Every Monday I share my 48 issue pull list, justifying why I buy each comic and throwing in some interior art. This week I cover my Image stack, which is quite hefty: Chew, Fatale, Hack/Slash, Infinite Vacation, Invincible, Memoir, Morning Glories, Peter Panzerfaust, Pigs, Prophet, Rebel Blood, Saga, Savage Dragon, Thief of Thieves, Li’l Depressed Boy, Walking dead and Whispers.
Writer: John Layman
Artist: Rob Guillaroy
Why I buy: My Goodness, I love this book. If you want a perfect blend of action, violence and humour, you need look no further than Chew. John Layman's script can get quite brutal at times, but Rob Guillroy's quirky and fun art softens the blow a little. It's kinda like being hit by Thor's hammer if it was wrapped in a pillow. It's heavily stylised, quirky, fun and a pleasure to look at. Chew is one of those books that just get's better and better as it goes along.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Why I buy: Any one who has any interest in pulp or lovecraft or crime noir or just a good, sold story should check it out. The characters are the main focus here, and the world Brubaker and Phillips has made for them is unusual in a way that I can't quit put my finger on - just how I like it. Sean Phillips is the cheese to Bru's crackers. The Spock to his Kirk. They work so well together, and Phillip's style suits the pulp noir or Brubaker's stories perfectly. The engaging mystery of Fatale is one that grabs you and sucks you in - a vortex to the imagination. Comics at it's finest.
Writer: Tim Seeley
Why I buy: ‘A little bit of sexy and a whole lot of bloody’ reads the solicitation to Hack/Slash 10 by Tim Seeley and Daniel Leister. It’s a perfect description of not just this issue but the whole series. I can’t say I’ve been overly impressed with Hack/Slash of late, but this arc is shaping up to be pretty good. I still long for the days when it was just Cassie and Vlad driving around killing stuff, but in the mean time, I’m enjoying where the current arc, which features genetically enhanced dinosaurs.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Christian Ward
Why I buy: Nick Spencer weaves a universe-hopping tale reminiscent of a horror infused Dr Who. The premise is that in a future that has access to infinite universes people can holiday in them. If you want to be a rock star, there’s a universe where you are. Christian Ward’s art is unique and beautiful, with unorthodox lines and soft colours, that really add to the dream-like quality of the story. It’s a shame it’s so long between issues.
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Ryan Ottley
Why I buy: One of the best, if not the best, superhero comics on the market. Kirkman’s ability to write long running series and keep them fresh and interesting is first class. I think his success lies in his skill in writing characters that are real and relatable, and have real and relatable relationships. Ottley illustrates the book perfectly. It’s fun and whimsical at times, but powerfully emotional when it needs to be.
Writer: Ben McCool
Artist: Nikki Cook
Why I buy: Memoir has been hands down my favourite miniseries of the past year. It’s creepy, unpredictable and compelling. As each issue unfolds, we’re taken further and further into the mystery of Lowesville, a small community that suffered town-wide memory loss. I feel slightly paranoid throughout each issue, knowing that something bad was going to happen but not knowing what or when. Even when things slow down a little, there’s this real sense of lingering menace, a feeling kind of like thinking you’re being watched. As we get closer and closer to finding out the dark secrets of Lowesville and its residents, that sense of looming menace gets closer, like storm clouds about to burst. Nikki Cook provides clean lines and deep grey tones, with composition that enhances the menacing tone provided by McCool. McCool describes the series as Twin Peaks meets the Twilight Zone. I describe it as pure awesome sauce. If you’re into creepy horror, then you should be reading Memoir.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Joe Eisma
Why I buy: Spencer has the ability to tell a story with more twists and turns than an amusement park. Morning Glories is like the good seasons of LOST set in a prep school. The plot thickens each and every issue, but not in a frustrating, we-don’t-get-any-answers kind of way. Eisma’s art is tight. His lines are clean, his characters unique and his composition dynamic. An exciting book.
Writer: Kurtis Weibe
Artist: Tyler Jenkins
Why I buy: Weibe’s vague retelling of Peter Pan is set in World War II, beginning in France. An enigmatic British soldier saves a group of fellows, captured by the French, and instigates an escape. The references to JM Barrie’s masterpiece are subtle, but recognisable enough to make for a really interesting read. It’s a fresh take on a classic, and a great read. Tyler Jenkins’ art is stylised perfectly to blend the reality of the war time setting with the fantasy elements of the source material.
