Out of the frozen tundra of the new year, your favorite comics column returns. We’ve been gone a few weeks, so let’s waste no time! Here are this week’s five rad things!!
1. The new “Quantum & Woody” debut.
Daniel Kibblesmith and Kano’s first issue of “Quantum & Woody” just came out (with letters by Dave Sharpe) and it’s a perfect showcase for both creators’ talents. Kibblesmith’s imaginative sense of humor inspires jawdropping action sequences like this one:
Kano gets to play with color, design incredibly dynamic layouts, and punch out all kinds of delightful details. (I’m partial to that Ice Cream truck’s logo on the first page.)
Kibblesmith has also proven to be a deft explorer of subtle character moments, and this allow’s Kano’s art to be creative in an entirely different, but no less impressive way. They’ve established a status quo in this first issue where Quantum and Woody are as estranged as two people who have to reconnect every 24 hours or they’ll disintegrate possibly can be.
Kano finds a way to illustrate this emotional distance and apprehension almost in “real time”. We can feel the striving and awkwardness and the literal tension between the two characters.
Also, when you put these two creators together, you get a kid’s exploding nosebleed because he sees boobs:
2. This old Batman 3D comic.
In 1990, at not-even-close-to-the-height of the 3D craze, DC released “Batman 3-D,” a mindblowing graphic novel by John Byrne that I was completely obsessed with. It was actually one of the first Batman comics I ever really got into. (I didn’t discover Dark Knight Returns until a few years later, and Batbooks at the time just didn’t really land for me.) The movie had just come out the year before so I was open to the idea of a cool Batman comic. Add in the mindblowing technology of red/blue 3D, I was sold.
I recently picked up “The DC Universe By John Byrne” and was gleefully surprised to find that story, “Ego Trip,” reprinted, albeit in black and white. I hadn’t thought about it in decades but remembered it instantly. While it would probably be fun to see it in that blurry red and blue original printing (feel free to Google it), I enjoyed looking at the original art, where the charmingly gimmicky attempts at generating visuals that provide the most bang for the buck.
Like, imagine this incredibly compelling clue floating before your eyes above the page.
Or…choke…watch out for that Champagne cork!!
Can you even imagine an entire toy box…in three dimensions??
When I got to this page, though, I realized that exaggerated, nightmare hallucinated Joker had been my visual touchstone for the character for years after reading it.
It’s always nice to be reminded of the comics that cemented your love for the medium when you see them again.
3. Oh man, this new “Runaways” comic.
Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka (along with colorist Matthew Wilson and letterer Joe Carmagna) have quickly put their own stamp on these beloved, and rarely revisited, characters. Rowell has expertly moved them forward in their lives, giving the series an almost Twin Peaks: The Return-ian subtext of “Should we still even be doing this?”Continued below
While Anka may not have the elasticity of series creator Adrian Alphona in his line, he expertly draws characters who both look and act realistically, but also display the simplicity of line and expression only true cartooning masters can pull off.
Anka is a famously great costume designer, so it’s no surprise to see him nail the style of a kid in 2017 who loves superheroes. Just check out these Captain Marvel leggings:
Rowell, a YA novel powerhouse, delivers authentic-feeling exchanges between kids and adults that are funny without being cloying:
And Anka nails simple moments like these incredibly well:
(And draws a totally perfect cat.)
Ugh, it’s such a good book.
4. David Rubin puts his stamp on “Rumble.”
When James Harren left John Arcudi’s gorgeous and delightfully weird “Rumble,” I gotta say, I was a little worried. How could he fill his shoes? Would there even be shoes to fill?
When it was announced that the task would fall to David Rubin, I literally couldn’t wait.
Rubin delivers incredibly well, in a style that is completely his own. (Helped along by Dave Stewart and letters by Joe Sabino.)
He designs page spreads and monsters with equal levels of imagination, and “Rumble” is a book with no shortage of either.
He draws an awesome attack dog, and I love how on this page the texture of the next one has started to seep through in the background. Rubin is also great at hand lettering sound effects in a way that works seamlessly with Sabino’s airtight narration captions.
When the book shifts to the real world, Rubin is no less inventive in his designs, backgrounds, and layouts.
He’s also great at designing non-monster weirdos, like these guys (check out all those hats): 5. This bit from “Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine”
I wanted to start 2018 out strong, with one of my favorite moments in comics ever, the first three pages of “Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine” #3.
Written by Jason Aaron, art by Adam Kubert and Mark Roslan, colors by Justin Posnor, and letters by Rob Steen; and ending in a quadruple gatefold spread of a moment that really couldn’t be presented any other way. I’m going to let it speak for itself.
Happy New Year.