Want to try reading comics? Don’t know where to start? Want to try something different?
Wednesday is New Comics Day! Each week, The Comics Observer spotlights up to three brand new releases worthy of your consideration. Sometimes we list more on really good weeks. All of these have been carefully selected as best bets for someone who has never read comic books, graphic novels or manga before. They each highlight the variety and creativity being produced today. These are also great for those that haven’t read comics in awhile or regular readers looking to try something new.
While we can’t guarantee you’ll like what we’ve picked, we truly believe there’s a comic for everyone. If you like the images and descriptions below, click the links to see previews and learn more about them. You can often buy straight from the publishers or creators. If not, head over to your local comic book store, check out online retailers like Things From Another World and Amazon, or download a copy at comiXology, or the comics and graphic novels sections of the Kindle Store or NOOK store. Let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook.
(Please note these aren’t reviews. Recommendations are based on pre-release buzz, previews, and The Comics Observer‘s patented crystal ball. Product descriptions provided by publisher.)
A powerful debut graphic memoir, Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is the rollicking story of two teenaged girls’ wild hitchhiking trip across Italy from Naples to Sicily.
Back in 1984, a rebellious, 17-year-old, punked-out Ulli Lust set out for a wild hitchhiking trip across Italy, from Naples through Verona and Rome and ending up in Sicily. Twenty-five years later, this talented Austrian cartoonist has looked back at that tumultuous summer and delivered a long, dense, sensitive, and minutely observed autobiographical masterpiece.
Miraculously combining a perfect memory for both emotional and physical detail with the sometimes painful lucidity two and half decades’ distance have brought to her understanding of the events, Lust meticulously shows the who, where, when, and how (specifically, how an often penniless young girl can survive for months on the road) of a sometimes dangerous and sometimes exhilarating journey. Particularly haunting is her portrait of her fellow traveler, the gangly, promiscuous devil-may-care Edi who veers from being her spunky, funny best friend in the world to an out-of-control lunatic with no consideration for anything but her own whims and desires.
Universally considered one of the very finest examples of the new breed of graphic novels coming from Europe, Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life won the 2011 Angoulême “Revelation” prize, and Fantagraphics is proud to bring it to English speaking readers.
Sam Kieth and Chris Ryall transport you to a near-future Japan, where burned-out husks – the Hollows – wantonly devour souls throughout the city. Far above, a segment of society lives safely in giant tree-cities, but the problems below have a way of growing out of control…
To combat the catastrophic death of a decaying Japan, survivors create genetically engineered supertrees – wooden leviathans capable of supporting entire cities suspended above the radioactive wastes below. Traveling via jetpacks to stay above the toxic air below, the survivors must also band together against the Hollows, irradiated husks whose humanity has been supplanted by an unquenchable desire to consume human energy!
The Hollows is the premiere of a wildly original new world realized in the vivid, expressive tones that can only emanate from Sam Kieth’s hands.
Assembled from work done in Anders Nilsen’s sketchbooks over the course of the year following the death of his fiancée in 2005, The End is a collection of short strips about loss, paralysis, waiting, and transformation.
It is a concept album in different styles, a meditation on paying attention, an abstracted autobiography and a travelogue, reflecting the progress of his struggle to reconcile the great upheaval of a death, and finding a new life on the other side.
The book blends Nilsen’s disparate styles, from the iconic simplicity and collaged drawings of his Monologues for the Coming Plague to the finely rendered Dogs and Water and Big Questions.
Originally released in magazine form in 2007 (which received an Ignatz Award nomination for Outstanding Story), The End has been updated and expanded to more than twice its original length, including 16 pages of full color.
Never read a graphic novel before? Haven’t read a comic book in years?
Here’s some brand new stuff coming out this 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: While it may seem like it, I do not live in the future. 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.
Note: Due to the Memorial Day holiday in the United States, comic books are being released a day later than usual in North America. So, this week, Thursday is new comic book day.
Dellec #0 – $1.99
By Frank Mastromauro, Vince Hernandez, Micah Gunnel and Rob Stull
12 pages; published by Aspen Entertainment
Sometimes, evil should be afraid. His name is Dellec. A working class family man. A highly skilled metal fabricator. A man who will be forced to risk everything — including his own existence, to purge the world of all its treacherous forms of ill repute. However, what if that evil he seeks to destroy is also the very same force that created him? And what if this being was more than mortal altogether? The blazing fires of damnation reign down upon one man in this epic tale of vengeance, loss, and despair as Dellec attempts to not only battle immortality itself, but also the very perception of faith its strength is built upon.
