BEST BETS: "Jessica Jones," "Big Trouble/Escape from New York" & More October 2016 Highlights
It’s the week after a major holiday in the United States, which means that comics won’t be hitting U.S. shops until Thursday, Dec. 3.
But it should be worth the wait, as it’s a pretty big week on the event front for Marvel and DC. Although the regular Blackest Night book doesn’t come out this week, two new tie-ins kick off starring Flash and Wonder Woman. Marvel, meanwhile, kicks off a couple of events — first there’s Siege Cabal, which leads into their big tie-up to the Dark Reign storyline, plus “Fall of the Hulks” kicks off with a prologue of its own.
Those are just the tips of the iceberg this week, as Jonah Hex hits a milestone (as much as I love this book, I’m surprised — pleasantly, of course, but still surprised — to see it make it to issue 50 in this day and age), the JSA gets a second title and The Comics Journal says goodbye, at least to its current format. To see what Chris, Kevin and I have to say about this week’s releases, read on, and let us know in the comments section what you plan to get.
Kevin Melrose’s pick of the week: One Model Nation
It wasn’t all that long ago when I would’ve immediately written off a comic co-created (or, worse, “conceived”) by a singer or actor as a vanity project or a failed movie pitch. But Gerard Way’s work on The Umbrella Academy has done much to atone for the comic-book sins of countless celebrities. With that prejudice momentarily set aside, I can look past the name of the writer — C. Allbritton Taylor, aka Courtney Taylor of The Dandy Warhols — and focus on the concept and, even better, the artist: one Jim Rugg, of Street Angel and Afrodisiac fame. As if Rugg’s name weren’t enough, One Model Nation is edited by Mike Allred and Joe Keatinge.
I don’t want to gloss over the concept, though; it’s definitely intriguing (even if it was, indeed, a failed screenplay). The 144-page graphic novel centers on an industrial/electronic band in late-1970s Berlin who, along with groups like the Red Army Faction, exert a great deal of influence over youth culture of the era. The problem is that the government has a hard time differentiating between the musicians and the terrorists.
“It’s about a group of artists and the effect that the politics of the day have on their lives,” Taylor told Comic Book Resources last month. “When the politics intrude, it focuses mainly on the smallness of the individuals who are involved on the political side, whether it be media, or political activism, or what have you.”
I’m not expecting One Model Nation to be Graphic Novel of the Year, but it definitely has enough going for it to convince me to check it out.
JK Parkin’s pick of the week: Siege Cabal
As the solicitation says, “The Siege starts here!” Marvel’s big event to end all big events –at least for the time being — kicks off this Wednesday with a one-shot by Brian Michael Bendis, David Finch and Michael Lark.
If you’ve been closely following the Marvel universe for the last few years, from “Avengers Dissembled” to Civil War to the 50-State Initiative to Secret Invasion to “Dark Reign,” get ready for some payoff. If you’ve been wondering when Norman Osborn and his crew of maniacs were gonna get what they had coming to them, here you go. And if you’ve just been sitting on the sidelines waiting for all of it to be over, well, you have something to be excited about too, I guess, since this book marks the end of an era, of sorts. I fall into that first category; the last few years of stories have had more ups than downs, but it’s time to see where it’s all headed. (Marvel)
Chris Mautner’s pick of the week: GoGo Monster
Viz is putting on the fancy pants for this Signature edition of Taiyo Matsumoto’s early work, encasing it in a handsome cardboard slipcase with nice paper and whatnot, which is good as a) Matsumoto deserves this sort of treatment; and b) it’s a sign that their Sig line is doing well enough for them to up their production budget. The book itself is similar in many ways to the author’s Tekkonkinkreet (though an earlier work). Both are about two young boys, one of whom seems to be touched by a greater, perhaps sinister force. The difference in this case is that the boy can see monsters that seem to haunt their modern-day public school. If you’ve read Tekkonkinkreet or seen the movie, you can expect the same sort of moody atmospherics and disjointed narrative as before, though considerably less violence. It’s still a good read despite that absence. Review to come, hopefully soon. (Viz)
Beanworld Vol. 3: Remember Here
Chris: You know, if you had told me that comics’ near future would include not just one, but three hardcover volumes of Larry Marder’s Beanworld I’d have slapped you silly and called for the doctors. I might still do that, but just for laughs you understand, not because of Beanworld. That’s a great comic and deserves this sort of treatment. I’m just slap-happy. (Dark Horse)
