Lee: Although I enjoyed “Pretend Lee”, he missed the mark on some of the better indie books being offered this month. A little late but never forgotten… the Indie books listed in July Previews.
Jim: Actually I thought “Pretend Lee” did a fine job. I think it is unfair to denigrate Pretend Lee when he is no longer here to defend himself.
GIRL GENIUS OMNIBUS ED. #1 by Phil Foglio
Adventure, Romance, Mad Science! Agatha Clay is a student at Transylvania Polygnostic University, and a complete klutz. But when the University is overthrown and a mechanical monster stalks the streets, it begins to look as though Agatha may carry a spark of mad science after all! This convenient backpack-sized, black and white edition contains the first three volumes of the Girl Genius collection, and is a perfect gift for anyone new to the series. 312 pages. (5.5x8)
Lee: This was a fun little series by Phil Foglio. Glad to see it’s getting the super collected, omnibus treatment. It became a web comic at some point which can be found at http://www.studiofoglio.com/ so you can check it out for yourself.
Jim: Well this is not my taste, so it will be a pass for me. Also (am I agreeing with what Lee has said before?) the smaller size books are not my favorite format.
WHAT'S NEW WITH PHIL AND DIXIE: SEX AND D&D #2 by Phil Foglio
These volumes collect Phil Foglio's popular What's New with Phil and Dixie comic strips originally began as a strip in Dragon Magazine in the early '80s. Each volume collects classic strips, mostly in color, along with new, never-before-seen strips! nineteen-eighties. Fans of Dork Tower and Knights of the Dinner Table should check these out! (7x10)
Lee: Having grown up at the height of the D&D craze, I fondly remember these strips. These are great fun and skewer the D&D culture perfectly. I’m glad to see these getting collected too.
Jim: See the few years age difference between Lee and I make for some different taste as I was never around for all of the D&D stuff, so it has always remained foreign to me.
MY UNCLE JEFF ALTERNATIVE COMICS ED. by Damon Hurd & Pedro Camello
Nominated for the 2003 Eisner Award for Best Single Issue! A young man encounters his favorite uncle for the first time in 10 years and reflects on a childhood hero through adult eyes. Resonating with emotion, pain, love, and true sentiment.
Lee: As far as indies go, I like the trades. Mostly because single issues are so expensive and you never know if there is going to be more than one. I know, it’s self defeating because if I don’t support the issues then I will never get a trade. Oh well. ANYWAY, this is one of the rare stories that makes me reconsider. I think the theme of reflecting on childhood heroes is so universal that it almost can’t miss. And, the apparent realization that your heroes may not be as good as you remember just adds to the poignancy.
Jim: Love the premise for this book and just looking at the cover shows that should be a solid art job. Appears to be worth the price of entry.
PIZZERIA KAMIKAZE SC By Etgar Keret & Asaf Hanuka
Wildly popular Israeli author Etgar Keret and laureate illustrator Asaf Hanuka present the English version of their brilliantly written and gorgeously illustrated Pizzeria Kamikaze graphic novel, a gripping account of a guy with a broken heart who committed suicide only to find himself at Pizza Kamikaze, the afterworld destination of all suicides. Serialized in the award winning Bipolar comic, and previously translated into 13 languages, Pizzeria Kamikaze is a worldwide bestseller. 100 pages. (7 x 7) http://www.asafhanuka.com/web05/comics/framesetcomics.html Lee: Well, the cover looks great as covers tend to do. So, some quick research turned up the link with lots and lots of preview pages. As always, the art looks really strong and the story sounds good enough that this may be really good.
Jim: Okay, Lee does find lots more gems then “Pretend Lee”. The art on the cover is great and it has a unique premise that sounds like it could be a very good read.
ANARCHY STUDIOS/HARRIS COMICs
VAMPIRELLA CRIMSON CHRONICLES VOL. 1 SC Collecting the first 13 issues of the classic Vampirella Magazine series in one trade! Featuring artwork by the legendary Jose Gonzales, and contributions by Tom Sutton, Mike Royer, Archie Goodwin, and Vampirella creator, Forrest J. Ackerman! Also includes a cover gallery and special editorial.
