Don’t Ask! Just Buy It!: October 14, 2009 — Hercules, Odysseus, Absolute Death, Deadpool and “Blind Date”
% "As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport"
§ "I've aged a year since then"
^ Not the first series to use this title
† Treacherous ocean voyages
% ^ DEADPOOL #900
Okay, points to Marvel for mocking their current "jump to a big round number" strategy, and more points for making it 104 pages of material for five bucks. Then a few points removed again for making it the launch of a third ongoing Deadpool series. And reinstated for the fact that the numbering on that series is going to be running backwards from 900. No points either added or subtracted for the fact that Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld is drawing a story; points added for the presence of Kyle Baker and Joe Kelly (who wrote the eleventh issue of the 1997 Deadpool series and therefore has his ticket to heaven taken care of). So what does that make? Who knows? Clearly math doesn't apply here.
% THE ABSOLUTE DEATH
This oversized, $99 hardcover of Death's two three-issue miniseries throws in every other Neil Gaiman-written Death story, including "Sandman" #8, which has now been reprinted more times than anything this side of the first Spider-Man story. Introduction by Gaiman's partner Amanda Palmer, of Dresden Dolls fame.
% INCREDIBLE HERCULES #136
This is one of the issues featuring Hercules himself, rather than one of the Amadeus Cho issues; it's part of the ongoing storyline in which Hercules has been impersonating Thor, which apparently comes to a head when Thor himself shows up. I believe the appropriate descriptor is "fun." See the recap page for evidence.
^ LIBERTY COMICS #2
Another installment of what seems to be an ongoing CBLDF benefit series published by Image, not the generic-looking superhero series of the same name that Heroic has been publishing. This one has contributions by Neil Gaiman, Mike Allred and Brian Wood, as well as a preview of Ben McCool and Ben Templesmith's forthcoming "Choker" series, which looks to be as hard-boiled as a three-hour egg. Various previews linked from here.
% § MARVEL ADVENTURES SUPER HEROES #16
Spider-Woman, Beast, Hercules and Giant Girl team up for another one of Paul Tobin's wildly entertaining, plot-dense done-in-one all-ages dips into the Marvel character grab-bag. Preview here, although the pages seem to be in scrambled order.
§ † MOME VOL. 16
Fantagraphics' thrice-yearly anthology seems to have evolved from its original concept -- a regular showcase for new work by a limited group of developing cartoonists -- into a collection of good stuff that for whatever reason isn't suited to standalone books. (I think Paul Hornschemeier's "Life with Mr. Dangerous" might actually be the "Mome" equivalent of the Amy Sedaris advice column in "The Believer" -- the joke is that they keep promising it'll come back.) This issue's highlights include Dash Shaw aestheticizing an episode of "Blind Date" (!), as well as really nice-looking work by Renée French and Laura Park. Preview here -- a page from each contributor.
% † ODYSSEUS THE REBEL
A single-volume collection of Steven Grant and Scott Bieser's webcomic, which can be read in its entirety at the Big Head Press site. It's a curious book: Grant's got a pretty interesting take on Odysseus as a rebel against the gods and against divinity, but the colloquial English his characters speak ("surprised to see me alive, asshole?") is a little disconcerting, and Bieser's big-eyed, whimsical black-and-white artwork doesn't quite mesh with the hard-edged writing. Worth a look, anyway.
^ WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #1
Look, if Marvel wants to publish "Amazing Spider-Man" weekly, why not just do that? When's the last time a week went by without an ASM-related comic, anyway? This new series appears to be specific to ASM skip weeks, and consists of "bonus" stories set in Spider-Man's continuity, plus the indomitable Tom DeFalco/Ron Frenz "Spider-Girl" serial; in other words, it's more or less the same thing as "Amazing Spider-Man Extra!" and "Spider-Man Family," which translates as "does the same thing as ASM but less of it." Notable inclusion this time: a story written by Sean McKeever, whose work on "Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane" was a low-key pleasure--I hope this is a sign that there might be more Spider-Man comics from him in the future. Some pages from the J.M. DeMatteis/Val Semeiks lead story.