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.
September's covers include masterclass composition from Genndy Tarkakovsky and Noelle Stevenson, some beautiful uses of light, color, and contrast, and some very different portraits of gods, old and new.
As the record will show, I'm a pretty big fan of Ryan Browne's God Hates Astronauts, but every time I read a new issue, I'm always left with one question: How exactly is Browne going to top himself next time? I mean, the book's major selling point is that it's 20 pages of unrestrained id that just keeps getting weirder and weirder, but when your starting point is hillbilly rocketships being taken down by a superhero with the spectral head of a ghost cow, that's a little harder to do than it might seem.
Fortunately, Browne is up for the challenge, which is why the second issue of the new ongoing series, out this week from Image, kicks off with astronauts (who are presumably hated by the Almighty) playing golf on the moon. Oh, and the astronauts are owls and there is also a swarm of evil space crabs on there too. Check it out below to see just how weird things can get in three short pages!
If you've been reading Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky's Sex Criminals (and honestly, I'm pretty sure that if you're reading this, you are), then you've probably noticed that one of the best parts of the comic comes in the letters page where the two creators offer the reader tips for a better sex life. Wait, no. "Better" is probably not the right word. Oh well, you get the idea.
Either way, the tips have been very enthusiastically received, and with the success of Sex Criminals, Fraction and Zdarsky are looking to spread the word and penetrate the market by collecting them in Just The Tips a handsome, 96-page hardcover that will look great on your coffee table, or hastily thrown under the sofa when your parents visit. And just in case that doesn't arouse your interest, we've got a massive 23-page preview of the tips and sex positions ready for your perusal.
Please be advised, though, this is extremely not safe for work, unless your work is 100% cool with drawings of boners and buttholes, in which case you probably work for ComicsAlliance and saw it already.
On its own, the police procedural doesn't have that much traction within modern comics. In the early days of the medium -- especially in newspaper strips -- it was a different story, and straight-up police tales were among some of the most popular of the day. A little over a decade ago, though, everybody seemed to realize the potential to mix police procedurals with other genres, frequently to fantastic and award-winning results: Alan Moore and Gene Ha's Top Ten; Gotham Central, by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, Michael Lark and others; and Powers by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming. Those books realized the natural fit that cop stories had within superhero stories, and thus a sub-genre was born.
But there's still plenty of room left for cop shows in comics, and over the last few years, the sci-fi procedural has definitely been in its ascendance. With Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood's The Fuse, we have a new standard by which to judge all others.
Otis Frampton's all-ages comic Oddly Normal has been around for a decade now, starting in 2004 as a webcomic, then a four-issue miniseries, a graphic novel, a Kickstarter-funded book in 2012, and now a brand new Image Comics series.
At its core, Oddly Normal is about a 10-year-old girl who wished her parents away. Now Frampton intends to dig into the origins of Oddly, his half-witch protagonist. The new series examines what it's like to be different and how mean kids can be, and explores how the drastic measures kids take when they're fed up with that cruelty can lead to... unintended consequences.
Among a certain group of comics fans -- namely, comedians -- Bob Fingerman is a name that is revered.
Over the quarter-century or so that he has been working in comics, Fingerman has dipped his toe into a lot of different pools, from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics all the way to Eros' porn comix, but his autobiographical comic Minimum Wage will probably be what he's remembered for through the ages. Over the past few years, Image Comics has given readers ample opportunity to catch up with Minimum Wage, and in October they'll have a chance to read the first six issues of the new iteration of the series in a brand new trade paperback.
If you asked me who my favorite writers were in comics today, Scott Snyder's name would be right up there at the top of the list, but I'll be honest with you: That's entirely because of his work on Batman. There's very little of his work outside of my favorite superhero that I've read, including American Vampire -- and that alone is pretty weird when you consider that it's got Dracula in it, and he's a solid #2 on my personal list of the best bat-themed characters in fiction. As a result, I've ben looking forward to checking out some of his other work for a while, and Wytches, the new book coming out from Image, felt like a pretty good place to start trying.
It is, after all written by Snyder and drawn by his Batman: The Black Mirror collaborator Jock, and if there are two creators that I like enough to give a new book a try sight unseen, it's them. Having read the first issue, though, I can tell you that it is very good, but very, very dark.
Chip Zdarsky is clearly his own man. While other comic creators took their places behind their tables at Toronto's Fan Expo comic convention this past weekend, the co-creator of Sex Criminals set up his own independent 'Zdarscon' in a park across the street -- in the shadow of the CN Tower and a short distance from the Blue Jays baseball game at the Rogers Centre. Even his co-author Matt Fraction wasn't invited.
The day started with torrential rain, followed by blazing heat, but Zdarsky was attended at all times by Alex Hoffman, the life model who provides the likeness for his Sex Criminal character Jon. ComicsAlliance found Zdarsky seated on a sun-baked armchair on a wheeled platform, with his recently won Eisner Award bolted to a table. We grabbed five minutes with the writer/artist to ask... why, Chip? Why?
If there's a Hall of Fame for comic book titles, then Giant-Size Kung Fu Bible Stories deserves its own wing. You put those words in that order on the cover of a comic book, and I'm going to buy it, no questions asked, and I'm pretty sure I'm not exactly alone in that way of thinking. To be honest, though, I will admit to being just a little bit disappointed that it's not an accurate description of the contents. I mean, is there anyone who wouldn't want to read a treasury-sized extravaganza about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego busting out forbidden martial arts techniques in order to fight their way out of the oven? I would.
That said, what we actually have -- an extra-sized $20 tome edited by Bruce Timm and Erik Larsen -- is still pretty amazing; an anthology of stories from fantastic creators that accomplishes that rare feat of being an anthology book where every single story is highly entertaining, even if they're not about Esau mastering poison styles to take his ultimate revenge on Jacob.
Originally published as a set of odd, ominous webcomic stories, cartoonist Wes Craig's Blackhand Comics will see print in October as a graphic novel collection from Image.
Three stories make up the volume: "The Gravedigger's Union," "Circus Day," and "The Seed." From the looks of them, they're going to be great additions to any horror lover's spooky comics collection, and excellent Halloween reads.
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