Writer: Nate Cosby, Ben McCool
Artist: Breno Tamura
Why I buy: This series about a KGB sleeper cell in Cuba continues to be all kinds of awesome. While there’s not a whole lot of action in the book (although there’s a great deal of violence), the pacing is superb. Suspense is built up when it needs to be, deep character moments are powerful and even the ‘stand around discussing our plans’ scenes move along at a steady pace. The dialogue and character development play a major part in keeping the book interesting and a joy to read. Tamura’s art is rough grimy, which compliments the story well. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it serves the story well.
Writer: Brandon Graham
Artist: Simon Roy
Why I buy: Brandon Graham’s name was enough to make me buy the ‘first’ issue of the re-imagined series, but it was the unusual sci-fi beats that made me stay. Half the time I have no idea what’s going on, as the plot lakes detail and I’ve never read any of the previous leifeld stuff. Having said that, I don’t really care, because there are enough aliens and gadgets and spaceships and weird planets to make up for the confusing and spartan plot.
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Why I buy: Zombies done by Riley Rossmo. That’s really all there is too it. I love Riley Rossmo’s art. His lines are gloriously untidy, and the tone and texture in his work never fail to give me a nerdgasm. Love it.
Writer: Brian K Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Why I buy: You only need one reason to by this comic. I’ll give you bunch, but you only need one. Brian K. Vaughan. BKV is one of the greatest storytellers in the business, and Saga is an epic sc-fi fantasy, one part Star Wars, one part Willow and all parts amazing. Vaughan hits a really emotional rhythm in the book, and the relationship between the main characters is powerful and strong right from the beginning. Fiona Staples provides yet another reason for you to pick this up. Her art is beautiful. It’s perfectly expressive, and really captures the deep emotional beats set forth by BKV.
Writer: Erik Larson
Artist: Erik Larson
Why I buy: I’m only a recent convert to Savage Dragon, having always bundled it into that early Image basket that was all about the art but not so much the stories. Savage Dragon is superhero comics done right. Damn impressive if you consider Larson writes, draws, inks and colours the book himself. Dragon follows a cop/superhero who just happens to be an alien with green skin, a fin and a disproportionately large upper body. His family, adopted daughter and crime fighter Angel, and son Malcolm, feature heavily, and it is their struggle to fit into everyday life that makes this book so rich.
Thief of Thieves
Writer: Robert Kirkman, Nick Spencer
Artist: Shawn Martinbrough
Why I buy: Plotted by Robert Kirkman with a script from Nick Spencer, Thief of Thieves #1 was a solid introductory issue. The book channels oceans 11 as the protagonist, Redmond, and his literal partner in crime plan a major heist. The book jumps back and forward in time a little, but it remains coherent, as each chapter plays it’s part in the overall story. Martinbrough’s art, while nothing mind-blowing, compliments the story well with it’s gritty simplicity.
Li’l Depressed Boy
Writer: S. Steven Struble
Artist: Sina Grace
Why I buy: From the sparse dialogue to the hip characters, Little Depressed Boy (LDB) just oozes coffee culture cool. Let’s be honest, LDB is not for everyone. It’s slow, minimalistic and completely lacking in capes and tights. But in an industry dominated by superpowers, it’s always nice to take a breath and read a story with real dramatic weight. This is not a fast comic. The series is about a depressed young man trying to come out of his shell, but totally clueless as to how to do it. It’s fresh, it’s hip and it shows that if we live life with a negative attitude, it’s hard to see the positive in anything.
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard
Why I buy: The past year on the Walking Dead has been, with the exception of half of Carl’s face being blown off, pretty stagnant. It’s all been about getting the community zombie-proof, and dealing with issues inside the fence. At the moment, this long running book heralds a change that will hopefully shake things up in a big way. Adlard has been drawing Kirkman’s scripts for so long it’s almost as if his pencils are an extension of Kirkman’s imagination. From the simple action of a sword slicing open a zombie to the way each figure graces the panel the art perfectly serves the story.
Writer: Joshua Luna
Artist: Joshua Luna
Why I Buy: Whispers is the first solo outing for Joshua Luna of the Luna Bros. The story follows Sam, a young obsessive compulsive germophobe who discovers he has the ability to ‘ghost’ people he knows simply by thinking of them. One of the strengths of the Luna Brothers’ work is there ability to rock a last page ‘Holy crap!’ reveal, and while we don’t get that here, the series is set up nicely, with enough of a dangling thread to desire the next part of the story.