So, how many readers in North America forgot that New Comics Day is Thursday this week -- pesky holiday -- and trekked to the comics shop during lunchtime? No?
While we're talking about New Comics Day, and before we get to the new comics, I want to point to Marc Mason's War on Wednesday. He argues that the direct market shouldn't be tied to, and reliant on, one day for customers to descend like crows on specialty stores for new products.
Mason poses a scenario in which comics are released throughout the week -- say, Marvel on Mondays, DC on Thursdays, etc. -- which I imagine would create all kinds of logistical problems on the distribution end (and probably beyond).
Plus, y'know, we'd have to rename this feature ... which brings us back to what Chris Mautner, JK Parkin and I think are worth checking out this week -- whatever day you decide to visit the comics store.
As always, be sure to let us know your picks in the comments below.
Chris Mautner's pick of the week: John Stanley Library: Melvin Monster, Vol. 1 hardcover
We're big John Stanley fans in my house, to the point where dinner conversation frequently revolves around reciting dialogue from our favorite Little Lulu stories (the word "yow" seems to come up a lot), so it stands to reason that we'd be looking forward to this collection of late-period Stanleyy comics, all about a little boy monster who only wants to do good, much to the consternation of his parents.
Hilarity, as they say, abounds.
Kevin Melrose's pick fo the week: Cursed Pirate Girl #1 (of 3)
Jeremy Bastian's beautifully illustrated fantasy received raves when previews began making the rounds more than a year ago. Unfortunately, internal problems with publisher Archaia left the miniseries in limbo until this week, when it finally -- finally! -- debuts from Olympian Publishing. The all-ages tale centers on an orphan -- the girl of the title -- who searches for her father, a pirate captain, on the Omerta Seas. Hellboy creator Mike Mignola calls Bastian "a genius," and Mouse Guard creator David Peterson describes his work as "the stuff that makes other artists jealous." Who am I to argue?
You can see preview pages from the Archaia edition here. Note, however, that the Olympian version is in black and white (but no less lovely).
JK Parkin's pick of the week: Power Up
If you've never read a graphic novel by Doug TenNapel, then you've been missing out. Over the past few years I've become a big fan of his, ever since picking up an odd book called Creature Tech that turned out to be absolutely incredible. His subsequent releases sometimes hit that mark, went beyond it or, well, fell a little short, but there's not one I regret reading or buying -- and I really like the fact that the subject matter of each one is so vastly different than the previous ones. This one centers on a video-game console that gives "power ups" that can be used in life.
JK: I kinda dug the preview of this when it ran on Dark Horse Comics Presents a few months back, particularly the art. It's about a world where all the heroes and villains disappeared, and humanity is left to pick up the pieces.
Usagi Yojimbo #120
JK: There's no big event or plot point in this issue that makes it stand out to me, other than the fact that it's an issue of Usagi Yojimbo, one of the most consistently entertaining books on the shelves today. Taking that into account, every issue is an event of sorts, as it's always a pleasure to read.
Batman in Barcelona: Dragon's Knight
Kevin: This 48-page one-shot is written by Mark Waid and illustrated by the wonderful Diego Olmos, whose H2Octopus has become an object of my obsession. Really, I just wanted an excuse to mention H2Octopus again.
Bayou, Vol. 1
Kevin: Jeremy Love's award-winning Zuda Comics series makes the leap to print in this first collection from DC's online initiative. If you haven't already read Bayou online, it's a wonderful, and occasionally disturbing, exploration of racism and violence in 1930s Mississippi that seamlessly weaves in elements of mythology and folk belief. Some might label it as "magic realism." I'll just call it very, very good.
DC Comics Classics Library: Roots of the Swamp Thing hardcover
Kevin: I'm nowhere near the Swamp Thing devotee that, say, Mike Sterling is, but this 320-page collection of early-'70s stories by Len Wein, Bernie Wrightson and Nestor Redondo is still awfully temting.
Chris: I really did not care one iota for this graphic novel by Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece, about an African-American who "passes" for white and tries to report on lynchings and other atrocities for a Northern black newspaper. But the book certainly had its fans, so I feel I should point out it's now available in softcover. My good deed for the day.
The Last Days of Animal Man #1 (of 6)
Chris: For me, Animal Man really begins and ends with Grant Morrison's run (alright, with a nudge in the direction of Peter Milligan), but I'm curious enough about this Gerry Conway, Chris Batista and Dave Meikis miniseries that I'll probably give it at least a flip-through in the store.
