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(W) Gerard Way, Jeremy Lambert (A) James Harvey (CA) Nick Derington In Shops: Jul 03, 2019 SRP: $3.99
All hail the Supreme Shape! Gerard Way and the World’s Strangest Superheroes return in an all-new series that takes them beyond the borders of time and space! Featuring artwork by acclaimed cartoonist James Harvey, this issue finds the Doom Patrol facing off against the fanatical fitness fiends of planet Orbius and the Marathon Eternal! Meanwhile, Cliff Steele, formerly known as Robotman, must come to terms with his new body of flesh and bone…yet the real test turns out to be something far more frightening: his mom.
DC’s Young Animal is returning this July with the next chapter of its flagship title, plus two new, innovative stories. The pop-up imprint curated by My Chemical Romance front man Gerard Way will kick things off on July 3 with Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds, followed by Collapser on July 17, and Far Sector in late 2019.
With these new series come new creative teams, with Mikey Way (MCR), Shaun Simon (Neverboy, Killjoys) and acclaimed artist Ilias Kyriazis (G.I. Joe: First Strike) introducing Collapser, and author N.K. Jemisin (The Broken Earth, Inheritance trilogies) making her comic book writing debut with Far Sector, a new and original Green Lantern story, alongside Jamal Campbell, artist of the breakout hit series, Naomi. The next phase of Gerard Way’s Doom Patrol will team him up once again with Nick Derington for covers, with interior stories illustrated by a series of amazing artists beginning with James Harvey, followed by Doc Shaner, Nick Pitarra, Becky Cloonan and more.
More details about these new series can be found here:
DOOM PATROL: WEIGHT OF THE WORLDS
Written by: Gerard Way and Jeremy Lambert Art by: James Harvey followed by Doc Shaner, Nick Pitarra, Becky Cloonan and more Series debut: July 3, 2019
Gerard Way and the World’s Strangest Super Heroes return in an all-new series that takes them beyond the borders of time and space! The Doom Patrol will go on an epic road trip around the solar system, facing off against the unusual and bizarre including the fanatical fitness fiends of planet Orbius and the Marathon Eternal. Big changes are coming for these unusual heroes, including Robotman coming to terms with his new life as a human.
Written by: Mikey Way and Shaun Simon Art by: Ilias Kyriazis Series debut: July 17, 2019
Liam James is a wannabe DJ whose life goals are almost completely dashed by his crippling anxiety—until a package arrives in the mail containing a black hole that gives him amazing powers and draws him into a cosmic conflict far beyond anything he’d ever imagined. But Liam will discover that when it comes to life, love, mental health and superhero responsibilities, there’s no such thing as a quick fix, and that power comes with a cost.
Written by: N.K. Jemisin Art by: Jamal Campbell Series debut: 2019
Newly chosen Green Lantern Sojourner “Jo” Mullein has been protecting the City Enduring, a massive metropolis of 20 billion people, for the past six months. The City has maintained peace for over 500 years by stripping its citizens of their ability to feel. As a result, violent crime is virtually unheard of, and murder is nonexistent.
But that’s all about to change.
This new series introduces a dizzying game of politics and philosophies as Jo discovers a brewing revolution in the City, aided and abetted by some of its most powerful citizens.
Cecil Castellucci is a talented novelist, comic book writer, and musician, who won a Joe Shuster Award for her work on 2007’sThe Plain Janes. Recently, she has written the comics Shade the Changing Girland Shade the Changing Woman for DC Comics’ Young Animal imprint. At C2E2, I had the opportunity to chat with Castellucci at the DC Comics booth about her new series,Female Furies, that brings the Me Too Movement to Jack Kirby’s Fourth World.
Graphic Policy:I’m a big fan of your Young Animal work, like Shade the Changing Girl and Shade the Changing Woman. Why should fans of Shade check out Female Furies?
Cecil Castellucci: With Shade, I was looking at what [Steve] Ditko did and what [Peter] Milligan did, and I was trying to honor and echo some of things they did. But then me and Marley [Zarcone] would stake our own claim to that universe. I feel like with Female Furies, I’m looking at Kirby and his magnificent work and looking at the Female Furies and trying to put it through a different lens.
Shade the Changing Girl is dealing with a lot of the things that original Shade did and Milligan’s Shade did, but where Milligan explored a lot of darkness and cruelty, I staked a claim to heart. It complements it. I feel the same way with Female Furies. I think that Tom King did an amazing job with Mister Miracle, and it’s just got a tenderness to it. It’s very domestic drama and asked, “What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a father?” Those are wonderful things. I’m taking those same characters. Just like he took one lens on it that was different than Kirby, I’m taking a completely different lens from the same characters and showing a different point of view. One thing I love about these characters is that they’re so flexible and can withstand being put through their paces in a different way.
GP:Speaking of these characters, I came into Female Furies expecting for it to focus on Big Barda because she’s a popular, big name character. But you decided to focus on Aurelie. Why did you decide to do that?
CC: One thing I knew going in was that I was going to do the Me Too movement on Apokolips. And a feminist awakening on Apokolips. When I read the whole Fourth World omnibus, it really struck me how women and the Furies were talked about. They’re on the side all the time. They never really go to battle. They’re on the fringes. They’re badasses, but they’re on the side.
