EDITOR’S NOTE: Here is a list of books releasing in August that I feel are worth your attention. Eight publishers competing for space on comic shop shelves. Dynamite leads the field this month, with three recommendations. Most of the books on this list are titles that I expect to be under-ordered by local comic book shops (or maybe not at all) - - so if you want a copy the best way to insure that is to pre-order now in June. . . . . . . .
ACTION LAB COMICS - DANGER ZONE www.actionlabcomics.com
MEDISIN VOLUME 1: FIRST DO NO HARM trade paperback. Written by Jeff Dyer, Mark McKean. Art by David Brame. Mature Themes. 96 pages, $11.99. I’ve read the first issue of this limited three-issue series and was impressed by the realism. I don’t think I’ve seen a comic before that not only depicts the injuries that are likely to occur during a super-hero battle, but also gets the description and diagnosis correct. Imagine trying to purchase a health care policy if you’re a super-villain. Astronomical prices, or maybe even coverage declined. So an entrepreneur blackmails a team of doctors into working for him and providing emergency battlefield services to the fallen super-villains. There is a lot of good characterization in this book, and readers will get an inside look at the situations and find themselves empathizing with both doctors and villains, and not so much the brutal super-heroes. A neat spin on standard super-hero fare.
ALTERNA COMICS www.alternacomics.com
THE WICKED RIGHTEOUS #1 Written by Terry Mayo. Art by Lucas Romero, Chris Hall. 32 pages, $1.50. A We’ve been keeping on eye on this indie publisher as they remain in the spotlight so far with a rash of new books as well as producing their comics on newsprint, which lowers the cost dramatically. Here’s a new title debut, ideal for those who are curious and want a start point to check out Alterna’s books. A group of teenagers struggle to survive in post-apocalypse San Diego (my favorite California town!), and unknowingly unleash an evil threat.
DARK HORSE COMICS www.darkhorse.com
GRANDVILLE FORCE MAJEURE hard cover. Written and illustrated by Bryan Talbot. 176 pages, $24.99. This If you’ve never been exposed to the dynamic art of Bryan Talbot, you are in for a pleasant surprise. He’s also a gifted writer of fantasy graphic novels, as his past work (The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, The Tale of One Bad Rat) will attest. Main character Detective Inspector LeBrock is a badger, and a member of Scotland Yard. He gets mixed up with a diabolical gangland overlord in this scientific-romance thriller.
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT www.dynamite.com
SHEENA #0 Writer: Marguerite Bennett, Christina Trujillo. Artist: Moritat. 32 pages, introductory price $0.25. Anytime a publisher offers a new title at 25 cents, you should pick it up and give it a try. Dynamite is one of the few publishers that sticks their neck out like this and offers books for the lowest price possible. I hope that comic fans pre-order this book and help them achieve some good numbers - - as well as interest readers enough to come back for more. You can’t expect a local comic shop to bring in a big stack of these books — just like the publishers they can’t make any profit on a 25 cent issue. To be fair, there’s really no reason for them to push the book. So, get your pre-order in so your personal copy is reserved.
The other reason to pick up this book is the creative team. Bennett is doing amazing work, with INSEXTS at Aftershock possibly her best yet. Moritat’s art is always worth your time. One more reason: Sheena, a female version of Tarzan, is possibly the very first female lead character in popular fiction, dating back to the pulp era and also the Golden Age of Comics. This new version promises to update the character for modern times while remaining true to her pulp adventure origins. Check it out for 25 cents, for cryin’ out loud!
THE SHADOW #1. Writer: Is Spurrier. Art: Daniel HDR. Speaking of modern updates, another classic pulp hero gets a re-boot: The Shadow! I’m looking forward to what edgy writer Si Spurrier brings to the table. The art looks very compelling.
GRAND PASSION Trade Paperback. Writer: James Robinson. Art; Tom Feister. 144 pages, $19.99. Mature Readers. I read the monthly issues of this mini-series with a passion, couldn’t wait for each new installment. It’s a dramatic blend of romance and crime comics, with a real cinematic style. If you enjoy crime comics, make sure you pick this up. So far, it’s at the top of my list for Best Crime Comics of 2017.
DEVILS DUE / 1FIRST COMICS www.devilsdue-1first.com
LARK’S KILLER #1. Writer: Bill Willingham. Art by Mark Dos Santos. 36 pages, $3.99. Any lover of fantasy is familiar with the award-winning work of Bill Willingham on FABLES for Vertigo Comics. That was a superb update of fairy tale characters living in the modern world with modern era challenges and situations. Now, Willingham gets to create his own fantasy world from the ground up with LARK’S KILLER. I’ve seen an advance preview of the first issue and loved it. (Hoping to post a review later). If you are a fan of FABLES, you’ll kick yourself if you miss this one.
IDW PUBLISHING www.idwpublishing.com
BERNIE WRIGHTSON ARTIFACT EDITION. Artist / Cover: Bernie Wrightson. 144 pages, 12” x 17”, black and white. $125 hardcover. The ground-breaking art of the late Bernie Wrightson, possibly the best illustrator of horror comics ever, will be solely missed. One volume doesn’t do it justice - - but count on IDW to assemble a fine collection of his best work here.
ARTIST EDITIONS: JACK KIRBY. IDW’s Artist Editions are the best showcase for art work - - always a quality hardcover edition, over-sized for full appreciation. If you want to see how great the King was, you can pick up the Marvel reprints of classic Kirby work this month as well - for a lot less money. However, if you really appreciate the legacy of the man and the impact he made on the industry, then you will want to save your money so you can get these new editions:
JACK KIRBY’S THE MIGHTY THOR ARTIST’S EDITION
JACK KIRBY’S NEW GODS ARTIST’S EDITION
JACK KIRBY’S FANTASATIC FOUR ARTIST’S EDITION
JACK KIRBY’S KAMANDI, THE LAST BOY ON EARTH ARTIST’S EDITION
LION FORGE COMICS www.lionforge.com
GHOST MONEY #1. Written by Thierry Smolderen. Art by Dominique Bertail. The description of the story was enough to hook me here: a futuristic political thriller that plays out on an international stage. The creative team is international as well. Smolderen is a French author and comics historian. Bertail is a noted comic artist as well as as storyboard artist for movies. Lion Forge is another indie publisher to keep an eye on in 2017.
ONI PRESS www.onipress.com
STUMPTOWN, VOLUME ONE SQUARE ONE EDITION Writer Greg Rucka. Artist Matthew Southworth. 160 pages, $10. Mature Readers. As with previous Square One Editions, ONI Press is reprinting some of their best series, offering a lower priced edition to entice new readers. Rucka knows how to write crime comics, as well as realistic female protagonists. I was impressed with the first mini-series featuring private investigator Dex Parios.
THE BUNKER, VOLUME ONE SQUARE ONE EDITION Writer Joshua Hale Fialkov. Artist Joe Infirnari. 136 pages, $10. Mature Readers. Fialkov presents quite a different spin on time travel tropes with this story of five friends who discover a mysterious bunker containing letters addressed to them from their future selves. To tell anymore would be to spoil the mystery as well as the fun. Worth checking out