Mary and Brian Talbot set to release their next graphic novel, RAIN.

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Dark Horse Comics recently announced Rain, a new upcoming graphic novel from acclaimed writer/historian Mary M Talbot and artist (and husband) Bryan Talbot, set for this Fall.

Rain is the story of the growing relationship between two young women, one an environmental activist, set against the backdrop of the disastrous 2015 floods in northern England. Their local wild Brontë moorlands are being criminally mismanaged, crops are being poisoned, and birds and animals are being slaughtered. While the characters are fictional, the tragedy is shockingly real.

Rain is the fourth graphic novel collaboration between Mary M Talbot and husband Bryan Talbot, a partnership that has produced the award-winning Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, Sally Heathcote: Suffragette (with Kate Charlesworth), and The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia.

The Rain graphic novel will go on the retail shelves of comic and book stores everywhere, on October 11, 2019, in hardcover, landscape-format, and will retail for $24.99.

Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles, a flavorful manga translation coming up

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For the food lovers out there, Dark Horse Comics is importing some fresh translation of an awesome manga series of Japan culture, cooking life, and ramen. It’s Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles, starting off with Volume 1, piping hot in the late summer this year.

In Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles the cool, mysterious high school student Ms. Koizumi and her friends show you around the authentic ramen culture of everyday Japan in this fun food manga written by Naru Narumi…and translated by an authentic Japanese chef, Portland’s Ayumi Kato Blystone!

Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles is Dark Horse’s first foray into the popular genre of food manga, and includes bonus ramen recipes! The popular Ms. Koizumi manga has been turned into both a Japanese live-action mini-series and an anime series on Crunchyoll. Since its debut in 2013, the story has been filling the hearts (and stomachs) of Japanese audiences, and Dark Horse is thrilled to publish the original manga series in English for the very first time!

The 136-page Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles Volume 1 arrives in comic shops September 11th and bookstores September 24th, and available for $10.99.

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.

Dark Horse Comics set to release a new hardcover edition of Neil Gaiman’s, Only the End of the World Again

Dark Horse Comics recently announced plans to release a new deluxe hardcover edition of Neil Gaiman’s, Only the End of the World Again, adapted by P. Craig Russell, Troy Nixey, and Matthew Hollingsworth.

Only the End of the World Again blends the worlds of H.P. Lovecraft and Roger Zelazny. The story follows a claims adjuster who sets up shop in Innsmouth, Massachusetts only to discover that the world may be ending and that the instrument of destruction is a werewolf . . . which he also happens to be.

Only the End of the World is based on a short story written by Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Sandman). This new edition is adapted to comics by P. Craig Russell (American Gods: Shadows, The Graveyard Book), illustrated by Troy Nixey (The Black Sinister, Jenny Finn), and colored for the collection by Matthew Hollingsworth (Wytches, Tokyo Ghost).

This new hardcover edition features a brand new cover by Troy Nixey and Matthew Hollingsworth with bonus material including high-resolution scans of the inks and layouts. This is the latest offering from the expanding Neil Gaiman Library at Dark Horse, which also includes Forbidden Brides, Troll Bridge, and How to Talk to Girls at Parties.

Only the End of the World Again is set for release at comic stores on January 24, 2018.

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!

New HALO anthology series comic with RISE OF ATRIOX #1, coming this summer

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Dark Horse Comics with 343 Industries recently announced its release of Halo: Rise of Atriox, a new anthology comic series based on the Halo Wars 2 video game.

The first issue of Halo: Rise of Atriox finds Atriox, who is still a member of the massive alien collective known as the Covenant, leading his Brute brethren into an all-out assault on a UNSC outpost. Leader and creator of the Banished, Atriox is a fearsome warrior who rose to power by his charismatic personality and talent for shrewd strategic planning honed during his time-serving as a member of the Covenant.

This five-chapter anthology collects stories by acclaimed comics creators Cullen Bunn (Harrow County, Conan the Slayer), Jody Houser (The X-Files: Origins, Faith), John Jackson Miller (SMITE: The Pantheon War, Halo: Tales from Slipspace), Alex Irvine (Hellstorm: Son of Satan, Dark Sun: Ianto’s Tomb), Claire Roe (Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Saltire: Annihilation), Josan Gonzalez (Weird Detective), Jonathan Wayshak (Call of Duty: Zombies, Halo: Tales from Slipspace), and Tristan Jones (Rebels, Aliens: Defiance).

