Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes, and first issues so that I don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “Planet of the Apes is still awesome!” every month. And I’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.
Also, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell me what I missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
White Picket Fences: Red Scare and ongoing series – One of my favorite Ape comics is getting collected and then relaunched as an ongoing. I’m a big fan of Micah Farritor’s art in Red Scare, so it’s sad that he won’t be back for the ongoing, but the little kids vs. UFOs concept is ripe enough to keep me interested, particularly in the wake of Super 8.
Man, Archaia lays low for a couple of months and then BAM!
Jim Henson’s A Tale of Sand - I saw the presentation on this at C2E2 at it looks amazing. No Muppets, but Henson’s fingerprints are all over it in the surreal, subversive craziness that he’s known for.
Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes - This is an illustrated novel, not a comic, so I debated about including it, but it’s being Planet of the Apes and published by Archaia won out. It’s set during the original movie and covers stuff that we know happened, but didn’t see (the fate of Landon, for instance) as well as working in characters from other movies (like Dr. Milo from Escape from the Planet of the Apes). And when they say it’s illustrated, they’re talking about folks like Jim Steranko, Joe Jusko, and Dave Dorman. This is a must-have.
Rust – Life on a small farm is disrupted by a boy with a jetpack who’s fleeing a giant robot.
Mr. Murder is Dead - Kind of a Dick Tracy-esque murder mystery in which the lead detective is also the main suspect. Brent Schoonover’s (Horrorwood, Astronaut Dad) clean, exciting line-work makes him the perfect artist for this retro tale.
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller, Volume 1 – Nate Cosby, the former Marvel editor who brought you Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Pet Avengers, X-Men: First Class, and Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane has put together an all-star line-up of talent to interpret classic myths and fairy tales. Creators include Roger Langridge, Marjorie Liu, Ron Marz, Jeff Parker, Francesco Francavilla, Colleen Coover, Janet Lee, and others.
RASL, Volume 2: The Fire of St. George – I’m still not sure if I want to buy these trades as they come out or wait for the eventual, complete version. I say this as someone who has at least four different versions of Bone. If you’re buying the trades as they come out though, here’s the second one, collecting issues 4-7.
Criminal Macabre: No Peace for Dead Men – New Cal McDonald is always a good thing.
Abe Sapien: The Devil Does Not Jest - So is new Abe Sapien. Especially when he’s investigating haunted houses. It’s a weird juxtaposition for a water-breathing hero, but I always like Abe best when he’s checking out spooky, old houses.
BPRD: Hell on Earth – Russia #1 – I guess Dark Horse has new stories starting for all their coolest characters this month.
Hellboy: House of the Living Dead - Case in point. Not a new mini-series, but an original graphic novel. And Hellboy dresses like a luchador to fight Frankenstein’s monster.
Dark Horse Presents #4 – “But wait, Mike,” you say. “Where’s the new Beasts of Burden story?” Right here.
Dagar the Invincible Archives, Volume 1 – I’ve never read Dagar before, but ’70s fantasy series are always wacky fun. Whether $50 is a good investment for “wacky fun” is another story, but this is “What Looks Good,” not “Food or Comics.”
Hmm. DC doesn’t have much going on in September, so we’ll just skip to…
Just kidding! Here’s what looks best to me from the new 52.
Aquaman #1 – Looking forward to seeing if Geoff Johns is the cure to the Aquaman is Lame meme. I’m a fan of the character, so I certainly hope so.
Wonder Woman #1 – I don’t know which is more exciting to me: Brian Azzarello’s writing Wonder Woman or Cliff Chiang’s drawing it. Chiang can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned, and while I can’t say exactly the same for Azzarello, he’s always interesting. He’s the last person I would have imagined to write Wonder Woman and that’s exciting as hell to me.
Action Comics #1 – I’m not really sure you’re allowed to call yourself a DC fan if you’re not excited about Grant Morrison’s writing Action Comics.
Supergirl #1 – Whenever DC does one of these big, post-event launches of a bunch of new titles I’m always compelled to try one featuring a traditional character that I’ve just never really given a fair shot before. Supergirl is that character for this launch. I have no idea if I’m going to like it, but it’s time I gave her a better look.
Batgirl #1 – I sympathize with the objections to getting Barbara Gordon out of the chair, but selfishly, I’m really excited to see her in the Batgirl costume again. Totally would’ve been okay though with this being an out-of-continuity or Early Adventures kind of book.
Birds of Prey #1 – I’ll miss Gail Simone on this, but since this is Black Canary’s new home, I’ll be trying it out. The solicit reads like it’s just Canary and her sidekick, but the cover implies differently. I’ve probably missed an interview or something that explains the concept, but I’m totally on board with a team that includes both Black Canary and Poison Ivy.
Justice League Dark #1 – Since this is where Zatanna’s landed, I’ll be checking it out too. I’m concerned about the DCU version of Constantine, but keeping my fingers crossed and my charms polished in hopes that that works out okay.
Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE #1 – As I wrote in this week’s Food or Comics, I’m very much enjoying Jeff Lemire’s Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown. No reason the sequel shouldn’t be as good.
I, Vampire #1 – I know nothing about this character, but everything about Josh Fialkov’s writing horror. Totally in.
Resurrection Man #1 – Enjoyed this the first time around in the late ’90s. Glad to see it get another shot.
All-Star Western #1 – I’m curious to see Jonah Hex back East in Gotham, but hope his visit isn’t permanent for the series.
Static Shock #1 – You know what I really hope though? That Scott McDaniel and John Rozum include tons of Milestone characters in this series. I’m already in with just Virgil Hawkins, but having this be an all-inclusive Milestone book would make my year.
