Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday is New Comics Day

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

Written by Warren Ellis; art by Juan Jose Ryp
Avatar Press
$24.99 | 192 pgs

So, would it be weird to gear up for this Friday's first Presidential Debate by reading a book about a superhero that assassinates the President of the United States and starts a Civil War between the military and the scientifically-enhanced heroes it created? I guess that since the President depicted is more similar to our current President than either of our potential future ones then it's probably okay.

Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp are true to form here as they deliver extreme superhero violence full of blood and guts and hi-tech machinery and then the blood and guts and hi-tech machinery get all blown up. Over and over again. This trade paperback collects the original mini-series.

By Posy Simmonds
Houghton Mifflin
$16.95 | 136 pgs

Posy Simmonds is a British cartoonist who has run two highly successful strips in the newspaper The Guardian that take 19th century romantic novels and give them a 21st century modernist spin. The first strip, Gemma Bovery (a reworking of Madame Bovary) was collected as a graphic novel to much acclaim and now her second strip, based on Thomas Hardy's Far From The Maddening Crowd gets the same treatment.

A quiet, writers retreat is turned on it's head when Tamara Drewe, a sexy gossip columnist, comes to town bringing along her sorrow at the recent loss of her mother and the drama of her recent break-up with her rock star boyfriend. Everyone from the local married men to a couple of teenage girls become infatuated with Tamara. Tamara Drewe is a British manners comedy in which the upper class gets all raunchy against their better judgment. The strip was done in the berliner format which you can see by viewing a page here at the Guardian website.

By John Pham
$8.99 | 64 pgs

Readers of the anthology MOME, may remember John Pham's "221 Sycamore St." which ran in the first few volumes of that book. Pham now has his own anthology, called Sublife, which will be printed twice a year from Fantagraphics and will contain serialized longer works accompanied by shorter, self-contained pieces. This first volume contains the first chapter of the previously seen "221 Sycamore St." (about somewhat connected groups of people living out their bizarre lives at the title address) and "Deep Space" an equally weird sci-fi story.

The book is printed in two-color and it's two kind of weird colors at that. You can preview a few pages here. Pham's dream-like renderings and experimental style of storytelling should make this a challenging and maybe even disturbing read.

By Mike Allred
Image Comics
$16.99 | 280 pgs

Mike Allred, creator of Madman (that's singular, nothing to do with the Emmy winning television series except for a penchant for 60's-era aesthetics; in fact, if they make a Mad Men comic someday, Allred might be a good choice to draw it), published a labor of love about rock and roll a decade ago that is getting a 10th anniversary treatment here. In the original 7 issue limited series, Red Rocket 7, Allred told the history of rock and roll - from the 50s up to and beyond the grunge era - "through the eyes of the seventh clone of a man from a distant world". The entire series is collected here with some extras. I 'm pretty sure it does not contain the rock album that Allred recorded nor the movie called Astroesque that he filmed to accompany this book. It does have an intro by future Madman film director Robert Rodriguez though.

By Osamu Tezuka
$24.95 | 288 pgs

The flurry of repackaged Osamu Tezuka releases in the past year have been building towards this one. Black Jack, Tezuka's manga series from the 1970's is considered his third most famous work (after Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion) and has been translated and reprinted before but this hardcover deluxe edition marks a new reprint with a new translation and a new sequential ordering of the stories that it contains, based on Tezuka's own preference. The series is made up of about 250 self-contained 20-or-so page short stories that all deal with a gifted but scarred surgeon named Black Jack who goes around performing wild surgeries and saving lives. Tezuka, who at one point in his life was a licensed physician, loved doing doctor dramas and poured plenty of realistic detail into some fairly unrealistic stories here.

Jog the Blog has an excellent review of this volume.
If you don't do hardcovers you can wait a week or two for the less deluxe-y softcover to arrive.


The $99 hardcover treatment for the classic Frank Miller book that most people have never read (myself included).

"Jumping On Point" Alert! Also, Lady Bullseye, which I assume is a new character and not a post-op version of an old villain.

A spin-off of a spin-off.

Garth Ennis and Jimmy Palmiotti do crime comics, Brooklyn-style.

Grant Morrison and JG Jones' much loved mini-series from the '90s gets collected now that the character has shown up in Secret Invasion.


Andy Mansell said...

Grant Morrison and JG Jones' much loved mini-series from the '90s gets collected now that the character has shown up in Secret Invasion.

One of the best mini-series EVER!!!!

also....Complete Peanuts and Complete Terry and the Pirates...(same week as Black Jack and Tamara Drewe; I'll see you in the poor house (at least I'll have plenty to read there!)

d. morris said...

Everyone should read Blackjack for the story involving Blackjack in the Austrailian outback.

Neil said...

I also thought that Samurai: Legend from Marvel Max was worth mentioning.

(from the publisher)
The European best-seller – now finally presented in English! Writer Jean-Francois Di Giorgio and artist Frédéric Genêt tap into the rich mythology of the noble Samurai, creating a nuanced look at the fabled Japanese warriors. Having become a samurai, Takeo feels strong enough to confront his past. On the borders of Japan, a terrible plan is being plotted: General Akuma, one of the Empire’s most influential figures, seems to be dead set on betraying the Emperor to his own advantage. However, a grave secret links the two men: the 13th prophet. Meanwhile, Takeo hopes to discover who he is. Why did he grow up in a monastery? And why was he abandoned by his brother ten years earlier? His quest will put him in deep torment, placing him in the middle of the dark destiny of the Empire and the 13th prophet!"