Tag Archives: rafer roberts

Baumann, Conley, Jordan, Roberts, and Tucci Return to Baltimore Comic-Con in 2019

2019 marks the return of the Baltimore Comic-Con to the Inner Harbor’s Baltimore Convention Center on October 18th, 19th, and 20th. The Baltimore Comic-Con welcomes back comic superstars Marty Baumann, Steve Conley, Justin Jordan, Rafer Roberts, and Billy Tucci. Tickets are available now for purchase online.

Marty Baumann is an illustrator, graphic artist, and production designer. He has contributed to some of the most popular, Oscar-winning animated films of all time. Marty has worked as an artist at Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios as an illustrator, graphic artist, and production designer on such films as Toy Story 3Big Hero 6ZootopiaCars 2PlanesWreck-It Ralph 2, and many others. He also helped develop theme park installations, toy packaging, and Pixar corporate branding. Marty has rendered illustrations and developed characters for toy manufacturers, magazines, and newspapers, and illustrated children’s books, created logos, info-graphics, broadcast promotions, and presentation art for Hasbro, Universal Studios, National Geographic, Scholastic Books, Nickelodeon, and many others. Recent projects include his role as concept artist for the new Mystery Science Theater 3000 and the visual development of Sir Paul McCartney’s feature film, High in the Clouds.

Long-time friend of the show, Harvey and Eisner Award nominee, and guest since our inception in 2000 (!), artist and writer Steve Conley has contributed to numerous comic titles, both printed and on-line. His Astounding Space Thrills was self-published, published by Image Comics, and collected as a trade paperback by IDW. He has been featured in titles such as JLA-Z from DC Comics, Star Trek: Year Four from IDW, and Michael Chabon’s Amazing Adventures of the Escapist from Dark Horse Comics. His self-published Bloop is available through his online store in print or soft copy editions, and you can find his Ringo and Eisner Award-nominated webcomic The Middle Age on his websitetapas.ioLine Webtoon, and GoComics, and hard copies and digital collections can be purchased from his online store.

Justin Jordan broke into comics with the Image series The Strange Talent of Luther Strode. Since no one threw him back out after said break in, he has gone on to work on for nearly every major comics publisher. He’s writer on The Family TradeDeath of Love, and Spread at Image Comics, and is currently writing Reaver for Skybound and Urban Animal at Webtoons, along with numerous other things he can’t actually talk about yet. But they’re awesome. He is owned by a cat named Miss Thomas Waits.

Rafer Roberts first made a name for himself with his self-published, underground title Plastic Farm, published since 2001. More recently, he has found increasing mainstream exposure, with stories in the Dark Horse anthology, the Harvey-nominated Once Upon a Time Machine, the New York Times best-selling FUBAR anthology from FUBAR Press, and back-up stories in Valiant’s X-O ManowarHarbingerArcher & Armstrong, and Unity. His work has see print in IDW’s Imaginary Drugs and Locust Moon’s Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream anthologies. He is currently writing Grumble for Albatross Funny Books, and penned the same publisher’s Free Comic Book Day issue, Grumble vs. The Goon.

Founder of Crusade Fine Arts, Billy Tucci is most widely known for his creator-owned, Eisner Award-nominated work on his modern-day samurai fable, Shi. Both a writer and an artist, he has worked for nearly every major publisher including Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and IDW. More recently, Tucci has provided the cover and interior art for DC’s Birds of Prey, Harley’s Little Black BookSgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion, written Appalachian Apocalypse! for Cave Pictures Publishing, and did covers for Dynamite Entertainment’sVampirella: Roses for the Dead, DC Comics’ Archie Meets Batman ’66, and Zenescope Entertainment’s Grimm Fairy Tales Presents… titles. 2019 celebrates Shi‘s 25th Anniversary with the release of the Shi – Return of the Warrior” and Shi – Hotaru graphic novels accompanied by new Shi action figures, statues, and reprints. Billy’s also bringing about the return of Golden Age Icon Miss Fury for Dynamite Entertainment and the new creator-owned Zombie-Sama!, as well as Wonder Woman for DC Comics.


