A quest for the finest in sequential art

Comic Book Marathon

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Mining the back-catalouge: 1st Quarter TPBs

DC already released their list of TPBs and GNs for January & February 2006.

Dark Horse has already released their solcitations for January 2006. Their TPBs are usually advanced-solicited, so I think that catches us up for February as well.

From the other publishers, of particular interest to me is older works being (re-)collected into trade form. Yes, I'm well aware "House of M" will generate a zillion TPBs (and yes, they are all out on Amazon), but I'm more interested in what "older" stuff (say, 5+ years old) is getting re-released. Here's a few of the coming attractions for the 1st quarter 2006, courtesy of Amazon.com:

Essential Avengers Vol 5 TPB - "Collects Avengers (Vol. 1) #98-126, Daredevil (Vol. 1) #99, Defenders (Vol. 1) #8-11 & Giant-Size Avengers #1"
Squadron Supreme: Death Of A Universe TPB - reprints the relatively rare post-mini-series graphic novel Death of a Universe, Thor #280, and the Busiek-era stories (Avengers Vol 3 #5-6, Avengers/Squadron Supreme Annual, and Squadron Supreme: New World Order). It would be nice if a pre-mini-series TPB was issued as well.
Avengers: Galactic Storm Volume 1 TPB - "Collects Captain America #398-399, Avengers West Coast #80-81, Quasar #32-33, Wonder Man #7-8, Avengers #345-346, Iron Man #278 and Thor #445. Book 1 of 2." More Avengers love-fest, but this time from the icky 90's. Was this any good?
Essential Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man Volume 2 TPB - "Collects Spectacular Spider-Man #32-61, Annuals #1-3."
Spider-Girl Volume 5: Endgame Digest - "Collects Spider-Girl #22-27"
Marvel Visionaries: Roy Thomas HC - "Collects Modeling With Millie #44, Tales Of Suspense #73; Avengers #35, #57-58, #100; Sub-Mariner #8 & #14; Not Brand Ecch #12; Captain Marvel #19; X-Men #164; Chamber Of Darkness #4; Amazing Adventures # (5, 6 or 8); Incredible Hulk #147; Fantastic Four #119 & 176; Dracula Lives #1; Giant-Size Invaders #1; & Doctor Strange #9" Note the uncertainty of the issue number of Amazing Adventures.

Pussey! - more Eightbell reprints from Dan Clowes

The Legend of GrimJack Volume 5 - "covers issues #22-30"

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Previews Obscure: Protoprize

The following description in the September Diamond Previews catalog caught my eye:

PROTOPRIZE GN (Pg286 SEP05-2971) $14.95 D.Langloris [sic] b&w

Two bionically enhanced women team up with a boy chemist in an attempt to track down the Bellknap Grave Robber. Will Dixie's vision come true? Where did the chimney sweep's head go? Will Double Amp's love for money get her killed? What dwells at the bottom of the Slime Pit?

Hm, sounds sufficiently surreal. Protoprize is a compilation of the Bellknap Graverobber storyline from Protoprize #1-6 (1999-2004), self-published by Drue Langlois. If you are as curious as I am, here's some links:

Comic Book Links:

The official Hot Hail website, includes a 6-page preview.

Drue Langlois' homepage, includes a resume.

A review of Protoprize #2, with 1 page of preview art. Quote: The ideas & storytelling behind in this comic are playful - this playful attitude transmits well in the reading.

A short review of an issue of Protoprize (scroll way down to Christine Douville's overview of Expozine 2004). Quote: The cover says “illustrated stories” - I say “crazy comics”!

Two brief reviews of Protoprize #2 and #3. Quote: A strange but totally entertaining story. . .

A large-scale version of his painting "Double Amp", which is apparently the cover to the Protoprize GN. Part of a short note on a 2003 art exhibit.

The Captain Canuck website, featuring a comic that Drue worked on with his brother Riel.

The Comic Book Network Electronic Magazine #499 (11/22/04) featured interviews with Drue and Riel (downloadable zip file).

Other links:

Many gallery pieces from a 2004 exhibition.

Doll creations from the Atelier Gallery.

Two pieces from the 2005 Los Angeles Art Fair.

Drue was longtime member of the Royal Art Lodge.

An article on Drue's former band, Eyeball Hurt and the Medicine.

Meanwhile, Drue promotes his current project, Bold Saber, with sound samples.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Strangehaven conspiracies

According to Gary Spencer Millidge, in an announcement dated 09/04/05, both Strangehaven #18 and Strangehaven Vol 3: Conspiracies (which includes issues #13-18) will be released this September.

And it looks like Strangehaven Vol 3: Conspiracies will be out this week.

However, back in August Diamond cancelled orders for Strangehaven #18. Am I missing something? Is the TPB going to be the only way (for now, at least) of reading issue #18?

Regardless, congratulations to Mr. Millidge on 10 years of publishing his fantastic small town mystery-thriller, Strangehaven! Here's to 10 more!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Back From Hiatus

Reviews and commentary will continue shortly.

I have one request. I am looking for someone to design a banner for me, for the top of the page.

