THIS WEEK IN COMICS! (12/29/10 – Winding Down)


Monday, December 27, 2010

From "MOON?Subaru Solitude Standing"; art by Masahito Soda.

Yes, time is running out for 2010, and panic seems a natural enough reaction. Do you have money left after the holidays? Not me. Luckily, there’s not much in the way of comics due either, though a few standouts are notable. Let’s be both lazy and industrious and get right to them:

Crickets #3: Being the latest comic book release by Sammy Harkham, now self-publisher of an oversized 48-page showcase for self-contained material, some of it published online by Vice. The showpiece is Blood of the Virgin, a fascinating stretch of time from the life of a 1970s exploitation movie studio functionary, constantly seeing his desires swapped out like spicy footage cut from one picture for the benefit of another. Smartly detailed, keenly observed lit comics stuff. Note that the serial from issues #1 and #2 does not continue. I reviewed it here; $8.00.

Bigfoot: The second Drawn and Quarterly edition of work by Quebec-born Pascal Girard, following last year’s English-language publication of Nicolas, his autobiographical account of familial grief. Everything is reversed in this, a fictional, full-color 48-page hardcover album (10.1″ x 7.6″) concerning a young man’s unhappy coping with his unwanted status as subject of an internet video fad, among other teenage hazards. Preview; $19.95.

The Man of Glass: Nothing like the delayed reaction of UK-published comics arriving via Diamond several lunar cycles later. A 48-page color from Danish artist Martin Flink, following a boxer down a purportedly lyrical road to ruin. From Accent UK. Video preview; $5.95.

The Bulletproof Coffin #6 (of 6): Meanwhile, David Hine & Shaky Kane polish off their 2010 by beckoning comic book ultra-collector Steve Norman — a man more literally prone to seeing bits of his life replaced by his most beloved gobs of sensational culture — toward a climactic meeting with their own withered alter egos. Yet the elusive Kane in particular seems hardly less agile from his absence, in or out of the story itself. Preview; $3.99.

EmiTown Vol. 1: I don’t know a lot about this, but it’s a 400-page(!) Image collection of sketchbook diary comics by Emi Lenox, a Portland-based webcomics artist — the webcomic being, I believe, the sketchbook diary — working in a smooth, versatile manga-informed style; $24.99.

John Carter of Mars: Weird Worlds: In which the magic of media licensing results in Dark Horse dropping a 112-page softcover collection of early ’70s DC comics pertinent to the Edgar Rice Burroughs creation of the title (and a brief boom of interest in pulp-originated characters at the publisher; see also: Michael Wm. Kaluta on The Shadow). Marv Wolfman writes, with Murphy Anderson & Gray Morrow drawing a backup serial from Joe Kubert’s Tarzan of the Apes (#207-209, 1972), and Anderson continuing the story into the newly-launched Weird Worlds, after which additional stories were drawn by Sal Amendola and a young Howard Chaykin (#1-7, 1972-73). Chaykin’s own Ironwolf would take over Weird Worlds for its final three issues, not collected here but easy to find in a 1986 DC one-off, if you’re so interested; $14.99.

DC Comics Presents: T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1: Ah, but DC is perfectly capable of printing its own inexpensive compilation of materials it didn’t initially handle. Witness this 96-page comic book-format package of materials from issues #1, #2 and #7 of the mid-’60s Tower Comics science hero team series, certainly featuring art by co-creator Wally Wood and at least soliciting turns by Gil Kane and Steve Ditko, although I presume there won’t be enough room to actually include all of the contents of every issue; $7.99.

Hellboy: The Sleeping and the Dead #1 (of 2): Beginning what I think is going to be an array of guest artist-driven short projects for the venerable Mike Mignola creation, here with the participation of Scott Hampton. Still to come is the second half of the current Mignola/Duncan Fegredo series (Hellboy: The Fury), after which creator/writer Mignola plans to return to art duties for the central story. Preview; $3.50.

Elephantmen #29: More from Richard Starkings’ reliably odd anthropomorphic-and-dangerous sci-fi series, I think featuring some work by Marian Churchland; $3.50.

Drew Friedman’s Sideshow Freaks: Finally, an appropriately tangential but no doubt comical book to round out this week of reflection – a suite of 50 color portraits of renowned human oddities by the great illustrator. From Blast Books (a fine publisher of alternative manga in the ’90s, counting Suehiro Maruo’s Mr. Arashi’s Amazing Freak Show and Hideshi Hino’s Panorama of Hell among its projects, along with the seminal anthology Comics Underground Japan); $19.95.


Leave a Reply