Time travel becomes a reality this week for comic book fans everywhere, with last week's holiday bumping the traditional New Release Wednesday to Thursday. The post-holiday blues also affect the books themselves, as the usual focus on the single issues begins to shift towards pricier collections. But of all the hundreds of things arriving this week, which ones should you be spending money on? Glad you asked.
Now that you're already skipping the Christmas adverts on TiVo, it probably comes as no surprise that comic publishers are gearing up for the holiday sales. Berkeley's Image Comics are the most bold this week, releasing the first issue of their mature-readers title Archibald Saves Christmas, which married those two traditional holiday themes: Released inmates from mental asylums and serial killers. Suicidal Santas, of course, come free.
Image is also going after the bookstore dollar with the release of the anthology Popgun Volume 1, which brings together some of comics' newest, hippest and ubiquitous creators between two covers for a "mixtape" that ignores genre boundaries and, in some cases, just plain good taste. It's probably your best bet for value for money this week, unless you happen to have the $75 spare that would allow you to pick up Marvel Comics' Captain America by Ed Brubaker Omnibus, collecting the first two years' of crime writer Brubaker's run on the Star Spangled Soldier, featuring Nazis, "cosmic cubes", cyborgs and that whole "death of Captain America" thing people were talking about earlier this year. For those with tighter budgets and more delicate dispositions, there's always DC Comics' 1950s reprint book, Showcase Presents: Supergirl Vol. 1, taking you back to when girls knew their places, and those places were hiding in orphanages in brunette wigs because your older cousin doesn't want the world to know you exist.
Oh, you only wish I was joking.
Still bearing the upcoming holidays in mind, Marvel also answers the time-honored question "What do I get my nerdy friend who cares a little too much about the fictional worlds he spends too much time reading about?" with the first issue (of two) of Marvel Atlas, letting you know just where Vibranium can be mined in Africa, and how far you'll have to go to import it into Doctor Doom's kingdom of Latveria. Alternatively, Virgin Comics have something for the overly-sensitive art movie lover in your life: Dock Walloper, a series created for the publisher by The Brothers McMullen director and Saving Private Ryan actor Ed Burns. If you prefer your movies with a little more bullet time, however, you might want to check out the much delayed sixth issue of Doc Frankenstein, written by The Matrix's Wachowski Brothers, and drawn by Matrix storyboard artist Steve Skroce.
Pick of the regular books, meanwhile, is DC's Green Lantern Corps #18, which manages to drop the ho ho ho and replaces it with the kind of high concept Hollywood dreams about: Indestructible Space Cop with Magic Wishing Ring versus Evil Superman. This gem of carnage fiction, along with everything else mentioned above will be available Thursday at your local comic book store, which can be found here.
And if you can't find what you're looking for, remember: You better not cry, you better not pout.
Popgun image courtesy Image Comics, Green Lantern Corps image courtesy of DC Comics