On Wednesday May 28th Joe Mulvey, and contributors Amy Chu, Ben McCool, Rich Douek, and Deron Bennett (yes, ALL of them) will be on hand at Forbidden Planet NYC to celebrate the release of SCAM Ultimate Collection. Signing kicks off at 6pm- see you there, folks.
To organize your thoughts, to give yourself new ideas, and to think about things a different way, I often try to give myself some thematic perameteres to work in. Often those themes don’t stick because they’re dumb, or don’t actually make sense to people other than myself. But today I made themes and decided to leave them.
What are some writing tips you have?! What themes did you notice this week?! Hunt someone down in the store and aggressively tell him or her your thoughts!
This week’s comics are, dyna-miiiiite!
Magnus: Robot Fighter #3-Fred Van Lente turns it up when he pits human hunter Leeja Clarke against the hostile robots of the future. Her introduction is solid pulp, but her fighting prowess is completely real. She’s punching her way up in life, using her own flesh and blood to take down our hero human. If you thought fighting maleficent metal miscreants was going to be Russell Magnus’s biggest challenge, you thought wrong. (But it was a good effort. I mean, it makes sense to assume that his hardest opponents would be robots. But you’re still wrong. Don’t beat yourself up over it though.)
Solar: Man of the Atom #2-With confusion over who is REALLY the new Solar that was left in the wake of #1, I have to say, if you are confused, why do you care?! It’s a pretty solid character trait of first issues to leave a cliffhanger with the audience going “omg what’s going to happen?!?! So crazy!!” but some people just seemed bummed that solar might not be who they thought he was going to be. But this comic is so good I really have to wonder again, why does it matter?! So the mantel of a solar reboot is being passed to someone else, if it’s written as well as Barbiere probably writes his grocery lists, the new Solar will be sure to impress all audiences. Try on some super science with this spectacular new series!
Flash Gordon #2-Evan Shaner is drawing the ever-loving crap out of Jeff Parker’s take on Flash Gordon. The man from Earth is doing a not so great job at keeping his identity when attempting to save an alien race from being transformed into minions of the nefarious Ming. Classic humor and new adventures make this story just generally fun to read, but the amazing art team kills at making this book fun just to look at. The team will continue hopping through time and space in their overarching quest to defeat Ming the Merciless, and prevent the invasion of Earth.
Game on, with Hick-mon….? I’m so embarrassed now
Manhattan Projects Vol. 4-Just buy it! It’s a part of my top 5 fav series! I don’t want to keep telling you to read it! (yes I do)
East of West #12-War is imminent in the best western, high sci-flyin, cryptic apocalyptic, adventure you cowpoke folk ever did read. But the effort swelling to change the course of the war-horse is the greatest quest for Death’s theistic compatriots.
Firsts and lasts
MPH #1-Mark Millaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar has a gotten tired of violence and is instead writing a new book about self-discovery through meditation. Just kidding. This book is about DRUGS, and MONEY, and going really FAST! When two friends realize that a new street drug will give you super speed abilities, they use it to do anything but help others. Obviously something like that will only get them into trouble; but that’s the least of their worries as long as they’re having fun and stacking cheddar. Coming to you from Mark Millar and Duncan Fegredo. I expect a bunch of speed lines.
Dark horse Presents #36-The series is ending! (only not really) We’ll never see it again! (it’ll be back in July) Nothing will ever be the same! (it will be in a different format though). Full scoop, the current version of DHP you know and love, mainly that it’s 80 pages of awesome, will be going on a diet and getting a little slimmer to fit into a more cost effective model, coming out sometime in July. But that doesn’t mean they skimped on creators for the final (this version) issue. In this corner, we have Mike Mignola! Stan Sakai! And JAIME HERNANDEZ! + a bunch of others. They’ll be wrapping some stories up, starting some new ones, and giving you all around great tales for a great price.
I’ve taken up the ancient art form of origami as of late, and between creating lotus flowers, cranes, and tie-fighters, I have learned the power of creativity, dexterity, concentration, and the overwhelming urge to set all pieces of decorative paper on fire out of sheer frustration.I’d like to think there’s a metaphor for life somewhere in there, but I’m too consumed with rage to see it yet.Anyways, this books will calm me down…
Rust Vol 3: Death of Rocket Boy by Royden Lepp-Like a steam punk gateway, this beautiful and fantastical world has created a world that’s full of robots, family struggles, and jet packs. Life was forever changed for the Taylors, when Jet Jones and a decommissioned robot from the alternate universe World Wars crash land on their farm. Lepp has spent the previous two hardcover volumes building up family secrets, sacrifice, and robot action that will all come to a head in this penultimate book of the series. This book seriously is all ages, because I’ve recommended to readers of any age, and no one is disappointed with the action or the heart that sits at the core of these books.
