Captain Orion’s bestest video games picks of 2020!

BESTEST

VIDEO GAMES

OF 2020!

2020 was a great year, for video games releases!

A lot of great games were released for this year. Many of them, I wish I got around to or had the consoles including Ghosts of Tsushima, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Doom: Eternal, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and more. We deserved fresh entertainment for this ongoing global pandemic crisis with the quarantines and social distancing shadowing much of 2020. Meanwhile, the interactive industry thrived with consistent sales, new consoles selling out, and plenty of new content for every player of all types.

Many of these fresh screen games set out to be enjoyed alone and/or socially online. We have more advanced gaming technology and means for online downloading, connecting, streaming, social discussing, cheering, and complaining. They all provide great distractions from the current time stresses as we may build upon new and renewed friendships with our shared love of gaming. Or, just pass the time and our best modern remedy for boredom with some single player escapism!

But for me, I’m a little bit of both types. I enjoy gaming alone, and with friends. Such depends on my mood and state of mind. Though, I steered more toward budgeting with big sales in games and freebies. There was plenty out there for those with the thinnest of wallets. I meanwhile, stayed mostly on my PC and Xbox One, no new consoles for me yet. I do want a Nintendo Switch, with time to play the many past games I missed for it.

Anyway, here are the games I personally present as the most important game awards to for 2020!

BEST NEW GAME OF 2020

HADES

Developer and published by Supergiant Games
System: PC, Nintendo Switch

This is the BEST game of 2020, for many reasons that go back decades in what I ask for in a a best-tier video game. Make it challenging, story-deep, visually awesome, sensible controls, gratifying, constant surprises, great music, unique style, and heart. Hades has all of this and more, with aspects reminiscent of other personal favorites – Disgaea, Diablo, Dark Souls, Smash TV. But with Hades, the more you die, the more the game is revealed with more story and gameplay elements. There is so much more I would like to say, but just go play it if you’re into something that feels both old-school but also super modern in its approach and complexity.

BEST COOPERATIVE?! GAME OF 2020

AMONG US

Developed and published by Innersloth
System: PC, Mobile, Nintendo Switch

A surprise that was released in 2018, but earned a huge boost in popularity thanks to its fans, developers, its very affordable price, online streams, and all around fun this game holds; all perfect for this time of mass quarantines and social distancing. Among Us is that connects us, as each game has its own story creating tension on just who Among Us is sus.

BEST KICKASS GAME OF 2020

STREETS OF RAGE 4

Developer: Dotemu, Guard Crush, Lizardcube  Published by Dotemu
System: All the current consoles and PC

HELL YES!!!! I freakin love the old Streets of Rage games for the Sega Genesis (and later mods, fan-made remakes). Streets of Rage 4 is THE damn great, official successor to all of that, including all that made the game great – action, complexity and variance to the button mashing, awesome musical tracks that your fists can dance to. The graphics are perfect with expressive visual style, vibrant colors, detailed backgrounds, and hella fun for co-op action too.

BEST PLAY AND CHILL GAME OF 2020

TOWNSCAPER

Developed and published by Oskar Stålberg
System: PC

It’s not really a game, but it should be someday. It’s hard to explain. Just watch the trailer, and from there, explore the crazy insane possibilities and let your imagination figure out the direction. The more you tinker and discover new aspects of the game, the more more awesome your wierd little world. I love the animation, sound effects, every little detail no matter how small; making Townscaper worth checking out.

BEST VISUAL NOVEL GAME OF 2020

QUANTUM SUICIDE

Developer and published by Cotton Candy Cyanide
System: PC

This particular Japanese anime style visual novel sets itself off apart with a very unique story, and choosy situations that center around mechanics that are very science fictiony, flirty. with deadly sub-games that take a bit more thinking than I would expect. I much enjoyed this all as I watched and chimed in for some very entertaining Twitch streams from a gamer friend that you should follow (twitch.tv/aechonex).

BEST PUZZLING PUZZLE GAME OF 2020

HELLTAKER

Developer and published by vanripper
System: PC

A fun puzzle-adventure with dating and cooking themes game? Helltaker is that and so much more. It’s very unique, with catchy beats, and a whole lot of fun. It’s also free!

