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    Soliciting Multiversity: The Top 10 “Best of the Rest” from November 2014’s Previews

    By | October 31st, 2014
    Posted in Columns | 5 Comments

    While the rest of the “Soliciting Multiversity” columns are off in 2015, enjoying their Nutrimatic Drink Dispensers and playing Dejarik on hologram tables, we’re stuck back here in the year 2014 for a look at the “Best of the Rest” from this month’s issue of Diamond Previews. Oh well, at least we get to enjoy some cool comics too, even if we’re not reading them on Minority Report floating augmented reality monitors yet.

    *heavy sigh*

    Ladies and Gentlemen – on to the comics:

    10. (Intrigued Tim Allen grunting noise)

    If you know me, you’ll know that I am a huge sucker for Tim Allen-related jokes and references. Ironically, of course. After all, there was a time in the ’90s when this man was one of the most recognizable and bankable comedic actors we had – and his thing was basically power tools and grunting. As inexplicable as this seems to me now, Allen does have a few gems to his name. “Galaxy Quest” was one of them, if you ask me, and the prospect of a comic book with these characters is extremely interesting to me, provided it aims for the same kind of “lampshade hanging” on the tropes of genre fiction that the movie did. Also, that is one flattering caricature of Allen on that cover, isn’t it?

    Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues #1
    Written by Erik Burnham
    Illustrated by Nacho Arranz
    Published by IDW Publishing

    Once upon a time, a troupe of has-been actors that starred on an old sci-fi show were enlisted by an alien race to save them from an intergalactic tyrant. Despite being way out of their depth, the cast somehow managed to save the aliens and stay alive… but their actions in outer space may have had dire consequences for another world. Join us this January as the cast of GALAXY QUEST returns for another bombastic journey into space!

    9. Moreci, Daniel, and Lorimer’s careers are burning down the house

    From the team that brought you 2014’s “Curse”, a terrific little werewolf miniseries that reached some surprising emotional depth, comes “Burning Fields” – a tale of military intrigue. I felt like 2014 was a breakout year for all of these creators, and that means that 2015 is likely to give us a lot to look forward to.

    Burning Fields #1
    Written by Michael Moreci & Tim Daniel
    Illustrated by Colin Lorimer
    Published by Boom! Studios

    WHY WE LOVE IT: After the critical acclaim of Curse, we couldn’t wait to work with Michael Moreci, Tim Daniel, Colin Lorimer, and Riley Rossmo again—and just as they reinvented the werewolf tale, their modern take on military horror got under our skin.

    WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: The team that brought you one of the best-reviewed comics of 2014 returns in 2015 to create a new horror tale unlike any other. A geopolitical drama with monster mythos, Burning Fields is a story for both fans of Zero Dark Thirty and The Thing, as the writers of Roche Limit and Enormous explore the evil that lurks when greed drives one to drill too deep into the unknown.

    WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Dana Atkinson, a dishonorably discharged army investigator, is pulled back to the Middle East when a group of American oil technicians disappear under bizarre circumstances. With the help of an Iraqi investigator, what Dana discovers is unimaginable: A series of unusual incidents at the drill site lead her and her unlikely ally to discover a mythic evil that has been released, one that threatens both the lives of the entire region and the fragile peace that exists.

    8. A three decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce

    Like so many of my favorite indie, self-publishing creators, Douglas Paszkiewicz has a sick mind. Well, I mean that in the nicest way possible, despite how it sounds. It’s just that I’m drawn to cartoonists with a skewed, somewhat pessimistic view of the world. Paszkiewicz is a little more dark and shocking than he is cynical, but he’s nonetheless subversive.

    Arsenic Lullaby
    Written & Illustrated by Douglas Paszkiewicz
    Published by Arsenic Lullaby Publishing

    The dark humor cult favorite returns, with a collection of brand new despicable stories you’ll be ashamed you laughed at. A witch Doctor living in the suburbs and his zombie fetus army attempts to train his replacement in the ways of revenge, Cthulhu over sleeps and misses the apocalypse, and many more funny and awful stories.

