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Don’t Ask! Just Buy It! – May 16, 2012: The Devil and the Long Pigs

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

KEY:
* Dystopian futures
^ Dystopian presents
% Dystopian pasts

* 100 MONTHS
This sounds amazing. John Hicklenton was one of the most over-the-top artists in the history of British comics–he drew incredibly grotesque, powerful stuff, including two books of Nemesis the Warlock, Pandora, a few “Heavy Metal Dredd” stories and (as John Deadstock) the American series ZombieWorld. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, he wrote and drew this environmentalist graphic novel about a war between Satan’s daughter and an evil capitalist god, which is apparently all full-page images. The day after Hicklenton completed it, he died at an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland.^ AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: ENDS OF THE EARTH #1
The “event ” that didn’t actually cross over into anything gets a one-shot tie-in, by Dan Slott and Thony Silas, in which its title is justified by looks at what various Marvel Universe types who live outside North America are doing. In other Marvel-event news, Brian Michael Bendis and Walter Simonson’s Avengers #26 is an AvX tie-in, and Dan Abnett and Carmine Di Giandomenico’s New Mutants #42 is part three of “Exiled.”

% ARE YOU MY MOTHER? A COMIC DRAMA
Alison Bechdel’s previous memoir Fun Home blindsided and/or gobsmacked pretty much everyone who wasn’t already familiar with her from “Dykes to Watch Out For.” Her follow-up–an examination of her relationship with her mother, her creative process, and psychotherapy–hit bookstores a couple of weeks ago, I believe, but this week it’s in comics shops, and I can’t think of a book I’ve been looking forward to more this year. I do miss the warm ensemble comedy of her comic strip, but there are a lot more people who can approximate that than who can pull off her kind of laser-focused, revelatory introspection.

^ BATWOMAN #9
Artist Amy Reeder has departed this series due to creative differences; J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman are still writing it, but this arc is being finished up by Trevor McCarthy. I liked McCarthy’s work on Gates of Gotham–his design sensibility reminds me a bit of the late Gene Day.

% BEST OF ENEMIES: A HISTORY OF U.S. AND MIDDLE EAST RELATIONS, VOL. 1
Admirers of David B.’s work (Epileptic, in particular, is one of my favorite graphic novels) are directed to this terrific curio: B’s selective, stylized look at several centuries’ worth of an uneasy cross-cultural tango, leading up to the US-backed coup in Iran in 1953. It’s co-written by historian Jean-Pierre Filiu.

* ^ DAREDEVIL #13
The third issue of the Mark Waid-written series in four weeks, and the third artist, this time Khoi Pham. Also in the “didn’t we just see one of these?” department: the third issue of Invincible Iron Man in five weeks, this time #517. Are we absolutely sure “Salvador Larroca” isn’t the name of a small country?

* DEADENDERS
Arguably the bridge between Ed Brubaker’s early crime comics (especially Lowlife) and his later superhero stuff, this mod/SF Vertigo series ran sixteen issues from 2000 to 2001. This $30 trade collects the whole series; an earlier collection was just the first four issues.

% FAIRY TALES OF OSCAR WILDE: THE HAPPY PRINCE
The great fantasy artist P. Craig Russell finally gets around to the fifth volume of the series he’s been working on for twenty years or so. Over at the NBM blog, he talks about it a bit. (This week also sees a new edition of the first volume, “The Selfish Giant” and “The Star Child.”) This means the only Wilde fairy tale he hasn’t gotten to yet is, I believe, “The Fisherman and His Soul.”

% THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS #3
Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra continue their cracked and reassembled history of 20th-century science with a look at how the atomic bomb got dropped in their parallel universe. Also this week in the “Hickman’s revisionist history” department: Fantastic Four #605.1, subtitled “The Secret History of the Fantastic Four.”

* SAGA #3
It’s still hard to accustom myself to Brian K. Vaughan writing a monthly series again. I’m not complaining, though, and artist Fiona Staples is a very good match for him.

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