Category Archives: Comics

Comics & Coffee: 8/29/12 and 9/5/12 (Even Later Edition)

Wednesday is a day to buy new comics and drink coffee.

I missed last week due to this undefeatable virus I’ve had and Dragon*Con preparations, so I’ll just have to make like The Thing and do 2-in-1. This week starts off another transparent and pretty much ridiculous across-the-board marketing gimmick from DC — all their rebooted titles, just barely a year old, will be getting #0 issue to represent a new jumping-on point for anyone who may have missed the last jumping-on point. I think the problems with this line of thinking are self-evident, but as usual, I’m sure there will be some perfectly enjoyable comics to come out of it along with some perfectly horrible ones. The ones I’d grab for sure are Animal Man and Swamp Thing, and I’ll probably take a look at Action Comics, Dial H, Green Arrow, GI Combat, Phantom Stranger (which I believe is the only brand-new series coming out of Zerogate), and maybe a few of the others as well. You can also grab new issues of Sweet Tooth and Deadpool, two series that have absolutely nothing in common except that I like them and they are both beginning to wind down long runs, and the next-to-last issue of Marvel’s The Muppets, which has been collecting the last unpublished work Roger Langridge did with that franchise before Boom! lost its contract with it. A couple of new miniseries of note are Fashion Beast, a strangely under-reported adaptation of a screenplay Alan Moore developed with the Sex Pistols’ Malcolm McLaren in the mid-’80s, and The Road to Oz, the latest in the ongoing attempts by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young to bring all of L. Frank Baum’s children’s books to comics in the handsomest way possible. Also, IDW continues to put out one-shot “micro-series” for every Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character. I haven’t paid a whole lot of attention to them so far but they have my number this week with Fugitoid, a character I like enough to most likely buy anything with his image on it. Also from IDW this week is another round of Bud Sagendorf reprints in Classic Popeye #2, which I didn’t realize was going to be ongoing when I called out #1 earlier in this column.

Last week saw another of the TMNT Micro-Series releases, that one focusing on April. Like the Fugitoid issue, it’s from a creative team I’m not familiar with but it looks nice at a glance. If nothing else, those one-shots get you a lovely David Petersen cover for everyone in that universe you can think of. There’s also the third and final issue of the Infernal Man-Thing mini-series Marvel has been putting out based on a “lost script” by Steve Gerber. It looks like a hardcover collecting the full story (and presumably some ephemera) is on the way as well. The big, obvious grabs for me are Axe Cop: President of the World #2, from another three-issue series (the second of its kind for Dark Horse’s new material branched out from the beloved webcomic), and Popeye #4, which originally was going to be the last of Roger Langridge’s new Popeye material but I believe it’s being extended into an ongoing series. Others from last week I’d say are at least worth a quick look in the store: The first post-reboot Flash Annual, written and drawn by the excellent artist Francis Manapul, Steed and Peel #0, which kicks off some new adventures of “the other Avengers,” written by Mark Waid, Prophet #28, which is the latest in Brandon Graham’s unique attempt to revitalize Rob Liefeld’s sci-fi odyssey as a surreal, art-focused indie flagship, and The Goon #41, which apparently marks the beginning of a new commitment to regular, monthly issues for the long-running cult series which, based on the backup feature drawn by Mark Buckingham, could be easing Eric Powell’s workload by alternating in some neat guests.

Not a lot jumps out at me in trades and OGNs, save a couple of hardcover collections I don’t know a lot about but sound intriguing and look very attractive: Dal Tokyo, which collects a bunch of Gary Panter sci-fi strips originally published in Japan, and Heartless, a compilation of recent work by the Toronto-born, Yugoslavia-raised, Kim Deitch-esque cartoonist Nina Bunjevac.

Normally this is where I’d link to some previews and other recommendations, but some of those links get a little complex past the week they’re intended for, so I’ll be lazy and end it here. I pick up my comics from Richard’s in Greenville, SC, and I pick up my coffees from Coffee & Crema, though I can’t remember what I drank there the last couple Wednesdays. More next time.

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Comics & Coffee: 8/22/12 (Super Late Edition)