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    7. Jorge Corona spreads his wings

    Jorge Corona had been doing fun visual work on the “Teen Titans Go!” comic over at DC Comics, but now he gets to spread his wings as a writer & artist over at Boom! And let me tell you if you haven’t noticed, Boom! Studios has absolutely been doing work, son. Lately it seems like every new title they put out is great and unique in its own way. They’re earning so much of my goodwill that I’ll basically try anything new they put out. But I feel even better about giving it a chance since it’s all-ages fantasy from a budding comics talent.

    Feathers #1
    Written & Illustrated by Jorge Corona
    Published by Boom! Studios

    WHY WE LOVE IT: In the footsteps of Archaia titles Rust, Iron, Will o’ the Wisp, and The Reason for Dragons, debut writer/artist Jorge Corona brings a brand-new voice to the comics industry with Feathers. With our passion for working with fresh talent, we could not be happier to introduce his work to a wider audience.

    WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: There’s never been a better time for fantastic, all-ages comics that embrace both the darkness and beauty in life. Fans of Avatar: Legend of Korra, Mike Mignola, and Amulet will fall in love with Poe, the boy covered in feathers.

    WHAT IT’S ABOUT: A recluse boy born covered in feathers must help his firstever friend, a young girl named Bianca, as she tries to return to her home beyond the slums of the Maze. They must dodge street gangs and childsnatchers along the way, and perhaps together will learn the secrets to his mysterious past.

    6. The kingliest of comics

    I put “Flash Gordon” up here, but I really wanted to highlight the entire “King” line of books that Dynamite is soliciting this month. They’ve put together a variety of series based on the “King Features” properties (Prince Valiant, Jungle Jim, Mandrake the Magician, and The Phantom join in on the fun too). With good creative teams, a fun-sounding premise, and a connecting cover spread by Darwyn Cooke across all the 1st issues, this sounds like a package worth trying whole hog for at least the first month. I know I plan to.

    King: Flash Gordon #1
    Written by Ben Acker & Ben Blacker
    Illustrated by Lee Ferguson
    Published by Dynamite Entertainment


    5. I confess: I used the Dragon Balls to wish for more Akira Toriyama manga

    Are you kidding me? How could this not make my list? I mean, I don’t know if it’s any good or not. But it’s international treasure Akira Toriyama’s latest work – I don’t need to know. I can guess, however, that it’ll be worth a read. If you’re anything like me, Toriyama’s “Dragon Ball” was at its best when it was a humor manga about a young Goku running around trying to collect the Dragon Balls with a ragtag crew. You know, before he grew up and his power level got to be “over 9000.”

    Hearing that “Jaco” is a quirky comedy manga is music to my ears.

    Jaco the Intergalactic Patrolman
    Written & Illustrated by Akira Toriyama
    Published by Viz Media

    Akira Toriyama, manga legend and creator of Dragon Ball Z, is back with the quirky comedy Jaco the Galactic Patrolman! Retired scientist Omori lives alone on a deserted island while continuing his research into time-travel. His quiet life is interrupted when galactic patrolman Jaco crash-lands and decided to move in with him. Can Jaco get along with the old man long enough to save the earth from a dangerous threat? Includes a special bonus chapter introducing Dragon Ball Z hero Goku’s parents!

    Continued below

    4. Who needs a prince anyway?

    Alright, alright, alright. More “Princeless.” Finally. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading “Princeless”, then you’ve got some work to do. Again, our friends at Action Lab don’t get enough love, but we’re starting to give them more of what they deserve. But although I’ve pointed out some cool books over these last couple of months, we’re now talking about a bonafide, award-winning, butt-kicking book in “Princeless.” Give it a try.

    Princeless: The Pirate Princess #1
    Written by Jeremy Whitley
    Illustrated by Rosy Higgins & Ted Brandt
    Published by Action Lab Entertainment

    Princess Adrienne is back! This time Adrienne and Bedelia have found another young princess locked away in a tower and decided to rescue her. But Princess Raven is more than meets the eye and Adrienne may have finally met her match. The story that started in FCBD 2013 will finally be told with Limited Edition Variant cover by the original FCBD artist Soojin Paek.

