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

848906._SX1280_QL80_TTD_

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

881249._SX1280_QL80_TTD_

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

807769._SX1280_QL80_TTD_

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.

Our SW Comics Holiday Season Gift Guide for 2019

 

Hey, thinking of brightening up someone’s holiday season with the awesome gift of comics?

Yes, do it! the gift of fresh sequential art gives more imagination and thought in your presents, better than gift cards and lame boring doorbuster junk. Give the gift of a graphic novel, or trade paperback volume, as the best gift form of comic stories. Such captures the visual attention, looks good on a shelf, invites literary curiosity, and can give a lasting impression on the creative senses.

To help choose, I put together a shortlist of great and fresh current shelf reads that I either read myself and enjoyed, or heard much through peer reviews (and checked out for myself). Some are new critically acclaimed work, with some reformatted reprints of older deeply appreciated but lesser-known work.

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.

Frogcatchers

Frogcacthers

Writer / Artist:  Jeff Lemire
Published by: Gallery 13
Format: 112-page hardcover
ISBN: 1982107375

A man wakes up alone in a strange room with no recollection of who he is or how he got there. The padlocked doors and barren lobby reinforce the strangeness of this place. This is—as he reads from an old-fashioned keychain beside his bed—the Edgewater Hotel. Even worse, something ominous seems to be lurking in one of the rooms. But when he meets a young companion—the only other soul in this vast, enveloping emptiness—his new friend begs him not to unlock the door. There must be something behind it…but what? A haunted hotel on the edge of reality, an endless bridge spanning an infinite ocean, and a man and a boy looking for a way out. This is the setting for a boundary-pushing, genre-defying new work of fiction by one of comics’ master storytellers.

Get this forSomeone who loves the art and story of great moments, and not some overall story. Jeff Lemire is brilliant at this emotional expressionist style, focused on the beauty of the moment, pacing, movement of character leading to some haunting and melancholy moments.  For those not familiar with his work, they will be after reading this (and then move to his bigger masterpieces like Sweet Tooth and Essex County).

Bird Brain: Comics About Mental Health, Starring Pigeons

Bird Brain

Writer / Artist: Chuck Mullin
Published by: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Format: 144-page softcover paperback
ISBN: 1975326539

Bird Brain is a collection of brutally honest, brilliantly weird comics exploring what it’s like to live with mental illness . . . using pigeons. When Chuck Mullin began experiencing anxiety and depression as a teenager, she started drawing comics to help her make sense of the rollercoaster. Eventually, she found that pigeons—lovably quirky, yet universally reviled creatures—were the ideal subjects of a comic about mental illness. Organized in three sections—”Bad Times,” “Relationships,” and “Positivity”—and featuring several short essays about the author’s experiences, Bird Brain is a highly relatable, chuckle-inducing, and ultimately uplifting collection of comics for anyone who has struggled to maintain their mental health.

Get this for… Someone quirky, with a diverse sense of humor, and perhaps dealing with or know someone dealing with mental illness. Great for the coffee tables too.

The Complete Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Vol. 1

Writer / Artist:  Don Rosa
Published by: Fantagraphics
Format: 230-page Hardcover
ISBN:  9781683961741

From his shoeshine stand as a plucky young lad to his globe-spanning quests for long-lost treasures as an adult, Uncle Scrooge McDuck has lived a life of legend — a legend founded by Scrooge’s creator Carl Barks and rocketed to new heights by Don Rosa in his signature series, “The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck!” Now you can read all 12 chapters of Rosa’s internationally acclaimed and Eisner Award–winning series, completely and meticulously restored under Rosa’s own supervision.Join Scrooge, a very young Donald Duck, the Beagle Boys, Flintheart Glomgold, and more for Scrooge’s epic life story — with plenty of guest stars along the way, including P.T. Barnum, Buffalo Bill, Geronimo, Jesse James, Jack London, Czar Nicholas II of Russia, Annie Oakley, Robert Peary, and President Theodore Roosevelt! 

Get this for… Ducktales, Disney Duck fans of course….but really, get this for someone who loves a good epic story that is both a character study and a true hero’s journey kind of long life adventure that tugs on the heart of what it means to live. Also, Don Rosa’s art is glorious.

