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Don’t Ask! Just Buy It! – February 8, 2012: One Sword, Slightly Used

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

KEY:
* Sharps
^ Flats
% Naturals

* CONAN THE BARBARIAN #1
Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan relaunch the durable barbarian franchise with an adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s “Queen of the Black Coast.” Which has, in fact, been adapted into comics before–twice! The ’70s Marvel Conan the Barbarian series took it on during the Roy Thomas/John Buscema run: it’s in #58 and #100 (with the intervening issues devoted to stuff that happens between paragraphs of Howard’s story). There’s also a version by Petri Hiltunen from about 10 years ago. Anything by the Demo/Channel Zero team of Wood and Cloonan is worth a look, though.* ^ 2000 A.D. #1764 and #1765
The lineup at this point is “Judge Dredd” (in the middle of John Wagner’s long, increasingly suspenseful “Day of Chaos” storyline, with various artists), Dan Abnett & Karl Richardson’s District 9-ish “Grey Area,” Robbie Morrison and Simon Fraser’s “Nikolai Dante,” Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s “Strontium Dog,” and (as of #1765, which is on the Midtown list but not the Diamond list) Gordon Rennie and Tiernen Trevallion’s “Absalom.” Also this week: Judge Dredd Megazine #319, which includes the first episode of John Smith and Colin MacNeil’s “Strange and Darke” and a reprint of a nice-looking Alan Grant/Carlos Ezquerra “Durham Red” storyline.

* ^ % ATHOS IN AMERICA
A new and even-odder-than-usual book of short pieces by the marvelous Norwegian cartoonist Jason; as usual, I find that his stuff seems very lightweight at first and then sneaks up on me. My favorite of the stories in here is “The Brain That Wouldn’t Virginia Woolf,” which is (in both form and content) an attempt to graft together things that don’t actually fit together at all.

^ % BERLIN #18
Jason Lutes has been averaging an issue a year of his low-key but unstoppable series about Weimar Berlin. Can we start planning the ticker-tape parade for him in 2018 now?

^ % DOTTER OF HER FATHER’S EYES
Mary Talbot and Bryan Talbot collaborate on a book about James Joyce’s daughter Lucia and Joyce scholar James Atherton’s daughter… Mary Talbot. This could be interesting; Bryan T.’s work is rarely unambitious.

* GARTH ENNIS’S NINJETTES #1
A spinoff of Jennifer Blood, called that despite the fact that Ennis isn’t writing it: it’s Al Ewing, with artists Eman Casallos, Admira Wijaya and Johnny D. Speaking of Ennis, this week Avatar is publishing a colorized $5 version of Ennis and John McCrea’s 1997 collaboration Dicks #1. (A little bit of its behind-the-scenes backstory turns up in this conversation Joe McCulloch and I had about Ennis’s work a few days ago.)

* JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #634
Kieron Gillen’s Loki serial continues; this episode’s drawn by Mitch Breitweiser and involves Son of Satan.

^ THIEF OF THIEVES #1
Robert Kirkman is now apparently working on “writer’s room” sorts of projects–he comes up with the premise, other people (in this case Nick Spencer) write the actual scripts after conferring with him. Shawn Martinbrough draws.

^ % YOUNG ROMANCE: THE BEST OF SIMON & KIRBY’S ROMANCE COMICS
Joe Simon and Jack Kirby invented the romance comic book with 1947′s Young Romance #1, and cranked them out together for the next twelve years. This collection, edited by Michael Gagné, surveys stories from Young Romance, Young Love and the shorter-lived genre-hybrid titles Western Love and Real West Romances. (Gagné notes that he deliberately didn’t include any material that would have overlapped with the 1988 collection Real Love: The Best of the Simon and Kirby Romance Comics.)

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