The Most Interesting Comics of the Week

Rich Barrett
Robbi Rodriquez, Rico Renzi/Marvel Comics
Robbi Rodriquez, Rico Renzi/Marvel Comics / Robbi Rodriquez, Rico Renzi/Marvel Comics

Every Wednesday, I write about the most interesting new comics hitting comic shops, bookstores, digital, Kickstarter, 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.

1. Edge of Spider-verse #2

By Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi
Marvel Comics
Forget that comic book cover with the weird butt from a few weeks ago—this is the Spider-Woman you need to know about.

Edge of Spider-Verse is a 5-issue mini series from Marvel Comics that explores the Spider-men of various parallel universes in a run-up to Amazing Spider-man #9, which will feature them all meeting up. Although it's a concept with a potential for a lot of fun, the real reason I’m mentioning the series (especially just this second issue) is that it brings back the perennially dead Gwen Stacy.

Gwen Stacy is primarily known for being dead (she was killed off in 1973 by the Green Goblin in one of the most classic Spider-man stories of all time). She’s one of those very few Marvel characters who never comes back to life unless it’s as a clone or in an alternate universe (like this). Her predominant characteristic has always been as a “dream girl,” which leaves a lot of room for some actual personality. Luckily, that’s what Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez do here. This Gwen Stacy is a brooder. She plays drums in a rock band. She’s wracked with guilt over the death of her boyfriend, Peter Parker, and she's saddled with the great responsibility to use her great power for good as Spider-Woman.

Latour, Rodriguez, and colorist Rico Renzi have each collaborated with one another on various projects in the past. Latour and Rodriguez made a big splash online with an unauthorized story about Wolverine on Spring Break that Marvel’s legal team made them take down. With Spider-Woman—or Spider-Gwen, as they refer to her—they’ve generated lots of online buzz months before the comic has even come out. In fact, there have already been people cosplaying as the character at conventions. It'll be interesting to see if it is enough excitement to get Marvel to bring Spider-Gwen back for more.

Here’s a preview of Spider-Gwen


2. Lose #6

By Michael DeForge
Koyama Press

Clarinet-stealing mafia and upright standing Canadian dogs populate Michael DeForge’s new comic.

Lose, Michael DeForge's one-man anthology of weird, disturbing, and often hilarious comics, shows no signs of slowing down with his sixth issue (which debuted last week at the Small Press Expo). At the age of 27, DeForge is one of the most exciting and interesting cartoonists working in comics right now and he’s getting better as he goes along.

In the main story of this issue, a woman drives her niece to a school recital but decides to stop off in a bad part of town to treat her to some new clothes. While they’re out, a member of the mafia—in DeForge’s imagination, this means a cloaked figure with a tail that resembles something out of a Studio Ghibli film—steals the girl’s clarinet case which she needs for her recital in less than an hour. The aunt leaves the girl to go on a ridiculously intense journey to infiltrate the mafia and retrieve the clarinet case. Let’s just say she stops at nothing to get that woodwind back.

Also in this issue, DeForge has one of his patented weirdo nature documentary pieces, this time examining the dogs of Canada which are “distinctly unlike the dogs of other countries.” Much in the way, I guess, that DeForge is distinctly unlike other cartoonists.

There are some preview images of Lose #6 on the publisher’s website here.


3. Kingdoms Lost

By Boulet

A fairy tale princess gets trapped in the modern world.

I’ve written about some of French cartoonist Boulet’s webcomics in the past. It’s hard not to keep coming back to him because his work is frequently something special. His latest, Kingdoms Lost, which he posted online last week, is a story about three fairy tale characters—a prince, a princess, and an evil sorcerer—who get magically transported and trapped in the modern world.

Boulet’s genius is in telling this story from the point of view of the princess who soon finds that being “trapped” may offer her more freedom than the life she left behind. Her emotional journey is gradual and builds to a wonderful denouement for all three characters.

You can read it all here.


4. The Last Saturday

By Chris Ware
The Guardian

Chris Ware serializes his latest graphic novel in a Saturday paper.

The Guardian has become a great source for interesting, quality comics as of late. It’s made this list a few times in the past year, and this week it has begun a new project by one of comics’ greatest living masters, Chris Ware. The Last Saturday will be serialized in weekly installments every Saturday in both the print and digital editions of the paper.

In typical Ware fashion, The Last Saturday seems like it will follow the heartbreakingly real lives of various characters that are interconnected through the intricate, Waresian diagram that is the universe (or in this case, “the resort community of Sandy Port, Michigan”). The comic is designed for the large-format newspaper reading experience but offers a somewhat awkward yet necessary zoom feature on the website to make it easier to appreciate Ware’s details and tiny handwriting.

The first installment went up this past Saturday and you can read it here.


5. Sugar Skull

By Charles Burns

Charles Burns’ tale of a bizarro Tintin concludes.

Along with Chris Ware, Charles Burns is part of the great pantheon of living cartoonists who continuously put out new and challenging work (these days from large book publishers). This week sees the release of the final volume of Burns’ “Nitnit” trilogy. Sugar Skull is a 64-page graphic novel that completes the story that began with 2010’s X’ed Out and 2012’s The Hive (Burns may not be prolific, but those of us who waited a decade for him to finish his now-classic Black Hole are used to that). The series has been telling an adventure that is somewhat of a “Bizarro” version of Hergé’s Tintin, full of the strange, elliptical, dream-like storytelling you’ve come to expect from Burns.

There’s a preview of Sugar Skull on Boing Boing.