The Most Interesting Comics of the Week
Every Wednesday, I highlight the most interesting new comics hitting comic shops, Comixology, Kickstarter and the web. These are generally more short previews rather than complete reviews. Feel free to comment below if there's a comic you've read recently that you want to talk about.
1. Captain America: Winter Soldier
Written by Ed Brubaker; art by Steve Epting
It's a common misconception that blockbuster Hollywood superhero films automatically lead to an increase in sales for the comics that inspired them. This usually isn't the case. A movie like The Avengers has so many related graphic novels that an engaged moviegoer has no real clear-cut choice of which to buy after they've seen the film. With the upcoming release of the movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Marvel is making an effort to get their bookstore and movie theater synergy in place.
This is made easier because the film's plot is apparently closely based on a long story arc from Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting's award-winning run on the 2005 Captain America series. This new hardcover volume collects that entire "Winter Soldier" story which ran in issues 1-9 and 11-14. There's also a movie-related image right on the cover so that the choice at the bookstore is clear.
Brubaker and Epting created the definitive modern take on Captain America during their time on the series. They took Marvel's patriotic (but bland) do-gooder and set him within a super-espionage thriller with a dark and serious tone with Hollywood-style action scenes drawn in a slick and realistic style. It's Captain America for the conspiracy-laden, government-fearing 21st century.
2. Leaky Timbers
By Joey Ellis
Joey Ellis has had a very successful career as an illustrator and animator working for clients such as Disney, PBS Kids, Facebook, and Lowes, using a varied drawing style that touches upon retro 1950s advertising and corporate iconography. It has long been Ellis’ dream to be able to tell his own stories outside of that client work, and he has chosen to do so by making his first comic book and selling it on Kickstarter.
Leaky Timbers is a 72 page hardcover, black & white comic about a group of monsters that live in a rundown apartment complex. It’s a collection of kid-friendly short stories drawn in a style that is part Yo Gabba Gabba and part Adventure Time, with a little bit of the Muppets thrown in.
The Kickstarter campaign to fund the printing is well on its way to reaching its goal. The Kickstarter page is a joy to behold on its own. The main character from the book, Wolfie, appears in live-action puppet form in the introductory video and all backers (even if you just fund $1) get periodic video updates from Wolfie answering questions about the book and singing Bon Jovi songs. Wolfie even has his own Twitter account to help promote the campaign.
3. Cape Horn
Written by Christian Perrissin; art by Enea Riboldi
Set in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago off the southern coast of Chile at the end of the 19th century, Cape Horn is an epic historical drama in which a large cast of characters come together in violent and unexpected ways at the bottom of the world. While the story bounces back and forth among the characters, it primarily focuses on a rugged cowboy type named Johannes Orth with a mysterious past and Anna Lawrence, an English missionary who has lived her entire life among the indigenous people of Cape Horn.
This 228 page oversized hardcover is being released through the French publisher Humanoids, who specialize in high end graphic novels from celebrated European creators like Moebius and Alexandro Jodorowsky. Cape Horn comes from French writer Christian Perrissin and Italian artist Enea Riboldi, who bathes it in authenticity with beautiful, realistic artwork. His landscapes are lushly illustrated and the characters are distinct and real, giving this the feel of a Hugo Pratt or Milo Manara adventure comic. However, American comic readers should be warned that it's less a rollicking adventure and more of a pensive period drama. There is a very deliberate pace to the story but when big things happen it makes them all the more surprising.
4. The Remains #1
Written by Cullen Bunn; art by A.C. Zamudio; colors by Carlos Nicolas Zamudio
Cullen Bunn brings his latest horror comic to digital publisher Monkeybrain Comics this week. The Remains is a four issue mini-series set on a Tennessee farm visited by a wandering stranger. Bunn is best known for his excellent supernatural western series The Sixth Gun but is also a rising star over at Marvel, poised to launch a new ongoing Magneto series next week.
Bunn is joined by newcomer A.C. Zamudio (and her husband, colorist Carlos Nicolas Zamudio) who has previously contributed to the Real West digital anthology, also for Monkeybrain. While Bunn is now a breakout talent, we're seeing Zamudio here at what is probably the start of a stellar career. She excels at characters and expressions, particularly in depicting the fear that runs through the faces of the two young girls in this story.
Monkeybrain publishes digital comics at the very attractive price point of 99¢ an issue, making it easy to give it a chance.