brought to you with generous support from my retail sponsor Yesteryear Comics.
Make Yesteryear Comics your choice in San Diego for great customer service and
the best discounts possible on a wide selection of mainstream and independent titles.
Customers receive an attractive 20% discount on new titles during their first
week of release. Yesteryear Comics is located at 9353 Clairemont Mesa
Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #5 is my primary book of interest
this week, it’s IDW’s delightfully batshit insane pairing of 1980’s properties
at the hands of Tom Scioli and John Barber, which manages to simultaneously play
like an earnest nostalgia piece and a
tongue-in-cheek send-up that subverts everything it purports to love all at
once. It’s a joy to read, one of those books you’re amazed actually got made in
the first place, chock full of obsessive knowledge porn, with plenty of
backmatter commentary by the creators.
If you’re looking for another licensed property, Kieron
Gillen and Salvador Larocca are helming Darth Vader #1, the second offering
in the new Marvel Star Wars era, and the
first-ever ongoing series featuring this character. I’ve found Marvel’s
iterations of the Star Wars mythos to sort of stretch continuity plausibility
right to the point of breaking, but it’s nevertheless interesting to see what
the property can withstand. Given the resurgence in this cultural phenomenon,
we’ll be likely talking about “the new Star Wars” – book, film, game, whatever
– for the next 100 years.
But, if you’re on this site, reading this column, then
you’re probably smart enough to know that Creator Owned Comics are where it’s
at! May I then recommend Southern Bastards #7 from The
Jasons, Aaaron and Latour, following up an incredible
cliffhanger/twist/prologue realization at the end of the first arc. For my
money, Jason Aaron is at his best when he’s exploring misunderstood corners of
the American Tapestry, so if you were a fan of the impressive Scalped, then this exploration of
culture in the American South is where you should be spending your time.
There’s also perennial favorite Astro City #20 by Kurt
Busiek and Brent Anderson, published by DC/Vertigo. Astro City has an interesting publishing history, surviving Image,
Homage, WildStorm, and now Vertigo incarnations, perhaps a testament to the
core premise of exploring the humanized peripheral elements of the shared
universe concept. The older I get, the more I appreciate someone like Busiek, a
writer with consistency of quality, longevity of career, and the ability to
still play emotionally relevant, even when tinkering with the industry’s most
I’ll also recommend The Sculptor, this is the long-anticipated
496-page hardcover tome by Scott McCloud, published by First Second. It looks
to examine the very nature of creativity, and literal ruminations on life and
death, all from the Godfather of the formal analysis of how the medium functions.
It’s absolutely terrific to see an original creation from McCloud, one which
will likely be poured over panel by panel in the wake of his seminal work Understanding Comics, and I expect to
see it on many Best of 2015 lists come December.
If you wanted to check out a throwback gem, you could do
much worse than DC: The New Frontier Deluxe Edition Hardcover. That’s a
mouthful of a title, and if you’re anything like me, you already snagged the
gorgeous Absolute Edition before it went out of print. But, if you didn’t feel
like spending $75 on that, this new printing is a deal at $49.99, featuring
Darwyn Cooke’s sweeping treatise on DC lore, depicting the liminal state
between The Golden Age and The Silver Age, a generational transition that
basically established the company’s outlook for the modern era.