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Friday, October 3, 2008

SPOTLIGHT: Graphic Novels of October 2008

As a collector, I loved buying single issues of comic books—first issues, variant covers, convention exclusives, etc—but as a fan and reader, I prefer the graphic novel format. Unfortunately, collecting comic books is an expensive hobby and I had to stop collecting a couple of years ago. Thankfully, graphic novels are a cheaper, alternative method for me to stay in touch with my geeky side, and since there are several graphic novels released every month, I’ve decided to start a monthly Spotlight that will focus exclusively on graphic novels. NOTE: The following is NOT a comprehensive list of graphic novels released throughout the month, but rather a list of titles that I’m personally interested in or that I believe readers of speculative fiction might enjoy. Also, please be aware that all of the releases dates listed are taken from Amazon.com and that readers might be able to find the titles at an earlier date online or at your local comic book store:

The Twelve” written by J. Michael Straczynski, Illustrated by Chris Weston. Release Date: October 1, 2008. Published by
Marvel Comics.

Thought lost to the pages of time, a dozen Mystery Men from the “greatest generation” of World War II find themselves thrust into the morally-gray world of the 21st century. Now, Captain Wonder, Dynamic Man, Mastermind Excello, Mister E, the Laughing Mask, the Witness, the Black Widow, the Phantom Reporter, the Fiery Mask, Rockman, the Blue Blade and Electro the Marvel of the Age must seek a place for themselves in the modern Marvel Universe—while a silent killer seeks to eliminate them, one by one…

This Premiere Hardcover collects issues #1-6, which is part of a 12-issue miniseries, and is yet to be completed.

About J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Weston:

J. Michael Straczynski is the creator of the highly popular television show, Babylon 5, and has been involved in several other TV/film projects. As a comic book writer, Straczynski turned heads with his creator-owned series Rising Stars and Midnight Nation, and has done some amazing work for
Marvel Comics including Supreme Power, The Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Thor, etc.

Chris Weston is a British comic book artist and has worked with a ton of notable writers including Dan Abnett, Mike Carey, Joe Casey, Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, Mark Millar, Grant Morrison, David S. Goyer, and so on.
J. Michael Straczynski @ Wikipedia
Official Chris Weston Blog
Order “The Twelve
HERE

Kin: Book One of The Good Neighbors” written by Holly Black, Illustrated by Ted Naifeh. Release Date: October 1, 2008. Published by
Graphix, Scholastic Books' brand new line of graphic novels.

Rue Silver's mother has disappeared . . . and her father has been arrested, suspected of killing her. But it's not as straightforward as that. Because Rue is a faerie, like her mother was. And her father didn't kill her mother—instead, he broke a promise to Rue's faerie king grandfather, which caused Rue's mother to be flung back to the faerie world. Now Rue must go to save her—and must also defeat a dark faerie that threatens our very mortal world…

About Holly Black and Ted Naifeh:

Holly Black is the author of the New York Times bestselling
Spiderwick Chronicles series and other contemporary fantasy novels for teens and children. Her latest work is the graphic novel series, The Good Neighbors.

Comic book writer Ted Naifeh is most well known for his gothic romance comic
Gloomcookie. He is also the creator of the Courtney Crumrin series, which was nominated for an Eisner Award. His other series include Polly and the Pirates, Death Jr., and Unearthly. With his illustrations for the Goosebumps Graphix series, he adapts R.L. Stine's work into a cool, new graphic format.
Official Holly Black Website
Official Ted Naifeh Website
Order “Kin
HERE
Read An Excerpt
HERE
Read Reviews via
avidbookreader, ComicMix + Teenreads.com

The Long Road Home” written by Peter David and
Robin Furth, Penciled by Jae Lee and inked by Richard Isanove. Release Date: October 7, 2008. Published by Marvel Comics. It’s the return of the bestselling comic book series, inspired by Stephen King’s epic, The Dark Tower

