by Jeff Ayers
Further proving this writer’s hypothesis that damn near everyone involved in the pop arts these days wants to be associated with comics & geek culture, an onslaught of prose novelists are releasing comics in the near future, led by this week’s Anita Blake: Guilty Pleasures #1 from Laurell K.Hamilton. Other recent medium-hoppers of note include espionage/suspense writers Greg Rucka (52, Whiteout) and Brad Meltzer (Identity Crisis, Justice League), as well as fantasists Raymond E. Feist, Tad Williams, and Orson Scott Card. Movie and TV personalities are also jumping aboard as director Reggie Huddlin, Lost producer Damon Lindelof, Buffy creator Joss Whedon, and Allan Heinberg of The OC are all writing comics, too.
While this trend is anything but new, the sheer number of projects granted to these fledging comic authors is daunting to say the least. One wonders if the job pool for established comic writers will soon be shallower by way of this new wave, regardless of the former’s prior successes, their knowledge of the medium, and their ability to make a deadline. Indeed, many of these newer ongoing projects from “outside” writers are plagued by release dates not met and rush-jobs churned out on account of the writer’s other, more profitable, obligations. However, as long as their comics maintain a consistent level of quality and punctuality they are worth note.
Case in point is this week’s highly anticipated Anita Blake comic. Hamilton’s vampire huntress novels have sold upwards of three million copies worldwide to date, so expectations are high. Fortuitously the adaptation is deft, the artwork first-rate, and subsequent issues look promising.
The horizon looks to be more of the same as Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: Gunslinger Born, with art by Jae Lee, is the next such property to be comicified, and anticipated to be one of the year’s biggest releases.
No word yet on the rumored Carrot Top Presents: A Plethora of Poopy Props #1. Yet.
On to more new releases:
The Authority #1 / W.I.L.D.Cats #1 by Grant Morrison (writer) art by Gene Ha and Jim Lee, respectively. Grant writing two books created years and years ago but never quite stood the test of time and creative team shuffles. I really dug the Brian Hitch art on the original Authority, and Alan Moore and Joe Casey’s runs on WildCats were somewhat stomachable, but for the most part these titles were always hit and miss. Also, consider that most comics from the nineties should be tossed in the recycling bin and never thought of again upon pain of death. But this is Morrison writing them! He spoketh: “I would like to call it a progression of the stuff you’ve seen while getting rid of the crap you hated.” Plus they’ve got Top Ten’s Gene Ha and that Jim Lee guy you kids like so damn much drawing ’em. Sounds like a recipe for awesomehood. Also, while I’m at it, Gene Ha drew one of my absolute favorite Batman stories ever. It’s in Black and White vol.2. Go read it now. I’ll wait.
The Marvel Comics Encyclopedia from the good folks at DK Publishing. Oh, you’re back. Wasn’t that Batman story a gas? Told ya. Anyhoo, here comes the really heavy-duty, penultimate guide to the heroes, villains, and storylines of the Marvel Universe. Featuring over 1000 characters and what they like to eat for breakfast, this tome is voluminous and necessary if you’re the boy or gal what needs to know the average length of the Silver Surfer’s toenails. Also, if it’s too big for you to schlep back to Fort Greene or the BoogeyDown I’ve got two words for ya: Christmas List.
Private Stash from Buenaventura Press. This nifty accordion folded collection of girlies includes pin-ups from R. Crumb, Gary Panter, Dan Clowes, Adrian Tomine, Archer Prewitt, Los Bros Hernandez, Peter Bagge, Sammy Harkham, Ron Rege, Charles Burns, Tony Millionaire….. In fact the only people without a piece in this thing seem to be you and me, but there was obviously some sort of mix-up in the mail wasn’t there?
Fables 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham and various. An original Graphic Novel, 1001 Nights serves as a prequel of sorts to Willingham’s Eisner Award winning series. James Jean once again provides a jealousy-inducing masterpiece of a cover, a rare interior story, and Various’ artwork has never been better.
Stuph This Week
Two other titles with new issues I relish the thought of getting my grimy mitts on are: Casanova and Exterminators. I’ve extolled their virtues before, but everybody needs a helpful reminder now and again. These comics are not to be missed. They are so good they’d help old ladies with their groceries if they could. Please buy, love, and cherish them.
Restock Not to be Missed
Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie’s Lost Girls
Be excellent to each other and party on, dudes!