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October 13, 2010

Atomic Books Comics Preview - October 6, 2010

In the weekly Atomic Books Comics Preview, Benn Ray highlights notable new comics and graphic novels.

Benn Ray is the owner of Atomic Books, an independent bookstore in Baltimore. The Mobtown Shank is his blog, and his comic Said What? is syndicated weekly in the Baltimore Sun's B-Paper.

Atomic Books was recently named one of Bizarre Magazine's 51 geekiest places on the planet, as well as one of Flavorwire's 10 greatest comic and graphic novel stores in America.

A Sickness In The Family
by Denise Mina / Antonio Fuso

I love these kinds of stories. The Ushers are your seemingly average, middle-class family enjoying a Christmas together. And then they start dying violent deaths. Is there a curse? Witchcraft? Maybe someone with a murderous agenda? Denise Mina's story is as haunting to the reader as death is to the Usher family.

Dick Briefer's Frankenstein
by Dick Briefer, edited by Craig Yoe

It’s two Frankensteins in one! This book contains Briefer's (a Will Eisner contemporary and colleague) dark horror Frankenstein stories as well as his more stylized, oddball ones. If you're into overlooked comics history or oddball comic art, Briefer's Frankenstein is something you really need to check out.

Dragon Puncher Book 01
by James Kochalka

Johnny Boo Book 4: Mean Little Boy
by James Kochalka

Two new all-ages books from James Kochalka Superstar. Dragon Puncher is a comic/photography hybrid fantasy adventure about a tough kitty in some battle armor. And in the newest installment of Johnny Boo, new friendships land Johnny and Squiggle in a pickle. Kochalka has always managed to convey a childlike joy to his comic work, and his all-ages comics showcase this perfectly.

Drawings from the Gulag
by Danzig Baldaev

Baldaev is most famous for his Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia collections, documenting the language of tattoos in Russian prisons. While working as a prison guard, and later for the KGB, he traveled the former USSR and documented the Gulag system which Drawings from the Gulag collects.

Make Me A Woman
by Vanessa Davis

I first saw this book way back in early September, and I've been waiting for it to come out ever since. I'm not sure why publisher Drawn & Quarterly took so long actually getting this book into stores, but I (as well as everyone at Atomic) am just glad it's here. No topic is too sensitive, personal, or off-limits for Davis, and that sort of bravery makes her a comic voice worthy of attention.

Strange Tales #1
by various

I love these sorts of projects - where alternative comics artists who are otherwise ignored by the comics mainstream get to take a crack a long-loved (and also much worn) iconic superheroes. I know some superhero fans feel these types of comics are some kind of geek version of blasphemy - they feel threatened by the unique perspectives alternative cartoonists bring to the characters they identify with a little too much, but the results are all too often more interesting than so many stacks of Marvel Essentials or Masterpiece collections. In this first of 3 issues you can see Frank Santoro, Dash Shaw, Shannon Wheeler, Jillian Tamaki, Jeff Lemire, Kevin Huizenga, Jhonen Vasquez, Nick Gurewitch and others tackle the Marvel pantheon.

Touchable Sound: A Collection of 7-inch Records from the USA
by Brian Roettinger / Michael Treff / Diego Hadis

Okay, this isn't a comic at all, but I love Touchable Sound so much, I really felt I had to point out this look at 25 years of 7-inch record design. Just an astounding collection of fantastic record design.

xkcd: Volume 0
by Randall Munroe

There's a lot I don't get about the strange, frequently cult-like online world of webcomics. However, there are exceptions, and Randall Munroe's consistently funny xkcd is one. In a medium (or would you call it a "genre"?) that has more to do with newspaper strips (and not the edgy, interesting and funny ones that you used to be able to find in free alt-weekly papers, but more like the King Features syndicated variety) than comic books, xkcd is an inspiring and witty highpoint that so many never even come close to.

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)
Benn Ray's comic, Said What?

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)