Posts Tagged "comixologist recommends"
A comiXologist Recommends:
Jen Keith recommends The Odyssey

Nowadays the word “epic” is overused slang — a shadow of it’s former meaning, much like “awesome” and actually being awe-inspired. Today we go back to the original meaning of epic with Gareth Hinds’ The Odyssey.

Homer’s ancient epic poem, The Odyssey, follows the woes of Odysseus trying to return to his homeland, Ithaca, following the Trojan War while his wife faces scores of suitors greedily feasting upon their livestock and Odysseus’ son’s inheritance. Both hindered and helped by the gods of Olympus and various creatures of myth, Odysseus treks through ten years of adventure and hardship in the hope of returning to his family after battling for ten years prior in Troy.

Gareth Hinds’ (garethhinds) abridged comic adaptation, with no promise to be completely historically accurate (though doing a wonderful job by being well-researched and calling upon multiple versions of the source material), builds the tale with strikingly rich visuals and respect for the original. His use of pencil and watercolor builds a great atmosphere, with airy and colorful illustrations balancing image to word. For those unfamiliar with Greek mythology, color-coded gods ease the reader through the complexity of the cast, and for those sticklers to accuracy, Hinds’ writing takes some creative license as he smoothly transitions from his own representation to direct quotes from various translations.

Hinds is no stranger to creating compelling, faithful, and fresh adaptations of classics such as Romeo and JulietKing Lear,and Beowulf. If you’re looking for more comics and myth combinations, check out Bacchus for entertaining twists on Greek mythology, or for a Norse fix, try Gods of Asgard and Siegfried

Whether ensconced in your own journey or taking a breather on the couch, check out The Odyssey to get your awesome epic fix today.

[Pick up The Odyssey here!]

Jen Keith is a Digital Editor at comiXology, comic artist, music addict, and grew up with Greek mythology for bedtime stories so this was right up her alley.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Harris Smith recommends Saga Of Doomed Universe

The intertextual exchange between the “universes” of comic book continuity and the “real world” of comics creators and readers has long been a fertile arena for exploration on the four color page.  From the 40s and 50s work of Will Eisner and EC Comics , which reflected a creative consciousness of the medium often interwoven with the narrative, to more explicitly self-reflexive works like Steve Gerber’s Howard the Duck and Grant Morrison’s Animal Man (and, more recently, The Multiversity) there has long been a fascination with both writers and readers with the liminal space between the eyeball and the page, and the possibility of some link to reality existing within the fantasy.

Scott Reed’s (scottrandalreedSaga of a Doomed Universe, available through comiXology Submit,  is a three part graphic novel that explores this tradition of postmodern reflexivity in a smart, complex and highly entertaining way.  On the surface, Saga of a Doomed Universe is a 1980s-styled superhero saga in the fashion of Crisis on Infinite Earths, yet the point of view is not omniscient, or from the perspective of a superhero, but rather an outsider character  a has-been hero with a decidedly cynical view on his costumed compatriots.  This remove keeps the action from getting too retro or ironic and is aided by the fact that Reed is a really excellent writer, giving his character voice and depth.

Reed’s great writing, clever scenario and era-accurate art (reminiscent of  John Romita Sr. would be enough, but Reed adds another layer with the addition of hyper-textual commentary from Burt Colt, the (fictional) writer of the comic-within-a-comic. Colt’s presence provides an entirely separate narrative from what’s happening on the page, yet suggests a link between the fiction world of the comic and his/our reality.

As issue two begins, Dr. Nihilist has killed all the world’s superheroes, save for the series’ narrator, Roy Brannon, formerly known as Super Sleuth, whose only power is a photographic memory.  Meanwhile, in the outer narrative, the comic’s author, Burt Colt, is gradually revealing the mystery behind the non-forgotten Saga Comics, involving an industrial accident, a government conspiracy and promises of more apocalyptic revelations to come.  Multilayered narrative complexities and Baudrillardian simulation/simulacra dynamics aside, it’s a compelling story, expertly written with tons of mystery and action, welcomed touches of humor and a knowing but unpretentious love of comics that’s sure to engage readers to just about any level they choose to embrace it.

