Trying to get a read on Batman’s expression on the cover, there. Bemusement? Concern? Anger? Bewilderment? Who can say.
Anyway, this is a freebie book that should be available at your local funnybook slinger emporium, spotlighting DC’s back catalog of trade collections divided up by character, imprint, panicked line-wide relaunch, kid-friendly reading, et cetera. There’s even a section spotlighting graphic novels by Alan Moore, which probably thrills him to pieces.
Of note is a section devoted to “suggested reading order” for books featuring some of their major superhero characters, which is useful since I kinda lose the thread of the Batman continuity after Final Crisis. The Superman section appears to give up on continuity order about halfway through its list, placing New 52 reprints before, like, all the pre-New 52 Superman/Batman reprints, among other things, and lumping all the non-continuity-ish books like Red Son and All-Star Superman and Birthright at the end. Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali is also near the end of the suggested reading order, when in fact it should be first in line. Heck, it should be the only Superman comic you need to read.
At the end of this book are three “blank” pages with a “NOTES” heading, in case you need to jot down your thoughts and feelings about Superman: Earth One being placed in the “25 Essential Graphic Novels” section of this freebie. The notes pages are designed to look like original art boards, which is a little strange…make sure your notes don’t result in more than about nine panels per page; you’re not George Perez.
In conclusion…I like the cover. Ryan Sook did a good job. Even Superman’s new costume is almost bearable. But surely the Justice League has better things to do than waste their time reading comic books.
Also out this week:
Okay, I figure if they make at least two more Smurfs movies, that should give us enough time, and the publisher enough incentive, to keep reprinting the Smurfs comics in U.S. editions ’til they’re caught up.
So perhaps you gathered that I was a tad excited about Nancy Is Happy, Fantagraphics’ collection of Ernie Bushmiller Nancy dailies from 1943-5. I’m only a couple of dozen pages in so far, which may surprise you, but Nancy is a pleasure to be appreciated at a leisurely pace, and not gulped down like a cheap soda.
Having read and reread and rereread the previous Nancy strip collections and nearly committing all their contents to memory, having some new (relatively speaking) material to enjoy really is a treat. Plus, getting to see some of the more explicitly propagandistic wartime material (Sluggo throwing a firecracker at a globe, which blows off the country of Japan, for example), as well as some of the more politically-incorrect gags (a couple of punchlines which play off the stereotypically-slanted eyes of Nancy’s Chinese friend), is certainly interesting from a historical perspective.
I also like the red lettering for the years and page numbers on each page…really gives the book a unique look. And there’s plenty of Sluggo in this volume. Mike, like Nancy, Is Happy.
The Complete Peanuts 1983-1984 – holy cow, we’re purt’near the home stretch on the Peanuts reprint books…we’re what, eight, nine books away from the end? It hardly seems possible.
The appeal of the series is of course the “complete” aspect, where we get to see strips that eluded the previous paperback reprintings and are finally seeing the light of day for the first time since originally popping up in the funny pages. I’ve noted before that my prime Peanuts reading was when I was but a young Mikester in the late ’70s/early ’80s, where I read just about every Peanuts book I could get my hands on, thus making the reprint-debut of strips in the Complete Peanuts volumes presenting years prior to about that time of particular interest to me. I missed most of the ’80s Peanuts strips, except possibly for having read them once in the newspaper way back when, which makes these more recent Complete volumes almost all new to me.
A number of years ago, just prior to Peanuts ending, I got back into collecting the paperback reprints of the later strips, which, at that point, seemed to be collecting full dailies for each year, or at least close to it. Thus, once we move into the ’90s volumes for the Complete Peanuts, I’ll likely have read most of those strips…but I’ll keep getting these new collections anyway, because I’m a sad old fanboy who has to have the full set, that’s why.
Unlike the two books above, which I’ve at least started reading, I haven’t had a chance yet to crack open the latest Smurf book from Papercutz, The Smurf Olympics. At the very least, however, I wanted to mention that I’m glad this particular reprint effort survived the movie promotional push that presumably helped bring it about, even if the “Soon to be a movie / See the movie in theaters now!” blurbs on the front have now morphed into “See the DVD!” A small price to pay to finally get these volumes of classic cartooning back on the shelves.
