Stumptown #1

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

If I had to try and sum up my general feeling about the premiere issue of Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth’s Stumptown in just a handful of words, I suspect it would involve, "Back to basics Rucka." Rucka’s career in comics started just over a decade ago with Whiteout, and while he’s tackled his fair share of comics since then in a wide variety of genres, it’s the mystery/investigative/thriller genres that he’s forever associated with in my head. Stumptown goes back to those roots, and I don’t think it’s a small coincidence that (along with his current run on Detective Comics) it’s one of his strongest comics in years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Festering Romance

By Renee Lott
184 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

I almost feel bad in saying this, but at times Festering Romance didn’t feel like a graphic novel, but rather an illustrated movie pitch. Renee Lott’s graphic novel has it all built in; a small cast, a simple setting, and a strong core idea involving a potential romantic relationship being hindered by each of them hiding the ghost in their lives. And you know something? I think Festering Romance would have the potential to make a ton of money at the box office, with "hit" written all over it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Resurrection v2 #1

Written by Marc Guggenheim
Art by Justin Greenwood
32 pages, color
Published by Oni Press

A couple of years ago, Oni Press debuted Resurrection, a title that detailed just what would happen after the end of an alien invasion, once the planet is finally free. After six issues and an Annual, the book went on a temporary hiatus. Now it’s back, and this time in full color. But in an effort to bring in new readers, I fear that Marc Guggenheim is trying to push too much too fast into its new first issue.

Read the rest of this entry »

You Have Killed Me

Written by Jamie S. Rich
Art by Joëlle Jones
192 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

It doesn’t take a detective to know that author Jamie S. Rich writes movie reviews for all different sorts of publications, but even without that piece of information I think it’s safe to say that Rich is a fan of movies. Reading his and Joëlle Jones’s new collaboration You Have Killed Me (their first full-length book together being 12 Reasons Why I Love Her) makes me feel like I’m actually watching an old crime noir film. Fortunately, it’s not one that I’ve seen before.

Read the rest of this entry »

Crogan’s Vengeance

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

I always loved one of the finer details of Alan Moore’s and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen, and that had to do with the state of the comic book industry. With no comic books about superheroes (what with the real things existing), that gap was instead filled with comics about pirates. That made perfect sense to me; larger than life, full of adventures of daring and surprise. In other words, a real-world equivalent to a superhero. With all that in mind, I’m really happy that Chris Schweizer is able to channel that with his new graphic novel Crogan’s Vengeance; there may have been a lot of pirate comics in our own world, but I think is the one that really best captures that sense of excitement and adventure.

Read the rest of this entry »

Salt Water Taffy Vol. 1: The Legend of Old Salty

By Matthew Loux
96 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

When I was a child, one of my favorite books to check out from the library was what I’ve come to think of as, “children’s vacation adventure.” It’s a book where the main characters are school children off on a trip (often but not always their summer vacation), where what may seem to be a boring place turns out to be anything but. It’s a tried and true set-up, in no small part because the reader more often than not can project themselves into the same situation, wishing that their less-than-exciting vacation suddenly was full of magical creatures and items. I know that over the years, books like Susan Cooper’s Over Sea, Under Stone or Edward Eager’s Magic by the Lake grabbed my attention quite firmly on many a long trip. Matthew Loux is using that same basis for his new graphic novel series Salt Water Taffy: The Seaside Adventures of Jack and Benny. And you know, I can’t help but think that kids will be just entranced by Loux’s graphic novel as I was by my books back in the day.

Read the rest of this entry »

North World Vol. 1

By Lars Brown
152 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

You’ve no doubt encountered “fusion” cuisine, where two or more different styles of food are applied to the same dish. Japanese meets Italian? Mexican meets Chinese? You name it, it’s out there. I mention this not because I’m craving dinner, but rather because I’m surprised we don’t hear about “fusion genres” when it comes to writing. Take, for instance, Lars Brown’s North World, which takes fantasy and modern day settings and crushes them into one. And you know what? So long as you don’t think about it too hard, it tastes pretty good.

Read the rest of this entry »

Resurrection #1-2

Written by Marc Guggenheim
Art by David Dumeer
32 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

In creator Marc Guggenheim’s afterword to the first issue of Resurrection, he mentions watching V: The Series on tv and being so disappointed on the chances it had to be a story about what happens after an alien invasion, and failing utterly. It’s funny, because I remember watching both V: The Final Battle and V: The Series and I completely understand his frustration. So it’s with that in mind that I had high hopes for Resurrection, taking what’s generally speaking a squandered setting for a story and giving its own spin on the set-up of Earth after the invasion comes to a close.

Read the rest of this entry »

Courtney Crumrin and the Fire Thief’s Tale

By Ted Naifeh
64 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

It’s been a while, but fans of sarcastic and slightly caustic girls with supernatural powers can rejoice—Courtney Crumrin has returned. With Courtney Crumrin and the Fire Thief’s Tale, Ted Naifeh is continuing to expand the series’s world—not only physically, but emotionally. He’s continuing to raise the stakes for all the characters involved, and the end result? I think it’s an important but good shift for the series.

Read the rest of this entry »

Last Call Vol. 1

By Vasilis Lolos
136 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

Launching a brand-new series requires walking a fine line between plunging the reader directly into the action, and with trying to provide needed background and a feel for the setting. With Vasilis Lolos’s Last Call, the graphic novel format is in some ways both a blessing and a hindrance for that line, but ultimately I think he’s able to keep a sense of balance present.

Read the rest of this entry »