Never read a graphic novel before? Haven’t read a comic book in years?
Here’s some brand new stuff that came out last 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: 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.
Hexed – $19.99
By Michael Alan Nelson & Emma Rios
112 pages; published by Boom! Studios; available at Amazon.com
Blood. Theft. Sex. Magic. The critically acclaimed fan-favorite is finally collected in one horrifying volume! It’s said there’s no honor amongst thieves. Add to that a thief operating in the occult underground, and it’s a whole different kind of nasty! Luci Jennifer Inagcio Das Neves, Lucifer for short, takes a new job that will expose her to the macabre underbelly of the city, and a secret that she’d rather nobody know. By Michael Alan Nelson, the critically acclaimed author of FALL OF CTHULHU, and hot new art talent Emma Rios and colorist Cris Peters. Special cover by Paul Pope!
The next Buffy? Only one way to find out. Read it for yourself. Here’s a 10-page preview (although the first 4 pages are taken up with images of the cover, title page, and other kind of boring stuff like that. But the second story page has a nice twist from the set-up on the first page. In fact, if that twist wasn’t there, I probably would’ve pulled it from my recommendation list.)
Filthy Rich – $19.99
By Brian Azzarello & Victor Santos
200 pages; published by DC Comics’ Vertigo Crime; available at Amazon.com
Richard “Junk” Junkin has always lived on the wrong side of trouble. A former pro football star whose career was cut short by injury (and a nasty gambling problem), Junk now spends his time dreaming of what might have been, selling cars in Jersey and lusting after the boss’s unbelievably spoiled, unbelievably sexy and unbelievably rich daughter, Victoria. So when the boss asks him to be Victoria’s personal bodyguard while she tears up the New York City club scene, Junk leaps at the chance. But before long, he’s finds that Victoria wants a lapdog and not a chaperone, someone who’s going to do all of her dirty work—all of it—someone who wants to get filthy rich…
From Brian Azzarello, the multiple Eisner Award-winning writer of Vertigo’s long-running crime series 100 BULLETS and the smash-hit graphic novel, JOKER, and artist Victor Santos, the creator/writer/artist of the hit French series Young Ronin.
Some crime noir from a great writer. The artist is clearly not too shabby either. The cover is kind of weird (looks like she’s spitting up jewels), but the interior pages look great. Here’s a 12-page preview in PDF form.
A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge – $24.95
By Josh Neufeld
208 pages; published by Pantheon Books; available at Amazon.com
A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge is a masterful portrait of a city under siege. Cartoonist Josh Neufeld depicts seven extraordinary true stories of survival in the days leading up to and following Hurricane Katrina.
Here we meet Denise, a counselor and social worker, and a sixth-generation New Orleanian; “The Doctor,” a proud fixture of the French Quarter; Abbas and Darnell, two friends who face the storm from Abbas’s family-run market; Kwame, a pastor’s son just entering his senior year of high school; and the young couple Leo and Michelle, who both grew up in the city. Each is forced to confront the same wrenching decision–whether to stay or to flee.
As beautiful as it is poignant, A.D. presents a city in chaos and shines a bright, profoundly human light on the tragedies and triumphs that took place within it.
Yes, believe it or not, this sort of thing is still extremely relevant. This was originally released as a web-comic posted online here by SMITH Magazine, which has a lot of bonus material including a behind-the-scenes video on the making of A.D.. The Amazon.com link above also has an interview with the artist/writer and some preview pages.
Essex County – $29.95
By Jeff Lemire
512 pages; published by Top Shelf Productions; available at Amazon.com
Where does a young boy turn when his whole world suddenly disappears? What could change two brothers from an unstoppable team into a pair of bitterly estranged loners? How does the work of one middle-aged nurse reveal the scars of an entire community, and can anything heal the wounds caused by a century of deception?
Critically-acclaimed cartoonist Jeff Lemire pays tribute to his roots with Essex County, an award-winning trilogy of graphic novels set in an imaginary version of the Ontario county where he was born. In Essex County, Lemire crafts an intimate study of one community through the years, and a tender meditation on family, memory, grief, secrets, and reconciliation. With the lush, expressive inking of a young artist at the height of his powers, Lemire draws us in and sets us free.
This new edition collects the complete Essex County trilogy (Tales from the Farm, Ghost Stories, and The Country Nurse) in one deluxe volume! Also included are over 50 pages of previously unpublished material, including sketches, promotional art, and two new stories. — Softcover Graphic Novel with French Flaps, 512 pages, 6 1/2″ x 9″
This has won and been nominated for a good handful of awards and has won lots of praise. Here’s an extremely generous 41-page preview. Expressive yet with impressive restraint, contemplative, beautiful.