Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
You might not have a Kobo e-reader, but if you’re reading Robot 6, you probably do have some sort of tablet, iOS or Android, or maybe a smartphone, yes? Well, here’s some good news: Kobo is having a half-price sale on graphic novels, and you can get its iOS and Android apps for free. So if you have been holding off on something, and you don’t mind having it in a different app than everything else, this is your lucky day.
Of course, much depends on what you like to read. There are no Marvel or DC Comics to be found, but if you’re a Walking Dead, Star Wars, Doctor Who or Buffy fan, Kobo has you covered. Lots of good indy stuff, too: Adam Warren’s Empowered, Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan’s Channel Zero, and the superb action comic Kill Shakespeare. The publishers most prominently represented seem to be Dark Horse, Image, IDW, Digital Manga (which publishes mainly yaoi manga but also Vampire Hunter D), Top Cow and Devil’s Due.
Before you pay full price for your second graphic novel, though, you might want to do a little comparison shopping; several of the Dark Horse books I checked were much cheaper on the publisher’s own digital app than in the Kobo store, and the Parker book below is only $7.99 at comiXology. Also, the Kobo store carries both single-issue comics and graphic novels, and it’s a bit pricey for the single issues, most of which seem to go for $4.99; Archie comics seem to be the exception to that.
With those caveats, here are a couple of books that I would recommend:
Parker: The Hunter, adapted by Darwyn Cooke (list price $9.99). Cooke is just the right person to adapt Donald Westheimer’s Parker novels (written under the pseudonym Richard Stark). His style is very much of the period, evoking the two-color illustration style of popular magazines of the 1950s and 1960s, and his storytelling is dead on. If you go for this, it will be the best five bucks you spend all year.
Archie: The Married Life, by Michael Uslan (list price $12.39). This collects the first six issues of the Life With Archie magazine that feature the dual Archie-marries-Veronica and Archie-marries-Betty storylines. Uslan and the other creators do a great job of aging up the iconic Riverdale gang in surprising and yet totally appropriate ways. This is one of my favorite just-for-fun reads.
Chimichanga, by Eric Powell (list price $12.99). This is a twisted, funny graphic novel about a bearded girl in the world’s worst circus. It’s an all ages story in the truest sense of the term, with plenty of action and fart jokes and some great art and writing backing it up.
Double Barrel #1, by Kevin Cannon and Zander Cannon (list price 99 cents). OK, if you’re feeling impecunious, here’s something that costs less than a buck: 122 pages of black and white comics by two indy creators (who aren’t related, despite sharing the same last name); Kevin is the creator of Far Arden and Zander gave us The Replacement God and Top 10. Here’s a preview of Double Barrel to whet your appetite.
Wolves, by Becky Cloonan (list price 99 cents). Cloonan’s self-published minicomic is brief but well drawn and a lovely thing to have on your tablet, and 50 cents is an insane price for that much goodness.