Alphabetical Index of IDW / Top Shelf

Chester 5000 XYV

This is the kind of book that makes me ecstatic to read comics. Just the fact that it — a wordless porn comic about a Victorian woman and her robot lover — exists is a wonder. That Chester 5000 XYV turns out to be quite accomplished in its art is even more pleasant. (Note: this is an adults-only book with explicit illustrations.) Although story isn’t the point, the premise is simple enough: a scientist’s wife is indefatigable in bed. Since […]

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Polly and Her Pals

This extraordinary volume, first in a series, is impressive in both content and sheer size. It’s the same shape as the traditional newspaper comic page from its original era, making it humongous by current standards. At 12″ x 16″, you’ll need a table or other flat surface to enjoy it, and it’s a wonderful feeling to be totally taken in by the color pages filling your entire field of vision and beyond. Polly and Her Pals is a strip revered […]

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The Dreamer

Cartoonist Lora Innes does an excellent job balancing both halves of her story in the first volume of The Dreamer: The Consequence of Nathan Hale. When we first meet the lead character, Beatrice is waking suddenly from a sexy dream about kissing a Revolutionary War soldier. At high school, she’s trying out for the play and wondering about going to the upcoming Halloween dance, but when she sleeps, she’s another person, helping the brave Alan Warren fight against the redcoats […]

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Bloom County: The Complete Library Volume 3: 1984-1986

Here’s where Berkeley Breathed’s Bloom County hits its peak, covering the 1984 election by having the various animals enter politics as members of the Meadow Party. (This was also about the midpoint of its run, since the strip ran from 1980-1989.) Bill the Cat is running for President in spite of his scandals, bad habits, and state of mortality — dead. Today, when politics have become so nasty and fragmented and hateful, it’s quite amusing to read the satire of […]

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Moving Pictures

I approach comics written by Kathryn Immonen with curious trepidation, because I know no matter what subject she covers, I’m going to be challenged. She doesn’t talk down to her readers, and her structures and characters are refreshingly complex. I’m left thinking about what I read long afterwards. That’s even more true with Moving Pictures, since the subject matter is particularly unusual and affecting. Ila is a low-level museum worker in Paris; Rolf is a German bureaucrat. It’s World War […]

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Parker: The Hunter

It’s an unusual project, but one uniquely suited to the talents involved. Darwyn Cooke (The New Frontier, The Spirit) is adapting Richard Stark’s Parker novels into comic form; The Hunter is the first of four planned graphic novels. I haven’t read any of the original books myself, but since Cooke clearly has a great affinity for retro-styled works, and since crime/noir stories of this type work best with that kind of timeless feel, I expected an excellent match. This brief […]

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Love and Capes: Do You Want to Know a Secret?

In Love and Capes, Thom Zahler does a perfect job combining romantic comedy with superheroics. Now, you can get a great big chunk of the adventures of Mark and Abby in the new collection Do You Want to Know a Secret?, reprinting the first six issues of the series. Mark is the Crusader, the best-known superhero in town. Abby is a detail-oriented bookstore owner who somehow has missed figuring out his secret identity. They’re deeply, believably in love, and he […]

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Owly: Tiny Tales

Owly: Tiny Tales is the perfect starting point for someone interested in trying this series of charming fables. The volume collects Andy Runton’s various short stories featuring the characters, so it’s perfect for browsing or dipping into. Four of the tales — “Splashin’ Around”, “Breakin’ the Ice”, “Helping Hands”, and “In a Fix!” — were previously published as giveaway comics for Free Comic Book Day. Others appeared in convention programs or anthology collections or minicomics. Because of the various sources, […]

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