[Pick up Saga of a Doomed Universe here!]

Harris Smith is a Brooklyn-based comics and media professional. In addition to his role as a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology, he edits several comics anthologies, including Jeans and Felony Comics, under the banner of Negative Pleasure Publications. He’s also the host of the weekly radio show Neagtive Pleasure on Newtown Radio.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Mike Isenberg recommends Wayward #1

As frequent anime convention attendees in the late 1990s, my friends and I had a theory that the primary export of Japan was Crazy.  With a mix of its own ancient folklore and a hodgepodge of external cultural and religious influences, the collective Japanese imagination seems to constantly produce work that could never have existed anywhere else, and that often seems wild and bizarre to foreign eyes.

Wayward #1’s protagonist, Rori Lane, has one such pair of foreign eyes.  Half-Japanese by birth, she begins the story traveling to Japan for the first time, moving there as a young adult to live with her mother and get a fresh start after her parents’ rough divorce.  What she experiences on her first night, however, goes well beyond culture shock and jet lag, and deep into the territory of the truly bizarre and supernatural.

Written by Jim Zub (jimzub) and drawn by Steve Cummings, Wayward is a supernatural action/adventure story steeped in Japanese folklore.  Just beneath the shadows of Zub & Cummings’ Tokyo is a world of mythical yōkai, mysterious and mischievous monsters of Japanese legend.

The book’s art is a pleasure to view.  Cummings’ line art is crisp and dynamic, and the colors (supplied by Zub and John Rauch) make each page really pop.  The action sequences are fluid and exciting, and Cummings’ deft hand with facial expressions gives the characters a significant level of depth and relatability.

Wayward #1 also features some great back-matter from Japanese folklore scholar Zack Davisson, including an overview of yōkai mythology throughout Japanese history and a short essay profiling the legendary roots of one of the monsters featured in this issue.  It certainly isn’t required reading if you’d rather just focus on the gorgeous action/adventure comic preceding it, but I found all of it really fascinating and informative.

Definitely recommended for fans of supernatural action/adventure stories like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, or just anyone who wants to see feral, cat-like Japanese girls tearing into legendary turtle demons.  And really, who doesn’t?  If the chief export of Japan really is Crazy, then lock me in the nut house because I love this stuff.

[Read Wayward #1 Here!]

Mike Isenberg is an Associate Production Coordinator at comiXology, and the co-writer of FIRST LAW OF MAD SCIENCE.  He lives in Harlem with his cats, TESLA AND EDISON

A comiXologist Recommends:
Kate Kasenow recommends Bob's Burgers #1

The announcement of any new series comes with a lot of emotions—usually various combinations of trepidation and excitement, but I can tell you from personal experience that the announcement that the hit comedy cartoon, Bob’s Burgers, would be getting a comics adaptation made my day like an infamous Meatsiah burger!

Created by the writers and animators of the cartoon, Bob’s Burgers #1 delights with five brand new short stories about the Belcher family and their non-stop shenanigans. Journey into adventure with the Equestranauts during a glimpse of Tina’s Erotic Friend Fiction! Explore the pun-derful creative process of Bob in Burger of the Day Ideas! A dark and terrible secret awaits in Louise’s UnSolved Mysteries and Curious Curiosities! Relax and unwind with Letters from Linda! Sing along in Gene Belcher Presents!

The world of Bob’s Burgers jumps from screen to page effortlessly and will have you inappropriately snorting with laughter in no time. My personal fave will probably always be Tina’s deadpan delivery, but a close second is Louise’s passionate conviction—which might not always be right, but is most certainly one hell of a ride.

If you’ve been wondering how you’re going to make it through without any new Bob’s Burgers until October, wonder no more!

