January 2017 Previews: Carman’s Picks

grasskings

Grass Kings #1

Publisher: Boom! Studios

(W/A/CA) Matt Kindt (A/CA) Tyler Jenkins

From The New York Times bestselling writer Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT) and Peter Panzerfaust artist Tyler Jenkins comes a rural mystery series chronicling the tragic lives of the Grass Kings, three brothers and rulers of a trailer park kingdom, a fiefdom of the hopeless and lost, of the desperate poor seeking a promised land.

Eldest brother Robert leads a grief-stricken life, having lost his daughter to a tragic accident, followed by his wife disappearing one morning never to return.
When an enigmatic young woman named Maria flees to their community in search of safe haven, Robert takes her in. Will his decision lead to ruin and retribution dooming the Kingdom?
Perfect for fans of True Detective Season One or Scalped.

Oversized, prestige format first issue featuring 30 pages of story!

The panels shown for Grass Kings in the new Previews look great. I’ll always give a Kindt book a shot, but there is a lot to be excited for, here. I’ve not read Peter Panzerfaust, but Tyler Jenkins’ art seems like it will fit the tone of this book really well. It’s not uncommon for solicits to recommend books for “fans of ______” to draw people in, even if it can be a stretch. However, from the little I’ve seen of Grass Kings, I’ve got faith that Kindt and Jenkins can evoke that feeling of eerie, rural depravity as seen in the like of True Detective season one (how great is it that they have to specify that it’s just season one of True Detective?). Also, as much as I love the artistic work of Matt and Sharon Kindt, it will be neat to see someone else do watercolors for one of their books. 

 

royalcity

Royal City #1

Publisher: Image Comics

(W/A/CA) Jeff Lemire

DOUBLE-SIZED DEBUT ISSUE! NEW ONGOING SERIES written and illustrated by JEFF LEMIRE (DESCENDER, A.D., Sweet Tooth). ROYAL CITY charts the lives, loves, and losses of a troubled family and a vanishing town across three decades. Patrick Pike, a fading literary star who reluctantly returns to the once-thriving factory town where he grew up, is quickly drawn back into the dramas of his two adult siblings, his overbearing mother, and his brow-beaten father, all of whom are still haunted by different versions of his youngest brother, Tommy, who drowned decades ago. ROYAL CITY is a return to the literary and thematic territory of LEMIRE’s breakthrough graphic novel Essex County and is his most ambitious, and most personal, project to date.

Admittedly, the often melancholy themes of Jeff Lemire books like Essex County and Underwater Welder are not for everyone. Some folks turn to comics for a fantastical escape from reality, and that’s totally fine. Others don’t mind steeping themselves in the sometimes depressing, slice of life books that can remind us both of how grim reality can be, as well as how comics can be such a cathartic medium. While I enjoy lots of different books, I definitely fit into that latter group and I’m very much looking forward to what Lemire has in store with Royal City.

 

wildstorm

The Wild Storm #1

Publisher: DC Comics

(W) Warren Ellis (A/CA) Jon Davis-Hunt

A troubled woman, barred by her employer from continuing her research, walks miserably through New York City. It takes her a moment to notice that everybody else is looking up. A man has been thrown from the upper floor of the Halo skyscraper.

And that woman-Angela Spica, sick from the transhuman implants she’s buried in her own body-is the only person who can save him.

What she doesn’t know is that the act of saving that one man will tip over a vast and secret house of cards that encloses the entire world, if not the inner solar system. This is how the Wild Storm begins, and it may destroy covert power structures, secret space programs and even all of human history.

New York Times best-selling writer Warren Ellis (TRANSMETROPOLITAN, RED, PLANETARY) returns to DC to curate Jim Lee’s WildStorm world, with this debut issue resetting the WildStorm universe with new iterations of Grifter, Voodoo, the Engineer, Jenny Sparks and others.

“I couldn’t be more excited to see these characters that are so near and dear to me reintroduced under the guiding hand of Warren Ellis. WildStorm represents an incredibly fun and exciting period in my career, and I can’t wait to see what Warren and Jon have in store for fans in February.”-Jim Lee, DC Comics Co-Publisher
RATED T+

This is cheating a little bit as it’s actually The Wild Storm #2 that’s in the newest issue of Previews, but I missed the first one last month. I’ve been really impressed with the recent launch of DC’s Young Animal imprint, and with Warren Ellis at the helm, I’m on board for The Wild Storm (the reboot of 90s imprint Wildstorm). Plus, now I’ve got extra motivation to finish that copy of The Planetary Omnibus sitting on my shelf!

 

americangods

American Gods: Shadows #1

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

(W) Neil Gaiman (A) P. Craig Russell (CA) Glenn Fabry

NEIL GAIMAN! P. CRAIG RUSSELL! SCOTT HAMPTON! Shadow Moon just got out of jail, only to discover his wife is dead. Defeated, broke, and uncertain as to where to go from here, he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, who employs him to serve as his bodyguard – thrusting Shadow into a deadly world of the supernatural, where ghosts of the past come back from the dead, and a brewing war between old and new gods hits a boiling point. The Hugo, Bram Stoker, Locus, World Fantasy, and Nebula award-winning novel and upcoming Starz television series by Neil Gaiman is adapted as a comic series for the first time!

Here’s another literary universe I’ve been neglecting for too long. Yes, I’ve been recommended American Gods a good handful of times, and I think this is the kick in the butt I need to finally read that book. Call me a bad comics reader, but I have to confess that I’ve yet to read any Neil Gaiman. Yeah, yeah I know. I’ll read Sandman one day.

 

underwinter

Underwinter #1

Publisher: Image Comics

(W/A/CA) Ray Fawkes

SERIES PREMIERE! “SYMPHONY,” Part One-Critically acclaimed creator RAY FAWKES launches his new monthly horror series: UNDERWINTER, twisted portraits of our dark world, beginning with the perverse, topical SYMPHONY – a beautifully painted tale of music and cruelty in the modern age.

There’s not much to go on from the solicitation, but I enjoyed Gotham by Midnight – a DC horror book also written by Ray Fawkes. This one is perfect for fans of Se7en and Mozart in the Jungle season two!

That’s a callback joke, y’all.

 

afar

Afar TP

Publisher: Image Comics

(W) Leila Del Duca (A/CA) Kit Seaton

In a fantastical post-industrial desert, fifteen-year-old Boetema suddenly develops the ability to astral project to other planets while she sleeps. When she accidentally gets a young man hurt on a planet light-years away, she must figure out a way to project back to save him. On her own world, Boetema’s two parents have temporarily left her and her thirteen-year-old brother, Inotu, to make a living as salt shepherds. Left to their own devices, the two siblings must flee across a dangerous desert when Inotu gets into trouble with a threatening cyborg bodyguard. As Boetema visits amazing planets and encounters vibrant cultures, she must confront her mistakes and learn to trust in Inotu as she navigates her newfound abilities.

You could probably make a book from each sentence in this solicitation, but I’m interested to see it all thrown together in one volume. Plus, I’ve got trust in the team behind Shutter to make some strange and compelling science fiction. 

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