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Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. It’s only Monday, but our contributors have their eyes on Wednesday releases, from anthologies like The Witching Hour and Fairy Tale Comics to the debut of Fantomex MAX.
To see what we’re looking forward to this week, just keep reading.
Comics are unique in having a strong tradition of self-publishing; making your own comics, photocopying and stapling them, and selling them from a card table is an honorable way of paying your dues, although the Internet has taken over from the card table. Because they are made by young creators with few constraints, minicomics can be incredibly imaginative and vibrant, but the flip side of their non-commercial nature is that they also have a tendency to disappear. There is no backlist or distribution, and for the most part you won’t find them in libraries (although a couple of academic libraries are starting serious collections of late). That’s what makes the Treasury of Mini Comics so valuable: It’s a collection of material that will be new to almost every reader and can’t be found anywhere else. Some of the creators represented have become quite successful in the indie-comics world (John Porcellino, Noah Van Sciver, Leela Corman, Jim Woodring), while others are less well known. I expect a mix of styles, content and even quality, but the nice thing about an 800-page anthology of short comics is that if you don’t like one, there are plenty more to read instead. — Brigid Alverson
Editor Chris Duffy follows up his much-loved Nursery Rhyme Comics anthology with this wonderful collection of 17 fairy tales brought to new life by an all-star line-up of cartoonists. There are plenty of iconic stories presented in a new light, like Los Bros Hernandez on “Snow White” (by Jaime) and “Hansel and Gretel” (by Gilbert). Raina Telgemeier interprets “Rapunzel” and Vanessa Davis handles “Puss in Boots.” There are less-familiar tales, too, which might be most exciting of all. David Mazzucchelli, in his first published comics work since Asterios Polyp, reintroduces audiences to “Give Me the Shudders.” Despite the “classic” in the title, the collection ends with “Azzolino’s Story Without End” by Craig Thompson (Habibi, Blankets). There’s also Joseph Lambert, Luke Pearson, Karl Kerschl, Emily Carroll, Ramona Fradon … it’s too much goodness in one book! I’m really looking forward to diving into this one. Plus there’s some bonus content for parents and educators: Macmillan provides an online discussion guide PDF, a one-sheet to help teachers and parents turn these fun stories into learning opportunities for kids ages 6-12. — Corey Blake
Fantomex is one of those hedonistic characters who happens to be a hero (or close to one) when it suits his needs. So for him to score a miniseries in Marvel’s MAX line seems to be an ideal fit. Writer Andrew Hope is an unknown quantity, but I am a longtime fan of artist Shawn Crystal — so that is what truly has me interested in this project. – Tim O’Shea
Lately Vertigo has been building one-shot anthologies around the titles of old DC horror and sci-fi comics, so October is the perfect time for The Witching Hour. Previous offerings like The Unexpected and Time Warp have been pretty entertaining, and this one looks no different. One presumes that the title dictates the issue’s theme (at least to a certain extent) — but regardless of your feelings about spellcasters, the contributions of professionals like Mark Buckingham, Cliff Chiang, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Annie Mok and Matthew Sturges should be worth your $7.99. — Tom Bondurant
Wednesday is an insanely big day for Titan Comics, who’ve pretty much came from relatively nowhere to become my favorite publisher of this year. There’s the release of Solid State Tank Girl #4, the series that has reinvigorated Alan Martin’s signature character by teaming him up with Warwick Johnson Cadwell, making for the most idiosyncratic-looking comic on the shelves. On top of that, there’s also the publications of the collection of Carl Critchlow’s Thrud The Barbarian; a remixed/remastered edition of John Higgins’ Razorjack; the A1 Monster Massacre anthology; and the start of the reprint program for Jack Katz’s ground-breaking The First Kingdom saga. — Mark Kardwell