Hello and welcome to Multiversity’s look at the “Best of the Rest”, where we try to summarize what’s coming your way in the now-available January 2016 Previews catalog from pretty much every other comic publisher. Having already taken a look at what Marvel, Dark Horse, DC, and Image have lined up for us, it’s now time to try to condense the other 75% of the catalog into one easily manageable list.
That said, let’s dive in!
10. The Race to Save Time
Yes, all right, so reading the solicit makes it sound like “Faith and the Future Force” is yet another entry in generic superhero event™, but the creative team involved is solid enough and Valiant generally lets their characters go to all sorts of different places the more big budgeted superheroes aren’t able to. These titles do have their following and I’m sure fans will want to add this to their pull list as soon as they can.
“Faith and the Future Force” #1
Written by Jody Houser
Illustrated by Stephen Segovia and Barry Kitson
Published by Valiant Entertainment
A SPECTACULAR SUMMER EVENT! This summer, every second counts when acclaimed writer Jody Houser (Mother Panic, Star Wars: Rogue One), explosive artist Stephen Segovia (Ninjak, Action Comics), comics legend Barry Kitson (Fantastic Four), and special surprise guests push Faith into a centuries-spanning fight for existence alongside the greatest heroes of the Valiant
Universe…past, present, and future!
Faith “Zephyr” Herbert – former member of Unity, current Harbinger Renegade, and Los Angeles’ #1 superhero – is the universe’s last, best chance at survival! Centuries from today, a devious artificial intelligence has unleashed a blistering attack on the very foundations of time …one that is unwriting history from beginning to end! Now, with her options exhausted, Neela Sethi, Timewalker – the self-appointed protector of what is and will be – has returned to the 21st century to recruit Earth’s greatest champions of today and tomorrow to oppose this existential threat…and she needs Faith to lead them! But why Faith? And why now?
This July, fly to the farthest edges of the future in a death-defying race to save time itself as Faith leads the charge alongside Valiant’s greatest heroes…and becomes a new legend for the ages!
9. Pure Trash
I’m more intrigued by the setting of this story, which takes place in a sewage processing plant atop another civilization. Landry has this odd illustrative style that will probably do well to sell this story.
“S##t and P##s”
Written and Illustrated by Tyler Landry
Published by Big Planet/Retrofit Comics
A dark journey into a sewage processing plant built on top of the ruins of a failing civilization. The custodian of this horrid place encounters all types of things that should not be in this science fiction adventure.
8. The Companion Album
Canadian singer/songwriter Lights leads up to the release of her new album with a six-issue miniseries from Dynamite Entertainment. (She’s releasing the album like a comic, too, leaking individual songs until the whole thing’s finished and ready to be collected.) The concept behind the story sounds sort of rote, but you can’t really build something without using a foundation. It is pretty cool that Lights is cartooning this whole series herself, though.
“Skin & Earth” #1
Written and Illustrated by Lights
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Skin & Earth is a story of a girl looking for hope in a hopeless world. Caught between romance and cults, gods and mortals, and just trying to find a good borscht, Enaia Jin is lead down a dark path by new lovers that reveal a twisted fantasy world and her own true nature. Set in a post-apocalyptic future where corporations rule, this adventurous tale of loneliness, deceit and self-discovery begins here!
Written and drawn by alt-pop phenomenon Lights, Skin & Earth ties directly into her next full length album, released in Fall 2017 on Warner Bros Records.
7. Cloud Atlas
K. Thor Jenson hasn’t turned in a full collection in ten years, though that by no means he hasn’t been working. Alternative Comics assembles a good number of stories in this book which bridges genres and tropes while telling a “thematically-connected journey through the upper atmosphere.” It sounds like a David Mitchell novel, but in comics, and might be interesting.
Written and Illustrated by K. Thor Jenson
Published by Alternative Comics
Cloud Stories is the first new collection of comics by Red Eye, Black Eye author K. Thor Jensen in ten years. A thematically-connected journey through the upper atmosphere, it veers wildly between slapstick comedy, creeping horror and otherworldly fantasy. Drawn in a staggering array of visual styles.
6. Onward to Adventure
One of the things you notice reading Corto Maltese stories is how much other creators and artists have stolen from it. (Often not as well.) Hugo Pratt’s character is iconic, his comicking is engrossing, and these collections from IDW have traditionally been a fine tribute to a legacy character.
