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Don’t Ask! Just Buy It! – Oct. 19, 2011: Nothing More to Fear

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

* Meta-
% Mice
¢ Madness
£ Min(n)i(e)
^ Cold climates

£ 15 LOVE
A paperback collection of the long-delayed Andi Watson/Tommy Ohtsuka quasi-sports-manga miniseries about the future Millie the Model and her career as a tennis prodigy. Watson also contributes to this week’s Dark Horse Presents #5, alongside Carla Speed McNeil, Eric Powell, and the Peter Hogan/Steve Parkhouse team, among others.* £ AVENGERS #18
Brian Michael Bendis writes; new artist Daniel Acuña draws; the setting is post-Fear Itself. Also this week: the second issue of Howard Chaykin’s Avengers 1959, which appears to be in part a riff on that other “Avengers.”

Neal Adams’ utterly boggling extended miniseries resumes publication. I look forward to this site’s further analyses of whatever the hell it is he’s up to here.

The guest editor of this year’s volume is Alison Bechdel, who notes that a lot of her picks are somehow commentaries on their medium; the series editors continue to be Jessica Abel and Matt Madden; the contributors are way beyond the usual suspects–I’d never seen two-thirds of the stuff in here before, and it’s all impressive and pretty widely varied.

I’m not totally sure I understand what this is: a twice-monthly series, or a miniseries? And there are three writers? And Mark Bagley and Paul Pelletier are drawing it? Is the idea that this is Marvel’s version of Trinity? Also this week: the extra-expensive and presumably extra-long seventh and final issue of Fear Itself. I would like to congratulate Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen on completing one of the very few tentpole crossover-type comics in which every issue has come out on time. Speaking of Immonen (and obliquely of Kurt Busiek), this week also sees DC Comics Presents Superman: Secret Identity #1, the first of a two-part DCCP reprinting of a nifty miniseries they did together some years back. But if it’s 192 pages, why not simply reprint it as a single paperback? Mysterious.

Kevin Huizenga’s ridiculously great series about trying to fall asleep continues (two years after #3). This one is an excerpt from a potentially infinitely long comic book about trying to fall asleep; you’ll see what I mean when you see it.

Your late-breaking Fear Itself tie-in #1: Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca show us Tony Stark coming back from Asgard with his new spiky armor. When he’s done with it, he can flip it inside out and give it to Penance!

Your late-breaking Fear Itself tie-in #2: Kieron Gillen and Whilce Portacio present the continuing adventures of Little Loki.

Marzena Sowa and Sylvain Savoia’s graphic novel is a memoir of Sowa’s childhood in Communist Poland. It’s published by Vertigo, interestingly; I can’t remember the last time they published a translated European work. (Have they ever before?)

The book is built around a very long Art Spiegelman interview by Hilary Chute (some of it genuinely fascinating–I particularly like the part about how he drew the discussion of whether or not there was a band at Auschwitz), illustrated with a lot of Maus-related material. The disc that comes with it is a scholar’s dream–every page of Maus expanded with as much related material (sketches, interviews, roughs) as possible. If everybody was as much of a stickler about getting every single detail right (and making it look easy) as Spiegelman… there’d be a lot fewer comics but they’d be a lot better.

Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’ Lovecraft homage, collected here, is nasty, button-pushing and sometimes Moore-by-numbers (oof, that dialogue), but it does do a few effective formal things that haven’t been tried in comics much before. This edition also includes “The Courtyard,” the adaptation of a Moore prose piece to which it’s the sequel.

Fifty cartoonists, most of them with some degree of indie-comics pedigree, do more-or-less-straight two-page interpretations of nursery rhymes. This is decidedly a book for small children rather than for their parents, but there’s a good deal for their parents to enjoy too.

Sergio keeps doing his thing, “his thing” being a combination of reminiscences, parodies, doodles and puzzles. Who else could even sustain a monthly title named after its creator rather than its contents? Steve Ditko’s almost doing it, but beyond that there are not a lot of cartoonists who could even keep up the pace.

Fantagraphics’ Floyd Gottfredson reprint program continues.

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