CLOSE
Tillie Walden
Tillie Walden

The 6 Most Interesting Comics of the Week

Tillie Walden
Tillie Walden

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.

This week's list—presented in no particular order—includes selections that hit stores over the last couple of weeks.

1. The Violent #1

By Ed Brisson, Adam Gorham and Michael Garland
Image Comics

In The Violent, Mason and Becky are recovering drug addicts trying to get their lives back on track after Mason has served time in prison. They have a baby and are trying hard to resist dangerous temptations. Mason seems to continually mess this balancing act up and, by the end of this first issue, he makes a terrible decision that will make any parent reading this book want to punch him in the face.

Judging by this issue, The Violent has the potential to be writer Ed Brisson's breakout book. Co-writer and artist Adam Gorham is a newcomer with a realistic, inky cartooning style reminiscent of Michael Gaydos (Alias). They've set The Violent in their hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia and plan to use the comic to address the ways the high cost of living in that city has affected the struggling working class.

2. I Love This Part

By Tillie Walden
Avery Hill Publishing

Tillie Walden is a 19-year-old cartoonist from Texas and a student at the Center for Cartoon Studies. Her debut graphic novel The End of Summer was released earlier last year from British publisher Avery Hill. Before the year had come to an end, she managed to release one more graphic novel, I Love This Part. This 68-page treasure is almost unbelievably beautiful for such a young cartoonist to have created.

Nearly every page is a full-page panel that depicts a minor moment in the relationship of two teenage girls, portrayed with the girls lounging across mountains, sitting on top of suburban houses, and draped over city skylines. It’s the perfect visual encapsulation of how teenage love can feel impossibly larger than life. Walden’s delicate but detailed artwork is much more assured than that of most student cartoonists, yet her youth shows in how perfectly attuned she is to her subject. An older cartoonist may not be able to pull off such a believable depiction of the dreamy idleness of teenage infatuation.

3. Obi-Wan & Anakin #1

By Charles Soule, Marco Checchetto, and Andres Mossa
Marvel Comics

Up until now, Marvel’s new Star Wars comics have mostly focused on the period between Episodes IV and V, but this new five-issue series is the first to jump back into the Prequel era. Set in between Episodes I and II, Obi-Wan & Anakin will explore the ill-fated bromance between the young Jedi Master and his Padawan apprentice. The series begins with Anakin around age 12 and at a time when the two Jedi are still building the working relationship that we would see more fortified in Episode II.

Marvel is quickly piling up a nice collection of Star Wars comics, each filling in those valuable gaps between movies that have always been ripe for expanded universe fiction.

4. Judge Dredd #1

By Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas and Dan McDaid
IDW Publishing

In 2012, IDW Publishing began putting out its own comics featuring no-nonsense, 21st century law enforcer Judge Dredd. They were unconnected to the 30+ years of continuity that original publisher 2000 AD has been building through their own Dredd comics. The success of the IDW comics has been mixed at best, with perhaps the most attention going to a five-issue mini-series released in 2014 called Judge Dredd: Mega City Two that was drawn by dynamic and detail-crazed artist Ulises Farinas. Now, Farinas is in charge of a relaunch of IDW's main Judge Dredd title, this time solely as the writer. He is paired with co-writer Erick Freitas and artist Dan McDaid.

The new comic begins with Dredd waking up in a field and finding that everything is different. The dystopian urban landscape he is used to has been replaced with grassy hills, mossed-over temples, and a band of roving children who have no idea about Judges and Mega City One. This is an interesting way to change things up and is potentially a good way for IDW to differentiate themselves from the 2000 AD books.

5. The Death Defying Dr. Mirage: Second Lives #1

By Jen Van Meter, Roberto De La Torre and David Baron
Valiant Entertainment

The first Dr. Mirage series from last year was notable for its somber portrayal of loss. The titular doctor, Shan Fong, was mourning the death of her husband and partner in paranormal investigations, Hwen, and journeyed into the After Life to find his missing spirit. The artwork by Roberto De La Torre was loose and expressive but with figures imbued with realism.