The Halo: Rise of Atriox first issue is written by Cullen Bunn with Claire Roe as the artist, Jeremy Colwell as the colorist, with the cover art by Aleksi Briclot (The Art of Remember Me, Conan: Road of Kings).

Halo: Rise of Atriox #1 is set to arrive at comic stores and Dark Horse affiliated digital outlets on August 2, 2017.

TMNT and Usagi Yojimbo reunite, for a special one-shot comic by Stan Sakai

 

Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo will reunite this July for a special one-shot comic, presented by IDW Publishing and Dark Horse Comics.

Legendary creator of Usagi Yojimbo, Stan Sakai, will write and illustrate this new adventure, now 20 years in the making. Both long-running franchises have met before, in comics, toys, and cartoons. Miyamoto Usagi will once again meet Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo on a quest to save Japan, from the maniacal Jei.

“I had wanted to reunite Usagi and the TMNT for awhile, but these are not the Turtles that he knew,” said Stan Sakai. “Relationships have to be reestablished, suspicions overcome, and trust earned. The survival of all Japan literally rests on them working as a team.”

The comic will also feature exclusive extras including layouts, pin-ups, character studies, and more.

“Stan and I both started out the same year, 1984, and here we are still living the dream telling stories with characters we created over three decades ago,” said Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. “I love the fact that our two creations were intertwined from the beginning and could not be more thrilled that Stan is coming back to tell a new story in the IDW TMNT comics universe.”

This TMNT, Usagi Yojimbo crossover event arrive this July in standard comic book format and a limited deluxe hardcover collector’s edition. Also available will be a special variant cover by David Petersen (Mouse Guard). Ask your favorite comic shop retailer for more info.

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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 2017.2.12, Some Catching Up Done..

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Well…

Some time has been lost and we have some catching up to get done. After a month of absence, I found myself needing to target my eyes upon some personal favorite titles (and maybe yours too). Now is the time to share my thoughts.

Below are my further notes on the following books, mostly released in mid-January (with minor spoilers). I plan to catch up, with further recent reads in the following weeks…

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED BETWEEN 1/11-2/1, 2017 :

Karnak #6 (Marvel) by Warren Ellis, Roland Boschi

“The end of “The Flaw In All Things.” Karnak has it in his lethal hands to save humanity – or end it. And nobody knows what he’s going to do.”

The end to a very underrated mini-series. Warren Ellis is at his best when it comes to underused characters, and developing them with as much richness as any top-tier character, for development and establishing an identity for his characters. For Karnak, his quest is at an end, as he finds himself with the boy sought after from the beginning. The result is troubling to himself, the boy, and others. He is bothered with his own sense of morality, I think. In the end, we see he has found the flaw in himself. Though the last issue much delayed, I find the overall arc worthwhile. I just hope there will be more to Karnak, with perhaps Warren Ellis back in control of his mind, and power.

Paper Girls #11 (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson

“A BOLD NEW STORYLINE STARTS HERE! The Eisner and Harvey Award-winning “Best New Series” from BRIAN K. VAUGHAN and CLIFF CHIANG returns, as Erin, Mac, and Tiffany finally reunite with their long-lost friend KJ…only to encounter some horrifying new threats in an unexpected era. “

Many happy returns for this fan (and personal) favorite. Also, a bit of a reunification and on to a new displacement. Where or when are they now? I doubt for any solid answers, as we find this story likes to take its time. We meet a couple new characters, one a native and the other not-so-native. Where all this goes, we shall see. But for much of the issue, we get some character bonding between 3/4 of the gals in a good old-fashioned campfire moment. Such is calm, not quite realizing that Mac is in some potential danger. Such feels troubling, for not being paranoid enough in a strange land, time, possibly dimension. The art is distinct as usual, bringing additional mood with each establishing shade and defined stroke.

Flintstones #8 (DC) BY Mark Russell, Steve Pugh

“While Bedrock’s new mayor, Clod the Destroyer, goes to war against the Lizard People, Betty and Wilma decide to take a vacation in the country to visit something called a “farm.” With the women gone, Fred and Barney are left to face the greatest threat of all…their teenagers!”

