Junkwraith OGN Columns 

Soliciting Multiversity: The Best of the Rest for August 2021

By | June 4th, 2021
Posted in Columns | % Comments

We’ve spent the last week looking at upcoming DC, Image, Marvel, and manga titles, and now it’s time to check out everything else. It’s the Best of the Rest for August 2021.

1. DeForging a New Book

Cover by Michael “DeForge

It’s a Michael DeForge book, so expect wild imagery, complicated structures, and a dark uncomfortable underpinning that you cannot look away from. This one sounds like it’s a more sustained narrative than his other work, so it’ll be interesting to see the dark places he takes it.

Big Kids
Written and Illustrated by Michael DeForge
Published by Drawn & Quarterly

Big Kids follows a troubled teenage boy through the transformative years of high school, as he redefines his friends, his interests, and his life path. When the boy’s uncle, a police officer, gets kicked out of the family’s basement apartment and transferred to the countryside, April moves in. She’s a college student: mysterious and cool, she quickly takes a shine to the boy. Eerie and perfectly paced, Michael DeForge’s Big Kids muses on the complicated, and often contradictory, feelings people struggle with in adolescence, the choices we make to fit in, and the ways we survive times of change.

2. Oaxacan Tales

Cover by Steve Lafler

Cartoonist Steve Lafler spins this Oaxacan story about vampires and blues demons. Lafler’s lines are thick, bursting with enthusiasm, his sequentials able to conjure odd emotions. If we’re judging by any of Lafler’s previous works, this title is destined to be a hellish trip.

Death Plays a Mean Harmonica
Written and Illustrated by Steve Lafler
Published by Cat-Head Comics

Gertie and Rex get a wild hair and relocate to Oaxaca! Upon arrival in this cultural hub of southern Mexico, our intrepid migrants meet Eduardo, the crafty 1000-year-old Zapotec vampire who prefers chicken blood, El Rey Pel n (the skinny pot-bellied fungus who drives a taxi) and of course Death, who plays a mean harmonica.

3. Here They Come

Cover by Kevin Tong

I’m getting Ready or Not/Get Out vibes from this title. (It even looks like Elisabeth Moss on the cover.) Gailey has written several engaging stories and novels, including an arc of “Steven Universe,” so I have no doubt they’ll turn in an immersive, intense script. And then there’s Pius Bak, whose art is filled with wondrous illustrations and assured compositions. I can’t wait to see how they play off each other.

Eat the Rich #1
Written by Sarah Gailey
Illustrated by Pius Bak
Published by BOOM! Studios

What unspeakable horror eats away at the heart of Crestfall Bluffs?

With law school and her whole life ahead of her, Joey plans to summer with her boyfriend Astor in his seemingly perfect hometown of Crestfall Bluffs.

It’s a chance to finally meet Astor’s family and childhood friends, all while enjoying a vacation with every need attended to by servants.

But beneath the affluent perfection lies a dark, deadly rot… will Joey discover the truth before it’s too late, and if she does, can she survive to tell the tale?

The bold, horrifying psychological thriller from Hugo Award-winning author Sarah Gailey (The Echo Wife, Magic For Liars) with artist Pius Bak (Firefly, The Magicians), perfect for fans of Stillwater and Nailbiter!

4. Figurative Skating

Cover by Victoria Douglas

A meditation on material possessions and abandoned dreams, “Junkwraith” is part quest, part ghost story. Richey’s artwork is expressive and chill, delivered in this angular aesthetic and open, expansive page layouts. Originally published as a webcomic with small animations, it’s physical release is bound to be a thing of beauty.

Written and Illustrated by Eleanor Richey
Published by Top Shelf

What she once possessed… now threatens to possess her. Sweden’s Ellinor Richey’s debut graphic novel is an epic quest for the things left behind, with icy-cool artwork and astonishing sci-fi settings.