Lee: I just mention it because you may have missed the listing a couple of years ago. The only way to get cheap Vampirella reprints. Good, Bronze age stuff.
Jim: This is some really nice stuff and I keep praying that someone one day does some quality reprints on the old Creepy-Eerie stuff. Warren magazines had some fantastic writers and artist working for him in the day. I hear he didn’t pay much, but I believe they had more artistic freedom.
ATOMIC BOOK COMPANY
I KEEE YOU!!: COLLECTION OF OVERHEARDS GN
A collection of overheard snippets of bizarre real-life conversations illustrated by many of the finest indie comic artists, including Jeffrey Brown, Nick Bertozzi, Martin Cendreda, Emily Flake, Allison Cole, Peter S. Conrad, Patrick Tianen, Joshua W. Cotter, Joel Orff, Cole Johnson, Tim Winkelman, and many more! 112 pages. (6x4)
Lee: This has endless potential. Artists, a strange group to begin with, overhearing AND misintrepting snippets of conversation. This should be good.
Jim: The premise sounds so great, but still sometimes one person’s humor is not the same as someone else. I would want to read the first 20 oages before buying this book.
BANDAI ENTERTAINMENT INC
WITCHBLADE: TAKERU VOL. 2 GN
Lee: Trust Japanese Manga to take an already ridiculous costume and make it even more so. This is just silly.
Jim: Silly, no not all. It is just a freedom of artist expression. So who did this WItchblade stuff first, I assume Top Cow stole the idea from magna or is it vice versa?
BART SIMPSONS TREEHOUSE OF HORROR #
Comedians Patton Oswalt (King of Queens, Ratatouille), Brian Posehn (Just Shoot Me) and Gerry Duggan, and Thomas Lennon (Reno 911) join with Bongo's Ian Boothby and his life partner and gal pal Pia Guerra (Y: The Last Man), along with humor faves Hillary Barta and Tone Rodriguez to become Stand-Up Comics of Comics in the unluckiest and unlikeliest horror book of all-time...Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror the 13th!
Lee: These are always fun and I look forward to them every year! AND, any new art by Hilary Barta is a must buy.
Jim: I have grown tired of the whole Simpson thing. I hear this year some 7-11 Stores are being made over into Kwik Marts to celebrate the movie.
ADVENTURES OF RED SONJA VOL. 1 SC (NEW ED). An all-new printing of the best-selling Adventures of Red Sonja Volume 1 featuring the classic Marvel Comics adventures of the She-Devil with a Sword - with newly re-mastered interior color art! Containing the Red Sonja tales from Marvel Feature #1-7, these tales are where it all began, and help set the stage for the current Red Sonja series from Dynamite! Colorist Jose Villarrubia specifically re-mastered Neal Adams' story for this collection! (7x10)
Lee: I mention this trade for one reason… STAY AWAY!!!! I already own this and I wanted to return it as soon as I got it. Awful reproduction with blurry art, garish colors, and a b&w story re-colored. Utter crap.
Jim: Good information to have. Thanks I was going to buy it, but now I will never ever think of buying it.
RING OF THE NIBELUNG COMPLETE GRAPHIC NOVEL by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane
Originally published by DC Comics, this graphic novel brings to visual life Richard Wagner's Ring operas: Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung. So faithful to Wagner's original is this adaptation that readers familiar with the operas will hear the music in their heads while following the narrative through the colorful artwork. Voluptuous women and muscular men populate Wagner's fantasy world, and they appear here as they never could in an operatic stage production. 200 pages. (7x10)
Lee: I believe this was Gil Kane’s last published work. A little bit of culture to go with great art.
Jim: Gil Kane was truly one of the great artist. His work was very dynamic and when paired with Murphy Anderson his work was stellar. Really a one of a kind talent.
USAGI YOJIMBO VOL. 3 SC by Stan Sakai
Perhaps the best samurai rabbit story ever told, Usagi Yojimbo Book 3 collects full-length stories from the original Fantagraphics series. 7x10
Lee: YAHOO!!!! Full size Usagi!!! This series is soooooo good that everyone should be reading it. I want it in easy to read trades but for some reason they are all the mini 6x9 size. Finally, a full size reprint of a classic series as it is meant to be seen.
Jim: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ….I have never developed any interest for this material.
