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Workers of the world! Here’s a list of comics to celebrate your Labor Day

Ah, the pleasures of having Labor Day off to celebrate work. It’s a contradiction as old as time, where honoring work means taking a (well-deserved and utterly necessary) break from it. After all, most workers have jobs that go year-round and the daily grind does take a toll. A day off is the least that can be afforded to them.

Recognition is the other thing we should doling out in industrial quantities during this federal holiday. As such, comic books are filled with stories about the fruits of labor, both in a literal and a politically figurative sense. Be it by actually exploring the hardships of being a worker to acknowledging the monumental task that is organizing movements in support of them, labor is central to the motivations behind some of comic’s best stories.

Here’s a short list of comics that either directly or indirectly showcase the roles workers play in keeping life and society functional. These comics dive headfirst into the specifics of what ‘putting in the work’ means, recognizing that everything that’s done in the service of others usually rests on human struggles both painful and exhausting. The comics below give workers their time in the spotlight so we can appreciate just how much it takes to go out and keep the world turning.

Labor Day Comics
Trashed

1. Trashed, written and illustrated by Derf Backderf

This book can best be described as a sobering love letter to one of the most underappreciated and openly repudiated jobs known to humankind: garbage collection. Following Backderf’s critically-acclaimed My Best Friend Dahmer, Trashed is based on the author’s time as a sanitation worker himself, surrounded by other workers just as enthused about collecting trash as he was (which wasn’t a whole lot). The inner workings of sanitation are presented through a combination of autobiographical anecdotes and well-researched facts and data that reveal just how complex, dangerous, and even clumsy picking up and storing trash can be. It’s a funny but scary look at how sanitation can save the world while also turn it into a ticking time bomb.

Damage Control

2. Damage Control, originally created by Dwayne McDuffie (W) and Ernie Colón (A)

A superhero’s job is to save the day, crumbling infrastructure be damned. With them, though, comes a unique concern for property damage, mostly focused on the inevitability of mass destruction. In comes a company solely dedicated to cleaning up after extinction-level battles and then putting the pieces back together called Damage Control. In essence, this Marvel comic is about unsung heroes. It’s about doing essential work knowing there’s no glory waiting at the end of it (much like Trashed, in some respects). McDuffie’s scripts are a masterclass on chaos and property politics, but it’s Colón’s attention to detail amidst the chaos that sets this story apart. The original series (there are a total of 4 series published) takes to a kind of MAD Magazine-style approach to comedy with visual gags and crude humor leading the charge, but it’s all well-orchestrated and it makes for reading that rewards those who scan comics pages whole multiple times.

Labor Day Comics
She-Hulk

3. She-Hulk: Law and Disorder, written by Charles Soule and illustrated by Javier Pulido

At a glance, Soule and Pulido’s She-Hulk gives the impression of being a kind of ‘slice of life’ story about a superhero that chooses law as her preferred battleground. The book, however, is about so much more, and it might have more in common with Damage Control than an actual legal drama. She-Hulk takes the anger-filled superhero and turns her into a working-class woman that’s trying (and struggling) to make her own legal services business work. She puts it all together from the ground up but is immediately confronted with the hardships of balancing work, heroics, and the semblance of a personal life on an even keel. One of the greatest, and most entertaining, aspects of the comic lies in the formation of the character’s legal practice and how at odds it can be being both a superhero and a normal person with other interests. It dives deep into the complications of working multiple jobs, but it shows an appreciation for those who lead their lives under that predicament. Soule and Pulido create a story that supports and applauds those who undertake the task of holding several jobs at once, honoring the sacrifice it requires of one’s self to survive it.

Labor Day Comics
Ex Machina

4. Ex Machina, written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Tony Harris

While aggressively political and metaphorical, Ex Machina does something few other stories on governmental responsibility manage to achieve: make the role of an elected official look and feel like a real job. The story follows Mitchel Hundred, a man that renounces his superhero persona to become mayor of New York city. After only managing to save one of the Twin Towers during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hundred realizes he can do more good as an elected official rather than as a superhero. Vaughan and Harris take full advantage of this setup to go beyond political speeches and discourse to get Hundred’s hands dirty with the real act of running a government. Hundred has to address the legality of surveillance in times of crisis, protocols for public demonstrations, controversial content in city museums, infrastructure, and police freedoms all while controlling the urge to use his still functioning superpowers to speed the process up. As is the case in She-Hulk, Hundred also attempts (with few successes) to balance his personal life with the job. Problem is, the job demands too much of his time, hence the temptation to use his powers. Ex Machina is a stark reminder that being an elected official actually means holding down a job with real consequences attached to it, something many politicians seem to have lost sight of.

