Unknown #1-2

Written by Mark Waid
Art by Minck Oosterveer
32 pages, color
Published by Boom! Studios

I remember when Mark Waid wrote the mystery series Ruse back in the day. It was a fun shift into a genre that few English-language titles have explored, even as it does well in other countries. When I heard that The Unknown was in some ways a return to that genre from Waid, I was looking forward to it. What I didn’t expect to find, though, was a very different sort of mystery waiting to be told.

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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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Muppet Show #1

By Roger Langridge
24 pages, color
Published by Boom! Studios

It’s always seemed a little strange to me that there haven’t been many The Muppet Show comics. Aside from movie adaptations, you can round up most of their comic appearances in the form of Muppet Babies comics, and to me that really isn’t quite the same. I was pretty pleased, as a result, to hear that Boom! Studios had not only ended up with The Muppet Show license but that Roger Langridge was writing and drawing the book. Because quite frankly, if there’s one cartoonist out there who truly "gets" the The Muppet Show, it’s Langridge.

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Never As Bad As You Think

Written by Kathryn Immonen
Art by Stuart Immonen
64 pages, color
Published by Boom! Studios

By now, I think most people know how some "gimmick" comics work. The most popular/well-known is the 24-hour comic, where the creator(s) of the comic have just 24 hours to conceive of, write, draw, and letter a completed comic book. What I’m actually more intrigued with, though, is Kathryn and Stuart Immonen’s tactic for creating Never As Bad As You Think. Originally serialized online, each strip was written by using a word chosen randomly by another website. Then, as soon as Kathryn Immonen wrote the script, Stuart Immonen had to start drawing that week’s creation. Not only is it an interesting challenge, but the impressive thing is that Never As Bad As You Think comes across as if it was always planned this way.

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Hexed #1

Written by Michael Alan Nelson
Art by Emma Rios
32 pages, color
Published by Boom! Studios

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—more often than not, it’s not a matter of what story you’re telling, but rather how you’re telling it. There are some basic story ideas that we’ve seen over and over again, like a person who uses magic to steal. What’s important, though, is what you bring to that idea to make it feel different. Basic ideas are a dime a dozen. In the case of Hexed, though, it’s the world and the characters that make this book stand out from the rest.

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Foundation #1

Written by John Rozum
Art by Chee
24 pages, color
Published by Boom! Studios

Most people, if asked what they’d do with knowledge of the future, answer along the lines of, “Win the lottery.” Once you get past the most materialistic urges, though, the bigger question becomes what would people do if they could get brief snatches of information about the years to come? John Rozum’s new series The Foundation takes that tactic with a particularly well-known figure when it comes to future predictions. The end result, though, seems a little too predictable at first.

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Potter’s Field #1

Written by Mark Waid
Art by Paul Azaceta
32 pages, color
Published by Boom! Studios

There’s an old adage that there are only a limited number of plots in the world, and that every story is just a slight variation on those ideas. (Some people claim the actual number is three, others go for seven. The fact that there’s no clear consensus on the number of actual plots says a lot in its own right.) But on a similar level, I think it is fair to say that just as two stories with the same “plot” can be radically different, so can different stories with the same basic set-up. So when I say that Mark Waid and Paul Azaceta’s Potter’s Field reminds me of Andy Helfer, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Kyle Baker’s run on The Shadow from the mid-80s, I’m not claiming that Waid and Azaceta are stealing or ripping off The Shadow. Rather, that it’s a familiar set-up that will certainly make fans of the old book a little nostalgic and probably very happy.

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