I know it’s hard to believe with all the big flashy Hollywood things, but Comic-Con actually had stuff about comic books! There were a number of exciting debuts this year. Scroll through and see if something catches your eye. If so, read the blurb I’ve put together from the publisher’s write-ups, and if you’re intrigued, click the links to find out more.
Any Empire by Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole) recalls aimless summers of Nancy Drew and G.I. Joe, treehouses and army surplus stores… but when fantasy starts to bleed into reality, whose mission will be accomplished? [Interview]
Big Questions by Anders Nilsen: A haunting postmodern fable, this beautiful and minimalist story is the culmination of ten years and over 600 pages of work that details the metaphysical quandaries of the occupants of an endless plain, existing somewhere between a dream and a Russian steppe.
Daybreak by Brian Ralph is an unconventional zombie story. Drawing inspiration from zombies, horror movies, television, and first-person shooter video games, Daybreak departs from zombie genre in both content and format, achieving a living-dead masterwork of literary proportions. [Interview]
The Death-Ray by Daniel Clowes: Classic staples of the superhero genre – origin, costume, ray-gun. sidekick, fight scene – are reconfigured into a story that is anything but morally simplistic. With subtle comedy, deft mastery and an obvious affection for the bold Pop Art exuberance of comic book design, Daniel Clowes delivers a contemporary meditation on the darkness of the human psyche.
Freakshow by writers David Server and Jackson Lanzing, and artist Joe Suitor: When five refugee survivors develop monstrous mutations from a devastating chemical explosion that leaves their city in ruins, they band together to seek revenge against the clandestine government quarantine that has seized control in the aftermath. But are they monsters…or heroes?
WAIT, there’s more! Click through…!
Gil Jordan, Private Detective: Murder By High Tide by M. Tillieux: A never-before-translated classic from the Golden Age of Franco-Belgian comics, finally brought to American readers. A pair of wise-cracking, fast-paced detective stories considered masterpieces in Europe.
Hark! A Vagrant! by Kate Beaton: From the immensely popular and funny web-comic of the same name, Hark! A Vagrant! takes readers on a romp through history and literature — with dignity for few and cookies for all — with comic strips about famous authors, their characters, and political and historical figures, all filtered through a contemporary lens that displays a sharp, quick wit that knows no bounds.
The Hidden by Richard Sala: After a mysterious worldwide catastrophe, a group of survivors come together at the only intact structure for miles around — an abandoned trading post/rest stop. There they attempt to sort out what has happened: Has the world really come to an end? To pass the time they tell stories, relate dreams. But one of the members of the group has a secret. And that secret is destined to bring doom to them all.
The Homeland Directive by Robert Venditti (The Surrogates) and Mike Huddleston: A political thriller that asks, in an era when technology can either doom or save us, is it possible for personal privacy and national security to coexist?
Kinky & Cosy by Nix: Meet the most dangerous twin girls in the universe! Their record of wrong doings, on purpose or not, will raise your hair on end. A darkly subversive collection of cynical comics gags that is sweeping Europe. Nothing is sacred for these two lil’ monsters! South Park meets Monty Python.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century #2 – 1969 by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill: The literary mash-up by comics master Alan Moore explores the swinging ’60s. A thoroughly modern Mina Murray and her dwindling league of comrades attempt to navigate the perilous rapids of London’s hippy and criminal subculture, as well as the twilight world of its occultists.
The Life-Partner of Frankenstein: A Supernatural Law Book by Batton Lash: A descendent of the original Victor von Frankenstein has created his own monster. When the monster yearns for a mate, he creates Freda. The couple wants to marry but the county clerk denies their application for a marriage license—and has Freda arrested for public health violations! Enter: attorneys Alanna Wolff & Jeff Byrd, lawyers to the macabre!
Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot by Jacques Tardi, based on the novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette: French master Tardi returns to the world of guns, crime, betrayal and bloodshed with this stunning, grisly, and remarkably faithful interpretation of Manchette’s last completed crime thriller.
Little Nothings: My Shadow in the Distance by Lewis Trondheim: Offering an uncanny sense of observation related to personal experience, this collection from one of today’s most influential comic artists is all about dealing with the trappings of daily life.