:01 FIRST SECOND
KLEZMER COLLECTOR'S ED. HC by Joann Sfar
A musical saga begins in Klezmer, a wild tale of love, friendship, survival, and the joy of making music in pre-World War II Eastern Europe. Five misfits come together to play music - and the music they create is something entirely new. See how creator Joann Sfar explores his Ashkenazi roots with this artistic and literary triumph painted in startling, loose watercolors. 144 pages. http://lambiek.net/artists/s/sfar.htm
Lee: Joann Sfar is one of the original French underground artists, much like R. Crumb in America. I am interested to see how he differs from his American counterparts. If you are ever looking for material beyond American capes and cowls, this would be a good start.
Jim: Now this is another really nice “hidden gem”. I’ll have to take Lee to a gold mine and have him help sift through the mud for them gold nuggets. On a side note, I wish more comic stores would stock one or two copies of these independents and highlight them in the store a little bit. It is tough for many people’s budget to try this stuff sight unseen.
DESPERADOES: BUFFALO DREAMS SC by Jeff Mariotte (W); Alberto Dose (A & C)
Desperadoes ride again! Bestselling novelist Jeff Mariotte's critically acclaimed, historically authentic horror/western series returns in this tale about buffalo, the past, the future, and the mysteries of the universe. As the Desperadoes regroup after their adventures from Banners of Gold, they quickly come at odds with the local "law" before a mysterious series of dreams leads them to the legendary Apache Geronimo, who sends them on an epic quest to save the buffalo, and ultimately all Native Americans. With brilliant art by Alberto Dose (Scarface: Devil in Disguise), Desperadoes: Buffalo Dreams is a ride through the wild American past you don't want to miss. 104 pages. (7x10) http://www.albertodose.com/
Lee: I have always enjoyed the Desperadoes series. It’s too bad more people don’t try it because it has always been very, very good. BUT, now is the chance to get the new trade.
Jim: This is a great series. Now in my opinion this was the weakest story to date and I believe Alberto Dose’s art was not the right match for this type of story. Still buy the other trades of this series also, great stuff.
ZOMBIES VS. ROBOTS VS. AMAZONS #1 by Chris Ryall (W); Ashley Wood (A &C)
When last we visited the Zombies vs. Robots world, nuclear war had decimated the population of the entire globe, including zombies and robots alike. So who is left to fight? And how is an island of Amazon warrior-women involved this time around
Lee: Now that’s a twist I didn’t see coming. Zombies AND Robots AND AMAZONS!!!! Oh yes, this will be a classic someday. Buy now, sell on ebay later for huge profit!!!!
Jim: LOL, wait until they add the Morlocks before investing too much.
KEN STEACY PUBLISHING
TWISTED WORLDS SC by Bruce Jones & Ken Steacy
Along with baby werewolves, slavering aliens, cyber-warriors, giant rats, and radioactive chimps, this collection of short stories from Pacific Comics' Alien Worlds, Twisted Tales, and Silverheels, includes the misadventures of FLAN, a wild 'n crazy little janitor-bot, whose ineptitude is matched only by his obsession with 1950's technology! When FLAN gains the ability to morph into any form he desires, stand back as nothing will stop him, not even a pot roast! Anthologized here for the first time! 72 pages. (7x10)
Lee: Ken Steacy has always been an excellent artist and was very popular in the 80’s. This is a good way for a new generation of fans to see his work. Follow the link to read more and see art samples.
Little Brown and Company
TINTIN HARDCOVER BOXED SET by Hergé
Soon to be the subject of an animated film trilogy from directors Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, Hergé's adventures of Tintin and his loyal terrier Snowy have been translated into 38 languages and sold millions of copies, enthralling readers for nearly eighty years! This new hardcover box set contains all twenty-four of Hergé's stories of Tintin and Snowy in eight volumes in a lavishly designed collection. A great gift for Tintin lovers and first-time fans everywhere! (9x12), $150
Lee: There are few times that I am willing to pay big, big dollars for a collection. This is one of them. TinTin is soooo good. AND, better yet, all ages so I can share it with my kids.
Jim: This sounds and looks like something right up your alley Lee and Pretend Lee should have picked this.
MARC HANSEN STUFF!
