• Columns 

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

    By | September 26th, 2014
    Posted in Columns | % Comments

    October Previews were chock full of goodness, but as you’ll see from the following list, I’d recommend throwing most of your money at a couple of majorly good collections coming out. But aside from that, Valiant is releasing what might be its most promising series yet, Bongo puts out a comic based on one of The Simpsons best side characters, and a comic based on one bad mutha–

    (Shut your mouth)

    Okay, on to the list then:

    10. “My son returns from a fancy East Coast college and I’m horrified to find that he is a nerrrrrd.”

    Did you know that if you piece together all of the McBain movie scenes from The Simpsons, you can kinda get an actual story out of it? Anyway, these were often some of the best parts of classic Simpsons episodes – and that is saying a lot. Bongo Comics are totally underrated around here, because they’re pretty great despite The Simpsons being past its prime. So support this, even if McBain would rather say “Bye book” rather than read one.

    McBain #1
    Written and Illustrated by various creators
    Published by Bongo Comics

    You Only Die Once! Springfield’s #1 box office draw finally gets top billing on the Simpsons One-Shot Wonders marquee! Many of you may know him as the muscle-bound strongman turned action star Rainier Wolfcastle, but the world (as if that wasn’t enough) knows him simply by one name — McBain! Never Say One-Shot Again!

    9. Bachan Rocket

    Bachan, the artist on this book right here, totally bowled me over with his work on “Imagine Agents”, a book that actually made me feel feelings with its art. It was very special and horrifying. From that series on, I’ll follow anything the guy does. His work is dynamic, fun, and just has a way of connecting with the reader. It’s totally cartoony and sprawling, and should definitely garner more appreciation. I know next to nothing else about “Rocket Salvage”, but it’s from Boom! Studios and it’s got Bachan art. I don’t need to know anything else.

    Rocket Salvage #1
    (W) Yehudi Mercado (A/CA) Bachan
    Published by Boom! Studios

    WHY WE LOVE IT: When writer/animator Yehudi Mercado (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: UNIVERSAL WEAPON; PANTALONES, TX) came to us with a dysfunctional family drama about three clones running a rocket ship repair shop, we were already on board. Throw in some spaceport street and a few alien gangsters – tell us when to start our engines!

    WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: Did we mention space racing?! With sequences from artist Bachan (IMAGINE AGENTS), this series has both action and heart. Fans of STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS, BRAVEST WARRIORS, and SPEED RACER will want to pick up a wrench and strap in for the ride.

    WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Primo Rocket used to be the fastest speederin the galaxy, but after a crash that sealed the fate of his spacehome, Rio Rojo, Primo has resigned himself to life as a lowly spaceship salvage yard owner. However, his two “kids”clone Beta, and Beta’s genius girl Zeta seem to keep out of trouble. When the dysfunctional family suddenly becomes the target of an intergalactic manhunt, the family has to come together to save their home.

    8. We can dig it

    This is not exactly a controversial statement, but: there are not enough black creators getting steady work in comics. There are also not enough women creators – though the ratio is certainly much better. There are also not enough “Shaft” comics. Well, we’re all in luck, because the #8 pick on this list is going to improve on all three of those points. David Walker is an extremely smart guy that, based on his extensive work as something of a historian on African American pop culture, is going to be the perfect writer to put on a “Shaft” comic. And have you seen Bilquis Evely’s art? My word, her work on “Doc Savage” was so good. And yet it went largely unheralded, but that’s probably due more to a lack of people reading and talking about “Doc Savage” than anything else. She’s the real deal. This is an exciting comic prospect.

    Continued below

    Shaft #1
    (W) David Walker (A) Bilquis Evely (CA) Bill Sienkiewicz, Denys Cowan
    Published by Dynamite Entertainment

    Who’s the black private dick that’s a sex machine with all the chicks? Shaft! Created by author Ernest Tidyman, and made famous in a series of novels and films, iconic hero Shaft makes his comic book debut in an all-new adventure. He’s gone toe-to-toe with organized crime bosses, stood up to the cops, squared off against kidnappers, and foiled assassination attempts. But who was John Shaft before he became the hardboiled investigator with a reputation as big as New York City itself?

    7. Two classic geek heroes-turned-bros

    I can’t think of two people that traditional “geek” types like to talk about more than H.P. Lovecraft and Nikolai Tesla. Okay, maybe Doctor Who and Benedict Cumberbatch are up there, but I can’t think of two real life people that geeks like more. (Cumberbatch can’t be real – look at that freakin’ facial structure!)

    One thing I know for sure is that the pairing will make for some fun comics, at minimum, because that’s what Action Labs Entertainment does.

