Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2017.2.27, More Wonderful Strangeness…

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Some new comics from last week, yes!

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

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 2/15 and 2/22, 2017:

Rough Riders{ Riders of the Storm #1 (Aftershock) by Adam Glass. Patrick Oliffe

“Three years have passed since the Rough Riders’ last adventure, but when an assassin’s bullet takes President William McKinley’s life, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt is thrust into the role of Commander in Chief. As a country mourns the loss of their leader, Roosevelt believes that the assassin is part of a bigger conspiracy, one whose tentacles reach back to Europe and whose intentions are to destroy humanity through world- wide ANARCHY. To stop them, Roosevelt must convince Harry Houdini, Jack Johnson, Thomas Edison and a surprisingly very alive Annie Oakley to band together again. But time has strained the bonds that once united them and the ideologies of their enemies may have already seeped into one of their own. Welcome to ROUGH RIDERS: RIDERS ON THE STORM.”

A great jump-on point for those missed out on the first series. I further think this issue might be better for jumping on, than the first series. Anyway, this true guilty pleasure of historical science fiction is back, and much of the issue is spent with ol Teddy seeking out the gang (though some seek him out). Some great characterization that feels more like the creative build than likely the true-life versions, and that’s all right. I see some tense trust issues among the protagonists, where anything can happen in this series. I enjoy much of this new setup, plus the art. The characters feel more defined, with nothing too artistic or over the top. The dramatic angles and use of action at times bring me back to the older Bronze Age Marvel comics. That is also good.

Sun Bakery #1 (Image) by Corey Lewis

“Sun Bakery comics anthology features the following stories: “Dream Skills,” about a city where guns are obsolete and the social culture is swordplay; “Arem,” a space adventurer on a quest to photograph the most beautiful galactic vistas; and “Bat Rider,” a supernatural skateboarding comic.”

Three very stylish stories, with sweet and diverse choices of color and ink styles. Much feels a bit surreal yet imaginative in very different directions. Such, I feel unprepared for, along with the subtle takes on game and pop culture. “Dream Skills” was my favorite among the stories, which emphasizes the absurd choice of swordplay in futuristic, sci-fi worlds with role-playing elements.  I love the characters and brilliant dialogue throughout, leaving me in hopes for more. The other stores are good in their own way but felt they were best kept short and sweet, as they are. Overall, a joy to read with a bonus story and commentary for this happy reader to further enjoy.

The Few #2 (Image) by Sean Lewis, Hayden Sherman

“As Hale and the Boys run further from Herrod they find themselves taken in by the father of the militiamen. Hale’s past comes more and more into light as we discover how these boys are as good at guerilla warfare as they are.”

The second issue expands upon the first greatly, on the social and political aspects of this fictional post-apocalyptic drama. The art truly drives the story, with a fantastic use of earthly tones and complex lines that are either a bit disorderly to emphasize intensity, or structured perfectly to establish setting and situation.  The tense danger and stresses of the rising dystopia bring about the character in Hale; which develops hs character and purpose along the way of the story. The contrast in the flashback is also well-done, building upon intriguing developments both personal and broad. To where all this goes, leaves no promises. I remain interested at least for the art and the interesting puzzle of world building being done.

Motro #4 (Oni Press) by Ulises Farinas, Ryan Hill

“The nefarious Reptoids, defeated and relinquished to hidden outskirts away from the Northern Kingdom, abscond with the human race’s final hope for survival—the last of their children. Motro convinces the city’s elders to sacrifice themselves to reveal the Reptoids’ location so the children may still be rescued, but they’re met with a horrifying discovery. Motro, with great warriors and a squadron of tri-tankerbeasts at his side, must decide what it means to save humanity when faced with extinction or a grisly new future.”

I love Ulises Farinas art and visual style, from much of his past work (Transformers, Gamma, Judge Dredd). Issue #4 is an another awesome balance of the complexity of his pencils, and the deeply imaginative story developed. For this issue, there is much happening with twists and turns, thrills me much. There lies an epic heroism on display here, especially toward the end. The result is another underrated classic from the mind of Farinas, in line with my other favorite work of his in Gamma. While there is excitement in seeing his work from licensed properties, Motro shows far more potential gain in greater work from his own creative visions.

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. 