What happens when our most precious belongings… no longer belong? When something we loved suddenly becomes junk, a powerful energy is unleashed. One night, ice-skating prodigy Florence Sato is overwhelmed by pressure and throws away her skates. This fateful moment accidentally summons a “junkwraith,” a terrifying ghost which seeks revenge for its abandonment by attacking the memories of its former owner. Before she forgets who she is, and to find out who she really wants to be, Florence must set off (with her trusty digital assistant Frank) on a long journey into the Wastelands to put to rest the monster she created.

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5. Sassy Assassins

Cover by Claudia Balboni

I don’t know what to say except that this sounds amazing — crazy gay, very silly, and a lot of fun.

Killer Queens #1
Written by David M. Booher
Illustrated by Claudia Balboni
Published by Dark Horse Comics

Meet Max and Alex. Reformed intergalactic assassins for hire. On the run. Also super gay. Their former boss-a fluffy monkey with a jetpack-is hot on their tail to take back his stolen ship. They gotta eat, so they take a mission from Alex’s old flame. Your standard no-kill, casualty-free kidnapping recovery from a nearby moon. Only complication? Half the moon is ruled by a fascist dictator hostile to foreigners. They’re the Killer Queens, so what could possibly go wrong?

Join rising star David M. Booher (Canto, Alien Bounty Hunter) and an all-LGBTQ creative team as they tackle issues of love, xenophobia, and the terror of fascist dictatorships in this hilarious sci-fi epic.

6. Shed Your Shell

Cover by Zanzim

In this French graphic novel, a betrothed young woman is given a skin that allows her to turn into a man, so she can learn about her soon-to-be-husband. This book has already racked up tons of awards, with its fluid art and novel concept, and its translation is bound to carry through the undercurrent of the American comic scene. It feels confident, not just in its concept, but in its precarious balance of exploring gender identity politics and pandering.

A Man’s Skin
Written by Hubert
Illustrated by Zanzim
Published by Ablaze

Award winning fairy tale about love!
Once upon a time in Renaissance Italy, Bianca, a young lady from a good family, is of marriage age. Her parents find her a fiancé to their liking: Giovanni, a rich merchant, young and pleasant. The wedding looks set to go smoothly even though Bianca can’t hide her disappointment at having to marry a man she knows nothing about.
But before the marriage, she learns the secret held and bequeathed by the women of her family for generations: a “man’s skin”! By donning it, Bianca becomes “Lorenzo” and enjoys all the attributes of a young man of stunning beauty. She can now visit the world of men incognito and get to know her fiancé in his natural environment. In her male skin, Bianca frees herself from the limits imposed on women.
The morals of the Renaissance then act as a mirror to our present time and poses several questions: why should women be treated differently from men? Why should their freedom be the object of contempt and coercion?
Tackling universal themes through a captivating and subtle fairy tale, Hubert and Zanzim brilliantly question our relationship to gender and sexuality…but not only that. By mixing morality and humor, A Man’s Skin invites us to the mad and noble quest for love.
This international bestselling title has already been highly awarded, including all the following: PRIX Ti ZEF DE LA BD 2020 (Festival Brest en Bulle), Grand Prix RTL de la Bande Dessinée 2020, Prix Landerneau BD 2020, Prix Wolinski de la BD du ” Point ” 2020, Grand Prix de la critique ACBD (Association des Critiques et journalistes de Bande Dessinée) 2021, Prix des Libraires Canal BD 2021, Fauve de Lycéens (Angoulême 2021.)

7. Demented Gangland Twinks

Cover by Samuel Spano

Samuel Spano originally published “Nine Stones” as a webcomic and it’s this dark, horny, violent story. It’s definitely goes into dark territory and Spano infuses their work with a lot of anger, blending yaoi tropes with Western horror. It’s great to see it off the internet and available also in print.

Nine Stones #1
Written and Illustrated by Samuel Spano
Published by Behemoth Comics

Disturbing dreams shake Alistair “Allie” Jacobi’s nights. But his daytime life is not much better. His father, the boss of a criminal organization, has decided that it’s time for his son to gain experience in the underworld. So Allie, 19, finds himself doing an “internship” in a convenience store run by the man who, under the cover of home deliveries, is selling drugs to the entire city. To teach him the “job” is Christopher, an older guy. The bond created between the two of them will give life to dark presences and disturbing and enigmatic premonitions.