“Corto Maltese: Fable of Venice”
Written and Illustrated by Hugo Pratt
Published by IDW Publishing
In this affectionate tribute to his hometown, Hugo Pratt offers a complex mystery thriller involving Freemasons, occultists, and esotericists set during the rise of Fascism in 1921. Corto Maltese’s return to Venice is ostensibly a search for an emerald known as the Clavicle of Solomon, but by the end he is left questioning whether the object of his quest will open the hidden doors of magic and unravel the nature of time and space in this city of secrets… or if it’s merely “the stuff that dreams are made of,” as was the black bird of Dashiell Hammett’s novel featuring another Maltese.
5. Going for the Broad Strokes
With “Behind You,” Brian Coldrick is trying something ambitious with horror comics. Each story is only a single page, done in a variety of mediums, meant to convey the atmosphere rather than a traditional narrative. Will it actually work? I’d like to see how Coldrick’s ambition plays out.
Written and Illustrated by Brian Coldrick
Published by IDW Publishing
Behind You is an illustration series, a comic with no panels, where each piece is essentially a separate story. Each tale is one image and one piece of text; an unsuspecting victim with someone, or something, behind them. Entries range from the amusingly weird to the genuinely unsettling. Inspired by spooky films, books, myths, and Internet tall tales, Behind You is full of scary set-ups but leaves lots of blanks for the reader to fill in with their own narrative.
4. Laughter is Timeless, Imagination Has No Age
It should come as no surprise that I’m include the latest edition of Fantagraphics’s Disney comics line here. I’ll admit also that while I admire Carl Barks to no end, I’ve found the most pleasure and enjoyment from Floyd Gottfredson. This is the penultimate volume of what Fantagraphics is planning to publish (covering the first 25 years of Gottfredson’s 45-year tenure on the character), but they’re gorgeous, entertaining, and something to proudly display in any library.
“Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Vol. 11: Mickey v. Mickey”
Written and Illustrated by Floyd Gottfredson
Published by Fantagraphics
“Mickey’s Dangerous Double” finds an evil twin Mouse in Mickey’s house, alienating his friends and committing crimes in Mickey’s name. Also featured: “Dry Gulch Goofy”, and the “Isle of Moola-La.” Restored from Disney’s original proof sheets, Mickey vs. Mickey also includes more than 20 pages of extras such as behind -the-scenes art, rare publicity material, and commentary by Disney experts!
These graphic albums bear some of the most fun and excitement I’ve had reading a comic. Blending the energy of sports manga with the ridiculousness of a Saturday morning cartoon, Sam Bosma’s rapidly expanding series can sway even the most cynical of readers. I’m interested to see how he brings that kineticism and mania to mini golf.Continued below
“Fantasy Sports Vol. 3: The Green King”
Written and Illustrated by Sam Bosma
Published by Nobrow Press
Wiz and Mug are back for another magical adventure as they continue their quests for the mighty Order of Mages! Wiz has always believed in the Order of Mages as a force for good; one that works to destroy tyrants and restore peace, but it seems that may not be the case at all. Prepare for revelations and catastrophic mini golf in the penultimate to the wildly successful Fantasy Sports series!
2. Back Behind Bars, Back with All Those Monsters
By now, I think it’s pretty clear we here at Multiversity Comics are pretty big fans of Zander Cannon’s monster prison drama. We can talk about all the dark, insane, and bananas places he’s planning to take us for his newest season, but I think it’s also worth marveling at the character designs and the sheer control of form. Friends, this is a special comic and it may become one of those things that people talk about reverentially in 10 years.
”Kaijumax Season 3” #1
Written and Illustrated by Zander Cannon
Published by Oni Press
New Season! New jumping-on point! Ah, KAIJUMAX Prison… that cesspool of corruption in the South Pacific! Tensions among the city-destroying convicts have eased after a month-long lockdown and Electrogor’s capture, and now the kaiju gangs have begun vying for power again, all-out-attacking their rivals, trading addictive smog and dioxin, and abusing weaker inmates. The Creature from Devil’s Creek, after a long time as the low mon in the Cryptid hierarchy, stumbles upon some information that makes him think it doesn’t have to be like this. Also: Mind-controlled murders! Pre-smartphone navigation fails! And… some VERY old timey religion?
1. The Longest Brewing Spell We’ve Ever Seen
I think it was between “Sabrina” #1 and #2 where Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa promised there wouldn’t be as big a gap between issues going forward. This was before Riverdale, I guess. Anyway, it’s been like a year but one of the most effective and eerie horror series being published today finally returns! And while it’s publishing schedule might be occurring on the Donna Tartt cycle, any new issue of this is a welcome addition.
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Illustrated by Robert Hack
Published by Archie Comics
The horror adventures of Sabrina return! Learn the haunting back story of Sabrina’s father, Edward Spellman.
Well, that was fun! And let me know what books YOU’RE excited for in the comments section.