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.