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
best new graphic novels
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
Image’s “November” by Matt Fraction and Elsa Charretier is a four-part, gritty, crime thriller about three women who become ensnared within a violent plot perpetrated by corrupt police, and go about fighting for their lives amidst a tide of masculine violence. Interweaving multiple perspectives, it’s a story that blends noir crime fiction with hard-boiled mystery, while smoothly including impactful lesbian romances with depth and realism.
“November” was released as four graphic novels, serialized between November 2019 and March 2021 in beautiful 60-page hardcover editions. Each moody volume gives the story a sustained momentum where the reader is able to sit longer with each character and meditate on the colorized clues. Matt Fraction and Elsa Charretier plant such intricate devils in the details, relying on a reader’s keenest faculties of observation, that “November” might not appeal to some casual readers. Nonetheless, lovers of the hard-boiled and the noir will feel this is a masterpiece. [Read more…] about Best New Graphic Novel: Meditations in an Emergency – Review of Complex Noir-Thriller “November” [Parts I-IV]
The more I learn about Muhammad Ali, the less I realize I actually know about the near mythical boxing champion. As an all-around sports fan growing up decades after Ali’s final fight, I’m certainly familiar with the sound bites (“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” and “I am the greatest!”), and the widely accepted knowledge that Ali, previously known as Cassius Clay, was not only the greatest boxer of his era, but one of the most dominant sports figures of all time.
All of that leaves out so many fascinating details that shape the full figure of the personality; Ali’s public refusal to go to Vietnam, his connections to the likes of Malcolm X or Sam Cooke, his thoughts and influence on race, or – and this one blew my mind – that in 1990 Muhammad Ali met with Saddam Hussein to negotiate the release of 15 hostages!
The new Titan Comics graphic novel Muhammad Ali, Kinshasa 1974 doesn’t deign to capture all of this in full, but in its way it does manage to shade in a more fully realized portrait of the world heavyweight champion, from his origins through his iconic comeback against George Foreman in Zaire (popularly known as “The Rumble in the Jungle”). The end result is one of the most interesting sports documentary graphic novels I’ve read, and one of my favorite reads of 2021. [Read more…] about Best New Graphic Novel: Muhammad Ali, Kinshasa 1974