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Josh’s 2018 List

Welcome to the first annual J-Up Awards! During this year’s ceremony we will be celebrating some of Josh’s favorite comics of 2018. So, let’s crack some envelopes and get to it!

Best New Publisher of 2018: Ahoy Comics

Ahoy Comics entered the world this year and comics is all the richer for it. The publisher’s slogan “Expect More” is exemplified in their comic book magazine format. Their titles (which include High Heaven, Wrong Earth, Captain Ginger, and the sleeper hit Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Terror) feature not only ongoing comic stories, but the books themselves feature material like creative prose short stories, essays, and back-up comics in each and every issue.

Now, all of that wouldn’t mean anything if the stories weren’t good. But here’s the thing, so much of what they have put out is great! Wrong Earth has been telling an excellent story wherein a Batman 66 style superhero finds himself in a grim-dark 90’s universe (and vice versa) with amazing art from Jamal Igle. Grant Morrison’s back-up prose stories have been great throughout the line’s launch. High Heaven, which focuses on a man named David Weathers who is in heaven…but hates it, is equal parts hilarious and sad. Captain Ginger features cats in space! And…well, we sold out of Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Terror so quickly that I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I hear its great.

I hope Ahoy keeps the momentum in 2019 and that more publishers aim to cram as much creativity and energy into their books as Ahoy has managed to do in 2018. They set the bar high.

Best Series Featuring a Green-Themed Hero [Marvel]: The Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing and Joe Bennett

In this newest iteration of the Hulk, Ewing cleverly revisits the original dynamic between Bruce Banner and his angrier side: night time is the Hulk’s time. That’s right, rather than the Hulk coming out whenever Banner gets angry, the Hulk comes out at night. Oh, and the Hulk cannot die (though Banner can). Oh…and if this sounds like a premise for a horror movie, that is because this series has reinvigorated the Hulk concept by introducing aspects of the horror genre to his story. I cannot say enough about this book, Al Ewing is Marvel’s most underrated writer and the work he is doing with Bennett by his side is incredible.

Best Series Featuring a Green-Themed Hero [DC]: The Green Lantern by Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp

Okay, so I am a mark for anything Grant Morrison, but this book really caught me off guard with just how much I am loving it. This book was pitched as being, essentially, Hal Jordan: Space Cop, and it delivers on that front. We get to see some inner workings of the Corps with trappings of a police procedural.  

At the same time this is still an extremely weird and fun superhero book. Liam Sharp’s art is incredibly detailed and fully immerses you in the alien locales the book visits. The alien designs are wild…we’re talking creatures whose heads are erupting volcanoes, we’re talking a Green Lantern who is a sentient flu, and so much more that you need to see. His style almost makes this feel like a 2001 AD story but with enough visual connective tissue to ground it in the DCU. I find it to be a unique and rewarding aesthetic.

Morrison’s scripts have been filled with humor, adventure, and a sinister plot that I cannot wait to see more of in 2019. If you want to get weird with the GL Corps, look no further.

Best Dairy Based Crossover: Milk Wars by a murderer’s row of creators.

This Young Animal/DCU crossover felt like it was custom made for me. Doom Patrol team up with members of the JLA to take down a Superman analog known as Milkman Man who was born of nothing and now threatens the multiverse due to his employment by an evil corporation who are looking to homogenize the multiverse? Yeah. SIGN.ME.UP.

But wait, there’s more! All of the Young Animal books get a chance to crossover. We’re talking Cave Carson teaming up with Swamp Thing to battle evil Funko Pops, Shade the Changing Girl vs. a twisted version of Wonder Woman, and Mother Panic vs. Father Bruce Banner in a fight to free the citizens of Gotham City.  

Oh, and Frank Quitely did the covers. So. So. Good.

This event was bizarre, fun, and creative in the way that only comics can be and that is why I love it so much. The event stands on its own, but if you are a Doom Patrol fan, I would suggest reading all of Vol. 1 and 2 before you dig in as there are some slight spoilers for that series in the pages of Milk Wars. That said, more comics events should be this ambitious and fun in my opinion.

Best Horror Barn Mind Trip Of The Year: Gideon Falls by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino

Jeff Lemire is one of the best writers currently working in contemporary comics. So, when he announced that his project Gideon Falls was a “character-based meditation on obsession, mental-illness, and faith” inspired  by works such as David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, I was already sold on checking out the book.

What he and Andrea Sorrentino have delivered is even better than I could have imagined. The story focuses on two main protagonists: Father Wilfred and Norton. Father Wilfred is a priest who has arrived in the rural town of Gideon Falls to take over their local parish, though his faith may be waning. Norton is a man living in a city who suffers from some undefined mental illness. Their lives are connected, in ways we are still discovering, by The Black Barn, a mysterious building whose appearance leaves in its wake terror, madness, and confusion.

As always, Lemire’s character work here is phenomenal. The emotions of all the characters are realistic and their doubts, motivations, and confusion aren’t merely understandable in a clinical sort of way, but felt by the reader as well.

Sorrentino’s storytelling and art in this series is masterful. Conversations and quieter moments are given weight by his choice of character focus. To illustrate the effects of The Black Barn, Sorrentino employs layouts that twist the reader’s perspective in an effect mirroring the twisted perspective of the story’s characters. This book is a master class on visual storytelling.

