Author Archive

Wednesday is New Comics Day

May 06, 2009 By: Rich Barrett Category: Uncategorized

Every Wednesday we run down the 5 most interesting comics or graphic novels coming out for the week.

By Dave Sim

This isn’t what you might expect from the title. It’s not some sort of omnibus repackaging of Dave Sim’s 300-issue classic story of a barbarian aardvark turned papal aardvark. You’ll have to stick to the phonebook sized volumes that already exist for that. This is a new bi-monthly, floppy format series where Dave Sim looks back over the work he put into this series and shares some sketches, unpublished stories and even rejection letters from publishers. So obviously this is for the already initiated – fans of not only Cerebus itself but those willing to read Sim’s verbose and eccentric offerings like Glamourpuss.

Written by Roger Langridge and Scott Gray; art by Roger Langridge
$3.99 | 48 pgs

Roger Langridge and Scott Gray return to playing around with Marvel’s forgotten, pre-Silver Age monsters in this one-shot featuring the gargantuan creatues Fin Fang Foom, Elektro, Googam and Gorgilla. These four fearsome monsters have been reduced to human size and now have to assimilate into society. Langridge, as we’ve all seen recently in his new Muppet Show series, is a master of the slapstick comic book and this one does not shy away from craziness of any sort. It’s great for kids too, as well as fans that might actually remember a time when these characters were actually considered scary.

By Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim
First Second
$16.95 | 176 pgs

Gene Luen Yang became the unofficial star of First Second books when his American Born Chinese became the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award. Meanwhile, Derek Kirk Kim is the highly acclaimed creator of the award winning Same Difference and Other Stories as well as the artist for the DC Minx graphic novel Good As Lilly. So, needless to say, a new book containing three short stories by these two men is kind of a big deal.

The three stories collected here range from a fantasy adventure with princes and frogs to a Scrooge McDuck/Pogo style comedy to an office drama involving Nigerian internet scams.

Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti; art by Amanda Connor
DC Comics
$3.99 | 32 pgs

I’ve always thought of Power Girl as the girl you’d like to cheat on Supergirl with. But the thing is, Power Girl deserves a shot at happiness too. Even though she’s a DC Comics mainstay, I think this is the first ongoing series she’s ever had. They’ve definitely found the perfect people to give her that chance. Husband and wife team Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Connor – joined by writer Justin Gray – previously brought some empathy and cuteness to the character that she’s never really had before in a 3 issue JSA Classified story a few years ago. Now they try it on a regular basis starting with a storyline that has Power Girl creating a new secret identity for herself while saving Manhattan from alien invaders.

But don’t worry, we all know what you’re really looking for so don’t miss the boob-alicious Adam Hughes variant cover, shown here.

By Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neil
Top Shelf
$7.95 | 80 pgs

After the text-heavy (and 3-D-heavy) taster, The Black Dossier, Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neil return with a proper 3-volume adventure. This time Mina Murray and Allan Quartermaine have entered the 20th century where must face a shadowy occult order and a serial killer called Jack The Ripper. Lots of new characters join the cast this time around like Mac The Knife, Pirate Jenny and Orlando (who we saw join the League in the Black Dossier). It’s going to be a wild ride into the 1900s full of references to The Threepenny Opera, Aleister Crowley, Somerset Maugham and more.


If you enjoy zombies and/or dark survivalist dramas like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road then don’t ask any questions and just pick up this hefty volume that contains the first 48 issues of this excellent series.

A new collection of the classic Martin/Hewlett Tank Girl stories with some recolored stories.

Eric Powell drawing Bizarro? Nuff said.

A graphic novel from Viktor Kalvachev about a female spy that may be having a mental breakdown. Reprinted from an issue of Heavy Metal magazine.

Collecting the first half of Brian Michael Bendis’ early and groundbreaking Marvel series about a former superheroine turned down and out private eye.

A new collection of experimental, stream-of-conscious art comics from Anders Nilsen.

A new edition of Ed Brubaker’s precursor to his now famous and influential supervillain spy drama, Sleeper.


Saturday is Free Comic Book Day (but here’s some books worth spending money on)

April 29, 2009 By: Rich Barrett Category: Uncategorized

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY is nearly upon us so rather than doing my usual countdown of new comics and rather than highlighting the free offerings you’ll find at the comic shop this Saturday I thought I’d point out some other worthwhile books to hunt down while you’re at the shop picking up the free stuff. The following is some different types of books that will satisfy some of your particular comic needs.


Every year we get a new comic book movie as the driving force behind FCBD and this year it’s X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE. So, what are the good Wolverine comics to pick up and enjoy after seeing the movie? Since there are a bajillion books out there featuring the famous X-men it can be a little overwhelming to pick out one that might actually be a good read on its own (without being up on everything that comes before it). There’s always the book WOLVERINE: ORIGIN which the movie draws a few elements from. But be aware that this is a book about Wolverine as a kid in the 19th century so it may not be what you’re expecting. For a modern, action-packed book showing Wolverine kicking ass and taking names try WOLVERINE: GET MYSTIQUE by Jason Aaron and Ron Garney. All you need to know going into it is that it’s about Wolverine on a mission to kill the shape-shifting villain Mystique.


If you’re tired of the same old superhero books from Marvel and DC you really need to try Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba’s THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY. Yes, Gerard Way is the lead singer of the band My Chemical Romance. But after you read this book you’ll only think of him as Gerard Way, The Comic Book writer. This is really that good. It’s a fun story full of crazy superhero action, explosions, time travel and all that stuff but done in a way that surprises you at each step. At it’s heart it’s a story about family. I like to think of it as What If Royal Tenenbaums Director Wes Anderson Made The Incredibles?

Way’s writing style reminds me a little of Grant Morrison who is no stranger to post-modern superhero deconstruction. Probably my favorite superhero work by Morrison is his SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY series. An ambitious story consisting of seven four-issue minis that weave in and out of each other to tell a larger epic that spans from the beginning of time to the end of the world, Seven Soldiers is a dense and complicated read. Best enjoyed by reading multiple times with a set of annotations nearby.


