Goodbye Wednesday Comics, hello Spider Woman and Underground

This is a huge week for comics, in terms of quantity -- Marvel alone ships more than 50 books this week, if you include comics, hardcovers, trades, variants and second printings.

And it also looks like a good week in terms of quality as well. Several new series launch this week, not the least of which is Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's Superman: Secret Origin, which redefines DC's franchise player. Marvel's long-delayed Spider Woman series launches as well, the "no iTunes required" version, while Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber's Underground #1 hits shops as well. DC continues their relaunch of the Archie Heroes titles with The Web #1, while BOOM! rolls out another Muppets mini-series, Muppets Peter Pan.

But as new series begin, others come to an end; Madman Atomic Comics wraps up its run, Mark Millar and Steve McNiven wrap up their "Old Man Logan" story with a giant sized special, and the last Wednesday Comics hits shops. Hopefully that means we'll have news about a collection soon.

To see what Chris, Kevin and I are looking forward to this week, just click below ...

Chris Mautner's pick of the week: Dungeon The Early Years Vol. 2

I'm always very wary of the fantasy genre, be it prose or comics, since it tends to devolve into a lot of dull exposition that no one except the author and his truly devout fans care about. Not so with Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim's excellent Dungeon series though. What started as a witty parody of classic fantasy tropes has become a richly embroidered story that hasn't managed to lose an ounce of its humor and strong characterizations yet. This new book goes back in time to follow the adventures of the Dungeon's founder and owner, when he was a starry-eyed lad. Art is by Christophe Blain which means it's going to look fabulous as well. (NBM)

JK's pick of the week: Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horrors #15

I had a tough time choosing my pick of the week this time around, as there were at least three other books that were contenders. But it was hard to come up with a reason not to make this my pick of the week.

Edited by Kramers Ergot's Sammy Harkham, this features Halloween-themed Simpsons comics by Jeffrey Brown, Kevin Huizenga, Matthew Thurber, Jordan Crane, C.F., Will Sweeney, Tim Hensley, John Kerschbaum, Ted May, Ben Jones, Jon Vermilyea and Harkham himself. And like all good Treehouse of Horrors stories, they'll feature odes to and inspiration from horror classics, such as Lovecraft, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, C.H.U.D. and even Bad Ronald. I can't wait. (Bongo)

Kevin Melrose's pick of the week: Salt Water Taffy, Vol. 3: The Truth About Dr. True

In this third volume of Matthew Loux's all-ages adventure series, brothers Jack and Benny end up releasing the ghost of Union Army medic and elixir salesman Dr. Gershom True, who decides to haunt Chowder Bay because of the town's admiration for Civil War hero Captain Hollister. If the promise of ghosts and a kid-friendly yarn aren't enough to sell you on this book, check out Tim O'Shea and Shaun Manning's interviews with Loux, and read the 25-page preview at Comic Book Resources. (Oni Press)

The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 2: Dallas (deluxe limited-edition hardcover)

Kevin: Priced at $80, this collection of the second Umbrella Academy probably will only appeal to the most devoted fans of pop star-turned-comics writer Gerard Way. I love the work of artist Gabriel Ba, and I enjoyed Dallas -- it's far less manic than the first miniseries -- but I'm not sure I could convince myself to shell out that kind of cash for the oversized hardcover, even with the expanded sketchbook. I think I'll wait until the trade paperback comes out next month. (Dark Horse)

DC Comics Classics Library: Batman -- A Death in the Family

Chris: Forty bucks gets you the Joker beating the second Robin that no one cared about to death with a crowbar.

Kevin: I read the original four-issue arc when it was released in 1988-1989 -- lord, I'm old -- and, well, it wasn't very good. (The death of the incredibly unpopular Jason Todd, 1-900 call-in voting, blah, blah.) Those Mike Mignola covers were nice, though. This 272-page hardcover collects "A Death in the Family" from Batman #426-429, plus Batman #440-442 and The New Titans #60-61 (the "A Lonely Place of Dying" crossover). (DC Comics)

The Flash Chronicles, Vol. 1

Kevin: Ah, excellent. Early -- as in the first -- Barry Allen-Flash stories from the 1950s, featuring the work of Robert Kanigher, John Broome, Carmine Infantino, Joe Kubert, Frank Giacoia and Joe Giella. (DC Comics)

