Saturday, May 15, 2010

Various upcoming comics roundup

Haven't paid too much attention to the solicitations for upcoming comics, except to note the Kirby and Ditko stuff, for the last few months.  Heard about a few things I'd missed recently, so I looked down the full lists, and here are some random things I thought were noteworthy, mostly for my own future reference.

By Al Williamson
The Al Williamson Archives grants unprecedented access to this master storyteller's unseen work. Culled from his extensive private files, each volume of this series will feature unpublished sketches, preliminary artwork and pieces the artist created for his personal enjoyment. Williamson's fondness for fantasy and SF is showcased in this first volume. It collects work created throughout his career: impeccably rendered dinosaurs, barbarians, spacemen and their craft, even a few sexy maidens. It also features a partially inked Xenozoic tale, previously unpublished newspaper strips, and unused Western comics pages from the '50s.
SC, 8x11, 64pgs, $19.95
[ISBN 1933865296, Flesk Publications,  MAY101032]

Always love seeing more Williamson, and the guys at Flesk really do a great job on production.  This is a little pricy for the page count, but definitely worth considering.

By Mark Crilley
On sale July 7
b&w, 96 pages $6.99
TPB, 5 1/4" x 7 1/2"
Brody hoped it was just a hallucination. But no, the teenaged ghostly girl who’d come face to face with him in the middle of a busy city street was all too real. And now she was back, telling him she needed his help in hunting down a dangerous killer, and that he must undergo training from the spirit of a centuries-old samurai to unlock his hidden supernatural powers. Thirteen-time Eisner nominee Mark Crilley joins Dark Horse to launch his most original and action-packed saga to date in Brody’s Ghost, the first in a six-volume limited series.
[ISBN 1595825215, Dark Horse, MAR100018]

I'm a big fan of Crilley's previous work, from AKIKO to BILLY CLIKK to MIKI FALLS, so good to see a new series from him.  The previews on Dark Horse Presents looked interesting, and the format is nice and compact and inexpensive.

By Bill Mauldin
$29.99 / HC / 288 pgs / BW
In 1945, a great tide of battered soldiers began flowing back to the United States. Though victorious, these exhausted men were nevertheless too grief-stricken over the loss of comrades, too guilt-ridden that they had survived, and too numbed by trauma to share in the country’s euphoria. Most never saw a ticker-tape parade, or stole a Times Square kiss. All they wanted was to settle back into quiet workaday lives without fear. How tragic that the forces unleashed by WWII made this simple wish impossible. Bill Mauldin brilliantly chronicles these early postwar years and tells his own story of his journey home to a wife he barely knew and a son he had only seen in pictures.
[ISBN 978160699351, Fantagraphics, MAY101017]

I really enjoyed the big 2-volume set of Mauldin's wartime strips from a few years back, so good to see a collection of the rest of the story.

By Tommy Kovac and Andy Hirsch
Frank Fizzle wishes his writer father would have just a single original idea, but instead Jasper Fizzle sees himself as the new “Royal Historian of OZ” as he insists on writing new OZ stories. When the failed writer discovers that Oz really exists, he makes an error in judgment that brands him a criminal in two worlds. Can Frank save the day and redeem the Fizzle family name, or will the drizzly ghost of the Wicked Witch of the West destroy them all?
24pgs, B&W $1.00
[Slave Labor, APR100711]

Sounds like an amusing new book, and Kovac's WONDERLAND series from a while back was entertaining, so worth a look.

The second volume of Nancy in D+Q's John Stanley Library, elegantly designed by Seth, stars the beloved Brillo-headed Nancy in her own comic book series written by the greatest children's comics writer of all time, John Stanley. Stanley, the author of Melvin Monster and Little Lulu, puts his own deft sense of humor and superior cartooning on the Ernie Bushmiller creation with spooky Oona Goosepimple, Spike, and Mr.McOnion. Nancy, along with her sidekick, Sluggo, will charm readers young and old with her hilarious, scheming hijinks.
HC, 8x11, 152pgs, FC $29.95
[ISBN 9781897299968, Drawn and Quarterly, MAR100913]

It's always good to see more of Stanley's work, though there does seem to be an overdose after so many years of nothing, it's hard to absorb it all. But that's a good problem to have.

