Sandman: Endless Nights

Written by Neil Gaiman
Art by Glenn Fabry, Milo Manara, Miguelanxo Prado, Frank Quitely, P. Craig Russell, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Barron Storey
160 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

Fans of Sandman had to be happy when they first heard the news. The best-selling series, having ended in 1996 with its 75-issue run, was returning in the form of a brand-new graphic novel written by Neil Gaiman. Sandman: Endless Nights certainly set sales records thanks to high demand in both comic shops and bookstores—but once all the flurry dies down, how is the book itself?

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Rose & Thorn #1

Written by Gail Simone
Penciled by Adriana Melo
Inked by Dan Green
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

I first came across Rose and Thorn in the pages of the Superman titles over a decade ago. There was something instantly intriguing about this woman, who by day was Rose, only to have an alter ego take over at night and fight organized crime. It wasn’t the idea of two identities that grabbed me, but rather the fact that Rose and Thorn were two distinct personalities housed in the same person, each operating with their own ideas and motives. Now Gail Simone’s taken this character out of mothballs to try and redefine her for the 21st century—and it’s great to see that she clearly saw the same appeal in her.

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Courtney Crumrin in the Twilight Kingdom #1

By Ted Naifeh
32 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

When Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things debuted in 2002, I thought it was one of the best new series of the year. Ted Naifeh’s story of a young girl discovering the darker, mystical side of the world through her uncle while simultaneously trying to deal with real-world problems was fantastic, and the follow-up Courtney Crumrin and the Coven of Mystics was just as much fun. Now Naifeh’s Courtney Crumrin in the Twilight Kingdom is his third outing into Courtney’s world… and in many ways, it looks like it could be the best one yet.

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Wanted #1

Written by Mark Millar
Art by J.G. Jones
32 pages, color
Published by Top Cow/Image Comics

I think it’s safe to say that Mark Millar started making his big break into American comics when he started seeing how many reader’s buttons he could push. That’s not to say it was his beginning, of course, but the writer of books like Swamp Thing and Superman Adventures just didn’t make a splash the way The Authority and The Ultimates did. Now Millar’s releasing four new books through a variety of publishers, and the first of them has hit the stands. With all the hype surrounding them, the question now becomes—are they any good?

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Amazing Screw-On Head

By Mike Mignola
32 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse Comics

I think it’s safe to say that Mike Mignola is best known these days for his creation Hellboy, between the numerous comics and the upcoming feature movie. What people might not know as much about is a one-shot comic by Mignola that quietly hit stores last year—The Amazing Screw-On Head. And if you haven’t heard about it before… trust me, you’re missing out on a great deal.

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Flowers & Bees Vol. 1

By Moyoco Anno
216 pages, black and white
Published by Viz

One of the trendiest things to do these days is to fix something or someone up. No, not fixing up as in dates, but in trying to make something better. Shows about sprucing up one’s home and garden are so numerous there are entire cable channels devoted to the genre, and the success of shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy proves that people can be just as interested in getting themselves fixed up. The protagonist of Flowers & Bees could certainly benefit from the cast of Queer Eye, though, because the people helping him certainly aren’t as interested in his well-being…

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Lost at Sea

By Bryan Lee O’Malley
160 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

If you went strictly by the title, you’d probably think Lost at Sea was about people riding the ocean waves, wondering if and when they’d ever find land again. That, needless to say, is not strictly what Lost at Sea is about. But if you strip away the boats and the salt air and the crashing sound and focus on the sensation of helplessly drifting away from the rest of the world, with no return in sight… well, you’re getting much, much warmer.

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Malinky Robot: Stinky Fish Blues

By Sonny Liew
24 pages, black and white
Published by Red Robot Productions

What the heck is a Malinky Robot? I’ve got no idea. Reading Malinky Robot: Stinky Fish Blues didn’t help. I’ve heard three or four (contradictory) theories as to just what a Malinky Robot might be. All I know for certain is that whatever the answer is, you don’t need it to enjoy Sonny Liew’s Xeric Grant-winning comic.

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Vampire’s Christmas

Story by Joseph Michael Linsner
Art by Joseph Michael Linsner and Mike Dubisch
48 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

With the month of December comes a lot of different holidays, among them Christmas. When it comes to Christmas, you can probably find more stories about it than any other holiday (although Halloween certainly comes a close second), most of them cheerful and upbeat. Maybe that’s what Joseph Michael Linsner had in mind when he created The Vampire’s Christmas, a graphic novel that is ultimately anything but upbeat.

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New Thing Vol. 2: Secrets

Edited by Jim Higgins
100 pages, black and white
Published by new suit

In his opening essay for New Thing Vol. 2: Secrets, editor Jim Higgins talks about a lack of strong stories in comics. It’s a brave opening gambit, because doing so then asks the reader to decide for themselves: is the writing in Secrets as strong as Higgins claims it will be?

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