    3. Let’s do the Time Walk again

    Before one of you rabid, annual public-viewing, sing-out-loud-at-the-big-screen “Rocky Horror” lovers yells at me, I know it’s “Time Warp”, but that’s not what we’re talking about today. No, we’re talking about perhaps the most intriguing of Valiants’ new round of titles: “Ivar, Timewalker.” First of all, the title itself might be one of the greatest in comics. The man’s name is Ivar, and he’s a Timewalker. What more do you need to know? How about the fact that it’s drawn by Valiant’s greatest weapon: Clayton Henry? How about the fact that it’s written by Mr. Reliable series-launching guru Fred Van Lente?

    Ivar, Timewalker #1
    Written by Fred Van Lente
    Illustrated by Clayton Henry
    Published by Valiant Entertainment

    Prehistoric empires! Dystopian futures! And everywhere in between!

    From the New York Times best-selling team of Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry comes a centuries-spanning race against the clock, straight out of the pages of ARCHER & ARMSTRONG! The past, present, and future of our universe are about to meet an untimely end, and only the mysterious Ivar Anni-Padda can prevent all three from collapsing in on themselves. Unstuck in time, and pursued by enemies simultaneously across every moment of his time-lost life, can the man called Timewalker save everything that ever was, is, and will be? Get ready for a clock-stopping odyssey into the distant past and far future as the most unlikely Valiant hero of all leaps into his first history-ripping adventure!

    2. A healthy dose of DeForge

    I believe I’ve talked about DeForge here at Multiversity at one point or another. In fact, it was probably to recommend his “Lose” issue #6, which came out a month ago, or thereabouts. DeForge has a unique visual minds eye. He sees and creates the unexpected using deceptively simple linework. He does a lot with different dimensions, perspective, and colors to create surreal imagery that evokes or satirizes everything from the mundane to the controversial aspects of humanity. Mostly I like DeForge because reading anything by him almost puts me into a trance, where I alternately marvel over how weird his aesthetic is, whilst trying to figure out how I can trick my brain into seeing things half as interestingly as he clearly does.

    First Year Healthy
    Written & Illustrated by Michael DeForge
    Published by Drawn & Quarterly

    First Year Healthy purports to be the story of a young woman, recently released from the hospital after an outburst, and her burgeoning relationship with an odd, perhaps criminal Turkish immigrant. In a scant 48 pages, working with a vibrant, otherworldly palette of magentas, yellows, and grays, Michael DeForge brings to life a world whose shifting realities are as treacherous as the thin ice its narrator walks on. First Year Healthy is all it appears to be and more: a parable about mental illness, a folk tale about magical cats, and a bizarre, compelling story about relationships. Michael DeForge’s effortless storytelling and eye for striking page design make each page of First Year Healthy a fascinating puzzle to be unraveled.

    Continued below

    1. Power to the people

    A no-brainer, really. “March: Book One” was one of the most acclaimed books of last year, and a stunningly moving look at a historical topic that has been oft-discussed but never quite like this. The Civil Rights Movement will exist in some shape or form for as long as we’re all alive – it’s just the focus that might change over the years. Still, the same things that were being fought for then, are still being fought for – or struggled with – today, which makes works like “March” eternally relevant and weighty. Do yourself a favor and pick these books up. They’re quality comics, you might learn something, and the subject matter is eternally vital.

    March: Book Two
    Written by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin
    Illustrated by Nate Powell
    Published by Tom Shelf Productions

    Congressman John Lewis, an American icon and one of the key figures of the civil rights movement, continues his award-winning graphic novel trilogy with co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell, inspired by a 1950s comic book that helped prepare his own generation to join the struggle. Now, March brings the lessons of history to vivid life for a new generation, powerfully and urgently relevant for today’s world. After the success of the Nashville sit-in movement, John Lewis’ commitment to social change through nonviolence is stronger than ever – but as he and his fellow Freedom Riders board a bus into the vicious heart of the deep south, they will be tested like never before. Faced with beatings, police brutality, imprisonment, arson, and even murder, the movement’s young activists place their lives on the line while internal conflicts threaten to tear them apart. But their courage will attract the notice of powerful allies, from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy – and once Lewis is elected chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, he’ll find himself helping to lead the greatest demonstration in American history: the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

    //TAGS | Soliciting Multiversity

    Vince Ostrowski

    Dr. Steve Brule once called him "A typical hunk who thinks he knows everything about comics." Twitter: @VJ_Ostrowski


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