Hello, mental_floss! Every Wednesday, I'll be highlighting the five most exciting comic releases of the week. The list may include comic books, graphic novels, digital comics and webcomics. I'll even highlight some Kickstarter comics projects on occasion. There's more variety and availability in comics than there has ever been, and I hope to point out just some of the cool stuff that's out there. If there's a release you're excited about, let's talk about it in the comments.
1. Godzilla Half Century War
By James Stokoe
Has there ever been a more exciting marriage of artist and subject than James Stokoe with his hyper-kinetic, insanely detailed manga-by-way-of-graffiti cartooning style and Godzilla with the fiery, urban debris and frothy, oceanic riptide he always leaves in his wake?
Godzilla Half Century War collects the recent five issue mini-series that shows us Godzilla through the eyes of a human adversary, a Japanese soldier named Ota Murakami, who grapples with the giant lizard over a 50 year time span.
Already deemed a Kaiju classic, this thing is indeed a treat for the eyes. Stokoe does not shy away from drawing every scale on Godzilla's body and every piece of rubble and wreckage. Plus, the radioactive coloring makes this burn off the page or the screen or whatever you choose to read it on.
2. My Dirty Dumb Eyes
By Lisa Hanawalt
Drawn & Quarterly
Lisa Hanawalt is one of the most honestly funny and unique cartoonists working in comics today. Between her star-making illustrated movie reviews for the website Hairpin and her various mini-comics over the past few years it's hard to believe that My Dirty Dumb Eyes is only her first book. Published by Drawn & Quarterly, it collects various short pieces that have appeared online like her hilarious movie reviews of War Horse and Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the delightfully odd "Rumors I've Heard About Anna Wintour."
Be prepared for scatological humor and lots of drawings of genitalia, horses and dogs (possibly all in the same drawing). Preview some of the safer for work drawings here.
3. Green Lantern #20
Written by Geoff Johns with a variety of artists
Geoff Johns has been writing Green Lantern for nearly ten years, ever since reintroducing Hal Jordan as the books protagonist in 2004's Green Lantern: Rebirth. His run on the series even continued through last year's reboot and renumbering of all of DC's 52 titles. That long run comes to an end this week as Johns concludes his last story arc, "Wrath of the First Lantern", and the overall story he's been telling about Hal Jordan all these years.
I plan to usually highlight individual books that are easy jumping on points rather than last chapters of a story arc, but, this extra-sized, specially-priced issue is jam-packed with commemorative material like a retrospective of Johns' run that make this a special consideration. Many of the artists he's worked with on this book over the years return for this issue and a special short story following the main "Wrath" story promises to blow fans minds upon reading it.
4. The Property
By Rutu Modan
Drawn & Quarterly
Israeli cartoonist Rutu Modan's debut graphic novel Exit Wounds won critical acclaim and many awards including the Eisner Award in 2008 for Best Graphic Novel. Her latest book, released this week, has already been very well reviewed and will probably end up on many "Best Of 2013" lists. It is about a woman who travels to Warsaw with her granddaughter to reclaim family property lost during WWII. Or at least the granddaughter thinks that is the reason.
Modan's clear thin line and subtle, restrained coloring has a very European feel. Her simply cartooned characters moving about within intricately drawn and well researched settings give her work a sense of reality that not every cartoonist can easily achieve.
By Irene Koh
Alba is an intriguing new webcomic by newcomer Irene Koh about a boarding school in post-WWII Connecticut whose students have become afflicted by ghouls with some sort of disease that turns them into living skeletons.
Though only a few pages have been posted as of this writing, Koh seems to have started by jumping right into the action. Her black and white artwork with its rich, moody washes makes this look like a creepy horror manga while her sense of dialogue shown so far between the young heroine, Alba, and a talking skeleton hint at where the true strength of this comic may lie.
Koh adds a new page every Monday and like a number of webcartoonists recently has chosen to use Tumblr as her publishing platform. Judging by the number of likes and reblogs on each page already, that seems like a smart choice.
Meanwhile, in comics news this past week:
• Writer James Robinson announced that he will be leaving the book Earth 2 with issue #16 and will not be moving on to another DC title in its stead. Though his departure seems amicable enough he is yet another in a long line of creatives that have jumped ship from DC recently, leaving its creative stability in question.
• The Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival abruptly announced that it will no longer be putting on its show each year. According to this article on The Comics Journal, the reasons seem to involve irreconcilable differences between the festival's three co-founders.
• The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, lovingly known as TCAF, is going strong and just had one of its biggest shows ever as detailed here on The Comics Reporter. The future may be uncertain for some indie comic centric festivals but long-running shows like TCAF and SPX (the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland) have risen to the top even if they're experiencing some growing pains as evidenced in this article from The Beat.
• It was recently announced that AOL was shutting down popular comics news site Comics Alliance. However, it appears that nothing truly dies in comics.