It’s almost Wednesday, and you know what that means: a fresh load of comics and graphic novels! With so many publications hitting your local comics store or digital storefront, the BF staff is here to lead you through the woods with our weekly staff picks. Satisfaction guaranteed.
Comic of the Week
Created and written by Black Mask Studios head honcho Matt Pizzolo, Godkiller throws tons of dystopian sci-fi ideas at you and visually goes out of its way to implant copious amounts of discomfort in your mind with scratchy linework, photo-based imagery and trashy colors making your head scream. But amid all the dirt and filth, it’s a story about a bottom-dwelling boy trying to find a new heart for his dying sister.
The book has been a long time in the making and was released in the underground comics scene several years ago where it gained a cult following. As Pizzolo told me, “Godkiller is a project I started developing back in 1999. I finally began producing it as a comic in 2008 and I’ve been working on it whenever I can’t avoid it since. I wouldn’t really call it a labor of love… maybe a labor of hate. It’s a story that haunts me.”
Along with last year’s Ballistic, Godkiller stands as the weirdest, most unique comic Black Mask has published thus far. Don’t miss it now that it gets its moment de gloire.
Matt Pizzolo (W), Anna Muckcracker Wieszczyk (A) • Black Mask Studios, $3.99
– Frederik Hautain
Intent on publishing all albums of European cyclus The Obscure Cities that haven’t seen the light of day in English yet, Alaxis Press first album is The Leaning Girl (orginally L’enfant penchée, 1996).
Belgian artist François Schuiten and French writer Benoît Peeters’ multi-album magnum opus is set on a counter earth on the opposite side of the sun. Showing signs of being a sort of parallel earth covered with mostly urban development and zeppelins, the various albums follow a plethora of characters. The show stealer in this case being Schuiten’s architectural art that is extremely detailed and superb in its realistic renderings.
The Leaning Girl tracks the adventures of one of The Obscure Cities’ most prominent characters, Mary Von Rathen as a youngster who mysteriously starts to lean after an accident with a roller coaster.
As these translations will be published in the same high quality manner the French Casterman editions are done in and printed by the same printing company I expect production values to be outstanding. So here’s your chance to jump on the esthetically mad ride of a legendary European series!
Benoit Peeters (W), Francois Schuiten (A) • Alaxis Press, $29.99
– Bart Croonenborghs
The Chimera Brigade Vol. 1
Billed as a fusion of Planetary, BPRD, and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Titan Comics’ The Chimera Brigade aims to answer the question of why America has historically enjoyed a plethora of super-humans while the rest of the world – particularly the European nations – wallowed in so-called normality.
Penned by Serge Lehman and Fabrice Colin, with stunning, atmospheric visuals by Gess, the first 48-page hardcover volume definitely has a European vibe going. Originally published by French publisher L’Atalante in 2009, the series is a prime example of the great service Titan is providing audiences this side of the Atlantic, by bringing us top-notch European works we would never have been exposed to otherwise.
A wonderful mishmash of hero archetypes ranging from the pulps to modern super-men, viewed through a singular European lens, The Chimera Brigade is a fun, fantastic romp through World War Two-era set pieces populated by twisted Nazis, deranged megalomaniacs, and the adolescent power fantasies who stand in their way.
Sergio Lehman & Fabrice Colin (W), Gess (A) • Titan Comics, $9.99
– Jason Wilkins
The notion that what we perceive as reality might not be all it seems is a well-trodden path in speculative fiction. However, Chris Lackey has given the idea a stylish new spin in his accomplished graphic novel Transreality, published in the UK earlier in the year (and reviewed by us) following a successful Kickstarter campaign.
The book tells the tale of James Watson, a family man in Lackey’s adopted Yorkshire who, after a serious road accident, has been diagnosed with Capgas Syndrome – a rare neurological condition that leaves its patients with a sense of unreality and detachment from the world around them. When he visits a local support group, he soon finds himself pulled into a startling and disorienting world beyond his wildest imaginings.
Lackey’s book has some thought-provoking riffs on what the mix of technology and big business might do to our personalities and relationships, delivered in a bold, confident art style. Transreality is a tribute to the strength in depth of comics self-publishing and a fine addition to the canon of comics looking at what life might be like in a “post-human” world.
Chris Lackey (W/A) • Witch House Media, $15
– Tom Murphy
Vertigo Quarterly: Yellow
The third in Vertigo’s on-going comics experiment in word association is out now in the form of Vertigo Quarterly: Yellow. The Vertigo Quarterly CYMK project sees a group of talented artists, writers and comics creators brought together to create work indepedently but all from the same starting point – a single colour. The stories can be about anything, but they all stem from that original association with a simple colour, in this case yellow.
The four colours chosen correspond to the four colours in the traditional four-colour printing ink cartridge, the dominant technology in coloured printing used throughout comics from the 40s to the 70s. The first two colours – Cyan and Magenta – have already been release, in spring and summer respectively, and Yellow is autumn’s child. That leaves Black still a future mystery to come out as a winter release.
With this being an autumn release we may well see some yellow pumpkins of falling leaves gracing the pages. Either way, with artwork from the likes of Toril Orlesky and Lucas Varela and stories written by Fabio Moon, Marguerite Bennett and many more, this is bound to be a rich anthology with a potentially wildly different array of tales within it.
Various (W/A) • Vertigo, $7.99
– Conori Bell-Bhuiyan
Thought Bubble Anthology 2014
Published in conjunction with the annual Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds, the 2014 edition of the popular anthology features new stories by some of the best artists in the business, including Cliff Chiang, Boo Cook, Marc Ellerby, Barry Kitson, Ales Kot, Sarah McIntyre, Emma Rios, Tim Sale, Richard Starkings, as well as the winners of the 2013 Thought Bubble Art Competition.
This 32 page anthology is printed in “newspaper” style format with high quality paper stock and all profits from the sales go directly to Barnardo’s, one of the largest children’s charities in the UK. You can go watch a video trailer for the anthology here, and if you happen to be in the UK, the Thought Bubble Festival is happening this November 9-16.
Various (W/A) • Image Comics, $3.99
– Tyler Chin-Tanner