I’ve been sick all week so I’m catching up today. Wednesday, of course, was a day to read new comics and drink coffee, though I did less of the former and more of the latter this week. I keep attempting to catch up with my reading enough that I can fold some quick, functional reviews into this column, but today’s not the day. When I feel comfortable enough that I won’t be spreading germs on everything I flip through, I’ll be picking up the latest Mind MGMT, Adventure Time, Unwritten, and above all Batman Incorporated, which has just been destroying since its post-reboot comeback. This third issue is particularly exciting since it features the always-welcome alter-ego Matches Malone. I’ll most likely start picking up the new Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom miniseries from the very appropriate team of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee. Others I might pick up after a conditional glance-over: The number 12s of The Flash (which could turn into a big-deal comic as soon as the story innovations match Francis Manapul’s fantastic page designs), Justice League Dark (which I hope eventually reaches the full potential of a gothic misfit superteam under writer Jeff Lemire), and All Star Western (which is forever hit-and-miss for me, stretching back to when it was still Jonah Hex). IDW’s Mars Attacks revival hits its third issue; that looks like a permanent pull for me, but I haven’t read the last two issues I bought to confirm that it’s as fun as it seems to be. The extra-thick third(?) wave of Dark Horse Presents reaches #15 with another chapter of Mike Baron and Steve Rude’s Nexus among other interesting things, though now that I see Dark Horse is diligently releasing one-shot floppies of full collected stories, the $8 price tag on the anthology version is increasingly unattractive. In the big, handsome, hardcover collection category, you can get the latest Fantagraphics Peanuts book, collecting strips from 1985 and 1986, with a foreword by Patton Oswalt, or the massive Invisibles Omnibus, collecting one of Grant Morrison’s most career-defining runs. I haven’t read any of that and would love to, but it won’t be in a $120 brick.

Last week I posted the November solicitations for Marvel and DC, now you can find them from IDW, Dark Horse, and Image.

You can find a full list of releases here, a mess of previews here, and some guided shopping lists here and here.

I pick up my comics from Richard’s in Greenville, SC. Today’s coffee was an orange/vanilla/cinammon latte from Coffee & Crema, though I’ve been pouring so much coffee and tea on my blistered throat this week that I could say a hundred different things here. More comics next week, hopefully on time.

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Comics & Coffee: 8/15/12

Treasury of XXth Century Murder: Lovers’ Lane: The Hall-Mills Mystery by Rick Geary

Wednesday is a day to buy new comics and drink coffee.

Today sees the latest issues of a handful of my regular pick-ups, all of which I’m behind on as usual and can’t comment on their current quality status: Deadpool, Batwoman, Snarked. I also always take a look at the post-reboot Wonder Woman standing in the store, especially when Cliff Chiang is at his regular drawing post. There’s also new issues of a couple nice-looking and well-regarded comics I’ve got on my buy-in-trade list, Saga and Mark Waid’s Daredevil. I think the first Saga trade comes out in November. I’m definitely going to be picking up the new reprint of Classic Popeye from IDW, released to piggyback on their excellent new ongoing Popeye series from Roger Langridge. That’s a lucky release for me because I’ve had the original sitting in the “yeah right, I’ll never be able to afford this” section of my convention wishlist for years now. I’ve never read it so I can’t speak to its quality, but it’s an interesting comic because it was all-original material made just for Dell by Bud Sagendorf, who was E.C. Segar’s assistant when he was still writing and drawing Popeye for Thimble Theatre ten years earlier.

In terms of books and collections, the best item is clearly the latest in Rick Geary’s fantastic true crime studies, Lovers’ Lane: The Hall-Mills Mystery. I don’t think I’m familiar with the case in this one, which makes me doubly excited to read it. There’s also another Steve Ditko collection, The Creativity of Steve Ditko, which feels like it brings the number of those to something like six or seven in the last couple years. I’m starting to get confused as to what’s what there, but I’m assuming they’re all worth owning eventually. It also looks like there’s a single-volume trade of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams’ Green Lantern/Green Arrow comics, which can never be pimped enough. Tom Spurgeon (linked below) recommends a very attractive Belgian comic called The Making Of, but I don’t know a damn thing about it so I’ll have to hope I can find a local copy or nice preview to look at.

Since it happens to be right here in front of me, here’s some links to the November solicitations for DC and Marvel, if you’d like to know what you’ll be spending or not spending your money on in the distant future.

You can find a full list of releases here, a mess of previews here, and some guided shopping lists here and here.

I pick up my comics from Richard’s in Greenville, SC. Today’s coffee was…actually, I’m not sure. I asked for something random at Coffee & Crema a few days ago and got something strange and delicious so I asked for a repeat today. I know it involves thyme and possibly orange. Anyway, more comics next week.

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Comics & Coffee: 8/8/12

RASL by Jeff Smith. Click to buy from Jeff’s site.

Wednesday is a day to buy new comics and drink coffee.

When I mentioned last week that the impact of Jeff Smith ending his RASL series would probably be delayed until the final plus-size trade came out, I didn’t realize it would be coming out just a week later. I already grabbed a copy and can’t wait to read it. Actually, I’ll probably go back and read the series in full since it’s so short.

Also out today are new issues of two of my recent favorites, Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. and Spongebob Comics. I’m running behind on both but I’ll probably fix that before next week. I’m also picking up the first of the five-issue Godzilla: The Half-Century War (by the great James Stokoe) and thelatest in the Space Punisher miniseries, which has beautifully painted art and doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously, which is an attractive combo for me.

