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
Latvian micropublisher kuš! reached their tenth anniversary in 2017 and, given their recent Eisner Award nomination as well, it’s been a year of celebration all round. Last month I had the pleasure of interviewing kuš! co-publisher Sanita Muižniece as part of Broken Frontier’s ‘Comics and the Micropublishing Revolution’ panel at ELCAF and Sanita took the opportunity then to talk to a London audience about their history and publishing ethos.
This special 10th birthday edition of their digest-sized anthology – unsurprisingly themed around the word ‘Celebration!’ – fittingly focuses on creators almost exclusively from Latvia. We cannot emphasise enough here at BF how important Sanita and David Schilter at kuš! have been in introducing us to a multitude of international creators from every continent over the last several years. They deserve all our support and recognition for that.
Happy birthday kuš! comics! Thanks for all you’ve done for indie comics and creators over the last decade!
You can order the book online here.
Anthology – Various creators (W/A) • kuš!, $13.95
– Andy Oliver
Generation Gone #1
The highly talented and forward-thinking Czech-born writer Ales Kot returns this week after a nearly-two year soul-searching hiatus with a new series for Image Comics where he does some talkin’ about the millennial g-g-generation!
Generation Gone focuses on a small group of teenage hackers who, during a bank robbery attempt, end up becoming endowed with superhuman abilities. It’s a good thing, too, because they’ve incurred the wrath of America’s military-industrial complex and they’ll have to do what it takes to survive in the 21st Century surveillance society that we are all familiar with.
Kot has assembled an excellent creative team on this series – illustrations by Andre Lima Araujo, colors by Chris O’Halloran, letters by Clayton Cowles, and design assistance from Tom Muller – for the purpose of telling a socially relevant story via characters who are struggling with being (super)human. Kot’s previous work has rarely disappointed, so you should get on board with this one before it’s Gone!
Ales Kot (W), Andre Lima Araujo (A) Chris O’Halloran (C) • Image Comics, $4.99
– Matthew Box
Songy of Paradise
Emmy Award-winning set designer, album covers artist, influential figure in the Californian punk scene, contributor to acclaimed ’80s comics anthology RAW… just a handful of examples of Gary Panter’s diverse artistic career to date.
This week sees a major new Panter project via Fantagraphics. Songy of Paradise takes John Milton’s Paradise Regained – Milton’s version of the tale of Christ’s 40 days in the desert being tempted by Satan – and recasts Jesus as the hillbilly Songy.
Presented in a handsome hardcover package this looks set to be one of the most important Fanta releases of 2017 from one of the most distinctive voices in the medium over the last few decades.
Gary Panter (W/A) • Fantagraphics, $34.99
– Andy Oliver
Kill All Monsters! Omnibus
Humanity’s only hope for defeating the monsters who’ve taken over the world is a squad of piloted, giant robots. While this is not an altogether unfamiliar concept, when done right with relatable characters and eye-popping visuals, it can sure make for some entertaining comics.
This was clearly a passion project for its creators. Originally funded through Kickstarter and now published by Dark Horse, you can now read this story of war, survival and the human spirit in its entirety, with nearly 200 pages of original content in addition to the fully collected webcomic.
Michael May (W), Jason Copland (A) • Dark Horse Comics, $24.99
– Tyler Chin-Tanner
Royal City #5
Jeff Lemire’s psychogeographical family saga (with more than a dash of magic realism thrown in for good measure) has continued to enthrall readers with its character-led drama, measured pacing and resonant visuals over the last few months. The book will take a break after this first story arc but Lemire’s carefully crafted narrative structure has ensured this is a comic that has an extra draw when read in incremental chapters.
In this conclusion to the first storyline there are revelations about the Pike family’s past and the focus shifts to patriarch Peter Pike, lying gravely ill in a hospital bed. Some of Lemire’s very best work to date, Royal City has surely already secured its place on multiple end-of-year ‘Best of 2017’ lists.
Jeff Lemire (W/A) • Image Comics, $3.99
– Andy Oliver
Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks #3
After just two issues, it’s obvious that Jim Mahfood is at the top of his game and enjoying every violent ounce of mayhem he’s stuffing into his action-packed, sensory-overload series, Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks. Following Daphne’s brutal murder, Josie takes over the Magic Socks and becomes a pop cult sensation. Gwen and Rita are picking up the pieces and are unlikely to let that little psycho get away with her transgressions.
The creative freedom that accompanies publishing with Image Comics suits Mahfood’s frenetic page constructions, and issue #3 promises more of the same— this mature audience comic is for adrenaline junkies, indie comix addicts, and chronic punks.
If Tank Girl is your kind of raised middle finger to the establishment, the Grrl Scouts raise (or lower) that collateral damage standard with their lethal skills and complete lack of compunction. At least Tank Girl will make you a nice cup of tea before she kicks your ass. Not so much with the Scouts — you’ve been warned.
Jim Mahfood (W/A) • Image Comics, $3.99
– Karen O’Brien
Pigs Might Fly
From the indie slice-of-life brilliance of Hugo Tate to the acclaimed all-ages historical study of Laika through to the frantically paced licensed sci-fi realms of Doctor Who, Nick Abadzis has proven himself time and time again to be a versatile creator at home in a wide range of genres and approaches to the page.
Pigs Might Fly – his new collaborative offering with artist Jerel Dye – takes us to a world where science and magic are in conflict and evolved pigs are caught up in a war for the skies with their warthog adversaries. Prepare to meet Lily, daughter of the famous inventor Hercules Fatchops as she looks to defend the Pigdom from the invading Warthog forces in this accessible fantasy. A reading experience for older readers to share with younger enthusiasts perhaps…
Nick Abadzis (W), Jerel Dye (A) • First Second, $22.00
– Andy Oliver
Batman ’66 Meets the Legion of Super-Heroes #1
We don’t cover a lot of super-hero material here at BF simply because there are plenty of other venues for that across the internet and we have our own specific focus here at the Frontier. But every so often a book pops up featuring the cowls, capes and costumes crew that we simply can’t ignore!
The latest in DC’s series of comics recapturing the campy brilliance of the the 1960s Batman TV series sees the Dynamic Duo teaming up with the greatest heroes of the future when the Legion of Super-Heroes travel back to Sixties Gotham. Expect the villainy of Universo and Egghead in a story written by Lee Allred and illustrated by the legendary Mike Allred.
As the promo blurb says “Holy time-travel paradox!”…
Lee Allred (W), Mike Allred (A) • DC Comics, $3.99
– Andy Oliver