Posts Tagged "staff picks"
A comiXologist Recommends:
Mike Isenberg recommends Monster & Madman 

Jack the Ripper was in the headlines again last week, with claims surfacing of new DNA evidence pinning the 1888 London murder spree on Polish barber Aaron Kosminski.  Writer Steve Niles (arcaneimages) and artist Damien Worm, however, have another theory.

Monster & Madman tells the tale of Frankenstein’s monster, following the events of Mary Shelley’s classic novel.  Rather than burn himself to death on Victor Frankenstein’s funeral pyre, as he told the novel’s narrator he would, the monster decides to continue his life—as wretched as it is—and finds passage from the Arctic on a ship bound for Norway.

The monster eventually makes his way to London in 1888, just as a string of grisly murders is beginning to terrify the populace.  There he strikes a deal with mortician John Moore; if the monster allows Moore to examine him and discover the secrets of Victor Frankenstein’s work, Moore will grant the monster what Victor denied him: the creation of a companion to ease his loneliness.

Of course, Moore has his own secrets and motives, and his source for female body parts may not be the generous local hospital as he claims.

Steve Niles’ writing is in turns eerie and melancholy, matching Shelley’s original text in terms of both writing style as well as his characterization of the monster.

What makes Monster & Madman really shine, however, is definitely Damien Worm’s gorgeously grotesque artwork.  Worm’s moody collages of ink, paint, and newspaper clippings set a perfect tone for this creepy tale, and work wonderfully in letting the viewer see the world through the monster’s borrowed, reanimated eyes.

For fans of the Shelley’s classic novel, or of dark and moody horror in general, Monster & Madman is highly recommended.

[Read Monster & Madman on comiXology]

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

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Harris Smith recommends At the Shore #2

As goofy and loveable as the gang from Scooby-Doo , the central group of misfits in Jim Campbell’s At the Shore #2, from Alternative Comics, finds themselves embroiled in a mystery when their car is stuck on the beach.  Bickering the whole time, they face off against what may or may not be oceanic zombies, which may or may not be the result of the environmental shenanigans of the Midlothian Seaweed Mining Company.  The story unfolds among flashbacks that may or may not be relevant to the story (I’m betting they are) as the characters bicker their way through this ever-evolving adventure.

At the Shore has its own unique sense of style that sets it apart from many of the other zombie comics out there these days.  It’s certainly a horror story in the grand tradition of “teens stranded somewhere” horror stories, but it’s funny too, yet the humor isn’t overly jokey.  Rather, it arises subtly from the relationships between the characters and their dialogue.  Campbell seems to be referencing young adult mysteries, a la Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and the aforementioned Scooby-Doo, yet he’s not afraid to throw in a good zombie head-squashing, suggesting the possibility that things could take a significantly darker turn as the story progresses.  It’s appropriate his art somewhat recalls that of Richard Sala, who operates in a similar arena of humor and horror.  There’s a hint of Bryan Lee O’Malley in there too, as I think fans of Scott Pilgrim and Lost at Sea would feel at home in the world of At the Shore.

The resulting mesh of conflicting tones and genre bending is delightfully unpredictable and off-kilter, and makes me a really fun read.  Without being overly saccharine or excessively twee, At the Shore is, without a doubt, the most charming zombie comic on the market today.  It’s rewarding read for those of us who enjoy low-key humor and oddball horror.

[Read At the Shore #2 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.

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Kate Kasenow recommends Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Witches

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller has a deep and rich history which has only been enhanced by the current incarnations published by BOOM! Archaia. This newest addition to the series is an attempt at a more focused collection of material, one that exceeds all expectations the audience may have. When one hears a title like ‘Witches,’ certain imagery comes to mind—usually of the Halloweenish variety—but the first issue of The Storyteller: Witches, this cliché is laid to rest deftly by the gorgeous illustrations and fantastic tale spun by S. M. Vidaurri (smvidaurri).

The story includes familiar elements of old stories as well as new and shining details to entice the reader throughout. What truly stands out, however, are Vidaurri’s unique watercolor paintings that portray his story perfectly. Every inch of the image is well-crafted and delivered especially the lettering, which brings to mind ancient illuminated texts. Together, the words and images tell a tale of loss and the strength that can be forged by it. There are enchanted forests, royalty, magical creatures, quests, and a witch of course! Will the princess be able to save the day or will she be outwitted by the mysterious Lord of the Forest?

There’s so much to love about this first issue, I can hardly wait to see what they come up with for the next!

[Read Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches #1 here!]    

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.

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Michael Crowe recommends Oddly Normal #1

Oddly Normal #1, written and illustrated by otisframpton, is a delightful tale for all ages. This inaugural issue introduces us to a young girl named Oddly. The daughter of a witch and a mortal, life is not easy for this half-ling. Torn between two worlds, Oddly struggles to fit in, both at school and at home.