[Pick up Bob’s Burgers #1 here!]

For fans of: comedy, action, mystery, musicals, and burgers

Kate Kasenow is a comics artist from Indiana currently living in Manhattan. She works at ComiXology as a Lead Digital Editor and spends most of her spare time re-reading J. R. R. Tolkien.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Harris Smith recommends The Fade Out #1

From Criminal to Gotham Central to Fatale, there’s no disputing that Ed Brubaker is one of the modern masters of crime fiction.  The strength of his work derives from a keen synthesis of his influences, particularly 30’s-60’s hardboiled crime novels and film noir, combined with a streak of imaginative originality.  In Gotham Central, for example, he crafted an expertly written Ed McBain-styled police procedural and grafted it into the ongoing continuity of the DC superhero universe.  Fatale began like a Dashiell Hammet-influenced detective story, combined with an element of Lovecraftian  horror, then spun both ideas off in a variety of unexpected directions.  A significant factor in Brubaker’s appeal is that his influences are primarily stylistic, he doesn’t bog the reader down with excessive references or in-jokes, but rather uses his understanding of genre to capture its spirit, in the service of some often highly original storytelling.

In his latest, The Fade Out, from Image, Brubaker recalls the Hollywood-set noir of Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, In a Lonely Place (originally a novel by Dorothy Hughes, later a film by Nicholas Ray, starring Humphrey Bogart) and The Big Knife (originally a Clifford Odets play, later a film by Robert Aldrich), as well as the non-crime desperation of Tinseltown-themed stories like The Day of the Locust (both Nathaniel West’s novel and John Schlesinger’s film, one of my personal all-time favorites) and Kenneth Anger’s salacious non-fiction Hollywood Babylon.  Like these classics, Brubaker casts a cynical eye on the glamor of the movie world and focuses on the corruption and decadence underneath.  Taking place in 1948, The Fade Out focuses on Charlie Parish, a seemingly burnt out screenwriter who awakens from a night of blackout drinking to discover he may or may not be implicated in a murder.  Along the way, Brubaker evokes Pearl Harbor, the Hollywood blacklist and other heady elements that ground the story in historical reality.  Tonally, The Fade Out expertly builds, in just the first issue, from uneasiness to dread to suspense and ends satisfyingly on a low-key cliffhanger that left me anxious to find out what could possibly come next.

If you’re a fan of Brubaker, you already know what kind of magic there is to be found here.  If you’re new to his work, this fresh, smart, exciting new series is a great opportunity to get onboard. 

[Read The Fade Out #1 on comiXology]

Harris Smith is a Brooklyn-based comics and media professional. In addition to his role as a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology, he edits several comics anthologies, including Jeans and Felony Comics, under the banner of Negative Pleasure Publications. He’s also the host of the weekly radio show Neagtive Pleasure on Newtown Radio.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Mike Isenberg recommends Bandette #8

Whimsical and charming, gentlewoman thief Bandette is sure to steal your heart.

Written by Paul Tobin and drawn by his wife Colleen Coover (colleencoover), Bandette is a lighthearted crime tale about a young French girl who also happens to be the world’s greatest thief.

Bandette is cheerful and irreverent, never without a smile on her face and a joke on her tongue, even in the most deadly of circumstances.  This gleeful sense of fun permeates the whole series, and it’s hard not to smile along with Bandette as she “liberates” great works of art from the villains that covet them.

The last few issues have seen Bandette in a friendly competition with rival thief Monsieur, racing to pilfer a list of prized cultural artifacts belonging to criminal mastermind Absinthe.  Absinthe, meanwhile, has enlisted all the resources of his criminal enterprise FINIS to a singular task: kill Bandette.  Issue #8 sees things really start to heat up as Monsieur, Bandette, police inspector Belgique, Absinthe, and the dread assassin Il Tredici all converge on FINIS headquarters at the same time.

