Rick Remender (w), Terry Dodson (a)
Liz says: It took me a few issues to get into Axis, but now that I’m hooked, it’s found it’s way to the top of my reading stack. What looked at first glance like an overcomplicated plot turned out to be an incredibly simple one, and a lot of fun to boot. I love when event books are good and this one has been, more and more so with each passing week. I’ll be excitedly tuning in to see the rest of it unfold and ripple out into the tie-ins. Great stuff!
Grant Morrison (w), Frank Quitely (a), Nathan Fairbairn (c)
Thomas says: Multiversity is one of the only decent comics being published by DC at the moment. To grossly over simplify this issue, its Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely doing Watchmen. With the actual Charlton stable of characters. Check it out if you haven’t already.
Robert Kirkman (w), Ryan Ottley (a), Jean-Francois Beaulieu (c)
Ryan says: November has been a big month for Invincible fans. Volume 20 of the graphic novel series was released just last week, and followed this week with a brand new issue. Admittedly, yes, it’s long overdue, but with artist Ryan Ottley having suffered a back injury, and fan-favourite colourist John Rauch stepping off the title to focus on other projects, you can kinda see why it took so long to put 20 pages together. And in this issue premieres the work of new colourist, Jean-Francois Beaulieu, who has done a brilliant job of adding subtle dimension to Ottley’s lineart, while working faithfully with the muted palette we’re used to seeing from an Invincible title. Just as Ottley took the mantle from Cory Walker, Beaulieu’s work takes what Rauch brought to this series and continues the story without any jarring stylistic changes. As for the story itself, we see two of the Invincible universe’s most aggressive combatants pitted against each other, Thragg and Battle Beast, in a deadly brawl that can only result in bloodshed.
Saga Deluxe Edition Volume 1 HC
Brian K. Vaughan (w), Fiona Staples (a)
Will says: If you need to be convinced to read Saga, then you’re doing something wrong with your life. I could spend a good few hours talking about how great Saga is, but the truth is you probably already know. In fact, one common complaint I hear about saga is that it reads too quickly each month. This special edition hardcover collects the first 18 issues of the groundbreaking series, so you have over 500 pages to sink your teeth into. Christmas is coming up, so if you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone then this is the obvious choice for new-readers and fan enthusiasts alike. The book becomes an essential buy with some brilliant extras and stunning new cover art by Staples.
Complete Zap Comix
By R. Crumb, Rick Griffin, Paul Mavrides, Victor Moscoso, Spain Rodriguez, Gilbert Shelton, Robert Williams, and S. Clay Wilson
Karl says: I have been waiting a while for this extravagant boxset comprising all 16 issues and a brand new 17th grand finale. This slice of comics history changed the world as much as the Marvel explosion across the tracks. It comes in 4 thick volumes book-ended by an in-depth history and biographies, and a glorious set of exclusive giclée prints featuring the covers. It ain’t cheap, but if you really love this stuff, it’s Christmas.
Southern Bastards Directors’ Commentary with Jason Aaron & Jason Latour
Live at Orbital Comics
Chris says: This week we debuted a brand new type of event at Orbital with the Southern Bastards Directors’ Commentary by Jason Aaron & Jason Latour. No one knew quite what to expect from the night (us and them included!) but what followed was a fascinating insight into the mindset and creative process of those involved. We learned more about the South, college football, Coach Boss, and just what that dog crapping by the side of the road was up to. It was an amazing night and, I’m pleased to report, the first of many! Next up we have the sensational Becky Cloonan giving us a commentary on the first three issues of Gotham Academy, so keep your eyes on the website for further details … You won’t want to miss this!
ALL the Small Press
Camila says: Thought Bubble last weekend marked the end of the comics festival season in the UK, preceded by the amazing Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Cumbria and lots of smaller independent shows like CECAF and The Alternative Press POP-UP in London. And with all these amazing events, also comes the release of TONS of new books, zines and independent comics.
