Welcome to the Part-Time Fanboy picks of week for July 23, 2014! Each week some of the crew at PTF will pick their most anticipated books for that Wednesday’s release based on their own individual tastes. Hopefully this list will help give you, the discerning comic book reader, some ideas on what to pick up at the comic shop during that particular week.
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Every nerd this side of the universe is waiting with baited breath for the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. While this stretch of the comics may not be exactly what the film is going to be based on, there’s probably enough in this collection to get anyone who’s curious about the property familiar with it. The Guardians of the Galaxy have been around in the Marvel Universe for a long time but this seems to be the run that Marvel Studios is pulling many of the characterizations and some of the events from. This is also the series that made the Guardians more popular in comics than they had ever been. Even without the movie’s release it’s still a fun and unique spin on the space swashbuckler genre. Heck, the issues with Paul Pelletier’s art are worth the price of admission alone. Plus, y’know Rocket Raccoon and there’s an astronaut dog in it…you can’t beat that!
Publisher: Marvel Comics
When I heard that George A. Romero was doing a new zombie comic for Marvel it almost made me want to resume a monthly comic buying habit. Almost. Now that the trade collection is out I cannot wait to get my hands on this book. Although I’m not a big fan of Romero’s modern day zombie films Night of the Living, Dawn, and Day of the Dead are some of my favorite movies of all time. So when the grandfather of the current spate of zombie fanaticism decides to turn his attention to the medium of comics…well, there’s no way I can ignore that. My imagination runs wild at the thought of reading a Romero free from the constraints of film budgets or studio interference. While the presence of vampires in this series does give me pause there’s no way that I can turn away from the lure of a Romero zombie comic any more than the undead can resist the taste of sweet, sweet flesh.
Genre: Action-Adventure, Fantasy, Humor
Publisher: Dark Horse
I love sword and sorcery. Robert E. Howard created an iconic figure with Conan the Barbarian, and his adventures have been chronicled in books, films, and of course comics! Marvel’s Savage Sword of Conan was an amazing book, and was my gateway drug into the world of epic adventure. Conan is crafty, merciless, and a fighter without equal.
Sergio Aragones has been sending up the genre for years with his Groo the Wanderer character. What makes Groo great is that Sergio manages to work in silly (and hilarious) gags with epic adventure. He’s making fun of the sword and sorcery genre in the way that only someone who really loves it can. Groo is… well, he’s no Conan.
Now, in the words of the press release: “the most heroic warrior in history meets the stupidest as Robert E. Howard’s immortal Conan the Barbarian crosses swords with Sergio Aragones’ Groo the Wanderer in Groo vs. Conan #1.”
Look at that cover and tell me you don’t want to see what happens.
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Alan Moore’s homage to British fantasy literature steamrolls through the 20th Century in this collection. Originally published as LEG:1910, LEG:1969, and LEG:2009, this collection brings the most recent adventures of Moore’s literary super-team together in one handy volume.
Mina Harker and Allan Quatermain remain the central figures and carry over from the original team.They’re joined by the gender-shifting Orlando, the proto-ghostbuster Carnacki, and Raffles the thief in a sexy, violent romp across time. Along the way, they encounter villains (including a “Jimmy Bond”) drawn from 20th Century British literature.
Kevin O’Neill is an amazing artist, capable of huge spectacle and quiet human moments. He’s the perfect match for Moore in this series. As is frequent with Alan Moore, it helps to have a healthy background knowledge of English history and literature. These later adventures are a little more dense and less immediately accessible than the first incarnation of LEG, but patience and careful reading bring great rewards.
Many have imitated LEG, but no one has captured Moore and O’Neill’s mixture of wonder, adventure, lust,and longing.
By: David Lapham
Publisher: Image Comics
One of the modern masters of crime and noir comics, Lapham made a name for himself with the seminal Stray Bullets. This mini-series was released about 14 years ago, and presents similar themes of fantastically flawed characters making terrible choices. Lapham reissued Stray Bullets through Image Comics recently, and now we’re getting more of his unsettling work. If you’ve never read Stray Bullets or Young Liars or anything else from Lapham, this is a great done-in-one sample of what you’re likely to get. Fans of murder mysteries, crime, and film noir need to beef up their library with this graphic novel.
By: Moyoco Anno
Publisher: Vertical, Inc.
This manga tackles body image, which might be even more surprising considering that Moyoco Anno is a fashion designer in Japan. That’s probably why she’s able to examine the topic. Anno is also a renowned josei manga artist, so this isn’t the Japanese equivalent of some Hollywood fashion designer deciding to make a comic. She is a seminal figure in the field and this looks to be a very challenging look at self-image and self-loathing, which plagues so many girls and young women (and, let’s face it, many of us). The main character Noko attaches her happiness to her weight. Even five pounds too heavy crushes any thoughts of happiness, as well as any comfort with her body or sexuality. The cover itself is troubling enough, so I don’t expect this to be an terribly fun read, but it will no doubt be a very compelling read, both tragic and eye-opening.