They Found The Car

By Gipi
32 pages, two-color
Published by Fantagraphics Books and Coconino Press

A good title can get you, just like that. They Found The Car is such a nebulous, mysterious statement that it leads the reader to start guessing before they’ve even opened the book. Was the car deliberately or accidentally lost? Is the discovery a good thing? And what will this car’s finding set in motion? It’s a whole set of questions created by the reader, and what makes it even better is that in Gipi’s new comic his goal seems to keep the reader continually questioning just what’s going to happen next.

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Cry Yourself to Sleep

By Jeremy Tinder
88 pages, black and white
Published by Top Shelf Productions

Some books sound like a punch line the second you begin to describe them. An aspiring novelist, a rabbit, and a robot seems like a strange combination from the very first second, but at no point does it seem like a set-up for a bad pun. Instead, we’re getting a strange little story about jobs and storytelling and souls and building nests. (That’s a not a set-up either.)

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Conan #29

Written by Mike Mignola
Based on a synopsis by Robert E. Howard
Art by Cary Nord
32 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

If you’d told me three years ago that Conan was not only returning as a comic book but would be one of Dark Horse’s biggest comics, I may have laughed in response. It’s Dark Horse who is no doubt laughing now, having proven to understand how to make Conan a hit. Their secret? Top creators working on exciting stories. (Simple, isn’t it?)

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Basilisk Vol. 1

By Masaki Segawa
Based on a story by Futaro Yamada
208 pages, black and white
Published by Del Rey

Sometimes you hear about how great a series is and all the hype was true; it really is as sharp and interesting as everyone talked it up to be. And then, other times, it not only can’t live up to the hype, it just doesn’t work. Of course, you never really seem to know until it’s almost too late. That, I suppose, is half of the fun.

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Cobbler’s Monster

Written by Jeff Amano
Penciled by Craig Rousseau
Inked by Wayne Faucher
128 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

The retelling of classic stories is something practiced in different sorts of media. Sometimes it’s a sequel, other times an adaptation, or perhaps inspired by something else. In the case of The Cobbler’s Monster, what we’re getting is two different stories merged together, and it’s a combination that I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of in the past.

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Casanova #1-2

Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Gabriel Ba
20 pages, two-color
Published by Image Comics

So many books being published right now seem to be taking the wrong tactic to hook readers. The current trend seems to be “decompressed” storytelling, giving yourself additional space to slowly let everything unfold. The problem is that if you aren’t really good at this technique, it backfires and gives the reader an impression of nothing happening. I think what initially grabbed me about Casanova is that this book seemed to almost be flipping decompression the proverbial bird, reminding people that there’s another tactic waiting to be taken. Just how much can you pack into a single comic?

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Cancer Made Me A Shallower Person

By Miriam Engelberg
144 pages, black and white
Published by HarperCollins

One of the hazards of writing comic reviews is that you can end up with a stack of books that are waiting to be read, and never getting around to them. Interesting book after interesting book gets thrown onto the pile, all with the best intentions because they all look genuinely interesting. And slowly but surely, the amount of paper gathered together continues to grow. Conversely, every once in a while you find a book that you figure will go into the stack, but you open it up to a random page and suddenly it’s two hours later and you’ve read the entire book. That, to me, is exactly what happened with Miriam Engelberg’s Cancer Made Me A Shallower Person.

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Hector Plasm: De Mortuis

Written by Benito Cereno
Art by Nate Bellegarde
48 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

The problem with horror comics, I think, is that people are spoiled these days by special effects in television and movies. Horror becomes in the audience’s mind something continually moving, never letting you catch your breath. With the static nature of images in comics, that’s not the case at all. It’s a very different kind of horror, much more subtle—and if executed properly, in some ways superior.

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Antique Bakery Vol. 1

By Fumi Yoshinaga
200 pages, black and white
Published by Digital Manga Publishing

Some books just defy any neat sort of categorization. That’s definitely the case with the first volume of Fumi Toshinaga’s Antique Bakery. Is it a romance? A workplace comedy? A series of mysteries? Well… apparently, the answer is that it’s whatever Toshinaga feels like at that given moment. And oddly enough, once it gives up trying to fall into a single style or category, that’s when it begins to shine.

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