Making Comics

Making comics

Writer / Artist:  Lynda Barry
Published by: Drawn and Quarterly
Format: 200-page softcover
ISBN: 1770463690

Hello students, meet Professor Skeletor. Be on time, don’t miss class, and turn off your phones. No time for introductions, we start drawing right away. The goal is more rock, less talk, and we communicate only through images. For more than five years the cartoonist Lynda Barry has been an associate professor in the University of Wisconsin–Madison art department and at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, teaching students from all majors, both graduate and undergraduate, how to make comics, how to be creative, how to not think. There is no academic lecture in this classroom. Doodling is enthusiastically encouraged. Making Comics is the follow-up to Barry’s bestselling Syllabus, and this time she shares all her comics-making exercises. In a new hand-drawn syllabus detailing her creative curriculum, Barry has students drawing themselves as monsters and superheroes, convincing students who think they can’t draw that they can, and, most important, encouraging them to understand that a daily journal can be anything so long as it is hand-drawn. Barry teaches all students and believes everyone and anyone can be creative. At the core of Making Comics is her certainty that creativity is vital to processing the world around us.

Get this forSomeone who not only is an aspiring creative but looking to think outside the norm on being creative. It’s inspiring, and great for those looking into the more cartooning direction of comics, and adapting their own style while appreciating the unique way Lynda Barry goes about this (see her other work).

Kabuki Omnibus, Volume 1

Writer / Artist:  David Mack
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
Format: 400-page softcover
ISBN: 1-50671-606-7

Celebrate 25 years of David Mack’s Kabuki and immerse yourself in the inspiration for Sony’s upcoming Kabuki television series! A young woman, code name ”Kabuki”, struggles with her identity in near-future Japan. Working as an operative for a clandestine government agency known as ”the Noh,” Kabuki neutralizes dangerous individuals before they become national-level threats, but when the agency she works for, is compromised, Kabuki’s personal quest sends her down a difficult path to her own self-discovery, that may bring her in direct conflict with the powers she formerly served. The origin, the foundation of the story . . . the very beginning of the acclaimed series created by David Mack. This edition collects the first two original Kabuki volumes, Circle of Blood and Dreams, in an easy-to-read trade paperback . . . the perfect book for fans of Mack and Kabuki, and brand-new Kabuki readers! Note: set for release on December 11, 2019

Get this forsomeone who enjoys black and white well-inked art, action, character development, and cultural inspiration. David Mack has an awesome art style, which developed further through his well-known painted work later on. This is also great for long-time comic readers who appreciate his current work but maybe missed out on his very underappreciated older work. 

Monstress: Book One

Writer / Artist:  Marjorie Liu / Sana Takeda
Published by: Image Comics
Format: 528-page hardcover
ISBN: 9781534312326

A teenage girl struggles to overcome the trauma of war in an alternate, matriarchal 1900s Asia that’s brimming with arcane dangers. This task is made all the more difficult by her mysterious psychic link to an eldritch monster of tremendous power—a connection that will transform them both, and place them in the crosshairs of both human and otherworldly powers. Creator/writer Marjorie Liu (who made history as the first woman to win an Eisner Award for Best Writer) and creator/artist Sana Takeda present a deluxe, oversized hardcover edition of their beloved breakout comic in MONSTRESS, BOOK ONE. This massive edition features a striking new cover and includes never-before-seen sketches, script pages, and more for over 500 pages of award-winning content. Collects MONSTRESS #1-18

Get this forSomeone who is interested in fantasy, and enjoys comics…yet, looking for a new world to get lost in, with amazing colorful, rich art rooted in a mix of old cultures, ideas, and civilization.

New Kid

New Kid

Writer / Artist:  Jerry Craft
Published by: HarperCollins
Format: 256-page softcover
ISBN: 0062691198

Seventh-grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade. As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

Get this forAny pre-teen reader who loves comic art with a creative soul, and being socially different (or for someone like myself, looking back) from being a person of color or coming from a very different cultured background. This story as a lot of heart from its creator, and that will be felt throughout its well-rounded story of early growing up.

Fearscape, Book 1

Fearscape.jpg

Writer / Artist: Ryan O’Sullivan (Author), Andrea Mutti (Artist)
Published by: Vault comics
Format: 160-page softcover
ISBN: 9781250178138

The Fearscape is a world beyond our own, populated by manifestations of our worst fears. Once per generation, The Muse travels to Earth, discovers our greatest Storyteller, and takes them with her to the Fearscape to battle these fear-creatures on our behalf. All has been well for eons until The Muse encounters Henry Henry-a plagiarist with delusions of literary grandeur. Mistaking him for our greatest Storyteller, she ushers him into the Fearscape. Doom follows. Collects issues #1-5.

Get this forSomeone who loves to write, but struggling and maybe not taking it as seriously…but still loves writing. This is a weird journey about the heart of the craft of ideas and story, with some interesting twists and turns, through a bizarre landscape that terrifies and delights.

