Wednesday, August 27, 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 Chris Onstad
Dark Horse
$14.95 | 104 pgs

The cream of the webcomics pile continues to rise to the top where it's offered book deals and, who knows, maybe movies some day. It's an interesting experiment in figuring out whether people will pay for what they can get for free and Dark Horse Comics has had some success with that recently thanks to Nicholas Gurewitch's Perry Bible Fellowship. Will Achewood, a webcomic with almost as big a following, do as well in this market? If you haven't read it, Achewood is an absurdist strip about a group of anthropomorphic stuffed animals that live together with their owner in a house in the fictional suburb of Achewood. This book collects the popular story arc, The Great Outdoor Fight. The humor of this strip isn't really for me I think but it has a huge cult following and I'm all for webcomic peeps making money so hopefully people will check this out.

By Al Jaffee
$14.95 | 128 pgs

Al Jaffee is known to everyone who's ever read Mad Magazine as the guy who did those brilliant fold-out cartoons. From 1957-1963 he did an innovative vertical, wordless comic strip for the New York Herald Tribune that is collected here in one volume.

Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert provides an introduction for the book which should be worth the price of admission alone.

Written by Brian Michael Bendis; art by Billy Tan

I don't normally point out the odd issue of an ongoing series unless it's a good jumping on point or a special stand-alone story. In this case, if you're reading Marvel's Secret Invasion series but you're not picking up all the various crossovers and tie-ins (and seriously how could you - there's just too many) you might want to check this one out because it looks like it's going to fill in a big part of the Secret Invasion storyline by showing us how the whole Skrull takeover of Earth came about. Brian Michael Bendis, writer of Secret Invasion, has been setting up threads for this storyline in his books for years and one of the books that this draws heavily on is his Illuminati mini-series which revealed that various events in Marvel history had been secretly orchestrated by a committee of well-meaning but foolhardy heroes.

By Various
Dirty Danny Press
$24.95 | 192 pgs

This is yet another anthology book (we've had a lot of these this summer) but I happened to browse through this one at Heroes Con and man is it a crazy book. Forty two full color stories from various cartoonists, many of which are relatively unknown but include some names like David Chelsea, Tim Lane (who we saw last week with Abandoned Cars), Victor Cayro , Matthew Thurber, Hans Rickheit and Eric Theriault.

In the tradition of the great underground comic anthologies like Weirdo and Raw, this book allows the artists to do whatever the hell they want and let their ids spill out all over the page. It's full of graphic sex, gross out humor, weird ideas and cool, modern cartooning from some fresh up and coming talent.

There's some relatively NSFW previews here at the editor's blog.

Written by Grant Morrison; art by Dough Mahnke and Christian Alamy
DC Comics
$4.50 | 40 pgs

I know this is the second week in a row that I've picked a Final Crisis tie-in as the top book but this one has got alternate-Earth Supermen and a special 3-D section with glasses included! Plus it's written by Final Crisis writer Grant Morrison and has art by Doug Mahnke who previously collaborated with Morrison on Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein. This two issue mini deals with Superman trying to save Lois' life after the events of Final Crisis and getting caught up in the even bigger problem of preventing the end of all reality.

By the way, speaking of Grant Morrison, if you've never read the greatest Superman book EVER then it's your duty to disregard everything else on this list and pick up the new trade paperback collection of his All-Star Superman book which also comes out today.

Plus, there's even more classic Morrison on the shelves with a $30 hardcover collecting the first 9 issues of his run on the relaunched JLA comic from somewhere around 1996. From a historical standpoint, this is a highly influential book that many would say kick started the whole "widescreen" action method of telling superhero comics. Personally, I have trouble getting past the artwork in this one but it's pretty wild superhero fun, nonetheless.


Andy Mansell said...

ooooh, I think I am 5 for 5 ordering this week. I hope I didn't nix the TALL book from my Previews order.
BTW-- it may be worth pointing out that Typhon does NOT belong with the others-- it is for Grown ups only... bigtime.

Rich-- I would pay to read your comments. Excellent-- how bout some more reviews???

I triple dog dare ya (uh-oh, now you have to...)

Rich Barrett said...

Andy - thanks for the kind words.

Derek Ballard, that's right. I couldn't remember the name of the guy who had this. I almost bought it from him but ran out of cash.

Yeah, Dustin, put me in for an order on this. I enjoy the perverted, out-there stuff.

I guess if someone could put Superman Beyond in my bag as well that would be great.

Shawn Reynolds said...

Rich - you can thank Shelton for telling me to put FC: Superman Beyond in your bag.

I just picked up the Achewood collection. It's some funny stuff.

Dan Morris said...

Man the Great Outdoor fight has to be one of best stories of the last 5 years or so. I'm glad that it's gotten collected in a nice hardcover. I hope there are future hardcover editions of Achewood. Anyone who isn't reading Achewood needs to go to for sure, though just as a warning it's not for kids.

