TCJ 300: Coming Comics for October 2009 – November 2009

Posted by on December 31st, 2009 at 3:21 AM

 


Image from The Book of Genesis Illustrated, ©2009 R. Crumb.


Alternative

Headlining October’s new releases is a five-year labor of love from one of America’s most celebrated cartoonists: The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb. Portraying God as “an old, cranky Jewish patriarch,” Crumb assures us that it will be “full of all kinds of crazy, weird things that will really surprise people” (W.W. Norton, 224 pp., $24.95 or $500 for the limited, slipcased-and-signed edition). The man responsible for last year’s Isotope Award-winning Skyscrapers of the Midwest, Joshua Cotter, presents his latest book in October. Driven By Lemons is a sketchbook facsimile of Cotter’s explorations and experiments with narrative. Often wordless, sometimes pictureless, it takes the cartoonist to new territory on the borders between art, prose and comics (AdHouse, 104 pp., $19.95). Following Gilbert Hernandez’s contribution last year, alternative cartoonists return to Springfield in The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror #15. Edited by Kramers Ergot‘s Sammy Harkham, it features creators such as Jordan Crane, John Kershbaum, Kevin Huizenga and Jeffrey Brown who bring their uniquely twisted visions to TV’s most enduring cartoon family (Bongo Comics, 48 pp., $4.99). To coincide with the 25th anniversary of the character, Dark Horse gives us the first-ever original Usagi Yojimbo graphic novel, Yokai, in November. Written and illustrated in watercolor by Stan Sakai, it explores the dark mythology of Japan’s demons, ghosts and monsters as encountered by the eponymous samurai rabbit (64 pp., $14.95).

 

Classic Comics

Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly present their latest anthology for young readers in October, The Toon Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics. Featuring cartooning legends such as Carl Barks, Jules Feiffer, Jack Cole and Basil Wolverton, it collects over 60 stories from the Golden Age of comics in a stately hardcover package, with introductory essays and biographies by the editors (Abrams ComicArts, 352 pp., $40.00). Another of Spiegelman’s favorites, Milt Gross, gets the retrospective treatment in November from IDW. The Complete Milt Gross Comic Book Stories reprints his entire comic-book oeuvre from the 1940s, including some rare and hitherto-unknown material, along with photos, sketches and unpublished art (320 pp., $29.99). Just in time for Halloween comes Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons, a lavish 3-volume, slipcased hardcover set collecting half a century’s work by “the master of the macabre.” In addition to Wilson’s drawings and prose (detailing his trips to Madame Tussaud’s and, of course, Transylvania) it includes essays from Hugh Hefner and Neil Gaiman and a career-spanning interview with Wilson himself (Fantagraphics, 1056 pp., $125 or $175 for the signed, limited edition). Continuing Drawn & Quarterly’s reprints of classic John Stanley comics is Thirteen Going on Eighteen. Focusing on the social drama of two high-school girls, Val and Judy, it comes across as part-sitcom, part-social commentary showing why Stanley was considered so ahead of his time (336 pp., $34.95). Starting a new run of fancy-pants reprints in October is Berkeley Breathed’s Bloom County Complete Library Volume 1. One of the most popular newspaper strips of the 1980s — its iconic run spanned the entire decade — that filtered contemporary political events through the perspective of a small town, replete with talking animals and precocious children (IDW, 288 pp., $39.99).

 

Foreign

Manga-ka Inio Asano presents the first two books of his new series in October: What a Wonderful World! Vol. 1 and 2. Each is a collection of self-contained, yet inter-related vignettes that explore and ruminate on the capriciousness of modern life (Viz Media, 210 pp., $12.99 each). Rin-Ne Vol. 1 begins the tale of Sakura Mamiya, a young girl who disappears into the woods and re-emerges to discover a newfound ability to see spirits. She considers it a curse until meeting a classmate who shares her gift and together they begin to unravel the secrets of death and reincarnation. Written and illustrated by manga powerhouse, Rumiko Takahashi, this collects the first chapter of the saga, which made its debut online earlier this year (Viz Media, $9.99).

 

Mainstream

Roger Langridge plays the music and lights the lights for Boom! Studios in October in The Muppet Show Comic Book: Meet the Muppets, the collected edition of his critically and commercially successful miniseries. As writer and artist, Langridge takes Jim Henson’s anarchic puppets back to their roots as a stage show with sketches, gags and backstage antics (112 pp., $9.99 paperback, $24.99 hardcover). Amid the continuity upsets of the modern rebirth of Captain America, Howard Chaykin returns to Marvel to write and illustrate a stand-alone tale about the Captain America of the 1950s. Captain America: America First sees Chaykin examining the jingoistic attitudes of the U.S.A. during the Cold War, albeit from the perspective of the Marvel Universe (128 pp., $24.99) Noir by name, noir by nature, Dark Horse’s latest crime anthology is released this month. It pairs the writing talents of genre favorites such as Brian Azzarello, Ed Brubaker and David Lapham with artists like Dean Motter, Stefano Gaudiano, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá to render the tales in grim ‘n’ gritty black and white (104 pp., $12.95). Now in its fourth year, The Best American Comics 2009 surfaces again in October, edited by Charles Burns, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden. Featuring material from graphic novels, periodicals, mini- and webcomics by such creators as R. Crumb, Kaz and Chris Ware, it is also likely to showcase some rising talents (Houghton Mifflin, 352 pp., $22.00).

 

About Comics

In Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip, author Nevin Martell attempts to unravel the enigma of the reclusive cartoonist. With interviews from Watterson’s contemporaries — including Harvey Pekar, Brad Bird and Jonathan Lethem — friends and colleagues, it provides a Citizen Kane-like exploration of the life and work of one of America’s favorite creators (Continuum, 256 pp., $24.95). The work of another reclusive cartoonist is given the spotlight in the Craig Yoe-edited The Art of Steve Ditko. Moving away from the image of Ditko as a Rand-obsessed hermit, Yoe celebrates the genius of the artist by presenting beautiful reproductions of his rare comic-book work and original art (IDW, 208 pp., $29.99). Essayist and screenwriter Ben Schwartz presents his selection of The Best American Comics Criticism of the 21st Century in October. From R.C. Harvey, Gary Groth and Jonathan Franzen’s reflections on cartooning legends to Peter Bagge’s examination of why Spider-Man just plain sucks, it charts the crescendo of the modern comic renaissance and speculates where the medium is headed (Fantagraphics, 280pp., $19.99). Currently riding a wave of hype from the upcoming movie, ligne-claire master Hergé: The Man Who Created Tintin gets a new biography in October. Authors Pierre Assouline and Charles Ruas delve beneath the public face of “Hergé” to uncover the real Georges Remi and the fascinating ways in which his life and art intertwined (Oxford University Press, 288 pp., $24.95). The first official biography of the creator of Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion arrives this month in the form of The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga. Written by the curator of the Tezuka film festival, Helen McCarthy, it pays tribute to the boundless creativity of Tezuka with many rare and unpublished images from the legendary creator’s mutlimedia work. It also includes an acompanying DVD documentary and an introduction by Akira creator, Katsuhiro Otomo (Abrams ComicArts, 272 pp., $40). With a career that spanned 72 years — or 13 American presidents and two Pulitzer prizes — editorial cartoonist Herbert Block receives a reverent appraisal from author Harry Katz in Herblock: The Life and Works of the Great Political Cartoonist. In addition to Katz’s insightful criticism and the book’s more than 250 illustrations, the volume also includes a DVD with more than 18,000 more illustrations offering the most comprehensive selection of Block’s work to date (W. W. Norton, 320 pp., $35).

 

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