The Most Interesting Comics of the Week
Every Wednesday, I highlight the most interesting new comics hitting comic shops, Comixology, Kickstarter and the web. These are generally more short previews rather than complete reviews. Feel free to comment below if there's a comic you've read recently that you want to talk about.
1. Moon Knight #1
Written by Warren Ellis; art by Declan Shalvey; colors by Jordie Bellaire
Moon Knight has been kicking around for a long time and has built a devoted cult following, yet the superhero hasn't managed to connect with a large audience or sell enough comics to be considered a bankable character. Every attempt to launch a new book seems to inevitably fail, but there's something about Moon Knight and his untapped potential that keeps him coming back and has A-level creators jumping in to try their hand at making him work. This time out, Warren Ellis is making his big return to writing an ongoing comic (after some time off writing novels) by taking a shot.
Ellis has written Moon Knight before, using him to great effect during his run on Secret Avengers a few years ago. His plan is to make him somewhat of a detective solving "weird crime" cases such as a sewer-dwelling serial killer. He also is looking to rectify all the various interpretations of the hero from over the years. In the past, writers have tried many different hooks to make Moon Knight more than just a Batman knockoff. His backstory includes Egyptian gods and multiple personality disorders (among other things). Ellis plans to shed the stuff that doesn't work in order to hopefully make a definitive Moon Knight that sticks.
Joining Ellis is Declan Shalvey, an artist who has been rising in prominence of late for his consistently spectacular cover designs. Here he has a chance to show his stuff on the interiors and is collaborating with his girlfriend, Jordie Bellaire, one of the most prolific colorists in comics. The striking things about the preview images from this book are the new design for Moon Knight's costume and the way Shalvey and Bellaire render him almost as negative space on the page. The absence of detail and shadows is a complete 180-degree turn from recent detail-heavy renditions we've seen from artists like David Finch.
2. Starlight #1
Written by Mark Millar; art by Goran Parlov; colors by Ive Svorcina
Throughout his career, writer Mark Millar has specialized in violent and sometimes shocking takes on classic comic book tropes. His modern update of The Avengers in The Ultimates helped set the foundation for the eventual blockbuster movie adaptations of his own creations —Wanted and Kick-Ass — which brought superheroes and villains into a world more like our own. Millar has a knack for dark, cynical, movie-friendly takes on the kind of comic book material he grew up reading.
In the first issue of Millar's new mini-series Starlight, a man who is very similar to early 20th century science fiction heroes like John Carter or Flash Gordon returns home from his epic intergalactic adventures to lead a normal life for the next 40 years. He raises a family of self-involved, unappreciative kids and loses his beloved wife very suddenly to cancer.
But then the aliens come back for him. Millar describes it as "Buzz Lightyear meets Unforgiven" or "Buck Rogers meets Dark Knight Returns." It's already been optioned for a movie.
The artist on the book is Goran Parlov, who first attracted attention by stepping in on various arcs of Vertigo's now classic Y: The Last Man series. He's since worked on numerous books for Marvel including the highly acclaimed Fury MAX comic with Garth Ennis. He's an amazing choice for this book as he can combine gritty realism with retro-space adventure to achieve that juxtaposition Millar sculpts. His art here goes from looking like Moebius in the intergalactic scenes to Frank Miller or David Mazzuchelli in the earth-bound scenes.
3. The Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo
By Drew Weing
The Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo is a new webcomic by Drew Weing that looks like a fun, all-ages mystery about a precocious kid who moves into a decrepit building that seems to be inhabited by monsters. With 12 posted pages as of this writing, it's a little early to tell where the story might be going. We just got a glimpse at our first monster this week so now's a good time to jump in.
Drew Weing has been working on webcomics since pretty much the beginning of the medium. In the early 2000s he drew a popular strip called Pup for the now-defunct Serializer.net. His recent graphic novel, Set To Sea, was originally serialized as a webcomic before being published by Fantagraphics.
With Margo Maloo, Weing channels Maurice Sendak as well as some of the great French cartoonists like Joann Sfar. A new page gets added every Tuesday and Thursday on drewweing.com Some older comics, like the previously mentioned Pup, have also been added to the archives.
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray; art by Pier Brito
Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray have had a long and successful writing partnership that dates back to the early 2000s with The Resistance and 21 Down. They've recently started their own company, Paperfilms Studios, with artist Amanda Connor and are now in the middle of their sixth Kickstarter campaign together.
The Kickstarter campaign is for Denver, a science fiction graphic novel in the vein of movies like Blade Runner and The Fifth Element. It's set in a future in which Denver, Colorado is the last major city in the U.S. still standing after the devastating impact from a meteor disrupts the Earth's orbit and raises the planet's ocean levels. People are dying, killing, and doing anything necessary to get into Denver and Max Flynn, a Coast Border Guard, is one of those tasked with keeping the border secure.
Palmiotti and Gray are working with Spanish artist Pier Brito who has a rich, detailed style that evokes the moody, hyper-realistic art of Heavy Metal magazine. Similar to the adult sci-fi of that magazine, the cover image here suggests there will be an abundance of sex and violence in this comic.
Another member of the creative team is a music composer, Hans Karl, who has scored soundtracks for various films and animations. He has written and recorded a soundtrack for this comic which is available in various reward packages to backers of the Kickstarter.
Below is an exclusive page from the book, courtesy of Paperfilms:
5. Fowl Language
By Brian Gordon
If you're not reading the new webcomic from Brian Gordon (of Shoebox's Chuck & Beans fame), you really should change that. Fowl Language is a laugh-out-loud strip about life, parenting, social media and anything else Gordon sees fit. The latest strip, shown above — about how to explain gay marriage to your kids — is a great example of what to expect.