Manifest Destiny Vol 1 by Chris Dingess and Matthew Roberts-
History and giant monsters collide in this take on the REAL story of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark! Especially pertinent to us Washingtonians, or anyone who enjoyed a rousing CD-Rom game of the Oregon Trail, the journey to discover the Pacific Ocean is historical, but the truth is what will make this story legend. Wild monsters, infection, betrayal, and help from the French and Native Americans drive all first six issues of this collected edition. The American frontier is a dangerous place, I suggest using this as a guidebook for your journey.
This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki- Summer is not officially here, but the memory is always present. Fires, camping, jumping in lakes, back sweat, booty shorts. If you’ve been missing any of the above, This One Summer, might help alleviate that. Possibly with less booty shorts than my summer, the one written and drawn by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki does capture the youthfulness of summer nostalgia, and then wrecks it. Rose and Windy are best beach buds, and have always looked forward to spending their long days doing what kids do best. But things have gotten rough between Rose’s parents, and Windy and Rose look for a distraction that ends up getting them involved in the even bigger problems of some older local kids. This might not have been the summer they dreamed up, but it’s one they’ll never forget. Cousin duo, the Tamaki’s, produce tween angst against artwork that has a beautiful flow.
Rogue Trooper Classic #1 by Gerry Finley-Day and Dave Gibbons- Did James Stokoe’s covers on the new Rogue Trooper series make you wonder where all these badass blue warriors came from? Wonder no longer! IDW is bringing the original comics from 2000AD, created by Gerry Finley-Day and Dave Gibbons, back to life in fuuuuullllll cooolooooooorrrr. The war torn future is rife with chemical weapons and warfare, and the only ones able to fight the fight are the genetically modified infantrymen. These are the tales of one such Genetic Infantryman, Rogue. One part Full Metal Jacket, and one part Fallout, this classic series will feature appearances by Judge Dredd, who will feel right at home in the war ravaged Nu-Earth.
The Auteur #3 by Rick Spears and James Callahan- I know I mention this book every week, but I don’t STOP mentioning it because it’s LITERALLY THE BEST THING EVER. If I haven’t convinced you at this point to read a book that’s about a psychotropic drug rampage through Hollywood and your own mind, on the quest to create the most realistic horror film ever, then I haven’t been doing my job and I might as well jump off a cliff. (I also use the term job loosely because I have yet to receive as much praise and adulation and keys to cities and babies presented for healing kisses, as my words deserve)
Peter(r) Bonavita and Alex Robinson of The Star Wars Minute, the daily podcast in which they discuss, dissect and humorously analyze EVERY single minute of The Holy Trilogy, are up to minutes 86-90 of The Empire Strikes Back and, wouldn’tcha know it, yours truly is their guest for the next week.
Minute 86 was posted this morning and can be listened to here. A new minute will appear every day through Friday (though you should definitely stick with the show and devour the archives… they had some terrific guest stars for Star Wars, and have followed that up with an even more impressive call sheet for Empire. Come to think of it- why the hell did they call me?!).
Jodorowsky’s Dune finally came to Seattle this weekend, and I was painfully inspired by this doc. You basically get an animated Moebius film, in between beautiful H.G. Giger art, and topped with an amazing soundtrack that really feels essentially Dune. I can’t say enough good things about this film. For sci-fi, comic, film fans alike.
I followed the painful inspiration with a weekend of day drinking, nail painting, and reading. My magnum opus won’t be built in a day.
Adventure Time Annual 2014- The thing I love about annuals is that they come out once a year. They’re also bigger. They feature a new creative team. And sometimes they’re Adventure Time. Lucky for us, this one hits all those sweet spots. Joining the already extra special AT Team is husband-wife comic duo, Becky and Frank! They write and draw the super adorable webcomic, Tiny Kitten Teeth (that is hand painted, I might add). If you have diabetes you might want to keep a candy bar on hand for this one, because it not only features the sugary cuteness of their typical art style, but the story follows little Fionna and BABY CAKE! The sweetness is in the name! Just thinking about it gets me a little light headed. The two get into all sorts of magical trouble, but who could ever stay mad at a baby Fionna and Cake?!
