Stranger Readings, Comics Review – Saga #50

Saga #50 (Image) by Fiona Staples (artist), Brian K. Vaughan (writer)

(contains minor spoilers)

Six years ago, and still going strong…

Saga has reached its 50th issue, winning awards and still gaining new fandom. Such is impressive, as we live in a time where mainstream comics sales pull from brand or pop-culture recognition, living off the fame off of wide-released movies and TV adaptations. This usually means, a softening of the brand to appeal to the wider audience. But not Saga, keeping intimate with its fans from page one of every issue.

#50 stays in tradition, holding nothing back and keeping it real for the very mature audiences.

(recall page 1-3)

Moving forward, the pages are a bit quiet with no game-changes to the overall world-building to the Sagaverse. But we do have great connecting moments, of what Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples do best together. Relationships are development driven by the real desires of relatable characters, whether for the good or bad; they make interesting differences in this strange, fantastic universe.

Alana and Marko still drive the main story along for the readers, as the caring parents to Hazel. But now together and happy, I can only hope will last. But, I get a little nervous about that stability, with the narration of Hazel (because it’s really her story). Prince Robot is somewhat normal and sane again. We get to know Upsher and Doff a bit more, though I feel there is a tragedy in store for them as well. Petrichor is moving on with Prince Robot, along with Squire (who has moving plans of his own). The Will (for now, the Help) is dealing with his own struggle, being in a very screwed up situation.

But the biggest thrill is seeing Hazel, being the most developed so far. She can fight, blast, and think for herself. She is a legitimate badass, dangerous to anyone who messes with her and those cared for. This moment says it all, with a bit more.

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The art remains consistent stylish, as Fiona Staples displaying each expression of sentient feeling, every setting beautiful yet alien, every sequential transition with a natural flow, and fantastic colors. The 50th issue continues on an epic story that is important in visual storytelling to match the words we find within.

That all being said, this wonderful 50th issue reminds me of why I love comics and will look forward to the next 50 more. The story is long, but compelling because time is taken to get to know our characters. Can’t wait (but also a little afraid), of where that will take us.

Image/Top Cow brings new BONEHEAD techno-thriller, for early winter

Image/Top Cow will bring Bonehead, a new gritty new techno-thriller by writer Bryan Hill (Romulus, Postal) and Rhoald Marcellius (Marvel: Contest of Champions), to comic shelves this December.

In a near future, a sprawling megalopolis sees the rise of “Boneheads,” parkour gangs who use neuro-linked helmets to augment their abilities and live for the thrill of physical risk. As a gang war threatens to tear the city apart, a mysterious Bonehead rises—a man with no past who might be the key to saving the city’s future.

“Glitch, the team that produces Bonehead , has a vision of a possible future and humanity’s simultaneous evolution with technology,” said Hill. “It’s a compelling concept that deals with many things we’re experiencing as a society, and I’m enjoying working with Rhoald on these concepts of futurism, humanity, and identity.”

“I grew up loving urban and underground culture, so it’s been my long-time dream working on gang war themed comics,” said Marcellius. “And given the cyberpunk setting, Bonehead is my perfect avenue. I’m also BIG on action, and this book is what it’s all about—acrobatics and street fights. The characters are designed by the talented Machine56, and I gotta tell you that the designs are sick! It’s really a bunch of my favorite stuff in a blender, and I’m having a blast. I hope you guys will too!”

Bonehead #1 hits comic book stores Wednesday, December 27th.

Dark Horse sets third volume of Moebius Library with Inside Moebius, Part 1

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Dark Horse Comics recently announced its third volume in the Moebius Library as Moebius Library: Inside Moebius, Part 1.

Inside Moebius Part 1 is preceded by New York Times bestseller and Eisner award-winner Moebius Library: The World of Edena and Moebius Library: The Art of Edena. All contain the works of Jean Henri Gaston Giraud (1938-2012) – a French artist, cartoonist, and creator; whose work and contributions to science fiction and fantasy are highly revered under his famed pseudonym, Moebius.

Dark Horse is working closely with Moebius Productions in France to produce the beginning of Moebius’s intensely personal project in English for the first time. Moebius Library: Inside Moebius Part 1 follows Moebius as he explores both his mind and the beautiful, expansive desert of his own creation. Moebius draws himself encountering some of his favorite characters—creations like Blueberry, Arzak, and Major Grubert—and also meets a younger version of himself as some hard realities from life encroach upon his reveries. A six-part study, Moebius Library: Inside Moebius Part 1 collects the first two chapters in this fantastic exploration of a creator meeting his own creations. Dark Horse will release all parts to this exceptional, intimate series in 2018.

