It's always a weird, unexpected sequence of events, isn't it?
Klik Klik Boom #1 (w: Doug Wagner, a: Doug Dabbs)
Publisher: Image Comics
Two Dougs, one really fun book.
In this book we have a manic-pixie dream girl badass, a flighty podcaster trying to be a journalist, a crotchety Vietnam vet, violence, flashy colors, and corporate corruption. While the nature of the corruption, the motivations of the characters, and the overall thrust of the narrative are still pretty foggy, it was a super fun first issue.
Our main protagonist is a quirky young lady who is mute and only capable of communication through gestures and Polaroid photographs she consistently takes. We open to her creeping out a family trying to celebrate a birthday for their child before she walks her way down the street and begins shooting up a business. Cut to Serena, our podcasty protag as she is trying to uncover the mystery of the Polaroid-picture-littering crazy and what the connection this person might have with a company called Minerva World Services. At the behest of her co-hosts, Serena marches into Minerva corporate and demands an interview, thus kicking off a chaotic string of events she never expected, placing her deep in the middle of the corruption she sought to bring to the light.
I absolutely love Wagner's characters. He has an incredible ability to create stories around violent, mentally unwell individuals and yet make them so endearing and sweet. Considering his last few books have all been about serial killers, this protagonist is a significant step down in the violence, though not without her quirks. This character feels very Hit Girl meets Ramona Flowers. I had a lot of fun this one and just found the whole thing weirdly adorable.
XINO #1 (w/a: Various)
Publisher: Oni Press
Xino is an anthology title that focuses mainly on technology and how it interacts with human life. This first issue is made of 4 stories.
The Oddly Pedestrian Life of Christopher Chaos #1 (w: Tate Brombal, a: Isaac Goodhart)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
I should start by pointing out that James Tynion IV's name is attached to this as "based on an idea by" and I just honestly don't know what that means. It's got real strong "wrote something on a cocktail napkin" vibes.
Anyhoo, this book is incredible. If you're a fan of Umbrella Academy or Runaways or other indie books in the "teens surviving a crazy world" genre, then this is not one to miss.
Christopher Chaos is an average teen. Goes to school, has a crush on the cute boy from drama club, approaches each day just trying to fit in, is constantly haunted by his ability to see the equations and mathematic structure of the world allowing him the ability to construct and alter things around him. Y'know, totally normal.
While Christopher's abilities are fairly vague, they've resulted in him having a rough go of the world. He wants nothing more than to fit in. However, his isolation from the world comes to an abrupt end when he discovers that not only is the world full of strange beings like himself, but it's also way more dangerous than he first thought. Christopher must decide if he continues to try and stifle his potential, allowing tragedy after tragedy to befall him, or does he give in to the madness of the world and take control.
Christopher is a great character (with a fantastic name) and is just downright adorable. You yearn to see him connect to his mother or figure out what his true potential is. This coupled with an incredible character design and amazing art from Goodhart, this is a book destined for cult classic status. Run out and get it now!
Void Rivals #1 (w: Robert Kirkman, a: Lorenzo De Felici)
Publisher: Image Comics
Not every story has to be completely original to still be a quality tale. This story, for example, is about as predictable as it comes. Enemies made enemies by the people in power, held apart by imaginary differences and falsified hatred. It's basically Romeo and Juliet without the (immediate) love story. Two interplanetary travelers, rivals of different species and worlds, crash land on the same abandoned rock and have to work together to try to survive. But how do you put aside generations of bias and hatred?
The "twist" at the end is really hardly a twist if you've ever read any heavy-handed allegory about race or "othering." But the fact it's set on a foreign world, with what feels like an elaborate set of cultures and society just vaguely to the left and right of us, gives me a lot of interest in what could go down in this book. Will the whole narrative stay on this planet? Will we go back to their society and start a rebellion? Will it stay this transparent, or will we get some massive nuance in the middle? I dunno, but I'm pretty interested nonetheless.
Tenement #1 (w: Jeff Lemire, a: Andrea Sorrentino)
Publisher: Image Comics
We have done a relatively recent Graphic Novelties episode on another work in the Bone Orchard collection called The Passageway, so it feels only appropriate to give a shoutout to the next comic title in the line. Visually beautiful, narratively vague, and genuinely ominous, this title follows 7 tenants in an apartment building that feels strangely isolated. The cast of characters range from kindly old men, to suspicious drug runners, to a scared young boy who saw something he simply can't explain.
There's definitely something creepy going on in and around this building, but as of the first issue, it's clear we won't know what that creepy thing is for quite some time. Is it demons? Is it other dimensions? Is it just a plague of mental instability that is going to overpower everyone in this building? Lemire & Sorrentino, as always, do an exceptional job setting up the tone to make you constantly uncomfortable from the very first page.
Wild's End #1 (w: Dan Abnett, a: I.N.J. Culbard)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
This book was an absolute joy. We open up in an anthropomorphized-animal-occupied city, clearly somewhere along the English shore, sometime in what feels like the early 20th century. The town is small enough where everyone knows everyone else's business, and the biggest news story of the day revolves around new street lights being added by the harbor.
It's quaint and charming and you instantly fall in love with the crew of The Merry, including Roddy, a rough-and-tumble badger who's mended ways and wants to make something of himself, and Flo, a widowed pit-bull who's stayed on the ship even after the war was over. As they realize the fish are slow-going, they notice something else - the radio isn't quite right, and the emptiness of the sea feels a little too empty.
