New to Comics? New Comics for You! 6/17/09

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

Here’s some brand new stuff coming out this week 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: While it may seem like it, I do not live in the future. 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.

Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? – $24.95
By Brian Fries
208 pages; published by Abrams ComicArts; available at Amazon.com

Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?, the long-awaited follow-up to Mom’s Cancer, is a unique graphic novel that tells the story of a young boy and his relationship with his father.
Spanning the period from the 1939 New York World’s Fair to the last Apollo space mission in 1975, it is told through the eyes of a boy as he grows up in an era that was optimistic and ambitious, fueled by industry, engines, electricity, rockets, and the atom bomb. An insightful look at relationships and the promise of the future, award-winning author Brian Fies presents his story in a way that only comics and graphic novels can.
Interspersed with the comic book adventures of Commander Cap Crater (created by Fies to mirror the styles of the comics and the time periods he is depicting), and mixing art and historical photographs, this groundbreaking graphic novel is a lively trip through a half century of technological evolution. It is also a perceptive look at the changing moods of our nation-and the enduring promise of the future.

Father’s Day gift? Of course, you might want to get a copy for yourself, too. I know I do. There’s an 8-page preview at the publisher link above.

Sleeper: Season One – $24.99
By Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
288 pages; published by DC Comics’ WildStorm; available at Amazon.com

“SLEEPER could hold its own against any noir, from any medium…Brubaker is without a doubt the best crime fiction writer in comics today. ” – Ain’t It Cool News.com

From the award-winning Criminal team of writer Ed Brubaker and artist Ed Brubaker comes SLEEPER, the story of Holden Carver and the secret criminal organization he must infiltrate, now back in a new edition collecting SLEEPER SEASON 1 #1-12. With his contact at the agency in a coma, Carver must live one day at a time in a deadly game of cat and mouse he plays with its leader, Tao.

This has been praised up in down in comics circles. I haven’t gotten a good chance to read it, but it looks like I just got one. And so did you. Here’s a 5-page preview in fantastically inconvenient PDF form.

Prayer Requested – $15.95
By Christian Northeast
96 pages; published by Drawn and Quarterly; available at Amazon.com

Succinctly stated and punctuated with a sharp-edged visual style, Prayer Requested presents a narrative of illustrations and collages, each one accompanied by a found or scavenged prayer. First excerpted in Nicolas Robel’s B.u.L.B Comix, the works of Prayer Requested are equal parts inspiring, amusing, enlightening, and in some cases entirely peculiar, each marrying heartfelt intent with frank unflattering interpretation.

With a roster of clients that include The New York Times, Playboy, and Rolling Stone, Christian Northeast’s illustrations are honest and without reservation. They represent a creativity and freedom of thought and form, cleverly depicting the intimacy, urgency, and absurdity of these found prayers with a sense of explicit surrealism.

Really funny yet just not right. Here’s an 11-page preview again in annoying PDF-o-vision (because I don’t have enough random files on my computer that I only looked at once).

Legacy – $14.95
By Jack Katz and Charlie Novinskie
100 pages; published by Hero Initiative

Jack Katz, creator of the epic, independent series, The First Kingdom, has teamed with The Hero Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to helping out comic creators in need, to bring you Katz’ new graphic novel Legacy. Following the death of Gavin LeClare, the family fortune – $70 billion dollars – is bequeathed not to the family, but to one Silvia Alogo, an unknown Hispanic woman that doesn’t speak English.

Enter Barney Barrett, insurance investigator, brought in to unravel the mystery of the LeClare estate. What Barrett discovers could make or break the LeClare family fortune – and the evidence he uncovers could have deadly consequences! A tale of corporate greed, family betrayal, love lost, and love found, Legacy is told in the classic style of Hogarth, Eisner, and Foster.

I had to really dig around to find good info on this. Jack Katz’s own website doesn’t even mention this book. Neither does the Hero Initiative. No previews available. No one bothered to get it listed on Amazon. One major comic book retailer has this listed as coming out next month, and another retailer thinks it’s coming out next week. Is this an experiment to see how badly a book will sell with absolutely no marketing efforts whatsoever?

Anyway, Jack Katz is a mostly overlooked pillar of the industry who toiled away for years at Archie Comics and Marvel Comics starting in the 1940s. In the ’70s, he dropped off the map to create and release over a 12-year period one of the early “indie” fantasy comics and among the first graphic novels, The First Kingdom. This looks to be a much more down-to-earth tale. This should be a big deal. The return of a lost master of the art form. If you can find it, consider yourself lucky.

The Mice Templar, Vol. 1 – $17.99
By Bryan J.L. Glass and Michael Avon Oeming
260 pages; published by Image Comics; available at Amazon.com

Before their fall, the Templar preserved the order of the natural world, maintaining the balance of life and death for all creatures. But an ideological dispute pitted the noble brotherhood against itself, where they destroyed themselves in a vicious civil war. Chaos descended in their wake, where predatory and scavenger creatures now reign supreme bringing anarchy to the night world of the Shadow Time.

Yet the young mouse Karic receives visions from the gods that their creator Wotan has chosen him to challenge the imbalance and restore the order of the fallen Templar. But before he can even comprehend his supernatural calling, his home is destroyed by vicious rat marauders, and his family is taken into slavery. Karic soon learns of an ancient prophecy that one mouse will be chosen to recreate the heroic exploits of the past, and thereby save his family and his people. But Karic’s calling soon makes him both a target of his enemies, and a tool to be exploited by those seeking to use the savior of all for their own schemes.

And thus begins the first chapter in an extraordinary adventure of magic and wonder, faith and valor, and of one small mouse whose destiny might change the entire world.

This is an oft-praised anthropomorphic fantasy adventure. It’s like The Secret of NIMH but probably better. (And yes, the artist’s middle name is the same as a perfume company. Don’t hold it against him.)

That’s it for this week. Now go get yourself some funny books!

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