Little Bird: The Fight for Elder’s Hope

Little Bird

Writer / Artist: Darcy Van Poelgeest / Ian Bertram
Published by: Image Comics
Format: 208-page hardcover
ISBN: 1534313451

Award-winning filmmaker Darcy Van Poelgeest teams up with Angoulême nominated artist Ian Bertram to bring you the highly acclaimed, dystopian sci-fi, Little Bird. With the same limitless scope as Star Wars, and the social-political explorations of A Handmaid’s Tale, Little Bird tells the story of a young resistance fighter battling against an oppressive American Empire while searching for her own identity in a world on fire. A gorgeously illustrated epic where one girl risks everything to save her people, their land, and the freedom they so desperately deserve. Collects LITTLE BIRD 1-5.

Get this for… Someone who loves very a mix of dark fantasy mixed with post-apocalypse, social commentary involving indigenous identity, great storytelling if they don’t mind some occasional violent imagery. The art is also amazing. 

Marvel Masters of Suspense: Stan Lee & Steve Ditko Omnibus Vol. 1

Tales of suspense

Writer / Artist:  Stan Lee/ Steve Ditko
Published by: Marvel Comics
Format: 688-page Hardcover
ISBN: 1302918753

Before Stan Lee and Steve Ditko revolutionized comic book super-heroes with the Amazing Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, they applied an incomparable storytelling mastery to taut suspense-thrillers. These chilling stories were cast with nervous-eyed dreamers and sweaty-palmed schemers, none of whom make it out with getting theirs. They were parables of wrenching psychological tension, expressed by two of comic book’s most unique creative minds, and they will leave you curled up and screaming for more — whether you like it or not! Marvel is honored to collect Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s complete stories of suspense in this, the first of two beautifully restored volumes. From Ditko’s very first Marvel work in 1956 through to his last five-page masterpiece, every iconic Silver Age short is collected in these incomparable Omnibus editions.

Get this forFor someone who loves the Marvel Comics movies, the characterization, maybe interested in learning more about humble beginnings of Marvel Comics, and what made them great that is far more about emotional storytelling than colorful heroic melodrama, all leading to imagination barrier breakers that build the House of Ideas. 

The Often Wrong

Often Wrong
Writer / Artist:  Farel Dalrymple
Published by: Image Comics
Format: 360-page softcover
ISBN: 1534313524

The Often Wrong is a meaty collection of new and old comic stories, paintings and illustrations, “behind-the-scenes” concept art for The Wrenchies, Proxima Centauri, Pop Gun War, It will all Hurt, and over 100 sketchbook drawings by comic book creator Farel Dalrymple.

Get this forFans of his work for sure, but also those who enjoy a stylish mix of moods, colors, complexities that made his art award winning and in a surreal world of its s own. Get this who enjoy a wide variety of art in comics, looking to expand on ideas for sequential telling, as this I feel inspires and expands.

Choke Gasp! The Best of 75 Years of EC Comics

choke gasp

Writer / Artist: Various
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
Format: 528-page hardcover
ISBN: 1506715842

A premiere collection of the best stories of EC Comics, curated in a deluxe hardcover, just in time to celebrate the legendary publisher’s 75th anniversary! This volume collects stories from EC Comics’ most famous titles, featuring classic stories from the hands of legendary creators Al Feldstein, Harvey Kurtzman, Johnny Craig, Jack Davis, Wally Wood, and more! Collects material from issues of Crime SuspenStories, Frontline Combat, Haunt of Fear, Impact, Shock SuspenStories, Tales from the Cry. (NOTE: Schedule for release on December 17, 2019)

Get this for… Someone who loves horror stories, and can appreciate the influence EC brought from its bold beginnings to many generations forward. 


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.

Fresh, exciting graphic novel gifts for the 2018 holiday season!

SIX

Hey gift shopper, here’s a cool idea…buy a graphic novel or trade paperback volume for that special person this holiday season.

Give the gift of lengthy sequential art that can be put on a shelf, or opened to reveal a new world away from the screens and work stress. You can give, but also take a risk in finding out later if hated or loved. Any thoughtful literature and art are worthwhile, for heavy time and love was put into its composition. And if enjoyed, then the book will be treasured far longer than a boring gift card.

However, there is a risk for those who appreciate such large comic book forms. There is a chance they either read or know enough of the most popular work out there to have read it already or no interest at all. Such can be a tough decision when works including Watchman, Saga, Ghost World, Batman: Killing Joke, Sandman, etc, are on the many top graphic novels lists out there.

