Last week Nuv was all “Do your Christmas list! Tell our readers what comics you want for Christmas! Does this look like herpes to you?!” Well it wasn’t the worst idea I’ve ever heard but listen, before we give Nuv too much credit we should all take some time to remember that even a broken clock is right twice a day.
ANYWAY, I think I’ll take a week and think about the new stuff I’d like to see on my bookshelf before the end of the year and get back to you folks next week. As for THIS WEEK, I’m going to help you guys out. You know how you always end up getting a novelty scarf or some other dumb shit because somebody asked you what you wanted under the tree and you blanked hard? Well forget that! Here’s a quick summary of books you should ask for. Print it out! Keep it in your front pants pocket!
I know I’ve said a thousand times that I can’t stand manga or the people who like it. So what is this yuletide hypocrisy?! Well, for those that ain’t hip, Bat-Manga! is a rad-ass compilation of late-1960’s Batman stories FROM JAPAN! They’re totally awesome! The creator Jiro Kuwata basically decided that Batman’s rogue’s gallery wouldn’t fly with Japanese audiences, so he made up a bunch of bat-shit crazy new villains for him to fight. You get to see Robin say stuff like “Lord Death Man came back to life using secret yoga tricks…” and the margins have awesome facts like “At the turn of the Meiji Era, all kinds of watermelons were brought in from America, and their prices dropped because they became so abundant.” I guess these were included to make comics seem more educational to parents and teachers? Even the art is unique and not the derivative crap you see in every single manga book everywhere now. AMAZING!
This just wouldn’t be an Explosivo list if it didn’t feature at least one Darwyn Cooke book. Not many people own Batman: Ego and that’s a serious problem. Wanna know why Cooke intends to spend years drawing a comic about Parker, a character no one under 50 cares about? Because he’s just not getting enough love for his superhero comics. Like Nuv’s claims of heterosexuality, that last fact probably isn’t true. What is true is that Batman: Ego is an amazing little compilation of Cooke’s Batman / Catwoman work which also features a story he wrote that Tim Sale illustrated! The book also happens to feature one of my favourite Caped Crusader minis of all time: Deja Vu.
Speaking of effed up old comics, you’d have to search long and hard for a weirder book than Fletcher Hanks’ I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets. In the early days of comic strips, Hanks created a whole pack of bizarre heroes like Stardust, Big Red and Fantomah and turned them loose on the cowards, Nuvs and crooks of the world. The capers are preposterous for sure, but it’s the punishments doled out by the heroes that are truly outrageous. People get their heads thrown into space, some get locked in a cave with cobras, others are turned into people-sicles and melted to death. Strange stuff from the frontiers of comics and definitely worth owning, if only to weird out your friends.
Not to be confused with The Mice Templar, which is a rip-off of Mouse Guard, which is a rip-off of Redwall whose author, Brian Jacques is himself a huge rip-off of Patrick Stewart. You can always find David Petersen’s first two hardcover collections on Amazon for a great price, and that’s what you should tell the people who are buying you presents in order to make them do your bidding. This comic series is awesome and features brave (and adorable!) mice doing awesome stuff like fighting owls and trying not to starve/freeze to death. It’s super sweet and Petersen is a great artist, even if he’s a jerk to people who try to chat with him at airports.
Wednesday Comics by Everyone!
Wednesday Comics was one of the best ideas DC ever had. A weekly newspaper-strip style comic that featured the who’s who of writers and artists working on the who’s who of characters. The only thing that was kinda wack was the fragile newspaper format, but that was also a big part of the charm. But then guess what? The good folks at DC compiled all 12 issues into a super-oversized hardcover collection that really showcases the great art and vibrant colours that kinda got muddied down on the newsprint. Anyway, Hawkman fighting a T-Rex is enough to make the book worthwhile by itself. Make other people buy this for you!
So yes, it’s a short list but it’s dynamite! Basically my ultimate goal for you is to make your graphic novel shelf look as awesome as mine. Forcing your loved ones to buy you these books is a great start.
Until next week chums!