Not every graphic novel or comic book can get a positive review, so that’s why I’m providing this service to publishers in need to some back-cover copy that will help sell their wares. Just make sure to include my name as attribution, per the open source credo!
- Reading [TITLE] was like having angels feed me blueberry crumbcake. I love me some motherfuckin’ blueberry crumbcake.
- It’s as if [ARTIST] went to heaven with the express purpose of wresting the pens from Jack Kirby, John Buscema, and Curt Swan’s hands before slapping them in their faces with what must surely be the most impressive penis known to man.
- Through [WRITER] and his elaborate scripting, we can get a peek at the real nature of the universe, the ones and zeros that form our everyday lives without our knowing. Are we ready for this knowledge? [WRITER] can tell us. We should listen.
- In comics such as [TITLE], we see where the future of the medium lies. A future of broken superhero dreams and crushed third-rate hackwork designed to be picked up by the movie industry. [CREATOR] is the new vanguard of comics, and I’m just glad that I have two functional eyes so I may savor in their glory.
- With a sudden jolt akin to seeing Citizen Kane for the first time. [TITLE] provides the reader with everything they could want in life, including oral sex and rainbows. Without [TITLE] in my life, I would feel as if the world had lost its luster and all was lost.
From here, you can:
- Read about the making of the video over at PingMag.
- Make Señor Coconut your friend on MySpace.
- Vheck out Uwe Schmidt’s Wikipedia entry and be amazed at the size of his…discography.
It’s Wednesday, so it’s time to go behind the counter.
From the back of the Ultimate Human trade:
As the political intrigue and long-buried secrets are slowly revealed in writer Warren Ellis’ own inimitable way, expect to be shocked, surprised and overcome with the kind of seat-of-your-pants, comic-reading glee that is a hallmark of the Ultimate reading experience. Marking artist Cary Nord’s triumphant return to Marvel, Ultimate Human is the next key chapter in the ongoing Ultimate saga!
I can see what they’re trying to do with this copy, I really can – they want to recapture that famous Stan Lee carny-style hucksterism, but the secret to the Lieber spiel was that it was so over the top, so ludicrous that there was no way that someone with more than three synapses firing could take him seriously.
This utterly fails to capture that wink, that nudge, and instead comes off as some sort of insult to the readers, sounding like the result of a late-night used-car salesman and Miss Nancy from Romper Room having their DNA spliced to create a new breed of copywriting droid: “You like fun, don’t you? This is fun! And it’s by that guy! He’s written some things that you didn’t read because they didn’t have Iron Man in them, but trust us, he’s different than the other guys we have writing stuff with Iron Man in it! Also, it’s Ultimate! Ultimate means the best!”
And you know, this sort of hyperbolic, cliché is just fine in solicitations, because shops are doing to order a Warren Ellis Ultimate Comic Featuring Two Guys In Summer Movies at a certain level no matter what, and there’s a set audience for such a thing, but who thinks this copy would work on a regular buyer in a bookstore, or even someone who may normally not pay $20 for a hardcover collection (of four issues,) but may or may not go for it anyway, thanks to their economic stimulus check? I bought Ultimate Human because I like Warren Ellis comic books more than I like most other comic books, but I’m not the Marvel Target Audience in general. In fact, I’m kind of wondering who their target audience is, if this is what they think will work on them.
(As for the book itself: anticlimactic with some very nice character bits – Ellis is perfect for Ultimate Tony Stark, just like he is for Ultimate Reed and Sue – and a few deftly-handled bits that discuss the politics of espionage in a world where superheroes are the new WMDs. It’s like there’s 2/3rds of a really great comic there, but it never jells. It would have benefited greatly with an additional two issues and more explosions. Cary Nord’s art, while inconsistent, was generally very pleasing.)
Pal of the blog Jeff Lemire has created two new Essex County minicomics! Sure, they’ll be on the web, but you can tuck these into the copies on your shelf as supplemental material; you can’t do that with the web, no matter how hard you try.
