Saturday, February 06, 2016

Incoming Books: February 5

So I ordered a big box of books a week or so ago, and promptly forgot about it. (My usual comic shop had a big, nearly-all-GNs-40%-off, sale, and I usually wait for those to get the stuff I wanted to buy anyway.) That box arrived yesterday, to my surprise and delight.

And here's what was in that box, a diverse collection of comics that I've either already read once or desperately wanted to own and read. (Well, more or less.)

Bat Boy: The Complete Weekly World News Comic Strips by Peter Bagge -- Bagge is, of course, most famous as the creator of Hate and was the premiere comics chronicler of the slacker lifestyle of the '90s. And Bat Boy was the creation/mascot/demented id of the least factual newspaper of all time, the Weekly World News (which might even still be running, bless its heart). The two collided about a decade ago, when Bagge drew strips about BB for the WWN for about two years. I'm a big fan of demented comics, from Bob Burden to Ted McKeever, and this could just possibly make it up to that level.

Why I Hate Saturn by Kyle Baker -- this was probably my favorite graphic novel of all time for a good ten-year span, and I'm not sure that it doesn't still hold that title, even now. And now that I have a new copy, so I can read it again and find out.

Nexus Archives Vol. 1 by Mike Baron and Steve Rude -- I liked this SFnal series about mass murderers, revenge, and justice when I first read it back in the '80s, and keep thinking I should get all of these archive volumes and read it straight through. I now have volumes 1, 3, 4, and 5, so I'm getting there.

American Flagg! Vol. 1 -- One of the great signposts of how both good and how bad serialized monthly comics could be [1], Chaykin's great SFnal series of the mid-80s came out of nowhere and mostly went back there after it ended; I get the sense that other than a few stalwarts (including Michael Chabon!), this series is left unremembered. That's unfortunate, but the world is bigand full of wonders, and we can't gawk at all of them all of the time. I gawked at this particular one when it was first reprinted in this fancy hardcover form, and now I can do it again.

The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman and J.H. Williams III -- if I have to explain this, you're really reading the wrong blog. Gaiman's been a rock star in both comics and SFF since (and because of) the original Sandman series in the early '90s, and this was his reunion tour.

A Gregory Treasury, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 by Marc Hempel -- I haven't seen anything from Hempel in a while, so I hope he wandered away from comics to do something as creatively fulfilling that pays better (animation sucks up a lot of comics-makers who like to eat regularly). These two small books collect a series of oddball stories about a small person in an insane asylum -- and they're funny, light-hearted, lovely little stories, too. (And clearly not that popular; the copies I got both have just ISBN-10s on the back, which is a big flag for anyone in the publishing biz that they haven't been reprinted in a long time.)

Two Brothers by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba -- the new graphic novel by the really talented South American twins. I think this adapts some novel I haven't otherwise heard of, but I don't really care -- I'm here because of Ba and Moon.

The Puma Blues by Stephen Murphy and Michael Zulli -- this is a classy, acclaimed, black-and-white comic from the '80s that I never really read at the time. (My brother loved it, and maybe I subconsciously left it as "his.") And now it's a single gigantic book, about thirty years later.

The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 by Charles M. Schulz -- I lost the first twenty-five years or so of the collected Peanuts in the 2011 flood, and haven't really started to regather them. But this first volume could either stand by itself or be a good place to re-start.

Bookhunter by Jason Shiga -- this might not be my absolute favorite Shiga book, since Meanwhile is so complexly awesome and unique. But it's the '70s-action-movie style story of a library cop, in the inimitable Shiga style, so it's better than most things by most people.

And last from that big box was I Don't Get It, a book of single-panel cartoons by Shannon Wheeler. I like single-panel cartoons, and people named Wheeler -- even those completely unrelated to me -- are obvious super-smart and totally awesome at everything they do.

Oh, wait! I also got a copy of Love And Rockets: New Stories No. 8 by the Bros. Hernandez this week, the last piece of the big Cyber Monday Fantagraphics order that I placed on a day I hope you can figure out from context. That was separate from the big box, obviously, but it fits the theme, and it's another thing to read.

[1] Alan Moore did a one-issue story about sex-cops that is not only the worst thing he ever wrote, it comes close to being the worst comic of the 1980s, against really strong competition.

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