By George Chieffet and Stephen DeStefano
$19.99 / HC / 120 pgs / PC
Elegantly drawn in a supremely confident, lively, cartoony black-and-white style that recalls Milt Gross and classic Disney animation and comics, Lucky in Love is a unique coming-of-age story that follows its lovable hero Lucky Testatuda from his rascally teen years in Hoboken, New Jersey’s Little Italy to his induction into the air force and subsequent wartime experiences. Ultimately the poignant discoveries Lucky makes on his way to adulthood bestow upon him a very different kind of heroism than that of which he had dreamed... The second and concluding volume, Lucky in Love: Lucky for Life will be released in 2013.
[ISBN 9781606993545, Fantagraphics, APR100963]

Pleasant surprise to see DeStefano back in comics with a major work. Of course most people will remember his work from the excellent 'MAZING MAN and less-excellent-but-still-entertaining HERO HOTLINE from DC, and he did some interesting stuff in the INSTANT PIANO anthology in the 1990s and a few other places.  


One of the few regular mainstream super-hero books I'm really interested in, to the point that I'm considering getting the individual issues (but probably won't), is this 10-issue history of the DC Universe by Len Wein and various artists, including Joe Kubert, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Dave Gibbons, George Perez, Jerry Ordway and various others. I'm cynical enough that I'm assuming it'll be out-of-date and contradicted by other books within weeks of the final issue, if not sooner, but I'm not invested enough in a cohesive universe to care as long as there's a good story, which hopefully this will be.  And man, is that a nice Gibbons cover.

By Dave Sim
"glamourpuss reinvents the Universe." Everyone's favourite fashionista decides a lot of things need to change while she's still young enough to enjoy them — starting with the online universe. Are you ready for FACEITBook? In the "History of Photorealism in Comics" section, a continuing examination of the relationship between Rip Kirby's Alex Raymond and Heart Of Juliet Jones' Stan Drake.
24pgs, B&W $3.00
[Aardvark-Vanaheim, MAY100717]

I haven't been following Sim's latest thing, but I kind of like the cover of this one more than previous issues, and something tickles me about the Sim of all people doing satire based on online social networks.

Who says a comic book has to be good? Not Brand Echh, from 1967-69! Behind a fabulous cover by Marie Severin, we feature a look at Marvel’s madcap parody mag, with rare art and artifacts by Ross Andru, John Buscema, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and more! Plus the conclusion of the cataclysmic George Kashdan interview.
Magazine, 84pgs, PC $7.95
[TwoMorrows, MAY101235]

I stopped getting every issue of ALTER EGO a while back, but I'm comforted to know that it still comes out like clockwork and like to check in every now and then. This seems like it might be a good issue to get.

By Jeff Smith
Collected in this new pocket edition is the hard-boiled, sci-fi tale of Jeff Smith's inter-dimensional art thief known only by the strange four letter word found spray-painted at the scene of a crime: RASL. This 6 1/2" x 9" double edition collects the first seven issues of RASL in one heart-pounding book! A compact, affordable, edition of RASL: a sci-fi/noir tale of violence and corruption where murder and passion mix with folklore and cutting-edge physics.
SC, 6.5x9, 224pgs, B&W $17.95
[Cartoon Books, MAY100912]

Well, I dropped the serialized version of RASL when I saw how good the big collections looked, but now I kind of think I might like this version even more. Maybe I should just wait for the RASL ONE VOLUME edition when the series is done... Anyway, interesting book, very different from BONE, worth checking out in any or all formats.