In addition to on-site CGC grading, this year’s confirmed guests for the show include: Neal Adams (Detective Comics), Arantza (fantasy artist), Brian Azzarello (Batman: Damned), Marty Baumann (Disney/Pixar), Mark Buckingham (Justice League Dark), Richard Case (Doom Patrol), Castillo Studios, Howard Chaykin (Hey Kids! Comics!), Frank Cho (Harley Quinn), Amy Chu (KISS: The End), Matthew Clark (Injustice: Ground Zero), Steve Conley (The Middle Age), Katie Cook (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic), Kristina Deak-Linsner (Vampirella: Roses for the Dead), Garth Ennis (The Boys, Friday and Saturday only), Ramona Fradon (The Mike Wieringo Tellos Tribute), Julie Fujii Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden), Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (DC Nation), Juanjo Guarnido (Blacksad),  Bob Hall (West Coast Avengers), Cully Hamner (Batman Beyond), Greg Hildebrandt (Old Man Logan), Adam Hughes (Superman), Jamal Igle (Wrong Earth), Klaus Janson (New Challengers), Justin Jordan (Reaver), Matt Kindt (X-O Manowar), Sharlene Kindt (Dept. H), Tom King (Batman), Greg Land (Hulkverines, courtesy of Hero Initiative), Jeff Lemire (Black Hammer), Joe Linsner (Red Sonja), Ron Marz (Turok), John McCrea (Hitman, courtesy of Hero Initiative), Bob McLeod (New Mutants), Carla Speed McNeil (Twisted Romance), Pop Mhan (Raven, Daughter of Darkness), Mark Morales (Justice League), Sean Murphy (Batman: White Knight), Kevin Nowlan (Black Widow, courtesy of Hero Initiative), Greg Pak (Star Wars), Mike Perkins (Swamp Thing), David Petersen (Mouse Guard), Afua Richardson (Run), Rafer Roberts (Grumble), Andy Runton (Owly), Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo), Bob Schreck (Batman: Hush), Erica Schultz (Xena: Warrior Princess), Bart Sears (Turok), Louise Simonson (Death of Superman), Walter Simonson (Ragnarok), Andy Smith (Demi-God), Allison Sohn (The Art of Red Sonja, Volume 2), Brian Stelfreeze (Rise of the Black Panther), William Stout (Fantastic Worlds – The Art of William Stout), Ty Templeton (Marvel Super-Hero Adventures, courtesy of Hero Initiative), Billy Tucci (Shi), Robert Venditti (Hawkman), Mark Waid (Avengers: No Road Home), Adam Warren (Empowered And Sistah Spooky’s High School Hell), Lee Weeks (Batman), Marv Wolfman (Raven: Daughter of Darkness, courtesy of Hero Initiative), John Workman (Riverdale), and Kelly Yates (Torchwood).

Review: Grumble #6

Grumble #6

What the Hell are we doing in New Jersey? Eddie and Tala barrel full-force into the Garden State in search of the one man who can turn Eddie human again. But standing in their way are some small-time mobsters, a crew of inter-dimensional bounty hunters, and an army of toothless grannies! Oh, and Eddie summons The Devil! New arc! A perfect jumping on point!

It’s rare that I find a comic I enjoy as much as Grumble, and yet have so little to say about it. The series stays on the fantasy side of things, in a world where the supernatural and interdimensional could easily be one and the same, where talking dogs aren’t as out of the ordinary as you’d think (though in fairness this could be because Tala is making people forget/not notice that Eddie is a bipedal pug). Regardless of the reasoning, it makes for a fantastic comic.

Rafer Roberts and Mike Norton have created a comic that is effortlessly entertaining and funny without sacrificing the strength of the story. More importantly, they’re very consistent with each comic – there’s something with each issue that hooks you in and pulls you further into the world as one of the main characters does something that leaves the other speechless (usually Eddie) that hasn’t failed to leave me entertained.

