next few months. I’m still not sure what exactly the story is about, despite having just read the prologue, but it seems to suggest that of the four Earth-based GLs, only three will get to be GLs when the dust settles. At any rate, GL #64 is by Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy and others (according ot dccomics.com, anyway; they said that about #63 too, and there was an entirely different art team), while GL:C is by Tony Bedard, Tyler Kirkham and Batt.
Krampus: The Devil of Christmas: This $19, 200-page hardcover from Last Gasp isn’t really comics, but it does feature both images (awesome, awesome images) and words, and should be of interest to plenty of people who shop at comics shops, in part because this is author Monte Beauchamp’s expanded version of his Fantagraphics published The Devil In Design. This new edition features 32 new pages, and an introduction, historical survey and 180 postcards featuring the hairy, horned anti-Santa of Europe’s early Christmas celebrations.
Lorna, Relic Wrangler: My aforementioned desire to power my automobile, coupled with my desire to keep myself alive by means of eating food, generally precludes my ability to buy $3.99/22 comics, but this one sure is tempting. Micha S. Harris’ plot suggests Tomb Raider meets National Treasure with a dash of Lovecraft, which is either awesome or tiresome, depending on how well it’s handled. The art by Loston Wallace, Michael Youngblood and Olli Hihnala, with covers by superior good girl artists Darwyn Cooke and Dean Yeagle suggests that it’s going to be handled rather well, as you can see from this preview.
Pepper Penwell and the Land Creature of Monster Lake: This $15, 200-page original graphic novel by Steph Cherrywell is about a British, Nancy Drew-like teen sleuth/adventurer trying to get to the bottom of the mystery suggested in the intriguing title.
Stumptown Vol. 1: This $30, 144-page hardcover trade collects the entire Stumptown series by writer Greg Rucka and artist Matthew Southworth. I only read the first few issues of it so far, but I liked what I read—it’s a pretty straight crime fiction story about a private investigator working a dangerous case, featuring the Greg Rucka-iest story Rucka’s written in a while, and pretty great art by Southworth.
The Story of Lee Vol. 1: The title’s maybe not the most creative one, but the plot of this $12, 160-page trade from NBM sound a bit more interesting—Hong Kong based Lee meets an young English man and they forma relationship that overcomes their cultural differences. Lee’s dad isn’t doing quite as much overcoming. It’s written by Sean Michael Wilson and drawn by Chie Kutsuwada, and you can read a preview here.
Transformers: Heart of Darkness #1: In this new series from IDW, young Bumblebee takes an assignment as a starship captain and journeys to the primitive, savage world of Earth, where he sees the dark side of Cybertronian colonization, symbolized by the dying and half-mad Optimus Prime. Or am I just confusing this with an issue of Classics Illustrated…as Performed by The Transformers that the title suggests? Okay, it’s actually about Galvatron and his mysterious, evil plans, and Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (who ought to be really good at this sort of thing) are writing it, while Ulises Farinas is drawing it. The horror, the horror!