Stumptown Vol. 2 #1

Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Matthew Southworth
32 pages, color
Published by Oni Press

Almost three years ago, Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth’s first Stumptown mini-series debuted. Starring Dex Parios, it followed a private investigator in Portland, Oregon who was often down on her luck and even more often got in over her head. With the mini-series having numerous delays, though, Rucka and Southworth promised that they’d wait until they could guarantee the next one would be on time before it began to appear. Well, it looks like that time is now, and with Stumptown Volume 2 #1 we’re getting "The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case." But with all the intervening time, is it too late for Stumptown to try and make a comeback?

Read the rest of this entry »

Crogan’s Loyalty

By Chris Schweizer
184 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

It’s nice to be dependable, and that’s a word I’d used to describe Chris Schweizer’s Crogan’s Adventures series of graphic novels. Debuting in 2008 with the pirate romp of Crogan’s Vengeance and continuing in 2010 with the Foreign Legion desert adventure of Crogan’s March, I’ve liked the idea of every two years getting a new volume. That trend’s continued with this year’s American Revolution story of Crogan’s Loyalty. And when I said that Schweizer was dependable, I wasn’t just talking about his publishing schedule; I know by now that each new story in the Crogan family tree is going to be a good, solid graphic novel.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Spontaneous #1

Written by Joe Harris
Art by Brett Weldele
24 pages, color
Published by Oni Press

In May 2010 for Free Comic Book Day, Oni Press released the first issue of their new series The Sixth Gun, letting people get a good look at an ongoing series with a no-risk guarantee that they didn’t pay too much for it. (Second printings, released later, were normally priced.) It makes sense, then, to follow suit this year with Joe Harris and Brett Weldele’s new series Spontaneous. And while it doesn’t have quite the same bang to it that The Sixth Gun‘s opening issue did, it’s still strong enough to hopefully lure prospective new readers on board.

Read the rest of this entry »

Salt Water Taffy Vol. 4: Caldera’s Revenge! Part 1

Written by Matthew Loux
Art by Matthew Loux and Brian Stone
96 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

It’s nice to see a series you love come back after a hiatus, and to that list we can now add Matthew Loux’s Salt Water Taffy. The first three volumes were a great bundle of all different sorts of fun, mixing the typical "summer adventure" genre with big crazy ideas. And after a little over a year and half, it’s even better to be able report that the new book is just as much fun as you remembered.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ivy

By Sarah Oleksyk
224 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

I’ve become a convert to Sarah Oleksyk. Her story in Papercutter #4 was a stand-out in an already-strong comic, and likewise her contribution to I Saw You… was one of the stories worth seeking out. So with all that in mind, her first graphic novel Ivy was a must-read. I’d seen some early chapters in mini-comic form, but it had been long enough that in many ways this was a new experience. And by the time I was done, I couldn’t help but feel that Oleksyk had made a book that should have turned me off, but instead kept pulling me in.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sixth Gun #6

Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Brian Hurtt
40 pages, color
Published by Oni Press

One of my absolute favorite new series this year is, easily, The Sixth Gun. Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt have, over the course of its first six issues, done exactly what I want in a new series: introduced the characters, provided a memorable setting, and thrown a lot of surprises at us. With The Sixth Gun #6, we’ve hit the conclusion of the first story, and if anything I love it more than ever. Part of the fun is its snappy concept, with six cursed revolvers each having a different power for whomever is unlucky enough to be its wielder. Enter poor Becky, whose father owned the deadly Sixth Gun, which gives its owners glimpses of the future, and which is being hunted down by the dangerous General Hume (despite being dead).

The Sixth Gun has a little bit of everything for the reader. We’ve got mystical creations, a dreaded seal threatening to be breached, some nasty surprises, and a whole lot of action. Even if you’ve correctly guessed that The Sixth Gun #6 won’t culminate in the end of the world (but just think about the wait for issue #7 would be like), there’s more than enough to keep you guessing from start to finish, and gruesome and inventive use for one of the cursed guns that everyone’s trying to get their hands on. Becky and Drake continue to be strong leads for the comic, and having Brian Hurtt’s always-stunning art tackling the visuals is an added bonus. With each new issue of The Sixth Gun, I fall a little more in love with the series. If you’re a fan of adventure, horror, westerns, or just good comics in general, trust me: you must buy this comic.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com | Powell’s Books

Crogan’s March

By Chris Schweizer
216 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

One of my favorite graphic novels of 2008 was Chris Schweizer’s Crogan’s Vengeance, the first in a proposed series of stories about various ancestors of the Crogan family tree over the years. Schweizer’s story of pirates and high-seas adventure hit all the right notes for me, and since then I’ve been looking forward to seeing if he could capture that lightning in the bottle a second time with Crogan’s March. What I found was a book that takes everything I liked about the earlier volume, and then improves on it. Now that’s something you don’t see every day.

Read the rest of this entry »

Spell Checkers Vol. 1

Written by Jamie S. Rich
Art by Nicolas Hitori de and Joëlle Jones
144 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

How bitchy do you like your bitchy-high-school-girls stories? That, at the end of the day, is going to determine how much you like the new Spell Checkers series of graphic novels from Oni Press. Because trust me, Jamie S. Rich, Nicolas Hitore de, and Joëlle Jones have created a supremely bitchy trio of witches here, and while I suspect that will be a turn-off to some readers, other ones are going to laughing their heads off and cheering the ladies on for much, much more.

Read the rest of this entry »

Return of King Doug

Written by Greg Erb and Jason Oremland
Art by Wook-Jin Clark
184 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

When I heard about the basic premise of The Return of King Doug, I had to laugh. As far as concepts go, it’s a good one: young boy discovers a magic kingdom, is told he’s the king and savior, and responds by running screaming in the opposite direction. It’s a knowing nod towards series like The Chronicles of Narnia where instead of jumping full hog into the story as dictated to the child, we instead get a realistic, honest reaction. The only thing hovering in the back of my head as I heard about this, though, was that everyone would surely see exactly how the end of this story would play out. Fortunately, I think it’s also clear that writers Greg Erb and Jason Oremland understood that potential pitfall, too.

Read the rest of this entry »