Never read a graphic novel before? Haven’t read a comic book in years?
Here’s some brand new stuff that came out the week of October 14 that I think is worth a look-see for someone with little to no history with comics. That means you should be able to pick any of these up cold without having read anything else. So take a look and see if something doesn’t grab your fancy. If so, follow the publisher links or Amazon.com links to buy yourself a copy. Or, head to your local friendly comic book shop.
[And yes, I'm nearly a month behind. You don't have to rub it in.]
Disclaimer: For the most part, I have not read these yet, so I can’t vouch for their quality. But, from what I’ve heard and seen, odds are good they just might appeal to you.
Adam Heller is dying, but before he can take the big dirt nap, his best friends offer him a chance at immortality and he takes it. Now Adam is a vampire living it up on the wild side and it’s everything he could ever want. But the eternal party crashes to a bloody halt when an ancient monster awakens from the dark, forgotten places of the world and comes looking for Adam. The startling reason this monster has come looking for him may be the most horrifying realization of all.
I read this story when it originally came out in individual comic book issues back in 2003. (I can’t believe that was 6 years ago.) I find Judd Winick to be kind of a mixed bag as a writer, but this was one of his good ones. And as I recall Tomm Coker’s art is even better. It was so solid, I was kind of surprised a sequel never materialized. Maybe this collected edition is a hint that one is finally coming. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a preview. If anyone finds one, post it in the comments below.
“Pope has embellished his stylish love story with heart-stopping action and adventure. …Pope’s drawing and page design … is both technically assured and wonderfully expressive.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“This has the potential to attract a large audience, including serious readers, science-fiction buffs, artists, and would-be graphic novelists.” —SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
In a future where New York has evolved into a sci-fi metropolis, “S,” a man addicted to “heavy liquid,” a substance that is both a drug and an art form, finds himself trapped in a mystery littered with love and drugs. This new edition features bonus sketch material, new coloring and more.
Another one from Vertigo’s vaults, this was originally released in early 2000. Paul Pope is one of the art form’s more exceptional storytellers and artists and this has been on my must-get list for some time. It’s great to see this re-released. DC Comics has a pretty skimpy preview here in PDF.
“Sacco is one of the most astute war-zone correspondents working today” –Rolling Stone
“A searing and amusing look at the motley collection of reporters, war profiteers, criminals, soldiers and hapless civilians trapped in war zone.” –New York Times
“Sacco doesn’t try to lay claim to the truth. He’s simply telling one man’s story, and it makes for an excellent book.” –Washington Post
“Sacco demonstrates that the narrative arts, including comics, can gather up complicated social truths with a gradual patience that often eludes the camera.” –Boston Globe
Using old-fashioned pen and paper, award-winning cartoonist Joe Sacco reports from the sidelines of wars around the world. THE FIXER AND OTHER STORIES is a new softcover that collects Joe Sacco’s landmark short stories on the Bosnian War that previously comprised the hardcover editions of THE FIXER and WARS END.
It must be re-issue week. This reprints material from 2003 and 2005. Joe Sacco is living proof that comics can do and be anything. Even journalism. And fortunately he’s real good at it, too. It’s sorta kinda like NPR in comics.
Blackbeard: Legend of the Pyrate King #1 – $3.50
By Eduardo Sanchez, Gregg Hale, Robert Napton, Jamie Nash and Mario Guevara
32 pages; published by Dynamite Entertaiment
Dynamite presents their most ambitious undertaking yet – BLACKBEARD: THE LEGEND OF THE PYRATE KING #1! Under the stunning John Cassaday, producers Eduardo (writer of The Blair Witch Project) Sanchez and Gregg (producer of The Blair Witch Project) Hale are joined by Robert Napton and Jamie Nash to present the ultimate adventure tale of a bygone age, when pyrates ruled the waters!
Beginning with his childhood and carry through to his bitter end, Blackbeard’s legacy has never been explored as deeply and illustrated as beautifully (by Mario Guevara) than now!
I don’t really consider a comic by the makers of The Blair Witch Project to be all that big of a selling point, but Dynamite has had a pretty decent track record with properties like The Lone Ranger, Zorro and Sherlock Holmes. I think this is their first comic steeped in history and based on an actual person, and I’m sure liberties will be taken. But it looks like a fun ride nevertheless. Check out the preview at the publisher link above.
Since its inception in 2005, Mome has served as a comics McSweeney’s. Whether exposing new talent like Eleanor Davis (author of the recent Stinky by Toon Books); featuring short stories by contemporary graphic novelists like Dash Shaw (The Bottomless Belly Button); bringing the work of international superstars like David B. (Epileptic) to American audiences; or introducing the work of legends like Gilbert Shelton (The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers) to a new generation of readers, Mome is the most acclaimed, accessible, frequent, and reasonably priced anthology on the market despite it’s high production values and mostly color format.
