We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, awnd some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it is awesome.
This week, Chris and Matt are talking at length about Futures End #1 by Brian Azzarello, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, Jeff Lemire and Patrick Zircher, which continues the killing trend set off by the Free Comic Book Day #0 issue. Then they talk about Rat Queens #6 by Kurtis Wiebe and Roc Upchurch and Moon Knight #3 by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire!
With the wrap-up of writer Joe Keatinge's multi-artist "Strange Visitor" epic in Adventures of Superman last week, the series is nearing a full year of weekly, digital Superman stories. It's easily been the best, most daring Superman title DC Comics has been publishing in 2013 and 2014 (and not just because Superman gets to wear his real costume in it). Edited by Alex Antone, Adventures of Superman invites creators from all strata of comics to put their own stamps on Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's original American superhero, free from the aesthetic constraints of the publisher's main line of New 52 comics and continuity. We like it so much, Adventures of Superman ended up on our list of the best comic books published in 2013.
We thought it would be a good idea to look back at the series so far, so I've compiled the following list of stories that readers unfamiliar with the series should go back and catch up with if they want the high points of the past year. At a dollar a pop, they're all well worth it.
Moon Knight is an oddball in a comics universe peppered with oddballs. A former mercenary brought back from the dead by an Egyptian god to serve as his "fist" of retribution, MK's origin offers a peculiar mix of brutality, insanity, and fantasy.
Those elements have been fundamental to Moon Knight since he first appeared in Werewolf by Night in 1975, created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin. Yet in the hands of successive creative teams these elements have come together in ways that muddy the character, leaving both him and the readers confused about who he is. Now it falls to the new creative team of Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey to make it all make sense in Moon Knight #1, on sale this week from Marvel.
Mutants, monsters and warriors adorn our pick of the best covers of January 2014 as Best Comic Book Covers Ever returns. Check out amazing work from Kris Anka and Jared K. Fletcher, Darwyn Cooke, Wes Craig, Rafael Albuequerque and more. We'll even throw in an explosion. Boom! (That wasn't the explosion. We're just excited.)
Ever since Dynamite Entertainment picked up the rights to Flash Gordon from King Features in 2010, the publisher's been rolling out bigger and bigger plans for the Earthling's adventures on the planet Mongo. Following his tenure on the Kings Watch crossover between Flash (ah-ahhhhh), The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician, Jeff Parker is returning to the King of the Impossible for Flash Gordon #1 with artist Evan "Doc" Shaner (Adventures of Superman, Deadpool) and colorist Jordie Bellaire (Pretty Deadly).
Created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin, Moon Knight is essentially Marvel's answer to the question "What if Batman were somehow even more psychologically damaged?" That's not a bad premise, frankly, and the character has had some highly regarded writers and artists telling his stories over the years: Moench, Perlin, Bill Sienkiewicz, Chuck Dixon, J.M. DeMatteis, Kevin Nowlan, Brian Michael Bendis, and Mark Farmer, just to name a few.
Yet despite a history of talented creators, Moon Knight has never quite stuck; of the five attempts at a Moon Knight solo series, none have surpassed 60 issues, and the two most recent, launched in 2006 and 2011, only reached 30 and 12 issues, respectively.
But Marvel believes in the character. As such, this morning the publisher announced Moon Knight #1, from acclaimed writer Warren Ellis and artists Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire, to launch next year.
Three, the new miniseries from Kieron Gillen, Ryan Kelly and Jordie Bellaire, was first conceived when, after flipping through the pages of Frank Miller's 300 one night, Gillen had a bit of an angry realization. Miller's popular graphic novel presents the famed warriors of Sparta in a wholly positive, heroic light. Portraying the Spartans purely as heroes, defiant in the face of oppression and persecution while declaring themselves "The only free men the world has ever known," ignores one crucial detail that Gillen screamed into his copy of 300 that fateful night: Spartan warriors hunted slaves. And from this realization, Three was born. While it may not be a total repudiation of Miller's comic, it certainly presents the other side of the story, as readers witness three Helot workers attempt to escape the savage brutality of 300 of the most revered warriors in history.
The end of the first issue revealed the beginning of a mass slaughter. In issue #2, three survivors of the carnage race toward the free city of Messene, with 300 warriors on the their heels. Image Comics has provided ComicsAlliance with a six page preview of the issue, which you can view below.
It’s a rare thrill and kind of a pain when you come across a comic that so stubbornly defies explanation it easily wriggles out from the grasp of any words that you hope to entangle it with. Such is the case with Pretty Deadly, the new Image series by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Ríos, and Jordie Bellaire. I’ve already written and undone four descriptions, wincing every time I found my fingers typing words like “mashup” or “genre-bending,” then leaning on the DEL key to undo my lame attempts to classify such a mercurial book. So let’s try this: Pretty Deadly is an Eastern myth incubated in a Western womb; a story within a story within a story; a dark fairytale about bad men, worse women, and Deadface Ginny, the reaper of vengeance, the daughter of Death. Commence head-banging now.
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.