Gotham Central

5. Gotham Central: In the Line of Duty, written by Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka and illustrated by Michael Lark

The profession of law enforcement is under serious scrutiny at the present moment, and rightfully so, but it’s still a job certain men and women take on despite the complexities of outdated and dysfunctional practices that are in desperate need of revision. And that’s on top of the racial problems that have shaped its many, many systems. However, there are those who do take the job seriously and work hard to ‘protect and serve’ with the best of intentions under the law. Gotham Central prioritizes this viewpoint, focusing the cops and detectives that work in Batman’s Gotham City. Without the resources or the exceptions afforded to the Dark Knight, the GCPD is still tasked with responding to criminal activity, regardless of whether it’s of the supervillain type or not. Main characters René Montoya, Crispus Allen, Marcus Driver, and “Josie Mac” MacDonald, among others, are divided into day and night shifts in a city that is in a constant flux of crime. The job takes its toll on a personal level and there’s an emphasis on how much one gives in the line of duty, but there’s also an appreciation of honest cops walking the line in the face of overwhelming police corruption and abuse. It’s a complicated and sometimes contradictory read, but it makes no excuses while confronting the damning inconsistencies of the job.

Labor Day comics
Wooblies!: A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World

6. Wooblies! A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World, edited by Peter Buhle & Nicole Schulman

The Industrial Workers of the World, or IWW, has a wild and exuberant history, to say the least, which makes it the ideal subject for comic book storytelling. The IWW was created in Chicago, Illinois in 1905 as a union for marginalized workers led by Marxist principles. Miners, lumber workers, immigrant workers, indigenous workers, non-white workers, severely underrepresented female workers, and workers all over that had no rights or protections saw in the IWW as the means to fight towards better working conditions. Wooblies! (alluding to the nickname given to the members of the union) enlists the talents of cartoonists such as Peter Kuper, Harvey Pekar, Trina Robbins, Sharon Rudahl, Sue Coe, Carlos Cortez, among others to tell the story of how forgotten and underrepresented workers rose up against the odds to gain the rights and respect owed to them. The anthology has a very underground ‘comix’ feel to it, but it’s allegorical and metaphorical inclinations do a better job of capturing labor struggles better than a traditional story ever could. This might be the quintessential Labor Day reading right here.


Workers, laborers, holders of jobs, these comics honor your contributions, your efforts, and the near impossible feats you pull off. Read and relax, but overall, enjoy your hard-earned Labor Day holiday.

Preview: Vampirella #2 (1969) Replica Edition

Vampirella #2 (1969) Replica Edition

writers: Forest J. Ackerman, Don Glut, Nicola Cuti, and more!
artist: Mike Royer, Ernie Colon, Billy Graham, and more!
cover: Bill Hughes
FC | 66 pages | Horror | $6.99 | Teen+

Fans loved the first Vampirella Replica Edition, and this second issue is just as awesome! The hard to find 60+ page comics magazine, exactly as it was originally presented in 1969 – fun ads and all! As depicted on the striking cover by Bill Hughes, Vampirella’s cousin Evily the Witch appears here for the first time. She’s recently been revived in the just collected Vampirella: Roses for the Dead by Kristina and Joseph Michael Linsner. Not only that, Vampi’s blonde-haired, black-clad twin sister Draculina also makes her first appearance here! Forrest J. Ackerman writes the second Vampirella story, joined this time by longtime Jack Kirby inker Mike Royer. Other contributors to this issue include Don Glut (Star Wars, Captain America), Billy Graham (Black Panther, Luke Cage), Ernie Colón (Amethyst, Damage Control) and more.

First Appearance of Evily the Witch, Vampirella’s cousin! First Appearance of Draculina, Vampirella’s sister!

Check out the Vampirella Archive HC series for more Warren-Era Vampirella!

Vampirella #2 (1969) Replica Edition

Around the Tubes

House of X #2

It’s a new week and we’re getting a slight break to catch up on convention coverage before the next round of them! While you wait for things to get rolling, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Newsarama – Ernie Colón Dies at Age 88 – Our thoughts are with his friends and family.

The Comichron – X-Men reboot, Walking Dead finale, extra ship week help comics sales in July; first 1-2 finish for X-comics since 2001 – For those that enjoy the horse race.

