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Don’t Ask! Just Buy It! – August 24, 2011: A Final Action

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

* “Okay, when’s Doomsday? Later? Some other time? Tomorrow?”
^ There’s always a war on somewhere
% Super Soldier alumni

Good night to the rock ‘n’ roll era. Paul Cornell/Kenneth Rocafort.* BATMAN INCORPORATED #8
So this series was originally supposed to be twelve issues of one- and two-issue stories, and then a twelve-issue denouement. And then it was going to be ten issues, wrapping up just in time to take a break before the twelve-part Leviathan starts next year. And then the plan to get it back on schedule fell off schedule, perhaps because Grant Morrison’s resources were being diverted to making sure the new Action comes out monthly, and #8, solicited for June, is finally limping out the last possible week before the Great Rebooting. And what of #9 and 10? Good question. Oh, Grant Morrison. We love you but we wish you could hit your damn deadlines. Scott Clark draws, unless somebody else does, which wouldn’t surprise me in the least. “Big trouble in Internet 3.0!”

Anders Nilsen’s magnificent decade-in-the-works epic about little birds, life and death, collected in both paperback and hardcover. I’m writing about it at length elsewhere, but the short version is: this is wonderful.

Charles Biro’s gangsters-and-cops comic was the cheap thrill of choice from 1942 to 1955. By way of introduction to this twenty-dollar Dark Horse anthology of material from its pages, here’s a sentence I love about the series that ripped it off, from David Hajdu’s The Ten-Cent Plague: “A comic-book buyer in New York (or another city where there were not yet prohibitions against crime comics) could choose among Crime Must Pay the Penalty, Justice Traps the Guilty, Criminals on the Run, Lawbreakers Always Lose, Pay-Off: True Crime Cases, Crime Reporter, Law Against Crime, True Crime Comics, Official True Crime Cases, Crimes By Women, Murder Incorporated, Crime Exposed, Famous Crimes, Manhunt, All-True Crime Cases, Justice, Real Clue Crime Stories, Crime Detective, Wanted, Authentic Police Cases, Gang Busters, and Guns Against Gangsters, among many others.”

The bimonthly anthology expands this time for a 100-page issue, including a new story by Dave Gibbons and a sample of the forthcoming edition of Jim Steranko’s 1976 illustrations-plus-text book Chandler: Red Tide. Also: more Carla Speed McNeil, Neal Adams, Howard Chaykin, David Chelsea, Paul Chadwick, etc.

Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire reunite one more time. The “bwah ha ha” era was actually the late ’80s, wasn’t it? Also, between Formerly Known as the Justice League, JLA Classified and this, they’ve done just about as many reunion issues of Justice League as they did before the band broke up.

Len Wein’s history of the DCU (with lots of top-notch artists contributing: Brian Bolland, Walter Simonson, George Pérez, J.G. Jones, J.H. Williams III, and on and on) comes out as a $35 hardcover…. just in time for that history to wink out of continuity, mostly. Nice try, though!

In other words, Mark Waid and Marcio Takara’s first four-issue Incredibles miniseries, as a single comic book, for $6. Not bad.

It’s been close to four years since the previous issue of Following Cerebus, one of the weirdest comics-related magazines ever–essentially a fan magazine devoted to things tangentially related to a single subject (Dave Sim), who participates heavily in every issue, doesn’t quite appear to have editorial control, and has a column every issue where he responds to the material in the previous one. This is the “All-David Issue,” with a cover jam by Sim and David Petersen, and an essay about the connections between Cerebus, David Lynch and David Foster Wallace. It’s historically been very hit-or-miss, but I’m willing to cut it lots of slack, considering how fascinating the 100-page Neal Adams interview and the issue devoted to the relationship between cartoonists and editors were.

Sarah Glidden’s excellent memoiristic/journalistic book about her Birthright trip to Israel, and how it made her understanding of the political and social situation there even more complicated, is now in paperback.

Kagan McLeod’s 445-page martial-arts epic (with Western and horror elements thrown in) looks like it’s more pastiche than parody; the back-cover copy includes the sentence “The Martial World is ruled by a mysterious emperor whose five kung fu armies are each headed by a cruel and highly skilled master.”

In late 1942, Caniff launched a second weekly version of his strip “Terry and the Pirates,” specifically for military newspapers: a gag strip involving his character Burma. That lasted for about three months, until his syndicate told him that wasn’t kosher. So he took a week off, then created a new strip for the military papers: “Male Call,” a cheesecake-heavy affair involving a pretty young woman known as Miss Lace (an “old chorus pal” of Burma’s) who likes to hang out with “gee-eyes.” It’s been collected before, but the last edition came out in 1987; nice to see it back in print, and too bad it’s $40 for fewer than 200 strips.

* XOMBI #6
John Rozum and Frazer Irving wrap up their revival of Rozum’s Milestone-era horror/satire/sci-fi quasi-superhero project. It was fun while it lasted. More fun than most of you will ever know.

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