This week brings aliens, zombies, celebrities and lemons

This week seems to be a bit quieter than the last few. Don't get me wrong; there's still plenty of stuff out there to draw you into the comic shop, but looking at the Diamond list wasn't quite like drinking from the proverbial fire hose this time around.

On the first issue front, Wildstorm kicks off a new Sherlock Holmes mini called Victorian Undead, while Marvel has an Inhumans mini tying into their Realm of Kings event. Red 5 has Drone (which I think came out last week, didn't it? At least at my local shop), BOOM! has a Farscape ongoing and a mini called Nola, and IDW has a tie-in for the upcoming Legion movie ... which isn't about Saturn Girl, but about angels. There's also a Dr. Horrible one-shot from Dark Horse, a new creative team on Thunderbolts and, I believe, the last of the List books from Marvel ... this one featuring Spider-Man. Oh, and country star Trace Adkins gets his own comic. Hey, if it worked for Tori Amos and Gerard Way, why not?

Looking at the stuff with a spine, Dark Horse brings Alien Legion back into print, DC's Battle for the Cowl and Marvel's Destroyer get collected, and AdHouse releases what's already being named one of the year's best books.

And there's much, much more ... click on the link below to see what Chris, Kevin and I have to say about this week's releases.


Chris Mautner's pick of the week: The 'Nam TPB Vol. 1

Well here's another potential "Collect This Now" column I can scratch off my "to do" list. Back in the 1980s, when Marvel was drunk with money, they took the chance of publishing this rather realistic and occasionally gritty comic about the Vietnam War. Written by Doug Murray with art by Michael Golden, this series managed to rather accurately portray the war from the foot soldier's point of view surprisingly well, especially since it avoided any explicit violence or language. Until Marvel ruined everything after about the 12th issue, that is. It looks like this trade collects the "magazine" edition, which were just black and white reprints of the original run. I'd prefer to see a "colorized" version that matches my original impressions of the book, but I suppose I'll have to just be happy this is coming out. (Marvel)

Kevin Melrose's pick of the week: Rip Kirby, Vol 1 hardcover

IDW Publishing expands its impressive comic-strip archive with this series devoted to Alex Raymond's famous investigator -- "the first modern detective" -- Remington "Rip" Kirby. Best known for creating Flash Gordon in 1934, Raymond followed the now-legendary space adventure with Jungle Jim (with Don Moore) and Secret Agent X-9 (with Dashiell Hammett). But in 1944, Raymond joined the Marines and served in the Pacific Ocean theater. When he returned two years later, he set to work not on his established strips but on the adventures of a bespectacled, pipe-smoking Marine turned private detective.

Raymond (with co-writer Ward Greene, the King Features editor who suggested the strip) broke with the hardboiled tradition, creating a cultured, sophisticated detective who would rather sip brandy than brandish a weapon. His sidekick wasn't the typical hired muscle, either; just the opposite, actually. And the string of female clients/love interests? Forget about them. Rip Kirby was a one-woman man; granted Honey Dorian was a fashion model. (So perhaps you can see why "the first modern detective" appears on the cover of the collection.) Raymond worked on the strip, which in 1949 received a Reuben Award from the National Cartoonists Society, until his death in a car accident in 1956.

This 320-page hardcover, which collects the strips from 1946 to 1948, includes an essay by cartoonist and cartooning scholar Brian Walker, and an introduction by Raymond biographer Tom Roberts. (IDW Publishing)

JK Parkin's pick of the week: Driven By Lemons

Joshua Cotter's amazing Skyscrapers of the Midwest comic was collected by AdHouse last year and ended up on many "best of" lists for 2008. Although it was first self-published by Cotter a few year back, I didn't read it and fall in love with it until getting the hardcover last year.

And now AdHouse brings us Cotter's next work, Driven By Lemons, which is also popping up on "best of" lists for 2009. And according to our own Sean T. Collins, was the "book of the show" at SPX this year, while Chris called it "stunning" and "powerful stuff."

So what is it, exactly? Well, it's a replica of a sketchbook Joshua did of "recent multimedia explorations in intuitive narrative." I have no idea what that means, to be honest, but after reading the rave reviews and seeing the short preview on the AdHouse site, I'm really looking forward to learning. Hell, he had me at the Lefty Lemon reference in the preview. (AdHouse Books)

Alien Legion Omnibus Volume 1

JK: Dark Horse brings the classic Epic series back into print. Absolutely loved this when it first came out, especially those first dozen or so issues. USA Today has preview pages. (Dark Horse)

MAD Magazine #502

JK: This is the annual "20 Dumbest People, Events and Things of the Year" issue; if you're curious to see who tops the list, Comics Alliance has the spoiler. (DC Comics)