Best Diced-Based Debut: Die by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans

I love Kieron Gillen. His knack for examining and deconstructing the pop culture he loves has drawn me in since he and Jamie McKelvie first brought out Phonogram. His most recent book, Die, explores another one of his obsessions, role-playing games. The first issue was excellent and it has me passionately excited to see where this story goes in 2019.

Imagine the old Dungeons and Dragons cartoon: a bunch of kids disappear into the world of D&D and become the characters they played. They have adventures and probably return to the real world unscathed. Well…what if they didn’t?

What if, instead, some horrible things changed while they were in that world. What if they leave scarred, emotionally and ,in some cases, physically? What would that do to a person? What would that do to a person decades later when they are forced to look back at that world and their actions? Welcome to Die.

Stephanie Hans is the artist on this book and she delivers a world that is just as lush and simultaneously drab as you hope for from a book that has famously been pitched as “Goth Jumanji.” Right now there is only 1 issue of this book out, but as they rediscover this fantasy world I cannot wait to see Hans’ imagination on the page.

What really draws me to this book is in part the promissory note that Gillen has given us in both the backmatter of issue #1 and in interviews surrounding its release. He has promised the book will deliver a Planteray-esque examination of the elements that gave birth to the modern conception of fantasy and RPG gaming. Given that Planetary (by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday) is one of my all-time favorite books, due in large part to its examination of  genres found in serialized storytelling, this technique as applied to fantasy and RPGS has me very intrigued.

At its emotional core, Gillen has noted the book is in part a metaphor for an adult looking back at their teenage fantasies and aspirations and realizing they have fallen short, in part or whole, on realizing those dreams. While potentially depressing, this type of emotional exploration in the medium of comics seems powerful in the hands of Gillen and Hans, and I, for one, am along for the ride.  

Best Series Featuring an Escape Artist/God: Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerads

This book…what is there to say that hasn’t been said?

King and Gerads really created a masterpiece with this miniseries. While it started in 2017, it was 2018 that saw the resolution of this story that utilized the fantastical world of the New Gods to explore such real world issues as depression, parenthood, and the seemingly eternal work/personal life balance that many of us face.

The story finds Mister Miracle thrust into a war between Apokolips and New Genesis in the world of the New Gods. It also finds him trying to figure out how to rearrange his apartment here on Earth. This juxtaposition between the fantastic and mundane is unlike maybe any other story I have seen in comics, and it works to make the emotional beats hit for me as a reader. Gerads use of the nine-panel grid is a nice formalistic nod to the classic Kirby stories that came before, and his art in general is amazing.

In lesser hands, the story could have easily become grim and dark to the point of morbidity, but King and Gerads find just the right amount of humor to ease the tension found within the plot. Whether it is Scott Free’s seemingly endless superhero T-shirt collection, or the perfectly pictured moments of companionship we see between Scott and Barda, the dark never quite overshadows all of the light within the story.

I know this book has appeared on both Liz and Andrew’s lists, so I don’t feel the need to go on and on about it, but as a fan of the New Gods and a fan of comics aptly tackling real world issues, be they political or, in this case, personal, I really loved this series.

Oops. That music means it is time for me to wrap up these awards! Thanks to everyone for coming out this year. You can find your gift bag under your chair.

Liz’s List: Best of 2018


Hey everyone! I hope 2018 treated you well.  There were a lot of awesome, colorful, inspiring releases this year. So many, in fact, that I can’t possibly put them in any ranked order. Instead, below is an unranked list of comics and board games that brightened my year. If you haven’t given them

Comics:

New World by Ales Kot & Tradd & Heather Moore

A little bit 1984, a little bit Romeo and Juliet, and a lot of dystopian fun, New World follows two lovers from opposite worlds as they learn about each other and the dictatorship overseeing them. Artists Tradd and Heather Moore bring vibrant colors and dynamic, full page spreads to the table, fleshing out writer Ales Kot’s characters beautifully. The Moore team made this book my favorite title of the year. I think their art is just so unique and eye catching. If you’re looking for a feast for your eyes, look no further than New World!

A Walk Through Hell: by Garh Ennis & Goran Sudzuka

I am by no means a Garth Ennis fan. In fact, I can’t name a single book by Ennis that I’ve ever enjoyed, with the exception of A Walk Through Hell. Two haggard cops at the end of their careers are called on to recover some of their teammates from an investigation gone awry. What starts out as a supposedly routine recon mission turns into a never-ending nightmare of inexplicable horror, both mental and physical. The pair witness things that make them question both reality  and each other. Waiting week after week for the next issue of this book to come out was agonizing. Ennis fills the pages with slow-burning dread, and the payoff is worth it. This book was so good that I’m rethinking my opinion of Ennis (tentatively).

Flavor by Joseph Keatinge & Wook Jin Clark

In a world where cooking is a revered skill, ingredients can spark war, and chefs reign supreme, a student unearths a mystery that will change everything she knows. Unlicensed and newly in charge of her parents’ restaurant, Xoo faces immense pressure and responsibility from the world around her to be a top chef. I can’t say more about this story, since it revolves heavily on mystery, but I can’t recommend it enough. The world building is very Miyazaki inspired, and the colors and story mesh together into an epic. Unique to the comic, in the back of every issue is an interview with someone in the culinary industry, showcasing their work and their relationship with food. This book is a unique treasure that I can’t recommend enough!