After the revelations of the previous issue, Grumble #6 eases up a little and allows you to digest what you know, and allows you to adjust your perspectives a little as the comic goes on. The pacing of this issue after the last is perfect – Roberts allows you to breath and digest the emotional impact of issue five while keeping the story moving with his customary wit and charm. Norton, once again, is also brilliant. His page construction, the facial expressions and body language often made me smile as much as the words upon the page.

Truly one of my favourite series on the racks right now… one could easily say it’s a magical experience.

…I’ll stop talking now.

Story: Rafer Roberts Art: Mike Norton
 Colours: Marissa Louise Letters: Crank 
Story: 9.4 Art: 8.9 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Albatross Funnybooks provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Grumble #5

Eddie and Tala have narrowly escaped the forces of good and evil, but now they face the ultimate danger: each other!

Grumble #3 is what far too few comics are lately; fun. And funny, without ever coming off as forced; nor is it the main focus of the comic as Grumble is naturally funny whilst telling a really enjoyable story.” I quote that paragraph because aside from updating the issue number, the same can be said quite perfectly about Grumble #5. Rafer Roberts and Mike Norton have created a comic that is remarkably entertaining and funny without sacrificing the strength of the story.

That probably sounds familiar, right? It should. It’s the opening from my last review of Grumble #4, and the same is just as true now as it was. Roberts and Norton are nothing if not consistent, which is great news for fans of this series.

This issue sees us taking a bit of a look back at the events leading up to the first issue as we learn a little about Tala and her back story – and the revelation in this issue will hit you harder than a freight train. I’m not going to tell you want it is, but you will go back and reread the previous four issues in an entirely new light.

I’m not going to lie to you friends, there’s really not a lot I can talk about here without revealing too much of the comic itself; Roberts does reveal a little more about the world at large, hinting toward a conflict in the recent past and revealing more about the force driving Tala in the series that until now we really haven’t seen or read much of (unless… well, maybe we have and I didn’t notice it initially). Grumble #5 will change your perceptions on the series, and while we now have a bit more light shed on the tale’s direction, we’ve also got a lot of questions that need answers.

No, I won’t ask them here. Spoilers, and all.

I’ve praised the series before, and rightly so, but this issue is a huge payoff for those having read the previous ones. It’s a brilliant comic because of how Roberts and Norton build upon everything in the series so far and present a fully formed story that we’re only now beginning to figure out.

I need the sixth issue now.

Story: Rafer Roberts Art: Mike Norton
 Colours: Marissa Louise Letters: Crank 
Story: 9.4 Art: 8.9 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Albatross Funnybooks provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

ECCC 2019: Explore the World of Minecraft with Minecraft: Stories from the Overworld

From blocks to panels, Minecraft returns to comics in this wonderful new anthology collection, Minecraft: Stories from the Overworld! Dark Horse, Mojang AB, and Microsoft have revealed the newest addition in their publishing partnership with more stories to come!

With tales of Witch and Pillager rivals finding common ground, a heartless griefer who bit off more than they could chew, and valiant heroes new (or not!) to the Overworld, Minecraft: Stories from the Overworld tells tales that span the world of the beloved game. Featuring stories from star writers Hope Larson, Kevin Panetta, Rafer Roberts, and Ryan North and exciting artists Meredith Gran, Jenn St-Onge, Stephen McCranie and more, this collection brings together stories from all Realms, leaving no block unturned!

Minecraft: Stories from the Overworld is set to go on sale October 15, 2019. The 88-page anthology retails for $14.99.

Dark Horse, Mojang AB, and Microsoft will also release a Free Comic Book Day offering with a Minecraft story on May 4, 2019. On June 4, 2019, the partners will release Minecraft Volume One by Sfé R. Monster, Sarah Graley, and John J. Hill

Minecraft: Stories from the Overworld

Review: Grumble #4

Grumble #4

Eddie and Tala are getting the hell out of Baltimore, but Baltimore isn’t through with them yet! Can our heroes survive a breakneck car chase through the city, pursued by fascist inter-dimensional warlocks, gun-toting maniac mobsters, and a trio of mystical bounty hunters? Buckle up, Grumble fans, and get ready for the most magically destructive ride of your life!

