Gutwrenching meh-taaaaaaahhhhl (2) and other stories: Graeme looks through his SDCC haul, still.

Part two of the things I picked up at SDCC last weekend, because it's either this or continuing to be completely fascinated by "Survivorman" on the Science Channel (Why would anyone do what he does on a regular basis? WHY?)...

BEESWAX BOUND: Much to my embarrassment, I didn't realize that the person I was talking to at the AdHouse table was Joel Priddy until after I'd left, and looked at the minicomic he'd given to me - Sorry, Joel. Although even if I'd realized who you were, I would've been too shy to say that I really like your stuff, including this collection of sketches and expanded blog posts (Read Joel's own take on the mini here). There's enough material and promise here for three or four full-length books ("Fracas" alone could fill a couple), and the way it sparks the imagination of the reader more than makes up for any slightness you might feel about the minicomic format. Very Good.BB

BLACK METAL: This kind of feels like the first post-Scott Pilgrim book in a lot of ways - definitely the first thing I've read that seems to learn from what Bryan Lee O'Malley does well without reading like an obvious attempt to copy it. It's a very enjoyable book, gloriously dumb and reveling in it, and the speed with which it moves somehow shunts it past the the self-consciousness I normally find in Rick Spears' books (and also makes me want to revisit his Pirates of Coney Island, for some reason). Chuck BB's artwork is attractive enough and ready-made for Cartoon Networkization, which seems fitting; this is pretty much an Adult Swim show that accidentally came out as a Good book.

MULTIPLE WARHEADS #1: Jog talked about this last week, and he's spot-on with how good it is - Pretty much a continuation (in terms of stylization, not plot) of his King City book, this confirms Brandon Graham as one of the most interesting creators out there right now for me - he manages to mix the sublime and mundane in a way that feels both new and familiar, even as it's in a very specific world. Very Good and enough to make me want Graham to magically put out new work every week.

THB: COMICS FROM MARS #1: Going along with my born-again love of Pope post from yesterday, this sealed the deal. What was a pleasant surprise here was the gentleness of the writing - I could tell from Pulphope that Pope is someone who believes in people, but the sweetness of the final story here was a really welcome surprise. Excellent, and on a tangent, anyone from DC who read this and didn't think that Pope should just be given Kirby's Fourth World characters and be allowed to do whatever he wants if he ever wants to do anything with them is insane.

(This isn't the place for it, but with news of Marvel turning Kirby's Eternals into an ongoing title coming in quick succession to DC's announcing that Jim Starlin is killing off the New Gods, however temporarily that lasts, just made me think that what's wrong with the Countdown-centric direction of DC's superhero line right now is that it's so reductive and willing to eliminate what doesn't easily slot into Dan Didio's idea of what makes good comics. Grr, bah, etc.)

12 REASONS WHY I LOVE HER: Yeah, I know, this came out ages ago - It's one of those books that I meant to pick up when it came out and somehow forgot. What tempted me in the first place, and turned out to be the best thing about the book, was Joelle Jones' artwork, which is graceful and cartoony in the best ways, letting the characters act in ways that support (and, in some cases, gloss over rough patches of) Jamie Rich's dialogue. The (admittedly slight) writing feels like a Choose Your Own Adventure due to the out-of-chronological way the story is told (I choose to believe that things end as well as they could), but that adds to the book, I think; you can take it as a romance or anti-romance as the mood takes you. Good enough to make me want to check out Rich's other books, finally.

Tomorrow, back to the books from last Wednesday, if only because I want to point out why Kurt Busiek is still winning after all these years.