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Staff Picks: Shipping in November
Article by Bookshelf Comics Staff
Posted August 29, 2005

It's not easy wading through the huge Previews catalog each month. It seems like every time the publishers release their solicitations, there are more and more great graphic novels and trade collections to choose from. Well, the Bookshelf Comics staff is here to help. Below are our picks or best bets for original graphic novels and collected editions hitting the bookshelves in November...


David E. Miller's Picks

Smoke (IDW)
by Alex de Campi and Igor Kordey
156pg. | Full Color | Softcover Collection | $24.99 US
156pg. | Full Color | Hardcover Collection | $50.00 US

Smoke tradepaperback I’m really looking forward to reading Smoke. Apparently, Alex Di Campi is a great new writer and the art is supposed to be some of Igor Kordey's best work. This series takes place in a futuristic London and the main character is a rogue ex-government assassin. I really don’t know much else about this series and the first issue disappeared from the comic shops before I could get a hand on one. Maybe my trusty editor will be able to get me an advance copy (hint, hint).

Read the Bookshelf Comics review of Smoke #1.

Previews solicitation on page 292
Diamond order numbers: softcover SEP05 2982, hardcover SEP05 2983



Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Absolute Edition HC (DC Comics)
By Marv Wolfman, George Pérez, Dick Giordano, Jerry Ordway, and Mike DeCarlo
464pg | Full Color | Hardcover Collection | Oversized | $99.99 US

Crisis On Infinite EarthsI’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never actually read this miniseries. I was collecting comics at the time this series was published, but I was a Marvel zombie. I feel that reading this series is a necessary requirement for the comic fandom curriculum. It really does seem to be an “Absolute Edition” as it contains a 2-volume slipcase, is signed by the entire creative team (Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Dick Giordano, Jerry Ordway, and Mike De Carlo), and also includes two head sketches. It’ll set me back $100 but I’m sure I can find it for less. Apparently it really will be limited as well. Dynamic Forces usually does a really nice job and this seems like the ‘absolute’ best way to experience the complete miniseries.

Previews solicitation on page 69 (July issue)
Diamond order number: JUL05 0216


James W. Powell's Picks

Night Fisher (Fantagraphics Books)
by R. Kikuo Johnson
144pg | B&W | Softcover Original | 7x10 | $12.95 US

Night Fisher Fantagraphics Books thinks it has a winner on its hands with Night Fisher, so much so that the publisher is pushing the book as one of the best debuts of 2005. And I think they might be right. In his first graphic novel, R. Kikuo Johnson tells the story of a troubled high school kid in Hawaii who sees his life begin to change as his best friend starts experimenting with drugs.

The book promises to be a realistic look at being a teen and should turn out to be a hard look at how the pressures of high school can effect a young man. And from the images I've seen at Johnson's web site, seabread, it looks like the story will be supported with some great black and white art that should emphasize the emotion of the story.

Night Fisher sounds like a solid, gripping novel, and I'm always on the look out for fiction about the trials of being a teenager, especially if the book promises to skip the typical clichés as Night Fisher seems to do.

Previews solicitation on page 281
Diamond order number: SEP05 2940


The Fountain (DC/Vertigo)
by Darren Aronofsky and Kent Williams
176pg. | Full Color | Hardcover Original | 8.625 x 11.625 | $39.99 US

The FountainDarren Aronofsky, director of Pi and Requiem for a Dream, is a genius when it comes to storytelling on film. But this time, he's releasing his story in graphic novel format first (look for the feature film later this year). And I for one am very excited about it.

The Fountain is a love story that takes place in three different time periods: 1535, present day, and the far future. Thomas, a warrior, doctor, and explorer, tries to beat death and prolong the life of the woman he loves. Coming from Aronofsky, this should be a very powerful story indeed and one that doesn't fit neatly into any category that we're used to. It's sure to have strong emotion and showcase the weaknesses and strengths of the human spirit.

As an added bonus, Kent Williams' painted art will create a dark, passionate tone for the tale. And that's just right for an Aronofsky love story.

