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Wednesday is New Comics Day

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

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78981_194054_3.jpg5. CEREBUS ARCHIVE #1
By Dave Sim
Aaardvark-Vanaheim
$3.00

This isn't what you might expect from the title. It's not some sort of omnibus repackaging of Dave Sim's 300-issue classic story of a barbarian aardvark turned papal aardvark. You'll have to stick to the phonebook sized volumes that already exist for that. This is a new bi-monthly, floppy format series where Dave Sim looks back over the work he put into this series and shares some sketches, unpublished stories and even rejection letters from publishers. So obviously this is for the already initiated - fans of not only Cerebus itself but those willing to read Sim's verbose and eccentric offerings like Glamourpuss.

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FFFOUR001_cov.jpg4. FIN FANG FOUR RETURN #1
Written by Roger Langridge and Scott Gray; art by Roger Langridge
Marvel
$3.99 | 48 pgs

Roger Langridge and Scott Gray return to playing around with Marvel's forgotten, pre-Silver Age monsters in this one-shot featuring the gargantuan creatues Fin Fang Foom, Elektro, Googam and Gorgilla. These four fearsome monsters have been reduced to human size and now have to assimilate into society. Langridge, as we've all seen recently in his new Muppet Show series, is a master of the slapstick comic book and this one does not shy away from craziness of any sort. It's great for kids too, as well as fans that might actually remember a time when these characters were actually considered scary.

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eternia.jpg3. THE ETERNAL SMILE
By Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim
First Second
$16.95 | 176 pgs

Gene Luen Yang became the unofficial star of First Second books when his American Born Chinese became the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award. Meanwhile, Derek Kirk Kim is the highly acclaimed creator of the award winning Same Difference and Other Stories as well as the artist for the DC Minx graphic novel Good As Lilly. So, needless to say, a new book containing three short stories by these two men is kind of a big deal.

The three stories collected here range from a fantasy adventure with princes and frogs to a Scrooge McDuck/Pogo style comedy to an office drama involving Nigerian internet scams.

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Power_Girl_No_1_Final_Art_by_AdamHughes.jpg2. POWER GIRL #1
Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti; art by Amanda Connor
DC Comics
$3.99 | 32 pgs

I've always thought of Power Girl as the girl you'd like to cheat on Supergirl with. But the thing is, Power Girl deserves a shot at happiness too. Even though she's a DC Comics mainstay, I think this is the first ongoing series she's ever had. They've definitely found the perfect people to give her that chance. Husband and wife team Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Connor - joined by writer Justin Gray - previously brought some empathy and cuteness to the character that she's never really had before in a 3 issue JSA Classified story a few years ago. Now they try it on a regular basis starting with a storyline that has Power Girl creating a new secret identity for herself while saving Manhattan from alien invaders.

But don't worry, we all know what you're really looking for so don't miss the boob-alicious Adam Hughes variant cover, shown here.

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league_iii_century_1910_cover_lg.jpg1. LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN VOL. III: CENTURY #1 (of 3)
By Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neil
Top Shelf
$7.95 | 80 pgs

After the text-heavy (and 3-D-heavy) taster, The Black Dossier, Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neil return with a proper 3-volume adventure. This time Mina Murray and Allan Quartermaine have entered the 20th century where must face a shadowy occult order and a serial killer called Jack The Ripper. Lots of new characters join the cast this time around like Mac The Knife, Pirate Jenny and Orlando (who we saw join the League in the Black Dossier). It's going to be a wild ride into the 1900s full of references to The Threepenny Opera, Aleister Crowley, Somerset Maugham and more.

WOW THERE'S A LOT OF STUFF THIS WEEK...

WALKING DEAD COMPENDIUM TP VOL 01
If you enjoy zombies and/or dark survivalist dramas like Cormac McCarthy's The Road then don't ask any questions and just pick up this hefty volume that contains the first 48 issues of this excellent series.

TANK GIRL REMASTERED EDITION VOL. 1 and 2
A new collection of the classic Martin/Hewlett Tank Girl stories with some recolored stories.

SUPERMAN ESCAPE FROM BIZARRO WORLD TP
Eric Powell drawing Bizarro? Nuff said.

