Were Money No Object – June 30th

Welcome to the second installment of my column where I go over the list of this week’s new graphic novels and trade paperbacks, to see what I would buy if I were independently wealthy, and to make some recommendations for books that I read in single issue format that I enjoyed.

I Wish I Could Buy:

FVZA Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency TPB

by David Hine, Roy Allan Martinez, Kinsuh Loh, and Jerry Choo; Radical Press, $14.95

I don’t know too much about this, but feel like this would be a trust-worthy purchase for the following reasons:  1.) David Hine is a good writer, and someone who I think does best when not constrained by ‘Big Two’ editorial constraints; 2.) Radical has put out some very good comics recently (Hotwire and Last Days of American Crime); and 3.) it’s about a federal agency for vampires and zombies – how can it not be awesome?

I’m not a huge fan of painted comics, but from what I’ve seen on-line, it looks fine in a bit of a creepy John Bolton on Hellraiser kind of way.  I have confidence that this is something I’d probably like.

I Think You Should Buy:

Beasts of Burden HC

by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson; Dark Horse, $19.99

The four-issue mini-series that came out this year is going to be high on my year-end list for best comics of 2010.  The ‘Beasts of Burden’ are a group of dogs (and a couple of cats) living in Burden Hill, charged with protecting the town from a number of different supernatural manifestations and occurrences.  The dogs have mystical powers – they are ‘wise dogs’ in training, and the stories are seriously creepy and touching at the same time.

Dorkin’s writing is solid.  Each character is developed as a unique member of the group, and the plots shift in ways that I never anticipated.

The biggest draw to this book though is Jill Thompson’s incredible water-coloured artwork.  The animals have emotional expressions in a way that feels perfectly natural, and the pages are simply beautiful.

This hardcover doesn’t just contain the four-issue series; it also has the Beasts earlier appearances from various Dark Horse Anthology titles (most of which I haven’t read).  This is a great book for just about any reader – young, old, and non-comics reading pet lovers.  Highly, highly recommended.

Check out a preview here.

Shade the Changing Man Vol. 3 Scream Time

by Peter Milligan, Chris Bachalo, Bryan Talbot, Mark Pennington, and Rick Bryant; DC Vertigo, $19.99

This third volume collects Milligan’s seminal Vertigo work around the place where I started to collect the title in its original run.  Milligan took Steve Ditko’s classic oddball character and updated and re-designed him for this series which chronicled his quest to find and destroy the American Scream, the product of his entry into our dimension from his own home.  The book was suitably weird (it was a pre-Vertigo ‘suggested for mature readers’ title) and featured some wonderful artwork from the young Chris Bachalo.

Milligan used the title to do a few interesting things, namely show the weirdness of middle America from an outsider’s perspective.  The stories had elements of horror and romance in equal measure.

What really made this comic stand out for me was the character of Kathy – one of the most real women to ever be portrayed in comics.  Kathy’s parents were murdered, and Shade is now inhabiting his body.  She has been helping him, although every time she looks at him, she sees her dead parents.  What’s more, she begins to love him.  Their relationship, as depicted over Milligan’s entire run on the book, was the most fascinating and real thing about the comic, and she is one of the few comic characters I actually miss.

I Think No One Should Buy:

Okay, maybe this part of the column is not going to fly, as for the second week, I don’t see anything that I bought and hated being collected.  There are definitely things coming out that I don’t believe people should buy, but for me to speak on it here, I have to have read at least one chapter of it.  When is War of the Supermen being collected?  I’ll have something to say then…

So – what would you buy this week were money no object?

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