Monday, July 12, 2010

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 7/10

It's Monday once again, which means it's time for me to let you know what came in the mail last week. All of these are brand-new books -- some of them, in fact, won't be published for a few weeks or months, so they're newer than brand-new -- and I haven't yet read any of them. But here's what I can tell you about a clump of interesting books that will be available for you to read and buy Very Soon Now:

Rick Geary is back with a new installment of his "Treasury of XXth Century Murder," called The Terrible Axe-man of New Orleans, which NBM will publish as the usual small hardcover in September. This is the third book in this iteration of the series, but Geary did eight similar volumes as "A Treasury of Victorian Murder," each covering a single case, and before that an album-sized Treasury of Victorian Murder with short stories -- so he's been researching and retelling interesting murder cases for a good two decades now, and he's been very good at it. This particular case is a creepy and gruesome one: just after World War One, someone murdered a number of grocers at night, by breaking in through part of their front door and using the grocer's own axe to kill with one blow to the head. (I reviewed the first two books in this series for ComicMix -- The Lindbergh Child and Famous Players -- and recommended both of them. I expect to recommend this one as soon as I read it, too.)

Akimine Kamijyo -- creator of the popular Samurai Deeper Kyo manga -- is back with the first volume in a new series, Code:Breaker, Vol. 1. It's yet another book about sudden violence and supernatural abilities among Japanese high schoolers, with "affable transfer student" Rei showing "his true face as a terrifying vigilante" to "quirky high school beauty Sakura," though, unfortunately for her, he's "a 'nonexistent' Code:Breaker who cannot be touched by the law" and who has a "deadly blue flame." From a quick glance through the book, their relationship features the usual manga style of long speeches that don't really explain things but do go into great detail about what we can already see in the art (or into the emotional states of everyone concerned). This one is hitting stores on July 27th, and will be published by Del Rey Manga.

Tachyon continues their impressive string of strong anthologies and collections -- on the one hand, Steampunk and Darkness and The New Weird; on the other, Portable Childhoods and The Dog Said Bow-Wow and We Never Talk About My Brother; with twice as many books on both sides that I didn't mention -- with a major retrospective of a bestselling and influential fantasy writer, The Very Best of Charles de Lint. Very Best is also partially crowd-sourced -- de Lint asked his reader to vote on his best stories, and this book (with some edits and additions) contains what the most people considered his best work. It contains twenty-nine stories, and will be out in trade paperback on August 15th.

I am entirely in favor of Del Rey's seeming plot to publish in book form all of the best webcomics, particularly since Del Rey keeps me on their publicity lists for those books. And they've just snagged a big one: the new sixth collection of the mega-popular Penny Arcade strip, The Halls Below -- now, as always, by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. (Del Rey did publish the coffee-table collection/history/FAQ/artifact The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade, earlier this year, but Dark Horse Comics had published earlier strip collections.) Halls Below contains all of the strips from 2005 -- no, I don't know why they're so far behind -- with comments from the creators, plus a section at the end about the (at this point, still fictional (I think)) "Epic Legends of the Hierarchs: The Elmenstor Saga," supposedly written by the Krahulik stand-in character, "Tycho Brahe," in the strip. (If that wasn't metafictional enough for you, I can go through it again.) Halls Below, in all its self-referential splendor, hits stores on July 20th.

Marvel Comics sent me Stephen King's The Stand Vol. 3: Soul Survivors without a cover letter or press release -- I'm not complaining; I'm happy when people send me books, even if I don't know precisely why -- so I'm not entirely sure when this hardcover collection of the recent miniseries (set in the world of Stephen King's novel The Stand) will or did reach stores. But it'll be there either quite soon or some time recently, and this particular story has Stephen King's name large at the top of the cover, though it was written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and drawn by Mike Perkins.

Last for this week is the latest volume in the Kazu Kibuishi-edited series of graphic story anthologies, Flight, Volume Seven. As usual, this year's installment contains new adventures of some continuing characters -- Michael Gagne's Rex and Kean Soo's Jellaby, for example -- along with stories by JP Ahonen, Paul Harmon, Stuart Livingston, Kibuishi himself, and several others. (There are eighteen stories in all, for nearly three hundred pages of comics.) Del Rey publishes Flight 7 on July 20th.
Listening to: Woodpigeon - Empty-Hall Sing-Along
via FoxyTunes

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