The most notable single-issue release is probably the latest in Scott Snyder’s Batman saga, a series I’m miraculously not behind on. This one is sort of an epilogue to the popular Night of the Owls “event” and a kickoff for the next arc. I really enjoyed what Snyder and Greg Capullo did with all the Owls nonsense, even while getting worn out on a lot of its ideas. It seems like all of the recent reputable Batman stories have tried too deliberately to tie everything into the deep history of the character and of Gotham City, each one adding their own specific wrinkles to an increasingly convoluted timeline. I’d like to see a shift at this point towards some in-the-moment or forward-thinking stories, and maybe even some one-and-done stories without as much overhead. That may sound like I’m just wanting mindless action out of my Batman comics, but it’s more that I enjoy the haiku-like simplicity of that world at its most stripped-down form. Alternately, I also like it when it’s in mind-bending crazy-town mode, so I loved that psychological torture segment in the Hall of the Owls or whatever, and I’d welcome more of that kind of thing as well.

I also just caught up on all the Adventure Time comics, including the Marceline and the Scream Queens spinoff which has its second issue out today. Those are all fun, frequently laugh-out-loud comics with a lot of great talent involved, though I’m not quite with the general consensus that they stand on their own. Some of the quickie back-up stories, which come from both big names like Paul Pope and personal favorites like Anthony Clark, take a very comics-specific approach to reinterpreting the characters but the main feature has so far played out more like an illustrated bonus episode of the show, indebted to the original format, continuity, and style. I’m being overly nitpicky because they’re still a lot of fun, but I really like how experimental the aforementioned Spongebob Comics is with its adaptation, and would love to see these go even further off-model.

The other new releases that interest me today are a wealth of non-mainstream collections and graphic-novel curiosities that I’m too cheap or unfamiliar with to order but will keep an eye out for. The most popular will be the first colorized, plus-sized hardcover in the Scott Pilgrim reprint series. That series is one of maybe 2 or 3 black-and-whites I’ve ever read that made me think, “This would be great in color,” so I’m excited that it’s happening, though those comics don’t really start clicking with me until at least the second volume. There’s a Grendel omnibus which looks like an excellent collection of some material I already have in other formats along with some I don’t. I love (love!) all the Grendel (and Matt Wagner in general) I’ve read so that’s a tempting book, especially if they follow through and release the whole thing in chronological, matching-spine volumes. The IDW Artist Edition series, which publishes full-size original artwork from previously released comics, is moving into some smaller “portfolio” editions with Warren Publishing-era short stories from Bernie Wrightson (The Muck Monster) and Neal Adams (Thrill Kill), plus some nice-looking hardcover reprints from the Humanoids publisher that seems to largely exist to reprint the many comics works of filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky for the States; today, it’s his early works The Eyes of the Cat (his first collaboration with Moebius!) and Shadow’s Treasure. Finally, there’s Cardboard, a new book by Doug TenNapel, who it feels like I’ve spent my whole life “meaning to get into.” His books are usually (but not always) family-friendly genre pastiches that always look really nice at a glance, and I hear they’re very rewarding to dig into, though he’s probably better known for his work in video games and animation.

You can find a full list of releases here, a mess of previews here, and some guided shopping lists here and here.

I pick up my comics from Richard’s in Greenville, SC. Today’s coffee was a raspberry muscovado latte from Coffee & Crema. They tell me muscovado is a dark brown sugar with a molasses-like flavor. More comics next week.

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Comics & Coffee: 8/1/12

The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire

The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire. Click for preview from Top Shelf.

Wednesday is a day to buy new comics and drink coffee.

Lots of good books coming out today. The final issue of Jeff Smith’s interdimensional sci-fi noir opus RASL is a pretty big deal, although I’m guessing a lot of people, myself included, are reading it in the oversized trades and won’t actually read it for a couple of weeks. Also out today are the latest issues of Mind MGMT (Matt Kindt’s intrigue-and-hidden-message-packed spy book), Swamp Thing, Dial H (a weird comic I probably won’t form a concrete opinion on until its inevitable cancellation), The Muppets (Marvel’s effort to push out the last bits of Roger Langridge’s unpublished work with those characters), Green Arrow (which has been getting pretty entertaining since Ann Nocenti took over), and the post-reboot Action Comics (which I’m slightly more interested in now that I know Grant Morrison is preparing for a leave of absence from superheroes soon.) There’s also a couple of potentially interesting new Marvel series kicking off: Hawkeye by the well-liked team of Matt Fraction and David Aja, and First X-Men, featuring art and writing contributions from Neal Adams, who is of course getting hard to gauge at this point in his career. The Beasts of Burden one-shot coming out is recollecting stories from the recent Dark Horse Presents appearances, but anything related to that series is a pick-up for me, and I hope it’s a prelude to more ongoing issues (Evan Dorkin seemed to think so when I talked to him at Heroes Con). The Olympic champ of the week is probably Jeff Lemire, who has new issues of his Sweet Tooth and Animal Man along with his new OGN The Underwater Welder, which seemed to impress the hell out of everybody who hungrily picked it up at Heroes Con.

You can find a full list of releases here, a mess of previews here, and some guided shopping lists here and here.

I pick up my comics from Richard’s in Greenville, SC. Today’s coffee was a red velvet French press I made at home with beans from the local Fresh Market. More comics next week.

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