Google “Best Crime Comics of All Time” and you’ll find a lot of lists, includinga couple fromComicsAlliance, filled with many of the usual suspects: Criminal, Sin City, Torso, Scalped, and Darwyn Cooke’s Parker adaptations appear several times, alongside the archetypal series that defined the genre like Crime Does Not Pay, Dick Tracy (before Chester Gould started sending Tracy off to adventures on the Moon), and Crime SuspenStories. These are all undisputed classics in the genre that should be read by everyone, but notably, criminally absent (sorry, couldn’t help it) from every one of the lists that I came across was David Lapham’s Stray Bullets.
Every. Single. One.
Now that the title is returning, with new stories from Image Comics after nearly a decade-long absence, we may be able to rectify these egregious errors. Stray Bullets is the best crime comic of all time. And I will injury-to-the-eye-motif anybody who says different.
Black Francis (a.k.a. Frank Black) has been in the headlines lately with news that his band, Pixies, have fired new bassist Kim Shattuck, but it looks like the sort-of reunited band isn't the only project he's got going.
The singer and guitarist has co-written a new graphic novel titled The Good Inn. Josh Frank co-wrote the book with Black Francis (whose real name is Charles Thompson) and it will feature art by Steven Appleby, a cartoonist for the U.K. newspaper The Guardian.
Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean have each earned a level of success that goes way beyond comics. Gaiman is practically a household name these days, to the point where even my grandmother is familiar with his work. Dave McKean’s art is known throughout the western world. But it doesn’t have much to do with comics. It’s the other stuff that’s gotten them where they are -- the prose novels, Doctor Who, children’s books, advertising, album covers, and film projects. There are plenty of people who know of Gaiman or McKean but don’t know anything about comics. Comics can only provide some fame, and the levels of notoriety that Gaiman and McKean have surpass the borders of our little area of popular culture. But it began with comics.
Mark your calendars accordingly. A new trilogy of graphic novels by Faith Erin Hicks of The Adventures of Superhero Girl and Friends with Boys is going to kick off in 2016, and according to the far-in-advance press, it's going to be a grand, sweeping story.
The Nameless City will be in the vein of such works as Avatar: The Last Airbender, Bone, and Earthsea, according to publisher First Second Books. That's some big talk, but Hicks has the art to back it up.
As Ric Flair always said, "Space Mountain may be the oldest ride in the park, but it still has the longest line."
Perhaps the Nature Boy's wisdom is why Disney has chosen the ride to be the basis for a trilogy of graphic novels written by Bryan Q. Miller and illustrated by Kelley Jones and Hi-Fi Design, the first of which will hit in May 6, 2014.
The ink is barely dry on writer/artist Paul Pope's new all-ages graphic novel Battling Boy, but just like that, a prequel is on the way.
The Rise of Aurora West, which tells the story of one of Battling Boy's allies, the daughter of science hero Haggard West, is set for release in July 2014. Pope will have some help on the book this time. J.T. Petty will co-write it with him and it'll be drawn by artist David Rubin.
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.”
Fresh off an Eisner win for her 2012 adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time, graphic novelist and filmmaker Hope Larson is already stirring up interest in her next project, Four Points, a graphic-novel adventure set in 1860 and illustrated by artist Rebecca Mock.
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.
Before you get too wrapped up in Zero Year, this Wednesday you'll have a chance to get caught up on Year One. Because that's how we do things in comics now: we go backwards. On sale this week is a brand new collection of two great Year One stories that sharpened up the continuity of their respective characters, and added new depth and clarity to backstories that were previously kinda flat and fuzzy. Batgirl/Robin: Year One gathers two separate miniseries that could each claim to be the definitive story for their Bat-family members: Robin: Year One by Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty, and Javier Pulido; and Batgirl: Year One by Scotty Beatty, Chuck Dixon (same writers, different listing) and Marcos Martin. And let me tell ya, Batgirl and Robin are two great tastes that go great together.
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