Gunslinger Roland Deschain has seen the death of his lover Susan Delgado. And the Big Coffin Hunters who burned her at the stake are now in pursuit of Roland and his ka-tet Cuthbert and Alain. The friends are forced to flee into the desert with the deadly posse in hot pursuit . . . and Roland is in a coma! Don’t miss the next chapter in the saga of the Gunslinger whose quest for the Dark Tower will shake the foundation of reality itself…

The Long Road Home” features the same creative team from the bestselling “The Gunslinger Born” miniseries, which together are a prequel spinoff to Stephen King’s The Dark Tower novels. The third miniseries, titled “Treachery”, just started in September 2008. This Hardcover Premiere collects “The Long Road Homeissues #1-5.
Official The Dark Tower Website
Official Peter David Website
Order
HERE + HERE (Amazon.com Exclusive)
NOTE: I thought “The Gunslinger Born” was absolutely stunning and have been highly anticipating the collected release of “The Long Road Home”. The hardcover comes in two different editions: the regular one and an Amazon.com Exclusive (See Above) which I preordered. There’s also a
Slipcased Hardcover Edition for the big spender :)

Justice: Volume 2” written by Alex Ross and Jim Krueger, Illustrated by Doug Braithwaite and Alex Ross. Cover by Alex Ross Release Date: October 7, 2008. Published by
DC Comics.

The Justice League of America is reimagined by fan-favorite painter Alex Ross (JLA: Liberty and Justice, Kingdom Come) and writer Jim Krueger (Earth X, Universe X) with pencil art by Doug Braithwaite (Paradise X) painted by Ross in this fantastic and bestselling maxiseries…

The members of the fabled Justice League of America are about to learn they aren't the only ones who can band together toward a common goal. The greatest criminal masterminds of our time appear to be acting in concert—but with a surprising plan that seeks to achieve more good than the JLA ever could!

In this second volume—which collects Justice #5-8—a conspiracy of villains has found a way to use Superman's powers against him. He's beyond control and there's only one solution—which may kill him…
Official Alex Ross Website
Official Jim Krueger Website
Official Doug Braithwaite Website
Order “Justice: Volume 2
HERE
NOTE: This is the Trade Paperback version of “Justice: Volume 2”. The hardcover edition was released last February and Volume 3 is also currently available. The Volume 3 Trade Paperback is scheduled for publication January 13, 2009.

Omega: The Unknown” written by Jonathan Lethem and Karl Rusnack, Illustrated by Farel Dalrymple and
Paul Hornschemeier. Release Date: October 8, 2008. Published by Marvel Comics.

Created in 1975 by Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes, the original Omega the Unknown—the story of a mute, reluctant super hero from another planet and the earthly teenager with whom he shares a strange destiny—lasted only ten issues, but was a legend to those who recall it. An ahead-of-its-time tale of an anti-hero, inflected with brilliant ambiguity. One of Omega's teenage fans was award-winning novelist Jonathan Lethem, who has used the original as a springboard for a superbly strange, funny and moving tale…

This Premiere Hardcover collects “Omega: The Unknown#1-10.
Official Jonathan Lethem Website
Official Farel Dalrymple Website
Order “Omega: The Unknown
HERE
Read Issue One
HERE

Lords Of Avalon: Sword Of Darkness” written by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Robin Gillespie, Illustrated by Tommy Ohtsuka. Release Date: October 8, 2008. Published by
Marvel Comics.

In a world where Camelot is ruled by Lord Kerrigan, the peasant Seren has become a pawn between the rulers of light and the rulers of darkness. But the talented seamstress faces a dilemma after Lord Kerrigan kidnaps her: Is Kerrigan truly the demon others portray him to be . . . or is he her savior in disguise?

