Thursday, January 7, 2010


The following is a list of ten comics I'm looking forward to reading in the year ahead. I chose to list only those publications with an official release date. Keep in mind, too, that these dates may be subject to change.

1. New Books by Los. Bros. Hernandez: Gilbert's latest original graphic novel, The Troublemakers, is available now, and will be followed in April by The High, Soft Lisp, collecting stories featuring Fritz, one of my favorite of Gilbert's creations, from the second volume of Love and Rockets. Do note that a dozen new pages have been added specifically for this collection. As for Jaime, Penny Century: A Love and Rockets Book(also due in April) collects the wonderful wrestling comic book Whoa, Nellie!, as well as the Penny Century series, in the same handsome, square bound format as the recent re-releases of the first volume of Love and Rockets.

2.New Books in the John Stanley Library Series: New editions to this terrific series include the teen comedy Thirteen Going on Eighteen in January, and Melvin Monster: Volume 2 in March.

3. Black Blizzard: This historically significant work from Gekiga pioneer Yoshihiro Tatsumi is the kind of thing I would love to see more of. A crime story originally published in the late 1950s in Japan, a landmark work that created a whole new genre in Japanese comics. Read this in combination with A Drifting Life, Tatsumi's compelling autobiography that details his career in manga and gekiga, including the creation of this work. April.

4. Wilson: Obviously, this brand new graphic novel from Daniel Clowes is one of the major releases of the year. It's May release is also just the excuse I've been looking for to re-read Clowes' impressive back catalogue, as he is a cartoonist I don't think I've given the attention as a reader that he deserves.

5. Artichoke Tales: Another May release from Megan Kelso. I've been dying to read these stories since I read a review of the mini-comics in which they were originally serialized in The Comics Journal ages ago. Kelso's fantastic 2006 story collection, The Squirrel Mother, promised an Artichoke Tales book in 2007, but I hadn't heard a word about it since then. I was therefore delighted to see it finally show up in Fantagraphics' spring catalogue.


7. Walt and Skeezix Book 4: 1927-1928: Another one I was beginning to think may never happen. I think there were some legal difficulties with the syndicate, but I'm very happy to see this new volume collecting the marvelous comic strip by Frank King on track for a June release.

8. Ax Volume 1: A Collection of Alternative Manga: I think this was originally supposed to be out in 2009, but now has a July release date. Just what it says in the subtitle, a welcome addition to America's expanding view of the diversity of material Japanese comics have to offer.

9. Nancy is Happy: Complete Dailies 1942-1945: Probably THE major new effort in the Golden Age of Comic Strip Reprints (I think we can start capitalizing that now, no?), Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy is beloved by many, and in July the rest of us will get a chance to see what all the fuss is about. Oh, and don't forget Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden's How to Read Nancy, an expansion of their well-regarded essay of the same name into book form, also out in July.

10. Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil: I think this one has been delayed a couple of times, too, but it looks like September is when we can expect to see this collection of the classic Captain Marvel storyline from writer Otto Binder and artist C.C. Beck. Long considered one of the greatest superhero comics of all time, DC has been frustratingly stingy with reprints of the series' peak material. I'm hoping this book is only the first step in correcting that.


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