Kool Aid Gets Fired

By Tim Piotrowski
28 pages, color
Published by Glitchworks

One of the things I love about self-publishing and mini-comics is that if someone wants to say, write a story about corporate greed starring Kool Aid Man, they can just do it. Tim Piotrowski’s Kool Aid Gets Fired might not have any grand revelations about business culture or the discarding of commodities, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s really darn funny while having a serious message, and it’s a mini-comic that made me really happy when it’s all said and done.

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You Have Killed Me

Written by Jamie S. Rich
Art by Joëlle Jones
192 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

It doesn’t take a detective to know that author Jamie S. Rich writes movie reviews for all different sorts of publications, but even without that piece of information I think it’s safe to say that Rich is a fan of movies. Reading his and Joëlle Jones’s new collaboration You Have Killed Me (their first full-length book together being 12 Reasons Why I Love Her) makes me feel like I’m actually watching an old crime noir film. Fortunately, it’s not one that I’ve seen before.

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Unwritten #1

Written by Mike Carey
Art by Peter Gross
40 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

It’s safe to say that Mike Carey and Peter Gross’s collaboration on Lucifer was a success. The book lasted for 75 issues, with Gross coming on board with #5 to draw the vast majority of the series. The two of them returning to a new ongoing series, then, sounds like a surefire hit. But with Carey’s last ongoing series for Vertigo quietly and unjustly slipping away in under two years, nothing is certain. Fortunately, the launch of The Unwritten feels like Carey and Gross are doing everything they can to make this launch stick.

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Seekers Into the Mystery Vol. 1

Written by J.M. DeMatteis
Art by Glenn Barr and Jon J Muth
128 pages, color
Published by Boom! Studios

Who says you can’t go home again? I remember when Seekers Into the Mystery first debuted at the end of 1995. I was reading J.M. DeMatteis’s and Glenn Barr’s collaboration Brooklyn Dreams and being absolutely dazzled by how well they worked together on DeMatteis’s semi-autobiographical story. I was pleased, then, to see that they were collaborating again—but at the time couldn’t shake the feeling that it was the same book but with cast later in life. Re-reading the book now, I can’t help but think that I have a greater appreciation for it now that it’s had some time away from Brooklyn Dreams and can better establish itself as its own work.

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Batman Chronicles Vol. 2

Written by Bill Finger
Penciled by Bob Kane
Inked by Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson, and George Roussos
224 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

Dipping into the early days of Batman with reading Batman Chronicles: Volume 2 may seem like an odd way to go about reading those early Bill Finger and Bob Kane stories, but I actually had a plan in mind. By starting with the second collection of Detective Comics and Batman, it would let me see just what Finger and Kane came up with once the basic concepts were stabilized and the creators were fully . So, once a lot of the guesswork was out of the day, what do we end up with? An oddly compelling comic.

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Bourbon Island 1730

Written by Appollo and Lewis Trondheim
Art by Lewis Trondheim
288 pages, black and white
Published by First Second Books

When is a pirate book not a pirate book? Appollo and Lewis Trondheim’s Bourbon Island 1730 perhaps fulfills the answer to that rhetorical question, set on the Indian Ocean of Bourbon Island (present-day Réunion) as the age of pirates is slowly coming to an end. It’s a combination of adventure and historical fiction showing off the social interactions of the island, but I’m not entirely convinced that the book entirely succeeds on either front.

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Battle for the Cowl: The Underground

Written by Chris Yost
Art by Pablo Raimondi
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

DC Comics’s Battle for the Cowl feels like—and there’s no delicate way to put this—a bit of a mess. Numerous one-shots and mini-series are released left and right, with the majority of them seemingly having nothing to do with Battle for the Cowl itself. I have to admit that reading the Battle for the Cowl: The Underground one-shot was almost a relief, then, in that it actually has the promised connection that the title claims. At the end of the day, though, it still feels like a truncated story, and I’m not entirely sure it’s fair to the reader.

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Secret Six #8

Written by Gail Simone
Penciled by Carlos Rodriguez and Amanda Gould
Inked by Bit and Amanda Gould
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

I worry at times that DC Comics waited too long to give the green light to an ongoing Secret Six series. The original Villains United mini-series was certainly a buzz book, and the follow-up Secret Six mini-series was well-received as well. Hopefully fans of those two stories aren’t missing out on the current Secret Six, because I have to say that I’m finding it a truly entertaining book month after month. In a wasteland of strong ongoing series, it’s nice to see some of them understanding the format.

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Written by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Jillian Tamaki
144 pages, black and white
Published by Groundwood Books

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to read Skim. I enjoyed Mariko Tamaki’s graphic novel with Steve Rolston, Emiko Superstar, and Skim‘s received nothing but accolades since its publication a year ago. Recently I pulled it off of the massive, swaying pile of "books to be read" and within a matter of pages, realized that I’d made a huge mistake by waiting this long to read Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s book.

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A Distant Neighborhood Vol. 1

By Jiro Taniguchi
200 pages, black and white
Published by Fanfare/Ponent Mon

When I think of Jiro Taniguchi books, it’s quiet stories like the aimless strolls of The Walking Man, or the day-in-the-Meiji-period vignettes of The Times of Botchan. As a result, getting an advance copy of his book A Distant Neighborhood Vol. 1 made me joke that perhaps it was a sequel to The Walking Man where the main character got seriously lost on a walk. And at first, A Distant Neighborhood seems like it’s just going to be another quiet story about a man absorbed in his childhood memories. Once the book takes a distinct turn, though, Taniguchi finds a way to keep that aspect around while upping the proverbial ante in a fun way.

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