Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Waiting for Wednesday, Issue 36

Welcome to the first-ever November Edition of Waiting for Wednesday, where there will be absolutely zero talk of Halloween. I promise. I think we've covered that holiday plenty this year, thank you very much.

So, I won't be going into my Halloween holiday review, telling you all about how I got the scariest Halloween present of all time--a massive migraine headache that actually knocked me on my back for a while, thus rendering my favorite night of the year more than a little unenjoyable.

And I won't tell you about how great (and creepy) the House of Mystery Halloween Annual 2009 from Vertigo was. Nor will I mention the fact that I finally got around to reading Ray Bradbury's The Halloween Tree this year, and found it everything I had hoped it would be.

And I certainly won't mention that my annual tradition of watching John Carpenter's Halloween with my brother went off without a hitch. And the movie was wonderful and slow-building and creepy. And perfect, just as it always is.

Nope. You won't hear any of that from me, since, as I mentioned, we here at EyH are completely and utterly done with Halloween.

I will mention the fact that I saw the first Christmas commercial on television last night. And, while my stomach churned a bit thinking about being unemployed through the holidays (I've been there before--not fun), I have to say, I think I need a little Christmas this year.

And, thinking about Christmas got me to thinking about the end of the year, and how Waiting for Wednesday will soon hit its final issue of 2009. Which brings up the classic fanboy question of whether or not to continue the numbering as it is (i.e., the first January Waiting for would be issue 53), or to label the 2009 issues as Volume One, and start a new volume each year with new numbering.

Decisions, decisions.

Then, as I was thinking about such things, I started to count. And I realized that we didn't start Waiting for in the first week of January, 2009. Which means that the last issue is going to be 40-something, and not 52. Which means that continuing next year with issue 40-something plus one might be a little confusing for bookkeeping purposes.

And then my migraine returned, and I went to sleep for a while.

But now I'm back, and ready to stop talking about numbers and headaches and unemployment. And I'm very much ready to talk about new comics, and which ones I'm most looking forward to.

First up is an expensive hardcover that I actually won't be buying, but it's one that I highly recommend to any fans of pulpy crime stories. From Marvel's Icon line, Ed Brubaker's and Sean Phillips' Criminal is one of the very best comics on the stands today. This week, the Criminal Deluxe Edition hardcover ships, collecting the first three trades of the acclaimed series.

This edition promises plenty of special features, including behind-the-scenes material, essays on crime fiction, and an introduction by Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons.

I've been a fan of this series since its inception, and thus I own all of the single issues of the first story arc, and the trades for the rest of the series. So, I'll save my dollars this week and I'll likely spend them on something else in the near future. (Like maybe that Wolverine: Old Man Logan hardcover I saw at the LCS yesterday...or, you know, clothing/food.)

Coward: Criminal Deluxe EditionAnyway, if you are into crime fiction (think of the most hard-boiled movies/pulps you've ever read, then multiply that by two), Criminal is the book for you. Sure, the price is a bit steep (it clocks in at just under $50--cheaper on amazon), but the holidays are coming. And this collection would make a great gift for that Dashiell Hammett fan in your life who turns his or her nose up at comics.

And I mean that. Criminal is the type of book the traditional comics "civilian" will enjoy. It's literary, and the art is gritty and not at all exploitative (read: The book does not contain ridiculous depictions of big muscles, and/or boobs). Brubaker's writing is deadly serious and fast-moving and deserving of even the pickiest crime reader's undivided attention.

Give it a try--I think you'll dig it.

Next up we have another Marvel book, which is actually an important fact for me, since lately I feel like I've been tough on Marvel. I loved Secret Invasion and the immediate aftermath, but I feel like the whole thing is dragging along a bit too slowly. That said, I have heard interviews with some of the big Marvel writers and they have teased what's ahead--and it sounds pretty amazing.

So today I'm gonna show Marvel some love, and recommend a new mini-series from British writer Paul Cornell. Now, Cornell has worked on some of the best, most off-beat Marvel books over the past couple of years, like Wisdom, MI3, and the fantastic Dark Reign: Young Avengers.

Black Widow: Deadly OriginThis week he tackles the Black Widow, a character ready to explode thanks to her prominent role in next year's Iron Man II. From all accounts, this new series--Black Widow: Deadly Origin--seems like it'll be a big hit, and I have a feeling this first issue is going to be tough to find in a couple of weeks.

Here's the blurb from Marvel:

Before she steals the world's heart in Iron Man II, get caught in the wicked web of Marvel's sexiest and deadliest super-spy! She's been everything from a Russian espionage agent to a Champion to an Avenger, now a skeleton from Natalia Romanova's past is reaching out for those she's loved and lost...and the Black Widow has many victims to choose from!

From the frozen streets of Moscow to the upper stratosphere, writer Paul Cornell (CAPTAIN BRITAIN & MI3) and artists Tom Raney (DARK REIGN: HAWKEYE) and John Paul Leon (The Winter Men) deliver a globe-hopping, bone-breaking, high-tech thriller that reveals how Natalia's shadowy past threatens all she now holds dear. Guest-starring the Winter Soldier and Wolverine!

If this sounds like something you might be interested in, but you're a bit squeamish about picking up a number one issue, you can also check out Marvel's preview of the book, right here.

Finally today we have a third Marvel book, written by one of my favorite novelists, Charlie Huston. I'm recommending this book knowing very little about the series, or the characters involved, but Huston is a great writer, and his Joe Pitt series of novels ranks very high on my all-time list.

In an interview with Wizard Magazine, Huston described his latest Marvel effort, Deathlok, as a horror book, but you wouldn't be able to tell from the publisher's blurb.

Marvel’s ultimate cyborg is back in this 7-issue Marvel Knights limited series written by Charlie Huston (MOON KNIGHT) and breathtakingly illustrated by Lan Medina (FOOLKILLER).

In the not-too-distant future, war is a spectator sport, warriors die hard and live fast, and living larger than anyone is super-soldier Lieutenant Mike Travers. That is, until Travers hotdogs it on the battlefield and gets himself and his C.O., Luther Manning, blown to bits. The show must go on. Enter: Deathlok the Demolisher!!!

This one's kinda flown under the radar, and it feels like Marvel hasn't really done a great job promoting this title. Maybe it's because the character isn't well known (I've never heard of him, actually), and maybe it's because Huston's Moon Knight issues were picked on for being a bit too far out there. But he's a major writer, and I always enjoy his work. I'm going to give this series a shot.

And that's all I've got for today. Tune in next time...when I do much of the same. Before I go, one single, simple question--what are you Waiting for?

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