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


¢ I've posed for pictures with Ivory soap

* I wanna be nasty/I wanna drink booze

^ I wanna be wicked/And trump an ace

% Just so I can step on everybody's feet


Grant Morrison writes, Cameron Stewart and Chris Burnham draw, those of us who've been waiting for this storyline to get moving again whoop with glee. This is apparently the material that was supposed to be Batman Inc. #9 and 10, somewhat reworked, as a prelude to next year's Batman Inc. relaunch. Note that #9 was originally supposed to come out July 20. Seven bucks.^ % 2000 AD #1755, #1756 and/or #1759-1762

Jeez. Get with the program, or the programme, as the case may be. These are supposed to be arriving weekly in the U.S., but they still seem to be turning up in clumps of two or three or four at a time. Anyway, this nearly-35-year-old British anthology is particularly swell right now: besides the reliable solidity of John Wagner and Leigh Gallagher's Judge Dredd sub-serial, "Day of Chaos: The Assassination List," the John Smith/Edmund Bagwell Indigo Prime story is berserk psychedelia, and Rob Williams and D'Israeli's Low Life serial "The Deal" wraps up in #1761 with one of my favorite comics moments of this year, which I will not spoil. If you're at the right store, this week also sees a bunch of related publications. Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files vol. 4 is the American edition of the stories from 2000 AD #156-207, including the huge, scattered "Judge Child" epic and the first appearance of Chopper. (I've written about it at some length.) Judge Dredd Megazine is now turning up on Barnes & Noble racks, amazingly; the new one, #317, includes Carlos Ezquerra drawing "Cursed Earth Koburn," an interview with Jim McCarthy, and a reprint of "Tor Cyan," a Mercy Heights/Rogue Trooper spinoff that Jock worked on. And the Mazeworld collection reprints a sequence of Alan Grant/Arthur Ranson serials that I've heard great things about. (I wrote about another Grant/Ranson collaboration elsewhere this week.) 2000 AD #1755/6 are on the Diamond list, everything else is on the Midtown list, who even knows what's going to arrive at your local comics store this week.


Brian Michael Bendis and Daniel Acuña's push toward some kind of event that involves Ultron or something. Expect the scale-o-meters to be cranked clockwise until eventually they can't be cranked any more.


Mark Waid and Paolo Rivera pick up the story. Last issue's resolution was an incredibly clever piece of plotting that's either going to create a very difficult situation for Waid (or somebody else) down the line or be totally written off.


Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto's wine manga. Yes, wine manga. I've heard this is really fun.


Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca's imperishable collaboration gets back around to the Mandarin plot that they teased a good long while ago. This storyline's called "Demon," and the catch-up synopsis on the first page of last issue included the sentence "Tony Stark has been sober for three days"; those words will be familiar to those of us who've been reading Iron Man for a long time. I really enjoy it whenever Fraction makes use of the Iron Man-as-dry drunk angle, although here it's text rather than subtext.


A $5 pamphlet-format thing with some previously unpublished strips and other material about the great Norwegian cartoonist Jason.


A redrawn version, curiously, of Metaphrog's neat little book for children (and for adults who care about the cunning snares of life) from about a decade ago. I like Metaphrog a lot, but I wish they'd amass another few dozen Louis titles before they start giving them the Hergé treatment. (Midtown list, not Diamond list.)


A collaborative graphic novel by 50 or so British creators, about a day in each year of the life of one character. It sounds like fun, although it also sounds like several other projects--"Julio's Day"? "The Worm"? That Superior one-shot that came out a couple of weeks back?


A Christmas-themed cover: cutting it a little close there, Sergio.


More "Gasoline Alley" reprints, retitled for the same trademark reasons that "Krazy Kat" reprints are called Krazy & Ignatz; this one covers 1929-1930 in Frank King's wonderful strip about fatherhood and domestic life (and, decreasingly over time, car aficionados). This volume comes with a DVD of King's home movies, thanks to series designer Chris Ware. (On the Midtown list, not the Diamond list.)

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