Another fantastic issue filled with brilliant social satire and brilliant characterization. We also catch a more of Fred Flintstone’s assertiveness as the moral compass and everyman of the Bedrock town, defining man’s proud nature in service to women and children. But what really got to me, was Wilma’s back story as a runaway teen avoiding her being traded away for goats between two men. The heartbreak is with her mother, who feels for her daughter having a life of her own. The later reunification is sweet, and joyful, especially toward the end where the mother sees how her daughter as happy, with a wonderful family of her own. And, she appreciates the passion in Wilma, through her art. It’s an emotional issue, that still retains its humor and light-heartedness.

Saga #42 (Image) Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

“END OF STORY ARC: “THE WAR FOR PHANG,” The Epic Conclusion! Hell is war, as Hazel and her family learn the hardest way.”

Finally the end of the seemingly lengthy war for Phang, which didn’t focus much on the details of winners and losers. You just need to know, that losses are heavy and hurt the ones less deserved of such pain and suffering. This issue is a very sad issue, of which is so much of an emotional twist, that some pages are blank; leaving the reader to process the sadness of death on a small and grand scale. Such is sad, and a continuing theme I have felt since the beginning; of the troubling effects of widespread violent conflict.  What will this mean for Hazel and her surviving family? Hopefully, a rewarding both in the long run with more than this climatic depression.

Animosity: The Rise #1 (Aftershock) by Marguerite Bennett, Juan Doe

““The Animals thought, spoke and took revenge. The dust has settled and the blood has dried, but a new force is rising in the West, ready to help Animal-kind seize power in the dark new world to come…” Spinning out from Marguerite Bennett’s hit new series ANIMOSITY is this special one-shot, illustrated by AMERICAN MONSTER’s very own Juan Doe! Witness the devastating effects of “The Wake” and how it affected other parts of the world on that terrifying day!”

A nice entry into volume two that somehow makes a good jumping on point also, though it would be best to pick up the first volume. Here, continues the dark violent new human sides of nature, yet with wider implications of a sinister direction. Also, some developments on how the revolution started and an interesting anti-hero wolf creature with plans to up the dark science into something even more ridiculous. The art is awesome, with much dashes of dark humor mixed in with apocalyptic overtones.

Ether #3 (Dark Horse) by Matt Kindt, David Rubin

“Boone is investigating a murder mystery in another dimension. The Blaze was a great hero of the Ether, sworn protector of the weak. Her murder was an attack on the Ether itself. As Boone hunts for clues to solve the crime, he makes powerful enemies and unexpected allies.”

A great third issue, though feeling deeper in its own unique world. There is a uniqueness to Ether, more from Matt Kindt’s writing, though I enjoy the visuals. The settings, creatures, bizarre situations feel like an escape as our main hero takes the reader along. As after a Golem encounter, Boone and Glum end up in the Faerie Kingdom, a land of fresh odd visualizations for the eyes to get carried away with. After a troubling meeting, there is a sudden flash to the past; leaving the reader to ponder the meaning of it all and expecting answers soon. The structure of the story and style is different, intriguing; and for that, I shall look forward to seeing the story unfold.

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. 

 

Hardcover Comics, Graphic Novel Holiday Gift Guide 2016

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Tis the holiday season, to give something new for the sequential art lover you know…

Below, are my hardcover comic book volume and graphic novel suggestions. Why such things for gifts? Because, the hardcover format gives a lasting quality, and adds a bit of deserving specialness to it. The sequential art form within can hold deeper, longer lasting appreciation to those holding a hardbound shell, when prominent on their home bookshelf or coffee table.

So, these picks below are hand-picked favorites by us, having read and enjoyed each one. Each pick is likely available through local comic and retail bookstores. Ordering online is good too, but part of the fun for the holidays is also visiting local shops while humming Christmas tunes. So, print or write these out, and don’t forget the wrapping paper!

SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN

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  • Writer / Artist: Max Landis / Various Artists
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Format: Hardcover Publication Date: October, 2016
  • Pages: 224 Price: 24.99 ISBN: 978-1401262563

“Screenwriter and Eisner Award nominee Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra, ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN) presents the seven-issue miniseries that chronicles Clark Kent’s development into the archetypal hero he will eventually become. With the tone of each issue ranging from heartwarming and simple, to frighteningly gritty and violent, to sexy, sun-kissed and funny, SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN is unlike anything you’ve seen before. This new hardcover includes special bonus features.”

Get this for: Superman fans of any age, short story readers, those who like a little art variety, fun-loving campy readers, fans of the Flash TV show (also Smallville.)

