Every Wednesday we run down the 5 most interesting comics or graphic novels coming out for the week.
5 ACHEWOOD: THE GREAT OUTDOOR FIGHT
By Chris Onstad
$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.
4. TALL TALES
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.
3. NEW AVENGERS #44
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.
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.
1. FINAL CRISIS: SUPERMAN BEYOND #1 (of 2)
Written by Grant Morrison; art by Dough Mahnke and Christian Alamy
$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.