Skottie Young/Image Comics
Skottie Young/Image Comics

The Most Interesting Comics of the Week

Skottie Young/Image Comics
Skottie Young/Image Comics

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.

Two Brothers

By Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon
Dark Horse Comics 

Unlike the antagonistic twins in their latest graphic novel Two Brothers, Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon are brothers who seem to enjoy close collaboration. They take turns drawing story arcs in the popular super-spy comic Casanova and other works. But for their latest graphic novel, they are acting as a more typical writer/artist team, with Fábio writing and Gabriel drawing.

It is pretty clear why this story would appeal to the twins. Adapted from the highly regarded novel The Brothers by Brazilian author Milton Hatoum, they lovingly craft every detail of the story, which is set in mid-century Manaus where two rivers converge. After a violent incident as children, the brothers of this story are separated from each other and things do not improve when they are reunited years later. Yaqub, their father’s favorite, goes off and becomes an engineer while Omar, their mother’s son, stays home, lazily cavorting with prostitutes and other shady characters. Their rift hopelessly and tragically eats away at the rest of the family and the secrets they hold onto.

This is Bá and Moon’s most mature and sophisticated work to date. It drifts back and forth through time with narration that comes from an initially unseen observer. Bá’s wonderfully stylized black and white artwork, so full of stunning contrast and implied movement, pulls you into every scene. Here’s a preview.

Twilight Children

By Gilbert Hernandez, Darwyn Cooke and Dave Stewart
DC Vertigo 

The most unexpected (yet welcome) creative pairing of the year has to be Gilbert Hernandez (Love & Rockets) and Darwyn Cooke (DC: The New Frontier) for their new mini-series The Twlight Children. Hernandez and Cooke usually work alone, and they aren't often associated together except when talking about best-of-the-year lists. This collaboration is part of a new push from DC’s Vertigo imprint, and it serves as a reminder that the publisher is still a source for interesting comics for readers with discriminating tastes. Starting with last week’s The Survivor’s Club, Vertigo will be introducing a new series every week over the next three months.

In a small Latin American village, a mysterious orb washes ashore and explodes in the faces of three children, leaving them blind. A large cast of characters featuring a hard-nosed sheriff, the village drunk, and a cheating wife mix it up with outsiders like a scientist, a CIA agent, and a beautiful woman who may be an alien. Hernandez’s penchant for fun, melodramatic characters and Cooke's (and colorist Dave Stewart’s) expertise at creating a cinematic sense of wonder seem a natural fit together. Here’s a preview.

I Hate Fairyland

By Skottie Young and Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Image Comics 

The brilliance of Skottie Young’s I Hate Fairyland is that it’s a fairy tale in which the main character is a relatable figure for parents rather than kids (despite being a little girl). This comic might provide some welcome satisfaction for parents who have ever found themselves frustrated with the inanity of saccharine children’s books.

Little Gertrude was transported to Fairyland when she was a just a girl, and for the past 30 years has been fighting to get back to home. And by fighting I mean she claws, bites, chews, kicks, and wantonly shoots holes through annoyingly cute little characters that get in her way. Gertrude may look like an eight-year-old girl, but she has the mind of a frazzled and ticked-off 40-year-old. Young is the incredibly popular artist behind Marvel’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz comics and their recent Rocket Raccoon series. He has a very kid-friendly look to his work, but it also has a lot of edge so be aware that this one is not for little kids.

Here’s a preview.

Killing and Dying

By Adrian Tomine
Drawn & Quarterly 

Adrian Tomine is one of the great indie creators who rose to prominence in the 1990s along with contemporaries like Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, and Charles Burns. His contemplative short stories about troubled 20- and 30-somethings are fully realized and perfectly drawn—every gesture he draws seems utterly familiar. As he has done his entire career, Tomine publishes his graphic novellas first through his one-man anthology comic Optic Nerve and then every few years collects a group of them as a bookstore-friendly hardcover.

Tomine’s latest is called Killing and Dying, and the stories show how much his work has grown. The opening story, “Hortisculpture,” is uncharacteristically humor-driven, and its format is based on the structure of a daily newspaper strip. It examines the risk of making art, but in a self-deprecatingly funny way that we normally don't see in Tomine's comics.

More info and preview images here.

Superman: Lois & Clark #1

By Dan Jurgens, Lee Weeks, Scott Hanna and Brad Anderson
DC Comics 

In the 2011 Flashpoint series, DC Comics brought almost 30 years of continuity to an end, rebooting their entire line in order to be more accessible for new readers. But what about the fans of the way things were? This week, two pre-Flashpoint characters come back in an unexpected way as part of this new continuity.

