Liz Prince (w/a)
Camila says: Just a few months after the release of Alone Forever, Liz Prince is back with her first long-format graphic novel Tomboy, where she shares her experiences of growing up, of refusing to conform to the generally expected ideals of what a girl should look and behave like, and of just being totally and completely awesome.
Anyone who has asked me for book recommendations in the past few years, especially those into autobiographical comics, will have heard me going on about my love for Liz Prince and her books Alone Forever, Delayed Replays, and Will you still love me if I wet the bed. Those are also autobiographical, but are more like journals chronicling situations and relationships she was experiencing at the time;Tomboy, on the other hand, starts with a very young Liz, takes us all the way through her teenage years and adulthood, addressing issues of identity, gender, conformity, and growing up in general, all with the same humour, charm and excellence that graces her other works. Highly recommended!
The Goon: Occasion Of Revenge #2
Eric Powell (w/a)
Dark Horse Comics
Chris says: After a brief hiatus, The Goon returns in the first of series of minis created wholly by Eric Powell. Following on from the done-in-one tales he’d favoured over the last couple of years, Powell mines early continuity to create a bold new chapter in the story of The Goon and Franky. This time around he’s found love in the arms of a new woman – but with the return of some old foes you can tell this won’t end well. Each issue of the series is exquisitely rendered by Powell, with subtle coloring designed to communicate the tone and feel of the story. Despite drawing on elements from the past, this new mini is fully accessible in its own right, and can be enjoyed by old and new fans alike. If you haven’t checked out The Goon before, then do yourself a favour and buy the first two issues of this mini … Hopefully you’ll fall for the loveable lug, just like we did. You can hear more about Eric Powell, The Goon, and why the book’s been gone for so long in this recent interview I did with the creator.
Dream Police #4
J. Michael Straczynski (w), Sid Kotian (a)
Thomas says: I really, want to like this comic. I really do. The art is great, Kotian’s lines have a gritty, sketchy quality to them that fits perfectly for a crime noir story adding depth and mystery and even a little hint of a psychedelic nightmare on the verge of breaking through but then there’s the writing. Part of the problem is this modern ‘technique’ of expanding a story far beyond the necessary number of issues, a two issue story becomes a twelve part ‘epic’ (I’m looking at you Nu52 and fan fiction ‘writer’ Geoff Johns). Most of the four issues so far have had a great deal of padding or, put another way, left out a great deal or simply glossed over important details. It all feels a little haphazard which is strange when you consider the writer. There’s an interesting story here somewhere and I hope we get to it sooner than later.
The Strain: Volume 1
Guillermo Del Toro, Chuck Hogan & David Lapham (w) Mike Huddleston (a)
Dark Horse Comics
Liz says: Technically this isn’t a new release, but it’s new to me and because we had a signing with artist Mike Huddleston this week, I finally got around to reading it. And I really liked it! It’s a combination of things that I enjoy: folklore, horror and a great mystery that hooks you right in. The mystery begins when a plane arrives at JFK and goes silent on the tarmac and no one gets off. A hazmat team are sent in and discover all but four of passengers dead, with no cause apparent. An old man in Spanish Harlem may be the only one who knows what horror is about to be unleashed, as a contagion begins to spread … Based on the trilogy of novels by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, The Strain has also recently been made into a television series. I was so impressed with Lapham and Huddleston’s adaptation that I can hardly decide which format to try next!
Curt Pires (w), Jason Copland (a)
Dark Horse Comics
Rossetti says: An awesome start to a four part series, where a woman escapes from a facility that genetically engineers and grows superstars. It nicely avoids the whole “beautiful woman meets heroic man” trope that I was expecting, our leading male rescuing the damsel not because of his own goodwill or morals, but because “there was no way in hell I was going anywhere near a police station with the amount of weed I had on me”. It’s a really fun first issue, with some truly gorgeous artwork and colouring, but the best part of this comic for me was easily the last few pages. Because who doesn’t want to see a Johnny Ramone doppelgänger shoot “Dustin Beaver” in the kneecaps.