ALEX + ADA: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION DELUXE EDITON HC

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  • Writer / Artist: Jonathan Luna, Sarah Vaughan / Jonathan Luna
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Format: Hardcover Publication Date: November, 2016
  • Pages: 376 Price: 49.99 ISBN: 978-1632158697
  • Age Range: 16 and Up

“Working closely with Moebius Production in France, Dark Horse puts the work of a master storyteller back in print—with some material in English for the first time! Stel and Atan are intFrom JONATHAN LUNA (THE SWORD, GIRLS, Spider-Woman: Origin) and SARAH VAUGHN (Sparkshooter, Ruined) comes ALEX + ADA, a sci-fi drama set in the near future. The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids, but after Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers she is more than just a robot and takes a huge risk to unlock Ada so she can think for herself and explore life as a sentient android. Can they survive the consequences? This oversized hardcover collects issues #1-15”

Get this for: Science fiction drama fans, android lovers, Black Mirror fans, futurists

MOEBIUS LIBRARY: THE WORLD OF EDENA

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  • Writer / Artist: Moebius
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Format: Hardcover Publication Date: October, 2016
  • Pages: 360 Price: 49.95 ISBN: 978-1-50670-216-2
  • Age Range: 16 and Up

“Working closely with Moebius Production in France, Dark Horse puts the work of a master storyteller back in print—with some material in English for the first time! Stel and Atan are interstellar repairmen trying to find a lost space station and its crew. What they discover about the universe and themselves on the mythical paradise planet Edena, though, changes their lives forever. Moebius’s long-out-of-print World of Edena story arc gets a deluxe hardcover treatment, with its five main chapters—Upon a Star, Gardens of Edena, The Goddess, Stel, and Sra—collected here!”

Get this for: Fans of Moebius art, fans of classic Heavy Metal magazine and similar art of the late 1970s, early 1980s style, imagination lovers, science fiction fans

RIC AND MORTY BOOK 1

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  • Writer / Artist: Zac Gorman / various artists
  • Publisher: Oni Press
  • Format: Hardcover Publication Date: December, 2016
  • Pages: 296 Price: 49.99 ISBN: 978-1620103609
  • Age Range: Older Teen and up

“The hit comic book series based on Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s hilarious [adult swim] animated show RICK & MORTY is now available in its first deluxe hardcover collection! Join the excitement as depraved genius Rick Sanchez embarks on insane adventures with his awkward grandson Morty across the universe and across time. Caught in the crossfire are his teenage granddaughter Summer, his veterinary surgeon daughter Beth, and his hapless son-in-law Jerry. This collection features the first ten issues of the comic book series, including ““The Wubba Lubba Dub Dub of Wall Street,” “Mort-Balls!,” “Ball Fondlers Special,” and more, along with hilarious mini-comics showcasing the whole family. This special hardcover edition also includes an exclusive sound clip of Rick and Morty and all the cover art from the first ten issues of the comic book series!”

Get this for: Ric and Morty fans, of course. Also, those who like to laugh and not take a lot of things too seriously.

BRIEF HISTORIES OF EVERYDAY OBJECTS

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  • Writer / Artist: Andy Warner
  • Publisher: Picador (Imprint of Macmillan)
  • Format: Hardcover Publication Date: October, 2016
  • Pages: 224 Price: 20.00 ISBN: 9781250078650

“Brief Histories of Everyday Objects is a graphic tour through the unusual creation of some of the mundane items that surround us in our daily lives. Chapters are peppered with ballpoint pen riots, cowboy wars, and really bad Victorian practical jokes. Structured around the different locations in our home and daily life—the kitchen, the bathroom, the office, and the grocery store—award-nominated illustrator Andy Warner traces the often surprising and sometimes complex histories behind the items we often take for granted. Readers learn how Velcro was created after a Swiss engineer took his dog for a walk; how a naval engineer invented the Slinky; a German housewife, the coffee filter; and a radical feminist and anti-capitalist, the game Monopoly. This is both a book of histories and a book about histories. It explores how lies become legends, trade routes spring up, and empires rise and fall—all from the perspective of your toothbrush or toilet.”

Get this for: History and obscure trivia lovers. Those who engage in silly small talk. Those who need a new coffee table book. Anyone who likes to laugh and learn.