The first volume, Moebius Library: The World of Edena is available now through retail bookstores everywhere. Dark Horse will also release Moebius Library: The Art of Edena on December 20, 2017. Moebius Library: Inside Moebius, Part 1 will be available in bookstores on February 7, 2018.

ATOMAHAWK swings its heaviest metal fantasy your way, from Image Comics

“A screaming black hole feedback squall of death metal Kirby-kozmik energy spinning straight towards your prefrontal cortex…” said worshiped writer Grant Morrison, in a recent statement endorsing Atomahawk.

Atomahawk is a fan-favorite comics story by Donny Cates (God Country, Redneck), Ian Bederman, and Taylor Esposito, soon to be collected into a deluxe, full-color, oversized edition and available this October, from Image Comics.

First serialized in Heavy Metal magazine, Atomahawk is the out-of-this-world adventure of the Cyberzerker and his mighty Atomahawk. Readers will join them on their quest to free their imprisoned God.

“Atomahawk is what we call an ‘UNBREAKABLE STORY.’ Meaning anything can happen, and the story will remain in check, said Cates in an interview with Image+ magazine. “Time travel? Sure! Alien Gladiator games set on a giant rotting Frankenstein body stranded in space? Why not? We have SO MANY badass and insane ideas to show you all. HE-MAN FRONTING IRON MAIDEN AS LEAD SINGER WITH THE VOLUME TURNED UP TO LSD!!!! It’s a lot of fun, folks!”

Atomahawk #0 will rise in stores on Wednesday, October 11th.

SW CAPTAIN’S NOTE: Artwork above is from Donny Yates Twitter feed (@doncates), promoting Atomohawk for Heavy Metal Magazine #282. This looks like a lot of fun, which I will personally look forward in checking out!

New Goosebumps comic will creep into comic stores this Fall

Comic readers, beware, you’re in for a scare!

New adventures will beckon young readers into the world of R.L. Stine’s bestselling Goosebumps series with a new Goosebumps comic book series, published by IDW and coming out this October.

This will be in time for Scholastic celebration of 25 years of giving readers…, goosebumps. IDW will add to the chills with original stories that re-visit some familiar and frightening faces. Fearsome monsters will populate the Goosebumps comics, and our spunky heroes will need to work together to get out of some truly bumpy spots.

“My first reading thrill when I was a kid were the EC horror comics, Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror,” said R.L. Stine. “They introduced me to the excitement of reading. Now all these years later, I have another thrill–seeing my stories and characters come to life in a comic book series of their own.”

The first Goosebumps storyline, “Monsters at Midnight,” will kick off with writer Jeremy Lambert (Attack on Titan Anthology) and artist Chris Fenoglio (X-Files: Origins), who will transport readers to a hauntingly familiar setting called Horrorland—a world of terrifying possibilities originally introduced in the Goosebumps novels. Mia and Ginny were planning on spending a thoroughly dull summer at Grandma’s house with nothing but mothballs to entertain them. Enter a spooky, old bookshop and a door left slightly ajar, and soon these sisters find themselves trapped in a Horrorland drastically different from the sleepy, suburban town they left behind.

Each three-issue arc will feature a brand-new, self-contained story with rotating creative teams. And good news for monster collectors—each single issue will have creep-tastic variant covers by artists such as Derek Charm, Drew Rausch, CP Wilson III, Cat Farris, and more!

Goosebumps #1 is set for this October, in time for Halloween.

SW 2017 Early Summer Big Comics GN and TP Reading List!

This summer has much in store for all comics reading adventurers out there. Set sail for your local comic stores and book retailers and take a look!

But often, the good treasure is easily missed. So here through Stranger Worlds, we have compiled a list through personal experiences, peer reviews, grapevine whispering, and good old-fashioned speculation to bring you some recommended reads. Many are in softcover trade paperback format,  collecting issues of popular monthly series. Others are in the graphic novel format, usually in hardcover. Many here are not part of some longstanding franchise or continuing from some long-running series. Such are fresh and easy for anyone for jumping in.

