Taking a Look at the January 2009 Previews
Yesterday we introduced you to my new column, The Read Less Traveled. If you missed it, you can jump back and get all the details on exactly what we're doing here. All caught up? Cool. Now we can forage forward into the comics!
This column ties to the January 2009 issue of Previews which solicits books that will be in stores March 2009. Sadly, the order cutoff date for this round was back on January 10th. We're playing catch up for the column's debut, but that won't be the case in February.
We're not necessarily advocating that you try every series listed here. It is simply my hope that you sample a few and broaden your read a bit. Without further ado, here are the standouts I see for this month in the order they occur in Previews...
Page 206 - Terry Moore's Echo #11 / Abstract Studio
In my opinion, this is THE BEST monthly comic being produced today. In Echo, Terry Moore is weaving another classic tale that is both jaw-droopingly beautiful and layered with character depth and fascinating storytelling. I can't say enough good things about this series. I was an admitted bow-on-one-knee fan of Strangers in Paradise and I am overjoyed to call this a fitting successor to the Moore indie crown. In #11 we get hints that the suit Julie wears may only be the tip of the iceberg leading to a much larger story. I can only say... "cool"!
Page 206 - Glamourpuss #6 / Aardvark Vanaheim
If you haven't experienced a few pages of Glamourpuss, I recommend giving it a try. Its playful experimentation with comic art and nontraditional style serve up a bit of ground breaking comic goodness from a somewhat undisputed master of the indie revolution. This may not star an Aardvark, but it's still filled with Sim goodness.
Page 206 - And There You Are Graphic Novel / AdHouse Books
Almost everything I've ever read from AdHouse has been both artistic and enjoyable. If you missed our preview of this graphic novel, I highly advise running a search for it on the main page of the site and taking a look. The tale of And There You Are features the work of Eisner award winning creator Ronnie del Carmen. By the way, next time you watch films such as Ratatouille, Finding Nemo or WALL-e, watch the credits as you'll see his name. This story, told through a mix of journals and art is, in this reader's opinion, not to be missed.
Page 210 - American Terror: Confession of A Human Smart Bomb Volume 2 GN/ Alterna Comics
Jeff McComsey has a voice in comic creation that feels a bit unique and consistently shares a story worth reading. I have been a fan of his American Terror work since well before the title move to graphic novels. Both in art and the themes explored, this remains a not to be missed series. It's a battle of state rights vs. the corporations that seek their domination, yet it maintains an action packed heart and sports a nice little mature themes warning. Interesting to say the least!
Page 216 - Super Human Resources #2 / Ape Entertainment
Everyone knows that I have a soft spot for Ape titles and this has grown out of the fact that they are so darned good. That said, Super Human Resources raises the bar quite a bit in terms of pure, creative fun. This series deserves to be the runaway hit of the year for new comer Ken Marcus. Justin Bleep's art fits the story oh so well and this series rewards readers who love comics. It's funny, but also celebrates the genera of capes and tights. Here The Office meets the Avengers and it hits home on all the right notes. Just give the series a try. You will not regret it!
Page 216 - Wind Raider #3 / Ape Entertainment
Did you enjoy the Mad Max films? Do you like a wonderful cinematic feel to the visuals of your comic story? Do you like a bit of mysticism and mystery thrown into that mix? Wind Raider is the title for you! Having had a chance to speak with artist Gabriel Hardman (who has storyboarded films ranging from Spider-Man III to X-Men II to Superman Returns), I am intrigued to see this story unfold. It is impressive just how much of this story is told through the visuals.
Page 231 - Doktor Sleepless #15 / Avatar Press
First of all, we're talking Warren Ellis so that should set the bar at a certain height in terms of expectations. What I particularly like about this series is the thought that goes into the rambling narrative of the good Doktor. This series is a vehicle through which Ellis gets to discuss society, technology and utilized science fiction to comment on the world around him. All of that is done with a bit of anarchist tendencies thrown into the mix. Here, the future is broken. Is the Doktor working to unravel it or heal it? We're not completely sure, but the ride is worth taking and the back-up text Ellis adds to frame the tale is a treat.
Page 232 - Gravel #11 / Avatar Press
Looking for a solid Lovecraft styled story that's a little rough and tumble, loaded up with action and mysticism and told in a wonderful fist flying style? Try Gravel. By Warren Ellis and Mike Wolfer, this one has been a consistent satisfying read and deserves it's home on my personal pull list.
