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PLEASE NOTE: What follows is not a series of capsule reviews but an annotated selection of items listed by Diamond Comic Distributors for release to comic book retailers in North America on the particular Wednesday, or, in the event of a holiday or occurrence necessitating the close of UPS in a manner that would impact deliveries, Thursday, identified in the column title above. Not every listed item will necessarily arrive at every comic book retailer, in that some items may be delayed and ordered quantities will vary. I have in all likelihood not read any of the comics listed below, in that they are not yet released as of the writing of this column, nor will I necessarily read or purchase every item identified; THIS WEEK IN COMICS! reflects only what I find to be potentially interesting.
Injury Comics #4: Being the return of Ted May's comic book home base, a haven for shitty teens and oddball superheroes alike, formerly published (2007-09) by Buenaventura Press and now released by May himself and a revived Alternative Comics, with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign. Expect a slice-of-life account of metalheads pre- and post-detention (written with Jeff Wilson) and the exploits of two-fisted hairball Beast Biplane (drawn by Mike Reddy) for 36 b&w pages of good stuff in total. Video preview; $6.00.
UnderWhere: Yes, it's a week of returns and rediscoveries up here in the spotlight, as Heavy Metal reissues a 1995 album by Kevin Eastman & Mark Martin, the latter of whom was editing a humor section in the magazine at the time. I believe Eastman does some of the drawing here, while Martin does all of the painting; Paul Jenkins serves in some additional writing or editorial capacity. Er, obviously I've not read this -- it seems to be a youthful adventure between dimensions -- but I'm generally up for Martin's comics. It's 96 pages, at 11.1" x 8.3" in hardcover format. Preview; $24.95 (or $4.99 for a digital edition).
47 Ronin #1 (of 5): Probably the best part of that seinen manga picture above is how the presidential haircut on the dude up top cannot be contained by the panel border. I think people used to treat Eagle as a serious comic back in the '90s? I mean, it's 'serious'-flavored, but there's still tons of Comics for Men sensation tucked away amongst the US political system exotica. One can only wonder how much of that special flavor "Editorial Consultant" Kazuo Koike will bring to this Stan Sakai-drawn miniseries set in the days of samurai. "More urine, Sakai! Beheadings! Hitler's frozen sperm!!" Written by Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson. "WHY IS SHE STILL DRESSED?!" Preview; $3.99.
Thought Bubble Anthology 2012: On one hand, it's a pity to be based in the UK, since you can't vote in this wonderful election we're having today. Yet there's still some fun to be had this month at Leeds' Thought Bubble comic arts festival and comic-con! Or... I guess I presume you'll have fun; maybe they'll just punch everyone as they're walking in. Regardless, Image is releasing an anthology comic filled with festival-affiliated talents -- Kate Beaton, Warren Ellis, Sean Phillips and Gail Simone among them -- as well as a Boo Cook-drawn Strontium Dog/Elephantmen story 2000 AD has been plugging for a few issues. Samples; $3.99.
Battlefields: The Green Fields Beyond #1: While you're at it, go catch a rare North American comics appearance by Strontium Dog (and Judge Dredd) co-creator Carlos Ezquerra in this latest Dynamite-published war comic from writer Garth Ennis (who also has new collections of his work on The Boys and The Shadow out this week). It's the third (and perhaps final) installment of the pair's chronicles of a roving British tank squad. Preview; $3.99.
Tank Girl: Carioca: More 2000 AD founding fathers! This is a Titan hardcover collecting the most recent longform comics work by Mike McMahon, a crucial early contributor to Judge Dredd and Sláine. It's 136 pages of bursting color, written by Tank Girl co-creator Alan Martin; $19.95.
Nikolai Dante: Sympathy for the Devil: I suppose at this point I ought to draw attention to an actual 2000 AD release, here on this surprisingly British day of the United States' Presidential Election. Nikolai Dante, created by Robbie Morrison & Simon Fraser, has been running since 1997 -- concerning a bawdy rogue in a future Russia, the strip's debut can be seen as indicative of the magazine's occasional motions toward 'mature' sexual content (an infamous Sex issue arrived later that year) -- but always with an eye toward telling a finite story, the ending of which arrived a few months back. This 224-page package collects all remaining strips, including the final contributions of both the creators and frequent painted art contributor John Burns; $29.99.
