Is there one book that is a “must have” that came out this week? My friends Andy Tom (@AndrewJTom), Chris Campbell (@ChrisCampbell8), Marc Diefenderfer (@Dief88), Shane Hannafey, Adam Besenyodi (@adambesenyodi), Joey Nazzari (@CaptDS9E), Wallace Ryan (@ReverendLove) and I (@ChrisCCL) are sharing some comic book collected editions, reprints and/or graphic novels released this week that you may be interested in.
Picked by @AndrewJTom
Thor By Walter Simonson Vol. 1 TP (Marvel)
Collects Thor #337-345, $24.99
I’m not gonna ramble on about the myriad reasons to buy this book (yeah right). Just know this… Walt Simonson’s Thor is the Thor run that all other runs on the character aspire to be. The Simonson Thor run is so defining that Uncle Walt appeared in the Thor movie sitting at the head table dining with Thor (while Stan played a hillbilly with a pickup truck). Yes, there are other good Thor runs out there (Stan & Jack, Straczynski, and most recently Jason Aaron), but none of them did as much for the character as Walt Simonson. This book is a “must have” for any Marvel fan (or comics fan in general). It’s one of the top runs of all time and should be in everyone’s collection. If you haven’t picked up the “Frost Giant sized” Omnibus, this is a great alternative. It has the “new” coloring by Steve Oliffe that was so prominently featured in the Omnibus, but at much more manageable size and cost. It’s a must have for any Thor fan or anyone new to the character coming out of the films.
Picked by Shane
Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe (Chronicle Books), $18.95
I have been visiting family in the New York area for the past week and happened upon this book in a small store in Greenwich Village. I don’t think it is widely known to comics fans, but really should be. Edited by Tim Leong, the Director of Digital Design at Wired magazine, it is both an enjoyable book and a partial encyclopedia of comics history. The book is comprised of charts and graphs and whereas that might sound boring, these graphic representations are not only educational for comics fans, but incredibly entertaining too. For example, there is a chart showing the average utility bill for the Gotham City Police Department. Can you guess what uses the most power? I’ll give you a hint… it shoots a big bat signal into the sky. Or maybe the periodic table of the Metal Men. While these two were made purely for fun and many more are like that, there are ones that give you incredible historical information. The Watchmen primer not only shows the character relationships but a timeline of their universe. There is a graph showing Stan Lee’s history in comic books. And this book isn’t just limited to DC and Marvel comics. There are references to Scott Pilgrim, Cerebus, Walking Dead, Tintin and Mad magazine among others. There are also charts and graphs that reference cosplay, comic con, manga and other aspects of fandom. There is far too much to write about and it is very hard to give a real review of this book, but trust me, if you’re a comics fan, pick it up. It is a welcome surprise and something entirely different from most people are used to reading. You’ll love it!
Picked by @ReverendLove
In The Days Of The Mob By Jack Kirby HC (DC Comics)
Collects In The Days Of The Mob #1 and stories from Amazing World Of DC Comics #1 and 10, 108 pages, $39.99
If there is one book that I’ve been waiting for all summer, it has to be the hardcover collection of Jack Kirby’s classic comic book magazine “In the Days of the Mob”. When Jack left Marvel in 1970 for DC Comics, he brought with him a boatload of concepts and characters that would change the DC universe forever. Besides the legendary Fourth World series, Kirby had wanted to do a series of full colour comic magazines called the “Speak-Out Series”. In the end, only two of his planned magazines saw publication as “Spirit World”#1 and my own personal favourite, “In the Days of the Mob”#1, albeit in black and white.
I’d seen both mags advertised in several DC Comics when I was young but it wasn’t until I attended a convention in 1998 that I finally found and purchased my own copies. I held on to them until a few years ago when I parted them with the full expectation that DC, after all the other recent Kirby books they’d published, would probably be reprinting the classic series. DC came through with the 2012 release of “Spirit World” and today, released the hardcover collection, “In the Days of the Mob”.
