Coming This Week: "I Didn't Get You Any Chicken"
It seems like a rare week when so many things catch my eye. Oh, I’m not saying I’m actually going to purchase all of these books, but an inordinate amount seemed noteworthy. In order to separate the wheat from the chaff, let’s begin with what I will definitely be buying. First up is Batman & Robin #12 (DC). It’s the last issue with artist Andy Clarke. I was skimming all of my back issues over the weekend and sheesh, even “the good ones” by Frank Quitely appear to have been better in my memory than in person. I think I’ll stick it out for the next Frazer Irving arc and then seriously evaluate my need to continue on with this title. Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan deliver Demo Volume 2 #4 (DC/Vertigo). It gave me a panic-filled feeling when I realized the series is already half over; it seems like it just began. If the first two issues were more cerebral and subdued, the third certainly woke me up and seemed to move with the most overt energy. I’d have bought them all anyway, but seeing the cover and blurb for the sixth issue recently solicited really sold me, since it seemed reminiscent of Volume 1’s last issue – Mon Dernier Jour Avec Toi – which became an instant favorite single issue of all time. Uncanny X-Men #524 (Marvel) is also out this week and I finally realized why I keep buying this series, despite having some problems with it. Here’s a funny little secret – I own a run of Uncanny X-Men from #94 (yeah, that one) to #266 (yeah, the first appearance of Gambit) and most of those are CGC graded and “slabbed” at 9.6 or better (except the #94, which is an 8.5). I did that a long time ago when I collected Silver and Bronze Age books pretty hard. Around the time I was putting this run together, a friend of mine mentioned that he has a run that he began collecting as a kid that goes from #200 up until the present, and that he bought those all individually as they came out. At some point, I remember saying to myself, huh, I wonder if I could ever buy 100 issues in a row, new as they came out. I think I started with #500. While I’ve enjoyed-more-than-despised the majority of Matt Fraction’s run so far (the scale does tip in that direction slightly), it’s sort of weird to think that I’m already a quarter of the way there. And when I say “weird,” I mean slightly embarrassing, because I think I’m subconsciously doing it for the wrong reasons. Ugh. Help. Now, The Killer: Modus Vivendi #1 (Archaia) is the type of comic I should be buying. I loved the first series, the Franco-Belgian thriller from Luc Jacamon and Matz, and I hope this six issue series lives up to the quality of the first. Rounding out the definite buys is Terry Moore’s Echo #21 (Abstract Studio), which never ever disappoints. It remains simply one of the best books being published today.
Hellboy In Mexico or Drunken Blur: One-Shot (Dark Horse) reminded me that I haven’t checked in on the Mignola-verse in quite some time and I just thought that title was pretty funny, maybe I’ll check it out. Remember when “event” comics used to be restricted to big summer crossovers? Not the case any longer. With Brightest Day #1 (DC) out this week, it’s another blatant reminder that it’s just one long series of series of series overlapping all year long, one setting up the next, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, ad hoc, err… ad somethin’ not good. Doesn’t it crack you up that word on the street is that Great Ten #7 (DC), solicited as Great Ten #7 (of 10), has been cancelled with #9? When’s the last time a mini-series was officially cancelled mid-stream? Sonic Disruptors? I bought the first couple because I had fond memories of Scott McDaniel’s pencils on Nightwing back in the day, but it didn’t hold my interest. I think it’s cool to see DC really consistently offering $1 issues of some of their hit or ongoing books; Jonah Hex #1 (DC) is next up with that treatment, well timed considering the impending movie. Spider-Man: Fever #2 (Marvel) is the Brendan McCarthy story about Doctor Strange, featuring Spider-Man, but rebranded as a Spider-Man story to assumably, well, you know, sell more. It’s good, but I’m not sure it’s essential enough for me that I pick it up. Jason Aaron and Adam Kubert sure sounds like a can’t lose creative team, but with fondness for neither character, I’ll say “maybe” to Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #1 (Marvel) and hope it passes the casual flip test at the LCS.
I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book, so I’m curious to peruse the Stuff of Legend TP (Del Rey/Villard); for 128 pages, the $13 price tag might be a steal. I really can’t believe my eyes, but it appears the Lone Ranger: Definitive Edition HC: Volume 01 (Dynamite Entertainment) might finally be coming out. It was advertised as early as October of 2008 and I basically gave up hope. If I recall, it collects the first 11 issues, assumably with some bonus material. It’s a great series and it would be nice to have it in a definitive edition, but the $75 price tag and uncertainty as to whether or not there would ever be a Volume 02 makes me very skeptical, ‘cuz you know, I’m such a format whore. Moving right along, there are basically three reasons I started reading comics as a kid and that it specifically became a hobby. The first was an issue of DC Comics Presents, #58, that my mom bought off of a 7-11 spinner rack. Oh, I can still see that Gil Kane cover now, with Superman, Robin, and Elongated Man. That led to my love of Robin (Dick Grayson) and the consumption of many Batman comics. The second book that pulled me in was Green Lantern. I came in right around the time that Dave Gibbons was doing the art, there was the melodrama of Carol Ferris, the fleshing out of Kilowog, Tomar-Re, Arisia, and the greater Green Lantern Corps mythos, but for the kid in me at that age, it remains one of the strongest single storytelling engines of all time – space cop with a magic wishing ring. The third book that I stumbled across in an old junk shop for just 10 cents an issue(!), and I bought nearly the entire run of, was Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar series. I had never seen intricate long form storytelling done with such planning and grace, from a guy who did the words *and* the pictures. So, it’s kind of a delight to see Dreadstar: The Beginning HC (Dynamite Entertainment), which collects a few odds and ends, but mainly the early story that was first serialized in the old Epic Illustrated magazine.