Now, I have no idea if this little tribute to Kurtzman is new to this volume, and/or if it’s something that everyone knows about and I, Captain Obvious, am pointing out (which I have a history of doing), but I’m putting it out there anyway. So there. Plus, I Googled it and didn’t see anything about it. Well, sorta Googled it. Skimmed a couple of pages of results, anyway.
In conclusion: Smurfs – I have, won’t you?
• • •
Speaking of the Googling, in regards to the title of a post of mine from a couple of days ago…I appear to be the #2 Google result for Teaser and the Blacksmith (if the search terms are enclosed in quotes, that is).
Today’s post title comes from the wide selection of only the finest comment spam my site receives on a daily basis, where, in broken English, the “commenter” extols the virtues of my webpage, describing how my writing “brings great informative on this topic that I find interest,” and ends the response with a promise to “return in short to find more of this content” or, as above, “I WILL OCCUR AGAIN.” It’s like an excerpt from the first draft of General MacArthur’s speech: “‘I will occur again!’ No, no, that’s not it…wait! ‘I SHALL RETURN!’ That’s PERFECT!” Except, you know, with links to v1ag4a sites.
Anyway, enough about that, let’s look at some comics:
Jeff Parker takes over writing chores on Hulk with #25, bringing the book from its big, loud and stupid beginnings and moving it forward into a big, loud and not-quite-as-stupid future. Not that I’m slamming the Loeb issues…ain’t nothin’ wrong with a comic book that’s just action action action and not a brain cell in sight, so long as it’s fun (and I have been enjoying the book, despite the “event” tie-ins that frankly I’m having less and less patience with). And really, Hulk should be big and loud with lots of action. It’s a Hulk comic, for God’s sake. Anyway, Jeff Parker: good start. Nice art by Gabriel Hardman, too.
Fantastic Four #583 kicks off the whole “Death of One of the FF” storyline, though nearly everyone who’s reading the book knows that whatever character they kill off, that character will be back sooner rather than later, so it’s kind of quaint that they’re putting this much effort into hyping this storyline. Of course, Hickman is a good writer, and has been doing a strong job on the book, so I expect we’ll be getting more than the typical “oh noes [REDACTED] is dead and gone forever, how can the team go on” kind of thing. …This first chapter is nicely done, and sets up an unexpected alliance between a couple of characters whose interaction certainly grabbed my interest.
Boom! Studios has a new Muppet Show (#10) written and drawn by Roger Landridge this week, and as usual, it’s perfect funnybooking, and pal Ian has another issue of his Darkwing Duck comic on the stands, and, oh, I guess it’s okay, if you like that sort of thing.
I haven’t had a chance to read the new Zippy the Pinhead collection, Ding Dong Daddy from Dingburg, but Zippy hasn’t disappointed me yet, and I don’t expect this to be the exception.
Pal Dorian already reviewed the new editions of the two Smurfs volumes released this week, and I concur with the statements made by the gentleman from Santa Barbara. I would also like to reiterate the apparently near-universal complaint that they used a lousy font on these books, and that it’s too slight and tiny to comfortably read, especially at the sizes these books are printed at. Otherwise, this is classic cartooning and well worth seeking out. Have your jeweler’s glass handy, though.
The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror #16 isn’t as relentlessly weird as last year’s installment, but filled with some good ol’ fashioned Simpsons-style, kid-pleasin’ gore and violence anyway. Particularly in the lead story by Evan Dorkin, which is almost Milk ‘n’ Cheese-esque in the amount of Grand Guignol-ish mayhem dished out on each page.
Lemmy from Motörhead is the celebrity contributor for this ish, contributing the story (with a script by Tom Peyer) for the last segment of the book. Needless to say, this would be the Most Metal Comic Book Story on the stands this week.
BONUS FEATURE: inset sheet of Marge Attacks trading cards. It’s exactly what you’re thinking, and it’s fantastic.
Justice League: Generation Lost #10 – You know what? I like this series. A lot. It’s very well done, fast-paced, with strong, witty dialogue, and most importantly, doesn’t feel too padded like DC’s last couple of year-long series…which I’m sure cutting the number of issues in half helped with quite a bit.
