Comics We’re Excited About for 7/8/2015

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Big things are brewing in the comics world this week, and it’s not just on the SDCC front. Tomorrow, one of comic’s most familiar faces is getting a dramatic makeover in the form of Archie #1. The all-star cast of Eisner-winner Mark Waid (Daredevil, Kingdom Come) and Fiona Staples (Saga) will bring a different (but not unfaithful) look at one of America’s most enduring comic characters. On the opposite end of that spectrum, the MCU is set to break into full-on Civil War this week with a relaunch of the title that Mark Millar and Steve McNiven made popular a decade ago. Charles Soule and Leinil Francis Yu will head up that pocket of Secret Wars, as well as the Star Wars: Lando comic alongside Alex Maleev, which also hits shelves this week.

Check out our favorite releases this week, and share your own in the comment section below.



1872 #1

Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Nicole Virella
Publisher: Marvel Comics

For one of the last Secret Wars mini-series to launch, 1872 sure has made itself known in the news cycle. Fan-favorite artist Evan “Doc” Shaner stepped away from the book citing scheduling issues, and a company-wide teaser image featuring a new version of Red Wolf ignited criticism over Marvel’s stereotypical and anachronistic design for the Native American hero. If nothing else, 1872 is worth picking up to see what sort of foundation Gerry Duggan and talented new series artist Nicole Virella lay for the reimagined character. This version of Red Wolf is clearly part of Marvel’s post-Secret Wars plans—although fans will likely be most receptive if he nabs a new costume before the “All-New, All-Different” Marvel arrives. Steve Foxe



All-Star Section Eight #2

Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: John McCrea
Publisher: DC Comics

If the comics community’s spent years prodding at DC to lighten up, the company’s put forth a great effort in 2015. The recent Batgirl relaunch proved that there’s room for fun in a main bat-title, and the Dark Knight’s world took a storybook turn in the smart Gotham Academy. But the new ‘DC You’ initiative hadn’t tumbled down the slapstick, goofy rabbit hole until last month’s All-Star Section Eight #1. The debut comic, penned by Garth Ennis and illustrated by John McCrea, showed Section Eight’s Six-Pack as he tried to reassemble a team that’d been blown to bits in the Hitman series a decade and a half ago. And while issue #1 poked fun at the one-percenter version of Batman—who tried to talk his way out of a parking ticket—Ennis turns his aim toward the Green Lantern in issue #2. Plus, there’s a love story involving absurdist pervert Bueno Excellente and a disembodied digestive system. It’s a goofy book—one that might have a limited shelf-life, but I’m still laughing. A lot. Tyler R. Kane



Archie #1

Writer: Mark Waid
Artists: Fiona Staples
Publisher: Archie Comic Publications

Now that Archie #1 is about to hit stands, it seems clear that Archie Comics has been seeding this contemporary relaunch for years, testing the waters with new characters like Kevin Keller, telling mature stories in Life With Archie and tapping popular creators for out-of-continuity fun like the horror-infused Afterlife with Archie. Superstar creative team Mark Waid and Fiona Staples walk a delicate tightrope in this debut issue, introducing familiar Riverdale residents with pleasantly refreshed personalities. This is our Archie, our Betty, our Jughead, just different enough to make things interesting. Longtime fans may need time to adjust, but the prospect of another 665 more issues of this isn’t a bad thing. Steve Foxe



Civil War #1

Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Leinil Francis Yu
Publisher: Marvel Comics

As most big comics companies hope with events like this one, Marvel Comics’ 2006 series Civil War was what yanked me back into the comics world. The story, penned by Kick Ass and Wanted scribe Mark Millar, showed an MCU divided over a Superhuman Registration Act, and fans were urged to “pick a side:” were you with pro-reg’ers Tony Stark and Reed Richards? Or maybe Captain America, who fought for unregulated superheroes?

