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August 9, 2009


CR Sunday Feature: A Potentially Astounding Fall 2009 In The Works

A friend of mine sent me an e-mail last week in which he bemoaned the fact that the next issue of Chris Ware's ACME Novelty Library may not be out until late 2010. Having ACME or something Ware-related the last few late Falls has been a wonderful thing to count on, don't get me wrong. But my friend's lament got me thinking about some of the books that are likely to come out between roughly September 1 and January 1. I gave myself 30 minutes, and this is what I came up as far as books I'm personally looking forward to reading.

You have to understand a few things about making a list with such haste and featuring a strong focus on books with a spine:

That means I would clearly miss some books, because I'm not that good at finding stuff that quickly -- so maybe there's third again what I have listed here? I know there have to be a few I've totally missed.

That means skipping the serial newspaper comics collections I read that are deep into their runs, like Peanuts and Walt & Skeezix, because that seemed like loading the list in unfair fashion.

imageThat means that for the most part I skipped serial comic books and the comics I read that way, like RASL, Big Questions, the Muppet Show stuff Roger Langridge has been doing and The Walking Dead. There are a few on here, but not many.

That means I skipped comics that seem as yet more rumor than reality, although I'm sure they'll come out eventually and maybe even sooner than that, like Brendan McCarthy's no doubt stupendous-looking Spider-Man/Dr. Strange mini-series Paul Gravett thrilled us all by talking about here.

That means skipping books from some cartoonists and publishers that publish more according to feel than on a strict advance schedule (and simply guessing on which Fanfare/Ponent Mon books might be out between Labor Day and New Year's Day).

That means skipping newspaper comics I read in serial form, like Cul De Sac, unless they have a book coming out, and editorial cartoonists I track, like Tom Toles. (Toles never has a book coming out. I wish Fantagraphics would do an every-other-year series with Toles.)

That means none of the webcomics I read unless they're doing a print collection.

And yet, with all of that material either off the table or teetering near the edge I was still able to produce in quick fashion what I think is an intriguing list of books, nearly three dozen strong. This is certainly way more comics than works I'm looking forward to consuming in prose, theater, movies, TV or music. Probably combined. A strong Fall after a summer that gave us Asterios Polyp, The Hunter, Multiforce and a 600-page Jaime Hernandez collection? This is a very good time to be reading comics.

*****

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* The Book Of Genesis Illustrated By R. Crumb, R. Crumb, WW Norton, 9780393061024, October, $24.95
The big one in terms of potential payoff and heightened curiosity leading up to its drop date. I'm dying to read it.

*****

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* Footnotes In Gaza, Joe Sacco, Metropolitan, 97800805073478, December, $29.95
There's not been a better or more consistent comics artist this decade than Joe Sacco, and his return to a subject through which he's displayed great passion and sensitivity is a welcome one.

*****

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* Map Of My Heart, John Porcellino, D&Q, 9781897299937, October, $24.95 US
The great maker of elegant, simplified comics and comics about ordinary living, the graceful memory of which can make me want to punch any of those dinks that talks about autobiographical comics in broad terms as a bunch of whining losers who haven't done anything, John Porcellino is going to tour in support of this new collection the old-fashioned way. It'd be nice to see him have a modest hit with this one.

*****

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* The Monster Society Of Evil, Otto Binder and CC Beck, DC Comics, 9781401225179, December, $39.99
One of the best superhero comics runs of all time and maybe the quirkiest entry into the proto-graphic novel debate. I derive great pleasure out of reading this story.

*****

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* Continuation of Yotsuba&!, Kiyohiko Azuma, Yen Press, 978031607325, December, $10.99
I have no idea how this going to happen -- I think there may be a release of ADV volumes followed by a new Yen Press book -- but sometime this Fall we should see more Yotsuba&!. I'm quite fond of these stories both as comedy and as a window into the world of young people with limited resources for understanding things they encounter, let alone doing anything about them.

