Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday is New Comics Day

Every Wednesday we run down the 5 most interesting comics or graphic novels coming out for the week. Provided the world doesn't prematurely end today here's what's coming out today.

Written by Adam Beechen; art by Manny Bello
Ait/Planet Lar
$12.95 | 88 pgs

Dugout is a new graphic novel that is apparently seven years in the making from Ait/Planet Lar and the same creative team of the publisher's 2004 book Hench, Adam Beechen (recently of Teen Titans and other DC work) and Manny Bello.

Set in 1960, it concerns a down and out manager of a pro baseball team who sets up an exhibition game at a prison as a means of breaking his star pitcher out of the clink. This sounds like a fun book that combines two of America's favorite past times: baseball and sticking it to the warden.

Written by Roberto Aguirre-Scassa; art by Mike Perkins

Marvel has had some pretty good success with adapting Stephen King's The Dark Tower and their method seems to be to roll out numerous mini-series to tell the story. In fact, there's another Jae Lee illustrated Dark Tower mini starting this week as well called The Dark Tower: Treachery. The success of that series has led to Marvel adapting one of King's most powerful and epic novels, The Stand into a series of 6 mini-series. It's been a good 20 years since I read that novel but I remember being pretty blown away by it and I wasn't alone as you can find influences from that book in many places, most notably on TV's Lost.

Written by Roberto Aguirre-Scassa with much input from King himself, this first mini-series introduces the man-made virus nicknamed "Captain Trips" that devastates the world leaving two groups of survivors - one that follows the saintly Mother Abigail and another that is enraptured by the anti-Christ-like Randall Flagg. I can't imagine this story won't make for a good comic but it will be interesting to see whether the multiple mini-series format helps make this massive epic more digestible or less, well, epic.

By Barnaby Ward
Frogchildren Studios
$29.95 | 208 pgs

Barnaby Ward is an exciting new creator who is releasing a collection of work through an animation company that he works for called Frogchildren Studios. Ward's art is really interesting, showing influences of animation, manga, fashion illustration and European comics. This volume contains various illustrations and some short stories as well as one longer piece which the book draws its title from about a man who walks into an apartment and finds a strange but beautiful girl who leads him into more strange territory.

Check out a preview here at Ward's website

Written by Jonathan Lethem; art by Farel Dalrymple, Paul Hornschemeier and Gary Panter

The indie snob in me wishes that Marvel would do more books like this one. A literary superhero comic put together by an award winning novelist and a team of indie art superstars. This new premiere hardcover collects the recently concluded 10 issue mini-series that re-imagined Steve Gerber's short-lived cult-classic 1970s comic about a young boy who learns he shares a destiny with a mute super hero from another planet. Lethem, perhaps best known for his novel Fortress of Solitude about a couple of kids growing up in Brooklyn on a steady diet of 1970s Marvel comics, is joined in his first comic outing by artists Farel Dalrymple and Paul Hornschemeier and even a guest bit done by Gary Panter of all people. It all makes for an odd package from a publisher like Marvel.

Written by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka; art by Michael Lark
DC Comics
$29.99 | 240 pgs

Funny how it took until Ed Brubaker became an unstoppable superstar over at Marvel for DC to finally start showing some love to his and Greg Rucka's highly praised but rarely read procedural crime drama, Gotham Central. The book petered out a couple of years back and has only been sporadically collected in trades. This new hardcover collects the first 10 issues which includes the first three story arcs (or cases as we'll call them here). During it's run, Brubaker and Rucka would alternate story arcs, cases and even characters with Brubaker handling the GCPD night shift and Rucka the day shift. The highlight of this collection is actually written by Greg Rucka which stars the character who would someday become the Question – Renee Montoya. In this award winning story, "Half Life", Montoya's life is turned upside-down when she is outed to her co-workers as a lesbian and gets kidnapped by Two-Face.

The real superstar of this book though is Michael Lark though who turns in some amazing, shadow-drenched artwork that brings the Gotham crime scene alive and makes you feel like you're watching a great cop show that just happens to be set in Gotham City.

BONUS! Some Honorable Mentions:

Krazy & Ignatz 1943-1944: He Nods in Quiescent Siesta
At long last, the final volume of Fantagraphics' Krazy Kat reprints.

Prince of Persia
Based on a popular computer game I've never heard of but it's brought to you by the fine folks at First Second who rarely miss a step.

Batman: The Black Glove
Collecting the best part of Grant Morrison's current run on Batman.

Bad Boy 10th Anniversary Hardcover
The new All-Star Batman and Robin may have been recalled this week but there's always this old Frank Miller and Simon Bisley book to satisfy your fix.

Big Hero 6 #1
Chris Claremont does Japanese superhero teams.

Kick Drum Comix #1
Short stories from Jim Mahfood.


Neil said...

Can I also recomend The Bomb TPB by Steve Mannion published by Asylum Press? Here's the write up.

"Collecting issues #1-4 of The Bomb mini-series, this book has been described as Raiders of the Lost Ark meets MAD Magazine, with a dash of Stan Lee thrown in for good measure! Steve Mannion's signature brush style, colorful characters, and witty gag-writing have already netted the artist a solid underground following. This huge compilation features"Fearless Dawn," "Brownhole Jones," and "Jungle Chick and the Dinosaur." For fans of The Goon, Wally Wood, and classic EC horror, this book is a must!"

Steve self-published all of the individual issues, so It's great to see this come to fruition. It's been a long time coming.

Steve's website is

Rich Barrett said...

Cool, thanks, Neil.

The art on that actually does look really good.

Dustin Harbin said...

Prince of Persia actually did NOT come out today, although we did order it.

That "Sixteen Miles" book DOES look pretty cool, though...

Jason Wheatley said...

"Dugout" sounds like it might be a fun little romp. Anyone care to tell me how it is after they've read it?

And that "Gotham Central" hardcover reminds me that I really need to get around to picking up the rest of those trades - I've got the first couple. Good stuff there. I'd probably be more interested in the hardcover if it wasn't for me already having those. Oh, and the series also gave us Crispus Allen, the cop who would become The Spectre.

Andy Mansell said...

Krazy & Ignatz 1943-1944: He Nods in Quiescent Siesta
At long last, the final volume of Fantagraphics' Krazy Kat reprints.

This is a
HUGE moment in the history of comic strip reprints-- as of today, ALL of the Single page weekend Krazy Kats have been reprinted in all their splendor.

dustin-- can you throw a Dugout (very clever title) in my bin if you have a spare.

Nice work as usual Rich! (will we ever see you again at the discussion table?)

Rich Barrett said...

Andy, I'm planning on coming to the War Story discussion (still need to buy it though) but I beg you to post a follow up reminder the week before. I missed Ice Haven because I didn't know it was coming up. I'm too old to keep track of these things on my own.

Andy Mansell said...

will do-- watchmen really rocked too!!

I've got to admit, War Story is soooo compelling, I stayed up half the night re-reading it and then jumped to Garage Band and the Innocents as well. gipi is a true master of the medium.

d. morris said...

Weird that Prince of Persia didn't hit the Direct Market because I saw it in Barnes and Noble a couple of days ago.

Andy Mansell said...

By Barnaby Ward
Absolutely fascinating story telling. It makes me want to go read it for a second time. Nice art-his females remind me of Milo Manara-- absolutely a good thing!!

Rich Barrett said...

Andy, that's great to hear Sixteen Miles is good. I flipped through your copy and it was a really nice looking book. I'll definitely pick it up at some point.