Some stories are charming and intricate because they offer multiple perspectives and characters to appreciate and consider. However, stories about stories show how the power of storytelling can shape lives by telling tales steeped in history, myth, and culture. In the medium of comic books alone, there are books, such as Marvel’s Loki: Agent of Asgard and the graphic novel memoir The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen, that have leads who use the power of stories to explore and express identity. Now, Juni Ba’s West African fantasy epic Djeliya joins them with a blend of stunning art, thoughtful characters, and interconnected tales. [Read more…] about Djeylia Is A Gorgeous Tale About the Power Of Storytelling
best new graphic novels
Of the big three “non-human races” of the Marvel Universe, the Eternals have long been playing catch-up. The X-Men are, well, the X-Men. While the Inhumans have a rich and varied history interwoven into the fabric of the larger Marvel Universe dating back to the Silver Age (to say nothing of a failed TV series and that time when Fox still owned the X-Men movie rights so Marvel tried to position them as their new, more cinema-friendly, version of mutants).
The Eternals, while of a similar pedigree (all three share an artistic creator in Jack Kirby), have long existed on the fringes of the Marvel Universe: various artists and writers, often top-notch ones, step-up and present their take on the long-lived demi-gods secretly protecting humanity from the monstrous Deviants in the name of the cosmic Celestials, and when they’re done, the Eternals quietly fade once more into the background of the Marvel Universe.
Eternals: Only Death is Eternal is the latest such creative effort. Collecting the first six issues of a new ongoing Eternals series from writer Kieron Gillen and artist Esad Ribic, the book is clearly being positioned to capitalize on and contribute to the Eternals’ upcoming moment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe zeitgeist, with their feature film (after a lengthy pandemic-induced delay) scheduled to premiere just a scant few months after the publication of this volume. In Gillen & Ribic, Marvel has again entrusted top-tier talent to this effort, and Gillen and Ribic, to their credit, reward that trust. Every iteration of the Eternals attempts to put a new spin on the concept in some way, and the inaugural launch of this series is no different.
Gillen and Ribic don’t just put a new spin on things; they do so in a way that contextualizes and synthesizes all of the previous versions, creating a kind of grand unified theory of the Eternals that honors what’s come before in the Eternals history while breaking new ground. Along the way, they also tell a densely-plotted, gorgeously-illustrated, rip-roaring tale filled with moments of fist-pumping excitement and tragic heartbreak alike. The end result is the best possible entry point into the Eternals for a new reader.
Ed. Note: Story Spoilers Follow
Even amid a new renaissance of A+ horror content, some books still manage to stand out as especially good. I Walk With Monsters is one of those books that tells its story so well that it almost becomes a masterclass in how to create a perfect horror comic along the way. Focusing in on two “hurt people that hurt people,” I Walk With Monsters is a story of revenge that never sums up even a shred of sympathy for its villains. Rather, it shows us how our heroes are so often more complicated than we want them to be. [Read more…] about Best New Graphic Novels: The Impossibility of Closure in I Walk With Monsters
In order to appropriately review the first volume of Home Sick Pilots, I’m left with no choice (none!) but to rank my favorite punk albums of 1994 in homage to the July ’94 punk scene where the story of Ami, Rip, Buzz and company begins!
Home Sick Pilots: Teenage Haunts collects the first five issues of the Image Comics book from:
Writer: Dan Watters
Artist: Caspar Wijngaard
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Designer: Tom Muller
* Spoilers For the book Follow! *
In 2019, Stan Sakai announced that he would be moving Usagi Yojimbo to IDW from Dark Horse, his publisher for more than 20 years. Certainly it wasn’t the first time that Usagi had moved houses, with early stories at Thoughts & Images, then Fantagraphics and a brief stint at Mirage Studios, but despite all of these moves, the collected format of these comics had remained remarkably consistent.
The trade collections, numbered volumes 1-33 (available in paperback and limited hardcover editions), maintained the same size (roughly 6” x 9”) and, for collectors, looked really nice all collected on a shelf. The smaller-than-floppy size wasn’t a huge drawback, because Sakai’s uncolored clean lines and lettering lent themselves to being resized while retaining the beauty of the art. With the paperback editions kept perpetually in print, these were the most convenient way to collect the series.
The omnibus editions of the series consisted of a special edition hardcover slipcase from Fantagraphics which was later republished as a paperback which has become almost equally hard to find (though there are rumors of a reprint hardcover edition coming later this year). From Dark Horse, the limited hardcover Usagi Yojimbo Saga collections (volumes 1-9 and Legends, collecting non-canonical stories), remain something of a gold standard for omnibus collectors. These editions feature full comic sized pages, and each collects three of the numbered editions.
Which is a long, circuitous way of saying that, moving forward, IDW will not be publishing new Usagi content collections consistent with the Fantagraphics and Dark Horse collections. The smaller 6” x 9” format for trade collections has been abandoned in favor of full-sized editions. This presents the art in a larger format that’s more consistent with the monthly comics, but, as many collectors find important, it won’t gel well on the shelf with prior collections. The numbering scheme has also been restarted, with “Bunraku and Other Stories” being the new volume 1, and “Homecoming,” the collection under discussion, as the new volume two. [Read more…] about Best New Graphic Novel: Usagi Yojimbo – Homecoming