So take a look at the 20 selected below, and note any of interest. Each selection is either already out, or will be due out soon (range from early June to middle July). Ask for them at your favorite bookseller!

BLACK PANTHER: WORLD OF WAKANDA
Volume 1

Writer: Various
Artist: Various
Publisher: Marvel
Release Date: June 22, 2017
Retail Price: $17.99

Wakanda! Home of the Black Panther, a proud and vibrant nation whose legends and mysteries run deep. Now, delve deep into Wakanda’s lore with a love story where tenderness is matched by brutality! You know them as the Midnight Angels, but for now, they are just Ayo and Aneka – young women recruited to become Dora Milaje, an elite task force trained to protect the crown of Wakanda at all costs. But with their king shamed and their queen killed, Ayo and Aneka must take justice into their own hands! They’ve been officers. Rebels. Lovers. But can they be leaders? Plus: the return of former White Tiger, Kasper Cole! As Wakanda burns, Cole can only watch helplessly from halfway around the world. Will he find a new beginning – or meet a painful end? Collecting BLACK PANTHER: WORLD OF WAKANDA #1-6.

ROCKSTARS
Volume 1: NATIVITY IN BLACKLIGHT

Writer: Joe Harris
Artist: Megan Hutchison
Publisher: Image
Release Date: June 14, 2017
Retail Price: $9.99

When a pattern of unsolved “groupie” murders from the 1970s resumes in present-day Los Angeles, nobody makes the connection except Jackie Mayer, a rock nerd with a strange connection to music’s urban legends and a mysterious ability to “see” what most people miss. Together with a muckraking music writer and his loyal cat,  Jackie uncovers an underground conspiracy involving a legendary band, demonic possession, and sacrifices to the dark gods of rock. Fan-favorite JOE HARRIS (GREAT PACIFIC, The X-Files) and the mega-talented MEGAN HUTCHISON deliver a crash course in rock ‘n’ roll’s untold mysteries, secret histories, and seedy underbellies. Collects ROCKSTARS #1-5

LOOSE ENDS
A Southern Crime Romance

Writer: Jason Latour
Artist: Chris Brunner
Publisher: Image
Release Date: July 5th, 2017
Retail Price: $16.99

No one seemed to notice Sonny Gibson as he stepped back into “The Hideaway,” a dusty little honky-tonk nestled off the Carolina highway. But before the night was over, Sonny would be on the run from the law, from criminals, and even from himself. LOOSE ENDS is a gritty, slow-cooked, Southern crime romance that follows a winding trail down Tobacco Road, through the war-torn streets of Baghdad, and into the bright lights and bloody gutters of South Florida. From JASON LATOUR, co-creator of Eisner-winning SOUTHERN BASTARDS and the writer of Spider-Gwen, CHRIS BRUNNER (SOUTHERN BASTARDS, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight), and RICO RENZI (Spider-Gwen, Squirrel Girl). Collects LOOSE ENDS #1-4.

PLUM CRAZY TALES OF TIGER STRIPED CAT
Deadly Season

Writer,  Artist: Hoshino Natsumi
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Release Date: July 5, 2017
Retail Price: $11.99

A must-have for cat lovers everywhere, for fans of Chi’s Sweet Home. Plum Crazy! Tales of a Tiger-Striped Cat is an adorable new manga series that features the hilarious adventures a clever cat named Plum. Plum, as her family calls her, is a tiger-striped cat that lives with Miss Nakari, a single mother to her teenaged son, Taku. Plum can understand what people say to her, and she can even tell what’s in their minds. She also has many friends among the neighborhood cats. All is well in her everyday life until the day a mischievous kitten named Snowball joins Plum’s happy household. Will the naughty little newcomer turn Plum’s world completely topsy-turvy? Or will Snowball make her life even sweeter?

ARMIES 

Writer: Jean-Pierre Dionnet, Picaret
Artist: Jean-Claude Gal
Publisher: Humanoids
Release Date: July 5, 2017
Retail Price: $19.99

A collection of stories featuring an unstoppable army and an indomitable hero, all set amid the backdrop of barbaric and medieval lands. Jean-Pierre Dionnet shortly gained the favor of the public and has since grown immensely. This is the occasion for all lovers of the heroic fantasy genre to return to its roots.

