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Don’t Ask! Just Buy It! – June 27, 2012: Toss Them Up and Let Them Hit You on the Head

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

KEY:
% Spectacle
* Cash
^ History

^ % LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN VOL. 3: CENTURY #3 2009
Wow, it was really foresighted of Alan Moore to make a thinly disguised Christian Grey the final boss in the conclusion of his survey of the past century’s worth of pulp-lit presences, considering how slowly Kevin O’Neill draws. Oh, did I spoil something? (Spoiler: I’m lying.)^ ALL-STAR WESTERN #10
The Jonah Hex story apparently ties into various Batman-related things, but the reason I’m calling it to your attention is this month’s backup: a Bat Lash story drawn by the great José Luis Garcia-Lopez. I see from DC’s advance solicitations that they’re publishing a collection of his Superman stories next spring, too.

* BATMAN INCORPORATED #2
Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham spend an issue focusing on Talia, now that she’s been set up as the big antagonist for this year of Inc.

^ % DAVID MAZZUCCHELLI DAREDEVIL BORN AGAIN ARTIST’S EDITION
It’s a little harder than it used to be to hold in one’s brain the idea that David Mazzucchelli and Frank Miller used to collaborate, although here’s the evidence of their visually impressive run on Daredevil. This is a very pricy hardcover–$150–but it’s Mazzucchelli’s original art reproduced at actual size, and the earlier artist’s-edition volumes IDW has done are all knockouts.

^ DEFENDERS BY MATT FRACTION VOL. 1
Of all of Fraction’s current Marvel projects, this one seems to be the one where he’s cutting loose the most–there’s some really charming formal play and metafictional stuff, especially the ’72-Marvel-style bottom-of-page commentary. Terry Dodson draws.

* DROPS OF GOD VOL. 4
More of Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto’s wine snob manga! It’d be great to see, oh, at least half a dozen American monthly wine-snob series announced by the time Comic-Con’s over. Can y’all do that for me?

^ FATALE: DEATH CHASES ME
I’ve become one of those trade-waiters that Ed Brubaker talks about in that remarkable Comics Reporter interview from this past weekend, at least where his collaborations with Sean Phillips are concerned–I just find I enjoy them most that way, despite the considerate addition of exclusive back-matter in the individual issues. This is the first collection of their current supernatural-noir series.

% FATIMA: THE BLOOD SPINNERS #1
A new Gilbert Hernandez miniseries from Dark Horse; this one’s another B-movie sort of setup, with a lot more gore and (so far) less sex than usual. I can’t think of many other creators whose career arcs could frame a turn-your-brain-off kill-the-zombies story as an aesthetic challenge to their readers.

% GLORIANA
This has to be at least the third incarnation to date of Kevin Huizenga’s masterpiece–it was initially an issue of his minicomic Supermonster, then revised as an issue of his series Or Else. And what’s it about, exactly? It’s kind of about everything–at least representing a particular way of understanding (and diagramming) how everything works. It’s also kind of about a sunset, and basketball, and a few other particular things. It’s hard to explain. Just do yourself a favor and look at it, okay? Huizenga’s frequent collaborator Dan Zettwoch also has a hardcover book out this week: Birdseye Bristoe, which looks fascinating and diagrammatic too.

^ JOURNALISM
On the strength of his last big book, the breathtaking Footnotes in Gaza, I can’t imagine not reading anything the great war-correspondent cartoonist Joe Sacco publishes from now on. This is a collection of his shorter journalistic pieces from the past decade or so–stories reported Malta, Gaza, the Hague, the Caucasus, etc. (On the Diamond list, not the Midtown list.)

^ % JUDGE DREDD: THE COMPLETE CASE FILES VOL. 5
I’ve gone off on the subject of both of these books at some length on my own Dredd blog within the past week. The short version is: if you’ve been wondering what the great big deal about Dredd is, Complete Case Files 05 (previewed here yesterday), which reprints a year’s worth of weekly episodes from 1981-1982 that are all co-written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, is probably the best introduction among the books currently in print in the U.S. It’s got some excellent artwork from both Brian Bolland and Carlos Ezquerra (the two artists most closely associated with the series, whose approaches to it are very different); it also includes “Judge Death Lives” and “The Apocalypse War,” a pair of serials whose repercussions are still everywhere in the series more than 30 years later. Also this week: When Judges Go Bad, which collects half a dozen Dredd one-shots and shorter storylines spanning roughly 1989-2005, with art by Dave Taylor, Steve Yeowell, John Burns and others, on the theme of crooked future cops. (On the Midtown list, not the Diamond list.)

* ^ % KIKI DE MONTPARNASSE
Catel Muller and José-Louis Bocquet’s biography of the famous Modernist muse Alice “Kiki” Prin focuses mostly on the peak of her career; it’s got lots of well-known artists and such making cameo appearances, but it’s more a vehicle for Catel to draw people and a setting in which she’s got a deep interest than a vehicle for a history lesson. I reviewed it over at the New York Times Book Review. (On the Midtown list, not the Diamond list.)

* ^ THE LOVELY HORRIBLE STUFF
Eddie Campbell is a superb raconteur–one of his great strengths is picking a topic and writing and drawing comics that kind of chat digressively around it. This one concerns money, and his relationship with it.

^ MANHATTAN PROJECTS #4
Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra’s alternate-universe history of the atomic program seems to be dovetailing, in a couple of ways, with Hickman’s Fantastic Four. Not like a crossover or anything, just… certain shared interests.

% MONSTER DINOSAUR
At some point, the youth of America are going to notice that Lewis Trondheim has been going to great lengths to entertain their generation for a long time, and glom onto the translations of his work that have appeared so far. I hope that point comes soon. (On the Midtown list, not the Diamond list.)

% PROPHET #26
While we’re still waiting for the conclusion of the Farel Dalrymple-drawn two-parter, Brandon Graham both writes and draws this interlude issue.

* ^ RESET #3
I’m impressed with the way Peter Bagge has shifted from the “series” mindset of Hate to closed-ended stories like this one–it’s changed direction with every issue so far. (It also seems like a sharper return visit to the territory of his 2010 graphic novel Other Lives.)

% TALES OF THE BEANWORLD VOL. 3.5
The first two collections of Larry Marder’s wonderful ecosystem comic were drawn from the original series; the third was a standalone volume. This briefer one collects various color stories from the past 15 years, arranged into a connected sequence. Neat!

* ^ UNCLE SCROOGE: ONLY A POOR OLD MAN
Fantagraphics continues to be the gold standard for reprinting old comics material. This collection of Carl Barks’ splendid Scrooge stories continues the formula of the Donald Duck volume from a few months ago: four long stories (including “Back to the Klondike”!), then a handful of shorter stories and one-page gags. (On the Midtown list, not the Diamond list.)

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