Cheat Sheet | From ‘Animal Man’ to Boston Comic Con to Capote
Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. This weekend, we turn our attention to Boston Comic Con, which bounces back after being postponed in April amid the search for the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.
However, Saturday is still five days away, so first the ROBOT 6 contributors take a look at what’s arriving in stores on Wednesday, and make their choices for the best bets. Keep reading for the first issue of Captain Midnight, the final issue of It Girl and the Atomics, and more …
This weekend, it’s Boston Comic Con
Held Saturday and Sunday at the Seaport World Trade Center, this year’s edition features a lineup of comics guests that includes Neal Adams, Brian Azzarello, Mark Bagley, Nate Bellegarde, Howard Chaykin, Colleen Doran, Ming Doyle, Joe Eisma, Christopher Golden, Michael Golden, Joe Hill, Phil Jimenez, Mike Mignola, Terry Moore, Steve Niles, James O’Barr, David Petersen, George Perez, Amy Reeder, Gabriel Rodriguez, Don Rosa, Tim Sale, Bill Willingham and Chrissie Zullo.
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.
Batman Incorporated #13
Batman Incorporated #13 wraps up Grant Morrison’s sweeping Bat-saga, which has spanned some 60 single issues across at least three separate titles and has taken over seven years to tell. This mega-story has involved two Batmen, two Robins, three different Dynamic Duos, and a small army of associates and international counterparts, and it’s survived one line-wide relaunch. As such, it’s one of the last remnants of the pre-New 52 status quo, but that’s not why it’s significant. When Morrison and his artistic collaborators started this journey in earnest back in 2006, they sought to make Batman less of a coldly efficient source of misanthropy and ultra-violence, and more of what Morrison called the “hairy-chested love god.” This they did in spectacular, and sometimes unexpected, ways; first introducing the son Batman never suspected he had (appropriately enough, rescued from the limbo of “out of continuity”), and then by exiling Bruce Wayne to the distant past so that “Batman and Robin” themselves could be reinvented. Since then, the ground has shifted under Morrison’s feet, giving way to newer (and very well-received) takes on the Darknight Detective from relative newcomers like Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, and Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason. Still, Morrison’s influence is still felt, both in obvious ways like Damian Wayne’s fate, and in the more subtle, more humanized approaches these newer writers bring. Morrison didn’t invent the hairy-chested love god, but he did make it acceptable for Batman to be one. While Batman Incorporated #13 brings Morrison’s contributions to a close, the character will never be the same. – Tom Bondurant
It Girl and the Atomics #12
It makes me sad that It Girl and the Atomics is ending with this issue. It’s been a wonderful, kooky, yet perfectly accessibly series — exactly the kind of fun, continuity-light superheroics that I crave, with a lovable lead character and a fascinating supporting cast. I should probably just be happy that we got 12 issues of it, but I’m selfish enough to want more. Fortunately, it leaves with a party, and writer Jamie S. Rich has invited all the It Girl artists: Mike Norton, Natalie Nourigat and Chynna Clugston. Gonna enjoy that even as I’m crossing my fingers for another series by these same folks sometime in the near future. – Michael May
Animal Man Omnibus
In one of those odd coincidences that 1980s Grant Morrison might appreciate, my friend who introduced me to Morrison’s Animal Man run back in the late 1980s was unfortunately admitted to the ICU this past week. Not that Morrison’s work on the title was particularly Jungian, but the coincidence struck me for a moment. I missed out on the first several issues, but my friend helped me to catch up with back issues. I consider Morrison’s tenures on Animal Man and Doom Patrol to be some of his best work, and as much as I enjoy his present writing, those two series opened my eyes to the way the boundaries of the medium could be pushed far more than anything else Morrison has done. Of course, all boundaries were removed in Animal Man #26. I distinctly remember discussing that issue with my friend and our amazement of what Morrison did by having the character meet his “creator.”
I rarely go for the DC Omnibus editions, but I think my wallet needs to take the hit on this Animal Man Ominbus. This time around, rather than appreciating Morrison’s efforts as much, I am going to do closely consider the heavy lifting that artist Chas Truog did. On a personal note, if you will indulge me for a moment, I hope my friend gets out of the ICU soon, so that I can visit him in the hospital and remind him how grateful I am for his (hopefully) improving health, his friendship, and for introducing me to a series that I still appreciate on many levels to this day.
A good comics run is like a great film, it needs to be reconsidered and re-examined at least once every year or so, in order to glean elements you may have not appreciated on previous viewings. – Tim O’Shea
Optic Nerve #13
It’s been almost two years since the last issue of Optic Nerve but don’t worry about not remembering what happened last time. Similar to Issue 12, this one is made up of self-contained stories. Adrian Tomine is a beautiful cartoonist who’s skilled at capturing the quiet doubts, insecurities and absurdities of life. This is no doubt done out of love for the single-issue comic book format because there’s no doubt he’s making money from these. He’s mostly known for the collected graphic novels that pull from his long-running but sporadic anthology series, so if you want to read the stories The New York Times will be raving about five years from now, here’s your chance. – Corey Blake
Capote in Kansas: A Drawn Novel
This is a hardcover edition of a graphic novel first published in 2005, and I’m happy to see it back in circulation. It’s a fictionalized story of Truman Capote’s trip to Kansas to write In Cold Blood, initially accompanied by his friend Harper Lee. The locals are none too happy to see Capote, and he struggles to gain their trust while at the same time fighting his own personal demons. It’s an incredibly evocative book; writer Ande Parks packs a lot of story into this slim volume, and artist Chris Samnee captures every gesture, every raised eyebrow, in crisp black and white. My paperback is showing its age, and it’s good to see this graphic novel reissued properly in a deluxe format. – Brigid Alverson
Captain Midnight #1
After a run in Dark Horse Presents, the “man out of time” Captain Midnight graduates to an ongoing series by Joshua Williamson and Fernando Dagnino. Created in the 1940s, Captain Midnight was brought forward in time to discover the future he had been fighting the Nazis for isn’t all that great, and he’s kind of pissed about it. Williamson’s work on the character is already familiar if you checked out the story in DHP, but this first issue marks Dagnino’s debut on Captain Midnight. Based on his work on DC’s Resurrection Man revival and Suicide Squad, he should be a welcome addition to the team. – JK Parkin