THIS WEEK IN COMICS! (1/19/11 – Vintage French Chipboard Dinosaur Omnibus)
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Yes, comics are always racing to your friendly local merchant, but some arrive faster than others! For example, apparently Midtown Comics in NYC is expecting a whole stack of Fantagraphics releases this week, including the Lorenzo Mattotti-drawn Stigmata and vol. 2 of Pirus/Mezzo’s King of the Flies, but Diamond doesn’t have them listed for this week. As a result, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled – you never know what might turn up.
I’ve been reading a stack of new Steve Ditko comics lately — you might say I am Paying Attention — but I don’t want to comment until I’m done, so let’s go right into the new releases:
The Smurfs Vol. 4: The Smurfette: Being the latest in NBM/Papercutz’s line of vintage materials by Peyo & Yvan Delporte, this time featuring a 1967 piece which I don’t believe has ever been released in the U.S., although an English translation was produced for the U.K. market in the late ’70s. It’s another farcical sprawl of social commentary — or at least that’s how it sounds to one American who hasn’t yet had the pleasure of reading it — focused on male reactions to feminine beauty. Preview; $5.99 ($10.99 in hardcover).
Denis Kitchen’s Chipboard Sketchbook: This is from Boom! Studio’s ‘literary’ comics imprint Boom! Town, which from its start last year seemed oddly poised with an eye toward reissues and merchandise, and I think has since faded from visibility. This is its newest release – a 128-page collection of back-of-notepad doodles by the Kitchen Sink Press founder, edited by Greg Sadowski (recently of the Fantagraphics anthologies Supermen!: The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941 and Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s) with comments by the artist; $19.95.
Starman Omnibus Vol. 6 (of 6): Concluding DC’s application of the hardcover omnibus format to a well-remembered recent(ish) longform series from writer James Robinson; I think this effort might be best remembered for juggling all the various tie-ins and spin-offs and crossovers and peripheral materials a successful superhero series tends to spawn into an organized presentational whole, although at this point it’s pretty much a straight shot through issues #61-80, primarily sporting art by Peter Snejbjerg, with contributions by Paul Smith and Russ Heath. Do note, however, that the 2010 one-off revival issue #81 — itself a tie-in to the recent Blackest Night crossover mega Event — is also included, with art by Fernando Dagnino & Bill Sienkiewicz, potentially providing a coda on the transient finality of shared universe superhero properties, even in world fit for bookshelves; $49.99.
B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs Hardcover Collection Vol. 1 (of 4): But hey, why leave the fun to the half-century-and-running crowd? The generally very good Mike Mignola-created B.P.R.D. series recently added a new subtitle (Hell on Earth) to its most recent storylines (New World and the currently running Gods), seeking to distinguish the material from the prior status quo, which now seems to be grist for the omnibus mill.
Still, this 408-page maiden volume serves an additional purpose – collecting various and sundry materials, 1998-2004, accounting for the first three B.P.R.D. softcover books, it neatly groups together all of the various small experiments and not-always-satisfying digressions that marked early attempts to expand Hellboy into a series of series. Mignola doesn’t even participate in some of this stuff — including a story by genuine shared universe superstar Geoff Johns — although the best in show sees him teamed with artist Ryan Sook (and two co-writers, Christopher Golden & Tom Sniegoski), for a hollow earth episode that sets in motion the general escalating conflict of the series at large. By the end of the volume, Guy Davis is in place as the series’ primary artist, though Mignola’s plotting remains intent on poking at background mysteries established in Hellboy; it won’t be until the second omnibus and the arrival of co-writer John Arcudi that the series begins to click as its own entity. Even then, B.R.R.D. was a slow cooker, and maybe huge chunks will serve it well in building effect; $34.99.
Age of Reptiles Omnibus Vol. 1: AND THAT’S NOT ALL! Here’s a 400-page softcover collection of wordless dinosaur comics by Ricardo Delgado, created between 1993 and 2010 – kind of an odd, honking, crashing, observational thing that Dark Horse has revisited seemingly whenever a new set of issues is complete. Worth paging through if you come across it. Samples; $24.99.
