Local #1

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Ryan Kelly
32 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

Glancing at the cover to Local #1, you might get the wrong impression. I suppose you could think, based on the title of the comic and the map with Portland, Oregon highlighted that this is something that will really only appeal or speak to people who are, well, locals. Just in case you got that impression, let me assure you that it’s not the case at all. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that Local is the kind of book that everyone will relate to.

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Capote in Kansas

Written by Ande Parks
Drawn by Chris Samnee
136 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

I have a confession to make: I received an advance copy of Capote in Kansas and initially thought, “How could this possibly be interesting?” A week or so passed, and when I was packing my bag for traveling out to San Diego for Comic-Con International I absent-mindedly threw it in for something to read during the off-hours. Flash forward to the Saturday night of the convention, when artist Chris Samnee hesitantly asked me what I thought of the book. Having had a few drinks at that point, and all filters removed from my vocabulary, I blurted out exactly what I was thinking. “Oh my god, it’s the best effing book I’ve read all year!” I yelled. “It’s just so effing good!” A little surprised by my exuberance, Samnee said, “You should put that in the review.” Well, drunk or sober, I stand by those feelings so it seems that Samnee is getting his wish.

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Sharknife Vol. 1

By Corey Sutherland Lewis the Rey
136 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

More and more often, publishers and fans seem to be pushing anything published in a digest-sized format as manga. On a technical level, that’s either completely true or utterly ludicrous, since it’s just the Japanese word for “comics” so you can either say that all comics are manga (since they’re the same word) or that only Japanese comics can be manga. The reality of the situation, though, is that “manga” as a word seems to be changing in English, to instead be used as a classification for a certain style and sensibility of comics. The reason why I bring all of this up is that just last week while looking through the latest releases, I saw two kids talking about Sharknife. “Check out this new manga,” one of them was saying to the other, eagerly flipping through it. Is Sharknife manga? While they do share some influences, I don’t think it’s an entirely accurate description, but that’s perhaps because it’s very difficult to pigeonhole Sharknife into anything but its own unique entity.

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Hopeless Savages: B-Sides: The Origin of the Dusted Bunnies

Written by Jen Van Meter
Art by Vera Brosgol, Becky Cloonan, and Mike Norton
32 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

After the unfortunate publishing delays in the last Hopeless Savages mini-series, it’s nice to see the new Hopeless Savages: B-Sides one-shot. Not only is it good because it’s a single-issue story, but it’s a good refresher on why I’ve enjoyed Jen Van Meter’s series about the best punk rock family ever.

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Long Haul

Written by Antony Johnston
Art by Eduardo Barreto
176 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

One of the biggest films of 2001 was Ocean’s Eleven, a movie with a ringleader organizing one of the biggest heists ever. It’s easy to compare Antony Johnston’s and Eduardo Barreto’s The Long Haul to Ocean’s Eleven, but not for the obvious reason. Heist stories are a dime a dozen, but what these two really have in common is that their main characters have incredible charisma and charm. That’s what’s going to keep your interest; the sheer likeability of the cast.

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Wet Moon Vol. 1: Feeble Wanderings

By Sophie Campbell
176 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

Before Wet Moon, I was already a little familiar with Sophie Campbell’s work in comics. I liked the flashbacks she drew for Too Much Hopeless Savages, and her art for Spooked was really nice as well. What I hadn’t realized, though, was that Campbell can not only draw, but she can write as well.

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No Dead Time

Written by Brian McLachlan
Art by Tom Williams
132 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

It’s tough to work with idiots. That’s a thought that has probably run through the head of every person to ever hold a job. It’s a little disdainful, sure, but often it’s the truth. I think that’s what initially grabbed my attention about No Dead Time. So often people are overly sarcastic and put others down with no good reason. In the case of Nozomi and Seth, though, you really can’t blame them one bit.

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Awakening

Written by Neal Shaffer
Art by Luca Genovese
112 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

Neal Shaffer’s last graphic novel, Last Exit Before Toll, was a book that could best be summed up as one that concentrated more on mood and tone than plot. That’s not a bad thing, although if you aren’t expecting it, the end result can be a little startling. That’s more or less the same feeling I got from his new book The Awakening; this is a book where the most important thing is the feeling Shaffer’s trying to evoke from the reader, and that feeling is one of dread.

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Love as a Foreign Language Vol. 1

Written by J. Torres
Art by Eric Kim
72 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

One of my favorite release formats we’ve seen in recent days was Viz’s treatment of Eagle, with small, 100-page volumes showing up on a regular basis. The books were long enough that they were squarebound and looked nice sitting on your bookshelf, but short enough that the consumer wasn’t overwhelmed by the amount of material or the amount of money being spent. That’s what Oni Press’s new series Love as a Foreign Language reminds me of; a perfect-sized quarterly series that I want to see slowly take over my bookshelf.

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Once in a Blue Moon Vol. 1

Written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir
Art by Jennifer Quick
160 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

As comic books increase their presence in bookstores, it’s interesting to see which companies already seem poised to make great strides into this new market. Take, by way of example, Oni Press’s new book Once in a Blue Moon. Appealing to teenager readers both male and female, it’s a perfect example of a book which should get noticed by a lot of this new audience reading comics. Mind you, Oni’s been publishing this sort of book for years now; it’s just the latest example of the marketplace finally catching up with them.

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