If you think there are a lot of Wolverine comics out there to sort through, wait until you start trying to figure out what kind of manga to read. There’s a lot and, unlike Wolverine comics, they’re all pretty different. So, if you’re new to it, where to begin? Start with two names: Tezuka and Urasawa.

Osamu Tezuka is the grandfather of modern Japanese manga and you might know his most famous creation from the famous anime is spawned: Astro Boy. He has a variety of work out there though and a lot of it has geared more towards adult tastes but with artwork that can look like it’s made for kids. One of his most revered works is the epic multi-volume BUDDHA which tells the life story of the founding prophet of the Buddhist religion but mixes in fictional characters and some almost Disney-like cartoon elements to make it a fun, family-friendly epic (though with its fair share of nudity and things like a little kid getting eaten by a snake which I guess could freak some little ones out).

Naoki Urasawa is the modern day master of manga. His artwork is less cartoony than Tezuka’s but his stories draw a lot of influence from his predecessor. In fact, the most recent U.S. release of Tezuka’s is Pluto, a dark and intriguing sci-fi book that is based on some secondary characters from Tezuka’s kid-friendly Astro Boy. Tezuka’s award-winning masterpiece is MONSTER, a 15 volume epic about a Japanese doctor in Germany that 10 years ago saved the life of a young boy who has now grown up to become a dangerous serial killer.


This is an easy one. If you like crime stories and aren’t already reading Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips’ CRIMINAL then you’re missing out on arguably the greatest crime comic ever made. There’s a few volumes available now and each one is mostly self-contained so check out my favorite, Vol. 3: THE DEAD AND THE DYING. It’s a three parter that basically tells the same story three times from three different points of view.

If you want to dig a little deeper into the comic world’s crime offerings, seek out some STRAY BULLETS by David Lapham. Over the course of several volumes, Lapham introduces numerous characters and gets them all in over their head in some really nasty situations. For the most part you can pick up any volume that you find and jump in as there is a good mix of self-contained stories with some continuation of larger over-arching plots. Just be aware, if you get too caught up in it, Lapham was self-publishing this book and sort of ran out dough and has left the book hanging for a while now to do some paid work for DC. No word on if and when he will get back to it.


These seem so rare these days but a new comic just released by Boom Studios is sure to please both you and your kids: THE MUPPET SHOW. Written and illustrated by cartooning genius Roger Langridge, this five issue mini-series perfectly captures the vaudeville feel of both the old show and Langridge’s own work like Fred The Clown. The second issue of this series just came out this week.

Boom has recently published a couple of Pixar related books too like a CARS prequel and an INCREDIBLES comic written by the great superhero writer Mark Waid.


TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE does exactly what the title implies. It’s the brainchild of Michael Kupperman and its absurdist sense of humor is sure to appeal to Adult Swim fans (in fact a reoccurring bit in this book, “Snake ‘n Bacon” is soon to be a series on that network. The most recent issue is #5 which is intended by the author to only be read by old people for some reason. Stories include Mark Twain and Albert Einstein teaming up to solve mysteries and aliens abduct a man and give him sexy woman legs.

For something a bit on the risque side, there’s the self-aware cheesecake comic EMPOWERED which is secretly a fantastic commentary on superhero comic stereotypes and the demeaning nature of “good girl” art. It’s about a plucky, superheroine named Empowered whose power derives from her skintight, alien costume. Unfortunately it is ridiculously fragile and prone to being shredded in very revealing ways which leave her powerless and susceptible to being tied up by super-villains. All of which makes her a laughing-stock among other heroes and gives her a complex about her own worth as a hero.


I mentioned it above but it’s worth re-mentioning Naoki Urasawa’s PLUTO. It’s a robot story that mixes 50’s style Astro Boy robots with Blade Runner replicant-style “human” robots.

If you’re sci-fi tastes lean more to the retro-side of things though you should be reading Rick Remender and Tony Moore’s FEAR AGENT. You can start at the beginning but I really enjoyed VOL 3: THE LAST GOODBYE which tells how an alien invasion turned our hero from a Texas family man into a hard-drinking, spacesuit-wearing ray-gun slinger. It’s a horrific invasion story despite its use of goofy looking aliens which will make you think of some of the chilling sci-fi stories told by the EC Comics greats like Jack Davis.


Zombies are everyone’s creature of choice these days but don’t go for that Marvel Zombies stuff. Robert Kirkman’s THE WALKING DEAD holds true to the zombie tenet that the undead are always the least of the survivor’s problems. Start at the beginning with volume 1 and follow the dwindling number of survivors as they try to make a go of it in this post-apocalyptic world.

For sheer terror though, try Kazuo Umezu’s classic manga THE DRIFTING CLASSROOM. It’s about a school in Japan that disappears in an earthquake and reappears in a desert wasteland leaving teachers and children confused, terrified and alone. Everything begins to break apart, much as it did to the poor kids in Lord of the Flies, but Umezu holds nothing back and no one in this story is safe. Children especially.


Comics aren’t just about zombies and superheroes remember. There’s a wealth of stuff out there that will tug at your heart strings and maybe even make you cry.

Jeff Lemire’s Essex County Trilogy is a highly acclaimed graphic novel series that begins with TALES FROM THE FARM a story about an orphaned ten year old who befriends the town’s gas station owner as both share a common desire to escape their real world problems into the world of superhero fantasy.

Alex Robinson’s TOO COOL TO BE FORGOTTEN is, on the surface, a similar story to that new Zac Effron flick where a middle-aged dad finds himself magically transferred into the body of a high school student. Robinson uses the concept to explore ideas about memory and parenthood in a very touching way.

And, Dash Shaw’s BOTTOMLESS BELLY BUTTON is just about the most realistic portrayal of a disfunctional family I’ve ever seen in comics, despite the fact that the youngest son is drawn with a frog head.


Wednesday is New Comics Day

April 22, 2009 By: Rich Barrett Category: Uncategorized

Every Wednesday we run down the 5 most interesting comics or graphic novels coming out for the week.