Marvel’s set to revisit the world of hero-on-hero brawling with Charles Soule’s Civil War relaunch—a title that poses the question, what would the world look like if its greatest heroes bludgeoned each other for SIX YEARS STRAIGHT?! As a fan of Soule’s recent Swamp Thing work, as well as Cap’n beating down Tony Stark, I’ll be putting this one on my pull-list. Tyler R. Kane



Invader Zim #1

Writer:Jhonen Vasquez
Artist: Aaron Alexovich
Publisher: Oni

The same cult comic maestro who inspired a generation to don shirts with a cartoon serial killer probably shouldn’t have worked with a children’s television network. But Jhonen Vasquez did, and the resulting season and a half of hyper-stylized sci-fi hilarity—Invader Zim—was good, but hypothetically not as good as it would have been without censors looking out for toddler demographics. Vasquez and original character designer/illustrator Aaron Alexovich return from orbit 13 years later—an absence directly referenced in the comic as the protagonist gestates in a toilet—with PG-13 jurisdiction at Oni comics. The new Invader Zim series continues the narrative of an incompetent alien bent on world domination and the awkward adolescent who haplessly attempts to foil his futile plans. The jokes are vicious and relentless, non-sequiturs and one-liners volleyed where they’re least expected. Adults will laugh. Children will laugh. Everybody will laugh. Never has a work captured a whimsy so idiotic and brave that it harkens back to the Tex Avery/Chuck Jones eras of Looney Tunes. Never has a comic so purposefully stupid lied on a foundation of comedic skill so honed and smart. Welcome back to earth, Mr. Vasquez and Mr. Alexovich. Sean Edgar



Star Wars: Lando #1

Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Alex Maleev
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Lando Calrissian may not have gotten much screen time in the original Star Wars trilogy, but Billy Dee Williams’ Cloud City administrator is the only scoundrel in a galaxy far, far away that can give Han Solo a run for his credits. Prolific writer Charles Soule and photorealistic artist Alex Maleev are sticking to tried and true Lando traits for this pre-OT story, with the suave smuggler and his partner Lobot plotting an impossible heist to pilfer a valuable ship. Marvel has yet to disappoint with its Star Wars license, and it’s unlikely that two reliable creators will drop the ball with one of the franchise’s most entertaining secondary characters. Steve Foxe



The King in Yellow GN

Writers: Robert W. Chambers, I.N.J. Culbard
Artist: I.N.J. Culbard
Publisher: SelfMadeHero

I.N.J. Culbard has worked on a handful of ghastly good projects original to the U.S., including The New Deadwardians at Vertigo and Wild’s End at BOOM!, but his most vital work comes from U.K. publisher SelfMadeHero. For several years, Culbard has been adapting infamously un-adaptable H.P. Lovecraft stories into gorgeous full-color comics. His deceptively simple style is a perfect fit for vintage horror, capturing the dread and unease that defined the weird fiction genre at the turn of the 20th century. After a quartet of Lovecraft tales, Culbard has turned his pen to Robert W. Chambers’ long-forgotten classic The King in Yellow, an interconnected set of short stories that involve a madness-inciting play, revived in the public mind thanks to its heavy influence on the first season of HBO’s True Detective. Hopefully Culbard continues this aspect of his career—there’s plenty of Lovecraft, Machen, Blackwood and others waiting in the wings. Steve Foxe



Starve #2

Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Danijel Zezelj
Publisher: Image Comics

I loved the first issue of Starve, which is an Image Comic whose elevator pitch doesn’t quite do it any favors. Starve is a funny look at foodie TV culture; think of its protagonist, Gavin Cruikshank, as a closeted Anthony Bourdain who booze-binges within the dark borders of Danijel Zezelj and Dave Stewart’s dystopian world. Cruikshank, who’s been sucked away from his off-the-grid lifestyle, returns to reality to reclaim the fortune and legacy he started with a show called Starve, which has mutated into a nutrient-free version of its former self. And though the concept is wild enough, audiences walked away with a tasty onion of a tale that’s just beginning to reveal its layers. If you haven’t already, pick up the first two issues. It’ll be intense—but now’s the time to bite in. Tyler R. Kane



Strange Fruit #1

Writers: Mark Waid, J.G. Jones
Artist: J.G. Jones
Publisher: BOOM! Studios

You know it’s an interesting week when the reboot of a beloved 75-year-old property is Mark Waid’s least controversial new comic. Strange Fruit, which Waid is scripting alongside series creator and artist J.G. Jones, has invited criticism from the moment it was announced. What right do two white guys have to release a lofty statement comic on racism in the early 1900s South, and name it after a poem and song about the horrors of lynching? Regardless of how well Waid and Jones navigate the complex territory of the era (complicated by a visitor from beyond the stars), fully painted pages from Jones are no common treat. The last time the artist provided interiors was Before Watchmen, and his best-known work is likely still Wanted, the first Mark Millar comic to make it to the big screen. Come to think of it, maybe Jones likes the controversy… Steve Foxe