Spiral-Bound (Top Secret Summer)

By Aaron Renier
184 pages, black and white
Published by Top Shelf Productions

The old adage of “You can’t judge a book by its cover” isn’t always 100% true. Covers can absolutely be misleading, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes, though, you look at a cover and you just feel like you know everything about the book. For me, that was definitely the case with Aaron Renier’s debut graphic novel Spiral-Bound (Top Secret Summer); seeing a humanoid elephant, dog, and rabbit falling into a sketched monster’s jaws, I just knew that this was going to be an inventive and exciting book, and that’s exactly what I got.

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Bumperboy Loses His Marbles!

By Debbie Huey
96 pages, brown and white
Self-published; distributed by AdHouse Books

This may sound strange, but I felt like I knew Bumperboy even before I read Bumperboy Loses His Marbles! Maybe it’s because for a while now I’ve had friends who’ve been telling me how cute Debbie Huey’s mini-comics are. Maybe it’s all of the great pictures from the Bumperboy website, with a little cardboard stand-up of Bumperboy posing with various people and places all over the world. Or maybe it’s just because Bumperboy looks so cute?

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Capote in Kansas

Written by Ande Parks
Drawn by Chris Samnee
136 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

I have a confession to make: I received an advance copy of Capote in Kansas and initially thought, “How could this possibly be interesting?” A week or so passed, and when I was packing my bag for traveling out to San Diego for Comic-Con International I absent-mindedly threw it in for something to read during the off-hours. Flash forward to the Saturday night of the convention, when artist Chris Samnee hesitantly asked me what I thought of the book. Having had a few drinks at that point, and all filters removed from my vocabulary, I blurted out exactly what I was thinking. “Oh my god, it’s the best effing book I’ve read all year!” I yelled. “It’s just so effing good!” A little surprised by my exuberance, Samnee said, “You should put that in the review.” Well, drunk or sober, I stand by those feelings so it seems that Samnee is getting his wish.

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Cavalcade of Boys Vol. 1-2

By Tim Fish
192 pages, black and white
Published by Poison Press

With the invasion of comics from Japan into English now in full force, newer readers might be surprised that just a few years ago many people would find it odd to see romance comics of any sort on sale. Now, of course, such a beast is a bit more unsurprising. That means it’s a perfect time for Tim Fish to collect his Cavalcade of Boys comic; if there was ever a modern comic book audience that wants more good romance comics, that time is definitely now.

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Super F*ckers #1

By James Kochalka
32 pages, color
Published by Top Shelf Productions

James Kochalka is one of the modern kings of alternative comics; his books range from autobiographical (American Elf), to nature versus technology parables (Monkey vs Robot), to children’s stories (Pinky & Stinky), and anything else Kochalka can dream up. Now he’s tackling super-hero comics… and trust me, they’ve never looked quite like Super F*ckers.

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