John Reppion

New Graphic Novels, Comic Books for You – 12/16

Never read a graphic novel before? Haven’t read a comic book in years?

Here’s some brand new stuff that came out the week of December 16 that I think is worth a look-see for someone with little to no history with comics. That means you should be able to pick any of these up cold without having read anything else. So take a look and see if something doesn’t grab your fancy. If so, follow the publisher links or Amazon.com links to buy yourself a copy. Or, head to your local friendly comic book shop.

Disclaimer: For the most part, I have not read these yet, so I can’t vouch for their quality. But, from what I’ve heard and seen, odds are good they just might appeal to you.

Chimichanga #1 – $3.00
By Eric Powell
32 pages; published by Albatross Exploding Funny Book

Chimichanga, a story fit for youngsters! In Eric Powell’s first creator owned series since The Goon, he brings his off beat humor and unique style to comic readers of all ages! No, this is not a story about a fried Mexican delicacy! This is about a little bearded girl and her escapades with a slightly less than extraordinary traveling circus.

Unfortunately I can’t find a preview of this, but if Eric Powell’s work on The Goon is any indication, this will be a weird delight.

The Engineer: Konstrukt – $9.95
By Brian Churilla & Jeremy Shepherd
136 pages; published by Archaia Comics; available at Amazon.com

An ancient sentient entity is feasting on the very fabric of space and time. Only one man can stop it: The Engineer, last survivor of the destroyed Earth. Utilizing a colossal pipe organ that enables ‘pan-dimensional travel,’ The Engineer pursues the lost components of The Konstrukt, an archaic mechanism that imbues whoever possesses it with the ability to manipulate reality itself, in the hopes of using it to defeat the creature and undo the incalculable damage it has already done. Giant bat creatures, were-crabs, immense rock creatures, amorphous witches and armies of undead abound in this pulpy sci-fi romp for all ages! Collects and completes the ENGINEER series.

Pretty good price for a hardcover collection this size. Another crazy ride that only comics can pull off. There are preview pages at the publisher link above.

Dead Run – $16.99
By Andrew Cosby, Michael Alan Nelson & Francesco Biagini
128 pages; published by Boom! Studios; available at Amazon.com

“All Speed.  No Limits.” The end isn’t near… it’s here. America has become a wasteland, leaving the few cities that remain transformed into impenetrable fortresses. Beyond these walls lies The Zone, a brutal, plague-ravaged landscape stretching from one city to the next, populated by mutants, monsters, and warring factions of survivors driven insane by disease and starvation — only the very brave or the very foolish voluntarily step foot outside the protective confines of the mega-cities. NICK MASTERS just happens to be a little bit of both. Nick’s a driver, the best there is. If you need something picked-up, delivered, or disposed of, Nick’s your man. And he’s all business. But when he fails to deliver an important package to a local crime lord, Nick’s business suddenly becomes very personal. A science fiction action piece in the vein of MAD MAX from the writer of HEXED and FALL OF CTHULHU, Michael Alan Nelson, collaborating for the first time with EUREKA creator Andrew Cosby!

Co-writer Michael Alan Nelson says on his blog, “if [you] like a little snark with your post-apocalyptic stories, this one is for you.” Here’s an 11-page preview.

The Complete Alice in Wonderland – $4.99
By Leah Moore, John Reppion & Erica Awano
48 pages; published by Dynamite Entertainment

“What is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations!”
Following up on the success of The Complete Dracula, and Sherlock Holmes, Dynamite presents The Complete Alice In Wonderland. For the first time ever Lewis Carroll’s classics, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass with “The Wasp in a Wig,” the “lost chapter” (from the Looking-Glass) are adapted into one complete tale. In this All Ages adaptation, writers John Reppion and Leah Moore are joined by Erica Awano for a 4 issue adventure down the rabbit hole!
This full color series features a massive 40 pages of story and art per issue, all under covers by John Cassaday, who supplies a unique die-cut design for the first issue that is sure to enthrall young and old. Moore and Reppion also provide bonus material such as script pages, annotations and samplings of the original text by Lewis Carroll.