The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti by Rick Geary: The latest installation in Geary’s fantastic “Treasury of XXth Century Murder” series, The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti covers one of the most controversial murder trials in American history with Geary’s award-winning eye for objective detail. [Interview]
Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 by The Hernandez Brothers. The legendary indie comics series continues with a sequel to one of the best stories from the “Loca” mythology.
Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010 by Michael Kupperman uses a mix of illustrated writing and comics to tell the previously unknown adventures of the celebrated author’s life after his death (he survived thanks to a wizard’s spell, duh).
MOME vol. 22, edited by Eric Reynolds: After 6 years and over 2500 pages of comics, MOME heads into the sunset with an all-star, jam-packed farewell bonanza. The final installment of this most esteemed comics anthology.
Okie Dokie Donuts: Open for Business! by Chris “Elio” Eliopoulos: Okie Dokie Donuts is the best little donut shop in town! But running a donut shop isn’t easy! Trouble is always poking holes in Big Mama’s fun. The first book in a new all-ages series.
One Soul by Ray Fawkes: A unique and poetic narrative, One Soul takes the experiences of 18 individuals and weaves them into the spiritual journey of a lifetime. Gracefully flowing from character to character, moment to moment, Fawkes has crafted a stunning mosaic that takes advantage of the medium of sequential art in a way few creators dare.
Petrograd by Philip Gelatt and Tyler Crook: During the height of the first World War, a reluctant British spy stationed in the heart of the Russian empire is handed the most difficult assignment of his career: orchestrate the death of the mad monk Gregorii Rasputin.
Pirate Penguin vs. Ninja Chicken: Troublems with Frenemies by Ray Friesen: They are the bestest of friends and also the worstest of enemies all at the same time (just like in real life! Only more cartoony of course.) The first book in a new all-ages series.
Prison Pit Book 3 by Johnny Ryan: Prison Pit blends Angry Youth Comix creator Johnny Ryan’s fascination with WWE wrestling, grindhouse cinema, first person action video games, Gary Panter’s “Jimbo” comics, and Kentaro Miura’s “Berserk” Manga into a brutal and often hilarious showcase of violence like no other comic book ever created.
RandomVeus Vol. 1 by Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz: The first original graphic novel by Udon Entertainment, which has mostly focused on licensed comics based on video games like Street Fighter and Mega Man. This zany inter-dimensional adventure has an animated feel to it that should grab young eyeballs pretty quickly. [Interview]
The Raven by Lou Reed and Lorenzo Mattotti: An ambitious combination of Edgar Allen Poe’s poems and stories, Lou Reed’s reinterpretations and enigmatic visualizations by legendary Italian illustrator and cartoonist Lorenzo Mattotti.
Sybil-Anne vs. Ratticus by R. Macherot: Widely regarded as one of the great classics of the Franco-Belgian all-ages comics, this fun comedy tells the story of Sibyl-Anne and her fiancé Boomer. They live in blissful peace in the French countryside until the evil rat Ratticus, evicted from his previous residence, sets his eye on the quiet acre that the couple share with their friends.
Ties: A Chronicle of Letters and Scotch by Emily McGuiness: Ties is the full length, black and white graphic novel about what would happen if you had parents by mail.
Torn by Andrew Constant, Nicola Scott and Joh James: Torn is a twist on werewolf mythology. It tells the story of how a wolf struggles when he is infected with the strongest virus the world has ever known: Humanity. [Interview]
Willie & Joe: Back Home by Bill Mauldin: In the summer of 1945, a tide of battered soldiers began flowing back to the United States from around the globe. Mauldin brilliantly chronicles the struggles and disillusionments of these early postwar years and, in doing so, tells his own extraordinary story of his journey home to a wife he barely knew and a son he had only seen in pictures.
A Zoo in Winter by Jiro Taniguchi: For the first time ever, multi-award winning Taniguchi recalls his beginnings in manga and his youth spent in Tokyo in the 60’s. It is a magnificent account of his apprenticeship where all the finesse and elegance of the creator are united to illustrate those first emotions of adulthood.