- Posted by Johanna on February 5, 2014 at 8:43 am
- Category: Shopping Guide
Here’s what I found worth drawing your attention to this week from your local comic shop.
It’s the debut of Alone Forever (Top Shelf Productions, $9.95), Liz Prince’s collection of autobiographical webcomics about looking for love at punk concerts with bearded guys in flannel and living as a single woman with cats. I like her realistic, funny, self-deprecating look at life.
My current favorite series has a new installment. In Bloodhound: Crowbar Medicine #4 (Dark Horse Comics, $3.99), Clev isn’t dealing well with tragedy, making a drastic change in appearance and wallowing in solitude. He’s out for revenge against the man giving superpowers to people who aren’t capable of dealing with them, regardless of whether his partner signs onto the crusade. It’s a raw portrayal of avoiding mental pain by throwing oneself into one’s work, with a showdown setup for the next (and temporarily final) issue. The situation is familiar, but portrayed with modern realism.
Image Comics has two very different periodicals that demonstrate their attention to diversity and quality. Lazarus #6 ($2.99) continues the science fiction series with more family plotting and disputes over loyalty, while Minimum Wage #2 ($3.50) continues Bob Fingerman’s slice-of-life series that first launched almost 20 years ago. Rob, the semi-autobiographical protagonist, is now divorced and coping with a dying print industry. It’s fascinating seeing the character with so much more life and disappointment now behind him.
Marvel’s in a period of relaunches and new series, an old market trick to goose sales, but I’m all for good starting points and welcoming new readers. Ms. Marvel #1 ($2.99) is a new take on a familiar name, with the title character a Muslim teen (with great fashion sense — love that scarf!) this time around. Writer G. Willow Wilson has done some good comics in Cairo and Air, plus she knows the character background.
Reprint-wise, the first collection of The Mysterious Strangers ($19.99, Oni Press) is out. Strange Ways collects the six issues out so far about a weird group of superheroes in the swinging 60s. The appeal of the series for me is Scott Kowalchuk’s distinctively designed art, with a timeless retro feel. The Strangers consist of a fashionable young lady time controller in a white minidress, a cool guy in a checked sportcoat with electrical powers, a loner brick of a man with a death touch, and their leader in a wheelchair with a goatee. It’s a throwback take on the Doom Patrol, with an emphasis on style.
Chris Roberson writes as though these were just some of the many issues sharing their adventures, clearly having many more visions of their world to come. Here, the team engages with those who have taken over a tropical island with mind control to find an alien artifact. There’s also the Scarabs, an immensely popular pop group who wants to change the world, literally, by summoning a demon with their music. Then there are the Nazi aliens kidnapping people in a small desert town and working them to death. All the adventures are sleek and mod, creating a universe it’s fun to envision visiting.
A different kind of reprint is Baby’s in Black (First Second, $15.99), the paperback edition of a previous hardcover. It’s the graphic novel story of the early days of the Beatles, based on the life of Astrid Kirchherr, the German photographer involved with Stuart Sutcliffe before his untimely early passing. Given all the 50th anniversary hoopla around the band this year, it’s a good time to make the story more available.
There’s not a lot of manga out this week. I’ve already written about Happy Marriage?! Volume 4 (Viz Media, $9.99), an exaggerated take on a forced wedding, a kind of comedy Harlequin. Viz also has out Kamisama Kiss Volume 14 ($9.99). That’s the story of Nanami, a human shrine deity, and the fox spirit she loves. Unfortunately, Tomoe, the spirit, is dying from a memory curse. I’m guessing that they find some kind of solution, since this is a mystic romance manga and the alternative would be a real downer.