Every Wednesday I run down the 5 most interesting comics or graphic novels coming out for the week. This week is a bit of an odd one. You'll see why.
5. BATMAN: GOING SANE
Written by J.M. DeMatteis, Eddie Campell and Daren White; Art by Joe Staton, Bart Sears and Steve Mitchell
If you've just seen The Dark Knight, then you're probably going to be one of two minds on the matter of the Joker. Either Heath Ledger's performance is going to make you hungry for all things Joker or it was the be-all and end-all and he has effectively closed the door on all other iterations of the character, whether in film or comics. Well, if you're nothing like me than you might be clamoring to read this collection of a Joker story that was originally published in the comic Legends of the Dark Knight a few years ago. After seemingly killing Batman, the Joker has to move on with his life and that means a backward slide into sanity. It's an interesting concept that builds on the dynamics of that classic antagonistic relationship.
4. ME AND THE DEVIL BLUES VOL 1
By Akira Hiramoto
Del Rey Manga
This week's head-scratcher is a manga about the life of legendary blues guitarist Robert Johnson. Except that since virtually nothing is really known about Johnson's life the story focuses on the idea that he once sold his soul to the Devil and runs wild from there, even having Johnson meet up with gangster Clyde Barrow of Bonnie & Clyde fame. Just the idea of a Japanese writer/artist portraying the life of an African American blues musician in 1920s America would be interesting enough but throw in Satan and some other bizarre elements and things could get really out there.
By Dave Kiersh
Dave Kiersh ruminates on life, love and Long Island in this short but densely cartooned 32 pager. Kiersh has an interesting child-like style that works well for a story that jumps into a Peter Pan inspired fantasy sequence but that also tackles both the physical and emotional landscape of living in suburbia: water towers, cicadas, strip malls, listening to bad radio and hooking up in the back of a car.
You can preview the book here at Kiersh's website.
2. FANTASTIC FOUR: TRUE STORY #1
Written by Paul Cornell; art by Horacio Dominguez
Okay, maybe this is actually the oddball pick of the week. The Fantastic Four journey into the world of Fiction and meet up with Willie Lumpkin, Dante and the Dashwood sisters from Sense and Sensibility? Huh. It's a new mini-series written by Paul Cornell, popular British writer of various Dr. Who novels, the recent critically acclaimed Wisdom series for Marvel and the current Captain Britain and MI:13 series. English majors are going to get a kick out of this series especially but, really, who wouldn't get a kick out of seeing Ben Grimm interact with some Jane Austen characters?
1. POPGUN VOL. 2
Last week was the big week for anthologies but this one probably tops all of those anyway. The second volume of this hip anthology – or "graphic mixtape" as editors Mark Andrew Smith and Joe Keatinge like to call it – features eye-catching work from people like Jim Rugg (again with Afrodisiac which we saw in last week's Meathaus anthology), James Kochalka, Paul Maybury, Dean Haspiel, Erik Larsen, Ryan Ottley, Joelle Jones and of course this very appealing cover by Paul Pope.