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March 3, 2010

Atomic Books Comics Preview - March 3rd, 2010

In the Atomic Books Comics Preview, Benn Ray highlights several new comics and graphic novels released this week.

Benn Ray is the owner of Atomic Books, an independent bookstore in Baltimore. The Mobtown Shank is his blog.

Green Hornet #1
by Kevin Smith / Jonathan Lau

At one point, long before he had air-travel troubles, Kevin Smith was planning to write and direct a film version of his take on crime-fighting hero The Green Hornet (with Jake Gyllenhaal as the title character, and Jet Li as his sidekick Kato). Well, here we are years later, and Michel Gondry is directing the film and Seth Rogen is writing and starring as The Hornet. So instead, Smith has adapted his unproduced screenplay into this new comic series, which tells the origin of the hero. And while you may find his cinematic output at times, um, erratic, Smith is an adept comics scribe.

Stooge Pile
by Seth Scriver

Publisher Drawn & Quarterly bridges the gap between art books and graphic novels with their Petits Livres series. Frequently illustrative in nature, these books aren't always narrative, but that doesn't mean the artwork here doesn't create a world or story. Scriver’s contribution to this series employs cartoon painting and features wild dogs, plaid shirts, shadows, and more.

Strange Tales
by various

Years ago, DC Comics had a pretty great idea - to get a bunch of "alternative" and "indie" cartoonists to give their take on DC superheroes. The result was 2 acclaimed graphic novels, Bizarro Comics and Bizarro World. Strange Tales is Marvel's response to that. So what if it's about 7 years after the fact? This comic is remarkably fun and funny, and it's refreshing and inspiring to see the ideas of comics creators who aren't mired down in the regular superhero muckety-muck. While Peter Bagge's “Incorribible Hulk” story is the center piece, contributions by Dash Shaw, Nicholas Gurewich, Junko Mizuno, James Kochalka and many, many more make the Marvel Universe far more fun and entertaining than it has been for years. (Psst - hey Marvel - why not turn this into a quarterly magazine (not comic, but a magazine)?)

Tezuka's MW
by Osamu Tezuka

Osamu Tezuka is the godfather of manga, and I'm always surprised at how many self-described manga "aficionados" I talk to who have never read him. Sure, it can be a difficult or an expensive proposition to get into his Astro Boy series, or his biography of Buddha or even his acclaimed Black Jack. So this, right here, this is a great opportunity to experience the comics master without getting sucked into multi-volume stories. This is one of Tezuka's more controversial works. MW is a psychotic drug American soldiers used. But the American and Japanese governments are denying its existence, leaving the immoral Yuki and the guilt-ridden Garai, both who have been exposed to the substance, to their own devices.

Unlovable Volume 2
by Esther Pearl Watson

The story goes that years ago, Esther Pearl Watson found a teenaged girl's diary from the '80s in a truckstop bathroom. Unlovable Vol.1 and this new volume are her adaptations of Tammy Pierce's story as told through her diary. Watson manages to perfectly capture the humiliation of early high school through the embarrassing awkwardness and sometimes unpleasant experiences that comprise those years. Surprisingly charming and endearing.

Questions, concerns, comments or gripes – e-mail If there’s a comic I should know about, send it my way at Atomic, c/o Atomic Books 3620 Falls Rd., Baltimore, MD 21211.

Atomic Books & Benn Ray links:

Atomic Books website
Atomic Books blog
Atomic Books on Twitter
Atomic Books on Facebook
Benn Ray's blog (The Mobtown Shank)

also at Largehearted Boy:

other Atomic Books Comics Preview lists (weekly new comics & graphic novel highlights)

52 Books, 52 Weeks
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)

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