Another one bites the dust... sigh.
This episode is both necessary and super sad. You may have heard that the Prime Video adaptation of Paper Girls has already been cancelled after just one season. While it may not have been the best new show to drop this year, it was a solid rendering of the story and a lack of renewal is a huge loss of potential. Just another hit to comic-based TV... sigh.
Any excuse to get into spooky season!
Creepshow #1 (w: Chris Burnham, Paul Dini & Stephen Langford, a: Chris Burnham & John McCrea)
Publisher: Image Comics
I love me some good B-Horror. This book is honestly nothing revolutionary and that's mostly what I dig about it. Creepshow is like coming home. It's that cozy, warm fireplace with a snuggly blanket in the middle of a dilapidated house wherein all your friends and loved ones were just devoured by a monster of their own design.
The book consists of two stories from different teams. First up is Chris Burnham doing the words and pictures of a story titled "Take One," wherein three douchey teens come across a bowl overflowing with full-sized candy bars on Halloween night. However, the bowl comes with ominous orders from the unknown in the form of a cardboard sign that reads "Take One." The boys of course do NOT and what follows is a predictable and silly traipse through gore and mayhem. It is seen coming from a mile away, but not all good things have to be surprising. If you're waiting for a bus, would you rather have it arrive exactly when expected or do you want it to surprise you. Like I said, b-horror is comfort horror. It's the full-sized candy bar after a long day of trick-or-treating a getting nothing but raisins and those unbranded strawberry candies. It wasn't a super creative story, but I didn't necessarily hate the shock value of it.
The second story was certainly more creative and definitely went more for the silly. In this story by Paul Dini and Stephen Langford, title "Shingo," we see a mother at her wits end trying to find a performer for her daughter's birthday party after her ex-husband dropped the ball. Her prayers are answered as she receives a mysterious card from a performer named Shingo, a large costumed character with a huge gaping maw. Shingo arrives and plays and laughs and sings and starts devouring things and sings some more and where did Joey go? and dances some more and has anyone seen my sister? This story has a lot going for it in a short time. It is self-aware, genre-aware and very tongue-in-cheek. It takes a look at the nature of the "oblivious character" trope in horror, wherein terrible things are happening to one or a few characters and other closely connected characters seem just absolutely unaware of any danger or supernatural happenings at all. This trope often happens in kid-focused horror, in which the parents and adults are the oblivious ones. Think all the parents in Stranger things minus Hopper and Joyce. This short tale analyzes just how silly that trope has to be as the kids are fully sold on the danger basically from the jump and all the adults just faffing about, waist deep in their own drama and a few glasses of wine. This one gave me strong Pooka vibes for obvious reasons but had it's own thing going, and I respect it.
Eternus #1 (w: Anastazja Davis & Don Handfield, a: Karl Moline)
Publisher: Scout Comics
This book is "Created by Andy Serkis and Andrew Levitas," but I can't help but notice they don't have a writing credit, so what does created by even mean? Anyway, here we have another comic pushed thanks to connection to a celebrity, which is becoming quite a common things these days, to varying degrees of success. This one, however, is an absolute hit. It is just all around a really, really cool book. I'm guessing it exists because a movie will eventually, which is the reason for most of these celeb tied books. I'm down with that.
Eternus is a mythological tale that takes place during the rise of Christianity. In this world, the myths and gods of ancient Greece are very much real and are struggling to find their place in the new world as the Christian God assumes control over more and more of the modern world. In the wake of Zeus's death, the gods struggle to find what power they can as all their energy and life force comes from belief. When both Hera and Athena's temples are sacked by a rogue centurion, it is up to Heracles and the help of a blind child to find the man who may have murdered the father of the gods. Also, Dionysus gets people wasted and meets Caesar. It's a crazy good read and definitely a file add.
Crashing #1 (w: Matthew Klein, a: Morgan Beem)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
This book has a lot happening and every time I thought I understood where the thrust was, it took another twisty turn. I loved it.
Crashing follows Dr. Allison Osler, a doctor a Mass General Hospital who loves some caffeine and has a history of struggling with addiction. We follow her as she takes control of an ER suffering from the fallout of a super-powered conflict at a government building. Allison kicks ass, saves some lives, gets chewed out by her boss and gets offered drugs from a coworker, all before going home to be "on call." What we soon learn is that "on call" may not be what it seems, and Allison's history comes back to haunt her and challenges her very morals. On the surface, this is an interesting take on the hospital drama genre set in the backdrop of a superhero universe. Dig a little deeper, and we instead have a very clever piece on the nature of addiction, the nature of good and evil, and an analysis of what it means to save a life at any cost. It's a fresh super story you don't want to miss.