Myspace Dark Horse Presents Vol. 6: But getting back to the frailty of contemporary comics publication, this softcover anthology volume memorializes the final bow for Dark Horse’s online effort at funnies in the short form, with entries by Jaime Hernandez (very much in the superhero mode of the early Love and Rockets Vol. 3), Graham Annable, Jason Little, Matt Kindt, Larry Marder, Stan Sakai, Evan Dorkin & Hilary Barta, Gabriel Bá, Scott Morse, Andi Watson and others. Note that Dark Horse Presents will return as a print format comic book later this year, Concrete and all; $19.99.
Dorohedoro Vol. 3: An ongoing manga choice – this rough, horror-tinged fantasy extravaganza from Q Hayashida. Online for now, so you can confirm the presence of multiple injuries to the eye; $12.99.
Cyclops #2 (of 8): I couldn’t pinpoint exactly when Archaia Studios Press started really getting noticed for its releases of mainline French comics in English, but I imagine the seeds were planted in mid-2006 when the publisher began serializing The Killer (Le Tueur), a crime/assassin series from writer Alexis “Matz” Nolent and artist Luc Jacamon, subsequently collected into various hardcover volumes (the third, due very soon, should bring American readers up to date with the European material). This is the pair’s other creation for French publisher Casterman, a recently-concluded sci-fi/action thing with the very Heavy Metal premise of a man caught up in a privatized war that’s also a reality television show. Be aware that Jacamon departed the series halfway through; artist Gaël De Meyere should be taking over with issue #5. Preview; $3.95.
The Secret History #14: Meanwhile, a second Archaia-published French series rounds out the material necessary for a second fat compilation of material, due in March. It’s post-WWII shenanigans among very old beings, illustrated by Igor Kordey and written by Jean-Pierre Pécau. Preview; $5.95.
DeadpoolMax #4: At this moment in time, all-American superhero comics don’t look any odder than this David Lapham/Kyle Baker project. This is another issue, guest starring fellow Rob Liefeld memory Cable. Preview; $3.99.
The Invincible Iron Man #500: Big round superhero number, written by Matt Fraction with multiple artists for various segments. Nathan Fox is among the number, for those who enjoyed his Fluorescent Black or various Marvel appearances. Preview; $4.99.
Mickey Mouse and Friends #304: This is the ostensibly ongoing Disney mouse series, currently housed at Boom!, which looks to be starting up a tour of various noteworthy stories throughout franchise history. Chief among the kickoff exhibits are a pair of Floyd Gottfredson pieces from 1932 (a Sunday page, I believe) and 1944 (The Pirate Ghostship, written by Bill Walsh), for those who simply cannot wait for the Fantagraphics Gottfredson reprints to launch later this year. Preview; $3.99.
Creators of the Superheroes: Your book-on-comics of the week (History Dept.), a Hermes Press collection of interviews with and commentary on Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson, Jack Kirby and Will Eisner – there’s probably some significance to the Spider-Man cover I’m missing, but Stan Lee and/or Steve Ditko do not appear to be involved. From Thomas Andrae, recently of the Feral House essay/reprint collection Siegel and Shuster’s Funnyman (and previously of the Bob Kane autobiography Batman & Me); $39.99.
Creating Comics!: 47 Master Artists Reveal the Techniques and Inspiration Behind Their Comic Genius: Your other book-on-comics of the week (Current Affairs Dept.), a 176-page Rockport Publishers compilation of (apparently) craft or process-minded interviews, put together by Judith Salavetz & Spencer Drate. The rather diverse list of subjects includes Paul Gulacy and Michael Cavallaro (who also provide the introduction), with Jeffrey Brown, Michael Golden, Paul Pope, Jim Steranko, Ben Marra, R. Sikoryak, Amanda Conner, Josh Neufeld, Glenn Head, Danny Hellman, Sara Varon, R. Kikuo Johnson, Ward Sutton, Mark Texeira, (Hooded Utilitarian columnist) James Romberger & Marguerite Van Cook, (Comics Comics contributor) Dash Shaw, and quite a few others. Maybe worth a peek; $30.00.
Labels: This Week in Comics