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Review: Ginseng Roots #8

Ginseng Roots continues to explore creator Craig Thompson‘s life. This issue continues the focus on the Vang family and their connection to Thompson’s world, ginseng, and Vietnam.

Story: Craig Thompson
Art: Craig Thompson

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Zeus Comics
Uncivilized Books

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Brett’s Favorite Comics of 2020 and a Reflection on the Past Year

The Recount #1

It feels weird writing a “best of” list for the past year since it’s been so difficult for so many. Writer Ron Marz Tweeted something like any comic that helped to get you through it is a favorite, and deep down I agree with that. It’s been a rough year for so many and it’s one where the comic industry was forced to mature and face reality in many ways.

Things shifted for everyone.

Publishers canceled projects, shifted schedules, and looked to go directly to the consumer. Creators looked for new ways to earn money and also go directly to the consumer. Stores were forced to market more taking to video, email, and social media to keep customers aware of the latest offerings and remind them of classics they might have missed. Some stores didn’t make it through the year. Others expanded. New ones joined the industry. Consumers had more choices than ever before that made it easier to escape the world burning around them and find enjoyment in make-believe worlds where justice prevails in the end.

In the end, though 2020 looked bleak, it left the comic industry as a whole stronger than ever before.

It feels weird doing this “best of” but at the same time I feel like I want to “honor” and spotlight the comics that got me through the year and had me excited to read the next issues. This is what I’ve read so if you don’t see something mentioned it’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, I just might not have read it. Sorry, I can’t read everything (there was a massive glut in webcomics and manga for me).

So, in a bit different spin I’ve split this list into three sections.

  1. Comics where I’ve only read one issue so far, because that’s what’s been released, but am excited to see what comes in the new year.
  2. Comics I enjoyed each month and are kind of a “silver medal” for me. I wanted to acknowledge them but also didn’t want this to be an overwhelming essay. They’ll get more of a nod when I do a video of this.
  3. The ones I was excited to read each month or had an impact on me. These are the ones that go into my regular suggestions of comics to read down the road. The art, the stories, the presentation, they’re all at that “top of the game” level.

All of these are listed in no particular order (hell it’ll probably just be in alphabetical). Enough with the rambling… lets get on with some comics!

2020 gave us one, here’s ones I’m excited to read their second issues in 2021!

  • Batman: Black & White #1 – The first issue had some solid stories but it’s the art that really stood out. It was mind-blowing and one of the best comics visually released this year. Almost every story broke away from standard panels and was just amazing to look at. I have no idea if future issues will be like this but here’s hoping.
  • Black Cat #1 – The last volume was a lot of fun to read and this first issue continued that. Despite being a King in Black tie-in, the issue kept the focus on what Black Cat does best, steal things as everything collapses around her. There’s just a certain style and attitude that the creative team nails with this. It was a fun debut that you could just sit back, laugh while reading, and enjoy.
  • M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games #1 – Marvel’s trying to make M.O.D.O.K. a thing. It’s kind of been his year between an upcoming HULU series, a popular miniature in Marvel: Crisis Protocol, and this comic. The first issue had me laughing and I’m hoping that continues.
  • The Other History of the DC Universe #1 – John Ridley is one of my favorite creators out there. His work in film and television have blown me away. It looks like DC has given him the opportunity to deliver a brutally honest take about the DC Universe from the perspective of people of color and the first issue is one of the best things I read all year. I can’t wait until the second and this man should be allowed to do whatever he wants.
  • The Recount #1 – The issue hit a bit close to reality. The President is a crook and assassinated and there’s an uprising to purge the country of everyone who supported him, from the Vice President down to voters. It was a hell of an opening issue and one that was chilling in so many ways.
Shang-Chi #1

Comics to check out…

These were all great reads and should go on your reading pile. These are ones I made sure to read every month and jumped at reading as soon as they crossed my desk. They’ll all get more love in my video version of this.

The comics that really stood out for the year.

All of these comics were ones that kept me thinking well after I read them and I’d be happy to read them again. Many are still ongoing while others have wrapped up their runs. Each stands out in its own special way.

