THIS WEEK IN COMICS! (12/15/10 – An honest to god Moebius release via Diamond.)
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
In the interests of maintaining some semblance of momentum for these BCGF posts, I will now present as the obligatory opening ramble to the weekly upcoming comics column a gallery of recent alternative-flavored manga art culled from the December 2010 issue of Morning 2, purchased over my NYC weekend.
Don’t let the cover art by Hiroyuki Ohashi fool you – this is a high-profile spin-off of a major anthology from a Big Three manga publisher (Kodansha), and the alternative comics ‘flavoring’ typically goes to surface visual style, with content remaining somewhat straightforward compared to what you’d find in Ax or Comic Cue. But then, seinen manga tends to be more expansive in terms of subject matter than any mainstream North American comics, so it sort of levels out.
Anyway, feel free to scroll down for this week’s blind picks. Moebius!
The Planet of Sutakola by Shinkichi Kato (of National Quiz)
Bob & George by ??? (28th Manga Open Silver Prize Winner)
Beatitude by Naito Yamada
Tsuratsura Waraji by Natsume Ono (of House of Five Leaves)
Abnormal Physiology Seminar by TAGRO (of the manga adaptation of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt)
Ninpopo 123 by Shiho Suzuki
August Fish by ?????
I Care Because You Do by Daisuke Nishijima
Madwoman of the Sacred Heart: OH SHIT, MOEBIUS IS ON THE SCENE. You know, I figured so many instances of internet discussion would result in another official English-language release – it’s like physics! Anyway, this is from the revived North American wing of Humanoids, an all-in-one hardcover collection of a 1992-98 series written by Alejandro Jodorowsky, concerning a professorial doppelgänger of his that becomes caught up in the birth of a contemporary messiah. Expect much Buñuelian irreverence and mystic revelation. Parts were previously serialized in Cheval Noir, and Dark Horse released a b&w compilation of the first two (of three) albums in 1996, but this is the first time the entire series is in English, in its original color (and, in keeping with Gir’s prior NA releases, it should be sold out and going for twice its cover online by the close of business Friday). Preview; $29.95.
Big Questions #15 (of 15): Wrapping up Anders Nilsen’s long-gestating minicomic-turned-almost-last-of-the-wild-alternative-comic-book-serials. Publisher Drawn and Quarterly is already planning a simultaneous April 2011 release for hardcover and paperback collections weighing in at 658 pages each. Preview; $7.95.
Motel Art Improvement Service: This is the next in Jason Little’s series of Bee comics (now from Dark Horse), essentially Franco-Belgian type glossy color genre stories with a whiff of adult content (and in landscape format instead of an oversized album). Intrepid girl snoop Bee is caught up in trouble while working as a housekeeper. Some of it’s online; $19.99.
A Disease of Language: Information is sparse, but this appears to be a new softcover edition of the 2006 Top Shelf/Knockabout collection of Eddie Campbell’s comics adaptations of two of Alan Moore’s performance pieces — The Birth Caul (1999) and Snakes & Ladders (2001) — albeit possibly only published by Knockabout this time. I think? Anyway, these are very fine comics; Moore’s performances (as anyone whose snagged the recent Unearthing from iTunes will know, although that one’s based on a preexisting work) tend to be dense and allusive, and Campbell does well in adapting it all to intuitive visual ends; $18.99.
Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2: Deluxe reprint! More from editor Blake Bell and Fantagraphics, compiling early stuff in hardcover, 1954-55, 240 pages. Samples; $39.99.
Showcase Presents: Our Army At War Vol. 1: Bulk reprint! A 512-page gob of vintage Robert Kanigher-edited war stories, 1952-54, in b&w, presumably featuring art by Irwin Hasen, Gil Kane, Bernard Krigstein, Carmine Infantino, Mort Drucker, Irv Novick, Ross Andru, Gene Colan, Jerry Grandenetti and others; $19.99.
Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy!: Being the week’s deluxe manga release, a 2005 suite of linked short stories by Fumi Yoshinaga, apparently of a type with her All My Darling Daughters from earlier this year, if greater in number and shorter in length, and apparently more comedic (I’m referring to a Katherine Dacey pre-release review). I was fascinated by the previous number, in that Yoshinaga takes on the type of interrelationship subject matter that was typically the exclusive province of ‘literary’ comics in North America for a long time, but pursues them with an off-handed, super-straightforward drawing style you’d likely deem a house style if it were limited to any one publisher, with an emphasis on dramatic, revelatory interactions that arguably invoke Japanese/Korean/name-your-country television drama as much as any rarefied notion of literature. Basically, what we have are colliding comics traditions (even expectations), which are generally neat to witness. This one’s from Yen Press, and sees a manga artist visiting restaurants with her friends while we learn things about them; $10.99.
Yotsuba&! Vol. 9: Meanwhile, Yen also brings a fresh batch of comical lil’ kid stuff from Kiyohiko Azuma, an unlikely all-ages favorite (speaking of expectations bumping into each other) as serializing magazine Dengeki Daioh tends to service a certain subset of the anime otaku audience that appreciates the protective emotions roused by cute girl characters. Do I mention this every time? It’s a nice comic about a little kid having funny adventures. Up to vol. 10 in Japan; $10.99.
Detroit Metal City Vol. 7: In contrast, the intent and effect of Kiminori Wakasugi’s death metal extravaganza — concerning a meek lad’s prodigious talent for musical aggression, and the chaos it wreaks on his daily life — is easily and totally discernible from any culture which music has touched. From Viz, also up to vol. 10 domestically; $12.99.
Kerry and the Scary Things: Apparently, Michael Golden drew a 48-page YA-type comic about a kid thrust into a world of monsters. I’d not known until this very moment. Art by Golden & Kieth Wilson, story by Renee Witterstaetter & Wilson. This is a signed hardcover edition, which appears to be all that’s available for now. From Eva Ink; $39.99.
Doc Macabre #1 (of 3): Also in American genre comics superstars who came to fame in the 1970s, Bernie Wrightson has another project out from IDW with writer Steve Niles, presumably in the same gory, sorta-humorous style; $3.99.
The Spirit #9: And hey, here’s Mike Ploog – all in the week Moebius shows up. It’s a Paul Dini-written backup story for the artist of The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, as the primary creative team remains David Hine & Moritat; $3.99.
The Secret History #13: Tom Spurgeon has been all over this Archaia translation of a French immortals-through-human-history serial of late — up to t.19 right now, not counting spin-offs — and it’s indeed good fun, although I haven’t gotten up to date with new issues (a big hardcover collecting #1-7 is out, with a second due next month). If nothing else, primary artist Igor Kordey is always worth a look; $5.95.
Strange Tales II #3 (of 3): Finally, here’s the end-for-now of Marvel’s latest experiment in crossing outside artistic talents with corporate superhero characters. Featuring Ivan Brunetti (on the cover), Benjamin Marra, Alex Robinson, Harvey Pekar & Ty Templeton, Terry Moore, Toby Cypress, Edu Medeiros and Tim Hamilton. Samples; $4.99.