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Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Deluxe Edition Comics And Art Books

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If you’re like some of the ComicsAlliance staff, you have a great affection for deluxe edition books that offer historical overviews of various pop culture topics, reprint the great works of the comics medium, and/or collect classic storylines (and supplement them with all kinds of bonus material)… And with the gift-giving season now in full swing, you're likely looking for the perfect gifts for your follow geeks (or possibly, wanting to give your relations some suggestions for things you'd like this year, in lieu of another ill-fitting sweater). So as a public service, we've compiled this list of some of the best expensive, large, and mind-blowingly ornate titles that you can find at your local comic shop or from online booksellers.

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ODY-C #1: Fraction & Ward Sabotage Future High School Term Papers With Gender-Swapped Sci-Fi ‘Odyssey’

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I would give literally anything to read the high school term papers that kids who read Matt Fraction and Christian Ward's ODY-C instead of the original Odyssey are going to be turning in to their teachers in a few years.

The first issue is out this week from Image, and as you might expect from the title, it recasts the classic Greek epic by Homer as a star-spanning adventure through space that Fraction calls "our Barbarella," and flipping the genders around so that the story focuses on women is probably the smallest change. Captain Odyssia's journey on a shift-ship powered by a crew of women whose thoughts have been synchronized, tossed by vengeful space-titans, might follow the big beats of Homer's original, but it's definitely something all its own.

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Jonathan Hickman & Ryan Bodenheim Reunite For ‘The Dying And The Dead’ In January

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I've been a fan of Jonathan Hickman's work at Image ever since he hit the ground running with The Nightly News, and the thing I tend to love most about those projects is how unrelentingly high-concept they are. There's always a new hook that I've never seen before, whether it's a satire about super-powered mutant apes or an ongoing series featuring real-life historical figures involved in truly ridiculous acts of mad science. As a result, if you tell me that Hickman and artist Ryan Bodenheim, who worked together on Red Mass For Mars, are doing a new series together called The Dying and the Dead, then my first question is "what's the high concept?"

And that's when I found out that they're referring to it as "Indiana Jones for old people," and I'm pretty much sold.

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Roc Upchurch Arrested For Domestic Violence, ‘Rat Queens’ Will Continue With A New Artist

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Earlier this week Bleeding Cool reported that Rat Queens artist John Upchurch, who draws under the pen name Roc Upchurch, was arrested in Georgia last month on charges of "Battery - Family Violence." The report sourced a blog post by Upchurch's wife describing the events, one which she later deleted but that is still available in the form of Web cache. Roc Upchurch confirmed the arrest in a statement to Bleeding Cool.

Following questions of what would become of the series, Rat Queens writer and co-creator Kurtis Wiebe announced on his website that in light of the nature of the charges, Upchurch will no longer be drawing the comic, and that Rat Queens will continue with a new artist.

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Image’s Variant Covers Will Look Especially Wicked + Divine In December

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I'm going to go ahead and assume that you've all been reading The Wicked + The Divine, because it is amazing and since you're currently reading ComicsAlliance, I already know that you're a person with taste. With that being the case, you may have noticed that one of the most distinct parts of the book has been the covers, where artist Jamie McKelvie and colorist Matt Wilson (not to be confused with our own prodigious Arrow recapper) have been doing striking portraits of the cast's faces.

It's a pretty great look, and next month, they'll be expanding that style to the rest of Image's lineup, providing WicDiv-style variant covers for six of Image's titles, marking new series and new story arcs.

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A Seething Hell Of Steel And Stone And Women Behind Bars: ‘Bitch Planet’ #1 [Review]

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Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro's Bitch Planet has the single best comic book title of the year. It's the kind of title where I stopped in my tracks when the book was announced months ago, and just from hearing those two words, thought "that's perfect" -- and that's before I heard that the premise backing it up was a modern feminist sci-fi take on women-in-prison flicks. From the moment I heard about it, I knew this comic was going to be amazing. Until I actually sat down and read it, though, I had no idea just how amazing it was going to be.

That's the thing about the first issue of Bitch Planet. It doesn't hit the ground running; it kicks off by blasting you into space and setting up a story of a world where the penalty for not knowing your place is a life sentence in a violent, neon-pink hell, juggling multiple points of view for a story of just how cruel that world can be. It's thrilling, it's violent, and it's one of the best first issues of the year.

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‘The Walking Dead’ Season 5 Comic-to-TV Comparison: “Self Help”

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‘The Walking Dead’ season 5 shambled out its 5th entry with Sunday’s latest "Self Help” but how did it hold up to the comic book continuity? Abraham's past is revealed as Eugene lets slip a shocking secret about their mission to D.C., so what’s next for ‘The Walking Dead’ as the fifth season kicks into gear?

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Joe Keatinge And Leila Del Duca Talk Fantasy, Character & Inspiration In ‘Shutter’ [Interview]

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Since the first issue hit stands earlier this year, Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca's Shutter has established itself as one of Image's most popular new titles. The tale of Kate Kristopher, a world-famous ex-explorer who gets embroiled in all manner of mystery and adventure, it's been winning over readers with its idiosyncratic blend of science fiction, urban fantasy, and good old-fashioned derring do.

With the first paperback collection released this week, ComicsAlliance sat down with the series' creators to talk about developing the world's characters, the story so far, and pushing the limits of their self-created reality.

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The Finality Of Death: Busiek & Dewey Defy Anthropomorphic Expectations With ‘Tooth & Claw’ #1

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Having been one of the creators who saved superhero comics in the 1990s, it can be difficult to think of Kurt Busiek as anything other than a superhero comic writer. But between all of his high-profile runs on big Marvel and DC books and undisputed classics Marvels and Astro City, Busiek has frequently played in the fantasy genre with great results. If you've never read The Wizard's Tale, Arrowsmith, or his run on Conan, you've been missing out on an aspect of Busiek's all-world talent that shouldn't be overlooked, and it's time to getcha life right.

Created by Busiek and Benjamin Dewey (I Was The Cat), Tooth & Claw is a fantasy about the end of magic, a mythical hero, and a dog-boy named Dunstan. And somehow, given all those words I just typed, it's also a dark Mature Readers comic about the suddenness and finality of death.

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Toronto’s Finest Halloween Cosplay At The Silver Snail’s Snailoween Party 2014

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Cosplay always goes mainstream at Halloween, with the witch and ghost and vampire costumes of yesteryear making way on the streets, and at parties and bars, for the sort of pop culture costumes we're more used to seeing at conventions. These days, everyone wants to be Iron Man. But a lot of comic fans take pride in going the extra mile at Halloween, and nowhere is that more true than at Toronto's annual Snailoween Party, organized by local retailer Silver Snail Comics. Cosplay photographer Paul Hillier was on the scene to capture some of the finest outfits of the night, and he's agreed to let us share them here at ComicsAlliance.

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