BEST FINALLY GOT AROUND TO IT GAME OF 2020

FINAL FANTASY XV

Developed and published by Square Enix
System: All the current consoles and PC

Final Fantasy XV came out a little over 4 years ago and has been in constant development all the way until 2019 with tis final DLC. This open-world game is freakin massive, giving its players much homework into other media for a wider complete experience. I found the 19.99 price for the Royal Edition (main game plus mostly all the DLC) the best I can get for my single-player RPG Final Fantasy loving needs. I enjoyed this far more than expected, delve deep into worldbuilding, and will forever treasure what it brought in this tough pandemic time.

BEST DEMO GAME OF 2020

THE LIFE AND SUFFERING OF SIR BRANTE

Developer by Sever published by 101XP
System: PC for the demo

A surprise treat among I discovered among the PAX Online demos. It’s a visual novel that reads like a lifetime biography, but with choices that do indeed tell a story of about the life and suffering of (you can choose his name). It’s a series of very unfortunate events, where you do your best to make the best out of it, and find deeper meanings though it all. It’s different and worth checking out for visual novel fans, and something to watch out for when it’s fully released.

BEST GAME OF 2021, MAYBE..

CYBERPUNK 2077

Developer: Playstation, Xbox, and PC

The game I was most excited for its delayed release. And, I still am. But after seeing (and laughing) the glitches, problems, frustrations that seem to be a trend for these big, crazy games where play-testing continues with the player after its release…not playing or judging this until the final product is done with enough updates, patches, DLC, whatever it takes to experience as intended. Maybe it will be awesome as its hype. I will remain excited, and wait till the finished product.

That’s all the game awards for 2020 I got. If there was something else I should have played, please share in the comments below!

Give a graphic novel, big comics TP with our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide!

2020 Holiday Season is here!!

Tis season shall not to be stopped by the ongoing global pandemic. Many will shop, yet find ways to best stay safe and minimalize risks of infection. Online or local, there are ways to continue the joyous gift giving tradition of our Xmas and winter holiday season!

So, that’s where you come in reaching out to a local bookseller or comic shop, hopefully still open or have a pickup thing going on. Online also works, if local options are too inconvenient. Either way, The book-sellers, publishers, artists, writers, and creative souls that drive the sequential arts need your help! And they can help you in return, by helping to put something new in the hands of someone awesome in your life, most deserving!

But choosing can be tough, especially in this tough time of social distancing and quarantining So, I put together a shortlist of awesome, fresh current shelf reads that I know of, or heard of, or recommended by a respected peers. Much of this is fresh, creator-driven material. Some things are just fresh formats for older. more obscure material now reprinted.

These are mostly currently obtainable through major retail book chains, comic book stores, and wherever new books can be at least ordered. NOTE: Book info below is for the US and Canada retail shelves release.

So, dig in and consider perhaps gifting any of these for yourself as well.

The World of Black Hammer: Volume 1

Writer / Artist: Jeff Lemire / Dean Ormston (Illustrator), David RubÌn (Illustrator), Max Fiumara (Illustrator)
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
Format: 256-hardcover
ISBN: 978-1506719955

An expanded look at the world of Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s Eisner Award-winning Black Hammer universe, with two complete series drawn by David Rubín and Max Fiumara. Sherlock Frankenstein lies at the heart of the mystery of what happened to Black Hammer, Spiral City’s greatest hero, and Black Hammer’s daughter is determined to uncover his role. Doctor Andromeda, an aged crime fighter, desperately struggles to reconnect with his estranged son as he takes on personal demons and interstellar battles.

Collects Sherlock Frankenstein & the Legion of Evil: From the World of Black Hammer and Doctor Andromeda and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows in a deluxe, oversized hardcover format with a new cover, sketchbook extras, and more!

Get this for… Black Hammer fans of course, or someone who enjoys comics and perhaps super hero movies on a more intellectual level. The Black Hammer stories can often be enjoyed as self-contained, but also a celebration of the long-standing contributions of super-hero storytelling as literary, character building devices!