So, I wanted to bring their story forward. But, also, the way in those original texts that their bodies are talked about and the way that Granny Goodness is in charge of the children when she’s an equal too. I wanted to look at that and focus on that. When I read Kirby’s Mister Miracle, I discovered the character of Aurelie, who is Barda’s inciting incident. She is Barda’s origin story. When I read that issue, I was like “This is a way in to tell this story” because it’s part of the original thing, but it’s expanding who Aurelie is and how she got to Himon’s place. And the dancing. I really tried to stitch that in.
GP:Why is the Fourth World such a good setting about gender inequality in the world?
CC: I want to go back and say that even though I’m focusing on Aurelie, I still think that my Female Furies is the story of Granny and Big Barda. It’s just the way we’re gonna get there.
First of all, I think that the Fourth World is operatic. It is enormous with highs and lows and drama and betrayal. And Apokolips is also a hell planet. So, when you’re talking about really hard things with bad guys, you can go harsher than what you would do if it was reality or Earth based and dial up the tension of the horribleness of systemic misogyny, of sexual harassment and abuse in that way.
I think that it made it a great landscape to explore the current issues. Sometimes, it’s hard for us when we’re living in a moment in time to look at that moment in time. When it’s in outer space on hell planet, I don’t want to say it’s easier because it’s not. But it is.
GP: Yes, Female Furies is a tough read.
CC: It’s tough to write too.
GP:In Female Furies #2, you had this big character beat where Big Barda is a victim blamer. Why did you decide to make her a victim blamer?
CC: Because I think what happens sometimes is that it’s so impossible for people to believe that something has happened. I think that it’s human tendency to keep the status quo because if you actually awaken to what’s really happening, too many things have to change, and it’s very difficult. Your whole world has to change. Not just society, but your whole personal world.
I think it’s easier for people, and Barda falls victim to that because it’s quite common. You look at women who are raped or domestically abused, or men. They’re usually blamed for what happened. It’s a cycle. I wanted to mirror that to make us look at ourselves, and how we deal with people when they’re telling us the truth. That’s why there’s that thing, “Believe women.” When someone tells you something has happened, it costs them so much to speak. We still have that lesson to learn over and over.
GP:Especially in issue 2, the visuals of the sexual assaults are very explicit. How do you do these kind of scenes without being overly gratuitous like some previous comics put out about this topic?
CC: I have to give a shout out to Adriana Melo. I think that Adriana does such an amazing job of handling those brutal moments with a tenderness and a care toward what’s happening to the characters. I think a lot of that has to do with our collaboration and her masterful way of doing that. I think that’s one of the hard things. Nothing that I or Adriana put in there is gratuitous. I’m not doing it willy nilly. It’s not to be titillating in any way. It’s to talk about harsh circumstances.
Also, they’re all terrible people. They’re villains. Even the people being abused are terrible people. It’s tough to write. It’s not an easy thing.
GP: Granny Goodness is the first protagonist you focus on in Female Furies. In previous stories, she’s been this caricature of evil like when Ed Asner voiced her in the DC cartoons. How do you make her sympathetic?
CC: The Female Furies have always been a part of Kirby’s Fourth World, and they’ve been on the fringe or on the side. You know that they’re all complex. When you take a sliver of the story, and you say, “I’m gonna tell this story of an awakening.” Then, you have more time to explore of how people got there.
I think that you can’t have someone like Granny Goodness without knowing that she came from somewhere. The way that she is is because she learned she had to be like that. I was really interested in figuring out how to crack that. Who is she, and how did she become such a terrible person?
GP:Your take on Darkseid is so unique. I’m used to him being a total nihilist. How do you make him go from being all about “Anti-Life” to a sexual assaulting CEO?
CC: First of all, I think that a lot of men in power express their power in many different ways, and to me, that seemed very natural. It also seemed to me that he would have a very particular relationship with Granny because she is the only woman. I think that he know that she’s probably just as powerful if not more powerful than he is. He needs to keep her under his thumb.
I looked to the history of man and womankind and sort of plucked from there. I think it’s obvious that Darkseid would have those kind of power moves.
GP: It reminds me a lot of Zeus in Greek mythology.
CC: Absolutely. You wouldn’t be like “Zeus doesn’t do it”. He did it a million ways. That’s also how he kept power. I think that Darkseid is a very smart man, and he knows how to manipulate people.
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.)
(W) Gerard Way (A) Dan McDaid (CA) Nick Derington
In Shops: Oct 31, 2018
Something normal is happening to the Doom Patrol. Which means not weird, since their own normal is very weird. There are mysterious forces at work, unseen hands rewriting history, and the change is so gradual, the team doesn’t even necessarily see how much they are changing. The end of our second big DOOM PATROL arc leads into big things to come next month!
(W) Jody Houser (A) Ibrahim Moustafa (CA) Tommy Lee Edwards
In Shops: Aug 22, 2018
Mother Panic must face all her demons-spiritual and biological-in this issue as she learns the true fate of the Violet of this world. Sibling rivalries, archnemeses and more square off against Mother Panic in this, the ultimate issue of GOTHAM A.D.!
(W) Cecil Castellucci (A) Marley Zarcone (CA) Becky Cloonan
In Shops: Aug 01, 2018
It all comes to a head, as Shade faces every action and (non)decision she has made up to this point. Armed with the advice of mentors and the lessons she has learned from friends, Shade must decide once and for all: Can a person-be she human or avian-truly change?