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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Newly acquired books 2013.01.15

Figured I'd start posting briefly about books as I get them, even though I won't finish reading some of them for a few months or even years. Or in rare cases, I never will. First some print stuff, and then some free digital stuff below.


COMPLETE NEMESIS THE WARLOCK #3 [2007] is the third and final volume of the adventures of the Pat Mills / Kevin O'Neill creation published in the pages of 2000 A.D. from 1980 to 1999, featuring the last three books:
8 - Purity's Story (art by David Roach)
9 - Deathbringer (art by John Hicklenton)
10 - The Final Conflict (art by Henry Flint, final chapter by Kevin O`Neill)
Plus an assortment of painted stories by various artists.

Other than the various works by Alan Moore, Nemesis The Warlock is the only 2000 A.D. feature I have more than a passing interest in.  The few dozen Dredd stories I've read have been enough for me to get the idea, and nothing else has really captured my imagination. But Nemesis always seemed intriguing, and after reading all the Mills/O'Neill MARSHAL LAW I could find, I picked up the first book a few years ago, got the second soon after, but had trouble finding the third for some reason. That's resolved now, but I'll probably go back and re-read the whole thing from the beginning before I get to this one.

POGO - THE COMPLETE SYNDICATED COMIC STRIPS #2 [2012] continues Walt Kelly's comic strips, with both daily and full colour Sunday pages from 1951 and 1952.  I'll have to try to ration this out, since they only seem to be publishing a book a year, and with every two volumes coming in a slipcase, I'm tempted to wait until two more come out to get #3 and #4 in a set. Oh, I'm kidding myself that I have that kind of self control...

ESSENTIAL BLACK PANTHER #1 [2012], I'm always somewhat reluctant to pick up anything from Marvel for various reasons, but I figured waiting until almost a year after the book comes out works out nicely. I've always been curious about Don McGregor's 1970s run on Jack Kirby's creation, the "Panther's Rage" storyline, highly praised by some people whose opinions I respect, and this seemed like my best bet to get it. It helps that this also reprints most of the Kirby/Royer run on the series. Kind of wish they squeezed in those last two issues, but then I wish the colour reprints didn't continue beyond Kirby's last issue. Just leafing through, Billy Graham's art seems pretty sharp, Gil Kane's single issue looks great, even Rich Buckler as inked by Klaus Janson looks better than most of the his work I've seen.

By the way, I've joked before that I can count on finding at least one typo or production error in any Marvel book within five minutes of picking it up.  The table on contents for this one lists "P. Craig Russel [sic]" as the inker on one issue. Hopefully that's it for this book...

SHOWCASE PRESENTS WEIRD WAR TALES [2012], the latest of DC's big black&white reprint books, with the first 21 issues of the series launched in 1971, I've got a backlog of these I want to buy, and a backlog of those to read among those I've bought, but this one I had to get right away. Launched by editor Joe Kubert as primarily a reprint title for the 1950s DC war books, he also included some new framing sequences and a few new stories by Sam Glanzman (including a USS Stevens story), Russ Heath and others. Then Joe Orlando takes over with #8, and it becomes more of a war book in DC's mystery line (as opposed to a mystery book in the war line under Kubert), including a lot of work from the Filipino artists then becoming regulars in Orlando's other anthology books, such as Tony DeZuniga, Alex Nino and Alfredo Alcala. Their work always looks especially good in black and white. Sheldon Mayer also contributes a few great stories, one drawn by Alex Toth, and there's a memorable early Walter Simonson story in there. I have about half these issues, so I'm glad to have this book so I no longer have to look around for reading copies of the others.

And on the digital side...

Comixology gave me a copy of Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover's BANDETTE #1 for free after I filled out a survey. It's a cute enough thing, mostly thanks to the art, and the other two issues so far are only $1 each, so maybe I'll check them out.

Marvel generally makes three or four comics a week temporarily available for free on Comixology, mostly first issues or first chapters of storylines. I justify downloading them since I figure free to me must cost them some amount of money, however minuscule. They generally remind me modern Marvel comics aren't written for me. Most interesting thing this week is a Hulk issue drawn by Steve Dillon. Haven't read it yet.

As I've mentioned before, I find the iVerse interface inferior enough that I'd only buy something there if there wasn't a choice. That hasn't happened yet, but the closest they've come is with some of Rick Veitch's work. BRAT PACK (the revised version) is available in five chapters, with the first free and the others $1, so if I didn't have the collection and the original issues, $4 for the series would be a bargain. Check it out if you've ever been curious. Veitch also has an anthology called BONG, the first free issue includes the Peanuts parody "Nutpeas", "The Tell-Tale Fart" (with Steve Bissette, scanned from the original art), a new Subtleman story continuing from the last RARE BIT FIENDS (previously seen as a webcomic) and the first chapter of ABRAXAS AND THE EARTHMAN, the classic story seen in EPIC ILLUSTRATED. If I didn't already have the ABRAXAS book published in 2006 that alone would be worth buying #2 for $1, though I'd prefer to buy just an ABRAXAS digital book for $5 or so.

[and to update, there are a few presentation problems with BONG which I asked Veitch about, and you might want to wait to see if those are fixed before getting anything but the free issue]

The British children's comic THE PHOENIX launched a digital edition. I wasn't that interested in the contents, but the app is done by Panel Nine, and I'm always interested in what they do in terms of format, so I checked out the sample issue. Pretty well done, and some of the content made it tempting to subscribe, while most of it was professional but obviously not for me. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I missed the bargain price subscription offer. It was worth checking out to see how they handled double page spreads, which hasn't been an issue in the previous Panel Nine books. They came up with the first really elegant solution to the problem I've ever seen. Maybe not quite perfect, but definitely a path forward.

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