Michael Alan Nelson

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 unfortunately called “beard bro” 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 to Comics? New Comics for You! 8/19/09

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 FarmGhost 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.