Staff Picks – Week of 02/12/2015

Doctor Who: The Complete History #6 (Vol. 22)
Hachette Patchworks/BBC/Panini Magazines

Thomas says: So, a pretty light week as usual. I was really looking forward to Dark Horse’ Mystery Girl comic but if the artist can’t be bothered drawing London then why should I bother reading the bloody thing which leaves me with the pretty decent looking and fairly well researched Complete History of Doctor Who series of books covering the entirety of the series’ production. This volume is a great time capsule despite being written with the optimism of hindsight, knowing that the next several years would be the show’s most successful it leaves the fear and uncertainty of a new Doctor and creative team largely to the side of the conversation and being that this volume is about ‘Robot’, Tom Baker’s debut as the Doctor that is a pretty big oversight, at least in my eyes but it was a problem for me in the previous Hartnell issue as well. Maybe I’m missing the point but it annoys me. There’s nothing really new in here for the hardcore but worth a read regardless.

Robin War #1
Tom King (w), Various (a)
DC Comics

Liz says: I’ve been excited for Robin War from the moment I saw it in Previews, for a number of reasons (Robin book, written by Tom King, yadda yadda) so it was in spite of already high expectations that I was floored by how good this was. The only comparison I can really draw is with Marvel’s Civil War, in that a very logical, could-happen-in-real-life tragedy sets off a politically orchestrated war between and against vigilante heroes; in this case, the Robins. We’re introduced to each of our main players over the course of the issue, with four different artists on hand to distinguish the changing perspectives. Tom King’s script is perfectly taut and just about flawless. So much happens in this issue yet it never feels rushed, just nail-bitingly exciting. I only wish that instead of two issues there were at least six, because I could read this until my eyeballs dried out.

Paper Girls #3
Brian K. Vaughn (w), Cliff Chiang (a)
Image Comics

Paul says: Vaughn once again proves he is arguably the best writer around with the latest issue of Paper Girls. The thing I like about this (or one of the things I like) is that BKV’s commitment to the idea is total. None of the characters are calling the idea out, winking at the audience in attempt to curry some post-modern favour with us humble readers. They know what’s going on is madness and roll with it, keeping themselves (and us) centered in the story. Even the moments when we could step outside the idea because of the pop-cutural references (page one, panels one and two are really good examples of this) are treated in such an immersive, realistic way, that we simply can’t help to be dragged along with the plot. The characters are great: convincing flesh and blood girls instead of stereotypes and even the ‘teen-talk’ is fresh and real.

In addition to this, Chiang’s panels are just gorgeous to look at, giving us enough detail without being overrun by it and (aided) by Matt Wilson’s beautiful colours, give us a book that’s pleasure to look at as well as read. Add to that the Goonies / My science project / Monster Squad style-storyline, this is turning into my book of the year… As long as that year is 1988!

I Love This Part
Tillie Walden
Avery Hill Publishing

Will says: Orbital’s recent exhibition “Underneath” showcased a fantastic group of artists who had drawn prints of their influences and heroes. One of these artists was Tillie Walden. This is where I first discovered her work and was blown away by her artwork focusing on the female characters of Studio Ghibli’s films. Tillie’s new book, “I Love This Part”, follows the relationship between two young girls and the experiences they share together as they start forming a much deeper bond. This book is incredibly sweet, the interactions between the two feel very real and occasionally sent shivers down my neck. Furthermore, the book is so cleverly crafted, not following a linear time progression, but juxtaposing moments from the past alongside the present creating a more meaningful effect. Story aside, the art is mind blowing. In the short time I have discovered Tillie’s work, she has easily become my favourite artist of 2015. So much talent, I cannot praise her work enough. Tillie Walden is one to watch for many years to come.

Star Wars #13
Jason Aaron (w), Mike Deodato (a)
Marvel

Karl says: Here is the third part of the Vader Down story arc which is a cracking Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen collaboration. All the original cast feature alongside some great new characters, my favourite being Doctor Aphra, who is Vader’s acolyte and her two droids, Triple Zero and Beetee, an evil twin version of Artoo and Threepio). Vader himself has been single handedly wiping out an entire battalion of Rebels. It’s a real page turner and when Han and Chewie show up to rescue Luke, it feels really like the good old days.

Both Aaron and Gillen have captured the tone and language of the characters perfectly and seem to be having a lot of fun working within the Star Wars universe. Nice super realistic artwork from Mike Deodato too, not the kind of work I usually go for, but it works in this context. Having avoided the Marvel Star Wars reboot so far, I found this to be a lot of fun and definitely one I’m looking forward to the next issue of.

Kuš! Komiksi

Camila says: We’ve just received a box full of gorgeous comics from the excellent Latvian publisher Kuš Komiksi, with several of their thematic anthologies, a bunch of minis by some incredible artists (including Jesse Jacobs, Tommi Musturi and Theo Ellsworth!) and their newest publication, still hot off the press – The End of a Fence, by Roman Muradov, one of the most beautifully illustrated pieces of sci-fi I have had the pleasure to read.

It’s almost impossible to choose just one of these, so my weekly pick goes to Kus! as a whole. If you aren’t familiar with Kus, nor the artists I mentioned, do check their website and I dare you not to fall in love with these little beauties.