Recommendations for the End of 2008.

Because the last three weeks have been very busy ones, we here at The Beguiling haven’t done any weekly recommendations for new comics and graphic novels. Many books released this time of the year end up getting passed over or ignored entirely, because people’s wallets are a little thin or they’re just too busy to get to the comic store or they wrote their best-of lists at the beginning of November.

At any rate, I wanted to make sure there was a decent record out there for some of the great, notable, or just plain bizarre books that were released in the last three weeks of this year, and point them out to you.

Happy New Year!

The Beguiling Recommends…

NOV084024 Baloney Gn 16.95

This is, I believe, Pascal Blanchet’s second English-language book following last year’s wonderful White Rapids, also from Drawn & Quarterly. A visual 180 from that work, Baloney is sharp, bold, and maybe even a little intimidating. It’s no less attractive though, and I’m quite looking forward to reading it.

OCT080011 Beanworld Holiday Special One Shot 3.50
OCT080012 Mister X Condemned #1 (Of 4) 3.50

No, your eyes do not deceive you. What you’re looking at here is new issues of two highly-regarded, fan-favourite series’ from the 1980s, and by the original creators to boot. Larry Marder’s Beanworld Holiday Special is the first new “Beanworld” material in years, and its presence on the rack is kind of freaking people out a little, which is great. It’s in advance of a complete reprinting of the Beanworld series from Dark Horse in 2009.

Likewise, this new Mister X four-issue series is out to promote the recently-released Mister X Omnibus, and it features art and story by Dean Motter. Fans of both of these series’ should be happy indeed.

SEP084503 Behind The Pink Curtain SC 34.95

In the 1970s Japanese cinema underwent a revolution similar to what America experienced, though it was still uniquely Japanese. Coming up out of underground cinema in the early 60s and fueled by post-war revolution, these erotic, often violent films had ripped-from-the-headlines plots and completely dominated Japanese cinema for more than 20 years. This is a lavish production featuring all kinds of art and background info on a genre of film almost completely unknown in the West. I’m pretty excited about this one.

Oh, and if you want a solid, short primer on Pink Movies, check out Japan Edge from Viz, a book on Japanese alternative and underground culture. We’ve got copies on for boxing Day at 10 bucks. Not as pretty as this, though.

JUN083805 The Boys: Definitive Ed HC 75.00

Despite my love for this series, I remain unconvinced that it merited a $75 hardcover produced in the size and style of DC’s ABSOLUTE books. That said, it’s a hell of a package and the series really is pretty fun… If you’ve been looking to pick up a more permanent edition of this comic series, this is clearly the best way to do so.

OCT084546 Brush With Passion Art Of Dave Stevens Px Slipcased HC Ed 50.00

The solicitation info for this one tells you everything you need to know:

“An artist whose genius extended across comics, illustration, movies and more is remembered by Underwood Press in Brush with Passion: The Art of Dave Stevens. Stevens (1955-2008) earned a reputation as a master himself through his dynamic comic work, his best-known creation The Rocketeer, and his alluring good girl art, which included many famous renditions of pin-up queen Bettie Page. This new hardcover presents both iconic paintings and previously unpublished art, along with Stevens’ own accounts of drawing comics, working as a storyboard artist for Michael Jackson’s Thriller video and Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, struggling to bring The Rocketeer to the big screen in the 1991 Disney film and much more. Additionally, this PREVIEWS Exclusive edition comes with 16 additional pages of rare, previously unpublished art not found in the trade edition and an illustrated slipcase.”

Although, you probably knew months ago whether or not this one was gonna be for you.

SEP084230 Cavalcade Of Boys TP Vol 04 15.00

Kind of a misleading title, because this is actually a complete, stand-alone graphic novel from Cavalcade of Boys creator Tim Fish. It’s called Love is the Reason and if you’ve ever read and enjoyed his stuff, you’ll like this one too. Compiling and fleshing out his stories that ran in queer newspapers across North America, Love is the Reason is fleshed out with more than 100 pages of new material to create a complete and engaging story. It’s some of Tim’s nicest art as well.

