Posts Tagged "staff picks"
A comiXologist Recommends:
Mike Isenberg recommends I Luv Halloween Vol. 1

Who doesn’t love Halloween?  As a kid it meant roaming around the neighborhood with friends and family, collecting enough free candy to last you to Thanksgiving.  As an adult it means an excuse to screen classic horror movies and throw crazy costume parties. 

The kids in I Luv Halloween—a dark comedy/horror series by Benjamin Roman  and Keith Giffen —however, take their love for trick-or-treating to a particularly insane extreme.  Nothing can stand between them and their sugary haul, and woe be to anything that dares try.  Whether their obstacles take the form of bullies, undead dogs, rampaging cheerleaders, supernatural curses, or old women who—god forbid—hand out apples instead of candy, these kids overcome all challenges with a singleminded and violent determination that borders on (the wrong side of) psychotic.

Right on the front cover of volume 1 is a blurb that serves double-duty as both critical praise and as a warning: “Crass, tasteless, and brilliant.”  Be aware that these trick-or-treaters aren’t your typical fun-loving scamps, up to a bit of harmless Halloween mischief.  Egging your car or toilet-papering your lawn isn’t really their style; instead they’re more likely to disembowel you with your own dentures, bash your head in with a rock, and bury you in a shallow grave just outside of town.

I Luv Halloween is definitely full of tasteless humor.  Some of the gags will make you, well, gag.  But it does have its aspects of brilliance as well.  This is schlocky slapstick horror done right.  Roman’s art is fresh and dynamic, and the coloring for this “Ultimate Twisted Edition” really makes the viscera visceral.

Recommended for fans of Johnny The Homicidal Maniac, Squee, and Lenore, as well as fans of bloody slapstick horror films like Re-Animator or Evil Dead 2, I Luv Halloween Vol. 1 releases today, with volumes 2 and 3 (featuring a zombie uprising and an alien invasion, respectively) slated for the next two weeks, leading up to Halloween.

[Read I Luv Halloween Vol. 1 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 .

A comiXologist Recommends:
Jonah Chuang recommends The Twilight Zone: Lost Tale

I really enjoyed Twilight Zone: Lost Tales! The writing style is very similar to the tone of the show—especially in the narration. It’s hard not to read it in Rod Serling’s iconic voice. Each of the three tales in this issue are just as poignant as ever in their messages about morality.

The first story, “Hangnail On A Monkey’s Paw,” is a statement on the use of torture as interrogation; a controversial topic right now. The characters: Butler, former Vice President who orders the torture and stands by his decision, and Khalid, a former victim, innocent of the crimes he was tortured for. The two face off against each other in a locked room with a mystical item—the Monkey’s Paw, which grants the user three wishes but with disastrous consequences. As Khalid struggles to make Butler understand the ramifications of his actions he must also decide whether or not to use the Paw to revisit the same horrors he experiences on another.

Next: “Cold Calculation,” which is my favorite of the three. A haunting tale that makes profound statements sees a crew of exhausted astronauts fly through space in order to find a replacement for the ruined planet they left behind. On their shoulders: the fate of the human race, but when they come across a suitable candidate, the crew must make a terrible choice.

The final tale, “It’s All in How You Frame It” sees an ambitious tycoon come across a spectacular item that grants him an amazing ability, which he enjoys using to his advantage. But as is often the case with these Twilight Zone tales, he soon learns something he wishes he didn’t know.

Overall this was a very solid book. The storytelling is great and the art and tone are perfect for getting you into that eerie Halloween spirit!

[Read The Twilight Zone: Lost Tales on comiXology]

Jonah Chuang is a Production Coordinator Assistant at comiXology. He attended NY Comic Con this past weekend and learned a lot of things about the world, and himself.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Harris Smith recommends Planet Gigantic #1

Just looking at their logo, a chubby dog rocketing through the air in a jet pack, tells you everything you need to know about indie publisher Action Lab.  For the past several years, they’ve been curating a line of cute, clever and creative comics, building up a formidable catalog of titles, from girl-power focused kids books like Princeless and Molly Danger to postmodern takes on the detective genre in Jack Hammer and Pirate Eye to gutsy mature readers titles like the wholly original sci-fi epic Scum of the Earth.  They’ve also enthusiastically embraced the digital format, releasing a number of titles, including Mishka & The Sea Devil and Vamplets: The Nightmare Nursery, in comiXology’s Guided View Native format.