Written by Neil Gaiman; Art by Andy Kubert and Scott Williams; Cover by Andy Kubert; Variant sketch cover by Andy Kubert
DC Comics
$3.99 | 48 pgs

After a bit of a delay we finally get the second and final part of Neil Gaiman’s “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader” story that began in the last issue of Batman. If you’re coming in late, Batman is dead and they’re having a funeral for him. Except this doesn’t seem to be the Batman (or the Bat-continuity) that we’ve been following recently. It’s more of an amalgam of the kooky elements of Bat-history (very much like what we’ve seen Grant Morrison do in his recent run on the title).

It’s a weird little story very much inspired by Alan Moore’s classic end-of-Superman tale “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” from the mid-80s. Neil Gaiman needs no introduction of course and probably neither does the artist on this book, Andy Kubert so it’s a given that a lot of people will be checking out where this story goes in this issue.

Written by Bill Finger, Edmond Hamilton and others; Art by Lew Sayre Schwartz, Dick Sprang and others; Composite cover by Curt Swan and others
$39.99 | 256 pgs

Speaking of wacky Batman stuff, DC also has this collection of stories from a number of Batman Annuals that came out in the early 60s. This is full of the kind of stuff that used to make Dark Knight fans shudder with embarrassment but thanks to Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman and the Cartoon Network and a growing ennui with gritty, depressing Batman stories this kind of thing has come back in vogue. Legendary writers and artists like Bill Finger and Dick Sprang bring you crazy tales with shirtless Batman and Robin in the jungle, fighting an octopus and wearing kilts for some reason. And that’s just what you can glean from looking at the cover. If you’re a fan of the new Brave and the Bold series on Cartoon Network than this is where the inspiration from that show came from (this and hallucinatory drugs I’m sure).

Written by Jason Aaron; Art by Davide Furno and R.M. Guera; Cover by Jock
DC Vertigo
$14.99 | 144pgs

Since it’s a generally slow week for new stuff I’ll take this opportunity to quickly point out that Scalped is one of the best ongoing comics out there right now. It’s a dark crime drama set on a decrepit and drug-addled Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Dash Bad Horse is the prodigal son come home after years away from “the Rez” to take a job as a local law enforcer. Which actually means working for shady Casino owner and manipulator of all things on the Reservation, Chief Red Crow. But Dash has more than one agenda in this complicated tale of murder, drugs and dysfunctional family issues.

The latest trade paperback comes out this week and it focuses on Red Crow and the one man he has to answer to: Mr. Brass.

2. I AM LEGION #3 (of 6)
Written by Fabien Nury; art by John Cassady
Devil’s Due
$3.50 | 32 pgs

Attention anyone who bought the DC Humanoids graphic novel I Am Legion back in 2004 and always wondered what happened next: This is what happens next.

DC had reprinted the European comic (originally published by Humanoids) illustrated by Planetary and Astonishing X-men artist John Cassady in a graphic novel format but it only contained the equivalent of the first two issues of the story. Then DC abandoned the poorly selling line and left the handful of American readers of this book hanging.

Now, here in 2009, Devil’s Due has picked up the Humanoids mantle and is releasing this series in comic format. Issue #3 continues where DC’s graphic novel left off so now’s the time for readers of that book to get back into this supernatural thriller about Nazis and a young Romanian girl with the power to tilt the war in their direction.

The artwork, as you might expect from Cassady, is breathtaking.

1. VIKING #1
Written by Ivan Brandon; art by Nic Klein
Image Comics
$2.99 | 24 pgs

The newest crime comic to hit the stands takes place in one of the most brutal periods of crime history: the 9th Century. Ivan Brandon (Cross Bronx) and Nic Klein (who’s done a lot of painted cover work for Marvel) collaborate on this ultra-violent viking tale about two brothers fighting their way to top of the Norse mob.

Though the concept is novel the real attraction here is the unique art by Klein. As you can see from this preview, his work here is a unique mixture of styles that seems part EC Comics, part Neal Adams and part – oh, I don’t know – Genndy Tartakovsky maybe? It’s striking and should make a big splash, appealing to fans of Brian Wood’s Norhtlanders, Ed Brubaker’s Criminal and Jason Aaron’s Scalped.


Wednesday is New Comics Day

April 15, 2009 By: Rich Barrett Category: Uncategorized

Every Wednesday we count down the 5 most interesting and noteworthy comics or graphic novels coming out for the week.

5. 100%
By Paul Pope
DC Vertigo
$39.99 | 256 pgs

Following up on their hardcover treatment of Heavy Liquid a few months back, Vertigo continues their repackaging of their Paul Pope library with 100%, arguably his most popular and acclaimed book. If you’ve never read any of Pope’s stuff, this is a good place to start. It’s a sexy and stylish cyberpunk drama set in 2038 following the lives of six interconnected New Yorkers. Pope’s style is a fusion of Japanese and European styles and has made him not only popular with us comics people but with commercial advertising and NY fashionistas as well (check out the work he’s done for Diesel if you haven’t already).

There’s some sketches and some new material included in this new printing.

Written by Tiziano Sclavi; art by various
Dark Horse
$24.95 | 680 pgs

Though most American comics readers have probably never heard of Dylan Dog, this Italian comic, first published in 1986, has been a huge success in Europe and is soon to be made into a motion picture called Dead of Night starring Brandon (Superman) Routh. Dark Horse is releasing the first English version of this series in a decade by dropping a 680 page brick on us complete with a new Mike Mignola cover.

Dylan Dog is an ex-cop and paranormal investigator living and working in London. He is accompanied by his partner, Groucho, looks exactly like Groucho Marx and his former boss, Inspector Bloch, who acts in the skeptical Skully role of the non-believer in all things supernatural. What makes Dylan Dog interesting is his numerous hangups. After losing
his wife he wears the same outfit all the time, he’s afraid of bats and heights and is claustrophobic and he seems to have an Oedipus complex in that he is constantly falling in love with women that resemble his dead mother.

Check out a preview here.

