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Don’t Ask! Just Buy It! – November 17: Haircuts and Batmobiles

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

* Bricks
^ Mortar
% The higher the hair, the closer to God

I’ve gotten a look at this massive $200 Taschen book, with text by Paul Levitz and a whole lot of images of vintage comic books, original artwork, etc., and can report that it is unbelievably gorgeous, and that if somebody you know happens to really like DC comics and have a lot of storage space, it’d make a very nice holiday present. I also note with amusement that it retroactively gerrymanders Quality, Fawcett and all of Will Eisner’s work from the original Spirit sections onward into DC’s history. Not that I’m complaining about a book that includes the entirety of the original, unredrawn version of “Gerhard Shnobble” in passing. If that’s not enough comics-history coffee-table action for one week, the Chip Kidd-designed Shazam! The Golden Age of the World’s Mightiest Mortal is out this week too.

Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr. continue their monster-truck run. Preview.

Special extra-priced first issue! Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette show us what happens when Bruce Wayne decides to turn his very successful realization of his private obsessions into an international franchise. Also out this week: Morrison, David Finch and Scott Williams’ five-dollar one-shot Batman: The Return, which I suspect is a lot of the reason why the first issue of Finch’s Batman: The Dark Knight has been pushed back to December 8. Man, it would’ve been nice if the scheduling had worked out on all the Batman stuff lately.

I believe this concludes the parts of this very sweet, very good-natured, apparently open-ended fantasy series that writer/artist Linda Medley has serialized thus far. As with the otherwise entirely different A Hard Day’s Night, I started enjoying the series much more when I realized that nothing much was actually going to happen at any point.

Dan Jurgens draws Superman’s death again; the backup is Brian Bolland doing an Atom/Demon story. Len Wein writes. Bolland really doesn’t draw interiors very often these days.

A weird, delightful Peter Milligan/Jamie Hewlett serial from the early ’90s, about a gigantic haircut that contains a magical hole, it seems to have been free-form enough that they had no idea what was going to be happening from one panel to the next. Is it fair to call this the acid-house-era equivalent of George Carlson?

One of the peaks of the Paul Levitz/Keith Giffen run on Legion of Super-Heroes was this 1982 storyline in which the Legion faced Darkseid. The original trade paperback collected the five core issues of the storyline, plus a prologue and epilogue; this one apparently includes an entire year’s worth of the series. Now how about collecting the rest of their run?

A children’s graphic novel–well, older children, anyway–by the great French cartoonist David B., based on a short story byPierre Mac Orlan about a child commanding a ship of undead pirates. All the best things in one place, basically. Preview.

Not the one who finally lost her grip on continuous publication after a series of relaunches: this is the former Araña, now starring in her own Paul Tobin/Clayton Henry series. It’s branded with a “Big Time” banner; I guess we’ll see how it ties in with Amazing. Preview. In further “Big Time” action this week, there’s the first issue of Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios’Osborn miniseries, which also features a Warren Ellis-written backup story. Preview.

A 96-page, five-dollar anniversary issue, with a 40-page lead story by Jeff Parker and Kevin Walker, plus reprints and more. Kind of amazing how durable this series’ twist on the super-villain team-up premise has turned out to be.

A one-off reprint of this four-issue Peter Milligan/Ted McKeever miniseries from 1993 about costumed killers and repressed sexuality–a kind of companion piece to Milligan’s Enigma miniseries. I remember liking it a lot.

Reprints of three of the Norwegian cartoonist Jason’s early books: “Hey, Wait…,” “Sshhhh!” and “The Iron Wagon.” The first of those is particularly terrific, and maybe the first instance of Jason’s habit of creating books that midway through abruptly turn into very different sorts of stories.

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