RALPH SNART ADVENTURES COMIC COLLECTION #1 by Marc Hansen The sawed-off, beer-guzzling runt is at it again in this collection reprinting Ralph Snart Adventures Volumes 4 and 5 from 1992-93! Also included are two lost and previously unpublished issues from 1993, plus four unpublished covers! It's Ralph Snart at his peak of insanity! All of it by Marc Hansen, and all of it crazed and hilarious! 152 pages. (7x10) http://www.marchansenstuff.com/
Lee: I’m not sure how to describe Ralph Snart. It’s part crude humor, part biting satire, and all around funny. I have his early adventures from the late 80’s but this should be good too.
Jim: As you can see from the cover, ther is no need to describe Ralph Snart. A picture is worth a thousand words and the cover made me laugh.
HILL SC by Sal Cipriano & Jok
Jill is a failed assassin, Jack is a failed experiment. Both were created by the same evil company, and both want out! Jill has lost everything she has ever cared for, and has lost the will to live, but her employers won't let her die until she completes one last mission, to kill the monster Jack! But when Jack finally steps into the Jill's crosshairs everything they've ever known becomes a question mark sending them into a bloody downward spiral to their fates! 128 pages. (7x10) http://www.comicspace.com/salcipriano/bulletins.php?action=read&id=17569
Lee: I am not sure what to make of Markosia press. On one hand they have some really good books. On the other, they produce some books that are barely above fanzines. For some reason, this looks to be one of the better ones. It features art by the Jok, an Argentinean. I really like European and Argentinean art so this is right up my alley. Previews of another series by the creative team can be seen at the link.
Jim: Markosia is the true small press publisher. I think the last time I looked there monthly sales were $15,000, so you know it is being run on a shoe string budget. Still I have enjoyed Breathe and hope this guys can push it up a level.
FOG MOUND BOOK 2 FARADAWN GN by Susan Schade & Jon Buller
After living on the Fog Mound for quite some time, Thelonius Chipmunk and his friends are ready to continue their travels in search of answers and adventure. With new friends Bill the Human and Cluid Chipmunk, the animals sail off down the river. In the City of Ruins they find the dangerous ratminks threatening to conquer the region, perhaps the whole planet! Could this be a repeat of events that brought about the end of the Human Occupation? How can one small group of talking animals help? Why is Bill so anxious to get to the mysterious island of Faradawn? And will Olive find her lost sister Ruby? As in the first book of the Fog Mound trilogy, the intrepid chipmunk pursues his personal quest to uncover the differences between history and legend, and to answer the most troubling question of all - what happened to the humans? 208 pages. (6x9) http://www.bullersooz.com/
Lee: The sample art totally sold me on this. It’s one of the rare occasions where you can see interior art and not just a cover. It sounds interesting. Follow the link for more about the creators.
Jim: Something different for sure, but a big pass for me. That is the beauty of the independents, you can find stuff that is your taste. They cover everything and Lee and I highlight different stuff that strikes a note with us, and it may not with you, but there something out there you would like.
THE SIMPING DECTECTIVE by Simon Spurrier & Frazer Irving
Mega-City One, 2129 AD. Simped-up private eye Jack Point is an undercover 'Wally Squad' Judge - 'cos only a clown would want to walk the street of Angeltown, the arse-end of City Bottom. He's got two friends in this world, one's long and hard, and makes your ears ring after every shot; the other's his gun. In fact, Jack's got enemies on both sides of the Law, and he's in deep trouble! This trade paperback presents a series of stories exploring the dark underbelly of Mega-City One, the home of Judge Dredd! 144 pages.
Lee: MORE FRAZER IRVING!!! It may be good. It may be bad. But the art… oh la la the art. I am all over this.
Jim: Lee is so much more into the art then I am. I have always been story first and art second, but I understand that if you have an artist you love you can tolerate almost any story.
