Thomm: Yes! Bow down, ye creators desperately seeking a decent income!
What if you can leap tall buildings and defeat alien monsters with your bare hands, but you buy your capes at secondhand stores and have a weakness for kittens? Cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks brings charming humor to the trials and tribulations of a young, female superhero, battling monsters both supernatural and mundane in an all-too-ordinary world. A lighthearted twist on the superhero genre!
You can read Hicks Wolverine story here.
Lee: I have been reading Hicks’ work for a long time now. She has never failed to provide a good story and this looks to be more of the same. It’s guaranteed to please.
Thomm: A welcome respite from the “What if Superman went evil and destroyed the world,” theorem. What if Superman (or Superwoman) just wanted to piddle around in the garden? Now that’s something screaming for an answer.
Lots more below the break. I was feeling wordy this month.
ALABASTER: WOLVES HC
Caitlín R. Kiernan (W), Steve Lieber (A), Rachelle Rosenberg (C), and Greg Ruth (Cover)
FC, 136 pages, $19.99, HC, 6 5/8" x 10 3/16"
Dancy Flammarion may look like a frail teenage girl, but her journey through the swamps and byways of the American South brings her into battle with werewolves, monsters, and grotesque secrets, armed only with a knife and a mission to destroy the deadly creatures that lurk in shadow. Collects the five-issue miniseries.
"It's gentle and horrific and apocalyptic all at once. Good writing. Good pencil and ink work. Good colors. That's a good comic." —Comics Alliance
Lee: I wasn’t a fan of Kiernan’s comic book writings so this was a pass. But, being ever curious like I am, I read the reviews and anyone who talked about it seemed to like it. Lieber is an awesome artists so I’m willing to take a chance.
Thomm: Come on, how can you not like something described as gentle and horrific? Throw in the apocalyptic and you’re describing a bad sexual experience. Or a trip through the South. How does she end up armed with only a knife? There’s guns every few feet in the South.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND HC
Rod Espinosa (W/A)
FC, 128 pages, $19.99, HC, 6 5/8” x 10 3/16”
The curious Alice follows a flustered white rabbit to a magical land of talking animals, evil queens, and enough riddles to strain any logically inclined brain. It’s all here: a hookah-smoking caterpillar, a mad hatter, potions to drink, cookies to eat, and a Cheshire cat. Alice discovers that Wonderland may be a fascinating place to visit, but you don’t want to live there . . .
Lee: Between Alice in Wonderland and Oz, I am just about burned out on classic literature comics. But, Espinosa is a great artist so I am tempted. I think I shall have to inventory how many books the kids have and see if there’s room on their shelf for another. If so, it’s a go but if the shelf is bursting… maybe not.
Thomm: Wonderland and Oz are two of the richest sources for stories told in the last 150 years, at least those aimed at children. I’m always willing to see these stories well told or reinvented, so your hearty recommendation of Espinosa art makes this a good one to check out. You know you’re on a female protagonist theme here, right?
BLACK BEETLE: NIGHT SHIFT #0
Francesco Francavilla (W/A/Cover)
FC, 32 pages, $2.99, One-shot
When a powerful totem of dark magic shows up at the Colt City Natural History Museum, Hitler sends his fearsome Werwolf Korps to collect the piece. Unfortunately for the führer, Colt City’s protector, the Black Beetle, is on the case! Collects three Dark Horse Presents stories from issues #11–#13.
Lee: I have to give DH credit they really are getting the more mileage out of DHP than I would have guessed. Thomm reads DHP regularly so I’ll leave it up to him to tell us if we should buy this. No pressure Thomm…
Paul Tobin (W) and Juan Ferreyra (A/Cover)
FC, 32 pages, $3.99
Declan Thomas steps into other men’s insanity, fighting the horrific creatures lurking there. But a demonic presence hiding in the real world feeds on madness. And he’s coming for Declan.
• From the creative team behind the Falling Skies comic!
• A new horror comic in the vein of Locke & Key and Preacher.
Lee: I’m sorry but the editors of this book TOTALLY screwed this up. Last month I picked this because it has a gruesome cover. Remember the one where the dude is poked his fingers under his skin into his eyes… yeah that one. Fine, it’s was a horror comic, I got it. But this cover is something completely different. It’s an awesome cover and I really, really like it but it’s so opposed to what was given last month I don’t know what to expect anymore.
