The Most Interesting Comics of the Week

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Dynamite Entertainment

Every Wednesday, I write about the most interesting new comics hitting comic shops, bookstores, digital, Kickstarter, and the web. Feel free to comment below if there's a comic you've read recently that you want to talk about or an upcoming comic that you'd like me to consider highlighting.

1. Tomboy

By Liz Prince
Zest Books

A true story about growing up and never giving up being a tomboy

Liz Prince has been making short autobio comics for years now, which has helped prepare her for creating her first full length graphic novel. In Tomboy, Prince recounts her childhood growing up as a girl who disliked all the things that society thinks girls are supposed to love. She has always preferred wearing baseball caps, playing with Ghostbusters toys, reading comics, keeping her hair short, and never, ever wearing dresses. All her life, even now at the age of 31, she is often mistaken for a boy, but that’s the way she likes it.

These days, with parents being more conscious of gender stereotyping and even school kids becoming more accepting of gender identity issues their classmates may have, Tomboy seems almost quaint. Liz is not gay or transgender and she grew up with progressive parents who let her dress how she wanted so, despite some bullying, her story is comfortably devoid of emotionally scarring experiences. However, not being able to fit into the girl-shaped mold that she was expected to makes this a relatable comic for anyone who has ever not fit in. The triumph of her story, and of Liz herself, is that she was always strong enough to be who she was even when it might have been easier to just play a part. It’s an enjoyable and even comforting read as you find yourself rooting for Liz to find the acceptance you know a smart, funny, confident person like her will eventually find.

While this is a book that not just tomboys will enjoy, I should note that it is not one parents will want to give to younger kids. It is very much written from the perspective of Liz as an adult reflecting back on her childhood, and a lot of the issues raised, scenes depicted, and language used is only appropriate for teenagers—even though a lot of younger readers could benefit from reading the book’s lessons about self acceptance and what it means to be a girl.

Here’s a preview.

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2. Bob’s Burgers #1

By Rachel Hastings, Mike Olsen, Justin Hook, Jeff Drake, Frank Forte, Brad Rader, Bernard Derriman and Tony Gennaro
Dynamite Entertainment

The creators behind the hit TV series try their hands at a comic book

The latest in a long line of TV-to-comic adaptations, unlike most others, Bob’s Burgers is written and drawn by the writers and artists who work on the series. In addition, they’ll be creating stories that are "in canon” within the universe of the show.

Bob’s Burgers is a family sitcom about the Belchers—Bob, Linda, and their kids Louise, Tina, and Gene—who run a burger joint called, of course, Bob’s Burgers. Each issue of the comic will include multiple installments of "Louise's Unsolved Mysteries," "Tina's Erotic Friend Fiction," "A Gene Belcher Original Musical," "Letters Written by Linda," and "Bob's Burgers of the Day.”

Fellow Fox family series The Simpsons has had a long and critically acclaimed life in comics and, as something of a successor to that show’s popularity, Bob’s Burgers looks to do the same here.

Dynamite has a preview of the first issue.

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3. Jaegir

By Gordon Rennie and Simon Coleby
Rebellion/2000 AD

A strong new female character starring in a new Rogue Trooper spin-off

Next to Judge Dredd, the most popular, long-running series to come out of 2000 AD Magazine is probably Rogue Trooper. It's about a dystopian civil war between the ’Norts' and the ‘Southers' of toxin-ravaged Nu-Earth and the genetically modified soldier of the Souther infantry who goes AWOL after his platoon is massacred. Jaegir, a new one-shot which was recently serialized in 2000 AD, is the start of a new series set in the Rogue Trooper universe but looks at it from a new vantage point—that of the Nortland.

Kapitan-inspector Atalia Jaegir is a war crimes investigator assigned to stop a genetically-modified soldier from murdering his wife and children. 2000 AD is looking for Atalia Jaegir to be a strong female lead to build a new series of comics around and is putting a strong foot forward here.

