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


* Character named after someone with religious significance

^ Character is, himself or herself, of some religious significance

% Retrographics!

¢ One stands in for the other


I've heard promising early reports about this Jay Cantor/James Romberger graphic novel, about which I know next to nothing else. Both creators have interesting comics resumés, though: Cantor wrote the novel Krazy Kat, and Romberger drew the David Wojnarowicz-written Seven Miles a Second. (Looking up Romberger just now, I came across an interview with Ann Nocenti where she says Jezebel's Virtue, an unpublished graphic novel she created with him, is "the best thing [she] ever wrote"--and apparently it's been sitting in the DC vaults for 15 years. Now I want to see it!)* BAD BLOOD

Eight bucks gets you a reprint of this four-issue Hellblazer miniseries from 2000 (set in 2025) by Jamie Delano, Philip Bond and Warren Pleece. I like how DC's using the 100-page Presents format as a way to mop up all kinds of projects that wouldn't quite work as conventional trades.


I admit it: after happily following Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente's Hercules/Amadeus Cho buddy serial through a succession of titles for a few years, I lost track during this miniseries, so I'm happy to see it collected. Pak, Van Lente and Khoi Pham's follow-up, the supposedly Cho-less Herc #1, comes out this week; apparently the Seventh Smartest Person in the World will be showing up in Incredible Hulks soon, though.


Marvel's tentpole project for 2011 centers on this Matt Fraction/Stuart Immonen miniseries, which prominently features Thor and Iron Man--the two other ongoing Marvel Universe series that Fraction's writing these days. At least it'll be well coordinated. In further Immonen action, this week also sees Superstar vol. 1: As Seen on TV, a new edition of Kurt Busiek and Immonen's one-shot from 2001 (from Gorilla Comics) about a media-savvy superhero; according to Busiek's site, this version is an 80-pager with "pretty much all the Superstar stuff there's ever been."


Oh, Dave Sim. This issue, we get him drawing pictures of pretty women in '60s fashions, and a further analysis of "the events of September 6, 1956," with regard to Alex Raymond and Stan Drake.

% ¢ iZOMBIE #12

Now that's my idea of a fill-in issue: while Michael Allred takes a month off from this Chris Roberson-written monsters 'n' spunky girl detectives series, the guest artist this time is the mighty Gilbert Hernandez. If you still want your Allred fix, he writes and draws this week's Madman All New Giant Size Super Ginchy Special, and this week also sees the release of the $125 Madman Atomica hardcover, collecting all of Madman Atomic Comics, The Atomics, and a couple of one-shots.


Thomas Zahler continues to answer the question "what if superhero comics were less like Die Hard and more like Newhart?" This issue has an alternate cover by Darwyn Cooke, who has good taste in character design. Also in the Cooke department this week: he draws the "outer space romance and adventure" story-within-a-story in House of Mystery #36.


The first of a deservedly buzzed-about six-issue online-fantasy miniseries by Nate Simpson. It's got a clever conceit, and incredibly lush, color-rich artwork. Check out the preview and CA's interview with Simpson.

* UNCANNY X-MEN #534.1

Kieron Gillen and Carlos Pacheco; as with other point-one issues, it's supposedly a "jumping-on point." I jumped off this series around #200, and have failed every time I've tried to jump back on since then, New X-Men notwithstanding. But I'll try again.


A collection of the better part of the graphic designer Rian Hughes' comics work from the '80s and '90s, including a couple of excellent collaborations with Grant Morrison, "Dare" (a genuinely furious indictment of Thatcherism by way of British pulp-comics hero Dan Dare) and the much more lighthearted "Really and Truly." This was supposed to be out more than five months ago--I actually reviewed it then--and it's an American re-release of a British book from a few years back, so I don't know what's taken so long.