Also…I liked Kingdom Come. Liked it well enough to get that Graphitti Designs slipcased edition with the Mark Waid and Alex Ross autographs and the extra sketchbook and all that other hoohar.
…But seeing Kingdom Come pop up in Justice League: Generation Lost made me groan just a little. I think I’ve reached my KC saturation point during that eighteen-year-long storyline in Justice Society. I mean, Generation Lost hasn’t disappointed so far, and I’m sure they’ll handle the KC stuff just fine, but…man, I can probably do without seeing any more references to KC for a while. Unless it’s KC and the Sunshine Band, because that’s the way (uh huh uh huh) I like it (uh huh uh huh).
And I also got Fables #98, which I’m still enjoying, and Legion of Super-Heroes #5, which, I’m sorry to say, the recent relaunch of which hasn’t helped sales any, at least for us.
Due to increased interest in Jonah Hex (thanks to the movie, which hopefully won’t kill all interest in the character once it’s released), Dwayne at Matching Dragoons has put together some links to posts on his site giving newcomers plenty of background on just who this fella with the funny-lookin’ face is.
By the way, did you know that pal Ian, one of the charter members of the Associated Comics and Pop Culture Webloggers of Ventura County, CA And Outlying Environs (which is, as always, ACAPCWOVCCAOE for short) is writing the new Darkwing Duck comic book from Boom! Studios, which debuted this week? Maybe if the boy wasn’t so shy and told us something about it on his Twitter feed….
But seriously, I’m totally picking this up because Ian’s a pal and…well, I said either here or on my own Twitter feed that I’ve not seen frame one of a Darkwing Duck cartoon, and my awareness of the character is primarily from seeing him on the covers of the previous comic book appearances. But I’ll give it a try anyway. And if I end up not liking it, I’ll make Ian pay me back.
QUOTES YOU WON’T SEE ON THE EVENTUAL TRADE PAPERBACK:
“…If I end up not liking it, I’ll make Ian pay me back.”
–Mike Sterling, funnybook salesman, blog dork
It does look good, based on my quick flip-through, so I imagine Ian’s pocketbook is safe. For now.
Unrepentant Smurfs fan that I am, I’m so totally looking forward to the Smurfs movie:
The Smurfs are a relatively uncommon woodland animal, found mostly in heavy underbrush in moderately temperate zones. A typical grouping looks similar to this:
Smurfs are small, and are often preyed upon by larger animals, but their sheer numbers often dissuade predators, causing them to look for easier kills.
The exception to this rule are Gargamels, solitary creatures often found in close proximity to Smurf nests:
Gargamels can often be found making their lairs in old, rundown buildings, and are usually accompanied by Azraels, feline creatures that live in symbiotic relationships with Gargarmels. These creatures are the only known natural enemies of Smurfs, as it appears they lack the cognitive abilities to recognize the numbers of the Smurfs as a threat to their well-being. They prefer Smurfs to all other foods, but their lack of hunting ability often results in Gargamels and any accompanying Azraels being weak and sickly.
Gargamels generally find themselves as prey for Bigmouths:
Like the Gargamels, Bigmouths are solitary creatures, as their voracious appetites and highly competitive behavior require large grazing areas away from any other Bigmouths that may impact the food supply.
Bigmouths have no natural predators, and usually only die from 1) old age, or 2) overeating. Dead Bigmouths do not go to waste, however; within hours of a Bigmouth’s demise, the body can be found swarming with Smurfs, gorging themselves on the decaying flesh.
Not all of the meat is devoured. The Smurf Queen, or “Smurfette” as she is known colloquially, will deposit her eggs into the remnants of the Bigmouth’s body.
Within 24-48 hours, the eggs hatch, and the wormlike Smurf larvae feed upon what’s left of the Bigmouth. The Smurf-blown corpse of the Bigmouth serves yet another purpose, as the remains also serve as fertilizer, feeding the unusually large mushrooms that are native to Smurf forests. The engorged Smurf larvae burrow into these mushrooms, hollowing them out as they grow, and continue to use the excavated mushrooms as nests upon reaching maturity:
The cycle of life is truly a smurfy thing. I trust you found this informative.
(special thanks to pal Sean and Employee Nathan for helping me smurf this out)