Victorian Undead #1

JK: Ian Edgington and Davide Fabbri pit Sherlock Holmes against a zombie plague. Although I'm sure many will dismiss this as being a bit behind the zombie curve, I like to think they're getting a jump on the Sherlock Holmes hoopla the new film starring Robert Downey Jr. might usher in. (DC/Wildstorm)

Vigilante #12

Kevin: Bring out your dead! (DC Comics)

The Black Knight #1

Kevin: This collects the origin of Black Knight/Dane Whitman -- a character seen most prominently in the canceled Captain Britain and MI13 -- that previously had been serialized online at the Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited hub. (Marvel)

Kookaburra K #1

Kevin: Easily the title on this week's shipping list that's the most fun to say, this space opera by Crisse Hicks and Humberto Ramos is part of Marvel's deal with French publisher Soleil, which released the first volume ("Big Bang Baby") in 2006. (Marvel)

Powers Encyclopedia, Vol. 1

Kevin: I drifted away from the Brian Michael Bendis/Michael Avon Oeming superhero-crime series quite some time ago, but I'm intrigued by what's being billed as "the definitive Powers handbook." Granted, I've always been a sucker for guides like Who's Who in the DC Universe and the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Still, this 64-page encyclopedia seems like a smart way to reintroduce lapsed readers to the Powers universe. (Marvel)

Thunderbolts #138

JK: Jeff Parker picks up where Andy Diggle left off, as he tells the story of Norman Osborn's team of 'bolts, as well as the originals, who are none too happy with the current team. (Marvel)

24 Omnibus, Vol. 1

Kevin: On the heels of its CSI Omnibus, IDW Publishing releases a hefty collection of its comics based on the mayhem-and-torture television drama 24. (IDW Publishing)

Jesus Hates Zombies featuring Lincoln Hates Werewolves

Chris: James Buchanan and Pontius Pilate, meanwhile, hate gimmicky comic book titles. But who cares what they think? (Alterna Comics)

Luke McBain #1

JK: I know what you're thinking ... it's another celebrity-inspired comic. On the plus side, however, it's written by David Tischman with art by Kody Chamberlain, so it could end up rising above its pedigree. (12 Gauge Comics)

Miss Don't Touch Me

Chris: Offered again for your reading pleasure, Hubert & Kerascoet's tale of sex and murder set in a high-class bordello with an S&M-inclined prude as the heroine who must solve her sister's slaying. I gotta review of the thing here. (NBM)

Oishinbo Vol 06 Joy Of Rice

Chris: I haven't been following this cooking manga series at all yet but I understand it's pretty good and I look forward to eventually checking it out. This latest volume collects assorted stories about that essential staple, rice. (VIZ)

Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Vol. 6

Chris: The next volume of Naoki Urasawa's Astro Boy riff arrives. I think it's pretty close to nearing the end at this point, with one, maybe two, more volumes to go. I heavily expect this to be a front-runner in the "best manga of 09" contest. (VIZ)

RASL starter pack #1-5 with tattoos

Chris: Fallen behind on Jeff Smith's new noir/sci-fi series? Here's your chance to get caught up and get some (I'm assuming) washable tattoos to boot. Man, wouldn't it be great if a real tattoo was included with the comics? Like, there was a greasy biker guy waiting by the cash register to put a little Phone Bone on your shoulder? Well, I think it would be kind of cool anyway. (Cartoon Books)

The Talisman: The Road of Trials #1

Kevin: Del Rey adapts the bestselling 1984 fantasy-horror novel by Stephen King and Peter Straub. I've read just one King book (The Stand), and no Straub novels, so I don't know much about The Talisman, which I guess somehow ties into King's Dark Tower epic. Which I also haven't read, obviously. (Del Rey)

Tezuka's Black Jack TPB Vol 08

Chris: Oh what medical wonders will the mighty surgeon Black Jack perform this time? More great scenes of high melodrama, slapstick comedy and detailed shots of people's innards from the mighty Tezuka no doubt. (Vertical)

Treasury 20th Century Murder softcover Vol 02: Famous Players

Chris: Here's the paperback edition of Rick Geary's latest tale of murder most foul, this time taking place in the silent era of Hollywood. It's a pretty solid entry in the series, though, honestly, not quite as stellar as The Bloody Benders or the recent Lindbergh book. I interviewed Geary about the book and other stuff here. (NBM)

Wasteland, Vol. 5: Tales of the Uninvited

Kevin: Antony Johnston and Christopher Mitten's post-apocalyptic Western epic gets a fifth trade paperback. That's an impressive achievement, particularly considering that it's a monthly sci-fi series released by a smaller publisher. This collection features guest art by Carla Speed McNeil, chuck BB and Joe Infurnari. (Oni Press)

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

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