Page 232 - Rawbone #1 / Avatar Press
This one is a bit of a blind discussion as I haven't seen anything from the series yet. How can I recommend it? Well, that's an aspect of this column... letting you know what catches my eye even if it's sometimes a blind eye. Here, Avatar Press shares a pirate tale in which the main characters run head first against the Church of England. It's a story I'm willing to try! If you're looking for Pirates of the Caribbean, I'm betting this may not be your cup of tea. If you're looking for a raw depiction of the period, it sounds like this may be something to see.
Page 234 - Bartholomew of the Scissors Volume 1 TP / Bluewater Productions
I'm playing from memory here, but I believe it was artist alley at Wizard World Chicago that I got to check out some of the original work from series creator Daniel Crosier. Here, the art of the story is literally burnt into pine wood planks then rendered for the page from that original art. To say this story has a unique feel would be an understatement and seeing it utilized for a horror story ads an eerie air that must be seen to be believed. It's a scissor swarm, paranormal detectives, phantasms and cults at the center of story set in a tone that can only be enjoyed.
Page 243 - Farscape Volume 1 HC / BOOM! Studios
Fans of the original series (including one in my own home and one who helped redesign the Comic Related website) agree, this Farscape series captures the tone, style and feel of the original television series. It ranks right up there with Dark Horse's Buffy for recapturing a show that has long been cancelled and many of us miss. If you didn't get a copy of the sold out original series, the hard cover may be just the answer to catch up on the fun. Also worth a mention is the Farscape: Strange Detractors #1 also being solicited this month.
Page 244 - Pandora Box Volume 1: Pride Gn / Cinebook
Novel Ideas scribe Bill Love first got me interested in Cinebook's titles. I've been impressed with what I've seen from this UK publisher as they bill themselves as a 9th art publisher (9th art being comics in continental Europe, especially France, Italy and Greece). Here we see a mix of Geek mythology and modern technology warped around story. Give it a try!
Page 244 - Watchmensch One-Shot / Brain Scan Studios
If you are a fan of Rich Johnston's column Lying in the Gutters over at Comic Book Resources, you know that he not only understands comics, but approaches the genera with wit and humor. I have high hopes for this comedic reinterpretation of the classic Watchmen story that's utilized to, quite possibly, share a bit of comic history. Just in time for the film and loaded up with great art, I think this could be a winning proposition.
Page 244 - RASL #4 / Cartoon Books
Come on... It's Jeff Smith... How can you not read this? My only complaint with the series so far is I want more! This series is filled with dimension hopping science fiction fun and it allows Smith to explore characters and themes that weren't available to him within the pages of Bone. This time out, we learn more about the history of RASL and the nature of reality in his world. Jumping on point? Nope! Shame on you... Jump back and grab the first three. It's a perfect time to start reading this series.
Page 269 - Deadworld Volume 2: Frozen Earth / Desperado Publishing
Are you into the Walking Dead? Can't get enough zombie fun? Why not take it all back to the start and check out the latest incarnation of the oldest and longest running original zombie series, Deadworld! The King Zombie, a frozen world to play in and a band of survivors trying to beat the odds... What more could you want from a survivalist story?
Page 278 - Berlin Book 2: City of Smoke TP / Drawn and Quarterly
Jason Lutes takes you on a walk through the streets of Berlin, circa 1928 to 1933. Berlin, though published intermittently, presents an interesting slice of life drama set against the stage of the real world rise of the Nazi party and the days just before World War II. This tale shares a time that led up to the tragic events that would follow and proves a fascinating read.
Page 282 - Castle Waiting Vol. 2 #15 / Fantagraphics Books
There is something wonderfully innocent and fun about Castle Waiting. I came a little late to the party, catching up over just the last few months, but I've enjoyed the ride. There is a whimsical nature to the story, but for me it also contains a slight sense of dread that hangs in the background. In my read that has proven both disquieting and interesting at the same time. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and time and again it doesn't. It's an unusual experience that I quite enjoy.
Page 288 - The Beats: A Graphic History HC / Hill & Wang
Harvey Pekar, Paul Buhle and Ed Piskor take you on a tour of Kerouac, Ginsburg, Burroughs and beyond. The Beat culture history comes alive sharing a detailed look at this very unique era. It's a period in our history that has always fascinated me and I'm a fan of Piskor's art style.
Page 293 - Angel #19 & Angel: Blood and Trenches #1 / IDW Publishing
Though the art of Angel: After the Fall was a mixed bag for me, I really enjoyed the story. I have to tip my hat to what IDW has done with the Whedon-verse properties and the cover art on both the titles solicited this month has me intrigued. Also, in Blood and Trenches, John Byrne pens and draws a story of Angel set in the heart of WWI. Could be interesting...
