Sunday, December 08, 2013

Incoming Books: Week of December 7th

About a week ago, I blogged about two sales going on in the comics-on-the-Internet world: one from my "local" comic shop, Midtown Comics, and one from the excellent Canadian publisher Drawn & Quarterly. And, over the past few days, the books I bought from those sales arrived, allowing me to gleefully unwrap them and cackle over them. (I hope you were able to make purchases of your own and engage in your own unwrapping and cackling.)

The Search for Smilin' Ed is the most recent major Kim Deitch book, in his ever-proliferating Waldo universe of secret histories of obscure and oddball entertainment media of the early 20th century. I reviewed it with two other (very different) graphic novels two years ago, and I just had to re-buy it, since my first copy was lost in the flood. But I was happy to do so.

Rick Geary has a new book in his long-running series of graphic novels about historical murders, currently under the umbrella title "A Treasury of XXth Century Murder." This year's entry is Madison Square Tragedy, about the 1906 murder of noted new York architect Stanford White. I've reviewed many books in this series over the years, and expect this one will be as carefully-researched and thoughtfully executed as all of the rest.

I also had to re-buy Thor Visionaries: Walt Simonson, Vol. 3, since my first copy was lost in the flood. (I think my sons might like to read this one, one day.) And this is the book with Skurge's last stand at Gjallerbru, one of the finest moments in comics, and in heroic literature.

The program to reprint the whole run of Charles Schulz's strip Peanuts has continued at Fantagraphics -- two volumes a year, regular as clockwork -- with The Complete Peanuts 1989-1990.

And there was a new graphic novel from the Norwegian cartoonist Jason this year, called Lost Cat, which is some kind of Chandleresque hardboiled PI story.

I will re-collect the entire Love and Rockets saga, so I can do a big re-read -- it's now the major thing on my "future reading projects" shelf, now that Starktober is done -- and I got two books this week to bring me closer to that goal. First was the new book for this year, Love And Rockets: New Stories No. 6, by both of the Hernandez Brothers.

And the other one was Human Diastrophism, collecting the second major storyline from the original L&R series by Gilbert Hernandez. I've not got nearly twenty L&R books, and only need about three more -- I should be able to get this reading project in sometime in early 2014, before New Stories No.7 hits.

Ray Fawkes's One Soul is a book I've already read -- I reviewed it when I got it from the library about eighteen months ago -- but it's so good and so wonderful that I needed to own a copy for myself. I hope you decide to do so, too.

Drawn & Quarterly's program of Yoshihiro Tatsumi's books continues with his contemporary work, which only very slightly disappoints me -- A Drifting Life is deep and interesting and thoughtful, but Tatsumi's early-'70s stories as collected in The Push Man, Abandon the Old in Tokyo, and Good-Bye are raw-nerve powerful and searingly immediate, so I want to see if he has more work as unrelenting and striking as those from around the same time. So his new book this year was Fallen Words, originally published in 2009 in Japan.

Another book -- like One Soul -- that I bought because it's so major and so full of energy that I know I'll need to read it again is Anders Nilsen's Big Questions, a gigantic and major graphic novel that's as good as. I did a quick review of it when I read it two years ago.

And last was Vanessa Davis's Make Me a Woman, which I've been vaguely looking for since late 2010, when it was published. (When you already have a lot of unread books, and are interested in lots of things, most of the books you're looking for aren't all that urgent -- you can find the ones you happen to come across in person, or find cheaply, or whatever, letting chance decide what you read next.) I've liked her short strips in various anthologies and Year's Best books, so it will be fun to see a whole book of her work.

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