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Don’t Ask! Just Buy It! – June 1, 2011: Mickey, Frank and Rex

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

* Congress
^ Justice Dept.
% Bureau of the Interior
¢ Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Dave McKean in comics, and his new book is a not-very-plot-heavy thing involving a lot of large images and a lot of very stylized nudity and sex. Not Cages II, in other words.

Gilbert and Mario Hernandez’s miniseries from last year wasn’t the most intelligible thing they’ve ever done, but it did give Beto a chance to draw a bunch of robots and other sci-fi accoutrements, which is always welcome.

im Woodring’s extraordinary new Frank book (this time concentrating on Frank himself again, rather than Manhog as in last year’s Weathercraft): whimsy on top, fabulism in the middle, collective-unconscious terror extending from the bottom layer straight through to the center of the universe. Even if there were anyone else doing anything like his comics, he’d still be the best at it.

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ series of linked crime miniseries returns. This is the project that’s clearly closest to their hearts in the same way that, say, Casanova is the closest to Matt Fraction’s.

Maybe the most promising of the approximately five hundred and fifty Flashpoint tie-in miniseries, coinciding with the second issue of the mother title, is written by Peter Milligan (it prominently involves Shade the Changing Man, in an incarnation that appears to owe as much to Steve Ditko’s original as to Milligan’s earlier interpretation) and drawn by George Pérez and Scott Koblish. Given that the Pérez-drawn Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds miniseries staggered across the finish line months after Final Crisis itself, I’m not quite willing to bet on this one sticking to its schedule, but I’ve got hope. Also this week: Flashpoint: Batman – Knight of Vengeance, a double-conjunction miniseries by the 100 Bullets (and Batman-in-Wednesday Comics) team of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. Here’s hoping it’s better than their “Spaceman” story that came out last week.

¢ ISLE OF 100,000 GRAVES
The awesome Norwegian cartoonist Jason works with a separate writer for the first time I can remember: Fabien Vehlmann, who gives him a deadpan story about pirates and buried treasure that’s right up his alley.

% iZOMBIE #14
Chris Roberson and Michael Allred’s monster-mash series has easily the best cover of this week; it involves Skee-Ball with brains.

Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev continue the adventures of their version of Bill Sienkiewicz’s signature superhero character, whose central premise is that Moon Knight is totally deranged and believes he’s an entire team of Avengers. It seems to tie in with Bendis’s Avengers plots, too.

I really liked this Kelly Sue DeConnick/Emma Rios miniseries, in which it appears that the Gitmo equivalent of the Marvel Universe is an extralegal underwater prison populated by psychotic supervillains. The collection includes a backup strip by Warren Ellis and Jamie McKelvie that appeared in the first issue. And if your ears perk up at the mention of Ellis, you’ll probably enjoy the rest of this particular book, too.

^ ¢ S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
It baffles me that this Jonathan Hickman/Dustin Weaver series about the history of science in the Marvel Universe has to get the “OK, you bastards, if we relaunch this then will you read it?” treatment–I can’t see why somebody who enjoys, say, Hickman’s Fantastic Four wouldn’t be into the story, and it might be the most consistently good-looking series Marvel publishes right now.

Howard Cruse’s 1995 graphic novel about a semiautobiographical character growing up gay in the deep South during the civil rights movement was way ahead of its time. This edition, now in paperback, has an introduction by Alison Bechdel. Recommended reading: Cruse’s history of the four years he spent writing and drawing the book.

In which Fantagraphics begins its complete reprint of Floyd Gottfredson’s classic run on the Mickey Mouse newspaper comic strip (actually beginning a few months earlier, with the initial strips, in whose creation Disney himself participated). Nicely designed? But of course.

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