Continuing the Buddy Bradley series from the collected books of Buddy Does Jersey, and Buddy Does Seattle, comes the first collection we’ve seen from Peter Bagge’s iconic Hate Annual series in seven years! But this newest collected version will also feature new pages created by Bagge; a major contribution to the renaissance Seattle is having right now of its alternative comics scene. Life for the junky, 1990’s famous anti-hero, Buddy Bradley has changed significantly. We find him now in his 30’s, with a wife, son, owning a junkyard, and wearing an eye patch. Pretty normal for Buddy I’d say. This conclusion to his most recent arc will be marked by the 25th anniversary of Hate Comix in 2015. I’d say that time has flown by, and something nostalgic like “I remember when these comics blah blah blah”, but I’ll be honest, Hate came out the year I was born. So I’ve had A LOT of catching up to do.(If you’re interested in the current work of underground Seattle cartoonists, look up the work of Ben Horak, Gnartoons, and Tom Van Deusen in their monthly publication, The Intruder)
Unlovable Vol 3 HC- Grotesquely hilarious, in only the way an illustrated journal of a teenage girl from 1989 can be. Unlovable, by Esther Pearl Watson, is what all of us were at some point in our adolescence, but wishing we never were. Summer is here for Tammy Pierce, and she’s ready to party, flirt with all the boys, and wear waaaaay too much mascara. This is a must read for all Tina Belcher fans. This is also a must read for anyone who likes fun!
Southern Bastards #1- Jason Aaron just made the South real dirty. Dirty with rednecks, piss, and dogs. Craw County is home to all of the above; it’s also home to the meanest sheriff the town has ever seen, and his brutality is the stuff of legend. But it’s very real to his son who has come back to town for the first time in years. His dad is dead, but his brutality lives on in the town, through a new boss who has this football town in his fist, and people running from his terror. While this may not be a welcome home for Earl Tugg, for fans of Aaron’s work on books like Scalped, this feels like we’ve been greeted with open arms. Originally from Alabama himself, this feels really down home Southern. Artist and co-creator, Jason Latour also hails from North Carolina, and these two don’t miss a beat when it comes to creating an atmosphere that’s soiled with too many memories, and too much power.
Judge Dredd Mega-City Two #4- When you combine the most serious man in crime fighting, with two cute animal tour guides to Crimeland that sing rhyming tunes, you get only a piece of the wacky ride that is Judge Dredd Mega City Two. Dredd takes care of some old fashioned boss’s in the amusement park that caters to showing old-fashioned street crime! Sounds like a good time for Dredd and his film crew, until they run into a rogue Judge who turns their world upside down by giving up the law…to help the people. The art is out of control on this issue, and the contrast between the hyper detail of the city and landscape, combined with the cartoonish auxiliary characters gives this book a distinguishing flavor from anything that’s on the shelves today. And this issue definitely satisfies my need for some form of musical theatre.
Pretty Deadly Vol 1 TPB- Prolific author Gabriel Garcia Marquez may have left us, but this world is no less full of magical realism as long as Pretty Deadly is still around. DeConnick and Rios have left a sizeable dent in the comics’ world, following the release of their spaghetti western meets kung-fu epic. If you’re one of the poor souls wandering this wasteland of a planet lost and alone because you haven’t picked this book up yet, now is your chance to feel the swift righteous blade of death’s daughter, Ginny. Her origin is the stuff of legend; a tale that bards sing around a fire. But the wronged always know where to find her.
May 7th had so many awesome releases we couldn’t decided who to have a signing with, so we’re doing everybody. Come down to Forbidden Planet and get you copy of Vertigo’s CMYK Anthology and In the Dark signed by a slew of amazing creators.and James Tynion IV (Batman Eternal) will also be on hand to sign his brand new series The Woods. And if that wasn’t enough the man, the legend Larry Hama will also be here in the flesh. Don’t miss out folks.
If any West Coast readers accidentally read this, maybe they’ll accidentally go to a new show that’s popping up in Portland this weekend. It’s called Linework NW, and it’s a free to the public, one-day show that has been currated by some fine fine Portland folks. There’s also a main opening reception to showcase the highlighted works of Jim Woodring and Michael Deforge. So, if you can travel to the cartoonist mecca this weekend, look up Linework NW and stop on by. Fun for the whole family! Fun! Fun! Fun!
