On Your Radar: 7/21/2015

Hey, there! Thanks for checking out the first installment of our new series On Your Radar, a write-up of new comic series we’ve enjoyed that you may have missed.

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8house #1 Arclight

Publisher: Image Comics

(W) Brandon Graham (A/CA) Marian Churchland A lady of the blood house has had her mind trapped in a strange alien root-body. She’s hiding on the outskirts of her kingdom until she learns that the alien monster pretending to be her has returned.The first issue of a shared fantasy universe. Sharp genderqueer knights, blood magic, music, dancing, and a goose.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge Brandon Graham fan. His take on the Prophet series has been some of the best science fiction I have ever read and the tonal similarities in 8house: Arclight are felt right from page one, all while creating an entirely new fantasy universe. The setting is a large part of what makes 8house so special in that it will be a shared fantasy universe that will be shaped by several different comics creators telling stories for several different characters. Each issue of 8house is subtitled with the character name it will follow. Issues one and two feature Graham and Churchland’s Arclight character, while the solicitations for issues three through five follow two new characters (Kiem and Yorris), led by different creative teams doing their own story arcs.
 
This shared universe is an ambitious one and I am all on board. Churchland has done a beautiful job on the first issue and the bits of lore she and her husband Graham sprinkle in create an intriguing world begging to be explored.
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We Stand on Guard #1
Publisher: Image Comics
 
(W) Brian K. Vaughan (A/CA) Steve Skroce
SAGA writer BRIAN K. VAUGHAN teams with artistic legend and MATRIX storyboard artist STEVE SKROCE for an action-packed military thriller that will have everyone talking. 100 years from now, a heroic band of Canadian civilians must defend their homeland from invasion…by the United States of America! The hyper-detailed combat between badass freedom fighters and giant f***ing robots begins with a spectacular 40-PAGE FIRST ISSUE for the regular price of just $2.99!
With a writer like Brian K. Vaughan, this one may have been a bit harder to miss. Vaughan’s brilliant work on books like Saga and Y: The Last Man have earned him an immediate purchase for me. I’ll admit, I had some reservations about the book after reading the solicitation. It felt almost a little too silly and over the top. I’m glad I was wrong. The first issue of We Stand on Guard is solid. Vaughan and Skroce have created a very interesting near-future that’s fantastic while remaining grounded in reality. I can’t wait for the next issue. Also, giant robots.STK670270
 Providence #1 (of 12)
Publisher: Avatar Press Inc.
 
(W) Alan Moore (A/CA) Jacen Burrows
You may have noticed that I’ve omitted the solicitation here. That’s because it’s long. Very long (though you can read it here). In fact, the solicitation initially made me unsure of whether I wanted to try the book — opening with the line “The most important work of 2015 begins here” and later ” this is a sequential masterpiece that will serve as important a call to the next generation of comic book writers as Watchmen did 30 years ago:  this is a definitive demonstration of just how good a comic book can be.” However, what little I knew about the actual story intrigued me; taking place in 1919, Providence is a deconstruction piece on the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Being a fan of Lovecraft and a sucker for a good horror comic, I decided to check out the book, and I’m really glad I did. The book follows a journalist investigating a claim of a book that drives its readers insane. Providence is a slow burn, but in its first two issues has managed to create that cosmic horror feeling of something sinister going on behind the scenes. The first issue even had a moment near the end (no spoilers) that made me go back and reread several sections. I am really enjoying the book and am looking forward to seeing where it goes.STK671621
Material #1
Publisher: Image Comics
 
(W) Ales Kot (A) Will Tempest (CA) Tom Muller 

A man comes home from Guantanamo Bay, irrevocably changed.
An actress receives an offer that can revive her career.
A boy survives a riot and becomes embedded within a revolutionary movement.
A philosopher is contacted by a being that dismantles his beliefs. Look around you.
Everything is material.
Ales Kot is weird. The kind of weird that I like. His series Zero has been one of my favorites in the past year or so, and he’s a writer I’ve been keeping my eye on. Material tackles prominent social issues including racism, illegal detention, torture, and police brutality. It’s a great example of how comic books don’t have to be capes, cowls, and stories of the fantastic. Comics are a medium of art just as capable as any other to tackle the problems of our world today.Archie1-FionaStaplesRegCover
Archie #1
Publisher: Archie Comics Publications

(W) Mark Waid (A) Fiona Staples

Comic superstars Mark Waid and Fiona Staples reimagine an icon! Change is coming to Riverdale in this can’t-miss kick-off to Archie’s new ongoing series! Familiar faces return in new and unexpected ways in this must-have #1 issue! As the new school year approaches, you’d think Archie Andrews would be looking forward to classes and fun – but nothing is as it seems in the little town of Riverdale. But is this a one-off or a sign of bigger changes awaiting for America’s favorite teens – and the entire town? Find out in this exciting and remarkable first issue!
Full disclosure, this is the first Archie comic book I’ve ever read. I know some names. There’s Archie, Betty, Veronica, and the guy who likes hamburgers is Jughead, right? I’ve never had much of an interest in the classic character, but Archie Comic Publications has been making some interesting changes in their lineup and it seems to be culminating in this relaunch. The creative team of Mark Waid and Fiona Staples is 100% the reason why I decided to check this book out.What does Archie look like in 2015? It looks like fun. With the team attached to this book right now, I can’t say that I’m surprised I enjoyed it. Taking the classic feel of Archie and the gang into the modern area invoked a feeling of nostalgia that was somewhere in between American Graffiti and a John Hughes film. If you’ve never read an Archie comic, now is a great time to jump on.STK677323
Island #1

Publisher: Image Comics
(W/A) Brandon Graham & Various (CA) Brandon Graham
 
PRETTY DEADLY artist EMMA RIOS and KING CITY, PROPHET, and MULTIPLE WARHEADS writer/artist BRANDON GRAHAM bring you a new ONGOING COMICS MAGAZINE. Each issue holds three issue-length chapters of new work from various creators around the globe. PRINTED OVERSIZED WITH NO ADS!
Island is a new comics anthology curated by Emma Rios and Brandon Graham (yep, he makes the list twice). The aim of the anthology is to showcase creators from around the world and give them the freedom to make whatever they want. Each issue will feature one story that continues from the previous one (for the first issue, we get a new installment of Graham’s Multiple Warheads), while also introducing a new series that will continue on in the next issue. Island #1 features comics by Emma Rios, Brandon Graham, and Ludroe as well as art by Marian Churchland and an essay by Kelly Sue DeConnick. I love what Rios and Graham are going for in this ongoing anthology and I really enjoyed everything in this first issue. I’m really looking to discovering creators I may have never heard of.