By James Sturm, Andrew Arnold and Alexis Frederick-Frost
First Second
$12.95 | 112 pgs

There’s a lot of how-to books out there for aspiring comic creators but none quite like this. Aimed at a much younger audience than theory books like Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, this new book teaches kids cartooning skills within the context of a story in which a princess tries to make a cartoon but doesn’t think she’s good enough to do it. The cartoons are light and kid-friendly but the information it passes on is useful for artists of any age. It’s written by James Sturm (Golem’s Mighty Swing) who is the founder of the Center for Cartoon Studies. With this book he collaborates with two newcomers and former students of his, Andrew Arnold and Alexis Frederick-Frost.

Read a little preview here.

Written by Joshua Fialkov, Christopher Yost, Robin Furth, Ted McKeever; art by Paco Diaz Luque and Ted McKeever

Back in the ’70’s Marvel put out an black and white magazine called Rampaging Hulk that I actually have fond memories of (though if I were to re-read it now I’m sure it wouldn’t seem as great as it did then). It featured out-of-continuity Hulk stories that were slightly more mature in hopes of pulling in the audience of the popular TV show of the time. I guess with the new Wolverine movie coming out you could say that might be the thinking behind this new magazine-sized comic that borrows everything from that Hulk book including the adjective.

There are three stories included in this first issue and the creative teams are a bit unusual for a Wolverine comic. Joshua Fialkov is the writer of the acclaimed series Elk’s Run and Ted McKeever is known for his creator-owned sci-fi books like Metropol. I think Wolverine battles pirates in one of these stories which seems topical right now though I think they are of the South Pacific rather than the Somali variety.

If you’re love for Wolvie is so strong that a magazine-sized black and white comic just won’t be enough of a fix for you than this is your week. This is not the only Wolverine comic hitting the stands by any stretch of the imagination. You’ve also got Wolverine Noir #1 in which Wolverine is re-imagined as a hard-boilded detective in 1930s New York. Wolverine: Logan written by Lost and Y: The Last Man writer Bryan K. Vaughan with art by 100 Bullets artist Eduardo Risso and of course the latest issues of Wolverine proper and Uncanny X-men.

1. 100 BULLETS #100
Written by Brian Azzarello; Art by Eduardo Risso; Cover by Dave Johnson
DC Vertigo
$2.99 | 32 pgs

This is it, the final issue of the excellent crime/conspiracy thriller 100 Bullets. They always said it would aptly end at the hundredth issue and here it is. Myself, I’ve been holding off on reading the last few story arcs until this whole thing came to an end so that I can go back and start re-reading the whole epic tale from the beginning to try to sort through all the twists and turns. If you haven’t read any of it yet than take this new release as a sign that it’s time to start at the beginning. In fact, I’d expect some nice hardcover collections to start hitting pretty soon, so maybe hold off a little bit longer.

A book that started off pretty unassumingly about a mysterious man who shows up offering various people a briefcase containing everything they need to get revenge on the person that ruined their life slowly built into a complicated web of a story about assassins, secret organizations and Manchurian Candidate-style hypnotic suggestion. Brian Azzarello writes with the tough guy flair of crime writers like Elmore Leonard and James Ellroy. Eduardo Risso illustrates it all with drenching, black shadows and expressionistic gestures. Dave Johnson captures the essence of each chapter succinctly in an intriguing cover image. They were an amazing team and you know what? None of them ever missed an issue.


This might be a little hard to find but it collects works adapted from Hollywood and television properties by the great master, Alex Toth. Stuff like Roy Rogers
The third and final volume of these golden age reprints
Reasons this is essential: Paul Chadwick is credited as one of the creators in this volume. Reasons this may NOT be essential: Every story has Dazzler in it.


Wednesday is New Comics Day

April 01, 2009 By: Rich Barrett Category: Uncategorized

Every Wednesday we run down the 5 most interesting comics or graphic novels coming out for the week.

Written by James Robinson; Art by Marcos Martin

Can you believe it’s been 70 years already? To celebrate, Marvel provides a one-shot containing a new story and a classic reprint. James (Starman) Robinson gives us a tale that goes way back here. Back to before Steve Rogers even became Captain America. In addition, we get to read a classic early Cap story by his creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. The real draw for me though is underrated artist Marcos Martin (Amazing Spider-man) who provides the art for Robinson’s story. His cartoony style is reminiscent of Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale and exudes more energy using less lines than most superhero artists could do if they tried.

Written by Robert Kirkman; art by Cory Walker

Robert Kirkman rejoins Cory Walker, his original artist on Invincible for a new 5 issue mini-series published in Marvel’s mature readers MAX line. Kirkman has chosen to use this series to update an old Golden Age hero no one’s ever heard of who apparently is the first superhero ever created by Stan Lee (as far as I know this isn’t an April Fools Joke but you never know today). Keen Marlowe, once known as the superhero The Destroyer, finds out he is dying and decides to take as many bad guys with him as he can in the time he has left.

Kirkman is wildly popular due to his two Image creations – Invincible and The Walking Dead but his Marvel work has been kind of spotty. Under the freer reign of the MAX line though and with an obscure, blank slate character he’ll probably be able to be the Robert Kirkman we love.

Here’s a preview.

By Boody Rogers
$19.99 | 144pgs

Never heard of Boody Rogers, huh? You’re not alone. The last few years have taught us though there is a wealth of forgotten comics creators from the early days of the medium whose weird and imaginative work may not have caught on with readers in the 1940s but is comic gold for ironic hipsters and comic historians alike. Retrospective books like I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets! introduced us to twisted golden-age genius Fletcher Hanks and Dan Nadel’s anthology Art Out of Time showcased many obscure creators from comics past including Boody Rogers.

This new book, devoted entirely to Rogers’ work, contains many warped stories with goofy looking monsters and sexy babes. Allot for roughly 24 hours time after reading this to readjust to your own boring reality.

Here’s a slideshow preview.

Written by Geoff Johns; art by Ethan Van Sciver
$3.99 | 40pgs

Back in 2005, Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver made 30- and 40-something fanboys ecstatic by bringing back the One True Green Lantern – Hal Jordan – in Green Lantern: Rebirth. It was an exciting series full of surprises and some interesting retcons that helped set the stage for the new Jordan-focused Green Lantern series that Johns is still writing.

