My cat would like to say a few words, “dkjleraiuhvcjbk.” I think that translates into “You should be at SPX this week”. Man, my cat is so smart. I couldn’t go because, among other things, I had to write this article, which is the most important thing to me in the world. But if you were lucky enough to head to Maryland this weekend, you would have seen some amazing artists and exhibitors in the small press world, including: Peter Bagge (Hate), Reina Telgemeier (Drama), Gary Panter (Dal Tokyo), and Congressman John Lewis (?!) who was there to discuss his autobiographical release of March, illustrated by Nate Powell.
In addition to mingling with some top-notch artists and writers, SPX also hosts the annual Ignatz Awards for outstanding achievements in the small publication world. In addition to my suggested singles, be sure to pick up some of the nominations and winners from this year! (And if Forbidden Planet doesn’t have them in stock, badger Jeff until they do):
Lose and Very Casual by Michael DeForge
Today is the Last Day of Your Life by Uli Lust
Prison Pit by Johnny Ryan
The End of the F*cking World by Charles Forsman
Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré
And now, the rest of the story:
This is the most recent number one issue of a continuing trend of titles that like to imagine superheroes as maybe a little less than super. Sure, your classic characters have also dealt with some personal dramas like girl problems, being too good looking, and having too much money. But in “Buzzkill”, our main hero is dealing with alcoholism. Though Ruben derives his superhero powers from imbibing large quantities of booze, his home life sees similar ramifications as a non-super might when struggling with addiction. Ruben has decided to give up the drink in order to salvage his personal life; but at what cost to the city he’s leaving behind? This everyday-man hero is out on Dark Horse, who’s putting out more (welcomed) original titles every year.
Five Ghosts TP Vol 1
If you didn’t read Five Ghosts by Frank Barbiere in single-issue form, you’re an idiot. But I’ll forgive you once you buy the TP that’s out this week. This ass-kicking pulp adventure comic follows treasure hunter Fabian Gray across the world seeking mysterious artifacts, all while he struggles with the possession of his body by five ghosts from the literary world. The inky, and dark art by Chris Mooneyham sets a mood better than any first date I’ve been on, and Barbiere writes with so much energy, you can’t help but feel your heart pound right along with Fabian’s. I think I’m saying if this comic was a dude, I’d date this comic. These issues have been sold-out and reprinted more times than I can remember, and now is the time to start reading if you haven’t because this is going to become an on-going series, picking back up with the 6th issue that’s set to be released at the end of October. Seriously, don’t wait any longer to read this.
Half Past Danger #5
Long-time IDW artist, Stephen Mooney, is finally drawing the comic he’s always wanted to see on shelves: dinosaurs, dames, and danger. Amidst WWII, Sergeant Tommy Flynn experiences a threat long thought dead, and enlists a supporting cast that’s both intelligent and sexy. The pulp and cheesecake factor of this book makes it fun and easy to pick up, but the successful art and actually intelligent dialogue make it easy to keep reading. Mooney makes witty banter that isn’t seen in many modern comic books, but mixes it with old-school adventure that is inspired by comics like Tintin, Asterix, and Terry and the Pirates, but all grown up.
World, meet Ales Kot; Ales Kot, meet the world. It’s understandable if you haven’t been very aware of him up until this point, but you have no more excuses left. He did a successful stint on Suicide Squad, wrote the acclaimed series Wild Children and Change, and just announced that he’ll be working with Nick Spencer on Secret Avengers starting this December. So it should be no surprise that his latest Image series, Zero, has everyone all a twitter. The title character, Edward Zero, is a relentless spy who stops at nothing to get a job done. Ales dips his hand into the war genre when Zero’s newest job has him retrieving a device that is now at the center of a military conflict. When the device turns out to be a living, bio-modified terrorist, Zero gets his hands full of military action. Keeping the series fresh, every issue features a different story line, with a different artist every time. Each issue can be read as a standalone, with an overarching story spanning 20 years. Having a new artist on every issue smartly allows the artwork to shine through, as each artist selected for a story line that brings out their best qualities. Expect future work on this title from Michael Walsh, Mateus Santolouco, Morgan Jeske, and Tradd Moore.
Savage Wolverine #8
Snarly, spit-filled, and yes, savage. Wolverine under the careful pencil of Joe Mad is insatiable. I’d hate to use the cliché action-packed, but that’s exactly what this latest arc with Madureira and Wells feels like. Wolverine and Elektra finally square off with the Kingpin and let themselves lose on a bunch of ninjas, and a bunch of people are likely to get stabbed in the process. You should be getting yourselves warmed up on Joe Mad’s art as he prepares to take on the Inhuman series with Matt Fraction that’s set to be released at the end of the year in what will be Marvel’s second big tie-in/crossover event of the year. “Too much Marvel?” you ask? “Nay”, say I.