Lumberjanes #1- Lumberjanes reminds me of being a kid, growing up and camping in various Washington State Parks with the Girl Scouts and churchy stuff. Hanging out with pals, making lanyards, watching all the cool kids swim. Alright, so Lumberjanes is probably nothing like my awkward tween camping memories because they do awesome stuff like defeat Yetis, monster wolves and solve mysteries. Headed up by the incessantly charming Noelle Stevenson, and Grace Ellis, with art by Brooke Allen, the new Boom! Box imprint is rolling out its second title (behind the fan fav Midas Touch), with captivating characters and stories that keep reminding you how much fun you’re actually having reading these comics.
Shutter #1- Kate Kristopher’s life is mixed with ancient gods of legend, nest-building urban dinosaurs, and demons on coffee dates, and then things get weird. The daughter of a famed explorer left her fantastical days behind her after a terrible tragedy, but ninja phantasms threaten to pull her back into the thick of things. Joe Keatinge’s a busy man lately, but he and artist/co-creator Leila del Duca have managed to carve out a fantasy/adventure hybrid with modern concerns of a 27 year old New Yorker. Those concerns just happen to include weird family secrets, loneliness, and an energy spewing metal monopoly man. Actually, those sound like concerns of a 27 year old New Yorker. Carry on!
Cosplayers One-Shot- It’s not too often Fantagraphics publishes floppies anymore, so when they do I get pumped. Cartoonist Dash Shaw is known for looking at slices of life with an unusual perspective, one that combines and off-beat humor with growing pains. Cosplayers
examines a culture that is now as tied to comic book culture as….ugh, I can’t think of anything clever enough, you know what I mean. Cosplaying is a really big thing now! And the main characters who are aspiring actors and filmmakers decide to use unsuspecting extras in their quest to achieve top cosplaying levels. But they’re just teens, so nothing will go wrong, right?
Reminder to all you trade waiters out there that the second volume of one of the most interesting and compelling comic series is out today. Jonathan Hickman’s fantasy/sci-fi western has the cast splintered, and traversing the dystopian America trying to stop the Chosen from completely destroying the world. If you just can’t stand waiting for the next trade to come out after this one, you’re in luck! Issue #11 also drops today.
I feel bad even writing about the next few books, because they really don’t need my help to sell, they’ll probably be the highest selling books of the week, with no help from me. But I’m just so gosh excited that they’re coming out. This week definitely belongs to Marvel:
All New Doop #1- We all know it, he’s you’re favorite X-Men, he’s my favorite X-Men, and now the weird little green guy, Doop, is getting in front of the camera. Doop, created by Peter Milligan and Mike Allred, has a weird history. A weird, butt-brain, affair having, sometimes voyeuristically inclined, history. The X-Men have always suspected that this soviet mutant creation is possibly the most powerful among them. In his own series he’s poised to take center stage when he gets involved with Kitty Pryde. Also, this mini series ties into the Battle of the Atom, if you follow that kind of thing. Peter Milligan is writing it again, bringing his surreal qualities to the usually-maintain-but-now-looks-pretty-crazy-in-a-cool-way art of Marvel career artist David Lafuente. With covers by Mike Allred!
Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #1- You know how things go, old comic gets picked up for TV show, we get new comics! Given the success that Netflix has had lately with producing their own content, I am fully on board with the upcoming Iron Fist series. I’m also fully on board with the new series that comes out this week with art AND words by Kaare Andrews. They’re not going all the way back to rehash his origin story, but people unfamiliar with the kung-fu master and possessor of mystical dragon fists, will get a taste of his past, while Andrews engages the future troubles for the hero. I don’t know how closely they’ll tie the Netflix stuff with the new comic stuff, but I’m hoping for an eventual team up with past partner Luke Cage, another Marvel character getting his own screen time. And I’ll admit, I’ll be kinda bummed if there’s no Power Man.
Regrets and Errors:
- I regret that a couple weeks ago I accidentally told you that Sandman Overture #2 was coming out. It’s releasing this week. But given its constantly shifting timeline, I won’t believe that it’s out until it’s in my hands. Editorial regrets the error.
- I also regret how little sleep I’m going to get this next week with Emerald City Comic-Con just on the horizon.
- Matthew Rosenberg will soon regret how many doughnuts I’ll make him eat this week.
Editorial regrets all of these, and future errors.
