Each and every week “Mr. Pull Quote” Henchman21 and “The guy that got killed in Batgirl #23” MK2FAC3 read a lot of comics. Seriously you guys, a lot of comics. Maybe too many comics. I mean, it is possible. They look forward to some more than others, I mean, who doesn’t? So, let’s take a look into the depths of their pull lists, grab some comics, and we’ll let YOU know what the top books to look forward to are for the week of August 10, 2011. Single issues and trades, they’re all here.
If you’re sick of multi-month-spanning mainstream comic book events, corporate ownerships, relaunches, renumberings, and retcons, well dear readers, you beautiful, beautiful souls, have I got a deal for you! For a mere three to four dollars, you can have your very own copy of a comic book owned by creators and published through indie publishers! Trust in me, and take my hand as we walk down the magical road of this week’s comic books! Watch as THE FAC3 and THE HENCH pick six titles that exemplify the spirit of creator-owned comics!
Blue Estate #4 (Image Comics – $2.99): I wholeheartedly love this book. Seriously. It’s one of the most insane comics out there today. It’s got got an incredibly wild and bizarre art style that I can only describe as looking like Pulp Fiction on acid. And it reads that way, too. One of the best things about this book is that, when you read it, you keep thinking, “This is what comics can do!” As I said, it has a very Pulp Fiction feel, which is a pretty bizarre movie itself, if you think about it. The book is about a large group of people in southern California, whose lives start bleeding together, and it all surrounds an aging action movie star and his ties to the Russian Mafia. If you’re missing out on this book, well… I feel bad for you. But if you can, pick up the back issues. Because it’s a load of fun, and it’s definitely something you’ll never see from the big two.
Morning Glories #11 (Image Comics – $2.99): If I were writing a “Top 25 Comics of 2011” that have come out so far, this comic would easily be in the top ten. When LOST ended over a year ago, it left a giant whole in the hearts of its viewers, and with Morning Glories, featuring the breakout talents of Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma, I’ve been able to fill that gap. There are obvious similarities between the two, mainly centered around the way new characters and questions are introduced in the book. There are plenty of differences, however, and that is granted with the spirit of the creator-owned comic. There’s so much going on in this comic that you can’t do with television or any other medium other than comics. It’s got a strange science fiction feel (or as I call it “Sci-Feel”), but it’s never gets confusing about what this book is about. The book is about the central characters, their relationships with each other in the face of some of the craziest situations imaginable, and Joe Eisma’s art perfectly captures the emotions of each of the characters. Nick Spencer is one of the rising stars in mainstream comics, but if you want to read his passion, the story he wants to tell, you should be reading Morning Glories.
The Red Wing #2 (of 4) (Image Comics – $3.50): Woah! You want mindbending stories that make you feel smarter after reading them? Well, look no further than The Red Wing. Jonathan Hickman is one of the architects of the Marvel universe with highly praised work on Fantastic Four, and many other titles, but, like Nick Spencer, his heart obviously lies within his own books. Books like The Nightly News, Pax Romana, and The Red Wing showcase Hickman’s style, a style that is uniquely his, in a way that cannot be shown at their full potential with the parameters of corporately owned character that were created 50+ years ago. It just can’t be done. The Red Wing, as mentioned by Henchman21 in a post last month, is a story that looks at the time stream as non-linear, and what happens when the future declares war on the past. Will the fighter pilots be able to survive these fights? And if so, what ramifications on the time stream will take place if any at all? The Red Wing will answer these questions and then some. Like I said, the Hickman style is one that makes you think and feel like you 100 times smarter than you were before reading it.
Madame Xanadu, Vol. 4: Extra Sensory TPB (Vertigo Comics – $17.99): Yes, I know Vertigo is owned by DC Comics, and yes Madame Xanadu is sort of a DC Universe character, but you can’t argue with the quality and spirit of Peter Milligan’s run with the character. I’ve recently started reading through this series, and it’s a crazy, psychedelic book that embodies the style and attitude of the comic book industry’s British Invasion, not to mention the beautiful and themed artwork that is featured in the series. Amy Reeder, a mainstay on the series and easily one of my favorite all time artists, is joined by Marley Zarcone and Marian Churchland to tell an incredibly trippy comic. The kind of comic that we just don’t see on modern comic shelves anymore.
Baltimore: The Curse Bells #1 (of 5) (Dark Horse Comics – $3.50): All of us on the Comics of Doom podcast enjoyed Baltimore: The Plague Ships, so I think we’re all looking to the next volume in the Lord Baltimore saga. Baltimore: The Curse Bells picks up from where The Plague Ships left off, with the titular monster hunter trying to track down the vampire that killed his family and unleashed a horde of monsters across Europe. Writers Christopher Golden and Mike Mignola have created an alternate history that drew me in from the first page, and artist Ben Stenbeck atmospheric pencils set the mood perfectly. If you like Hellboy or horror comics in general, give this or the first mini-series a read.
Criminal: Last of the Innocent #3 (of 4) (Marvel/Icon – $3.50): I can’t believe it’s only been two weeks since the last issue came out, but you’re not going to hear me complain. Criminal remains one of the best books on the stands, and the six mini-series has become the best of the bunch. The story by Ed Brubaker is about a young man who marries into money and decides to kill his wife. However, the story is just as much about the history of comics, particularly the horror comics of the 50s. The ending of the second issue was straight out of an EC comic, and I can’t wait to see how the cliffhanger pays off. The art by Sean Phillips has been up to his usually standards, if not well beyond those standards. Phillips uses his own style for the main story, and then switches to an imitation of Archie Comics for flashback sections. Criminal is awesome and is probably unlike anything else you are reading, so why aren’t you buying it already?
Vertigo Resurrected: Jonny Double #1 (DC/Vertigo – $7.99): It could be that I am going to a showing of Eduardo Risso’s art at the excellent Challenger’s Comics in beautiful downtown Chicago (and no, they didn’t pay me to plug them, but they remain an awesome show), but this is the perfect week for this book to come out. I love DC’s “Resurrected” line of mini-trades because they give me a chance to catch up on some older books that I’ve never read before. Jonny Double is the first pairing of writer Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso, who would go on to create 100 Bullets. It’s a PI story that features all of the trademarks of a good crime story. It seems like the perfect tale for this creative team to tell, and since I’ve never read the series before, it’s new to me.
X-Men: X-Tinction Agenda (Marvel – $49.99): Keeping the reprint madness going, I now get to go back and read some X-Men stories that I also missed when they originally came out, and that I haven’t read before. X-Tinction Agenda is 90’s X-Men at its best, featuring art by Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, and others. Is it the greatest X-Men story ever told? Probably not, but I’m willing to bet that I’m going to get a kick out of reading it. Just like the DC “Resurrected” books, Marvel has been working hard to get a lot of their back catalog back in print, but where DC has gone for cheaper, smaller reprints, Marvel has been releasing their material in nice hardcovers. I’m not saying one is better than the other, but these hardcovers are perfect for long time fans that are looking to relive some fond memories from yester-year. I feel like a lot of what I’m enjoying these days are older comics, and I’m glad that a lot of publishers are scratching that itch for me.
As you can tell, we tried to keep this list pretty much Big Two-free, but if you’re like us and can’t really stay away from them, make sure to be sure to check out MK2FAC3’s farewell feature that showcases DC books that are meeting their end this week: A Farewell To The Bats: 4 Batman Comics Ending With DC’s Launch.