Staff Picks – Week of 16/09/2015

Heart in a Box
Kelly Thomson (w) Meredith McClaren (a)
Dark Horse Comics

Elektra says: Beckons to be picked up from the shelf among a plethora of other things vying for attention, which is already a very good thing. The art style has something somewhat indefinable about it which sustains ones attention, and later on you find that it also really suits the story; fluid, but not senselessly, it intrigues you to find its center point while pouring the story along, quite alive. Reading a couple of stray sentences that are meaningfully crisp yet sufficiently cryptic to make you want to delve in, you’re sold. Sensitive, funny, fully enjoyable. Read, and support the pajamas.

The Bronze Age of DC Comics 1970 – 1984
Paul Levitz

Thomas says: This is the third volume in this series focusing on each successive era of DC Comics with Taschen and Levitz managing to maintain the high quality that they started out the gate with bringing us a look at the Bronze Age following the Golden and Silver ages respectively. Paul Levitz was part of that first wave of fans who became professionals in the medium and really knows his stuff but is far from dull about it. This series is not obsessed with detailing every single aspect of every single comic from the period but instead gives the reader an interesting tour of DC Comics and the books that they were putting out at the time highlighting points of interest along the way. Like all Taschen books this is an absolute joy to look at with extremely high quality paper stock and high res images to ogle at for hours on end and at a very reasonable price.

Captain America White
Marvel Comics
Jeph Loeb (w), Tim Sale (a)

Liz says: I have a big soft spot for all the Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale collaborations. They’re well-told, accessible character stories that I can recommend to anyone, whether they’re an aficionado or have never read a comic in their life. Back in the early noughties this creative power-duo put out a number of color-themed mini-series’ at Marvel– Spider-man: Blue, Daredevil: Yellow, Hulk: Gray and lastly, Captain America: White. The #0 issue came out in 2008, and then it dropped out of sight, presumably never to be seen again, until now.

This story focuses on Cap and Bucky fighting together during the war, and Cap’s feelings of regret at waking up decades later and mourning the death of his friend. It brings a closer look at their friendship and partnership, and the joy it brought both of them to fight side by side. It’s reminiscent of the Loeb/Sale Batman story ‘Dark Victory’, which explores Batman’s reasons for taking Robin as his sidekick, and why ultimately he needed Robin as much as Robin needed him. So, for fans of Loeb and Sale, fans of Captain America and Bucky and for anyone just likes a good story, pick this up. Seems it’s worth the wait.

750 Years in Paris
Vincent Mahé (w/a)

Camila says: Brilliant graphic debut by french illustrator Vincent Mahé, depicting pieces of history over the past 750 years, by illustrating the same building as it would have looked over the centuries and during key historical events.

From the Knights Templar procession during the Crusades in the 13th century, to the plague, several wars, Napoleon’s enthronement and the opening of the Parisian Metro to this year’s protest following the Charlie Hebdo shooting; Mahé’s gorgeous and historically accurate full-page illustrations make not only a beautiful art object, but also a fine example of the many shapes sequential art can take.

No Mercy Vol.1
Alex de Campi (w), Carla Speed McNeil (a)
Image Comics

Adam says: Another sensibly-priced volume from Image Comics (£7), this book collects the first four issues of No Mercy, including backmatter content of design sketches from McNeil and travel essays by de Campi. Brilliantly intense and thematically uncomfortable, No Mercy exposes the flawed humanity of a group of over-privileged high school students from the USA when they take a trip to a poor Central American town to, like, build schools or whatever. Disaster strikes early with a traumatic bus crash and everything unravels from there.

Given her impressive body of work on the ‘aboriginal science fiction’ series Finder, McNeil is perfectly positioned to bring to life the experiences, relationships and violence that comprise No Mercy, alongside perfect, stark colouring from Jenn Manley Lee. This might also de Campi’s most immersive and unnervingly relatable character work thus far.