After an illness-and-computer-woes induced break, we’re back with some picks. Catch up with what they said about this week’s materials and then get ready for some ha-ha strips.
I’m catching up with my RSS feeds this morning and this entry from Blog@Newsarama pops up in my reader:
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There’s a couple of likely ways this could have been done, the first being that the template designers did it and hope to make big money off of their increased Effexor sales. This is not very probably, as no other entries currently on the site’s front page or archives (that I can find) feature this code and I’ve never seen this text pop up in any other entries from Blog@Newsarama.
The second is a black-hat SEO WordPress spam hack that’s been floating around for a litle while. Whereas the spam mentioned in the link depended on setting the line height to zero to make the text “invisible” except for RSS feeds and in the source code, the code this time sets a position that’s very off-screen (see the bolded text) unless you’re reading the site maximized on the big Jumbotron NASA uses in Kennedy Space Center’s control room. Pretty clever little trick, actually, as the text would appear to be part of a blog entry made on a site with a Page Rank of 6. That’s not quite getting CNN to endorse your Cialis Jelly, but it’s better than creating your own splogs and trying to get Google to pay attention to them.
This shouldn’t affect Newsarama very much, as the site’s well established and the spam appears to be an isolated incident. Once this bit of code is removed, any penalties will be removed tout suite. My only other recommendation would be to make sure that the WordPress implementation that the site is running on be upgraded to the latest version; it’s currently on 2.0.2, and 2.5 is more stable and less hackable.
(OK, that, plus cleaning up the code. There’s a lot of salad on that page before you get to the content and it probably affects the Google rankings for a lot of the entries that should do better.)
And thus ends the latest edition of “Kevin Talks About The Internet.” Tune in next time, when I talk smack about Yahoo’s inability to decide what they do plus get in a tussle with somebody still using Hotmail like it’s 1997 or something. I probably should have just written this up in an email to JK, but I needed some content for my site, so…
I’ve never been a fan of Jessica Abel’s work. Yes, she’s a very accomplished cartoonist with no small amount of brain matter that she devotes to thinking about the medium, but everything she’s done so far has left me cold, mostly because I really don’t care much for reading about pretty, overprivileged 20-and-30-somethings who go to exotic places and still manage to be simultaneously vapid and precious.
This view of her work, of course, made me immediately biased against Life Sucks, co-written with the (affable as all hell) Gabe Soria with art by Warren Pleece, so I was very pleasantly surprised with this mostly charming, frequently witty, and overall well-done graphic novel in which convenience-store employee (and vampire) Dave Mitchell finds himself smitten with a goth girl who fetishizes his lifestyle and, as is the wont of fiction, complications ensue. Even if the only new ground broken in the book (at least to me) is the working-class vampire lifestyle in California, Life Sucks manages to be an lively, engaging beach read on the strength of the characters and lovely art by Warren Pleece (who gets better every year.) While I rooted for Dave and hissed at surfer-boy Wes, it’s telling that the bits that stand out a day after reading it involve Dave’s boss (a Romanian expat who enslaved him a few years before when needing a new clerk for his Last Stop convenience store) and the tiny things, like Blood Brew and the vampire diner the cast hangs out in.
Still, not bad, and the perfect bit of froth that may help get people that are currently Buffy-only comics readers to check out something new. I mean, it’s got vampires and shit in it, right?
100 Bullets #91
The Good: Azzarello’s lining up his final shots and it looks to be a doozy climax for this title.
The Bad: I know the title’s basically built for the trade, but I still wish there was a “Previously…” page in the singles. The volume of characters and the intense cross-plotting means I always spend a minute or two refreshing my memory.
The Good: The new Batmobile, Tim and Alfred’s discussion about Damian, the luchadore in The Black Glove.
