The award winning team of writer Karl Kesel and artist Tom Grummett return to their fan-favorite, critically acclaimed series,Section Zero. The science-fiction adventure is set to launch from Image Comics and Shadowline Comics this April.
Section Zero kicks off with Part One: “Ground Zero,” where readers meet a team of fearless adventurers. Together the crew uncovers the secrets behind UFOs, monsters, and lost civilizations in a story that can best be described as, “Jack Kirby does The X-Files.”
Section Zero will feature alternate covers by super-star artists including Walter Simonson, George Perez, Adam Hughes, Dave Gibbons, Mike Wieringo, and many more!
Section Zero #1 by Cover A by Kesel & Grummett (Diamond Code FEB190024), Cover B by Walter Simonson (Diamond Code FEB190025), and Cover C by Jerry Ordway (Diamond Code FEB190026).
Diamond Comic Distributors has announced the top selling comics and graphic novels of 2018. Marvel was the top publisher of the year with The Infinity Gauntlet taking the slot for bestselling graphic novel of the year. That’s not surprising due to all of the excitement and success around Avengers: Infinity War in theaters. DC Comics came in second place for publishers and had the bestselling comic of the year with Action Comics #1000. Image Comics ranked third for publishers and lead the graphic novel chart with six out of the top ten titles.
Annual comic book sales to the comic book specialty market increased in 2018, up +3.3% for the year, while graphic novel sales dipped -6.6% from 2017. Combined, annual sales of comic book and graphic novels to comic book shops were up slightly in 2018, by .6%.
Marvel Comics finished the year as the comic book specialty market’s top publisher, leading in both Dollar and Unit Market Shares, with a 38.24% Dollar Market Share and a 40.4% Unit Market Share. Marvel Comics top comic book, Amazing Spider-Man #800, the ten-year landmark issue led by Dan Slott and Stuart Immomen, charted at #2 for the year. Overall, Marvel had seven titles in the top ten comics of the year, including the preceding Amazing Spider-Man #798 and #799, as well as Fantastic Four #1, Amazing Spider-Man #1, Return of Wolverine #1, and Venom #1. That’s four comics written by Dan Slott in the top ten. Marvel Comics also had the top graphic novel of the year with The Infinity Gauntlet, the epic crossover event from Jim Starlin, George Pérez, and Rom Lim.
DC Entertainment was the comic book specialty market’s number two publisher in 2018 with a 30.04% Dollar Market Share and a 33.82% Unit Market Share. DC Entertainment had three of the year’s top ten comics; in addition to Action Comics #1000, Batman #50, and The Batman Who Laughs #1 were among the top ten.
Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ award-winning science fiction epic, Saga from Image Comics once again dominated the top ten graphic novels chart and solidified Image Comics as the year’s third largest comic book publisher, with a 9.93% Dollar Market Share and a 9.9% Unit Market Share. Image Comics took six of the top ten graphic novel spots, with Saga Volume 9 charting as the #2 best-selling graphic novel for 2018. Saga Volumes 1 and 8 also placed in the top ten, along with The Walking Dead Volume 29 Lines We Cross (#6), Paper Girls Volume 1 (#7), and Monstress Volume 1 (#10). The best-selling comic book for the year from Image was Mark Millar’s The Magic Order #1 at #18.
IDW Publishing was the comic book specialty market’s fourth largest publisher, propelled by its licensed titles from Hasbro, Disney, and Lucasfilm. The company’s Dollar Market Share was 3.83% for the year. Marvel Action: Spider-Man #1, was IDW’s top-selling comic book, landing at #460 for the year.
Dark Horse Comics‘ mix of creator-owned and licensed titles helped the company to be the fifth-ranked publisher in the comic book specialty market in 2018 with a 2.92% Dollar Market Share. Dark Horse’s top comic book for the year Stranger Things #1, based upon the popular Netflix series, at #184.
BOOM! Studios was the sixth ranked publisher at 2.24%, and Dynamite Entertainment was seventh at 1.86%. Viz Media, Titan Comics, and Oni Press rounded out the top ten comic book publishers for 2018.