Jump into this new twist on Arthurian legend, adapted from bestselling author Kinley MacGregor. MacGregor, known for her historical romance novels, is the pen name of Sherrilyn Kenyon, the bestselling and award-winning American author known for her supernatural romance and vampire novels including the
Dark-Hunter series…

This Premiere Hardcover collects “Lords Of Avalon: Sword Of Darkness#1-6.
Official Kinley MacGregor Website
Official Sherrilyn Kenyon Website
Order “Lords Of Avalon: Sword Of Darkness
HERE

Welcome to the Jungle” written by Jim Butcher, Penciled by Ardian Syaif and inked by
Joe Pimentel (Amazing Spider-Man). Covers by Ardian Syaif and Chris McGrath. Release Date: October 14, 2008. Published by Del Rey/Dabel Brothers.

Harry Dresden is on the case again, this time investigating a brutal mauling at the Lincoln Park Zoo that has left a security guard dead and many questions unanswered. But Dresden isn't a private detective, looking for a murderer—he's a wizard, with the ability to interact with the magical world around our own, and sees that there's much more to this case than a simple animal attack. As Dresden begins to hunt for clues to figure out who is really behind this crime, he finds himself next on the victims list…

Written exclusively for comics by New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher, “The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle” is a brand new story set in the world of the wildly popular urban fantasy series, The Dresden Files, and is sure to enchant readers with its blend of gripping mystery and fantastic adventure!
Official Jim Butcher Website
Order “Welcome to the Jungle
HERE
Read a Preview
HERE
NOTE: I’ve only browsed through a couple of issues so far, but what I’ve seen has been impressive and I look forward to reviewing the graphic novel in the near future…

Madame Mirage” written by Paul Dini, Illustrated by Kenneth Rocafort. Release Date: October 15, 2008. Published by
Top Cow Comics.

But who is this beautiful woman who appears out of the mist? As deadly as she is beautiful, she is cutting a bloody path through the city's villains, who now wear suits and have "legitimate" businesses. But who is her ultimate prey? And how does this Mirage take form? And why is her destiny and that of her sidekick Harper so irrevocably entwined? These and many other questions will be asked along with the most pivotal question of all—Who is Madame Mirage?

From the magical mind of Paul Dini (Countdown, Detective Comics) comes a new, original femme fatale story that combines elements of film noir, tech, and superhero comics. Superbly drawn by rising star Kenneth Rocafort (Hunter-Killer), this volume collects Season One of this amazing story, a cover gallery, and insightful behind-the-scenes material, plus an all-new cover by Rocafort

Best known as a producer/writer of such acclaimed animated TV series as Batman, Superman, Batman Beyond, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, Paul Dini has won five Emmys for his work. He’s also won two Writer’s Guild Awards including one for the TV show
Lost. Now Paul is making a name for himself in the world of comic books with DC’s Countdown, Detective and Madame Mirage
Official Madame Mirage Website
Official Paul Dini Blog
Read A Preview
HERE
Order “Madame Mirage
HERE

The Boys — Volume 3: Good for the Soul” written by Garth Ennis, Illustrated by Darick Robertson. Release Date: October 15, 2008. Published by Dynamite Entertainment.

In a world where costumed heroes soar through the sky and masked vigilantes prowl the night, someone's got to make sure the “supes” don't get out of line. And someone will. Billy Butcher, Wee Hughies, Mother's Milk, The Frenchman and the Female are The Boys: a CIA-backed team of very dangerous people, each one dedicated to the struggle against the most dangerous force on Earth—superpower. Some superheroes have to be watched. Some have to be controlled. And sometimes, some of them need to be taken out of the picture. That's when you call in The Boys

This Paperback volume collects “The Boysissues #15-22. Volumes One and Two—“The Name of the Game” and “Get Some”—are currently available.
Garth Ennis @ Wikipedia
Official Darick Robertson Website
Order “The Boys: Good for the SoulHERE
Read a Preview HERE
NOTE: On October 29, 2008, Dynamite Entertainment is publishing a Definitive Edition of “The Boys” that collects issues #1-14. The oversized hardcover will feature tweaks by the creators, bonus art materials, the script to issue #1 by Garth Ennis, a complete cover gallery, and more…

Absolute Ronin” written and illustrated by Frank Miller. Release Date: October 21, 2008. Published by
DC Comics.

