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New Comics Haul Week Of 9.28.22

READER: My brain is on fire. Not (or at least not only) for comics reasons, nor for fever reasons because I’m the only one left in this goddamn state who wears a mask, but for a reason I don’t think I’ve ever brought up in my writings here: my lifelong, absolutely personality-destroying obsession with neography, the creation of artificial writing systems, which is being shoveled directly into my face by a game called Tunic. I just had to delete a whole paragraph of nonsense you didn’t come here to read, but if that’s intriguing and new or familiar and salivation-inducing to you, check out Omniglot.com, r/Neography, and Tunic directly; it’ll definitely make my Other Pursuits post for this month, and it might earn a whole post of its own, because whoa, nelly.

But for now: FUNNYBOOK THEATRE, for the masses demand it of me, and I dare not disappoint you.

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DC Vs. Vampires, Vol. 1, By James Tynion IV, Matthew Rosenberg, And Otto Schmidt

The Justice League has long protected Earth from all manner of foreign and alien invaders over the years, always keeping a vigilant eye to the skies for the next threat. But what if the threat was already walking the Earth…hiding in plain sight…watching…waiting for their moment to strike… In the tradition of DCeased comes a terrifying new series that begins from the twisted minds of James Tynion IV (Nice House on the Lake, Something Is Killing the Children), Matthew Rosenberg (The Joker Presents: A Puzzlebox, 4 Kids Walk into a Bank, Hawkeye), and Otto Schmidt that will tear the Justice League apart in their war with the undead! This volume collects DC vs. Vampires #1-6, the first half of this bloody battle.

‘Twisted mind’ comment aside, I’m actually super excited for this! (Not that I think ‘the twisted mind of James Tynion IV’ is inaccurate after reading The Nice House On The Lake, Vol. 1, but it’s the principal of the thing; we don’t abide that ‘the unrated version too sick for theaters’ nonsense here.)
Against all perfectly reasonable expectation, DCeased absolutely fucking ruled, and while I don’t think it’s kind or useful to compare authors to one another, I think Tynion IV is a perfect choice to helm a spiritual sequel; Tom Taylor’s writing and sense of characterization are so strong that he was able to make some fantastic bricks out of the relatively thin clay of ‘universal zombie plague’, and Tynion IV has not an opposite but a complementary skillset: since vampires are already interesting and have more agency as antagonists, he’s free to do some worldbuilding with what they’re up to and craft a story that’s more than ‘various characters run/fly away from zombies’. I’m also thrilled that it’s not going to be one more goddamn ongoing series I have to keep up with, and I think a two-part Dracula Attackula is a great way to ring in the Spooky Season. Which, by the way, has anybody else been trying to like, force Fall? It’s 97 here and we’ve been baking chocolate-chip pumpkin puffs and banana muffins in hopes of summoning the Great Pumpkin and the brisk breezes that follow at his heel like fae-corgis; we will bake and do the Monster Mash until the leaves turn, and that is a threat.


The Human Target, Volume One, By Tom King And Greg Smallwood

Christopher Chance has made a living out of being a human target-a man hired to disguise himself as his client to invite would-be assassins to attempt his murder. He’s had a remarkable career until his latest case protecting Lex Luthor, when things go sideways. An assassination attempt Chance didn’t see coming leaves him vulnerable and left trying to solve his own murder…as he has 12 days to discover just who in the DCU hated Luthor enough to want him dead. This volume collects Human Target #1-6, the first half of the murder mystery.

This isn’t my usual fare, but Tom King is such an automatic buy for me that I didn’t even realize this was a DC thing until just now when I pasted the blurb in there. I think we’re all pretty big suckers for solve-your-own-murder, (which Jed MacKay did a great job with in The Death Of Doctor Strange) and as much as we all hate Jeff Bezos Lex Luthor, I honestly don’t think I’ve ever read or seen a story where someone actually tries to cut him down; he’s such a major piece of DC’s architecture and he famously does everything legally or the next best thing to it that it never occurred to me anyone would do more than try to jail him for like, Captain Planet-style crimes, especially since Superman, like Batman, has a no-killing rule but actually takes it seriously, so it doesn’t present itself naturally as a flavor of conflict-resolution that pairs with Zuckerberg Luthor.
I’m curious to see what his prevention-measures look like, because it’s a question of scale, isn’t it? Like what’s he prepared to meet with, on a scale of I dunno, The Ventriloquist and Scarface to Man-Bat to Mr. Freeze to Metallo to uhhhhhh Lobo I guess? What do those logistics look like? That’s the place where my brain has the most fun with this idea, and while we won’t see as much of that as I’d like (read: all of it), it’ll still probably be a chance to toss in some fun cameos and nods to other stuff; I’ve got my fingers crossed for a Killer Croc appearance but let us be honest, it probably can’t end in chomping given the nature of the story and I’d just be disappointed if my large and scaly son popped up and it didn’t end in chomping.


Moon Knight, Vol. 2: Too Tough To Die, By MacKay, Sabbatini, Cappuccio, And Rosenberg

Collects Moon Knight (2021) #7-12 And Devil’s Reign: Moon Knight.
How can Marc Spector fight someone no one knows? Out for blood, Moon Knight hits the streets armed with only a name: Zodiac! But sometimes the streets hit back – and Marc, fighting his way through the underworld to answer a question he’s barely grasped, had better watch his back! Then, when an unnatural labyrinth swallows up his people, Moon Knight faces an impossible challenge! And as an assassin infiltrates the Midnight Mission, another hidden enemy strikes where Marc is most vulnerable. Attacked on two fronts, the Fist of Khonshu is on the defensive – but that’s where he’s most dangerous! Plus: Arrested during the Devil’s Reign event, Moon Knight must fight for survival in a high-tech prison filled with the very criminals he helped put away!