Lightning is striking twice, so to speak, with this new mini-series by the same creative team that hopes to bring Barry Allen back to his rightful mantle of the One True Flash. In some ways his task could be harder here as the current Wally West Flash has been pretty popular for many years thanks to Johns himself who had a long and popular run on the Flash title, making Wally West a very human and likable character. Plus, Barry Allen famously dying at the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths is one of the most important moments in the modern DC universe that some fans may not want undone. But, don’t discount us pre-Crisis fanboys and our nostalgia for the way things were. Plus, don’t you want to live in a world where no one stays dead?

Written by Grant Morrison; Art and Cover by Cameron Stewart
DC Comics
$3.99 | 40pgs

For a small but vocal minority of the comic book community, this book is the most anticipated release of 2009. I’d count myself as part of that group. Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart’s first Seaguy series was a bizarre story about a somber hero dressed in a diving suit and accompanied by a cigar chomping fish named Chubby Da Choona who embarks on an adventure to save a sentient food from the corporate evil of Mickey Eye and impress the bearded girl that he pines for. Beneath it’s seemingly obtuse plot lay Morrison’s commentary on the cynical business of superhero comics.

Hardcore Morrison fans loved it but no one else really bought it. Morrison had always planned the first series to be part one of a trilogy and rumor has it he bargained with DC to help write their weekly series 52 in exchange for reversing their decision not to publish any further Seaguy adventures.

In this new 3-issue middle volume, Seaguy has become bitter and has grown to hate the sea. But the world needs him so hopefully he can pull himself together.

Here’s a preview!


I failed to mention last week that Boom! Studios released a new Incredibles comic. This week they give us another Pixar book. It’s a Cars mini-series that tells the early days of Lightning McQueen

The latest After-Watchmen recommendation from DC. It’s the first issue of their classic Vertigo series about a Texas preacher, a vampire, some angels and a guy named Arse Face.

If you’re really interested in seeing what Jane Austen’s classic novel is about you should probably read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES but who knows, this could be good too.

Title probably says it all there.

How’s this for a lineup? Art by Darwyn Cooke, JH Williams III, Jordi Bernet and Richard Corben.


Wednesday is New Comics Day

March 25, 2009 By: Rich Barrett Category: Uncategorized

Every Wednesday we run down the 5 most interesting comics or graphic novels coming out for the week.

Written by Mark Millar; art by Peter Gross
Image Comics
$9.99 | 72 pgs

It’s been something like 5 years since Mark Millar’s second coming comic Chosen originally came out but I guess the reason it’s finally being collected now is that Millar plans on releasing a sequel soon to what he is now calling the American Jesus trilogy. And like a lot of Millar stuff since Wanted, it’s been optioned by Hollywood.

This first volume American Jesus introduces us to a twelve year old boy in the mid-1980’s who discovers that he has Christ-like powers, which is a pretty heavy thing for a kid to deal with. If that doesn’t sound like the cynical Mark Millar who once had Captain America kick a man while he was down, well, stick with it – there’s a twist.

By Gabrielle Bell
Drawn & Quarterly
$19.95 | 112 pgs

Indie comics creator Gabrielle Bell is best known for her autobiographical graphic novel Lucky which told her true life experiences of being a starving artist in Brooklyn. This new collection of short stories shows the more surreal side of Bell’s work such as the title story which is about a young woman who turns into a chair so that she won’t bother others around her. Bell is actually collaborating with visionary director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) to adapt this story into a short film called Interior Design.

Cecil and Jordan and the other stories collected here all appeared previously in anthologies such as MOME and Kramer’s Ergot.

Written by Ed Brubaker; art by Clay Mann and Michael Lark

While writer Ed Brubaker garners a lot of attention for his creator owned books Criminal and Incognito and his recent Marvel books Uncanny X-men and Immortal Iron Fist, he’s been quietly racking up a solid run on Daredevil picking up where longtime writer Brian Michael Bendis left off a few years back. Brubaker has had Daredevil facing such classic enemies as Mister Fear and The Enforcers but in this volume he introduces a brand new villain. Well, sort of brand new. Actually, a female version of Daredevil arch-enemy Bullseye. This new Lady Bullseye combines all the things Daredevil fans love – martial arts, the Yakuza and the Hand.

By Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Drawn & Quarterly
$29.99 | 856pgs

Yeah, that’s right, that says 856 pages. That’s a lot of comic right there. But even more noteworthy than the length is that this a NEW work from Yoshihiro Tatsumi, the famed godfather of gekiga, a term he used to describe his more adult-oritented, alternative style of manga. Tatsumi’s work grew in popularity in Japan in the 1960s but has only recently been published in the U.S. thanks to a series of hardcover reprints starting with The Push Man And Other Stories which was fostered by American indie cartoonist Adrian Tomine.

A Drifting Life is Tatsumi’s autobiography telling of his life as an artist in post -WWII Japan. It’s a behemoth of a read but will likely reveal some insightful details on not only the birth of the gekiga movement but on life in this period in Japan’s history as well.

1. THE MUPPET SHOW #1 (of 4)
By Roger Langridge
Boom! Studios


In one of the most perfect pairings of artist and content since Michelangelo depicted the birth of man, Roger Langridge adapts The Muppet Show into a four issue mini-series from Boom! Studios. Langridge is best known for his own creation, Fred The Clown. He is a master at absurd and slapstick humor and brings his sensibilities to the Muppets while perfectly retaining everything we used to love about the classic TV show.

Amidst the various comedy skits performed in-comic for the show, the story involves the muppets trying to cheer up Kermit the Frog who seems to be in a bit of a funk.

Check out this great looking preview.


Ambush Bug fans will rejoice at this phonebook size collection of his classic exploits.

Collecting McKeever’s 12 issue series about an apocalyptic battle between angels and demons.

The latest installment of DC’s plan to reel in the Watchmen movie audience to check out other sophisticated fare from the catalog. Next up, a reprint of Warren Ellis’ classic sci-fi, pulp X-Files series, Planetary.

Another special set in Alan Moore’s superhero/cop show universe but sans-Moore. Zander Cannon writes with Chinese artist Da Xiong providing the art.


