Welcome to Episode 166 of The Orbiting Pod!
This week, we hit the jackpot with Edge of Spider-verse #2, go back to school with Deadly Class #7, feel the weight with Thor #25, complete the circle with The Field #4, go down to the woods with Jim Henson Storyteller: Witches #1, and much more!
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James Harvey popped by over the weekend with a preview copy of his new comic Masterplasty, which is out this week on Image Comics. This is probably the largest format one-shot Image has ever done, and it looks A-MAZ-ING!!!
Get Over It
By Corinne Mucha
Liz says: There is something strangely satisfying about taking a sneaky peek into someone else’s life in the form of autobiographical graphic novels, and sometimes that’s just what I’m in the mood for. This week I slaked that urge with Corrine Mucha’s ‘Get Over It’, the account of a messy relationship breakup. Despite the subject matter, this isn’t a depressing book; Mucha’s great illustrations and sense of humour keep it entertaining rather than morose. What attracts me to a book like this is the human element of having been there myself (as we all have) and identifying with another person’s experience- their fears and inner turmoil- especially when it’s done as well as this.
Bob’s Burgers #2
By Various (w/a)
Joe says: I’ve always been curious to see how well an animated show could be translated into a comic but I’ve never found one that interested me enough to investigate. Bob’s Burgers was the one that drew me in and I was pleasantly surprised. The comic is written by the writers of the television show so when read with the right inflections, the characters feel familiar, no matter how bizarre a scenario they’ve been placed in.
I’m don’t watch the show religiously but I would call myself a fan, what this comic offers is the chance to explore more surreal storylines or plots that are too short to sustain a 20 minute episode. It’s a lot of fun and I feel that even a casual fan will enjoy this book.
By Ed Brubaker (w), Sean Phillips (a)
Will says: Brubaker and Philips are rightfully deserving to be called the ‘kings of crime’. The combo has brought us books in the past like Sleeper and Incognito. Fatale is their story combining their classic crime noir with the supernatural. This is the final installment of Fatale and so may only appeal to those who have read the previous ones. However, I’ll take this opportunity to encourage you to give this one a go from the beginning. Brubaker performs at top class as always and the art from Philips is simply beautiful. The combination of horror is a great excuse to see Philips really pushed to the limit, and his drawings of monsters do not disappoint. Image comics have been on a roll these last few years with amazing new titles such as Saga and Sex Criminals from legendary creative teams and they just keep on giving. It’s sad that Fatale has finally come to an end, but luckily the team are giving us their new title Fade Out to fill the void.
The book is a comic adaptation of one of Doctorow’s short stories originally titled Anda’s Game, about online gaming, cyber sweatshops and the the real life implications of one’s actions in a virtual world.
Cory Doctorow is a technology activist, writer and co-editor of the blog Boing Boing. Here at Orbital, we are all massive fans of his thought-provoking near-future sci-fi stories (as well as all his non-fiction work), and that combined with Jen Wang’s astonishing art, makes this book the perfect example of why we are so passionate about comics as a medium.
The Orbital bookplate edition is limited to 200 numbered copies, signed by both Cory and Jen, and will be available this October.
Following up on the release of the book, we’ll have the pleasure of receiving Cory Doctorow here at Orbital for a talk on November 12. More details here.
Billy The Kids Old Timey Oddities Omnibus TP
Eric Powell (w), Kyle Hotz (a), Dan Brown
Thomas says: Eric Powell can do no wrong and that is a universal constant the breaking of which will destroy the known multiverse. In this fine omnibus collecting his ‘the Kid’ tales you can see exactly why Powell is so great ably assisted by Hotz and Brown. I’m not really sure what to say about this fine work that hasn’t already been said. I suppose the worst that I can say is that it’s not the Goon, which isn’t much of an accusation when all is said and done. For clarification; this is not the Goon but it is damned good.