THE RETURN OF THE MOST ACCLAIMED CRIME COMIC OF THE 21ST CENTURY! Hot off their bestselling series KILL OR BE KILLED and their original graphic novel MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES, crime comic masters ED BRUBAKER and SEAN PHILLIPS finally return to their most-demanded title—as a new MONTHLY SERIES! In this double-sized (at no additional cost!) debut issue, Teeg Lawless is back in town. But he finds himself in more trouble than ever, thanks to his delinquent teenage son—and this time, fists and bullets may not be enough to solve his problems. A perfect introduction to CRIMINAL and its dark, exciting world, this series will also include back page art and articles to bring readers more fully into the noir experience.
Gunning for Hitsis a resounding rebuttal to the argument that Image Comics only puts out sci-fi, horror, and fantasy comics as writer Jeff Rougvie,who helped put together re-releases of David Bowie’s album catalogue in the 1990s, artist Moritat and colorist/letterer Casey Silver tell an inside baseball music industry saga that feels more like a mid-2000s prestige television show. It’s the 1980s, MTV is booming, everyone is buying CDs, and punk and New Wave are a thing, I guess. Martin Mills is an A and R man with a secret and thinks he might have a big act on his hands in Stunted Growth and their frontman Billy. But he has to argue with the Billy’s girlfriend/manager a lot first.
Until the final pages where Moritat and Silver turn the grit and grime of a Connecticut rock club to something a little more film noir, Gunning for Hits #1 is strictly an establishing chapter. It sets up Martin, Stunted Growth, and the cutthroat music industry of the 1980s and creates a little intrigue and future plot possibilities with the mention of Brian Slade aka the David Bowie stand-in from Todd Haynes’ 1998 glam rock film Velvet Goldmine. Martin and Billy might look and react as polar opposites, but they both love Slade’s work and want to be involved in his comeback. It’s also an opportunity for Moritat to take a break from the back rooms shadows and Martin’s practiced stances to draw some wide eyes and big poses as Billy geeks out.
The sequence that stood out most to me in Gunning for Hits is Martin’s explanation of how the music industry works. Instead of a wall of text about how the sausage is made, Rougvie let Moritat and Silver lose with fun and easy to follow cartooning in the vein of Scott McCloud, Action Philosophers and Comic Book History of Comics’ Ryan Dunlavey, or even the underrated Chris Eliopoulos. Fun, simple images make exposition go down easier and also do a solid job setting up Martin Mills’ place in the music industry without revealing his whole backstory. (One panel tells a lot, to be honest.) It’s a little crazy that the guy doing this humorous cartooning was bringing the dark atmosphere at the beginning and end of the comic. However, this extended scene isn’t without its rough patches, including an anti-Semitic caricature of a record company lawyer.
But, returning back to my mention of mid-2000s television, Gunning for Hits is really an anti-hero story about a cynical, sharp (In his narrative captions especially.), and morally bankrupt white man, who is good at his job and has just a hint of likability mostly in his music taste as he takes chances on new acts and doesn’t succumb to Baby Boomer nostalgia. Martin even gets pitted against an unlikable female character throughout the first issue, who is almost parodic in her demands from billboards in Times Square to prestigious hosting gigs and even getting Madonna as an opening act. (Although, Martin does remark that she does make good points about getting Stunted Growth on the radio.) He’s like Mad Men Season 1’s Don Draper, who does business in the backroom of shitty rock clubs and not board rooms, with Dick Whitman hiding somewhere beneath the surface. Moritat draws him like a tiger ready to pounce.
Jeff Rougvie’s wealth of experience in the music industry and a strong mysterious backstory hook plus Moritat and Casey Silver’s flexibility with the visuals make Gunning for Hits #1 a strong start to a series that is filled with both passion for the pure pop single as well as cynicism towards the whole soulless enterprise around it. It pairs well with “Ashes to Ashes”.
Writer MD Marie and artists Carlos Miko and Dema Jr. disrupt the status quo with an all-new comic book series exploring power in the criminal justice system in Vindication. The series will launch from Image Comics and Top Cow Productions this February, in time for Black History Month.
