good this week

stray bullets killers #1 & stray bullets uber alles edition: back with a bang, david lapham’s ‘lost’ masterpiece returns this week with an ‘uber’ edition that collects the original series, an issue that wraps up the original run, and this brand new series. lapham crafts crime stories that read like slice of life tales from the suburbs. he’s a pretty flawless storyteller, and anyone who hasn’t checked out the world he created in STRAY BULLETS is urged to get into it.

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beasts of burden hunters & gatherers : this book is an instant smile whenever it comes out. evan dorkin’s wit and characterizations perfectly inform the watercolor world of animal paranormals that jill thompson paints. down to the distinctive lettering of jason arthur, all the details are in place to immerse you into this charming, sometimes scary world tailor-made for anyone who loves animals or hellboy.

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secret avengers #1 : this reads and looks like an outtake from HAWKEYE & FRIENDS. that’s a good thing. bang-up job establishing the team and tone here by ales kot and michael walsh.

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the fox #5 : haspiel & company go out with a bang, wrapping up the initial arc with all the whimsy, winks, and cartoony punch the series promised. lots of good character beats here that make me look fondly toward the next, just-announced run.

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cannon by wallace wood : the master does comic strips like no one else before or after. a pristine collection of wood’s military journal strips produced as entertainment for those soldiers overseas during the height of the cold war. so, so good.

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east of west #10 : onwards with one of the best monthly series in years.

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manifest destiny #5 : continually entertaining. a nice change of pace book.

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ff volume 2 tpb : wrapping up matt fraction & mike allred’s run on one of the best things to come out of MARVEL NOW.

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–chris stevens

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memory lane

i’ve got a couple of boxes of books from my personal collection here at the shop, and i went through them for the first time in ages today.  these books still hold such wonder for me. stuff like…

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on the surface it’s just about the goofiest book ever, but i must have read this 500 times. there’s the great paul smith cover and a script from j.m. dematteis that felt so real and relatable to my 8 or 9 year old self.

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when i was a kid i felt like the x-men was my own private soap opera, and issues like this one were a big reason why.

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these issues of gi joe that really built the snake-eyes/storm shadow relationship were so filled with mystery and excitement. to this day two of the coolest costume designs in comics.

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batman & Ethe outsiders was probably my favorite super hero book outside of x-men when i was a little kid. frank miller, doing mike barr a favor i’m guessing, set the tone here with a great cover, and inside we get a classic old school confrontation between the team and a group of government-led goons called, yes, the force of july. glorious stuff.

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i could probably write a 1000 words on how much i loved, and still love, the two gumby books arthur adams did in the 80’s. here arthur employs a slightly less ornate style than usual for him at the time, and the result is a delightfully pure cartoony look. even the little odds & ends arthur drew here–a bio pic of him as a scarecrow, a pin-up of gumby & pokey riding a dinosaur–are fantastic. these should be reprinted in a proper edition, not the sad shit show of a book like the digest version that came out a few years back.

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practically forgotten today, atari force was a better book than it had any right to be. 30 years later it holds up as a fine read, particularly the first dozen or so issues penciled by the great jose luis garcia lopez. this issue, filled with all kinds of interesting critters, was a favorite.

Rocket Raccoon 1

my love of this little guy is well known amongst my pals. true story: my mom’s dad was an alcoholic ww2 vet who i saw in alternatingly sweet and scary visits. one of the last times i saw him before his suicide i stole $5 off his dresser drawer top. i bought this comic with it.

–chris stevens