Wednesday is New Comics Day

March 18, 2009 By: Rich Barrett Category: Uncategorized

Every Wednesday we run down the 5 most interesting comics or graphic novels coming out for the week (and by every Wednesday I mean every Wednesday that I feel like doing it, hence my recent absence).

Written by Fabian Nicieza; Art by Frazer Irving; Cover by Guillem March
DC Comics
$2.99 | 32 pgs

With Bruce Wayne missing and presumed dead and the Battle For The Cowl mini-series raging on with the heirs to the throne fighting it out to become the new Batman, DC does what it does best and milks the story for another mini-series. This one focuses on obscure one-time Batman Azarael who himself was last seen dead a few years ago but is now back for at least three issues.

The reason to check this out is for the art by Frazier Irving. Fans of Grant Morrison will remember his painterly style from the excellent Klarion the Witch Boy mini-series. Irving is one of the more interesting artists working in superhero comics and will surely bring some noteworthy style to an otherwise un-noteworthy mini-series. Writer Fabian Nicieza is no slouch either though and Azarael has a loyal fan base that will be happy to see his return.

Written by G. Willow Wilson; art by M.K. Perker
DC Vertigo
$9.99 | 144pgs

My personal comics credo is that it’s always worth picking up the first trade of a new Vertigo series. For the reduced price of $9.99 you get the first 5 or so issues of what is almost always an interesting drama aimed for the more sophisticated genre fiction fans. The early reviews of G. Willow Wilson’s ongoing series Air were decidedly mixed but you can’t really judge these books until they finish their first story arc so that you have more of a sense of where the creators are going with it and this one has been gradually picking up a growing base of impressed readers.

It’s about a flight attendant with an inconvenient fear of flying named Blythe who runs into a vigilante group trying to take back the skies from the terrorists. But there’s more to their game then that as Blythe soon learns. Terrorism, romance, exotic locales and some crazy sci-fi madness all come together in this first collected volume of issues 1-5. And if you like what you read here you can also pick up issue #6 for only a dollar this week.

By Rick Geary
Dark Horse
$15.95 | 104 pgs

Rick Geary is a veteran cartoonist who has made a name for himself chronicling true stories of murder in the 19th century in his A Treasury of Victorian Murder series. He draws in a clean, black and white style inspired by Edward Gorey that is perfect for telling nostalgic yet somewhat dark stories.

The Adventures of Blanche is an older work by Geary that was long out of print but now gets a hardcover treatment from Dark Horse. It’s about a young woman in the early 20th century who while traveling with her piano teacher ends up learning shocking secrets about the New York subway system, gets caught up in a labor struggle in the motion picture industry in Hollywood and discovers a murder in Paris.

Written by Warren Ellis; Art by Darick Robertson, Jerome K. Moore, Keith Aiken, Ray Kryssing, Dick Giordano, Kim DeMulder and Rodney Ramos
DC Vertigo
| 32pgs

DC Comics has been very smart with how they’re trying to capitalize on the desire of some Watchmen moviegoers to find out what else is out there that they might enjoy in the comics world. With their After Watchmen website they present a nice selection of graphic novels (all from their catalog of course) that might appeal to people who liked the gritty sophistication of Watchmen. In addition they’ve been putting out some $1 comics of the first issues of some of these choices.

This week they give us the first issue of the highly regarded (and highly messed up) sci-fi series, Transmetropolitan. This is the book that first made Warren Ellis (Planetary, Fell) famous and helped define his cranky, shock-heavy style and his cynical vision of the future. It’s about a 23rd century outlaw gonzo journalist named Spider Jerusalem (modeled very much after Hunter S. Thompson) who investigates weird stories such as this one about people who have cosmetic surgery to turn themselves into aliens.

Written by Jean Regnaud; art by Émile Bravo
Fanfare/Ponent Mon
$25.00 | 120 pgs

Five year old Jean is starting first grade in a new school and feels alone not only because he doesn’t know anyone but because he’s not really sure why his mother isn’t with him and his dad and brother anymore. The truth about his mother slowly dawns on him as he goes about his days fighting with his brother, adjusting to school and making friends. Jean Regnaud and Émile Bravo are adept at getting in the head of a child protagonist and portraying the world as a first grader might see it.

The oddly titled My Mommy is in America and She Met Buffalo Bill is a recollection by the author, Regnaud, of his childhood told in charming little snippets illustrated by the popular French children’s comics artist Emile Bravo. The publisher, Fanfare/Ponent Mon, has been translating some high quality manga of late but this is their first translation of a European comic.


A tale of aliens from Zombies Vs. Robots Vs. Amazons writer Chris Ryall and Fell artist Ben Templesmith. (Corrected)

A tale of pirates from famed British comics writer Jamie Delano (Hellblazer) with art by Max Fiumara.

Potentially worth checking out if you liked the moral ambiguity of the superheroes in Watchmen. Though this collects the less highly regarded and eventually aborted Marvel Knights version of the series. Not the original Max series which was rife with violence, nudity and government conspiracy.

Collecting the famous Joe Kubert’s recent return to his caveman creation.


Wednesday is New Comics Day

February 18, 2009 By: Rich Barrett Category: Uncategorized

Every Wednesday we run down the 5 most interesting comics or graphic novels coming out for the week.

story, art & cover DUNCAN ROULEAU
Image Comics
$3.50 | 32 pgs

Duncan Rouleau is a writer and artist who is possibly best known for his recent Metal Men series for DC or his run on X-Factor for Marvel or for being part of the Man of Action artist collective that created the Cartoon Network series Ben 10. His new mini-series for Image Comics is The Great Unknown in which a guy named Zach Feld begins to think that someone is stealing his thoughts when he starts seeing the things he dreams up out in the real world. Is he crazy or is this really happening? It’s a weird sci-fi drama that deals, at least metaphorically it seems, in intellectual property disputes.

Here’s an interview with Rouleau in which he claims this book is an autobiography about how he was the first to start using the word “NOT” at the end of sentences way before other people started using it. Some nice preview images too.

