Friday, June 26, 2009

Indies Preview Review Part 3 of 3

Fantagraphics Books
Willie & Joe WW II Years Slipcase by Bill Mauldin
Here, for the first time, Fantagraphics Books brings together Bill Mauldin's complete works from 1940 through the end of the World War II. This collection of over 600 cartoons, most never before reprinted, is more than the record of a great artist - it is an essential chronicle of America's citizen-soldiers from peace through war to victory. Mauldin's brilliant send-ups of officers were pure infantry, and the men loved it. Willie & Joe will be presented in a deluxe, beautifully designed two-volume slipcased edition of over 600 pages, with an introduction and running commentary by Mauldin scholar Todd DePastino; providing context for the drawings, pertinent biographical details of Mauldin's life, and occasional background on specific cartoons - such as the ones that made General Patton howl. $65.00

Jim: Pretty sure this has been offered before, but I have not actually purchased it yet, but I really need to do so. It is a unique view of WWII and what the times were like.
Lee: This was offered before as separate books. I did get one and it was great. If you’re curious about what WWII was really like then this is a great book to read. I enjoyed it tremendously.

Usagi Yojimbo Special Ed. HC by Stan Sakai
Created in 1984, Stan Sakai's USAGI YOJIMBO (2008 Eisner Nominee for Best Continuing Series) has vaulted to the forefront of iconic modern comics characters and is a perennial, favorite. Stuffed with engaging supporting characters, villains, and even a romantic interest or two, USAGI YOJIMBO chronicles the action-packed wanderings of a masterless samurai in feudal Japan. For the first ten years of his career, the battling bunny was published by Fantagraphics. In honor of his 25th anniversary, Fantagraphics is releasing a deluxe slipcase set collecting the first seven USAGI YOJIMBO books! With over 1000 pages of story and brimming with extra's (full color cover gallery! behind the scenes art! career-spanning interview! and more!), this is the complete! definitive! early USAGI YOJIMBO! , 2 books, 7 x 10.25, HC, 1200 pages, BW, $95.00

Lee: Usagi is an great, great story. It's been around forever and is just as good now as it was when it started. If anything, it's gotten better with time. My only problem is the trades, and hc's, are all manga sized. There's no reason this shouldn't be reprinted at the original size. NOW, this comes along collecting 1200 pages at full size. All that money I saved not getting trades before I just spent on this. I cannot wait!
Jim: I can wait. Number one this material has never grabbed my interest. Number 2 I will never get a book that large ever again. The Spider-Man Omnibus from Marvel is over 1,000 pages and it is really an impractical size and becomes a mammoth book on your bookcase that people look at and say "That is a big f**king book.".

Little Brown and Company
Imposter's Daughter: True Memoir HC by (W/A) Laurie Sandell (A) Soo-Jung Woo
Laurie Sandell grew up in awe of her larger-than-life father, who told jaw-dropping tales of a privileged childhood in Buenos Aires, academic triumphs, heroism during Vietnam, and friendships with Kissinger and the Pope. As a young woman, Laurie unconsciously mirrors her father, trying on several outsized personalities. While researching an article on her dad's life she makes an astonishing discovery; he's not the man he says he is, not even close. Now, Laurie begins to puzzle together three decades of lies and the splintered person that resulted from them - herself. $24.99

Lee: Wow, does this sound brutal! I can’t imagine having your world turned upside down because of parental lies. Little & Brown have published some really thought provoking graphic novels and this looks to be more of the same. I’m betting this is really, really good.
Jim: It is a very interesting premise, but I would want to read some of this before committing to buying it.

Dungeon: The Early Years Vol. 02 GN by (W) Lewis Trondheim (A) Christophe Blain
Hyacinthe, Dungeon Keeper to be, continues to render justice in a cloak nightly as The Night Shirt and stumbles upon the one he pines for, Alexandra, an assassin, about to be raped! After his valiant and heroic rescue, his wettest dreams come true with dire consequences. Years later, he's married and a poor husband, worse even, a poor lover, until Alexandra plots to gain him back. $12.95

Lee: The Dungeon series is a great read. I recommend starting with Vol 1 and working up to this one but it’s well worth the read. I have the entire series and love every page of it. A really, really fun and humorous adventure story.
Jim: When I get the time, maybe.

Things Undone GN by (W/A) Shane White Despite Rick Watt's best efforts to keep it together, he feels his life is falling apart, turning him into a zombie. After a cross-country move with girlfriend in tow, his fresh start turns into a festering mess. As a video game artist, Rick is subjected to the incompetence of three bosses and a kinky art director. His overactive imagination helps him cope until his seven-year relationship tailspins and his ex takes flight with the guy across the parking lot. Caught between his fantasy world and reality, Rick decides to pull the trigger. $12.95 Visit Shane here

Lee: NBM is another small publisher that I like a lot. They seem to have a knack for finding hidden gems. This appears to be a humorous crossing of slice-o-life and zombies. I’m interested.
Jim: I'm at my max Zombie quota and can only now handle Walking Dead, I have reduced the amount of undead coming home lately.