This issue features several of our favorite alternative comic artists of the last 15 years, bringing us great joy. Archer Prewitt is the first, with an all-new “Funny Bunny” strip created in between his active musical career. “The Moolah Tree” is the new Fuzz & Pluck graphic novel from Ted Stearn, following Fuzz & Pluck and Fuzz & Pluck: Splitsville, beginning serialization here. We are equally proud to debut new work from Renée French, whose work is also featured on the front and back cover of this issue. And Nicholas Mahler debuts to ask “What Is Art?” (translated by secret weapon Kim Thompson).
Also: the second chapter of T. Edward Bak’s “Wild Man – The Strange Journey – and Fantastic Accounts – of the Naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller, from Bavaria to Bolshaya Zemlya (and Beyond)”; a new “Cold Heat” story by the team of Ben Jones, Frank Santoro & Jon Vermilyea; Dash Shaw interprets an episode of “Blind Date” into comics form; and new stories from Lilli Carré, Conor O’Keefe, Laura Park, Nate Neal, and Sara Edward-Corbett, with incidental drawings by Kaela Graham.
This highly regarded quarterly anthology is a great survey of some of the industry’s greatest and most innovative creators. If you’ve always wanted to sample quality alternative comics, here’s your first stop. Here’s a great big 12-page preview (PDF).
The satirical masterpiece that ushered in the graphic novel era to European comics, finally available in English—the beginning of an ambitious publishing project introducing one of Europe’s most beloved cartoonists to American audiences. One of the earliest full-length, standalone graphic novels to be published in Europe, and certainly one of the best and most original, Ici Même was serialized in the adult French comics monthly (A suivre) in the early 1980s and then released in book form. A quarter of a century later, this dark, funny, consistently surprising masterpiece has finally been translated into English.
An unexpected yet smoothly confident collaboration between the darkly cynical Jacques Tardi and the playful fantasist Jean-Claude Forest (of Barbarella fame), You Are There is set on a small island off the coast of France, where unscrupulous landowners have succeeded in overtaking the land from the last heir of a previously wealthy family. That heir, whose domain, in a Beckettian twist, is now reduced to the walls that border these patches of land he used to own, prowls the walls all day, eking out a living by collecting tolls at each gate. His seemingly hopeless struggle to recover his birthright becomes complicated as the government sees a way of using his plight for the sake of political expediency, and the romantic intervention of the daughter of one of the landowners (who has her own sordid history with the politician) engenders further difficulties, culminating in an apocalyptic, hallucinatory finale.
Set in Tardi’s preferred early 20th century milieu, You Are There is drawn in his crisp 1980s neo-“clear line” style, gorgeously detailed, elegantly stylized, with impossibly deep slabs of black. You Are There is a feast for both the eyes and the brain.
As we cover in our documentary Dig Comics, the perception of comic books and their corresponding growth (or lack thereof) is notably different in countries other than the United States. This past summer, Dig Comics director/writer/host Miguel Cima discovered firsthand that France has a healthier, more diverse industry. This release from 1979 was apparently a significant moment in the growth of that industry. Here’s an even bigger 19-page preview (PDF).
In the tradition of the acclaimed and groundbreaking anthology, Flight, the ACT-I-VATE Primer showcases a wide array of stories and talent -18 innovative creators, 16 intriguing properties, one beautiful book – and all-new, never-before-seen stories and art!
act-i-vate.com is the premier comic art collective on the Internet, featuring many renowned cartoonists who produce all-new material on a regular basis. The ACT-I-VATE PRIMER is a PRINT EXCLUSIVE anthology by many of the Act-I-Vate creators. None of the material in this book will appear on the Act-I-Vate website for at least one year from publication date.
That’s it for this week. Tougher than usual to whittle it down to a halfway digestible list. Yay comics!
[UPDATE: It looks like Citizen Rex #1 did not ship this week and is late. Sorry if you went looking for it. I haven't heard when it will show up but I assume in the next week or so.]
[Comic-Con officially starts tomorrow, so there's tons of stuff coming out this week to take advantage of the mobs.]
Never read a graphic novel before? Haven’t read a comic book in years?
Here’s some brand new stuff coming out this week that I think is worth a look-see for someone with little to no history with comics. That means you should be able to pick any of these up cold without having read anything else. So take a look and see if something doesn’t grab your fancy. If so, follow the publisher links or Amazon.com links to buy yourself a copy. Or, head to your local friendly comic book shop.