Page 297 - The Dreamer #5 / IDW Publishing
You just have to give Lora Innes series (which she draws and writes) a try. The Dreamer is classic adventure, romance and war set in 1776 and, if you're new to the series, it all started with the web comic. A title that is beautiful, historical, romantic and interesting, this one deserves your support.
Page 301 - Britten and Brulightly GN / Metropolitan Books
Who doesn't love a good "who done it" story filled with twists and turns. I must admit that I have little exposure to this title or the company, but based on the cover art, the staff pick and the write-up, I would like to get a copy of this one to read. This is Hannah Berry's first work and here the investigation of a suicide leads to an investigator's personal quest for redemption. If I can get my hands on it, I'll break out my best Sherlock Holmes pipe and report back.
Page 303 - Courtney Crumrin Volume 4: Courtney Crumrin's Monstrous Holiday TP / Oni Press
Having sampled the preview art for this one, I'm hooked. Ted Naifeh has what looks to be a classically good tale in the making as Courtney and her Uncle Aloysius stumble into yet another supernatural adventure. Don't you wish your next European holiday promised to be this fun and creepy? This one will be an almost certain hit with the Harry Potter crowd.
Page 310 - Neozoic Volume 1 TP / Red 5 Comics
I have wanted to try Neozoic since it debuted, but due to my own meandering read list, I somehow missed making it happen. I plan to grab this trade and see if a world where the dinos never died off and civilization has grown hand in hand with the reptile giants is as interesting as it sounds. If the story matches the art, I know I'm in for a treat.
Page 321 - Alan Moore's Voice of Fire / Top Shelf
Alan Moore set free to pen a novel? You better bet I'm moving to the front of the line to try this one. Neil Gaiman introduces the story and here Moore dips into the lives of twelve characters who lived in the same region of London over the course of six thousand years. I'm looking forward to see how the writer weaves each of these individual histories together. All I need is a good fire and a comfortable chair.
Page 324 - Funny Misshapen Body GN / Touchstone
If you haven't tried the work of Jeffrey Brown, you are missing out. I find myself liking his autobiographical storytelling the best. That said, I guess I'm in for a treat as this latest offering chronicles his coming of age as a comic artist. It's also his first comic memoir in several years. If the past offerings are any indication, this unflinching look at his personal experiences breaking into comics should be quite insightful.
Page 324 - The Miskatonic Project: H.P. Lovecraft's Bride of Dagon TP / Transfuzion Publishing
With a lead line like "before X-Files, before Torchwood, there was the Miskatonic Project", how could I not look for a copy of this release from our friends at Transfuzion Publishing. Created by Mark Ellis and sporting sharp mix of Cthulhu inspired horror storytelling, this promised to be a creepy-fun read.
Page 324 - The New Justice Machine Volume 1: Top Gear Edition TP / Transfuzion Publishing
Do you remember that amazing Justice Machine / Elementals crossover from the days of Comico? The Justice Machine were the first independently published super team and I'm excited to report that they are on their way back to readers who grew up with them. These aren't reprints of the original run, these aren't unearthed classic stories... these are new stories that mark a return for the team and, as a former reader, I'm more than interested to see it in print. Now, if we can just convince Bill Willingham to bring back the Elementals, the world of comics may have made my year.
Breaking the "rule of four" for a jaw dropper...
Page 38 - Wondermark Volume 2: Clever Tricks to Stave Off Death / Dark Horse Comics
I only cover the big four in this column when there is a clear standout and Wondermark hits that target. As evidenced in our forum and Rapid Fire News feed, I think highly of this web comic and its creator David Malki. His humor in these strips just tickles the right spot most days and here we have the second hardbound collection of his nationally syndicated strip collected for easy enjoyment. I give this one a high recommendation (and invite you to hunt down his other work, Beards of our Forefathers, if you get a chance).
One addition item that isn't yet a comic...
Page 458 - Blue Line Kids Comic Draweing Kits
I was sitting at Comics2Games the day this idea hit the drawing board. Within an hour the groundwork was laid for Blue Line Kids and now, to see it in Previews, I welcome the product and the imagination it will open up in the kids who receive the comic art supplies. These kits contain everything a child would need to begin creating comics and storyboarding. Take a moment, flip to the back of the book and order this for a future comic creator in your life.
Cheers for now...
Okay friends, that's a wrap for this month. Do you think I missed the boat and skipped a title that should have been included? Shoot me an e-mail and let me know. Not only will I consider the title for next month's column, I'll probably include your comments.
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