OCT084238 Dead She Said HC 19.99

I actually don’t remember this 3 issues mini-series from Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson finishing, but apparently it did, and now there is a very attractive hardcover collection. It’s not every day that you get a new Bernie Wrightson comic (even though there’s a hell of a lot of Steve Niles out there…) and I feel like this one may have flown under the radar for a lot of people…

OCT084244 Extreme Finales Sc 100.00

Alright, how big of an Ashley Wood fan are you?

“Collecting the out of print Grande Finale and Sencilla Finale, which are comprised of long-sold out works such as Uno Fanta, Dos Fanta, Tres Fanta, Sencilla Fanta, and even Grande Fanta in one deluxe hardcover volume! This is more Wood than you can find anywhere, for almost any price. Includes 60 bonus pages of art.”

So a much-demanded reprint of Ashley Wood’s various artbooks, in one collection, but with 60 new pages of material. Heh.

SEP084259 Hot Breath Of War GN 13.00

I tend to like the work of Hot Breath of War creator Alixopulos, and so I was particularly intrigued by this review by Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter. I tend to bring a lot of myself into the work I read, everyone does, and pulling that all out and just trying to deal with the work on its own merits is a challenge. For that reason at the least, I’ll be reading this one.

OCT082489 Incognito #1 3.50

The Criminal and Sleeper creative team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are launching an all new comic book series, a high-concept crime-meets-superpowers romp, in the vein of Sleeper. The high concept? A supervillain in the witness protection program is growing more and more desperate to return to a life of crime, and might explode at any moment. With extra story pages, bonus articles on pulp and noir, and behind-the-scenes stuff. I’m looking forward to this a lot, I thought that the shared-universe aspects of Brubaker’s previous super-crime books like Gotham Central and Sleeper undermined a lot of what he was trying to do there, and something created from whole cloth sounds much more appealing.

JUL084333 Naoki Urasawas MONSTER TP Vol 17 9.99
SEP084368 Naoki Urasawas MONSTER TP Vol 18 9.99

So, thankfully, this series is exactly as good as I’ve been saying for the past few years, with a pretty outstanding conclusion and some real moments of terror and revulsion. I have to admit that my first reading of the last two books (the series wraps up with volume 18) left me scratching my head a little on some of the details, but after a re-read and discussion with my friends, I feel like the ending really came through on all counts. While 18 volumes at $10 might seem like a steep investment, just think of how many comics you’ve bought and not enjoyed at all? I bet that’s more than $180 in a year (sadly)… Phenomenal stuff, and it’s got me really excited for Urasawa’s upcoming PLUTO and 20TH CENTURY BOYS this winter.

OCT084157 Quest For Missing Girl 25.00

A stand-alone graphic novel from Jiro Taniguchi, one of the most talented comics creators in the world. This is admittedly a minor-work in his canon, but it is still head-and-shoulders above 80% of the comics released this year. It’s actually a little strange thinking about this comic, a Man’s Adventure Story about a man doing something a man has to do because that’s the way things are, serialized in a magazine likely alongside a ridiculous sex comedy and an inane Salaryman comic, except it’s of a calibre that simply blows everything else away. Fellini directing a life insurance commercial.

Anyway, it’s on my best-of list for 2008, and if you like good comics, pick it up.

NOV084160 Supermarket TP (new Ptg) 14.99

I think we were one of the only stores to do really, really well with Brian Wood and Kristian Donladson’s SUPERMARKET from IDW… A number of Wood fans don’t even know it exists. IDW is re-releasing it at a lower price-point and in a handy 6×9ish size for folks that missed it the first few times. I enjoyed this, the series is tonally very different at the end than the beginning (and in a good way), but the art is consistently amazing throughout. Give it a look.

