It's a week packed with collections, art books, red rings and blood colossi

Welcome to another edition of Can't Wait for Wednesday, our stroll through the new comic book releases for the week. Tomorrow brings quite a few high-end items to shops, as well as a fairly decent number of new and noteworthy comics.

If you're still doing your Christmas shopping and have a fellow fan on your list, you probably can't go wrong by choosing one of several collections arriving this week. You can choose from one of three Robert Crumb books, Craig Yoe's Art of Steve Ditko, a massive collection of Gahan Wilson's Playboy cartoons, a Charles Vess art book, a Batman archive, the definitive Rocketeer and a collection of Matt Fraction's previous Thor stories -- just in time for the announcement that he's writing the title. That collection includes Reign of Blood, which will always have a soft spot in my heart just because I really dig seeing our own Carla Hoffman explain the story of the Blood Colossus to various folks at conventions. We should really tape her performance and post it here for the whole world to see.

On the comic front, Image kicks off a new series called Forgetless, BOOM! shows us Mark Waid isn't as evil as we once thought with Incorruptible, DC continues the Blackest Night story with a couple of tie-in books, and X-Factor gets renumbered just in time to celebrate its 200th issue. And that's only a brief glimpse of the bounty waiting for you tomorrow.

To see what Kevin, Chris and I have to say about this week's stash, please read on ... and let us know in the comments what you'll be getting.

Chris Mautner's pick of the week: Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons

There are reprint projects and then there is this: A massive, three volume, hardcover, slipcased set that includes every single gag cartoon (and even some short stories) the puckishly macabre Wilson has done for the house that Hefner built since the late 50s. I've been perusing the thing over the past week and it's really a sumptuous package, exquisitely designed and full of great, great work from one of the finest (and sadly, often ignored) cartoonists of the modern era. If you've got a spare $125 lying around your house somewhere, you really need to check this out. (Fantagraphics)

JK Parkin's pick of the week: Incorruptible #1

I wasn't instantly sold on Mark Waid and Peter Krause's Irredeemable series. But by issue 3 or 4 I really started to appreciate the story, particularly the way Waid and Krause were picking apart not just the life of the Plutonian, but society's idea of what a hero is expected to be and to do. Although the concept -- Superman goes bad -- is fairly simple, the execution has been anything but.

So now comes a similar concept from Waid and artists Jean Diaz and Belardino Brabo -- Incorruptible, featuring a villain who went good after Irredeemable's Plutonian went bad. Waid told our own Tim O'Shea that the book will give him the opportunity to explore different themes from Irredeemable, as well as inject a little more humor into the story. I'm looking forward to it. (BOOM!)

Kevin Melrose's pick of the week: The Complete Rocketeer Collection, Vol. 1 hardcover

Dave Stevens' well-regarded homage to the pulp heroes of the 1930s and '40s finally receives a hardcover collection, recolored by Laura Martin (the choice of the late creator). Even if you've never read the comics, which debuted in 1982, you're likely familiar with the premise of The Rocketeer, thanks the 1991 Disney film: Daredevil pilot Cliff Secord discovers a prototype jet pack hidden by the enemy agents who stole it, dons the mysterious device, battles the Nazi spies and becomes a hero/adventurer. This hardcover collects the original The Rocketeer stories, plus The Rocketeer: Cliff's New York Adventures previously published by Comico and Dark Horse. (IDW Publishing)

Drawing Down the Moon: The Art of Charles Vess

Chris: While I'm not one for fantasy art in general, I do like Vess' work a great deal and am happy to see Dark Horse give him his due via this art book. (Dark Horse)

Green Lantern Corps #43

JK: So Guy Gardner has had both green and yellow rings in the past, and in this issue, it looks like he's getting a red one. Maybe it would have just been easier to buy a copy of Justice League #39 like everyone else, Guy ... (DC Comics)

Godland #30

Chris: I've drastically reduced my weekly comics purchases due to the poor economy (I do work at a newspaper, after all) but this is one series I continue to buy in pamphlet format pretty regularly, and I'll be sorry when it finally comes to a close. (Image)

Next Issue Project #2 (Silver Streak Comics #24)

JK: Erik Larsen spearheads another anthology of new Golden Age stories by folks like Paul Grist, Michael T. Gilbert and Alan Weiss, among others. The idea behind this book is kind of interesting -- pick a title that was canceled back in the Golden Age (and whose characters have fallen into public domain) and tell the tales of what would have happened if they'd just had one more issue. This time around they've chosen Silver Streak Comics #24, which featured characters like Silver Streak, Captain Battle, The Claw and the Golden Age Daredevil. CBR has an interview with Larsen about the book here. (Image)