*****

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* Don Rosa Library, Don Rosa, Gemstone, 9781603600644, December, $39.99
This has been delayed a bunch, too, and a December date on a much-delayed book practically screams another push-back, but maybe we'll see it. Rosa is a very good cartoonist and a great comics writer, so I always have a lot of fun reading his work.

*****

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* Korea As Viewed By 12 Creators, Various, Fanfare/Ponent Mon, 9788496427488, December, $24
I thought this was out a year ago; it was on my list of books with which I would catch up eventually. I can't find a review, though, and there it is listed on Amazon as coming out in the next few months. I always feel like I'm playing hide and seek with this publisher's books.

*****

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* Bringing Up Father: From Sea To Shining Sea, George McManus, IDW, 9781600105081, November, $49.99
One of the more popular and iconic runs of a comic strip: the Bringing Up Father cross-country tour of 1939-1940 seems to me a great way to have another big chunk of this material without having another complete serialization out there marching on.

*****

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* Alec: The Years Have Pants, Eddie Campbell, Top Shelf, 9781603090254, October, $35
One of my all-favorite comics works before Campbell took the time to add a bunch of new comics. This would likely top this list if it were one book long.

*****

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* Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai, Stan Sakai, Dark Horse, 9781595823625, November, $14.95
This is Stan Sakai's one-shot in celebration of his 25th year publishing his samurai rabbit stories, almost to the week of that first comic book story's publication back in '84. I believe this is painted, and I know it's monster-stuffed.

*****

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* Gahan Wilson: 50 Years Of Playboy Cartoons, Gahan Wilson, Fantagraphics, 978106992982, October, $125
This is a great bookend to Fantagraphics' publication of the complete Humbug earlier this year; equally unexpected and thrilling.

*****

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* Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days, Al Columbia, Fantagraphics, 9781606993040, November, $28.99
This should be lovely.

*****

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* Crossing The Empty Quarter, Carol Swain, Dark Horse, 9781595823885, December, $24.95
Carol Swain did some of the great comics short stories of the 1990s (including the best Denny Eichhorn); I'm not sure exactly what's in this collection, but she's a necessary cartoonist, and criminally under-appreciated.

*****

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* Dread & Superficiality, Stuart Hample, Abrams, 9780810957428 (ISBN13), November, $35
Abrams ComicArts has been known to switch up the schedule a bit, but I think we're still on track for this greatest hits selection of one of the odder efforts in comics history, the Woody Allen newspaper comic strip. I don't remember it being the best strip ever made, but it certainly stood out against a backdrop of gag cartoonists doing high-concept work of the kind you saw all over the place at the time. I welcome this book.

*****

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* The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D., Dash Shaw, Fantagraphics, 9781606993071, November, $19.99
More has been made about the fact that this will accompany an animated version that will appear on IFC, but I'm looking forward to the book in and of itself.

*****

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* The Essential Sub-Mariner Vol. 1, Various, Marvel, 9780785130758, September, $19.99
I have most of these in comic book form, so I may not be inclined to pick up the volume. Still, I'm always fascinated by Bill Everett's signature creation, the way he fits and more frequently doesn't fit into the Marvel Universe. There are also a ton of creators at work here that need to be understood for a complete snapshot of prime-time Marvel Comics. As the Sub-Mariner stuff is the least exploited material in the Marvel canon, you'll likely get to see their talents on display without the memory of a watered-down version somewhere up the line.

*****

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* continuation of The Times Of Botchan, Jiro Taniguchi and Natsuo Sekikawa, 9788496427495, November $19.99
I'm not sure if we're going to see this, either, but I hope we do. I think it's one of the great comics of the last quarter-century, although previous volumes have been among the more lightly-praised Fanfare/Ponent Mon efforts.

*****

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* The Rocketeer: The Complete Collection, Dave Stevens, IDW, 9781600105388, October, $29.99
This should be freakishly lovely, and I'm dying to look at it to see if I want to give up my comic books for this edition.

