Comics We're Excited About For 5/13/2015

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Every week, Paste takes a look at the most interesting releases due out Wednesday in comics, graphic novels and other goodies. Today offers a load of great content ranging from various genres and nooks. Harrow County may be one of the most exciting horror comics to come out this year, Injection continues Warren Ellis’ legacy of subversive sci-fi while upstarts like Space Riders pay homage to the epic yesteryear excess of cosmic head books. Also: cat-loving hairy ex-wrestlers. Happy reading.


Five Ghosts Special #1


Writers: S.M. Vidaurri, Frank Barbiere
Artists: S.M. Vidaurri
Publisher: Image Comics

Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham’s Kickstarter-turned-Image series Five Ghosts has been running for more than two years now, which might make jumping in as a new reader a bit intimidating. This oversized one-shot straddles the line between first-time accessibility and long-game payoff, with a deeper look at the mythology behind lead character Fabian’s ghostly powers. Even if you’re not particularly invested in Five Ghosts, artist S.M. Vidaurri (Jim Henson Storyteller: Witches, Iron: Or, The War After) provides haunting, skull-littered, fully-painted interiors for the full-length main story. A treat for returning fans, interested newbies and art-lovers alike. Steve Foxe

Harrow County #1


Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Tyler Crook
Publisher: Dark Horse
Last fall, Wytches terrified black magic-fearing readers by uncovering what lies in the woods. But today, we’ll see Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook winding the witching hour back—like, a hundred years—for a new take on a classic tale. Harrow County follows Emmy, an 18-year-old woman who’s lived on a farm her whole life. Hitting this landmark age leads to a few landmark discoveries and questions, and Emmy’s own curiosity uncovers some dark connections. The book’s first issue is all you could ask for in a horror debut: creepy imagery, an anxiety-inducing storyline and a pace that moves just fast enough to leave that doomy feeling in the pit of your stomach. (Just look at that cover.) Harrow County. Scary. Buy it if that’s your thing. Tyler Kane

Howard the Duck #3

Howard’s big first case goes off the rails as he’s pulled into investigating a NYC crime spree! But this spree features a Very Special Guest Star! We’ll only give you one hint: they’re a Marvel Comics character who has “died” before!

That really pares down the possibilities!


Injection #1

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artists: Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire
Publisher: Image Comics

Did anyone ever expect “from the team that brought you Moon Knight” to be a massive selling point in 2015? Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire accomplished a miracle during their short run on “Marvel’s Batman” last year, making a third-stringer into the publisher’s best book for six issues. Ellis, for the most part, stayed out of Shalvey and Bellaire’s way, allowing the perfectly matched collaborators to carry the bulk of the storytelling visually (especially in the ball-busting Raid homage issue). Injection sounds like comfortable ground for the futurist writer, mingling science horror, techno thrills and mad geniuses. Unless disaster strikes, Injection seems destined to become one of Image’s new blockbuster titles.Steve Foxe

The Mantle #1


Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Brian Level
Publisher: Image Comics
Who hasn’t walked home from a punk rock show a little faded? And who ever thought—save getting mugged—it’d have insane consequences? With Mantle, Ed Brisson (Sheltered) and Brian Level (Lazarus) present a funny take on the ages-old reluctant hero story. Our protagonist, Robbie, is struck by lightning after that aforementioned walk from a punk show, and the event turns his body into a vessel for a power called The Mantle, which has been fighting against a dark being called The Plague for decades. To stay alive, our power chord-loving pal will have to avoid the fate of every other Mantle host before him. And if you put a story in front of me that mixes epic battles, Kafka-style scenarios and a Black Flag aesthetic, it’s going to be read sooner rather than later. Tyler Kane

