Monday, May 7, 2012

Why I Buy: The Master List

Over the past month and a half, I've been analysing my 48 issue pull list, justifying why I buy each comic and throwing in some interior art. This week I pull the entire list together, with a bunch of additions that bring the list up to 53. As you can tell, It's a constantly changing thing, so I might revisit it in 6 months, and see what's changed.

Comic: 2000ad
Publisher: Rebellion
Writer: Various, including John Wagner and Pat Mills
Artist: Various
Why I buy: I love anthologies, and the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic allows me to get my anthology fix every single week. It often baffles me, the amount of quality stories they can cram into each issue (or prog, as they’re known in 2000ad). 2000ad has an amazing catalogue of characters at their disposal, as well. From Judge Dredd to the ABC warriors to Johnny Alpha to Nikolai Dante, there is truly something for everyone, provided everyone enjoys sci-fi action. 5 stories in 32 pages on a weekly basis? Heck yes.

Comic: Rachel Rising
Publisher: Abstract
Writer: Terry Moore
Artist: Terry Moore
Why I Buy: Two words – Terry. Moore. I’m such a huge fan of his work. He is an intelligent artist and gifted storyteller. Every little detail in each panel is carefully thought out – how a person fills their clothing, the way characters carry themselves, how a set is dressed. In Rachel Rising, Moore plays around with stronger horror elements than he ever did with SiP or Echo, and it makes for a crazy, exciting read.

Comic: Fathom vol 4
Publisher: Aspen
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Alex Konat
Why I buy: I bought the first volume for Michael Turner’s art, and ended up loving the premise. The story is about Aspen Matthews, a young marine biologist who discovers she is actually a child of two non-human races - the Blue, who live in n underwater environment that would make Namor jealous, and the Black, who are their mortal enemies. This latest series has taken an even deeper supernatural tone, as Aspen lays the smack down on some awesome monsters. It’s a beautiful book, and – does a great job at channelling the late great Michael Turner.

Comic: Irredeemable
Publisher: BOOM!
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Diego Barreto
Why I buy: Imagine if Superman heard one too many internet trolls badmouthing him and snapped, turning into an evil sociopath. Thus is essentially the premise behind one of Mark Waid’s two superhero properties at BOOM!. Plus, it’s Mark Waid, so you know it’s going to be well written.

Comic: Incorruptible
Publisher: BOOM!
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Marcio Takara
Why I buy: Mark Waid’s other superhero property at BOOM!, Incorruptible is about a reformed super villain trying to do good in the world. It goes hand in hand with Incorruptible, and it’s a damn fine read. The exploration of the human spirit is central to the plot, and while there’s plenty of no-holds-barred action, it is the characterisation that is the champion.

Comic: Valen the Outcast
Publisher: BOOM!
Writer: Michael Alan Nelson
Artist: Matteo Scalera
Why I buy: Dark fantasy at it’s finest. I’ve been a big fan of Michael Alan Nelson for a long time. He writes action comics as well as anyone, and Valen is no exception. Fast paced, visually exciting and a great example of how following an established formula doesn’t have to be predictable or clichéd. The story follows King Valen’s quest to retrieve his soul, stolen from him by an evil necromancer.

Comic: RASL
Publisher: Cartoon Books
Writer: Jeff Smith
Artist: Jeff Smith
Why I buy: Asides the fact that it’s a Jeff Smith comic, RASL is an energetic romp through alternate universes. RASL is an art dimension hopping art thief and former scientist working on forms of energy theorised by Nikolai Tesla. Smith’s art is powerful and expressive, and his story melds both real and fictional science together in a twisting, turning adventure.

Alabaster Wolves
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Caitlin R Kiernan
Artist: Steve Lieber
Why I buy: I’ve only read the first issue, but I loved it. The story opens with a girl sitting at a bus stop, but that’s the only normal thing that happens. We’re talking a 4 faced angel, a talking crow and a werewolf disguised as a hot chick. Leiber’s art is, as always, fantastic, and the first issue has me hanging out for more.

Comic: Angel and Faith
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Rebekah Isaacs
Why I buy: I’m a fan of the Buffy franchise, and while Angel is my least favourite character of the series, this book has been phenomenal. It feel’s more like a Buffy TV show than the Buffy Comic does. Gage is weaving one heck of a tale, and I can’t wait for each issue. Isaacs nails the character likenesses, and keeps the action coherent and readable.

