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Monday, January 19, 2004

The Week in Comics -- Here's a rundown of worthwhile titles to keep an eye out for this week at your local comics shop:



MOTHER, COME HOME TPB $14.95 -- Cartoonist Paul Hornschemeier's first longform graphic novel, as originally serialized in the pages of Forlorn Funnies #2-4. An unusual and inventive story of a disastrous loss that devastates a young boy and his family, with echoes of the creator's real life blended in. The most impressive part of this novel is how Hornschemeier depicts the real-life events alongside the boy's version of events, which serve as a filter to both explain the events and protect him from them. This book has my highest recommendation.


NEW FRONTIER #1 (Of 6) $6.95 -- Normally, in a week with Mother, Come Home shipping, I wouldn't even bother recommending anything else. But DC ships two extremely exciting books this week. This first one is Darwyn Cooke's look at the DC Universe. Cooke got his start as an animator who contributed to the excellent Batman Animated series (including Batman Beyond, for which he designed the stunning title sequence). He also established the Pop Noir style that made DC's Catwoman so visually impressive when it relaunched a couple of years ago, and created two vastly entertaining and beautiful graphic novels, Batman: Ego and Catwoman: Selina's Big Score. He's an action/adventure cartoonist with influences including Alex Toth and Jack Kirby and Bruce Timm, but with a unique visual signature that absolutely knocks me out. What I am saying is that New Frontier is without question the superhero project I am most looking forward to in 2004, and you really ought to pick this (and everything else Cooke has ever created) up. You won't regret it.

SLEEPER #12 $2.95 -- This title was the very best monthly book in 2003, and this is the final issue of its "first season," wrapping up the first story-arc before an impending relaunch. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have created a nearly sui generis action/espionage work that is better than anything either of them has ever done (in two already impressive careers) and much greater than the sum of its parts. At its heart, Sleeper is about desperation and the will to go on despite an overwhelmingly bleak set of circumstances. Sleeper is one of the most involving and compelling comic books ever created, and like Mother, Come Home and New Frontier, it has my highest recommendation.


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