Empowered: The Wench With a Million Sighs
Kevin: Adam Warren’s “sexy superhero comedy” returns in this one-shot that has Empowered grappling with a grave-robbing super villain as an imprisoned alien demon lord in her apartment weaves a revealing tale about our heroine. (Dark Horse)
Little Lulu TP Vol. 21: Miss Feeny’s Folly & Stories
Chris: Just in time for your holiday shopping comes another round of great all-ages (there’s that dreaded phrase again) comics by the one and only John Stanley. As long as Dark Horse keeps this stuff in print, I will never once complain about there not being any good comics for kids. (Dark Horse)
MySpace Dark Horse Presents, Vol. 4
Kevin: After two years and four print collections, it’s probably safe to conclude that Dark Horse is pleased with the results of its monthly online anthology. This 165-page trade paperback includes comics by the likes of Kate Beaton, Jo Chen, Farel Dalrymple, Guy Davis, David Malki, Chris Onstad, Eric Powell and Joss Whedon, plus a lovely cover by Kristian Donaldson. (Dark Horse)
Blackest Night: The Flash #1
Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1
JK: Two more “Blackest Night” tie-in minis kick off this week by creative teams I can really get behind. First, Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins detail the Flash’s side of things, while Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott tackle Wonder Woman. (DC Comics)
Jonah Hex #50
Kevin: You could do far worse this week than a double-sized anniversary issue of Jonah Hex illustrated by Darwyn Cooke. Yes, Darwyn Cooke! (DC Comics)
JSA All-Stars #1
JK: The repercussions of the latest Justice Society storyline are felt here, as all the young up’n’comers associated with the team spin off into their own series. Without any adult supervision, I picture them spending all their time playing Xbox 360, listening to Lady Gaga and eating Lucky Charms (they are magically delicious) instead of doing their homework. (DC Comics)
North 40 #6 (of 6)
Kevin: The largely positively reviewed Lovecraft-meets-middle-America miniseries by Aaron Williams and Fiona Staples wraps up with this issue. Staples’ art is just stellar. You can see for yourself on the Wildstorm website. (Wildstorm)
Teen Titans: Deathtrap trade paperback
Kevin: Although “Deathtrap” would be a fitting title for most, if not all, of this series’ run, it only refers to a crossover that entangled Teen Titans, Titans and Vigilante. This collects all of those issues. (DC Comics)
Black Widow & The Marvel Girls #1 (of 4)
Kevin: Am I the only one who saw the name of this miniseries and envisioned an all-superheroine band, possibly with a not-dead Janet van Dyne on keyboards, Brunnhilde (Valkyrie) on bass and Medusa on drums? Alison Blaire and Lila Cheney would be their chief rivals, and — well, never mind. In reality, it’s a flashback-filled walk through Black Widow’s history, with each issue teaming her with a different female figure from the Marvel Universe: Enchantress, whose profile has risen significantly recently, the Wasp, Ms. Marvel and Storm. It’s written by Paul Tobin, so it receives the benefit of the doubt. (Marvel)
Dark Avengers Annual #1
JK: This annual details what Noh-Varr, a.k.a. Marvel Boy, has been doing since ditching the team because he found out they were a bunch of psychopaths and criminals. (Marvel)
Fall of the Hulks Alpha
Hulk Winter Guard One-Shot
JK: You can get your Hulk on twice this week … first, with the prologue to the “family” event that’ll run through the Hulk titles, and second, with the Winter Guard one-shot by the creative team behind Zuda’s High Moon comic, David Gallaher and Steve Ellis. (Marvel)
Kevin: Kieron Gillen and Billy Tan begin their six-issue run on the series. (Marvel)
Chris: For some reason this is being offered again. Oh well, it’s a great book, if I do say so myself. And I did. (Pantheon)
Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary
Chris: I’m not big on canons — they serve a purpose but too often become inflexible in certain scholarly and critical circles. Still, this book by the one-time and hopefully future underground cartoonist Justin Green is pretty much canon and deservedly so. Not only is it the (I think) first autobio comic but it still retains a good deal of its power and artistry these many years later. How nice of McSweeney’s to re-release it. (McSweeney’s)
The Boys #37
Chris: Continuing the secret origins of the supporting cast, this week we learn all about the Frenchman. This is also a good reminder that I need to pick up that Herogasm trade. (Dynamite)
Kevin: Michael Alan Nelson, who seems to write at least half of BOOM!’s titles, teams with artist Francesco Biagini for a supernatural-crime miniseries about a man named Dingo who, with an enormous dog named Cerberus, goes in search of a mysterious box. It’s described as “in the vein of 100 Bullets,” so make of that what you will. (BOOM!)
