Abe Sapien #1-3

Written by Mike Mignola and Scott Allie
Art by Sebastian Fiumara
32 pages each, color
Published by Dark Horse

Back in the day, Mike Mignola’s signature creation Hellboy begat a spin-off series, B.P.R.D., which started as a series of mini-series but eventually became an ongoing title. With over 100 B.P.R.D. comics now published and the book still going strong, it’s a healthy title with no signs of faltering. And now, added to the mix is a a spin-off from B.P.R.D., an ongoing Abe Sapien comic. (Yes, Sapien was created in Hellboy, but that’s not where his story has been for quite some time.) But in reading the first three issues of the series, I must admit that one question is jumping out at me more than others, and it’s not one that I think the creators would want. Namely… why?

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Lazarus #1

Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Michael Lark
32 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

If you already read Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s collaboration (plus co-author Ed Brubaker) on Gotham Central back in the day, the fact that Rucka and Lark are teaming up on this new series Lazarus is probably all I need to tell you in order to make you run out and buy a copy right now. But if you haven’t (and if that’s the case, it’s all collected into four volumes and you owe it to yourself to buy it), then you might need some convincing. And either way, here’s the good news: the first issue is excellent.

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Demeter

By Becky Cloonan
31 pages, black and white
Published by ComiXology

If you asked me what I buy every year at the Small Press Expo above all else, the answer would be easy: mini-comics. Because they don’t go through the distribution channels the way that bigger publishers’ books do, finding them can be difficult at best more often than not. That’s one of the things for which I’m especially thankful for when it comes to digital comics; the idea that finally there’s an easy way to get hold of comics that otherwise might be out of reach, between distance and limited print runs. Take, for instance, Becky Cloonan’s Demeter. This dark and spooky comic is one that I almost certainly never would have seen otherwise. But now? I can’t get enough of it.

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Pepita: Inoue Meets Gaudi

By Takehiko Inoue
108 pages, color
Published by Viz

I’ve been a fan of Takehiko Inoue’s for quite a while, especially with his series Slam Dunk, Vagabond, and Real. When I saw that a new art book by Inoue titled Pepita: Inoue meets Gaudi was coming out, I reserved a copy without even thinking twice. I figured based on the cover art that it would be perhaps a travel journal of sorts involving the Catalan architect. What I found was actually a historical telling of Gaudi’s life with some art and photographs mixed in. And while it’s an interesting book, it was definitely not what I was expecting.

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Transposes

By Dylan Edwards
128 pages, black and white
Published by Northwest Press

Dylan Edwards’ Transposes is, on the surface, a book that you might think you’ve seen before. The story of seven different female-to-male transmen, you probably think that it treads the same ground that so many other books on the subject have tackled. But as soon as you read Edwards’ introduction, where he deftly takes all of the well-meaning questions that are normally asked and explains that this isn’t about any of them, you’ll realize that Transposes is in fact something much better. In taking away the biological questions and just focusing on these men’s lives, Transposes separates the people from science, and that’s why it’s a winner.

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Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

By Lucy Knisley
176 pages, color
Published by First Second Books

When I read Lucy Knisley’s travel/food memoir French Milk back in 2009, I closed out the review by saying, "Knisley is definitely a creator to watch; she’s on her way towards greatness." You might think this is me leading up to gloating that I was completely right, that Knisley’s new memoir Relish: My Life in the Kitchen—a book about growing up around food—in fact proves that earlier prediction. As it turns out? I am. Relish is one of those charming books that delivers everything it promises and more.

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Reviews Return Next Week

Bad news: Well, getting things up and moving again took a little longer than I thought.

Good news: The project that took up a lot of my time this year had a very happy ending, and I think it was worth the time off here.

Even better news: Next week’s reviews are already written and are in the queue for publication. See you on June 17th!