Comic: B.P.R.D.
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Mike Mignola, John Arcudi
Artist: James Harren
Why I buy: There aren’t too many that do paranormal horror like Mike Mignola. With Hellboy coming to an end, BPRD is where I get my Mignola fix. This year heralds a whole bunch of BPRD series, including Long Death and the new mini out this Wednesday, Pickens County Horror. Mignola’s world is so rich and full, It’s a pleasure to read.

Comic: Buffy Season 9
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Andrew Chambliss
Artist: Georges Jeanty
Why I buy: Because it’s Buffy. Season 8 was this massive epic, a grandiose tale. Season 9 takes a step back, assuming a pace more like the TV show. Chambliss finds the voices of the characters perfectly, and Jeanty’s been drawing Buffy for so long he knows exactly what he’s doing.

Comic: Conan the Barbarian
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Becky Cloonan
Why I buy: There are a handful of creators whose work I will almost always buy. Brian Wood is one of them. I’ve loved almost everything he’s done, and Conan is no exception. Along with Becky Cloonan, Wood has fashioned an edgy, bold version of the classic character. The pair are re-imagining the classic Robert E Howard tale ‘Queen of the Black Coast’ and it is awesome sauce.

Comic: Dark Horse presents
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Various
Artist: Various
Why I buy:
It is the grab bag of style, both art and story, that makes anthologies like Dark Horse Presents so good. It’s like going to a candy store and trying a little bit of everything – there’s some flavours you like more than others, but they’re all good. The sheer diversity in storytelling excites my so much. If you’re not reading Dark Horse Presents, you should be.

Comic: The Goon
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Eric Powell
Artist: Eric Powell
Why I buy:

Do you want to read about a depression era thug who fights zombies, hobos, sea monsters, monsters made out of wicker, monsters made out of babies and insane burlesque performers? Then why the hell aren’t you reading The Goon? A delightfully fun period comic, this series manages to blend ridiculous lowbrow humour with surprising dramatic weight. Oh, and there’s also a heck of a lot of punching.


Comic: Lobster Johnson
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Mike Mignola
Artist: Tony Zonjic
Why I buy: Lobster Johnson allows a second monthly hit of Mignola. It’s great period superhero noir, as well. Set in the early ‘30s, Lobster Johnson is a pulpy, fun crime story about a leather clad vigilante who takes justice into his own hands. A thoroughly entertaining comic.

Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Jan Strnad
Artist: Richard Corben
Why I buy: This weird story is about an old castle that has a life of it’s own. The inhabitants of castle Ragemoor are as enigmatic as the dwelling itself, and classic horror elements dominate, like a lost episode of Tales From the Crypt. It’s creepy and weird, Like if House of Mystery was written by Mike Mignola. Richard Corben’s art is amazing. I love his fuzzy lines, and he just draws horror so naturally. A truly wonderful book.

Comic: Usagi Yojimbo
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Stan Sakai
Artist: Stan Sakai
Why I buy: Usagi Yojimbo is a charming tale of an anthropomorphic rabbit ronin who roams around looking for adventure and noble causes to lend his rather extensive samurai skills to. Usagi is a morally upright warrior who lives by a strong code of conduct. You have to love the guy. Sakai has been writing and drawing these books for 25 years, but the great thing about them is you can pick up an issue without having read anything before it, and follow and enjoy it.

All Star Western
Publisher: DC
Writer: Justin Grey and Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Moritat
Why I buy: I loved Grey and Palmiotti's work on 'Jonah Hex', and was hoping for more of it in All-Star Western. Unfortunately, it feels like they've 'sold out' and are trying to target a more mainstream audience with conventional storytelling and Batman mythos. All Star Western is still good, and Moritat's art is fantastic, but I'm just waiting for Jonah Hex to get the hell out of Gotham and go back to doing what he does best - being a wandering bad-ass bounty hunter.

Animal Man
Publisher: DC
Writer: Jeff LeMire
Artist: Travel Foreman, Steve Pugh
Why I buy: Animal Man and Swamp thing are my hands down favourite things DC is publishing right now. Asides the insane horror,
I love the family dynamic in Animal Man. As a happily married man, one of my pet peeves is the lack of solid, committed families in comics. I love that Buddy is totally and unequivocally committed to his family. The stuff with his daughter, Maxine is really cool as well. I love the idea that a little girl knows more about her Father’s powers than he does. Maxine is like a cross between Layla Miller and Valeria Richards.

