Welcome to the Part-Time Fanboy picks of the week for September 17, 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.
Genre: Superhero, Humor
Publisher: DC Comics
So this is pretty much the comic book that got me into collecting comics as a kid. Without Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew I possibly would have never become the comic fanatic that I am today…and for that I am forever grateful. Captain Carrot is that rare animal of comic that I would classify as a “crossover book”. Meaning it’s a comic that kids will love and that parents can read with them and still enjoy and get something out of. Co-Creators Roy Thomas and Scott Shaw! Put together a comic that, despite having only lasted twenty issues, still commands a loyal following today among comic fans like myself who loved comic books in the eighties. Now DC Comics has made it much easier to pass this fantastically charming series down to another generation of young comic readers. Trust me on this, people, this is a comic that your little kids will absolutely love. This edition is in black and white…which may put off some kids but if they have a problem with it tell them they can use it as a giant coloring book as well. Yeah, I know some comic fans may have just passed out after reading that last recommendation but if DC isn’t going to give us a color edition of Captain Carrot then you might as well let the tykes do the job themselves. For me the black and white art is only a plus as I’ll get a chance to see much of Scott Shaw!’s terrific cartoon art unobstructed by color for the first time. This book gets my highest recommendation. I honestly can’t see how a kid couldn’t love this fun comic book series. Go out and buy it NOW!
By: George Perez
Publisher: Boom! Studios
George Perez doing his own creator owned book. That is all you need to know. As far as I’m concerned, Perez is a legendary comic book artist. Much like Scott Shaw! In my previous pick for this week, Perez and his art are one of the biggest reasons I started collecting comic books. His attention to detail and dynamic storytelling can be out and out mind-boggling. Mr. Perez was a staple at DC and Marvel Comics for decades and this is his first attempt at a creator owned book in years. This is a release which may actually have me going to an honest to gosh comic shop in order to pick it up…no joke. Do you know how often that happens on release day for me? Never. So this comic is a big deal for me and I’m betting that it’s going to full of the quality that all of us expect from the astoundingly talented Mr. Perez.
Publisher: Legendary Comics
Grant Morrison returns with a whole new batch of mind-bending strangeness with this six issue limited series. Returning to themes that he explored in The Invisibles and The Filth, Morrison tells the story of Ray Spass (pronounced “Space”) who is a failed screenwriter. Faced with his own mortality, he’s determined to finish one last story. He gets more than he bargained for when he finds that his main character, Max Nomax is real. The story that he is writing may just may be the key to saving the universe.
Morrison at his best manages to take cosmic themes and giant universe level threats and ground them in basic humanity. Irving has worked with Morrison in the past on the Klarion the Witch Boy limited series and is a fantastic illustrator. I’m really looking forward to this dose of high weirdness.
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Ingram Periodicals
This is a collection of self contained short comics from the pages of 2000AD, Britain’s groundbreaking magazine. Future Shocks are super short Twilight Zone style stories that vary wildly in tone and subject. Some of them are hilarious and profane, and others are more serious in tone. Many comic book greats got their starts in these stories, and it’s awesome to see them at their raw, primal, early stages.
I already have a collection of Alan Moore’s stories and I’ve seen a few of these in other collections, but I’m really looking forward to seeing more. If you haven’t read any of these, you’re in for a huge treat.
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
From the not-quite-right mind of Eric Powell (he who unleashed The Goon into the world) comes these stories mashing up Billy the Kid with Victorian horror. It would’ve been great to see Powell draw this, but the twisted art of Kyle Hotz deserves some overdue recognition. He’s more than merely a consolation prize; his curled line work adds a delightful creepiness that really cements the unique flavor of these tales.
The premise is that Billy the Kid didn’t actually die in 1881. He went on to become a member of a traveling spectacle of oddities. Essentially, Billy the Kid joined a bunch of circus freaks to investigate strange happenings, like solving the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster. It’s all a bit weird and creepy, and perfect as we get closer to Halloween.
This book collects the entire trilogy that currently exists: the original mini-series from 2005, and the two sequels that followed in 2010 and 2012.
By: Charles Burns
I usually try to reserve this column for recommending self-contained stories, or at least the first installment of a series of stories, so that people can dive in without having to worry about back-story. But I had to make an exception here because this is one of the big releases of the year. Sugar Skull is the final book in a trilogy from Charles Burns and the entire set is unique, beautiful and unsettling. So fair warning: you should probably read X’ed Out and The Hive first. Don’t worry, you won’t regret it.
Essentially, Doug keeps waking up in a really strange nightmare world but it’s not entirely clear if he’s just dreaming, or if the glimpses of his old life in the normal world are dreams. The entire experience seems tied to a heart-breaking and traumatic yet forgotten moment in Doug’s past. As his memories slowly return in piece-meal, we too are slowly figuring out what happened. At this point, I figure I still won’t quite understand what happened when I get to the end, but the experience has been so surreal and original and original that I won’t care.