In turbulent times, when cops are often portrayed as enemies of the people, Detective Chip Christopher walks the blurred blue line between racism and due diligence in order to do his job. And right now, it’s his job to investigate Turn, a young black man with a sketchy past who was previously exonerated of a similar slaying.
Wrapped in the intensity and socio-political implications of The Hate U Give and Fruitvale Station, readers won’t want to miss Vindication‘s timely and evocative cat-and-mouse story about a cop bent on catching a murderer.
Vindication #1 (Diamond code: NOV180041) will be available on Wednesday, February 6th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, January 14th.
Teeg Lawless is back in town. But he finds himself in more trouble than ever, thanks to his delinquent teenage son-and this time, fists and bullets may not be enough to solve his problems.
If you’ve never read Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips‘ Criminal, you’ve been missing out. For about 8 volumes (depending on what you want to count) the series has been some of the best crime/noir comics our there and just some of the best comics out there period. After a too long break, they’re back with a monthly series that’s a perfect jumping on point.
To say Criminal #1 is good is selling it short. This is one hell of a start and is the type of poetic storytelling that feels so rare in comics today.
The story again revolves around Teeg Lawless who is fresh out of jail and needs to correct the mistakes of his son who has pissed off the wrong people. It’s classic noir/crime with seedy locations, characters, and situations. It nails it all perfectly and it’s a build up to what the score may be to solve Laweless’ issues and get him the money he needs.
The comic is violent but always goes just up to the line in that. It never crosses it and instead leaves some of the worst to off the page allowing readers to imagine what happened. Brubaker and Phillips know how to perfectly pull that off leaving the reader’s imagination to do the worst of the visuals.
And Phillips is key here. Joined by Jacob Phillips on color, the trio deliver a story and visuals that are, and continue to be, a match made in heaven. This is the perfect combination of creators creating a team that’s some of the best ever in comics. Phillips’ grittier art style is made for this type of story. The characters are all unique and their small details are stories unto themselves.
Beyond the comic, there’s also prose included as well. Kim Morgan delivers an essay on Blood Simple, a neo-noir crime film that I’m never seen myself. It’s the intelligent icing on the cake of an already really smart read.
Is the comic good? It’s beyond good, it’s great. Criminal #1 shows that Brubaker and Phillips is a team of creators that are some of the best in the comics business. Criminal #1 is one of the strongest debuts in quite a while and a very welcomed return.
Story: Ed Brubaker Art: Sean Phillips Color: Jacob Phillips Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Vietnamese Memories – This series by Clement Baloup is not only timely but tells stories that rarely get the time of day, even in comics
Tao Te Ching – The creative team behind this book does more than an adaptation of this important tome, they make it understandable to every reader
The Prince and The Dressmaker – In probably one of the most heartfelt stories I have read this year, Jen Wang, proves to be a master storyteller in story and art, in a story that proves that people are more than meets the eye
X-Men: Grand Design – Ed Piskor has proven himself to be one today’s premiere creators with his Hip Hop Family Tree series, and he shows his love for the X-Men in this series that packs so much in in one panel, it puts most creators to shame.
Old Man Hawkeye – Although this series is meant to be a precursor to Old Man Logan, I found this story to be even more compelling than the story that follows this, as we meet many old faces, as well as new ones, giving fans a dystopian world very much like Walking Dead, but with superheroes.
How To Read Nancy – Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden give comic book fans a treasure trove of information in what really is a textbook but also a graphic novel, as this book both entertains and educates fans on the history of this comic strip and how one should deconstruct a comic strip in the first place.
Abbott – In what is part thriller/ supernatural romance, we get a tale of an investigative reporter in Detroit searching for the truth about some ghastly unsolved murders that the police have ignored, one of them being the death of her husband.
