The last day...
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Tina's Mouth: Existential Comic Diary GN by (W) Keshni Kashyap (A/C) Mari Araki
Tina M., sophomore, is a wry and endearing observer of the cliques and mores of Yarborough Academy. (The name makes it sound fancier than all the public schools in the area. You'd really think the Prince of Wales attended.) And of the foibles of her Southern California intellectual Indian family. She's on a first-name basis with Jean-Paul Sartre, the result of an English honors class assignment to keep an existential diary. From Tina getting dumped by her smart-girl ally to a kiss on the mouth from a cute skateboarder, Neil Strumminger, Tina's Mouth answers the pressing question: Can an English honors assignment be one fifteen-year-old girl's path to enlightenment? $18.95
Lee: Does this remind you of that old MTV cartoon Daria? Yeah, me too.
Thomm: That and a million other indie books. More than a little navel gazing.
Muse HC by (W) Denis Pierre Filippi (A/C) Terry Dodson
The sexy, dreamy adventures of one Coraline, a beautiful young lady who serves as governess to wealthy and always mysterious homeowners. Written by frequent Humanoids collaborator D-P Filippi and drawn by comics superstar Terry Dodson, Muse is a lyrical and titallating ride through reverie and nostalgia. $29.95
Lee: I cannot tell a lie… I’m buying this for the story. No seriously, Filippi wrote the John Lord book from Humanoids too and that was really good. And filled with lots of au natural body parts. But, I’m sure this will be different. Story people, story.
Thomm: … What, me? Sorry, still looking at the cover. And I’m not even fond of blondes.
Mean Dog Comics
Streakers GN by (W/A/C) Nick Maandag
Three friends who run a local streaking club strive towards achieving the perfect streak. $7.00
Lee: A local streaking club. Oddly enough I have never heard of one of those.
Thomm: They have to pay dues to the national organization. It’s like the PTA. Only not. Come to think of it, that would enliven PTA meetings. Or drop attendance to 0.
Inner Sanctum GN by (W/A/C) Ernie Colon
A revered veteran of comics brings to comics life tales based on one of the most fondly remembered mystery and horror radio shows in history. In striking black & white as only Colón is well known for, we are swept into 4 chilling mysteries including The Horla, a man is haunted by a mysterious, grotesque being only he can see; Death of a Doll, an unidentified corpse in the morgue intrigues a reporter, who sets out to identify her and how she died; The Undead, a young woman discovers an obituary for her living husband; and Alive in the Grave, a body may not be as dead as everyone believed! 6×9, 112pp, B&W jacketed hardcover, $16.99. See previews here.
Lee: It should come as no surprise since I’m a fan of horror comics that I think this looks great. Colon is a true master of the medium and even though his line is a little looser these days, he still has a great sense of composition.
Thomm: Great art but I think I’ll pass. I’m pretty much at my saturation level for horror stories.
Oni Press Inc.
Polly and the Pirates Vol. 02 SC by (W) Ted Naifeh (A/C) Robbi Rodriguez
Lee: This will probably be the last time I pick anything from Oni. I like their books but I can never tell if they will actually come out or not. I have too small a budget and too little wall space to have ½ completed series. That said, Spontaneous looks to be the more interesting series. But, I really like Brett “Surrogates” Weldele’s art.
Thomm: To me Polly & the Pirates is more intriguing. That’s because there actually was an Emperor Norton of America. He was a delusional guy in San Francisco, I think, sometime in the late 1800s. Now, Polly there’s costume looks like something out of the 1600s, so who knows if this story has anything to do with the actual Emperor Norton, but I’m intrigued. Not that Spontaneous doesn’t look interesting, too. I’d have to see how much the writer is a true believer in the combustion and the conspiracy. True believers have a tendency to irritate.
Th3rd World Studios
Intrepid Escapegoat SC by (W/A/C) Brian Smith
Thomas Fleet (aka The Intreped EscapeGoat) is a world famous escape artist, a star of the stage and screen who performs magic before packed houses the world over. What separates EscapeGoat from other magicians and mediums of the time is that he knows there is real magic in the world, and on occasion it falls to him to stop the supernatural threats confronting humanity. He travels the world, solving the paranormal riddles that plague the towns and cities and visits on his way. $12.95
Lee: My kids loved this series and I am getting it for them. But, it came with such rave reviews that I ended up reading it and I am really looking forward to this. A fun adventure story for everyone.
Thomm: Looks good. Kind of echoes Zatara, or an anti-Houdini. I enjoy the play on words in the name, if nothing else.
Dry Spell GN by (W/A/C) Ken Krekeler
Tom Ferris lives in a world of super-heroes - vibrant colors that streak across the sky, that hurl themselves over rooftops at night. They are commonplace. But Tom doesn't notice that world anymore, because his world is made up of spreadsheets, of phone bills, of software and coffee and button-down shirts. Long ago, Tom had been someone special. Today, Tom has become someone else. A respectable, quiet man with a decent job and a dead dream. But each night, he lies awake, wishing for the chance to do things differently, to be the man he really is. One day, Tom gets his wish. And the world will never forget him again! $14.95
Lee: This cover totally sold me on the story. The cover seems to be strangely disconnected from the hype which is kinda bland. I’m betting there is a lot more going on in this that isn’t getting expressed.
Thomm: Oh, I don’t know. I think the hype is a perfect match for the cover. The man in the grey flannel suit breaks loose. That’s exactly what’s on the cover and in the blurb. Of course, the suppressed super powered dude who breaks loose isn’t exactly new ground in comics.
1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die: The Ultimate Guide to Comic Books, Graphic Novels and Manga by (W) Paul Gravett
Visually amazing, this critical history of comic books, manga, and graphic novels is a must-have for any comic buff or collector. Over the centuries, comic books and their offshoots, such as graphic novels, manga, and bandes dessinées, have evolved into a phenomenally popular, influential, and unique art form with which we can express our opinions, our fantasies, our nightmares, and our dreams. In short: comics are emphatically no longer just for kids. This diverse, constantly evolving medium is truly coming into its own in the 21st century, from Hollywood's blockbuster adaptations of super-powered caped crusaders to the global spread of Japan's manga and its spinoffs, and from award-winning graphic novels such as Maus and Persepolis to new forms such as online webcomix. This volume is the perfect introduction to a dynamic and globally popular medium, embracing every graphic genre worldwide to assess the very best works of sequential art, graphic literature, comics, and comic strips, past and present.
An international survey, this engaging volume is organized according to the year of first publication in the country of origin. An opening section acknowledges pioneering pre-1900 masterpieces, followed by sections divided by decade, creating a fascinating year-by-year chronicle of the graphic medium worldwide. The material includes the very earliest one-off albums to the latest in online comics and features some series and characters that have run for decades.
Packed with fantastic reproductions of classic front covers and groundbreaking panels, this book is visually stunning as well as a trove of information--perfect for the passionate collector and casual fan alike. 960 pages $36.95
Lee: I love lists and this is nothing but one giant list. I bought Tony Isabella’s book with the same concept but was sorely unimpressed. This on the other hand appears great. Gravett is a true historian of the medium and if anyone can provide critical opinion of books worth reading it’s him. I’m looking forward to this.
Thomm: I like lists well enough, but not for $37. I’ll pass.
Lee: A lot of books this month and most all of them affordable. It’s a good end to the year.
Thomm: As usual, we have different ideas of affordable. Still, a lot of good books. The hard part is picking which ones.