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Home > Commentary and Features

Still to Come in 2005
posted May 8, 2005
 

While updating sections of this site on books that are due to be released, it hit me that even after start-of-the-year gems like Epileptic, Luba #10 and the new Saul Steinberg book that I had a lot to look forward to in the year yet to come.

An exercise like this reminds me I need to learn more about manga and American mainstream comics. The vast majority of what I know that's coming out from mainstream superhero publishers sounds cynical and depressing. As far as manga goes, I still get sort of lost sorting through most of the output of the big English-language manga publishers. Finally, there are some books, like the Lat effort/efforts from First Second, that are an obvious attraction but I just have no idea when they're coming out.

Anyway, here's a quick list I made this morning, as they occurred to me, of just a few books I'm waiting to read that should come out in the next 5-7 months. I'm sure there are many more.

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1. The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
Not only is this potentially a book fetishist's dream, but the release is almost perfectly timed in terms of a return to interest in the strip, or at least it is for me. If this weren't coming out, I'd probably be dragging my paperbacks out at around the same time.

2. Top Ten: The Forty-NinersA superhero-filled television cop drama against a canvas of dense pop-cult joke-telling, Top Ten was really the only one of Alan Moore's latest round of superhero books that held my interest. Any type of follow-up sounds good to me.

3. The Comic Worlds of Peter Arno, William Steig, Charles Addams, and Saul Steinberg
I have no idea who this author is or what approach is being taken, but I'm hoping that the surge of interest in comics will also hit the top five or six New Yorker cartoonists and this could be the catalyst.

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4. Dr. Slump
These have already started coming out. I don't understand the American manga market very well, but I'm slightly confused why this hasn't received more attention. This is a popular, funny and very accessible adventure series done in super-affordable 200-page $8 books. It seems like perfect summer nonsense reading to me.

5. Night Fisher
I think this has a chance of being the really interesting debut that not enough people read – last year's was Wilfred Santiago. R. Kikuo Johnson has a much more accessible art style, though, and is further along in capturing its nuances.

6. The Push Man and Other Stories
It's always nice when a talent and a publisher seem perfectly matched, so I look forward to learning about Yoshihiro Tatsumi from Drawn & Quarterly.

7. We All Die Alone
Mark Newgarden finally gets the big book treatment, with a long critical essay by Dan Nadel that makes the case for Newgarden's place in the pantheon.

8. All-Star Superman
You could make the argument for both writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely as superhero creators that people used to make about the Clash as a rock and roll band -- that they're the only ones that matter. It should be interesting to see what they do with this book. I would say the world needs fewer Superman comics than more of them, but the thought these will be slightly disconnected from the dreary soap opera of the monthly titles is a promising thought (we'll see if it actually happens). Superman's a pretty great character in the way that Mickey Mouse and Sherlock Holmes are great characters, but is like 50 billion times more exhausted in terms of story possibilities.

9. The Rabbi's Cat
Joann Sfar's major publisher push into American bookstores, I really like his cartooning and this is supposedly a charming book.

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10. A Double Dose of The ACME Novelty Library
An issue of the series with the first sustained glimpse at Rusty Brown, and a collection of the gag stuff, all from an artist who's been out of mind for several months.

11. Picturebox's Ben Jones Book
Dan Nadel's foray into comics publishing should prove interesting if only for his connection to the Fort Thunder crowd and it spiritual descendents. I can hardly wait to see what this book will simply look like, let alone how it reads. Maybe I want to see what it looks like more.

12. The Ticking
French has always had the art chops and imagination to pull off unsettling stories, but her moves on-line and into children's book have sharpened her narrative tools. Could be her best work yet.