Okay folks! We're starting the year off right - with some comic book recommendations for you. And we're off to a great start. We've got February coming up soonish, and Sloane, Nick, and Elise have a bevy of new titles and one-shots for you to take a peak at. So read on and find out what we think is cool and coming out next month!
Reviews and Recommendations
As always a friendly reminder that these reviews are courtesy of Elise, Sloane, and Nick this month. If you do see something you want to order just reach out to us via the subscription update form. Also let us know if you read a review that really sparked your curiosity next time you're in the shop! We always love to hear that.
Helen of Wyndhorn
Dark Horse Comics
By Tom King (writer) and Bilquis Evely (artist)
Remember that Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow book from a few years ago? What if I told you that same creative team was coming together to write a book that bills itself as Conan the Barbarian meets Wizard of Oz? The book starts seemingly grounded in reality, with the titular character Helen Cole being Grandfather’s estate (the Wyndhorn House) following the death of her father, a prolific pulp writer and creator of definitely-not-Conan stereotype character Othan. As Helen begins to explore this now empty mansion, the hallways and rooms start to yield their secrets, alluding to the possibility of truth behind her father’s writing that waits hiding in the woods outside the manor.
Reading the copy for this book I couldn’t help but be reminded of helping my own family go through my grandparent’s estate after they’d both passed. Every memento had a story to go with it. Every piece of the house had memories in it. Now take that and add to it a secret hidden world, and you’ve kinda got what I’m expecting here.
Ultimate Black Panther
By Bryan Edward Hill (writer) and Stefano Caselli (artist)
Alright. Jonathan Hickman, you got me. I read Ultimate Spider-Man. I got the chills. I am all aboard the hype train for this new Ultimate universe you got. Which leads me to Ultimate Black Panther. Bryan Edward Hill’s been making a name for himself on Blade (you might also remember him from the Killmonger series a couple of years ago), and Stefano Caselli’s designs for the character look great. That’s a solid creative team, and the plot idea - the gods of Moon Knight taking over a whole continent sounds pretty fun too! Plus the trailer seems to tease Storm maybe also? Put me down as ready to see where this goes.
The Displaced #1 (of 5)
By Ed Brisson (writer) and Luca Casalanguida (artist)
When the city of Oshawa, Ontario vanishes without a trace, suddenly no one can remember that either it, or its 17,000 missing residents, were ever there. Those who escaped the town before its disappearance find themselves forgotten too, and must seek each other out to survive in a world that doesn’t seem to believe that they exist.
This Twilight Zone-esque, not-quite-horror, sci-fi mystery book has been brewing in Ed Brisson’s mind for over a decade at this point, and what really sets this apart from dime-a-dozen high concept sci-fi books though is how human it is. The dialogue in the preview pages is spot on, with art to match, and it makes the characters and conversations feel real, in a way that puts me in mind of a James Tynion comic. It’s even based on Brisson’s own experiences in the very real town of Oshawa , and how moving away caused him to slowly lose his connection with the places and people there. This grounded, personal approach always makes for the best genre writing in my opinion, and I’m excited to see where Brisson takes this one.
By Peter J Tomasi (writer) and David Lafuente (artist)
Tiny child supervillain antics! What’s not to love? Okay probably a fair bit, but hey, we know that Peter Tomasi can write this style of book (and he has already - see his original run on Super Sons). While not directly a parallel to the original series, Sinister Sons chooses to focus on Lor Zod, son of General Zod, and Sinson (yup, actually his name) son of Sinestro. The naming convention on the new character alone should tell you everything you need to know about what to expect in this book. This entire book radiates "you can't tell me what to do" energy in a way I find hilarious. Think Calvin & Hobbes style antics with two ‘bad boys’ who are trying very hard to be bad….and probably somehow failing at it spectacularly.
The One Hand // The Six Fingers
By Ram V (writer, The One Hand), Laurence Campbell (artist, The One Hand), Lee Loughridge (artist, The One Hand / The Six Fingers), Dan Waters (writer, The Six Fingers), and Sumit Kumar (artist, The Six Fingers)
I’m reviewing both of these books together because they’re connected in a fun and novel way that I haven’t seen in a hot minute. The One Hand follows aging detective Ari Nasser who gets pulled out of almost-retirement for one last murder that matches the MO of a serial killer he put away years ago. The Six Fingers follows archeology student Johannes Vale as his life starts to spiral out of control, leading to him committing a murder in the MO of a notorious serial killer…and doesn’t remember doing it.
So yeah, color me excited to try this out! Each book has a distinctive style that lends itself to the perspective of the main character, while sharing an artist between the two books (Lee Loughridge) to help maintain a continuity all the while. I’m not normally a big fan of crime drama and I’m definitely going to pick up this book.
One-Shots & Graphic Novels
February was a really good month for one-shots and fun graphic novels. Check out what Sloane and Elise found!