I'm completely drawn in to the story, the characters, the mystery. It's kind of like the title "Stray Dogs," where the art is sort of cute and cartoony, but the content seems like it's going to take a turn for the gory and dark. I can't wait to see what happens next, and fingers crossed all crew members stay careful as things get dicey.
The Traveler's Guide to Flogoria #1 (w/a: Sam Moore)
Publisher: Scout Comics
When I was young, I moved around a lot, which resulted in me spending time in different schools across the country. At three different times in my academic career, I re-wrote and repurposed the same book report on the same book. That book was Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and that's because the book was so good I could make it relevant to every class, every time. What am I rambling on about? Well, this title scratched an itch I didn't realize I still had.
Our lead, Harry Blandford, is an overly-anxious fellow who works as a reporter, trying to hide behind his desk as much as possible to prevent himself from actually having to do anything. What happens next is a series of unfortunate (or fortunate, depending on the next issue) events that lead to him getting eaten by a giant alien fish and forced through a surprising worm hole into another dimension sort of similar to our own but just-not-quite.
Every character, every every situation, every narrative push feels like it could have been written by Douglas Adams as an extension of his existing Hitchhiker's universe, and I'm honestly impressed as the way this sucked me in from the first couple pages. The characters are weird and relatable, the story is strange and exciting, and just like the Adamsverse, it gives you that same "anything could happen, even in the real world" type feeling in your chest. The world we live in is strange; it's really nice when people lean into that.
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.
Ah, to be a squirrel named Taco...
This release from Oni Press is a children's book, but it's adorable, hilarious, and it's creative use of breaking the fourth wall is heckin' impressive. Come on a journey with us with Taco the Squirrel, who really loves tacos (don't we all?).
Blaskowicz would be proud...
Weekly Pull Highlights: October 6, 2021
You can guarantee that if there's a book that takes place in WWII with Nazi's getting eaten by occult demons, we're gonna talk about it. That's how you KNOW it's a good week for comics. Oh, and there were a few other great ones, too.
Horror tropes and some not-so-tropey horror.
Weekly Pull Highlights: May 27, 2020
It's beginning to look a lot like new comics in here! From new beginnings, to quality endings, we've got everything from Star Wars, to alien planets, to potential reboots galore. Things are finally starting to feel a little more business as usual, but we still hope you're safe and sound. Join us for more, NEW, Cover B!
We're a community, and we'll stand strong.
The comic industry is going to be a weird, scary and unstable place for the foreseeable time-being thanks to COVID-19. Diamond Comic Distributors, the primary distribution source for comics, has had to stop sending new books to retailers, so no new comics are hitting stores any time soon. For that reason, we wanted to share 5 ways you can help the industry - both your local store and the smaller publishing companies - during this time of great turmoil and uncertainty. We'll get through it together, fam.
If you need a good cry, Lex, no one's going to mind.
Honorable Mention Highlights: March 4, 2020
Strange Academy #1
I was expecting just another cutesy YA read, but Skottie Young knows how to put the strange in Strange Academy. Between the perfect depiction of adolescent teen male Asgardians and Dr. Strange's ridiculous pep talk, I'm feeling pretty good about this read.
Superman: Villians #1
Can every book have a section where Lex Luthor goes full 'Office Space' on a business appliance after being ridiculed, harassed and laughed at repeatedly? Because.. I really enjoyed that.
King of Nowhere #1
This book is off to a really fun start, even if it's absolutely bizarre and feels more like a fever dream than a comic. Tyler Jenkins' art is stellar and does an excellent job blurring the line between reality and a bad hallucination. It's a weird trip without the bad side effects - I'm here for it.
I'm a sucker for a good fantasy book, and this one has left me with a TON of questions. Where'd they come from? Why did they go? (Where did they come from, Cotton Eye'd Joe) What the Sam Heck is going on with this lore? They did an awesome job of laying out the plot without really telling you anything, so I look forward to #2.
The highlight of this book for me was an actual REALISTIC depiction and conversation of the relationship between Peter & MJ. Heaven forbid, superheroes have to think about finances and rent and how much they spend on web fluid (talk about great responsibility...). They really are just like us!
Man-Eaters: Tomorrow Belongs to You #1
It's less of a comic, and more of an avant garde art piece mocking misogyny. Beautifully laid it, it points to not only how awful Estro- treated women, but how utterly ridiculous the reparations are. A fitting window into some of the ridiculous stuff we put up with every day as ladies. ( - Tee)
Sit down Sherlock, it's not your turn this time!
Weekly Pull Highlights: February 5, 2020
This week was all about characters showing their (not-so-nice) true colors, from the devilish deal-maker in Backtrack, to the chaotic-evil Loki from After Realm, to Reed Richards being a total butthead (color me unsurprised). But hey, at least it's the weekend, right?
Sofia would like to cast magic missile.
Weekly Pull Highlights: September 18, 2019
(Pssst... spoilers for House of X from 4:55 to 17:05!)
What would it be like to play Dungeons and Dragons with Sofía Vergara? Why don't we have a wrestler named Apex Flex? Why was Superman just a 15 issue advertisement for the Legion of Super-Heroes? Why does Tee have such a hard time processing space lycanthropy? We ask these questions and more in this week's episode!
Our spoiler-free Captain Marvel movie review!
Weekly Pull Highlights: March 6, 2019
My Goodness, there sure is a lot of comics and news topics to discuss this week. Good thing we laid out our time properly to give each item the appropriate amount of discussion time.
Rushed, overly-complicated schedule aside, we cap off this episode with our review of Captain Marvel COMPLETELY SPOILER FREE!
Cover B Podcast
Chris & Tee host this weekly comic-focused show, providing insight on new comics, entertainment news and more.