Lois Lane and Clark Kent were happily married for many years, but the Lois and Clark of the new continuity are just friends. This summer’s Convergence mini-series brought back some characters that had been erased in past reboots, two of which were pre-Flashpoint Superman and Lois Lane, pregnant with their first child. That series ended with them entering the current DC Universe, and now in Superman: Lois & Clark #1, we see how they're getting by in a world that is not their own. With their son, Jon, who is now a grown boy, they have decided to live in secret, using aliases, and pretending to be a normal family. But Superman has to be super, and he can’t help himself from going out and saving people every once in a while.

Longtime comics fans will appreciate the veteran creative team on this new series. Dan Jurgens is no stranger to Superman, being the writer of the classic "Death of Superman" comic from 1992. Lee Weeks has been more of a Marvel artist in the past, but his style manages to mix the boundaries of yesterday and today well, suitably fitting the anachronism for which this comic aims. 

Here’s a preview.

5 Records Black Panther Has Already Broken

Black Panther isn’t just a success—it’s a phenomenon. Based on the Marvel Comics character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the movie has already grossed well over $1 billion at the worldwide box office, and it’s not exactly slowing down, remaining at the top spot for a fourth weekend. It’s currently the seventh-highest grossing movie of all time at the domestic box office, trailing heavy-hitters like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic Park, and Titanic.

It’s also a huge win with critics and audiences, as it currently holds the best Rotten Tomatoes score for a Marvel movie, beating out The Avengers, Spider-Man 2, and Iron Man. With all of the praise and money pouring in, we’re taking a look at five records Black Panther has already broken.


February has typically been seen as a soft month at the box office, especially where blockbusters are concerned. But in 2015, Deadpool changed all of that by taking in a record $130+ million over its Valentine’s Day weekend debut. While that was a record at the time—and even more impressive for a movie with an R rating—Black Panther left that total in the rearview, taking in around $202 million in its first weekend in theaters. That was good enough for the highest February weekend of all time, but that’s not even all of it.

The movie’s $75+ million Friday was the highest ever February debut and the biggest opening day overall for a solo superhero movie—exceeding the likes of 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises and 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. It also holds the record for the biggest February preview day ($25.2 million) for its late-night Thursday screenings before its official Friday premiere.


Chadwick Boseman in 'Black Panther' (2018)
Disney/Marvel Studios

In 2017, director F. Gary Gray’s The Fate of the Furious took in an impressive $1.2+ billion at the worldwide box office, with $226 million of that coming from the United States. For a while, that was the biggest box office win for an African-American filmmaker both domestically and internationally. But after its opening weekend, Black Panther was already at $200 million, and after the President’s Day holiday that came immediately after, it had amassed another $40.176 million—easily giving director Ryan Coogler the crown of helming the highest-grossing film for an African-American director (and cast) in the United States (even when adjusting for inflation). And before its run is over, it will certainly top Furious’s worldwide total.


Not even a galaxy far, far away could stand up to Black Panther. Star Wars: The Force Awakens used to hold the crown for the highest-grossing Monday at the box office with $40.110 million but was topped by Panther’s $40.176 million.


Added to that, Black Panther now owns the Marvel record for the highest-grossing Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, as well as the best first Marvel week overall, coming in at $292 million, compared to The Avengers’s $270 million in 2012. It also topped every other Marvel movie’s second weekend with $108 million and only trails The Force Awakens for the best second weekend in history.


Black Panther came out of the gate strong with the biggest debut for a solo superhero movie ever at $75.81 million. Then, after 27 days in theaters, it topped them all, becoming the highest-grossing solo superhero movie in U.S. history, beating out the $534.8 million held by The Dark Knight Rises. This means it topped all the other Iron Man, Captain America, and Spider-man solo movies on the character's first attempt. It still has some work to do to topple the $623,357,910 of The Avengers, but nothing is off the table at this point.

However, these numbers don’t take inflation into account. So while it trounced Spider-man’s 2002 domestic take of $403 million, you’re comparing it to ticket prices from 16 years ago. In reality, Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man would have made $637 million today—and that Avengers total would jump up to $705 million.

Myles Aronowitz, Netflix
10 Super Facts About Jessica Jones
Myles Aronowitz, Netflix
Myles Aronowitz, Netflix

Jessica Jones is back! After a more than two-year wait, fans of Marvel's rough-around-the-edges superhero-turned-private eye are celebrating the arrival of her Netflix series' second season (and binge-watching it accordingly). Here are 10 things you might not have known about the character.


In 2001, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos created Jessica Jones for MAX Comics, an imprint of Marvel. As the star of the comic book series Alias, Jones was the first character created for the new publishers, which allowed for more explicit content than its parent company.

