miriam #1 : rich tomasso takes his pete & miriam saga into the eightball universe, formatting his first issue as a pitch-perfect tribute to dan clowes. but what comes off at first as cartoonist karaoke turns out to be a lot looser, sweeter, and more earnest than the eightball stuff. it’s like when some five-foot girl steps up to the mic, dials in hammer of the gods and totally makes robert plant’s howl her own.
manhattan projects volume #2 : fresh off an eisner nomination for best new series & continuing series, the second collection of jonathan hickman and nick pitarra’s gets deeper, dirtier, vaster, and just plain crazier. i like to think if you were brainstorming ideas with a drunk nobel prize winner who’d just eaten mushrooms and wanted to make a comic that the result would look like this.
batman year 100 : this book had me breathing hard, actually worried about this future batman, a freedom fighter in a shitty world where the government knows everything about everyone and uses teams of marauding super-cops and packs of cybernetic pit-bulls to keep the peace. paul pope is just a flat-out master. he puts batman in peril with a variety of stunning shots, dizzying angles, and superb body language…this guy’s just a guy, he’s being hunted, and there’s no guarantee he’s going to make it…it’s something you don’t get out of a batman book, it goes back to when bruce wayne first started fighting crime in gotham and he was getting his ass kicked too often…immediately this batman is the underdog and you’re cheering for him. and pope, with jose villarubia, creates an ugly dystopian gotham of 2039. the government presence, the creepy and outlandish group of characters introduced here, is personalized enough that it avoids the rut of dull satire or evil cabal. i won’t spoil any moments for anyone, trust me it’s a great book.
marshal law the deluxe edition : this book was a bomb on the late 80’s comics scene, marrying post-watchmen blues with a nihilistic, absurd attitude that somehow still seemed romantic to my 13 year old self. what if frank miller’s batman ran wild through the marvel & dc universes, and he just didn’t give a fuck? brooding & mocking, intense & comical, with fine art from a pre-LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN kevin o’neill, this is a long out of print masterpiece dropped on your lap.
happy : grant morrison’s dirty cop/imaginary friend mash-up is, to use the rather salty language of the book itself, fucking nutso. we loved it, and look for blue feathers falling wherever we go.
house of secrets omnibus : a post-grunge coming of age series set firmly in the deep end of the VERTIGO pool, this was one of the more delicate & sensitive books produced by the now-failing but once mighty imprint. the series main character, rain harper, and her crew would have fit in just fine in the world of THE SANDMAN. steve seagle puts his heart into it and teddy kristiansen, in his only sustained american sequential work as far as i know, is sublime & creepy, delivering every day moments and supernatural chills in the gorgeous fashion he’s known for. highly recommended.