Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wednesday is New Comics Day (well, not this week though)

Every Wednesday we run down the 5 most interesting comics or graphic novels coming out for the week. This week new comics are actually shipping on Thursday because of Labor Day but let's do this today anyway.

5. MARVEL APES #1
Written by Karl Kesel; art by Ramon Bachs
Marvel
$3.99


In case you didn't know, Zombies are so last year. Same with Pirates. Apes are the new thing now. As someone who has studied the work of both Jane Goodall and Dr. Zaius, I'm a bit turned off by all these bandwagon jumpers that all of a sudden claim to have always been into monkeys. And they've only seen Project X once! If you only knew how much time I've logged sending letters trying to get BJ and The Bear released on DVD. Or how I drive around town blasting the Stones' "Monkey Man" from my car stereo. I'm the real deal when it comes to all things simian.

Anyway, so this book looks pretty good. It's pretty much like Marvel Zombies except instead of Spider-man being undead he's a monkey. Cool!

4. ROBERTS #1 (of 2)
Written by Wayne Chinsang; art by Erik Rose
Image Comics
$5.99 | 48 pgs


Roberts is a new two issue mini about two old guys that get to know each other while living in a nursing home.

Wait, don't stop reading! Let me finish.

One guy is the Boston Strangler and the other is the Zodiac Killer. The two serial killers rehash their past glories and then make a bet to see who still has what it takes.

The black and white artwork is by newcomer Erik Rose and judging by this preview on his website it looks pretty good. If you take him for his word, he drew it all using his and writer Wayne Chinsang's blood.

3. BERLIN BOOK TWO: CITY OF SMOKE
By Jason Lutes
Drawn & Quarterly
$19.95 | 200 pgs


Holy cow! I've been waiting half my adult life for Jason Lutes' second volume of Berlin to come out. Seriously though, when I first started getting back into comics way back in the early aughts, volume one was one of the first graphic novels I tried out. At this point I don't even remember what the story is about except that it takes place in pre-Nazi Berlin.

If you love period pieces about interesting places set during a crucial moment in its history then you must give this book a try. While it explores the city during the fall of the Weimar Republic it does so through the eyes of two lovers named Kurt and Mathe. It's the middle book of a trilogy that is turning out to be Lutes' lifework and a test of patience for tradewaiters everywhere.

2. SECRET SIX #1
Written by Gail Simone; art by Nicola Scott and Doug Hazelwood
DC Comics
$2.99 | 32 pgs


Back during DC's Countdown to Infinite Crisis, the most surprisingly enjoyable tie-in to that event was Gail Simone's Villains United which introduced us to an all new version of the Secret Six. Since then there's been a successful Secret Six mini-series that has now lead to a new ongoing series written by Simone and her Birds of Prey collaborator, Nicola Scott. The Secret Six is a team of super-villains that has had a somewhat revolving cast since it first appeared in Villains United but its mainstays include Deadshot, Scandal, Ragdoll and Catman whose reinvention from lame Wonder Woman bad guy to tough-with-a-sensitive-side anti-hero has made him the unofficial star of this team. Some new members will be added to the team in this series including a mysterious "A-list" Batman villain.

1. LOVE & ROCKETS: NEW STORIES
By The Hernandez Brothers
Fantagraphics
$14.99 | 100 pgs


The Hernandez Brothers have decided to take their long running comic, Love & Rockets, into the potential future of comics by eschewing the floppy format for an annual, 100 page digest of all new material. It seems like a big deal to me when major American comic book creators decides to publish their book in the manga method. Could an annual one-volume Amazing Spider-man in place of the current weekly 22 pagers be far behind? Yeah probably pretty far indeed but trade-waiters and bookshelf owners will be rejoicing in this move by the venerable indie creators. All three brothers - Jaime, Gilbert and Mario - have offerings in this introductory volume. Jaime, though takes up half the book with a new Penny Century story that takes her usual superhero leanings and goes full tilt with it.

If you've never read Love & Rockets, this could be a good place to start. Like any good ongoing comic, it's built on decades of it's own continuity but it's not to hard to jump in, get to know the characters and catch up to speed pretty easily.

5 comments:

Rusty Baily said...

All things simian?....I think I'd give you a run for your money. It's pretty much the only reason I bought "Helmet of Fate". Is that sad?
Phil, who was it that said monkeys on covers increase sales? Never been more true in my case(Especially Frank Cho or Art Adams monkeys!!!)

Andy Mansell said...

Everyone should be reading Berlin. It is a tremendous book. Clean line art; straightfoward storytelling--real emotions and you just might learn something!!!
Great stuff

Phil Southern said...

The late and great silver-age DC editor Julius Schwartz is usually given credit for the "one gorilla a month" and the "gorilla/sales paradigm". We shall see if Marvel can recreate DC's business plan of the '50s and '60s!

Phil

Phil Southern said...

An Addendum:

The one gorilla per month was a limit given to the DC editors by Irwin Donnefeld, the publisher. All of this could be urban legendary, by the way.

Phil

ted tarver said...

Marvel Apes? Really?