August 21, 2018

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Catch It at the Comic Shop August 22nd, 2018



James' Picks:

 
Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome #2 by Peter Milligan, Robert Gill and Diego Rodriguez, published by Valiant Entertainment
If you've not been reading the Britannia miniseries, you're missing out on some of the best comics of the last few years. The first two volumes and the current volume are written by Peter Milligan, and the first 2 volumes are illustrated by Juan Jose Ryp. Let me strongly recommend you go out and read those books. If you're unfamiliar with the Valiant universe, it doesn't matter. These stories have no real connection to anything else in the Valiant universe so they can be read without fear that you'll be missing some important information. Ryp is an incredible artist, with a style that reminds me of Tony Harris and the late Steve Dillon (that's some pretty excellent company to be in, art-wise). It's a brutal, clever, and highly engaging supernatural mystery drama set in ancient Rome, as we follow Rome's first "Detectioner" (i.e., detective) as he attempts to explain strange, violent, and seemingly supernatural phenomena. These are occasionally gory, but they're just so very engaging. Terrific character work and stunning art.  The current story is being illustrated by Robert Gill, who's style is not quite as expressive as Ryp, but is a very talented illustrator as well, and so the change to Gill is not an unsettling one. I very much enjoyed the first issue, so I'm excited to see where this one goes.   

 
Shanghai Red #3 by Christopher Sebela, Joshua Hixson and Hassan Otsmane Elhaou, published by Image Comics
This has been a really strong series so far. With this and Crowded, Chris Sebela has really shown himself to be one of the best and most versatile comic writers out there. He's a great storyteller with a terrific ear for dialogue. You want to be reading Shanghai Red. It's a terrific period revenge story, with incredible art from Joshua Hixson, that's dramatic, expressive, and gorgeously colored.   

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles by Mark Russell and Mike Feehan, published by DC Comics
I think it has to be hard to follow up a masterpiece. The Flintstones, from writer Mark Russell and artist Steve Pugh, was an absolute masterpiece, one of the smartest, sharpest comics I've ever read, and one of the very best books I've read in the past 5 years. Russell's next work was a 6-issue mini about Snagglepuss, recasting him as a 50's-era southern gothic playwright (think Tennessee Williams). I really enjoyed this series, though I can't say it was the home run that Flintstones was. It wasn't laugh out loud funny in the same way, but it was an engaging, moving, intelligent and sometimes very weird read. Mike Feehan's art was very strong in this series, finding a way to make sense of a world where anthropomorphic animals walk around like humans (but not wearing pants), and he put a lot of heart onto the page. I think this is definitely worth a read, it's thoughtful and engaging and intelligent.

Royal City #14 by Jeff Lemire, published by Image Comics
I feel like I might have more to say about this series later. I'm sorry to see it go, as I thought originally that it was going to be more of an ongoing book. But I've really enjoyed this touching, sad look at a family wrecked by tragedy, with some interesting and maybe supernatural elements. Lemire's art is wonderful as always, and he has a great ear for dialogue and a terrific sense of giving this book a time and place. The 90's stuff is great and he doesn't hit you over the head with it. I'm sure this will read great collected.

Sean's Picks:

Royal City #14 by Jeff Lemire, published by Image Comics
Jeff Lemire is a serious animal, man. (See what I did there?) [Yes, you challenged me to write a worse pun this week. -Rob] His work ethic is beyond anything I could ever imagine. He has several creator-owned and a couple mainstream comics that are either currently on-going or on a brief hiatus, so it was only a matter of time before something had to be cut short. I have to admit...this ending for Royal City seems abrupt and somewhat unjust for the characters that we have grown to love and endure pain and heartache for over the last year or so. It goes to show that if you love something then sometimes you have let it go. Apparently that is what Lemire is doing here with the Pike family. My only hope is that once his schedule tones down a little maybe we can get a second glimpse into the life and times of the Pike family. Who am I kidding? This Cat-4 like storm he lives by creates nothing other than steady work. Keep it coming, Jeff! Even if it may mean a short lived story here and there sometimes.