 

The SW Best Comic Book Reads of 2015

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2015, a splendid year for the sequential arts in comic books, for printed and digital.

This year presented well for readers craving more variety in creative storytelling and visual arts. With prior success in creator pushed titles like Chew, Saga, Locke and KeySex Criminals; I see more investment in fresh ideas from companies also focused licensed properties as well including IDW, Boom!, Dark Horse. While the Marvel and DC are still focused on their superhero flagships, they also have experimented with interesting new takes on licensed characters. Meanwhile, I feel Image Comics led the charge on new creator-owned, imaginative worlds for new readers in 2015.

I missed some comic titles, while less drawn to some entire genres (manga, superheroes, webcomics, multi-title crossovers). Not that such things I dislike, as some I read are hidden throughout here.  Some missed has received critical praise elsewhere, of which are probably missed on my list. I swear I will get around too, and perhaps give appreciation in some other way later on (Wytches, Squirrel Girl, Nimona, Through the Woods)

Here below, are the best of what I enjoyed in 2015, according to each heading that mattered in my buying decisions. Each title has their matching publisher, and shares equal credit with the other two as I have trouble deciding further on. I hope for some nods from readers who share in my reflections, while igniting the fires of curiosity to others. Dig in and feel free to approve, question, or challenge these decisions in the comments section further down..

BEST NEW SERIES of 2015

Paper Girls (Image)

Omega Men (DC)

Arcadia (Boom)

BEST LIMITED SERIES of 2015

Divinity (Valiant)

Richard’s Matheson’s The Shrinking Man (IDW)

Star Wars: Lando (Marvel)

BEST ONGOING STORY EPICs of 2015

Saga (Image)

Chew (Image)

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye (IDW)

BEST USE OF LAYOUT FORM IN STORYTELLING in 2015

Sandman Overture (Vertigo/DC)

Omega Men (DC)

Zero (Image)

BEST STORY ENHANCED USE OF COLORS in 2015

Papergirls (Image) –

Descender (Image)

Low (Image)

BEST IMAGINATIVE WORLD-BUILDING  SETTINGS / CONCEPTS  in 2015

The Spire  (Boom! Studios)

The Empty (Image)

Saga (Image)

BEST SOCIAL POLITICAL SATIRE in COMICS of 2015

Bitch Planet (Image)

Prez – (DC Comics)

The Devastator #13 (Devastator Press)

BEST MYSTERIOUS HAPPENINGS of 2015

Twilight Children – (Vertigo, DC)

The Beauty – (Image)

Paper Girls – (image)

BEST UNSETTLING HORROR SERIES of 2015

Nameless (Image)

Archie Vs Predator (Dark Horse)

I Hate Fairyland (Image)

BEST ACTION PACKED AWESOMENESS of 2015

Godzilla in Hell (IDW)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutanimals (IDW)

Usagi Yojimbo: Senso (Dark Horse)

BEST SHORT STORY ANTHOLOGY in 2015

Moon in the Trees (Inverse)

Pressure Sensitivity (Wacom)

How to be Happy (Fantagraphics)

BEST CREATIVE USE OF POP-CULTURE ICONS in 2015

Jughead (Archie)

Star Wars: Darth Vader (Marvel)

Transformers vs. Gi Joe  (Inverse)

BEST USE OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY in 2015

Barrier (Panel Syndicate) – A pay what you want digital comic

Faster than Light (Image) – Print version makes use of matching augmented reality app

Z-Men (Double Take) – Digital only motion-comic

BEST FULL LENGTH GRAPHIC NOVEL STORIES of 2015

Wrenchies (First Second)

Scupltor (First Second)

Last of the Sandwalkers (First Second)

BEST REPRINTING OF COMICS HISTORY in 2015

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Mini-comic Collection (Dark Horse)

The Don Rosa Library Collection (Fantagraphics) – Volume 1-4 (each are equally great)

Batman: the Jiro Kuwata Batmanga (DC) – Volume 2

BEST COLLECTED ISSUE VOLUME PRESENTATION of 2015

Multiversity: the Deluxe Edition (DC)

Wayward: Book One (Image)

Chew Smorgasbord Edition Volume 2  (Image) 

That’s all for now. Let’s see if next year can top this!!

Orion T