It’d be impossible to list of my personal highlights, but just to name a few: Jack Fallows‘ Axolotl #2, the new issue of Tiny Pencil, a brand new title (Cob the Conqueror) by Timothy Winchester, a glorious collected edition of Dan White’s Cindy & biscuit and a new hardcover of Howard Hardiman‘s Badger series, and a bunch of new titles from the awesome folks at Breakdown Press and Avery Hill Publishing. Check them out!
Dave Sim: Conversations
Edited by Eric Hoffman and Dominick Grace
University Press of Michigan
Thomas says: Well. I’ve been on leave for over a week now so I haven’t had a chance to read any of the comics out this week but I have read the hardcover edition of this paperback release. Conversations collects together long out of print interviews with it’s subject in this case the divisive Dave Sim. I’m a huge fan of Cerebus and of Sim and was particularly excited by this volume when it was first released containing a number of interviews that I had never read before. Regardless of how you feel about the man he is a fascinating talent as this collection illustrates perfectly and in his own words.
Fred Van Lente (w) Maurizio Rosenzweig
Dark Horse Comics
Julia says: I decided to give this new series a try since the premise, despite not being entirely innovative (a group of individuals who have been reincarnated many times and can keep the memories of each of their past beings), it leaves you with thirst for a new issue.
Speaking about the narrative, I’ve always been a bit reluctant about the abusive use of flashbacks, but in this series so far, it has not only been delivered in an elegant way, but also it seems to be essential to the story.
I must admit that one of the reasons of picking this is the fact that Maurizio Rosenzweig is working on it. The Italian artist gives us a taste of his dynamic and characteristic drawing style, without hiding the traces that the European comic books from the late 80’s left on him. Each character design oozes a distinctive personality.
I guess I could dare to address it as one of the most personal issues you can find this week, it’s worth to give it a try.
Superior Ironman #1
Tom Taylor (w), Yildiray Cinar (a)
Liz says: If you haven’t been reading Axis (you should, btw, it’s actually way more fun than I’d ever expected) all you need to know is that a spell cast mid-battle by the Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange had the unexpected side-effect of turning all the heroes present into villains and vice versa. Tony Stark was one of those heroes. And now… he’s a jerk. A pompous, misogynist, self-serving, stupendous D-bag. The spell brings out the worst personality traits in a ‘good’ guy and the best qualities out in a ‘bad’ guy, and Tony’s worst qualities are all about ego, excess and yes folks, alcohol. Back on the bottle, fresh outta the hot tub, and still smart as ever, Tony Stark is no longer using his genius in the service of anyone but himself. This is the Superior Iron Man, and it’s really, really good. Pick it up now!
The Fade Out #3
Ed Brubaker (w), Sean Phillips (w)
Will says: I’m slightly cheating here as I haven’t had a chance to read this issue yet, however, this just furthers the merit of the two issues before this one. This series has been phenomenal, leaving me with full confidence that it will continue to be another exemplary masterpiece from the flawless “Philbaker” partnership. Is that enough adjectives to convince you to buy this already?
I’m doing the comic a great injustice by flicking through it quickly to find some comments to write about it. Phillips puts an enormous amount of detail into every panel. This is a comic you have to sit down and take your time reading, and I am extremely excited to do just that. It’s got to be the best comic on the shelves this entire year.
John Carter, Warlord of Mars #1
Ron Marz (w), Abhishek Malsuni (a)
Chris says: There have been numerous John Carter/Mars series from Dynamite over the last few years – all quite admirable in their own way – but with this new title it seems as though they’re really trying to streamline and solidify their line. It’s something Dynamite have been doing for a while now (as evidenced by titles like King’s Watch and the upcoming King Features line of books), and one of the key ingredients has been getting the right creators on board. In the back of the first issue it says, “Ron Marz finally tackles the series he’s always wanted to write, teaming with rising artistic star Abhishek Malsuni for the best Barsoom ever!” – and I’m optimistically inclined to agree. Marz is definitely the man for the job (as any fan of his writing will tell you) and Malsuni is definitely a name to watch. I’ve often been dubious about Dynamite’s past artistic choices but, over the last year or two, they’ve recognised the importance of everyone on the creative team and really lifted their game. There’s some clever exposition at play for those who haven’t read the books before or aren’t familiar with the concept, but this is very much a fresh jumping-on point without the baggage of the past to drag it down. If you’ve felt that John Carter and/or the Dynamite line weren’t for you, then I’d encourage you to give this book another chance and see what you think. Beneath the multiple variant covers lies a series that will make a welcome addition to your monthly reading pile. Very highly recommended!