Edge Of Spider-Verse #2: Spider-Woman
Jason Latour (w), Robbi Rodriguez & Rico Renzi (a)
Chris says: There’s a lot to like about this book – an awful lot. Although it’s just one small part of the Edge mini leading into the full-blown Spider-Verse event, it reminds me strongly of What If #105 which featured the introduction of a young Mayday Parker (otherwise known as Spider-Girl). Spider-Girl was the little book that could, and it was saved from cancellation numerous times before succumbing to its eventual fate – but the world (and comics) is a different place now, where a book like Spider-Girl (or the more modern Spider-Woman) can survive and thrive. Just look at Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and Batwoman for examples. So, what makes this book so good? Well, a huge chunk of the credit must go to the creative team. While the concept is fun, it’s what Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi bring to the book (both individually and together) that sets it apart. Latour shows real skill in picking up others’ pieces (just as he did with Brubaker’s Winter Soldier) and forging something new and different in its place. As much as I love his art on Southern Bastards, I’m so glad it’s not at the expense of honing his writing chops. Art-wise Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi kill it – creating a colorful, psychedelic super-hero for the modern age. Rodriguez is someone I’ve been watching since Frankie Get Your Gun appeared, but Renzi was a revelation to me. His colors call to mind the wonderful palette of Muntsa Vicente on The Private Eye, and I don’t say that lightly. This book is unexpectedly (but quite naturally) sold out everywhere right now – even at places like Orbital where we strive to give new things a chance – so you’ll have to wait for the inevitable second-print to snag a copy or pay over-the-odds online. As someone who got it first time around, I’m now waiting for the inevitable follow-up series. It really is a no-brainer, especially if they can keep this stellar team together … Just wow!
All-New X-Men #32
Brian Michael Bendis (w), Mahmuh Asrar (a)
Adam says: This one is an easy one. All-New X-Men continues to be supremely digestible and very genuine, with this installment marking the second part of our visit to the Ultimate Universe. With entertaining snapshots checking in with each of the scattered original five X-Men (plus X-23), the obvious highlight is the encounter between Jean Grey and the Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales. Bendis brings wit and warmth to their exchange while Asrar delivers some stellar work, ensuring that these heroes are plausibly teenaged. The silent two-tone spread as Jean probes into the mind of the slightly bewildered Miles is a particularly thoughtful, emotive moment in superhero comics this week…(‘Wait, all of my thoughts? Because I am a teenage boy and I can’t always–’)
Astro City: Through Open Doors TPB
Kurt Busiek (w), Brent Anderson (a), Alex Ross
Will says: Like The Walking Dead where the story isn’t about the flesh-eating zombies, but the people and their survival in a post-apocalyptic world, Astro City takes you to a world full of super-powered heroes and villains, but instead sets the focus on humanity. This is nothing like the Walking Dead however. The book follows a few ordinary folk and their interactions with the superhuman world, with an over-arching plot that remains just at the right level of mysterious. There is something about Anderson’s art that creates a very real attachment to the characters appearing across the span of the story. I think what has a big part in this is his ability to convey the emotions of a character very well from their facial expressions. In a story about the people, this personal connection is a necessity, and so Busiek’s phenomenal storytelling is very well complimented by the artwork. Combined with some amazing covers by Alex Ross, this book, all in all, is one great package. Collecting the first 6 issues of latest ongoing run of the series, Astro City remains as strong as ever.
Deadly Class #7
Rick Remender (w), Wes Craig (a)
Liz says: Whenever I try to explain what Deadly Class is about and why it’s the best series going at Image Comics, I always seem to fall short. ‘It’s a book about kids at a school for assassins’ is a pretty lame sell considering how many books exist with that same basic premise. Deadly Class is a far more rare and special prospect than its description conveys. Set in the eighties, rife with counterculture and music references, it is by all accounts a very personal story to its creators, and that’s what truly sets it apart. There are a lot of books out there with teenage protagonists, but surprisingly few that truly encapsulate the teenage experience, in all its raw beauty and pure pain. Deadly Class is the real deal, funny and heartbreaking and eminently relatable, especially if you were a certain sort of kid. Memories of being that kid will come rushing back to you in all their intensity. Read it and weep.