Under-Earth

Writer / Artist: Chris Gooch
Published by: Top Shelf Productions
Format: 560-page softcover paperback
ISBN: 9781603094771

The inmates of an extensive underground prison struggle to build meaningful lives in a broken system, in the most ambitious graphic novel to date from rising indie star Chris Gooch (Bottled and Deep Breaths).Under-Earth takes place in a subterranean landfill, hollowed out to serve as a massive improvised prison. Sunken into the trash and debris of the past — gameboys, iphones, coffee cups, old cars — we follow two parallel stories.

In the first, a new arrival struggles to adapt to the everyday violence, physical labour, and poverty of the prison city. Overwhelmed and alone, he finds a connection with a fellow inmate through an old, beat-up novel. While these two silent and uncommunicative men grow closer thanks to their book, the stress of their environment will test their new bond. Meanwhile, a pair of thieves pull off a risky job in exchange for the prisons’ schematics and the promise of escape — only to be betrayed by their employer. On the run with their hope for escape now gone, the two women set their minds to revenge. Yet as they lay their plans, their focus shifts from an obsession with the outside world to the life they have with each other.

Equal parts sincerity and violence, Under-Earth explores humanity’s inextinguishable drive to find meaning, connection, and even family — and how fragile such constructions can be.

Get this for… A good friend, someone looking for new positives in these tough times, and enjoys a good long read! Also, Chris Gooch’s art is awesome, with an modern tone that feels both expressive yet beautifully simple.

Accidents and Old Lace and Other Stories

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Writer / Artist:  A; Feldstein / Graham Ingels
Published by: Fantagraphics
Format: 232-page Hardcover
ISBN: 9781683963806

This volume collects short horror comics stories from Tales From the Crypt, Vault of Horror, Haunt of Fear, Crime SuspenStories, and Impact ― including a rare EC gem that hasn’t been seen since its original publication more than 65 years ago! These stories, which “Ghastly” Graham Ingels drew while he was at the pinnacle of his powers, include tales such as “Accidents and Old Lace.” Three sweet, little old ladies weave tapestries depicting the gruesome deaths of real people, but when an art dealer commits murder to get a tapestry of his own, he discovers just how closely art imitates … death. In “Marriage Vow,” a woman returns from the grave to fulfill her wifely duty to her murderous husband, until death does them … together; and in “The Sliceman Cometh,” an executioner during the French Revolution can’t escape the severed head of an innocent man.

Get this for… someone who loves good short horror stories from yesterday, lost but now found treasure in a book ol book. Some who loves scary movies, and needs to know where some of that stuff probably came from.

Lois Lane: Enemy of the People

Lois Lane Enemy of the People

Writer / Artist:  Greg Rucka / Mike Perkins
Published by: DC Comics
Format: 304-page softcover
ISBN: 1770463690

She uncovered the most dangerous secret in the DC Universe…now she just has to prove it! After a press briefing at the White House-and carrying a secret that could disrupt Superman’s life-Lois Lane embarks on a harrowing journey to uncover a threat to her husband and a plot that reaches the highest levels of international power brokers and world leaders. Bestselling writer Greg Rucka and acclaimed artist Mike Perkins team up for a tale of conspiracy, intrigue, and murder that tests the limits of tough-as-nails investigative journalist Lois Lane. As the mystery deepens, the Question hunts the people responsible for an attempt on the reporter’s life. But do they want her dead because of what she knows or to stop her from finding out more? Collects Lois Lane #1-12.

Get this for someone who loves journalism, or feels Lois Lane deserves better than how she is written in the movies. Someone who also enjoyed the Lois Lane comics in the 70s (daring reporter!) more than the 60s (Superman’s crazy girlfriend!).

Planet Paradise, Volume 1

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Writer / Artist:  Jesse Lonergan
Published by: Image Comics
Format: 128-page softcover
ISBN: 978-1534316980

To survive after crash landing on an alien planet, a vacationer must battle against a hostile environment, killer lizards, corporate bureaucracy, and the pessimism of her sole companion, the drug-addled captain of the ship.