The Bad: Tony Daniel, Tony Daniel, Tony Daniel, and Jezebel Jet. I just can’t care about her.
The Ugly: The storytelling on the Joker bit near the end. When I have people much more thoroughly mired in superhero comics than I asking me what happened, somebody fucked up, and I doubt it was Mr. G. Morrison of Scotland.
David Lampham’s Young Liars #3
The Good: High-octane, visceral storytelling that sells you on the unlikely.
The Bad: Lapham’s not quite as in touch with the youth of today as he thinks he is, but the very 70s feel I’ve mentioned previously helps sell everything anyway.
The Ugly: Donnie without his wig on. Yeesh.
The Good: This is my favorite storyline so far. The street-level Obama-style politicking by Delgado is relavant and entertaining and Matty’s complicated relationship with the campaign makes for good drama.
The Bad: Matty is still fairly unlikeable for long stretches, which is sort of the point, but it’s hard to have sympathy for someone you want to backhand.
The Ugly: I saw the last page coming from the end of the first part of this storyline, but we’ll see what Wood and Burchielli do with it.
Final Crisis Sketchbook
The Good: Lots of neat drawings and hints of what might be happening. Glorious Chip Kid design on the cover, making it look like nothing on the shelf, even with a JG Jones illustration featuring six superheroes in iconic poses.
The Bad: The weird Bagley-esque eyes on Kamandi on Page 7.
The Ugly: $2.99 for what would be a four-page feature in Wizard is a bit something. As Sterling mentioned, it should have been a freebie.
Those are some solid comics that I enjoyed very much, but do you want to know the best thing I got this week?
Here we go, here we go, here we go with the last of the “Kevin Looks At The May 2008 Previews” posts. Let us tarry no further…
IDW Publishing | Page 313
I’ve been looking forward to Ashley Wood’s World War Robot (48 pages, paperback, $11.99) since first spying designs for the book on his blog. If you’re a bit agog at the price point, note that it’s 12″ x 12″, meaning that you get 144 square inches of glorious robot vs human action on each page, or 288 of the non-metric squares if you’re confronted by a double-page spread. The solicitation promises more than just the world: we get to see the slaughter on the Moon amd Mars as well.
I surely can’t be the only one that sees one of those Complete Terry And The Pirates (352 pages, hardcover, $49.99) books and kicks themselves because they’ve not purchased them yet, can I? I’ve a few of the paperback reprints from the early 90s and if there’s a better strip artist than Milton Caniff, I’d like to meet them so I can devour their brains and gain otherworldly superpowers.
NBM | Page 328
Dirk Schweiger’s comic blog (not like this – one in which he drew comics about his life in Tokyo) was one of my favorite stops before it ceased operations in 2006. Thankfully, there’s a collection of those strips, Morusukine: Updated Weekly from Tokyo (176 pages, softcover, $15.95) coming out through NBM, one of those publishers that quietly puts out three or four fantastic things a year. Besides Schweiger’s strips, there’s bonus materials from creators like Ryan North and James Kochalka. This is exactly the sort of autobiographical comic I want to see more of, and less of the “Oh hey, so my friends and I, we’re fucking hilarious!” type.
Nerdcore LP | Page 328
How to know if you want to pick up Meathaus: S.O.S. (272 pages, softcover, $30.00): do you like James Jean, Farel Dalrymple, Brandon Graham, Tomer and Asaf Hanuka, Thomas Herpich, Jim Rugg, Corey Lewis, Matt Furie, D-pi, Ross Campbell, Sheldon Vella, and Dave Kiersh? Yes? Then you want to pick this up.
