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Don’t Ask! Just Buy It! – May 5: Kats, Vamps, Zombies and Lovers

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

KEY
* Eros
^ Thanatos
% Star*Reach alumni

^ BATMAN AND ROBIN #12
Shouldn’t the cover tagline be something like “‘The Return of Bruce Wayne’ Continues to Begin Here” by now? Anyway, Andy Clarke draws, and Grant Morrison writes, and that’s enough for me. Preview.
^ BRIGHTEST DAY #1
Sean T. Collins (@theseantcollins), under the #nytsuperherodescriptions hashtag: “Mr. Jordan’s vision unfailingly captures all manner of wrongdoing, irrespective of light levels.” Anyway, DC’s biweekly-no-wait-twice-monthly miniseries begins in earnest here, assuming that #0 was a less earnest beginning. Two writers, five artists, forty pages, three bucks. Is every issue going to feature some kind of glowing white light source on its cover?

^ % DREADSTAR: THE BEGINNING HC
A hardcover reprint of Jim Starlin’s painted “Metamorphosis Odyssey” stories from the first nine issues of Epic Illustrated, now in color, unlike the 2000 Slave Labor reprint. I imagine from the fact that this is 240 pages that it might also include The Price and the Dreadstar graphic novels, but who knows. Cosmic.

* % GLAMOURPUSS #13
Only six weeks after #12, oddly enough–well, it’s even odder that Dave Sim has now been publishing this unbelievably strange excuse for a series for two years, but I’m still fascinated by it. He’s apparently still publishing Cerebus Archive bimonthly, too, although that’s only available via mail-order.

^ HOUSE OF MYSTERY #25
An “exquisite corpse” story written by Matthew Sturges, Bill Willingham, Alisa Kwitney, Dave Justus and Paul Levitz, the last of whom was the only one involved back in the days of DC Challenge. Preview.

* ^ % HOWARD CHAYKIN’S BLACK KISS HC
In 1988, Chaykin was coming off a wave of goodwill from American Flagg!, and parlayed that into this weird transsexual-vampires-in-Hollywood miniseries in which there’s not a single sympathetic major character, the first comic I can think of by a major mainstream-ish American cartoonist to be sold as hardcore porn in sealed plastic bags (maybe to conceal the fact that each issue had only 10 pages of story). It’s totally nasty, in both good and bad ways, and its mannered black-and-white style anticipated his latter-day, Photoshop-happy work. Anyway, this is the whole shebang for $25. Two interesting bits of its afterlife: the initial three-part reprint (each issue containing four original installments apiece) was called Big Black Kiss, which inspired a Dave Sim 24-hour comic called “Bigger Blacker Kiss” (it appeared as a backup story in Cerebus #142); and the first page’s phone-sex answering-machine routine was, as I recall, parodied by John Byrne, of all people, in Savage She-Hulk, of all places. In other reprints-of-comics-by-major-creators-involving-anal-sex news, there’s a $1 reprint of Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos’ first issue of Alias out this week–the best #1 Bendis has yet written, I think.

* INCORRUPTIBLE #5
New artist Horacio Domingues takes over on writer Mark Waid’s creepy-superhero project–he’s got a much looser, scruffier style than previous artist Jean Diaz, sort of a John McCrea to Diaz’s Darick Robertson, if that makes sense. Also out this week: the trade paperback collecting the first four issues of Incorruptible, and #13 of its parent Waid-written title Irredeemable, in which another new artist, Diego Barretto, takes over.

^ I, ZOMBIE #1
One American dollar gets you the first issue of this ongoing Vertigo series by Chris Roberson (who wrote the entertaining recent Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love miniseries) and the wonderful Michael Allred. I suspect this is the first serious stab anyone’s made at the “zombie girl detective” genre. It looks promising, anyway. Speaking of Allred, this week also sees Madman Atomic Comics Vol. 3: Electric Allegories, the final four issues (#14-17) of Allred’s most recent incarnation of his Madmen series, plus what’s alleged to be copious amounts of bonus material. Given that this volume is 200 pages, he’s apparently come up with a bunch of it.

^ JONAH HEX: WELCOME TO PARADISE
In time for the movie, we get a color reprint of nine early Hex stories from All-Star Western, Weird Western Tales and Jonah Hex–seven of which already appeared in black and white in the big Showcase Jonah Hex volume a couple of years ago. Sadly, rights issues apparently mean that we’re not going to be seeing a second Showcase volume any time soon. Too bad: the two newly reprinted issues are part of a run drawn by the great José Luis Garcia-Lopez. There’s also a new printing of #1 of the current series, for a buck.

* KRAZY & IGNATZ 1916-1918: LOVE IN A KESTLE OR LOVE IN A HUT
In which Fantagraphics’ splendid Krazy Kat Sunday strip reprint program loops back around to the beginning of the series’ run, previously reprinted by Eclipse/Turtle Island about twenty years ago. This edition also features a brief portfolio of some of the appearances of a little black cat in George Herriman’s pre-Krazy comic strips, and a few other curiosities from the early days of the strip. Preview.

* THE MANY LOVES OF THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1
I think my favorite issue of the “Brand New Day”-era Amazing has been #605, the “Peter Parker’s love life” special–and, really, the born-loser aspect of the series almost always works nicely when it’s framed as romance stories. Preview. Also out this week: Amazing Spider-Man #630, with the first full-length installment of Zeb Wells and Chris Bachalo’s long-teased Lizard story; Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine #1, by Jason Aaron and Adam Kubert, in which Marvel attempts to extend the Astonishing X-Men brand to imply that anything with “Astonishing” in its title is… an entry-level series involving biggish names, I guess? Weird (preview); and Brendan McCarthy’s second issue (of three) of Spider-Man: Fever, his high-psychedelic tribute to the alien landscapes of Steve Ditko’s ’60s comics (preview).

^ SECRET SIX #21
Gail Simone and Jim Califiore focus this issue on Catman–the last time Simone did that, in #9, it was the best single issue to have come out of the whole “Battle for the Cowl” mess. Maybe this will be an annual feature, along the lines of the “Personal Files” issues in John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad–! I can hope, anyway.

* SUPER F*CKERS TP
An expanded collection of James Kochalka’s superhero-team miniseries, which can be added to the support for Grant Morrison’s hypothesis that superheroes are actually a secret ingredient that makes other genres more fun–it’s basically a story about young people hanging out, getting high, trying to gross each other out and being dicks to each other, except with superpowers to make it all funnier and brighter-colored.

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