Die by Kieron Gillen & Stephanie Hans

Kieron Gillen describes his new title as ‘Goth Jumanji.’ If that explanation doesn’t describe to you why this book is fantastic then I can’t help you.

Games:

The Tea Dragon Society Game:

Based off of the book by the same name, the goal of this game is to take care of a dragon, season by season. Each dragon has unique needs, likes and dislikes, and requires special care and companionship to survive the sweltering summertime and chilly winter. This game is comprised of drafting and “buying” cards to take care of your dragon each season for four seasons. I found the game both quick and actually relaxing. It was fun and simple to learn, and is a great game to play while grabbing coffee (or tea!) with a friend.

Azul/Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra

Have you played Azul? No? Why the heck not?? I love this game SO MUCH. In Azul, players take turns drafting colored tiles onto their player board. Once drafting has ended, scoring beings. Players can earn points based on different tile patterns they have created, and how many tiles they have drafted. Wasted tiles can hurt a player’s score. The player with the most points at the end wins. Azul came out in 2017, but Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra was released shortly before Christmas, introducing stained glass pieces and double sided boards. This game is fun and extremely aesthetically pleasing, and I’ll look for any chance or excuse to play it.

Thanks for reading my list of favorites, I hope you have a great 2019!

Fanfare Countdown to Christmas Specials

We are counting down to Christmas with some great specials! All of the specials listed below will be good while supplies last or until we close for the evening on December 24th, whichever comes first. We will be adding new deals daily, so be sure to stay up-to-date as the countdown is happening!

Day 1: Yu-Gi-Oh! Advent Calendar (Regularly $19.99)
Special Price: 40% Off ($11.99)!

Day 2: Pokemon Celestial Storm Booster Boxes & Packs (Regularly $149.99 per box/$4.29 per pack)
Special Price: $99.99 per booster box and $2.99 per pack!

Day 3: Select Graphic Novels [Fantastic Four: Season One, Siege: Embedded, and more]
Special Price: $1.00 each!

Day 4: Magic: The Gathering – Hour of Devastation Booster Packs & Boxes (Regularly $119.99 per box/$3.99 per pack)
Special Price: $89.99 per booster box and $2.99 per booster pack!

Day 5: Final Fantasy TCG Opus II & III Booster Packs & Boxes (Regularly $139.99 per box/$3.99 per pack)
Special Price: $99.99 per booster box and $2.99 per booster pack!

Day 6: Creature Forge and Relic Tokens for Magic: the Gathering (Various prices)
Special Price: 40% Off!

Day 7: Transformers TCG Autobot Starter (Regularly $14.99)
Special Price: $9.99!

Day 8: Teen Titans: Earth One Hardcovers and select Runaways Trade Paperbacks
Special Price: 75% off Regular Price!

Day 9: Star Wars Destiny: Empire At War Booster Packs
Special: Visit the store or call (269)349-8866 for details!

Day 10: Select Pokemon Gift Boxes
Special Price: 40% off! [Selection includes Pin Collection boxes, GX boxes, Premium Collections, and more!]

Day 11: Magic: The Gathering — Signature Spellbook: Jace, Explorers of Ixalan, Gift Box 2017 and Global Series Duel Decks
Special Price: 40% off!

Day 12: Marvel Masterworks & DC Archives Hardcovers
Special Price: 75% off!

Day 13: Yu-Gi-Oh! Legendary Hero Decks 3-Deck Set (Regularly $29.99)
Special Price: $14.99!

Day 14: All Regularly Priced Playmats
Special Price: 30% off!

Day 15: All Dice Masters Products
Special Price: 50% off regular price!

Day 16: Select Magic: The Gathering Commander Decks (Regularly $39.99)
Special Price: – Exquisite Invention (Now $19.99)
                         – Nature’s Vengeance (Now $19.99)

Day 17: Select DC Convergence & Marvel Fear Itself TPBS & HCs
Special Price: 75% off their regular price!

Day 18: HeroClix Fast Forces
Special Price: 40% off!

Day 19: Select Marvelman and Thief of Thieves Paperbacks & Hardcovers
Special Price: 75% off!

Day 20: Marvel Legends Action Figures
Special Price: 50% off! 

Day 21: D&D: Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica Sourcebooks and Playmats
Special Price: 20% off regular price!

Day 22: Select Statues
Special Price: 40% off!

Day 23: All Barbies & Die Cast Cars (including Hot Wheels)
Special Price: 50% off!

Day 24: All New Board Games Regularly Priced at $99.99 or Above
Special Price: 20% Off!

We will be posting new specials daily, so be sure to keep checking back here or on any of our social media pages listed below:

Halloween Comic Fest 2018 Is Here and So Are Matt’s Top Recommendations!

Happy Halloween Comic Fest 2018 Everyone! We look forward to seeing you all come in for free comics and of course to show off your cool costumes!

It is time for my top recommendations for the year…so let’s get into it!

My top book recommendation is Frankenstein by writer/artist Junji Ito.