If you notice any errors, keep them to yourselves, but I’ll gladly accept all laud and honor through my twitter. (@ApAnnagator)
Metabarons Genesis Castaka- If you’re lucky enough to live in NYC or LA you could potentially have already seen the new documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune”. Whether you’ve seen it or not (and if you haven’t you better be planning on it when it comes to your city or suffer the consequences (or not, listen to your own consciousness ((NO GODS NO MASTERS))). But if you’re looking to get your Jodorowsky fix until that movie, the deluxe hardcover collection of the two French volumes for the Castaka spin-off of the Metabarons series, is now available! The Metabaron’s are the ultimate warriors, renowned throughout the galaxy for their ancient warrior rituals that makes every Metabaron into a cyborg after proving their strength. This prequel explores the world of the Metabaron ancestors, who were anything but the rigid society they became. The Castaka series is illustrated by Das Pastoras, who took over from the original Metabaron artist, Juan Gimenez. Pastoras can have a really gruesome (which I mean in a good way) look to his work, which lends itself very well to the brutal and lawless society that the ancient Metabarons exist in.
Leo Roa- Oh, did you wonder why Juan Gimenez wasn’t working on the Castaka book? Probably because he’s spent the last several years working on his own album (as the French would say), Leo Roa, an intergalactic saga of epic proportions. Journalist Leo Roa finds himself in the middle of an adventure that pits him against aliens, villains, murderers, and time traveling escapades. Gimenez is truly a comic’s master, who blends a Moebius meets Herge style into a sci-fi masterpiece that takes throws satire and humor into a hero’s journey arena. His technical and historical make this book feel familiar, while his attention to detail and creative force turn it into something you’ve never seen before. Recommended for fans of Prophet.
The Undertaking of Lily Chen- (above) Deshi accidentally kills his assholeish, but favored by their parents, older brother. His parents send him on an epic journey to find him a ghost bride, a corpse to bury with his brother’s body so, according to Chinese tradition, he wont have to spend his eternity alone. Set in modern China, Deshi begins his journey to find a recently deceased companion, the best choice is the beautiful Lily Chen, only problem is she’s still quite alive. Author and illustrator, Danica Novgorodoff, paints (literally) an emotional slice of life that’s riddled with complicated family dynamics, selfish desires, and tradition v. modernity. Painted with watercolor on rice paper, and then gone over in ink before being digitally touched up, Novogordoff renders a distinctly unique look to a surreal, but grounded, portrayal of finding meaning on a hopeless journey.
Helheim Vol. 1 TPB- The ultimate Viking fantasy gets its first top-selling collected edition. Take all the Norse mythology you thought you knew from Thor, then make it distinctly darker, witchier, and insanely more evil. Rikard is the undead killing machine that is sewn together with magic and the bodies of the dead, and he’s seeking vengeance against his transgressors. In their own rights, writer Cullen Bunn and artist Joelle Jones are some of the most visceral workers out there, but when you put them together, an unholy union of comic magic is born.
Frank Barbiere is on fire. All his books are different, but they’re all so.stupid.good. Blackout is distinctly more sci-fi than his other work (Five Ghosts and White Suits), as it explores a dark dimension that protagonist, Scott Travers can only access through a special, and mysterious suit. But what he doesn’t know about the history of the suit will only lead him on a journey to outrun the people who are after the suit, and find answers that will save him. This 4-part series is technically a continuation of the original story Barbiere published in Dark Horse Presents issues #24-26. You can totally pick this story up from the number one, but if you want more of the origin story, you can get them from Dark Horse’s digital comic platform for a pretty good deal. The artist of the original series, Michael Kaneshino will be doing the covers for the new stuff, that’ll be drawn by Colin Lorimer!
Jan’s Atomic Heart and other Stories- Simon Roy pulls on my shriveled black heart-strings with stories that are obtuse, original, and out there. That kind of description can be a little off putting to some people, and to those people I ask, “Where’s your desire for delving into the unknown? Your passion and curiosity to explore world’s and stories beyond yourself? Where’s the money Lebowski?” This book collects roughly five years worth of the Vancouver artists work that’s shows the evolution between his early stories from his art school days, to the beautifully designed art we see in Prophet. Oh, did I forget to mention that Simon Roy is one of the primary artists on that book with a million other amazing people? Even if he wasn’t associated with that amazing book, THIS book is amazing, and includes a story for every reader (though the book’s namesake story could have even been published on its own).
All New Ghost Rider #1- Not gonna lie, I really like Tradd Moore, and I will definitely be picking up the first issue of Ghost Rider. I never thought I’d ever write that sentence in my lifetime.
