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Don’t Ask! Just Buy It! – July 6, 2011: King Jack, Queen Black

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

KEY:
* Bat-ears
^ Racketeers
% Ruby-Spears

^ 15 LOVE #2
The first issue of this long-mothballed Andi Watson/Tommy Ohtsuka miniseries (about Millie Collins as a teenage tennis not-quite-prodigy realizing that her future title is probably not going to be Millie the Tennis Player, and that modeling might be the way to go) was, as expected, slightly Americanized teen-sports-manga stuff, fluffy and fun.

* ^ FEAR ITSELF #4
After three issues of Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen’s Big Event Mini, I’m still not clear on what it’s supposed to be about, either thematically or, to some extent, plot-wise. Sure is nice-looking, though.

* ^ GOTHAM CENTRAL BOOK 2: JOKERS AND MADMEN
Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s Gotham-police-procedural series, now in paperback once again; this volume collects #11-22.

* % iZOMBIE #15
The phrase that sticks out of the solicitation for this issue of the reliable Chris Roberson/Michael Allred series: “the quiet town of Eugene.” As it happens, this issue comes out the one week of the year that Eugene, Oregon is probably as non-quiet as it ever gets, thanks to the Oregon Country Fair. I’m crossing my fingers that we get to see Gwen Dylan take on the hippie legions.

^ % JACK MAGIC: THE LIFE AND ART OF JACK KIRBY, VOL. 1
Look, Kirby’s the guy who invented the phrase “don’t ask! just buy it!”–I’m not going to pass up a biography of him. This one is written by his frequent latter-day collaborator Greg Theakston, and includes lots of unseen art, I’m told. Apparently, it covers the years leading up to Fantastic Four #1.

* ^ MOON KNIGHT #3
Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev’s superhero-as-total-lunatic series is still grasping for its voice–it hasn’t clicked yet the way their Daredevil did–but I’m happy to see that they’re trying to make it look and read differently from their previous collaborations. Also out this week from the two of them: the $25 hardcover Scarlet vol. 1.

% QUEEN OF THE BLACK BLACK
A new edition of the long-out-of-print collection of Megan Kelso’s early work, mostly from her self-published Girlhero series. I love Kelso’s stuff–her book Artichoke Tales from last year is tremendous–and the neat thing about the short stories collected here is that you can watch the young Kelso surprising herself, testing out her power and interests, figuring out what kinds of stories she wants to tell and what her art looks like. There’s a preview at Fantagraphics’ site.

* SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING BOOK 5
The penultimate volume of the Alan Moore-era Swamp Thing collections reprints #51-56–the transitional period previously collected as Earth to Earth, and drawn by Rick Veitch, Alfredo Alcala and John Totleben in various combinations. It starts out with some fallout from the “American Gothic” storyline of the last couple of volumes (#53, a double-sized issue published three months after the previous one, polishes off “American Gothic”‘s mirroring of the Len Wein/Berni Wrightson run by bringing in Batman), and ends up with the beginning of a short-lived recasting of Swamp Thing as an outer-space-type science fiction project.

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