Wednesday worrier, 10.19.16

And a one, and a two, and a one, two, three, four… The books will come out! To-morrow! To-morrow!

Welcome to the not-new, unimproved, but nevertheless musical (-ish) segment about the ineffable anxiety of acquisition. Will the tiny shop have found space for the comics I want?

Do I even care any more? Sleep eludes me, as does hope. There’s a gritty mica edge on everything I look at, and all I can taste is stale tobacco and disappointment. Do I really give two shits about some lightweight pamphlets full of illustrated children’s stories?

Apparently so, since I have once again pondered the intestines of a sacrificial animal and determined which comics are coming out this week.

  • Lucifer #11

Every month, I get dutifully get this. Dark powers must be responsible, because I never actually read the damned thing.

  • Mighty Thor #12

Ditto. But this one does have nice pictures, and I feel sure it will be excellent once I actually bother.

  • Night’s Dominion #2

First one was pretty good, plus it is nice to support a solo artist-writer. My hat’s off to Mr Naifeh. Also, fantasy pseudo-Batman (‘the Furie’) is cooler than real Batman (arguably, not difficult). Although, although… Not sure why the heroine has to be drawn looking over her left shoulder in every other panel. Also, colouring is a little flat. I can understand why someone doing everything has to keep it simple, but a two colour palette (maybe six different colours in the entire book) undersells the ink. Anyway, I’ll try numero duo.

  • Samurai: Brothers in Arms #2

Another instalment of Titan’s episodic reissue of a translated bande dessinee. Lovely art. Because it’s French. I am missing #2 from the last series (Isle With No Name): hopefully that won’t happen this time around.

No Bitch Planet #9, again. It’s not even funny. I’ve given up writing each new release date down, because it changes every week. A  waste, to see something with some real content fizzle out. Not with a bang but a whimper, eh?

I think I mentioned last week that it was new index card time. I have transferred my barely-legible list to a new card, and this is the terrifying spectacle:

  • Lucifer (#11 this week)
  • Bitch Planet (hahaha… see above)
  • Sheriff of Babylon (1 issue left)
  • James Bond (the Warren Ellis years, 2 issues left)
  • Kill or Be Killed (#4 due 11.16, end of arc)
  • The Paybacks (#3 backordered)
  • Suicide Squad
  • Empress (1 issue left, ends with #7 due 11.16)
  • Mighty Thor (#12 this week)
  • Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens (#3 of 4 due 11.02)
  • Black Monday Murders (#4 due 11.16, end of arc)
  • Night’s Dominion (#2 this week)
  • Britannia (#3 of 4 due 11.16)
  • Seven to Eternity (#2 due 10.26)
  • Lake of Fire (#3 of 5 due 10.26)
  • Kingsway West (#3 of 4 due 11.02)
  • Samurai: Brothers in Arms (#2 this week)
  • Trigger Man (#1 backordered)
  • Unworthy Thor (new title, #1 due 11.02)
  • The Strain: Mr Quinlan (#3 of 4 due 11.09)
  • Old Man Logan (#13 due 11.16)
  • Nighthawk (confusion here – there may be a #6 ending this at some stage?)
  • Star Wars Doctor Aphra (new title, #1 due 12.07)
  • Karnak (1 issue left, ends with #6 due 11.23)
  • Green Valley (#2 due 11.09)
  • Power Man and Iron Fist (I might have ‘accidentally’ dropped this with the artist changeover)

Also, I have collected the following series which are on hiatus, planned or otherwise:

  • Cry Havoc (should resume with #7)
  • Injection (should resume with #11)
  • Black Magic (should resume with #6)
  • Young Terrorists (not really a series, since it went away after one issue; #2 seems indefinitely delayed)

So that’s 26 books ongoing, with 2 due to start but 10 due to end (plus 2 taking a rest) before 2017 heaves into view; the whole shebang should look a lot more sensible by then. While I’m here, some brief analysis: 7 titles are published by Marvel, 5 by Image, 3 by DC (2 Vertigo, 1 mainline), 3 by Dark Horse, 2 by Titan, and 1 each by Dynamite, Heavy Metal, Oni and Valiant. Marvel will lose a chunk soon and only get two titles back with little else on the horizon: Gillen is doing Vader-lite, 2 Thors is the maximum (even for Marvel and even with a movie due) and there is only one Sorrentino. Image are due to lose some ground, but will make it up in the long run when their hiatus books pick up again; also, I get East of West and Black Science in trades. Vertigo continues to circle the drain, but W. Ellis is relaunching Wildstorm next year so I’ll pick up some DC with that. The other guys will come and go: if Valiant can put out more stuff like Britannia, I’ll become their greatest fan; Dark Horse are over-represented at the moment, although I would’ve got Black Hammer and Weird Detective if I hadn’t been jammed to the limit so maybe they’ll stay steady.

But never mind the width, feel the quality. Which of these are actually good? Honestly, whilst I can’t speak for the ones I never seem to read (Lucifer, Suicide Squad; lately James Bond, Mighty Thor, and Power Man and Iron Fist), these are all pretty good comics. Or, at least, pretty comics. I come for the art, and stay – well – for the art. There are lots of other good-looking books out there, of course. It’s hard to say what my preference is, although the European style is more my thing: that is a category far more diverse than just ligne claire, but maybe tends to be informed by it in some way. Look at Scalera, Dragotta, Matt Smith on Lake of Fire, or the layout-wizard Sorrentino. Most of these, despite their exotic names (Smith!) are actually American, but their styles are each a wonderful admixture of influences. So just like America, then? Sure.

Ironically, though, I love the old American ink-masters: Wood, Morrow (a genius), Severin, Kirby, the elder Zaffino (hey, Argentina is in the Americas). Wonderful work, with just ink and sometimes screentone. Those guys could really draw. Above all, they could really render, and that’s becoming a bit of a lost art.

But the kids like colour. Also, nowadays, computer shenanigans. And the two combined can do gorgeous things in the hands of people like Hollingsworth, Wilson, Fairbairn, and the illustrious Bellaire. Alas, the two combined can also be an excuse to get shit done on the fast and cheap. But so it goes.

Blah, blah. I have to go shopping. See you next week, and keep your nib wet!