Sleepless – As a fan of historical medieval stories, like The Tudors and The Borgias (both series) this series begins with heartbreak as the protagonist, Lady Pyppenia, is the sole heir to the throne, one currently occupied by her uncle, who sees her as a threat, as the series antes up on “ palace intrigue” as she navigates the scary waters of being a royal, as well as romance, as she starts to fall for her guard, the Sleepless Knight, Cyrenic.
Shards Volume 2 – As one of the best upcoming comic studios in the past few years, we get another collection from this talented collective, with their wide array of stories and characters that leave readers engrossed in these worlds, leaving nothing to chance.
Power& Magic: Immortal Souls – In an excellent collection from this small press company out of Oregon, we get a second volume of stories about witches who just so happen to be LGBTQ or POC or both, in what is a pure joy to read from such interesting voices
Destiny, New York Volume 2 – In the continuation of this excellent series, we drop back into the world of Logan and Lilith, and the mysterious magical underworld that lies in plain view, as they face controversy , secrets and ultimately, loss.
Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation – In this fantastic adaptation, we finally get to see Anne in all her complexities, as the heartbreak will get the reader even if you know what will happen
Without further ado, these are my favorite comics of 2018. This was the year I fell back on series that I had been checking out for years and found some new faves in the worlds of newspaper comics, symbiotes, gamma irradiated beasts, and maybe even a choose your own adventure game. Marvel seriously did a 180 this year, and I went from picking zero of their comics on my last year end list to three so well done on their part, and Donny Cates and Al Ewing should receive hefty bonus checks. But, honestly, this list should show you that visual humor, character driven narratives, and weirdness are my things, and I can’t wait to read more comics in that vein in 2019.
Honorable Mentions:Sex Death Revolution (Black Mask), Runaways (Marvel), Assassinistas (IDW/Black Crown), Punks Not Dead (IDW/Black Crown), That one really good issue of Peter Parker, Spider-Man that Chip Zdarsky wrote and drew (Marvel), Gideon Falls (Image)
10.Modern Fantasy (Dark Horse)
Modern Fantasy is a miniseries about a data entry worker named Sage of the Riverlands, who secretly wants to epic hero or maybe just a curator at a cool museum, and has a penchant for smooching handsome elves. Did Rafer Roberts and Kristen Gudsnuk have access to my most secret thoughts while writing this book? In all seriousness, this comic marries millennial angst and struggles (Dead end jobs, mooching friends, annoying co-workers) with all kinds of fantasy tropes, including urban, high, and good ol’ Lovecraftian. Gudsnuk’s art is both humorous and touching and filled with background details and jokes that reward a close reading. But what makes Modern Fantasy a great comic is the awkward friend group dynamic that Roberts and Gudsnuk craft filled with drama, jokes, a touch of romance, and a final showdown with a fire demon.
9.The Wicked + the Divine (Image)
Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson’s story of young gods and fandom hit some dark bits in 2018 and had plenty of surprises to go with the formalism and “glimpse behind the curtain” of the “Mothering Invention” arc. However, at its best, WicDiv is the story of the girl, who thought she wanted something, and then painfully realized that she didn’t really want it. That girl, of course, is Persephone whose personal journey along with McKelvie’s amazing facial expressions, Gillen’s clever quips, and Wilson’s majestic color palette keeps me returning to this series as it is about to hit its fifth year. Also, the specials were spectacularly glorious in 2018 from the illustrated prose story/murder mystery in 1923to 1373’s dark piety. Then, there was the absolute bonkers nature of The Funnies where we find out the origin of Laura’s cracked phone and the Pantheon gets to solve a Scooby Doo mystery courtesy of Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris.
8. Nancy (Go Comics)
I’ve been doing year end comics lists for five years, and this is the first time I’ve put a newspaper strip on one. However, Olivia Jaimes’ work on Nancy is one of the most hilarious things to come out of 2018. There are her “millennial” gags (Even though Nancy and Sluggo are definitely Generation Z.) about Nancy’s overuse of the Internet or swapping streaming service passwords with Sluggo, who is also “lit”. But she also has a firm grasp on meta-gags and the uniqueness of the comics medium like playing with panel layouts, lettering styles, reusing panels, and then having Nancy make a joke about it. Nancy is truly a ray of sunshine in a dark landscape while still being sarcastic and self-deprecating as hell and shows that even the proverbial old dog of the newspaper comic can learn some new tricks.