CBC – 15 Canadian comics to watch for this fall – A different list of comics to check out.

NBC – After El Paso shooting, Latino comic book hero creator vows to keep telling stories – We need diverse voices.

Boing Boing – King of King Court: a graphic novel memoir about intergenerational trauma in Western Mass – This sounds interesting.

Reviews

Superman Home Page – Dear Justice League
CBR –
Dear Justice League
Talking Comics –
House of X #2
The Beat –
House of X #2
LA Times –
In Waves

Preview: Vampirella #1 1969 Replica Edition

Vampirella #1 1969 Replica Edition

writer: Forrest J. Ackerman, Don Glut, Nicola Cuti
artists: Frank Frazetta, Tom Sutton, Billy Graham, Reed Crandall, Neal Adams, Mike Royer, Tony Tallarico, Ernie Colon
cover: Frank Frazetta
FC | 66 pages | Horror | $6.99 | Teen +

This special reprint includes every story and even advertisements exactly as they looked half a century ago! An essential part of a Vampirella collection, and far cheaper than an original!

Warren’s sharp-eyed editors assembled the best talents across the world to write and draw timeless stories. This first issue features a diverse range of masters including Neal Adams (Batman, Green Lantern), Reed Crandall (Blackhawk, EC Comics), longtime Jack Kirby inker Mike Royer and other greats Tom Sutton, Ernie Colon & Tony Tallarico. All under an unforgettable cover by Frank Frazetta.

Check out the Vampirella Archive HC series for more Warren Era Vampirella!

Vampirella #1 1969 Replica Edition

Preview: Airboy Archives, Vol. 5

Airboy Archives, Vol. 5 

Chuck Dixon (w) • Stan Woch, Ernie Colón, Alberto Maldonado, Brent Anderson, Enrique Villagran, Jim Longstreth, Mark Johnson, Andy Kubert (a) • Timothy Truman (c)

Volume 5 concludes the complete run of the Eclipse Comics Airboy series! Collects issues #41–50, the second three-issue mini-series featuring Valkyrie, the one-shot Airboy vs the Air Maidens, and a never-before-printed 8-page Skywolf backup story.

TPB • FC • $29.99 • 336 pages • ISBN: 978-1-63140-810-6

Starwarp Concepts in May 2013

THE SAGA OF PANDORA ZWIEBACK ANNUAL #1

Written by STEVEN A. ROMAN and SHOLLY FISCH
Art by ELISEU GOUVEIA, ERNIE COLON, and ELIZABETH WATASIN       
Cover art by HENAR TORINOS

“Song of the Siren” is written by Saga of Pandora Zwieback novelist Steven A. Roman (bestselling author of X-Men: The Chaos Engine Trilogy), with full-color art by Eliseu Gouveia (Lorelei: Sects and the City). Following the terrifying events of Blood Feud and Blood Reign—the first two novels in the series—Pan tries to get her chaotic life back in order. But that becomes hard to do when one of her boyfriend Javier’s ex-girlfriends butts in on Pan’s first official date with him and tries to ruin their budding relationship. Stupid mythological siren…

This 56-page special also includes “After Hours,” a short tale by writer Sholly Fisch (Action Comics) and comics-art legend Ernie Colón (Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld), and “Shopping Maul,” a Pan short story by Roman about (blood) red-tag sales and Elegant Gothic Lolita vampires, with title page art by indie comics creator Elizabeth Watasin (Charm School).

Both print and digital versions go on sale May 22, 2013. The print edition will be available at finer comic shops; the digital edition will be available for download from StarWarpConcepts.com and DriveThruComicscom.

$7.99 U.S. (print comic) • $3.99 U.S. (digital edition) • 56 pages
Ages: Teen +
ISBN: 978-0-9884429-0-0 (print comic)
ISBN: 978-0-9884429-1-7 (digital)
Spotlight listing on page 343 of the March 2013 Diamond Previews
Diamond Comic Distributors Item Code: MAR131285
Diamond Comic Distributors Stock #: STK527896

SWC_PanAnnualCvr

Lorelei Makes Her Graphic Novel Debut

Author Steven A. Roman, who you might know from X-Men: The Chaos Engine Trilogy, has debuted his mature readers graphic novel Lorelei: Sects and the City. The graphic novel features art by Eliseu Gouveia, Steve Geiger and Neil Vokes.