Absolute Ronin”, the acclaimed epic by Frank Miller—visionary writer/artist of The Dark Knight Returns, 300 and Sin City, and director of the upcoming movie adaptation of The Spirit—is collected for the first time in hardcover in DC's oversized, slipcased Absolute format! In this tale, the legendary warrior known only as the Ronin—a disgraced 13th century samurai—is given a second chance to avenge his master's death and regain his honor. Reborn in a futuristic and corrupt 21st century New York City, the Ronin must defeat the reincarnation of his master's killer, the ancient demon Agat…

This breathtaking Absolute Edition includes rarely seen promotional art, fold-out pages and many more special features.
Frank Miller @ Wikipedia
Order “Absolute Ronin
HERE
NOTE: Absolute Editions are expensive, but they are totally worth it. I own five of them—Absolute Watchmen, Absolute Sandman: Volumes 1-3, and Absolute Batman: Hush—and they are simply stunning! In fact, I wish all comic books and novels were produced in such a manner :) I’m not sure if I’ll get this one or not, but do yourself a favor and check out an Absolute Edition if you can…

Sentences: The Life of M.F. Grimm” written by Percy Carey, Illustrated by Ronald Wimberly. Release Date: October 21, 2008. Published by
Vertigo Comics.

Underground rap icon Percy Carey tells the true story of his life in the “Hip-Hop Game”—the dizzying heights and heartbreaking losses—in the raw and brutally honest graphic novel memoir “Sentences: The Life of M.F. Grimm”…

In “Sentences”, Carey chronicles his life in the sometimes glamorous, and often violent, hip-hop industry. From the first time he picked up a microphone at a block party as a youngster, to the day he lost the use of his legs to gang violence, to his incarceration, and eventually, to his self-reinvention and rise back to the top of his game, becoming a Hip-Hop Grand Master and being placed among the pantheon of the culture. No questions are left unanswered and no apologies are made, resulting in a groundbreaking graphic novel.

Joining Carey is up-and-coming artist Ronald Wimberly (Lucifer, Hellblazer: Papa Midnite covers), who breathtakingly illustrates this gritty tale of righteous redemption. If what you know about hip-hop is the flashy cars and voluptuous women that music videos try to sell, be prepared to experience the real side of the industry that only someone who has survived the rise, fall, and rise again, can tell…

This is the Paperback version of “Sentences: The Life of M.F. Grimm”. The Hardcover edition was published last September.
Official MF Doom Myspace
Official Ronald Wimberly Website
Order “Sentences: The Life of M.F. Grimm
HERE
Download a Sneak Peak
HERE (PDF)

Fear(s) of the Dark”. US Release Date: October 24, 2008. Distributed by IFC Films.

Fear(s) of the Dark” is a wildly inventive and visually dazzling collection of fearful tales by six of the world’s most renowned comic and graphic artists: Blutch (Libération, The New Yorker, Les Inrockuptibles), Charles Burns (Black Hole, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker), Marie Caillou (Libération, Max, Jeune et Jolie, Dépeche Mode), Pierre Di Sciullo (Qui Resiste Magazine), Lorenzo Mattotti (The New Yorker, Eros film), and Richard McGuire (Time Magazine, The New Yorker, PBS Kids).

From a besotted student whose girlfriend is weirdly ardent in her affections, to a Japanese schoolgirl menaced by a long-dead samurai, and a pack of hounds on a bloodthirsty rampage, “Fear(s) of the Dark” has a story strand to trouble every sleep—not to mention a stunning range of animation styles. Shot in shimmering black and white, the six intertwined tales create an unprecedented epic where phobias and nightmares come to life and reveal Fear at its most naked and intense…
Official “Fear(s) of the Dark” Website
Official “Fear(s) of the Dark” Myspace
Watch the Trailer HERE
Read Reviews via Write On Film
NOTE: Okay, so this isn’t a graphic novel, but it is a graphic novel movie, which is arguably even better. Definitely a film I plan on checking out…

Y: The Last Man Deluxe Edition” written by Brian K. Vaughan, Illustrated by Pia Guerra and Jose Marzan, Jr. Cover by Massimo Carnevale. Release Date: October 28, 2008. Published by
Vertigo Comics.