Mythic #1


Writer: Phil Hester
Artist: John McCrea
Publisher: Image Comics

Phil Hester and John McCrea’s Mythic has a killer high-concept pitch: Science is a lie and magic powers rule the world—but the public can never know. Tell me that doesn’t sound like the start of a hit cable series. Luckily, Hester and McCrea, both industry veterans, aren’t beholden to production budgets or studio whims. Image titles from current Big Two creators seem to steal most of the spotlight, but these guys have been refining their crafts for years. This introductory-priced $1.99 story of an Apache shaman, a Greek immortal and a cellphone salesman keeping the world safe, with citizens ignorant of what’s behind the curtain, shouldn’t be missed. Steve Foxe


Nimona HC

Writer/Artist: Noelle Stevenson
Publisher: Harper Teen

Before she became something of a household name as cowriter for BOOM!’s all-ages hit Lumberjanes, Noelle Stevenson created Nimona, the impish, shape-changing henchman of Lord Ballister Blackheart. Nimona, begun as Stevenson’s senior thesis and released as a webcomic over a three-year period, shows the evolution of Stevenson’s visual style, but it also showcases the young cartoonist’s innate knack for writing charming, nuanced characters. In an interesting spin on the expected formula, it’s Nimona who becomes the more evil of the diabolical pair, and it’s up to Lord Blackheart to rein in his protégé as they try to expose the supposedly-virtuous Ambrosius Goldenloin’s darker side. The first three chapters are still available to read online, but Harper Teen’s gorgeous full-color collection (with a cover quote from YA luminary Rainbow Rowell) is the print version this Eisner-nominated story deserves. Steve Foxe

Space Riders #2


Writer: Fabian Rangel Jr.
Artist: Alexis Ziritt
Publisher: Black Mask

Space Riders reads like some forgotten ‘70s longbox relic, printed on artificially-distressed, sepia pages and filled with attention-deficit cosmic poetry. Writer Fabian Rangel Jr. has crafted an imaginative crew upon the Santa Muerte, a skull spaceship that eviscerates space poachers with eye beams. The grizzled Capitan Peligro, introspective baboon Mono and mysterious android Yara could well be the afterbirth of the Guardians of the Galaxy dumped in a vat of LSD and Frank Zappa tunes. The main draw, though, is Alexis Ziritt’s hyper-detailed line work, fitting in somewhere between Paul Pope, Rafael Grampa and (obviously) Jack Kirby. Look no further than the onomatopoeia of a space warrior bisected by a crab claw—SPLITCH—to see an artist both reveling in the past and charging into the future of hyper-expressive sci-fi elation. Sean Edgar

Thor #8


Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Russell Dauterman
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Does it really matter that we discover the identity of the mysterious blond brawler who picked up a certain hammer and assumed the role of a certain Asgardian god? Even if you’ve avoided the Internet and the disappointing fact that the big secret was revealed in an article rather than the comic that posed it, Thor remains one hell of a ride, dramatic revelations or no. Its new femme focus isn’t just a simple gimmick; the mysterious new Thor offers a bold reintroduction into the dysfunctional dynamics and antiquated chauvinism of Norse godhood. (Of course Odin would be shortsighted—the man only has one eye.) All the while, themes of ecological degradation, corporate apathy and sociopaths who transform into minotaurs keep the action pummeling forward and the story delicious. Writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman could stick any Valkyrie under that helmet (our bet’s on She-Throg) and still spin narrative gold out of this superlative comic. Sean Edgar


Wuvable OafHC

Writer/Artist: Ed Luce
Publisher: Fantagraphics

Few comics have titles as accurate as Ed Luce’s Wuvable Oaf. The burly, hirsute, cat-loving protagonist Oaf is an ex-wrestler searching for love in the big city. Media portrayals of gay men tend to lean blond, skinny and traditionally handsome (Iceman, anyone?), so it’s refreshing when a story puts someone outside of that mold into the spotlight. Luce self-published several issues of Oaf, and has treated the story like an expanded art project, producing Oaf’s signature underwear, recording music for the fictional Ejaculoid band, and even making scratch-and-sniff cards with character scents. Collecting a project like this is Fantagraphics’ bread and butter, and Wuvable Oaf is definitely a book you’ll want to eat up. Steve Foxe