Written by Paul Cornell; art by Leonard Kirk

Captain Britain and MI:13 is a new Marvel series getting it’s first traded collection this week. The series spawned from another Paul Cornell written book called Wisdom which received a lot of critical acclaim, most of which has followed along to this new book. It also launched itself with the help of Secret Invasion, the big Marvel crossover event in which Skrulls take over the Earth. This first volume deals heavily with the Earth’s Skrull issue as a team of British superheroes is formed by the secret British intelligence agency, MI:13, to defend the Kingdom from the shape-shifting alien invaders.

Captain Britain is one of those longtime Marvel characters who seems to have performance issues with his own series. It’s always best to pair him up with other heroes like they’ve done in the past with the Excalibur books. Here he’s joined by various UK-themed heroes like Union Jack and Black Knight as well as some British spy characters like Pete Wisdom and John The Skrull (a former member of the Skrull Beatles, it seems).

Written by Jerry Frissen; art by Guy Davis
Devil’s Due

Although I’m a devoted reader of Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead and am anxiously looking forward to attending this Friday’s screening here in Charlotte of Night of the Living Dead (featuring a discussion with George Romero) I’m a bit over the whole zombie comic fad.

However, this is an exception on par with Kirkman or Romero. A European zombie book with art by Guy Davis! Davis’ work can most recently be seen in the monster-ridden series B.P.R.D. where he’s proven to be a master at both atmospheric creepiness and subtle comedy. Devil’s Due Publishing has been attempting to bring translated reprints of the European Humanoids books to the US and this ongoing series originally started out in the popular sci-fi anthology Metal Hurlant. It’s a comedy that takes place in the year 2064 when the zombie apocalypse has gotten past the point of no return so the government instates a policy that gives zombies the right to ‘live’ among the still living.

2. PLUTO VOL. 1 (of 8)
By Naoki Urasawa
Viz Media
$12.99 | 200 pgs

Naoki Urasawa is a Japanese Mangaka creator who has been riding on a recent wave of popularity in the U.S. due to the recently concluded translations of his serial killer drama, Monster. This week Viz Media begins reprinting two other Urasawa books that have been very popular in Japan.

The first is Pluto, an 8 volume series inspired by Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy. Urasawa picks up on some minor characters from that book’s “The Greatest Robot on Earth” storyline and explores Tezuka’s world in his own way. The story is a gritty murder mystery in which a robot detective named Gesicht investigates a string of robot and human deaths that may be the first murders committed in years by a robot.

1. 20th CENTURY BOYS VOL. 1 (of 24)
By Naoki Urasawa
Viz Media
$12.99 | 216 pgs

The second Urasawa book is 20th Century Boys, a book he originally published simultaneously with Monster and which runs to about 24 volumes. This one has gotten a bit more critical praise than Pluto and received many awards during it’s original run.

Inspired by the works of Stephen King (notably It – you’ll recognize the similarity shortly) the story concerns a group of friends who find themselves connected through memories of their childhood to a string of mysterious disappearances and a sinister worldwide conspiracy. The sci-fi mystery plays out across four different eras ranging from the 1960s to the year 2014 and addresses themes of coming of age and growing into adulthood.


Wednesday is New Comics Day

February 04, 2009 By: Rich Barrett Category: Uncategorized

Every Wednesday we run down the 5 most interesting comics or graphic novels coming out for the week.

Written by Michael Crowley; art by Dan Goldman
Three Rivers Press
$17.95 | 160 pgs

The 2008 campaign already seems like last year’s news, which I guess it is, but now is the time to start examining what really happened and recapping all it’s iconic moments. Whether or not a graphic novel is the best way to do this or not I’m not so sure, but this new book attempts it with a nice, newsy sense of graphic design. Artist Dan Goldman (Shooting War) takes all the now-classic imagery that made up the last two years worth of news cycles (Palin’s wink, Joe the Plumber, the crazy chick with the backwards B on her face) and recreates them in a style that mixes pop art with CNN info-graphic overload. Here Goldman teams with Michael Crowley, a journalist from the New Republic, as they give the ’08 campaign the old 9/11 Report treatment.

Check out a bunch of pages.

Written by Jeff Parker; art by Carlo Pagulayan and Jason Paz

Jeff Parker’s original Agents of Atlas mini-series from a few years ago was a surprise hit with fans and critics alike. Therefore he now gets a shot at an ongoing series starring the members of a supergroup consisting of characters from the pre-silver age of Marvel (back when it was called Atlas) who have been brought to present day as a top secret S.H.I.E.L.D. task force. The team consists of little known 50s-era characters Namora, Venus, Marvel Boy, Gorilla-man and M-11 as well as the team leader, Jimmy Woo.

Edited by Julia Wertz
Three Rivers Press
$12.95 | 192 pgs

Here’s a good idea if I’ve ever heard one. Take a personal ad from a local paper or from Craigslist and turn it into a short comic. As the solicitation for this book suggests “these posted stranger sightings and chance encounters lay bare the truths and oddities of real-life loneliness and attractions and bring out the voyeur in the best of us.” Julia Wertz, creator of the auto-bio webcomic The Fart Party, has assembled a collection of creators that range from newcomers like Laura Park to veterans like Peter Bagge for this anthology of stories of love connections, both heartfelt and strange. With contributions from folks like Gabrielle Bell, Jeffrey Brown, David Malki, Alec Longstreth, Aaron Renier, Jesse Reklaw and many more.

Written by Jonathan Hickman and Brian Michael Bendis; art by Stefano Caselli

The recent Secret Invasion mini-series brought classic espionage tough guy Nick Fury back in full force to the Marvel Universe and Secret Warriors brings him back on a monthly basis as he leads a new team of top secret superhumans in a post-Invasion world where villain Norman Osborn is in charge of Fury’s former agency, SHIELD.

The interesting thing about this series is that it brings Jonathan Hickman, writer of the highly acclaimed independent series Nightly News, into Marvel’s stable of creators. Here he teams up with Brian Michael Bendis on plot, most likely so that Bendis can pull in specific plot threads that he’s been devising for years within various Marvel books. My guess is that the title of this series probably alludes overtly to Bendis’ Secret Wars series which dealt with a lot of secret-ops stuff going on in the MU. Hickman is one of the most exciting new creators out there and joins people like Matt Fraction and Bendis himself in a group of talented writers that have proven themselves on their own books and are now leading the direction of the entire line of Marvel books.