So instead, be fresh and daring. Reach out for something less likely to have, yet may find stimulating. And maybe, get something interesting enough to borrow later.

Below, here are my nine gift picks for graphic novels and trade paperback volumes published in 2018. These still obtainable at major retail book chains, comic book stores, and wherever new books can be gained or ordered. I also have provided an Amazon link for those lacking the proximity or time to visit such wonderful places.

Take a look!

Devilman: The Classic Collection Vol. 1

Devilman

Devilman: The Classic Collection Vol. 1
Writer / Artist:  Go Nagai
Published by: Seven Seas
Format: 680-page Hardcover
ISBN: 162692757X

Hordes of demons, once thought entombed forever in the underworld, have now returned to Earth. Evil and corruption begin to seep into our world, as demons seize human hosts. Mankind’s only hope for salvation is to use the demons’ power against them–-and only a pure-hearted man like Fudo Akira can do so without losing his humanity. Once little more than a crybaby, Akira now wields the terrible power of a devil, yet holds the innocent soul of a man–-Devilman!

Get this forSomeone who appreciates horror and manga/anime in diverse forms. It’s not for kids, but also not meant to be taken too seriously. It’s light-hearted fun but with some violence and nudity at times.  Go Nagai’s art and storytelling style has a childlike innocence that shifts toward unrestrictive awesome horror, subversive for its time (originally published in 1973).  Also, very high-quality hardcover and page quality.

Amazon.com page link

 

Eleanor & the Egret

607923._SX1280_QL80_TTD_

Eleanor and the Egret
Writer / Artist:  John Layman / Sam Keith
Published by: Aftershock Comics
Format: 120-page softcover
ISBN: 1935002767

The most daring art thief in Paris has struck again, and the police have assigned their best detective to the case. His only clue? A single white feather left at the scene. Could this feather belong to the thief? To the thief’s accomplice, an oversized talking egret? Or will his investigation lead him to somewhere even stranger? (Answer: all of the above.)

Presenting a peculiar and unforgettable tale of birds and banditry, paintings and pets, larceny, love and…lamprey-wielding assassins? From the legendary creator of The MAXX and co-creator of Sandman, Sam Kieth, and the considerably less-legendary creator of Chew, John Layman!

Get this forFor someone who loves art, humor, with really strange and surrealness to the comics storytelling. Also, for those who enjoyed either the classic The MAXX comics and MTV series for its art and weirdness, also by the artist Sam Keith. The story itself is an awesome unraveling mystery, deeply involving a small cast of bizarre players. There are great unexpected concepts and twists throughout,  Overall, just a fun book that’s very different from the others.

Amazon.com page link

Sleepless, Volume 1

677944._SX1280_QL80_TTD_

Sleepless, Volume 1
Writer / Artist:  Sarah Vaughn / Leila del Duca, Alissa Sallah
Published by: Image Comics
Format: 168-page softcover
ISBN: 1935002767

Lady “Poppy” Pyppenia is guarded by Cyrenic, her faithful Sleepless Knight. But when a new king is crowned, an assassin threatens her life, ushering in a new and dangerous time. As Poppy and Cyrenic work to discover who wants her dead, they must navigate the dangers of life at court—and of their growing feelings for one another. Collects Sleepless #1-6

Get this forSomeone who loves fantasy and romance, but more focused on the drama, intrigue, and relationships. All here, with renaissance elements, rich environmental detail, detailed diverse characters, beautiful coloring with an immersive art style a reader can really fall into. The story is ongoing, giving the reader more to follow in later volumes. Personally, I feel this is a very underrated gem.

Amazon.com page link

DC Meets Looney Tunes

637586._SX1280_QL80_TTD_

DC Meets Looney Tunes
Writer / Artist:  various
Published by: DC Comics
Format: 248-page softcover
ISBN: 1401277578

DC’s iconic superheroes meet the wacky characters of Looney Tunes in some of the most surprising stories in comics in DC MEETS LOONEY TUNES! When Elmer Fudd sets his sights on Bruce Wayne, it’s a “wabbit hunt” you’d never imagine! Prospector Yosemite Sam strikes it rich, but can circus performer Foghorn Leghorn and bounty hunter Jonah Hex keep him alive long enough to enjoy it? Plus, Wonder Woman enlists the help of the Tasmanian Devil to save the Amazons; Lobo gets caught in the war between a mutated Road Runner and a wily super-genius of a coyote; and the last survivors of Mars fight over the fate of planet Earth! Finally, when the Legion of Super-Heroes needs help, a wrong turn at Albuquerque means the future’s survival depends on…“Super” Bugs Bunny! Worlds collide, courtesy of some of comics’ greatest talents, among them Tom King, Lee Weeks, Jimmy Palmiotti, Mark Texeira, Tony Bedard, Bill Morrison, Kelley Jones, Steve Orlando, Sam Humphries and more!

