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Don’t Ask! Just Buy It! – November 9, 2011: Frankie Say

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

KEY:
* “The conjunction of a mirror and an encyclopedia”
^ “The scripture produced by a subordinate god in order to communicate with a demon”
% “Mirrors and copulation are abominable”
¢ “A book which does not contain its counterbook is considered incomplete”

* % ¢ 2000 A.D. #1756
We’re back to the five-ongoing-serials format with this issue; the newcomer is an Indigo Prime serial by John Smith and Edmund Bagwell. Good, good, good stuff. Smith fans may also note the same team’s Cradlegrave collection comes out this week: it’s “modern urban horror” about a young offender. And over in Judge Dredd Megazine #316, Mike Carroll and John Higgins do the honors for the Dredd story; Carlos Ezquerra draws the Gordon Rennie-written Cursed Earth Koburn story. The “graphic novel” bagged with this one is the final collection of Mercy Heights, but one can’t have everything. (All three are on the Midtown list, not the Diamond list.)

% BATWOMAN #3
J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman’s spooky, swirly, slinkier-than-I’d-have-guessed run continues.

^ ¢ EVERYTHING VOL. 1: BLABBER BLABBER BLABBER
Lynda Barry’s comics, 1978-1981, including the early days of “Ernie Pook’s Comeek,” collected in a lovely Drawn & Quarterly hardcover. Oh how I love her stuff.

* THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ADELE BLANC-SEC VOL. 2
Jacques Tardi’s deadpan, slightly tongue-in-cheek turn-of-the-previous-century adventure series continues: this volume contains two of the French volumes, rendered here as “The Mad Scientist” and “Mummies on Parade.”

^ % FANTASTIC FOUR BY JOHN BYRNE OMNIBUS VOL. 1
A $125 hardcover, ouch. But this is arguably the peak of Byrne’s post-Uncanny X-Men career: the first half of his six-year run as writer/artist on Fantastic Four, plus a half-dozen tie-ins, a couple of earlier Byrne-drawn FF stories, and that nifty annual he did (#17) with the Skrull cows–45 comics in all. So not bad on a cost-per-unit basis.

* ¢ FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. #3
“The Titans of Monster Planet” is the title this time. I admire the way Jeff Lemire and Alberto Ponticelli are just going for it.

* ^ ¢ JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #631
What? Two whole weeks between issues? Slackers! Slackers in question being Kieron Gillen and Whilce Portacio. What a fun series this is.

^ NEW AVENGERS #18
Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato. He’s Norman Osborn, and he approves that haircut. God I wish Marvel would just lock Osborn away for another ten years so he’s scary when he actually comes back.

^ POINT ONE #1
Marvel’s been hammering in how important this 64-page, six-dollar, seven-story, more-than-seven-writer one-shot is to the FUTURE OF THEIR VERY UNIVERSE! ITSELF! Matt Fraction and Terry Dodson’s Defenders project starts here; Ultron, Nova, etc., are also involved.

* RETURN TO PERDITION
Max Allan Collins’ long-awaited second sequel to his Road to Perdition is drawn by his old Ms. Tree collaborator Terry Beatty; nice to see the two of them working together again. Also out this week: new editions of the original Road to Perdition and On the Road.

^ % ¢ SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING VOL. 6
A hardcover reprint wrapping up the Alan Moore run on Swamp Thing, collecting issues #57-64; those include the two-part story set on Rann with almost all of its dialogue in a Moore-invented language, as well as the issue with text by Moore accompanying a series of late-’60s-Kirby-style collages by John Totleben. Formalism is what Moore does to keep himself interested.

^ ¢ VERTIGO RESURRECTED: MY FAITH IN FRANKIE
The Mike Carey/Sonny Liew/Marc Hempel miniseries collected here may be the most underappreciated thing Vertigo has ever published, a story that grabs the idea of a “personal/jealous God” and sprints off with it in a very funny and original direction. (I know at least one cartoonist who claims this story as one of her primary points of inspiration.) It’s not what I’d call a universal masterpiece or anything, but the people who like it (including me) really really like it. Eight bucks: a good deal.

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