Robot 6

Cheat Sheet | From ‘Crater XV’ to ‘Saga’ to ‘Wild Blue Yonder’

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Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. Now that everyone is coming down from the high (or the low, depending upon your opinion) of Man of Steel‘s $125.1 million opening weekend, it’s time to settle back in for some actual comic books. And this week, there are plenty to recommend, from new-series debuts like Brother Lono and The X-Files Season 10 to original graphic novels like Paul Joins the Scouts and Primates.

But that’s not all, as this weekend also brings the fifth annual Kids Read Comics convention …

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This weekend, it’s Kids Read Comics

The fifth annual Kids Read Comics, a free event that brings together kids, teens, parents, educators and creators, will be held Friday and Saturday at the Ann Arbor District Library in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In addition to a full programming slate, which actually begins Friday, the event has a pretty impressive lineup of guests from across the country and Canada. Those scheduled to attend include Ben Hatke, Mark Mariano, Thom Zahler, John Green, Diana Nock, Matt Dye, Scott Robins, Jay P. Fosgitt, Justin Castaneda, Rafael Rosado, Jim Ottaviani, Dave Roman, Raina Telgemeier, Paul Storrie, Rob Worley and John Gallagher.

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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.

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Brother Lono #1

I’m curious to see how Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s return to the world of 100 Bullets pans out: Like many fans of that series, I loved the first 50 issues, and was a little underwhelmed by the second 50. Lono was always the least fleshed out of the Minutemen, so of everyone left standing (or crawling, or running or driving away) from #100, he’s probably the one with the most stories left in him. Always the most unapologetic and psychopathic of the book’s cast, this miniseries’ title seems to suggest the character is finally trying to seek some form of redemption. The main lesson of 100 Bullets, though, was nothing ever goes according to plan. – Mark Kardwell

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Wild Blue Yonder #1

Comics like Half Past Danger, The Wake and Six-Gun Gorilla have made this a great time for intelligent genre comics. I’m hoping the trend continues with Wild Blue Yonder, Mike Raicht and Zach Howard’s post-apocalyptic air adventure. Howard’s art ensures that it’ll at least be thrilling to look at. – Michael May

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The X-Files Season 10 #1

This week The X Files becomes the latest classic genre series to get a comics revival, courtesy of IDW Publishing. Subtitled Season 10, it’ll use the Buffy model of Chris Carter as “executive producer” with a regular creative team of writer Joe Harris, artist Michael Walsh and colorist Jordie Bellaire. It’ll also pick up after the events of the TV series (and, I think, the second movie), with Mulder and Scully living under new identities. Hey, an extra level of paranoia can’t hurt — and come to think of it, this may be an ideal time for everyone’s favorite truth-seekers to make a comeback. – Tom Bondurant

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Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Biruté Galdikas

I am a sucker for nonfiction comics, especially those that cover history and science. It’s one of the most exciting genres of comics to me because it is so unexplored in comparison to fantasy and adventure fiction. Jim Ottaviani has made a name for himself with Feynman, his acclaimed biography of the physicist, and T-Minus: The Race to the Moon with artists Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon. Exploring the history of primate research isn’t completely new ground for Ottaviani either; the Orangutan Foundation International published a couple of his short stories about the great apes. For Primates, he’s paired with Maris Wicks, who has a wonderful style that’s clean, precise, expressive and fun. Some people think history has to be dry and boring. One look at this proves otherwise. – Corey Blake

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Crater XV HC/Heck HC

Last year Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon teamed up for a digital-first series called Double Barrel, which came out through comiXology and serialized their next graphic novels (and included some other fun stuff, like hilarious comics about Zander’s kid). Those two projects — Heck by Zander Cannon and Crater XV by Kevin Cannon — arrive in stores this week. Heck‘s title has a double meaning, as it stars Hector Hammarskjöl, who finds a portal to Hell in the house he’s inherited. He uses that portal to start a business where he and his buddy Elliot contact the recently departed to settle inheritance issues. Then his old girlfriend shows up, wanting him to deliver a letter to her dead husband. It’s a cool twist on Dante’s Inferno, as Heck and Elliot head into the underworld and things don’t always go as planned. Crater XV, meanwhile, is the next adventure for Army Shanks, whom we first met in Far Arden. It’s got pirates, walruses, femmes fatales and is set against the political backdrop of the Arctic and every country that wants a piece of it. Even though I own them digitally and usually don’t buy things twice, I want these on my shelves, because they’re both pretty awesome. – JK Parkin

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Paul Joins the Scouts

Michel Rabagliati does a masterful job of immersing us in the world of his 10-year-old self in this coming-of-age story set in Montreal in 1970 (and mostly based on Rabagliati’s own life). It’s hard to imagine anyone writing about the Boy Scouts or the Roman Catholic Church without irony these days, but Rabagliati shows us not only the simple world of a child but also the simple goodness of those around him. He depicts Paul’s affectionate but slightly messy home life, the first stirrings of romance, and his experience with the Scouts at a time when idealistic adults challenged youth to really think about ethics, politics and everyday life. The backdrop to this story is the violence of the Quebec separatist group FLQ, which mingles with everyday life in strange ways. With carefully measured drama, beautiful detail, and brilliant storytelling, this may very well be the graphic novel of the year—and a worthy followup to Rabagliati’s Doug Wright Award-winning Song of Roland. – Brigid Alverson

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Saga, Vol. 2

The healthy sales of the first volume mean this collection is probably one of the most=anticipated releases of the year for comic fans of a certain non-floppy-buying persuasion. Finally, we trade-waiters get to find out how Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples resolve about a half-dozen sadistic cliffhangers, and what new ones we’ll be left chewing our fingernails over for the next few months. – Mark Kardwell

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