Otis Frampton’s writing is simple and approachable for young readers. Drawing from his own life experiences while growing up, the book manages to capture the angst many juveniles feel as they come into their own. Often times it can feel as if no one understands you - not even members of your own family. The script channels this awkward time in a child’s life with equal parts heart and wit. Frampton likes to reference works that have come before his, in subtle ways, drawing on the shared mythology of the supernatural creatures he plans to explore. Future issues promise to delve deep into the mystical world he’s only yet hinted at.

Frampton’s care and eye for detail extend to his vibrant illustrations. Each panel bursts with little things that flesh out the world or hint at stories still untold. The character designs are unique, well defined, and approachable for young readers. Every page sizzles with rich colors and detailed backgrounds. Even rain soaked scenes seem to buzz with energy.

Like any good young adult story, this one sets out to instill life lessons while dishing out plenty of action and adventure. With Halloween just around the corner, this book is the perfect way to kick off the fall season!

[Read Oddly Normal #1 on comiXology]

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.

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Eric Arroyo recommends Gotham Central #1: Special Edition

It’s the middle of summer in Gotham City, and Detectives Driver and Fields are chasing a final, desperate lead in a kidnapping case. But this last door unexpectedly leads to Mr. Freeze, who promptly murders Fields to send a message to the GCPD. The Major Crimes Unit scrambles to take Freeze down, and Detective Driver resolves to get justice for his partner before night falls and the Batman gets involved.

 In Gotham Central, writers Greg Rucka (ruckawriter) and Ed Brubaker and artist Michael Lark present a new perspective on the Batman mythos, setting a gritty police procedural in the crossfire of the Dark Knight’s crusade. Though this critically-acclaimed 2003 series is not coming back for an encore, DC is rereleasing Gotham Central #1 as a special edition tie-in to the new Gotham TV-series.

The ways Gotham Central intersects with the greater world of Batman help elevate it to a masterful series. Batman exists as whispers and as a constant reminder of police failures, while his rogues range from distractions who get in the way of important police work to frightening forces to be reckoned with. The MCU’s head-to-head encounters with costumed villains are rare and effectively scary, as the detectives must put their wits against deadly superhuman powers.

But Gotham Central would be a great comic even without the looming shadow of the Bat. Cases and personal dramas naturally weave in and out of each other, giving the series an exciting rhythm in which story beats click together where you least expect them. The MCU struggles to deal with regular crime while supervillainy lurks around every corner, and all they have are their loud personalities and richly-developed relationships to pull them through each crisis. The MCU’s greatest strengths are also the story’s: Gotham Central provides a richer ensemble cast than most superhero titles, letting side-characters like Renee Montoya and Capt. Maggie Sawyer shine. Every scene of the MCU coming together suggests real interpersonal relationships and a strong history, putting a soul in standard cop drama scenarios.

If the Gotham TV-series ends up half as good as Gotham Central, it would be a force to be reckoned with. Revisit Gotham Central with 99-cent digital issues all this week!

[Pick up Gotham Central #1: Special Edition here!]

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

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Mike Isenburg recommends Requiem Vampire Knight Vol. 3: Dracula

Vampire Nazis in Hell battling zombie pirate nuns in airship-to-airship combat.  Does that get your attention?

Originally published in English by Heavy Metal magazine, Requiem: Vampire Knight is an insanely imaginative, over-the-top, and gorgeously illustrated fantasy horror series from French artist Olivier Ledroit and British writer Pat Mills.

Mills, sometimes known as “the godfather of British comics,” co-created the hugely influential sci-fi anthology series 2000 AD, and wrote many of the earliest stories for its best-known character, Judge Dredd.  He’s also well known for his ultraviolet superhero satire Marshal Law, drawn by Kevin O’Neil.

Requiem: Vampire Knight continues in Mills’ tradition of grim, violent satire.  In the gothic science-fantasy world that Mills and Ledroit have created, dead sinners are reborn as monsters in a dimension known as “Resurrection,” a dark mirror of Earth where land and seas are reversed and time flows backwards.  The story follows a German soldier named Heinrich who dies on the eastern front of World War II in 1944 and finds himself reborn on Resurrection as a vampire.  Initiated into an order of vampire knights who re-name him Requiem, Heinrich pines for his love Rebecca (a Jewish woman he lost to the Gestapo during the war on Earth) in an attempt to hold onto his humanity as he fights enemies both within and without the order.

The story is, well, kind of nuts… but in the best possible way!  Resurrection is a world full of atrocity and intrigue, and oh man does it look gorgeous. Ledroit’s masterful paintings bring this strange gothic world to life in a way that boggles the mind.  There are pages in this series that you’ll want to hang on your wall.

Fans of that other well-known British “grim-dark” gothic science-fantasy world, Warhammer 40,000, will definitely find a lot in common here to love.  As will anyone who likes a good horror/action story or beautifully painted comics, as long as you’re not too squeamish.

