January 2021 Previews: Carman’s Picks

Nocterra #1
Estimated release: March 3, 2021
Publisher: Image Comics
(W) Scott Snyder (A/CA) Tony S. Daniel, Tomeu Morey

“FULL THROTTLE DARK,” Part One-Ten years after the world is plunged into an everlasting night that turns all living creatures into monstrous shades, the only way to survive is to stay close to artificial light. Enter Valentina “Val” Riggs, a skilled ferryman who transports people and goods along deadly unlit roads with her heavily illuminated eighteen wheeler.

This March, legendary creators SCOTT SNYDER (Dark Knights: Death Metal, WYTCHES) and TONY S. DANIEL (Batman, Deathstroke) unveil horrors beyond any shade in this extra-sized first issue.

Unless I’m forgetting something, I don’t think I’ve seen a creator-owned book written by Scott Snyder since Wytches. It’s exciting to see him on another book outside of the Big Two (Marvel and DC). Plus, from the sound of it, we’re getting the mashup that everyone has been waiting for — Pitch Black meets Smokey and the Bandit.

Ultramega #1
Estimated release: March 17, 2021
Publisher: Image Comics
(W/A/CA) James Harren (A) Dave Stewart

A cosmic plague has spread, transforming everyday people into violent, monstrous kaiju. Only the Ultramega – three individuals imbued with incredible powers – hold the line against this madness. Their battles level cities and leave untold horror in their wake. Now, the final reckoning approaches for the Ultramega… but is this a war they can even win?

Fight monsters and stand with humanity in this new Skybound original from the greatest artist of his generation, JAMES HARREN (RUMBLE, BPRD) and Eisner Award-winning colorist DAVE STEWART. Each issue is extra-sized, with a 60-page debut that can barely contain its giant heroes, creatures, and devastation!

REGISTER PITCH: The high-impact adventure of EXTREMITY, but with the kaiju-esque monster action scenes of Pacific Rim.

All right, I know that pitching a book about a plague enveloping the earth might not be super appealing right now given… everything. BUT. You know what is appealing? James Harren doing a monster book. I loved Harren’s work on B.P.R.D. (also chock full of monsters!) and Ultramega seems right in his wheelhouse.

Proctor Valley Road #1
Estimated release: March 3, 2021
Publisher: Boom! Entertainment
(W) Alex Child, Grant Morrison (A/CA) Naomi Franquiz

Perfect for fans of Paper Girls and Die, visionary writer Grant Morrison (Klaus), Alex Child (BBC’s Holby City) and Naomi Franquiz (Tales from Harrow County) present a chilling new horror series about the mysterious monsters that haunt Proctor Valley Road – and the four misfit teenagers who must stop them.

August, Rylee, Cora & Jennie have organized a “Spook Tour” with their classmates on the most haunted, demon-infested stretch of road in America to fund attending the concert of their dreams.

When their visit turns deadly, these four friends race to rescue the missing students… before the town tears them limb from limb.

Now they must slay the evils roaming Proctor Valley Road… along with the monsters lurking in the hearts of 1970s America.

Hey, a big month for fighting monsters out on the road. Proctor Valley Road is looking like a fun, period horror book. It’s got Grant Morrison doing some writing on it, to boot. If the likes of Annihilator and Nameless are any indication, we should be in for some weird spooks!

Alien #1
Estimated release: March 24, 2021
Publisher: Marvel Comics
(W) Phillip Kennedy Johnson (A) Salvador Larroca (CA) Inhyuk Lee

Gabriel Cruz gave his life to Weyland-Yutani–In the case of an alien attack he barely survived, almost literally! Recently retired, Cruz is trying to patch things up with his abandoned son with the help of his friend, a Bishop-model android, but his re-entry into civilian life is not going smoothly…and his encounters with the deadly Xenomorph are far from over. Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Salvador Larroca team up to tell an all-new tale of the titan of horror and science fiction that has scared audiences for decades. No one is safe. No one is innocent. And no one can hear you scream.

Listen, I wasn’t meaning to make this whole thing about monsters. Some might say I’m only now realizing that these first four books are all (somewhat) creature features. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I’m in for this book so I can get some of that Wayland Yutani aesthetic. I mean, Aliens are cool, too.

The Down River People
Estimated release: May 26, 2021
Publisher: Boom! Entertainment
(W) Adam Smith (A/CA) Matthew Fox

For fans of Stillwater and Essex County comes a new graphic novel reuniting writer Adam Smith and artist Matt Fox, the duo behind the Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated Long Walk to Valhalla, for a riveting story about a man attempting to survive the complicated and dangerous web of his family’s criminal ties with his soul intact.

Myers Carpenter is a bootlegger who just inherited his family’s bar and must turn to his estranged mother – who he hasn’t seen since he was a boy – for help.

Myers learns the secrets of his new family’s lodge, but he may not escape the dark cult thriving just under the surface of opulence.

Okay, so to my knowledge… there are no monsters in The Down River People. Granted, with the mention of a dark cult, you never know. I’ve heard great things about Long Walk to Valhalla so this may be my jumping on point for Smith and Fox’s work. Maybe it’s all of the Kelly Reichardt movies I’ve been watching, but the muted landscape cover really struck me. Also, name dropping Essex County seals the deal.

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