THE FUN NEVER ENDS IN COMICS. Which is to say, there's always something I've missed. Many things. I thought I did a pretty thorough SPX report the other day, but then Whit Taylor's excellent piece on the same show revealed many different aspects. And don't even get me started on the shows I couldn't even attend! Just prior to Chicago's CAKE, for example, the local quarterly magazine Lumpen devoted an entire 9.75" x 12.75" newsprint issue -- the second of two now-annual special editions -- to new comics from nearby and international artists. Editor Joe Tallerico mentions traveling to Angoulême to visit the F.O.FF festival (or Fuck Off Festival) organized by Le Dernier Cri, and while the makeup of the issue remains heavy with Chicago locals and fellow Americans -- Blaise Larmee drew the image I sliced for the homepage sample, for example -- there are a few outsiders, such as Amsterdam's own Michiel Budel, whom I hadn't seen since the second Secret Acres issue of Wayward Girls last year. Homage, as you can see, was duly paid to his original North American publishers. Unless this already appeared someplace else - I should just devote myself to the upcoming week.
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 identified in the column title above. Be aware that some of these comics may be published by Fantagraphics Books, the entity which also administers the posting of this column. 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.
Bumperhead: Now Gilbert Hernandez - there's a man on which I can rely. All I do is blink my eyes and another comic is done! A thematic sequel-of-sorts to last year's childhood reminisce Marble Season, this one covers a much wider terrain in a boy's life, encompassing music, family, desire, the threat of precognition and the delicacy of recollection. Maybe it's more a reprisal, or a thickening. Nonetheless, it remains 8.1" x 10.9" in hardcover and 128 b&w pages, from Drawn and Quarterly. Samples; $21.95.
Angie Bongiolatti: Another familiar title, if you've been following online discussions of comics culture - about a month ago, the author, Mike Dawson (also a podcaster for this site), posted a frank consideration of the book's fortunes in the market and his own positioning as a comics professional, leading to a good deal of subsequent discussion across various social media platforms. As a result, it seems a bit like the book has already been around for a while, but the numbers quoted by Dawson are interesting - despite the belated arrival of this book in Diamond-serviced comics stores, it does appear that the Direct Market channel nonetheless accounts for the largest single portion of the book's sales at the moment. So, don't think you're coming up from behind on this 240-page account of the people and events swirling around a politically radical woman in the wake of 9/11; you're as well-positioned as most. A 5.5" x 8.5" softcover, from Secret Acres. Preview; $20.00.
Barbarella Super Oversized Deluxe Edition: Following up on its varied deluxe-format editions of Alejandro Jodorowsky works -- and, incidentally, both The Incal Before the Incal have new all-in-one $44.95 editions out this week -- Humanoids turns its attention to Jean-Claude Forest and his influential 1964 SF album, one of the landmarks in the maturation of French comics (and there was a movie too). Now you can try and absorb yourself into the artist's fulsome adventure with a 12" x 16" duotone hardcover, 72 pages adapted to English by the popular comics writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, which was a task she fulfilled often in the manga sphere years ago (as did comics professionals ranging from Marv Wolfman to James D. Hudnall) - taking a base translation and enlivening it with a sensitive and natural English voice. Note that there is also a digital option, if you don't want to wait for any later, smaller re-issues. Samples; $79.95 ($5.95 in digital).
Bramble: But that's not all Humanoids has ready for the autumn turn - here is a smaller-scale (if still 9.4" x 12.6") complete collection for a 2005-14 series from writer Jean-David Morvan, who is suddenly the most prominent BD script guy on the stands these days, given all the stuff Magnetic Press has been releasing (MEKA, Naja and Zaya are all his). The artist is one Alexandre Nesme, aka Nesmo, and the plot, from what I can gather, blends crime/mystery devices with ecological concerns as an odd giant is accused of awful crimes in a huge fantasy city. It's 144 pages is total. Samples; $29.95.
Get Over It: And moving back to Secret Acres for a moment, they also have a new book from Corinne Mucha, an autobiographical comic dealing with the many facets of recovering from the breakup of a long-term relationship. Some heartland alt-comics territory there. Preview; $15.00.
On the Books: A Graphic Tale of Working Woes at NYC's Strand Bookstore: More reportage here, as Microcosm Publishing presents a 128-page depiction of labor struggles at a particular retail outfit, put together by employee Greg Farrell and filled with portrayals and concerns of his co-workers; $12.95.
Sally Heathcote, Suffragette: This is the new release from Mary M. & Bryan Talbot, who collaborated on the Joycean-fascinated 2012 auto/biography Dotter of Her Father's Eyes, which won a Costa Book Award. This one takes on feminism in Edwardian Britain, with M. Talbot remaining as writer while B. Talbot serves as layout artist for Kate Charlesworth, presumably due to the demands of his next solo work, Grandville Noël, due in November. From Dark Horse, as usual; Preview; $19.99.
Marvel Covers - Artist's Edition: You know what? Fuck comics. Covers is where the good money's at in superhero science. Covers and commissions, yeah! Old wisdom, there; don't know if it still holds, but covers remain popular enough among collectors that IDW has been moved to approve this 12" x 17", 144-page compilation of color scans from original art boards dealing with Marvel superhero cover images, with Arthur Adams, Gene Colan, Jack Kirby, Frank Miller, John Romita, Jim Starlin and Jim Steranko included; $100.00.
Return to Armageddon: Reprints of a very different sort here, as Rebellion breaks out a 144-page collection for a 1980-81 2000 AD serial from writer Malcolm Shaw (a UK girls' comics writer for Misty and the like, who briefly supplied early Judge Dredd scenarios) and artist Jesus Redondo, involving "[s]pace battles, zombies and the ultimate embodiment of evil"; $23.99.
Walt Disney's Donald Duck Vol. 1: Ghost of the Grotto: And then there is Fantagraphics, slicing some Carl Barks duck material into a 7.5" x 5.5" landscape-format book (without dropping any panels or cutting into the art, mind you) targeted at the wee ones. The result is a 128-page softcover. The same publisher also has a softcover edition of Wilfred Santiago's 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente this week. Preview; $12.99.
Cat Dad: King of the Goblins: Speaking of wacky cartoon adventures appropriate for kids, here is Koyama Press with a 48-page book by Britt Wilson, working in a very rich and smooth animation production art-like style. It's about siblings on a journey to aid a transformed parent within the secret world of their closet. Samples; $12.00.
The Warren Commission Report: A Graphic Investigation (&) The Red Baron: The History of Richthofen's Flying Circus and the Air War in WWI: Finally, two here from veteran cartoonists working in a non-fiction vein. The Warren Commission arrives courtesy of Ernie Colón, who's built himself a unique late-career specialization in educational comics editions of historical documentation, ranging from 2006's The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation to The Great American Documents: Volume 1: 1620-1830 from just a few months ago. This one's in collaboration with writer and fellow Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld co-creator(!!) Dan Mishkin and co-artist Jerzy Drozd, 160 pages from Abrams. Elsewhere (i.e. Zenith Press), Wayne Vansant, of many post-Michael Golden issues of The 'Nam, fronts a 104-page air war biography, still in time for the Great War's centennial; $17.95 (Warren, softcover), $29.95 (Warren, hardcover), $19.99 (Baron).