Ginseng Roots #3
  • Black Widow – Kelly Thompson, Elena Casagrande, Jordie Bellaire, and Cory Petit are the main creators on what’s been released so far and every issue has been amazing. Black Widow has been captured and brainwashed into believing a domestic life is real and hers. There’s been a great mix of humor, action, in this spy thriller and it’s sure to ramp up now based on the latest issue’s final moments. This is a great mix of storytelling and visual coolness.
  • Dead Day – Man, I really want this to be done as a television series and absolutely need more comics. Ryan Parrot, Evgeniy Bornyakov, Juancho!, and Charles Pritchett deliver a masterclass in world-building. Not only do they deliver an interesting story but have crafted a bigger world. For one night, the dead return, and while the comic really told the story of one family, each issue fleshed out enough of what this event’s impact would be elsewhere to get you to think and imagine.
  • Far Sector – N.K. Jemisin, Jamal Campbell, and Deron Bennett have breathed a breath of fresh air into the Green Lanterns with this series. We’re taken to an alien world where a new Lantern named Jo must solve a murder which takes her deep into a corrupt society. It does what science fiction does best, explore our real world. The visuals are stunning as well in what is a comic that’s timely capturing the current zeitgeist.
  • Ginseng Roots – Craig Thompson explores his childhood in what’s one of the most original comics this year. In a small format and with minimal colors, the comic tells us the history of ginseng and Thompson’s childhood.
  • Harley Quinn Black + White + Red – DC really shook things up this year and one way was a greater focus on digital releases. This series was an anthology that delivered a different creative team with every chapter. We got to see over a dozen different takes on Harley Quinn each of which was entertaining. If you want to see how much the creators matter when it comes to the storytelling, here you go. This is also a perfect example of where digital comics should be going from major publishers.
  • Kill a Man – This story focused on a gay man’s battles within the world of MMA was an updated take on the Rocky formula and done so well. You can come at it as a fan of MMA, as someone who’s LGBTQ, both, or just wanting good storytelling. Emotional with great action, it’s a home run from the team of Steve Orlando, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Al Morgan, and Jim Campbell.
  • Superman Smashes the Klan – The miniseries was collected and it’s amazing. Gene Luen Yang, Gurihiru, and Janice Chiang deliver a comic that captures the heart of Superman. Based on the groundbreaking radio play where Superman takes on the KKK, this comic is amazing in every aspect, from the story to the visuals. Add in some extra material from Yang about his own experiences and it becomes a comic everyone should read and one that helps define Superman in one of his best depictions ever.
  • Vlad Dracul – Matteo Strukul, Andrea Mutti, Vladimir Popov, and Joel Rodriguez tell us the story about the very real Vlad, the inspiration for Dracula. I learned a hell of a lot and would love to see more comics like this. It’s a crazy read that can be enjoyed for the history and education and/or the brutal story itself that would fit any fantasy world.
  • We Live – The first issue was perfection and got me to choke up. Each subsequent issue has built upon the world. In this story humanity is almost over but a mysterious entity from space will save 5,000 children but first they must get to extraction points. This is a few kids’ stories and their journey of survival. By Inaki Miranda, Roy Miranda, Eva De La Cruz, and Dave Sharpe each issue is visually amazing plus there’s some awesome bonus music you can listen to while reading.
  • Yasmeen – Talk about an emotional gut-punch with each issue. Saif A. Ahmed, Fabiana Mascolo, and Robin Jones tell the story of Yasmeen who was captured and tortured by Isis and her attempt to deal with the PTSD while settling after in the United States. Just an amazing blend of storytelling and real recent history.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

The Recount #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) 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 week.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night #1 (Behemoth Comics) – Bad City is an Iranian ghost town filled with prostitutes, junkies, and pimps, and other sordid souls. A lonely vampire, The Girl, stalks the town’s inhabitants. The concept and unique location have us intrigued to find out more.

Children of the Grave #1 (Scout Comics) – Earth has been reset and the populace lives in bliss receiving all they need from “Providers”. One person wants to find out the truth.

Dead Day #5 (AfterShock) – The series has been amazing at building its world where the dead return for a night.

Frank At Home On the Farm #1 (Scout Comics) – Frank returns from World War I to find his family missing and only the animals waiting for him.

Ginseng Roots #7 (Uncivilized Comics) – Craig Thompson’s exploration of his childhood and ginseng continues. Absolutely amazing work.

Legacy of Mandrake the Magician #2 (Red 5 Comics) – The debut really surprised us and has us excited to read more. It’s a great update to the classic character while honoring what has come before.

The Recount #1 (Scout Comics) – A President is assassinated and the conspirators turn their sites into those who helped get him into power… and that includes ordinary citizens who got him elected. The nation is on the brink of chaos and civil war.

Rorschach #2 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – The Watchmen follow up had an intriguing start and works better as a straight-up crime/noir/political mystery than Watchmen. We want to see where it goes from its debut and how it all unravels.

Snowpiercer: The Prequel Part 2: Apocalypse (Titan Comics) – The story of how the world plunged into a frozen tundra is revealed.

We Live #2 (AfterShock) – The debut had us in literal tears and we’re excited to dive into more of this world. It’s the end of humanity and children are heading to a pick up point to get off the planet and hopefully survive.

Review: Ginseng Roots #6

Ginseng Roots continues to explore creator Craig Thompson’s life. This issue is an interesting layered look at the religious institutions in Thompson’s life and some poetic comparisons between Biblical versus and the life cycle of ginseng.

Story: Craig Thompson
Art: Craig Thompson

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Uncivilized Books
Zeus Comics

Uncivilized Books provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Ginseng Roots #6

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) 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 week.

Batman: Three Jokers #1 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – After a long build up and teases, the first issue is here and it’s…. interesting.

