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Friday, October 31, 2008

SPOTLIGHT: Graphic Novels of November 2008

Welcome to the November 2008 edition of Fantasy Book Critic’s monthly Spotlight for Graphic Novels. The debut spotlight for October 2008 can be found HERE. Please note that 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 and that readers might be able to find the titles at an earlier date online or at your local comic book store:

Joker” written by
Brian Azzarello, Illustrated by Lee Bermejo and Mick Gray. Cover by Lee Bermejo. Release Date: November 4, 2008. Published by DC Comics.

In the all-new, hardcover original graphic novel “Joker”, writer Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets, Batman, Superman) and artist Lee Bermejo (Hellblazer covers)—the creative team behind the acclaimed miniseries Lex Luthor: Man of Steel—show an even darker and more disturbing side to the most dangerous man in Gotham: The Joker.

After yet another stint in Arkham Asylum, the Joker finds “his city” divided among mobsters and costumed villains. Not content to settle for a piece of the pie, the Joker vows to take back the whole damn enchilada by any means necessary. Look for appearances by a slew of Gotham’s most wanted, including gritty takes on Two-Face, Riddler, Killer Croc, Penguin, Harley Quinn and even Batman.

Not since “The Killing Joke” have you seen such a powerful tale of the Joker—you won’t want to miss this one…
Order “Joker
Newsarama’s Interview with Brian Azzarello
Read A Preview
Read Reviews via
ComicMix + IGN
NOTE: I’ve been anticipating this graphic novel ever since it was announced. I can’t wait!

Bernie Wrightson's Frankenstein” written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Illustrated by Bernie Wrightson. Release Date: November 5, 2008. Published by
Dark Horse Books.

Few works by comic book artists have earned the universal acclaim and reverence that Bernie Wrightson's (Swamp Thing, Wolves of the Calla) illustrated version of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein was met with upon its original release in 1983. Twenty-five years later, this magnificent pairing of art and literature is still considered to be one of the greatest achievements made by any artist in the field.

Now, Wrightson and
Dark Horse Books are collaborating on a beautiful new hardcover edition of the book, published in a larger 9” x 12” format intended to show off the exquisitely detailed line art of one of the greatest living artists in comics today. This book includes the complete text of the original ground-breaking novel, and the original forty-seven full-page illustrations that stunned the world with their monumental beauty and uniqueness…
Official Bernie Wrightson Website
Order “Bernie Wrightson's Frankenstein
Read A Preview HERE
NOTE: The original edition of this book is nearly impossible to find. Don't miss your chance to enjoy one of the most talked-about books of the last twenty-five years. I don’t intend to :)

The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite Limited Edition” written by Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance frontman), Illustrated by Multiple Eisner Award-winning artist Gabriel Bá and colored by
Dave Stewart. Released Date: November 5, 2008. Published by Dark Horse Comics.

In an inexplicable worldwide event, forty-seven extraordinary children were spontaneously born by women who'd previously shown no signs of pregnancy. Millionaire inventor Reginald Hargreeves adopted seven of the children. When asked why, his only explanation was, “To save the world.”

These seven children form The Umbrella Academy, a dysfunctional family of superheroes with bizarre powers. Their first adventure at the age of ten pits them against an erratic and deadly Eiffel Tower, piloted by the fearsome zombie-robot Gustave Eiffel. Nearly a decade later, the team disbands, but when Hargreeves unexpectedly dies, these disgruntled siblings reunite just in time to save the world once again…

This Oversized, Slipcased Hardcover (collects the entire six-issue mini-series) is limited to 1500 copies, comes with a tip-in sheet signed by both Gerard and Gabriel, and features an expanded sketchbook with concept designs and original artwork; commentary from the artists; and the short story from the hit 2007 Free Comic Book Day issue. A more affordable TPB of “The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite” is also available for purchase…
Official The Umbrella Academy Myspace
Official Gabriel Bá Myspace
Order “The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite Limited Edition
Read A Preview
Read Reviews
NOTE:The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite” won the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Finite Series/Limited Series. A second six-issue limited series by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, titled “The Umbrella Academy: Dallas”, will hit stores on November 26, 2008 with issue #1. Recently, it was announced HERE that Univeral Pictures has picked up the option to adapt "The Umbrella Academy" into a major motion picture.

Watchmen” written by
Alan Moore (Swamp Thing, The Killing Joke, V For Vendetta), Art and Cover by Dave Gibbons (Doctor Who). Release Date: November 11, 2008. Published by DC Comics.

With a major motion picture in production for release spring 2009 from
Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures and director Zack Snyder (300, Dawn of the Dead), “Watchmen” is hotter than ever and in anticipation of the upcoming film, DC Comics is offering the first-ever hardcover edition of the Hugo Award-winning epic from writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, offered at DC's standard trim size.