Justice League of America #37

Kevin: And so ends the Len Wein-Tom Derenick arc, making way for the stint of James Robinson and Mark Bagley -- which, perhaps depending on your opinion of the Cry for Justice miniseries is either the best thing to happen to the title in years or the worst thing since, oh, the Detroit Era League. (DC Comics)

Wednesday Comics #12 (OF 12)

Chris: And so the great experiment comes to a close. In the end, I'd have to say I was a bit disappointed in how inconsequential and uneventful many of the stories were (that Catwoman/Demon piece never really went anywhere, did it?) Still, there was enough good stuff and genuine surprises (if 12 weeks ago you had said the Flash segment would be my favorite piece, I would have laughed at you) for me to be glad DC took a chance on something this ambitious. (DC Comics)

Superman: Secret Origin #1

JK: Following in the footsteps of everyone from Siegel and Shuster to John Byrne and Mark Waid, Geoff Johns and Gary Franks redefine the origin of Superman in this mini-series. (DC Comics)

Madman Atomic Comics #17

JK: Sadly, this wraps up the current Madman series, but keep your chin up -- we've been promised there will be more Madman in the future. (Image)

Underground #1

JK: This was one of the other books I considered as my pick of the week, as Agents of Atlas writer Jeff Parker teams with Whiteout artist Steve Lieber for a five-issue mini-series about a park ranger trying to save a delicate crystal formation in a nearby cave. You can read the first issue for free over at the comic's official website, and hear more from the creative team on the book in this interview with Tim O'Shea. (Image)

Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon & John Cassaday Omnibus hardcover

Kevin: It's another somewhat-pricey hardcover, but it's awfully tempting. This one, as the title makes quite obvious, collects the entire award-winning run by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men #1-24 and Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1), plus 40 pages of extras, including character designs and script pages. It's $75, but still ... (Marvel)

Fantastic Four #571

JK: I thought Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham's first issue of their FF run started a little rough, but I loved the ending. This should be a fun Reed-centric arc. (Marvel)

Golden Age Marvel Comics Omnibus hardcover Vol. 1

Chris: 832 pages of pre-1960s material for a whopping $125. Still, for the curious collector, this is a great place to delve into the worlds folks like Bill Everett and Carl Burgos created. This is somebody's Christmas present for sure. (Marvel)

Immortal Weapons #3 (of 5)

Kevin: The main story in this issue, by Rick Spears and Timothy Green II, centers on Dog Brother #1. (Marvel)

Marvel Zombies Return #4

Kevin: Seth Grahame-Smith, co-author of the bestselling Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, joins artist Richard Elson for this issue that features The Hulk fighting zombie-Inhumans (I guess?) on the moon. (Marvel)

Pet Avengers Classics trade paperback

Kevin: I'll concede that Marvel may be pushing the limits of the themed collections with this one. However, it's tough to resist a bunch of stories by such creators Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Gil Kane, Louise Simonson, June Brigman and Paul Smith featuring animal sidekicks. (Marvel)

Spider-Woman #1

Kevin: I don't know whether readers are half as enthralled with Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman as writer Brian Michael Bendis is, but I guess this new series will be the test. Alex Maleev provides the art. (Marvel)

Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1

JK: Mark Millar and Steve McNiven wrap up their What if?-style future take on the Marvel Universe in a giant-sized special, as Wolverine does what he does best to those ornery Hulk Gang bastards. (Marvel)

Detroit Metal City, Vol. 2

Chris: More tongue-in-cheek heavy metal madness, from the land of the rising sun. (Viz)

Labor Days Vol. 2

JK: Philip Gelatt and Rick Lacy bring Bags and the gang back for another round of adventure and shenanigans, as they go globetrotting to find the Face of History. (Oni Press)

Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood

Chris: This is a hardcover children's (or rather, young adult) graphic novel about the famed outlaw. It's a bit revisionist and the characters all talk in a modernist flair that takes a bit getting used to, but if you're a Robin Hood junkie, you should at least give it a flip-through. (Candlewick)

Sulk (Vol 3): The Kind of Strength That Comes From Madness

Chris: The latest volume in Jeffrey Brown's ongoing, multi-purpose anthology series. I really like these little chapbooks and think Brown's doing some of his best and liveliest work in these pages. (Top Shelf)

Black Jack, Vol. 7

Chris: More Black Jack is always a good thing, I have a thing for two-fisted, scarred surgeons with a five-year-old sidekick that's actually the amniotic twin encased in the shell of a plastic robot. That's good stuff, that is. (Vertical)

Now take a look at Diamond's complete shipping list and let us know what you're getting this week.

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