Horror master Junji Ito blends his signature brand of terror with the classic Mary Shelley tale in this collection.  Also included in this collection are six tales of a boy named Oshikiri and the transdimensional haunted house he resides within. So, whether you are looking to revisit a classic or try something new, this volume has it all!

I can’t possibly recommend Ito’s works enough. We carry quite a bit of Ito’s work regularly, so if you are looking for some of the best horror stories to appear in the comics medium, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Fans of anime may also want to check out the Junji Ito Collection which is streaming free over at Crunchy Roll right now!

My final film recommendation for this year’s countdown is The Devil’s Candy written and directed by Sean Byrne.

Despite this film being available on physical media and Netflix for over a year, it has still flown under many people’s radars. That is a shame since this movie is an absolute modern classic.

The Devils’s Candy a young painter and his family move into a Texas home. However, this is a home with a history. A tragic murder happened years ago within the home and the house itself speaks to chosen inhabitants. Shortly after moving in, the artist finds himself blacking out only to awaken hours later to large demonic paintings he has no recollection of creating. Disturbing as that may be, the situation gets even worse as a deeply disturbed man with a connection to the house decides it is time to come home.

This movie features some of the best acting I have seen in a horror movie in quite some time. If you can handle a film that envelopes you in a deeply disturbing atmosphere and attempts to crush you with layer upon layer of dread then this one is for you.

Thanks for joining me again this year for the countdown everyone! I hope you all enjoy this Halloween season and hope to see you at Halloween Comic Fest!

 

October 2018 Previews: Carman’s Picks

Hellboy Winter Special 2018

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Dec. 12, 2018

(W) Mike Mignola, Various (A) Various (CA) Mike Mignola

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Three wintry tales featuring a Mike Mignola and Ben Stenbeck team-up for a New Year’s Eve séance gone wrong when Hellboy visits a family’s English home, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá revisit B.P.R.D.: Vampire with a new tie-in story, and Tonci Zonjic returns to write and draw Lobster Johnson.

When the new Hellboy omnibuses started releasing a few months ago, I decided it was time to dip my toes into that world. Since then, I’ve plowed through a few thousand pages of both Hellboy and B.P.R.D. and can officially say that I am in love with the “Mignolaverse.” I’m excited to be able to read a new Hellboy book at its release and this one seems to tie in with B.P.R.D.: Vampire which is getting a reprint around the same time.

 

Die #1

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Dec. 5, 2018

(W) Kieron Gillen (A/CA) Stephanie Hans

Publisher: Image Comics

THE WICKED + THE DIVINE writer KIERON GILLEN teams up with artist supernova STEPHANIE HANS (THE WICKED + THE DIVINE 1831, Journey Into Mystery) for her first ongoing comic! DIE is a pitch-black fantasy where a group of forty-something adults have to deal with the returning unearthly horror they barely survived as teenage role-players. If Kieron’s in a rush, he describes it as “Goth Jumanji.” That only captures a sliver of what you’ll find in oversized debut issue-where fantasy gets all too real.

Sorry to all of you out there looking to name your new drone band — Goth Jumanji has been taken. Everything I’ve seen of of Hans’ art so far has been beautiful and I will always check out a first issue written by Kieron Gillen. With Halloween just around the corner, I can definitely get behind something that sounds like Gary Gygax meets It.

 

Miles Morales Spider-Man #1

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Dec. 12, 2018

(W) Saladin Ahmed (A) Javi Gorran (CA) Brian Stelfreeze

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Balancing his normal life, school, parents, etc…and super-heroing has never been easy, but when the Rhino and a cadre of mysterious criminals start plaguing Brooklyn, things take a dark turn. And Miles doesn’t even know the half of it yet. Eisner Award-winner Saladin Ahmed (BLACK BOLT) and Young Gun Javier Garrón (ANT-MAN & THE WASP) bring you the latest incarnation of the coolest character in the Marvel Universe!

As I get closer and closer to its conclusion, I’ve been slowing down on Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4 — savoring what I’ve got left. I feel like I haven’t been this pulled into a Spider-Man story like this in quite some time and I’m loving it. Though the depiction of Parker in the game is great, I found Miles Morales to be an even more compelling character and I am very ready for this new book. It’s also exciting to see that Saladin Ahmed will be writing — if you’ve not yet read his miniseries, Abbott, go do that. If you’re looking for some other recent Spider-Man stories to tie you over, read Chip Zdarsky’s final issue of Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man or Spencer and Lieber’s Superior Foes of Spider-Man.

 

Waves

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Feb. 27, 2019

(W) Ingrid Chabbert (A/CA) Carole Maurel

Publisher: Boom! Studios

After years of difficulty trying to have children, a young couple finally announces their pregnancy, only to have the most joyous day of their lives replaced with one of unexpected heartbreak. Their relationship is put to the test as they forge ahead, working together to rebuild themselves amidst the churning tumult of devastating loss, and ultimately facing the soul-crushing reality that they may never conceive a child of their own.
Based on author Ingrid Chabbert’s own experience, coupled with soft, sometimes dreamlike illustrations by Carole Maurel, Waves is a deeply moving story that poignantly captures a woman’s exploration of her pain in order to rediscover hope.

This is a book I don’t know much about outside of what you see here. It certainly sounds heartbreaking but there is a beauty to the cover that compelled me to order a copy.