It all begins with the paranoid delusions of a half-insane hero called Rorschach. But is Rorschach really insane or has he in fact uncovered a plot to murder superheroes and, even worse, millions of innocent civilians? On the run from the law, Rorschach reunites with his former teammates in a desperate attempt to save the world and their lives, but what they uncover will shock them to their very core and change the face of the planet! Following two generations of masked superheroes from the close of World War II to the icy shadow of the Cold War comes this groundbreaking story—the story of The Watchmen

This volume collects the entire 12-issue series, features a new cover by Gibbons and contains the high-quality, recolored pages found in “Watchmen: The Absolute Edition”, which were restored by WildStorm FX and original series colorist John Higgins. Also included are selected bonus sketch materials.
Official Watchmen Movie Website
Order “Watchmen
NOTE: One of the most influential graphic novels of all time and a perennial bestseller, “Watchmen” is a must-read and this is the perfect time to read the classic story if you haven’t yet. Because in addition to this new hardcover of “Watchmen”,
DC Comics is also offering a special International Edition (September 10, 2008), a fifth printing of the gorgeous Absolute Edition (November 12, 2008)—includes samples of Alan Moore's Watchmen scripts, the Watchmen proposal, Dave Gibbons' concept art, cover roughs, et cetera—and a New Printing of “WatchmenIssue #1 (December 3, 2008), available as a standalone comic for the first time in years at its original cover price of $1.50!

The Absolute Sandman: Vol. 4” written by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Various Artists. Cover by Dave McKean. Release Date: November 11, 2008. Published by
DC Comics.

The Sandman, written by New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Stardust), was the most acclaimed comic book title of the 1990s. A rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama and legend are seamlessly interwoven, The Sandman is also widely considered one of the most original and artistically ambitious series of the modern age. By the time it concluded in 1996, it had made significant contributions to the artistic maturity of comic books and become a pop culture phenomenon in its own right.

DC Comics is proud to present this comics classic in an all-new Absolute Edition format. This final volume of four beautifully designed slipcased hardcovers, “The Absolute Sandman: Vol. 4” collects issues #57-75 of The Sandman, behind-the-scenes extras, and a story from Vertigo Jam #1. Don't miss the end of what Playboy called “a modern myth, as well as a précis on why the stories we tell matter so much”…
Official Neil Gaiman Website
Order “The Absolute Sandman: Vol. 4
NOTE: These Absolute Editions are a must-buy for any fan of The Sandman comic book series. I already have a copy preordered!

Advance Knight” written by GZA, Illustrated by James Reitano. Release Date: November 12, 2008. Published by
Grand Central Publishing.

Founding Wu-Tang Clan member GZA, also known as Genius, has two passions: hip-hop and chess. In his first graphic novel, the two themes combine in the story as G and his two cousins navigate the tumultuous rap scene in New York in the 1980s and early 1990s—the era of mix tapes and grimy record deals. Using his chess prowess, G goes head to head with other rap acts and gets into scrapes with shady music producers as he battles his way to the top of the charts…

GZA is widely recognized as the best lyricist in the Wu-Tang Clan, with highly visual and intellectual content, and his solo album “Liquid Swords” is considered one of the most impactful hip-hop albums of all time. He has appeared on three episodes of The Chapelle Show, gave a memorable performance in Jim Jarmusch’s film “Coffee and Cigarettes” alongside Bill Murray and fellow Wu-Tang member RZA, and continues to write music and tour frequently. He is currently working on his sixth solo album, and a Wu-Tang documentary entitled GZA presents: Wu-Tang Revealed.

GZA remains a core member of the Wu-Tang Clan, the Grammy Award-nominated, multi-platinum rap group that totally revolutionized the world of hip hop in the early ’90s. Their fifth album was released in December 2007 to wide critical acclaim and the group launched a major tour in late 2007 and early 2008 to promote it.

Coauthor James Reitano is an animator, writer, graphic artist, and film director who has worked with Digital Entertainment Network,, and HP, and has animated and produced music videos for Biz Markie, Kool Keith, Masters of Illusion, MF Doom, and Madlib.
Official GZA Myspace
Order “Advance Knight

Haunt Of Horror: Lovecraft” written and illustrated by Richard Corben. Release Date: November 19, 2008. Published by
Marvel Comics.

Horror comics legend Richard Corben (Heavy Metal, Hellblazer, Haunt of Horror: Edgar Allen Poe) presents a new series of eerie new spins on the poems and short stories of
H.P. Lovecraft. Each adaptation is beautifully rendered in black and white with gray tones as only Corben can do it, and features a printing of the original source text by H.P. Lovecraft.