Their latest is Planet Gigantic, and this new series can be described in one word- FUN!  Planet Gigantic #1 opens with two cybernetically enhanced pre-teen siblings crash landing on an alien planet, then immediately finding themselves plunged into weird adventures on this strange new world.  They fight a giant rock monster, then encounter a wicked space queen.  With its combination of futuristic technology and fantasy creatures, Planet Gigantic calls to mind the technoprimitive world of Masters of the Universe.  It has the feeling of the ultimate 80s fantasy movies, with supercool space kids in a fantastical world not entirely unlike that of “The Neverending Story” or “Krull.”

Planet Gigantic is a kid-friendly comic that adults can enjoy too.  It’s brisk and smart and, in case you didn’t hear  me the first time- FUN!  If you’re looking for a comic thats colorful, clever, totally without pretension or cynicism and totally with FUN, check out Planet Gigantic.

[Read Planet Gigantic #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.

Looking to get started reading comics? Here are some Comic Recommendations For Someone…

Were you at our Comics: Where to Begin panel at #NYCC2014? If not, we had a great group of comics pros and tastemakers giving custom recommendations based what our panel goers were interested in. Here’s the awesome list we promised to post:

who likes Dr. Who, Battlestar, Harry Potter:

who is interested in older pre-New 52 Batman:

who has only read Frank Miller Batman, loved Injustice and Superman: Red Son, likes alternate universes & one-and-done stories:

who has read Alex + Ada, Saga - likes dystopian romance; currently reading Outlander:

who has been reading comics since middle school, read Sandman:

who likes The Walking Dead TV show, needs cliffhangers:

who likes Planet of the Apes, Sandman, Blankets, likes dramatic graphic novels:

who likes superheroes, wants female superheroes that are appropriate for a pre-teen:

who just started reading comics 3 years ago, Green Lantern was first, then Red Lantern, Dark Justice League, New 52, likes everything dark, looking for something that makes you think:

who wants new age, out of body experience:

Reblog this list with your own additions!

A comiXologist Recommends:
Michael Crowe recommends Haunted Horror #13

Hello Boos and Ghouls. With Halloween right around the corner, now is the perfect time to pick up IDW’s Haunted Horror #13. This book collects eight spine tingling stories resurrected from the golden age of comic books. These classic stories are a scream, sure to keep you up all night. They’ve been lovingly reprinted from various horror anthologies that populated newsstands in the 1950s. Originally printed in magazines with colorful names such as BEWARE, WORLDS OF FEAR, and WEIRD TERROR, these are the tales that menaced pure hearted parents around the country. Their shocking stories and imagery would contribute to the demonization of comics as an entire medium and the eventual establishment of the comic’s code of authority. Although such a reaction was overkill, one has to admit that these books are anything but tame. Magic, murder and death permeate every page, all with a tongue in cheek vibe and a campy feeling unique to the era. Even the weakest stories, plot wise, reach new heights thanks to the pre-code horror fiendishly illustrated by various unsung artists working for the dime a dozen horror comic publishers. 

But now, with the code abolished and comics on top of the world, these stories are finding a new life. Each book in this series is jam packed with the best and rarest stories IDW could dig up. So, be sure to sink your teeth into this little book of nightmares.

Sweet Dreams.

[Read Haunted Horror #13 on comiXology]

Michael “Edgar Allan” Crowe is a digital assets specialist, writer, warlock, and full time horror fan.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Mike Isenberg recommends Hawkeye Vol. 3: L.A. Women

I have a confession to make: before Matt Fraction’s (mattfractionblog) current take on the character, I have never had any interest whatsoever in Hawkeye.  He was just some guy with a bow and arrow who dressed in purple and fought with the Avengers.  And (to pile up even more confessions) I’ve never really been that into the Avengers.  As I’ve mentioned here before, my super-hero tastes as a kid ran more towards the darker side of the Marvel universe.  Spandex and archery never really grabbed me much.

So when I first took a look at the current Hawkeye series, I was pleasantly surprised and very, very intrigued.  Just flip through a single issue, and you’ll see what I mean.  Instead of larger-than-life super-hero action In The Mighty Marvel Style!, the pages of Hawkeye are understated and cleverly designed and down-to-earth.  Rather than yet another solo super-hero book, Fraction et al. have delivered a consistently witty, brilliantly quirky street-level crime series that feels more at home on the indie comics rack than it does shelved next to Avengers and Superman.

