Welcome to the Part-Time Fanboy picks of the week for October 15, 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.
By: Andrew Loomis
Publisher: Titan Books
Andrew Loomis was a god of illustration instruction. For years many of his “How to” books were out of print even though they were some of the most highly regarded books on the subject of drawing. A couple of years ago Titan Books began reissuing Loomis’s work in beautifully reproduced hardcovers. I own almost all of these re-issues and I can state that each and every one of them is worth its weight in gold. I’d Love to Draw! is apparently a lost manuscript that has never before seen print. Reproduced with the help of artistic professionals such as Alex Ross, this looks to be the crowning achievement of Titan’s attempts to bring Loomis’s work back into prominence. This, as well as Loomis’s other work, is a must own for any aspiring artist.
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Oni Press
Agents of Atlas was probably one of the most well regarded Marvel Comics of the last decade. So when Jeff Parker writes a creator-owned comic for a publisher that I love, Oni Press, I have to sit up and take notice. The preview artwork that I’ve seen from artist Sandy Jarrell looks to be compelling and the fact that this seems to be a sci-fi coming of age story doesn’t hurt the chances of this book being something worth reading. I’ve generally loved anything that I’ve read by Oni Press so this combination of terrific publisher and solid comic book writer make Meteor Men a book that I’ll be looking forward to tracking down as soon as I get the chance.
In Real Life
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: First Second Books
First Second Books is one of my favorite publishers, so everything they release deserves a look for me. They have great production value with wonderful attention to design and quality books. Being a graphic novel publisher lets them lavish attention on their releases without having to worry about cranking out comics every week.
Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, journalist and technology/digital rights activist. He’s perhaps best known online for co-editing the popular futurist website Boing Boing, where he’s written out about copyright law. His first novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom was one of the first to be released under the Creative Commons license. His subversive young adult novel Little Brother, which depicted kids going up against the Department of Homeland Security to protect the Bill of Rights, won much praise, awards and landed on the New York Times Best Seller list.
In Real Life is within that same young adult spirit but seems more interested in exploring the rules of real life juxtaposed with the rules of online life. It stars Anda, who loves playing a massive multiplayer role playing game, where she can be the person she wants to be. She becomes friends with another player, a poor Chinese kid who begins breaking the game rules to make some money. It’s a look at gaming culture, real world poverty, and adolescence.
Cartoonist Jen Wang brings the story together. Her art is so appealing, her characters so expressive, and her storytelling is charming and crystal clear. I first fell in love with her work with the beguiling Koko Be Good, another fantastic First Second release. She’s a co-founder of ComicArtsLA, a free curated convention of indie comic artists. The next one is December 6th at the Think Tank Gallery in Downtown LA, so maybe the Part-Time Fanboy Crew team needs to make a field trip in a couple of months.
Publisher: Marvel Comics
This is probably the best Marvel debut in ten years, maybe longer. It’s also a really strong step forward toward inclusion and diversity from one of the “mainstream” superhero publishers.
Kamala Khan is a Muslim teenager living in New Jersey who just so happens to find herself with superpowers. Marvel has a long history of trying to recreate the lightning in a bottle that was Spider-Man, and none of those previous efforts were as Spider-Man as Kamala without being derivative.
G. Willow Wilson is herself a Muslim. She won a World Fantasy Award for her novel Alif the Unseen, and has been nominated for Eisner Awards for her comics Air and Mystic: The Tenth Apprentice. Her wonderful script instantly brings Kamala and her friends and family to life.
Adrian Alphona was the artist and co-creator on the last great Marvel debut Runaways. He’s been in and out of comics since then and has returned here in full force with fluidity and ease.