Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15 this Wednesday, it’d be all Image for me – starting with Nowhere Men #3 (Image, $2.99). The Beatles as a scientific supergroup, through the lens of Dr. Strangelove? Let’s do this. I’ve been a big fan of Nate Bellegarde for a while, and this book finally seems to capture what’s unique about him – his comedy, his stark scientific acumen, and his humanism. After that I’d get Glory #32 (Image, $3.99). Beautiful cover by Ricken here, and reads like a great manga building up to some epic battle. After that I’d get Brian Wood and Ming Doyle’s Mara #2 (Image, $2.99). I tried to hold back my expectations before reading Issue 1, and I was blown away – so now Issue 2 has something to prove. Finally, I’d get Invincible #100 (Image, $3.99) (Cory Walker’s cover, if you want to know!). I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I think Invincible is better than The Walking Dead. No need to compare the two really, though, because no matter how you cut it, this series is great … and what Kirkman and Ottley have planned for the 100th issue looks to be unique – both for the promised deaths and the promise of seeing what could have been had Mark Grayson chosen differently.
If I had $30, I’d make up for lost time and get Brian Ralph’s Cave-In (Drawn & Quarterly, $14.95) . I’m reticent to admit this, but I’ve never read this book. I loved Daybreak, but never found a copy or the motivation to seek out more … but this Wednesday that will change.
For splurging, I already have most of this in the single issues, but I can’t help but splurge on the new collection X-Men: Mutant Massacre (Marvel, $34.99). This was my first crossover in comics, buying back-issues before I discovered events like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Secret Wars. In my rose-colored glasses, it’s an ideal crossover for not being too overbearing and relating to a conflict or situation that isn’t superhero-specific. Love the Morlocks, love Uncanny X-Men and the associated books around this time, so I’m buying this and spending an evening enjoying it all over again.
Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what’s been on our nightstands lately. Our guest this week is Jay Faerber, writer of Dynamo 5, Near Death and Noble Causes. The second Near Death trade just came out this week, and his new comic, Point of Impact, comes out Oct. 10.
To see what Jay and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
The manga publisher Vertical Inc. announced two new licenses at MangaNEXT: Heroman, which is co-written by Stan Lee, and The Limit, a serious take on bullying by Keiko Suenobu, the creator of Life, a manga about cutting that was published by Tokyopop in 2006. They will also be publishing a Queen’s Blade art book, based on the popular Japanese franchise that includes illustrated books, manga, anime, and video games.
Heroman is not a typical title for Vertical, but marketing director Ed Chavez said the manga really surprised him. “This is a very smart introduction to not just manga reading and traditional Japanese tropes of science fiction and the like, kaiju and giant monsters, but also a great introduction to American superhero comics,” he said. “To have Stan Lee involved and to have Square Enix [the publisher] involved, I thought this was a very interesting proposition.”
Lee developed the plot for the series, which was made into an anime by the anime studio Bones. The story, which is set in Los Angeles (or a city very much like it), is about a teenager who is a little undersized who wants to be a hero; he picks up a discarded toy that someone has thrown away and… well, you know… next thing there’s aliens and giant robots. Sounds like good stuff. Square Enix is the publisher of Fullmetal Alchemist and Black Butler, as well as a host of popular games, and they sure know how to make manga.
The other new manga license, The Limit, is a shoujo story that, Chavez said, “even the dumb old guys at Vertical—we are in our 30s—could understand.” In other words, it lacks the visual busyness of a lot of shoujo manga (see: Sailor Moon, or anything by Arina Tanemura), and, Chavez says, “It’s brutal. Once you get to the halfway part of the first volume, it’s literally a survival story, with high school girls. Six girls come in, three girls come out. I want to see not just your traditional shoujo reader pick this up, I would like to see the guys pick it up. It’s a harsh title.”