Monster Myths: MONSTER PICK #1 - I have no idea what's in store with this 120-page Com.X publication -- graffiti, bikers, neighborhood defense and beatings, judging from the solicitation -- but artist John Lupo Avanti has an eye-catching curly style that'd get me flipping, at least. Samples; $13.99.
Monster Candy Vol. 1: MONSTER PICK #2 - This appears to be a slightly tardy Halloween release -- aliens give kids candy that transforms them into creatures -- but I'll look at anything drawn by Alex Niño. Written by Brian Phillipson & Alexander Murillo, published by Bliss on Tap; $12.00.
Assassin's Creed Vol. 1: Desmond
Assassin's Creed Vol. 2: Aquilus
Assassin's Creed Vol. 3: Accipiter: Man, you know a video game's getting a big rollout when a publisher (here it's Titan) starts dropping English-language editions of French tie-in comics as individual 48-page, 11" x 7" hardcovers. At a low price too. This particular project began in '09, and should be seeing a fourth album hitting continental sources later this month; the writer is Eric Corbeyran, who's written approximately ten billion BD series (one of which, The Bombyce Network, was translated by Humanoids last year) and the artist is a frequent collaborator, Djillali Defali; $9.99 (each).
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Box Set: Not a ton of new manga that catches my eye -- I mean, Bakuman, Sailor Moon, various series chug along, sure -- so allow me to highlight this cool-looking Viz all-in-one edition for Hayao Miyazaki's much-loved empathetic fantasy series, spreading 1,104 pages of stuff across two 10 1/2" x 7 1/2" hardcovers in a slipcase; $60.00.
Scott Pilgrim Color Edition Vol. 2 (of 6): Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: But sometimes reissues are a little different on the inside too, as evidenced by this second hardcover round for Nathan Fairbairn's colorization of Bryan Lee O'Malley's Genuine Mainstream Comic. Published by Oni at 9.1" x 6.3", with a nice suite of documentary extras annotated by O'Malley in the back. Samples; $24.99.
All the Wrong Questions Vol. 1 (of 4): Who Could That Be at This Hour?: Your not-a-comic of the week, and the start of a new Little, Brown prequel to YA prose megastar Lemony Snicket's signature opus, A Series of Unfortunate Events, this time focusing on the author's fantastical youth in a secret organization. It is noted here for the presence of alt-comics mainstay Seth as illustrator for the duration. Preview; $15.99.
The Wayside: COUNTER-PROGRAMMING? No, probably not. Still, this 10.1" x 8.2" Drawn and Quarterly hardcover presents 120 pages of images by children's book illustrator Julie Morstad, previously of the D&Q art collection Milk Teeth. Samples; $19.95.
Heavy Metal #259: Finally, after a lengthy hiatus dedicated to repositioning its physical operations, the longtime Eurocomics-on-newsstands venue returns bearing its '70s logo and promising bimonthly issues, although this particular issue has apparently been slated for release since last summer - it's a "Monster Massacre" special (MONSTER PICK #3) in which guest editor Dave Elliott revives the title of an old Atomeka anthology from the '90s to present various tales of creatures. And so our unwitting focus on new British-ish genre comics draws to a close. Thank you, and please vote for the politicians. Preview; $7.95.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESERVOIR: A number of things *might* show up, ranging from Mickey Mouse to Prison Pit, but what Diamond is promising is Blacklung, the debut graphic novel of artist Chris Wright (of the Sparkplug story collection Inkweed), a 12.25" x 9.25", 128-page account of a schoolteacher's sojourn aboard a ship of thugs, rendered in a fascinating cartoon style I can just barely approximate as a 'second-generation underground comics' look, although you really should just see for yourself; $24.99.