PHERONE HC
A graphic novel from Viktor Kalvachev about a female spy that may be having a mental breakdown. Reprinted from an issue of Heavy Metal magazine.

ALIAS ULTIMATE COLLECTION VOL. 1
Collecting the first half of Brian Michael Bendis' early and groundbreaking Marvel series about a former superheroine turned down and out private eye.

MONOLOGUES FOR CALCULATING THE DENSITY OF BLACK HOLES
A new collection of experimental, stream-of-conscious art comics from Anders Nilsen.

POINT BLANK TP
A new edition of Ed Brubaker's precursor to his now famous and influential supervillain spy drama, Sleeper.

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6 Comments

@cameronmstewart: Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye #2 is out today in the US and Canada! Please go get one!

said Brenden Fletcher on May 6, 2009 12:08 PM.

To tell you the truth, Brendan, Seaguy is the book I'm still most looking forward to this week but I already talked about it last month.

said Evil Richard on May 6, 2009 12:28 PM.

Ok, here it is.
Evil Rich, or anyone.

I don't get the whole comic thing. I don't understand the appeal. Why are comics such a big deal to you?

I'm not asking the question, dogging on comics, or the people that read them. I have a few hobbies that I know others don't understand the appeal, so I'm cool with you being into something that I'm not. I'm just curious what it is about comics that appeal to a grown man or woman?
To be honest, I haven't read very many comics, so perhaps that's where my ignorance comes from.
I collected baseball cards when I was younger, and I understand that comics carry value, is that it?
Will you give me some insight. Why do you love comics?
For someone like myself, that has never been in to comics, what is a comic for a first timer that you would suggest?

Thanks,

Dave

said Dave on May 6, 2009 1:18 PM.

Hmm, you ask a good question, Dave. I usually try to choose books for this column that maybe someone who normally doesn't buy comics might be interested in (this week happens to be a bad example of that I think but maybe in general I could do a better job of explaining books to the uninitiated). There is quite a lot of variety out there and a good percentage of it is written for adults now. If you take a look at the column I wrote last week I actually suggest some high quality books from various types of genres - horror, crime, etc. To recommend a good book for you to start with would require knowing what kind of stories you're generally into.

As for the value thing, I would never recommend anyone buying comics for any sort of future value. That ship sailed in the 1980s. People still collect for the sake of collecting but I prefer to point people towards books that might be interesting to actually read.

said Evil Richard on May 6, 2009 2:22 PM.

Dave, it's a great question, that indeed got me thinking too, as I've been reading comics for 40 years non-stop.

I think the reason I enjoy stories in the comicbook format is that I prefer my literature to be dialog heavy. If I pick up a book by a writer I've never heard of, I usually scan it for writing style. If I see a high proportion of written dialog, I know I'm probably going to enjoy it more than page after endless page of written description of architecture and windswept moors. That's just the way I am, I like stories with a lot of written dialog, but I hate reading lyrical descriptions of places, weather, landscapes, etc. I'm reading "Anathem" by Neal Stephenson right now, and every time he takes the time to describe the quality of the stonework on the cloister I want to scream "GET ON WITH IT".

Comics are the ultimate in that way because ALL the text is usually dialog, or "voiceover". The descriptive setting - the visuals are displayed that way - as visuals. And that makes it more compelling. It's not about superheroes or capes, etc. I'd rather die than toil a superhero-themed novelization (I never managed to get through Kavalier & Klay despite trying three times) it's about the art of visual storytelling.

If anyone ever says they are not interested in comics, and then asks for a suggestion, I always recommend - in this order - Jimmy Corrigan by Chris Ware, David Boring by Dan Clowes and Criminal by Ed Brubaker. That's the tip of the iceberg, but I contend those three books will change your mind about the comic book genre completely.

said Scaramouch on May 7, 2009 1:38 AM.

Scara, that's a really interesting thing about your penchant for dialog in literature. I'm sort of the same way, though I've gotten better over the years. But I wonder if it is growing up reading comics that made us both that way rather than that being a reason we like comics.

said Evil Richard on May 7, 2009 10:09 AM.
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