EW Staff
November 07, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

Various writers and artists
The wondrously eclectic quarterly boasts a big chunk of Jim Woodring’s graphic novella ”The Lute String,” a typically gorgeously cartoonish, surreal, and dialogue-free dreamscape. I love Tim Hensley’s arch parodies of old Harvey-company and Archie comics, and the mini-portfolio of Mike Scheer’s ballpoint-pen drawings consist of one stunning imaginary beast after another. FOR FANS OF… Chris Ware; R. Crumb; David Lynch. DOES IT DELIVER? For the most part: You betcha! There is some tedious emo-draining, faux-autobiographical material here, but whenever Mome sails off into the beautifully abstract, you’ll surf along on its wavelength. A- — Ken Tucker

B. Clay Moore & Ed Tadem/Seth Peck & Tigh Walker
Looks like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez aren’t the only ones who like to recycle ’70s trash pop. In ’76, two different creative teams spin two different serials suffused with gritty-groovy Me Decade nostalgia — a veritable grindhouse double feature, comic-book style. ”Johnny Karma” is a thinly veiled homage to the Marvel Comics street-fighting team of Luke Cage (a black muscle man) and Iron Fist (a white karate master); here, their analogs reteam after 10 years apart to take down an old foe who’s slinging some deadly new dope. The second strip, ”Cool,” wants to be a blaxploitation remix, a la Jackie Brown, but with ‘nads. The ”heroes” are a pair of bail-bondsmen buddies hired to hunt a powder-snorting stripper who’s made off with cash from a drug deal gone bad. FOR FANS OF… The fetishization of short shorts and big-collared shirts, chest hair and moustaches, characters who use words like shuck and jive and dig. DOES IT DELIVER? For what it is, ’76 is actually pretty well done. But what it is ain’t all that. The book may technically aspire to be a communion with the spirit of ’76, but it plays like wannabe Tarantino. These fanboys clearly have talent. Next time, they should just try to be themselves instead of aping someone else’s nostalgia gig. You dig? B- — Jeff Jensen

Naomi Nowak
A privileged young woman’s family falls on hard times, compelling her to take a grueling job at a seaside sweatshop, the titular House of Clay. Facing an uncertain future, she finds solace in unlikely friendships forged with two coworkers: one, a mute girl; the other, an old crone. FOR FANS OF… P. Craig Russell’s graceful Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde. DOES IT DELIVER? Swedish creator Nowak offers a dreamy, colorful coming-of-age tale that rather improbably takes visual cues from manga. Clay‘s pacing can be slow — and it takes a good while to get past the disjoint between the ethereal art and terse dialogue — but perseverant readers will ultimately warm to this lingering tale. B- — Abby West

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