For the last year or so, issues of the series have alternated between following “classic” Hawkeye Clint Barton, and “lady” Hawkeye Kate Bishop.  Hawkeye Vol. 3: L.A. Woman collects all of the Kate Bishop issues into a single, cohesive story.

Fed up with Clint’s drama in New York, Kate packs up her things and heads west for a fresh start in Los Angeles.  Her voyage of self discovery gets a rocky start, however, and when she finds herself broke and friendless, she decides to hire herself out as a freelance investigator/crime-fighter in order to make ends meet.  Each issue sees Kate take on a new case, and the chapters are refreshingly self-contained, yet still succeed in building a satisfying arc for Kate and tying themselves together by the end of the volume.

The book also looks great.  Art duties fall to Javier Pulido for the first chapter (Hawkeye Annual #1), with Annie Wu (anniewu)  taking the helm for the rest of the volume.  Both are incredibly talented artists with fairly distinct styles, and the visual change actually works out great for the story.  Pulido’s crisp lines and simple design aesthetic mirror Kate Bishop’s optimism for the novelty and glamour of L.A. when she first arrives, while Wu’s grittier approach fits beautifully once things get tougher and Kate starts her investigations into L.A.’s darker side.

Whether you’re a die-hard Hawkeye fan or someone who, like me two years ago, couldn’t have told you the first thing about the character, you should absolutely pick up this book.  It’s charming, witty, and refreshingly fun.  Highly recommended. 

[Read Hawkeye Vol. 3: L.A. Women 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 

A comiXologist Recommends:
Jonah Chuang recommends Avengers & X-Men: Axis #1

I realize it’s still early in the game, but I feel comfortable saying that AXIS #1 marks the return of the era of great crossovers. It’s well written with great art and lots of iconic images. Its cast of characters includes the greatest Avengers and mutants in the Marvel Universe today, and the villain is the most extreme embodiment of evil in recent memory: A near omnipotent psychic Nazi (zombie?) Red Skull with the abilities of Charles Xavier.

So, quick recap in case you haven’t been following the various Road to AXIS books. The Red Skull stole the deceased Charles Xavier’s brain and transplanted it into himself, which gave him Professor X’s psychic powers. Since then he’s been getting back to his Nazi roots by waging war against mutants and the Uncanny Avengers in the name of racial purity. The Uncanny Avengers defeated him, then ran off to deal with Kang and the Apocalypse twins in a future timeline. Meanwhile, Magneto has taken it upon himself to deal with anti-mutant threats, which forces him into a confrontation with the Skull at a mutant concentration camp. After a hard-fought battle, Magneto kills the Skull, unleashing his psychic hate on the world in the form of Red Onslaught.

One of the most compelling aspects of this book is the emotional involvement of the characters. Red Onslaught’s most powerful weapon is arguably his ability to infect his enemies with hate. That means our heroes not only have to fight the Skull but their own internal qualms with each other, and after the fallout from their latest adventure, there is much to fight about.  Neither the various Avengers nor the various X-Men teams are in a great place, and there couldn’t be a worse time to deal with a giant hate monster, which is what makes the timing of this story perfect.

[Read Avengers & X-Men: Axis #1 on comiXology]

Jonah Chuang is a Production Coordinator Assistant at comiXology. His favorite Doctor Who companion is Wilfred Mott.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Jen Keith recommends Sabrina #1

Double double toil and trouble; fires burn and cauldrons bubble in the chilling new horror comic, Sabrina #1 from Archie Comics.

Inspired by the success of the zombie-ridden Afterlife With Archie, Sabrina is not a spinoff of her Lovecraftian plotline set up in Afterlife but a whole new terrible take on the young witch’s adventures taking place in the 1960s (when the character first appeared!). This first issue leads us on a dark journey through Sabrina’s birth, childhood, and her entrance into the greatest horror of them all: high school.

Sabrina isn’t the only one walking a darker path— the spine-tingling backstory of her parents and their involvement in the local coven give way to hints of Sabrina’s destiny as a half-breed of human and witch. Anyone familiar with the comics or the TV show from the 90s may recall Sabrina’s adoring aunts Hilde and Zelda. Though still loving, pity those who dare cross them for fear of hexes and murmured curses finding you from the depths of their home sweet funeral home. And of course we can’t have Sabrina without the bitingly sarcastic familiar Salem as he questions the terrible influences of her cousin Ambrose. Even then, Greendale isn’t the only something wicked this way coming; I look forward to more of Riverdale’s familiar faces showing up in future issues.

