Posts Tagged "staff picks"
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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Michael Crowe recommends The Kursk #1

Tired of stories about fictional characters? Then pick up our newest Comixology Submit book:

The Kursk #1 is a story about honor and duty for your nation. It’s also a story about relationships, be they international, marital, or fraternal. It is the real story behind a nearly forgotten headline and a way to immortalize all those who were lost on August 12th 2000.

Originally written as a play, Sasha Janowicz’s script recounts a real life tragedy; the sinking of the Russian submarine K-141 Kursk. The story centers on two young officers, Rashyd and Dmitry, as they prepare to depart on a three day training exercise. This first issue captures the mundanity of life, before tragedy strikes. It also introduces us to the joys, fears and passions that drive these characters. A sense of foreboding hovers over everything; we already know what fate awaits them.

Andrea Montano’s art, rendered in a soft grayscale, is haunting. It evokes the feeling of an old, blurry, well worn photography. This style lends a timelessness to the tale, although the events happened only fourteen years ago. Andrea adeptly illustrates the many kinds of ships, submersibles, and weapons featured in the narrative. Each character is handled with the same attention to detail. Every face is unique, representing a life lost or ruined by the unexpected. The cover, designed by Slawomir Nietupski, reflect the sensibilities of the interior. Immediately the atmosphere is established, inviting the reader on a journey deep into the heart of tragedy. Together, this creative team effortlessly translates this story across mediums; from the stage to the page.

[Read The Kursk #1 on comiXology]

For fans of: drama, history

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 Giant Days #2

John Allison’s (scarygoround) Giant Days brings the sass and flavor of Bad Machinery and Scary-Go-Round to the first weeks of college, where freshmen form bonds with the first people they see and navigate the challenges of independence, often disastrously. After cementing their friendship through brawling a gang of former head girls/martial artists, Esther de Groot, Daisy Wooton, and Susan Ptolemy find themselves simultaneously stumbling through matters of love and that annoying band upstairs that won’t stop practicing at night.

Although Esther, Daisy, and Susan are still figuring out their identities, cartoonist John Allison has a firm grasp on their characters. Allison cements the girls’ personalities and dynamics through authentic dialogue and playful mannerisms. As they play off each other, they naturally roll into the kind of young adult tussles that are easy to identify with, but portrayed with enough wit and self-awareness to be as hilarious as they are embarrassing. Matters of long-distance relationships and unrequited love are dealt with with a frankness and lack of melodrama that’s awfully refreshing; characters aren’t villainized for their poor decisions, and the young women’s agency over their sexuality isn’t scandalous.

Giant Days #2 may not feature the more fantastic beat-downs of its first issue, but it maintains the well-paced, interlocked rollercoaster of humor and teen drama, synching the two rails at the end for a fiasco of a climax. If you fondly remember the neighbors you met the first time you locked yourself out of your dorm, or if you hate their awful mugs, dive back into university with Giant Days.

[Pick up Giant Days #2 here!]

For fans of: female leads, slice of life

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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Kate Kasenow recommends Moon Knight #6

Continuing a long-running streak of brilliant reboots, the newest series of Moon Knight does not disappoint! While issue #6 is the finale of the current creative team, it invigorates the story of Mr. Knight and passes on a truly impeccable story unto the next.

In this issue, we are not lead by Moon Knight at all, but the tragic rise of a would-be antagonist. The plot of this issue really drives forward the idea that as not all heroes are created equal neither are villains and sometimes the best of intentions can lead to the wost of consequences. The character of Moon Knight, especially during this current series, is rife with both personal and psychological issues. The exploration of these issues from both sides—from the perspectives of both protagonist and antagonist, is what makes this series truly shine.

Behind these perspectives, is the seasoned writer Warren Ellis, who’s sparse style really packs a punch—sometimes literally. His characters are often reserved until their thoughts have marinated enough to let the words flow freely, but when they do the story rolls along with them. Each character is full of depth that allows them to exist fully in the dark underworld that Ellis paints with his writing. Backing up Ellis’ words is the fantastic art of Declan Shalvey (dshalv) with colors by Jordie Bellaire (jordiecolorsthings). The mood of the colors is always pitch-perfect and Shalvey’s lines move effortlessly across the page, each one laid out with an incredible sense of design.

This issue is the swan song of an incredible team and isn’t to be missed!

[Read Moon Knight #6 on comiXology!]

For fans of: superheroes, crime, mystery, action

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.