Staff Picks – Week of 27/04/2016

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – The Original Topps Trading Card Series Volume 2
Abrams Comic Arts

Chris says: This week’s new comics delivery took me back in time with the arrival of the second volume reprinting Topps’ Star Wars trading cards from my childhood. I happily consumed Volume 1 as I was too young to ever acquire a complete set of Star Wars cards at the time (I got about half the collection), but this one resonated more as Empire was the first trading card set I can remember completing. It’s a little heartbreaking in hindsight, but I remember being in the playground and swapping a giant stack of other cards (including Star Trek and Raiders of the Lost Ark) for the final card I needed to complete my collection. Referring to the book, it was card number 71 … ‘Raising Luke’s X-Wing’. In some ways I regret it, but it also provides me with a far more memorable and story than I may otherwise have had. I still have those cards too – tucked away in storage somewhere – and, thanks to the fine folks at Abrams Comic Arts, I now have a more lasting and accessible version in this wonderful hardback collection. It even comes with a pack of new, limited edition cards to enjoy – if only I can bring myself to open them. If, like me, you remember collecting trading cards as a kid and/or you love Star Wars the way we all do, then I highly recommend this book. With Star Wars day coming up, it’s a perfect reminder of May the 4th be with you, always.

The Goon Vol.15 Once Upon a Hard Time
Eric Powell
Dark Horse Comics

Thomas says: Powell weaves a tale of misery and heartbreak that filled me with fear and trepidation to the point where I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue or not. I love the Goon almost as much as Franky and to see him fall further and further into the black abyss thanks to the continuing machinations of the Witches Coven was almost too much for me but I kept going and was glad I did. Powell’s art is exceptional but his writing is phenomenal and this volume is a testament to that.

Drax #6
CM Punk & Cullen Bunn (w), Scott Hepburn & Scott Hanna (a)
Marvel Comics

Ryan says: Action-packed, colourful, brutal, and fun. A few words that a rarely used in the same sentence, but for Drax, they describe the series to a “t”. Full of bold and expressive artwork by Scott Hepburn, with the assistance of Scott Hanna, every page visually pops, making the story all the more exciting to read. Drax and his new allies have defeated Fin Fang Foom, and are now tasked with returning the alien children they rescued to the various corners of the universe they were stolen from, and now our muscle-bound hero is free to continue his hunt for vengeance against Thanos… as long as he can get past psychotic assassin Killer Thrill. With one quest ending and another just beginning, there’s never been a better time to jump aboard this interplanetary adventure!

Image+ #1
Image Comics

Karl says: Here’s a lovely new preview anthology from the good people at Image Comics. It features excerpts from upcoming titles, as well as interviews a string of creators currently working at Image including Jordie Bellaire, the busiest colourist in the business; Bryan Lee O’Malley on fashion blogging and his soon to be released collaboration with Leslie Hung – the hilariously titled Snotgirl !
There is a real treat for fans of Jeff Lemire’s artwork in the shape of a 12 page preview of his amazing looking team up with Scott Snyder – A.D. With further interviews and features including one on a Local Comic Store, a Walking Dead story and a very useful checklist of when many of these goodies are shipping, this is a promising new enterprise from comics’ current leading publisher. Worth the $2 entry fee for the astonishing and informative Brandon Graham strip on the inside front cover alone!

Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2016
Anthology – Edited by Andy Oliver
Broken Frontier

Camila says: If you have any interest in indie British comics, you’ve probably come across Andy Oliver in some way. As the editor-in-chief of Broken Frontier, and one of the most actively passionate person about indie comics around; you’re likely to have either seen him talk at a comics panel, have chatted to him in a festival, exhibition opening or other comics event, or read one (or many!) of his Small Pressganged reviews. Now he’s gone and collected a bit of all of this wonderful stuff he’s so passionate about into a neat little anthology, the Broken Frontier Small Presss Yearbook 2016!

The first part of the book features stories by the Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015, and is followed by a load of shorter pieces by more established artists, all of which have their roots in self-publishing.

This is more than just an anthology or a collection of great talent, it’s a celebration of alternative comics, and a record of a little of the brilliant work that’s being produced in the UK right now, so in a few years time, we can all look back and reminisce about these exciting and vibrant times.

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