What a good widdle slaughtering pupper!
Love Everlasting #1 (w: Tom King, a: Elsa Charretier)
Publisher: Image Comics
Love is a many splendored time loop...
This is a dream team of comics creators. Words by Tom King, art from Elsa Charretier, colors from Matt Hollingsworth and letters by Clayton Cowles. This comic is like that sundae that you make for yourself at home so it has exactly all your favorite ingredients and exactly the right proportions. It's a masterclass in comic creation, tbh, from top to bottom dripping with an understanding of the medium that only comes from a super group of creators. To be fair, I could be a bit biased since I've been in love with Elsa Charretier's work for years (Infinite Loop is still in my top 5 books of all time). That said, this book knocked my socks off.
I think what I liked most about it is the choice to keep the pace incredibly slow. This book is mysterious and slow feeds the greater plot at foot. In the beginning we are presented with a basic romance comic to the tune of books from the 50's & 60's with titles like "Modern Love" or "Teen-Age Romance" or "Betty and Veronica Do Dallas." Joan is our femme principale, and we experience her blossoming romance with her boss George. Then marry and the story ends. We then move on to tale of tail (heh) number 2, wherein we find main character Joan (huh?) as she falls in love with a musician named Kit. Finally, we are yee-hawed our way back to the wild, wild west where Joan (hm...) is being courted by both the sheriff's son and the new ranch hand her father hired, and it's up to Joan to decide which one get-alongs her lil' doggies. Joan, Joan, and more Joan. Different tales, different loves, all Joan. What force has pulled her into this time twister? Who is it that seems to have trapped her here? Why does the Clay Mann cover make my nose bleed so much? This and many, many more questions leave the reader head over heals by the time they reach the back cover.
This is an incredibly genre aware, super charming, and painfully well-constructed book that could only be created from the minds, hands and hearts of true masters of the medium. I love this book now, I love it in the 60s, and I'm sure I'll love it whenever I'm a cowboy. I hope you do, too.
Samurai Doggy #1 (w: Chris Tex, a: Santtos)
Publisher: Aftershock Comics
much ronin. so vengeance. wow.
Winning the award for best use of [what to me looks like] a shiba since memes and crypto, Samurai Doggy is definitely trying to dine on some turtle soup. In the sense of earning the respect of the TMNT and sharing a nice bowl of soup at their house, maybe also some finger foods. It will be a nice evening, y'know, maybe they'll invite Usagi Yojimbo. Not in the sense of him eating the turtles. We don't promote creator beefs here.
I say this because too often "anthro animal becomes a warrior of vengeance" stories just kind of bore me and feel too TMNT inspired or adjacent to really grab my attention. This one, however, felt fresh. I like the world and the characters being constructed here. While I am jealous that he has a much more rootin' tottin' name than mine, Chris Tex does an absolutely amazing job creating a solidly paced ronin story in with a decent enough hook to keep me wanting more. Mixed with Santos's somehow simultaneously bright and gritty art, it's a refreshing take on both the cyberpunk and revenge stories that seem all too popular these days and dreadfully nocturnal. Is it too much to ask for my broody swordplay to happen during the magic hour?
Is it necessarily the MOST unique story out there? No, and that's a fair criticism. Revenge stories, especially those taking place in some sort of cyber/industrial collapsing society are fairly common on the shelves these days. I honestly don't know how to explain it, but I just find myself really drawn to this one. The character seems much more approachable than the ultra-walled off broodsters we often get. They take the time to chow down on a steamed bun, go out of their way to help a kid ride a Ferris Wheel (granted, in exchange for info, but still) and are also a cute one-eyed puppy floofster. It's cool action, a fun if familiar story, and some wicked neat art all in a T H I C C first issue. It just works for me.
Honorable Mention Highlights: July 2022
There's Something Wrong with Patrick Todd #1
A kid down on his luck using his supernatural mind control powers to pay for his mom's medical care. Also, there's mysterious men in masks, a noble detective trying to fit together a mystery, and a guy named Zeus beheading people. It's the Neo-Noir "Life is Strange" you never knew you needed.
Above Snakes #1
A by the books Western revenger story with a teensy bit of added supernatural flavor. Following the saga of a wringed man out for revenge with his talking, blood-drinking vulture, this book doesn't bog itself down with trying to be unique in a familiar genre but instead tells the story it wants to tell while letting the reader fill in the necessary beats. It's not necessarily groundbreaking, but that's where it finds its charm.
She Bites #1
A little girl needs a babysitter. Well, mainly she needs someone who can help her buy cigarettes. Because she's 134 years old.... and a vampire. It's a silly, fun premise with two interesting characters both with plenty of room for some heavy discussions. I think if Hale really takes their time, they can make sure this series DEFINITELY doesn't bite.
