While newspapers and comic strips continue to struggle to attract the attention of younger audiences and the general public in this digitally inundated world, cartoonist Matthew Foltz-Gray’s Spirit of the Staircase strip has managed to find eager readership in the Knoxville Mercury, and the collected volume of this popular comic strip, Tap Water and Tuna Party, recently published by Karate Petshop, is charming, chuckle-worthy, and may even draw some lapsed newspaper readers back into the funny pages once again.

Sometimes, the joy of reading comics is all about pushing aside the question marks and whole-heartedly jumping into the crazy end of the pool. Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes #1 (Dark Horse) is a prime example of this. A natural crossover (Tarzan and apes always fit together), fans of both worlds can find enjoyment in this new world.

Will you just stand here?  Mind your chin on the trapdoor then…

Skottie Young returns to his drawing duties, and we're given another fun turn as he explores one of the conventions he leans on heavily in this world: Larry's Hat of Holding.  First off, this is the first he's referred to it, so the name made my polyhedral-rolling self squee a bit, but it's really entertaining that he takes the existence of it as an excuse to make an entire issue.  Having been adventuring in Fairyland for three decades, lot of things have ended up in this magic chapeau: critters, weapons, people, and an unspeakable evil or two.

Honor is a tithe paid in blood.

I love westerns.  It wasn’t always the case, but after I spent some time driving out west and seeing the land, I found an appreciation of the genre.  Rick Remender has a new series that is draped in his sci-fi sensibilities but has the West at its heart, and it perfectly utilizes the slow burn to great effect.  In Seven to Eternity, folks who haven’t sold out to the Mud King (equivalent to greedy landowners and bankers, but seemingly with more of the whole “your soul is mine” kind of vibe gong on) have been either subsumed in a great war or pushed to the outer boundaries of the world.  One family has stayed out of his reach, but when their patriarch is brought low, they’ll have to decide how they’ll move on, and not everyone can agree how it should be done.

Teenagers…amiright?

When last we met our intrepid heroes, Emporia, Tor, and Dane were trying to find their way back to the children who were about to get a good look at the inside of a grenade and then the vast expanse of the vacuum of space.  Cheery.  Things get explosive at the top of this one (Yeah, I sometimes want to slap me, too.), and we see the results.  With the rash of insanity that we’ve seen so far, I can say there are a few moments of calm in this issue, but as you would expect, they don’t last long at all.

Murder. Gruesome. London. Despite the mystery surrounding such butchering, it’s undeniable how even a few words can automatically resemble one notorious being: Jack the Ripper.

IDW Publishing brings Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell back to the newly released category as it’s introduced with a new hardcover. Colored with scattered red lines to resemble the sky connecting to the bright red city of London. The exterior foretells the bloody sequences that the reader will soon become familiar with during the journey of Whitechapel’s infamous serial killer.

Keiron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's The Wicked + The Divine has been a massive hit throughout the twenty-two-issue run of the series thus far, and the story of the Gods that come back to life every ninety years has been some of the best in creative storytelling I've seen in a long time. With the book now on a break to get back to the normal release schedule, Gillen has teamed with artist Stephanie Hans to tell a new tale about these beloved characters during another time in their long and storied lives.

Adamant is about a superhero who’s suddenly flung into a strange and unfamiliar future. In the first issue, we saw our titular hero arrive in this new world, completely bewildered by his surroundings (which included a human-sized talking frog, along with a very interesting evolution of slang). In this issue, we get to see a little more of this world and get a slightly better idea of just what’s going on.

To the top of the roof, to the top of the wall…

Myths are an incredibly important part of the human condition. We weave tales into our collective consciousness that become the foundation of our shared experience.  With the incredible increase of content outlets in the last decade, people are becoming much more fragmented in their entertainment options and the stories that bind us together, but myths are deeper than that. They envelope and transcend television, internet, and radio.  The mythos of Santa Claus is one such, and though the holiday that’s associated with his story is Christian in nature, I’m a firm believer that it has spun away from that context to be its own unique, non-denominational entity, where the traditions that predate Christianity within his tale are coming to the fore every now and again.  Jim Butcher has done it with a wonderfully joyful and sinister approach, and then there’s Action Lab’s Sleigher which is ridiculawesome, but Grant Morrison approaches this paragon of goodness and giving in his own way, putting his own unique touch on a story that lives within a large part of people.

There are some comic book characters that are always recognizable, and Dark Horse Comics has one that’s just that. There’s a good chance you have heard of Hellboy, and there’s also a good chance you know that he’s red, has shaved-off horns, and sports a noticeably long tail.

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