Dungeon Parade Vol. 1: A Dungeon Too Many

Written by Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim
Art by Manu Larcenet
64 pages, color
Published by NBM

I really have to give Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim credit when it comes to their series Dungeon, in that in just about any other hands it would no doubt go horribly wrong. It’s not enough that there are three “main” series (Dungeon The Early Years set in the past, Dungeon Zenith being the “present” glory years, and Dungeon Twilight the apocalyptic future of the series), but they even went and created spin-offs. One of these spin-offs is Dungeon: Parade, additional stories set in-between the first two volumes of Zenith, additional light-hearted romps starring Marvin the Dragon and Herbert the Duck. And you know what? Sfar and Trondheim are clearly inspired by all of these routes and side-tracks, because Dungeon Parade shows no signs of stopping the high levels of enjoyment here.

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Papercutter #6

By Ken Dahl, Alec Longstreth, Laura Park, Julia Wertz
40 pages, black and white
Published by Tugboat Press

Concluding the look at Greg Means’s anthology comic Papercutter is, interestingly enough, an issue not edited by Means. Unlike Papercutter #4 or #5, Papercutter #6 was guest-edited by Alec Longstreth. For a book that defined its identity in part by stories and creators that Means liked and wanted to commission, having someone else in charge of an issue of Papercutter made me wonder if the overall tone of the comic would change. And while I think this issue was a little different, that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

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Foundation #1

Written by John Rozum
Art by Chee
24 pages, color
Published by Boom! Studios

Most people, if asked what they’d do with knowledge of the future, answer along the lines of, “Win the lottery.” Once you get past the most materialistic urges, though, the bigger question becomes what would people do if they could get brief snatches of information about the years to come? John Rozum’s new series The Foundation takes that tactic with a particularly well-known figure when it comes to future predictions. The end result, though, seems a little too predictable at first.

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Gutsville #1-2

Written by Simon Spurrier
Art by Frazer Irving
32 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

Most stories aren’t really that different from one another. It’s the same basic ideas, dressed up in the same basic trappings. Every once in a while, someone’s changed the scenery slightly that makes you raise an eyebrow and think, “All right, that’s a tiny bit different.” But then, if you’re really lucky, you might just come across something that has dreamed up a setting so vastly different from what you’re used to that you can’t help but be enchanted by it. And that’s exactly how I felt after reading the first two issues of Simon Spurrier and Frazer Irving’s Gutsville.

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Papercutter #5

By Liz Prince, Bwana Spoons, and Kazimir Strzepek
32 pages, black and white
Published by Tugboat Press

When I initially read Papercutter #4-6, the Greg Means-edited anthology comic, I figured I would just review all three issues at once, devoting a small amount of space to each issue. It wasn’t until I sat down that I realized that each issue really deserved its own review; the works on display here are just that strong that you can’t dismiss them with a single sentence in passing. In the case of Papercutter #5, I think Means continued to find the balance he struck in #4, with a good mix of styles and creators. I didn’t think a apocalyptic fantasy story would fit alongside a story of a relationship being born, but Means proved me absolutely wrong.

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Infinite Horizon #1

Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Phil Noto
28? pages, color
Published by Image Comics

I am a sucker for Greek mythology. I grew up reading the stories as a child, and as an adult spent time studying the material in university, learning so much more than what the watered-down, sanitized versions of my childhood stories had shown. Maybe I’d just been oblivious, but I managed to completely miss the press roll-out for The Infinite Horizon, so it wasn’t until my second read-through that it finally sunk in—Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto had re-imagined Homer’s The Odyssey into present day times. And you know what? I’m doubly impressed with their efforts as a result.

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Courtney Crumrin and the Fire Thief’s Tale

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

It’s been a while, but fans of sarcastic and slightly caustic girls with supernatural powers can rejoice—Courtney Crumrin has returned. With Courtney Crumrin and the Fire Thief’s Tale, Ted Naifeh is continuing to expand the series’s world—not only physically, but emotionally. He’s continuing to raise the stakes for all the characters involved, and the end result? I think it’s an important but good shift for the series.

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Papercutter #4

By Vanessa Davis, Sarah Oleksyk, and John Porcellino
32 pages, black and white
Published by Tugboat Press

It used to be that every time you turned around, a new anthology comic was launched. The anthology as a comic book series can work well as a showcase for both new and existing talent, and having to only fill 32 pages (on average) per issue means you can launch new publications regularly. These days, anthologies seem to be more graphic novels (like Flight or Kramers Ergot) than single issues of comic books; I think it was the usage of the older format that initially lured me towards Tugboat Press’s Papercutter. The creative line-ups looked strong, and by the time I was done with the three issues I’d read, I was filled with a renewed hope that the anthology comic book can still survive.

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