Welcome to Episode 162 of The Orbiting Pod!
This week, we hit shuffle with Dark Horse Presents #1, sing lullabys with Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland #1, go on a road trip with Multiversity #1, turn out the night with Dark Ages #1, and much more.
Please note that new comics are out on Wednesday as usual this week, but due to the bank holiday, we’re expecting the delivery that same day, so the comics will not be available in the morning.
The Killer Omnibus V.2
Matz (w), Luc Jacamon(a)
Thomas says: I haven’t finished reading this volume yet but so far it’s shaping up to be as good as the first. The Killer focuses on the life of the nameless Killer of the title as he comes out of retirement and into a conspiracy of oil and politics. The writing is solid, engaging and exciting while the art is once again hampered and, for me at least, ruined by the creators insistence on using computers. Sometimes the colouring works beautifully but often there is just this horrible . . . sheen to everything. Regardless this book is great.
The Fade Out #1 (Magazine variant)
Ed Brubaker (w), Sean Phillips (a)
Joe says: I’ve never read any Brubaker and Phillips before but they’ve been on my radar for a while as a creative team I must check out. ‘The Fade Out’ #1 left me with no excuse to ignore them any longer, especially when I saw the gorgeous magazine variant edition.
The story itself is a well told noir, set in ‘40s Hollywood, with fantastic art. Phillips uses a range of styles to create atmosphere and the mood is tense. It’s a solid start to an intriguing murder mystery.
It’s the little touches that I like; being introduced to the cast of characters at the start of the book is reminiscent of pre-film credit sequences. The issue feels of its time, with Brubaker unafraid to use, but not exploit, devices like racial epithets or sexism to subtle but great effect (although he does feel the need to apologise in his closing essay). This capturing of the era is only aided by the magazine format, designed to imitate a film magazine. The design is interesting and the reader is treated to extra back matter where we see some of Phillips’ design processes. The only downfall of the larger format is that the art has not been blown up to match; because of the very different aspect ratio, readers of the magazine format are treated to a lot of white border.
Overall I felt this was a great start to a new series and even though the variant format is a bit of a gimmick, it’s one that works well. I look forward to the unraveling of this mystery.
The Fade Out #1 (regular)
Ed Brubaker (w), Sean Phillips (a)
Chris says: I know Joe has already picked the Magazine Variant of this (which happened to be the one I bought as well), but there was no way I could resist making The Fade Out my pick of the week. This feels like the refinement of everything Brubaker & Phillips have done before – exploring familiar scenes and characters, while building on previous iterations. It takes the glamour and period setting of Fatale, then grounds it with the premise of a classic Hollywood murder mystery. The key ingredient is character, and that’s where you see just how well Brubaker & Phillips work together. Brubaker creates well-rounded, fully-formed characters, but it’s only by Phillips’ hand that they’re really brought to life. I should also mention the incredible Bettie Breitweiser, who further develops the characters and lends a sense of tone and mood to the story. This is as near to perfect comics as you’re going to get, and it’s made me want to go back and read Fatale all over again. As always, the guys offer an added incentive to check out single issues thanks to all the generous back-matter contained within. There’s even more (in terms of process and history) within the Magazine version but, however you choose to consume it, this is a book not to be missed. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Winter Soldier: The Bitter March TBP
Rick Remender (w), Roland Boschi (a)
Liz says: Considering how dense the Marvel mythology has become over seventy odd years, it’s amazing how much rich terrain there is yet to be explored, as Rick Remender proves in this stellar miniseries. Bitter March provides valuable backstory for not one but two characters: Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, as well as the villainous Iron Nail. In 1966, when Bitter March is set, the Iron Nail was known as Special Agent Ran Shen, operative of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury’s right hand man. Agents Shen and Fury are tasked to collect a pair of Nazi scientists key to winning the Cold War. But the Soviets have their own plans for the scientists and have unleashed their secret weapon: the deadly Winter Soldier. The story is a pastiche of great sixties spy thrillers that channels Ed Brubaker’s famous run on Captain America that spawned the Winter Soldier, with beautiful and distinctive art by Boschi. A revealing look into the past of two characters and a turn of events that cements both of their futures to poignant, devastating effect.
