Private Beach #7

By David Hahn
24 pages, black and white
Published by Slave Labor Graphics

If you try and compare something to the television show “Twin Peaks”, all most people seem to remember was the over-the-top aspects of the show and that it became incomprehensibly strange and sputtered out into oblivion. What most people don’t remember is that the first season of “Twin Peaks” was a tightly-written show where character interactions kept audiences glued to their television sets, while a slight air of strangeness and mystery permeated the show. So when I say that Private Beach in many ways reminds me of “Twin Peaks”, I’m talking about the first season… and yes, it’s very much a compliment.

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Sleeper #5

Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Sean Phillips
32 pages, color
Published by WildStorm/DC Comics

Super-powered beings are really like different nations. That seems to have been one of the sparks of an idea that triggered the creation of Sleeper, a relatively new series from WildStorm/DC Comics. It makes sense if you think about it, really. Beings band together, form alliances, confederations, and unions. So really, it would just be a matter of time until one of these nations would send a spy in to infiltrate one of the enemies. And that’s when things get interesting.

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Fushigi Yûgi Vol. 8

By Yû Watase
200 pages, black and white
Published by Viz

When is a book not a book? When it’s a living, breathing world in its own right. It’s rather apt that in Yû Watase’s series Fushigi Yûgi (aka The Mysterious Play) the characters have just that sort of object in the form of The Universe of the Four Gods, because one could make the case for Fushigi Yûgi itself being another such item.

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Chiaroscuro #1-7

By Troy Little
24 pages, black and white
Published by Meanwhile Studios

Some people wear their influences on their sleeves. Early work by Bryan Hitch, for instance, showed off a lot of influence from Alan Davis. The big question ultimately becomes, will the creator find their own voice? It’s a question I found myself wondering when I first encountered Troy Little’s work on Chiaroscuro; as the series progressed, would the book move beyond an extremely skillful Dave Sim pastiche?

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Pablo’s Inferno

By Rhode Montijo
black and white
Published by Abismo

Years ago, I explained to a friend that all writers have an Aztec story just lurking inside of them, waiting to get out. It’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the heart of the matter is that the Aztec culture was a rich and intriguing one, full of story possibilities. Maybe that’s why I was so instantly captivated by Rhode Montijo’s Pablo’s Inferno, his self-published mini-series where we get to see a much more interesting version of the afterlife than what most popular media presents to us.

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Sock Monkey Vol. 4 #1

By Tony Millionaire
24 pages, black and white
Published by Dark Horse Comics

Some friends of mine talk about a certain story structure being “a Simpsons story”. It’s when you have a story that starts going in one direction, then radically shifts into something completely different within the first few minutes. I don’t know exactly what that’s called, but Tony Millionaire knows exactly how to make it work when he creates a new issue of Sock Monkey.

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Magic Flute

By P. Craig Russell
Based on the opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
144 pages, color
Published by NBM

Over a decade ago, Eclipse published The Magic Flute, P. Craig Russell’s adaptation of the opera by the same name. At the time, it must have seemed like an odd choice of comic book material to the casual observer. Now, of course, Russell is probably best known for his recent adaptation of The Ring Cycle into comics, so it makes perfect sense for NBM to bring Russell’s earlier opera adaptations back into print. Looking at this work, though, it illustrates how ahead of his times Russell was in 1990… and how some people have been consistently good for years.

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New Mutants #1

Written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir
Penciled by Keron Grant
Inked by Rob Stull
32 pages, color
Published by Marvel Comics

It’s hard to believe that it was just over 20 years ago that Marvel first decided to create an X-Men spin-off in the form of The New Mutants. Starring five younger characters to be a second wave of mutants, the book originally starring Cannonball, Psyche, Karma, Sunspot, and Wolfsbane lasted for 100 issues (plus a handful of annuals and specials) before ending to make room for X-Force. With X-Force ending recently to make room for X-Statix, it’s almost fitting that we once more have a New Mutants ongoing series.

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Golden Vine

Written by Jai Sen
Art by Seijuro Mizu, Umeka Asayuki, and Shino Yotsumoto
304 pages, color
Published by Shoto Press

Last year, Jai Sen and Rizky Wasisto Edi’s Garlands of Moonlight was a genuine breakout hit, earning an Eisner nomination and great amounts of critical praise. Now, not only do Sen and Edi have a sequel hitting stores this summer, but Sen is also responsible for a brand new book, The Golden Vine… and history might just be about to repeat itself.

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Scooter Girl #1

By Chynna Clugston-Major
32 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

There’s no doubt about it—scooters are cool. They’re little, sporty, and people in Italy are probably laughing their heads off at America for just recently rediscovering the allure at their everyday vehicles. In a nutshell, though, that’s Chynna Clugston-Major’s Scooter Girl; a book with a main character who at a glance seems to be the coolest thing since sliced bread, but once you find out the truth, is worth a couple of snickers.

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