Welcome to the Part-Time Fanboy picks of the week for August 6, 2014! Each week some of the crew at PTF will pick their most anticipated books for that Wednesday’s releases 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: Image Comics
Every year a new volume of the Invincible hardcover comes out and every year I wait for it like a child waiting for Santa by the fireplace. If you don’t know about Invincible then you don’t know about the best superhero comic book out on the stands right now. Sure, everyone knows that Robert Kirkman is responsible for bringing us the zombie apocalypse in comic book form every month but he’s also the man who writes Invincible and Invincible is every bit as good as Walking Dead is. Maybe even better. The sheer force of will it takes for me to wait for these beautifully put together collections and not just buy the individual issues should qualify me to get my own Green Lantern ring! This is a book I’ve loved from the first time I decided to take a chance on the first hardcover collection and as soon as the pre-order info becomes available for each volume I readily plunk my money down. I cannot wait to crack open this latest edition of Invincible and be bathed in the beauty of Ryan Ottley’s artwork and be hypnotized by the crazed supers universe that Kirkman and Co. have unleashed upon the comic reading world!
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Pete Milligan is one of the people responsible for introducing me to comics that existed outside of the mainstream. His take on Shade: The Changing Man was one of those comics that opened my mind to a universe that I didn’t believe could exist in the world of a comic book. So when Peter Milligan releases a new comic book with an independent publisher and it’s full of crazy sci-fi bits, well…I am all in. Some of the preview art I’ve seen for this comic makes this series seem like something that could be quite compelling and decidedly mature. This being a Pete Milligan book, it’s sure to have it’s own brand of bizarre originality as well. If you like science fiction laced with intrigue along with a twist of uncomfortable weirdness this looks to be a book worth picking up. Although on the surface this seems to have some of the same aspects as Michael Crichton novel The Terminal Man, I’m pretty sure that this is a wholly different creation and that Milligan will present a story as interesting as he’s ever done. Plus, that cover by Jae Lee is nothing to sneeze at.
Genre: Non-Fiction, Education
Publisher: Andrews McMeel
I’ve been waiting for this one. This book is the result of a successful Kickstarter from 2012 for a graphic novel textbook. It was created with educators to be a legitimate teaching tool for middle grade students. Addressing topics in social studies, math, language arts and science, the book is something of an anthology, featuring comics by some fantastic creators. Roger Langridge contributes a science comic and is probably the headliner here. He’s beloved for his Muppet Show comics from a few years back, as well as his wonderful yet short-lived Thor: The Mighty Avenger and his own delightfully absurd Snarked!. Janet Lee is artist for the beautiful hit graphic novel Return of the Dapper Men and Katie Cook is a fan favorite for her Fraggle Rock comics; they both contribute stories in the language arts. Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey, they of Action Philosophers and Comic Book History of Comics fame, reunite for a history comic about George Washington. Chris Giarrusso’s funny G-Man makes an appearance in the book, as well. The entire book is put together by cartoonist Josh Elder (Mail Order Ninja), who also contributes to the book. Elder runs the non-profit organization Reading with Pictures, which is dedicated to the advocacy of comics in the classroom to promote literacy and improve educational outcomes in all students. The book is recommended by Common Core State Standards and includes a downloadable teacher’s guide. Even if you’re not a kid or a student, this ought to be a fun read. And I bet you’ll even learn something too.
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
In the late 1970s, the vast majority of available comic books were superhero comics from Marvel and DC, and humor titles from Archie Comics. There were a few other publishers out there, and some comix from underground and alternative artists were doing their own thing in the counter-culture scene, but that was pretty much it. And then, as comic book stores began to proliferate across the country, it started to become possible for creators to self-publish. ElfQuest was one of the titles that made it possible for creators to offer a greater variety of genres meant for general audiences and comic book fans, and still retain full ownership. In many ways, this was the start of Image Comics about 15 years before the renowned publisher of The Walking Dead began. The married couple Wendy and Richard Pini created a lush fantasy world of nomadic elves, their adventures and their relationships. It became a cult hit, and has continued off and on since. Wendy’s defining art won female and male fans alike, and spawned countless imitators, leading to an indie comics boom in the ‘80s. Several reprint projects have come and gone, but now with the epic story’s final tale currently being released, this is the perfect time to revisit this classic comic. The Pinis partnered with Dark Horse Comics for these final releases. This huge collection re-releases the first twenty issues of the original series in glorious black and white, as they were originally published. The huge phone book of comics runs 720 pages as is only $25 (before discounts). A great deal for such an entertaining piece of comics history.