The multi-talented CHERYL GROSS will be appearing Forbidden Planet NYC on Thursday April 3 at 7pm, signing copies of her new illustrated science fiction novel The Z Factor.
The nineteenth century is coming to a close when Hans Kasper Ivan Karp makes it his life mission to relieve the world of sex and gender. Knowing that his goal will take several generations to achieve, Karp invents a new, dominant chromosome known as the Z factor. But not all are excited about his theoretical creation, called the umon species. Accused of being a lunatic and unable to defend his theory, Karp is shunned. Years later, his son, Ivan, is born-the product of artificial insemination. No one realizes what is in store for the world.
It is 2009 when Ivan Karp-who has been called an umon by his parents for as long as he can remember-receives a knock at his door. With his father long gone and human mutations becoming more prominent around the world, Ivan invites in a woman with many questions about the umon race. As he retells his story up to present day, Ivan reflects on his inner conflicts about his true gender and shares details of his homosexual relationship with Aaron Moses. But through their conversation, Ivan makes two startling discoveries: Katherine is his daughter, and Aaron has somehow achieved Karp’s dream-findings that suddenly thrust all of them in the midst of an umon revolution.
In this science fiction thriller, three generations involved in the creation of a hermaphroditic human species must come together in an attempt to bring the umons the one thing they have always wanted: freedom.
Cheryl is a motion graphics artist, painter, illustrator, and a Professor at Pratt Institute.
Forbidden Planet will be hosting a signing with artist Jeff Zornow in celebration of his new comic 68: Rule of War #1 (Image) on the day of its release. Jeff will be on hand from 7:30 to sign and sketch the night away on April 2nd. Blank variant covers of the book will be available, so don’t miss the chance to jump on a great new series and have a personalized cover drawn by the very man who made it. See you then!
Happy Irish day/week, nerds. Hope you didn’t break too many face bones on your way home the other night.
Buffy the Vampire Hunter, Season 10 #1- Being hailed as the season that brings Buffy “back the basics”, this new creative team is breathing new life into old blood. The challenge in continuing such a fan favorite show turned comic that needing your content and characters to feel fresh, without alienating the classic features of the people and plot that brought viewers and readers in in the first place. Editor Scott Allie is now promising a reinvigorated Buffy story that gets the Scoobies back to what they do best, hunt vampires! With new rules and new challenges, this comic proves that there’s still a lot for Buffy and the team to learn about their undead fiends, and re-killing them isn’t just a walk through a graveyard. The writer/artist team of Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs have migrated from the much loved “Angle and Faith” series, and will take the reins to steer this pony into familiar territory that will feel like brand new Buffy.
James Bond can suck it, because John Cannon is the all American military spy/hunk you’ve always wanted. Cannon is hard and fast! I mean, these comics are hard and fast…Released exclusively through the military publication Overseas Weekly, Wally Wood wrote and drew spy missions, naked women, evil commies, and naked women every week for over two years! Now Fantagraphics is collecting the saga of a brainwashed, CIA killing machine in hardcover anthology that’s historical, violent, and sexy. Without the restrictions of American publishing guidelines, Wood was able to be as unbridled as he wanted to be, and his artful and playful genius of the medium shows in every panel of this book. A bunch of bonus material, including some Ditko, and source material, rounds off this collection staple.
American Vampire: Second Cycle- Hooray! American Vampire is back! Continuing this unintentional vampire theme, Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque are unearthing the not-too-long-dead series from Vertigo that travels the ages the eyes of fiendish bloodsuckers. Like a (more) evil Forest Gump. Pearl Jones and Skinner Sweet (her sire, for those of you up to date on your vampire lingo) are off on their own; one providing shelter to children, one up to no good. Battles and new baddies loom on the horizon for these protagonists that will eventually bring them back together. This was my introduction to Scott Snyder, and he’s only gotten better as a writer with his other series like The Wake.
Alec Longstreth has been making professional comics and beards since 2002 with his highly acclaimed independent comic, Phase 7. If you’ve ever flipped through one of these beauties, you might have picked up on the adventure story that ran through issues 5-9, Basewood. The adventure tale follows a young man’s journey to rediscover his past with the help of others. Also, wolf dragons! Reprinted in French by L’employé du Moi, Longstreth began an earnest kickstarter to raise funds to print an English version of Basewood as a really nice hardcover that shows off all the detail Longstreth put into his pages. This is kickstarter and comics done right, and this tale of friendship, adventure, and the trials and rewards of growing up have been given a format for all to enjoy.