Great way to prepare for the coming movie. Love the art. Check out the 8-page preview at the publisher’s link above.

The Rocketeer – $29.99
By Dave Stevens
144 pages; published by IDW Publishing; available at Amazon.com

The Complete Rocketeer saga is collected into one handsome hardcover volume for the very first time, combining The Rocketeer and The Rocketeer: Cliff’s New York Adventure into one great book. Dave Stevens’ classic adventure strip is set in the 1930s and is an homage to the classic pulp novels of the time. Cliff Secord is a stunt pilot who happens upon a top-secret experimental jet pack and meets adventure head on!

Long considered a classic, the Rocketeer has been out of print for years. Now, with the blessing and full cooperation of the Dave Stevens estate, the Rocketeer will be collected as one book and with ALL-NEW COLORING by Laura Martin (who was Dave Stevens choice to recolor the series)

Whether you’ve seen the 1991 movie or not, this is worth getting. The original source material was a comic book character that was sporadically published throughout the 1980s and ’90s. This is the first time it has ever been reprinted in one place. In addition to this $30 version, there’s also a fancier/more expensive ($75) Deluxe Edition, which is printed larger (8″ x 12″) and has an extra 100 pages of Dave Stevens’ pin-ups, sketches and other preliminary artwork. Here’s a look at the deluxe version at the blog of IDW editor-in-chief Chris Ryall.

P.T.A. Night – $12.99
By Jeremy R. Scott
32 pages; published by Image Comics’ Silverline; available at Amazon.com

It’s the creepiest PTA Night ever when the lunch lady’s soup comes alive, the janitor turns into a werewolf, and the old graveyard that the school was built over brings the dead back to life! More humorous than frightening – a treat for kids of all ages!

Silent double-page illustrations tell the tale of the Austintown Middle School on the eve of one of its monthly PTA meetings. At the beginning everything seems normal, with teachers and parents meeting in the auditorium, a janitor mopping the halls, a lunch lady cleaning the pots and pans from earlier in the day, etc. But things will quickly change, and the night will get very strange as the lunch lady’s soup comes alive and begins preparing lunch all on its own, a full moon shines through the clouds, turning the janitor into a werewolf, and a science fair project in the science lab makes contact with a UFO! The old graveyard that the school was built over brings the dead back to life, and the tenants make their way to the PTA meeting!

Very cute and very fun book. Here’s a 4-page preview at Jeremy R. Scott’s blog. This has a very clever use of the comic page, where each 2-page spread is a bi-section of the school. As you make your way through the book, you see the amusing chaos break out in different rooms. I thought this was released by earlier this year, so I’m not sure why it’s popped up on the new release list again, or why the writer/artist Jeremy R. Scott only recently got copies himself to sell. So I’m not exactly sure what’s going on, but it looks like it’s out now, so go get it! You can also buy a signed copy straight from Jeremy R. Scott right here. And there’s also the great website PTAnight.com.

Kidnapped – $14.99
By Robert Louis Stevenson, Roy Thomas & Mario Gully
128 pages; published by Marvel Comics; available at Amazon.com

A STOLEN INHERITANCE! ABDUCTION AT SEA! AN UNSOLVED MURDER: These are the elements that Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, wove together in Kidnapped, his novel set upon the ocean and in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands in the middle of the 18th century. Young David Balfour tries to claim his rightful inheritance from a treacherous uncle determined not to share it—and is kidnapped aboard a ship bound for the American colonies, where he’ll be delivered into slavery. He escapes in the company of a dynamic Scottish rebel named Alan Breck Stewart, and the two of them forge a powerful and memorable friendship—fighting all foes side by side, and triumphing in the end.