APPLESEED: ALPHA
Deadly Season

Writer: Masamune Shirow, Iou Kuroda
Artist: Iou Kuroda
Publisher: Kodansha
Release Date: July 5, 2017
Retail Price: $24.99

A prequel to the cyberpunk franchise Appleseed by Shirow Masamune, creator of The Ghost in the Shell. In the 22nd century, New York City is a war-torn place ruled by warlords and a giant robot mayor with three eyes and a three-piece suit. While there, Deunan and her cyborg lover Briareos stumble across two citizens of a legendary utopia. It’s up to them to guard what could be humanity’s best chance to rebuild. 

GLISTER, TP

Writer,  Artist: Andi Watson
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: July 5, 2017
Retail Price: $14.99

Strange things happen around Glister Butterworth. A young girl living on her family’s English estate, Glister has unusual adventures every day, like the arrival of a teapot haunted by a demanding ghost, a crop of new relatives blooming on the family tree, a stubborn house that walks off its land in a huff, and a trip to Faerieland to find her missing mother.
o All four Glister stories collected into a value-priced edition!

ALACK SINNER AGE OF INNOCENCE

Writer: Carlos Sampayo
Artist: Jose Munoz
Publisher: Euro Comics
Release Date: June 28, 2017
Retail Price: $29.99

Alack Sinner: The Age of Innocence is the first of two volumes that present, for the first time in English, the complete Alack Sinner comics by the Argentine-born team of artist José Muñoz and writer Carlos Sampayo. Sinner is a hard-boiled private detective whose adventures are played out to a jazz soundtrack in a noir New York from 1975 through the 2000s. The Age of Innocence collects eleven stories, including “Talkin’ with Joe,” “The Webster Case,” “The Fillmore Case,” “Viet Blues,” “Life Ain’t a Comic Strip, Baby,” “Twinkle, Twinkle,” and “Dark City.” Alack Sinner is an international bestseller and between them, Muñoz and Sampayo are winners of Europe’s top comics awards.

ALICE & ZOUROKU
Volume 1

Writer,  Artist: Tetsuya Imai
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Release Date: June 28, 2017
Retail Price: $12.99

A group of young girls possesses a mysterious power known as “Alice’s Dream,” which gives them the ability to turn their thoughts into reality. Detained and experimented upon, these youths are locked away in secret until one of them manages to escape. Her name is Sana – a girl with the power to ignore the very laws of physics. When this willful powerhouse crosses paths with a stubborn old man named Zouroku, his carefully ordered life will never be the same again!

CARTHAGO ADVENTURES

Writer: Christophe Bec, Alcante, Giles Daoust
Artist: Jaouen Fafner, Brice Cossu, Alexis Sentenac, Drazen Kovacevic
Publisher: Humanoids
Release Date: June 28, 2017
Retail Price: $34.95

The original adventures of London Donovan and his shadowy boss, “The Centenarian of the Carpathians,” in this action-packed spin-off from the best-selling Carthago. These five individual, but interlinked, stories see Donovan and billionaire Feiersinger combating all manner of malicious myths and monsters from the Californian Bigfoot and deadly African dinosaurs, to Arctic Sea creatures and giant Canadian wolves. Whether driven by a taste for adventure, a passion for scientific curiosity, or simply by pure obsession, join our unrelenting heroes as they chase and encounter creatures that are as mythical as they are deadly.

Flash Gordon
King’s Cross

Writer: Jeff Parker, Jesse Hamm
Artist: Jesse Hamm, Grace Allison
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: June 28, 2017
Retail Price: $19.99

Ming the Merciless wants to claim Earth as the crown jewel of his empire! His latest scheme? Teleporting a continent from his homeworld of Mongo into the Pacific Ocean, thereby unleashing its monstrous beasts into our seas and causing catastrophic tidal waves to devastate our naval defenses! It’s up to Flash Gordon, the fearless daredevil who has unraveled the tyrant’s previous schemes at every turn, to once again rally his friends in defense of the Earth. Join intrepid reporter Dale Arden, eccentric scientist Dr. Zarkov, Mandrake the Magician, two iterations of The Phantom, Jungle Jim, and the timelost hero Prince Valiant in the wildest adventure on this or any world!

FOG OVER TOLBIAC BRIDGE

Writer, Artist: Jacques Tardi
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Release Date: June 28, 2017
Retail Price: $19.99

Fog Over Tolbiac Bridge is the first of four major graphic novels adapted by Tardi from the legendary French crime writer Léo Malet’s original “Nestor Burma” novels. Tardi’s stylish use of mechanical gray tones provides the book with a lovely period feel which, combined with Tardi’s usual obsessive visual research, gives it a uniquely personal, authentic quality. Tardi’s adaptation is a cracking good detective yarn and a milestone in comics history.

