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 Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon
Dark Horse Comics
Unlike the antagonistic twins in their latest graphic novel Two Brothers, Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon are brothers who seem to enjoy close collaboration. They take turns drawing story arcs in the popular super-spy comic Casanova and other works. But for their latest graphic novel, they are acting as a more typical writer/artist team, with Fábio writing and Gabriel drawing.
It is pretty clear why this story would appeal to the twins. Adapted from the highly regarded novel The Brothers by Brazilian author Milton Hatoum, they lovingly craft every detail of the story, which is set in mid-century Manaus where two rivers converge. After a violent incident as children, the brothers of this story are separated from each other and things do not improve when they are reunited years later. Yaqub, their father’s favorite, goes off and becomes an engineer while Omar, their mother’s son, stays home, lazily cavorting with prostitutes and other shady characters. Their rift hopelessly and tragically eats away at the rest of the family and the secrets they hold onto.
This is Bá and Moon’s most mature and sophisticated work to date. It drifts back and forth through time with narration that comes from an initially unseen observer. Bá’s wonderfully stylized black and white artwork, so full of stunning contrast and implied movement, pulls you into every scene. Here’s a preview.
By Gilbert Hernandez, Darwyn Cooke and Dave Stewart
The most unexpected (yet welcome) creative pairing of the year has to be Gilbert Hernandez (Love & Rockets) and Darwyn Cooke (DC: The New Frontier) for their new mini-series The Twlight Children. Hernandez and Cooke usually work alone, and they aren't often associated together except when talking about best-of-the-year lists. This collaboration is part of a new push from DC’s Vertigo imprint, and it serves as a reminder that the publisher is still a source for interesting comics for readers with discriminating tastes. Starting with last week’s The Survivor’s Club, Vertigo will be introducing a new series every week over the next three months.
In a small Latin American village, a mysterious orb washes ashore and explodes in the faces of three children, leaving them blind. A large cast of characters featuring a hard-nosed sheriff, the village drunk, and a cheating wife mix it up with outsiders like a scientist, a CIA agent, and a beautiful woman who may be an alien. Hernandez’s penchant for fun, melodramatic characters and Cooke's (and colorist Dave Stewart’s) expertise at creating a cinematic sense of wonder seem a natural fit together. Here’s a preview.
I Hate Fairyland
By Skottie Young and Jean-Francois Beaulieu
The brilliance of Skottie Young’s I Hate Fairyland is that it’s a fairy tale in which the main character is a relatable figure for parents rather than kids (despite being a little girl). This comic might provide some welcome satisfaction for parents who have ever found themselves frustrated with the inanity of saccharine children’s books.
Little Gertrude was transported to Fairyland when she was a just a girl, and for the past 30 years has been fighting to get back to home. And by fighting I mean she claws, bites, chews, kicks, and wantonly shoots holes through annoyingly cute little characters that get in her way. Gertrude may look like an eight-year-old girl, but she has the mind of a frazzled and ticked-off 40-year-old. Young is the incredibly popular artist behind Marvel’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz comics and their recent Rocket Raccoon series. He has a very kid-friendly look to his work, but it also has a lot of edge so be aware that this one is not for little kids.
Killing and Dying
By Adrian Tomine
Drawn & Quarterly
Adrian Tomine is one of the great indie creators who rose to prominence in the 1990s along with contemporaries like Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, and Charles Burns. His contemplative short stories about troubled 20- and 30-somethings are fully realized and perfectly drawn—every gesture he draws seems utterly familiar. As he has done his entire career, Tomine publishes his graphic novellas first through his one-man anthology comic Optic Nerve and then every few years collects a group of them as a bookstore-friendly hardcover.
Tomine’s latest is called Killing and Dying, and the stories show how much his work has grown. The opening story, “Hortisculpture,” is uncharacteristically humor-driven, and its format is based on the structure of a daily newspaper strip. It examines the risk of making art, but in a self-deprecatingly funny way that we normally don't see in Tomine's comics.
Superman: Lois & Clark #1
By Dan Jurgens, Lee Weeks, Scott Hanna and Brad Anderson
In the 2011 Flashpoint series, DC Comics brought almost 30 years of continuity to an end, rebooting their entire line in order to be more accessible for new readers. But what about the fans of the way things were? This week, two pre-Flashpoint characters come back in an unexpected way as part of this new continuity.
Lois Lane and Clark Kent were happily married for many years, but the Lois and Clark of the new continuity are just friends. This summer’s Convergence mini-series brought back some characters that had been erased in past reboots, two of which were pre-Flashpoint Superman and Lois Lane, pregnant with their first child. That series ended with them entering the current DC Universe, and now in Superman: Lois & Clark #1, we see how they're getting by in a world that is not their own. With their son, Jon, who is now a grown boy, they have decided to live in secret, using aliases, and pretending to be a normal family. But Superman has to be super, and he can’t help himself from going out and saving people every once in a while.
Longtime comics fans will appreciate the veteran creative team on this new series. Dan Jurgens is no stranger to Superman, being the writer of the classic "Death of Superman" comic from 1992. Lee Weeks has been more of a Marvel artist in the past, but his style manages to mix the boundaries of yesterday and today well, suitably fitting the anachronism for which this comic aims.