Get this for… who loves a good hearted story filled with friendship and danger, with some surprise twists. Personal note: I absolutely loved this, and you should at least buy this for yourself.

Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics

Writer / Artist:  Tom Scioli
Published by: Ten Speed Press
Format: 208-page hardcover
ISBN: 1984856901

Told in vivid graphic novel form by a groundbreaking Eisner-nominated comics creator, the long-overdue biography of the legend who co-created Captain America, Iron Man, Black Panther, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and many more superhero favorites.

Get this for…someone who really loves comic books and loves the history that Jack Kirby has helped greatly shaped and influenced on. Tom Scioli brings a special storytelling style with his art, very detailed and stylized through each page!

Transformers/Ghostbusters: Ghosts of Cybertron

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Writer / Artist:  Erik Burnham / Dan Schoening
Published by: IDW
Format: 126-page softcover paperback
ISBN: 978-1684056200

Prime gets slimed! Crossing streams after 35 years, this action-packed graphic novel combines two of the most popular franchises in pop-culture history. After years of civil war, the Autobots fled Cybertron, leaving their home planet in the evil clutches of Megatron and his Decepticons. Years later and millions of miles away, the Autobots pick up a Cybertronian distress signal from a mysterious planet called Earth. The ghostly signal shouldn’t exist, and it’ll bring Optimus Prime and his team—including brand-new Autobot ECTOTRON—face-to-face with… the GHOSTBUSTERS!

Get this for…anyone who loves the golden age of 80s nostalgia through cartoons, movies, and toys.

Titan

Titan

Writer / Artist:  François Vigneault
Published by: Lion Forge Comics
Format: 208-page softcover paperback
ISBN: 1620107791

When MNGR First Class João da Silva arrives on the moon of Titan to take charge of Homestead Station, he finds the massive mining colony plagued by tensions between the giant, genetically-engineered Titan workers and the Terran management. As anger mounts, what began as a routine posting quickly turns into something far more dangerous.

Phoebe Mackintosh thought she left her fighting days behind her when she turned her back on the “mixing” circuit. Now, she finds herself caught between a past she’d rather forget and a future she can’t predict. Together, they must find a way to pull Homestead back from the brink of disaster… Or Titan might be the spark that sets the entire solar system ablaze.

Get this for… someone looking for something a little different in science fiction, probably watches Star Trek for the social commentary.

The Sacrifice of Darkness

Sacrifice of Darkness

Writer / Artist: Roxane Gay, Tracy Lynne / Rebecca Kirby
Published by: Archaia (Imprint of BOOM!)
Format: 128-page hardcover
ISBN: 1684156246

New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay (World of Wakanda, Difficult Women) adapts her short story “We Are the Sacrifice of Darkness” as a full-length graphic novel with writer Tracy Lynne Oliver (This Weekend), and artist Rebecca Kirby (Biopsy.) Expanding an unforgettable world where a tragic event forever bathes the world in darkness, The Sacrifice of Darkness follows one woman’s powerful journey through this new landscape as she discovers love, family, and the true light in a world seemingly robbed of any. This young adult drama challenges notions of identity, guilt, and survival in a graphic novel for fans of On A Sunbeam and Are You Listening?

Get this for… someone who loves beautiful art mixed with thoughtful storytelling. Also, those into fresh young adult section finds!

Shuri: Wakanda Forever

Shuri

Writers:  Vita Ayala, Nnedi Okorafor
Artists: Leonardo Romero, Paul Davidson, Rachael Stott
Published by: Marvel Comics
Format: 224-page softcover paperback
ISBN: 1302923692

The Black Panther’s techno-genius sister stars in her own incredible adventures! T’Challa has disappeared, and Wakanda expects Shuri to lead their great nation in his absence! But she’s happiest in a lab surrounded by her inventions. She’d rather be testing gauntlets than throwing them down! So it’s time for Shuri to rescue her brother yet again — with a little help from Storm, Rocket Raccoon and Groot! But what happens when her outer-space adventure puts Africa at risk from an energy-sapping alien threat? Then, Shuri heads to America to investigate a lead, with Ms. Marvel and Miles “Spider-Man” Morales along for the ride! But with her people in peril, will Shuri embrace her reluctant destiny and become the Black Panther once more? Prepare for a hero like you’ve never seen before!