*****

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* Dal Tokyo, Gary Panter, Fantagraphics, 9781560978862, October, $29.95
This has been delayed a couple of years, primarily so Panter could get other projects out of the way before returning to work on it. But this is one of the strongest, most evocative comic strip efforts ever, and I'd wait ten more years if it means it gets the treatment it deserves.

*****

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* The Fir-Tree, Lilli Carre, It Books, 9780061782367, November, $14.99
I think this is one of several similar adaptations from the HarperCollins imprint, but I'm most interested in seeing Carre's. She really built up a strong early resume in terms of different styles and approaches.

*****

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* Aya: The Secrets Come Out Clement Oubrerie and Marguerite Abouet, Drawn and Quarterly, 9781897299791, September, $19.95
I am very, very fond of the first two books of the series. They aren't just lovely in execution but it's an idea I wish I'd had -- a look back at a certain time in one's personal history and in the history of the region under the tone-perfect influence of popular entertainment of the time.

*****

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* Criminal: The Deluxe Edition, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, Marvel, 9780785142294, December, $49.99
Most people I know in comics feel this is Ed Brubaker's best work, and is right up there in terms of Phillips' consistent career.

*****

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* The Box Man, Imiri Sakabashira, Drawn and Quarterly, 9781897299913, September, $21.95
Imiri Sakabashira is one of those rare world comics talents that I have no idea what this book is about and I don't care: it's more Sakabashira. I believe I had a previous book from a Japanese publisher on my top 100 of the 20th Century list.

*****

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* Red Snow, Susumu Katsumata, Drawn and Quarterly, 9781897299869, September, $24.95
I'm going to get this one on faith, as I'm not vary familiar with the artist beyond the fact that he passed away and that this late-career collection of short stories was a prize-winner in its original publication.

*****

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* Trotsky, Andrew Helfer and Rick Geary, Hill & Wang, 9780809095087, September, $16.95
I'll buy anything Rick Geary does right now. He's in a drawing zone.

*****

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* Achewood: Worst Song, Played On Ugliest Guitar, Chris Onstad, Dark Horse, 9781595822390, September, $15.95
Achewood is probably one of the 10 important comics of the last decade and should be bought, read and studied at every opportunity. Exactly what's in this collection is more of a mystery to me than the Great Outdoor Fight provided, and I sometimes wonder that doing print editions of Onstad's work isn't a lot harder than one might think, but I'm great looking forward to having another book of his to loan out.

*****

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* The Big Kahn, Neil Kleid and Nicolas Cinquegrani, NBM, 9781561635610, October, $13.95
This is the one book that probably benefited most from word of mouth in San Diego, and I know very little about it except that the pedigree of those speaking on its behalf make me want to check it out. The press copy indicates it's about the shockwaves when a prominent rabbi near the end of his life admits that he was living a lie and isn't even Jewish. That's a very appealing narrative hook.

*****

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* The Art Of Tony Millionaire, Tony Millionaire, Dark Horse, 9781595821584, September, $39.95
I love Tony Millionaire's work and all the people close to me love Tony Millionaire's work. One of the greatly appealing things about his comics is the quality of the visual aspect, so even though a lot here depends on execution an art book could be really, really good.

*****

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* Children At Play: A Cul-De-Sac Collection, Richard Thompson, Andrews McMeel, 9780740789878, October, $12.99
My favorite current comic strip and one I think that has a chance to be great. I'm encouraged that there's not only a second book but that it begins where the last one ends, which may indicate a long book publishing relationship.

*****

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* Ganges #3, Kevin Huizenga, Fantagraphics/Coconino Press, September, price unknown
I don't know of a current cartoonist more intriguing than Huizenga in terms of my wanting to see every single damn thing he does right now. Two of his best career efforts were previous volumes of this Ignatz-sized series.

