Today, we look at comics publisher Archaia Comics. Originally set up as a banner for the self-publishing efforts of writer/artist Mark Smylie and his high fantasy series Artesia, it expanded into a full on publisher in the middle of this past decade, launching the anthropomorphic fantasy series Mouse Guard by David Petersen to much acclaim. More comics were announced until the young publisher seemed to become overwhelmed by its own plans, almost completely grinding production to a halt. It appeared as if Archaia was going to be another in a long line of comics publishers who have abruptly vanished. Then came news of the acquisition of Archaia by Chicago-based media company Kunoichi. For a time this didn’t seem to change anything, but then Archaia came back. In the past year, they have firmly landed on solid ground and proved themselves to be a dependable publisher of quality comics and graphic novels, with an eye to innovation in the digital comics space. (more…)
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 25 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 Devil’s Handshake: A Basil and Moebius Adventure – $5.95
By Ryan Schifrin, Larry Hama & Adam Archer
48 pages; published by Archaia Comics; available at Amazon.com
Larry Hama, the legendary mastermind behind G.I. Joe, makes his debut at Archaia!
Renowned treasure hunters Alaric Moebius and Basil Fox embark on an adventure that takes them from the deepest jungles of New Guinea to the deserts of Libya in search of a mysterious hidden pyramid that contains the power to end the world! This unforgettable one-shot introduces readers to a terrifying, exciting new world created by Ryan Schifrin!
Publisher Archaia’s official site(s) is a mess right now, so I couldn’t find any listing for this. But, this looks like a fun Indiana Jones-esque adventure comic. Here’s a 7-page preview, along with an interview with the creators.
The Dead: Kingdom of Flies – $15.00
By Alan Grant & Simon Bisley
96 pages; published by Berserker Comics
Britain has fallen prey to a mysterious plague of flesh-crazed zombies. Corpses litter the streets. As far as Derek Wall and his team of firefighters know, their Oxford HQ might be the last bastion of unaffected humanity in the entire country.
But with every day that passes, Derek’s men get weaker, while the zombies grow in ferocity and numbers. It’s only a matter of time before the zombies break in – or the humans break out! Collects issues #1-4 of the smash hit series.
For mature readers, this comic is a pretty hardcore zombie romp. Might be a little tricky getting it in the States. I couldn’t find it on Amazon, but it looks like you should be able to buy it directly from them on their site at the link above, which also has lots of previews.
In the now-collapsed Soviet Union, the subjects of a Super Hero experiment must pick up the shattered pieces of their lives and carry on. But who – or what – is the deadly threat that’s stalking them all? Collecting THE WINTER MEN #1-5 and the WINTER MEN WINTER SPECIAL.
John Paul Leon is a great artist. This comic has had a long life but it’s won a lot of praise. Be warned, though: It’s not a simple, straightforward super-hero yarn. Here’s a preview to give you a taste.
From the award-winning team that brought you SLEEPER and CRIMINAL comes their strangest and most twisted tale yet — INCOGNITO. Zack is a file clerk in a dead end job… or is he really a super-villain hiding in Witness Protection? As his powers begin to return, our anti-hero’s life begins to unravel in a dark and explosive fashion. INCOGNITO is sexy black comic pulp tale that you’ll never forget! Mature Content.
I like Marvel. I really do. But they don’t make including them in this list very easy. It’s a bit too rare when they release something that truly requires no prior knowledge. Fortunately, this is one of them. Fortunately it’s quite good. Unfortunately it’s not for kids. But the next one fixes that. But, first, here’s a great big preview of Incognito.
Star Comics: All-Star Collection – $19.99
216 pages; published by Marvel Comics; available at Amazon.com
This collection for kids of all ages not only gets four stars, it has Four Stars: Planet Terry! Wally the Wizard! Royal Roy! Top Dog! Space opera, Arthurian-era fantasy, sovereign secrets and canine crimefighting – collected for the first time! Aliens, demons, ghosts, spies and more! Collects Planet Terry #1-2, Top Dog #1-3, Wally the Wizard #1-2, and Royal Roy #1-2.
Marvel delivers again this week with something for kids. These are comics from the ’80s when the publisher had an entire imprint devoted to little tykes. (I’m going to assume it’s some kind of technical glitch that there doesn’t seem to be a listing on Marvel’s site for this release. Marvel’s new release list for the week points here, which is blank. And no mention of it on MarvelKids.com. Great job, everyone. Keep bringing in the new readers. But all is not lost. A second volume is planned for a January release.)
Celebrate the holiday season with Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang by displaying your very own Christmas tree! Complete with a shiny ornament to dangle from its branches and Linus’s blanket to wrap around the base, this little tree and storybook will inspire all to remember the true meaning of Christmas.
Not quite comics, but this is too cute to pass up. This storybook supposedly comes with a pathetic Christmas tree as seen in the classic Peanuts animated special. We’re probably going to buy one to add to our annual holiday decorations.