Previews solicitation on page 110
Diamond order number: SEP05 0308

Christopher J. Shelton's Picks

Penny Arcade Vol. 1: Attack of the Bacon Robots! (Dark Horse Comics)
by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik
120pg. | Full Color | Softcover Collection | 7x9 | $12.95 US

If you want to get knee-slapping happy, I recommend checking out Penny Arcade Volume 1: Attack of the Bacon Robots! from Dark Horse Comics. It’s a hilarious comic strip that can be found on the web and that pokes fun at gamers everywhere. Volume 1 collects the strip from the very beginning and includes extras not available anywhere else. Studies have shown that reading too much run-and-gun, punch-em up, and throw-em down comics can lead to unexplained fits of violence, and I wouldn’t want something like that to happen to you. Do yourself a favor and check this baby out.

This title actually ships in January.
Previews solicitation on page 26
Diamond order number: SEP05 0024


Formerly Known as The Justice League (DC Comics)
by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Kevin Maguire, and Josef Rubinstein
144pg. | Full Color | Softcover Collection | $12.95 US

I couldn’t stop laughing when I first read Formerly Known as the Justice League. This trade from DC comics will satisfy your superhero fix and will give you well-written humor. I love all the characters in this Wal-Mart-like version of the Justice League.

This collection features the best-selling 6-issue miniseries that reunited the 1980s incarnation of the team. When you’re done with this 144-page trade, I recommend checking out the follow-up series, which is also being released as a trade on the same date. It’s equally as funny and should not be overlooked. If you still want to laugh after that check out this same creative team’s effort on the recent Defenders miniseries from Marvel Comics.

Previews solicitation on page 77
Diamond order number: SEP05 0246

Kerry Garvin's Picks

Fade From Grace (Image Comics)
by Gabriel Benson and Jeff Amano
136pg. | Full Color | Softcover Collection | $14.99 US

Fade From Grace Vol. 1It’s time for me to play catch-up and pick up the trades of some great titles that I’ve missed. Fade from Grace (Image Comics) is a book that I’ve been meaning to pick up, but I always overlook. I’m glad it’s being put into a proper collection.

The book collects all five issues of the superhero, Fade, and his wife Grace’s love story. Amano’s work with the other Beckett Entertainment books (the Ballad of Sleeping Beauty and Ronin Hood of the 47 Samurai) is superb I’m not sure why I haven’t picked this one up already.

Previews Solicitation on page 136
Diamond order number: SEP05 1676



Blue Monday Vol. 1: The Kids are Alright (Oni Press)
by Chynna Clugston-Major
136pg. | B&W | Softcover Collection | 5x7 | $10.95 US

Blue Monday Vol. 1Somehow I’ve also managed to miss the entire Blue Monday series. The first trade, Blue Monday Vol. 1: The Kids are Alright is being re-released just in time for me.

In addition to the contents of the original trade, this book will include various Blue Monday short stories from various anthologies. The extra-material will serve as a great introduction to readers like me, who have missed out on the book altogether. Clugston-Major is a great talent for sure and I’ve enjoyed her work in Scooter Girl and in the Four Letter Worlds book, how I’ve passed over her flagship title, I’ll never know.

Previews Solicitation on page 313
Diamond order number: SEP05 3056 (STAR19682)

Sean Maher's Picks

The Walking Dead Vol. 4: The Heart's Desire (Image Comics)
by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, and Cliff Rathburn
136pg. | B&W | Softcover Collection | $12.99 US

The Walking Dead Vol. 4The Walking Dead is one of the very few series I buy in both serial and collected formats. I love Kirkman's take on the post-apocalypse, and how the most dangerous elements are the characters themselves - not the zombies. Adlard's artwork has been a perfect complement to the series, with the drama really shining through in some of the best "acting" I've seen on the comics page since Preacher.

The issues comprising this collection (19-24) have been a blast so far, with some nicely intense scenes and interesting developments to the characters. This won't be where new readers should pick up, obviously, but it's going to be an excellent read.

Previews Solicitation on page 144
Diamond order number: SEP05 1681


Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1: Teenage Revolution (DC Comics)
by Mark Waid, Barry Kitson, Leonard Kirk, Dave Gibbons, and others
200pg. | Full Color | Softcover Collection | $14.99 US

Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1I dropped this series after the second issue, thinking it just wasn't my cup of tea. On the advice of some friends, though, I picked up issue #8 and enjoyed it thoroughly, so I'll be trying this out to catch up on the series and see what I've been missing. Waid's population of teenage revolutionaries is rich storytelling material, and the tongue-in-cheek elements (making fun of the superhero concept) are clever without being smug and fit nicely among the more serious, epic elements.

Previews Solicitation on page 79
Diamond order number: SEP05 0251

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