Oni Press | Page 330
I remember when I saw my first glimpse of Ray Fawkes and Cameron Stewart’s Apocalipstix (144 pages, softcover, $11.95) in Rumble Royale, a neat little anthology that came out three or four (or five?) years ago. Kick-ass rock and roll babes making their way after the End Times had stricken the world? Sign me up! Then nothing. Silence. Then, last year, a solicitation and a quiet cancellation. Now, this time, another solicitation and a silent promise, a pledge to not let me down this time. I hope not, as I think Cameron Stewart’s a cartoonist who’s just now getting up to full speed and Ray Fawkes hasn’t disappointed me yet. (Mind you, I’ve only read one other thing he’s done, Mnemovore, but I liked it well enough to keep the single issues after the great singles purge of last year.)
The first installment of Vasilis Lolos’s The Last Call was that very rarest of comics: the well-done, most-ages-friendly fantasy comic with a youthful lead. The second installment (136 pages, softcover, $11.95) has been solicited and considering how the first book left readers with a veritable slab of unanswered questions, I’m eager for it to arrive, posthaste. If you’ve not grabbed the first volume, you should do so at your next visit to the local comics emporium.
Picturebox | Page 338
“Speaking of second volumes dot dot dot,” Kevin said. “I finally picked up the first Powr Mastrs book just last week and it was brilliant and stupid and beautiful and crude and I want to recommend it, but I’m afraid 90% of the people I’d say something about it to wouldn’t get it, but man, what a hell of a thing it is.”
Powr Mastrs Volume 2 (120 pages, softcover, $18.00) should be more of the same.
Running Press | Page 344
I’ve been trying to find some information online about this publisher, whose The Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics (448 pages, softcover, $17.95) continues a series of black-and-white reprint collections that live up to their title, but they seem determined to evade any sort of publicity. I’ve purchased the War and Horror collections so far and even when the reproduction quality is sub-par, the sheer volume of content more than makes up for it.
(Guys, seriously, if you want to improve your online profile and maybe start selling books directly to the public, email kevin(at)searchpeers(dot)com. I’m good at this stuff, really.)
Top Shelf Productions | Page 360
Alex Robinson is one of my favorite cartoonists (and the only one I own multiple pieces of commissioned and original art from,) so getting Too Cool To Be Forgotten (128 pages, hardcover, $14.95) was sort of a given. Sort of a male Peggy Sue Got Married with extra awkwardness and nerditude thrown in, this is sure to have the warmth and humor I’ve come to expect – nay, demand from Mr. Robinson and his comics.
Viper Comics | Page 364
The delightfully-monikered Middleman Collected Series Indispensability Compendium (336 pages, softcover, $19.95) contains all three Middleman comics series in one handy volume. I’ve mentioned this fine, fine book multiple times in the past and not even the apparent whoredom of Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Les McClane to ABC Family can diminish my affection for Wendy and the hero for whom the book is named.
AIT/PlanetLar | Page 205
Adam Beechen and Manny Bello’s Hench is one of the very best comics put out by AiT and it remains strangely underappreciated still, despite writer Beechen’s recent major-imprint work on titles such as Robin, Countdown (To Final Crisis), and Teen Titans and the book itself getting coverage in magazines like Entertainment Weekly. I’m curious to see if that magic comes back with the baseball (comedy? thriller? suspense comic? comedithrillipense comic?) Dugout (88 pages, softcover, $12.95,) which involves a jailed pitcher, a desperate manager, and an exhibition game that may serve as a smokescreen for a breakout attempt.
Antarctic Press | Page 212
Pal Dave has already pointed out how moronic a certain set of shirts offered by the publisher that brings you the pure dreck of Gold Digger and Warrior Nun
Areola Areala, but I felt the need to point out that not only is the “pirates versus ninja” meme (that no right-thinking person gets involved in, I hasten to add) deader than dirt, but anyone that is likely to wear a “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For…” shirt is most likely the sort that should be ponying up for one of these bad boys:
Atomic Book Company | Page 225
I’ve mentioned Julia Wertz’s webcomics and minis here before, and that’s why I’m pointing out that there’s now a Fart Party collection (178pages, softcover, $13.95) that you can ask your favorite comics retailer to please order for you and maybe one or two for the shelf, too, because it’s funny and stuff. Wertz is an exception in a field overstuffed with autobiographical comics creators who think their navel-gazing is worth your brain-cycles: she’s funny while willing to make herself the butt of the joke, a less-annoying Sarah Silverman for comics.
