Welcome to the Part-Time Fanboy picks of the week for October 22, 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: IDW Publishing
Once you see the cover of this comic is there really much more that you need to know? Two of the most iconic creations of eighties pop culture together in one comic book? C’mon! That’s just comic book gold! I was never really into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a kid but thanks to IDW Publishing re-issuing many of the original comics in some sweet deluxe hardcovers I’ve come to appreciate them in the adult segment of my comic reading life. And anyone who was coming of age in the eighties (as I was) has had a love of the Ghostbusters practically encoded into their DNA so to have these two properties coming together in one book is a recipe for success…or at least good old fashioned comic book enjoyment! But forget that the combination of these properties just seems like a slam dunk…just look at that art! Dan Scoening is an incredibly talented artist. I don’t think I could come up with a more appropriate talent to give this book the visual flair that it deserves. I don’t usually get that excited over comic books based on licensed properties but this is one that has definitely piqued my interest. I’m actually surprised that this hasn’t ever been done before. When it comes to great ideas for team ups this one certainly ranks up there as one of the crazier ones that’s brimming with potential for straight up fun!
Publisher: Titan Comics
D’Israeli (the pseudonym for artist Matt Brooker) is an amazing artist. As far as I’m concerned D’Israeli is someone whose talents should be more widely recognized and appreciated in comic book circles. I first discovered his work on the absolutely stunning comic adaptation of War of the Worlds that he worked on almost a decade ago. That book, along with its sequels, Scarlet Traces and The Great Game, solidified D’Israeli as being an exceptionally talented illustrator worth keeping an eye out for. Unfortunately, his comic book output isn’t exactly prodigious. So when he does release a new graphic novel I see it as an exceptional treat. The story concept seems pretty solid as well. A normal man living in a bizarre world where everyone has super powers seems like just the type of out of the box story that would offer a new spin on the superhero genre. D’Israeli has had a pretty good track record with finding good collaborators to work with so I’m pretty sure that this book will be worth reading. Heck, even if the story isn’t that great with D’Israeli involved I’m pretty positive that it’ll be a book worth staring at for hours on end.
Genre: Humor, Superhero
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Quantum and Woody is one of my favorite books from the 1990s. Originally published by Acclaim Comics, it followed the adventures of Quantum (Eric Henderson) and his foster brother Woody (Woodrow Van Chelton). They were, hands-down, the worst crime fighting team ever.
The pair gained superpowers in an accident while investigating their father’s murder. They found that they had to make physical contact once a day, or they would dissolve at an atomic level. Of course, they hated each over and were now stuck together. Quantum was straight laced, honorable, and righteous. Woody was reckless, selfish, and lazy. They were each filled with years of resentment and anger toward each other, and spent more time arguing than solving cases. In addition, Quantum was black, and Woody was white.
The element of race played a huge role in the book, and early in the run led to a publishing controversy over the n-word being used in the script. Priest decided to replace it with the word “noogie” and to start using profanity, but only with the first letter of the word. The publishing restrictions actually served to make the writing stronger, and the series began to break the fourth wall regularly. In addition to being a superhero comic, it became a book about superhero comics. The “Odd Couple” relationship grew into a deeper examination about what family and race relationships mean.
Plus, there was a superpowered goat. Above all, this book was funny. When Priest wrote Eric, he created one of the best “slow burn” characters ever. Woody spent the entire series just pushing his buttons, and when he would finally explode, it was always hilarious.
Valiant released a re-imagining of the characters last year, but this mini-series marks the return of the original creative team and the original characters. Set 20 years after the end of the first series, Quantum has a new partner and Woody is out to break them up.
I’ve missed these guys, and I can’t wait to see them back in action.
Genre: Anthology; History; Historical Fiction
Publisher: Fulcrum Books
I’ve lived in Los Angeles for nearly 15 years now, but I’m originally from Massachusetts. I love history, and the New England region has more American history than any other part of the United States. The country’s origins are tied to the area, as they made up a good portion of the original thirteen colonies. Colonial period is usually covered in school, or more accurately generally glossed over to get to the American Revolution. But that time in history spans over 100 years. Several generations came and went before we decided to be our own country, and there is a lot of history and a lot of stories there. Enter Colonial Comics, a collection of stories depicting life in colonial New England. Libraries and schools are already warming up to it because of its educational value, but it’s no dry text book. It’s meant to be entertaining.
The book has seventeen stories focusing on different moments both small and large between 1620 and 1750. Most of the names are new to me, but a few stand out. Probably most notable is Noel Tuazon, best known for illustrating the award-winning and excellent graphic novel Tumor. He provided art for “The Press’s Widow,” written by Erika Swyler. The titular widow is Elizabeth Glover, whose husband died on the voyage to the New World. He left her with children, lots of debt, and a printing press. In fact, it was the first printing press in New England, and Elizabeth’s story reveals a lot about the time.
The publisher is Fulcrum Books. They are generally a traditional book publisher (as in, not comics) but this isn’t their first. A couple of years ago they released another anthology exploring American history, District Comics: An Unconventional History of Washington DC. The publisher’s website is pretty sparse on this release, at least from what I saw, so it’s good the editors more than make up for it with a fantastic Tumblr and website, both fantastic resources for teachers and readers. This is the first book in a planned series.
As I’ve said before, I’m a big sucker for non-fiction comics, and this one in particular really grabbed my attention. I can’t wait to read it.
By: Igor Baranko
Speaking of American history, this alternate history story reveals America in a reality where the migrating Europeans never invaded. The North American tribe of the Paiutes wind back time and change history, but it comes at a price.
Time travel and its affect on reality and the universe are abstract themes often explored in superhero comics. For a while there it seemed like the X-Men were time traveling every which way every other month. More recently, Superman and the Justice League have been involved in big reality-destroying epics written by Grant Morrison. Futures have been created, history has been changed and then changed back, and alternate realities have been created, all amid big spectacular battles. Usually among people wearing colorful spandex and capes. Instead, this story stars a young Lakota warrior named Four-Winds who is trying to reverse the death of his Pawnee princess.
Having grown up on superhero comics, I’m very curious to see how such cosmic stories are handled in a different genre. Art and story are handled by Ukranian cartoonist Igor Baranko known for the sci-fi craziness of the graphic novel Jihad. So I’m not expecting a conventional handling of these themes. In fact, this will probably be really weird. But we’re dealing with time travel, so that sounds just about perfect.