Tim Seeley & Tom King (w), Mikel Janin (a)
Liz says: Only five issues in (including the standout Future’s End issue) and Grayson continues to go from strength to strength in thrilling, unexpected ways. Last month’s riveting examination of Dick Grayson being armed with a gun was strong, emotional and vital to the character. This issue, just as importantly, is all about fun. If you’re a fan of Dick Grayson, you already know that a few of his defining characteristics are that: a) He’s the most lighthearted of all the Robins; b) He drives the girls crazy. This issue makes use of these elements to hilarious effect as the girls at St. Hadrian’s Finishing School for young spies and assassins manage to snag shirtless pictures of him and go chasing him across rooftops. It’s preposterous and silly and it totally, totally works. Tim Seeley and Tom King have already shown that they know how to handle action and drama, and here they show just how well they do comedy. It not only feels like a breath of fresh air, it reminds us that not long ago Dick was Nightwing and that he misses that part of his life. It also sets up a very amusing new line for Dick Grayson at Spyral, and ends on a note that’s satisfying. This is what comics should be, people! Pick up an issue and see.
Bumf Volume 1
Joe Sacco (w/a)
Adam says: Starring the endlessly fascinating icon of real-world super villainy [conjecture!], Richard M. Nixon, Bumf is an absurd, depraved and appallingly hilarious read from the known-for-his-seriousness Joe Sacco. Not without his trademark biting satire though, Sacco presents this wretchedly weird world without wider context. There is no synopsis provided and perhaps no simple means of providing a coherent or helpful introduction to the narrative here. Thematically though, it explores conspiracy, mindlessness and anonymity in the new world order, the limits of humanity and best of all, the art of the hollow gesture [Enter Milhous!]. Sacco himself has a cameo as a clueless Air Force Captain.
Tooth & Claw #1
Kurt Busiek (w), Benjamin Dewey (a)
The Will says: Set in a world full of magic and mystical creatures, Tooth & Claw is a comic my taste buds are instantly attracted to. And who better to bring this to us than Arrowsmith’s Kurt Busiek. This has been on my radar for a few months now and it did not disappoint. Busiek manages to create an expansive and immersive universe for us to sink our teeth into, with a booming history and attention to detail such as the many deities this fictional culture believes. A floating city, whose civilization prospers on the use of magic and even dictates their social class, faces a crisis as magic is slowly fading away. The end of the 48 page first issue, which was intriguing and shocking throughout, sets up an interesting premise for the future installments. Dewey, whose art I am not familiar with, feels right at home drawing animal-like humanoids and is very impressive. In combination with a magical colour palette, the artwork does great justice to the theme and atmosphere Busiek has envisioned. I’ve very quickly fallen in love with this comic and so should you.
Serenity Volume 4: Leaves On The Wind
Zack Whedon (w), Georges Jeanty (a)
Dark Horse Comics
Ryan says: It took a good few years to return to our shelves, but Serenity is back and well worth the wait. Following on from the film based on the cult classic Firefly TV series, the ragtag band of space cowboys on the run from the law are forced out of hiding, and the result leads us to follow Mal and his crew on a brand new adventure. And to appease the Firefly fans among us, they’ve even included the one-shot story printed in the Free Comic Book Day issue from 2012, just as a sweet cherry on top! Zack Whedon’s writing does a great job of capturing the feel of the show we fell in love with, and I sincerely hope Dark Horse has more planned on the horizon. The fans will always demand more, so I’m glad the comics deliver … and I say that with a certain amount of Browncoat pride.
The Walking Dead Volume 22: A New Beginning
Robert Kirkman (w), Charlie Adlard (a)
Clémentine says: Everyone adjusts to their new lives after the war. Life is peaceful until … a deadly surprise! Even after so long, Robert Kirkman keeps surprising us.