Get this forSomeone who loves DC Comics, but hasn’t stepped foot in a comic store in a long time, or at all. Also, anyone who looks really hard at old cartoons, for deeper meaning and philosophy. And wow, do these short stories deliver in a mix of madness, light and dark humor, and crossover insanity that will leave the reader speechless at times. As a hardcore DC Comics fan and somewhat Looney Tunes fan, I found this among the biggest surprise of both, leaving me laughing and amazed.

Amazon.com page link

The Book of Ballads and Sagas

682182._SX1280_QL80_TTD_

The Book of Ballads and Sagas
Writer / Artist:  Charles Vess
Published by: Titan Comics
Format: 240-page softcover
ISBN: 1782763325

This award-winning compendium of English and Scottish fairy tales and folklore returns to print in a sumptuous new collection! Beautifully illustrated by Charles Vess and featuring adaptations by Neil Gaiman – Vess’ collaborator on the hugely successful Stardust – and a host of famous fantasy writers, this new edition also boasts never-before-seen art and an amazing gallery of sketches!

Includes contributions from World Fantasy Award winner Charles de Lint (Moonheart; The Cats of Tanglewood Forest [illustrated by Charles Vess]); acclaimed fantasy writer Emma Bull (War for the Oaks; Bone Dance) and New York Times bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb (The Ballad of Frankie Silver; St. Dale; She Walks These Hills). 

Get this for Any fan of fairy tales and folklore, in the more unrestricted and less watered down forms. Also, fans of the movie Stardust, and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and other work. The painted and extremely detailed art of Charles Vess is stunning, grabbing appreciating eyes and pulling them to these fantastic other worlds of magic and creatures.

Amazon.com page link

On a Sunbeam

On a sunbeam

On a Sunbeam
Writer / Artist:  Tillie Walden
Published by: First Second Comics
Format: 544-page hardcover
ISBN: 9781250178138

Two timelines. Second chances. One love. A ragtag crew travels to the deepest reaches of space, rebuilding beautiful, broken structures to piece the past together. Two girls meet in boarding school and fall deeply in love—only to learn the pain of loss. With interwoven timelines and stunning art, award-winning graphic novelist Tillie Walden creates an inventive world, breathtaking romance, and an epic quest for love.

Get this for Anyone cool with young adult books and an open mind for abstract science fiction, queer relationships, stunning art through a lot of pages. Also, someone who likes to travel or enjoys adventure, and interested in meeting new people. It’s an epic tale that takes the reader through space, time, and the heart.

Amazon.com page link

Star Wars Lost Stars, Volume 1 (manga)

copyOfFirstPage._SX1280_QL80_TTD_.jpg

Star Wars Lost Stars, Vol. 1 (manga)
Writer / Artist:  Claudia Gray / Yusaku Komiyama
Published by: Yen Press
Format: 256-page softcover paperback
ISBN: 1975326539

The Empire can be seductive, particularly if you’re an aspiring young pilot…Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree both know this very well when they enroll Imperial Academy, eager to pursue their dreams. When Thane discovers the darker side of the Empire, though, and defects to the Rebellion, the pair’s lifelong friendship will be put to the ultimate test. Will Thane and Ciena’s relationship — or even they themselves — survive this galactic conflict…?

Get this for Someone who loves Star Wars, but not the recent movies bearing its franchise (or, maybe they do). Also, for someone who likes manga with the usual black and white art, visual styles, and techniques. But more so, are the intertwining new characters set in the time of the classic Star Wars movies, with a few surprise appearances and events thrown in. There are fresh perspectives from the military and civilian lives of the overall space opera melodrama, leading to a new space opera within the space opera. Very engaging!

Amazon.com page link

Isola, Volume 1

710758._SX1280_QL80_TTD_

Isola, Vol. 1
Writer / Artist:  Brendon Fletcher / Karl Kershcl
Published by: Image Comics
Format: 141-page softcover
ISBN: 1534309225

An evil spell has been cast on the Queen of Maar and her Captain of the Guard will do anything to reverse it. Their only hope lies on an island half a world away—a place known in myth as Isola, land of the dead. Gotham Academy creators Brendon Fletcher and Karl Kershcl reunite with series colorist Msassyk and letterer Aditya Bidikar for a breathtaking fantasy adventure two decades in the making. Collects Isola #1-5

Get this for Someone who loves the Studio Gibli/Miyasaki films for its complex themes and world-building. Also, for those into nature fantasy, and camping. The art is vibrant, moody, with excellent use of colors and inking to set the mood. The storytelling is mystical, daring and fresh. It’s not for everyone, but for those willing to step into strange new worlds and accept complexity…this is a real treat.