Shaun can you hold a copy of that for me? I will be back in town in the next week and I can pick it up at two Mondays from now at the latest. Wow, that sounds like a very Wimpy thing to say.

Robert Ullman said...

Dustin- Just one guy's opinion, but in reality, TCJ Messboard antics aside, Danny's really not too bad a guy. Obnoxious at times, yeah, but I think his super-sensitive BS detector simply makes him unable to resist calling people out when they need it (see Rall v. Hellman). He's a pretty amazingly talented guy, too, with plenty of interesting opinions on art, illustration and the industry as a whole. I'd encourage everyone who only knows the TCJ Hellman to check out the interview Spurge posted on the Comics Reporter last weekend.

RE: those first few issues of Morrison's JLA. I'd love to read 'em, and have tried on a few occasions, but the Howard Porter art is SO bad. I just can't look at it. It's too bad someone good wasn't available to draw it back in '97.

Robert Ullman said...

Also: Great recommendation of that strip!

Dustin Harbin said...

I hear you, Rob, and coming from you it means a lot, BUT speaking as someone who tries and often fails to NOT be a jerk, that guy's not even trying. In a world of 6 billion people, why waste time with less than the best?

Rich, that Typhon is on order for you--it should be in this Wednesday.

Rusty Baily said...

Rich-AWESOME reviews, once again! I really want to try that "Great Outdoor Fight", AND "Typhoon", but I DID read New Avengers, and although you let people know that it's a pertinent story in the Secret Invasion line, you didn't mention how BRUTAL it was...or is it just me? I'm glad I'm not alone when I recommend this, cause it was a HEAVY book and very well written!
Thanks again for pointing out some good stuffs!

Jason Wheatley said...

Granted, it's been years since I pulled them out of the longboxes, so who knows how I'd feel now, but I remember enjoying Howard Porter's art on JLA. Different strokes, I guess...

Shawn Reynolds said...

Dan - I'll make sure we have a copy of that for you.

Monk a.k.a. Zach said...

I'd like to stick my head in to recommend the Great Outdoor Fight.

Andy Mansell said...

Achewood: This is -- and always has been-- right up with Perry bible Fellowship as the two great on line strips. It is a hoot and a half!

Dustin-- if you can get me a TALL Book I would be temporarilly in your debt.

Looking forward to any Superman by Grant Morrison-- thanks to All Star-- but, but... these cross-overs.... I know, I know they are the backbone of the mainstream and have been for the past 20-odd, but... Batman went from a book I was reading and enjoying monthly -- no thanks to the other all Star--to a book that has left me scratching my head... why? because I don't read Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Defective, the Alfred mini-series, the Aunt Harriet one-shot, with a Chief O'Hara solo shocker I don't have a clue as to what is going on-- no re-cap no nothing...
My point? I dont want the All Star Superman bubble to fall off the wine, but seeing this as part of Crisis, I genuinely fear reading it...
Will I be disappointed-- tell me bloggers..please!!

Thanks for Listening

Rich Barrett said...

Andy - I'm totally with you on crossover burnout. I think it's a much bigger problem with Marvel though. I feel like everything in Secret Invasion (and the same in Civil War) falls flat because it's hinging on things happening in books that I am never going to read.

I know Batman R.I.P. crosses over into the other Batbooks but my understanding is that the story itself is not continued in those other books. I credit the confusion that story is creating to Grant Morrison's off-beat writing style that usually takes multiple reads to get a handle on. Not to mention that he's pulling plot elements, like The Batman of Zur-en-rah from books that came out in the '60s.

Rob - I'm totally on your side on the JLA artwork. Like I mentioned in my posting it really keeps me from enjoying that book. In fact I think I've only read the first two story arcs of Grants run.

With everyone heaping the praise on Achewood I'll have to give it another shot. You're all making me think it should have been higher than #5 on this week's list but I'm just not sure I get the appeal of it.

Dustin - thanks for putting in the order. Has Bottomless Belly Button come in yet?

Dustin Harbin said...

Not yet, Rich. Soon, my love, soon. AND IT IS SO GOOD! This is at the top of my Discussion Group wishlist, because it is PACKED with formal inventiveness, subtle character development, and all-around weirdness. I can't wait to see what Andy does with it.

Jason Wheatley said...

Andy - "Batman R.I.P." has been confusing because that's how Morrison's writing it, not because it's a crossover. It's only being billed that way because of DC editorial, not because of Morrison. He's writing his own story, and the other books were told to tie into it to drive up sales. He's said as much in interviews. Having read all of the tie-ins with the exception of that insanely fast-selling issue of Robin last month, I can tell you that those issues have absolutely no impact on the main book. Zilch.

That said, I don't get what's going on either. It's really just Grant Morrison at his confusing best.