Avatar | Page 226
Two Ellis books debut this month, with the more-interesting being follow-up graphic novella (no, let’s not use that term again, ok?) in the same format as the supremely-entertaining Crêcy. While Aetheric Mechanics (48 pages, softcover, $6.99) has the slight eau du steampunk about it, there’s a very pulpy feel about the solicitation, with lines like “The year is 1907, and Britain has entered into a terrifying war with Ruritania, whose strange metal planes darken the skies, and whose monstrous war engines cast looming shadows from across the channel. Doctor Robert Watcham, lately returned to London from the front, makes his homecoming to Dilke Street. There lives his old friend, and England’s greatest amateur detective, Sax Raker. Even as his beloved city prepares for war, Raker is himself about to embark on the strangest (and, perhaps, the most important) investigation of his career: The case of the man who wasn’t there,” practically begging me to throw my seven dollars in the hat.
The second Ellis title that’s debuting this month is No Hero, which gets one of those #0 issues that Avatar, Aspen, and certain other publishers continue to flog as if that joke was funny to begin with. Treading territory that’s similar, if not identical to Black Summer with Juan Jose Ryp returning to provide more of the maniacally-detailed art that boggles even as it impresses, I’m not supremely worked up for this, but I ended up being quite taken by Black Summer, so maybe this will provide some of those thrills.
BOOM! | Page 241
The first issue of Challenger Deep, a four-part miniseries involving an underwater salvage crew getting in over their heads while retrieving an experimental nuclear submarine from the Marianas Trench. I’m a sucker for things like this, ever since seeing The Abyss back when I wasn’t afraid to wear short pants and Hypercolor t-shirts. It’s written by Andrew Cosby, who blah blah blah buy Cover Girl, the end.
Dynamite Entertainment | Page 264
The 10th anniversary reprint of Frank Miller and Simon Bisley’s (justly?) forgotten Bad Boy (48 pages, hardcover, $14.99) gets resolicited. I never read this and presume that, since it’s never spoken of, that it’s not very good. Would I be incorrect and should thus ask my purveyor to include one in my order for the month? Please note that I continue to be a fan of Mr. Miller’s comic work, despite the slide into insanity that he seems to have taken. I suspect that will one day be called a Sim Complex.
Devil’s Due | Page 275
How to make me care even less about Hack Slash: get the controversial, overexposed, and increasingly-dreary Suicide Girls brand involved. I like looking at naked, tattooed, and pierced girls an awful lot, but they’ve managed to ensure that even in that niche, a uniformity of forced uniqueness is stamped onto each and every model with a carefully-considered distribution of barbells, ink, and studs. Apparently, one of the variant covers here is a Previews Exclusive, which means that those shops ordering Devil’s Due books from the plethora of other distributors will be sadly left adrift.
Digital Manga Publishing | Pages 281-288
Holy shit, dude-on-dude action buys a lot of ad pages.
Drawn and Quarterly | Page 290
I’ve seen the name Raymond Briggs bandied about a lot by people who know their British comics better than I do (which is to say they know why they put the letter “u” in words like “color” and “behavior,”) so I’m interested in his 1980 work Gentleman Jim (40 pages, hardcover, $14.95) as both a first read from the man and a look at an early example of the graphic novel.
Fantagraphics | Pages 298-302
Holy Mackerel. This is like some sort of holy grail, forcing me to switch the bullet-point format just so I can get through this without turning into a frothing madman who threatens to break fingers unless everything mentioned is ordered:
- Deitch’s Pictorama (240 pages, softcover, $18.99) is a collection of Kim Deitch’s shorts and “yarns,” and I’m not exaggerating at all that when I say that each time I read his work, I walk away with a grin. Unlike Crumb,I don’t feel Deitch’s craft is overwhelmed by his legacy: he simply is that good.