Disclaimer: While it may seem like it, I do not live in the future. For the most part, I have not read these yet, so I can’t vouch for their quality. But, from what I’ve heard and seen, odds are good they just might appeal to you.
13 short, rambunctious tales about The Weasel Patrol, an unlikely and all-weaselly force of intergalactic troopers. These stories, fun enough for kids and funny enough for adults, originally appearing in anthologies, where they built a loyal fan base. The first time in book form, it contains such tales as “The Intergalactic Crimefighters Convention”, “Big Boba’s Eat & Fill”, and “Roboweasel”.
Wacky weasels and their hairy hijinks! It’s goofy fun for all ages! Yes, it’s a comic book that’s actually comic-y. Go figure. Here’s a PDF file to sample the silly.
The once peaceful city of Park Falls has been tainted by a series of gruesome murders and missing persons. Cynthia Ford, known as the town crazy, finds retired police detective Derrick Peters and relates to him her belief about what’s going on in town. Her explanation – Zombies! Unable to ignore Cynthia’s information, though not sharing her beliefs, Derrick and others in the town explore the mystery as weeks turn to months and the death toll rises. Follow the first half of Park Falls’ year-long struggle for answers in this collected edition of the first five issues of the Archaia existential horror series.
I’m getting a bit burnt out on zombies but existential horror? Sign me up! Plus Archaia has a great track record of high quality productions. There are plenty of previews of the first 4 chapters right here.
Citizen Rex #1 – $3.50
By Mario & Gilbert Hernandez
24 pages; published by Dark Horse Comics
“What compels life without a soul?”
Comics legends Gilbert and Mario Hernandez join forces to present a bizarre, sexy view of the future and what it means to be human. Twenty years ago, the most famous, lifelike robot in the world was engulfed in scandal, arrested, and deactivated. Since then, an anti-robot movement has developed, while body modification is in and prosthetic limbs have become hot, black-market items.
Stories like these are the stock-in-trade of gossip columnist Sergio Bauntin, whose startling revelations earn him the constant scrutiny of both the mob and the city’s mysterious investigators, the Truth Takers. When Sergio catches wind of sightings of the long-missing robot celebrity CTZ-RX, all of these interests will collide in violence and intrigue.
It’s sci-fi adventure with beautiful women by Los Bros. Hernandez!
The Hernandez Brothers are pillars of independent comic books, a loose style classification for comics that have provided an alternative voice to the mainstream super-hero adventure comics. Their creation Love & Rockets has been immensely influential and critically praised for good reason. The series has been running since 1981. I highly recommend it. The three brothers also do side projects unrelated to that series, such as this one here. Looks good for some off-beat science fiction. [UPDATE: It looks like Citizen Rex #1 did not ship this week and is late. Sorry if you went looking for it. I haven't heard when it will show up but I assume in the next week or so.]
“Monday burn Millay, Wednesday Whitman, Friday Faulkner, burn ’em to ashes, then burn the ashes.”
For Guy Montag, a career fireman for whom kerosene is perfume, this is not just an official slogan. It is a mantra, a duty, a way of life in a tightly monitored world where thinking is dangerous and books are forbidden.
In 1953, Ray Bradbury envisioned one of the world’s most unforgettable dystopian futures, and in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, the artist Tim Hamilton translates this frightening modern masterpiece into a gorgeously imagined graphic novel. As could only occur with Bradbury’s full cooperation in this authorized adaptation, Hamilton has created a striking work of art that uniquely captures Montag’s awakening to the evil of government-controlled thought and the inestimable value of philosophy, theology, and literature.
Including an original foreword by Ray Bradbury and fully depicting the brilliance and force of his canonic and beloved masterwork, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is an exceptional, haunting work of graphic literature.
Hill & Wang (tee-hee) puts out some very good stuff. I’m kind of embarrassed to say that I’ve never read the original book. It seems like one of those things you’re supposed to have done in life. This looks like a pretty cool way to experience the story. Here’s a 13-minute video interview with Ray Bradbury about this project with images from the graphic novel. Or you can watch the shorter 2-minute version. And the Amazon page has a couple of pages.
Things just can’t get any worse for Antonio Mercer. A private eye by trade, a dame from his past has re-surfaced in his life as a client along with all of the emotional baggage he thought he’d left behind forever. Of course, this unusual client doesn’t have just any case – her family is mixed up with seriously dangerous people and the body count is just starting to pile up!
Here’s a mighty fine looking preview. Two comic creators that deserve more attention because they always put out reliably high-quality stuff. These two previously collaborated on the romance 12 Reasons Why I Love Her.