Sharp Wit & the Company of Women
A Wave Blue World
By Michele Abounader, Brent Fisher, Jadzia Axelrod, Lillian Hochwender, Liana Kangas, and so many, many more.
If all you told me about Sharp Wit & the Company of Women was “this is an anthology of short comics about warrior women,” I would already have been sold. But when I found out that it’s being written by some of the best rising queer talent in comics today, including Jadzia Axelrod (Galaxy: the Prettiest Star, Hawkgirl) it quickly became one of my most anticipated books of the month.
The team that edited The Color of Always: An LGBTQIA+ Love Anthology is back with just as impressive a collection of writers and artists, across various nationalities, gender identities, disabilities, and sexualities. Each creative team brings their unique perspective to the idea of what a ‘strong female character’ looks like – and just looking at the stories that are included, I’m super excited. “Joan, Nineteen” is a riff on the story of Joan of Arc that explored what it means to be a fighter with fibromyalgia. “Cadence” follows a romance between a mute warrior poet and an illiterate bard. Every preview page I’ve seen from this is beautiful, and I’m so excited to get my hands on a copy when it comes out.
For fans of: Thirsty Sword Lesbians, Hawkgirl, Xena: Warrior Princess
Seoul Before Sunrise
By Samir Dahmani
As someone who reads a lot of young adult graphic novels I am always looking for things that stand out. The first thing I noticed in the preview pages for this book was the melancholy watercolors that really set the tone and seem to lead the way with this book. Some of the central themes of Seoul Before Sunrise seem to be friendship (and the loss there of) and self exploration which really appeals to me with a moody book like this.
Seong-ji is haunted by the recent loss of a friendship as she works overnight shifts at a grocery store to pay her way through a rigorous accounting degree. When she and Ji-won moved to Seoul for university they swore to stay close, only to immediately drift apart. Late one night at work Seong-ji meets a mysterious young woman whose nighttime hobbies include sneaking into people’s empty homes to paint and photograph them. Against her better judgment Seong-ji is drawn into this world and through her exploration of others’ most intimate spaces begins to reflect on herself and her loss friendship.
The concept reminds a little bit of Lucy Bryon’s Thieves: two friends committing social (and legal) taboos together and learning more about themselves along the way. Overall I’m just excited to see more when this hits the shelves.
Mary Tyler MooreHawk
IDW Publishing / Top Shelf Productions
By Dave Baker
I don’t even know where to start with this one. I love Dave Baker, and know him mostly from the slice of life comics he’s written with artist Nicole Goux, like Everyone is Tulip and F*ck Off Squad. They’re witty and charming, and leave you with just the right amount of stuff to think about afterwards. So when I saw that he was writing a sprawling metatextual mixed-media book, in which he himself was one of the main characters, I was surprised but deeply intrigued.
The book revolves around Baker himself, who has been gifted a comic from the future, entitled Mary Tyler MooreHawk – written by a mysterious reclusive figure also named Dave Baker. Its titular character is a teen sleuth who looks suspiciously like Mickey Mouse and battles hordes of monsters, robotic spiders, and supervillains. Interwoven with energetic and beautifully drawn pages from the comic are academic essays, zines from a dystopian future about the comic’s short-lived cartoon adaptation (which is broadcast via dishwasher?), and footnotes. Pages and pages of footnotes.
Drawing comparisons to classic post-modern fiction like Infinite Jest and House of Leaves, the book promises a layered commentary on our relationship with pop culture, creator’s rights, and the seedy underbelly of the entertainment industry. But despite how dense all this sounds, what has me most about the book is just how weird and above all fun it looks like it’s going to be. A great pickup for anyone looking for a masterfully crafted and unique comic to read this month.
By Keezy Young
Keezy Young is one of my favorite local queer comic creators. I first discovered them through Taproot, their queer ya romance about a ghost and gardener which was tender, sweet, and bursting with life. Seeing their newest comic Sunflowers get picked up by one of my favorite indie publishers seems like a perfect match making it easily one of my most anticipated releases for February. I’ve read a few of their other zines and autobio comics and Young has not been shy in speaking on their experiences with bipolar, depression, mania, and psychosis. In their comic Just Going For a Walk they gave an intimate look into an episode of their psychosis, screaming at cars and walking til their feet bleed only to walk some more.
“Some people think mania is fun.”
Bipolar is an often misunderstood and stigmatized disorder and Young aims to shed some light on their personal struggles and experiences with it in this intimate new autobiographical comic. Sunflowers promises to be an even more in depth picture of the high lows of bipolar rendered in rich, swirling colors and deep, creeping shadows. This book swings from the unstoppable confidence and infinite inspiration of hypomania, to the depths of paranoia and the hurricane of thoughts pelting Young from all angles which they describe as “the balance beam of the everyday.”
And that's it for February's look aheads! Next month's look aheads should be up by early February, and we hope to keep this energy up and have them for you a full month ahead of time going forward. Thanks for reading, and if you saw something you wanted to add to your pull (or want to start a subscription for the book), use our handy little google form and submit that request!