Thomm: I agree that it’s a very different cover but here’s what I see that they have in common. Both portray desperation. The second is far more beautiful and subtle, but the first also brought that across with horror. Not that it means there’s a coherent story behind either cover. I think there is, but who knows?
Hiroaki Samura (W/A)
b&w, 224 pages, $12.99, 5 1/8" x 7 1/4"
Hiroaki Samura's Emerald and Other Stories collects seven powerful short pieces from the manga maestro that have appeared in various Japanese magazines. In “Emerald,” Samura tells his first explosive adventure set in the Wild West, and a series of humorous vignettes about two motor-mouthed teen girls is woven through several other riveting tales. A masterful storyteller bounces around genres and time periods in this unique collection!
• Hiroaki Samura is the winner of Japan’s Media Arts Award, an Eisner Award, and three British Eagle Awards!
• Presented in English for the first time!
Lee: I admit it, I am a sucker for the awards. Anyone who wins that much has gotta be doing something right. And for that reason alone I am willing to give it a try. It doesn’t hurt that DH is pretty good at only reprinting good Manga and not every piece of fluff that comes along.
Thomm: There’s plenty of fluff in Manga, too. This does not appear to be fluff. I’d definitely give this a gander.
THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES HC
Martin Powell (W), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (W), and Jamie Chase (A/C)
FC, 64 pages, $12.99, HC, 6 5/8” x 10 3/16”
The greatest detective of all time investigates the seemingly supernatural in this adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic novel The Hound of the Baskervilles. Martin Powell and Jamie Chase blend modern comics, classic detective fiction, and the adventurous sensibilities of the pulp novel into a delectable Sherlock Holmes mystery that appeals to new readers and old fans alike—an “elementary” addition to any comics library!
Lee: Like Alice before, this gives me pause. It could be good, then again it might not be. I can’t find a lot of examples from Chase on the web either. From what I did see he tends to use a lot of negative space to define his figures. It’s interesting but I’m not convinced. Thomm’s more the expert on Holmes so I’ll let him cast the deciding vote. Pressure’s starting to build this week for ya Thomm.
Thomm: Oh, yeah. I’m sleepless from the pressure. Much as I like Holmes, this isn’t one of my favorite stories, even in the original. It’s more the spooky than the trademark Holmes brilliance. I mean, really, his master stroke is to hide out on the moors and spy on everyone? Watson could do that. Thirteen bucks for 64 pages isn’t exactly enticing, either.
Evan Dorkin (W/A/Cover) and Sarah Dyer (C)
FC, 32 pages, $3.50, One-shot
Evan Dorkin’s sick and twisted sense of humor unleashes itself with a new Murder Family episode, multiple pages of Fun gag strips, and the return of The Eltingville Comic Book, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Role-Playing Club, and new Milk and Cheese strips. Collecting stories from Dark Horse Presents #10-#12.
• Eisner and Harvey winner Evan Dorkin (Superman: The Animated Series, Beasts of Burden)!
• A must for Milk and Cheese fans and new readers!
“I adore what Evan Dorkin does. I think he’s the funniest guy in comics.” —Frank Miller
“Dorkin is a powerful man, and this is powerful stuff.” —Bryan Lee O’Malley
Lee: Another DHP collection. I seem to remember Milk and Cheese being foul mouthed, very crude dairy products. Have they changed any? Was it any good? I am so glad that Thomm is reading DHP so he can tell us if this was any good.
Thomm: Actually, I recently read some Milk and Cheese in some free books I picked up at my LCS. Sociopathic dairy products are pretty funny. The gags in this collection from DHP were pretty good, if bent humor is your sort of humor. I think the recommendation from Frank Miller should have clued you into that.
Thomm: A lot of good choices here. I like the first two and the Manga collection the best as likely good reads, even if I have to suspend my disbelief that our girl fighting her way across the South doesn’t acquire more weaponry.
Lee: This has got to be the longest DH picks I've done in a long time. They are really putting out good stuff. I'm going with Alabaster too.... the one with the girl fighting through the South. Sheesh.