This week, we play to the screen with Annihilator #1, dig for fire with Prometheus #1, enter the woods with Wild’s End #1, lull between twilight & first light with Dawn/Vampirella #1, ride into town with Copperhead #1, and much more!
Scene & Heard
David Ziggy Greene
Thomas says: Full disclosure; I’ve known Dave for over a decade now and am a huge fan of his work so I am one hundred percent biased and untrustworthy when I say that this is a fantastic collection of his political cartoons previously seen in Private Eye. As part of the release of the book we are also hosting an exhibition of his work featured in the volume that is worth a look. Dave has a great eye for detail regarding the physical personality of his subjects and a keen instinct for a good quote. His style is clean and deceptively simple while the work itself is fresh and still worryingly topical so come on down and check out both the book and the show.
Death of Wolverine #2
Charles Soule (w), Steve McNiven (a)
Adam says: The first issue of this weekly four-part mini-event certainly caught me off guard. After months upon months of lead-in, this book has emerged as a surprisingly grounded and cogently digestible affair. Stripped of his healing factor, Logan is now an obvious target for a potentially endless number of previous irate sparring partners. Insert bounty here. This second issue brings in some familiar Wolverine family characters and in seems to define the parameters and scope of this individual story. Obviously the legacy of the eventual conclusion will be far-reaching, but this book functions well in isolation, a testament to the creative team.
On which, McNiven is on excellent form here with a tight blend of spacious, lush and detailed pencils. And his work thus far for Marvel has been solid and in some cases stellar, so it was always going to be intriguing to see how Soule, now a Marvel-exclusive, would handle the inevitable higher profile assignments and events especially. At this point, he appears to be bringing an understated approach to ‘big’ stories which is wholly welcome.
Grant Morrison (w), Frazer Irving (a)
Joe says: I was skeptical when I saw that Legendary were publishing comics; I couldn’t shake the idea that the film production company was essentially commissioning film scripts with storyboards already wrapped up in a neat package. When I saw that Grant Morrison was writing a mini-series, however, I had to pick it up regardless.
In typical Morrison fashion, the story is meta and the lines between reality and fiction are blurred but the issue is not obtuse. Whilst enjoyably complex, the writing is accessible and the same can be said of the art.
I have a confusing relationship with Frazer Irving; I‘m always drawn to his work but am never sure whether I like it or not. Having said that, Irving is on top form here- his gorgeously atmospheric visuals are stunning and with the promise of more surrealism to come, I can’t wait for the coming issues of this six-part series.
Fantastic Four Epic Collection
Stand Lee and Jack Kirby
Will says: I stood in front of the new comics shelf for a while pondering on what to choose for my staff pick this week, my eyes rapidly scouting every crevice in search of that hidden gem. What was the best comic out? Although I enjoyed a few things, nothing stood out and excited me enough to write about it. Then I asked myself, what was my favourite? Although I hadn’t read it this week, or likely even in the past ten years, Lee and Kirby’s run of the Fantastic Four from the early 60s is one of my favourites. I could justify it being a pick as this trade paperback of Marvel’s Epic Collection was released this week. I feel excited just thinking about revisiting these gorgeous fantasy stories. Follow the adventures of Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, Sue Storm and Johnny Storm when they gain their super-human powers from cosmic rays! This book collects the first 18 issues from the historical run, and it always gets you feeling like an excited child no matter how many times you’ve read it in the past. If you’ve never experienced this before then you’re in for a treat.
Cyanide & Happiness: Punching Zoo
Kris Wilson, Rob DenBleyker, Matt Melvin and Dave McElfatrick
Clair says: Since I was younger with a worse sense of humor I had always been a fan of Cyanide & Happiness; the crude jokes and simple art made it the most basic visual representation of story telling jokes without causing the reader to think to hard. Its simple and not for kids, it lacks political correctness and the creators have already published thousands of their comic strips online for free. Though I still think you should read it. Just mind-numbingly good.