Matt’s Countdown to HCF 2018: 7 Days to Go!

There’s a chill in the air. Leaves are blowing on the howling wind. Something…is coming. That something is Halloween Comic Fest 2018! On Saturday, October 27th we will be giving away tons of free Halloween comics and if you stop by in costume, we will feature you on our social media pages! 

The thing is…we can’t wait until then for the fun to start. So Matt, Fanfare’s own connoisseur of all things creepy, is counting down to HCF with daily horror comic and movie recommendations! Let’s kick off the 2018 countdown! 

 
Oh, you’re still here? I haven’t scared you away quite yet? Well then I guess I owe you a movie recommendation. 
 
My first movie recommendation is the Netflix Original Movie: The Ritual.

Six months after the death of their friend, a group of college classmates reunite to honor his passing with a memorial hike along the Kungleden in northern Sweden. During the hike, an injury occurs that causes the group to take an ill-fated shortcut. What follows is atmospheric horror filled with occult rituals and a stalking creature that will haunt your dreams. Check out the secrets of The Ritual…if you dare!
 
Well, that’s it for the first day of the countdown. Be sure to check in tomorrow to see what other fiendish delights we have in store!

September 2018 Previews: Carman’s Picks

Elisabeth Dumn Against the Devils in Suits (One-Shot)

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Nov. 14, 2018

(W/A/CA) Arabson

Publisher: Image Comics

Elisabeth Dumn is a strong, rebellious girl who’s determined to make her own way. Good thing too, because her father long ago promised her to the Devil and he’s come to claim what’s his.

This is a story that will haunt you long after you’ve turned the final page. Part horror adventure, part surreal dreamscape, this original graphic novella features the amazing artwork of new Brazilian sensation ARABSON, with translation by Eisner Award-winner JAMES ROBINSON.

It’s great to see more new, non-English work being translated and put out by larger publishers. I love the style of this cover and am very much here for “part horror adventure, part surreal dreamscape.” One of my favorite things about comics as a medium is seeing something (like this) that I’ve never heard of and taking a chance on it. Here’s to more of that!

 

Bitter Root #1

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Nov. 14, 2018

(W) David Walker, Chuck Brown (A/CA) Sanford Greene (CA) Mike Mignola

Publisher: Image Comics

In the 1920s, the Harlem Renaissance is in full swing, and only the Sangerye Family can save New York-and the world-from the supernatural forces threatening to destroy humanity. But the once-great family of monster hunters has been torn apart by tragedies and conflicting moral codes. The Sangerye Family must heal the wounds of the past and move beyond their differences… or sit back and watch a force of unimaginable evil ravage the human race. 

DAVID F. WALKER and SANFORD GREENE, the creative team of Power Man and Iron Fist, along with indie veteran CHUCK BROWN (Trench Coats, Cigarettes and Shotguns) bring you 24 action-packed pages of monsters, mayhem, and family dysfunction in a brand-new ongoing series.     

BITTER ROOT Cover As by SANFORD GREENE will be connecting through the first story arc.

The premise of saving the world from monsters may not sound particularly new in the comics ethos, but setting that during the Harlem Renaissance in New York City could be great. I’ve heard a lot of positive impressions on Walker and Greene’s Power Man and Iron Fist and this looks to be a good jumping on point for their work (along with Chuck Brown!). Also, look at that Mike Mignola cover!

 

The Warning #1

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Nov. 28, 2018

(W/A/CA) Edward Laroche

Publisher: Image Comics

An enormous machine slowly materializes in a major West Coast city. Who sent it-and why-is a mystery, understood only by the malevolent beings gliding silently toward Earth through the inky vastness of space. In response, a multinational combat brigade called Gladiator Two-Six is deployed. Outfitted with next-generation military science and weapons, they’re tasked with stopping any extraterrestrial threat that emerges.

The solicitation for The Warning reminds me of Trees or Arrival and that’s definitely a plus. I wasn’t initially familiar with Laroche but found this preview from Multiversity Comics and it looks great.

 

July 2018 Previews: Carman’s Picks

MAN-EATERS #1

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(W) Chelsea Cain (A) Kate Niemczyk (CA) Lia Miternique

Publisher: Image Comics

Eisner-nominated and New York Times bestselling thriller writer CHELSEA CAIN returns to comics with a new ONGOING SERIES! 
A mutation in Toxoplasmosis causes menstruating women to turn into ferocious killer wildcats-easily provoked and extremely dangerous. As panic spreads and paranoia takes root, the fate of the world rides on the shoulders of one twelve-year-old girl. Part Cat People, part The Handmaid’s Tale, MAN-EATERS will have everyone talking.  

From the creative team behind the Eisner-nominated series Mockingbird: writer CHELSEA CAIN, artist KATE NIEMCZYK, colorist RACHELLE ROSENBERG, letterer JOE CARAMAGNA, and joined by LIA MITERNIQUE, KATIE LANE, and STELLA GREENVOSS.

This September… the cat wants in.

MAN-EATERS sounds like a wild melting pot of ideas and genres. Name dropping The Handmaid’s Tale in the solicit has me all tense and conditioned for extreme emotional turmoil (still counting down the minutes until the season finale) but who knows what will happen in a were-cat world? Also, you know you want the variant cover with actual sparkles on it.