Collects Shuri (2018) monthly single issue comic series #1-10.

Get this for… for Black Panther fans and MCU of course, but further more, a fresh superhero journey that feels classic in its own way and stays with the reader longer after the last page.

Remina

Writer / Artist:  Junji Ito
Published by: Viz Media LLC
Format: 256-page Hardcover
ISBN: 197471747X

(note: due out on December 15th)

Another of Junji Ito’s classics, the sci-fi masterwork Remina tells the chilling tale of a hell star. An unknown planet emerges from inside a wormhole, and its discoverer, Dr. Oguro, christens the body “Remina” after his own daughter. His finding is met with great fanfare, and Remina herself rises to fame. However, the object picks up speed as it moves along in its curious course, eliminating planets and stars one after another, until finally Earth itself faces extinction… Is the girl Remina the true cause of the catastrophe? A masterwork of horror from Junji Ito, unfolding on a universal scale.

Get this forfans of Junji Ito! Also, someone who loves Japanese horror and science fiction on a much grander, cosmic scale. I haven’t check this one out, but the work of Junji Ito always breaks though and the imagination, and opens the reader to new and eerie dimensions.

Plutocracy

Writer / Artist: Abraham Martinez
Published by: NBM Graphic Novels
Format: 144-page hardcover
ISBN: 9781681122687

2051. The world’s largest company, The Company, has seized power on a planetary scale and runs the world as if it were a business. In a plutocracy, the richer one is, the more powerful one is. In this context, an anonymous citizen becomes compelled to uncover how the world came to this situation, without paying any attention to the official version. Several members of the government end up encouraging him to carry out this investigation by giving him access to all information. He decides to discover the true history of The Company and the various interests that are trying to influence his investigation.

Get this for someone who loves to talk about politics a bit too much.


That’s all for now. I tried for a wide variety, yet not beyond my own reading interests. After all, it’s my personal list. But, if you have something you would like to add to that list, post it in the comments below.

And now, The 2020 Harvey Award Comics Industry Winners are…

As part the New York Comic Con and MCM Comic Con 2020 (both online as part of the “Metaverse,” because of the pandemic), the unveiling of the winners of the 2018 Harvey Awards commenced, carrying its annual tradition through a virtual ceremony.

The Harvey Awards remain part of the comic industry’s most prestigious awards. Since 1988, the Harvey Awards have highlighted significant achievements in the sequential arts industry, named after named in honor of legendary writer-artist Harvey Kurtzman.

But this year, a new change from the category of Best European Book to Best International Book. This amend, many will agree is long overdue.

Also among the winners announced, seven recipients were also honored for their outstanding contributions and important work done for the comic arts industry:  Osamu Tezuka (Astro BoyBuddha), award-winning illustrator Jill Thompson (Scary GodmotherBeasts of Burden), and the core members of the groundbreaking Milestone Media imprint, Dwayne McDuffieDerek T. Dingle, Denys CowanMichael Davis.

Voting was done by eligible industry professionals, currently headlined by the ReedPOP Exhibitions company.

Here below, the winners highlighted among the nominees are…

Book of the Year

  • Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden (First Second)
  • Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang (First Second) (WINNER!)
  • Grass by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim (Drawn and Quarterly)
  • The Hard Tomorrow by Eleanor Davis (Drawn and Quarterly)
  • Invisible Kingdom Vol. 1 by G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward (Dark Horse Books/Berger Books)
  • Little Bird: The Fight for Elder’s Hope by Darcy Van Poelgeest and Ian Bertram (Image Comics)
  • Making Comics by Lynda Barry (Drawn and Quarterly)
  • Reincarnation Stories by Kim Deitch (Fantagraphics)
  • Rusty Brown by Chris Ware (Pantheon Graphic Library)
  • Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1 by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera (BOOM! Studios)

Digital Book of the Year

Best Children or Young Adult Book

  • Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir by Robin Ha (HarperCollins / Balzer + Bray)
  • Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
  • Guts by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic Graphix)
  • Stargazing by Jen Wang (First Second)
  • Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru (DC Comics) (WINNER!)