Legion of Super Heroes #1 – Although the Legion Lost title has a lot more cache with me because of Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Olivier Coipel’s excellent limited series of the same name, I only like a couple of the characters in the new version of that. I still want to read a Legion book though, so this’ll be the one.
Batman: Noel – Batman by way of A Christmas Carol sounds interesting until I realize that there’s no way Batman’s going to undergo as dramatic a transformation as Scrooge did. Right? I mean, he can’t. So what’s the point? What can he possibly learn about himself at this point that’s at all meaningful? Those questions are going to haunt me (sorry) until I read this. I can’t imagine not being disappointed, but I have to know for sure.
The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold #11 – What do you know? There are two Jonah Hex-goes-to-Gotham comics out this month.
Warlord of Mars, Volume 1 – Collecting the first nine issues of Dynamite’s John Carter of Mars series.
Zorro, Volume 3: Tales of the Fox – Matt Wagner’s Zorro series continues to be collected.
Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse, Volume 2: Trapped on Treasure Island - More of Floyd Gottfredson’s classic, adventure stories with Mickey and Peg Leg Pete.
Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips, Volume 1: Through the Wild Blue Yonder – It’s here! It’s finally here!
Amulet, Book 4: The Last Council – The next volume in Kazu Kibuishi’s all-ages fantasy series.
Star Trek #1 – As much as I like the series-of-mini-series format for comics, there’s just something exciting about the words “ongoing series,” isn’t there?
Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters – Loved the first issue and have been trade-waiting ever since. Powell, Marsh, and Hester get what makes Godzilla great.
Jurassic Park: Dangerous Games #1 – Combining giant reptiles with crime comics worked for Godzilla: Gangsters and Goliaths, so why not?
The Definitive Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim, Volume 1 – I’ve been mourning the discontinuation of Checker’s publishing the Alex Raymond Flash Gordon stuff and was hoping someone else would pick it up. Awesome to see that it’s IDW and that they’re exceeding expectations by also reprinting the Jungle Jim toppers to each strip.
The Monstrous Collection of Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson – Niles and Wrightson have been secretly putting out an ongoing comic in disguise as a series of apparently unrelated, but actually connected mini-series. Here are the first three, over-sized and in black-and-white, which is an excellent way to look at Bernie Wrightson art.
Near Death #1 – I just like the premise of this: a prolific hitman has a near death experience that causes him to want to save a life for every one he’s taken.
Deadlands: Hopeless Roads - I’d want to read a Steve Niles/Francesco Francavilla western-horror even if it didn’t take place in one of my favorite RPG settings.
John Carter: A Princess of Mars #1 – When Marvel first started adapting classic literature, they had some cool covers, but the comics themselves lacked character and power. They’ve since fixed that with books like their Jane Austen adaptations and Eric Shanower and Skottie Young’s Oz series, so I’m thrilled that they’ve gotten Roger Langridge to write a John Carter one. I was unfamiliar with artist Filipe Andrade, but his stuff is interesting and dynamic, so I think Edgar Rice Burroughs fans are in good hands all around.
Casanova: Avaritia #1 - New Casanova! NEW CASANOVA! NEW CASANOVA!
Castle: Richard Castle’s Deadly Storm - I’m a big fan of Castle the TV show, but skeptical about comics tie-ins to that kind of thing. Curiosity about Derrick Storm and Kelly Sue DeConnick’s name on the cover trump skepticism though.
Sigil – CrossGen’s scifi and pirate comics combine in this collection. I trade-waited, so someone tell me how it was.
Ruse – This I’m more confident about. Mark Waid’s earlier run on this was one of CrossGen’s best comics, so I don’t know how his return to it can be anything but great.
Alpha Flight Classic, Volume 2 – I seriously thought we’d never get this, so chalk up another one I owe Fred Van Lente, Greg Pak, and Dale Eaglesham.
Moonstone Pulp Fiction Magazine #1 – This sounds fantastic. Almost 100 pages for 8 bucks, featuring both comics and prose from Moonstone’s wealth of pulp characters like the Spider, the Black Bat, and the Phantom Detective.
Airboy/G-8 and Airboy Presents: Air Vixens – Gotta love Nazi-fighting pilots.
Savage Beauty – A limited edition hardcover collecting the first issue and the (until now) unpublished second and third issues of Mike Bullock’s politically and socially relevant jungle girl series.
Black Metal, Volume 2: The False Brother – The long-awaited sequel to Rick Spears and Chuck BB’s fantasy story about a couple of metal head brothers who also happen to be literal demon spawn.
Driver for the Dead – I very much dug the first issue of this voodoo-filled version of The Transporter.
Flesh: The Dino Files – Apparently, the reason the dinosaurs died out was due to overhunting by futuristic time-travelers. I have no idea what the actual plot of this is, but that’s a sound enough concept that I want to know more. Just so long as the dinos get to fight back some.
Bonnie Lass #1 – I’ve been reading the online issues of this and it’s good. It’s set in a fantasy world where pirates interact comfortably with steampunk as well as modern tech, so it’s fresh and interesting. It’s also funny, and not just in a bawdy way (though it has those kinds of jokes too).
Royal Historian of Oz – The first issue was great and I’ve been waiting for the collection. Oz stories are abundant, but Tommy Kovac and Andy Hirsch make this especially funny and dangerous at the same time.
Korgi, Book 3: A Hollow Beginning – Oops. I’m a book behind. Need to catch up and then buy this. The first one was excellent.
Dragon Puncher: Island – Kitties! In robot-suits! Punching each other! On an island! That James Kochalka knows what’s good.
Dear Creature – Jonathan Case’s tender story of an atomic sea mutant in the ’60s whose poet soul is at odds with his tendency to eat people.
That’s it for me. What did I miss?