- The Humbug collection (400 pages, hardcover/slipcased 2-volume set, $50.00) reprints the entirety of Harvey Kurtzman’s too-briefly-lived, post-Mad humor magazine. I’ve never read any of this material, but considering that Kurtzman is responsible for Superduperman and at least million other laugh-out-loud moments in comics history, I figure this is going to be what that raving jackanape Jim Cramer would call a definite buy before slapping some noisemaker his producers had picked up from the discount bin at Staples.
- Los Bros Hernandez. An annually-produced 100+ page comic under the banner Love And Rockets: New Stories with a cover price of $14.99. That sound you heard was me sighing with positively phenethylaminic delight. A great format for creators that continue to hone their craft.
- Tales Designed To Thrizzle #4 is the first new issue of Michael Kupperman’s hilarious comics magazine in far too long. I don’t think anything has ever made me laugh so hard and with such consistency as the previous three issues of this comic. Get this, and if you’ve not, order the previous three issues. You’ll thank me with your laughter.
In addition to these highlights, there’s a few resolicitations worth pointing out: Jason’s The Last Musketeer, Ellen Forney’s Lust: Kinky Online Personal Ads From Seattle’s Stranger, and the Kurtzman-profiling installment in The Comics Journal Library, which would make a nice companion to the Humbug book.
Harper Collins | Page 306
You know, in a month that includes the just-mentioned Humbug collection and American Flagg, it’s hard to imagine that there’s another reprint collection that could claim the top spot in my heart, but here it is: Zot! The Complete Black and White Stories 1987-1991 (576 pages, softcover, $22.95.) I’ve read just a few issues of this series and was smitten, but the collections have been out-of-print and impossible to find. In light of Bone and its success in multiple markets, the lack of a definitive edition became even more baffling. This looks to correct this error and manage to one-up my hopes by featuring “lots and lots of commentary,” sketches, and ephemera related to the character. Hot damn, am I excited for this one.
My fingers are wearying, so we’ll finish this up tomorrow, OK? OK.
What it says in the title. Go, read, and comment.
New strip? Right here: http://www.therackcomic.com .
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
There’s a few changes happening this time around. The first being that I’m just going to skip Marvel and DC. There’s a few reasons for this, the first being that I’m lazy, of course. Secondly, you’ve already seen the solicitations from the big two and have made up your mind. That’s fine, I understand.
There’s also the fact that Marvel and DC offer a slog through No Fun Central that, frankly, leaves me a bit discouraged for everything else. Suffice it to say there’s a few trades worth getting (Invasion! and Ellis and Edginton’s Counter-X material,) a couple of hardcovers (Heavy Liquid and Annihilation: Conquest Book 2,) and even a new Kathryn Immonen-written miniseries from Marvel with Hellcat, a character I have a strange, almost scans_dailian affection for.
With that out of the way, let’s just dive into Dark Horse Comics, OK?
Holy shit there is enough Hellboy product here to choke the mythical whale that Jonah took an around-the-block trip in. T-shirts, making-of books, novelizations, magnets, superdeformed toys, undeformed toys, and even the occasional goddamn comic book. Frankly, good on Dark Horse and Mignola for managing to capitalize so well on the character and maintain control and creativity over their property, especially in light of the complete brute-force, idiotic defanging that is being applied to (the admittedly dunderheaded as it is, but still…) Wanted.
But back to the whole reason for this post. In Dark Horse’s case, outside of the usual manga suspects, I’m only really interested in the webcomics they’re putting into print. The Great Outdoor Fight (96 pages, hardcover, $14.95) is certainly the finest material produced yet by Chris Onstad, and the presentation is goddamn gorgeous. While Achewood is generally a strip that I find is best to leave alone for a few months and then wallow in like the proverbial pig; its rhythm and language are best enjoyed in doses of twenty strips or higher (it’s only then that Onstad’s surreal banter and outre plots make any real sense,) this is a very easily-accessible storyline and will hopefully propel more of the strip into the direct market instead of being confined to online venues and the occasional merchant willing to order directly from the creator.
