It’s 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 event 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
Billy’s Boots Vol. 1: The Legacy of Dead-Shot Keen
From Scorcher to Tiger, Eagle to Roy of the Rovers, with a 1970s sidestep into Vulcan in between, schoolboy football strip Billy’s Boots was a much travelled favourite over the years after its 1970 debut. For two decades the perpetually pre-teen schoolboy Billy Dane had sporting adventures when wearing the strangely enchanted boots of forgotten professional strike “Dead-Shot” Keen which proved to have a match-winning mind of their own.
The basic premise of the strip all seems a little less innocent now than it did at the time, with Billy’s performance-enhancing footwear essentially allowing him to cheat his way to victory! But it’s all good-natured stuff and one of the more memorable sports strips of that era of IPC/Fleetway comics. Collected in Rebellion’s Treasury of British Comics series this one is going to have more than the usual levels of appeal to the misty-eyed nostalgists (myself included).
Fred Baker (W), Mike Western, Colin Page, Tom Kerr & Bill Lacey • Rebellion/Treasury of British Comics, £14.99
– Andy Oliver
This Broken Frontier Award-nominated series was off to a cracking start at the back end of 2019. A seeming fantasy epic that had elements of “our” world seeping mysteriously into its narrative, it followed villager Ansel. The young protagonist found himself on a coming-of-age quest to make sense of the strange visions that haunted him by locating the mysterious Folklords of legend.
In this third issue betrayal, and some familiar figures from folklore, await Ansel. Whether you’re up for hunting down the back issues or happy for one big digital hit, these first three parts of Folklords are well worth your time, effort and money. There’s a reason this book got that BF Award nom after all!
Matt Kindt (W), Matt Smith (A), Chris O’Halloran (C), Jim Campbell (L) • BOOM! Studios, $3.99
Basketful of Heads #4
The Joe Hill imprint Hill House at DC is currently responsible for some of the very best books in the company’s entire line and this debut miniseries in the range is proving to be the best of the lot with its cunning combination of shock horror and careful, suspenseful pacing.
Smalltown America, escaped killers, an apparently supernatural axe, a vengeful young woman and talking, decapitated heads. These are the ingredients that have made up this tense thriller story so far, alongside character-led scripting and the most moody, atmospheric visuals.
Joe Hill (W), Leomacs & Dan McDaid (A), Dave Stewart (C), Deron Bennett (L) • DC Comics/Black Label, $3.99
X-Statix Complete Collection Vol.1
Reminding us that when it comes to super-hero comics everything works in cycles, this collection of Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s X-Statix seriestakes us back to that point in the early 2000s when the entire family of X-books were in the midst of a line-wide radical revamp.
X-Force was one of the more marked redirections, with the book having no links bar its title to the previously Cable-led era when Milligan and Allred took it over with #116. A cutting pop cultural commentary on super-heroes as media stars was now the order of the day with the comic relaunching around a year later as X-Statix.
A satirical slant that occasionally courted controversy would follow but this was that all-too rare thing at the time – a Marvel comic where anything could happen with a unique take on the genre and its own unforgettable vision.
Peter Milligan (W), Mike Allred (A) • Marvel Comics, $39.99
– Andy Oliver
Wonder Woman #750
Another week, another opportunity to inwardly sigh at “Big Two” renumbering games. Arbitrary pretend anniversaries aside however, Wonder Woman’s “750th” issue at least gives us an opportunity to see some top creative teams from the character’s past, plus newer talents, give their take on the Amazon princess and her world.
Gail Simone, Greg Rucka, Mariko Tamaki and Colleen Doran are just some of the names involved in this giant celebration of the iconic heroine. The hefty $9.99 price tag may be off-putting in terms of accessibility but this may still prove a jumping-on point for lapsed readers with deeper pockets.
Vita Ayala, Marguerite Bennett, Kami Garcia, Dean Hale, Jeff Loveness, Steve Orlando, Greg Rucka, Gail Simone, Mariko Tamaki, et al (W), Elena Casagrande, Colleen Doran, Jesus Merino, Gabriel Picolo et al (A), Joelle Jones (CA) • DC Comics, $9.99
– Andy Oliver