Robin: The Teen Wonder trade paperback
Kevin: Huh. With a title like Robin: The Teen Wonder, I expected a collection of stories from the '70s, when Dick Grayson went off to a generic university for education and solo adventures. Instead, we get a mix of more modern stories spotlighting four Robins -- including the conclusion of "A Death in the Family" -- plus a slightly terrifying Alex Ross cover recycled from Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #100.
Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool trade paperback
JK: This collects the first four issues of the Static series that Milestone produced, as well as the miniseries that DC published a few years later when the Static Shock cartoon was on the air. While all of the issues in this book are worth reading, it's those first four that really packed in a lot of fun.
JK: Worlds will live, worlds will die, and Tom Bondurant will have a lot more free time every Thursday. (Sorry, Tom!) But seriously, DC wraps up its third weekly comic series in a row, and it's impressive that it had the same creators on each issue, and they never got off track. Tom will no doubt have a lot more to say about it, but I'm glad I've followed this one through to the end. It's been a fun, wild ride that I enjoyed reading every week.
Chris: Adam Archer continues the search for his sister as the homage to late-period Kirby begins its final lap towards the finish line.
Special Forces, Vol. 1 trade paperback
Chris: I wasn't sure if this Kyle Baker series -- which, IMHO, is the best Frank Miller parody evar -- was ending with Issue 4, but since this trade is labeled Vol.1, I'll assume there's more to come. Bully for me!
This Is a Souvenir: Songs of Spearmint & Shirley Lee
JK: The band Spearmint may not be as big here in the United States as Tori Amos or even Belle & Sebastian, the two previous subjects of Image's music-inspired anthologies, but the list of creators involved is enough to catch my eye: Jamie S. Rich, Salgood Sam, Jamie McKelvie, Kieron Gillen, Scott Mills and many more, including former CBR columnist Rich Johnston.
Dark Reign: The Hood #1 (of 5)
Kevin: Jeff Parker and Kyle Hotz kick off their miniseries spotlighting The Hood, a once-minor Marvel villain who developed into a major player, thanks largely to Brian Michael Bendis' work on New Avengers.
Runaways 3 #10
Kevin: New series artist Sara Pichelli debuts, with Emma Rios, in this standalone story spotlighting Molly Hayes. Next issue, Pichelli is joined by new writer Kathryn Immonen.
Spider-Man: The Short Halloween
JK: They had me at Kevin Maguire.
Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #6 (of 6)
Kevin: Here it is! The pulse-pounding conclusion of the six-issue miniseries that began ... almost three-and-a-half years ago!
Chicken With Plums softcover
Chris: This is the paperback edition of Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel about her musician uncle who lost the will to live after his prized instrument was broken. It's quite good. I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you enjoyed Persepolis.
Chris: When not talking about Stan Drake, Dave Sim takes on superheroines and Steve Ditko. That sounds like fun, doesn't it?
God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka softcover
Chris: I know nothing about author Natsu Onoda Power, but it's about Tezuka and it's from the University of Mississippi Press, which has a pretty good track record as far as academic books about comics go, so put me down as tentatively interested.
Hero Squared: Love 7 Death #3 (of 3)
JK: And with this issue, one of BOOM!'s first titles wraps up for good, I understand. My best to Captain Valor, Milo, Stephie and the rest -- Godspeed.
Muppet Robin Hood #1 (of 4)
Chris: No offense meant to Tim Beedle and Armand Villavert Jr., but I doubt they can match the exquisite nuttiness that Roger Landridge was able to capture in the other Muppet comic series. Still, this all-ages version of the emerald archer and his merry men should still hold plenty of charm.
Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 #6 (of 6)
Kevin: David Petersen wraps up his second volume of his engaging series, which was delayed because of growing pains at publisher Archaia.
Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys, Vol. 2
Kevin: If it weren't for anticipating the release of Cursed Pirate Girl for so long, this would be my pick of the week. Urasawa is nothing short of amazing, and the first volume of this sci-fi mystery was just mind-blowing good: engaging characters, the foundations of a gripping mystery, fantastic art. I could go on and on and still not be able to adequately express how incredible Urasawa is.
The full list of items arriving in stores this week can be found here.