Wednesday, November 12, 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 Paul Jenkins; art by Paolo Rivera

Mythos is a series of one-shots that have been released over the past couple of years, each retelling the origins of the big players in the Marvel Universe: The X-men, Hulk, Spider-man, Fantastic Four, Captain America and Ghost Rider (yeah that's right - Ghost Rider, what he's not good enough for you?) Written by Paul Jenkins and lushly painted by Paolo Rivera, the idea with these stories is to weave together various story elements that have evolved into canon over time from both modern comics and the movies into the stories that were originally told in the first issue of each character's respective books. I hear the results were mixed as far as how effectively this was done but it's all certainly nice to look at.

By Ted McKeever
Image Comics
$24.99 | 156 pgs

Ted McKeever is an artist with a bit of a cult following who's never had a real breakthrough hit but has produced some interesting work over the years, notably his Epic series Plastic Forks and Metropol and his Vertigo book with Peter Milligan, The Extremist.

This first hardcover volume of a planned series of reprints from his career begins with his first book originally published in 1987 by Vortex called Transit. It's about an "urban rebel" who gets caught up in a political power play that might take down his whole city. McKeever never actually finished this story until now. In addition to the original five issues this book collects the never before seen ending and some other odds and ends.

3. BATMAN: CACOPHONY #1 (of 3)
Written by Kevin Smith; art by Walt. J. Flanagan and Sandra Hope
$3.99 | 32 pgs

Kevin Smith makes his long awaited return to comics this week. But it's not to finish that Daredevil/Bullseye book he left hanging a few years ago. Or to finally do that Spider-man book he was supposed to write. Nope, he's starting a new book with DC that has been logically limited to only 3 issues which gives him a pretty fair chance of actually finishing it.

Cacophony is a Batman comic that features the villain Onomatopoeia that Smith created during his Green Arrow run. He's a serial killer who imitates sounds in a very comic booky way (blam, krak, sploosh, and all that). In addition to Onomatopoeia, other villains make an appearnce here like The Joker, Deadshot and Maxie Zeus.

One interesting thing to note is that the book is drawn by Smith's friend Walt Flanagan who has appeared in many of Smith's movies like Mallrats and Clerks.

By Bill Sienkiewicz
Image Comics
$24.99 | 224pgs

This lost relic from the '80's has rarely been reprinted over the years, possibly because its weird, near impenetrable story is not for everyone. But it's Bill Sienkiewicz in his Ralph Steadman meets Bob Peak heyday, around the time of his other classic works like Elektra:Assassin and his run on New Mutants.

It's a serial killer story featuring a tough but burnt out detective, freshly released from the nuthouse. Oh and toasters come into play somehow.

By James Jean
DC Vertigo
$39.99 | 208 pgs

A coffee table art book for those comic fans that just like looking at the covers. You don't get better than this. All of James Jean's covers for the excellent Vertigo comic, Fables, collected in an oversized hardcover and accompanied by sketches, annotations and an afterword by Fables writer Bill Willingham.

Jean will seriously be considered one of the best, if not the best, cover artist of all time someday and the fact that he's been producing such amazing works of art on a monthly basis for this comic is mind boggling. They are all equally breathtaking.

It was recently announced that Jean is leaving Fables soon so consider this book a farewell celebration of his magnificent run. The comic won't be the same without him.


Collecting the first issues of the newly relaunched Hulk comic - post World War Hulk. Written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Ed McGuiness and featuring the mysterious death of a long-time member of the Hulk comic cast and the Hulk turns red.

Anders Nilsen's highly acclaimed comic reaches its 11th issue of gloomy, existential angst and talking animals.

A softcover collection of various Batman-related stories written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke, including the excellent Selina's Big Score.

The final volume collecting Grant Morrison's crazy run on New X-men. This one has the truth about Xorn and Marc Silvestri illustrating the future.

Written and drawn by Alex Ross. This spins off from recent events in the JSA comic and of course ties in to the classic Kingdom Come series that Ross did with Mark Waid way back.


Andy Mansell said...


Only 3 times in my recollection do I recall buying a series based on the cover alone:
1. Sandman-- came for the McKean art stayed for the long haul
2. Marvels #1-- That photo realistic Giant Man gave me shivers-- now a new comic without an Alex Ross cover is an event.
3. Fables—the cover drew me to the comic and the story pulled me in for keeps

And Jean is such a nice guy! When he was at Heroescon a few years ago, he signed his sketchbook and even drew a picture on the title page.

Great article Rich!!

Jason Wheatley said...

The Fables cover collection is cool...but I have to wonder why DC released it now. If I remember correctly from when it was first solicted, it will end up collecting all but James Jean's last 6 covers for Fables. I think Fables and James Jean fans would understand if DC delayed this book by several months so they could have his complete run in the book. Now, it will either be incomplete, or they'll have to release an updated edition later with all the covers, since fewer than 10 covers doesn't make sense for a second volume. Just seems like a foolish decision by DC's collections department to me.

Rich Barrett said...

Yeah that's a good point, Jason. I assume it's something that had been in production for a while now and was already on its way or maybe even completed when James Jean decided he was leaving the book. It would certainly have been nice for the book to be a complete collection. A reason for them to release a second edition someday I guess.

Does it come shrinkwrapped or can we browse through it in the store?

Rusty Baily said...

All good reviews Rich! Thanks! But I feel like you left one off! If you like awesome art and offensive language and subject matter...look no further! The Cream of Tank Girl hit the shelves yesterday and WOW! Me thinks Hewlett and Martin genius!!! But it really is for older kids like me. It's got a new story and remastered original strips, and tons of sketches! If your over 18, pick that puppy up and start drooling!

Rusty Baily said...

PS-you guys ARE right! Those fables covers are spectacular!

Rich Barrett said...

Good call on Tank Girl, Rusty. I think that was on some shipping lists a week or two ago so I thought it had come out already.

looka said...

Stray Toasters is back! Great news thanks!

The Fables covers book sure is the Morphine for all the pains there will be without James Jean on a comicbook cover...

The Tank Girl Book is crazy AND for the oldy kids like us. I enjoy that. How about the classic stories coming out soon?? They are in Black and white. that should be fun.

Ghost Rider sure is good enough for me ;)