Best Adaptation from a Comic Book/Graphic Novel

  • Blacksad: Under the Skin video game by Microïds, based on Blacksad (Dark Horse Comics)
  • I Am Not Okay With This by Netlfix, based on I Am Not Okay With This (Fantagraphics)
  • Joker by Warner Bros. Pictures, based on Batman (DC Comics)
  • Legion: Season 3 by FX Productions and Marvel Television, based on X-Men (Marvel Comics0
  • Locke & Key: Season 1 by Netflix, based on Locke & Key (IDW Publishing)
  • The Old Guard by Netflix, based on The Old Guard (Image Comics)
  • The Sandman audio drama by Audible, based on The Sandman (DC Comics/Vertigo)
  • Stumptown: Season 1 by ABC, based on Stumptown (Oni Press)
  • The Umbrella Academy: Season 2, by Netflix, based on The Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Watchmen by HBO, based on Watchmen (DC Comics) (WINNER!)

Best Manga

  • H.P. Lovecraft’s At Mountains of Madness by Gou Tanabe (Dark Horse Manga)
  • The Man Without Talent by Yoshiharu Tsuge (New York Review Comics)
  • The Poe Clan by Moto Hagio (Fantagraphics)
  • The Way of the Househusband by Kousuke Oono (VIZ Media)
  • Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama (Kodansha Comics) (WINNER!)

Best International Book

(Note: This category has been wisely changed from the former catagory “Best European Book” for a more global perspective and inclusion)

  • Grass by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim (Drawn and Quarterly) (WINNER)
  • The House Paco Roca (Fantagraphics)
  • Portrait of a Drunk by Olivier Schrauwen, Florent Ruppert and Jérôme Mulot (Fantagraphics)
  • Stay by Lewis Trondheim and Hubert Chevillard (Magnetic Press)
  • Year of the Rabbit by Tian Veasna (Drawn and Quarterly)

For more information on the awards, its judges, and new Hall of Fame nominations, visit www.harveyawards.com.

Our Fall fresh big comics and graphic novels reading list for 2020

What a year it’s been, with just a few more months to go. A fun escape into new comic worlds might really help with that.

The global pandemic and related problems will likely stretch the anxieties and effects of social isolation further down for many. It’s a strange time for comic book fans, with shipping schedules interrupted and companies thrown into turmoil with comic stores and retail book outlets struggling.

But the sequential arts are still out there, waiting to be discovered and pushed. Many creators, artists, writers, and publishers have not quite backed down. They push and promote through “virtual” comic conventions, and still have fresh and exciting stuff to share.

So, give the digital screens and social media a break soon. Check your local new comics outlet, be it near or mail order online. Seek what’s new and exciting for whatever money you may have. Finding a fresh read has a wonderful joy that can take you away to a more thrilling place.

So, I have a guide below of some hand-picked comic volume trade paperbacks and graphic novels, either recently released or set for the next few weeks of October. Each is based on peer reviews, personal anticipations, celebrated creative talent, interesting interpretations, awesome art, and storytelling worthy of your attention.

So here we go (keep in mind, the following info is for tailored for United States releases).

(Orion T, aka Captain Stranger notes – Also, I am adding in personal commentary highlighted in blue).

Olympia

Writer: Curt Pires
Artist: Alex Diotto, Dee Cunniffe, Christian Ward
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: October 6th, 2020
Retail Price: $16.99 Age Rating: 16+ Format: softcover 176 pages

Elon is a latchkey kid who spends his days alone reading comic books-until his favorite superhero, Olympian, comes crashing off the page and into reality! But as he nurses his wounded and delirious hero back to health, he discovers Olympian isn’t the only thing that came through… something evil followed him. A comedic yet heartfelt love letter to the comics medium, Olympia is also a meditation on hope and loss, conceived by Curt Pires (Wyrd) and his father, Tony Pires, while Tony was undergoing treatment for cancer. Collects OLYMPIA 1-5 and Bonus Material.