When a plague of unknown origin instantly kills every mammal with a Y chromosome, unemployed and unmotivated slacker Yorick Brown suddenly discovers that he is the only male left in a world inhabited solely by women.

Accompanied by his mischievous monkey and the mysterious Agent 355, Yorick embarks on a transcontinental journey to find his girlfriend and discover why he is the last man on Earth. But with a gang of feminist extremists and the leader of the Israel Defense Forces hunting him, Yorick's future, as well as that of the human race, may be short-lived…

The first ten issues of the award-winning series written by Brian K. Vaughan (Ex Machina, Lost) are collected in this oversized hardcover with a new cover and is the perfect opportunity for new readers to experience the amazing SF epic that Stephen King called “The best graphic novel I've ever read.”
Official Brian K. Vaughan Website
Official Pia Guerra Website
Order “Y: The Last Man Deluxe Edition
HERE
Download Issue #1
HERE (PDF)
NOTE: I read the first few issues a long time ago and loved the concept, but wanted to wait until the 60-issue series was complete—which it is now and available in ten softcover paperbacks. Personally, I was hoping the series would get the
Absolute treatment, but this Deluxe Edition is a nice alternative :) On a different note, the comic book series has been optioned for film adaptation by New Line Cinema.

Crossing Midnight: The Blade in the Soul” written by Mike Carey, Illustrated by Jim Fern, Gabriel Hernandez,
Matteo Guerrero and J.H. Williams III. Cover by J.H. Williams III. Release Date: October 28, 2008. Published by Vertigo Comics.

A compelling fantasy/horror series set in the heart of present-day Nagasaki, Japan—think Miyazaki's Spirited Away meets Asian horror—“Crossing Midnight” begins when extraordinary twins are born . . . one just before midnight and the other just after. They discover the huge impact this small difference has on their destinies when one of them is inducted into a world of supernatural beings and events that intersects with our own world. Together, the twins will try to stay one step ahead of their terrifying fates while they learn how far their new world of terror intersects with their own.

Collecting issues #13-19 in this final volume of the series—after “Cut Here” and “A Map of Midnight”—Toshi and Kai lead the kami armies into battle . . . but it may take more to determine the fate of the twins…
Official Mike Carey Website
Official Jim Fern Website
Official J.H. Williams III Website
Order “Crossing Midnight: The Blade in the Soul
HERE
Download Issue #1
HERE (PDF)

Comic Book Tattoo: Special Edition HC” edited by Rantz A. Hoseley and Tori Amos. Cover by
Jason Levesque. Release Date: October 29, 2008. Published by Image Comics.

Featuring an introduction by Neil Gaiman and an extensive roster of talent—over 80 creators from every style and genre contributed to fifty-plus stories—“Comic Book Tattoo” encapsulates the breadth, depth, and beauty of modern comics in this critically-acclaimed, bestselling coffee table format book inspired by the songs of multi-platinum recording artist, Tori Amos.

This Hardcover Special Edition comes shrink-wrapped in an elegantly designed slipcase with silver accents. Regular hardcover and softcover editions are also available. Each version is 480 pages long, sized 12” x 12”, with full color art…
Official Tori Amos Website
Official Rantz A. Hoseley Website
Order “Comic Book Tattoo
HERE
Read a Preview
HERE
Read Reviews via
Comic Book Tattoo, Comic Review + Fantasy Magazine

Marvel Zombies” written by Robert Kirkman, Illustrated by Sean Phillips. Cover by Arthur Suydam. Release Date: October 29, 2008. Published by
Marvel Comics.