Amazon.com page link

Quantum Mechanics

696847._SX1280_QL80_TTD_

Quantum Mechanics
Writer / Artist:  Jeff Weigel
Published by: Lionforge Comics
Format: 208-page softcover
ISBN: 1941302661

On a nowhere asteroid on the far rim of the galaxy, two young alien girls—Rox and Zam—spend their days tearing apart and repairing clunkers in a spaceship junkyard. These aspiring gearheads yearn for the chance to test their skills on something besides rusted old rockets and broken-down planet-hoppers. Their big chance finally comes when the captain of a mysterious ship called the Quasar Torrent enlists the kids for some repair work. But what initially looks like a golden opportunity quickly becomes a nightmare when the young friends find they’ve been kidnapped by what turns out to be a band of space pirates! Rox and Zam find themselves swept up in the astro-buccaneers’ vendetta against a huge intergalactic corporation that’s forced this motley band of working stiffs from across space into a life of crime. Now the girls must choose: do they want the comforts of home and family, or the glamorous adventure of a lifetime—to be part of a crew of colorful misfits intent on plunder, revenge, and excitement? Their lives, friendship . . . and maybe even the fate of a galaxy . . . hangs in the balance!

Get this for Someone who loves campy, light-hearted science fiction surrounding young friendships and space adventure fantasy. It’s escapism in the purest form, with all the tropes and thrills from the days of pulp novels to Firefly, and beyond. Yet still fresh and different, and cheerful. The art and sequential art form are rich in detail and traditional form, adding to the awesome story and thrill ride for readers of all ages.

Amazon.com page link

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.

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!

Hardcover Comics, Graphic Novel Holiday Gift Guide 2016

photo-dec-17-7-12-09-am

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

superman-_-american-alien

  • 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

alex-ada

  • 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

edena

  • 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

ric-and-morty-1

  • 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

brief-histories

  • 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

klaus

  • 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

fletcher2

  • 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

squirrel-girl

  • 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

ODYC 1

  • 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

Hardcover Comics Volumes and Graphic Novels Holiday Gift Ideas..

Photo Dec 05, 4 11 15 PM

I got some gift suggestions for this holiday season, with something for everyone out there..

Below, are my hardcover comic book volume and graphic novel suggestions, (away from the superhero genre). Why such things for gifts? Because, the hardcover format gives a lasting quality for those who like their books on a shelf, 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. That’s how I see it, as I find myself bound to the hardcovers in my collection.

So, these picks below are hand-picked favorites by me (Orion!), having read and enjoyed each one. Each pick is likely available through local comic and retail book stores. Ordering online is good too, but part of the fun for the holidays is visiting local shops and checking out the holiday deco around. So, print or write these out, and don’t forget the wrapping paper!

Sweet Tooth – Deluxe Edition – Book One

Sweet_Tooth_Deluxe_Edition_Book_One

  • Writer/Artist: Jeff Lemire
  • Publisher: Vertigo (DC Comics imprint)
  • Hardcover Publication Date: Sept 8, 2015
  • Pages: 296 Price: 29.99 ISBN: 978-1401258719
  • Contains violent and mature content

“Kids like Gus have a price on their heads. Seven years ago, the Affliction raged like a forest fire, killing billions. The only children born since are part of a new breed of human-animal hybrids. Gus is one of these children, a boy with a sweet soul, a sweeter tooth-and the features of a deer. When vicious hunters descend on his isolated forest home, a mysterious and violent man called Jepperd rescues Gus. The hulking drifter promises to lead Gus to The Preserve, a fabled safe haven for hybrid children. As the two cross this dangerous new American frontier, will Jepperd corrupt the boy he’s nicknamed Sweet Tooth, or will Gus’s heart change Jepperd?  Written and illustrated by spectacular talent Jeff Lemire, SWEET TOOTH is a haunting tale of survival in post-apocalyptic America of friendships formed in tragedy, and the good and bad in humankind. Collects SWEET TOOTH #1-12, as well as never-before-seen sketches and an introduction by celebrated actor Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex, Frost/Nixon)..

