It’s nearly Wednesday, and you know what that means: a fresh load of comics and graphic novels! With so many publications hitting your local comics store, comics events or digital storefront, the BF team are here to lead you through the woods with our weekly staff picks. Satisfaction guaranteed!
Comic of the Week
Gamayun Tales Vol. 2: The Water Spirit
We were mightily impressed by Alexander Utkin’s first volume of Gamayun Tales earlier this year at Broken Frontier, describing his stunning adaptations of Russian folklore as “sumptuously coloured pages… rich in lavish detail.” That first instalment The King of Birds was a visual feast and it’s pleasing to see the story continuing this summer in the follow-up The Water Spirit.
This time around the merchant hero of the story makes a terrible error of judgment after his meeting with the King of Birds and opens the magical golden chest he acquired on his adventures, condemning his son to a life living under the sea…
Nobrow are, of course, renowned for graphic narratives of rare and often unparalleled beauty and you can expect the pages of this new showcase for Utkin’s work to contain the same levels of intoxicating artistic splendour. Look for a full review at Broken Frontier very soon.
Alexander Utkin (W/A) • Nobrow Press, £12.99
– Andy Oliver
“Modern Family. Retro Sass. Highly Trained… To Kick Your Ass!” Rick and Morty writer Tini Howard teams up with the legendary Gilbert Hernandez to bring us Assassinistas; the story of top-level assassins Octavia, Charlotte, and Rosalyn, who called to mind the heroines of ’70s exploitation cinema in their heyday, but have since hung up their costumes and weapons in exchange for three rather divergent retirement plans. That is until a kidnapping forces Octavia back into the business, recruiting her college-aged son and his boyfriend to aid her in her mission…
Based on “Heartbeats”, a short story from Howard’s Patreon in 2017, Assassinistas fuses explosive feminist action with single-parent family drama and black-market body armour. Intersecting notions of womanhood, ethnic diversity and LGBTQ relationships while maintaining a sharp sense of humour, the expert combination of Howard and Hernadez makes for a perfect match. Think Love and Rockets meets Lovers in the Garden in this new trade paperback collecting issues #1-6.
Tini Howard (W), Gilbert Hernandez (A) • IDW Publishing, $19.99
– Ally Russell
This week’s entry is the first collection of Calexit, from writer Matteo Pizzolo and artist Amancay Nahuelpan, the firestarters behind Young Terrorists. In a near future where California has seceded from the union in response to the racist policies of a demagogic US president, it focuses on Zora, a young militia leader, and Jamil, an avowedly apolitical courier hired to smuggle her out from behind enemy lines.
Pizzolo and Nahuelpan (plus their collaborators) deliver the action with all the snap, crackle and pop you’d expect, and the fiction comes enhanced by an interesting array of back matter, as the writer interviews various commentators and activists about the interesting times we’re living in.
Matteo Pizzolo (W), Amancay Nahuelpan (A), Tyler Boss (C), Jim Campbell (L) • Black Mask Comics, $14.99
– Tom Murphy
The Seeds #1
The latest release in the Berger Books line from Dark Horse, The Seeds has a cracking creative line-up in the form of writer Ann Nocenti (whose Daredevil run in the ’80s remains a favourite of many fans of my generation!) and acclaimed Spanish artist David Aja (Hawkeye).
Described as an “eco-fiction tech thriller” The Seeds brings together a dying world, prescient bees, social collapse, an idealistic journalist and aliens harvesting humanity’s essence before its extinction. The Berger Books line has given us some of the most impressive serial comics of 2018 so far and this 4-issue limited series boasts one of their most exciting creative combos yet.
Ann Nocenti (W), David Aja (A) • Dark Horse Comics, $3.99
– Andy Oliver
Out on a beer run when supplies run low at his party, Ryan DeLuca returns home to discover his chums have summoned up a giant monster from hell. Pitarra’s busy, detailed cartooning and Garland’s impressively atmospheric colouring are the perfect match for Layman’s dark romp of a script. This one looks like mischievously amusing escapist fare from a noteable creative line-up.
John Layman (W & L), Nick Pitarra (A), Michael Garland (C) • Image Comics, $3.99
– Andy Oliver