Polly and the Pirates Vol. 1

By Ted Naifeh
176 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

When a creator is attached to a specific franchise or character, it can be difficult for fans to see the creator try something different. I can’t help but think that must have been a large hurdle for some readers when Ted Naifeh announced Polly and the Pirates. While Naifeh’s never limited himself to a single project (writing-but-not-drawing Unearthly, drawing-but-not-writing Death Jr.), this the first all-by-Naifeh comic in a while that isn’t a new Courtney Crumrin story. And those who are expecting Courtney Crumrin II might be in for a bit of a shock upon meeting Polly.

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Sam Noir: Samurai Detective #1

Written by Manny Trembley and Eric A. Anderson
Art by Manny Trembley
24 pages, black and white
Published by Image Comics

With a title like Sam Noir: Samurai Detective one would almost automatically assume that the comic is going to be a comedy. The merging of samurai culture with pulp detective fiction, after all, seems like something you can’t succeed with unless there’s a touch of humor involved. The more I read of Sam Noir: Samurai Detective, I began to have a nagging doubt. Could it be that Manny Trembley and Eric A. Anderson are taking the concept 100% seriously?

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Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Vol. 1

Written by Eiji Otsuka
Art by Housui Yamazaki
216 pages, black and white
Published by Dark Horse

One of the easiest way to get a new reader’s attention is with a good title for your comic, or a good cover design. In the case of The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Vol. 1, both are provided. From the schematic design on how all the pieces of a body fit together, to the brown paper wrapper style cover paper stock, to the different colored inks to make up the logo, this is a book whose appeal has been carefully thought out and executed by all involved parties. And if the outside is that good, well, it’s hard to imagine that the inside won’t be as well.

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Criminal #1

Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Sean Phillips
32 pages, color
Published by Marvel Comics

Protagonists don’t always have to be bound by the traditional “good guy” definition. It’s something that Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips understood in their series Sleeper, about a government agent trapped in an undercover role as a villain. With their new series, Criminal, they remind us that compelling fiction can star the sort of person you wouldn’t necessarily want to associate with.

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Artesia Besieged #1-2

By Mark Smylie
32 pages, color
Published by Archaia Studios Press

There are some comics that are inexplicably popular, that burn up the sales chart without any sort of logical reason why anyone and everyone is buying it. Conversely, there are also comics like Artesia where the big mystery is why it isn’t the kind of comic that everyone is reading. Looking at the first two issues of the new Artesia Besieged mini-series, I’ve finally come to a conclusion and I think it’s an important one: people are stupid. That’s just about the only reason why I can see that this isn’t a sales juggernaut.

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Sardine in Outer Space 2

Written by Emmanuel Guibert
Art by Joann Sfar
128 pages, color
Published by First Second Books

It’s hard to market a series of short stories. There are a handful of regular anthologies being published, butt getting a single slot for a short story there can be difficult, let alone multiple installments. That was one of the initial attractions of Sardine in Outer Space 2 for me, interestingly enough; when I opened up the book and discovered that it wasn’t a single long story but twelve 10-page stories, I was intrigued. Thankfully, Emmanuel Guibert and Joann Sfar didn’t disappoint.

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