Too Cool To Be Forgotten

By Alex Robinson
128 pages, black and white
Published by Top Shelf Productions

“What if you could go back and do it all again?” It’s a pretty familiar question, one asked both in real life as well as in fiction. Generally speaking, my immediate reaction has always been, “Why on earth would I want to?” With his new graphic novel Too Cool To Be Forgotten, though, Alex Robinson has found a satisfactory answer to that question and in a way that actually makes me wish I really could go back.

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Chiggers

By Hope Larson
176 pages, black and white
Published by Atheneum Books

What I think I like the most about the announcement of a new Hope Larson book is that you never really know what to expect. The only real constant between her first two graphic novels, Salamander Dream and Gray Horses, was a quiet, graceful sort of quality in how she told the story. So while it’s no surprise that her new book Chiggers has that in spades, my one real surprise was how while it’s the most grounded in the real world of her books to date, she’s still able to bring bits of the fantastical into the story—and how well they fit.

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Jellaby Vol. 1

By Kean Soo
160 pages, color
Published by Hyperion

In what seems to be a trend these days, Jellaby was a web comic that I absolutely loved, only to have it go on hiatus because of a print edition being announced by a major publisher. When Kean Soo announced the change in status for Jellaby back in early 2006, I hadn’t counted on needing to wait almost two years to see the end result. The one bright side, though? Having read the first 60 odd pages already, I knew that I wouldn’t be disappointed.

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Salt Water Taffy Vol. 1: The Legend of Old Salty

By Matthew Loux
96 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

When I was a child, one of my favorite books to check out from the library was what I’ve come to think of as, “children’s vacation adventure.” It’s a book where the main characters are school children off on a trip (often but not always their summer vacation), where what may seem to be a boring place turns out to be anything but. It’s a tried and true set-up, in no small part because the reader more often than not can project themselves into the same situation, wishing that their less-than-exciting vacation suddenly was full of magical creatures and items. I know that over the years, books like Susan Cooper’s Over Sea, Under Stone or Edward Eager’s Magic by the Lake grabbed my attention quite firmly on many a long trip. Matthew Loux is using that same basis for his new graphic novel series Salt Water Taffy: The Seaside Adventures of Jack and Benny. And you know, I can’t help but think that kids will be just entranced by Loux’s graphic novel as I was by my books back in the day.

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Young Liars #1-2

By David Lapham
32 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

I still remember when David Lapham’s Stray Bullets #1 first hit stores. It was a huge leap forward for him artistically, and the writing was like nothing I’d have expected from Lapham. At the time he was best known for his work on books like Harbinger and Warriors of Plasm; his gritty, urban crime story was a far cry from psychic teenagers or inter-dimensional gladiators. With the debut of his new series Young Liars for Vertigo, I was ready to be blown away with a new Lapham creation. What I found, though? Certainly not what I was expecting.

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Screamland #1

Written by Harold Sipe
Art by Hector Casanova
28 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

Never let it be said that I don’t have a sense of humor. With so many different comics hitting the stands, one often has to make quick decisions on if a book will make the “review stack” or not, these days. In the case of Harold Sipe and Hector Casanova’s Screamland #1, I glanced at the first three pages—and promptly laughed so hard that I knew this was making the pile. I can’t think of a better way to make sure someone buys your book.

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Princess at Midnight

By Andi Watson
64 pages, black and white
Published by Image Comics

What little kid didn’t dream of having a fantasy life that was radically different from their own? It’s a simple and smart hook, and one that Andi Watson really uses to its best advantage in Princess at Midnight, a new one-shot comic. Best of all, though, is that I think Princess at Midnight could be used as an example of how a book can find just the right length.

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North World Vol. 1

By Lars Brown
152 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

You’ve no doubt encountered “fusion” cuisine, where two or more different styles of food are applied to the same dish. Japanese meets Italian? Mexican meets Chinese? You name it, it’s out there. I mention this not because I’m craving dinner, but rather because I’m surprised we don’t hear about “fusion genres” when it comes to writing. Take, for instance, Lars Brown’s North World, which takes fantasy and modern day settings and crushes them into one. And you know what? So long as you don’t think about it too hard, it tastes pretty good.

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Fart Party

By Julia Wertz
176 pages, black and white
Published by Atomic Book Company

I have a confession to make—the title of The Fart Party made me simultaneously eager and loathe to read Julia Wertz’s book. On the one hand, it’s hard to not see anything called The Fart Party and not groan a little inside. But, well, I have to admit that farts can be awfully funny at times. It wasn’t until I finally read Wertz’s story (with Laura Park) in Papercutter #6 that I knew I needed to sit down and check this out. And you know, I’m awfully glad I did.

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Hellblazer: Joyride

Written by Andy Diggle
Art by Leonardo Manco
192 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

If there’s one property that Vertigo will probably publish until the end of time, it’s Hellblazer. They’ve got good reason to; its staying power has proven in over 240 issues of the main comic, almost 30 trade paperback collections, numerous mini-series, and twenty years of continuous publication. What’s actually a little surprising, then, is that it not only continues to chug onwards but that writers are able to keep the series fresh—a feat that new writer Andy Diggle has succeeded with his start as Hellblazer‘s new writer.

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