7. “Milk Wars” (DC Comics/Young Animal)
“Milk Wars” really brought the best of DC Rebirth and Young Animal together and was the only Big Two crossover I kept up with in 2018. The series brings together the Doom Patrol, Mother Panic, Shade the Changing Girl, and Cave Carson to fight warped versions of DC Comics heroes, who are under the control of the Retconn corporation. The story is a literal metaphor for how corporations sanitize characters and go for the retread instead of taking risks with iconic characters as Wonder Woman becomes a submissive housewife in her tie-in story from Cecil Castelluci and Mirka Andolfo. “Milk Wars” shows that it’s okay to be a little weird as milk goes bad if it’s left in the bridge past its expiration day. It also features some gorgeous layouts from Aco in the crossover’s first chapter, which was co-written by Gerard Way and Steve Orlando, and he and the artists did an excellent job of melding an indie and mainstream sensibility throughout “Milk Wars”. Also, the story had a real effect on Mother Panic, Cave Carson, and Shade in their solo titles and introduced Magdalene Visaggio and Sonny Liew’s wonderful, yet depressed Eternity Girl character.
Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, and Iban Coello’s Venom ongoing series is filled with all the fun excesses of the 1990s (Especially in the Venom Annual where James Stokoe shows him going toe to toe with Juggernaut.) and none of its toxicity. The first arc of the series is about Eddie Brock and his symbiote going to war against Knull, god of the symbiotes and a symbiote dragon. This has a terrible effect on him, and Cates carefully uses the symbiote as a metaphor for PTSD while freeing Stegman to draw unhinged heavy metal battles. And this series wasn’t just a one arc wonder as Cates, Coello, and Stegman explore the after effects of the battle with Knull on Eddie’s symbiote and have him confront his father. Plus one of the most underrated Marvel villains, Ultimate Reed Richards aka the Maker pops up for a little bit. This series work because it explores the psychological effects of the symbiote as well as the oozy, shoot-y violent bits.
Crowded is a wicked bit of satire with a side of mismatched buddy adventure from the beautiful minds of Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, and Triona Farrell. It is about an obnoxious woman named Charlie, who has a $2 million price on her head on an app called Reapr that is basically crowdfunded murder. Luckily, there’s an app called Defendr where Charlie hires a badass, meticulous, and noble woman named Vita to protect her. Stein and Brandt fill each page with oodles of panels, but you are able to follow every action scene, conversation, or Charlie ending up at the club or a bachelorette party even if she has a price on her head. The bounty hunting drives the plot while Sebela uses the quieter moments to develop the personality and relationships of Charlie and Vita as well as some of the “professionals” hunting them. Crowded is a thrill ride, but also looks at the dark, not so altruistic side of human nature through the Internet and constant connectivity.
4. You Are Deadpool (Marvel)
Al Ewing and Salva Espin’s You Are Deadpool was some of the most fun I had reading a comic book in 2018 beginning with Kieron Gillen showing up in the “tutorial” brandishing a sandwich as a weapon. It’s a combination spoof of different eras of Marvel Comics along with a pretty damn fun and addictive Choose Your Own Adventure Game. In some cases, you don’t even read the issues in order. Ewing and Espin also take cues from some not so table top RPGs and have the moral choices that Deadpool makes effect your reading and playing experience. Having Deadpool interact with both heroes and innocent passerbies during the Silver Age, horror/kung fu/blaxploitation, the edgy 80s, and of course, the good ol’ 90s is hilarious and shows Espin’s versatility as a cartoonist.