KLAUS

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  • Writer / Artist: Andy Warner, Dan Mora
  • Publisher: BOOM! Studios
  • Format: Hardcover Publication Date: November, 2016
  • Pages: 208 Price: 34.99 ISBN: 9781608869039

“Who is Santa Claus? Meet the man before he became a myth.He’s a myth. He’s a legend. He’s loved worldwide by children and adults alike . . . but does anyone truly know the origins of Santa Claus? Set in a dark fantastic past of myth and magic, Klaus tells the origin story of Santa Claus. It’s the tale of one man and his wolf against a totalitarian state and the ancient evil that sustains it. Award-winning author Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman, The Multiversity) and artist Dan Mora (Hexed) revamp, reinvent, and re-imagine a classic superhero for the 21st century, drawing on Santa’s roots in Viking lore and Siberian shamanism, and taking in the creepier side of Christmas with characters like the sinister Krampus. Klaus finally answers the burning question: what does Santa Claus do on the other 364 days a year?.”

Get this for: Grant Morrison fans, Santa Claus, Krampus fans, dark humor lovers, those who enjoy a mix of clever writing but not take it too seriously.

TURN LOOSE OUR DEATH RAYS AND KILL THEM ALL!: THE COMPLETE WORKS OF FLETCHER HANKS

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  • Writer / Artist: Fletcher Hanks
  • Publisher: Fantagrahics
  • Format: Hardcover Publication Date: December, 2016
  • Pages: 376 Price: 49.95 ISBN: 978-1606999677

“Fletcher Hanks was the first great comic book auteur: he wrote, penciled, inked, and lettered all of his own stories. He completed approximately 50 stories between 1939-1941, all unified by a unique artistic vision. Whether it’s the superhero Stardust doling out ice cold slabs of poetic justice, or the jungle protectress Fantomah tearing evildoers from limb to ragged limb, contemporary readers are stunned by the pop surrealism and outright violent mayhem of Hanks’ work. Originally featured in two paperback volumes, this deluxe hardcover collects―for the first time―all of Hanks’ previously published material, plus several gems newly discovered for this volume, making this the very first complete collection of the works of Fletcher Hanks. Full-color illustrations throughout.”

Note: Comics history buffs, vintage pulp lovers, classic Golden Age art fans.

THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL BEATS UP THE MARVEL UNIVERSE

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  • Writer / Artist: Ryan North / Erica Henderson
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Format: Hardcover Publication Date: October, 2016
  • Pages: 120 Price: 24.99 ISBN: 978-1302903039

“Proof that we’re living in the best of all possible worlds: THERE’S GONNA BE A SQUIRREL GIRL GRAPHIC NOVEL! It’s a stand-alone adventure that’s both great for new Squirrel Girl readers, and also for people who ALREADY know about how she can talk to squirrels and also punch really well! Behold: a story so HUGE it demanded a graphic novel! A story so NUTS that it incorporates BOTH senses of that word (insanity AND the weird hard fruit thingies) (they’re fruits, did you know that?) (I didn’t until I looked them up just now, so looks like we’re all learning science from this solicit text for a comic book!) Squirrel Girl has defeated Thanos, Galactus, and Doctor Doom. TWICE. But in this all-new graphic novel, she’ll encounter her most dangerous, most powerful, most unbeatable enemy yet: HERSELF. Specifically, an evil duplicate made possible through mad science (both computer and regular) as well as some Bad Decisions. In other words, SQUIRREL GIRL BEATS UP THE MARVEL UNIVERSE! YES. I CAN’T WAIT, AND I’M THE GUY WRITING IT..”

Get this for: Marvel fans, squirrel lovers, Deadpool fans, fun people.

ODY-C: CYCLE 1 HC

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  • Writer / Artist: Matt Fraction / Christian Ward
  • Format: Hardcover Publication Date: December, 2016
  • Pages: 400 Price: 49.99 ISBN: 978-1632159274

“ODY-C, modeled after Homer’s Odyssey, is a psychedelic, gender-broke science-fiction epic that tells the story of three legendary warrior-queens, Odyssia, Ene and Gamem, returning home after a centuries-long battle. Told in verse with a visual sensibility that redefines the very possibilities of the comics medium, this gloriously oversized hardcover also has exclusive bonus materials including essays by classicist Dani Colman, teaching aids, and a massive 10-page fold-out previously only available in the sold-out first issue.”

Note: Science fiction fans, epic story seekers, Greek epic tales connoisseurs, psychedelic art lovers, fans of the 5th Element.

That’s all for now. If you have any added suggestions or notes to add, please share in the comments below!

– Orion T