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Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. Everyone still may be coming down from the excitement of Free Comic Book Day and the blockbuster opening of Marvel Iron Man 3, but we’re already looking ahead to Wednesday’s releases and Saturday’s two noteworthy events: Kids Comic Con and Long Beach Comic Expo.
But first, back to Wednesday, as ROBOT 6’s contributors single out some of the best titles going on sale this week, including a new edition of Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits, You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack and Red Handed.
Saturday will see one-day conventions held on opposite sides of the country:
Organized by the people behind the Long Beach Comic & Horror Convention, Long Beach Comic Expo has been dubbed the “Best Tiny Convention” by LA Weekly. Held at California’s Long Beach Convention Center, the event features a guest lineup that includes Dustin Nguyen, Whilce Portacio, Todd Nauck, Barbara Kesel, Jim Mahfood, Mike Kunkel and Matt Hawkins.
Meanwhile, Bronx Community College will play host to Kids Comic Con 7, which, as the name suggests, turns the spotlight on young fans and aspiring creators, complete with panels, workshops and portfolio reviews. This year’s guests include Danny Fingeroth, Jamar Nicholas, Jim Salicrup and John Gallagher. Admission is free.
ROBOT 6 contributors name their top choices from among the comic books, and comics-related books, scheduled to arrive in stores this week. We welcome readers to highlight their picks in the comments below.
The creator of The Smurfs wasn’t a one-trick pony; this early ’60s Peyo comic is pure smile-inducing fun. One of the earliest unconventional twists on the superhero genre, Benny Breakiron is about a well-meaning French boy who has super-strength, and can leap around like the Hulk or early Superman. Being a kid, he often doesn’t realize his own strength, resulting in all sorts of shenanigans. In between his accidental destructive tendencies, Benny tries to do right by helping out his fellow townsfolk. And like Superman, he is turned powerless by his one weakness. No, it’s not a strange ore from a distant planet; it’s the common cold. This is a bright and funny twist on superheroes by a master cartoonist. – Corey Blake
My favorite Hellblazer trade is finally – finally! — back in print! This time with new content to provide a more chronological view of the series, Hellblazer, Vol. 5: Dangerous Habits( (new edition) has a snazzy new cover by Dave Johnson and some of the last issues that Jamie Delano did on the book he started off in the late ’80s. Then we get to the best Constantine story ever, the rake at the gates of Hell at his finest as John Constantine learns that he has lung cancer (damn those Silk Cuts!) and proceeds to ruin his life, his friends and all of Hell in the process. This is the story I think of when I think of this character and, yeah, it was used somewhat in the oft-forgotten film, but really, hearing it from writer Garth Ennis himself in all its full bastard glory is the best way to learn everything you need to know. If you read one Constantine story ever, please read “Dangerous Habits” and you won’t be sorry. – Carla Hoffman
Having spent the better part of a year reading Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks’ Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong free online, mostly at the rate of one page per day, you’d think I wouldn’t be in a hurry to get the print version. In fact, it just got me excited to start the whole thing all over, and see how it reads all at once. NCPGW is about a kid caught between the implacable forces of his high school’s social structure, but it’s more than just cheerleaders versus the science club. And by “more” I mean “robot death matches.” Shen’s script (adapting her prose novel) is witty and heartfelt, and Hicks’ art brings it to life wonderfully. If you haven’t read it before now, you could always read it online — but you’ll love it anyway, so why not take the print plunge? – Tom Bondurant
Divorce is a subject that has fascinated me all my life. For about 30-plus years, I never understood how it could happen. Then, suddenly after 10 years of marriage in 2004, I found myself learning firsthand. Copeland’s memoir detailing her 2001 divorce, coming after nearly two decades of marriage, intrigues on two levels. Rather than being a fresh take, several years have passed since the divorce and if Copeland is anything like me, she’s gained some perspective on events given the distance. Also, judging by samples of what she edited out of the book for space, and posted on her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=464070000338697&set=a.464069993672031.1073741827.435685216510509&type=1&theater), if the discards entertain me, I expect the actual book will delight me. – Tim O’Shea
It’s not just jetpacks that make me jealous. It’s also people who are able to convey so many ideas and such emotion and humor in so few lines. People like Tom Gauld (Goliath) with ideas like “arrests by the fiction police and fictional towns designed by Tom Waits.” You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack collects strips from Gauld’s work for the U.K.’s Guardian magazine, making this the first time most of them have been available in North America. – Michael May
This Matt Kindt collection of interlocked short stories reads like a combination of two-minute mysteries and an existential novel. The setting is the fictional town of Red Wheelbarrow, the home of the world’s greatest detective, who believes he can solve any crime — until a rash of seemingly senseless crimes breaks out. This is the kind of book where you feel lost at first, and then you turn a page and everything falls into place. – Brigid Alverson