Publisher: DC
Writer: JH Williams III, W. Hayden Blackman
Artist: JH Williams III, Amy Reeder
Why I buy: JH Williams III. In fact I'm thinking of dropping the title and picking the trades of the JH Williams arcs. Williams is truly one of the best in the business, always providing breathtaking art and innovative visual storytelling. While Amy Reeder's work is not bad, it's not strong enough to carry the story, which is kind of strange and difficult to follow. I miss Greg Rucka.

The Flash
Publisher: DC
Writer: Francis Manipul, Brian Buccellato
Artist: Francis Manipul
Why I buy: Francis Manapul has been killing it with the flash. It's visually spectacular, as Manipul Once again shows the current trend at DC of innovative layouts. His story is surprisingly good as well. Manipul humanizes Barry Allen very well, hitting some great emotional beats while maintaining the sense of fun that comes with superhero comics. A beautiful comic telling a strong story.

Swamp Thing
Publisher: DC
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Yannick Paquette
Why I buy: Swamp thing goes hand in hand with Animal Man – just insane horror.
I continue to adore the fluid panel layouts in Swamp Thing. JH Williams III showed with no uncertainty that you can play around with panel layout to not only make the page look good, but better tell his story. Paquette does it masterfully here. Little things like using vine as panel borders for a jungle scene really make each page stand out, and it’s a treat to look at. If you want superhero-but-not horror comics then you should be reading both Animal Man and Swamp Thing.

Bionic Man
Publisher: Dynamite
Writer: Kevin Smith, Phil Hestor
Artist: Jonathan Lau
Why I buy: I'm not a fan of Kevin Smith. There. I said it. Don't kill me. I don't find his movies funny, and Comic Book Men was atrocious. Having said that, Bionic man as been great. He is co writing with Phil Hester, who I love. The story of Steve Austin becoming the bionic man, and the missions he goes on, is fast paced when it needs to be, as well as being personal and often emotional. Top notch storytelling.

Game of Thrones
Publisher: Dynamite
Writer: George R. R. Martin, Daniel Abraham
Artist: Tommy Patterson
Why I buy: George R Martin’s series of fantasy novels, collectively known as A Song of Ice and Fire, is hot property right now. Thanks to HBO, who have been adapting the series as an award winning television show, everyone is talking about it. Dynamite are adapting the books into a comic, an so far it’s been pretty spot on. Tommy Patterson, who provides the art on the series, does a wonderful job in capturing the look and feel of the novels.

Locke & key
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Joe Hill
Artist: Gabriel Rodruigez
Why I buy:
Locke and Key is a difficult beast to describe. It’s fantasy, with elements like magic and creepy mansions, but set in the modern world, with 'real' people. It’s horror, with murderous students and sinister villains, but it’s not like a Hack/Slash or 30 Days of Night-type horror. In fact, it's a perfect blend of both genres. It’s The Chronicles of Narnia meets H.P. Lovecraft. It’s Dark Fantasy done right.

Publisher: IDW
Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Rich Ellis
Why I buy: When I picked up the first issue of Memorial, I wasn’t completely sure if I loved it or not. By issue 3, I’m convinced I do. It’s a fun twisting tale in the vain of Carey and Gross’ Unwritten, although not quite as deep. There’s something very Gaimanesque about Memorial – world-hopping fantasy with abstract concepts in the form of characters that guide or hinder the main protagonist in her sweeping quest.

Road Rage
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Richard Matheson, Steven King, Joe Hill, Chris Ryall
Artist: Nelson Daniel, Rafa Garres
Why I buy:
The names on the top of the comic read: Hill. Matheson. King. Those three words alone should be enough to convince people to pick up this comic. It is IDW boss Chris Ryall that actually writes the comic, however. He is adapting two short stories – Duel, By Richard Matheson and ‘Throttle’, an homage to Matheson’s piece by father son duo Joe Hill and Steven King. The basic elements to this comic are bad-ass bikies and full tilt action, both provided in bucketfuls.

Smoke and Mirrors
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Ryan Browne
Why I buy: In a world where everything is run on magic – household appliances, Cars, utilities – an illusionist somehow crossed over from our world finds himself pedalling a brand of magic no one has seen before. A young boy is taken by these tricks and insists on being taught. The premise of this series is fresh and the execution solid. It’s these kinds of stories that make me love comics. Small, interesting ideas can be played out in an economic way, something that is very difficult with prose. Well worth a look.

Star Trek
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Mike Johnson
Artist: Stephen Molnar and others
Why I buy: I’ve always been a fan of the original series star trek, from when I was 12 and was crushing on the cute trekkie girl who lived up the road. So when IDW announced a new Star Trek ongoing telling Original Series stories but set in the JJ Abrams Star Trek universe, I was pretty stoked. The series hasn’t disappointed. It’s exciting, fun, and feels fresh while maintaining a sense of nostalgia.

