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

KEY

* Red in tooth and claw

¥ Beverages are very important

^ Neoteny

¢ Contributors appeared at Emerald City ComiCon this weekend

* ¥ AMERICAN VAMPIRE #1

It's very rare that the big news about a comic book is who's writing the backup feature, but in this case that's Stephen King, who for a change is actually writing comics himself (as opposed to giving the thumbs-up to adaptations of his work). There's a trailer here. I'm just amazed he allowed himself to be second-billed.

^ ¢ HERCULES: FALL OF AN AVENGER #1

For an allegedly canceled series with an allegedly dead protagonist, The Incredible Hercules seems to be thriving--this two-issue postscript is basically just a continuation of the series (complete with Atlas backup story!), although it's got some really nice-looking Ariel Olivetti art, as you can see in the preview. Then, in a couple of months, we get Prince of Power, a miniseries about what Amadeus Cho is up to next that just happens to have the subtitle of Hercules' first Marvel miniseries for a title. Nice.

* ¥ ^ JOE THE BARBARIAN #3

Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy's fantasy-adventure miniseries continues--one of very few Morrison projects that's weighted mood and space over cramming in as much plot as humanly possible. You know what, so be it: it's pretty to look at, anyway.


* ¥ ^ KRAZY & IGNATZ: TIGER TEA

Supposedly, this $13 hardcover is the first full reprint of the legendary psychedelic "Krazy Kat" sequence from 1936-1937, previously reprinted in part in the final issue of RAW and in a long-ago Krazy collection. It's supposedly printed on hemp paper. Sigh.


^ THE MUPPET SHOW #3

Roger Langridge investigates the enduring mysteries of Statler and Waldorf.


* ¢ SIEGE #3

Who gets ripped in half this time? Also out this week: the Director's Cut of #1, for $4.99 (I wish they wouldn't call them that--I know Marvel's been pushing the film analogy for "Siege" pretty hard, but who's the director, and what got omitted from that person's ideal version of the first issue, anyway? I mean, aside from that one page of the text feature), and a couple of tie-ins, most notably Dark Avengers #15, the penultimate issue of the creepshow Bendis/Deodato series that's probably my favorite thing to come out of "Dark Reign."

^ ¢ SPIDER-WOMAN #7

The final issue before this series "goes on hiatus," which is the comics equivalent of going away to a beautiful farm out in the country where it can play. It was a really pretty-looking series, but never quite clicked the way Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev's Daredevil collaboration did--too often, it seemed like it was a motionless adaptation of the motion comic. Bendis and Maleev are reportedly collaborating on something else soon, though; I'll be looking forward to that. Preview here.


¢ SUPERMAN 80-PAGE GIANT

DC's been doing these big six-dollar anthologies every month lately, as a showcase for "up-and-coming talent"--they involve a lot of established names too, but there's always something of the chorus-line audition about them. Of course, some people take auditions as an opportunity to impress people quickly. The two names that get me excited about this one are Kathryn Immonen and Ben McCool; speaking of McCool, the second issue of his and Ben Templesmith's Choker series is out this week, along with a second printing of the first issue.