Brother of All Men #1
Strong Wicker Man vibes set in 1920s Canada. A Private Eye named Guy is looking for a missing woman, utilizing a reference photo to ask for her whereabouts. Also featured in the photo, Guy's brother Bastien. Problem is, Bastien has been dead for years. The mysteries get even more stacked up when Guy discovers both his brother and the missing woman are tied to a cult run by an enigmatic man named Brother XII.
Dark Spaces: Wildfire #1
A heist set during a chaotic California wildfire. Granted, this may hit too close to home for some people, but the slow-drip character development and the general "tear down the rich" theme of this book has me hooked. Sherman has a CRAZY way of laying out the panels too, which i absolutely dig and totally fits the tone if trying to keep all the chaos of a wildfire in line.
Flavor Girls #1
There are some concepts that tickle that delightful nostalgia bone and this title is absolutely one of them. A Sailor Moon-esque story where aliens invade and four girls are turned into sceptor-wielding fruit-themed superheros is basically the best sounding plot I could never have come up with. It's adorable and fun - just go get it.
Is it a cult? Is it a society from another dimension? Is it aliens? Is it time travelers? None of those questions are answered in the first issue of Blink, but watching our main protag try to figure out where she comes from and why she can remember something that never should have been, I definitely want to find out.
What you may have missed in June!
Honorable Mention Highlights: June 2022
The Closet #1
What happens when the monster in your closet is more than just a scary story kids tell on the playground? What happens when your emotional trauma from family infighting starts to manifest? I don't know, but I'm pretty sure Tynion is about to tell us.
Skybound presents Afterschool #1
Haven't we all wished at some point that our pets could talk? It'd make it a lot easier when they're barking at you and you have no idea why. But if I have to also accept murderous behaviors from my pets, I think I'll just stick with the whining, thanks.
The Lonesome Hunters #1
There's lots of IPs that revolve around monster hunters, but more often than not they're buff, powerful, and in charge of their destiny. This is... not that. Two hunters, neither one exactly willing, both just trying to make sure they don't die. I'm into it.
Beware the Eye of Oden #1
The vibe of this book is sort of all over the place, but that makes it kind of endearing - almost something like an anime where the mood entirely hinges on which character is on screen. A Viking prince has to return the Eye of Odin, and goes on an adventure with a couple merry warriors. It's a little gory and a little silly, but seems like it could be a lot of fun.
Can you mind control someone into being un-mind controlled?
Weekly Pull Highlights: June 29, 2022
We're about to go on summer break for a month, but we're wrapping up this season of standard episode with three fantastic books, including a flamboyant noir, an attack on the MCU, and a venture capitalist getting offed with a fire extinguisher. What a week to go out on!
Didn't expect THAT from the top rope...
Weekly Pull Highlights: June 15, 2022
We're working so hard to get back to a normal schedule, but as you can tell from Tee's voice, it's been easier said than done. But this week has a couple excellent new books, both with constant surprises around every page turn. Boom - necromancy out of nowhere! This is why we love comics.
What you may have missed in May!
Honorable Mention Highlights: May 2022
Jess is a grim reaper. She has no idea why she is dead, but she is and she has a job to do. On a routine soul grab, her scythe is stolen. At some point there is a skull face, a lot of rage and a mention of the veil between the two worlds of life and death. With a familiar premise, a fun cast of characters and plenty of action, this book is absolutely one to die for (sorry).
Eight Billion Genies #1
This is possibly one of the most chaotic premises I've ever heard of and it definitely delivers. In an instant, every person on earth is given their own genie with one wish. Thinking fast, the owner of a local bar wishes that his bar and everyone within it are protected by wishes made outside. What follows is a series of surprisingly personal tales backdropped on the chaos happening in the world, which is now cube-shaped because somebody wished for that, I guess?
I Hate This Place #1
Is it aliens? Is it ghosts? Is it demons? Is it... all of the above? Honestly, we have no idea what we're dealing with in this book, aside from a couple trying to flip a house they inherited. Spoiler - I don't think they're going to sell successfully, even in this market.
Banning mythical creatures would NOT surprise us... sigh...
Weekly Pull Highlights: May 4, 2022
Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day, but we can't even think about that right now with the huge load of excellent titles that already dropped this week! You've got some great reading ahead of you, folks!
Sometimes, art can make you uncomfortable, and that's okay.
Weekly Pull Highlights: April 27, 2022
At this point, there have now been so many bad vampire books that the only ones left to make are good ones. At least, that's the theory we're going with.
Cover B Podcast
Chris & Tee host this weekly comic-focused show, providing insight on new comics, entertainment news and more.