Moon Moth

Original short story by Jack Vance
Adapted by Humayoun Ibrahim
128 pages, color
Published by First Second Books

Jack Vance is one of those authors who’s been successful in multiple genres (science-fiction, mystery, fantasy, autobiography) and doesn’t get half of the attention he deserves. With so much material published (there’s a 45-volume "integral edition" of his works out there, by way of example) it’s easy to have not read even a fraction of Vance’s writings, so hopefully The Moon Moth will help introduce a new audience to this author’s works. The original novella that The Moon Moth adapts was published half a century ago, but it says a lot about both Vance and adaptor Humayoun Ibrahim that it still feels fresh and original even now.

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Take What You Can Carry

By Kevin C. Pyle
176 pages, two-color
Published by Henry Holt Books

The split-narrative is a tricky structure to master, as Kevin C. Pyle’s Take What You Can Carry illustrates. Pyle’s book tells two different stories separated by four decades, switching back and forth between the two. In order to pull that off, though, both halves of the book need to be of equal strength. Otherwise you end up with a book like this one, where one half ends up feeling a bit superior to its counterpart.

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Hoax Hunters #0

Written by Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley
Art by JM Ringuet
32 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

I hadn’t heard of Hoax Hunters until this special was released; originally it ran as a back-up feature in the pages of Hack/Slash. With an ongoing series planned to debut shortly, though, this was clearly meant as a way for people like myself to become familiar with the comic, and hopefully get interested. And while there are parts of Hoax Hunters that didn’t entirely work for me, there’s enough good material here that I feel like that mission has been accomplished.

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Baby’s in Black

By Arne Bellstorf
208 pages, black and white
Published by First Second Books

I’ll admit that before reading Baby’s in Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles, I knew remarkably little about Stuart Sutcliffe, one of the early members of the Beatles. So it was with that in mind that I was eager to read Arne Bellstorf’s biography of Sutcliffe and photographer Astrid Kirchherr’s life together, a glimpse into the early days when the Beatles were a five-piece band and playing in Germany. What I found was a book that answered a lot of questions, but ultimately left me feeling a little frustrated by what I had and hadn’t learned.

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Luther

Written by Mark Waid
Art by Jeremy Rock
33 pages, color
Self-Published

At 2012’s WonderCon, Mark Waid announced that he has a series of digital comics coming soon, and was offering up a free short comic story that he’d created as a proof-of-concept for the venture. That comic, Luther, is available now for download. (And as Waid suggests on that page, the best way to view it involves downloading the PDF file to your computer first, and proceeding from there.) Waid’s approach to the digital comic format is different than just slapping pages onto a screen, but time will tell if it’ll catch on.

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Shuteye: Six Tales of Dreams and Dreamers

By Sarah Becan
300 pages, black and white
Published by Shortpants Press

Shuteye: Six Tales of Dreams and Dreamers is a collection of Sarah Becan’s six Shuteye mini-comics, each dealing with dreams in some way, shape, or form. I’m glad that I hadn’t read any of these mini-comics before getting the Shuteye collection through a Kickstarter drive, though. Individually, I think each of these stories is good. Read as part of a greater whole, though? Shuteye takes on a very different and more powerful feel, one that begs for them to be read as a complete unit.

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Secret History of D.B. Cooper #1

By Brian Churilla
32 pages, color
Published by Oni Press

The legend of D.B. Cooper is rather impressive, when you think about it. A man hijacks a plane, gets $200,000 in ransom money along with multiple parachutes, has the plane take back off, then jumps out with the money and is never seen again. Almost none of the money (all of the serial numbers recorded before being handed over) is ever discovered. Even the name "D.B. Cooper" is an error; all that was known was that he bought the ticket under the name "Dan Cooper." In other words, D.B. Cooper is the perfect person to write a comic book about. And so far, I’m impressed with Brian Churilla’s utterly bizarre and out there take on the man, because it’s not quite what you’d expect.

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Empire State

By Jason Shiga
144 pages, color
Published by Abrams Comicarts

Jason Shiga is the sort of comic creator with whom you never know what you’re going to get next. Sometimes he plays with format and linearity, in books like Meanwhile and Hello World. Other times they’re more grounded but twist the world around them, telling crime investigation stories with librarians in Bookhunter or a unique locked-room mystery in Fleep. Empire State is probably his most standard, by-the-book comic since his Xeric Grant funded Double Happiness. But even here, it feels like Shiga can’t help but tinker with the story a bit and make something stand out from the rest. And in the case of Empire State: A Love Story (Or Not), it’s the first time where I feel like that spark of difference doesn’t quite work.

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Hell Yeah #1

Written by Joe Keatinge
Art by Andre Szymanowicz
32 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

After reading Joe Keatinge’s first issue of Glory, seeing his name attached to the new series Hell Yeah made instantly intrigued. After all, if he could make Glory an interesting comic, what would an original creation of Keatinge’s look like? What I found was a book that feels like it’s attaching itself to the trend of of "real world superheroes with violence" but in a way that’s worth picking up a second issue.

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Fairest #1

Written by Bill Willingham
Pencilled by Phil Jimenez
Inked by Andy Lanning
32 pages, color
Published by Vertigo

The idea behind Fairest, the new spin-off from Fables, seemed simple enough. The back cover declares it to be about "the fairest flowers in the land" and in interviews creator Bill Willingham has talked about it being a place to tell stories about characters like Snow White, Rose Red, Cinderella, Rapunzel… in other words, the female characters of Fables. So why is it, then, that Fairest #1 is starring Ali Baba?

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