THE ARRIVAL GN by Shaun Tan
In a heartbreaking parting, a man gives his wife and daughter a last kiss and boards a steamship to cross the ocean. He's embarking on the most painful yet important journey of his life - he's leaving home to build a better future for his family. In this wordless graphic novel Shaun Tan captures the immigrant experience through clear, mesmerizing images allowing the reader to experience the main character's linguistic isolation and his ultimate joy. Enter the world that Jeff Smith, author of Bone, calls Shockingly imaginative. One of the best graphic novels of the year!" 128 pages. (8x11) http://www.shauntan.net/
Lee: Let’s make sure everyone understands this is a wordless GN. With that said, my first instinct is “Nope, not for me”. I don’t have anything against wordless gn’s but somehow I always feel cheated by them. But, in order for everyone else to make their own decision, I looked up Shaun Tan. All I can say is WOW OH WOW OH WOW. The art is so fantastically gorgeous that it changed my mind. It is beautiful and it looks to be a good story too. The link has several preview pages that are worth checking out.
Jim: This is a rerun pick. I have already ordered this book. I mean how can you not.
SCARY GODMOTHER: SPOOKTAKULAR STORIES SC by Jill Thompson
The whimsical Scary Godmother books are not just for Halloween anymore, so join the lovable monsters in their adventures throughout the year! First, Hannah Marie and her spooky friends quest for the magical Last Autumn Leaf and the mysterious dragon Mr. Boogey Legs. Then the gang helps Ruby and Max, the vampire lovers, rekindle the eternal passion of their undead relationship, just in time for Valentine's Day! Jam-packed with adventure and activities, fun for all ages! Collects the Bloody Valentine special, the Activity Book, and the Holiday Spooktacular! 96 pages. http://www.jillthompsonart.com/
Lee: And speaking of all ages reading… Scary Godmother is some of the best. The stories are always hilarious and Jill Thompson manages to make it work for both adults and children. Don’t let the all ages moniker scare you off, this is the kind of book you read after a bad day at work, guaranteed to cheer you up and bring a smile to your face.
Jim: Jill Thompson is a great talent and if her name is on it, it is well worth a look.
SUNDAY PRESS BOOKS
SUNDAYS WITH WALT AND SLKEEZIX VOL. 1 HC by Frank King
For the first time ever, a collection of Gasoline Alley Sundays from the first fifteen years of Frank King's undiscovered masterpiece - printed in the original colors and full broadsheet size! Enjoy in detail the artistic innovation and warm, human stories of this genuinely classic American comic strip. This is the latest in a series of full-sized reprints from Sunday Press Books. 96 pages. (16x21) $95
Lee: This book isn’t for everyone. First, it’s very expensive, $95. Second, it’s very, very big 16x21. BUT, if you have any interest in this material it’s a fantastic book to have. I might get mine from Amazon on the deep discount some day. Just not today.
Jim: Oh boy I have not been waiting for this.
BILL MAULDIN'S UP FRONT GN
Throughout World War II, cartoonist Bill Mauldin documented the adventures and misadventures of dogfaces Willie and Joe, symbols of the hard-pressed infantry, the group which gives more and gets less than anybody else. In Up Front, Mauldin joins an absorbing narrative account of just how hellish combat is to a selection of those cartoons. Reading through this powerful book, one sees why Mauldin, in demythologizing the war, was often accused of undoing the efforts of the morale officers and politicians who assured the home front that our boys were having a fine time of it in Europe. No, Mauldin replied through Willie and Joe that our boys are being maimed and killed every day. 240 pages. (6x9)
Lee: I am really looking forward to this book. The truth behind the propaganda of WW2 is always welcome. This is made even more relevant these days with the obvious arguments over the war in Iraq.
Jim: Again a rerun picked that I have already ordered.
DRACULINA #52 - Full Color. Featuring complete coverage of new horror movie Nudist Camp Zombie Massacre!
Lee: Now this is B-movie marketing at it’s best. An entire article dedicated to the soon to be released, and immediate classic movie, Nudist Camp Zombie Massacre. I like the fact they (whoever they are) skipped all pretense and had the zombies show up at a nudist camp.
Jim: LOL – this is so funny in a sad and bizarre way.
Lee: Well another month loaded with future classics. I know that I picked some of the ones that were previously mentioned but they are worth a second glance in case you ignored our picks the first time.
Jim: Well (and I hate to say it), but real Lee found some other gems in the indie listings. It is always well worth looking through the listings and Westfield Comics
http://www.westfieldcomics.com/ has not a nice way to look at stuff without getting a preview catalog.