I've had two stacks of books bookending me for more than a week and a half now, the products of two mail-orders (one from my usual comics shop, Midtown, and one from one of the greatest distractions known to man, the remainder bookseller Edward Hamilton). I was going to do something about them last weekend, but I didn't -- and then I've had a particularly unpleasant virus for the last 5-6 days, which didn't help, either.
But I'm getting better, and it's a Saturday, and I like making lists of books, so here's the mostly-comics stack:
Stranger Than Life: Cartoons and Comics 1970-2013, the first-ever (as far as I can see) collection of comics by MK Brown, who's probably most famous for her work in the National Lampoon in the 1970s. Brown has a quirky sense of humor and a distinctive spiky style to go with it; she's one of those wonderful cartoonists who really is like no one else out there.
The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow by Howard Chaykin -- a little earlier this year I read through the 1980s Shadow series, which started with a Chaykin miniseries (though quickly headed off into weirder areas, in a uniquely nutty ongoing series written by Andrew Helfer and drawn by First Bill Sienkiewicz and then Kyle Baker). So I was intrigued to see that Chaykin came back to the character with this miniseries set in 1949. Chaykin's art is always stylish, and his writing is usually solid when he can avoid diving too far into his standard plot tropes.
Monsieur Jean: The Singles Theory is a recent album in the series by the popular French duo of Dupuy and Berberian; I read an earlier book in the series, Get a Life, a few years ago and liked. So what the heck?
Bill Griffith: Lost and Found: Comics 1969-2003 -- a big fat collection of Bill Griffith's early and non-Zippy the Pinhead work, from undergrounds and weekly alternative newspapers and odder places. I haven't always kept up with Zippy, since it tends to be the same thing no matter how often you dip into it, but Griffith is talented and interesting, and I keep thinking I should know more about the underground era.
Is Diss a System?: A Milt Gross Comic Reader collects most of five books by Milt Gross from the 1920s, from illustrated newspaper columns to straight-out comics, all in a fractured Yiddish dialect. Gross's pantomime graphic novel He Done Her Wrong is still very funny seventy years later, so I was willing to see if his written-with-words stuff has held up as well. (Though this may be a bit more dialect-y than I expected.)
The Love Bunglers collects a major, devastating story by Jaime Hernandez from two of the book-sized issues of the current run of Love & Rockets. Realistically, there was no reason to have this as a separate book, since I had the issues, but....
If You Steal is the new collection of stories by Jason, the master of deadpan, of genre materials, and of the bleakest of possible endings.
Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips, Vol. 3: Evidence To The Contrary is, just like it says, the third collection of Walt Kelly's great strip. See my review of the first book for more details, if you need to.
Speaking of classic comics, even older (and not quite as important, but maybe more "historical") is Happy Hooligan, a collection of Sundays by Frederick Burr Opper from the first decade of the last century.
Cork High And Bottle Deep is a collection of cartoons by Virgin (VIP) Partch all about booze, hangovers, bars, and similar furniture of mid-century cartooning.
The Tijuana Bibles, Vol. 9 has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, but it does collect some raunchily fascinating bits of old pop culture, proving that the Internet might do things quicker, but it didn't do anything new.
And last is You'll Never Know Book Three: Soldier's Heart by C. Tyler, finale of a memoir trilogy about the cartoonist in the modern day and her father in WWII. I read the first volume back in 2010, and still have the second one in electronic form; I'm hoping seeing this one in print will remind me to read #2.