Genkaku Picasso Vol. 1

By Usamaru Furuya
256 pages, black and white
Published by Viz

Usamaru Furuya’s Short Cuts is one of the strange, off-beat comics that Viz published in its PULP anthology back in the day, and which you still hear its fans talk about in hushed tones. It was silly, irreverent, and unpredictable, and a feature I always looked forward to. I’d never seen a comic longer than a one- or two-page gag strip by Furuya before, though, so Genkaku Picasso being translated into English felt like perfect timing. What I wasn’t expecting, though, was a bizarre mixture of "special powers to help others" mixed with pop psychology.

Read the rest of this entry »

Generation Hope #1

Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Salvador Espin
40 pages, color
Published by Marvel

New comics in the X-Men family are a dime a dozen; often, with no warning, they just appear, seemingly spinning off characters at random. With Generation Hope, though, we’ve got two distinct differences from many other recent spin-offs. First, there isn’t an "X" anywhere in the title (although perhaps out of desperation, the logo creator put an X in Hope’s "O"). And second, this comic has actually spun directly out of a storyline, and appears to be moving forward with one of the big storylines happening in Uncanny X-Men and company. And so, as a result? I think this title has a real chance of succeeding.

Read the rest of this entry »

Locke & Key: Keys to the Kingdom #1-2

Written by Joe Hill
Art by Gabriel Rodriguez
32 pages, color
Published by IDW

I feel slightly late to the party with Locke & Key, now in its fourth 6-issue mini-series from IDW. I’ve been hearing great things about Joe Hill’s novels and short stories for a while now, and the praise didn’t stop when it came to his comics. But with so many comics, and already being way behind, I figured it wasn’t worth trying to dive in at the halfway point in a series scheduled to run 36 issues in all. A friend kept assuring me that I’d have no problem giving the new mini-series a try, though, and what I found was a book full of some truly creepy images.

Read the rest of this entry »

Korea as Viewed by 12 Creators

By Guillaume Bouzard, Byun Ki-Hyun, Catel, Chaemin, Choi Kyu-Sok, Igort, Lee Doo-Ho, Lee Hee-Jae, Park Heung-Yong, Mathieu Sapin, Hervé Tanquerelle, and Vanyda
224 pages, black and white
Published by Fanfare/Ponent Mon

Last year, I got a chance to read Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators and ended up finding it what I was hoping for—my own journey from one end of Japan to the other, told through a group of talented French and Japanese comic creators. This year, a companion volume, Korea as Viewed by 12 Creators, was released and I was hoping for much of the same. What I found, though, was a rather different book and not at all what I was expecting this time around.

Read the rest of this entry »

Incognito: Bad Influences #1

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

One of my absolute favorite comics last year was Incognito, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’s mini-series about a super-villain forced to live in a witness protection program. There were twists and turns galore, and in general just getting into the mind of Zack Overkill was a surprisingly interesting experience. Brubaker and Phillips have now returned to Zack with Incognito: Bad Influences, and now that the first issue is out? It’s not at all what I had expected from these creators.

Read the rest of this entry »