Now, in its sequel, Hwen has returned from the netherworld as a disembodied spirit. For the first time, we get to see the couple working together to solve supernatural mysteries. The Death Defying Dr. Mirage, like other books in the Valiant line, is grounded and cinematic in its approach to superheroes and the supernatural. Unlike many of the other Valiant books, Dr. Mirage is pretty self-contained so far and easy for new readers to read on its own.

6. Achewood

By Chris Onstad
Achewood.com

Fans of Chris Onstad’s Achewood got an unexpected gift on Christmas Eve when the webcomic suddenly returned with its first new installment in over a year. Achewood is one of the oldest and most popular webcomics of all time. It's an absurdist story with an expansive cast of anthropomorphic stuffed animals, but Onstad’s output had slowed down considerably in the last couple of years. On December 24, he released a brand new strip as well as two blog posts from two of the characters, Ray and Philippe. It remains to be seen how frequently new comics will appear from Onstad, but a second new strip already arrived on January 1.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
arrow
entertainment
Deadpool Fans Have a Wild Theory About Who Cable Really Is
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Deadpool 2 is officially in theaters and ruling the box office just like its predecessor did back in 2015. But this installment is about more than just crude jokes and over-the-top action scenes; it also includes the debut of a longtime Marvel character that fans have been clamoring to see on the big screen since 2000’s X-Men hit theaters: Cable.

But the Cable in Deadpool 2 isn’t quite the one fans have gotten used to in the books—for starters, his powers and backstory are reined in considerably. While it’s easy to assume that’s by design, so that audiences can better relate to the character (which is played by Josh Brolin), some fans have speculated that the changes are because, well, this character isn’t really Cable at all; instead, Screen Rant has a theory that this version of the character is actually none other than an older Wolverine from the future.

So how can Wolverine be Cable? Well, it’s actually quite easy, considering that Wolverine was Cable in Marvel’s Ultimate Universe comics, which was a series of books in the 2000s that completely reimagined the regular Marvel Universe. In this reality, a grizzled, aged Wolverine takes on the Cable nickname and travels back in time to prevent a takeover of Earth from the villain Apocalypse.

We were already introduced to Apocalypse in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, and while he was defeated in the end, Screen Rant theorizes that he could return like he does in the Ultimate X-Men comics: by inhabiting the body of Nathaniel Essex, a.k.a. Mister Sinister. Essex was already name-dropped in Apocalypse and Deadpool 2, so it stands to reason that there might be some larger story on the horizon for him.

This would, of course, lead to more X-Men movies down the road, with Cable revealing his true nature and teaming with a crew of mutants that includes the classic X-Men cast as well as their younger selves to battle a newly formed Apocalypse. It’d also allow the character of Wolverine to live on in Brolin, leaving Hugh Jackman to enjoy a retired life without claws.

Obviously this is just one fan theory based on a comic storyline from over a decade ago. It would also have to ignore a whole host of continuity problems—including the events of Logan. But having a twist with Cable actually being Wolverine from the future (and likely from a different reality) is the type of headache-inducing madness the comics are known for.

[h/t: Screen Rant]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
King Features Syndicate
arrow
Comics
8 Things You Might Not Know About Hi and Lois
King Features Syndicate
King Features Syndicate

A comics page staple for nearly 65 years, Mort Walker and Dik Browne’s Hi and Lois is a celebration of the mundane. Married couple Hiram “Hi” Flagston, wife Lois, and their four children balance work, school, and family dynamics, all of it with few punchlines but plenty of relatable situations. This four-panel ode to suburbia might appear simple, but it still has a rich history involving a beef with The Flintstones, broken noses, and one very important candy bar wrapper.

