Multiple Warheads #1

By Brandon Graham
48 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

Have you ever read something that seems eerily familiar, but you can’t even begin to place where you think you’ve seen it before? That was the problem I had when I first read Multiple Warheads by Brandon Graham, as its inaugural issue kept reminding me of something that I couldn’t place my finger on. It wasn’t until over a week later that it finally began to sink in. It wasn’t that I had read something like it before, but rather a wish to see this kind of book that was only now being fulfilled. Only in the case of Multiple Warheads, it’s probably a wish you didn’t even know you’d made.

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First in Space

By James Vining
96 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

I have vague memories of seeing Ham at the National Zoo. Having moved to the DC area in 1974, trips there were very common, and the chimpanzees were no exception. I can sort of recall seeing him on display along with the mention that he was the first chimpanzee in space, and being fascinated by the idea that we’d sent animals into orbit. (I was distinctly less excited upon hearing about the fate of the Russian-sent dog Laika.) James Vining’s First in Space is a book that made me instantly wish it existed 30 years ago. It’s exactly what I would have wanted to read then, but fortunately it was also worth the wait.

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Maintenance #1

Written by Jim Massey
Art by Robbi Rodriguez
32 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

Part of the problem with trying to create a humor comic, when you think about it, is that both the writing and the art need to be equally funny. Each half of the equation normally has to support each other in a comic to begin with, but it’s doubly true with comedy; the potential difference in humor levels between the writing and the art can ruin a joke with only half of the punch line really being delivered. Fortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case with Jim Massey and Robbi Rodriguez’s Maintenance, where the two creators are in sync with each other’s funny bones.

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12 Reasons Why I Love Her

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

There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. Popular culture likes to insist that there is, be it in books, comics, movies, or some other form of media. The reality, of course, is that relationships do have conflicts sooner or later; the real question isn’t so much how long until one hits that conflict, but rather how the people involved then deal with its resolution. I think that’s what hit me so much about Jamie S. Rich and Joëlle Jones’s 12 Reasons Why I Love Her; it’s a book that is as much about the good times as the bad times, but even more so it’s about how each of those extremes shift into the other.

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Polly and the Pirates Vol. 1

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

When a creator is attached to a specific franchise or character, it can be difficult for fans to see the creator try something different. I can’t help but think that must have been a large hurdle for some readers when Ted Naifeh announced Polly and the Pirates. While Naifeh’s never limited himself to a single project (writing-but-not-drawing Unearthly, drawing-but-not-writing Death Jr.), this the first all-by-Naifeh comic in a while that isn’t a new Courtney Crumrin story. And those who are expecting Courtney Crumrin II might be in for a bit of a shock upon meeting Polly.

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Borrowed Time Vol. 1

Written by Neal Shaffer
Art by Joe Infurnari
80 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

The pacing of a story—be it serialized or as a single, complete unit—is important. The right sort of pacing can draw a reader into your book, but just as easily alienate them. When I’ve read comics in the past by Neal Shaffer, they’ve been either serialized as 32-page comics, or as full-fledged graphic novels. With Borrowed Time and its 80-page format, I couldn’t help but wonder just how Shaffer’s very distinct sense of pacing would translate. On paper, his new series about the Bermuda Triangle and the ultimate destination of things we lose sounds perfect for the format; but what would the end result actually be?

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Wasteland #1

Written by Antony Johnston
Art by Christopher Mitten
48 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

It’s easy to pre-judge a comic based on the way it looks. “Oh look, it’s a new post-apocalyptic series,” you might say. “It’s the same sort of thing we’ve seen over and over again. Surely there’s nothing new or different about this one.” But while it’s easy to pre-judge, it’s often harder to actually be right all of the time.

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Love The Way You Love Vol. 1

Written by Jamie S. Rich
Art by Marc Ellerby
64 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

One of the genres of comics that I’m always happy to see make an appearance is romance. Romance comics, while common in other countries, don’t seem quite so big in the English-language market. While I don’t have a problem reading translated comics to get my fill of this type of comics (thank you, Japan!), it’s always nice to see a homegrown take on the idea. And it’s with that in mind that I was quite happy to see Jamie S. Rich and Marc Ellerby’s Love The Way You Love.

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Strangetown #1

Written by Chynna Clugston and Ian Shaughnessy
Art by Chynna Clugston
32 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

Over time I’ve learned that with a new Chynna Clugston comic, there are three things I should prepare for: memorable characters, slick art, and the unexpected. With her new book Strangetown (with co-writer Ian Shaughnessy), it’s nice to see that all my expectations were met—including that one about the unexpected.

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Northwest Passage Vol. 1

By Scott Chantler
72 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

I’m always a little embarrassed about some of my gaps of knowledge when it comes to history. Every time I think I’ve got a pretty good grasp of all the important events that I should know about, someone will mention one that I realize I really know nothing about. When Scott Chantler’s Northwest Passage was announced, I found myself more than a bit relieved. Other than the fact that the passage exists, I really knew nothing about its discovery. Fortunately, Chantler’s managed to both educate and entertain me at the same time; what more can I ask for?

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