If you’re interested in finding a comic book that combines humor with the strong will of three college friends, then Giant Days by BOOM! Studios is perfect. The cover, created by Lissa Treiman, tells you exactly what you’re in for when you open up these fun pages. Three friends, Daisy, Esther, and Susan, are lying in the grass with trash and red plastic cups scattered nearby.
Talk about a concept that nobody knew they wanted. Big Trouble in Little China/Escape from New York #1 crosses over two cult classics by the legendary John Carpenter, both starring Kurt Russell. The fact that both main characters are played by the same actor is actually a major plot point. Let’s see if it holds up under it.
World War I was a pretty terrifying ordeal: the advent of modern warfare; the war to end all wars. Thousands died each day and that was just in Russia. From that war sprung painter Paul Nash, a British soldier so shaken by the war that it inspired some beautiful and powerfully surreal war imagery. He is quoted as saying, “I am a messenger who will bring back word from the men who are fighting to those who want the war to go on forever. Feeble, inarticulate will be my message, but it will have a bitter truth and may it burn their lousy souls.” Now, approaching WWI’s centenary, David McKean embraces this passion and brings us a graphic novel in honor of Nash’s work.
Collecting volumes two and three of the popular manga and now film, I Am a Hero, by Kengo Hanazawa is one of the most fascinating, weirdly hilarious, and uncommonly human zombie epics in existence. Our “hero” of this story is Hideo Suzuki, a thirty-five-year-old reclusive manga artist who takes medication for hallucinations, illegally owns a personal shotgun (Look up Japan’s gun laws.), and who has yet to reach the popularity he’s struggled for as a creator. In Omnibus One, it almost begins as a slice-of-life character study, and zombies seem like a second thought to Hanazawa. Hideo has a girlfriend who can’t take her liquor and who looks up to another manga artist which causes some jealous friction between the two. Hideo’s co-workers don’t treat him well, while Hideo rants on and on about the true art of manga, and, honestly, the whole book could be this. I would have praised it.
Titan Comics has immediately thrust fans into a chaotic cover scene with their release of the third issue of Dishonored: The Wyrmwood Deceit. The main character, Corvo Attano, finds himself surrounded by three enemies armed with technological weapons standing tall atop menacing-looking mechanical legs. Corvo stares through his mask, ready to either strike or defend. He grips a short sword in one hand, while the other emanates a yellow and bluish-green glow. Will his powers save him or does the cover already indicate his fate?
In the annals of comic book history, the '90s are known as either the Iron Age or the Dark Age of Comics. Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns had just come out, and people were blown away at how comics, once perceived as a kid’s medium, could portray darker subject material. Thus, comic companies started pushing for more antiheroes, grittier stories, and attempts at realistic topics and issues. Unfortunately, this was mostly unsuccessful, leading to dramatic bombs in the comic world, all of them trying too hard to be edgy and turning out dull, uninspired stories. Why do I bring this up? Because today’s comic seems to be embracing the spirit of that era.
Friendship can light any darkness.
It happens to everyone: You’re in your home, safe in your bed, and, suddenly, you bolt upright. Something has moved, something made a noise, something is out there. You turn your light on, and you feel better. You may check your room, peek out the window, take a light-footed stroll through the house, but you allay your fears, the insidious fear of familiar spaces in the dark. Even places we’ve lived in our whole lives become otherworldly and alien when the lights go out; it’s part of us being creatures addicted to sight. The worst is being alone in the dark: no way to bring light and no one to comfort you. That’s the underlying thought behind Lyndon White’s all-ages book, Sparks and the Fallen Star, an adventure in total darkness, where you find that the bravest thing, sometimes, is just to stand with someone.
I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to read Inspector Oh #1 right on the heels of finishing Issue #0, and I’ll warn newcomers that Issue #0 really helps lay the groundwork for the relationship between Oh and Ziyi, if you want background to justify the young woman’s actions; however, if you’re okay piecing together backstory from context, hop right in and enjoy this crazy ride to the Ancient Chinese underworld!
Locke & Key creators Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez come together again to bring back a classic horror series to life. Not only did Hill win an Eisner Award for Locke & Key as Best Writer, Rodriguez also won his own for Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland as Best Limited Series. These two bring Tales from the Darkside back to the realm of possibility.
The new Star Trek: Waypoint comic is an anthology series of short adventures from the various Star Trek worlds in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the franchise. Though the stories follow the characters we’ve come to know over the last half century, they’re designed to stand on their own. They don’t fit in with any specific sequence of events, and they’re probably not canon. In a lot of ways, Waypoint reminds me of the very first comic I reviewed for this site, Doctor Who Classics. It’s similar not only in structure, but in its style and tone.