It was new comic book day yesterday! What’d you all get? what’d you like? What’d you dislike? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.
Comic shops have been seeing added pressure, challenges, and obstacles over the past three months with COVID-19 and a downturn economy. Publisher AfterShock Comics, has announced the release of Support Our Shops (S.O.S.), a 48-page comic featuring seven stories from top creators, to be distributed at no cost to comic shops through Diamond Comic Distributors.
S.O.S.features from some of the industry’s most celebrated creators emphasizing that fundamentally irreplaceable role played by comic shops in their lives and in the lives of fans. The title includes exclusive stories from Cullen Bunn, Stephanie Phillips, Zac Thompson, Steve Orlando, Jamie McKelvie, Jerry Ordway, and Aaron Douglas, with art from Leila Leiz, Don Kramer, Szymon Kudranski, Ro Stein,and Ted Brandt, Gordon Purcell and Cliff Richards, with cover conceived and executed by David Mack.
S.O.S. will be distributed to Diamond’s top-ranked 200 AfterShock accounts, which will each receive 20 free copies (per storefront) with their 6/24 on-sale books.The next 300 highest ranked stores will each receive 10 free copies. Stores not included in this ranking may receive a number of copies upon request or through their AfterShock Ambassador.
AfterShock’s S.O.S. was created so that each comic shop can leverage the title to best suit their individual needs and goals. It can be given away free, used as a purchase incentive, put into the pull boxes of AfterShock readers, or sold directly to consumers at a suggested price to help recoup losses that may have been sustained through pandemic-related closures and events.
The nominees for “Best Graphic Story or Comic” for this year’s Hugo Awards have been announced. Normally, the winners are announced at Worldcon but with the event this year canceled due to COVID-19, it’s unknown when the winners will be announced.
The nominees were announced on April 8 and were decided from 1,584 valid nominating ballots with a total of 27,033 nominations. Members nominated up to five works/people in each category, and the top six works/people in each category were shortlisted as finalists.
On top of the comics above, Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel are nominated in “Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form,” and Watchmen: “A God Walks into Abar” and Watchmen: “This Extraordinary Being” are nominated in “Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.”
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Image Comics has revealed theLudocrats #1 cover B featuring reality-warping artwork from Jamie McKelvie, which will be available with the series launch this April.
Ludocrats #1 by bestselling writer Kieron Gillen, writer Jim Rossignol, and artist Jeff Stokely with colorist Tamra Bonvillain is a gleefully bizarre five issue, fantasy miniseries that thinks there’s more gold in the hills mined by I Hate Fairyland and they can uncover it with illegally acquired Python-infused explosives.
In short: The Ludocrats! The aristocrats of ludicrous! A collision of the ornate fantasy of Dune and an M-rated Asterix & Obelix! Baron Otto Von Subertan and Professor Hades Zero-K are here, and they’re going to save us all have a nice time.
Ludocrats #1 Cover A by Stokely (Diamond Code FEB200052) and Ludocrats #1 Cover B by McKelvie (Diamond Code JAN208731) will be available at comic book shops on April Fool’s Day—Wednesday, April 1. Not joking.
With a Skrull soldier on his right and a Kree soldier on his left, Hulkling takes his rightful place as the Emperor of the new Kree/Skrull alliance on superstar artist Jamie McKelvie with colors by Matt Wilson’s variant cover for Empyre #1. Born to a Kree father and a Skrull mother, the young hero has fulfilled his destiny by putting an end to a millennia-long conflict and uniting the galaxy’s two largest armies. Equipped with a powerful sword and leading the greatest armada the universe has ever seen, the new Emperor is ready to take on whatever obstacles are in his path as he makes his way to Earth. Will the Avengers and Fantastic Four dare to get in his way?
Empyre #1, the start of Marvel’s latest sci-fi epic, hits stands April 15th. It’s written by Al Ewing and Dan Slott, featuring art by Valerio Schiti, and the main cover by Jim Cheung.
Image Comics has revealed the show-stopping, electrifying cover by Jamie McKelvie for the highly anticipated Decorum #1.
Decorum—by bestselling, comics titan Jonathan Hickman and fan favorite artist Mike Huddleston—is an all-new, eight-issue science fiction miniseries set to launch this March from Image Comics.
Decorum will blend the high impact, event level storytelling of Hickman’s recent re-envisioning of X-Men with the sprawling, addictive worldbuilding of the recently concluded East of West.
There are many assassins in the known universe. Decorum is the story of the most well-mannered one.
Decorum #1 Cover A by Huddleston (Diamond Code JAN200108), Decorum #1 Cover B by Huddleston (Diamond Code JAN200109), and Decorum #1 Cover C by McKelvie (Diamond Code JAN208126) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, March 11.
