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 2018 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 to close out this year, it’s now time to check out the other 75% of the catalog.
That said, let’s dive in and see what’s going to kick off next year!
Admittedly, when this title appeared in the Diamond catalog, I was expecting something different. I mean, I’ve had boyfriends who were bears. Even if there’s a missed opportunity here, it does sound charming and cute enough, a bit of a mood-boosting comic or something.
My Boyfriend is a Bear
Written by Pamela Ribon
Illustrated by Cat Farris
Published by Oni Press
Nora has bad luck with men. When she meets an (actual) bear on a hike in the Los Angeles hills, he turns out to be the best romantic partner she’s ever had! He’s considerate, he’s sweet, he takes care of her. But he’s a bear, and winning over her friends and family is difficult. Not to mention he has to hibernate all winter. Can true love conquer all?
9. Raise the Curtains, Carpenters!
The show might be over, but it’s not like the Backstager boys are finished with everything yet. In this special, there’s love to be had, longing glances exchanged, all the usual sorts of shenanigans you would expect from the season. Boom!’s definitely the Direct Market leader in queer-YA-themed stories, but I wonder if any of these will ever have any more teeth to them?
Backstagers 2018 Valentine’s Day Special 2018
Written by James Tynion IV
Illustrated by Brittney Williams, Caitlin Rose Boye, Katy Farina, Rian Sygh
Published by Boom! Studios
It’s Valentine’s Day at St. Genesius Prep and the Backstagers are back in (stage) blacks for some ROMANTIC adventures in the mysterious world behind the scenes! Featuring bonus tales from a variety of special guests, including Brittney Williams, Caitlin Rose Boyle, Katy Farina, and more! It’s the “seasons of love” for your favorite backstage boys! (No, you can’t wear pink backstage. Or red. Or glitter. Or cherub wings, Sasha.)
8. Off to the See the Wizard
All right, so there’s been a few books in the catalog this month throwing me for a loop. The usage of “queer” in this title comes from a different place and time, considering this is a collection of Oz-themed Sunday comics. Comics, as a medium, has struggled altogether to achieve the level of innovation and imagery of Sunday cartoonists. I’m sure the marvelous land of Oz will look wonderful.
Queer Visitors from the Land of Oz
Written by L. Frank Baum
Illustrated by W. W. Denslow, John R. Neill, Walt McDougall
Published by Sunday Press Books
Enter the magical world of L. Frank Baum’s Oz as you’ve never imagined with this complete run of these rare Sunday comics from Wizard of Oz creator L. Frank Baum and comic pioneer Walt McDougall. Plus, get all 13 episodes of Scarecrow and the Tinman by Oz artist W.W. Denslow, and comics by John R. Neill, all in the original size and colors!
7. We Can Do It!
Here’s another collection of classic strips coming back around. This collects daily and Sunday strips and probably has a lot of the WWII-era feminism and Rosie the Riveter attitude. As a syndicated comic, the reach of it was also probably something more than we could ever imagine, so the topics are bound to be broad and encompassing, too.
Brenda Starr: Reporter
Written and Illustrated by Dale Messick
Published by Archie Comics
Hermes Press presents another classic comic strip with Brenda Starr, Reporter: The Collected Daily and Sunday Strips. Created by Dale Messick, the first woman to create, draw, and write a syndicated newspaper strip, Brenda Starr successfully mixed romance, fashion, and adventure into one of the longest running features in newspaper history, and the reprint volumes begin with the strip’s debut on June 30, 1940.
6. Got Your Goth
This sounds a bit like George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo but I’m usually attracted toward creators trying something in the Gaiman-vein. It implies a lot more myth-mixing and clever examinations of storytelling. Or maybe this is just some goth adventure. Either way. I also like how this is a two-issue series with longer-than-average entries.
Alisik Fall #1
Written by Humbertus Rufledt
Illustrated by Halge Vogt
Published by Titan Comics
For fans of Neil Gaiman and Tim Burtons The Corpse Bride and Nightmare Before Christmas.