There’s a lot of Image favs coming out this week, and I don’t think I could do them all justice if I tried to write about each, (aka I’m lazy busy!) So here are some titles in handy, tidy, vertical listular format:
Sometimes comics are a participation sport. And sometimes a full contact sport depending on what conventions you’re going to this year. I spent this weekend going to a signing for Tony Millionaire (creator of Maakies and Sock Monkey), and to a fundraiser for a non-profit, ZAPP (Zine Archive and Publishing Project). Even though the PNW is home to a lot of creators, it rains a lot here and sometimes we don’t get out of the house. So when opportunities come your way to hang out with a bunch of other nerds, don’t pass it up!
That’s my free will advice for the week. That and drink plenty of water daily.
47 Ronin Hardcover- Stan Sakai doesn’t just draw rabbit samurai, he draws people samurai! And really well too. The vengeance, the honor, the brotherhood, all epitomized in this graphic retelling of one of Japan’s greatest stories. Painstakingly researched by Mike Richardson and Sakai, they recreate the saga of the 47 ronin who travel for years to avenge their master by seeking out his killers. My favorite movies to power marathon (behind the entirety of the Venture Brothers) are Kurosawa samurai movies, so it wasn’t hard for me to power read this series. The comic is as beautiful, and moving, with touches of humor that fans of the genre can appreciate. Plus, Sakai is one of the best working artists, and soooo nice. Everyone should buy books from nice people like Sakai.
Beasts of Burden Hunters and Gatherers- Bringing back their beloved, Eisner award winning characters, Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson return to Burden Hill to defend its citizens from new baddies. (which is apparently a word my computer recognizes now). This series has been around since 2003, and has always been enjoyed in any of its collections of self-titles, Dark Horse Presents, and Hellboy teamups. If you want to get to know the dogs and cats that take up the task of investigating the paranormal activities of their town, this is a perfect starting point for what I’m assuuuuuming will have more issues in the near future!
Stray Bullets: Uber Alles- This book is effing giant. It’s 1200, over-sized pages collecting all five story arcs of David Laphams seminal crime series that started with El Capitan in….um…..(totally not looking this up on wikipedia)…1995! And ran for 40 issues. Like Fatale, the various crime stories span all the way from the ’70-‘90s; they get violent, the characters can be real shit bags, and you want nothing but more. Too bad for us Lapham had to abandon the series in the mid ‘00s , and left a lot of people dangling, until now!
Stray Bullets #41- Whaaaat?! See what I did there? Through Image, Lapham is bringing it back; 32 pages of black and white grit that literally start right where he left off, and finish off the series that’s as satisfying now as it would have been 10 years ago. Maybe more so. We do love a good build up. But it’s a kind of a bummer that it’s the end of an era, so to speak.
Stray Bullets: Killers #1- Syyyyyche! This is all a huge build of to the release of Lapham’s NEW Stray Bullet series. I couldn’t read those 31 pages fast enough. A kid thinks he’s getting innocent kicks by sneaking into the same strip club his dad sneaks into. But when they both recognize someone they shouldn’t, things get dangerous. Young Eli’s world is turned upside down, and everyone’s intentions (though seemingly nefarious) are not fully actualized yet. Though Lapham’s worked on other series over the years, he and his editor/wife kick off this arc with as much gumption as it’s Eisner winning roots.
Magnus: Robot Fighter #1- Continuing this unintended themes of bringing fun titles back to life, writer Fred Van Lente and artist Cory Smith are breathing new life into the 1960’s Russ Manning character, Magnus. Robots have taken over, and seamlessly integrated themselves into humanity. Only Magnus can tell who’s the original and who’s a copy, and it’s up to him to stop the expansion of a machine universe called North Am. It reminds me a little of the Borg storyline from TNG, in which the robots roam the country turning everything they deem as non-essential (nature) into a machine Mecca. Dynamite has done a really good job on shoring up their creative teams to give those Gold Key characters a new home.
Nosferatu Wars- Menton3 creeps me the fuck out. He also has. They’re like the stuff from my nightmares. But I think that’s my fault since I read stuff like his Monocyte, and Ennis’s Crossed before bed. So my nightmares might be a little skewed. But the kings of horror (maybe Princes, I think the title of king belongs to THE King), Steve Niles and Menton3 team up in this series to investigate the heyday of the vampires, the Black Plague. When death abounds, they run the show, except when they begin to turn on each other. Can this hunter species thrive without a common enemy? This one-shot collects their Dark Horse Presents issues of the Nosferatu Wars.
