Monday, December 05, 2005

Stuff of Interest - February 2006

Here for the Kirby. Kind of a slow month overall, but a few really good bits.

PHOENIX VOLUME 6 TP
by Osamu Tezuka
In the 25th century, a Japanese woman named Romy establishes a civilization and history for the formerly uninhabited planet, Eden-17. Her husband dies an unnatural death, but the life she carries inside her holds a great mystery...
SC, 424pgs, B&W $16.99

Cool. It's been over a year since the last volume, I was beginning to think they might not finish the series. And a nice thick volume, too. By they way, all these Phoenix covers are pretty interchangeable, aren't they?


SUPERNATURAL LAW #1 WITH A SILVER BULLET
by Batton Lash
In this homage to Famous Monsters, attorneys Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd must deal with a crazed werewolf, a reluctant vampire, and — scariest of all! — an annoying TV shrink! Plus, guest pinups and the letters pages!
32pgs, B&W $3.50

So I guess this series has gone the MILK AND CHEESE route and every issue is going to be a "#1" (the previous one-shot was the "First Amendment" issue). Hope it helps in a comics market that doesn't reward longevity.


WELCOME TO HEAVEN, DR. FRANKLIN ONE-SHOT
by William Messner-Loebs
When Ben Franklin dies and goes to heaven, he discovers that God has been replaced by the ancient Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius... and then the wild times begin! Out of print for decades, this fine work by Epicurus the Sage writer William Messner-Loebs is collected for the very first time!
24pgs, B&W $2.95

This is the story that appeared in the back of CEREBUS way back when, isn't it? I think I vaguely recall thinking it was pretty good back then, so good to see it being collected.


USAGI YOJIMBO #91
STAN SAKAI (W/A)
The hauntings continue! Last issue the rabbit ronin, Usagi Yojimbo, was faced with a mysterious and grisly murder at Geishu Castle, but the leading suspect was a woman who has been dead for ten years! Now, after another murder attempt, Usagi himself is believed to be the ruthless assassin! The long-eared wanderer must team with Tomoe and a distrustful bodyguard to solve the mystery of the Geishu ghost—before its razor-sharp claws carve into another victim. Catch the conclusion to the two-part “The Ghost in the Well,” this month from world-renowned storyteller Stan Sakai!
On sale February 22, b&w, 32pg. $2.99

USAGI YOJIMBO SIGNED AND NUMBERED LIMITED-EDITION PRINT
Stan Sakai’s creation, the rabbit ronin Usagi Yojimbo, is one of the most beloved and enduring characters in comics today. With over twenty years of adventures throughout feudal Japan, countless awards, and a following that spans the globe, this long-eared samurai continues to attract life-long fans, and the comics master who tells his stories is the nicest guy around. Dark Horse is pleased to offer discriminating Usagi readers a poster-sized art print of this beautiful painting originally created for The Art of Usagi Yojimbo. Featuring Usagi, Tomoe, Gen, and sensei Katsuichi, these 17" x 24 1/2" prints are individually signed and numbered by Stan, printed on high-quality archival paper stock, and limited to an edition of only one hundred. Shipped flat and shrink-wrapped to a cardboard backing, they will arrive ready for framing.
FC, 17" x 24 1/2", signed and numbered, limited to 100, $100

The usual reliable issue of USAGI. Not so much interested in buying a $100 print, but that is a very nice image, and one of the few prints that would interest me.


SGT. ROCK: THE PROPHECY #2
by Joe Kubert
Sgt. Rock and the combat-happy Joes of Easy Company have seen it all — but they’ve never been served with a mission like this! Having picked up the “package” that could swing the war for the Allied forces, Rock, Easy and their Partisan guides begin the dangerous trek from Lithuania to Estonia. Little do they know that what they’re delivering could result in their own downfall. Has Easy Co. finally met its match? Not if Rock has anything to say about it!
On sale February 15 2 of 6 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Looks like some nice Men of Easy pin-ups on the covers for this series. Although I've read enough DC war comics to feel sorry for any cute dog who shows up in these stories.


SUPERMAN: THE DAILY PLANET TP
Written and illustrated by various
Cover by Kevin Nowlan
This 192-page Superman collection revolves around the Daily Planet newspaper and its staff. Featuring classic stories with reporters Clark Kent and Lois Lane, photographer Jimmy Olsen, Editor-in-chief Perry White, and many more – showing how far they will go to get a great story!