The concept: a man icon (a stickfigure of sorts) who begins running from left to right, eventually falling prone, at which point he is then reading a book. Something very pictogram-ic, single- or dual-color.

I don't know what the going rate for this sort of thing is, so let me know.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Paul Grist's Promises

Inspired by Johanna's post on lateness, I decided to see what kind of patterns there are to Paul Grist's publishing schedule. Instinctively, I thought that 4 months late was his consistent shipping adjustment (e.g. supposed to ship in February? See you in June!), but apparently I was underestimating the sluggishness of the Grist juggernaut. Looks like it's more like 6 or 7 months.

Title / Publisher / # of Months Late

Jack Staff

Jack Staff Series 1 #1 DE 4
Jack Staff Series 1 #2 DE 4
Jack Staff Series 1 #3 DE 6
Jack Staff Series 1 #4 DE 4
Jack Staff Series 1 #5 DE 6
Jack Staff Series 1 #6 DE 5
Jack Staff Series 1 #7 DE 5
Jack Staff Series 1 #8 DE 4
Jack Staff Series 1 #9 DE 6
Jack Staff Series 1 #10 DE 4
Jack Staff Series 1 #11 DE 5
Jack Staff Series 1 #12 DE 5
Jack Staff Series 2 #1 Image 0
Jack Staff Series 2 #2 Image 0
Jack Staff Series 2 #3 Image 2
Jack Staff Series 2 #4 Image 3
Jack Staff Series 2 #5 Image 7
Jack Staff Series 2 #6 Image 8
Jack Staff Series 2 #7 Image 5
Jack Staff Series 2 #8 Image 5

Burglar Bill

Burglar Bill #1 (Of 6) DE 2
Burglar Bill #2 (Of 6) DE 1
Burglar Bill #3 (Of 6) DE 2

Burglar Bill reprints

Burglar Bill #1 (Of 6) Image 0
Burglar Bill #2 (Of 6) Image 1
Burglar Bill #3 (Of 6) Image 4

Jack Staff reprints

Jack Staff Vol 1 Everything Used … TPB Image 2
Jack Staff Vol 2 Soldiers TPB Image 3

Kane reprints

Kane Vol 1 Greetings From New Eden TPB Image 1
Kane Vol 2 Rabbit Hunt TPB Image 1
Kane Vol 3 Histories TPB Image 2
Kane Vol 4 39th TPB Image 6

Still to come ...

Kane Vol 5 Untouchable Rico … TPB Image 6+
Burglar Bill #4 (Of 6) Image 5+
Jack Staff Series 2 #9 Image 4+
Burglar Bill #5 (Of 6) Image 3+
Jack Staff Series 2 #10 Image 0+

Thursday, July 21, 2005

My Comics Can Beat Up Your Comics - 07/20/05

Well, my local store is starting to feel the effects of the shutdown of its closest (and more mainstream) competitor, as a half-hour after they opened on Wednesday, there were a number of people in the store complaining that they were sold out of Astonishing X-Men and House of M. (The manager was placing reorders like mad, so it looks like he will be able to make everyone happy). None of that affects me, but when they run out of PLASTIC MAN, that's just not right! No, I kid because I love, and I wish my store the best with its new influx of Marvel zombies!


The drier-than-dry humor of Michael Kupperman, the man behind Snake 'n' Bacon Cartoon Cabaret, is back and it is like nothing else out there. Difficult to describe and almost impentrable to your average Everybody Loves Raymond fan, strips like "Uncle Billy's Drunken, Bitter Guide to the Animal Kingdom," "Mickey Rourke's Public Hair Stencils for Men," "Cut Out N' Play Soccer Joust," "Cousin Grampa," and "Amoeba Car Grampa" make me laugh and shake my head at the same time. So wrong and so strange, and yet so great. If you've never read his stuff before (or seen his cartoon shorts on TV Funhouse) here's a cheap pamphlet of goodness for your sampling.


Well, here it is, my two pre-teen comic book favorites (Dr. Strange and the Giffen-era Justice League) smooshed into one comic. Can't say that I saw that coming. Anyway, arch-villain Nightmare warns of an impending an unstoppable doom that will come to be Dr. Strange's greatest challenge, in the form of Dormammu and Umar seeking to invade the earth creatively (again!). The seams of the plot are terribly obvious (Strange can teleport the Hulk into danger, but not out of it? Wha huh?), but this being a Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire book, the plot is expected to take a back seat to characterization and humor. And that's all right for what it is, except Nightmare's personality graft is wholly unconvincing. The recruitment scenes are well done and some of the jokes are laugh-out-loud funny, but this book needs more room to convince me that these versions of the characters will work. The proof will be in the next few issues.


Featuring classic stories from the cast of The Defenders that also serve to advertise for the Marvel Masterworks hardcovers.

