Wednesday, October 22, 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 Geoff Johns, James Robinson and Sterling Gates; Art by Gary Frank and Jon Sibal, Renato Guedes and Wilson Magalháes, and Pete Woods ;
DC Comics
$3.99 | 48 pgs

Current Superman writers Geoff Johns and James Robinson team up with all the Superman artists for this one-shot special that acts as part 1 of a 9-part event that will be running through both Superman and Action Comics. Of course even though it's considered "part 1" the story actually picks up where Action Comics #870 left off but if you read The Daily News last week or looked at just about any comics news site you probably already know which longtime Superman character got killed off in that issue. The story does also pick up on various story threads that have been running through the Superman titles for the last couple of years as well so I'm not going to say this is new reader friendly but Johns knows how to handle an event like this as evidenced by the highly popular Sinestro Corps War that ran through the Green Lantern books a while back. So if you're looking for a way into the Superman books and maybe are feeling a little bit of withdrawal from All Star Superman having ended a couple of weeks back than this is probably your best bet for some Kryptonian fun.

Written by Joshua Dysart; Art by Alberto Ponticelli;
DC Vertigo
$2.99 | 32 pgs

Oh God, now I've got that weird song by The Doors stuck in my head. The Unknown Soldier is a classic DC property that got his start in an old Sgt. Rock story set in WWII. Garth Ennis rebooted him as an undercover CIA agent about ten years ago. Now, writer Joshua Dysart relaunches the series and sets it in strife-ridden Northern Uganda in 2002 with the bandaged hero being a pacifist doctor named Moses Lwanga. When Moses is attacked by local butchers he finds a voice in his head that unleashes a mysterious knowledge to kill that was hidden inside him.

Dysart went to Uganda for a month to research this project so you have to appreciate a comic writer going to such lengths for his story. Makes you wonder why Geoff Johns hasn't been to space yet. Slacker.

By Will Eisner
DC Comics
$19.99 | 192 pgs

If you've seen the trailers for Frank Miller's upcoming The Spirit movie then you won't be the least bit surprised that the movie tie-in would contain a collection of classic Spirit stories that all focus around his various sexy antagonists: P'Gell, Sand Seref, Silk Satin, etc. There's no telling how people walking out of the theater after Miller's over-sexed take on these stories will rectify what they saw with Will Eisner's still-seductive but slightly more quaint and of-its-time depictions of the Femmes Fatale here. Of course, let's not overlook the fact that these are some of the great classic comics of the Golden Age and Will Eisner is arguably the most influential comic creator ever so I don't think anyone will be disappointed with what they find here.

By Mawil
Blank Slate Books
$14.99 | 64 pgs

German cartoonist Mawil releases an English translation of his autobiographical tales of romantic disasters, We Can Still Be Friends, through the new publisher Blank Slate Books. If you're a guy and you've ever fallen hopelessly for a girl and then proceeded to mess up your chance with her really badly then you'll love this book (OR it will bring back some seriously painful and embarrassing memories. Yay!) Mawil's stories will connect with all of us wannabe Casanovas due not only to the relatable nature of his lovelorn stories but to his charming cartooning style. Fans of the work of both Jeffrey Brown and Lewis Trondheim will want to give this a try I'm sure. You can read a quick little preview here.

This one won't be in the shop today but put in your order here by placing a comment if you're interested.

By Paul Pope
DC Vertigo
$29.95 | 240 pgs

Paul Pope's early Vertigo series Heavy Liquid gets the recoloring treatment as well as some extra pages in this new hardcover release. Set in New York City of the late 21st century, Heavy Liquid is about a private detective named "S" who is hooked on a drug/art form called Heavy Liquid. It's a sci-fi detective story with ruminations on art and love and draws parallels to Philip K. Dick and Dashiell Hammett. Pope is comic's rock star right now whose appeal is currently breaking out of the comics world and into the New York art and fashion scene as witnessed by DKNY's recent clothing line based on his work.

Of Pope's oeuvre, I'm not sure that this would be considered his best work but I also don't think you can go wrong with any of his books.


If superhero event books were about finishing first with your regular artist intact than Marvel's Secret Invasion would be on its way to a clear win. Only one issue to go there while delays have slowed down DC's Final Crisis and seemed to have cost us the work of JG Jones who is replaced by Carlos Pacheco this issue.

Brian Wood's new series of angsty 20-somethings who just happen to also be Vikings living in the 11th century get collected in a nice, affordable $9.99 trade.

A new Ellis book from his "Apparat" line. It's an early 20th century detective story set in an alternate universe.

An auto-bio comic by American cartoonist Lucy Kinsley about living in Paris and going shopping with her mom or something. Ah to be young and in Paris. Actually this has gotten some very good word of mouth.

This is another book from new publisher Blank Slate Press and was up for an Ignatz award. It's also been nominated in my own awards show for Book Titles That Make Me Smile. This is a travelogue book set in Northern England. This one also won't be in the shop today but place an order. The reviews on this one are very good.


Andy Mansell said...

Let's do HEAVY LIQUID in the Discussion Group!! or 100%. Paul Pope to me is the ultimate stepping stone from Mainstream into the Alternative because his comics are so firmly entrnched in both camps. Wild, wild art-work, challenging SF concepts, but page after page a very clear and concise storytelling.

Great choices as usual.

Note to everyone on a budget: If you can't afford or don't want to spend for the Spirit Archives, buy this new trade. It is EVERYTHING you could want from eisner's Spirit. fair warning: you will hunger for more.

Though I am major Morrison fan, I have given up on FINAL CRISIS. All of those multi-book cross-over things are just out of my demagraphic. Unless IDW comes through with that Matlock/Jessica Fletcher cross-over (with a Columbo solo-shocker as a back-up tale).
I think the store should keep a Rascal behind the counter for folks like me who can't make the trip around the whole store....old, old, old

Rich Barrett said...

Andy, I'm with you on crossover fatigue. I've been kind of enjoying Final Crisis but HATE Secret Invasion. Either way, I've vowed that these are the last crossover events from either company that I buy. None of them read as complete stories. Though I think Final Crisis has been probably the most self-contained I think of any of the event books of the past few years despite the numerous spin-offs they're trying to trick us into buying.

Dustin Harbin said...

Let me throw in: GUS AND HIS GANG, which we got back in today after some damaged copies last week, is a MUST BUY for everyone who likes comics. It's a Western, it's gorgeous, and it's amazing. I'd say more, but I think I'm planning a review. So just buy it, already.

Rusty Baily said...

As an Unknown Soldier fan from waaay back, I just read the new reboot, and man, lemmie tell ya...this is going to be good! I love where it's heading, and the last page is a note from Dysart who did IMPRESSIVE research on/in may actually learn something from reading this book! Great review Rich! I'm really wanting to pick up that Superman too!
Not so much the "We Can Still Be Friends" though...I get enough of that from life....