    Herald: Lovecraft & Tesla #1
    (W) John Reilly (A) Tom Rogers, Dexter Weeks (CA) Tom Rogers
    Published by Action Lab Entertainment

    When Nikola Tesla’s fiancée, Amelia Earhart, steals a dangerous prototype engine for a trans-Atlantic flight, Tesla seeks out the interdimensional expertise of H.P. Lovecraft to save her. Lovecraft, however, has problems of his own as he investigates the identity of Cthulhu’s Herald. Variant cover by Colin Dyer, limited to 1,500 copies!

    6. The “Making Comics” *gasp* guy makes a comic

    Okay, so obviously this isn’t Scott McCloud’s first rodeo when it comes to making comics, but I think it’s fair to say that he is most known for being something of a scholar of them, with essential works like “Making Comics”, “Reinventing Comics”, and “Understanding Comics.” Let’s not sell the man short though – he’s a damn good cartoonist, and “Zot” is one for the ages. It’s exciting to see new fictional work coming from McCloud again, because he definitely puts all of his comic smarts on the page in his own work. It’s all there on the page.

    The Sculptor
    Written and Illustrated by Scott McCloud
    Published by :01 First Second

    David Smith is giving his life for his art—literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding what to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the 11th hour isn’t making it any easier!

    This is a story of desire taken to the edge of reason and beyond; of the frantic, clumsy dance steps of young love; and a gorgeous, street-level portrait of the world’s greatest city. It’s about the small, warm, human moments of everyday life…and the great surging forces that lie just under the surface. Scott McCloud wrote the book on how comics work; now he vaults into great fiction with a breathtaking, funny, and unforgettable new work.

    5. Throwing snow at your heartstrings

    Look at that cover. Classic Langridge. The man is an expert at weaving deep and mature stories out of cartoony, all-ages concepts. I give anything he does a chance, because so far he has not failed to tug at some part of my heart, whether it be through finely-tuned nostalgia (“Popeye” or “The Muppet Show”) or surprising emotional engagement (“Thor: The Mighty Avenger”). “Abigail and the Snowman”, from the art alone, looks like it’s going to have the same spirit.

    Abigail and the Snowman #1
    Written and Illustrated by Roger Langridge
    Published by Boom! Studios

    WHY WE LOVE IT: From his acclaimed run on THE MUPPET SHOW COMIC BOOK to his beloved THOR: THE MIGHTY AVENGER, Roger Langridge has earned a reputation for telling classical stories filled with heart and humor. After working with Roger on JIM HENSON’S THE MUSICAL MONSTERS OF TURKEY HOLLOW, we couldn’t wait to set him loose on his first creator series since the Eisner Award SNARKED. The fact that there are Yetis in this only made us even more confident Roger’s latest is going to be something special.

    WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: The story of an imaginative young girl who befriends a sophisticated Yeti is perfect for fans of classics like MONSTERS, INC. and LILO AND STITCH, while Roger’s fun, often hilarious art will be admired by fans who grew up on CALVIN AND HOBBES.

    WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Abigail is a nine year-old girl with a huge imagination who moves to a small town where she’s the new kid at school, struggling to make friends. All that changes when she meets a Yeti named Claude who has escaped a topgovernment facility. Abigail and Claude become the best of friends, but to make sure he can truly be free from the “Shadow Men” chasing him, they must go on an adventure to find Claude’s real home!

    Continued below

    4. Amanda Waller ain’t got nothin’ on this

    Michel Fiffe’s love-letter to “Suicide Squad” actually improves on a lot of the familiar storytelling tropes that have plagued that title and its characters since the classic Ostrander run. If DC Comics were smart, and if Fiffe were willing (he’s got a good thing going right here, the way it is), he’d be the next writer on “Suicide Squad.” But I only say that to make the point that “Copra” is such an excellent reconfiguration of the same sort of thing. Put your money towards this, instead of the next re-warmed version of whatever DC is calling the “Suicide Squad.”

    Copra: Round One
    Written and Illustrated by Michel Fiffe
    Published by Bergen Street Press

    “They’re ugly. They’re mean. But up until today, they’ve always been loyal. So when one of their own betrays them, the men and women of COPRA have no choice but to turn their nightmarish skills back on every son of a bitch who ever looked at them funny.”

    Here it is, the first six issues of Michel Fiffe‘s master class in self-publishing. COPRA: A superhero revenge machine.

    3. “Who watches the Valiant?”