Publisher: BOOM! Studios Writer: Simon Spurrier Artist: Chris Wildgoose Colorist: André May Letterer: Jim Campbell Cover Artists: Main Cover: Chris Wildgoose Variant Cover: Bengal Unlocked Retailer Variant: Jamie McKelvie Price: $3.99
Acclaimed writer Simon Spurrier (John Constantine Hellblazer, Coda) and artist Chris Wildgoose (Batgirl, Batman: Nightwalker) present a subversive coming-of-age story about having all the power to change the world but the unready hands to truly wield it.
Three teenagers, each an outcast in their own way, stumble upon an unearthly entity as it’s born. As they bond over this shared secret and the creature’s incredible abilities, it becomes clear to the teenagers that their cute little pet is a superpredator in the making—and it’s in need of prey.
Guided by the best intentions at first, the teens’ decisions soon become corrupted by adolescent desires, small town jealousies, and internal rivalries, sending them into a catastrophic spiral of their own making.
BOOM! Studios has revealed a brand new series trailer for Alienated #1, the premiere issue of a new original series from acclaimed writer Simon Spurrier, artist Chris Wildgoose, colorist André May, and letterer Jim Campbell, a subversive coming-of-age story about having all the power to change the world but the unready hands to truly wield it, available in February 2020.
Three teenagers, each an outcast in their own way, stumble upon an unearthly entity as it’s born. As they bond over this shared secret and the creature’s incredible abilities, it becomes clear to the teenagers that their cute little pet is a predator in the making—and it’s in need of prey. Guided by the best intentions at first, the teens’ decisions soon become corrupted by adolescent desires, small town jealousies, and internal rivalries, sending them into a catastrophic spiral of their own making.
Alienated #1features a main cover illustrated by Wildgoose and variant cover art by acclaimed artists Bengal and Jamie McKelvie. It comes to shelves February 12, 2020.
2019 was an interesting year for me comics-wise as I did not get to read as widely or deeply as I liked because of a variety of factors, including my final two semesters of graduate school, working two library jobs (Where ordering and promoting comics were part of my duties.), and an impending move. Also, I decided to catch up on some “classic” comics like Miracleman, Ghost in the Shell, Junji Ito‘sTomie, and most of Brian Michael Bendis‘ and Michael Oeming‘s Powers, and Gail Simone‘s run on Secret Six.
However, I did have the opportunity to read some fantastic comics in 2019 as two of my favorite series of all time reached their conclusion. I also branched out a little bit, and this is the first time my year-end list has featured books from Ahoy and Harper Collins as well as a self-published comic.
10. Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion (Dark Horse)
Gerard Way, Gabriel Bá, and Nick Filardi‘s Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion is as wild and anarchic as the Netflix show was tame and Muggle-friendly. Hotel Oblivion is a love letter to Silver Age supervillains while actually taking time to deal with the relationships between the Hargreaves siblings. Bá and Filardi’s visuals are a chaos magic-shaped bullet to the head and especially sings in the world and city-rending set pieces towards the end of the miniseries that I read in trade paperback format.
Ned Barnett‘s self-published graphic memoir-meets-historical biography Dreamers of the Day is one of the most unique comics I’ve read in recent years. It chronicles the author’s trip to England as he conducts research on a graphic biography about T.E. Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia and is educational while being emotionally compelling. If there’s one word to describe this comic, it is “enthusiastic” as Barnett’s passion for making art, studying history, and making it relevant to contemporary readers shines through in his iconic, Herge-esque art style and accessible prose.
8. Winter Soldier#2-5(Marvel)
Kyle Higgins and Rod Reis create a redemptive narrative for the sidekick-turned assassin-turned superhero and occasional black ops agent, Bucky Barnes in their Winter Soldier miniseries. The comic’s beating heart is the flawed relationship between Bucky and RJ, a child assassin, that Bucky sees a lot of himself in. There is both humor and tragedy in their interactions. Reis’ lush pencils to color art style works for both the emotional breakdowns and action beatdowns.
7. Steeple #1-4 (Dark Horse)
The fantastic John Allison (Giant Days) both writes and draws this miniseries about an Anglican priest in training named Billie, who is assigned to a parish in the kooky village of Tredregyn, Cornwall. Steeple has an “anything but the kitchen sink” tone as its plots include fights against sea monsters, a charismatic Christian cult connected to windmills, and an ongoing conflict against the Church of Satan. (Billie also strikes up an unlikely friendship with the Satanic priestess, Maggie.) Allison mines a lot of humor out of the idiosyncrasies of different religions and small town life as well as the melodrama of good versus evil, and his art is expressive as always with the help of colorist Sarah Stern.
6. Second Coming #1-5 (Ahoy)
Speaking of religious satire, Mark Russell, Richard Pace, Leonard Kirk, and Andy Troy do an excellent job of showing how the historical figure Jesus would be received in the modern world with the twist of having an “edgy” superhero named Sunstar as a roommate. Beginning with a retelling of the creation of the world, Russell and Pace walk a tightrope between reverence and irreverence touching on a variety of issues, including megachurches, homophobia, and Pauline theology. Another enjoyable part of Second Coming is Leonard Kirk’s inking when the story decides to be a traditional superhero comic for a second, or there’s a flashback to Satan tempting Jesus as he plays a complex role in the narrative.