Note: For anyone who loves a good hero’s journey through difficult times, with some fantastic twists and character development along the way. It’s got the right blend of humor, action, drama in post-apocalyptic storytelling.

Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland HC

Little Nemo

  • Writer: Eric Shanower
  • Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
  • Publisher: IDW, HC Publication Date: July 23, 2015
  • Pages: 120, Price: 19.95, ISBN: 978-1631400599

“An all-new, all-ages series full of magic and whimsy from award-winning creators Eric Shanower (Adventures in Oz) and Gabriel Rodriguez (Locke & Key)! Spinning out of Winsor McKay’s brilliant early 20th Century strip, Return to Slumberland sees King Morpheus’ daughter, in the Royal Palace of Slumberland, selecting her next-playmate – Nemo! Only Nemo has no interest in being anyone’s playmate, dream or no dream! Winner of the 2015 Eisner Award for Best Limited Series.. “

Note: A magical blend of breathtaking art and storytelling; for anyone who enjoys a fresh fairy-telling with all the magic of the original Windsor McCay strips. This book is a true imaginative escape, for all ages.

The Kurdles

Kurdles

  • Writer/Artist: Archie Goodin
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics, HC Publication Date: May 1, 2015
  • Pages: 60 Price: 24.95, ISBN: 978-1606998328

“Sally is a teddy bear who gets separated from her owner while on a drive in the country. Desperate to find her way home, she stumbles upon Kurdleton, home to a most peculiar group of characters in the midst of a crisis: their forest house has grown hair, eyes, and a mouth! The creatures work with their new friend to keep Kurdleton from growing legs and running away! Goodin, an animation industry veteran, delivers a timeless classic in his debut graphic novel, introducing an unforgettable and charming cast of characters. Printed in an oversized format to showcase Goodin’s stunning, hand-painted artwork, The Kurdles will capture the imagination of all ages.

Note: A warm story for all ages, and a good starter for the those discovering comics for the first time (and not so much interested in the superhero stuff out there).

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection HC

MOTU

  • Writer/Artist: various
  • Publisher: Dark Horse, HC Publication Date: October 21, 2015
  • Pages: 1,232 Price: 29.95, ISBN:978-1616558772

“The toy juggernaut Masters of the Universe and its subsequent action figure lines featured memorable pack-in minicomics that aided in playtime for children across the world. This oversized hardcover collection features sixty-eight US releases, including all minicomics from the eighties Masters of the Universe line, the eighties Princess of Power line, and the eighties and nineties He-Man line, plus an introduction to the minicomics in the current Masters of the Universe Classics toy line. Relive the illustrated adventures that fueled your imagination!

Note: Ridiculous fun on some many levels, as these reprinted comic stories originally came with the toys (with pushes to buy other relayed MOTU toys). Many comic artists and writers had their early start with these in the early 1980s – Robert Kirkman (Walking Dead), Bruce Timm (Batman), Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5), Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo), and many more. Plus, it’s packed with interviews and other surprises. Overall, a gem for 80s nostalgia lovers, fantasy art seekers, and MOTU fans.

Locke & Key – Master Edition – Volume 1

Locke And Key

  • Writer: Joe Hill
  • Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
  • Publisher: IDW, HC Publication Date: June 4, 2015
  • Pages:  328, Price: 49.99, ISBN: 978-1631402241
  • Contains mature and violent content

“Acclaimed suspense novelist and New York Times best-selling author Joe Hill (Heart-Shaped Box) creates an all-new story of dark fantasy and wonder: Locke & Key. Written by Hill and featuring astounding artwork from Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them… and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all… Locke & Key creator Hill has received the Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection, the British Fantasy Award for Best Collection and Best Short Story, and the Sydney J. Bounds Best Newcomer Award-2007, among his growing collection of critical accolades.”

“Named a “modern masterpiece” by The A.V. Club, the critically acclaimed series takes on new life in a reformatted hardcover collection. The Locke & Key Master Edition, Vol. 1 features the first two arcs, “Welcome to Lovecraft” and “Headgames,” with all-new cover art and design by co-creator Gabriel Rodriguez. “

Note: My favorite comic horror story epics of all times. This is my favorite edition of the series for its cool cover design and book-shelf friendly spine. A fantastic comic story that takes you about a third of the way in, and leave you wanting more. Highly recommended for anyone who loves classic Stephen king stories, character building, and plot twists.

