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Don’t Ask! Just Buy it! – Sept. 23, 2009: Kramers Does the Simpsons, Spider-Woman, Underground, Wednesday Comics Finale

Savage Critic and “Reading Comics” author Douglas Wolk runs down the hottest comics and graphic novels coming out this week, using this helpful key:


# As seen on TV
^ Redheads figure prominently
% The stage of Joseph Campbell’s “hero’s journey” known as the Inmost Cave is likely to be evoked at some point
¥ The technological advances in comics coloring of the last ten years really have paid off


Dudes: this is not just a Simpsons comic, it’s an annual series where some really unlikely creators take over the Simpsons for an issue. (Nobody seemed to notice, but #11 included both a “Tomb of Dracula” parody by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan and a “Swamp Thing” parody by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson.)

This year, the guest editor is Sammy Harkham, and the contributors include Kevin Huizenga, Jordan Crane, Jeffrey Brown, Matt Thurber, Tim Hensley and C.F. That’s right: this is basically “Kramers Ergot” #7.5. (Well, Matt Groening did have a piece in “Kramers” #7.) Start freaking out now.

The Batwoman feature keeps effortlessly knocking it out of the park — both Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III are totally throwing themselves into making it special, it appears. The Question co-feature is still finding its way, but I like what Cully Hamner’s been getting there too: preview here.


NBM continues to publish two-volume omnibus editions of installments of Lewis Trondheim and Joann Sfar’s semi-parodic, semi-serious, totally gigantic sword-and-sorcery epic, to which a lot of the big names in French art-comics have lent a hand at one time or another. The “Early Years” series, drawn by Christophe Blain, is set a century or two before the main series; this volume collects volumes -97 and -84. You read that right.


The age-proof Vertigo series gets the first of two issues drawn by Simon Bisley, who’s been doing plenty of covers but hasn’t drawn many interiors in a while. Preview here


The second part of Amadeus Cho’s “secret origin.” I love the fact that he was actually introduced in (the second) “Amazing Fantasy” #15; it’s interesting to consider him as a sort of funhouse-mirror Peter Parker type, with a very different relationship to guilt, responsibility, exile, substitute father figures, and so on. Also out this week: the hardcover of IncHerc’s “Dark Reign” tie-in storyline, from #126-131.


The final issue of this incarnation of Michael Allred’s signature series–apparently he’s got more big plans for Madman, as yet unrevealed, but in the meantime he’s going to be drawing a new monthly series called “I, Zombie” at Vertigo. MAC was mostly a venue for Allred’s experimentation, rather than being particularly plot-driven–I particularly liked the issue that was one big panel.


Written and drawn by Roger Langridge = automatic buy. This issue involves a game of “Animalopoly,” a rhyming flea circus, and a Gilbert and Sullivan parody sung by a robot Miss Piggy.


After the motion comics, after the Origin miniseries, after interminable delays, we finally get the reunited Bendis/Maleev team (yes, they’ve worked together since their Daredevil run ended, but not on an ongoing series). This one’s been in the works since at least 2005, and this issue was originally solicited for April. Will it be worth the wait? Cross your fingers.


This is supposedly the definitive Superman origin for the moment, by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. Which is to say that it’s kind of dating Mark Waid’s ex. But the Johns/Frank run on Action was really entertaining, and as long as Johns doesn’t add some new horrible tragedy to Clark Kent’s youth to make this project fit the template of his Flash and Green Lantern origin reboots, it should be worth a look.


The first issue of Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber’s long-awaited “spelunking thriller”–you can read a black-and-white version of the whole issue at the Underground site. (The published version is in color.) It’s lively, original stuff, recommended to anyone who liked the (Lieber-drawn) “Whiteout” series.


Fifteen conclusions in a single issue–can your heart handle it?! (In the words of a friend of mine, “it’s like eating a big denouement sandwich.”) I’m sad to see that the next DC weekly (or “weeklies”!) won’t appear for another six or nine months, though.

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