Kept you waiting, huh?
Okay so we've been silent for quite a while. Turns out moving to an entirely new state is a difficult, demanding process. However, we are now officially moved and slowly becoming settled, so it's time to get back into regular content drops for the homies. Without further ado, here are some of the best comics that have come out in the month or so since we last posted.
Deep Cuts #1 (w: Joe Clark, Kyle Higgins; a: Danilo Beyruth)
Publisher: Image Comics
Deep Cuts is a six-part anthology of stories spanning the length of America's musical history and the rise and evolution of Jazz. In the first entry, titled "What it Means," we follow a young clarinetist named Charles in 1917 New Orleans. Charles has aspirations to play with his musical idol, Jack Cartier. Once he finally gets noticed by Jack, Charles soon finds himself caught between two paths. On one, through the teachings of Jack, he can sacrifice all his principals and obsess over money, lavish social gatherings and achieving the perfect set. However, another path presents itself, wherein Charles learns that music is about what it brings to the people. It's about the heart that goes into it and performing whether there is monetary gain or not.
This is a slice of life with a lot of growth, and Charles is a wonderfully sweet character. It's not horribly shocking what befalls him in his relationship with the slick Jack Cartier, but I honestly think that makes the story and the resolution all more effective. This young man is driven by hope and optimism, despite the warnings of those around him, and the audience falls in line with those naysayers telling him to be careful around Jack. We know characters like this, and we anticipate the drop of the other shoe at every page turn. And yet, when the shoe does drop, Charles remains bright and hopeful. He holds to his principals and becomes stronger for them. It's a beautiful story, beautifully presented by Beyruth's art. Definitely going to be a fun anthology for music lovers and those just looking for a swinging good time.
W0RLDTR33 #1 (w: James Tynion IV, a: Fernando Blanco)
Publisher: Image Comics
I honestly don't feel like I need to say much about W0RLDTR33 since Tynion and the comics world at large have been saying so much about it. It is worth all the hype. I am a bought and sold Tynion fan, but even beyond that bias, this is a cool book. Techno-horror, creepy naked alt ladies, murder sprees. Good times.
The Great British Bump Off #1 (w: John Allison, a: Max Sarin)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
I absolutely ADORE this book. It's incredibly witty, wonderfully cute and a compelling concept all wrapped into a delicious Tiramisu.
Our quirky and energetic hero is Shauna, one of twelve bakers participating in the Great British Bake Off The UK Bakery Tent, a baking competition with high stakes and even higher caloric intakes. As the initial excitement fades, tensions arise in the test kitchen when one baker, Neal, tries to use every oven in the kitchen for his practice recipes. Shauna and her friends, Jill and Sunil, convince everyone to leave Neal to finish while they all go to get dinner, effectively saving Neal from a full on beat down from three or four of his fellow contestants. Upon returning, Shauna finds Neal face first in a bowl of batter. He has been poisoned! Gasp!
In order to keep the show from being pulled from air, Shauna somehow convinces the producers to let her try and solve the case. Can she effectively sniff out a heartless murderer while also trying to keep herself from being eliminated? She sure hopes so!
This book is absolutely adorable and Shauna is without a doubt my newest comic book crush. She is such a fun main character follow through this incredibly wacky world. Sarin's art brings the whole thing together we wonderful energy and an animated feel. Incredible book. Definitely one to keep up with. Bon appetit!
Parting Ways #1 (w: Alex Scherkenbach, a: Gustavo Novaes)
Publisher: Scout Comics
A romance comic. No alternate dimensions. No ghosts. No people in spandex. Just a good ol' fashioned romantic drama. It's incredibly refreshing.
The premise is admittedly a bit like a Lifetime movie for me. I don't know why every dude in Romance media has to be in the military, but here we are. Gabbee is a Brazilian emigrant studying digital media, Brandon is an Army medic hoping to one day become a doctor. The two meet at the coffee shop where Gabee works and thus begins their romantic entanglement. However, things come to a head when after dating for some time Brandon finally reveals that he is shipping out to boot camp soon. Can these two lovebirds maintain their spark as their dreams and plans for their future clash?
The story is told in a fascinating way that is reminiscent of a book I read a LONG time ago called "Cry Havoc" from Image Comics and Si Spurrier. Basically, different moments in time are draped in different colors. This book opens in red, showing Gabee fretting over being ghosted by Brandon as someone is in a car outside her house (possibly Brandon, but unclear). Next we see the world cast in blue as Brandon, now a uniformed soldier, meets Gabee by a fountain to discuss his leaving and the status of their relationship. As they ask how they got to this point, the world is now thrown into yellow as we see their relationship start and blossom. Do these different colors represent moments in time, or does the title give away the surprise in that maybe all these different colors are moments where choices could have gone differently. Time will tell.
This is a Scout Nonstop imprint, so the whole story should be available in graphic novel form soon.
Exorcists Never Die #! (w: Steve Orlando, a: Sebastian Piriz)
Publisher: Mad Cave Studios
This book would make a pretty sick anime. It's like Naruto by way of the Knights Templar.
A pair of exorcists, which in this case are skilled martial artists who punch the crap out of demons and occassionally summon the power of biblically accurate angels to aid them, enter into a structure to stop a massive soul auction. They have to fight their way down to the very bottom, encountering the domains of all seven sins along the way, the first being Sloth. Also, they have some baggage from previously being in a relationship that went south. Never date your coworkers, kids.
This is a cool book even if it is a bit too rapidly paced, sacrificing character development for action. I also personally find the common narrative thread of "our male and female lead have romantic history and that is where we'll get our tension from" to be lazy writing. Especially when dealing with demons and the embodiment of sins, it would be more interesting in my opinion to have their personal conflicts be entirely separate from one another. A good example of this is Garth Ennis's "A Walk Through Hell" (which I cannot truly recommend enough, that series was amazing). It's fine to let them have history together, but an entire story arch of them trudging up relationship drama is just cheap and tedious. Still, concept for the action elements is cool, and Piriz does a great job giving a fun spin to what the angels look like.
Neat book, could be better, maybe further issues will develop more compelling tensions.
Hairball #1 (w: Matt Kindt, a: Tyler Jenkins)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
This book is an exercise in what happens when you let a child of divorce deep dive into their trauma and try to see how it could have been worse. In this case, a girl retells the tale of her adoption by a couple with a lot of marital issues, and her relationship to her beloved cat, Bestie, who was brought in on the same day. There are all sorts of issues in this family: the wife is potentially an alcoholic, the father resents the daughter and her financial burden on the family, the mother is having an implied affair with the child's therapist, the father has definite anger issues... it's not a great environment for, well, anyone, really. But what's making it all the worse is Bestie seems to have more going on than meets the eye... like acid spit? Poisonous hair balls? Demon eyes? Bestie, we love you, but what ARE you?
Being told from the apparent grown-up perspective of our main character, looking back on the devastating chaos of her youth, we get a very honest and more mature view of how this family completely fell apart. Hindsight is 20/20, and all that. The pacing is solid, the characters feel very real, and Bestie inserts just enough paranormal strangeness to keep this from being too heavy but still very intriguing. Definitely one to pick up if you can!
Cover B Podcast
Chris & Tee host this weekly comic-focused show, providing insight on new comics, entertainment news and more.