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Don’t Ask! Just Buy It! – April 18, 2012: The War of Fog

Reading Comics author Douglas Wolk runs down the hottest comics and graphic novels coming out this week.

KEY:
* Arms and armor
^ Crusty Bunkers
% The world before us

* % 3 STORY: SECRET FILES OF THE GIANT MAN
This is the ramp-up for the Era of Matt Kindt Doing a Whole Lot: a saddle-stitched collection of three brief sequels (which originally appeared online) to his 2009 graphic novel about a giant secret agent. Next month, his new ongoing series Mind MGMT launches, and he’ll be writing Frankenstein at DC starting in June. Kindt likes his secret-agent stories.

* % AMAZING SPIDER-MAN OMNIBUS VOL. 2
A $100 hardcover collecting the first few years’ worth of the Stan Lee/John Romita period: #39-67, plus Annuals #3-5, the two issues of the Spectacular Spider-Man magazine, and a set of Not Brand Ecch stories. I love that Romita didn’t really bother to try to make a subtle transition from the Steve Ditko period–he just whisked straight off in his own direction, “tiger/jackpot” and all.

^ % AVENGERS #25
An AvX tie-in by Brian Michael Bendis and Walter Simonson, whose presence on this arc makes me particularly psyched about it. Simonson also apparently writes (but doesn’t draw) a story in Rocketeer Adventures 2 #2 this week, and Bendis and Mark Bagley’s “Death of Spider-Man” sequence from Ultimate Spider-Man #156-160 is collected in paperback.

* % CASTLE WAITING VOL. 3 #16
Cue the “they don’t call it that for nothing” jokes. Linda Medley puts out an issue of this relaxed, good-natured fantasy series when she feels like it and not a minute before–#15 came out around three years ago, and then there was the odd kerfuffle with the second collection having her name appear only on a removable sticker on the cover. I’ll read it whenever she releases one into the world, though.

^ DARK HORSE PRESENTS #11
Another chapter of Carla Speed McNeil’s Finder serial “Third World,” plus work by Francesco Francavilla, Evan Dorkin, Neal Adams and others.

% E.C. SEGAR’S POPEYE, VOL. 6: ME LI’L SWEE’PEA
The final year-or-so worth of E.C. Segar’s run on “Thimble Theatre” is collected in another big, punchy hardcover, wrapping up the Fantagraphics reprint series. (On the Midtown Comics list, not the Diamond Comic Distributors list.)

* INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #515
Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca appear to be setting up James Rhodes for some kind of fall. Also in the Fraction department this week, Defenders #5 is drawn by Mitch Breitweiser. Marvel’s teasing a new series, possibly Hawkeye, by Fraction and David Aja, too; I’m happy to see them re-teamed, but is that going to be on top of Iron Man, Thor, Defenders and occasional bursts of Casanova?

% KRAZY & IGNATZ 1922-1924 AT LAST MY DRIM OF LOVE HAS COME TRUE
This is the week for Fantagraphics finishing up ambitious reprint projects, apparently. Their final Chris Ware-designed collection of George Herriman’s black-and-white Sunday “Krazy Kat” strips is augmented by ten extra color Krazys that appeared in 1924, as well as the entire run of two other strips, 1903′s “Mrs. Waitaminnit” and 1926′s “Us Husbands.” Also this week: a fancy hardcover compiling the three volumes of 1916-1924 Sundays. “Stumble Inn” is the next Herriman project up for the Fantagraphics treatment; I’m hoping they (or somebody) tackle the complete “Krazy” dailies at some point.

* % THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS #2
Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra’s (very) alternate history of twentieth-century science introduces Wernher von Braun, about whom Tom Lehrer wrote one of the greatest rhyming couplets ever: “‘Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?/That’s not my department,’ says Wernher von Braun.” Also out: a second printing of the first issue.

* PROPHET #24
I would not have guessed that a 2012 revival of an early-’90s Rob Liefeld series would be this interesting (or this unlike what one thinks of as a Liefeld comic), but I reckoned without the mighty skills of writer Brandon Graham. And this issue’s drawn by Farel Dalrymple, which is always an insta-buy signal for me.

* PUNISHER #10
Greg Rucka and Matthew Clark continue the “Omega Effect” crossover with Avenging Spider-Man and Daredevil.

% RESET #1
A new Peter Bagge miniseries with a premise that can’t help but be compared to Groundhog Day: a man has to go back and relive his adult life in a virtual environment, but can go back and start over with one particularly humiliating moment any time he wants. It’s curious that Bagge himself keeps returning to the lasting effects of awkward adolescence in his work.

% THE SHARK KING
R. Kikuo Johnson has been keeping a pretty low profile since the 2005 release of Night Fisher–mostly just occasional short pieces here and there (he drew the spot illustrations of people wearing hoodies that appeared in The New Yorker last week). This short fable, one of TOON Books’ hardcovers for young readers, is the first book he’s published since then. It looks really good, of course.

* SHOOTERS
Brandon Jerwa, Eric Trautmann and Steve Lieber’s hardcover graphic novel concerns a military contractor dealing with both what happens in corporatized war and what happens after it.

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