 

Cemetery Beach #1

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(W) Warren Ellis (A/CA) Jason Howard

Publisher: Image Comics

From the creators of the acclaimed TREES graphic novels, which are currently being adapted for television, comes something completely different. A professional pathfinder, his only ally a disaffected young murderess, breaks out of a torture cell in pursuit of his worst extraction scenario ever: escaping on foot across a sprawling and secret off-world colony established a hundred years ago and filled with generations of lunatics. WARREN ELLIS & JASON HOWARD ignite a high-speed new action serial.

Some may say it’s a slow burn, I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read of Trees (still need to catch up!) and I’m thrilled for the creators that the series has been picked up to be a TV show. I didn’t know they were also working on this as well, but Cemetery Beach sounds like it could be another quality series from that Ellis and Howard. If you’ve not seen it already, I definitely recommend checking out the preview in this month’s Image+ magazine (free with a copy of Previews). In an interview, Jason Howard mentions being excited to lean more into drawing cool sci-fi tech and that shows. The double-page spread is gorgeous.

 

My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies (Hardcover)

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(W) Ed Brubaker (A/CA) Sean Phillips

Publisher: Image Comics

Teenage Ellie has always had romantic ideas about drug addicts. The tragic, artistic souls drawn to needles and pills have been an obsession since the death of her junkie mother ten years ago. But when Ellie lands in an upscale rehab clinic where nothing is what it appears to be, she’ll find another, more dangerous romance… and find out how easily drugs and murder go hand-in-hand.

MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES is a seductive coming-of-age story, a pop and drug culture-fueled tale of a young girl seeking darkness-and what she finds there. This gorgeous, must-have hardback is the first original graphic novel from ED BRUBAKER and SEAN PHILLIPS, the bestselling creators of CRIMINAL, KILL OR BE KILLED, THE FADE OUT, FATALE, and INCOGNITO.

Brubaker and Phillips are one of the most consistently great team-ups in modern comics. I’ll try anything the two of them cook up and the description of this one sounds right up their alley.

 

Heroes in Crisis #1

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(W) Tom King (A/CA) Clay Mann

Publisher: DC Comics

There’s a new kind of crisis threatening the heroes of the DC Universe, ripped from real-world headlines by C.I.A.-operative-turned-comics-writer Tom King: How does a superhero handle PTSD? Welcome to Sanctuary, an ultra-secret hospital for superheroes who’ve been 
traumatized by crime-fighting and cosmic combat. But something goes inexplicably wrong when many patients wind up dead, with two well-known operators as the prime suspects:
Harley Quinn and Booster Gold! It’s up to the DC Trinity of Superman, Wonder Woman and 
Batman to investigate-but can they get the job done in the face of overwhelming opposition?

I think Tom King and Mitch Gerads have done an incredible job bringing mental health to the forefront of comics with their Miracle Man series and I’m so glad that DC is continuing to shine that spotlight (with Tom King, no less). I love the idea pitched in this solicit — here’s hoping this team knocks it out of the park. If you’re not already reading Miracle Man, now is the time.

 

Batman: Damned #1 (of 3)

JUL180597

(W) Brian Azzarello (A/CA) Lee Bermejo

Publisher: DC Comics

DC BLACK LABEL, the highly anticipated new imprint from DC Comics, starts here!
The Joker is dead. 
There is no doubt about that. But whether Batman finally snapped his scrawny neck or some other sinister force in Gotham City did the deed is still a mystery.
Problem is, Batman can’t remember… and the more he digs into this labyrinthine case, the more his mind starts to doubt everything he’s uncovering. 
So who better to set him straight than… John Constantine? Problem with that is as much as John loves a good mystery, he loves messing with people’s heads even more. So with John’s “help,” the pair will delve into the sordid underbelly of Gotham as they race toward the mind-blowing truth of who murdered The Joker.
BATMAN: DAMNED is a bimonthly super-natural horror story told by two of comics’ greatest modern creators-a visceral thrill-ride that proudly puts the “black” in BLACK LABEL.

DC went out on a limb with their Young Animal imprint and those books have been super fun. The premise for their newest imprint, Black Label, is different but I am cautiously optimistic. I’d love to see a great, new supernatural Batman horror story.

 

Moth & Whisper #1

JUL181504

(W) Ted Anderson (A/CA) Jen Hickman

Publisher: Aftershock Comics

NEW SERIES!

Everyone knows that the two greatest thieves in the city are the Moth and the Whisper. Very few know that the Moth and the Whisper disappeared six months ago. And what nobody knows is that the new Moth and Whisper are actually one person pretending to be both of them. One supremely skilled but uncertain young genderfluid thief: Niki, the child of the Moth and the Whisper. 

Niki has been trained by their parents in the arts of stealth and infiltration, but they’re still just a teenager, and now they’re alone, searching for their parents in a hostile cyberpunk dystopia. Corporations run the streets while crime lords like Ambrose Wolfe run the alleys-identity is a commodity and privacy is impossible. The truth about Niki’s parents and their disappearance is out there, but can Niki survive long enough to find it?

A YA cyberpunk thriller starring a genderqueer super-thief, MOTH & WHISPER is the brainchild of Ted Anderson (My Little Pony, Adventure Time) and Jen Hickman (Jem and the Holograms, The Dead), that just HAD to be told at AfterShock!