This volume reprints select stories from ACTION COMICS #211, 429, 436, and 461, SUPERMAN (first series) #280, SUPERMAN'S GIRLFRIEND, LOIS LANE #17, 24, 45, and 56, SUPERMAN'S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN #42, 63, 75, and 124.
on sale March 1 192 pg, FC, $19.99 US

Should be a fun collection, although its thunder is a bit stolen by the news that soon after DC will be publishing a SHOWCASE phonebook volumes including the first 22 issues of JIMMY OLSEN (and the first LOIS LANE tryout), a much more concentrated dose of classic Curt Swan artwork. But this should be good too. Wish they had a cover more representative of the interiors.


SHOWCASE PRESENTS: HOUSE OF MYSTERY VOL. 1 TP
Written by Len Wein, Robert Kanigher, Gerry Conway and others
Art by Bernie Wrightson, Neal Adams, Gil Kane, Alex Toth and others
Cover by Joe Orlando
Do you dare to enter…the House of Mystery? Everyone who does will find a full 22 issues of this classic DC series! Beginning with editor Joe Orlando's first issue (#174), this 552-page black-and-white trade paperback features a wealth of art from macabre masters!
On sale Feb 8 552 pg, B&W, $16.99 US

It's probably a tie between that JIMMY OLSEN collection and this for the announced SHOWCASE b&w books I'm most looking forward to. Classic 1970s stuff mixed with a lot of 1950s stories (as the book was about a quarter reprint back then). A lot of the artists in this book look better in black and white, especially with the moody material in these stories, and a great price.


THE BOOK OF BALLADS TP
by Charles Vess & Various
Illustrated and presented by one of the leading artists in modern fantasy, Charles Vess, this unique collection of ballads, folktales, and magical sagas re-imagined in sequential art form features collaborations by an all-star cast of modern fantasists including Charles de Lint, Jane Yolen, Jeff Smith, Sharyn McCrumb, and Neil Gaiman. Finished with full lyrics and discographies of the classic versions of these songs and tales, The Book of Ballads is an event in the worlds of fantasy and graphic storytelling.
SC, 192pgs, FC SRP: $14.95

I posted about the hardcover that came out last year over here. Still highly recommended if you didn't get the previous edition.


MARVEL MILESTONES: DRAGON LORD, SPEEDBALL & THE MAN IN THE SKY
Written by MARV WOLFMAN, STEVE DITKO, TOM DEFALCO, ROGER STERN & STAN LEE
Penciled by STEVE DITKO
Cover by FRANK MILLER
Who - or what - is the Wani? And can Tako Shamara, latest in the line of men trained to combat the creature, stay its wrath? It’s a question of honor as the Dragon Lord debuts in MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #5 (March 1980). Plus: A colorful new bouncing, brawling crimebuster bursts forth in in SPEEDBALL #1 (September 1988). Also featuring “The Man in the Sky” from AMAZING ADULT FANTASY #14 (July 1962) - the first Marvel mutant story!?
48 PGS./RATED T+ ...$3.99

Seriously? Man, I kind of wish they'd gone with another issue of SPEEDBALL (this one was just reprinted, and the Guice inks don't do it for me), and maybe one of the many never-reprinted 5-pagers (although I guess neither reprint of this one was that high profile, and it is a good one). Still, loves me some Ditko. Also, seriously, "Rated T+"?


JLA: THE GREATEST STORIES EVER TOLD TP
Written and illustrated by various
Cover by Alex Ross
Collecting some of the stand-out tales from the long history of the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes, from the Silver Age through INFINITE CRISIS! Included here are JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #19, #77, #122, #166-168, JUSTICE LEAGUE #1, JLA SECRET FILES #1, JLA #61, and the 3-page origin from JLA #200, pencilled by George PĂ©rez!
On sale Feb 22 192 pg, FC, $19.99 US

Eh, wish I could be more excited by this, even understanding that the JLA/JSA stories are off-limits as they're in the CRISIS ON MULTIPLE books. #19 is good stuff, but #77 is really awful and #122 is mediocre. Don't know about the Conway thing, but apparently it's been referenced in some modern stuff. Kind of odd that they have nothing from the Englehart run (unless they're going to do a separate Englehart book at some point). And no JLDetroit? The JL #1 is good, but kind of loses impact as a standalone instead of a beginning, and the team hit their stride later, when guys like Max Lord and Booster and Beetle were established (although a lot of it is running gags, in-jokes and chracter stuff which might not work as well in a single sample). JLA #61 is one of the few modern ones I've read, and it was pretty bad, especially the art, probably chosen for the dubious virtue of being among the few single issue stories of the modern era. Kind of wish they included all of JLA #200, which had some great art, but that would eat up over a third of the too small page count for the book.

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