Adapted stories and poems include “Dagon”, “Recognition”, “A Memory”, “The Music of Eric Zann”, “The Canal”, “The Lamp”, “Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family”, “The Well”, and “The Window.” It’s classic Lovecraft with a new twist…

This Premiere Hardcover collects “Haunt Of Horror: Lovecraft” issues #1-3.
Official Richard Corben Website
Order “Haunt Of Horror: Lovecraft
Read A Preview

Sky Doll: Volume One” written & illustrated by Barbara Canepa and Alessandro Barbucci. Release Date: November 19, 2008. Published by
Marvel Comics.

Created by the Italian team of Barbara Canepa and Alessandro Barbucci in 1997, “Sky Doll” is a timely socio-political thriller in which a young android must decide her destiny by challenging the very government—and faith—that has controlled her life:

Meet Noa, a so-called Sky Doll—a life-like female android without rights, who exists only to serve the State's needs and desires. But when Noa meets two so-called “missionaries” who aid in her escape from her tyrannical master, all hell breaks loose for our cyborg siren as she uncovers clues that she may be much more than just a robotic toy…

Canepa and Barbucci, the team behind the international bestselling series W.I.T.C.H. and Monster Allergy, have seen “Sky Doll” translated into French, Italian, German and Spanish. To date,
Soleil has published three volumes of Sky Doll in Europe with a fourth one currently in development. There was also Volume 0: Doll’s Factory, which was a “making of” sketchbook published by Carlsen Comics.

In January,
Marvel Comics and French publisher Soleil announced a joint publishing venture that will see “Sky Doll” and some of Europe’s most popular comics published in new editions in English for the first time. The Marvel version of the hit series debuted in May and was an instant sell out. This Volume One Premiere Hardcover collects issues #1-3.
Official Barbara Canepa Blog
Official Alessandro Barbucci Blog
Order “Sky Doll
Read A Preview

Heroes: Volume Two” by Various Writers & Artists. Cover by Gene Ha. Release Date: November 25, 2008. Published by

The sequel to last year's top-selling “Heroes” hardcover is here! This stunning new volume collects the incredibly engaging online comics based on the smash-hit, Emmy Award-nominated
NBC TV series Heroes. Collecting every online chapter from Season Two, this volume features the work of top TV and comics writers. Included are the stories “The Ten Brides of Takezo Kensei”, “The End of Hana and Drucker”, “The Golden Goose”, and many others.

Contributing writers include: Joe Kelly, Steven T. Seagle, Duncan Rouleau, Christopher Zatta, Mark Sable, Mark Warshaw, Christine Boylan, Chuck Kim, Harrison Wilcox, Pierluigi Cothran, Jim Martin, Timm Keppler, DJ Doyle and others. Contributing artist include: Staz Johnson, Michael Gaydos, Tom Grummett, Ryan Odagawa, Jason Badower, Travis Kotzebue, Marcus To, et cetera…
Official Heroes Website
Order “Heroes: Volume Two

Marvel Illustrated: The Iliad” written by
Roy Thomas (X-men, Avengers, Conan the Barbarian), Illustrated by Miguel Angel Sepulveda. Cover by Paolo Rivera. Release Date: November 26, 2008. Published by Marvel Comics.

Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, one of the true cornerstones of Western literature, comes to the Marvel Illustrated line (Treasure Island, Moby Dick, Last of the Mohicans, etc):

The ancient world is embroiled in a mighty clash of armies: Greek vs. Trojan. Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world, has betrayed her husband—the Greek, Menelaus—and fled to Troy with Trojan prince, Paris. The Greeks have sailed to Troy to bring her back—and crush all that stand in their way. This is the saga that virtually defines the word epic. It is a tale of gods and men, heroism and betrayal…

This Premiere Hardcover collects “Marvel Illustrated: The Iliad” issues #1-8.
Official Marvel Illustrated Myspace
Order “Marvel Illustrated: The Iliad
Read A Preview


ediFanoB said...

On Wednesday I got the opportunity to watch the Watchmen trailer in cinema. I was really impressed. Breathtaking pictures combined with "The Beginning is the End is the beginning" performed by Smashing Pumpkins.
I MUST watch the film next year.
And I think I have to by and read the graphic novel before.
Normally I'm not a big fan of graphic novels. But Watchmen is totally convincing for me.

SciFiGuy said...

This is a great recap. Unfortunately I haven't enough time to keep up with my TBR pile without adding graphic novels to the mix. The great thing about good graphic novels is that they are ready-made storyboards for cinema. Always time for a good movie!

Robert said...

Edifanob, yeah that trailer is pretty cool :) I am a little worried about the graphic novel's translation into a 2-3 hour movie, but I still plan on watching it. As far as the book, if you only read one graphic novel in your lifetime, then it should be Watchmen :D

Doug, thanks! What I like about graphic novels is that they don't take very long to read. I can finish 3-4 in a day easily :) And yes, they are ready-made storyboards, although there are very few good comic book movies out there unfortunately...


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