MAKING SCENTS

Writer: Arthur Yorinks
Artist: Braden LamShelli Paroline
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: June 28, 2017
Retail Price: $15.99

Mickey isn’t like his brothers and sisters. They’re stronger, faster, and they’re definitely better when it comes to smelling. You see, Mickey’s parents are dog nuts, and his “brothers and sisters” are their prize bloodhounds. Mickey eventually learns how to sniff out a trail as good as his siblings, and his parents have never been prouder. Life can’t get much better, but it’s about to get much worse. When a tragic accident leaves Mickey an orphan, he must leave his dog family behind to live with an aunt and uncle he’s never met before. Even worse, they hate dogs and kids.

MOTRO
Volume 1

Writer: Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas
Artist: Ulises Farinas
Publisher: Oni Press
Release Date: June 28, 2017
Retail Price: $9.99

A reclusive young boy with superhuman strength tries to live up to the expectations of his dead father in a fantastic world of mechs and monsters. What will it take to fulfill his destiny? From illustrator and intricate world-builder Ulises Fariñas (IDW’s Judge Dredd), comes the first chronicle of the life and legend of a fantasy hero for the ages.

NIGHTS DOMINiON
Volume 1

Writer, Artist: Ted Naifeh
Publisher: Oni Press
Release Date: June 28, 2017
Retail Price: $9.99

A thief, an assassin, a mage and a cleric walk into a tavern in the ancient city of Umber. Awaiting them is a mysterious bard with a dangerous scheme: to break into the dungeon of a powerful death cult in search of treasure. For these five desperate criminals, it’s the last chance for hope in a city of corruption and despair.  But what they find instead is an undead army preparing to conquer the world. Now, they must fight to protect the city that pushed their backs to the wall or watch it burn. The acclaimed fantasy epic from New York Times Best-Selling author Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin, Princess Ugg) begins here!

MOTOR CRUSH
Volume 1

Writers: Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr
Artists: Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr
Publisher: Image
Release Date: June 14, 2017
Retail Price: 9.99

The team behind the critically acclaimed revamp of Batgirl returns with an exciting sci-fi action-adventure series! By day, Domino Swift competes for fame & fortune in a worldwide motorcycle racing league. By night, she cracks heads of rival gangs in brutal bike wars to gain possession of a rare, valuable contraband: an engine-boosting “machine narcotic” known as Crush. Collects MOTOR CRUSH #1-5

CURSE WORDS
Volume 1

Writer: Charles Soule Artist: Ryan Browne
Publisher: Image
Release Date: June 19, 2017
Retail Price: 9.99

A wizard has appeared in present-day New York! His name is Wizord, and he’s here to save us all from dark magical forces bent on our destruction.
He’s the best wizard of all time! Or…he’s not, and he’s lying to everyone, and secretly is the dark magical force, but wants to hang out in our world for a while because it’s so much nicer than the hellhole he comes from. Secrets, and spells, and talking koalas-CURSE WORDS is a gonzo dark fantasy from CHARLES SOULE (Daredevil, Letter 44, Star Wars) and RYAN BROWNE (GOD HATES ASTRONAUTS). Collects CURSE WORDS #1-5

THE BACKSTAGERS
Volume 1

 Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Rian Sygh
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release Date: July 19, 2017
Retail Price: $14.99

James Tynion IV (Detective Comics, The Woods) teams up with artist Rian Sygh (Munchkin, Stolen Forest) for an incredibly earnest story that explores what it means to find a place to fit in when you’re kinda an outcast. When Jory transfers to an all-boys private high school, he’s taken in by the lowly stage crew known as the Backstagers. Hunter, Aziz, Sasha, and Beckett become his new best friends and introduce him to an entire magical world that lives beyond the curtain that the rest of the school doesn’t know about, filled with strange creatures, changing hallways, and a decades-old legend of a backstage crew that went missing and was never found. Collects the first four issues.

CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE
Volume 1

Writer: Gerard Way, Jonathan Rivera, Tom Scioli
Artist: Tom Scioli, Michael Avon Oeming
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: June 28, 2017
Retail Price: $19.99

Cave Carson has done it all: survived countless adventures below the Earth’s surface, met the love of his life, and gotten a cybernetic eye…somehow. Now, newly widowed, Cave tries to piece his life back together when a knock on the door of his secret underground lab pulls him back into a past that he and Eileen thought they had left buried deep within the Earth.In these tales from issues #1-6, Cave must determine if his recent hallucinations are the work of his mind or his mysterious cybernetic eye. (Spoiler: It’s the eye).

That’s all for now. We plan on listing more up for the later half of summer. In the meantime, if anything here catches your interest and you enjoyed…we would love to hear from you. Or, if we missed out on something just coming out, also let us know!

Becky Cloonan’s BY CHANCE OR PROVIDENCE medieval fantasy series, in TP soon

“These stories cast a spell of hypnotic melancholy, weaving their way through medieval landscapes of ancient curses and terrible truths that will haunt you long after you’ve set them down.”

Image Comics recently announced acclaimed writer/artist Becky Cloonan (Southern Cross, Batman, Gotham Academy) award-winning trilogy of short stories By Chance Or Providence, will release together in a trade paperback volume this July.

By Chance Or Providence contains “Wolves,””The Mire,” and “Demeter,” with all-new colors by Lee Loughridge, as well as a sketchbook/illustration section.

“Out of all the comics I’ve worked on, the stories in By Chance Or Providence remain some of the most personal, the closest to my heart,” said Cloonan. “I’m so happy to have the chance to publish them with Image, this time as a “director’s cut,” with lush colors by Lee Loughridge. I hope one day I can return to these characters and spend more time in this world, but until then…”

The By Chance Or Providence trade paperback arrives in comic book stores on Wednesday, July 26th, and bookstores Tuesday, August 1st.

Image Comics brings parallel-Earth adventure in RETCON, this September

Writer Matt Nixon (Wolverine) and artist Toby Cypress (Rodd, Racer, Blue Estate) will team up for an all-new time-hopping paranormal series, Retcon, from Image Comics.

In Retcon, a group of paranormal adventurers faced with an impossible threat keep shutting down alternative timelines in order to prevent the ultimate destruction of the solar system. This is only to find themselves reinvented in a similar—albeit retconned situation—back in issue #1 on a parallel Earth, facing the same enemy.

“Artist Toby Cypress and I set out to make Retcon a ‘craft’ comic book,” said Nixon. “We took our time and made sure from layout to panel design to colors and letters—every piece fits, nothing was rushed. We made the best book that we could, and we believe it will find its audience.”

Cypress added, “Matt’s story is like David Lynch doing a few episodes of X-Files, it’s weird, over the top, and subtle all at once.”

RETCON #1 will hit stores this September 2017.

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2017.3.24, New Myths and Legends

More new comics from last week!

Among them, comes a variety of new visions based upon epic fantasy and fantastic concepts. Some are twistings of such, reaching into our childhood dreams and warping further the endless possibilities.

Below are my further notes on the following books that caught my interest (with minor spoilers)…

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 3/15, 2017:


Neil Gaiman’s American Gods: The Shadows #1 (Dark Horse) by Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell, Scott Hampton

“WAR IS COMING! Shadow Moon just got out of jail, only to discover his wife is dead. Defeated, broke, and uncertain as to where to go from here, he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, who employs him to serve as his bodyguard—thrusting Shadow into a deadly world of the supernatural, where ghosts of the past come back from the dead, and a brewing war between old and new gods hits a boiling point..”

Here is an adaptation on Neil Gaiman’s book, first published in 2001. I have mixed feelings about this, though I felt originally excited. Now, I feel somewhat mixed on this translation from lengthy text to sequential art. Perhaps, being an adaptation and relying upon the original work to tell a story feels a bit odd. Yet, I felt drawn because much time has passed since last read. Or perhaps, the established vision doesn’t quite match to my expectations. Also, there is a new television  series, of which I have similar feelings about.Yet, I really dig the art and balance of the story in its interpretation. The characterization and setting play true to the original story, but I feel something missing in what also feels like an abridged version. Yet, I feel interested in any artistic of mythological gods and monsters. The artwork of the interpretation is the book’s strength, as I feel in discovering more of such as the series continue. The story, not so much. I wish I was less familiar with the source material, to fully enjoy this.