Readers of Afterlife with Archie will recognize writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s touch of poetry and subtle way of throwing in an underlying suspense to even the most casual of conversations. Robert Hack pairs terrifically with his scratchy inks and watercoloring giving every page the pulpy feel of old horror comics. A lot of ground is covered in this first issue, but the timeline is artfully done and keeps the story well-paced. The final treat in all the tricks is the first comic appearance of Sabrina from 1962 showing a great juxtaposition of Sabrina Spellman’s origin to the horror they’ve created today.

Out of the cauldron and into the fire, Sabrina's first issue is already a spellbinding addition to the Archie Universe.

[Read Sabrina #1 on comiXology]

Jen Keith is a Digital Editor at comiXology, comic artist, music addict, and still can’t decide what her Halloween costume should be this year.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Harris Smith recommends The Lonesome Go

Boxcar riders, bikers, pool hustlers, small time crooks, hitchhikers, drunks, punks and losers all abound in Tim Lane’s The Lonesome Go, published by fantagraphics. Lane’s dark and shadowy tales explore the dusty, dingy corners of 20th century America, fueled by angst and alienation, set to a score of Motown, Bruce Springsteen and the Ramones.  The artwork is meticulous, yet far from sterile, rendered in severe, shadowy black and white, recalling a less gynecological Charles Burns, or perhaps a Winsor McCay fever dream of skid row, with occasional flourishes of odd Steve Ditko esque manic insanity.  Though stylistically different, one could draw a thematic line between Lane’s vision and the paintings of Edward Hopper, capturing stark moments of everyday life with just a hint of subdued otherworldliness.  Like his artwork, Lane’s writing is gritty yet insightful.  He is part of the tradition of American authors, like Nelson Algren, John Fante and Raymond Carver, able to carve out small slices of down-and-out despair with sensitivity, perception and pathos, and, quite often, a touch of sinister, damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t humor.  

Though the subject matter is often rough and tumble, there is a delicacy to the comics here, not just in Lane’s fine, detailed line work, or in the vulnerability of his characters beneath their grizzled veneers, but in the intricate structure of the book itself.  Four ongoing stories- “In Another Life,” “Belligerent Piano,” “Notes of a Second Class Citizen” and “The Motorcycle Chapter”- are split into chapters and interspersed among other, shorter stories, as well as fragments, diary entries, prose pieces, family history, author commentary, pin-ups, fold outs and cut outs.  From the open road to claustrophobic barrooms to profiles of the Temptations and the history of the leather jacket, Lane covers a lot of terrain here, all of it fertile ground.

At times harsh, but always humane, The Lonesome Go hits you like a smack in the face.  It’s a graphic novel in the truest sense, meant to be read as much as viewed.  It’s a rich, substantial work by an artist and writer who is using the medium of comics to its fullest potential.  Tim Lane is a visionary, and his vision is really out of sight.

[Read The Lonesome Go 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:
Jen Keith recommends Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits #2

Introduced in Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits #1, Nena is the mischievous forgotten spirit chased by Bastian, an exorcist, through the streets of a city in Mexico on the Day of the Dead when the barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead is thinnest. The only way to truly be dead is to die the third death and be forgotten, and Nena seeks her family so that they might once again light a candle for her. We find out in this issue why Nena, though unremembered, walks again, and we meet Father Eduardo with his group of young exorcists.

Now is the ideal season to start reading this series with its perfect fall atmosphere and palette echoing the colors of Autumn. Nena’s dress and bursts of golden and fiery leaves are shockingly bold against cool evening blues, creating a gorgeous contrast and pop. The overall movements of the characters, especially Nena, flow beautifully across the page. Artist Laura Müller does a wonderful job creating sumptuous illustrations interspersed with graphic work in the style of the famed sugar skulls of the Day of the Dead.

Writer Vera Greentea jumps right into the story with endearing characters that all feel like they have some intriguing story behind them. Each one, though only two issues in, feels very human and natural when making trouble with each other, and there is no short of trouble to be made when the spirits are walking again. There are more mysteries yet to be revealed, and Greentea built a strong foundation early into this tale.

Check out Greentea’s Papa for more of her work, and get ready to dive into the spirit world with Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits #2!

[Read Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits #2 on comiXology]

Jen Keith is a Digital Editor at comiXology, comic artist, music addict, and is already made of pumpkin spice even though the season only just started.