THIS WEEK IN COMICS! (6/23/10 – Alan Moore & Many Old Returns)


Tuesday, June 22, 2010


The Oddly Compelling Art of Denis Kitchen: It had to happen – the American Midwestern front of the underground comics movement, now with a handy 9″ x 12″ artist’s book from Dark Horse. Actually, I can’t recall any longform collection of the Kitchen Sink Press founder’s own comics — an old cover of Mom’s Homemade Comics stands out as a lingering image from one of the old Kitchen Sink catalogs I ordered via telephone out of a copy of The Crow when I was 13 — so I’d definitely want a look at these 200 pages of stories, covers and illustrations. Introduction by Neil Gaiman, career overview text by Charles Brownstein. Preview; $34.99.

Saga of the Swamp Thing Vol. 3: And as for the superhero comics front of the post-underground comics movement – no, really, it’s always been my impression that the enduring effect of these vintage Alan Moore/Stephen R. Bissette/John Totleben/Rick Veitch-headed issues (which actually dropped the portentous/awesome “Saga of the” designation halfway through vol. 2 of this new hardcover series) was introducing a hazy whiff of counterculture burnout into the superhero arena, all those haggard faces and mutating bodies and jagged layouts and wonderfully earthy/sickly Tatjana Wood colors – a lot of this work is pretty hallucinogenic in visual style, which couples nicely with the rolling revelations of the plot, a steady parade of corrections and elaborations upon familiar things, be they ‘classic’ horror monsters or Bronze Age superhero creations. It’s like nascent Direct Market-era “ground-level” genre personalization (some of which the artists had partaken in, such as the infamous Bissette/Veitch comics adaptation of 1941) charging into the Hall of Justice, or at least the sweaty, mosquito-bitten environs forgotten deep in its shadow.

Of course, Moore’s fascination with unified systems of myth — in which superheroes and werewolves and magicians and the mystic Green all coexist — inadvertently formed the template, I think, for much of today’s market reliance on shared-universe qualities as a paramount generic virtue for superhero comics. He may not have written Crisis on Infinite Earths or anything, but his process of re-thinking and repositioning old properties in a seemingly incoherent assemblage of comic book ideas, suddenly interacting in a madder, tighter cosmology, stands as the chief literary influence on DC/Marvel comic books, far deeper in its reach than whatever ‘mature’ content anyone in-story consumed or envisioned. No, it was maturity of a different sort, hardened from the personal, ad hoc storytelling ‘magic’ of not-quite-a-magician-yet Moore into the given state of things: metaphysics into physics. Contains issues #35-42, introducing Nukeface, John Constantine, and the American Gothic exploration of horror tropes, which will continue into vol. 4. Introduction by Bissette (augmented here); $24.99.

Dodgem Logic #3: Meanwhile, Moore also has some new stuff through Diamond, specifically a new-ish edition of his magazine of assorted topics and stuff (I believe issue #4 is imminent in the UK already), based out of his Northampton hometown. Cover drawing by Moore, iron-on decal by Melinda Gebbie, video introduction here; $7.95.

Arkham Asylum: Madness: And back in the DCU, another skewed perspective dives into the extensive Batman character library as Sam Kieth writes and draws a 112-page original hardcover; $19.99.

Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites: Being a new hardcover Dark Horse collection of Evan Dorkin’s & Jill Thompson’s stories of adventurous neighborhood pets unraveling mysteries of the occult. Not quite funny animals – ‘semi-serious animal’ comics, originally from the publisher’s 2003-06 line of horror anthologies, then a 2009 miniseries, all of which is collected in here. Cute and mildly perverse in equal measure; very well-crafted stuff. Preview; $19.99.

The Selves: A new 96-page collection of scrapbook-style art by Sonja Ahlers, presented at 7″ x 10″ by Drawn and Quarterly. Samples; $19.95.

Archie: The Best of Dan DeCarlo: This is the first in IDW’s new line of Archie reprints, which will encompass artist-focused hardcovers such as this (Bob Montana and Stan Goldberg are in the pipeline), softcover ‘theme’ collections (like the superhero parody Pureheart the Powerful) and Golden Age of Reprints-expected compilations of old newspaper strips. But for now: 152 pages of Dan DeCarlo, purportedly “recolored to match the flavor of the original publishing.” $24.99.

Gantz Vol. 11: Beginning a new ‘phase’ of storylines for Hiroya Oku’s skeevy violence manga, as indicated by pretty blue covers. It’s the first new comics day of summer. Preview; $12.99.

Akira Vol. 2 (of 6): Continuing Japanese publisher Kodansha’s lethargic direct entry into the North American comics market with another entry in this re-issue of Dark Horse’s old softcover phonebook editions of the Katsuhiro Otomo classic; $24.99.

