3.15.2010

Coming This Week: "I Shot A Man in Reno, Just To Watch Him Die"

In terms of volume, this is going to be a really light week for me in the world of comics. However, in terms of quality, I really love two of the three of these books. But, in an ironic twist of tempting fate, those two are the same two that the proprietor of my LCS, affectionately named Sea Donkey, will actually be the least reliable about getting in. I’m sure he’ll have Joe The Barbarian #3 (DC/Vertigo), since it’s from The Big Two and bears the name of at least one superstar creator in the credits, with Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy delivering the goods. It’s a quirky little series that deals with as much psychosis as fantasy and superhero elements, making it tickle all those same spots that Jonathan Lethem, Farel Dalrymple, and (an uncredited) Gary Panter did with their reimaging of Omega: The Unknown. It will be less likely that I see Echo #20 (Abstract Studio) from Terry Moore adorning the shelves. For 60% of the last five issues, Sea Donkey has mysteriously not had the book the day it shipped, but a week later instead. My inquiries about alternate distributors have not been able to positively identify the cause of the week-long delays. It’s been easy for the Oceanic Mule to blame it on shippers and freight forwarders, claiming that “we didn’t get one box,” which is somehow always the same knee jerk excuse, and always contains the same title, always the one title I happen to want, which strikes me as a bit too systemic a failure to be coincidental. Last up is The Killer: Volume 2 HC (Archaia). Luc Jacamon and Matz’s Franco-Belgian delight is seriously one of the best books to see translated print in the US within the last ten years, but Archaia hasn’t done themselves any favors with the manner they’ve released it. It’s a ten issue series, yet it began in late 2006, with several month delays between issues, particularly toward the end of the run, while it endured a company restructuring, a new name for the company, and then multiple issues shipping the same day (twice) in a vomitous fit of attempted catch-up. So, it’s not Planetary bad, but ten issues and two collected editions in four years, of material that was already published in Europe and seemingly just needed translation, isn’t the greatest track record. I love the book, but I’m certainly not holding my breath – it’s just the type of thing that Sea Donkey’s intrepid radar will miss, in favor of all of The Siege Variant Covers, not aided by the erratic publishing schedule. Archaia recently announced that a follow up series is in the works, which makes me a bit nervous on both the quality (will it dilute the first?) and timely (will it take another four years?) fronts. Alas, I suppose art takes time and it’s a nice financial reprieve in the interim. That’s it, three books, what about you?

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