Manifest Destiny #9
Chris Dingess (w), Matthew Roberts (a)
Ryan says: Manifest Destiny has been a stunning series that blends the beautiful with the grotesque, and the historic with the fantastic. It turns a pioneer’s America into a tropical and dangerous undiscovered land full of creatures you’d never imagine, and presents us with a cast of characters we can identify with in this foreign world, which makes for some thrilling storytelling. I’d highly recommend picking up the first volume in trade paperback if you haven’t already been reading it, and getting on board with what I believe to be one of Image Comics’ unsung titles.
The Search for Catbug
Pendleton Ward (c), Joel Enos (w), Alan Brown (a)
Camila says: Catbug, the playful little companion to the Bravest Warriors, sure is one of the most endearing cartoon characters around. I mean, how could one not fall in love with a teleporting part-cat-part-ladybug round-faced sweet little thing that? He first appeared on the pages of the Bravest Warriors comic, made his way into the cartoon, quickly became one of the main characters of the series, and now he’s everywhere. This week alone, he stars at Catbug’s Treasure Book and The Search for Catbug.
Part seek-and-find, part Where’s Wally, part artbook, The Search for Catbug features 28 double-page spreads of outlandish scenarios, crazy landscapes and epic battle scenes where you can spend hours trying to spot where the cute little guy is hiding. Each piece is by a different artist, making the book a gorgeous collection of Bravest Warriors art.
To coincide with the new tale appearing in the relaunched Dark Horse Presents, Robin chats to Damon Gentry & Aaron Conley, creators of Sabertooth Swordsman. They talk about how they met, why they chose to develop Swordsman, digital release, video games, staying hungry, & making a career in comics work around a day job.
Astro City #14
Kurt Busiek (w), Brett Anderson (a), Alex Ross (covers)
Thomas says: I’ve been a fan of Astro City for Zod knows how long now. It’s one of those rare comics that has maintained it’s high level of quality since the beginning and doesn’t appear to be changing that fact any time soon. I don’t think that it’s any kind of a coincidence that it’s been the same creative team working on a book that they created and own between them throughout it’s various runs. This issue sees the start of a two part story that relies heavily on the drama/melodrama and has the distinct feel of a soap opera. With giant Robots. I liked it but then I am a fan.
Gerry Duggan (w), Matteo Scalera (a)
Ryan says: The “Zero Year” arc marked the end of the infamous Snyder-Capullo run that brought hope to the New 52’s rebooted timeline, but now we’re being treated to a new creative team who hope to continue the stunning success the series has had, and frankly I couldn’t be more excited! Gerry Duggan (of Deadpool and Nova fame, who also happens to be coming to Orbital in September this year) takes on the responsibility of writing this new arc, a story he and Scott Snyder collaboratively crafted together. Meanwhile Matteo Scalera (who magnificently illustrated Image’s Black Science) dons the artist’s cap, and wears it very VERY well. The result of this new partnership means that issue 34 feels both fresh but familiar, and while it pays great homage to what has come before, it also saves the series from becoming stale. This is a must-read for any Batfan, and a perfect jumping on point if you’re just itching to start reading a good gritty title. Simply put… pick it up!
Blookd Blokes #4
Adam Cadwell (w/ a)
Camila says: Another great issue on Adam Cadwell’s mini series about a group of housemates in Manchester. Who happen to be vampires. I’m not generally into vampire stories, but even though this is a key element in the story, it’s so not what makes this book great, that it doesn’t even matter.
Check out some preview pages here, and then get yourself a copy of all 4 issues.
Sex Criminals #7
Matt Fraction (w), Chip Zdarsky (a)
Rubber drawn at dawn,
For a dungeon coup d’etat?
Sex Criminals, man…
Welcome to Episode 161 of The Orbiting Pod!
This week, we get crafty with Howtoons: Reignition #1, wallow in the darkness with Nightworld #1, get stuck in the shade with Moon Knight #6, find the solution with Genius #1, and much more!