It first came from the skies—a horrific virus that turned nearly every man, woman and child on Earth into undead zombies. Even Marvel’s greatest heroes—including Captain America, Spider-Man and the Hulk—have succumbed, driven only by one mindless goal: to feed on human flesh. But with only a small number of survivors remaining against this unstoppable tide of hunger, what happens when the zombie’s finally run out of humans to eat?

Comic-book fans devoted enough to read only Marvel titles have long been dubbed “Marvel Zombies,” but even the most passionate reader could not have predicted the astounding success of this series. Writer Robert Kirkman, known for his best-selling horror series The Walking Dead, crafts a shocking, spellbinding tale of a Marvel Universe infected by a worldwide zombie plague. Veteran artist Sean Phillips (Hellblazer, Sleeper, WildC.A.T.s) fleshes out Kirkman’s tale, ably transforming once-familiar Marvel heroes into disturbing visions of decaying flesh and rotting bones.

This Trade Paperback version collects “Marvel Zombie’s#1-5 and features three different covers: Spider-Man, Iron Man and the Hulk.
Official Marvel Zombies Website
Official Robert Kirkman Website
Official Sean Phillips Website
Order “Marvel Zombies
HERE, HERE + HERE
NOTE: The sequel to “Marvel Zombies”, known as “Marvel Zombies 2”, is currently out in a Hardcover graphic novel and will be released as a Trade Paperback in February 2009. A third miniseries starts this October written by
Fred Van Lente and illustrated by Kev Walker with a cover by Greg Land.

Hatter M: The Looking Glass Wars — Volume One” written by Frank Beddor and Liz Cavalier, Illustrated by Ben Templesmith. Release Date: October 30, 2008. Published by Automatic Publishing /
Desperado Publishing.

Put to rest any delusions or disinformation you may have of the tea guzzling madman of faux literary history and prepare to expand your consciousness as the saga of Hatter Madigan and his relentless search for the lost Princess of Wonderland unfolds on these pages…

In Frank Beddor’s The Looking Glass Wars, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan was ordered by Queen Genevieve to take Princess Alyss and leave Wonderland after a bloody palace coup staged by the murderous Redd. But while escaping through the Pool of Tears—the portal connecting Wonderland to our world—crushing centrifugal force pulled them apart and Alyss was lost. In this geographic parallel adventure, Hatter finds himself in Paris, France in the year 1859 shockingly separated from the child he had been sworn to protect.

Unbeknownst to Hatter, Alyss had exited a puddle in London, England. Lost and alone, she was befriended by an aspiring author to whom she told the surreal, violent, heartbreaking story of her young life only to see it published as the nonsensical children’s fairytale Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But Carroll had got it all wrong. He even misspelled her name! Alyss had trusted Lewis Carroll to tell the truth so that Hatter would find her and bring her home. Instead, Hatter must endure a non-stop quest, crisscrossing the globe for thirteen years in search of the lost Princess. While formidable with blades, a moment must be taken to introduce his signature weapon, the Hat. Woven and blocked from a material not available in any realm except the origins of wonder, the Hat, when hurled by his expert hand, instantly unfolds into a circle of blades to attack or defend. The mad odyssey begins here…

Hatter M: The Looking Glass Wars — Volume One” collects issues #1-4 with additional bonus material.
Official The Looking Glass Wars Website
Official Ben Templesmith Website
Order “Hatter M: Volume One
HERE
Read Previews
HERE
NOTE: Even though I’ve already read the single issues, I’ve been looking forward to this graphic novel and managed to score an advance copy which is quite beautiful. If I have time, I will review the graphic novel. But if not, let me just say it’s a perfect complement to the Looking Glass Wars novels and comes highly recommended :) Best of all, readers can expect more of these Hatter M graphic novel adventures as mentioned by Mr. Beddor
HERE.

2 comments:

Calibandar said...

Very cool feature, couple of books I'd like to get from that.

Robert said...

I'm glad you like the feature Calibander :) Like I said, I plan on doing it every month from now on. I'm also hoping to start working with Marvel, DC, Image, etc., and start providing more coverage on graphic novels...

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