Grumble #3 is what far too few comics are lately; fun. And funny, without ever coming off as forced; nor is it the main focus of the comic as Grumble is naturally funny whilst telling a really enjoyable story.” I quote that paragraph because aside from updating the issue number, the same can be said quite perfectly about Grumble #4. Rafer Roberts and Mike Norton have created a comic that is remarkably entertaining and funny without sacrificing the strength of the story.

At this point I should probably talk a little about the actual contents of the book, but there’s a recap up above that gives you the gist of the book, and unless I start diving too deeply into spoiler territory there’s not much else I want to reveal just now (especially if you haven’t read the first three issues). What I will say, however, is that there’s no forced chemistry between the two leads, nor any illusions about the cowardly and near criminal nature of one; there’s an effortless connection between the two, and Roberts’ dialogue is utterly captivating. The characters are neither overtly good nor evil, but live in the moral grey areas that all great comics tend to touch on every once in awhile. That they are the protagonists means we’re cheering for them, but Roberts has developed the world in such a way that if the focus of the comic were on the mysterious bounty hunter and not her prey, then the two leads could easily be seen as the antagonists.

Hot damn, but do I love this series. The writing and the art combine to give you the perfect blend of Hellblazer and Howard the Duck with a side of the Dresden Files, making Grumble  one of the series to keep your eye on as the year progresses. If your shop didn’t get this series in, then correct that; it’s still available from Diamond (or it was when my LCS ordered a couple copies in), and it’s such a good read.

Story: Rafer Roberts Art: Mike Norton
 Colours: Marissa Louise Letters: Crank 
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Albatross Funnybooks provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Grumble #3

Grumble #3

The cat’s outta the bag… and out for blood! Eddie and Tala are on the verge of escaping Baltimore once and for all, but Simon, the feline hitman, stands in their way. Will our heroes be able to defeat Simon, steal back their car, and skip town in one piece? Or will Eddie do something stupid and get everyone killed? 

Grumble #3 is what far too few comics are lately; fun. And funny, without ever coming off as forced; nor is it the main focus of the comic as Grumble is naturally funny whilst telling a really enjoyable story. It’s easy to see that Rafer Roberts is having a blast writing this book, which makes it an easy sell when talking to people at my local comic shop. Mike Norton‘s visuals are perfectly suited to the style of this comic – of course, one of the characters being a pug is also right up his alley (this is the guy who created Battlepug, after all).

At this point I should probably talk a little about the actual contents of the book, but there’s a recap up above that gives you the gist of the book, and unless I start diving too deeply into spoiler territory there’s not much else I want to reveal just now (especially if you haven’t read the first two issues). What I will say, however, is that there’s no forced chemistry between the two leads, nor any illusions about the cowardly and near criminal nature of one. The characters are neither overtly good nor evil, but live in the moral grey areas that all great comics tend to touch on every once in awhile. That they are the protagonists means we’re cheering for them, but Roberts has developed the world in such a way that if the focus of the comic were on the mysterious bounty hunter and not her prey, then the two leads could easily be seen as the antagonists.

Hot damn, but do I love this series. The writing and the art combine to give you the perfect blend of Hellblazer and Howard the Duck with a side of the Dresden Files, making Grumble  one of the series to keep your eye on as the year progresses. If your shop didn’t get this series in, then correct that; it’s still available from Diamond (or it was when my LCS ordered a couple copies in), and it’s such a good read.

Writer: Rafer Roberts Art: Mike Norton
 Colours: Marissa Louise Letters: Crank 
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Albatross Funny Books provided a FREE copy for review

It’s Grumble Vs. The Good for Free Comic Book Day

Award-winning cartoonist Eric Powell’s Albatross Funnybooks will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Goon with its first ever Free Comic Book Day title in 2019. Grumble vs The Goon is a side-splitting, full color one shot co-written by Powell and Rafer Roberts and illustrated by Powell and Battle Pug creator Mike Norton.

