Diamond’s Previews catalog for books shipping in February 2010 is out, so I’ll take you on my monthly walk-through of the comics that caught my attention.
Honestly, not a whole lot grabbing me this month, which seems to be a mild theme lately. But there are still enough titles to gobble up my limited comics budget for the month.
Drawn & Quarterly’s John Stanley Library project continues, with a second collection of Stanley’s delightful tales of a little monster who just wants to go to school and make friends. Needless to say, he doesn’t quite fit in at home in Monsterville. Melvin Monster vol. 2 is $19.95 for 112 pages.
An otherwise slow month for me is almost single-handedly blasted beyond budgetary means by Fantagraphics’ bevy of offerings: Cathy Malkansian’s new book, Temperance, sounds terrific. I missed her first comic, but I hope to correct that this time around. Any comic that attempts to tackle the drive for enemies and war in humankind is worth paying attention to for its sheer gall if nothing else.
Kim Deitch, one of the most imaginative, creative and perpetually trippy cartoonists in comics history, has a new collection. The Search for Smilin’ Ed promises to uncover more aspects of 20th century pop culture while offering a bizarre and mind-bending journey through human experience. This title is probably the #1 must-have of the month, and an early contender for some Best of 2010 lists (like mine).
From Fantagraphics’ reprint section, Roy Crane’s Captain Easy, Soldier of Fortune: The Complete Sunday Newspaper Strips vol. 1 should be hitting shops. I swear they solicited this a while back, so hopefully we’ll actually see it this time. I’m looking forward to it. Two new Love and Rockets collections are also hitting stores. My one complaint about these repackagings of old L&R material is that I’m sometimes unsure of what stories are in what volumes. The Gilbert book here, The High Soft Lisp, is a Fritz-focused edition, obviously, but I’m not 100% sure if the material has already been part of the Luba or Palomar hardcovers. The solicit promises new material, so you can add The High Soft Lisp to my list though. From Jamie, the new edition of Penny Century compiles the previous volume of the same name and the delicious Whoa Nellie trade into a single book, matching the format of the recent reissues. Yeah, it’s a redundant purchase for me, but I like the format and I like condensing books into as few covers as possible. I’ll take one.
But Fantagraphics isn’t the only publisher with an offering I noticed. IDW’s previous attempt to collect the acclaimed GrimJack comics series didn’t get very far with me. Despite its legendary status, I found the comics only a slice above good, and the hefty price tag on each volume wasn’t justified. The new GrimJack Omnibus, bringing together eight back-up stories that ran in Starslayer and the first thirteen issues of the proper series, provides the huge page count (400!) and affordable price ($24.95) that I look for in my trade paperbacks. Trade paperback division at comic book publishers, take note!
World War 3 Illustrated #40 ships from Top Shelf, edited by Seth Tobocman, and featuring the theme “What We Want.” Some of today’s best political cartoonists offer constructive theories on what can be done to improve existing conditions throughout the world.
From Dark Horse Comics, The Book of Grickle looks interesting and offbeat. That certainly rates a page-through, and I’ve searched a long time for Jerry Robinson’s The Comics: An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art. A revised edition, chronicling strip art from 1895 to 2010, is scheduled to hit stores, advance solicited for April. That’s a definite, must-have.
I’ve been somewhat wary of the direction of the Superman titles, but Superman: Codename Patriot will probably get a look. I’m similarly unsure, but certainly tempted by the ginormous Wednesday Comics collection; with contributors like Kyle Baker, Joe Kubert, Walter Simonson and Paul Pope, and well received serials such as Supergirl and Kamandi, I’m intrigued. Maybe not quite $50 worth of intrigued, but we’ll see…
Supporting the NextWave: Agents of H.A.T.E. Ultimate collection serves two purposes for me. One, it’s a good comic – I borrowed it from the library when it was in two separate trades. Two, it supports my contention for thicker trades. Being a Howard Chaykin fan, I’m slightly interested in Dominic Fortune, but unlikely to actually buy this one. Here’s hoping the library comes through on this one.