Coover has an airy, cartoony style, gorgeously watercolored, that sets the tone of the book perfectly.  Above all else, Bandette (the character as well as the book itself) is determined to have fun, and it’s clear on each page that Coover and Tobin have had a blast as well.

The Eisners nominated Bandette for four awards in 2013; Tobin and Coover ended up taking home the prize for Best Digital Comic.  It was well deserved; this is a wonderful read.  And at just 0.99 per issue, you really have no excuse not to check it out for yourself!

[Read Bandette # 8 Here!]

Mike Isenberg is an Associate Production Coordinator at comiXology, and the co-writer of FIRST LAW OF MAD SCIENCE.  He lives in Harlem with his cats, TESLA AND EDISON

A comiXologist Recommends:
Michael Crowe recommends Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 2

Writer/Artist Ed Piskor (edpiskor) continues his epic journey through musical history with Hip Hop Family Tree Volume 2. Combining his passion for the musical genre with his mastery for creating comics, Piskor takes us on an encyclopedic journey through the growth of a uniquely American art form.

The 1980s were a time of expansion for the genre, across the country and the globe. This volume guides us through the continued rise of early hip hop originators alongside the birth of new acts inspired by these legends. It examines the intermingling between the uptown hip hop scene and thee downtown punk rock scene. It also documents the cultural exchange between New York arts culture and Hip Hop street culture. Piskor does a wonderful job of reminding the reader that this culture is more than the music. Hip Hop is an interdisciplinary art form that combines dance, visual art, musical production and lyrical genius to create an infectious form of modern art that’s craved en masse from Compton to Paris.

Ed Piskor’s art is stunning and his attention to detail is phenomenal. The pages appear to be printed on old textured paper. Each page pops despite the desaturated nature of the colors and the halftones used add even more texture to the pages. The result is a comic that feels straight out of the 80s. This attention to the aesthetic of a time is especially noticeable when flashing forward to the present. He illustrates these panels in a modern, highly saturated style common today. Piskor’s characterizations of classic players in the game are also unforgettable, and will evoke an immediate recognition from even a casual follower of hip hop culture.

For those interested in learning even more Piskor includes a bibliography and a discography to accompany the history he thoughtfully unravels for us. After you’ve finished reading and grooving be sure to pick up Hip Hop Family Tree Volume 1 to learn about the birth of Hip Hop and Wizzywig, Ed Piskor’s debut graphic novel about hacker culture.

[Read Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 2]

Michael Crowe works on the digital assets/launch team by day and writes comics and prose by night. He’s an avid consumer of comics and all things sci-fi.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Jen Keith recommends Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland #1

Walking long-legged beds and menageries of strange creatures, a face in the moon and candy-made kids! Nemo is back and walking the dreamscape, however reluctantly, in Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland #1.

First published in the New York Herald in 1905, Winsor McCay’s celebrated strip Little Nemo in Slumberland is a classic. It’s been adapted into various media including an animated film in 1989 that, I admit, terrified me as a child. The story follows young Nemo’s fantastic adventures when called into Slumberland by King Morpheus. Here too is where we meet Nemo afresh as he’s commanded to become the playmate of Slumberland’s princess. However, it’s not easy to get to the land of dreams when all of your progress is lost upon falling out of bed.

Locke & Key's artist Gabriel Rodriguez’s (gr-comicsdetailed architecture and stylization remains faithful to McCay’s art nouveau influences with decorative flourishes and nods to the original jaunty layouts. Meanwhile, writer Eric Shanower is a wonderful fit what with his work on Marvel’s Oz books; he’s no stranger to giving a great voice to kids finding themselves in bizarre new lands. This team works well together in bringing their own touch while keeping that quintessential Nemo look and feel. The story is a whimsical ride with surprises around every corner and as unpredictable as our own dreamtime escapades. Its unfettered pacing flows surreally as it never would in waking hours.

