author Douglas Wolk runs down the hottest comics and graphic novels coming out this week.
* "Troglodytes... cavemen"
^ One interpretation superimposed on another
% The germs of the transcendental terms
* ^ ACTION COMICS #2
Grant Morrison and Rags Morales are joined by Brent Anderson for five pages of this issue, as part of DC's ongoing "no, really, let's make this stuff come out on time" efforts. The first one seemed a bit lightweight on first reading, but I do appreciate its allusions to the imagery of the earliest Superman stories. And if by chance you missed Morrison and Frank Quitely's wonderful All Star Superman
, the whole thing is collected in a single paperback volume this week for $30.
* ^ % ANIMAL MAN #2
The unexpected hey-this-is-pretty-good! pick of the DC relaunches, by Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman. Nice nod to The Believer
in the first issue, too.
* ^ AVENGERS 1959 #1
Howard Chaykin may not be entirely thrilled about how he's the go-to guy for scowling men in suits and pork pie hats in the Eisenhower/Kennedy era, but he's got a knack for it. This five-issue miniseries is a spinoff from his recent sequences in New Avengers
% BEST AMERICAN COMICS 2011
Alison Bechdel is the guest editor, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden continue to be the series editors. Do people know how these work, by the way? Usually for projects like this, the series editors compile a short list, and the guest editor selects from that list, adds some additional choices, and writes an introduction. Anyway, I'm not entirely sure what's in this volume, but it includes work by Joe Sacco, Jeff Smith, Chris Ware, Dash Shaw, David Lasky, Mairead Case and Kevin Huizenga, as I understand.
* % CASANOVA: AVARITIA #2
I love that Matt Fraction and Gabriel Bá's space-time espionage conceptsplosion has switched from extra-short issues to extra-long ones, and has gotten even more concentrated along the way. I'm still processing (and re-reading) the first issue.
* % HARK! A VAGRANT
Kate Beaton doesn't need much of an introduction at this point, so I'll just note that her Edward Gorey and Nancy Drew strips--the ones where she reproduces an old book cover and then draws a comic strip based on it--are a form nobody else has done before, to my knowledge, and a very good idea.
^ NANCY VOL. 3
Drawn and Quarterly continues their "reprinting all of John Stanley's work" series. Can I just note how strange it is that Stanley spent as much time as he did working on an Ernie Bushmiller creation? They're superficially similar (comics about little kids!), but so totally different in practice.
^ MOON KNIGHT #6
I suspect the wide-open pacing of this Brian Michael Bendis/Alex Maleev series is getting a little out of hand--note that the first collection just got switched to encompassing seven issues instead of six--but it's got a frothing, glassy-eyed forward motion that's a lot of fun so far.
* ^ % SNARKED #1
Roger Langridge's ongoing, kid-friendly series about Lewis Carroll's characters kicks off for real, following that #0 issue a few months ago. Also this week: The Show Must Go On
, a book of Langridge's previously uncollected comics. He's a funny, funny artist.
^ SPIDER-ISLAND: HEROES FOR HIRE #1
Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Kyle Hotz toss another one-shot onto the crossover I've enjoyed most this year, largely because it's the first time I've seen a big multi-title event played as a sprawling action-comedy rather than an "and nothing will EVER BE THE SAME" story.