Head Lopper #5 (Image) by Andrew Maclean

“NEW STORY ARC “IN THE SHADOW OF THE TOWER” Norgal and Agatha are back! A daring new adventure awaits, looming like the Crimson Tower, home of Ulrich the Twice Damned, sworn enemy of Zhaania Kota Ka. With old friends and new, our heroes boldly enter the bloodied pinnacle with bare steel and steady hearts. The quarterly series HEAD LOPPER has returned.”

This is my first read of Head Lopper, of which I came across from a friend’s purchase. From what I thoroughly enjoyed,  I definitely should go back on the earlier issues and check out this series. Though there is little I learned on the Head Lopper, his world is a fascinating set-up and cornucopia of discovery, just from this one issue. There is heavy magic, action, architecture, and odd concepts that defy any sort of genre stereotype.  I also like the odd humor and offbeat characters, giving this a sort of adventurous feel for the heart in knowing the surreal setups and fun characters. The jump on point still feels early, and the potential for far more is definitely ahead. I just need to go back a little first.

I Hate Fairyland #11 (Image) by Skottie Young

“NEW STORY ARC “CON GIRL” Gertrude is back in her hit-comedy/fantasy/all-out bloodbath of a comic, I HATE FAIRYLAND. Gert and Larry take a break from their normal questing and killing for some fun at Fairyland’s annual Dungeon Con.

I am much happy to see the return of Gert to the comic stands (after a short hiatus). This issue brings a bit of familiarity to the fantastical Fairyland, of which our perturbed protagonist visits an annual fantasy convention. The con itself is a mix of the gaming, sci-fi, fantasy, comic, and related geek culture gatherings that are now ingrained into the mainstream entertainment landscape. I enjoyed and related much to the hero-worship striking Gert and she finds herself at both ends of the fandom relationship. She again learns important lessons, and seemingly ever-growing as a result, while bonding deeper into the strange world less trapped in. The art is the usual mix of vibrant awesome. However, I notice more so from this issue, the developed mastery of Skottie Young’s artistic ability to bring about body form to exhibit character, with special attention to shape and expressions. His artwork is genius, and very underrated.

He-Man/Thundercats#4 (DC) by Rob David, Lloyd Goldfine, Freddie E. Williams II

“The epic series comes to the only conclusion possible: all-out war against Mumm-Ra and Skeletor! He-Man and Lion-O confront the diabolical duo in the heart of the magical, mystical Castle Grayskull, but the battle royal quickly expands across the multiverse itself

What ridiculous fan-service this series has become. As a fan of both cartoons based upon, I have gained much in the return of the guiltiest pleasure of my childhood, absurd fantasy concepts with the ridiculous high stakes and enduring heroism. Such is plenty here, but also the merging of Eternian and Thundarian fanfare. Much of which, I pondered by some in some dream after a heavy dose of Sunny-D and Fruit Roll-Ups. Meanwhile, artwork is very busy in trying to comprehend all, and has grown on me as the story progresses. The beastly concepts, especially of the supporting cast of good and evil is well-done. Anyway, the story reached its satisfiable conclusion, delivering all expected and much more.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the latest shelves?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

Orion T – SW chief writer and seeker of great comic books and all related wonderful things. 

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2017.3.10, New Goodies

Here we go, with newish (still catching up) and returning favorite comics.

Dive right into these following books worth checking out (with minor spoilers)…

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 3/1/2017:

Cosmic Scoundrels #1 (IDW), by Matt Chapman, Andy Suriano

“Space-fairing bachelor scalawags Love Savage and Roshambo – along with a little mothering from their ship’s AI, Mrs. Billingsley – shuttle from job to job and continually find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Despite their best efforts to look out only for themselves, they usually end up involved with alien crooks, shady black market baby schemes, and space sickness-inducing drugs. They’re on the loose and on the run – from everyone!”

Something a little different, for sure. There is a lot of good fun here and often missed from the overall genre of the new cosmic science fiction. The story doesn’t take itself too seriously, especially with the tiny captions that are necessary to explain some of the lingo and strangeness. There is much fast-paced action. However, the main characters are a bit hard to relate, for the first issue. Maybe that takes time. The ending of the first issue looks to deliver the direction this book needs. But the art is a bit rough and not for everyone. It’s necessary for the book, to delivery the crookedness and chaotic coloring to an otherwise boring universe. I like it, for now.

Paper Girls #12 (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson

“Growing up can be deadly..”

