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Wednesday is New Comics Day

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A clerk
Some sorority girls
A boxer-turned-bartender
A wanna-be superhero
And a dimension-hopping art thief

Every Wednesday we run down the 5 most interesting comics or graphic novels coming out for the week

5. HIERONYMOUS B
By Ulf K.
Top Shelf
$14.95 | 64 pgs

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German cartoonist Ulk K. is big in his home country but hasn't really been read much by American audiences. With his new graphic novel, five international publishers are releasing the book simultaneously, one of them being Top Shelf Comix here in the U.S. In silent-film-style with whimsical black and white line drawings, Ulf K tells the story of Hieronymous B, a humble clerk whom the artist has been telling stories about for the last ten years.

You can see a pretty extensive preview of the book here.

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4. HAZED
Written by Mark Sable; art by Robbi Rodriguez
Image Comics
$14.99 | 160 pgs

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There's something about sorority girls that make them intolerable in real life but somewhat fascinating in fiction. Following in the footsteps of great works of fiction like Heathers and Mean Girls comes Hazed, a story about innocent girls who must face the harsh judgment of sorority culture as they start out in college. Artist Robbi Rodriguez has been building a promising career with books like Maintenance and his cute, animation-influenced style looks perfect for the subject matter.

See a longer preview here.

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3. CRIMINAL VOL.2 #1
Written by Ed Brubaker; art by Sean Philips
Marvel Icon

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If you haven't been reading Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips creator-owned crime noir series, Criminal, then you might as well start here. Volume 2 kicks off this week with a new story about a bartender and former boxer named Gnarly. For those of you that have been following this excellent book, one thing that I love about it is how each new story seems to branch off of an obscure character from the previous story. In this case, Gnarly was the bartender for The Undertow, the bar that made a number of appearances in Volume 1's "Lawless".

A black and white preview is available at the Criminal blog on Myspace.

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2. KICK-ASS #1
Written by Mark Millar; art by John Romita, jr.
Marvel Icon
$2.99 | 32 pgs

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A "realistic" comic about superheroes. That may not sound like a novel idea but Mark Millar, writer of last year's big Marvel event, Civil War, can generally be counted on to do something interesting. And more often than not he does something that pushes the boundaries of taste just a little. In this long-awaited creator-owned series, Millar explores the idea of an average guy, inspired by comic books, who makes his own costume and runs around town with a baseball bat fighting crime. Expect a lot of things to go wrong for this guy. You know it can't be as easy as Batman makes it look, right?

Veteran Marvel artist John Romita, Jr., who previously worked with Millar on a 12-issue Wolverine run, provides the art for this limited series.

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1. RASL #1
By Jeff Smith
Cartoon Books
$3.50 | 32 pgs

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Jeff Smith, of Bone fame, begins his new series this week. Since Bone is generally considered one of the great long form works comics has ever seen, a new ongoing series from Smith is a big event. RASL (pronounced "rassle") is a sci-fi epic about a dimension hopping art thief. Stealing Picassos from one dimension and selling them in another, RASL makes a nice living by hopping dimensions but it takes a toll on his body that he needs to accomdate with a combination of boozing and meditating.

This is the first issue of what will eventually be a 200+ page story though it's not quite clear how often each issue will come out. Newsarama has an interview with Smith about the book here that has some more preview images.

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