Legends of Percevan Vol. 4: The Seven Seals: Once upon a time, in the mid-’90s, there was an outfit called Fantasy Flight Publishing, which released a very small but interesting line of softcover Eurocomics albums, including a book of Spirou et Fantasio material by André Franquin (Z is for Zorglub) and pre-Smurfs Johan et Pirlouit work by Peyo (The Black Arrow). Then they remade themselves as a gaming company, Fantasy Flight Games, and then, quietly, they restarted one of their old licensed translations in digest-sized hardcover books collecting three albums to one. This concludes that effort, compiling the 1998-2004 t.10-12 for this rather straightforward swords ‘n magic ‘n jokes series from writer Jean Léturgie and artist Philippe Luguy, although a new 13th album is due in France very soon. Preview; $19.95.

7 Psychopaths #2 (of 3): More Eurocomics, drawn by Sean Phillips, from Boom! Preview; $3.99.

Secret History Book 10: More Eurocomics! Drawn by Igor Kordey! From Archaia; $5.95.

King City #9 (of 12): From artist Brandon Graham; $2.99.

Garth Ennis’ Battlefields Vol. 2 #7 (of 9): Motherland Part 1 (of 3): A long title for a sequel to an older Battlefields joint, concerning female Soviet bomber pilots in WWII. Again drawn by Russ Braun, who is now the new continuing artist for writer Ennis’  The Boys, at least for the foreseeable future. Preview; $3.50.

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3 (of 6): In which Batman is a pirate, pencilled by Yanick Paquette. Preview; $3.99.

The Halo Graphic Novel: Aw, it was only a four-year wait for those hanging around for a softcover edition of this original gaming tie-in from Marvel. No big deal! With contributions by Tsutomu Nihei of Biomega, writer Brett Lewis of The Winter Men paired with Moebius, plus Simon Bisley and others; $19.99.

The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the 21st Century: And finally, every damn Frank Miller/Dave Gibbons story of individual resistance in the satirical future as a 600-page softcover doorstop. Preview; $29.99.


8 Responses to “THIS WEEK IN COMICS! (6/23/10 – Alan Moore & Many Old Returns)”
  1. Lastworthy says:

    Akira 2 just came in the mail, I’m pretty excited about it.
    I didn’t realize I was so far behind on Gantz. I’ve been reading the books in pairs, which seems like the right rhythm for the length of the missions. I have absolutely no idea how Oku could top or sustain the quality of 7-8, but the phase shift at 11 is keeping me optimistic.

  2. Richard says:

    Anyone know where I could buy Dodgem Logic in NYC?
    I love that hippie rag.

  3. GANTZ is a little easy to lose track of, since Dark Horse’s schedule tends to jump around… it’s ostensibly a bimonthly series, but it’s actually only been five weeks since Vol. 10 dropped. Now there’s supposed to be eight weeks until vol. 12, but then only six weeks afterward for vol. 13. All tentative, I’m sure.

    (Also, in the interests of completeness, identifying the blue cover material from vols. 11-20 as the “second phase” is apparently a collected release thing, possibly just an American thing. The Japanese serialization of GANTZ broke off for a while in 2006 and then adopted the 2nd Phase moniker for material beginning in the collected vol. 21, with b&w and metallic covers. Then serialization broke off again for a few months in 2009, after which the (still ongoing) Final Phase began, starting with the collected vol. 28, although there doesn’t appear to be any difference in the covers, at least not from the pics I’ve seen online. Anyway – yeah.

    • Lastworthy says:

      That Is a pretty wonky release scedule, they’re probably just going as fast as they can translate them. Though, I suppose I prefer that speed to “beyond reasonable” (One Piece) or “maybe later in the year” (pretty much every manga I pick up that isn’t combat-centric).

      Official or not, Gantz 11 seems like it’s gong to have to be as close as manga gets to “a good jumping on point”

  4. richard – Midtown Comics has it on their list of releases, so I presume they’ll have it, although everyone in the area that ordered through Diamond should have some copies in, provided they’re having shelf copies at all…

  5. Basque Breakfast says:

    Yup, Dodgem Logic is indeed available at Midtown Comics~!

  6. llj says:

    Archie: The Best of Dan DeCarlo–

    Wait, a Stan Goldberg collection is in the pipeline before a Lucey, or Bolling, or even a Schwartz? Come on!

  7. Ha, Goldberg & Montana are the only two names I’ve seen IDW mention anywhere, although I guess something else could pop up beforehand… like, they don’t have a schedule set or anything, it’s just two other books they’re planning, nonexclusively…

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