Tag Archives: graphic novels

Preview: For Better or For Worse The Complete Library Volume 5: 1993-1996

For Better or For Worse The Complete Library Volume 5: 1993-1996

(W) Lynn Johnston (A/CA) Lynn Johnston
In Shops: Jan 13, 2021
SRP: $49.99

Collect the beloved newspaper comic strip that chronicles the saga of the Patterson family in real time, over three decades, in these definitive editions.

This volume features one of the most beloved stories in the strip’s history-the saga of Farley, the family dog. When little April gets into big trouble, it is up to Farley to come to her rescue. But that isn’t the only big event in the lives of the Pattersons. Michael heads off to college while Elizabeth navigates her teen years. Back at home, Elly and John deal with adult problems such as house renovations and menopause.

Lynn Johnston keeps the ongoing narrative fresh and interesting. Includes every comic strip from April 25, 1993 to August 31, 1996. Each volume also contains annotations by Lynn Johnston detailing motivations for certain strips, funny anecdotes, reactions from fans, and much more!

For Better or For Worse The Complete Library Volume 5: 1993-1996

See Flash Facts, DC’s First-Ever STEM Graphic Novel for Kids

Flash Facts is DC‘s first-ever STEM-focused graphic novel for kids. Out in stores on February 2, 2021, the middle-grade anthology is curated by Mayim Bialik and features a collection of short stories from writers and artists including Varian Johnson, Cecil Castellucci, Kirk Scroggs, Michael Northrop, Isaac Goodhart, and many more.

Today, DC released the full Batman chapter, “If You Can’t Take the Heat,” co-written by twin brothers Varian Johnson and Darian Johnson, and illustrated by Vic Regis. The short story features Batman demonstrating 3-D printing for kids.

Preview: Last Dance

Last Dance

WRITER: Hanna Schroy 
Hanna Schroy
SRP: $12
FORMAT: Trade Paperback

Miriam has trained her whole life to fulfill her dreams and it’s finally paid off now that she’s the prima ballerina of the Lulli Dance Company, but she’s been keeping a secret from them. The years of sprains, fractures, and bruises have taken their toll and a catastrophic ankle injury now means one terrible thing: she has to give it all up forever. Distraught beyond consolation, Miriam runs from the studio and discovers a secret room she’s never seen before. Inside she finds a pair of gleaming white and gold slippers and a mysterious voice whispering to her in the dark. If she tries on the slippers, it says, she’ll regain the strength to raise en pointe. It speaks the truth!

Soon, Miriam is back, but each achievement means danger for everyone around her and negotiation with the spirit who claims it wants just one little harmless thing in return . . . to join the ballerinas and dance, just like her.

Last Dance

Jim Morrison Lives in June

Hot off the heels of the popular release Paul Is Dead, the critically acclaimed Paolo Baron and Ernesto Carbonetti return with Jim Lives: the Mystery of the Lead Singer of The Doors and the 27 Club—an all-new original graphic novel that plays with the theory that Jim Morrison never died. This is the second standalone graphic novel in the trilogy and will be out from Image Comics in June 2021.

Perfect for fans of conspiracy theory and speculative thrillers, Jim Lives follows the story of a man searching for his son—a correspondent for a popular american newspaper—who vanished into thin air after sending one last, enigmatic message: jim morrison isn’t dead, he’s hiding out here in italy, i saw him with my own eyes. 

Join the creators of Paul Is Dead as they reveal the second chapter in their “conspiracy trilogy”: a new, fascinating vision of the most mysterious legend in the history of rock that envisions what happened “When the Music’s Over.”

Jim Lives original graphic novel (ISBN: 978-1-5343-1963-9) will be available on Wednesday, June 16, and in bookstores on Tuesday, June 22. It can be pre-ordered at your local comic book shops on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Bookshop, IndieBound, and Indigo.

Jim Lives: the Mystery of the Lead Singer of The Doors and the 27 Club

Review: Oh My Gods!

Karen’s mom has a new job so now she has to go live with her dad… on Mt. Olympus. Yes, that Mt. Olympus.

Oh My Gods! is the first in a brand new series of middle grade graphic novels.

Story: Stephanie Cooke, Insha Fitzpatrick
Art: Juliana Moon

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.

Amazon paperback
Amazon hardcover

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 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

Preview: Klaus: The New Adventures of Santa Claus

Klaus: The New Adventures of Santa Claus

(W) Grant Morrison (A/CA) Dan Mora
In Shops: Jan 06, 2021
SRP: $17.99

An ageless ice queen commanding an army of robotic snowmen built of enchanted wood. An evil soda corporation hellbent on trademarking Christmas itself at the behest of a dark doppelganger. It’s all just another day in the life of Klaus, the man who became Santa Claus.

