Drawn & Quarterly Showcase Book One

By Kevin Huizenga and Nicolas Robel
96 pages, two-color
Published by Drawn & Quarterly

One of the great things about the original Drawn & Quarterly anthology was how each new issue would introduce new and upcoming talents in comics who may not have received wider exposure in the comics industry. While the new annual anthology volumes still do that, it’s great to see Drawn & Quarterly taking a new proactive role in bringing this talent to the forefront. That’s where Drawn & Quarterly Showcase comes from, helping identify and celebrate the new superstars of comics. But are the choices for this first book the real deal?

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Supreme: The Return

Written by Alan Moore
Penciled by Chris Sprouse and Rick Veitch, with Gil Kane, Jim Starlin, Matt Smith, Jim Baikie, Ian Churchill, and Rob Liefeld
Inked by Al Gordon and Rick Veitch, with Jim Starlin, Rob Liefeld, Matt Smith, and Norm Rapmund
260 pages, color
Published by Checker Book Publishing Group

The sales of one of your comic books—a thinly disguised incarnation of Superman—are lackluster. General interest in the book is down pretty low. What do you do? In the case of Rob Liefeld and the comic book Supreme, the answer was to hire Alan Moore to come on board as writer and completely revamp the series. No one seemed to really believe that Alan Moore was going to write Supreme, but it worked. In many ways a precursor to Moore’s various America’s Best Comics titles, his run on Supreme is now collected into two volumes for those wondering just what they missed the first time around…

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Alice 19th Vol. 1: Lotis Master

By Yû Watase
192 pages, black and white
Published by Viz

In the past half-decade or so, it’s been fascinating to watch the rise of Yû Watase in America. Her series Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play became a huge hit on both print and video, and the follow-up Ceres, Celestial Legend isn’t doing too shabbily either. Now a third series from Watase is hitting stores in the form of Alice 19th—and it just goes to show that Watase keeps getting better with age.

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Mister Negativity, and Other Tales of Supernatural Law

By Batton Lash
176 pages, black and white
Published by Exhibit A Press

Who doesn’t know a couple of lawyer jokes? As long as there have been people to argue the law, there’s been humor about the profession. The secret, then, is to make sure that your lawyer jokes are better than anyone else’s. With Batton Lash’s latest collection of his comic Supernatural Law, he proves that he doesn’t know just a couple of lawyer jokes, but a whole case file full… and fortunately for you, they’re well worth hearing.

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Hip Flask: Elephantmen

Story by Richard Starkings, Joe Casey, and Ladronn
Dialogue by Richard Starkings and Joe Casey
Art by Ladronn
36 pages, color
Published by Active Images

When Richard Starkings came up with a mascot to appear in the ads for his lettering company ComiCraft, he invented the hippopotamus private investigator Hip Flask. I don’t know if he knew just then what would eventually happen to Hip Flask, but most people were surprised when Starkings announced that Hip Flask would get his own comic. What started out as a joke turned out to be one of the most gorgeous books on the market, with an equally thoughtful story. Now that’s a pleasant surprise.

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Legion #25-26

Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Penciled by Chris Batista
Inked by Chip Wallace
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

It’s got to be tough, working on The Legion. It’s had a very long life (titled until the past couple years as The Legion of Super-Heroes) and walks a strange line of being part of the “DC Universe”, but set 1000 in the future. Maybe that’s why it’s so nice to see the current revamp of The Legion doing so well creatively; this is the best the comic’s been in years.

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First President of Japan Vol. 1

Written by Kidaka Yoshiki
Art by Tsugihara Ryuji
176 pages, black and white
Published by Gutsoon Entertainment

Reading The First President of Japan, it’s hard to believe that this was originally published in Japan five years ago. With a story involving troop movements within North Korea, political unrest between Japan and the United States, and a series of actions that threatens to ignite an all-out war within a small region of the country, the number of events here that mirror what’s happened in the world since then is a little shocking. Then again, if you asked the creators of The First President of Japan what they thought about it, they’d probably just smile knowingly. They certainly did their research in creating this series, and it shows—in a good way.

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Shade, the Changing Man Vol. 1: The American Scream

Written by Peter Milligan
Penciled by Chris Bachalo
Inked by Mark Pennington
168 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

When the Vertigo line first began in 1993, there were six existing series that had blazed the trails to get there. The “youngest” of the six series was Peter Milligan’s and Chris Bachalo’s Shade, the Changing Man, created by two virtually unknown creators. Now, a decade later, both have gone onto greater fame on a variety of different projects, and Shade, the Changing Man tops far too many “series I’d like to see collected into trade paperbacks” list. With the release of Shade, the Changing Man: The American Scream earlier this year, it’s hopefully the first of many collected volumes of this classic series.

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RQW #1-3

By Ray Friesen
24 pages, black and white
Published by Don’t Eat Any Bugs Productions

I’m not quite old enough to remember when the “Perils of Pauline” movie serial ran in movie theatres during the 1930s, but that doesn’t stop me from appreciating it. Each new installment had another crazy adventure for Pauline and her scientist father, ending as always on a bigger and better cliffhanger. We may not get the serial adventure in movies these days, but we do still get something just like it in comic books. When reading Ray Friesen’s comic RQW, all I could think is that a serial of this in the front of all of a studio’s movies aimed at teenagers would be a tremendous success.

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Chronicles of Conan Vol. 1: Tower of the Elephant and Other Stories

Written by Roy Thomas
Some chapters based on stories by Robert E. Howard
Penciled by Barry Windsor-Smith
Inked by Sal Buscema, Frank Giacoia, Dan Adkins, Tom Sutton, and Tom Palmer
168 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse Comics

When people talk about Robert E. Howard’s character of Conan, the first thing to leap to mind is usually a movie by a certain Governor of California. If you ask a comic book fan, though, they’ll probably think of the comic published by Marvel for quite some time—and specifically the original issues by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith. Now that Dark Horse has the Conan license, they’re reprinting those classic stories in a series of four volumes. For people like myself who weren’t reading comics at the time, it’s great to finally see just what all the fuss is about.

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