Marvel Comics has been doing these classic novel adaptations for a few years now. I’ve never really heard much feedback on whether they’re any good, but I thought I’d point it out because I think it’s a good publishing program, in concept. Roy Thomas is an old Marvel warhorse. He was the first person that wasn’t Stan Lee to handle their characters on any significant level, and became Marvel’s editor-in-chief for much of the 1970s. Here’s a 6-page preview, which certainly seems decent enough.

New Graphic Novels, Comic Books for You – 11/4

Never read a graphic novel before? Haven’t read a comic book in years?

Here’s some brand new stuff that came out the week of November 4 that I think is worth a look-see for someone with little to no history with comics. That means you should be able to pick any of these up cold without having read anything else. So take a look and see if something doesn’t grab your fancy. If so, follow the publisher links or Amazon.com links to buy yourself a copy. Or, head to your local friendly comic book shop.

Disclaimer: For the most part, I have not read these yet, so I can’t vouch for their quality. But, from what I’ve heard and seen, odds are good they just might appeal to you.

The TOON Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics – $40.00
Edited by Art Spiegelman & Françoise Mouly
352 pages; published by Abrams ComicArts; available at Amazon.com

The TOON Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics is an unprecedented collection of the greatest comics for children, artfully compiled by two of the best-known creators in publishing and the field of comics–Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly.

This treasury created for young readers focuses on comic books, not strips, and contains humorous stories that range from a single-page to eight or even twenty-two pages, each complete and self-contained. The comics have been culled from the Golden Age of comic books, roughly the 1940s through the early 1960s, and feature the best examples of works by such renowned artists and writers as Carl Barks, John Stanley, Sheldon Mayer, Walt Kelly, Basil Wolverton, and George Carlson, among many, many others.

Organizing the book into five categories (Hey, Kids!; Funny Animals; Fantasyland; Story Time!; and Wacky & Weird), Spiegelman and Mouly use their expertise in the area of comics to frame each category with an introductory essay, and provide brief biographies of the artists. The TOON Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics is essential reading for kids of all ages.

Great for kids, and the supplemental essays and historical context should make this entertaining for parents, too. The artists mentioned in the blurb were masters and are still huge influences to modern comic and graphic artists. And it’s sturdy enough for repeated reading. The publisher link above includes a great preview that shows just how charming and delightful this stuff will be to experience. Lots of fun!

Donald Duck and Friends #347 – $2.99
By Fausto Vitaliano & Andrea Freccero
32 pages; published by Boom! Kids

The Quack is back in this first BOOM! Kids issue! He’s no double “o” seven, he’s Double Duck! Donald shows us his dashing, adventurous side as a secret agent on a mission to stop a dangerous ice-melting machine and save the world from rising oceans! This is a Donald Duck like you’ve never seen! A brand new start at a brand new company for one of the world’s most iconic characters and longest-lived, most-published comic book series!

Speaking of those influential artists, you can pretty much draw a direct line from Carl Barks to this new issue (translated from the original Italian edition). Another great comic for kids. Here’s a 5-page preview.

Sherlock Holmes, Vol. 1: The Trial of Sherlock Holmes – $24.99
By Leah Moore, John Reppion & Aaron Campbell
168 pages; published by Dynamite Entertainment; available at Amazon.com

Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic detective Sherlock Holmes returns in all-new adventures! Sherlock finds himself involved in a mystery that has him fighting for his very life and Watson putting the pieces together to either save his friend or condemn him! Written by Leah Moore and John Reppion with reverence and a modern edge, artist Aaron Campbell completes the Victorian mood under the striking and iconic John Cassaday covers. Also contains bonus material such as script pages, annotations, a cover gallery, and a complete Sherlock Holmes short story by Arthur Conan Doyle with new illustrations.

I’ve been looking forward to this. It’s supposed to be a pretty faithful take on Sherlock Holmes. There’s a 10-page preview at the publisher link above.

