Hello and welcome to Multiversity’s look at the “Best of the Rest,” where we try to summarize what’s coming your way from pretty much every other comic publisher besides Marvel, Dark Horse, DC, and Image. It’s now time to check out the other 75% of the catalogue.
That said, let’s dive in and see what’s going to kick off next year!
10. This Month in the Post-Apocalypse
Ben Passmore (“Your Black Friend”) turns his attention to the post-apocalypse with his anarchic wit and wild style. This one’s about a dude addicted to porn trying to navigate a whole new world. It’s been kicking around for a while (sold through Etsy) but with it hitting the Diamond catalogue, there’s a better chance you can all jump on this wagon.
Written and Illustrated by Ben Passmore
Published by Silver Sprocket
How’s your post apocalypse going? Enjoying the irradiated deserts, menacing clouds of sentient porn magazines, mutant police, and hipsters on some street art kick? No? This is the best the end of the world gets. Social and political commentary mixed with punk nonsense and gore drawn in vibrant florescent colors.
9. Same Religion Different Galaxy
Intergalactic cults and false prophets populate this new series from Michael Moreci (“Roche Limit”) and Hayden Sherman (“The Few”). Part of me hopes it’s something like The Master but in space, but we’ll probably get something more wacky, violent, and action-packed. Which isn’t a bad thing.
Wasted Space #1
Written by Michael Moreci
Illustrated by Hayden Sherman
Published by Vault
Billy Bane is a prophet who got it all wrong, and the galaxy has been burning ever since. All he wants is to waste away in the darkest corner of space with his best pal Dust, a supercharged Fuq bot. But when a new prophet comes calling, Billy is summoned to save the galaxy he’s at least partially responsible for destroying. Too bad he couldn’t care less. Michael Moreci and Hayden Sherman have thrown Philip K. Dick in a blender with Preacher. Take a sip and get wasted.
8. The Owl in the Bardo
Announced at the Diamond Summit in 2017, “The Ghost, The Owl” is one of the books Action Lab aims to put in classrooms as much as they can. Mysterious and dreamy, this is exactly the sort of book kids will be drawn to and, considering the creative talent involved, it will probably have something to say for everyone.
The Ghost, The Owl
Written by Franco
Illustrated by Sara Richard
Published by Action Lab
On a cool evening on the swamp, a figure appears dancing across the water. A human figure, but far from a human form. A Ghost, a young girl spirit that seems to have lost its way. A good Samaritan owl decides to help against the wishes of his animal brethren. What mysteries does the ghost girl hold the secrets to and what will happen when she and the owl unlock them together? Will they find out what happened to her? Will she find her way to where she needs to be? What will happen to the animals in the swamp and surrounding forest? An adventure with the most unlikely of pairs, The Ghost, the Owl.
7. Down and Out in Afghanistan
Humanoids offers up the first of a two-part collection of French cartoonist Nicholas Wild’s Afghan cartoons. A graphic travelogue with the usual sort of culture clashes and wonders about how much more to the world is out there, this looks fun, interesting, and maybe even a little informative.
Kabul Disco: How I Managed Not to be Abducted in Afghanistan
Written and Illustrated by Nicholas Wild
Published by Humanoids
A satirical autobiography about a young Frenchman and his hilarious, yet poignant, adventures in the heart of the Middle East. It’s 2005. Nicolas Wild is a French cartoonist. He’s broke and about to be homeless. He’s a man without a plan. That is until destiny shows up in his inbox: a paid job . . . in Afghanistan! In his graphic Travelogue series, Nicolas Wild brilliantly explores the differences between the Afghan cultures around him and his own, as he and his fellow expat friends crash Asura celebrations, avoid the afterlife and muse on the differences between Christian Easter egg hunts and Islamic penance.
6. The Master Rides Again!
For anyone who regularly follows this column, you probably know that I will find a space to promote these Disney/Fantagraphics strips as much as I can. And seriously, this is one of the best archival projects we have going today, completely worthy of a cartoonist whom all comic creators are in the shadow of.
Donald Duck: The Lost Peg Leg Mine
Written and Illustrated by Carl Barks
Published by Fantagraphics
Carl Barks delivers another superb collection of all-around cartooning brilliance. In our title story, Uncle Scrooge, Donald, and the nephews are on the trail of gold nuggets guarded by ghosts! Next, Huey, Dewey, and Louie try to figure out how to prevent a runaway train from crashing when no one will listen! Then Donald confronts a pair of escaped lions with a rubber sword. And after donning a virtual reality headset, Donald and the boys find themselves menaced by creatures on other worlds. Over 160 pages of story and art, each meticulously restored and newly colored. Insightful story notes by an international panel of Barks experts.
5. Rocky’s Revival
I was going to say Yellow Submarine might be the weirdest and most surreal of The Beatles’ films, but then I remembered Help! exists, not to mention the art project that was The Magical Mystery Tour. Sorry I doubted them, I was so unfair. Certainly, this project allowed their imaginations to stretch far beyond their budget. Here’s hoping this adaptation, released to coincide with the album/film’s 50th anniversary, maintains that . . . Beatlesness.