By Bryan Lee O’Malley
Oni Press
$11.95 | 192 pgs

Probably the first highly anticipated book of 2009 hits the stands this week. If you haven’t tried out Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series yet then by all means start with volume one and catch up quickly. The fifth volume comes out this week in the continuing story of the affable 20-something Scott Pilgrim who has fallen in love with the cute and mysterious Ramona Flowers but in order to win her heart he must defeat her evil exes in classic video game style.

This book has it all – martial arts, a video game-like points system, romance, rock and roll, recipes and a very modern and unique manga-like sense of storytelling.

In this penultimate chapter in the Scott Pilgrim saga, things start to fall apart for our hero as Ramona’s exes begin to pair up and his own exes start to stir trouble of their own.


Second try for us Americans on this series. A few years back DC published a graphic novel of the first part of this European science fiction book illustrated by John Cassady(Planetary). But they never finished the reprints. This time Devil’s Due Publishing starts small by reprinting it in floppy format.

A nice Jersey girl meets a God of War and they get married and move down the street from her parents. Some nice looking Jack Kirby meets Darwyn Cooke art from Dan McDaid graces this odd new Image book.

A new hardcover collection of this newsworthy mini-series that retcons the history of Captain America by showing that before Steve Rogers was injected with the Super Soldier serum it was first tested on African American soldiers. Artwork by Kyle Baker in his most cartoony style.

A new anthology series from Marvel. The first issue features the daring choice of launching a series with a Wolverine/Punisher team-up. Who’d have ever thought of putting those two characters together, huh? What a risk Marvel is taking there.

Dark Horse delivers a huge volume of reprints from the old Marvel book that came out in the post-Raiders era. Features art from people like John Byrne and Howard Chaykin.


Wednesday is New Comics Day

January 14, 2009 By: Rich Barrett Category: Uncategorized

Every Wednesday we run down the 5 most interesting comics or graphic novels coming out for the week.

5. FINAL CRISIS #6 (of 7)
Written by Grant Morrison; Art and covers by J.G. Jones and Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino
DC Comics
$3.99 | 40pgs

If you read the last issue of Grant Morrison’s Batman: RIP and thought “hey wait a minute, Batman didn’t really die” well, he might die here since this is now billed as the actual end to that story. Yeah I don’t get logic of these cross-pollinating event books either. But then again, superhero stories never really end anyway, do they? Who knows what’s really going to happen in this book which is definitely turning out to be a crazy bit of superhero ragnarok as Darkseid is reborn and reshapes the world into a nasty place. I don’t know for sure if Batman is going to die in this issue but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that something potentially earth-shattering could happen here.

Written by Matthew Sturges and Bill Willingham; Art by Luca Rossi, Ross Campbell, Sean Murphy, Zachary Baldus, Steve Rolston and Jill Thompson; Cover by Sam Weber
DC Vertigo
$9.99 | 128pgs

I mentioned this book in this list before, back when the first issue was released, and it’s worth mentioning now that the first softcover collection is out because it’s been one of Vertigo’s highest acclaimed new books. Not surprising since it comes from the creative minds of Vertigo’s most acclaimed books – the Fables franchise. Bill Willingham and Matthew Struges write this anthology series that is structured around a supernatural bar in which the patrons pay their way by telling strange and otherworldly stories.

This first volume collects the first 5 issues of the series and like all first volume Vertigo books it’s priced at an affordable $9.99 so to make sampling a new book that much easier.

By Shaun Tan
Arthur A. Levine
$19.99 | 96 pgs

Shaun Tan’s last book The Arrival was a critically acclaimed book that was part graphic novel, part collection of beautiful full page prints. His work takes the fantastic elements of children’s book and renders them realistically into our own world. Here he presents fifteen short stories in which a strange situation occurs in the down to earth reality of suburbia. Things like a wise water buffalo that lives in a vacant lot, a nut-size foreign exchange student named Eric and a sea creature that appears on a family’s front lawn.

Written by Frank Miller; art by David Mazzucchelli

There’s been a lot of Frank Miller reprints flooding the shelves lately, especially of his long and historic run on Daredevil, but this is the one that it’s all about. This is the one where then-regular Daredevil artist, David Mazzuchelli, transformed into the master storyteller he’s known as today. This is the one where Frank Miller went from being a successful writer/artist of ongoing montly comics to a creator (and collaborator) that told complete, self-contained and character-defining stories. And this is the one where Daredevil became a book that would be here on out about the main behind the mask, Matt Murdock.

Yeah, it gets a little crazy in that last chapter with that very ’80’s bad guy– the bare-chested, drug-addicted, Vietnam Vet named Nuke – but this is an amazing book that reads like a great film. So good that it took almost 20 years for the book to live up to it, when Brian Michael Bendis finally made it great again with his run a few years ago.

Written by Mark Waid; art by Barry Kitson

Is your Collector-sense tingling? If so you better hit the store early this morning because this one is going to go fast. The latest comic release to get a barrage of mainstream media coverage is also a comic that features our President-elect on the cover and if you tried to buy a newspaper on the day after he was elected you’ll have an idea of how fast this book is going to fly off the shelves. Not to mention the fact that the book has probably been underordered since no one expected the media flurry. Bring your own mylar bags!

Barack Obama actually only appears in a backup story of this issue. The main story deals with Peter Parker going on a date or something. But this is the first time Obama has appeared in the Marvel Universe which historically sticks close to the real world as far as presidents go, unlike DC which has people like Lex Luthor as president.

Plus, Obama is an admitted comic fanboy who used to collect Spidey comics so you know this has got to make him feel pretty cool (I mean if he has room to feel any cooler than he already does).


Collecting the creepy mini-series by Joe R. Lansale with great art from newcomer Nathan Fox

A new mini-series of the best Hellboy series that doesn’t have Hellboy in it.

A quickie collection of the first few issues of Jeff Smith’s new post-Bone series.