Veteran artist Simon Coleby, who has worked on lots of gloomy material like Judge Dredd, The Punisher, and Rogue Trooper itself, brings a dirty, wretched realism to the otherworldliness that helps give this the feel of a futuristic detective drama. Fans of Michael Lark’s work on the Image Comics series Lazarus may want to check out Jaegir for the similarities in style.

You can read a preview here.

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4. Pop #1

By Curt Pires, Jason Copland, Pete Toms and Ryan Ferrier
Dark Horse

For the reader who just wants to see Justin Bieber get his kneecaps blown off

Comics have always been considered a “pop” medium with a quick-fix 22 pages of guilty pleasure. That’s partly why comics and pop music seem to often cross paths—from a 1970s Marvel Comic about The Beatles to The Wicked + The Divine’s rumination on gods reincarnated as pop stars. But, since the tastes between the two audiences don’t quite match up, the result usually ends up being comics critiquing or poking fun at the shallowness of pop music.

Writer Curt Pires looks to go down that route with the 4-issue mini-series Pop in which we find out that stars like Britney Spears and Mariah Carey have been grown in a lab and released to the public in order to deliver ROI to their investors. However, the planned next sensation has somehow escaped, weeks before the expected end of her gestation period, and is now alone and on the run.

While Pop doesn’t look like it's aiming for any groundbreaking conclusions about the artificial nature of pop music, it is off to an enticingly fun start, particularly when a couple of deadly “specialists” who look like they may have been created in a punk rock lab terrorize and blow off the kneecaps of the book's Justin Bieber stand-in.

Artist Jason Copland has been on the cusp of making it big for a while now ever since his webcomic Kill All Monsters first made the rounds. His thin-lined inks paired with Pete Toms’ appropriately poppy colors makes for a fine looking comic.

Here’s a preview on Dark Horse’s website

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5. Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 2: 1981-1983

By Ed Piskor
Fantagraphics

The birth of Run-DMC, NWA, the Beastie Boys, and more

The first volume of Ed Piskor's comic book history of hip hop music was one of my favorite books of last year and it seems astounding that we already have the next edition of Hip Hop Family Tree in stores this week. This is Piskor’s magnum opus and he is diligently working his way through depicting the early days of the music and 70s-era comics he loves.

This second volume spans three years (1981-1983), a time when hip hop was becoming recognized outside of the clubs and streets of New York's outer boroughs. The early part of this book shows the making of Charlie Ahearn’s 1983 film Wild Style (Ahearn provides a lively written introduction to this volume) and by the end we’ve seen the formation of groups like Run-DMC, NWA, and the Beastie Boys.

Fantagraphics has a preview on their website. Also, Piskor continues to post new panels on BoingBoing as he goes for those who love the books and can’t wait for the next volume.

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6. B-Squad: Soldier of Misfortune Vol 1

By Eben Burgoon, Lauren Monardo, Jon Williams, Claudia Palescandolo, Sean Sutter, Junior Bruce, Michael Finn
Kickstarter

A squad of expendables that lose a team member each issue

B-Squad is a lite-comedy version of a concept we’ve seen in comics like DC’s Suicide Squad or Michael Fiffe’s Copra—a team of expendables is sent on missions where you never know who might not make it. The B-Squad consists of a group of goofy misfits like Brodee, the friendly surfer dude who is a master of the “Bro-Arts,” or MacGoogle, a guy with an iPad who gets out of fixes like MacGyver by Googling the answers. At the end of each issue, a member of the team is killed off.

After successfully funding the first issue on Kickstarter, creator Eben Burgoon has decided to fund a collection of all 4 issues at once rather than his original plan of single issues. Much the way the makeup of the team changes each issue, Burgoon has recruited a different up-and-coming artist to draw each chapter.

The Kickstarter has almost reached its goal with 14 days still to go. If you want to sample the story, you can download the first issue for free here. There’s a variety of pledge packages to choose from so check out the Kickstarter page here.

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August 28, 2014 - 3:00pm
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