A nice and affordable sampler. This new noir sci-fi series is a bit of a departure for this publisher (even if their hype for it is a bit over the top). It looks like a bit of Sin City and a bit of Blade Runner. Here’s a 6-page preview.
“BAYOU, which tackles racism and violence in 1930s Mississippi, is as hypnotic as it is unsettling.” — Wired
The first book from the original webcomics imprint of DC Comics is here! South of the Mason-Dixon Line lies a strange land of gods and monsters; a world parallel to our own, born from centuries of slavery, civil war, and hate.
Lee Wagstaff is the daughter of a black sharecropper in the Depression-era town of Charon, Mississippi. When Lily Westmoreland, her white playmate, is snatched by agents of an evil creature known as Bog, Lee’s father is accused of kidnapping. Lee’s only hope is to follow Lily’s trail into this fantastic and frightening alternate world. Along the way she enlists the help of a benevolent, blues-singing swamp monster called Bayou. Together, Lee and Bayou trek across a hauntingly familiar Southern Neverland, confronting creatures both benign and malevolent, in an effort to rescue Lily and save Lee’s father from being lynched.
BAYOU VOL. 1 collects the first four chapters of the critically acclaimed webcomic series by Glyph Award nominee Jeremy Love.
This is an imaginative and evocative book really worth checking out. In fact, it’s easy to do so by reading the web-comic version right here (although if you buy the print version, you won’t have to put up with those lame ‘image loading’ faces).
In the not-too-distant future, when every conceivable flat surface is covered by advertising, men and women begin selling the geography of their bodies to the highest corporate bidders. What they don’t know is that the new tattoos have integrated circuits that track every product they use. It’s no big deal until weddings are forbidden based on corporate conflicts of interest. This biting satire by Clifford Meth (Snaked) will tickle the bejezus out of you.
Here in Los Angeles, there’s been a bit of a furor over digital billboards, which people are claiming distract drivers. You can pretty much guarantee that every local politician has a harsh, no-nonsense stance on digital billboards. Since the general impression is that everyone hates them, it’s sort of like taking a tough stance on punching babies in the face: it’s kind of a no-brainer, and feels a bit opportunistic and insincere. I don’t know if any of this is addressed in Billboards, but it looks like a good romp nevertheless.
From the creator of Earthworm Jim, Creature Tech and Monster Zoo comes the comedic story of Hugh Randolph, a family man down on his luck. He works as a mindless drone at a local printer until he discovers a mysterious video game console that gives him the power to produce endless riches, manipulate his work day, even cheat death.
If you’re like me and have no idea what those first three things are that this guy created, don’t worry about it. The important thing to remember is that Doug Tennapel is very silly and very talented. If you’re interested in laughter, pick this up.
THE COMIC BOOK THAT ENDED THE IRAQ WAR!
Zone, the unwitting pawn of a corrupt recruiter, is a mentally disabled soldier. Felony is a three-time loser who enlisted to avoid life in prison. When the rest of their unit is massacred in Baghdad, these brave American teenagers are democracy’s last hope against the villainy of the notorious terrorist known as The Desert Wolf!
Collects issues SPECIAL FORCES #1-4.
I know, another satire. But Kyle Baker is really good. He’s just an excellent cartoonist, and this has some of his most over-the-top/just-not-right stuff.
There are two sides to every coin, every story, and every person. No matter how hard you try to hide that second face away, you can never get rid of it. That’s what one man is about to learn when his under-developed feminine side materializes into a very real, bubble gum-chewing bimbo and turns his world upside down!
Sam Kieth’s hauntingly intimate five-issue mini-series, My Inner Bimbo, is collected for the first time!
Sam Keith is another massive talent, and pretty under-appreciated. I guarantee you, this isn’t what you expect from a title and cover like that. Sam Keith is weird, trippy and fascinating. It’s probably not for everyone, but everyone should try it to see – it’ll be really worth it if it is.
Question: What happens when you take two global superpowers, dozens of daring pilots, thousands of engineers and scientists, and then point them at the night sky and say “Go!”?
Answer: A SPACE RACE!
The whole world followed the countdown to sending the first men to the moon. T-Minus: The Race to the Moon is the story of the people who made it happen, both in the rockets and behind the scenes.
This is recommended for ages 8-12 and grades 3-7 by Simon & Schuster. I’m pretty terrible at gauging how age-appropriate something is for kids, but this looks good no matter your age.