*****

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* The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook, Eleanor Davis, Bloomsbury USA, 9781599903965, September, $10.99
This is more of a straight-up commercial gig than many of the books on here, but Davis is young enough I sort of just want her to draw anything and everything she wants or that fits into her career aspirations. As she ramps up to speed with her considerable talent, I'll be happy to meet her anywhere she tells me to be.

*****

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* Cat Burglar Black, Richard Sala, First Second Books, 9781596431447, September, $16.99
Sala draws like a dream right now.

*****

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* Celebrating Peanuts: 60 Years, Charles Schulz, Andrews McMeel, 9780740785481, October, $75
I'm not sure what this will be like, so I definitely want to look at it before I buy, but there could be enough interesting supplementary material here to make it worth picking up.

*****

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* Bart Simpson's Treehouse Of Horror #15, Edited By Sammy Harkham, Bongo Comics, October, $4.99
I'm not certain that I'm looking forward to this as comics as much I might be anticipating some of the other works on this list, but it should be a ton of fun to see the cartoonists involved in this very commercial context.

*****

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* Daredevil Omnibus Vol. 2, Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev, Marvel, 9780785138136, December, $99.99
Someone mentioned in an e-mail to me about 10 days ago that there's a degree of backlash against this comic for being ridiculously grim and over the top and way too self-serious. It's true that it's not really about deconstructing the superhero, but I enjoyed the Bendis/Maleev run on Marvel's Daredevil comic for the reason I like the 1960s Marvel comic books. I thought it was appealingly modest in scope and smashingly well-executed. This is the second half of the big bookification of that run.

*****

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* I Want You #1, Lisa Hanawalt, Buenaventura Press, September, Various Price Points
A rare Fall comic book release with enough gravity to it to draw attention to itself as a stand-alone publishing event, Buenaventura Press' emerging crusade to reinvigorate the alternative comic book format should start being reflected in stores by the end of September. Much of the work offered, like the first issue of I Want You, will have already been seen by some folks, at places like San Diego's Comic-Con International (sales were apparently fine to brisk). As a group, the books appear generally strong -- Ted May, Eric Haven, Matt Furie, -- but Hanawalt's striking debut in comic book format may be the big attention-getter.

*****

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* Rip Kirby Vol. 1, Alex Raymond, IDW, 9781600104848, September, $49.99
Solving crimes through his incredible handsomeness, both as a strip and as a character. It's being sold for its ahead-of-its-time detective stories, but I'll still think of it first as extremely attractive-looking comics by one of the all-time visual masters.

*****

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* Afrodisiac, Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca, AdHouse, 9781935233060, December, $14.95
This should be fun and have a lot of energy. That's one saucy cover.

*****

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* The Complete Torpedo, Jordi Bernet and Enrique Sanchez Abuli and Alex Toth and Jimmy Palmiotti, IDW, 9781600104541, September, $24.99.
I think executing these books is tougher than it looks in that fans are becoming increasingly spoiled about presentation and the contextual work involved in reprint projects, but I'm delighted to have this one even if it's put together by rabid, semi-sentient beagles. Some of the most incredibly good-looking comics ever.

*****

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* Grandville, Bryan Talbot, Dark Horse, 9781595823977, October, $17.95
Bryan Talbot is a top comics talent with a proclivity towards employing a variety of styles, each according to the needs of the project. This seems like a mainstream BD-type volume, but more than attractive enough visually to get the job done.

*****

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* Walking The Dog, David Hughes, Jonathan Cape, 9780224082297, November, $65
I'm not sure what this is and why I might be expected to pay $65 for it, but I love the idea of esteemed, established artists doing literary graphic novels as a kind of balance to the rush of comics works post-Persepolis that seem designed to hit certain popular-book expectations no matter how poorly done.

*****

My apologies to everyone I missed, and I'm sure there are a ton. But isn't that a solid list? I'm looking forward to the rest of 2009.

*****

Seriously, I'm sorry I forgot your book.

*****
*****
 
posted 4:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
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