Young Romance 2: The Early Simon and Kirby Romance Comics- Following up the first volume of their reprinted tales of romance, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby practically invented the genre that includes sweeping tales of dramatic fantasy of teen, and young adult romance. Starting soon after the end of WWII, people needed a little bit of a break from war and horror stories, and the softer side of comics blew up. These historical stories have been beautifully re-colored, to let new readers in new generations discover how their grandparents wooed each other.
Celebrate the release of Return To Nuke ‘Em High Part 1 on blu-ray and DVD. Meet Director Lloyd Kaufmam as well as the cast and crew, right here at FPNYC! Get your Tromabillia signed for free! Really what more could you ask for?
Nothing else matters to me this week other than comics, because Oni Press’s, “The Auteur” is finally coming out. So I’ll just cut to the chase:
I’ve been so excited for this comic to come out, and waiting so long, I don’t know what to say. It’s already left me speechless. This is one of those books you read with your friends and loudly say, “Did you see this?! OMG?!”. Synopses: washed up Hollywood producer, T. Rex, is trying to find salvation (and his next big hit) in a strip club, and in the bottom of a bottle of glue. It sounds outrageous (because it is), and pretty crude (it is), but the brilliance of Rick Spears and James Callahan is that every bit of naughty in this book, doesn’t feel trite, or overdone, or unnecessary. The acid trips, the stripper nuns, even swearing, is all smartly used to build the dirty and contrived Hollywood we all secretly hope that is it. And like the great “in-you-face” comics before it, there’s a point to the psychedelic madness. They manage to make commentary on celebrity/consumer/tabloid culture while not beating you over the head with anything but an amazing comic book. If it sounds like I’m overselling this book, I’m not. Nothing I say could be enough unless you’re buying it every issue for yourself and everyone you care about.
Stories that revolve around a dystopian society typically start in the middle of the story. The baddies are established, and we’re trying to figure out how to take them out. Max Bemis (author is Polarity) wants to go back, way back, and figure out why those evil organizations you love to hate (i.e. The Matrix, Star Wars, frat houses) become powerful world leaders with an agenda attached to no morality. With an ear to the ground, and platform to stand on, rapper Reese finds herself in the middle of the opposition battle against powers that be, leading the people who still maintain a shred of humanity against a pure grasp for power. It’s one part dystopian sci-fi mixed with one part horror, with Ransom Getty handling the action-filled art with superhero style, which makes the this (estimated) 16 issue series moving and dynamic.
Alex de Campi wraps up the ‘Bride of Blood’ arc in this blood bath series, giving us the best example of violent revenge in comics. Previously! On “Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight; Bride of Blood Part II” (aka the longest title ever) Branwyn’s world is left in ruins after an attack on her wedding party by wood reavers leaves her family and wedding party slaughtered. Now, taking up her fallen brother’s armor, Branwyn vows to take down those who have destroyed her world. Frederica Manfredi’s art is just this side of cartoon, which makes the violence seem all the more…violent, I guess. Set with a medieval winter background, the bloodshed stands in stark contrast to its setting, but still captures the ‘70s exploitation cinematic feel that these comics are emulating. But that’s not to say these are storyboard comics! The two issue arc format Campi uses for this series is perfect. Such action. Many violence. Very revenge.
Vincent Van Goat finally gets to step into the limelight, and recieve the recognition he so wildly deserves. Quantum and Woody is already a pretty humorous story, but this one is all goat jokes all the time. And goats are historically way funnier than people.
Nijigahara Holograph HC
Without exaggerating, this might be the most important manga to come out stateside this year. Delivering eye-painfully beautiful art, Inio Asano (Solanin) weaves a mind-fuck of a classic horror story of murder, growing up, monsters that live in sewers, and an end of world prediction. The pain of being an outcast, growing up, and the relationships with foster with people all play an undertone that makes the supernatural monsters feel even more terrifying. But this story is a puzzle; told in an un-chronological order, the somewhat Lynchian characters are only pieces of their full selves we get throughout the book. And believe me when I say multiple readings are required to put everything together. Though the more time you spend with this book, the richer the symbolism becomes. It’s not meant for a quick read, because like if you sped read a bunch of Sylvia Plath, things get heavy. That said I did read this in like 3 hours because I couldn’t put it down.