1. IT’S A SPINOFF OF BEETLE BAILEY.

Beetle Bailey creator Mort Walker had been drawing that military-themed strip for four years when a friend of his named Lew Schwartz approached him in 1954 with a new idea: Why not create a strip about a nuclear family? Around the same time, the Korean War was ending, and Walker had sent Beetle home on furlough to visit his sister, Lois. Drawing a line between the two, Walker decided to pursue the suburbia idea using Lois as connective tissue. Hi and Lois was born: The two strips would see their respective characters visit one another over the years.

2. A CANDY BAR HELPED DEFINE THE STRIP’S LOOK.

Already working on Beetle Bailey, Walker decided to limit his work on Hi and Lois to writing. He wanted to collaborate with an artist, and so both he and his syndicate, King Features, went searching for a suitable partner. Walker soon came across ads for both Lipton’s tea and Mounds candy bars that had the same signature: Dik Browne. Coincidentally, a King Features executive named Sylvan Byck saw a strip in Boy’s Life magazine also signed by Browne. The two agreed he was a talent and invited Browne to work on the strip.

3. HI ORIGINALLY HAD A BROKEN NOSE.

As an artist, Walker had plenty of input into the style of Hi and Lois: Browne would later recall that trying to merge his own approach with Walker’s proved difficult. “When you draw a character like Hi, for instance, you immediately set the style for the whole strip,” he said. “You have already dictated what a tree will look like or how a dog will look, just by sketching that one head.” In his earliest incarnation, Hi had a broken, upturned nose to make him seem virile, puffed on a pipe, and wore a vest. Through trial and error, the two artists eventually settled on the softer lines the strip still uses today, an aesthetic some observers refer to as the “Connecticut school style” of cartooning.

4. EDITORS WERE WARY AT FIRST.

When Hi and Lois debuted on October 18, 1954, only 32 papers carried the strip. The reason, Walker later explained, had to do with concerns that he was spreading himself too thin. At the time, cartoonists rarely worked on two strips at once. Between Hi and Lois and Beetle Bailey, there was fear that the quality of one or both would suffer. Editors were also worried that having two artists on one project would dilute the self-expression of both. Walker stuck to his intentions—to make Hi and Lois a strip about the small pleasures of suburban life—and newspapers slowly came on board. By 1956, 131 papers were running the strip.

5. TRIXIE MAY HAVE SAVED THE STRIP.

With readers a little slow to respond to Hi and Lois, Walker had an idea: At the time, it was unusual for characters who don’t normally speak—like Snoopy—to express themselves with thought balloons. Walker decided to have baby Trixie think “out loud,” giving readers insight into her perspective. Shortly after Trixie began having a voice, Hi and Lois took off.

6. CHIP IS THE ONLY CHARACTER TO HAVE AGED.

Like most comic strip casts, the Hi and Lois family has found a way to stop the aging process. Baby Trixie is eternally in diapers; the parents seem to hover around 40 without any wrinkles. But oldest son Chip has been an exception. Roughly eight years old when the strip debuted, he’s currently 16, a nod to Walker's need for a character who can address teenage issues like driving, school, and dating.

7. IT LED TO HAGAR THE HORRIBLE.

Browne might be more well-known for his Hägar the Horrible, a strip about a beleaguered Viking. That strip, which debuted in 1973, was the result of Browne’s sons advising their father that Hi and Lois was really Walker’s brainchild and that Browne should consider a strip that could be a “family business.” By 1985, Hägar was in 1500 newspapers, while Hi and Lois was in 1000. Following Browne’s death in 1989, his son Chris continued the strip.

8. IT ALSO HAD A BONE TO PICK WITH THE FLINTSTONES.

The Flintstones, Hanna-Barbera’s modern stone-age family, premiered in primetime in 1960, but not exactly the way the animation studio had intended. Fred and Wilma were initially named Flagstone, not Flintstone, and the series was to be titled Rally ‘Round the Flagstones. But Walker told executives he felt the name was too close to the Flagstons of Hi and Lois fame. Sensing a possible legal issue, they agreed.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios