Good Comics Out November 14 and Quick Thoughts on Last Week’s Superheroes

It’s been a couple of great comic weeks, just as it’s turned colder and it’s more fun to stay inside reading.

Let’s start with some classics out this week, as Fantagraphics reprints strips featuring three mainstays of American popular culture. My favorite is Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Volume 4: House of the Seven Haunts ($29.99), because I’ve really enjoyed the wacky adventures of the famous mouse in these Depression-era strips. This volume promises appearances by Goofy and Donald Duck.

Speaking of which, the second volume of the Donald Duck collection series appears, A Christmas for Shacktown by Carl Barks ($28.99). KC will have a review of that here shortly. Third comes Peanuts, with the gift book Charlie Brown’s Christmas Stocking ($9.99).

There’s a new reprint out you might be interested in if you’re a fan of books like Courtney Crumrin — which also has a new issue out this week, #7 (Oni Press, $3.99) — and that’s Hopeless, Maine (Archaia, $19.95), collecting the webcomic. It’s a lovely, spooky telling of the orphan girl Salamandra, who’s not a witch but something else, and thankfully, this book makes a complete story. It reminded me of Anya’s Ghost as well, with a ghost who seems friendly but with jabs intended to cause people to question themselves in soul-destroying ways.

Hopeless, Maine preview pages

Hopeless, Maine preview

Nearly the complete opposite from that gloomy atmosphere (which, again, is very well illustrated) is the comedy of Dance Class, which has a new volume out. Book 3 is subtitled African Folk Dance Fever (Papercutz, $10.99) and should be just as entertaining, especially to girls of that age.

Let’s move to manga. I already talked about Bunny Drop Book 7 (Yen Press, $13.99), which as a series that had lost me, took an upturn, becoming more interesting by telling a story more specific to its characters. Also this week, the Cross Game series, a baseball manga that’s also about growing up and figuring out what your dream really is, comes to a conclusion with Book 8 (Viz, $14.99).

I’m looking forward to trying Missions of Love (Kodansha Comics, $10.99) after seeing Sean Gaffney compare it to The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko, which I miss. I’m also hoping for good things from Start With a Happy Ending (Digital Manga, $12.95), where a woman is reincarnated briefly as a cat to work out unfinished things in her life before dying.

In terms of periodicals, I just got done reading last week’s superhero books, so I’m not really looking forward to another stack already. That’s my problem, though. I’m hoping that I finally get Love and Capes: What to Expect #4 (IDW, $3.99), since Diamond didn’t ship it out to my region last week, and it looked like they were skipping it again this week. Bummer! Similarly, whether Castle Waiting #18 (Fantagraphics, $3.95) shows up this week is anyone’s guess, although I’ll enjoy it whenever it arrives.

Quick thoughts on last week’s reads: I was really looking forward to trying Kieron Gillen’s take on Iron Man #1 — and why is his name not mentioned at Marvel’s site? — but quickly discovered I can no longer read Greg Land’s ridiculously stiff photo-referenced “art”. So never mind that.

I liked the focus on Pip in X-Factor #246, but I probably would have enjoyed it more if I knew the character’s origin. There are some teasing references to it, but since I only “met” the guy in this series, they went right over my head. Felt a little left out.

I’m going to miss Avengers Academy; #39 was the final issue. Looking back, even beyond the excellent character work and intriguing plots for teenage heroes, I think I’ll miss the letter page most of all, since Christos Gage did an amazing job tackling serious issues with respect for those who wanted to argue with him. It’s a rare skill these days. He does a great job trying to plug Avengers Arena as a followup, but I doubt those who liked the subtle work he was doing here will appreciate battles to the death in the same way.

If you’d like to get another view on how to handle diversity in a field not known for respecting the non-white and non-male, China Mieville does a great job in Dial H #6. Nelson dials up Chief Mighty Arrow, your stereotypical “heap big”-spouting American Indian stereotype, and he and Roxie debate whether he should go out in such fashion. They argue about what kind of disaster would justify him appearing, and there’s a good deal of black humor throughout the issue. Very nice job, and a good starting point if you’re curious.

One Response to “Good Comics Out November 14 and Quick Thoughts on Last Week’s Superheroes”

  1. Suzene Says:

    I already had a laundry list of reasons why I think Avengers Arena is a terrible idea and won’t be giving give Marvel a penny for greenlighting it. Academy #39 is the nail in the coffin, though — I refuse to follow up that lovely little parcel of optimism with something as gross and cynical as a putting kid characters into the woodchipper just ‘cuz. If any of the characters I like come out the other side of Arena, I’ll consider reading the next chapter of their adventures. If not, my personal canon will halt in a perfectly acceptable spot.




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