<i>By <a href=http://www.twitter.com/albertxii>Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer</a></i> <p>Sundown on Tuesday marks the start of Hanukkah 2011, meaning that the holiday season is no longer "around the corner," and in fact officially here. And this week's New Comic Book Day is appropriately packed, with high-profile single issues and collected editions from many major companies. <p>We're looking at new series debuting, unlikely trade paperbacks, indie sensations, perennial mainstream favorites and the fictional return of one of history's very real villains. <p>So, click "start here" in the upper-left corner to proceed and start planning your impending comic book shop trip, with 10 of the most newsworthy new releases of Dec. 21, 2011. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>
In recent years, Robert Kirkman has worked solely in the world of creator-owned comics, and it's paid off for him y'know, that whole <i>Walking Dead</i> TV series and all. <p>But prior to a few years ago, Kirkman worked extensively for Marvel Comics, including, as odd as it may seem, a six-issue <b>Jubilee</b> series from 2004. It's been out of print for years, but a collection is out this week, perfect to reminisce of a time when Kirkman wrote work-for-hire comics and Jubilee wasn't a vampire.
<a href=http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album_view.php?gid=3895&page=35>Click here for a preview!</a> <p>Geoff Johns has been confronting the whole "Aquaman as a running joke" issue quite readily in the solo <i>Aquaman</i> series, and with <b>Justice League #4</b>, he's introducing the character to that book, as DC's top super-team slowly comes together. <p>And just from the first page, it's clear that Johns joined in this book by DC co-publisher and artist Jim Lee is dealing with some of the same themes, with Hal Jordan presuming that Aquaman is a "sketch on Conan O'Brien."
IDW revitalized their G.I. Joe line earlier this year by killing off Cobra Commander, and they look to be doing something similar with their Transformers book as of this one-shot. <p>Of course, Optimus Prime has (temporarily) died before, notably in 1986's <i>The Transformers: The Movie</i>, something that scarred an entire generation of young, impressionable Transformers fans. (It remains to be seen if this comic will have a similar effect.)
Dark Horse resurrected their beloved anthology title in April of this year, and since then have managed to keep up the quality with a consistently stellar lineup of contributors. <p>The latest issue contains no less of a draw than a new Hellboy story written and illustrated by Mike Mignola, new <i>Skeleton Key</i> from Andi Watson, plus the latest "Marked Man" by Howard Chaykin and "Blood" by Neal Adams.
<b>Savage Dragon</b> isn't exactly rooted in reality, but it did put Barack Obama on its cover back in 2008, and this week features an appearance from another real person: Osama bin Laden. <p>In <b>Savage Dragon #177</b>, bin Laden returns as you might expect from <b>Savage Dragon</b> as a "giant mutated killer hellbent on destroying the land of the free," leaving it up to Malcolm Dragon and Battle Girl to stop him.
Norwegian cartoonist Jason has gained international acclaim with his simple but striking style seen in books like <i>I Killed Adolf Hitler</i>. (If you're strictly a superhero fan, perhaps you saw his contributions to Marvel's <i>Strange Tales</i>?) <p>In honor of a decade of his books being published in the states, Fantagraphics is releasing the comic book format one-shot <b>Jason Conquers America</b>, with never-before-seen art, plus bonus material like a Q&A with Jason and a checklist of his work.
Michael Kupperman ends 2011 the same year where he released the stunningly funny <i>Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010</I> with a new issue of his Fantagraphics comic book, <b>Tales Designed to Thrizzle</b>. <p>Here's what <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/mark-twain-michael-kupperman-110909.html>Kupperman told Newsarama</a> about the issue back in September: <p>"I watched an episode of <i>Quincy</i> to do this book I had to, to get the reference and it's so boring. Maybe I wasn't watching a very good episode, but it was not fun. It was amateurish, and puzzling, and some plot threads just went nowhere. I mean, Jack Klugman is always good, don't get me wrong. He saved it. Because otherwise it stunk. <p>"So I have no idea why I just did a huge comic about it. It's intimidating delivering to Fantagraphics, because you go to their FTP site, and of course the files in there are the names of some of the most brilliant cartoonists, living and dead, and here am I, dropping in my delusional babble. There's never been a <i>Quincy</i> comic book before, I do know that."
Hey, remember Image's <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/image-teasers-edmondson-gerads-110915.html>"Project Omaha" teasers</a> from a few months ago? <p>Well, the comic that they were teasing is out this week: <b>The Activity #1</b>, by <i>Who Is Jake Ellis?</i> and <i>Grifter</i> writer Nathan Edmondson and artist Mitch Gerads. <p>Here's how <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/edmondson-gerads-activity-image-exclusive-111004.html>Edmondson described the book to Newsarama</a>: <p>"Team Omaha is composed of five men and women from various military and intelligence backgrounds; some are National Guard to CIA types, others soldiers, rangers, Airborne. But each was handpicked and invited to apply to the Activity. They have code names and distinct personalities but together they make a lethal and precise force. They also share some laughs here and there."
<a href=http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album.php?aid=45155>Click here for a preview!</a> <p><b>Amazing Spider-Man</b> writer Dan Slott is really excited about this issue, dubbing it "fried butter on a stick" in an interview with Newsarama. The comic stars the Sinister Six and features, for one issue, no Spidey to speak of. <p>The <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/dan-slott-amazing-spider-man-655-110223.html>last time we saw Slott this excited about a comic</a>, it was <b>Amazing Spider-Man #655</b>, which turned out to be one of the best-reviewed single issues of the year. If history is any indication, <b>Amazing Spider-Man #676</b> is probably a pretty good comic book.
<a href=http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album.php?gid=3892>Click here for a preview!</a> <p>The Grant Morrison-written <i>Batman Incorporated</i> was cut a bit short due to The New 52 revamp, but it gets a finale here in the form of oversized one-shot <b>Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes</b>. <p>The comic, with art from Chris Burnham and Cameron Stewart, sets up 2012's <i>Batman: Leviathan</i>, the climax of Morrison's Batman run, which started back in 2006 and has included such engaging insanity as Dr. Hurt and the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh. Plus, pre-New 52 fans will be interested to hear that this one-shot features "the last hurrah of Stephanie Brown as Batgirl."