Welcome to our first Weekly Comics Breakdown here at Nitwitty. This list is not going to be comprehensive by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just going to give you comics I’m reading and think are entertaining enough to talk about. We will mostly follow writers/artists regardless of publisher, so that’s what you’ll see through my recommendations and pulls for the week.
With that, let’s talk about the comics!
Books to look forward to this week:
– Tokyo Ghost #2 by Rick Remender, Sean Gordon Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth (Image)
A crazy Akira-like future where everyone is addicted to technology and two gang enforcers are being sent to invade Tokyo, the last tech-free section of the world. The first issue had an extended chase scene following the two main characters on a souped up future motorcycle. Gordon Murphy’s art is enough to get me to read anything. He hasn’t disappointed yet.
– The Beauty #3 by Jeremy Haun and Jason Hurley (Image)
The concept of this book is enough to keep me coming back. There’s a sexually transmitted disease that turns the infected into the perfect physical version of themselves. Until now, the only downside is a slight fever, but soon detectives are asked to investigate the death of an infectee who seems to have fallen victim to a new side-effect. This comic is still riding pretty high on concept alone. I want to see where the story leads and how society would react if anyone could be beautiful.
Kurt Busiek’s pastiche of Superhero comics. There’s a current underlying mega-plot, but right now he’s digging into some individual character issues and some two-parters. It’s the perfect spot to dip your toes into superhero comics without worrying about the continuity, or a good place to jump into this story. Always entertaining and interesting to throw characters that are close to the Big 2 (Marvel and DC) but not falling prey to event series or random reboots.
– The Fade Out #10 (out of 12) by Ed Brubaker, Sean Philips and Elizabeth Breitweiser (Image)
This comic about the sleazy underbelly of mid-20th Century Hollywood has Brubaker and Phillips delving into a classic noir tale after finishing up some sub-genres (Fatale’s Cthulhu-Noir and Incognito’s Superhero Noir) It’s wrapping up in a couple of months, so not the best place to jump on. Check out the trade to catch up if you’re interested, or wait for the whole thing to come out in one volume.
Vader continues his own machinations within the Empire after the first Death Star blew up. He has since picked up evil twin R2-D2 and C-3PO (sans goatees so far) and a shady Star Wars Indiana Jones. Fun book continues to be fun.
It’s hard to jump into the story at this point, but your local comic shop or library should have the first trade paperbacks. With the last major story arc having Cthulhu-like Old Ones rising from beneath the earth and destroying huge chunks of the world, this arc explores how the Bureau fo Paranormal Research and Defense deals with the aftermath. It’s a great look at a different kind of apocalypse and what happens to the survivors.
New Comics to Try This Week
– Back to the Future #1 by Gale, Barber, Burnham, Schoonover, Schoening (IDW)
Co-written by the original screenwriter and decent art makes a try-out comic. I have to say that I’m never the biggest fan of licensed comics from live-action properties (although I have no qualms with the other way around), but this might just be enough to lessen your disappointment in choosing between these sorry excuses for hoverboards in 2015: the “Hoverboard” or the thing that hovers if all flat surfaces are conductive.
Kicking off another 6-issue Marvel mini-series by Warren Ellis in which he takes a random background character or characters and makes a really cool comic (Moon Knight and Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.) before leaving them in less capable hands and going back to the Thames Delta from whence he came. Karnak, who is not an Inhuman, has to solve an Inhuman mystery. Ellis is basically an auto-buy for me at this point so give it a look-see.
Marvel is also starting to release a shit-ton of new #1s, but so far none have really caught my eye as anything to jump into so far. I’ll post them if any jump into my line of sight.
Trade-Waiting is the Hardest Part
– Jem and the Holograms Volume 1: Showtime by Kelly Thompson, Sophie Campbell, M. Victoria Robado (IDW)
I was a child/victim of the late 80s and early 90s so Jem already gets a nostalgia pass from me. Even without my rosy-colored heart-rimmed glasses, this is a solid first volume. It reboots the concept of Jem and the Holograms (Pop band rises to the top of the charts while battling other, “edgier” pop band [that should have been arrested] and using body-altering holograms created by a supercomputer) while updating it organically to include modern technology, realistic body types, and same-sex relationships. It works ridiculously well. Campbell’s art is top notch, with a growing confidence in style that is leaps ahead of her work on Glory. I also can’t stress enough how important Robado’s colors are:
This a bright and colorful-ass book. I’m not sure the art would work nearly as well without her coloring choices, but luckily we don’t have to worry about that yet. It’s a great book for any fans of the original cartoon or anyone who loves amazing art.
Elevator pitch: The Wind in the Willows meets War of the Worlds. It’s a book of fully animal characters in England as they come to terms with an alien invasion in probably the 1930s or thereabouts. You have the mysterious and stoic mastiff character as he gains his bearings in a new town, an alcoholic author cat trying to escape her mentor’s shadow, and young pig just trying to survive the invasion:
The concept could be cartoonish, but in Culbard’s simpler line art you take the story at face value and root for the mastiff and the cat to make it through. An excellent retelling of a classic Sci-Fi story.
This omnibus collects all 22 issues of Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye run. This will probably go down as one of the best runs of a superhero comic in the last 10 or 15 years, and one of the better comic stories in that time, period. Fraction’s story follows Clint Barton when he’s not working with the Avengers, which basically boils down to interacting with the other Hawkeye Kate Bishop and his newly adopted pet Lucky, AKA Pizza Dog. There are storylines that devolve into Bullitt inspired car chases, that bring in Robert Altman’s Philip Marlowe to help Kate solve crime cases in LA, and end with a giant gangster vs. apartment building throwdown.
David Aja exceeds what you believe comics can achieve. He expertly crafted an issue that focused on how a dog navigates the world:
He also played with panel structure to slow down the narrative or speed it up depending on what the scene called for:
I had a friend once tell me that he couldn’t get into comics because they couldn’t give him anything that anime couldn’t do better. The above Pizza Dog issue, as well as the other tricks Aja uses (like the deaf issue), throw those aspersions out the window. These are storytelling techniques wholly suited for the combination of words and pictures.
The only complaints I have with this run are that Aja was unfortunately not quick enough for a monthly comic so there are several fill-in artists who just aren’t as good, and that the last couple of issues took several grueling months to come out and complete the story. But whether you like superhero comics or not, this run is just too fun to ignore.
Fantastic Comics and Where to Find Them
I hope some of these comics appeal to you. If they do, make sure you go out to buy them, either digitally or in the tactilely unsurpassed form of print. Unless the comics are already big sellers or limited series books, buying the single issues is your best chance to make sure that comic persists. This is particularly true when it comes to Image and other Independent publishers. The creators are paying the publishing costs out of their own pockets and a comic that sells low at first very rarely picks up new readers in the short term.
Digitally, you have a few different options. Comixology has every major publisher and a lot of minor publishers. If you’re a big Image fan, you can go directly through them and cut out the middle man. Another plus to Image’s site is that you actually own the comic, DRM-free. You’re not just paying for the right to look at the comic, you can download a .pdf and do what you will with it.]
Paper comics can be found at your Local Comic Book Shop, and should have discounts if you start a pull list with them, which is basically having them order and reserve comics you like every month.