3. Archival Quality (Oni)
Archival Quality is a spooky graphic novel by Ivy Noelle Weir and Steenz about a young woman named Cel, who gets a job as an archivist at a medical museum. The comic tenderly explores Cel’s anxiety and depression and unexpected connection with a woman named Celine, who was a patient at the sanatorium that preceded the museum. It isn’t caught up in a fast paced thriller plot, but slowly unveils the mystery while focusing on Cel’s interactions with her boss Abayomi, super rad co-worker Holly, and her declining relationship with her boyfriend Kyle. Archival Quality has real atmosphere, and Steenz creates some fantastic spaces as Cel begins to explore her workplace with its skulls and lack of cellphone service. It is a fantastic story about mental health and relationships through the mystery genre.
2. Giant Days (BOOM! Studios)
Giant Days continues to be one of life’s true blessings thanks to John Allison, Max Sarin, Liz Fleming, Julia Madrigal, and Whitney Cogar. At this point, we know the characters and their quirks are on fully display, especially when Sarin draws the title because she is a real pro at expressive eyes and touches of surrealism to break up the slice of life. 2018 was full of drama to go with the Giant Days’ comedy as Daisy broke up with her a little too footloose and fancy free girlfriend Ingrid, and Esther missed her shot at being in a relationship with Ed when he begins a romance with Nina, a girl he met while recuperating from a pub related injury. Nina being Australian is the subject of this year holiday’s special, which was a special treat drawn and written by Allison as Ed fends for himself Down Under. Giant Days shows that it’s one of the pre-eminent slice of life comics as it enters its fourth year, and Esther, Daisy, and Susan’s relationships continue to ebb and flow.
1. Immortal Hulk (Marvel)
I will preface this by saying that the Hulk is one of my least favorite Marvel characters because he’s often used as a simplistic Jekyll/Hyde metaphor. Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, Lee Garbett, Martin Simmonds, and Paul Mounts blow that up in Immortal Hulk, which resembles an intelligent horror story rather than a superhero beat ’em up. It’s a road story with Bruce Banner on the run from the monster that comes out, wrecks, and kills when the sun goes down before morphing into a government conspiracy thriller and something more malevolent towards the end. Through cutting narration, Ewing reveals exactly what is going through Banner’s head while Bennett’s art shows the often gruesome effects of his rages. I also like how Ewing humanizes the supporting players from Walter Langkowski, who is struggling with his own monstrous nature to honest reporter Jackie McGee and even his opponent the Absorbing Man.
Immortal Hulk is the best comic of 2018 because it has a compelling plot, is a searing character study of an American pop culture icon, and is an homage to Jack Kirby and Bernie Wrightson while breaking new ground. (See issue 10’s final page.)
Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!
Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!
Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.
It’s a short week of releases with the holiday and you can get every single issue for under $50! So, instead of picking which you should get, we’re doing something a little bit different with going over what they are and why you should check out each release!
20th Century Boys: Perfect Edition Vol. 2 (VIZ Media) – These perfect editions collect two volumes of the award winning series and a perfect chance to get what you’ve been missing!
Champions #1 (Marvel) – The superhero team is expanding in members and their scope making sure to have a global focus! A perfect chance to jump on the series.
Conan the Barbarian #1 (Marvel) – The classic character returns to Marvel for all new adventures and it’s a must for fans of sword and sorcery.
Detective Comics #995 (DC Comics) – We’re here for the run up to issue #1000. It doesn’t happen too often and makes the lead up pretty exciting!
Heroes in Crisis #4 (DC Comics) – This series definitely has a love it or hate it thing going on but we want to see what happens next and if it goes where we think it’s going.
Man Without Fear #1 (Marvel) – Daredevil is “gone” but Hells Kitchen needs protectors. This mini-series focuses on those around Daredevil’s life in his absence.
One Dirty Tree (Uncivilized Books) – Noah Van Sciver’s new graphic memoir exploring his childhood growing up with eight siblings in a Morman family.
Scarlet #5 (Jinxworld/DC Comics) – The new volume wraps up and we want to see where the series goes.
The Walking Dead #187 (Skybound Entertainment/Image Comics) – The series has revived itself with the introduction of the Commonwealth and we love to see what’s next with each issue.
Winter Soldier #2 (Marvel) – The first issue ended with a solid new villain (we think) and the overall direction for the series and character is cool. It’s all about finding redemption for others and taking on Hydra.