The story focuses on a female former photographer who, through supernatural means, has been transformed into a succubus: a sexual demon who steals the souls of evildoers. In this adventure, Lori must prevent an ancient cult from opening a gateway that will allow the monstrous Old Gods they worship to return—and possibly destroy the Earth. Roman describes it:

At its heart, Lorelei is a tribute to 1970s and ’80s horror comics and movies. Her stories have supernatural elements, sure, and there’s some nudity and adult themes—Lori is a succubus, after all—but her adventures are character-driven, with a heavy dose of sarcasm and humor. And receiving encouragement over the years from people like original Vampirella publisher James Warren and comic artists like Esteban Maroto and Tom Sutton, as well as from Vampirella’s creator, Forrest J Ackerman, has meant a lot to me. I think horror fans will enjoy Lori’s inaugural graphic-novel adventure as much as those creators did.

Lorelei: Sects and the City also features cover art by Esteban Maroto, a one-page history of succubi by Ernie Colon and pinups by Louis Small Jr. and the late Tom Sutton. Its currently available for order from online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, comic shops, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and the StarWarp Concepts Web site. Retailers can obtain the graphic novel through StarWarp Concept’s distributor, Ingram Book Company.

Small Press Expo announces debut works from Takashi Murakami, Matt Thurber, Mike Dawson, and others at SPX 2011

Official Press Release

Small Press Expo announces debut works from Takashi Murakami, Matt Thurber, Mike Dawson, and others at SPX 2011

Bethesda, Maryland; August 16, 2011 – The Small Press Expo (SPX), the preeminent showcase for the exhibition of independent comics, graphic novels, and alternative political cartoons, announces new graphic novels and comics being debuted at the festival.. For summaries, cover images, and details of all the debuting work, please visit http://www.spxpo.com/debuts

SPX has always been a showcase for new talent and a great place to debut new works. This year’s debuts — 38 at the time of this release! — represent a diverse range of cartooning styles, narrative approaches and topics, audiences, and cartoonists.

Takashi Murakami’s Stargazing Dog, the latest bestseller by the internationally renowned designer, will be available in an English-language version from NBM Publishing. The Japanese version has sold over a half a million copies and is slated to become a feature film.

Mike Dawson debuts the graphic novel compilation of last year’s Ignatz-award winner for Outstanding Online Comic, Troop 142.

Matt Thurber introduces 1-800-Mice, an imaginative and ambitious narrative set in the imaginary city of Volcano Park, where flying mouse couriers have replaced Federal Express.

Jennifer Hayden releases the print compilation of her popular and acclaimed autobiographic online comic Underwire. The comics previously appeared on ACT-I-VATE.com..

The festival features additional debuts from: 1RODHWY, Troy-Jeffrey Allen and Jay Payne, Americans UK, Pat Barrett, Jonathan Baylis, Carolyn Belefski, Jeffrey Brown, Marjee Chmiel and Sandra Lanz, Ernie Colon, the Draw Sucka! artists, Mario A. Gonzales, Seamus Heffernan, Jeph Jacques, James Jarvis, Jim8ball, Josh Kramer, Molly Lawless, Eric Leland, Joel Lolar, Renee Lott, Kyle Magnan, Jeremy Massie, Tom McHenry, Shawn Padraic Murphy, Jamie Noguchi, Melody Often, Katie Omberg, Desiree Pittman, Peter Quach, Ashley Quigg, Ethan Rilly, Justin Rivers and Courtney Zell, Jon Reed, Matthew D. Smith, The Sequential Artist Workshop, Andrea Tsurumi, Sara Turner, Joey Weiser, Jeremy Whitley and Jason Strutz, K. Sekelsky, Robert Ullman, Yuichi Yokoyama, and Chris Yura.

Interviews and review copies may be available. Please contact the SPX press office at the number above.

About SPX

SPX is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit that brings together more than 300 artists and publishers to meet their readers, booksellers and distributors each year. Graphic novels, mini comics, and alternative comics will all be on display and for sale by their authors and illustrators, as well as a series of panel discussions and interviews with this year’s guests.

As in previous years, profits from the SPX will go to support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), protecting the First Amendment rights of comic book readers and professionals. For more information on the CBLDF, go to their website at http://www.cbldf.org.

The hours for SPX 2011 are 11am–7pm Saturday, September 10, and 12–6pm Sunday, September 11. Admission is $10 for a single day or $15 for the weekend.

Almost American