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8. Crossing Over

Cover by Valentina Brancati

Steve Orlando and Steve Foxe are certainly going big for this graphic novel project from Aftershock, where they balance the trauma of losing a pet (I still think about my own every single day) and hitting adolescence. With art by Italian illustrator Valentina Brancti, known for her character designs, this has the chance to be a touching and gut-wrenching story.

Rainbow Bridge
Written by Steve Orlando & Steve Foxe
Illustrated by Valentina Brancti
Published by Aftershock Comics

What if you got one last adventure with your best friend?

Andy and Rocket grew up together, with Rocket serving as Andy’s guardian through every one of childhood’s ups and downs. So, when Rocket passes away right before Andy’s 14th birthday, he’s rudderless. He can’t imagine making the transition to high school without Rocket at his side. The day before school starts, when Andy is at his lowest, he visits Rocket’s grave and unexpect-edly summons the RAINBOW BRIDGE, a gateway to a fantasy world where pets discover their afterlife. But there’s a dark shadow to this paradise, and without Andy’s help, Rocket’s eternity may be grim…

The first graphic novel from AfterShock’s new YA imprint, Seismic Press, RAINBOW BRIDGE was conceived and written by Steve Orlando (PROJECT PATRON, KILL A MAN, Midnighter) and Steve Foxe (Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Grumpy Cat) with art by Valentina Brancati (Les Ravencroft, Ghost Writer). Published in the category standard size of 6.5″ x 9.5″, this 120-page OGN will resonate with anyone who has ever had to say goodbye to a beloved pet – or who has greeted growing up with nervousness and anxiety.

9. History, Doomed to Repeat Itself

Cover by Nate Powell

The late John Lewis continues his civil rights comic memoir with “Run,” which continues to explore the developing relationship this country has with its peoples, the pushes and surges of change from BIPOC just trying to make a life for themselves and the reductive harm white people continually enact upon them. If nothing else, this title should remind us how important it is Congress get off their asses, ignore the neoliberal fantasia the oldest members have built for themselves, and pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, before the Republican Party destroys everything.

Run: Book One
Written by Andew Aydin & John Lewis
Illustrated by Nate Powell & L. Fury
Published by Abrams Comicsart

To John Lewis, the civil rights movement came to an end with the signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. But that was after more than five years as one of the preeminent figures of the movement, leading sit-in protests and fighting segregation on interstate busways as an original Freedom Rider. It was after becoming chairman of SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and being the youngest speaker at the March on Washington. It was after helping organize the Mississippi Freedom Summer and the ensuing delegate challenge at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. And after coleading the march from Selma to Montgomery on what became known as “Bloody Sunday.” All too often, the depiction of history ends with a great victory. But John Lewis knew that victories are just the beginning. In Run Book One, John Lewis and longtime collaborator Andrew Aydin reteam with Nate Powell-the award-winning illustrator of the March trilogy-and are joined by L. Fury-making an astonishing graphic novel debut-to tell this often overlooked chapter of civil rights history.

10. Anime Amok

Cover by Kanna Kii

It’s a little like “Giant Days.” It’s a little like Fanboys. It’s all Alissa Sallah. This Portland-based cartoonist has been turning in hysterical and wildly illustrated works for years, contributing to anthologies and special issues, and this, an exploration of anime fan culture, a treatise on the end of adolescence, is sure to be another bright spot for her.

Written and Illustrated by Alissa Sallah
Published by Oni Press

It’s their senior year of high school, and three friend are preparing for the big anime convention that’s happening right after graduation. Even though they’ve known each other for years, the friends are discovering that real life isn’t like a cartoon, and that friends grow up and sometimes apart. This is a story about appropriation, identity, and what it means to change. It’s a cerebration and dissection of anime fandom, small towns, and Internet culture, told in the style of the various manga, anime, and other media that influenced it.

Well that was fun. Let us know what you’re excited for in the comments.

//TAGS | Soliciting Multiversity

Matthew Garcia

Matt hails from Colorado. He can be found on Twitter as @MattSG.


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