Chris: Dave Sim continues his in-depth comic strip history lessons combined with obvious jokes about fashion magazines. This week he’s talking about Gene Colan, which should make for a good read. (Aardvark Vanaheim)
Goats Vol. 2: The Corndog Imperative
Chris: Del Rey continues their trade collection of Jonathan Rosenbaum’s webcomic. (Del Ray)
The Good Neighbors, Vol. 2: Kith hardcover
Kevin: I’m a big fan of Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin, Polly and the Pirates), and his art for the first volume in this series, Kin, certainly didn’t disappoint. I wasn’t so impressed by the writing of popular YA novelist Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles). I’m likely in the minority, though, as I’ve seen this contemporary fantasy crop up on lists of books recommended for young readers. It’s about Rue Silver, a teenager whose father is accused of murdering her mother. But Rue discovers there’s much more to the story, and to her mother, who is actually a faerie called back to the otherworld after Rue’s human father broke a promise. Now, of course, Rue must save her mother and defend the people she loves from her grandfather’s plans. You can learn more about the series on the publisher’s website. (Scholastic)
North World Vol. 3
JK: Oni releases a third volume of Lars Brown’s fun webcomic. Set in a world much like our own, only with monsters and magic and other fantasy elements, it’s a fun story with a great cast of characters. (Oni Press)
Popeye Vol. 4: Plunder Island
Chris: OK, here we go. This is it. The crown jewel in the Popeye crown. If you only buy one volume in the series, blah blah blah. Seriously, hopefully you’ve been collecting all the Popeye books, because it’s one of the greatest comics ever, but this volume contains what must surely be E.C. Segar’s finest hour, namely, the “Plunder Island” storyline, where in Popeye and friends search for treasure and come afoul of the Sea Hag. I have a tendency to quote from this strip the way some folks quote from the Simpsons. Which probably says more about me than Popeye, but still — it’s a great comic to pull funny quotes from. (Fantagraphics)
Chris: You know, I’ve read all three issues so far, and I’m not quite sure I understand what’s going on here yet. The interesting thing is, I really don’t seem to mind all that much. (IDW)
The Comics Journal #300
Chris: This thing landed with a thud in my mailbox yesterday. Man, what a brick it is, but a brick full of great interviews, as old and new creators get together to talk about art and the industry. Check out this line-up: Art Spiegelman gabbin’ with Kevin Hiuzenga, Frank Quitely chattin’ with Dave Gibbons, David Mazzucchelli jawin’ with Dash Shaw, Howard Chaykin talking to Ho Che Anderson, Denny O’Neil kvetchin’ with Matt Fraction, and much, much more. Plus reviews of big, important books like Asterios Polyp and that Acme Novelty Library that came out a year ago. (Fantagraphics)
Check out Diamond’s website to see what else will be in stores this week, then tell us what you’re buying in our comments section.