Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics

The Most Interesting Comics of the Week

Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics

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
Marvel Comics  

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.

There's more info on this book over on Marvel's website.


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.

If you follow Joey Ellis on Twitter (<@joeyellis), you’ll know he’s remarkably funny and this book looks like it will be a delight. Donate to the Kickstarter here.


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.

You can read a short preview on the Humanoids website where they also sell digital editions of their books.


4. The Remains #1

Written by Cullen Bunn; art by A.C. Zamudio; colors by Carlos Nicolas Zamudio
Monkeybrain Comics

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.

You can buy The Remains #1 through the Comixology digital comics app or website here.

Win a Trip to Any National Park By Instagramming Your Travels

If you're planning out your summer vacation, make sure to add a few national parks to your itinerary. Every time you share your travels on Instagram, you can increase your chances of winning a VIP trip for two to the national park of your choice.

The National Park Foundation is hosting its "Pic Your Park" sweepstakes now through September 28. To participate, post your selfies from visits to National Park System (NPS) properties on Instagram using the hashtag #PicYourParkContest and a geotag of the location. Making the trek to multiple parks increases your points, with less-visited parks in the system having the highest value. During certain months, the point values of some sites are doubled. You can find a list of participating properties and a schedule of boost periods here.

Following the contest run, the National Park Foundation will decide a winner based on most points earned. The grand prize is a three-day, two-night trip for the winner and a guest to any NPS property within the contiguous U.S. Round-trip airfare and hotel lodging are included. The reward also comes with a 30-day lease of a car from Subaru, the contest's sponsor.

The contest is already underway, with a leader board on the website keeping track of the competition. If you're looking to catch up, this national parks road trip route isn't a bad place to start.

15 Dad Facts for Father's Day

Gather 'round the grill and toast Dad for Father's Day—the national holiday so awesome that Americans have celebrated it for more than a century. Here are 15 Dad facts you can wow him with today.

1. Halsey Taylor invented the drinking fountain in 1912 as a tribute to his father, who succumbed to typhoid fever after drinking from a contaminated public water supply in 1896.

2. George Washington, the celebrated father of our country, had no children of his own. A 2004 study suggested that a type of tuberculosis that Washington contracted in childhood may have rendered him sterile. He did adopt the two children from Martha Custis's first marriage.

3. In Thailand, the king's birthday also serves as National Father's Day. The celebration includes fireworks, speeches, and acts of charity and honor—the most distinct being the donation of blood and the liberation of captive animals.

4. In 1950, after a Washington Post music critic gave Harry Truman's daughter Margaret's concert a negative review, the president came out swinging: "Some day I hope to meet you," he wrote. "When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!"

5. A.A. Milne created Winnie the Pooh for his son, Christopher Robin. Pooh was based on Robin's teddy bear, Edward, a gift Christopher had received for his first birthday, and on their father/son visits to the London Zoo, where the bear named Winnie was Christopher's favorite. Pooh comes from the name of Christopher's pet swan.

6. Kurt Vonnegut was (for a short time) Geraldo Rivera's father-in-law. Rivera's marriage to Edith Vonnegut ended in 1974 because of his womanizing. Her ever-protective father was quoted as saying, "If I see Gerry again, I'll spit in his face." He also included an unflattering character named Jerry Rivers (a chauffeur) in a few of his books.

7. Andre Agassi's father represented Iran in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics as a boxer.

8. Charlemagne, the 8th-century king of the Franks, united much of Western Europe through military campaigns and has been called the "king and father of Europe" [PDF]. Charlemagne was also a devoted dad to about 18 children, and today, most Europeans may be able to claim Charlemagne as their ancestor.

9. The voice of Papa Smurf, Don Messick, also provided the voice of Scooby-Doo, Ranger Smith on Yogi Bear, and Astro and RUDI on The Jetsons.

10. In 2001, Yuri Usachev, cosmonaut and commander of the International Space Station, received a talking picture frame from his 12-year-old daughter while in orbit. The gift was made possible by RadioShack, which filmed the presentation of the gift for a TV commercial.

11. The only father-daughter collaboration to hit the top spot on the Billboard pop music chart was the 1967 hit single "Something Stupid" by Frank & Nancy Sinatra.

12. In the underwater world of the seahorse, it's the male that gets to carry the eggs and birth the babies.

13. If show creator/producer Sherwood Schwartz had gotten his way, Gene Hackman would have portrayed the role of father Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch.

14. The Stevie Wonder song "Isn't She Lovely" is about his newborn daughter, Aisha. If you listen closely, you can hear Aisha crying during the song.

15. Dick Hoyt has pushed and pulled his son Rick, who has cerebral palsy, through hundreds of marathons and triathlons. Rick cannot speak, but using a custom-designed computer he has been able to communicate. They ran their first five-mile race together when Rick was in high school. When they were done, Rick sent his father this message: "Dad, when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!"


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