I hate to do this to you again, but we’re looking at another week of trades. I know it’s expensive, and I’m sorry. Just think though—if you read this column and jump on the individual issues when you can, you won’t have to drop so much all at once!
I was really surprised to see Image releasing Chew Vol. 5: Major League Chew today. It’s hard to believe we’re five arcs in already! This series is constantly introducing new characters and concepts. It’s also generally expanding its world, which keeps it fresh and engaging to the point where it feels like it just started a few weeks ago. This arc in particular has Tony incapacitated for the majority, letting the rest of the cast step into the spotlight for a while. Don’t be intimidated if you haven’t been reading the series on a regular basis. You might not catch all the references, but you won’t be so lost that you won’t enjoy yourself. At $12.99 this is actually cheaper than if you’d bought each issue separately, so there’s no excuse to miss out on this one.
If you felt the same mixture of rage and disappointment I did when you saw the trailer for the new film adaptation, this next release might make you feel better. Hermes Press gives us Dark Shadows: The Best of the Original Series, which collects the best of the original Gold Key Dark Shadows comics. If you haven’t read any of these, a word of warning: These aren’t what I’d call “good” comics. Just like the TV series, they’re campy and they don’t always make sense. However, if you look past that, they’re a hell of a good time. Hermes Press has been releasing reprints of the entire series in individual volumes, but if you don’t want to make the financial commitment to those, this could be the next best thing. Its release is even timelier considering that Jonathan Frid just passed away recently. Take the $30 you’d spend on movie tickets and refreshments going to see the remake and put it toward this instead. Do it for Barnabas!
I didn’t want to recommend this last one until I read it, so we’re actually a week late on it, but Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland, co-published by Zip Comics and Top Shelf Productions, is something that everyone should read. If the name sounds familiar, he’s the guy American Splendor was about, and he’s by far one of the most underrated voices in comics. On the surface the book tells the history of Cleveland, the author, and how the two intersect. But it’s more than just a history lesson or autobiography. Like the city he’s writing about, Harvey’s voice is bleak and realistic, yet also unique and hopeful. The underlying message is made all the more poignant considering this was Harvey’s last book. I should also mention that there’s an introduction by Alan Moore. If you needed proof that Harvey was legit, there it is. This is required reading for Clevelanders. For everyone else, it’s highly recommended.