Comic Books Out 2 October

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Bizarro #4

I was not 100% in love with this book at first, to be perfectly honest. I love that each issue has a guest artist for one illustration (this issue has a Darwyn Cooke-drawn Zatanna poster!) But the story, while fun and light-hearted, and the art, though loose and cartoony, have both been a bit on the weak side. But darn it, I keep getting sucked into this book, with its deep, deep DC universe references and it’s heartfelt emotional appeal. I’m bummed that it looks like the next issue is the last one.

Jem and the Holograms: Outrageous Annual #1

I bought this for my seven year old daughter and, to be honest, she hasn’t really let me get my hands on it. It’s a framing story of a slumber party for the Holograms (though they’re sisters who live together) where they all have different dreams. The dreams include a horror movie/teen wolf homage, a Mad Max mashup, a riff on Star Wars, and of course Jem and the Hologram babies. It’s fun and looks great! I just wish that it was a bit cheaper; it’s relatively short and nearly $8! (Maybe I’m just spoiled with Island’s page count at the same price point.)

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3

Ryan North, writer of Squirrel Girl (and the early issues of Adventure Time, The Midas Flesh, and Dinosaur Comics) is one of my all-time favorite internet people. His writing style somehow is one of the smartest and silliest, simultaneously. I love Erica Henderson’s cartoony art, I think it fits the book perfectly. This book does for the Marvel universe what the Bizarro book tries to do for DC. It’s a lot more fun and exciting though.

From Under Mountains #1

This book, written by Marian Churchland and Claire Gibson and with art from Sloane Leong, exists in the same universe as the 8House series, and it will eventually cross over. It’s beautifully, dreamily-drawn high fantasy that starts right in the middle of things with no explanation whatsoever. I’m still sucked in and planning to keep reading, but some of this book is a bit impenetrable. That stabby ghost monster, though. I can’t wait for more.

Godzilla in Hell #3

This series is a treat. It’s just wall-to-wall action of Godzilla battling and destroying monsters. This one has a crazy crystal-infected moon Godzilla (uh, I don’t know much Godzilla lore) battling our hero and it’s crazy. It’s crazy!

Over the Garden Wall #2

The Over the Garden Wall animated television miniseries is really an incredible achievement in American animation and this book is perfectly timed for this fall. Series writer Patrick McHale expands the show with a great side story from a formerly-honest horse that gets right into that sweet spot between funny and spooky without being too obvious about it.

Comic Books Out 16 September 2015

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A bit late.

Southern Cross #5

Southern Cross is an incredibly-drawn psychedelic murder-mystery in space. The basic story is that of a woman aboard a vessel trying to investigate the mysterious death/disappearance of her estranged sister. There’s plenty of drama and intrigue of the regular human and of the supernatural/science fiction type, and it’s all combined with a sensation creeping dread that takes a bit from Alien but mostly veers towards the unknowable like Del Toro likes to hint at. I can’t wait until the conclusion next month.

Prez #4

Beth Ross is now finally president, and she’s picking her chiefs of staff, who include people like her anti-establishment high school civics teacher, and her no-nonsense boss from Lil’ Doggies House of Corndogs. There’s also a horrific crisis caused by military overreach that will probably track through the end of this book, which it sounds like is coming far too quickly. Please buy this book!

Jem and The Holograms #7

A rebuilding issue for the Jems, where they deal with the practical side of the band and its fame as well as begin to rebuild relationships. A transitional issue, but still tons of fun.

Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians #4

I can’t believe I only recently found out about the long-running Age of Reptiles series. They’re lush, wordless comics featuring dinosaurs. How did 12-year-old me never find out about this?! Honestly, I could stare at this book for days.

Island Comics Magazine #3

Island is a gift to comics fans. It’s put together by Brandon Graham and Emma Rios and it features incredible creators putting out awesome work. I love love love anthology books. You get a bunch of different stories all in one package; there’s always something to surprise you. The story that bowled me over this time was Matt Sheean and Malachi Ward’s Ancestor (part 1). It conveys an anxiety and uneasiness that is tough to reproduce and goes right for the throat, forcing you to look at yourself critically if you’re a chronic smartphone user like me. The art is clear, iconic and evocative in a way that gives a sense of space and life into emotionally charged situations. I guess that makes Ancestor sound tense, but to me it was a fresh plunge into a world that I can’t wait to read more about.

Comic Books Out 2 September 2015

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I was originally planning to get five books this week, but Nuclear Comics in Mission Viejo was sold out/didn’t get Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians #4, and I forgot to ask. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for it next week.

Casanova: Acedia #4

I’ll be perfectly honest with you: I haven’t read this yet. I have Acedia issues 1-3 as well and I like to savor my Casanova books and read them in one sitting, preferably with coffee. But Fraction/Ba/Moon’s Casanova books are the comics that got me back into comics years ago. They’re the books that made this disillusioned lover of postmodern fiction realize that incredible things and literary things are going on between the pages of comic books that don’t involve capes or punching. And I’ll always love Casanova for that. Also there is some punching.

Plutona #1

Speaking of capes (which, for those of you who aren’t huge comic nerds, is code-speak for superheroes), Plutona is a really oblique look at the superhero genre. The focus on this first issue is on a group of middle school kids who are all various amounts of dirtbag in depressingly realistic ways. And it ends (spoiler!) with them finding the body of a famous and mysterious hero in the woods. Emi Lenox, with her distinct cartoony-inky style, is a surprising choice for drawing superheroes but is a perfect choice for this more slice-of-life look at kids who live in a world in which masked vigilantes happen to exist.

8House #3: Kiem

The 8House series is a really cool way to have a lot of different stories set in a singular universe. Brandon Graham (from King City/Multiple Warheads/Prophet) is the mastermind behind this universe that he’s sharing with some other writers and a bunch of artists. The issues have different subtitles and are thus different parts of the story. The first two issues were subtitled Arclight, drawn by Marian Churchland, and set in a heavily fantastic warrior culture. Issue #3 is subtitled Kiem and is drawn by Xurxo G. Penalta and set in a very science fiction-y enclave. The art is gorgeous and hyper-detailed, bringing to mind Moebius’ work (especially the coloring) and the story hints at a lot of depth that I’m looking forward to discovering.

Jem and the Holograms #6

I didn’t grow up with Jem and her rock and roll band, but my kids and wife and I love that silly 80s cartoon quite a bit. I and my daughter are the target audience for this book and this is the issue that wraps up the first arc. First of all, the Sophie Campbell’s artwork on this book is astounding, with an incredible combination of Jamie McKelvie-style clear line and a more fluid, manga-influenced style. The colors are dazzling as well. This book does the best representation of music on a comics page in a book out right now (yes, even compared to Wicked + Divine). The story has been hilarious and heartfelt, just like the best episodes of the show.