Wednesday's New Things: By Crom!

1. I don't know anyone who reads Conan, but someone clearly is. Dark Horse puts a new team on the book every so often-- I got interested when Brian Wood was working with Becky Cloonan a couple of years ago-- but there always publishing at least one title with the character at any given time. Why he has such legs, I don't know-- nostalgia? This one is written by Fred van Lente, one of comics' great action adventure writers, and drawn by Brian Ching (writing this column is a marvelous exercise in finding out about artists I don't know.) The preview looks good-- I'd say it's worth a shot. 

2. Another Wednesday, another new Marvel #1-- this week, it's Elektra. I wasn't interested in this one, written by Haden Blackman and drawn by Mike Del Mundo, and then I saw the preview. If it can balance that self seriousness somehow, we've got another live one. 

3. I don't understand who these monthly reprint comics are for-- both Popeye and Peanuts are available in very, very handsome reprint editions. Why would you buy either of these rather than those? I know that sometimes they have new material, but is that really worth the cover price? My hunch is that parents buy them for their children, or that they represent impulse purchases for the curious. Still, from a standpoint of consuming and enjoying certain material, they seem inefficient. 

Wednesday's New Things: Lightning Round

I was out of town to start the week, and so put together this week's WNT at rather short notice. Here are the covers of a few books of note this week.

Hulk #1 

Ultimate FF #1

Wednesday's New Things: The Avalanche Continues

1. Marvel's strategy of flooding the market with new #1 issues continues this week unabated. From my perspective, the most important of these releases is the return to solo comics of former hero for hire Danny Rand, the Iron Fist. Iron Fist is my second favorite superhero-- Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker and David Aja's book The Immortal Iron Fist is one of the great Marvel comic books of all time and, as Fraction once pointed out, the book is about a kung-fu billionaire; it sort of writes itself. After half a decade bouncing around from team book to team book, New Avengers to the Defenders and back again, he's back on his own, written and drawn by Kaare Andrews. The preview suggests that Andrews is mixing a little bit of Aja with a lot of early 80s Frank Miller, which I think is probably a recipe for success; although I expect this series will be short lived, it's going to be fun while it lasts. 

 2. These books are a little weirder; I almost wonder if they're a sign that Marvel is stretching itself just a little too thin with all of these new releases. The Doop miniseries is written by the character's co-creator Peter Milligan and drawn by David LaFuente; although I bet the target market for this series (fans of Milligan's X-Statix series with Michael Allred) will wish that both creators had come back for this, all they're going to have to do is open the book, and their disappointment will fall away. It's always hard to make small observations based on internet previews, but it looks like La Fuente drew and colored it in marker, which gives the art this kind of stunning, flexible quality, perfect for a wild character like Doop. The art is heavily stylized and cartoony, but not caricatured, which is a hard feat. It's too bad this book isn't an ongoing, I think it could be a big one. As for the Nightcrawler series from Chris Claremont and Todd Nuack, it seems like it's designed to appease to old school fans, just like most of these #1s are designed to attract new ones. Nuack's art is a little wonky, and this book feels less like a reinvention and more like a recapitulation of old tropes, a little disappointing since the publisher is doing so many new things at the moment. Still, there's a lot to be said for comfort, particularly right after the resurrection of one of your favorite characters. When I'm at the store this week, I may decide to take a shot on this one.

3. Finally, two worthwhile looking books featuring women characters and written or drawn or both by female creators are debuting this week. First is Shutter, from Joe Keatinge and Leila Lo Duca; frankly, I have no idea what its about, the solicitation is so broad as to be meaningless-- perhaps because the story concept suffers from the same problem. What photography has to do with anything is yet to be revealed. But it's got shades of Indiana Jones, Lo Duca's art is intriguing, and main character Kate Kristopher gets attacked by ghost ninjas on the fourth page, so at least it's sure to be fun. Also appearing this week is the camp adventure Lumberjanes, from Noelle Stevens, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Ellis. Published on Boom's "experimental" Boom Box imprint, Lumberjanes seems like another fun one, a camp adventure with a supernatural twist, it seems likely both to younger readers and older ones. The preview suggests that Ellis was influenced here as much by animation aesthetics as by comics aesthetics; it'll be hard to say no when it comes out in trade. 

Coming Soon to A Spinner Rack Near You: Eleanor Davis

From the Fantagraphics tumblr: It’s a great pleasure to reveal the final cover artwork for one of our most anticipated books of 2014. How to Be Happy collects short comics by Eleanor Davis and it will floor you with its beauty and depth. You’ve seen some of this work in Best American Comics, Mome, Nobrow, and Lucky Peach (if you’re tuned in to the hip print outlets) and on the web (if you’re tuned in to Tumblr), and now it’s collected in one gorgeous book, due out this Summer.