Wayward -Deluxe Edition- Book One

Waywad vol 1

  • Writer: Jim Zub
  • Artist: Steve Cummings, Tamra Bonvillian, John Rauch
  • Publisher: Image Comics. HC Publication Date: October 14, 2015
  • Pages: 300, Price: 39.95 ISBN: 978-1632154736

“Rori Lane is trying to start a new life in Japan, but ancient creatures lurking in the shadows of Tokyo sense something hidden deep within her, threatening everything she holds dear. Can she unlock the secrets of her power before it’s too late? Image Comics’s new supernatural sensation gets the deluxe treatment in this oversized hardcover collection that includes every stunning cover illustration, design sketches, and extensive essay material on Japanese culture and mythology by noted monster scholar ZACK DAVISSON. Collects WAYWARD #1-10.

Note: Fantastic for those who love a little modern Japanese supernatural horror, combined with Japanese mythology. The art is beautiful, especially for those who appreciate modern digital coloring style. Story is great too, but enhanced further with the many extras within this edition.

Archie vs. Predator – HC editon

Archie Predator

  • Writer: Alex De Campi
  • Artist: Fernando Ruiz
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics, HC Publication Date: November 4, 2015
  • Pages: 128, Price: 19.95, ISBN: 978-1-616558055
  • Contains violent content

“When Archie and friends head south for Spring Break, party games and beach games are soon replaced by the Most Dangerous Game! As the unparalleled fierceness of Betty and Veronica lures the trophy-collecting Predator to Riverdale, will the kids even realize they’re in danger before it claims them all?! Collecting issues #1-#4 of the smash-hit series!”

Note: This one is pure fun with  all that one could love about the Riverdale case, combined with the over-the-top violent actions of the Predator. This is highly recommended for those with a sense of humor, and old-school slasher flicks.

Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck, The Last of the Clan McDuck – The Don Rosa Library Volume 4

ROSA-vol4-COVER_FINAL

  • Writer/Artist: Don Rosa
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics, HC Publication Date: Dec  2015
  • Pages: 192,  Price: 29.99, ISBN: 978-1-606998663

“Uncle Scrooge, the world’s richest duck, knows exactly where he got every coin he ever earned. And in this fourth book of Duck epics by Don Rosa, that story begins to unfold at last! Relive Scrooge’s Scottish boyhood as “Last of the Clan McDuck,” then his teenage years as “Master of the Mississippi” on Uncle Pothole’s steamboat! Witness Scrooge’s first fights with the Beagle Boys and Flintheart Glomgold — and in a bonus “Chapter 0,” his earliest meeting with Magica De Spell! Presented with brilliant color and a treasure trove of Rosa’s cover art and behind-the-scenes factoids, these Duckburg epics are back in a definitive, comprehensive edition for posterity — at a bargain price worthy of Scrooge himself!”

Note: Why Volume 4? Because, this reprints the early half of the greatest Duck story of all, “The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck.” Currently out of print as a standalone story, this story is now available through the Don Rosa Library (probably through volume 5, and maybe six). A sky-high recommendation for anyone who appreciates gripping art and storytelling, with solid character development on our iconic richest duck

Saga – Deluxe Edition – Book One

Saga

  • Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
  • Artist: Fiona Staples
  • Publisher: Image, HC Publication Date: November 24, 2015
  • Pages: 504,  Price: 49.99, ISBN: 978-1632150783
  • Contains mature content, graphic imagery depicting sex and violence.

“Collecting the first 18 issues of the smash-hit series, this massive edition features a striking new cover, as well as special extras, including never-before-seen sketches, script pages, and a roundtable discussion with the creators about how SAGA is really made. Altogether, this hardcover contains over 500 pages for less than fifty bucks! Written by Eisner Award-winning “Best Writer” BRIAN K. VAUGHAN (Y: The Last Man, The Private Eye) and drawn by Harvey Award-winning “Best Artist” Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), SAGA is the story of Hazel, a child born to star-crossed parents from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war. Now, Hazel’s fugitive family must risk everything to find a peaceful future in a harsh universe that values destruction over creation. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in a sexy, subversive drama for adults that Entertainment Weekly called, “The kind of comic you get when truly talented superstar creators are given the freedom to produce their dream book. 

Note: My personal favorite ongoing comic series now ongoing. I can’t recommend this enough to those wanting everything in their sci-fi, fantasy stories…action, humor, philosophy, conflict big and small, challenging ideas, concepts and landscapes that open the imagination, character development, an involving cast..the list goes on. This deluxe edition will give new readers plenty to jump on, and sturdy enough to reread as I have multiple times.

That’s all for now. I may come back with a second helping of suggestions who also waiting till the last-minute. in the meantime, if you have any added suggestions or notes to add, please share in the comments below!

– Orion T