So the adventure into a strange new world continues for our young delivery dolls. For now, there feels an extension of the campfire scene of the last issue. But now, there are new players with yet more questionable intentions and direction. There are more questions, and more tragedy…something the writer does well in his work. There is a mix of otherworldly and danger, yet the sudden reminder of who are Paper Girls are in this overall story. They are growing through delicate changes, leading to a very awkward moment for one. Mac remains my favorite of the bunch, with perspectives toward her future death are amusing and oddly poetic with her smoking habit. The colors continue to help define the art, making the unreality of it all a beautiful experience.

The Flintstones #9 (DC) by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh

“In an effort to cheer Fred up after he loses his job, Wilma buys him a new armadillo bowling ball. There’s just one problem: it’s terrifying the household appliances! Meanwhile, across town, the Bedrock elite join a shadowy prosperity economic cult.”

Another great issue full of humor, development, and social commentary. But this issue more develops the Bedrock town far more than previous issues. Much of the side characters and subplots of past issues are showing signs of development and things to perhaps come for the following issues. Only in Mark Russell’s Bedrock can a vacuüm cleaner and bowling ball show a real change in relationship towards each other and the world around them. Their facial emotions by the art are excellent, telling much more in their reactions to the sudden changes, giving a moment of fear in my eyes for a possible tragedy, eventually averted. Meanwhile, Fred’s boss is awesome with his own new gadget, a giant bird named Brutus. He makes life easier through simple commands, but not a flawless form of technology. Such relates to our mobile devices, and how we bury our happiness in their convenience; only to be feel betrayed when they become useless and loss to us. Overall, an issue full of heartwarming moments near the end. However, a bit creepy on that last page.

Extremity #1 (Image) by Daniel Warren Johnson, Mike Spicer

“Thea dreams. Not of a better life, but of revenge on the clan that ruined her family. With ferocious battles between man, machines, and monsters ahead…who knows where her quest for vengeance will take her? Creator DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON (Space Mullet) and colorist MIKE SPICER present a bold new vision, where the beauty and imagination of Studio Ghibli meet the intensity of Mad Max, in this all-new Skybound Original.”

PICK OF THE WEEK. I love this first issue. I am not sure why, but I needed to read it again to look deeper into it, leading me to enjoy it more. As to why is hard to pinpoint, as there as there is nothing particular mind-blowing or brilliant just yet. I think it’s just the balance of great characters and world-building not getting too ahead of itself. I love the set-up, with a family transformed by violence, driven by vengeance, except one. Rollo is resistant to the darkness in a situation where his father calls upon him to be cruel. The result is a hopeful light in the end for what humanity may have left in a brutal world. Thea the sister, is a bit of the opposite in her badass and hardened reactions. The siblings I feel will need each other, in what I hope will be a long developing tale. The art is well-defined, with awesome details. Overall, a well-balanced book that focuses more on character and situation, rather than overwhelming backstory. However, there is a much in imaginative concepts, that looks towards a great and possibly epic fantasy.

Royal City #1 (Image) by Jeff Lemire

“NEW ONGOING SERIES written and illustrated by JEFF LEMIRE (DESCENDER, A.D., Sweet Tooth). ROYAL CITY charts the lives, loves, and losses of a troubled family and a vanishing town across three decades. Patrick Pike, a fading literary star who reluctantly returns to the once-thriving factory town where he grew up, is quickly drawn back into the dramas of his two adult siblings, his overbearing mother, and his brow-beaten father, all of whom are still haunted by different versions of his youngest brother, Tommy, who drowned decades ago. ROYAL CITY is a return to the literary and thematic territory of LEMIRE’s breakthrough graphic novel Essex County and is his most ambitious, and most personal project to date.”

Jeff Lemire is back, in the original form of which we knew him by; hard personal storytelling brought about by a combination of emotional writing and stylized art. We also get that return to the way he makes a setting as important to the story as the characters. Here, we have a number of characters given much time and detail throughout the book, for Lemire to share their personal struggles and relationships. Then, bring them together in a wonderful display of warmth and family love. There are hints of many wonderful moments, not mistaken for mere exposition to a larger plot. The art and beautiful coloring invite the reader to live each moment, through Royal City. Take time through the curious and beautiful moments, and look forward to whatever may come next.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the new shelves?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

Orion T – SW chief writer and seeker of great comic books and all related wonderful things.