Here, for the first time ever, The Goon and his pal Franky will meet Tala and Eddie, from the pages of Grumble, in an interdimensional adventure, chock full of death, mayhem… and dog catching.

In Grumble vs the Goon, Tala and Eddie think it might be a good idea to go dimension hopping when they find death incarnate hot on their heels. Unfortunately, things go from bad to worse when they land in the world of The Goon. And Franky, the newly appointed dog catcher, don’t like talkin’ mutts that give him the sass!

Grumble vs the Goon features a cover by Powell, and will be available at participating comic book stores on Free Comic Book Day, Saturday May 4th, 2019.

The publication of Grumble vs the Goon is part of a year long celebration of The Goon’s 20th anniversary. The anniversary festivities kick off in earnest on March 13th, 2019, when Albatross Funnybooks will publish The Goon issue 1, featuring all new stories. The Goon #1 Standard Edition features an Eric Powell cover and will retail for $3.99. The Goon #1 Special Edition features a cover by legendary artist Kevin Nowlan and will retail for $5.99. In the character’s  debut with Albatross Funnybooks, Powell takes the series to its humor based roots as Goon & Franky return from strange adventures abroad to find a horde of unsavory characters who have filled the void left in their absence from Lonely Street. For this new run of stories, Powell will be joined on Albatross Funnybooks’ The Goon by several acclaimed creators.

Grumble vs The Goon Gree Comic Book Day
The Goon #1
The Goon #1

Logan’s Favorite Comics of 2018

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 1923 to 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.

6.Venom (Marvel)

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.

5.Crowded (Image)

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.)

Those Two Geeks Episode Twenty Nine: The World Needs A Punching, With Rafer Roberts

On the docket this week: The geeks sit down with Rafer Roberts to talk about his upcoming comic Grumble published by Albatross Funnybooks. Featuring art by Mike Norton, colours by Marissa Louise and letters by Crank, Grumble is an urban fantasy featuring an anthropomorphic pug and a half demon and will be released in November.

We highly recommend you ask your shop to reserve you a copy.

As always, the Alex and Joe can be found on twitter respectively @karcossa and @jc_hesh if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on twitter or email ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

Preview: A&A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong Deluxe Edition HC

A&A: THE ADVENTURES OF ARCHER & ARMSTRONG DELUXE EDITION HC

Written by RAFER ROBERTS with FRED VAN LENTE
Art by DAVID LAFUENTE, MIKE NORTON, RYAN LEE, CARY NORD, CAFU, and MORE
Colors by BRIAN REBER, ADAM PASSALAQUA, and MORE
Letters by DAVE LANPHEAR and  DAVE SHARPE
Cover by KANO (MAY182102)
$49.99 | 368 pgs. | T+ | On Sale JULY 11th
OVERSIZED HARDCOVER | ISBN: 978-1-68215-275-1

Join Harvey Award-nominated writer Rafer Roberts (HARBINGER RENEGADE) and superstar artists David Lafuente (Ultimate Spider-Man) and Mike Norton (Revival) as they take Valiant’s (somewhat) dynamic duo on an all-out assault on the senses right here in the complete deluxe edition hardcover.

Meet Armstrong: Since the ancient city of Ur, this immortal adventurer has spent the last 7,000 years drinking and carousing his way through history alongside some of the greatest merrymakers the world has ever known.

Meet Archer: A sheltered teenage martial arts master and expert marksman that was raised for a single purpose – to kill the devil incarnate. Little did he know that this undying evil was actually Armstrong (he’s actually a pretty good guy…once you get to know him) and, since hitting the road together, the two have become great friends and even better partners.

Now: Archer is about to set off on his most dangerous mission yet – a quest into the mystic reaches of Armstrong’s bottomless satchel to liberate his friend and comrade from the clutches of the mad god Bacchus!

Collecting A&A: THE ADVENTURES OF ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #1-12, IMMORTAL BROTHERS: TALE OF THE GREEN KNIGHT #1, and ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1 along with more than 20 pages of rarely seen art and extras!

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