This week, a look at a few recent or upcoming releases that particularly caught our eye. Let’s begin, shall we?
THE BATMAN ADVENTURES, VOLUME 2
So pleased these stories are finally being collected. First published back in the ’90s when BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES was first hitting television screens, these done-in-one stories by writer Kelley Puckett and artist Mike Parobeck stand as some of the best Batman stories ever told.
Set within the continuity of the BTAS universe, these comics are fit for all ages, yet have a depth and resonance to them to match the work that was being done on TV at the time. And the art by the late and much missed Mike Parobeck is just beautiful; I can’t think of any one who drew a better Batgirl or was able to make the Robin costume seek more kickass.
Here’s hoping DC continues with this series, putting this entire run back into print.
THE BATMAN ADVENTURES: MAD LOVE HARDCOVER EDITION
In a similar vein, this deluxe edition of Paul Dini and Bruce Timm’s classic is an absolute must-have. The origin of their creation Harley Quinn, MAD LOVE is hilarious, spellbinding and heartbreaking, and this edition, featuring Timm’s original page breakdowns and color guides, provides even more insight into the creation of what is now looked back on as one of the best comics of the 1990s.
CEREBUS: HIGH SOCIETY
Long one of my favorite graphic novels, this newly remastered edition of Dave Sim’s seriocomic masterpiece has just arrived on store shelves, and it is fantastic.
CEREBUS can be a hard sell for people who’ve never read it, and I always tell people to start here, in the second collection of Sim’s long-running series. Here you can see Sim really starting to hit his stride as both a writer and an artist, with his keen ear for dialogue and satire matching his eye for exaggeration and caricature.
Re-shot from as much of the original artwork as they could muster, this new version of HIGH SOCIETY “pops” much more clearly and crisply to the eye, allowing the reader to become fully immersed in Sim’s barbarian comic opera. Oh so highly recommended.
Photographer Daniel Picard mixes real-world landscapes with characters that never were, and does so masterfully in his new book FIGURE FANTASY, which showcases his photographs of sixth-scale action figures from Sideshow Collectibles posed against life-sized landscapes both pastoral and urban, creating captured moments that never happened, but that we all wish really had.
Picard’s clever mix of characters from the Batman, Star Wars and GI JOE universes, among others, makes for a mix of shocking, hilarious and oddly touching portraits, created by a man who clearly loves his subject material and loves tweaking it even more. Highly, highly recommended.