    If Valiant’s currently stellar pedigree for putting out quality comics wasn’t enough to entice you in to trying out basically anything they do, what about this all-star creative team? Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt are two of comics most currently prolific talents, and Paolo Rivera is no slouch himself. Actually, he’s not just “no slouch” – he’s a tremendous artist, helping rescue and redefine “Daredevil” in the infancy of its current long-running Mark Waid iteration. To see him work in Valiant’s playground is sure to be a delight.

    The Valiant #1
    (W) Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt (A) Paolo Rivera
    Published by Valiant Comics

    A battle ten millennia in the making is about to begin…

    The Eternal Warrior has protected the Earth for more than 10,000 years. A master of countless weapons and long forgotten martial arts, he is guided by the Geomancers – those who speak for the Earth. During his long watch, the Eternal Warrior has failed three times. Each time, the Geomancer was killed…and a new dark age for humanity began. Each time, he was unable to stop The Immortal Enemy – a monstrous force of nature. A civilization killer. A horror that appears differently each time it arrives…and whose seemingly only purpose is to bring disorder and darkness to the world. Now, the time has come for The Immortal Enemy to return once more. But, this time, the Eternal Warrior will be ready. This time, he has a force greater than any single warrior. This time, he has…THE VALIANT.

    An entirely self-contained, new reader friendly comics event spotlighting Bloodshot, Eternal Warrior, Geomancer, and a cast of heroes and villains from across the Valiant Universe, THE VALIANT is a visionary new adventure from three of the greatest creative talents in comics today.

    2. Paging Joe Keatinge

    I always have to tip my hat to Joe Keatinge when the works of Hugo Pratt come up. Without his stumping for what are his favorite stories of all time, I probably would have had to rely on sheer luck or a random whim to give them a look. I admit, I’ve only gotten a taste of these treasures, but IDW is about to make it extremely easy to take a head first dive into them. They’re sure to look great on a shelf and live up to their long looming legend.

    Corto Maltese: Under the Sign of Capricorn
    Written and Illustrated by Hugo Pratt
    Published by IDW Publishing

    This book, the first of 12 volumes, launches the definitive English language edition of Hugo Pratt’s masterpiece, presented in the original oversized B&W format with new translations made from Pratt’s original Italian scripts.

    Long before the term “graphic novel” entered the popular lexicon-ten years before Will Eisner’s A Contract with God-Hugo Pratt pioneered the long-form “drawn literature” story. Corto Maltese set the standard for all adult adventure comics in Europe. By the mid-1970s Corto was the continent’s most popular series and Hugo Pratt the world’s leading graphic novelist.

    Hugo Pratt’s peripatetic sailor was featured in a series of 29 stories. The adventures of this modern Ulysses are set during the first 30 years of the 20th Century in such exotic locales as Pratt’s native Venice, the steppes of Manchuria, the Caribbean islands, the Danakil deserts, the Amazon forests, and the waves of the Pacific.

    Corto Maltese: Under the Sign of Capricorn collects the first six inter-connected short stories Pratt created in France in the early 1970s: “The Secret of Tristan Bantam,” “Rendez-vous in Bahia,” “Sureshot Samba,” “The Brazilian Eagle,” “So Much for Gentlemen of Fortune,” and “The Seagull’s Fault.”

    Continued below

    1. Wake up, Little Nemo!

    The fact that this project exists is something of a miracle to me. I think a massive oversized collection of “Little Nemo in Slumberland” strips by all of the greatest living cartoonists might be the best idea in comics that I have ever heard. It’s like “Before Watchmen”, but with much better intentions. The mind reels at the prospect of seeing what artists like J.H. Williams, Paul Pope, and Michael Allred (my word…how perfect is that?) would do with this world, in honor of a master like Winsor McCay. It might be expensive, but it’s the surest bet you’ll see all month.

    Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream
    (A) Gerhard & Various
    Published by Locust Moon Press

    Winsor McCay was perhaps the greatest cartoonist of all time, and the Sunday newspaper strip Little Nemo in Slumberland was his greatest creation. In Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, many of the world’s finest cartoonists will pay tribute to the master and his masterpiece, following their own voices down paths lit by McCay. Over 100 of the world’s greatest cartoonists and illustrators — including Bill Sienkiewicz, J.H. Williams III, Paul Pope, Michael Allred, David Mack, Stephen Bissette, Craig Thompson, Gabriel Bá, Fábio Moon, Peter Bagge, J.G. Jones, Yuko Shimizu and more — pay tribute to McCay and his seminal early-20th century masterpiece with their own giant, broadsheet-sized Little Nemo strips. This is a love song for McCay, Little Nemo, and the infinite possibility of comics.

    //TAGS | Soliciting Multiversity

    Vince Ostrowski

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


  • -->