The B cover of Moth & Whisper shows Niki with their low-poly style mask and long-exposure light trails for eyes. I don’t want to take away from what sounds like a unique story with a rad protagonist, but I also want you to know that I am all about that cyberpunk a e s t h e t i c.

June 2018 Previews: Carman’s Picks

Black Badge #1

JUN181214

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

Publisher: Boom! Studios

Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins, the team behind Grass Kings, reunite for a new ongoing series about a top-secret, elite branch of boy scouts tasked by the government to take on covert missions.

Among their organization, the Black Badges are the elite; the best of the best. They are feared even by the other badges. The missions they take are dangerous, and they will only get worse as their leader’s attention is split between their mission objectives and tracking down a lost team member. A team member who disappeared years ago, presumed dead. 

A haunting look at foreign policy, culture wars and isolationism through the lens of kids who know they must fix the worlds that adults have broken.

I’m so glad to see Kindt and Jenkins back at it together again so quickly after Grass Kings wrapped up. I was excited to see what the two were cooking up and this looks great. Moonrise Kingdom keeps coming to mind but I imagine it’ll be quite a bit darker than that. I will definitely be grabbing the Lemire variant, too!

 

The Seeds #1

JUN180299

(W) Ann Nocenti (A/CA) David Aja

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

The bees are swarming. What do they know that we don’t?

The rich have built walls around their wealth and scramble into escape rockets. The romantic and the ruthless cross over into the lawless wilds of Zone-B. A few cantankerous aliens have come to collect the last dregs of humanity’s essence for the celestial embryo bank. One of them falls in love. 

Astra is an idealistic journalist who stumbles into the story of a lifetime, only to realize that if she reports it, she’ll destroy the last hope of a dying world. How far will she go to get her story? An eco-fiction tech-thriller where flora and fauna have begun to mutate, The Seeds is also a story of love beyond race and gender, and of the resilience of both human and animal kind. 

A new four-issue series, by award-winning artist David Aja (Hawkeye, Immortal Iron Fist) and filmmaker, journalist, and comics writer Ann Nocenti (Daredevil, Catwoman). 

I’ve certainly missed seeing David Aja interiors after his run on Hawkeye and was very excited to see this new mini in Previews. Looking forward to reading Ann Nocenti for the first time — there seems to be a lot going on in the last sentence of this solicitation and I’m on board!

 

Sheets

JUN181858

(W/A/CA) Brenna Thummler

Publisher: Lion Forge

Marjorie Glatt feels like a ghost.

A practical thirteen-year-old girl who is left in charge of the family laundry business after her mother’s unexpected death. Her daily routine features unforgiving customers, her grieving father, and the fastidious Mr. Saubertuck who is committed to destroying everything she’s worked for.

Wendell IS a ghost.

A boy who lost his life much too young, his daily routine features ineffective death therapy, a sheet-dependent identity, and a dangerous need to seek purpose in the forbidden human world.

Sheets illustrates the determination of a young girl to fight, even when all parts of her world seem to be conspiring against her. It proves that second chances are possible whether life feels over or life is over. But above all, it is a story of the forgiveness and unlikely friendship that can only transpire inside a haunted laundromat.

Maybe it’s just the wealth of fond memories I have for 90s Nickelodeon Halloween specials, but I’ve always had a thing for light-hearted “spooky” stuff. Granted, this book seems to be tackling some serious subject matter but I think you know what I mean. I really enjoyed what I saw in Previews and the tone of this book looks right up my alley.

 

Stairway

JUN180083

(W) Matt Hawkins (A/CA) Raffaele Ienco

Publisher: Image Comics

When a postgraduate student discovers a way to unlock information hidden deep in our “junk DNA,” parts of bio-schematics and other pieces of baffling data are found. This discovery triggers the largest scientific initiative since the Manhattan Projects, with teams of scientists working to collect and collate this information. But will they find a stairway to heaven, or will they unleash something that will kill us all?

It’s the first I’ve heard of these creators but this premise sounds like the synopsis for a Black Mirror episode and that’s enough for me! Here’s to hoping it leaves me with just a tiny bit less existential dread than that, though.

 

Cold Spots #1

JUN180044

(W) Cullen Bunn (A/CA) Mark Torres

Publisher: Image Comics

MINISERIES PREMIERE! Psychological terror, the undead, and a supernaturally bitter cold come together in this spine-tingling new series from CULLEN BUNN (REGRESSION, Harrow County) and MARK TORRES (Zombies vs. Robots: Undercity). 
10 years ago, Dan Kerr turned his back on his wife and unborn daughter. Now, both mother and child have gone missing, and Dan must face cosmic terrors to find them again. He soon finds that ghosts stir when his estranged daughter is near. And as the dead grow restless, the cold deepens…

At this point, I might as well just say “look, Cullen Bunn is writing another horror mini-series. You know what to do.”

I will. You know.

 

Black Hammer Library Edition Volume 1 HC

JUN180320

(W) Jeff Lemire (A/CA) Dean Ormston (A) Various

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

The first chapter of the highly acclaimed, Eisner Award-winning superhero saga in deluxe, oversized hardcover format.