Oni Press Inc.
Return of King Doug HC by (W) Greg Erb, Jason Oremland, (A) Hunter Clark
Twenty-five years ago the Kingdom of Valdonia was under siege by an army of darkness. The magical forces of good only had one hope - a chosen one destined to lead them to victory. Douglas Peterson was that hero. Only he wasnt. He was an 8-year-old boy from Earth scared out of his mind! The frightened boy turned tail and skedaddled, hoping to never see his childhood wonderland again. Now as an adult, Doug is about to learn that his adventure in Valdonia was only beginning and that there are some things you can never run away from. 186 pgs, B&W, $14.95

Lee: So, I read the premise and I thought it was great. Then I wanted some previews so I went searching all over the internet and do you know what I found…. This has already been optioned for a movie. Granted the movie is in Development Heck but still, shouldn’t the comic book come first? I’m torn on this one because I really like the premise but I’m really turned off by the fact that it’s already a movie (maybe). This becomes a store-day decision.
Jim: The premise sounds as lame as the movie will be (if it gets made). It was probably optioned for $1,000 by some low life actor looking to find a vehicle he can star in.

Pure Imagination Publishing
Al Williamson Forbidden Worlds SC by (A) Al Williamson
This volume features 160 pages of fantastic artwork by the legendary Al Williamson. Included are five collaborations with Frazetta from John Wayne Comics. Also included are western stories from Charlton, as well as science-fiction stories never before reprinted. $25.00

Lee: I am so far behind in reading the other Pure Imagination collections, I decided to start passing on them. BUT, then they offered this. Outstanding reproduction and probably the only place to get Frazetta comic art. I’m sold on that alone.
Jim: Now this is an Al Williamson reprint I can get behind and buy. Plus it is $20 cheaper then the Flash Gordon book - sold.

Radical Publishing
Lords of Misrule HC by (W) Dan Abnett, John Tomlinson, Steve White (A) Gary Erskine, Peter Snejbjerg (C) Simon Bisley Collected for a new generation of readers is the horror classic by Abnett, Tomlinson and White which begins when two friends are horribly murdered near the dark rural English town called Callow. But no rational mind could ever anticipate the ancient evil that the survivors will find in the village with a long and bloody history of murder and hauntings. In color for the first time and featuring over 60 previously uncollected pages for the definitive edition of the series. $24.95

Lee: The hype doesn’t lie about this being for a whole new generation since it was originally published in 1997. But, Abnett is a proven writer and Erskine and Snejbjerg are certainly proven artists. I’m glad Radical dug this out of the vaults. Even thought I missed it the first time, I won’t miss it this time.
Jim: Agreed. Hard to go wrong with these creators.

Super Real SC by (W/A) Jason Martin (A) Jim Mahfood, Josh Howard
Follow five people who sign million dollar contracts to get genetically enhanced for a reality show based on comic book superheroes. An over-the-top mash-up of reality TV and comic book fiction that's like Survivor with superpowers, or The Real World meets The X-Men! Collecting the complete independent series recommended by Newsarama, Ain't It Cool News, and Comics Buyers Guide. $18.99 The Superreal page here and click on the cover for previews here

Lee: There’s a part of me that thinks this will be really cool and a part of me that doesn’t. On one side, Real World meets X-Men is a great premise. And the previews bear that out. But, I’m no longer amused by the narcissistic crap that is Real World. If you like Bomb Queen then I bet you’ll like this.
Jim: It does sound like great fun from a conceptual standpoint, but the real world stuff was not for me and hence this book is not for me.

Top Shelf Productions
Complete Essex County HC by (W/A) Jeff Lemire
Collecting Jeff Lemire's award-winning trilogy - Tales from the Farm, Ghost Stories, and The Country Nurse - into a single volume. Also included are over 50 pages of previously unpublished material, including two new stories. Set in an imaginary version of Jeff Lemire's hometown, the trilogy is an intimate study of a farming community, and a tender meditation on family, memory, grief, secrets, and reconciliation. With the lush, expressive inking of a cartoonist at the height of his powers, Lemire draws us in and sets us free. Available in Softcover and Hardcover editions. $49.95

Lee: You can get this in hc or sc but I’m getting it in hc. It’s worth the money. This is one of the most moving comics I ever read. It was that good.
Jim: Darn it Lee, this sounds too good to pass up and while I kid alot, many of the offbeat material you find is very good.

Yen Press
Toxic Planet GN by (W/A) David Ratte
In Sam's world, pollution is such a problem that everyone is forced to wear gas masks at all times. He lives with a lovely young woman whose face he has not seen in years. Though pollution still poses a few problems here and there; Sam finds the state of his world normal! At the factory where he works, everyone seems resigned to live in such putrid surroundings 'It's just how things are!' It's not dangerous they say. Not all the time anyway! $12.99 Preview pages here

Lee: Toxic Planet appears to be another web comics that made it into print form. I read a bunch of the dailies and was really impressed. Planet skates the fine line between humor and social commentary. Not to mention that it has an ongoing storyline that keeps it from being a gag-a-day type thing. It’s very interesting and worth looking at.
Jim: It is fascinating to see so many webcomics start to make the jump into print. Nice to know that good work can pay off (hopefully) for creators who have gambled giving away their work.

Lee: Lately, indies have been good but not great. This month was great. And my wallet is going to pay the price. There are so many good books coming it will cost me a fortune but I'll be very happy when they all arrive.
Jim: Wow, Lee was picking machine this month and while it won't cost me the same fortune it cost Lee, this month's selections will cost me some decent dollars.

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