Every week I write about the most interesting new comics hitting comic shops, bookstores, digital, 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.
By Jennifer Hayden
The title of Jennifer Hayden’s graphic novel memoir, The Story of My Tits, is frank and direct. A survivor of breast cancer, Hayden tells the story of her complicated relationship with her own body, from worrying about being flat-chested as a teen to opting for a double mastectomy after finding a tumor in one breast as an adult. The book, Hayden’s first, is timed to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month and is sure to be considered a major debut this year.
This is not just a book about Hayden’s own struggles with breast cancer, though, and it is not until over 200 pages in that we see her get her first mammogram. Early in this large and densely illustrated book, Hayden’s mother suffers the loss of one breast to cancer, followed years later by her mother-in-law succumbing to the disease. As with many people, cancer affects members of Hayden’s family before the specter of it threatens her own future.
This is not to say the book is weighted down with death. More than anything it is full of life and humor and some especially creative and clever cartooning. Her quirky, pen-drawn style—very similar to the work of the great Roz Chast—is full of effortless jokes and insightful commentary on both life and death.
By Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson
Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang first worked together on a Swamp Thing short story in 2000, when both were just starting their comics careers. They now reunite as industry superstars for a new Image Comics series called Paper Girls. Set in the 1980s, this book is peppered with nostalgic flavor. We’re introduced to four 12-year-old girls who stumble across a mystery they can’t begin to understand while out delivering papers in a sleepy suburb of Cleveland. One part Stand By Me, one part War of the Worlds, this 40-page first issue sets up an intriguing premise and ends with a patented Brian K. Vaughan cliff-hanger that will leave you wanting more.
Vaughan has been quite busy recently after having taken a few years off from making comics. Now he adds Paper Girls to his current science fiction hit Saga, the recently completed award-winning mini-series The Private Eye, and the freshly started We Stand on Guard. Meanwhile, Chiang is coming off an acclaimed run on DC’s Wonder Woman.
All New, All Different Marvel
Various titles by various creative teams
For the past few months, Marvel comics have been pre-empted by the line-wide 2015 event called Secret Wars. The event began with the effective obliteration of the Marvel Universe, which was replaced by a patchwork planet called "Battleworld." The Secret Wars mini-series was supposed to have ended by now to make way for a re-launch of the whole Marvel line, but it has been plagued by numerous delays, leaving Marvel no choice but to bring the universe back before we actually find out how that happens.
So this week, the "All New, All Different Marvel" (the publisher's words) begins with new #1 issues for a smattering of titles such as Amazing Spider-Man, Invincible Iron Man, and Doctor Strange. Marvel is not rebooting the continuity of their universe, but what makes these new books “All New” and “All Different,” and how the ending of Secret Wars factors into them, remains to be seen.
These books feature familiar Marvel creators, in some cases shuffled onto different titles. Dan Slott is still in charge of Spider-Man, but longtime Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis is trying his hand at Iron Man for the first time. Jason Aaron, writer on some of Marvel’s biggest recent books, such as Thor and Star Wars, joins fan favorite artist Chris Bachalo, most recently of Uncanny X-men, on a new Doctor Strange book that will likely ramp up excitement for the 2016 film.
By Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson
This new Jughead solo series is the latest example of how willing the people behind Archie Comics are to take surprising creative risks. It's written by one-half of the creative team behind the raunchy and subversive Sex Criminals comic, Chip Zdarsky. Zdarsky, who has been known more in the past for his social media hijinks and his illustrations for Canada's National Post than for his comics work, was already snatched up by Marvel this year to write their new Howard the Duck comic. Artist Erica Henderson has also had a big year at Marvel drawing Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and she joins Zdarsky to bring their comedic sensibilities to Archie’s best friend, Jughead Jones.
This modern Jughead still wears that little crown hat and loves burgers more than anything, but his lazy, quizzical demeanor is now portrayed as zen and enigmatic with a standoffish sense of cool. This first issue sees Jughead mobilized against his will to become political when the school replaces his beloved cafeteria lasagna with a healthier alternative. If you ever wanted to see an Archie parody of Game of Thrones, there’s a dream sequence here that will make your day.