Cleveland (Top Shelf) looks likely to be the last peice of work by Harvey Pekar who passed away in 2010 and I'm glad to say that it's arguably one of his finest, as also suggested by Alan Moore in his introduction. Setting the scene by racing through a 40-page history of Cleveland which almost lost me at the start when it began by talking about Baseball. It's not until page 41 that we get a title page of sorts and then Pekar takes through the story of his life as he ambles around the city which has shaped him and his life: uncompromising, struggling against poverty and with a bleakness that always kept him grounded.
Obviously, in light of his death, the book could have been dripping with poignancy but illustrator Joseph Remnant, in his first full-length graphic novel does such an incredible job that it made me wish that he'd illustrated all of Pekar's work. Just like the writing, Remnant's illustrations appear straightforward but they are filled with beautifully observed detail. Pekar appears truly at home in his surroundings and always appears to be strangely at peace there.
Ultimately - and importantly for his many fans - Cleveland is a perfect epitaph for a man who pioneered autobiographical comics and was so devoted to his home city Cleveland, Ohio.
Next up are further volumes of supporting characters - which I've always found to be a nice quirk of the industry. Three early adventures of Abe Sapien in (strangely enough) Abe Sapien vol. 2: The Devil Does Not Jest (Dark Horse) written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi. Also, Fabletown's finest secret agent returns in Cinderella: Fables & Forever (Vertigo) by volume one writer and artist team Chris Roberson and Shawn McManus.
The Weeklies kick off with a bang as Avengers vs X-Men #2 (Marvel) is here already (this twice a month thing is looking like a really good move), this time by Jason Aaron and John Romita Jr. Well I like The X-Men but I also like The Avengers, but which one is better? There's only one way to find out... Garth Ennis returns to another oldie (remember his Dan Dare?) as he writes The Shadow #1 (Dynamite), illustrated by Aaron Campbell, sending us back to 1938 for further adventures of the masked vigilante. Other Treats include the fantastic and really rather essential Batman #8 (DC) and Green Arrow wants to join the gang in Justice League #8 (DC)
As ever, the full list of releases is available under the tab near the top!