Hiatuses kill me. When a great comic book reaches out and touches all those nodes of pleasure in my brain on a regular basis, I come to expect the hit. When that hit suddenly doesn’t come when it’s supposed to, when the next issue is listed in the solicitations only to get pushed back again and again, that expectation grows from an anxious wiggle of electricity in my brain into a full-blown itch, and the longer the wait goes on, the more I want to push my fingers into my head and scratch it. Try as I might, I can’t recall a recent book that’s given me that itch, that’s instigated that want more than Image Comics’ Nowhere Men. Eric Stephenson, Nate Bellegarde, Jordie Bellaire, and Fonografiks are creating one of the most intelligent, experimental, and beautiful comics today, and after an absence of several months, this week it finally returns.
Season four of The Walking Dead, AMC's television adaptation of the the Eisner-winning comic series created by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore, debuted this weekend. ComicsAlliance will be following along all season to see who survives.
By the end of Season 3, Rick and the other survivors successfully repelled the Woodbury invasion, Merle was killed, Milton was killed, Andrea was killed, Carl shot a kid when he didn’t have to, The Governor gunned down his own army, and Glen Mazzara was run out of town. Having defended the prison and leaving the young and old of Woodbury without protection, Rick took in the remaining citizens, giving his own group more mouths to feed and himself more people to feel responsible for.
Last season’s finale left the viewer with a lot of questions: How would the family deal with the new responsibility? Could the prison successfully protect them all? Is The Governor coming back? Has Rick lost it? Is Carl crazy, uniquely adapted to survive in a zombie apocalypse, or just an ungrateful little snot with way too stylish a haircut for the end times? Does anybody care that Comic Book Men exists? And of course, the most important question, the theme that’s been hammered into us since the very first episode: can you do what it takes to survive in this world and still be a good person?
Paul Pope has cultivated a lot of street cred for his work outside of comics. He’s worked for Spin, Complex, Wired and GQ, designed clothing for DKNY and posters for the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and he even deejays on the side. In Battling Boy, his first original graphic novel since 2007, he reminds everyone that when he’s not working in fashion design, magazine illustration, or dropping dope-ass beats, he’s one of the most gifted comics creators on the planet, whose every pen-stroke deserves our rapt attention. The first of a two-volume story from First Second, Battling Boy combines superhero comics with pulp sci-fi and kaiju manga in a coming-of-age adventure about the son of a god, the daughter of a dead hero, and a city full of monsters.
Here's a fun fact: when you Google Sex Criminals, the first result you get does not, in fact, refer to the new Image Comics series from Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky. Instead, in a deft maneuver to remind us of the blackness that surrounds us, the byzantine network of pneumatic tubes that constitutes Google’s search engine front-loads the page with a link to the National Sex Offender Registry. For the record, internet: Sex Criminals is a funny, engaging, and inventive new comic book about sex, love, and fighting the man, with a clever sci-fi twist. Sex offenders are not. For more on the hilarious differences between the two, continue reading.
So, what family obligation will you be ignoring to watch Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tonight? Well, ComicsAlliance gives you permission to ignore the guilt: wedding anniversaries happen all the time; greatest moments in television history only happen once every fifteen years. To celebrate the newest greatest moment in television history, we hereby present our review of the original one: 1998's television film Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., written by David S. Goyer and starring the greatest actor in television history, the one and only David Hasselhoff. Read on if you can handle all the greatness.
In advance of Matt Fraction and Joe Madureira's upcoming Inhuman series, this week Marvel released a new hardcover edition of the highly-regarded Inhumans by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee. The twelve-issue Marvel Knights book, which won the 1999 Eisner Award for “Best New Series,” brought a new level of sophistication to the Lee/Kirby oddballs, activating in them the dormant metaphors of class separation and the coming-of-age ritual. At a time when superhero books seemed to be improving at an explosive rate, Inhumans was one of the most-talked-about comics on the stands; it’s certainly one of Marvel’s defining books of the era, and for most of its run, it was one of my favorites. But there’s something about it that keeps me from labeling it a classic. To quote Maximus the Mad, “there is a flaw.”
A new volume of Batman: Black and White kicked off last week, continuing the DC Comics anthology's tradition of high quality. Debuting in 1996, the original Batman: Black and White series quickly set the comics world ablaze with a collection of short, powerful tales told by some of the industry's finest. Edited by Mark Chiarello, the four issues gathered sixteen original eight-page black and white stories from a who’s who of influential creators, including Archie Goodwin, Joe Kubert, Howard Chaykin, Brian Bolland, Bill Sienkiewicz, Neil Gaiman, and several more. It won the Eisner Awards for “Best Short Story” and “Best Anthology,” inspired a ton of great statues (one of which you can win), and two follow-up volumes in 2002 and 2007, mostly made up of backup stories from the Batman: Gotham Knights series.
In celebration of the new series, I read all three volumes of Batman: Black and White (I also did other stuff, I have a life), and after poring over all 600-plus pages, I can confidently say that these are the ten best stories from the original volumes, presented here in chronological order.
If you’ve never read Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment, it’s doubtful that you’re in some peculiar minority that has its own scholarship or anything. The book was released as an original graphic novel in 1989 and has only been in print sporadically since then, so it’s not hard to believe that so many have never come across it. But among a certain subset of fans, it's maintained a reputation as something of a forgotten classic, a rare treasure that savvy readers should excavate. This week it got a lot easier: Marvel released a new paperback edition of the 80-page story, along with a handful of related stories. So how does it hold up?
Remember that feeling you got when you first read the great comics of the Eighties? When fantastic deconstructions of superhero characters and genre fiction idioms introduced you to a new level of sophistication? When dozens of mainstream books were possessed of a style and edge that scaled up your spine and sent electricity licking through your neck? When sex and violence were done right? Do ya miss it? Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski might just have your fix: if you miss the honed sense of danger you got when reading The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, and American Flagg! it might be time to check out the Image comic Sex, the coolest new Batman book on the shelves.
Since his quirky, moving, and massive Bottomless Belly Button made every person in the world's best books of 2008 list, cartoonist Dash Shaw has turned his attention to shorter forms and new media. The long-running webcomic Bodyworld, the short story collection The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century AD, and the IFC animated shorts of the same name have all been marked successes, but many readers, myself included, wondered how long it would be before Shaw cycled back around to a new original graphic novel.
New School, the artist’s first long-form OGN in five years, is now available from Fantagraphics Books, and it answers our wonder with its own. A hardbound, 340-page story of brotherhood, prophecy, and theme parks, New School is surreal, emotional, and delirious with color.