Like A Dog – $22.99
By Zak Sally
128 pages; published by Fantagraphics Books; available at Amazon.com

One man’s heartfelt and irreverent record of his time on this rock, Zak Sally’s unflinchingly veracious book, Like a Dog, is both direct and oblique, which we find rather miraculous considering the messy and murky waters of human experience it manages to navigate. Like a Dog is among the few comic book testimonials burdened by the yen to understand and articulate the mundane and the magnificent. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself laughing and crying as you claw your way through each hard fought page!

Of all of Sally’s creative pursuits (including a career in music spanning 15+ years), Like a Dog is the one he’s been working a lifetime toward. This hardcover book collects the best of his acclaimed short stories from the past 15 years, created in between band tours and recording sessions, published in his Eisner-nominated self-published seriesRecidivist (the first 2 issues of which are reprinted here in their entirety) and in publications like MomeThe DramaYour FleshDirty Stories, and more.

Like a Dog spotlights Sally’s uncanny ability to create emotional havoc out of claustrophobic images, situations and dialogue. Stories like “Don’t Move,” “The War Back Home,” and “Two Idiot Brothers” share little in common on the surface but are united by Sally’s forbidding style, creating a sense of dread that permeates almost every page.

Sally also turns his eye towards nonfiction in Like a Dog, including “At the Scaffold,” the story of the imprisonment and trial of Fyodor Dostoyevsky for allegedly subversive behavior, and “The Man Who Killed Wally Wood,” a story about Sally’s brush with a former publisher of the legendary comic artist (who, contrary to the title of this strip, took his own life after a long battle with alcoholism). It also includes two collaborations: “Dread,” written by NEA Fellowship recipient, Edgar Award finalist, and O. Henry Award winning author Brian Evenson (Altmann’s Tongue); and “River Deep, Mountain High,” co-created with fellow cartoonist Chris Cilla.

Like a Dog also includes extensive “liner notes” by the artist, previously unpublished material, an introduction by John Porcellino (King Cat), and other surprises.

I really loved Zak Sally’s Sammy The Mouse, so it sounds like I have a good reason to buy this. And so do you. To give you an idea of what’s in store, there’s a neat Flickr video of someone flipping through the book, which serves as a de facto preview of sorts, and there’s also a 10-page preview as a PDF file.

Stumptown #1 – $3.99
By Greg Rucka & Matthew Southworth
40 pages; published by Oni Press

Superstar writer Greg Rucka (WHITEOUT, DETECTIVE COMICS) embarks on his first creator-owned series since the Eisner Award-winning QUEEN & COUNTRY!

Dex is the proprietor of Stumptown Investigations, and a fairly talented P.I. Unfortunately, she’s less adept at throwing dice than solving cases. Her recent streak has left her beyond broke—she’s into the Confederated Tribes of the Wind Coast for 18 large. But maybe Dex’s luck is about to change. Sue-Lynne, head of the Wind Coast’s casino operation, will clear Dex’ debt if she can locate Sue-Lynne’s missing granddaughter. But is this job Dex’s way out of the hole or a shove down one much much deeper?

I’ve been seeing some good reviews for this. Looks like really nice work! Here’s a 4-page preview. And while it hasn’t officially launched yet, here’s a website for the series.

Burn – $9.99
By Camilla D’Errico & Scott Sanders
160 pages; published by Simon & Schuster’s Simon Pulse; available at Amazon.com

Burn was once human.

He also had a family and friends, until a metallic angel of death took everything from him. This mechanical monster, Shoftiel, was one of many living machines made to help humanity that revolted and declared war on their creators. It tore through Burn’s home and wreaked havoc on his city until the buildings collapsed, crashing down upon them.

Emerging from the rubble, Burn and Shoftiel discover their once separate bodies have become one — neither human nor machine, but a freak union of both. Internally their minds are caught in a raging battle for control. Just as mankind must struggle against the sentients for survival, Burn must find the strength to overcome Shoftiel’s genocidal programming to retain whatever’s left of his humanity.

Here’s a 5-page preview (you have to click through a bunch of “who cares” before you get to the actual story).