Captain America: Reborn #5 (of 6)

JK: Ed Brubaker and Bryan Hitch continue to tell the tale of how Steve Rogers came back from the dead. (Marvel)

Nomad: Girl Without a World #4 (of 4)

Kevin: Sean McKeever and David Baldeon wrap up their unlikely miniseries starring Rikki Barnes, the Bucky from "Heroes Reborn." Hopefully, we'll see more of Nomad soon. (Marvel)

Thor: Ages of Thunder trade paperback

Kevin: With Matt Fraction now confirmed as the next permanent writer of Thor, this trade paperback may serve as a perfect primer for his run. It collects all four one-shots Fraction wrote in 2008: Ages of Thunder, Reign of Blood, Man of War and God-Sized. (Marvel)

X-Factor #200

JK: The team returns to New York and to their original numbering with this issue, as Madrox and co. take up the case of the disappearing Invisible Woman. Peter David talked about the anniversary issue here. (Marvel)

Angel #28

Kevin: Fables writer Bill Willingham kicks off his anticipated run on the series with this issue. You can see a preview here. (IDW Publishing)

Okko: The Cycle of Earth #3 (of 4)

Kevin: This continues the Archaia editions of Hub's sprawling, violent samurai fantasy (peppered with mecha and magic) set in a world resembling medieval Japan. I haven't been following this miniseries, but I enjoyed the previous volume. (Archaia)

The Art of Steve Ditko HC

Chris: Craig Yoe's imprint over at IDW -- the subtly titled Yoe! Books -- debuts with this large format coffee table book showcasing the work of one of the Silver Age masters, with essays by P. Craig Russell, John Romita and Jerry Robinson, and an all-new introduction by Stan Lee. Man, Ditko's been all the rage lately, hasn't he? (IDW)

Asterix and Obelix's Birthday

Chris: Holy cow, is Asterix really 50 years old? Man, that's astounding to me for some reason. Anyway, this new book celebrates the anniversary in style I would imagine, though they seem to be a bit hush-hush about the details. (Orion)

Book of Genesis by Robert Crumb LTD HCComplete Crumb Vol. 7Complete Crumb Vol. 12

Chris: Apparently it's Robert Crumb week at Diamond, though for some reason I didn't get the memo. Oh well, there's a new signed and limited edition version of his Genesis adaptation in case you've been holding out for that one, and new printings of Vols. 7 and 12 in Fantagraphics Complete Crumb series. That features some of his early and late 70s work, respectively. (Fantagraphics)

Children of the Sea Vol. 2Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys Vol. 6Ooku: The Inner Chambers Vol. 2

Chris: Viz unleashes not just one but three titles in their Signature line this week. Of the three, I'm probably the most interested in Boys, since that's my favorite manga these days. I have lots of love for Children, though, and am eager to see how the story progresses. As far as Ooku goes, I will say that while I wasn't crazy about the first volume, I might pick up the second down the line just to see if Fumi Yoshinaga can write herself out of the corner she seems to have put herself in. (Viz)

The Complete Little Orphan Annie Vol. 04

Chris: Covering 1932 and most of 1933, now with the Sundays in full color. Man, I still have to get volume one of this. (IDW)

The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion

Chris: Hey kids, do you like Prince Valiant? I mean really, really, really like Prince Valiant? Then you're going to go ga-ga for this book by Brian Kane, which seems to contain about as much trivia and history about Hal Foster's strip as you could possibly want and then some, including interviews with Foster and his successors, John Cullen Murphy and Gary Gianni and Mark Schultz. It's a nice book, though it makes me wish people would do similar books on my all-time favorites, like Popeye and Krazy Kat. Oh, and if that hardcover price seems a bit high, I believe a paperback version is coming down the pike as well. (Fantagraphics)

Love and Capes #12

JK: This was going to be the last issue of Thom Zahler's fun sitcom-via-superheroes romance book, at least in its current form, but he's mentioned on his site that he will have a 13th issue out on Free Comic Book Day. Which is good news. In more good news, this issue features the long-awaited wedding of Mark and Abby. (Maerkle Press)

To see the list of everything hitting comic shops this week, check out the Diamond Comics website.

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