I love this series, and also the main reason I put this on the top of my recommend list here. It’s got humor, action, twists, and a whole lot of heart. It’s just a fun little serialized story that honors the joys of escapism, while dealing with harsh realities. It’s got a lot of fun nods to comics past (especially Jack Kirby), and where it should be in the future. Also, love the coloring and art.

Victory Point

Writer/Artist: Owen Pomery
Publisher:  Avery Hill Publishing
Release Date: October 14th, 2020
Retail Price: $18.95 Format: paperback 80 pages

On a summer’s day, Ellen returns to the coastal town she grew up in, the picturesque, yet architecturally strange, Victory Point. Revisiting old haunts and people from her past, she feels increasingly disconnected from her previous life, and exhausted by the constant struggle of trying to forge the path ahead. Exploring a town, which itself is an experiment in how to live, Ellen searches for some comfort in her own history that might just give her the strength to move forward.

Victory Point quietly explores the idea of how we choose to live and be remembered, asking whether we should strive for a higher calling, or if a simple, domestic legacy is the most honest and admirable achievement we can hope for.  And if the land from which we disembark feels as alien as the one we hope to reach, how does anyone make their peace with a life amongst the ever-changing  ocean waves?

I love the art and style. And there is something oddly appealing about its approach, which also involves my love of travel and exploration.

Gunning For Ramirez, Volume 1

Writer/Artist: Nicolas Petrimaux
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: September 30 2020
Retail Price: $16.99 Age Rating: 16+ Format: paperback , 144 pages

Falcon City, Arizona. Jacques Ramirez works at Robotop, the leading home appliance company in the Southwest United States. Jacques is efficient, thorough, and discreet. That last one is easy: he’s also mute. But everything changes when two members of one of Paso del Rio’s largest drug cartels stumble upon Jacques and believe him to be the deadly hitman who betrayed them in the past: the ruthless Ramirez. Could it be that the cartel’s legendary clean-up man is really a legendary vacuum cleaner expert?

Nicolas Petrimaux presents the first in a trilogy—a tribute to the action thrillers of the 1980s and ’90s, a brutal narrative with never a dull moment. Gunning for Ramirez is as much a descendant of Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A. as it is Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction or Rodriguez’s Mexico Trilogy.

It’s got style, with some awesome layouts and coloring. Some of the odd elements makes appeal as something fresh and different, rather than a usual drug cartel drama with the usual expectations. I am looking forward to reading this soon.

Heartbeat

Writer/Artist: Maria Llovet
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Retail Price: $16.99 Age Rating: 15+ Format: softcover 184 page

IF NO ONE IS INNOCENT, IS ANYONE TRULY GUILTY? Eva, a high school outcast, finds herself witness to a horrible secret: the most popular boy in school enjoys the taste of blood and will kill to get his hands on it. Horrified and intrigued, Eva lets herself be pulled into Donatien’s macabre world. He offers the escape she has been looking for…but how much is Eva willing to betray her moral code in order to find something that gives her life meaning? And will she—or Donatien—ever find redemption? Acclaimed writer and artist Maria Llovet (Faithless) presents a dark, violent, decadent, and disturbing story in which life and death, blood and love are inextricably intertwined. Collects Heartbeat #1-5 for mature audiences.

High school based horror is always fun. I heard great things about this, and I need some fresh horror for October. Definitely worth checking out!

I Hope This Helps: Comics and Cures for 21st Century Panic

Writer/Artist: Tommy Siegel
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Release Date: October 6th, 2020
Retail Price: $16.99 Format: softcover, 208 pages

Tommy Siegel’s debut book collection includes 200+ pages of comics, essays, and extremely helpful guides to coping with 21st-century panic. With comics titled “Choose your social anxiety coping mechanism” and “What your coffee drink of choice says about you,” I Hope This Helps offers clever and sardonic commentary on our phone-obsessed, social media-driven culture, as well as a series of devastatingly funny relationship comics starring his popular Candy Hearts characters.

Tommy Siegel’s comics began as doodles in the back of a van as a touring rock musician, and quickly earned a viral global fanbase and shout-outs from cultural heavyweights ranging from Ringo Starr to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. With a perfect balance of absurd humor and insightful writing, I Hope This Helps outlines the journey from the author’s earliest “van doodles” all the way to the socially-distanced awkwardness of the present day.