This week, we go viral with Memetic #1, get lost at home with Arkham Manor #1, get caught in the crossfire with Stray Bullets: Killers #8, get spooked with Goners #1, get Slade with Deathstroke #1, and much more!
Dredd: Uprise #1
Arthur Wyatt (w), Paul Davidson (a)
Thomas says: This is the second story based on the movie version of Judge Dredd and is pretty much indistinguishable from the last entry. There is an attempt at some sort of political ‘commentary’ but it’s all surface nonsense. This iteration lacks the joyful, virulent madness of the source material but is enjoyable nonetheless and worth picking up as a harmless diversion.
Vertigo Quarterly: Yellow #1
Various (w), Various (a)
Liz says: Vertigo Quarterlies are always a treat, a showcase for exceptional talent both new and familiar, and this issue continues the trend. The book is a series of one-shots with a common theme: each issue focuses on one of the four colors used for CMYK printing, this time yellow. The creators are all cream of the crop, a mix of up-and-comers and established names like Bill Sienkiewicz, Philip Bond, Gerard Way and Fabio Moon. The stories themselves… well, see for yourself!
The Phantom #1
Peter David (w), Sal Velluto (a)
Chris says: As the resident Australian here at Orbital, I feel almost duty-bound to select The Phantom #1 as my pick of the week. I’ve always been a big fan of the character (it comes from my upbringing), so to see a new version by comic legends Peter David and Sal Velluto is naturally exciting. Velluto, of course, is no stranger to jungle-based heroes, after an impressive run on Black Panther during the Marvel Knights era. So the opportunity of seeing him back in the jungle (and on the page again) is quite a thrill! And David, as always, delivers an engaging story that pays homage to The Phantom’s rich history and continuity – while somehow straddling the line between timeless and modern. It’s a delicate balancing act, but one he carries off so well. Although Dynamite made a valiant attempt at reviving The Phantom a few years ago (and seems set to do so again next year), it’s nice to see this more traditional and authentic take on the character from Hermes Press who have been publishing all the excellent reprint volumes of the early years. I know people always joke about Australians and The Phantom, but this book really does come highly recommended – enjoy!
The Goon #48
Dark Horse Comics
The Will says: The Goon never disappoints. Eric Powell does a great job in his story telling, use of colour, effective layout and, of course, fantastic artwork to make a comic just shy of perfection. This issue is no exception. With a brilliantly gripping plot and some extremely intense panels at the end of the issue, this makes it one pick up.
Supercrash: How to hijack the global economy
Darryl Cunningham (w / a)
Camila says: Sure, there are plenty of incredibly smart people out there. Not as that many that can organise and articulate their thoughts in such an eloquent manner, that it’s not only accessible, but also incredibly interesting. In Supercrash Darryl Cunningham delivers a fascinating insight into modern history, politics, economics and the financial crises, without ever sounding boring or burdensome.
An excellent and very informative read, highly recommended to anyone interested in current affairs and the state of the world we live in.
Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo
Karl says: Ooo! This giant (300+ pages) landscape encyclopedia is oozing with treats for fans of Adventure Time. Sketches, storyboards, design concepts and previously unseen artwork litter the pages along with detailed and insightful commentary by many of the artists who have contributed to the world building of this amazing show over the years.
Having this kind of background material really broadens my appreciation of the show. All the creators clearly immerse themselves fully in the universe and obviously care very much about the characters and their creations who inhabit the land of Ooo. Wonderful stuff.
To coincide with this month’s spine-tingling PCH : Pre-Code Horror Exhibition, we’re hosting a very special Halloween Party, featuring a mega-jam signing session with numerous artists from the show, including Alison Sampson, Gary Spencer Millidge, Jason Atomic, Jessica Martin, Mark Stafford, Owen Michael Johnson, Ryan Jenkyns, and more.
The exhibition continues until Thursday November 13, but if you want to meet some of the artists and get their worked signed then be here from 6pm, Friday October 31. Save the date and keep your eyes peeled for further details!