Amazing Spider-Man # 4 by Nick Spencer, Ryan Ottley, and Company, published by Marvel
This character holds a special place in my heart. Spider-Man has been my favorite comic book character since I was in the third grade. And now as I see my son gradually transition from Minions & Stormtroopers to Avengers & Superheroes, I can happily share this ride along with him. Ottley and Co are writing a perfect story for Peter Parker right now. It’s fun. It’s nostalgic. It’s fast forward. It’s sleek and fresh. And more importantly...being that it’s Spider-Man, it’s one hundred percent all ages.

Duck Tales # 11 by Various Creators, published by IDW
Duck Tales woohoo! Not pony tales or cotton tails no! Duck Tales! Ah yes, afternoons on the couch after a long hard day of third grade. There was nothing quite like sitting and watching Scrooge, Donald and his nephews go about their day. And who could forget Gizmo Duck!? Admittedly, I haven’t read any of these Duck Tales comics yet, but it’s simply due to me not being aware of their existence! So let me just stop myself right here and explain to you that the amount of mushy nostalgia I have for this comic will be something I won’t be writing home about because it's too embarrassing. [Hmm. Time to find Sean's family... -Rob] Come. Join me in some nostalgia, folks. (If you haven’t already.)

Rob's Picks:

Planet of the Apes Visionaries by Rod Serling, Dana Gould, Chad Lewis, and Darrin Moore, published by Boom! Studios
Anyone who's a fan of the Planet of the Apes knows that Rod "Twilight Zone" Serling didn't quite get the movie he'd originally planned. Enter Boom!, who has the license, and Dana Gould of the Simpsons, alongside Lewis and Moore. Now it's time to see a what-if that probably couldn't make the big screen but is perfect as a comic. I rarely like to see a non-comics script converted like this, but it's history in the making, and as a fan of the original writer, the current writer, and most things Apes, I'm very much into this one.

Beasts of Burden Wise Dogs and Eldritchmen #1 by Evan Dorkin, Ben Dewey, and Nate Piekos, published by Dark Horse
Not sure what I can say to convince you that Scott didn't already cover, but I'll try. I've been a fan of the Beasts of Burden series since Dorkin and Thompson first featured them in a series of horror anthologies Dark Horse published ages ago. The idea of a set of dogs and a plucky cat trying to stop occult forces is such a great take on the talking animals trope. Now Ben Dewey jumps into the fray, and I've been in Ben's corner since I first read a Tragedy entry. He's been doing amazing work with Kurt Busiek on Autumnlands, and now he takes those skills of making animals have emotions to this series, ably coming in and picking up where Jill left off, no mean feat when you're walking in the steps of an Eisner winner. Don't let the basically-no-humans style of the series stop you from some of the best horror comics you'll read, and given Dark Horse's history, that's saying something.


Fang Vol 1 by Daniel Semanas, published by Fantagraphics
If there's one thing you can count on with Fantagraphics, it's finding weird and cool things to publish. This is no exception. I don't know this creator, but I know that a book that features what appears to be vampire hitwoman who thinks about dating a werewolf, but needs to smoke up to consider the idea is right up my alley. The art has a cool, Warren pub-look combined with a bit of a Muppet vibe. And check out that pulp paperback cover! I'm looking forward to checking this one out.

Lil Donnie Vol 1 Executive Privilege by Mike Norton, published by Image
Like many, Mike Norton was angry as it became clear that Donald Trump's presidency would harm the most vulnerable among us. Unlike many, Mike's an amazing cartoonist. So he started doing a regular strip, newspaper-style, taking on the absurdity and cruelty of Trump with a "pen warmed up in Hell" as Mark Twain used to say. You may have seen some of these on Twitter--now go read them all in a group and watch a master creator run rings around hatred. It's a total "Mike" drop. (See what you made me do, Sean??)

Yellow Submarine by Bill Morrison, published by Titan Comics
Come on, you know the words!
Okay, now that you're back, let me tell you that this is single-handed one of my most-anticipated comics of the year. Yellow Submarine is one of the best movies of all time, with songs by one of the best bands of all time, and now it's illustrated by one of the best animation-style creators of all-time, long-time Bongo brain turned Mad Magazine editor, Bill Morrison, working on a passion project. I can't wait to see this one in person, with Morrison's ability to pack so much into a panel, Sergio-style, and a movie to base it on where Easter-eggs lurk on every screen-still.
Coming Soon: A full review by Scott and an interview with Bill Morrison I conducted at SDCC!