With every little bit of suffering, that needs to be some humor and satire to help with the hard time. I love the cartoon style and humor of Tommy Siegel, especially from his Twitter feed, @TommySiegel.

Tartarus, Volume 1

Writer: Johnny Christmas
Artist: Jack T. Cole
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: October 6th, 2020
Retail Price: $16.99 Age Rating: all ages Format: paperback 176 pages

When Surka, a ruthless criminal warlord, escapes her prison pit, she unleashes a wave of destruction that ripples across Tartarus, a vital colony in an everlasting galactic war. Years later when Tilde, a young cadet, learns that she’s Surka’s daughter, will she continue to fight on the side of galactic order or reclaim her mother’s dark crown?

I just started reading this recently, and I really love the world-building and epic grand story going on here. It’s a got a fresh space opera feel to it, with a mix of what I missed from great science fiction space stories – grit, action, and some well-paced character development.

Barbarella

Writer/Artist: Jean-Claude Forest
Publisher: Humanoids
Release Date: October 20th, 2020
Retail Price: $22.99 Format: paperback 160 pages

Jean-Claude Forest’s timeless Erotic Sci-Fi series recounting the spatial adventures of the beautiful titular character is now available in a brand new English-language adaptation. In Book 1 (first collected in 1964), Barbarella’s spaceship breaks down, she finds herself trapped on the planet Lythion. There, she has a series of adventurous, and bawdy, encounters with a variety of strange beings, from robots to angels. In Book 2, “Wrath of the Minute-Eater” (first published in 1974), Barbarella’s traveling Circus Delirium enters another dimension, led by the mysterious and alluring aquaman, Narval, whose machinations catapult Barbarella & Co. into a complex battle for the planet Spectra. Featuring a brand new, contemporary English-language adaptation by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick.

I had no idea that the more famous film starring Jane Fonda was based on a French comic series of the same name. This is makes a lot more sense, in recalling the epic weirdness yet awesome style of the movie. And given that based movie adaptations are often watered down versions of original comic stores, this could be an interesting read and interesting treasure.

Henchgirl (Expanded Edition)

Writer: Kristen Gudsnuk
Artist: Kristen Gudsnuk
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: September 29th, 2020
Retail Price: $19.99 Age: 12+ Format: paperback 337 pages

Mary Posa hates her job. She works long hours for little pay, no insurance, and worst of all, no respect. Her coworkers are jerks and her boss doesn’t appreciate her. He’s also a supervillain. Cursed with a conscience, Mary would give anything to be something other than a Henchgirl. This second edition offers the humor and henching you love, along with an extra new Henchgirl story!

I read an older edition some rears ago, and found myself enjoying it more than expected, even laughing out loud at some parts. The art, style, colors are fantastic, and the story has a mix of satire, slapstick, and heart. Highly recommended!

He-Man and the Masters of the Multiverse

Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Dan Fraaga, Tom Derenick
Publisher: DC Comics 
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Retail Price: $17.99 Format: paperback 144 pages

The scourge of Anti-Eternia is unleashed on the Multiverse! Blazing a trail across the dimensions, he’s devastating each version of Eternia and stealing its power. Now it’s up to a ragtag team of surviving He-Men to recruit the one man in existence who might save them: Prince Keldor, the man who would be Skeletor! This series brings together the many various iterations of the fan-favorite franchise, including the 1980s Filmation cartoon series and the 2002 animated series and toy line-as the fate of Eternia is at stake! Collects He-Man and the Masters of the Multiverse #1-6.

I am definitely putting this on my list. I am an original fan, and recall some screenshots revealing some fun surprises and expected fan service. I’m a also a fan of any story that merges alternate realities crossing over TV, comics, games, movies. Plus, Tim Seeley is a huge fan of MOTU, so it’s going to be a lot of heartful fun for sure!

Did I miss anything that should be on this list that’s fresh and exciting with sequential art? Have you checked any of these out, and like to share your thoughts? Or has anything here piqued your interest? Let us know in the comments!