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
New Julian Hanshaw comics are always a cause for celebration and his latest book from Top Shelf is no exception. Hanshaw’s work combines beautifully composed, very human narratives with pointedly eccentric visual stylings. He has long been a favourite here at BF for graphic novels including the acclaimed Tim Ginger, self-published work like BadTwin Presents and his contribution to Ravi Thornton’s HOAX Psychosis Blues, among many others.
Cloud Hotel sees Hanshaw once again dressing up autobio elements in the trappings of fiction. It follows Remco, a resident of the “palace of wonders” known as the Cloud Hotel who believes he was brought to this sanctuary through divine intervention. But when it comes time to check out the final two residents must “race against time to find what’s been lost, before they overstay their welcome…”
Hanshaw’s work has a delicate profundity to its delivery. Three years after his last full-length graphic novel, his Cloud Hotel was always going to be a shoo-in for our ‘Comic of the Week’ on its release. You can expect to see a full review in the near future at Broken Frontier.
Julian Hanshaw (W/A) • Top Shelf Productions/IDW Publishing, $19.99
– Andy Oliver
By Night #1
A really exciting new offering from BOOM! Studios, promises plenty of supernatural cartoon eye poppers and a relatable, diverse cast courtesy of Adventure Time veteran Christine Larsen, also lots of that good pithy banter laced with complex layers of unspoken feels from Giant Days author John Allison.
Our adventuresome female leads, scientician Jane and ” amateur urban explorer” (with blue hair) Heather, are re-united at the start of the story, but seem to have a history of serious drama which will likely be as relevant to the unfolding narrative as the portal to another dimension filled with magic and monsters they happen to find in an abandoned industrial building.
In an additional plot device, the pair decide to make a documentary about their new found frontier, so lots to play with there in terms of novel voice and framing motifs. Expect the fourth wall of this fantasy dimension to be well and truly broken.
John Allison (W), Christine Larsen (A) • BOOM! Studios, $3.99
– Jenny Robins
A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns
As we mention here at Broken Frontier with unfailing regularity, comics are a fantastic medium not just for storytelling but also for communication. Oni’s A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns was first announced last year with “snarky genderqueer artist” Archie Bongiovanni and “cisgender dude” Tristan Jimerson acting as our on-page hosts.
The duo cover not just the concept of pronouns but subjects like what to do if you make mistakes in their use and advice for those who identify as non-binary in a binary-centric world. A timely publication that we recommend everyone picks up from their local store this week.
Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson (W), Archie Bongiovanni (A) • Oni Press, $7.99
– Andy Oliver
The Weather Man #1
A new sci-fi epic from the writer of Shirtless Bear-Fighter and the artist of Haunt.
After the worst terrorist attack in human history wipes out nearly the entire population of Earth, the survivors form a new colony on Mars. They do their best to move on from the past and make a new life for themselves, a life that’s a little bit happier thanks to the entertaining and charismatic weatherman, Nathan Bright.
Nate seems to have it all, a loving girlfriend, faithful dog and adoring fans, that is until he gets identified as the man responsible for Earth’s tragedy. Could this be a case of mistaken identity, or was Nate part of something he has no recollection of whatsoever?
Jody LeHeup (W), Nathan Fox (A), Dave Stewart (C), Steve Wands (L) • Image Comics, $3.99
– Tyler Chin-Tanner
Dakota North: Design for Dying
Dakota North was another of those Marvel series oddities of the 1980s that attempted to inject some new genre fiction territory into the Marvel Universe but failed to find an audience. It disappeared after just a handful of issues but the blend of noir-ish detective stories, fashion, and stylish visuals from Tony Salmons, ensured its titular star’s run was a very brief but memorable one.
Collecting the private eye’s series in one volume, alongside other guest shots in the pages of books like Web of Spider-Man, Power Pack and Daredevil, this is another very welcome plundering of the vaults from Marvel’s trade paperback programme.
Martha Thomases (W), Tony Salmons (A) et al. • Marvel Comics, $29.99
– Andy Oliver
Proxima Centauri #1
From the same creative mind behind The Wrenchies and Pop Gun War, comes this latest imaginative adventure about a teenage wizard stranded light years away from Earth on a manufactured sphere known as Proxima Centauri.
Sherwood befriends a host of enigmatic characters such as Duke Herzog, Dr. EXT the time traveler, the ghost M. Parasol, Shakey the Space Wizard and Dhog Dahog during his attempt to escape the spectral zone and find a way back to his brother.
Farel Dalrymple (W/A) • Image Comics, $3.99
– Tyler Chin-Tanner
The ultimate weapon to stop an intergalactic war turned out to be a girl removed from her family as a child and transformed into a final solution. Stellar succeeded in her mission, but never found peace. Following the conflict, she became a bounty hunter and searches the worlds left broken in her wake for some form of redemption. Unfortunately for Stellar, she wasn’t the only weapon set loose upon the galaxy, and some of them cannot leave the war behind.
Writer Joseph Keatinge (Shutter, Glory) and artist Bret Blevins (Sleepwalker, New Mutants) have teamed up to send us on a gut-wrenching journey to a galaxy struggling to rise out of its wreckage. It’s a tale of moving forward from the horrors of the past but always watching your back. Good luck, Stellar.
Joseph Keatinge (W), Bret Blevins (A) • Image Comics, $3.99
Charley’s War: The Definitive Collection Vol. 3 – Remembrance
The final part of this ultimate compilation of the classic Pat Mills/Joe Colquhoun First World War strip hits shelves this week and even if “double dipping” isn’t usually your thing the willpower needed not to reinvest in this definitive re-presentation of one of the greatest British comics of all time will surely be beyond most enthusiasts and collectors.
Charley joins the stretcher bearers in this volume as the war reaches its final months and we also shift emphasis for a while to follow the exploits of his younger brother Wilf and his time with the Royal Flying Corps.
We’ve said it time and time again over the last few months at BF but this scathing anti-war masterpiece should be on every comics fan’s bookshelves. In fact it should be on everyone’s bookshelves, period.
Pat Mills (W), Joe Colquhoun (A) • Rebellion, £19.99
– Andy Oliver