When Alisik wakes up alone in a cemetery, she thinks she’s in the middle of a nightmare. Terrified, she flees into the night, but realizes she is invisible to everyone she meets. She really is dead, with no memory of how it happened… and only the words of the other ghosts to help her unravel the mystery of her afterlife.
5. A New Fairy Tale
This book had me at Jen Wang.
The Prince and the Dressmaker
Written and Illustrated by Jen Wang
Published by First Second
Paris, at the dawn of the modern age. Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride – or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia, the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion! Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances, one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family.
4. Psychic Inheritance
The latest entry in Black Crown Publishing’s line is your standard accidental haunting type of story. This is a book that will need to rely on attitude and anarchy in order to get by, and considering the main ghost in question may-or-may-not be Sid Vicious, both those things are bound to be present in equal measure.
Punk’s Not Dead #1
Written by David Barnett
Illustrated by Martin Simmonds
Published by IDW
As if being an awkward, bullied 15-year-old isn’t bad enough, “Fergie” Ferguson suddenly discovers he can see dead people. Well, one dead person specifically-the ghost of a certain punk rocker named Sid. Sid’s spirit was trapped in London’s Heathrow Airport for 40 years until the day he met Fergie. Sid’s ghost is now stuck to Fergie-as if Fergie doesn’t have enough on his plate, being raised by a single mum whose idea of parenting is strictly fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants. Now Fergie has to contend with an unruly ghost sidekick and some weird, uncontrollable new “abilities.” How does the father Fergie never knew fit into this mayhem? And why is the Department for Extra-Usual Affairs showing an interest? Never Mind the Bollocks-all of this plus fish fingers, chunky chips, and endless pints of anarchy in the new monthly series PUNKS NOT DEAD!
3. Magic Dance
Here’s another entry in a line of revived properties. This one goes for the prequel. I guess the biggest question is, will it be able to handle the pressure of being its own narrative with its own momentum and direction, or will it sort of fall into being a long nostalgia trip? Dance magic dance either way.
Jim Henson’s Labyrinth #1
Written by Simon Spurrier
Illustrated by Daniel Bayliss
Published by Boom! Studios
Simon Spurrier (Godshaper, The Power of the Dark Crystal) and Daniel Bayliss present a magical look into the world of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth! Before Sarah braved the Labyrinth to save her brother, another young woman sought to save a young boy named Jareth from the clutches of the Goblin King. The untold history of the Goblin King and the history of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. He wasn’t always the Goblin King…
2. A Comic Made by Playing Mash-Up
Sometimes you just need something as ridiculous as Vikings vs. aliens.
The Spider King #1
Written by Josh Vann
Illustrated by Simon D’Armini
Published by IDW
When a fleet of spaceships crashes into northern Europe in 956 AD, a group of unlikely Viking heroes are the last line of defense against a brutal intergalactic warlord. Equal parts science fiction and fantasy, The Spider King follows the adventures of Viking warriors as they defend their world against alien invaders armed with futuristic technology and impossible weapons.
1. Behind the Laughter
Box Brown continues covering interesting and towering figures of the 20th century. This time around he turns his sights on the troubled comedian, Andy Kaufman. Brown’s sense of humor, his timing, his cartooning, and his fascination with these characters has made his other work so captivating, which is certain to continue on through here.
Is this Guy for Real?
Written and Illustrated by Box Brown
Published by First Second
Comedian and performer Andy Kaufman’s resume was impressive – a popular role on the beloved sitcom Taxi, a high-profile stand-up career, and a surprisingly successful stint in professional wrestling. Although he was by all accounts a sensitive and thoughtful person, he’s ironically best remembered for his various contemptible personas, which were so committed and so convincing that all but his closest family and friends were completely taken in. Why would someone so gentle-natured and sensitive build an entire career seeking the hatred of his audience? What drives a performer to solicit that reaction? Graphic novelist Box Brown takes on the complex and often hilarious life of Andy Kaufman.
Well, that was fun! And let me know what books YOU’RE excited for in the comments section.