SAfter the cathartic experience of last week's election, the comic industry is obviously looking to move onto new beginnings this week, if the raft of new series is anything to go by. We have supernatural forensic teams, superheroine envy, a beautiful art book and even a comic version of a novel that will make many of you happy amongst this week's New Comics We Crave.For once, let's get the superhero stuff out've the way first: Marvel have two hardcover collections out this week that are worth a look. First up, Hulk Vol. 1: Red Hulk collects the first six issues of former Heroes writer/producer Jeph Loeb's weirdly enjoyable comedy about a brand new, psychopathic Hulk running around shooting bad guys and punching good guys, while Mythos Vol. 1 brings together some dully-written, but beautifully-painted retellings of the origins of Spider-Man, the X-Men, Captain America, the Hulk and Ghost Rider. Image Comics launches I Hate Gallant Girl, a new series about what happens to the girl who lost the superhero version of the Miss America contest (Clue: Bitterness). Little beats DC's superhero haul for the week, though; besides the paperback edition of the wonderful Darwyn Cooke anthology Batman: Ego And Other Tails, there's also the first issue of Kevin Smith's new Batman mini-series, Cacophony and, only five years later than you'd expected, a paperback edition of the more-enjoyable-than-it-has-any-right-to-be JLA/Avengers crossover series. However, there's more to life than capes, you know, as the song almost goes. Dark Horse are leading the non-superhero charge this week with the first issue of The Cleaners, about a forensic clean-up team in LA that has to deal with deaths caused by somewhat supernatural sources... something that Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden would know about; sadly, he's busy in his own first issue of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files: Storm Front, a four issue adaptation of the novel that makes its debut this week (Somewhere, everyone who told me to read the novels is cheering). Urban fantasy of a particularly weird kind can be found in two collections from Image Comics: Bill Sienkiewicz's psycho-serial killer drama Stray Toasters and Ted McKeever's Ted McKeever Library Vol. 1: Transit both return some classic 1980s weirdie comics to print that are well worth your time and money. Book of the week, however, isn't actually a comic. But don't let that put you off Fables: Covers By James Jean, a new hardcover that collects more than seventy-five of the the most gorgeous creations ever to grace the front cover of anything, never mind just comic books. Jean, who's worked for Prada, the New York Times, Knopf, Target and many, many others, has been creating some of the most beautiful images on a monthly basis for the (very enjoyable in its own right) Fables series for years, and this collection pulls them all together, along with sketches, commentary from the artist and others, and yet another brand new, beautiful cover image. It's the holiday gift that you should get for yourself and others, in case you were wondering. (All of the images in this week's column are Jean Fables covers, by the way.) In case you need any other reason to hit your local comic store (found, of course, via the Comic Shop Locator Service), then the complete list of this week's new comic releases should be able to provide many. But, seriously; how can you resist that James Jean book? Have you no eyes?
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