The Most Interesting Comics of the Week
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 Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott
Black Magick opens with a group of half-naked men and women performing an ancient Wiccan ritual in a park. Suddenly, a cell phone starts ringing, and one of the women has to leave to perform her duties as a homicide detective. This is a police procedural with a dash of the occult, and it's described by writer Greg Rucka as “witch noir.” You’ll want to give this one a chance due to the creative team who have been preparing this book for years—and it shows.
Greg Rucka is an acclaimed writer whose other comic for Image, Lazarus, is one of the standouts in a quality publishing lineup. Detective Rowan Black is the kind of strong but flawed female lead he’s been successfully writing since books like Whiteout and Queen & Country in the late 1990s. Nicola Scott has been primarily drawing comics for DC like Wonder Woman and Earth-2. This is her first time working on a creator-owned comic for Image, and it may be the book that makes her a star. The book is stunningly realistic and painted in noirish black and white washes that occasionally give way to surprising hints of color. See for yourself in this extensive preview.
By Mike Mignola, Ben Stenbeck and Dave Stewart
Dark Horse Comics
Both Hellboy and even its main spin-off title, B.P.R.D., are deep into epic story lines that have been building for years. They may not be the easiest comics for new readers to dip in and out of, but that doesn’t mean Mike Mignola won't give opportunities for the casual reader to try. This new one-shot combines two self-contained short stories from Hellboy’s early days with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. If you’re new to Hellboy, or just prefer to pick up an occasional story with minimal investment, this book encapsulates a lot of what is great about the comics.
“The Phantom Hand” and “The Kelpie” are both set in 1953 and are delightfully eerie tales in the vein of early 20th century short stories like “The Monkey’s Paw.” Hellboy is just barely an adult as he tags along with his adoptive father and B.P.R.D. director Trevor Bruttenholm in England to investigate a ghost story involving a disembodied hand. Hellboy creator Mike Mignola is joined here by artist Ben Stenbeck, with whom he has recently collaborated on the Frankenstein Underground series.
By François Vigneault
Study Group Comics
Like the best futuristic science-fiction, François Vigneault’s webcomic Titan has a lot to say about the world that we live in right now. When João da Silva, a middle manager, is sent to inspect a mining site on the moon of Saturn, he finds himself faced with union gripes and a growing unrest between the genetically-enhanced Titan workers and their Terran management. João must find a way to increase profits or else lay off 250,000 Titans. The problem is, the way the Titans' bodies have adapted to the moon's gravity makes them twice the size of normal humans and incapable of physically moving or functioning on Earth. Therefore, what do you do with thousands of large, angry, and unemployed Titans?
Vigneault publishes Titan on the webcomic collective Study Group Comics (whose website he also art directs). When complete, it will be a 200+ page graphic novel, but in the meantime it's serialized in chunks. It has an intriguing social and political premise, and an unusual romance between João and Phoebe, the Titan liaison who towers above him, is just beginning.
By Junji Ito
Junji Ito is the author of horror manga like Uzumaki and Gyo. He has an intricate style that is perfect for depicting every detail of his terrifying subject matter. The weird thing is that his latest book, Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu, is a slice-of-life memoir about learning to co-habitate with his girlfriend and her two cats, but Ito still applies his horror aesthetic for comedic effect. Since cats can be inherently creepy, this approach may actually be pretty appropriate.
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