Publisher: Image
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.

Publisher: Image
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.

Publisher: Image
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Various
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.

Infinite Vacation
Publisher: Image
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.

Publisher: Image
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.

Publisher: Image
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.

Morning Glories
Publisher: Image
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.

Peter Panzerfaust
Publisher: Image
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.

Publisher: Image
Nate Cosby, Ben McCool
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.

Publisher: Image
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.

Rebel Blood
Publisher: Image
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.

Publisher: Image
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.

Savage Dragon
Publisher: Image
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
Publisher: Image
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
Publisher: Image
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.

Walking dead
Publisher: Image
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.

Publisher: Image
Writer: Joshua Luna
Artist: Joshua Luna
Why I Buy: W
hispers 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.

Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Leonard Kirk
Why I buy: Peter Alan David. Mainstream superhero comics tend to recycle old storylines and ideas, and there is a general lack of forward motion. Not so with X-Factor. PAD lovingly crafts his narratives to progress, using his characters as a vehicle for momentum. He knows how to rock a final page reveal, as well – “Holy Crap!” moments are a regular occurrence. With X-Factor, he maintains a great balance between superhero fun and hardboiled noir. Perfection.

Publisher: Oni
Writer: Antony Johnston
Artist: Christopher Mitten
Why I buy: Set in a post apocalyptic world where water is a rarity and settlements are few and far between, Wasteland is sweeping epic of political and religious intrigue. The book can get a little slow and wordy at times, but the story is so interesting it doesn’t matter. Think Game of Thrones meets Mad Max. The art, most often provided by Mitten, has a glorious hard fantasy aesthetic, expressive and powerful. If you’re into post-apocalyptic fantasy, Wasteland is a must read.

Publisher: Vertigo
Writer: Bill Willignham
Artist: Mark Buckingham
Why I buy: The premise is simple – Fairytale characters and creatures have been exiled from their respective worlds and all live together in our ‘mundy’ world. The plot, however, is not as straight forward. Fables is a twisting, turning, sweeping fantasy story full of war, romance, loyalty, treachery, and a hundred other devices that fit under the good vs evil motif. The characters, despite their history in fairy tales, the characters are often down to earth and relatable, and when they’re not, they are still comfortingly familiar. Buckingham’s art has a beautiful fantasy charm, suiting the book perfectly.

Publisher: Vertigo
Writer: Various, Currently Peter Milligan
Artist: Various
Why I buy: Hellblazer is British supernatural horror at it’s finest. Think about some of the names that have worked on the book: Ennis, Ellis, Azzarello, Carey, Diggle and currently Milligan. That’s one hell of a roll call. What’s more, John Constantine is one of those characters that no matter what scummy things he does, you can’t help but like him. Another British character springs to mind – Joe Dredd demands the same reaction. The supernatural elements are often dark and twisted, which is awesome.

Saucer Country
Publisher: Vertigo
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Ryan Kelly
Why I buy: If I were to sum up Saucer Country I’d say it was West Wing meets the X-Files. Paul Cornell is a tremendously talented writer, and with this first issue you get the sense that he’s just getting warmed up. The story follows a young latino woman who is just about to run for the office of the president of the USA. There’s some creepy moments here, alluding to the aliens that we know are coming, but not giving away too much. It reminds of the M Knight Shaymalin movie Signs – the setup is just as important and scary as the reveal. Ryan Kelly’s art is great, although I much prefer his stuff on Brian Wood’s local, and may be the colours squash some of the nuances in his work.

Sweet Tooth
Publisher: Vertigo
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Jeff Lemire
Why I buy: Described by Blair Butler as The Road meets Bambi, Sweet Tooth is beautiful, character driven post-apocalyptic story. Lemire’s greatest strength is writing relationships between characters, and Sweet Tooth is no exception. The chief protagonists, a old, grizzled Hockey player and a 10 year old mutant with antlers, have a deep and complex relationship that’s a pleasure to read. His art isn’t for everyone, but I love it. Messy lines make way for strong expression, bringing each character to life in unique and individual ways.

The Unwritten
Publisher: Vertigo
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Peter Gross
Why I buy: If you’re a literature buff, Unwritten is a must read. It’s a rich narrative about a young man. Tom Taylor, whose father is a reclusive celebrity author. As the story progresses, it becomes more and more obvious that everything is not as it seems, as Tom is dragged on a rollercoaster ride through classic literature.

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