Glamourpuss #5

By Dave Sim
24 pages, black and white
Published by Aardvark-Vanaheim

I couldn’t help but find it a little apt to finally run a review of Glamourpuss right before April Fool’s Day, since I can’t help but suspect that most people think that Dave Sim is playing an elaborate joke on the rest of the comics industry with this being his follow-up to Cerebus. Once I finally sat down with an issue of the comic, though, I found myself really surprised by this strange, hodgepodge comic, which isn’t really quite like anything else on the market right now. I’m not entirely sure the world is ready for a combination of art appreciation, history lesson, and pop culture spoof, but then again was anyone really ready for Cerebus?

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Eternal Smile

Written by Gene Luen Yang
Art by Derek Kirk Kim
176 pages, color
Published by First Second Books

Two and a half years ago, Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese was released with huge (and well-deserved) critical acclaim. While he’s had a few books from other publishers years ago, since then the wait for a new Yang book has begun. Fans of American Born Chinese will no doubt be eager to hear that his new book, with artist Derek Kirk Kim, is now out. And, happily? There’s a lot to love here, too, with three stories that one-by-one tear the veil away from their initial situations to reveal something slightly different.

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Muppet Show #1

By Roger Langridge
24 pages, color
Published by Boom! Studios

It’s always seemed a little strange to me that there haven’t been many The Muppet Show comics. Aside from movie adaptations, you can round up most of their comic appearances in the form of Muppet Babies comics, and to me that really isn’t quite the same. I was pretty pleased, as a result, to hear that Boom! Studios had not only ended up with The Muppet Show license but that Roger Langridge was writing and drawing the book. Because quite frankly, if there’s one cartoonist out there who truly "gets" the The Muppet Show, it’s Langridge.

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Bang! Tango #1-2

Written by Joe Kelly
Penciled by Adrian Sibar
Inked by Rodney Ramos
32 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

There’s nothing quite like picking up a comic off the stands and realizing that you’ve never even heard of it. That’s the only way to describe the surprise of seeing Bang! Tango, Vertigo’s new mini-series about dancing and crime. If you’re as instantly intrigued by that basic idea as I am, well, you’re in for an interesting surprise. I can’t help but think that this is going to be a comic that will be remembered by those who read it for quite a while.

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League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century #1

Written by Alan Moore
Art by Kevin O’Neill
80 pages, color
Published by Top Shelf Productions

One of the things I’ve always appreciated about Alan Moore’s career is that he’s never seemed willing to "play it safe." So with the return of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, it would certainly be easy enough to follow the pattern of the first two mini-series, having the group confront a very specific problem, and call it a day. With The League of the Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century, though, Moore’s casting his net a little wider in terms of his story-telling, taking a bit of a chance—and so far it seems to be working out rather well.

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Complete Peanuts: 1961-1962

By Charles M. Schulz
342 pages, black and white
Published by Fantagraphics Books

When I was a little kid, I used to regularly scour my library for collections of Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts. The books would always be ragged and dog-eared, which if anything was a sign that I was hardly the only one reading them over and over again. So when Fantagraphics began their Complete Peanuts line a few years ago, I was over the moon. Reading the comic strips from the 1950s was a real thrill, with so many of them rarely or never reprinted, and even more of them new to me. Now that I’ve finally hit the 1960s strips, though, I can’t help but feel that I’ve entered the real Golden Age of Peanuts.

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DMZ Vol. 6: Blood in the Game

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Riccardo Burchielli
144 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

I’m certainly always enjoyed Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli’s DMZ, an ongoing series about a journalist in the demilitarized zone of Manhattan where the United States and the Free States’s armies had originally collided. With this new volume, Blood in the Game, I can’t deny that I was initially a little thrown by its contents—perhaps because it seemed to be heading a direction that I wasn’t entirely sure would be as much of an attraction for me. The more I think about this change in the title, though, the more pleased I am with its new route.

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Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei Vol. 1

By Koji Kumeta
192 pages, black and white
Published by Del Rey

There are always times when I really wonder just how much I’m "missing" when reading a translation of a comic into English. Just reading comics that started out in English, it’s easy to see cultural references left and right, ones that even readers from its place of origin might not initially get. So when you’re reading a comic from, say, France or Japan, the chances of missing those cultural references are much higher. That’s something that finally really came home while reading Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei Vol. 1; the translator does the best job she can, and there are lots of footnotes at the end of the book, but it’s almost shocking just how much is going to fly over most people’s heads.

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Doctor Who: The Whispering Gallery

Written by Leah Moore and John Reppion
Art by Ben Templesmith
32 pages, color
Published by IDW

There’s no two ways about it, I love me some good Doctor Who. The problem can be, like with just about all licensed comics, actually getting just that. It’s a very difficult process to get both the writing and the art to not only mirror the original property that you’re supposed to be about, but also still feel fresh and different. It’s with all of this in mind that I felt like I had to take a look at Doctor Who: The Whispering Gallery, because if there was one creator whose work I wouldn’t have immediately pegged for this sort of project, it’s artist Ben Templesmith.

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R.E.B.E.L.S. #1

Written by Tony Bedard
Art by Andy Clarke
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

One of the very first "DC Universe" books I ever started reading was L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89, DC’s "present day" precursor to the Legion of Super-Heroes, spinning out of their Invasion! mini-series event. It was a lot of fun, a mixture of space opera, manipulative bastards you love to hate, and out-and-out silliness. Most people probably remember L.E.G.I.O.N. as the book that made Lobo an insanely popular character, but for me it’s got to be the founder of the organization, Vril Dox. Clearly I’m not the only one who feels this way, since he’s back and the lead of the new R.E.B.E.L.S. series—but will anyone else notice?

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