[Pick up Requiem Vampire Knight Vol. 3: Dracula 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:
Harris Smith recommends Stumptown Vol. 3 #1

Greg Rucka (ruckawriter) is, along with his sometimes collaborator Ed Brubaker, one of the modern masters of crime comics.  With Brubaker, he brought out the noir-ish possibilities of the DC Universe in Gotham Central (, and on his own he’s created a definitive take on urban vigilante The Punisher and contributed to the likes of Batman, Daredevil, the Huntress and Black Widow.  In his more personal work, Rucka is responsible for creating one of the most memorable and compelling comic detective characters in recent years, Dex Porois, the private eye heroine of his Stumptown series.

Drawing from the rich literary tradition of such contemporary crime writers as Lawrence Block, Elmore Leonard and Dennis Lehane, Rucka (a crime novelist himself in addition to his comics work) crafts Porois as a highly relatable and sympathetic character.  She’s well intentioned but flawed and occasionally prone to bad decisions.  In an issue of one of the Portland, OR-set Stumptown series, the reader might find her, by turns, working towards solving a heinous crime, caring for her mentally disabled brother and struggling with her gambling addiction.

Porois’ relationship with her brother and their mutual obsession with soccer headline the debut issue of Stumptown Vol. 3, available now on comiXology.  The opener is sport heavy, focusing on character relationships through both an amateur-league soccer game, which Porois plays in with her friends, and a major league game she attends with her brother.  Rucka builds excitement throughout the issue via the tension of the various sports games on display and the rivalries they bring out in their various participants, pinnacling with the revelation of a bloody crime and the start of what will presumably be the central mystery of Stumptown Vol. 3.  It’s an effective start to what promises to be yet another superlative crime saga from one of the genre’s greats.

[Pick up Stumptown Vol. 3 #1 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:
Jen Keith recommends Magneto #9

The Marvel universe approaches its next big event in the “March to AXIS” with the dreaded Red Skull’s crimes against mutantkind in Magneto #9. Cullen Bunn’s (cullenbunn) intense writing and Gabriel Hernandez Walta with art as gritty and brooding as the title character provide a series not to be missed.

Following the aftermath of the Avengers vs. X-Men event, Magneto lost much of his ability as “Master of Magnetism” upon being hit by the Phoenix force possessing Cyclops. With only a shadow of his immense power remaining, Magneto sets out to discover and conquer the widespread injustices plaguing his fellow mutants. This series is a great jumping off point for newcomers, fans of the movie universe’s X-Men: First Class, or seasoned readers looking for a great insight into a fascinating character.

When faced with intolerable cruelty and the blind eye of S.H.I.E.L.D., do the violent ends justify the means? We see much of the story through Magneto’s gray area point of view with near constant inner monologue; the ofttimes villain and enraged hero of his story waxes poetic without illusions as to his own failures. In this issue, Magneto’s self-loathing guides us through intermittent and hauntingly blue-washed flashbacks of his horrific experience in the Holocaust’s concentration camps (see his origin story in the excellent Magneto: Testament that parallel the hideous prison in Genosha of the Red Skull’s making. Red Skull’s horrors know no bounds when he reveals his use for (part of) Magneto’s deceased friend, Professor Charles Xavier.

While there is plenty of action, I really appreciate Magneto’s struggle to overcome his opponents through subterfuge, strategy, and the infamy of his reputation. This combined with the introspection and quiet moments balancing the dark and gruesome tone make this one of my favorite ongoing Marvel series right now, and I couldn’t recommend it more.

[Pick up Magneto #9 here!]

Jen Keith is a Digital Editor at comiXology, comic artist, music addict, and held herself back from a lot of magnet puns while writing this.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Molly Brooks recommends Copperhead #1

In Copperhead #1, Clara Bronson and her son Zeke relocate off-planet to the remote little mining town of Copperhead, so that Clara can to take over as sheriff. It’s hinted that some recent event— a tragedy? a scandal?— forced the two of them out of their previous situation, and that Copperhead is both a major step down and the best they could have expected in the circumstances. From a law enforcement perspective, at least, Copperhead immediately proves itself to be far more interesting than Clara had anticipated or hoped for.

The art and writing are both great, and work really well together to convey the disjointed sense of  being ill-fitting in an unfamiliar place, while making that place feel very real. As Clara attempts to insert herself into her new role, there’s an abrasive awkwardness to every social interaction; no one is ever totally smooth or entirely in the right, and clearly absolutely no one— including Clara herself— wants her to be there. All the characters come across as fully-developed personalities with histories informing their actions, and it makes everyone super fascinating. I already care about what happens to each of them in the next issue.

Clearly the town of Copperhead is hiding many secrets, and I can’t wait to find out what they are. This is a great first issue, and I highly recommend picking it up!

If you’re into sci-fi/western genre mashups, you may also enjoy Six Gun Gorilla and East of West. 

[Pick up Copperhead #1 here!]

Molly Brooks is an artist from nashville currently living in brooklyn. she works at comixology as a digital editor.

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