By Steven Brower
$39.99 / HC / 220 pgs / FC
This lush art book and critical biography compiles for the first time the best art from one of the 20th century’s most influential and overlooked comic book artists: Mort Meskin. His life and work left an indelible impression on many, including: Jack Kirby, Jerry Robinson, Alex Toth, Steve Ditko, Jim Steranko, Stan Lee and many more. Meskin’s contributions to our form reshaped how comics articulated our imaginations, specifically by his sophisticated chiaroscuro technique Meskin defined space within the panel like none who had come before. With this tome Fantagraphics is proud to set the record straight and add his name to the pantheon of comic book artists who helped create this distinctly American art form.
[ISBN 9781606993583, Fantagraphics, MAY101012]

I'm not too familiar with Meskin's art, but I do like what I've seen, and this looks like it'll be a fascinating book.

By Charles M. Schulz
Introduction by Alec Baldwin
$28.99 / HC / 344 pgs / BW
This new volume of everyone’s favorite classic comic strip establishes the last two recurring characters (Snoopy’s brother Spike and Rerun Van Pelt) and features an amazing profusion of hilariously distinctive new characters who appeared in only one or two strips total! Including: a group of diminutive baseball players, Austin, Ruby, Leland, and Milo. Their coach, good ole Charlie Brown has been found guilty by the EPA of biting the Kite-Eating tree and must go on the lam where he establishes the midget baseball team known as the “Goose Eggs.” All that and more including the usual cast of beloved characters (including the talking schoolhouse and the doghouse-jigsawing cat, who steals Linus’s blanket creating much unrest). Wait! Don’t forget the introduction by Alec Baldwin!
[ISBN 978-1606993750, Fantagraphics, MAY101018]

Spike I'm still not sold on, but I kind of like Rerun. Anyway, these are among the earliest strips I would have read in the newspaper at age 7-8, so there's that.  Intro by Alec Baldwin, though?  Seriously?  You'd think with only 25 of these there would be a lot more prominent people with more bookstore-attractive names lining up to write intros you'd get to before Alec Baldwin.  I understood the Kristin Chenoweth thing a few books back since she played cover-featured Sally Brown in a production of the stage play based on Peanuts, is there some Baldwin connection I'm missing?  He didn't play Peppermint Patty, did he?  Because if he did, I need to see a video of that...

By Stan Sakai
[Dark Horse]

Just a quick mention of USAGI, still going strong after all these years, up to #130 (around 180 with the previous volumes) and no sign of slowing down, plus more collections of the older stuff (looks like that big Fantagraphics collection of the entire first series is delayed, hopefully we'll see it soon). The Sakai abides. I don't know about you but I take comfort in that. It's good knowin' he's out there.

By Dave McKean
On sale Aug 25
FC, 496 pages $29.99
TPB, 8 1/2" x 10 3/16"
Dave McKean’s Cages is finally back in print!
Best known for his collaborations with Neil Gaiman, McKean defied expectations with his stunning debut as writer and artist in Cages, winner of multiple awards for Best Graphic Album.
Filled with complex characters, intriguing flights of fancy, and all the beautiful visuals you’d expect from the director of MirrorMask, Cages is McKean’s magnum opus. It chronicles the intersecting lives of a painter, a writer, and a musician living in the same apartment building, and is a profound rumination on art, God, cats, and the cages we build for ourselves.
Out of print for years, Cages is finally available in an affordable new softcover edition, remastered and newly redesigned, with a brand-new cover by McKean.
• Almost five hundred pages in an affordable softcover!
• Features painstakingly rescanned and remastered art.
[ISBN 9781595823168, Dark Horse, APR100045]

This has been on the schedule a few times, major books like this seem to take Dark Horse a few tries to actually get out. Anyway, I didn't pick up the previous hardcover editions from various publishers, but this one has a nice price and it'll be interesting to see the "remastered" art.

by James Turner
A slacker prince inherits a space empire and finds himself responsible for the lives of billions. Emperor Zoz of Io has retired, leaving his slacker son Zing in charge of the Ion Empire. After initiating sweeping social reforms to impress his friend, Moxy Comet, Zing upsets the army by cutting the military budget to pay for them. Can one slacker prince get up off his ass long enough to save the galaxy?
SC, 208pgs, B&W $14.95
[ISBN 1593621957, Slave Labor, MAY100724]

The original one-shot comic was entertaining, as was Turner's REX LIBRIS book, so hopefully it'll find some success in this new hopefully Diamond impervious format.