NOV084201 Sweet Wishes 25.00
It’s a new Mark Ryden book. A collaborative storybook by Ryden and Marion Peck, and it’s only $25.00. There’s no way that you don’t already know if you want this or not. Buy it now before it’s $200.

SEP084205 Why I Killed Peter Gn 18.95
Last and certainly not least, this beautiful French new-wave graphic novel by Alfred & Oliver Ka is beautifully illustrated and coloured, a really lovely looking book. The subject matter is considerably darker though… I’ll just let the solicitation describe it:

“Peter was a populist priest. He was cool. He was funny. He was no priest, just a regular guy. It’s like I had another uncle. A great one, who laughed, who sang, who tickled. Until he took us for summer camp. Until we were so close, temptation came in the picture.” Based on a true story that the writer experienced himself, this graphic novel presents very simply the grey areas in such a situation, how he had tucked the whole episode deep within him but then how his rage and self-pity let it all out and finally revisiting the man when close to death and his coming to grips with his past. This topical and important work, is both moving and sensitively presented.”

Quite well-received in Europe, I’m glad this has been released in North America. It’s a strong work, with a potential to cross over to the mainstream.

Also of note:

MAY083589 Athena Voltaire TP Vol 01 Coll Web Comics 13.95
A trade paperback collection of the popular webcomics series.

OCT080122 Batman Cacophony #2 (of 3) 3.99
Who had “three weeks late” in the “how late will THIS Kevin Smith series be?” pool? I’m putting five bucks down on “July ‘09” for the third issue.

SEP080038 BtVS #20 Chen Cvr 2.99
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is almost back on track after its hiatus, and this stand-alone issue explores what might-have-been for the planned Buffy Animated Series, with art by Animated Series designer Eric Wright. Look for #21 on January 7th. Oh, and we should be completely restocked on Buffy back issues any day now.

SEP083781 Code Geass Suzaku o/t Counterattack GN Vol 01 9.99
This popular anime series features designs by CLAMP, and a genuinely interesting story. Looking forward to this manga.

SEP084145 Compleat Next Men TP Vol 02 24.99
For you John Byrne fans…

SEP083803 Farscape #1 3.99
I have to admit, I totally don’t get this TV series at all, but a bunch of my friends are huge fans and have been anxiously awaiting this new series. Well, it’s in store December 31st, and we ordered plenty. See you here.

SEP080151 Green Lantern #36 2.99

OCT080223 Hellblazer #250 (note Price) 3.99
This anniversary issue of Hellblazer featured a number of old creators coming back for another go at Constantine, including Brian Azzarello, Jamie Delano, Dave Gibbons, Peter Milligan, Sean Phillips, Eddie Campbell, Rafael Grampá, David Lloyd, and more!

OCT082431 Marvels Eye Of Camera #2 (of 6) 3.99
Did you know that there’s a sequel to MARVELS coming out right now?

SEP084253 Rt Comics TP Vol 02 Year Two 16.95
This is the second Rooster Teeth Comics Collection, from the folks who created RED VS. BLUE.

OCT082512 Runaways TP Dead End Kids 15.99
The Joss Whedon Runaways story gets an inexpensive soft cover edition. I thought this was a lot better than most people seemed to.

AUG082429 Secret Wars Omnibus HC 99.99
Re-buy your youth in the most expensive format possible! I am seriously tempted by this in a way that makes me feel a bit guilty.

OCT082301 Walking Dead #56 2.99
2008: The year that The Walking Dead got back on schedule. Hurrah! There’ve been like 5 issues of this in the past 3 months or so.

OCT080196 Wintermen Winter Special #1 3.99
Finally, the conclusion to the WINTERMEN ltd. series that… never really ended. Now it has! All 8 of you who bought this at our store should be very, very happy. (I kid because I love, this was a solid little series).

– Chris @ The Beguiling