While sure to be a hit for all ages and a great jumping off point for new and old fans alike, if you need more journeys into imagination then try Marvel’s Figment.

Don’t wait for bedtime to explore dreamland when you join Nemo on his nightly romps through Slumberland. Happy reading and pleasant dreams!

[Read Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland #1]

Jen Keith is a Digital Editor at comiXology, comic artist, music addict, and could really use a nap herself right about now.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Jonah Chuang recommends Multiversity #1

If you’ve been reading any of DC’s monthly titles over the past few weeks, you’ve likely seen the teasers for this book in the back of your comics. There are captions that say things like read, “I’m Real?”, “I see you! I know what’s coming!”, and “I am not ad copy! DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK! The fate of the Multiverse rests in your hands!” 

It turns out that this meta-awareness is a big theme in this book, and the effect is a more immersive experience. In the opening scene, an unnamed comic book reader sitting in a room full of long boxes dissects a DC comic book while participating in a forum on his tablet (none of us can relate to that, right?). Then his monkey comes to life and he turns into a comic book character and they jump into the comic book! It’s not often that you’ll find a superhero book that discusses superhero books so casually in the midst of a life or death crisis. Morrison then continues to use captions to speak directly to the audience, which is eerie and kind of cool in that it’s like having the author standing next to you and making remarks as you read.

I also really appreciate the diversity of this group. This team does seem to represent a bunch of different people from different walks of life and Morrison does seem to acknowledge that he’s doing it on purpose so maybe he’ll expand on it in the next few issues.

Finally, I absolutely love the inclusion of Captain Carrot, an anthropomorphic superhero rabbit. With the success and popularity of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy’s Rocket Raccoon, it was only a matter of time before DC stepped up and presented a wacky but dangerous furry superhero of their own. All I can say is they made a great choice with Captain Carrot.

[Read Multiversity #1]

Jonah Chuang is a Production Coordinator Assistant at Comixology. He hopes to be Jabba the Hutt for Halloween this year.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Eric Arroyo recommends Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga #1

In 1966, while the Adam West Batman series was becoming a phenomenon, Jiro Kuwata took Batman to Japan in the pages of Shonen King Magazine, depicting a familiar-looking hero through a black-and-white, horror-scifi filter. After highlighting the series in the collection Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan, DC is now releasing weekly chapters from the original Batman manga, and the first two story arcs have recently wrapped up on ComiXology.

Instead of radically changing the Batman mythos for a Japanese audience, Kuwata brings grim but over-the-top villains and a ’60s science action aesthetic to Gotham City. The magic of Kuwata’s Batman stories comes from his marriage of disparate elements. Lord Death Man, the rogue in the opening arc, exemplifies this: he comes out of the shadows with a grizzly visage and power over death itself, but he’s as theatrical as he is creepy. Here, grim and ruthless villains add a texture of horror to ludicrous and delightful action stories. 

These stories tumble through tragic origin stories and chilling nightmares, while hitting absurd set pieces along the way, like a climactic battle atop a giant monument to Batman. With their unique perspective, Kuwata’s Batman stories can use these playful situations to subvert our expectations; while Batman vs Doctor Faceless appears like a traditional villain origin, it goes in farcical directions to pull the reader into a fresh and serious twist.

Kuwata’s Batman is also a testament to the strengths of mid-‘60s manga storytelling. Using efficient line work and paneling, Kuwata clearly depicts impactful action that flows through the page. Occasional spot-color adds an extra expressive element to stories full of rich hatching and pen-line texture.

If you love diving into vintage action manga like Cyborg 009, or you’re taking advantage of Batman’s 75th anniversary to explore other interpretations of the character, like in Batman ’66, pick up Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga. Come for Lord Death Man, stay for the wrecking-ball surfing.

[Read Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga!]

Eric Alexander Arroyo is a Brooklyn-based cartoonist and a Digital Editor at comiXology. He’s probably drawing giant robots and listening to ABBA.