Fandral the Dashing, Hogun the Grim, Volstagg the Voluminous: They may not have made it into the mythology books, but they're living legends to this day – and some of their solo sagas are collected here for the first time! The Warriors Three tackle organized crime in Manhattan, then embark on an Asgardian quest that takes them deeper than ever before into peril – and into themselves! Featuring stories by Alien Legion co-creator Alan Zelenetz! Collecting MARVEL SPOTLIGHT (1971) #30 and MARVEL FANFARE (1982) #13 & #34-37.
144 PGS. $19.99
[ISBN 9780785144809, Marvel, MAR100643]

I really like the Zelenetz/Vess stuff from Marvel Fanfare, and while I've never read the 1970s issue I'm always interested in some Wein/Buscema/Sinnott. A bit of a shame that, with the book being so slim, they aren't including the RAVEN BANNER graphic novel by Zelenetz and Vess, which could really use an updated printing job, and maybe the other Thor related Vess short story with Loki, which I just found out about recently.

On sale JUNE 30 • 1 of 2 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US
Written by KURT BUSIEK
Cover by ALEX ROSS
At last, the full story of the Silver Agent’s fateful journey through time — including his origin, his greatest battles and his ultimate fate — can be revealed. It’s all right here in a 2-issue miniseries spanning from the late 1950s to the far future. Guest-starring a constellation of Astro City stars and introducing the Silver Centurions, this very personal story will blow readers away on a galactic scale.

On sale JULY 28 • 2 of 2 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US
Written by KURT BUSIEK
Cover by ALEX ROSS
The Silver Agent faces his last battle to save a world he’s already saved. A heroic life comes full circle and a heroic legacy lives on in ways no one – much less the Agent himself – could ever have expected. Say goodbye to one of Astro City’s finest and uncover more of the city’s secrets in this finale to the 2-issue event.

[DC, APR100250, MAY100243]

I've drifted away from ASTRO CITY over the years, but this is one of the stories hinted at in the earliest issues that I was most interested in, so I might pick up the individual issues, and if seems to recapture what I liked about the series early on I might catch up on some of the stuff I missed (probably not that 16-part saga that just ended, though).

story & art VARIOUS
160 pages/FC $29.99
Some of the comic book industries best and brightest use their talents to welcome the next generation of comic book readers with the kid-friendly anthology, FRACTURED FABLES! Features all-new, humorous takes on our most beloved fairy tales with stories by award-winning creators like JILL THOMPSON, BRYAN TALBOT, PETER DAVID, BEN TEMPLESMITH, TERRY MOORE, SCOTT MORSE, DOUG TENNAPEL, TED McKEEVER, BILL MORRISON, LARRY MARDER, JIM VALENTINO, PHIL HESTER, SHANNON WHEELER and many more!
[ISBN 1607062690, Image, MAY100407]

Well, obviously the presence of Larry Marder, even on non-Beanworld stuff, makes this worth a look. Bryan Talbot and some of the others are also names well worth paying attention to.

By Roger Langridge and Amy Mebberson
The Muppet Theatre has been repaired, and it's time to once again start the Muppet Show! The search for a new performer leads to an unexpected guest, prompting a family reunion that fans have been asking for, but never expected! This is the one Muppets fans have been demanding, and will be talking about for months to come! Written by the critically acclaimed Roger Langridge with art by Amy Mebberson. SOFTCOVER, 6x9, 128pgs, FC $9.99
[ISBN 9781608865871, Boom, MAY100892]

As I mentioned recently, Langridge's version of the Muppets was surprisingly effective in the first two books, and by the time this comes out I'm sure I'll be ready for more.

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