Born Jessica Campbell, she got her superpowers when her family was in a tragic car accident with a military vehicle carrying radioactive chemicals; Jessica was the only survivor. After several months in a coma, Jessica was adopted by the Jones family. Shortly thereafter, she discovered that the chemicals had given her special abilities, including super strength, resistance to physical injury, and the power of flight (though she never quite mastered that one).


Before Jessica Jones arrived on Netflix in 2015, showrunner Melissa Rosenberg had originally developed a series based on the superhero for ABC in December of 2010. The pilot, which was originally called A.K.A. Jessica Jones, featured references to Tony Stark and Stark Industries, and acknowledged the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Unfortunately, ABC passed on the series in 2012. A year later, Netflix partnered with Marvel and Disney for four new live-action TV series and a mini-series. Rosenberg was brought on to develop, produce, and write a new version of Jessica Jones, which joins the Marvel/Netflix roster of TV shows, including Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders, a team-up miniseries.


Krysten Ritter in Jessica Jones
David Giesbrecht, Netflix

Jessica Jones made her first appearance in Alias #1, as a former costumed superhero who left her post to become a private investigator. Alias ran for 28 issues between 2001 and 2004. Co-creator Brian Michael Bendis originally made the story’s protagonist Jessica Drew, a.k.a. Spider-Woman, but created Jessica Jones instead, “Which is good,” Bendis told USGamer, “because had we used Jessica it would have been off continuity and bad storytelling.”


Jessica Jones went to Midtown High School in Queens, which is the same high school Peter Parker attended. In fact, Jessica had a crush on Parker while they were classmates. He believed they had a special connection because both of them had lost their families under random and tragic circumstances. After Peter Parker became Spider-Man, Jones (not knowing it was Parker) saw the web slinger protect their school from the evil Sandman, which inspired her to use her superpowers for good. 


David Tennant and Krysten Ritter in 'Jessica Jones'
David Giesbrecht, Netflix

Jewel was the identity Jones adopted for her first attempt at being a costumed superhero, and she didn’t do much to make a name for herself. It wasn’t until she came under the mind control of one of Daredevil’s foes, Zebediah Killgrave (The Purple Man, who is portrayed by former Doctor Who star David Tennant), that Jones saw any real action. Ordered to kill Daredevil, Jones arrived at the Avengers Mansion, where she battled the Scarlet Witch, Iron Man, and Vision. Fortunately, she was spotted by her longtime friend Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel), who took her to safety. After another several months in a coma, Jones was watched over by S.H.I.E.L.D. and eventually regained her mind and identity with the help of some psychic therapy, courtesy of the X-Men’s Jean Grey.  


The super-pair met when Jones donned the hardened vigilante identity Knightress. After dealing with the supervillain the Owl, Jones and Cage had a drunken one-night stand. They then started to have an on-again/off-again relationship. Then she became pregnant with their daughter, Danielle, who was named after Daniel Rand (Iron First), Luke’s best friend.


Mike Colter as Luke Cage in 'Jessica Jones'
Myles Aronowitz, Netflix

After marrying Cage, Jones joined the New Avengers and changed her superhero name to Power Woman as a tribute to her husband’s superhero identity, Power Man. But due to the stress of the job and the potential threat to their new family, the pair left the New Avengers and started a new life. Cage later started up another superhero team called the Mighty Avengers, but Jones, annoyed and irritated with her husband, opted not to join because she wanted to raise Danielle instead. 


Bendis followed up the success of Alias with The Pulse in 2004. It centered on Jones taking a job as a “vigilante analyst" with The Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson. Working alongside reporter Ben Urich, Jones was tasked with uncovering the true identity of Spider-Man, but ultimately discovered that the Green Goblin was really Norman Osborn (which did not sit well with Osborn).


During Marvel’s Civil War, Iron Man and Captain Marvel confronted Jones and Cage about registering with the authorities under the Superhuman Registration Act, which enforced a “mandatory registration of super-powered individuals with the government.” Unwilling to register, Jones and Cage were forced to go underground. 


James McCaffrey, Krysten Ritter, and Rachael Taylor in 'Jessica Jones'
David Giesbrecht, Netflix

Jones’s longtime friend Carol Danvers was originally going to appear in an early version of the TV show. Her character was scrapped and replaced with Trish "Patsy" Walker when the series moved from ABC to Netflix. Marvel then decided to feature Carol Danvers as the star of her own feature film, Captain Marvel, which is due in theaters in early 2019. Oscar-winner Brie Larson will play the title role.

“Back when it was at ABC Network, I did use Carol Danvers," showrunner Melissa Rosenberg explained. "But between then and when it ended up on Netflix ... the MCU shifted, and it also shifted away from the universe in the [comic] book ... But as it turned out, Patsy Walker ended up being [a] much more appropriate fit with Jessica. It was better that her best friend was not someone with powers. It actually ends up being a really great mirror for her.”


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