Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wednesday is New Comics Day

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

By Ben Templesmith
IDW Publishing
$3.99 | 32 pgs

Writer/artist Ben Templesmith brings his blurry and disturbing style to a new horror comic about the inmates of a mental institution/correctional facility. The story follows a new, and quite loony, inmate to the facility and one lone doctor who thinks there's something up with the facility's corporate overlords. Templesmith, most recently known for Warren Ellis' Fell, draws like a children's book gone horribly wrong so this subject matter should allow him to creep you out pretty sufficiently.

Read a preview here.

Written by J.M. DeMatteis; art by Mike Zeck

Marvel has so many Secret Invasion books coming out this week that I don't even know where to start so I'm just going to ignore them. Hey, remember this series from the 1980s when Kraven the Hunter shoots and buries Spider-man and then runs around with his costume on, impersonating him? This was a dark and kind of scary book for it's time. It featured stunning artwork by Mike Zeck and a new take on a goofy old Spider-man villain that actually made him seem pretty off his rocker. It's a story that hasn't been long forgotten by fans and its success probably spawned a lot of other dark and grisly Spidey stories since then. It gets a new printing this week with a new Zeck cover.

By Hideo Azuma
Fanfare/Ponent Mon
$22.99 | 200 pgs

Here's one that might be a little hard to track down but it really sounds like it might be worth doing so. Acclaimed Japanese magaka, Hideo Azuma, tells a very strange kind of memoir that juxtaposes cute, comical artwork with his own story of dropping out of society after suffering a severe nervous breakdown. The book actually starts with the author waking up in the woods with a noose around his neck after a failed suicide attempt and proceeds to play everything that comes after for laughs. Any memoir you read is basically a fictionalized version of someone's life but this book goes out of its way to take a disturbing and tragic time in the author's life and remove as much of the reality from the story as possible so that you're actually reading the comically unfortunate times of a downtrodden cartoon character who takes to eating garbage on the streets.

The black and white artwork looks great, as you can see in this preview at the publisher's website.

By Rick Geary
$15.95 | 80 pgs

Somehow I never knew about Rick Geary and his awesome idea of chronicling all the great murder cases of the Victorian era in comic form. He did numerous volumes of his A Treasury of Victorian Murder books but apparently ran out of cases because now he's started with a new Volume 1 that begins tackling 20th century cases. The first case on his list is the mysterious abduction of Charles Lindbergh's baby in the 1920s. This was a case that got the Jazz Age equivalent of wall-to-wall breaking news coverage and captured the hearts of Americans. Geary gets into every little detail and outlines all the crazy events that came about as authorities and the Lindbergh family tried in vain to find their missing child.

You can preview the first couple of pages here.

Written by Javier Grillo-Marxuach; art by Les McClaine
Viper Comics
$19.95 | 336 pgs

Again, I'm going to have to plead guilty on having never heard of this series until today. Nor did I know there was a TV show based on it that runs on ABC Family. Although if you put a gun to my head I doubt I'd be able to even find ABC Family in a timely fashion on my DirectTV channel guide. Anyway, I've heard a lot of great things about this series. There have been three volumes published so far and they are now collected in this comprehensive package. Written by one of the Lost writers, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Middleman is a superspy comedy about an organization of "Middlemen" that for centuries have been "fighting evil so that you don't have to". Wendy Watson, a young struggling artist, gets recruited into the organization as a sidekick to the latest Middleman and finds herself fighting mad scientists, genetically engineered monkeys, and Mexican wrestlers while also having boyfriend, roommate and mom troubles. The art is cute and very much in the Viper Comics style and the story is so full of pop-culture references you'll need to read some Joss Whedon or Brian K. Vaughan to unwind a little afterwards.

Read some previews of the various volumes this book collects here.


Jason Wheatley said...

I love love LOVE "Kraven's Last Hunt." It could quite possibly be my favorite Spider-Man story ever. I picked up the Prestige Classics hardcover of this when it came out a year or two ago, even though I don't really care for the Prestige HC format (versus those nifty oversized HCs), just so I could have it in hardcover.

Dustin Harbin said...

I just noticed that we only got ONE of these books this week. The Spider-Man trade we were just shorted on, but we didn't even order the Middleman book, the manga, or the other one that I just forgot. Let me know if I should get these for anybody!

Rich Barrett said...

Oops. Maybe I'll rename this column "Stump the Heroes Staff."

I try to find some interesting, out there choices for this column rather than just pointing out the books that everyone is going to buy anyway. If people want to use the comments area for putting in orders for any of the books though that would be pretty cool.

Dustin Harbin said...

I'm TOTALLY TOTALLY into people asking for stuff. Half the time if we don't have something, it's just because we don't know people want it. So any suggestions are always welcome. I keep $#&@ forgetting to order that stupid blues manga.