Displacement (First Second) – A teenager is pulled back in time to witness her grandmother’s experiences in a WWII-era Japanese internment camp.

Flamer (Henry Holt) – Aiden heads to summer camp and navigates his feelings about being gay.

Ginseng Roots #6 (Uncivilized Comics) – Craig Thompson continues to explore his youth and it revolving around ginseng. A fascinating autobiography.

Hellions #3 (Marvel) – The most intriguing entry in Marvel’s new line of X-Men? The battle against the Goblin Queen continues.

Locke & Key: In Pale Battalions Go #1 (IDW Publishing) – Prepare to open a door onto one of the grimmest battlefields of the 20th century, whose darkness might even strike fear into an army of supernatural shadows.

Map to the Sun (First Second) – A YA graphic novel about five principle players in a struggling girls’ basketball team. The presentation is amazing.

Mega Man: Fully Charged #1 (BOOM! Studios) – The animated reboot comes to comics. While we haven’t seen the show, we’re excited to check out the comic as fans of the video game.

Nailbiter Returns #4 (Image Comics) – If you like horror or slasher movies, you’ll enjoy this comic series.

The School for Extraterrestrial Girls (Papercutz) – Jeremy Whitley and Jamie Noguchi’s new graphic novel series about a school for extraterrestrials.

X-Factor #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was fantastic and to have a detective series that fills a niche of solving one of the flaws of Krakoa should be interesting going forward.

Review: Ginseng Roots #5

Ginseng Roots continues to explore creator Craig Thompson‘s life. This issue pivots a bit adding in the history of the region and more about the history of ginseng. It’s educational and eye-opening.

Story: Craig Thompson
Art: Craig Thompson

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Uncivilized Books
Zeus Comics

Uncivilized Books provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Ash & Thorn #2

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) 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 week.

Ash & Thorn #2 (AHOY Comics) – The first issue introduced us to an unlikely champion of Earth. The series seems to be having fun with expectations and tropes from that genre with a nice mix of humor to it.

DCeased: Dead Planet #1 (DC Comics) – DC has been doing some top-notch work when it comes to this pocket of stories and this return to the world is full of dread and heartbreak… and that’s just the first issue!

Eat and Love Yourself (BOOM! Studios) – Magic chocolate allows a young woman to revisit her past. The concept sounds really intriguing and creative.

Eight-Lane Runaways (Fantagraphics) – A new graphic novel about the world of running with a magical twist. We’re still not quite sure what this one’s about but the cover and description text has us wanting to find out more.

Empyre: Fantastic Four #0 (Marvel) – The first zero issue to come out of this anticipated event was solid and we’re excited to see what else is to come. What went from a shrug is now very intriguing.

Ginseng Roots #5 (Uncivilized Books) – One of the best comics out right now, Craig Thompson explores growing up in the world of ginseng.

Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics (Ten Speed Press) – Tom Scioli’s biography of the great Jack Kirby.

Join the Future #3 (AfterShock) – This future western explores the idea of modernization and the exploitation that comes with it.

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew #2 (Dynamite Entertainment) – The twist of the first issue was predictable but we really want to see where this noir/mystery goes.

Quantum & Woody #4 (Valiant) – The first three issues have been a whole lot of fun and we’re expecting the same from this finale.

Strange Academy #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was a lot of fun and we’ve been looking forward to seeing more of the series. Think young magic users at a school set in the Marvel universe.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Adventureman #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) 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 week. It’s the third week of new comics after the shutdown and that also means the return of Marvel!

Adventureman #1 (Image Comics) – Matt Fraction, Terry Dodson, and Rachel Dodson come together for this pulp adventure about a hero who was forgotten and an imagination that spans decades. Read our review.

Archangel 8 #2 (AWA Studios) – Heaven and Hell wage war for the souls of mankind.

Artemis and the Assassin #2 (Aftershock) – A time traveling adventure that’s over the top exciting.

Decorum #2 (Image Comics) – The debut of this series was impressive as far as Jonathan Hickman’s writing, but it’s Mike Huddleston’s art that blew us away. This is the story of the most well-mannered assassin in the known universe.

Excellence #7 (Image Comics) – Spencer Dales has one purpose: tear down the Aegis and free everyone under their “protection.” The series has been solid and feels even more relevant today.

Ginesng Roots #4 (Uncivilized Comics) – Craig Thompson’s autobiographical comic about growing up around ginseng in Wisconsin. One of the best comics of the year.

Old Haunts #1 (AWA Studios) – Three made men are assaults byt the ghosts of their past.

Snowpiercer: Escape (Titan Comics) – If you haven’t ever read this amazing series, now’s your chance with a new softcover edition.

Undiscovered Country #6 (Image Comics) – America is walled off and while the story is fantastical, it’s getting all too real.

Zero Day Threat #1 (Red 5 Comics) – The 21st century arms race is a digital one. Neumann is a secret agency that protects the US from these threats but a mysterious woman holds secrets that could bring down the agency.

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