- Posted by Johanna on July 16, 2014 at 7:16 am
- Category: Shopping Guide
Here’s what I recommend appearing today at your local comic shop.
The book of the week, in terms of overall anticipation, is Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds (Ballantine Books, $25). It’s a terrific read and an affecting meditation on what it would mean to be able to reverse the mistakes you think you’ve made in your life. It’s tough to followup on the career-defining Scott Pilgrim series, but O’Malley here does a wonderful job.
A surprising discovery for me was Princess Ugg, an entertaining and light-hearted take on what it really means to be a princess. Ted Naifeh, by contrasting a barbarian and a pampered young lady, makes issue #2 (Oni Press, $3.99) quite funny.
Getting a lot more press lately is Archie Comics’ Life With Archie #36 ($4.99), which has five variant covers hit stores. In this much-promoted issue, Archie is killed taking a bullet for Kevin Keller (identified as “gay friend” in most of the news stories that have picked up on the death promotion).
I don’t think that story will stand the test of time — although it will make for an interesting future time capsule about the debates that bothered us during this decade — which makes it very different from the latest installment of Fantagraphics’ Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse reprints ($34.99). Volume 5 is titled Outwits the Phantom Blot, and it promises to be a spooky mystery. For comics originally published in the late 1930s, there’s exciting action and great cartooning here. It’s surprising to see so much adventure with a mouse, but it all somehow works. The publisher has a preview available.
From the past to the future… if you’re interested in the question of how humans might interact with creepily lifelike robots, check out Alex + Ada Volume 1 (Image Comics, $12.99). The art, by Jonathan Luna, can seem stiff and lifeless, but that’s oddly well-suited to this kind of story, and I found myself caring about the characters, written by Sarah Vaughn.
Whedon fans will want to take note that Spike: Into the Light (Dark Horse, $14.99) is an original graphic novel focused on everyone’s favorite vampire-with-a-soul written by the actor who played him, James Marsters. It’s drawn by Derlis Santacruz, inked by Andy Owens, and it’s an enjoyable stand-alone story that gives Spike some good moments. It’s set near the beginning of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 7.
Spike is bumming around, being bummed, when he rescues a young woman being menaced by a couple of toughs. He winds up trying to do the right thing, rescuing some innocents, fighting some monsters, and looking for a new pair of boots. The likenesses are well-done, as is the dialogue, which makes Spike roughly charming.
Let’s end on an even higher note. Image Comics is putting out some of the most exciting comics out there, and their newest must-read series is The Wicked + The Divine ($3.50) by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. If you missed the first issue, which came out last month, there’s a second printing available this week to go along with the new issue #2.
The Wicked + The Divine postulates gods as pop stars, and it’s drawn in typically gorgeous fashion by McKelvie. Gillen portrays the absolute devotion of a dedicated fan in tangible fashion before sending us into the question of how our world would deal with these beings, plus a murder mystery added on top just to make it even more interesting. In issue #2, someone says, to a new god, “You will be loved. You will be hated. You will be brilliant. Within two years, you will be dead.” That sums it all up, except then, reading Gillen’s editorial note in issue #1 tells us that it’s his meditation on creating art, which puts it all into new light. It’s an astounding series, about youth and power and sex and fame and yearning, and I can’t wait to see more. Really good stuff.