First up is Dr. Strange from Marvel Premiere #3: This Stan Lee tale is a definite classic, a solid magical suspense one-off by Lee from when his hands-on writing was rare in the early 70's. Arch-villain Nightmare warns of an impending and unstoppable doom that will come to be Dr. Strange's greatest challenge (sound familiar?). It's gorgeously illustrated by the man now known as Barry Windsor-Smith with some amazing colors that were missing in the recent Essential Dr. Strange Vol 2. However, if you already have the Marvel Visionaries: Stan Lee volume, you already have this reprint and you can probably pass on this.

Since that tale takes up more than half the issue, the rest of the content is short stories from Fantastic Four Annual #5 (Lee & Jack Kirby on Silver Surfer), Marvel Comics#1 (from the Golden Age with the Sub-Mariner), and Hulk #3 (a 3-page origin re-cap by Lee & Kirby). Even though I find Golden Age Marvel to be unreadable and the Hulk tale is inconsequential, this issue is worth it just for the Dr. Strange story in glossy color and the fun Silver Surfer story, if you don't have them already.


The problem? The dead are coming back to life, in possession of thousands of teenagers. The solution? A million words of exposition as our protagonists walk through some investigative procedural work on the "problem" with the smartest man in the world. The result? I am dulled to death.

P.S. John McCrea is a very imaginative artist, even if he isn't very flashy. So why does he keep getting assigned to projects that require very little imagination? John McCrea's talking head sketchbook is not really what I'm looking for in a comic book.


Well, my store ran out of them, but should have more next week. What's your excuse?

Other Stuff of Interest

Lost of reasons to wait for the trade this week: DAREDEVIL #75, DETECTIVE COMICS #808, EX MACHINA #13, GIRLS #3, GOON #13, HELLBOY THE ISLAND #2, ULTIMATES 2 #7, X-MEN KITTY PRYDE SHADOW & FLAME #2

THE PULSE VOL 2 SECRET WAR TP - Flip-throughs on this book make it hard for me to believe that this is really the natural successor to Bendis's Alias. It seems similar to taking the twisted characters from a Coen Brothers movie and having them star in a generic Law & Order-type show. It's not that it wouldn't be quality, but what's the point?

Mickey Rourke's Pubic Hair Stencil #18: Death of a Bullfighter
"This one I started as a novel, but then I realized the story would work better within the medium of pubic hair"

Monday, July 18, 2005

My Comics Can Beat Up Your Comics - 07/13/05

The internet is abuzz with news from San Diego Comic Con, or rather the lack of it. Seems to me, though, that we get plenty of great (or at least notable) news on the internet each week about upcoming projects, so I'm not too surprised that there wasn't much to reveal at SDCC.

THE COMICS JOURNAL #269 - The Shoujo Manga Issue

Despite being someone interested in avant-garde comics, I've barely scratched the surface when it comes to Japanese comic imports. Thus, when my favorite comics magazine devotes an issue to reviewing a few dozen manga titles, this is right up my alley. Like The Comics Journal Special Edition 2005, this issue takes a look at a number of titles that transcend cultures with their amazing quality, uniqueness, and innovation. In his introduction, Dirk Deppey refers to this issue as year-long "labor of love," and as far as I can tell the outcome has resulted in a fine and essential overview of the shoujo manga class of comics.

In my opinion, such "themed" issues of this magazine are better suited to particular genres and markets than they are to individual creators and works (recent themed issues/sections on Will Eisner, Steve Ditko, and Dave Sim have been particularly dry). The first issue of TCJ that I bought was the James Robinson issue back in 1997; I've bought every issue since, but not because of that interview (though it was good). The highlight for that issue was a commentary section by a number of columnists on what could be done to reverse the freefall of the comic book market (including Gary Groth's famous assertion that there's nothing wrong with being a ghetto-ized industry because that allows a certain artistic freedom, a suggestion I still ponder to this day). Multiple observations on a single subject or class of subjects by intelligent observers? Yeah, I can do that. Give me more.


Someone commented to me recently that this series "isn't going anywhere." I can see their point. The event in volume 1 that caused the extinction of (almost) all men has barely been addressed, even though it is supposedly the impetus for the protagonists' quest. But based on the strong readership for this book, I'm not the only one who doesn't mind. Though volume 4 got a little silly with a too-convenient ending to the S&M storyline, for the most part this series has provided stories that take advantage of a compelling backdrop in order to take a look at gender issues in a post-catastrophe world.

To me, the gold standard for science fiction is the work of Ray Bradbury. His "sci-fi" tales were never about the science fiction itself; they were about people's reactions to sudden and drastic changes in their lives brought on by otherworldy forces. Y: The Last Man presents the same type of human-driven drama and does it well.


Since there wasn't anything new and arty of interest that I noticed this week, I picked up this volume because, um, I though it was by Henrik Rehr. Nope, this book is by Hans Rickheit, an entirely different comic creator, oops. Still, this tale of a young woman in a rural area searching for meaning as the world around her becomes increasingly ugly and surreal looks pretty good, reminiscent of Charles Burns. Worth a look. [Published in 2002]

Other Stuff of Interest


JUSTICE LEAGUE COMPANION Vol 1 SC - Hee, hee. Geeky fun. Maybe later.

"Some people sing love songs, everybody's got one
This isn't my love song, it's more like my love gone wrong song"