This volume, like “Spirit World” contains both issues of “In the Days of the Mob” including the unpublished second issue. I reread the classic “Ma’s Boys” and “Bullets for Big Al” along with the other shorter stories from the first issue and then prepared for the joy that is reading a Kirby comic for the first time. And I wasn’t disappointed. I loved the two main stories “Murder Inc.” and “The Ride” both of which bristled with action, brutality and a fast paced violence that one associates with a good old-fashioned Mob story. The two shorter stories “Ladies of the Gang” and “A Room for Kid Twist” nicely round-up this bold and bloody look into the life of the Mob during the Dirty 30’s. The art and storytelling are vintage 70’s Kirby with assistance from inkers Vince Colletta and Mike Royer who despite their different approaches are both successful in their delineation of the King’s work.
This is one book, I must insist that, in the words of the King, you “Don’t Ask!!! Just Buy it!”!!!!
Picked by @CaptDS9E
Todd, The Ugliest Kid On Earth, Vol. 1 TP (Image)
Collects Todd, The Ugliest Kid On Earth #1-4, $9.99
I went into Todd the Ugliest Kid on Earth with a little trepidation. I am not usually a fan of dark comedies, and for a little over an issue I thought I made a mistake trying this. However something just clicked in issue two, and It had me. I couldn’t stop reading. Todd is a young boy (with a brown paper bag on his head) whose parents are crazy. They treat him like crap, but he is a good kid, and the perfect picture of innocence. This innocence is what makes this book worth the while. A new girl moves next door, and Todd decides to try to make a friend. He talks to her, but he is set up by a local Bully, that not only gets him in trouble, but makes him look like a fool. Overnight the new girl disappears, and in a strange piece of events Todd is fingered for her murder by cop who is a few fries short of a Happy Meal. The poor kid is put in an adult Jail for her murder, and other killings that have happened recently. This is when the book shines, We follow Todd in every single possible bad situation you could think of to happen in a prison. Except because Todd is so naive to what is going on, it makes for a lot of laughs. Some of the pages in this section are priceless. We also follow along the crazy stuff happening outside the prison with both of Todd’s parents, the nut cop who arrested him, and the real person behind the murders. This all happens in four issues of hilarity. I am very happy to see they decided series will continue, as it ends on a cliffhanger, which I can’t wait to see Todd deal with next. Highly Recommend if you want a laugh.
Picked by @ChrisCCL
Fagin The Jew 10th Anniversary HC (Dark Horse), $19.99
The great Will Eisner died just over eight years ago, which means the “10th Anniversary” Edition of Fagin: The Jew was one of the last comics Eisner ever did. Volumes have been written about Eisner and I can’t do him any more justice here in a few sentences. But what I can tell you is that Eisner was as strong as ever right up until the end. This particular book is a take on the classic Charles Dickens novel, Oliver Twist and is from the point-of-view of Fagin, the pick-pocket, who serves as a mentor to street children including the Oliver’s friend the Artful Dodger. Many of us know the story, either from the 1970’s movie or a high school musical, but to get a new perspective is always refreshing. This new hardcover edition sports Eisner’s previously unused full-color cover art.
Comic Book Creator 2 – Joe Kubert (TwoMorrow Publishing), $17.95
I can’t believe my good buddy, @AndrewJTom didn’t want to cover this one this week, he’s the biggest Kubert fan I know. This new Comic Book Creator quarterly series from TwoMorrows is a hybrid of small book and long magazine. Commissioned in early 2012, Kubert passed away in August during the writing of the mag. That is reflected here as editor Jon B. Cooke and others quickly converted several articles as a prologue to Kuberts’ long storied comic book life. Including very personal insights from Joe’s sons Adam and Andy. I’m sure longer and more comprehensive biographies are in the works, but for now this is an excellent primer to one of the greats of the industry. I suggest picking up The Joe Kubert Archives from Fantagraphics, too.
Now it’s your turn. What books that came out this week do you recommend? Take a look at the sidebar to see this weeks collected edition releases.