Detective Comics #875

Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Francesco Francavilla
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

One of the creepiest comics published by DC right now is not, in fact, part of its Vertigo imprint, best known for hosting many horror and dark-fantasy tinged titles intended for mature readers. No, the book I’m talking about is Detective Comics, written by Scott Snyder and with art by the two regular artists Jock and Francesco Francavilla. Between this and Greg Rucka’s run on the book a little over a year ago with J.H. Williams III, Cully Hamner, and Jock, it been a veritable golden age for one of DC’s flagship comics.

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Gingerbread Girl

Written by Paul Tobin
Art by Colleen Coover
112 pages, black and white
Published by Top Shelf Productions

Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover’s Banana Sunday comic from a few years ago was a great surprise, introducing me to Tobin’s writing (under the pen name Root Nibot) and showing me a different side to Coover from her adults-only Small Favors comic. The book was a great combination of funny, sweet, and clever, one of those rare books that was really meant for all ages. And while the pair have worked on quite a few comics since then (including a lot of short stories for various Marvel comics), the two creating a new graphic novel together is reason for celebration. Gingerbread Girl is a new direction for the duo, not quite like anything else they’ve created; more importantly, it’s probably their strongest collaboration to date.

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Lewis & Clark

By Nick Bertozzi
144 pages, black and white
Published by First Second Books

Lewis and Clark’s expedition to the West Coast is one of those things that most Americans know about in terms of the absolute basics (they were sent by President Thomas Jefferson to find a water route to the West Coast, one of their guides was the Native American Sacagawea), but almost none of the details. I hate to admit that I fall into that category, so between learning more about this important expedition and also getting a new Nick Bertozzi graphic novel, Lewis & Clark looked immensely promising. What we got? In some respect it feels almost like Lewis & Clark: The Cliff Notes Edition, but the more I think about it, the more I believe that’s a good thing.

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Hellraiser #1

Written by Clive Barker and Christopher Monfette
Art by Leonardo Manco
40 pages, color
Published by Boom! Studios

Despite having never seen any of the Hellraiser movies, I was a big fan of the comic from Marvel’s Epic imprint back in the day. A friend introduced me to the relatively new series when I was in college; when I protested that I’d not seem the films, he told me it didn’t matter, that they were some shockingly good horror comics. And when you consider that early issues included creators like Bernie Wrightson, John Bolton, Ted McKeever, Scott Hampton, Kevin O’Neill, John Van Fleet, and Dave Dorman—to name but a few—you can get an idea of the pedigree of Hellraiser. So hearing that Clive Barker had come on board for a brand-new Hellraiser comic? Well, color me interested.

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Astonishing X-Men #36

Written by Daniel Way
Penciled by Jason Pearson
Inked by Karl Story
32 pages, color
Published by Marvel

This is going to sound strange, but I feel a little bad for Daniel Way, Jason Pearson, and Karl Story. Stepping onto Astonishing X-Men—a book that was once the flagship title of the X-Men family, but has since fallen in stature due to increasing delays and stories drifting further away from the other titles—has got to feel like a bit of a poison pill. Expectations are simultaneously high and low, and after watching the wheels fall off on the book over the past few years, they just have to know that most readers are going to assume more of the same.

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Yotsuba&! Vol. 9

By Kiyohiko Azuma
208 pages, black and white
Published by Yen Press

There are a small handful of comics that when it comes to reading, I stall. New volumes don’t show up on a regular basis, and I know that as soon as I’m done with it, the wait for the next volume is painful. That’s why I’ve sat on Yotsuba&! Vol. 9 for three months; not because I had better things to read, but rather because I knew that I didn’t have anything else that would even remotely compare. For a series with such a relatively simple concept, it’s shocking how I’ve yet to find a book which replicates everything that’s wonderful about Yotsuba&!.

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iZombie #11

Written by Chris Roberson
Art by Michael Allred
32 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

With iZombie on the verge of wrapping up its first year (and with its first collection due this month), it seemed like a good at time as any to check back in with Chris Roberson and Michael Allred’s zombie series. Of course, it’s not really a zombie series. In fact, Roberson and Allred seem to be delighted in taking everyone’s expectations for iZombie and then throwing them out the window. Do I approve? Of course.

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Shadoweyes Vol. 1

By Ross Campbell
204 pages, black and white
Published by SLG Publishing

I should have guessed the second I heard about Shadoweyes that it would be anything but typical. Creator Ross Campbell is probably best known for his graphic novel series Wet Moon, with its beautifully off-beat soap opera of characters and relationships. So while Shadoweyes is indeed Campbell’s take on a superhero, the end result is something far different than I suspect most people would be expecting..

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A Friendly Game

Story and pencils by Joe Pimienta
Script and inks by Lindsay Hornsby
200 pages, black and white
Published by SLG Publishing

What is about stories involving mentally deranged children? It’s a strange little niche market that exists in horror stories of all shapes and sizes, where the innocent looking kid turns out to be a stone-cold killer, going after babysitters, family pets, or (inevitably in this sort of story) parents. It’s that particular niche that Joe Pimienta and Lindsay Hornsby mine for their graphic novel A Friendly Game, but even at 200 pages, what we get is such an accelerated descent into madness that this book is hard to swallow on multiple levels.

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Green Monk

By Brandon Dayton
132 pages, black and white
Self-Published

I wish I could remember where I picked up a copy of Green Monk. My best guess is at the Small Press Expo, but your guess is honestly as good as mine. The reason why I say I wish I could remember, is because I also have no recollection of how it ended up trapped between my couch and the wall it’s next to for at least a year or so. (Oops.) The sad thing is that I wish I’d found it earlier so I could have already spread the word about how much I love Brandon Dayton’s art.

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