More conventional in some ways is Jesse Reklaw’s dream-interpretation strip Slow Wave, even if the content is more psychotropic. The Night Of Your Life (256 pages, hardcover, $15.95) collects a mess of his delightfully deadpan four-panel strips at a price that I can’t imagine even the most miserly regular reader of his work turning down.
Even though I’ve not read Mitch Clem’s Nothing Nice To Say (128 pages, softcover, $9.95) in aaaaages, I remember it being funny enough to recommend to others. I could recheck the archives, but a ten-buck softcover fits in my courier bag so much more nicely.
All of these, though, frankly pale in comparison to The Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack (272 pages, hardcover, $24.95.) Nicholas Gurewitch’s hip-check to the rest of the online (and quickly enough, newspaper) comics world deserves every bit of lavish praise I can muster for it and while he’s ended it prematurely, it’s good to see that it’s going to be given the proper treatment. I’m eagerly anticipating his next step. My only complaint is that this book, I think, reproduces material found in The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories, but that’s certainly a minor bit of whining at this juncture, as an omnibus format benefits the readership much more.
Finally, if you’re a retailer reading this, please make sure you order at least three or four copies of the Fray paperback as the character’s appearing in the Buffy comic and those fans, even if you’ve told them that the future slayer comic has existed a half-dozen times before, they’re going to suddenly decide that they must have it as it’s real now because Joss told them in a dream or some shit. Just take their money and be happy.
It’s largely business as usual for me and the house that Jim, Jim, Rob, Erik, Todd, Whilce, and Marc built: a little Jack Staff here, some Madman (with what will likely be my last issue, but more on that in a couple of lines) there. GØDLAND‘s Adam Archer shoes up in The Savage Dragon, but that’d involve me reading The Savage Dragon, so no.
If you want, you could check out the (largely disappointing) first few issues of Allred’s slow decline into sophomoric philosophy with Madman Atomic Comics Volume 1 (208 pages, softcover, $19.99), but even the most rabid Allred fan of yore would be turned off by the Morrison-light psychobabble that inhabits this title since the relaunch. Good on Allred for following his muse, I suppose, but it’s coming out as pure drivel, sort of like if Beach Blanket Bingo had suddenly turned into a sweded version of 8½. Sure, Madman has had its darker elements – Frank’s mysterious past, the infamous eyeball-eating scene from very early in the series – but this is just drivel.
The biggest Image-related news is the prodigal son of comics reprint projects: American Flagg Volume 1 (440 pages, hardcover, $49.95,) a book that was originally solicited for November of 2004 from Dynamic Forces. Image is releasing this volume “in conjunction with” the people who offer slabbed variant covers of the latest hot books, which makes me suspect that someone got fed up and crept over in the dead of night, stole all the files, and left a note saying “Will give credit + $” in their place.
American Flagg, from the six or seven issues I’ve read, is a goddamn treasure of the medium, even if I’m certain that modern audiences are going to find certain sociological ruminations as arcane as extispicy. Chaykin’s at the top of his game, creating a subversive, deeply funny world that pokes at everything that made America what it was in the 80s. The price tag is steep (Amazon offers a very steep pre-order discount), but the end product is near invaluable.
Tomorrow, we’ll catch up with other companies that put out the funnybooks, including Avatar, Top Shelf, and Picturebox.
…Birdie’s got a summer cold or something that’s made him practically Dickensian in his wretchedness. He says he’ll be able to draw tonight, so we’ll find out if the bloodletting and tinctures has done its job. You could always visit the archives if you’re trying to avoid work!