The Beatles: Yellow Submarine
Written and Illustrated by Bill Morrison
Published by Titan Comics
The official graphic novel adaption of The Beatles’ iconic animated film, “Yellow Submarine,” released to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of its release! Written and illustraded by Bill Morrison, Editor of MAD Magazine! The Beatles are recruited be the captain of the Yellow Submarine to help him free Sgt, Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the world of Pepperland from the music-hating Blue Meanies.
4. Circling Hell
In this miniseries, a mother goes deep into Hell to save her family. Yes, it’s a retelling of Dante’s Inferno but from the creative team of “The Dregs” and “Roche Limit,” it’s nevertheless bound to be something to behold. Also interested to see how this book is going to present Agatha Christie or William Blake, because I’ve always had a soft spot for fictional representations of actual people.
Her Infernal Descent #1
Written by Lonnie Nadler & Zac Thompson
Illustrated by Kyle Charles
Published by AfterShock Comics
A tale of loss told in five parts. Any good mom would march through the inferno of HELL to get her family back. Unable to cope with the burden of grief, a middle-aged mom descends the nine circles of hell to retrieve her forsaken family. Guided by the ghosts of William Blake and Agatha Christie, this no-nonsense mother journeys deep into a bizarre underworld filled with celebrity sinners, surreal landscapes, and absurd tasks. Her Infernal Descent is a retelling of Dante’s Inferno that updates the themes for a modern audience. From the writers of the break-out hit The Dregs, and the artist of Roche Limit, this is HELL like you’ve never seen before.
3. 10 Pictures of Abandonment
In the newest collection from French cartoonist Manuele Fior (“5000 KM per Second”), we’re given a series of short stories about abandonment and loss. Most of them seem centered around France and Europe and seep with personal experience. Most of these seem fictional but Fantagraphics is promoting the autobiographical reaction to the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. This sounds heavy but it also seems like one of those things to bring a different perspective to the medium.
Written and Illustrated by Manuele Fior
Published by Fantagraphics
Eisner Award-nominated cartoonist Manuele Fior’s Blackbird Days is a collection of ten short stories about a father who loses his son in a Berlin park, a teacher abandoning her students in Paris, a young woman’s first impressions of Oslo, a couple vacationing in Italy after receiving bad news, a man’s suffering during WWI, a painter visiting the baths on Ischia and a grandmother’s tale of how she escaped war in Indochina. The book is rounded out with an autobiographical snapshot of the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, and a finale in which two giant robots battle it out in the center of that city. Manuele Fior (“5,000 KM Per Second,” “The Interview”) has established himself as one of the unequivocally great graphic novelists working today.
2. The Man The Myth The Legend
Nnedi Okorafor (Who Fears Death) teams with Eric Battle (“Godzilla: Awakening”) to spin the legend of Antarah ibn Shaddad, a pre-Islamic swashbuckler. From his poetry to his adventures, Antar rose up from slavery to become an epic knight, a Warrior Poet of great renown. It’s great to see his story having a chance to make it to audiences (American) who may not have heard this tale, not to mention a casual reminder there are so many legends out there beyond the ones we grew up with and it’s important to expose ourselves to as many different cultures and customs and stories as possible.
Antar: The Black Knight #1
Written by Nnedi Okorafor
Illustrated by Eric Battle
Published by IDW Publishing
Honor through perseverance. Legacy through diversity. IDW Publishing is proud to present the epic story of one of history’s greatest warriors and finest poets: Antar the Black Knight. A despised camel driver born of an African slave mother and an Arab Noble father, Antar proves that heroes are made by embracing who we are and dreaming about what we can become.
1. So Long Old Friend
Over the course of its run, Adventure Time was consistently one of the most imaginative and ambitious shows on TV, cramming in so much about life, death, morals, community, and acceptance in 10-minute intervals. The comic series was no different, bouncing from silly to profound, bittersweet to uproarious. Like the animated show, the comic series is also coming to an end now with the major writers all contributing a last goodbye. (For the record, everything Ryan North’s done with Squirrel Girl he pretty much tried out with “Adventure Time” first and his run on the series remains classic. CLASSIC</I.) The world is going to be a lot emptier without Ooo, but it’s better to have had an Ooo at all than nothing.
Adventure Time #75
Written by Mariko Tamaki, Ryan North, and Christopher Hastings
Illustrated by Zachary Sterline
Published by Boom! Studios
FINAL ISSUE! Follow the story of Ooo from the past, present, and future in this oversized final issue! At the wedding of Jake’s granddaughter, Jake, Finn, and the residents of Ooo reminisce on the long path that took them here, remembering friends, enemies, and those who fall somewhere in between. Ryan North, Shelli Paroline & Braden Lamb return!
Well, that was fun! And let me know what books YOU’RE excited for in the comments section.