The question most often asked of the ComicsAlliance staff is a variation of, "Which comic books should I be reading?" or, "I'm new to comics, what's a good place to start?" The Wednesday deluge of new comic books, graphic novels and collected editions can be daunting even for the longtime reader, much less for those totally unfamiliar with creators, characters and publishers, and the dark mysteries of comic book shopping like variants, pre-ordering, and formats.
It's with these challenges in mind that we've created Best Comic Books Ever (This Week), an ongoing guide curated by the ComicsAlliance staff. This is where new comics readers and seasoned Wednesday shoppers alike can find our picks of the best books the medium has to offer.
The last twelve months offered comic book readers a wide variety of work ranging from the most crowd-pleasing superhero epics to the most idiosyncratic of indies, and the return of old favorites to the emergence of exciting new talent. It was a busy and productive year for the industry, and one we’re pleased to celebrate with what we’re certain will be an uncontroversial, unenumerated list of awards that will prompt only resounding agreement and unbroken fellowship amongst our readers in the comments below.
Graphic novelist Ed Piskor grew up in Pittsburgh at the intersection of hip-hop and comics.
That's one of the takeaways from the mini-documentary that accompanied a recent profile of the Hip-Hop Family Tree creator in Pittsburgh Magazine. In it, Piskor visits his childhood home -- now totally dilapidated and overgrown -- and finds his old sketches on the walls. He talks about the playgrounds nearby where hip-hop found a footing in Pittsburgh, and visits the comic shop that helped launch his career.
Back in July, ComiXology addressed one of the biggest questions people had with its digital comics service: Do customers actually own the issues they buy?
The company unviled a DRM-free backup feature, but only for a handful of publishers, including Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, and Top Shelf Productions, among others. This week, ComiXology announced a second wave of publishers that will offer DRM-free downloads -- and no, Marvel and DC still aren't part of the deal.
Tony Millionaire's Sock Monkey stories are a superb example of the unparalleled story-telling that only the medium of comics can offer, so the announcement of a new book featuring Uncle Gabby, Mr. Crow, and Inches the doll is exciting news. For those unfamiliar with Sock Monkey, it's a strange but satisfying amalgamation of traditional, old school children's books (particularly in terms of narrative style), ostensibly following the escapades of a monkey made from a a sock, a stuffed crow, and a creepy porcelain doll, but crossing into darker themes and horror, as the eccentric, superficial innocence of the set-up meets a very human realism.
Written in collaboration with animation director Matt Danners, Into The Woods finds the toys convinced that their human owner, Ann-Louise, has been kidnapped by a vicious monster dubbed the Amarok, and so they embark on a mission into the Haunted Woods to rescue her and bring her home.
Comics generally -- and the creative team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips specifically -- have heartily embraced the look and feel of noir in the past decade or so. Perhaps that's why Fantagraphics Books figured now would be the time to release a collection of the source material: some of the best noir film posters from the 1940s and 1950s.
Film Noir 101: The 101 Best Film Noir Posters from the 1940s-1950s, went on sale last month, with commentary on the posters from author Mark Fertig. The biggest fans of the genre have an opportunity this weekend to see an exhibit of all the art from the book at the Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery in Seattle.
Sure, artist/writer Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit is a series of graphic novels that escalates its depictions of violence and all-around immorality to such a level that readers assume that there's no possible way Ryan can top himself, and then he does. But do the drawings move?
Well, they didn't, until now. If you're in the Los Angeles area, you can go see what promises to be an X-rated animated version of the books, now five volumes deep into the grotesque, occasionally genitals-based brutality of the inhabitants of the hellish titular pit. It'll be at Cine Family on August 30.
Listen: I love Robin Hood. Outside of Dracula, who I think we can all agree is pretty great, he's probably my favorite public domain character in the history of fiction, and between the sidekicks, the secret headquarters, the recognizeable costume and the uneasy relationship with local law enforcement, he's pretty much a direct ancestor to the kind of superheroes that we have today. So really, if there was anything that was going to get me back to being excited about the hardcovers reprinting Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse strips after the last volume left such a bad taste in my mouth, Mickey going on an adventure with Robin Hood was going to be the thing that did it.
Which, as it turns out, is exactly what they did. The latest Mickey volume from Fantagraphics is a collection of Gottfredson's full-color Sunday strips from 1936 to 1938 -- plus a whole bunch of bonus features from his later career -- that includes "The Robin Hood Adventure." And folks, this one isn't just a great story from a great creator, it's the kind of story where I want to just start grabbing people on the street and telling them they have to read it, because it's one of the weirdest things I have ever read.
Comic-Con attendees who kept their eyes peeled may have been lucky enough to snag a copy of the first volume in Fantagraphics Books' series of reprints of Don Rosa's Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck comics, The Son of the Sun. (Some even got signed copies!)
Everyone else will have to wait until the book is available next month to get their hands on it, but Fantagraphics has at least given readers a taste of what they'll be getting. Check out a 17-page preview of the crisp, colorful, chronological reprints of Rosa's comics, which date back to 1987, after the jump.
A great comic book cover is an advertisement, a work of art, a statement, and an invitation. A great comic book cover is a glimpse of another world through a canvas no bigger than a window pane. In Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month), we look back over some of the most eye-catching, original and exceptional covers of the past month.
July's comic book covers bring some gorgeous high contrast images and striking character portraits. There's a moment of grief; a moment of action; a moment of reflection; and a moment of revelation. Check out amazing work from Christian Ward, Eleanor Davis, Tommy Lee Edwards, and Lucy Knisley.
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