This has probably been my single most-anticipated release since I thiiiiiink February of this year? Vol. 1 came out the same week the new ComiXology app did, I remember that much, so all we need to do is search my lifetime audio-track for the part with the most yelling and that should pin it down.
I need to know everything about Zodiac, I need to see how Moon Knight and Doctor Moon resolve their differences as contrasting Fists of Khonshu, I need to see how any of this is going to be handled in therapy and whether they’re going to get their deposit back on the Midnight Mission because those odds were looking slim before it was infiltrated by anything.


Naughty List, By Juancho!, Pippa Bowland, And Simon Bowland

I had a family once. A wife who loved me…a child we loved together. That’s all gone now, been gone for hundreds of years. All because of that damn star. My name? It depends on where you live. Some call me Kris Kringle, others Papa Noël, but my real name is Nicholas Sinterklass, and this is the story of what happens when you steal my Naughty List.
Up on the housetop CLICK, CLICK, CLICK! Down through the chimney with old Saint Nick!
From the mind of Nick Santora (Reacher, The Sopranos, Law & Order, The Fugitive and Prison Break) and illustrated by Lee Ferguson (SYMPATHY FOR NO DEVILS, Sam and his Talking Gun) comes the Santa Claus origin story we’re sure you’ve never heard before.
This volume collects the entire series, issues #1-4.

Now here is a comic that dares to ask what if there was–and try to stay with me here–a Santa that was bad?
I joke, I joke; had to be done. If I had to make up a list of Things I Love–not even just tropes or kinds of stories or whatever but Things period–you can bet your bwaughttom dollar that “Melancholy Christmas Story/Episode” would be in the top ten, maybe even five. It’s doubtless partially a result of my upbringing–in fact we were just wondering, while watching Bluey (see here for why you ought to be doing the same), which is set in Australia, if the Christmas Blues are inherent to the Heart of Winter, Darkest Night aspect of the holiday unique to the Northern Hemisphere or if it’s a universal trait that accompanies the allegedly joyous Reason For The Season? Many who read Tarot cards believe that when a card appears upside-down, it carries an altered or inverted meaning, or that something is blocking the natural function of the card, but many–like me–believe that every card carries all of its possible meanings regardless of orientation, as every person contains their best and worst selves, and the reader must use context to see how a delicate piece fits into a complicated machine; maybe Christmas is the same, because the brightest light casts the longest, deepest shadow.
Either way: I am very excited to see something actually deliver on the hollow promise of the Fatman trailer, that beautifully wrapped present that held nothing but fart-scented air within. Something within us knows that Good Does Not Mean Nice, at least not always, and all I want from Naughty List is is what we all secretly long for in our hearts: Let Santa say ‘Fuck’, show us why you’d better watch out, and put Krampus is out of a job.


Strange, Vol. 1: I Belong To Death, By MacKay, Ferreira, Ho, Poggi, And Tartaglia

Collects Strange (2022) #1-5
Doctor Strange is dead – long live the Sorcerer Supreme! Or should we say…Sorceress? Haunted by her recently returned memories, Clea longs to bring Stephen Strange back from the grave. But when a dangerous group targets Earth, she must rise to the task of being the planet’s sole defender against otherworldly magical threats! Clea comes face-to-face with the mysterious Harvestman as they both face off against a familiar undead foe – and finds herself caught in the middle when mortals target monsters! But just as Clea begins to uncover ways to bring Stephen Strange back to life, another impossible assault upon the magical realm rears its head. Clea must face her wicked mom Umar, the dark Shadow Knight and a small army of reanimated heroes and villains! Luckily, Clea is not just any Sorcerer Supreme…she is a warlord!

For the SECOND TIME in this very post I am REQUIRED by local statute to remind the reader that The Death Of Doctor Strange was great and its Companion, rarely enough, was actually pretty damn good too. (Not to be confused with Doctor Strange: Damnation and its Companion, which were almost aggressively Fine.)
I’ll be honest, much like with Moon Knight above (also by MacKay HUH WHAT A COINCIDENCE THAT I LOVE THEM BOTH) I’m a relative Strange neophyte, more familiar with recent, mainstream titles–your Cates, your Aaron, your Waid–and I have less of an idea of Clea is than I do of Jane Foster, to draw a clumsy comparison, but I roughly get that she’s Doc’s on-again-off-again inamorata and is now assuming his mantle following his death, so maybe the Jane comparison wasn’t so far off after all. Listen, I’ve…read a comic book before???, so I don’t believe for a second that Doc is gone gone from the main timeline, but however long his retirement as a character lasts will at least be a great space for some other characters to get a little love, if not necessarily to the extent Jane did; I imagine there’s a reason this series isn’t called Clea Strange: Sorcerer Supreme or similar. Also I don’t know what the hell the Harvestman is but I’m definitely stealing that name for my next D&D big bad.


So that’s me this week! What did you all get? What badass dame assumed your mantle and you can’t do anything about it ’cause you’re dead, like a dumdum would be? Which beloved holiday figure do you want to see go on a perfectly-justified roaring rampage of revenge, and why had it better be Leap Day William? What crime do you think Elon Musk Lex Luthor hasn’t committed yet, and when do you think he’ll get around to it? Lemme know in the comments!
Until next week, take care of yourselves, take care of each other, wear your goddamn masks, and do everything you can think of to make Fall finally start, please, the Goths of Arizona can’t handle this, there are rivulets of corpsepaint streaming from once-pallid faces gone heatstroke-red, and it’s gross.

–The Bageler


For the buyers and the sellers
Were no different fellas
Than what I profess to be

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