Luminary author Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman, Happy!) and Eisner Award-nominated illustrator Dan Mora (Once & Future) bring their lauded reinvention of Santa Claus fully into the 21st century with two modern tales of Klaus saving Christmas from sinister threats that span dimensions.

Collects Klaus and the Witch of Winter #1 and Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville #1.

Klaus: The New Adventures of Santa Claus

Advance Review: The Hazards of Love Vol. 1 Bright World

The Hazards of Love Vol. 1 Bright World

It’s the start of a new year. The time when people set resolutions in order to better their lives and themselves. The quest to become a better person is the central theme of The Hazards of Love. This original graphic novel, published by Oni-Lion Forge, is due out on March 31st. In what’s becoming a rarity in the modern comic book industry, this book is the product of a single creator. Stan Stanley does it all in this graphic novel. She’s the writer, artist, colorist, and letterer. The graphic novel, subtitled Book 1: Bright World, collects the eleven issue first arc of the marvelous and creative series.

In The Hazards of Love, Amparo makes a deal with a talking cat, hoping to be made into a better person. Instead, the cat steals Amparo’s body and sends them to a strange realm known as Bright World. One of my favorite things about this graphic novel is that Amparo is a queer non-binary character. Amparo is very dynamic and defined by more than just their gender. Their tough attitude, infectious charm, and bold tenacity makes them relatable and fun to read.

One thing I find endearing but far fetched was that all the characters are immediately accepting and cognizant of Amparo’s neutral pronouns. One random girl misgenders Amparo in a single panel. Every other character, from the school bully to the magical denizens of Bright World, uses the correct pronouns. It’s a great inclusion as far as representation goes and I for one hope to one day live in a world where such understanding is as common in our world as it is in The Hazards of Love.

All of the dialogue in this graphic novel is light-hearted and humorous. Stanley crafts an interesting and multi-faceted love story. I’m not usually the biggest fan of romance, but if I’m going to read the genre, this is the type of love story I want to read. On the other hand, I do read quite a bit of YA fantasy. So I can say with confidence that Stanley’s story hits all the high points that I want out of that particular genre. All of the characters are unique with their own distinct personalities. Just when I started to get bored with a particular situation or locale, Stanley changed things up and introduced a new setting, scenario, or character.

Stanley mixes illustrative styles throughout the graphic novel. Her characters are drawn in a way that reminded me of The Magic School Bus. Her title pages and narrative text is all drawn and colored so that it is reminiscent of Dios de los Muertos decorations. Whether they’re more realistic looking or the bright pastels inherent from Mexican culture, Stanley’s color choices work together to connect all of the imagery together. She also uses visual onomatopoeia to creatively illustrate sound effects. These are drawn and colored in such a way that they practically pop from the page.

There are occasional discrepancies between how the characters are illustrated. Amparo is drawn much more animatedly than Iolanthe, even when they’re together in the same panel. Iolanthe stays realistic and natural-looking while Amparo looks very much like a cartoon, complete with bugged-out eyes and elastic features. This animated illustration style works better when Amparo is paired with the anthropomorphic animal characters in Bright World than it does when paired with Iolanthe or other human characters. Having said that, Bright World is drawn and colored so intricately and beautifully that these slight deviations can be easily forgiven.

As we move into 2021, all of us are hoping for a better year. The Hazards of Love is both something to look forward to and a reminder of the risks one must occasionally take in order to become a better person. The story is full of excitement, humor, and touching moments. The artwork, especially the colors, is spectacularly done. There are a few minor flaws, but they aren’t enough to detract from the greatness of this graphic novel. Upon finishing the book I was immediately excited to find out what happens next. Be sure to look for The Hazards of Love when it hits shops on March 31st.

Story: Stan Stanley Art: Stan Stanley
Color: Stan Stanley Letterer: Stan Stanley
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Pre-Order: Comic Shop LocatorAmazon

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.

Review: The Adventures of The Mad Tsar

Three stories revolving around the “Mad Tsar” of Russia as he attempts to bring peace and reform to his people and land.

Originally publishing in France in three volumes, The Adventures of the Mad Tsar is now collected in one graphic novel.

Story: Tarek
Art: Lionel Chouin
Translation: Andrew Benteau

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.

Black Panel Press

Black Panel Press 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

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