Mike's Picks:

Wasted Space 4 by Michael Moreci, Hayden Sherman, Jason Wordie, and Jim Campbell, published by Vault Comics
Many of us rejoiced at the weekend news that Wasted Space had officially morphed into a 20-some issue ongoing. Why? Because Wasted Space is one of those fairly unpredictable genre send ups that subverts and parodies the space opera as much as it celebrates and extends it. It’s an original feel on a classic concept. It’s funny, but more important, it’s fun. Original characterization, topical satiric humor, and beautiful art from Sherman and Wordie carry this strong series.

Die!Die!Die! 2 by Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple, Chris Burnham, and Nathan Fairbairn, published by Image Comics
I was intrigued by the first issue of this series and not merely because of the surprise release. I like speculative fiction like this that takes current events and extends them to their absurdly logical conclusion. It remains to be seen if Die!Die!Die! will emerge as a thinking book or if it will slide towards a brawler. If it stay geared toward the former, I think this series could be very promising and engaging.

The Fox TPB 2: Fox Hunt by Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid, published by Archie Comics/Dark Circle
I’m not sure what took this collected edition such a long time to hit the racks, but now that it has, I couldn't recommend it more. Haspiel’s Fox work is beautifully simplistic, and he pairs incredibly well with Mark Waid, who scripts the first four issues of this miniseries. Haspiel taps the same energy that he brought to his webcomic, The Red Hook. His work with The Fox is urban by not gritty, and it recalls a sweet spot of zaniness directly in-between Spider-Man and Madman.

Lil’ Donnie: Executive Privelege by Mike Norton, published by Image Comics
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Mike Norton, and that I’ve been especially fond of his brilliant work satirizing the president in Lil’ Donnie. Norton’s work here is reminiscent of peak Doonesbury, but filtered through the gag strip style. It’s hard to one-up the absurdity on the news today. The men and women Norton lampoons have already turned themselves into real life caricatures, but Norton finds a way to turn the parody up and manages to effectively capture the familiar voices of Trump, McConnell, and Bannon all while smashing the concept into purely sublime ridiculousness.

Kirk's Picks:
(Not brought to you by Image, Kirk swears...)

Cold Spots #1 by Cullen Bunn, Mark Torres, and Company, published by Image Comics
I don’t want to speak too much to this because I’m in the middle of a full review of the first issue, but I really am more excited about Bunn’s work outside of the Big Two these days. The gist is that a small town’s residents are beginning to see, and blindly accept, apparitions of their deceased love ones. Cullen has several original takes on the horror genre out by multiple publishers at the moment (including Bone Parish that was released last week which I highly recommend. Grab it if there’s a copy left this week!) I’m convinced that Cullen’s super power is writing perfect first issues.

Shanghai Red #3 by Christopher Sebela, Joshua Hixson and Hassan Otsmane Elhaou, published by Image Comics
The Panel Patter posse was unanimous in our love for Sebela’s newest outing last week with the release of Crowded. And with all the hype surrounding that title, I don’t want Chris’ other work to get lost in the shuffle. I’m in love with his pirate tale of revenge in Shanghai Red that I had another reader describe to me as "a Nick Cave song come to life" and boy I wish I had thought of that description. As the story turns from the ship to the ancient Portland corruption on land, our story starts to enter the Tom Waits-like rhythm of uncertainty.

Royal City #14 by Jeff Lemire, published by Image Comics
I air my sadness over the fact that my favorite series from the wildly prolific Lemire comes to an end this Wednesday. Lemire’s generational crossing ghost story was unexpectedly somber and brazenly explored regret as it’s characters reflect on their life decisions to what led them to their present circumstance. All the while, manipulating every possible emotion simultaneously as our character’s hindsight is muddied by the ghost mystery that shows the possibilities of what could have been. When I put down the first issue of this series, all I could think was ‘How the hell is he going to pull this off?’ This series has been so good, that I’m not immediately ready to finally answer that question.