Mysteriously banished from existence by a multiversal event, the old superheroes of Spiral City now lead simple lives on a bizarre farm from which there is no escape! But as they employ all of their super abilities to free themselves from this strange purgatory, a mysterious stranger works to bring them back into action for one last adventure!

Collects the first and second volumes of Black Hammer, and Black Hammer: Giant Sized Annual in a deluxe, hardcover, and oversized format with a new cover, sketchbook extras, and more!

Black Hammer may just be the best superhero book on the stands for my money. It definitely deserves the Library Edition hardcover treatment it’s getting. If you’re not reading this book, this is a great place to start! Also, I think this is the first time the annual is being collected, so even better!

May 2018 Previews: Carman’s Picks

The New World #1

MAY180036

(W) Ales Kot (A/CA) Tradd Moore, Heather Moore (CA) Tom Muller

Publisher: Image Comics

The United States of America-after the Second Civil War. 
Two lovers meet. One: a straight-edge vegan hacker anarchist boy with a penchant for messing with the State. The other: a chaotic, hedonistic cop with a reality TV show and a license to kill. This really shouldn’t happen-and yet, somehow, it does. And soon, the entire state of New California is after them.

This ballistic sci-fi action romance miniseries-in the vein of Mad Max and Romeo and Juliet-from ALEŠ KOT, TRADD MOORE, and HEATHER MOORE begins with a massive-sized debut issue, and features a backup comic introducing the talents of AARON STEWART-AHN and SUNANDO C!

Look at that cover. Tom Muller’s designs (especially when coupled with great like this) just has a way of oozing style. I love it. Also, give me some more of them good, good Ales Kot “America is going off the rails and here’s what it could look like in this not-out-of-the-question, semi-dystopian, near future” books.

 

Catwoman #1

MAY180456

(W/A/CA) Joëlle Jones

Publisher: DC Comics

The wedding night’s barely over, but Catwoman’s back on the streets, this time to expose a copycat who’s pulling heists around Gotham City. As Selina cracks the whip on her former criminal cohorts, she’s attracting unwanted attention from one of Gotham’s most dangerous groups. The mob? Nope. Try the GCPD. And as if the Bat-Bride didn’t have enough problems, don’t miss the debut of an all-new villain determined to make trouble for all nine of Selina’s lives. Don’t miss the start of an all-new monthly series written and illustrated by Eisner Award-nominee Joëlle Jones!

When it was announced that Joëlle Jones was going to be writing and drawing the new Catwoman book, it just made sense. Jones’ style is perfect for the aesthetic and tone of Catwoman. If you’ve never read her Ladykiller series, go pick that up now.

 

Captain America #1

MAY180773

(W) Ta-Nehisi Coates (A) Leinil Francis Yu (CA) Alex Ross

Publisher: Marvel Comics

IT IS WINTER IN AMERICA. 
For over 70 years, he has stood in stalwart defense of our country and its people. But in the aftermath of Hydra’s takeover of the nation, Captain America is a figure of controversy, carrying a tarnished shield…and a new enemy is rising!
Who are the Power Elite? And how do they intend to co-opt and corrupt the symbol that is Captain America?
Rated T+

Hot off the heels of Infinity War, I’m ready for a new Marvel book and Captain America looks to be the book for that. Ta-Nehisi Coates has done a spectacular job with his run on Black Panther and it’s exciting to see him writing another series. I can’t wait to see where he takes a character like Captain America. Also, that Alex Ross wraparound cover is stunning.

 

The Quantum Age #1

MAY180320

(W) Jeff Lemire (A/CA) Wilfredo Torres (CA) Dave Stewart

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Set in the world of the Eisner Award-winning Black Hammer series-but a thousand years in the future-a collection of superheroes, inspired by the legendary heroes of Black Hammer Farm, must band together to save the planet from an authoritarian regime. A young Martian must find a way to reform The Quantum League to save the world while solving the riddle of what happened to the great heroes of the twentieth century. Black Hammer creator Jeff Lemire (The Terrifics) is joined by Wilfredo Torres (Legion) in illustrating while Dave Stewart (Hellboy) adds his colorist skills to the mix. 
o Based on Jeff Lemire’s Eisner Award-winning series!

The Black Hammer-verse has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? I absolutely love that Lemire and the other Black Hammer creators have gone the way of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy and really expanded this universe. I will be on board for any books in this universe and cannot wait to get my hands on them.

 

Bone Parish #1

MAY181178

(W) Cullen Bunn (A) Mustafa Karasu (CA) Lee Garbett

Publisher: Boom! Studios

Cullen Bunn (Empty Man, The Unsound) returns to BOOM! Studios with a chilling necromantic horror story! A new drug is sweeping through the streets of New Orleans.one made from the ashes of the dead. Wars are being fought over who will control the supply, while the demand only rises. While the crime families wage war, users begin to experience terrifying visions of the dead coming back to life-through them.

That sounds sufficiently creepy, doesn’t it? Bone Parish comes out in July but that’s late enough in the summer where I’ll already be starting to think about my favorite month of the year, October. Yes, just the anticipation of that time of year gets me excited for good horror and after reading The Unsound, I know Cullen Bunn is capable of that. In the lead up, I think it may be time for me to finally check out The Empty Man and Regression.