I knew Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, and Tamra Bonvillain‘s Once and Future would be my cup of tea when it featured Arthurian legends and the town of Bath where I studied abroad in summer 2014 as plot points as well as having a complicated relationship between a grandmother and grandson at its core. Once and Future is action-packed read steeped in Arthurian lore with dynamic art from Mora and a mystical color palette from Bonvillain. It’s a straightforward adventure/dysfunctional family/romance comic that also plays with the symbols (Excalibur, Holy Grail etc.) and tropes of these kinds of stories, and I’m glad that it’s an ongoing and not just a mini.
4. Giant Days #46-54, As Time Goes By (BOOM! Studios)
Esther, Daisy, and Susan finally go their separate ways in the final issues of John Allison, Max Sarin, and Whitney Cogar‘s Giant Days plus a reunion one-shot where Daisy and Susan tag-team and rescue Esther from the clutches of Type A London publishing types. The final year of Giant Days had a lot of pathos to go with its usual comedy with several issues focusing on the strained relationship between Susan’s boyfriend McGraw and his father and his reaction to his sudden death. There is also all the usual college shenanigans with moments of reflection to show that these women have come a long way from randomly sharing a room back in far off 2015.
3. House of X #1-6, Powers of X #1-6 (Marvel)
In their ambitious twelve-issue House of X/Powers of X “event”, Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, and Pepe Larraz made the X-Men relevant again thanks to a heavy dose of speculative fiction, geopolitics, and good old fashioned superhero soap opera. Hickman gave B-list characters like Goldballs, Doug Ramsey, and of course, Moira MacTaggert and the sentient island of Krakoa pivotal roles in his story of a rise of a mutant nation as well as the usual suspects like Magneto, Professor X, the Summers family, Jean Grey, and Emma Frost. He created a fantastic sandbox for these fan-favorite characters to play in as well as leaving some intrigue open for the spinoff stories. (The whole Moira X thing, Kitty Pryde being unable to enter Krakoa, Apocalypse and Sinister’s intentions.) I haven’t been this excited to read the X-Books as a line since Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen were writing Wolverine and the X-Men and Uncanny X-Men respectively. Plus the Hickman designed diagrams add great depth to the story and area visual treat.
2. New Kid (HarperCollins)
New Kid is a middle-grade graphic novel by cartoonist Jerry Craft that was recommended to me by my supervisor at the public library I worked at. Itis about an African-American teenager named Jordan, who transfers from a diverse public middle school to a less diverse private one. Over the course of the book, Craft fleshes out Jordan and his relationships with his old friends from his neighborhood to his new ones at the private school as he navigates playing soccer, racial microaggressions, crushes, and bonding over art and video games. The comic deftly navigates race and class issues while being an enjoyable slice of life story with Craft adding some fun visual flourishes like making the title page of each chapter a pop culture homage. New Kid‘s clear storytelling and a relatable storyline about not fitting in at a new school make it a book that I would recommend to kids and adults, comics and non-comics readers.
1. The Wicked + the Divine #41-45 (Image)
Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson really stuck the landing in the final arc of The Wicked + the Divine, which was titled “Okay” and followed the surviving Pantheon members as they gave up divinity and lived normal lives. Basically, they grew up, and so did I. The last issues of WicDiv are peppered with powerful moments as Gillen and McKelvie connect flashbacks of the millennia past to the Pantheon’s reality and let Ananke/Minerva be a manipulator, Luci be wicked, Baal be a protector, and Laura be human one last time. The final issue is an epilogue set in the future and filled with love and emotion with McKelvie and Wilson nailing the look of the elderly, former Pantheon members. It’s sad to see WicDiv go, but it had a beautiful ending and was my favorite comic, both of 2019 and of the decade as a whole.
Written by N.K. Jemisin Art by Jamal Campbell Cover by Jamal Campbell Variant Covers by Shawn Martinbrough and Jamie McKelvie In Shops: Nov 13, 2019 Final Orders Due: Oct 21, 2019 SRP: $3.99
Welcome to Far Sector!
N.K. Jemisin, the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Broken Earth and Inheritance science fiction trilogies, makes her comic book debut with bestselling Naomi artist Jamal Campbell as they thrust you into Far Sector, a stunning, mind-bending, sci-fi mystery on the other side of the DC universe!
For the past six months, newly chosen Green Lantern Sojourner “Jo” Mullein has been protecting the City Enduring, a massive metropolis of 20 billion people. 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 in this new maxiseries that adds a new chapter to the legacy of the Green Lanterns! DC’s Far Sector #1 will carry an Ages 17+ content descriptor (for mature readers) and will retail for $3.99.