Every Wednesday we run down the 5 most interesting comics or graphic novels coming out for the week.
5. FREAKANGELS HC
Written by Warren Ellis; art by Paul Duffield
$27.99 | 144 pgs
I swear Warren Ellis has at least one book out a week and it's kind of hard to not mention them in these lists. This week we have a hardcover of the first 24 episodes of his ongoing web comic Freakangels. Set in a near-future, "post-flood" London, this steampunk sci-fi drama is about a group of disaffected youth called Freakangels who meet a girl called Alice from Manchester who tells them she's met "the last Freakangel" and that they're going about everything wrong.
Ellis works with artist Paul Duffield to build a compelling dystopia of retro technology. Duffield's work combines intricate architectural renderings and punk-influenced fashion styling with really beautiful washes of light-drenched color. Will it look as good on the printed page as it does here on screen? Probably.
4. PETEY & PUSSY
By John Kerschbaum
$19.99 | 128 pgs
Petey & Pussy is a graphic novel collection of comics strips about a dog and a cat that, as the title probably hints, is definitely not for kids. Both Petey the dog and Pussy the cat are anthropomorphic characters – part cute animal; part balding, middle-aged men – that are prone to graphic violence, slapstick comedy and gross, misanthropic behavior. Not much different than any other cartoon characters, right? And John Kerschbaum draws the strip in a way that makes it feel like a classic kiddie strip. But it's like reading a Tom & Jerry cartoon starring Larry David and Jeff Garlin.
You can preview the book here or read some strips at Kreschbaum's site.
3. THE LAGOON
By Lilli Carré
$14.99 | 80pgs
Lilli Carré made a big splash a couple of years back with her droll and folksy Tales of the Woodsmen Pete. Her new one is a flight into gothic fantasy mixed with family drama, called The Lagoon. A family, consisting of a husband and wife, a grandfather and a daughter named Zooey are all attracted to the siren song coming from a creature hiding in a nearby black lagoon. The song offers different things to each of them and they react to it in their own way.
The Lagoon is very much an exploration of sound in a soundless medium. Carré's inking style is looser and sketchier than the precious drawings of Woodsmen Pete, but she uses the rhythm of her line to help convey the rhythm of the creature's song. Check out some pages.
2. SWALLOW ME WHOLE
By Nate Powell
$19.95 | 216pgs
Nate Powell is a talented artist who won the Ignatz's Outstanding Debut Award at this year's SPX for this book, Swallow Me Whole, his first major longform work after many years of mini-comics and short pieces. Powell's expressive inking and experimental layouts make his stories a pleasure to look at even if his subject matter tends to be down in the doldrums. Case in point: this book is about two siblings who are wrestling with OCD and schizophrenia.
It's a foreboding, slowly-paced family drama just in time for Thanksgiving! Seriously, though, take a look at this preview. That wasn't the last award Powell will be winning for this book.
1. CROGAN'S VENGEANCE
By Chris Schweizer
$14.95 | 192 pgs
I'm a big fan of ambitious projects (think: Sufjan Stevens planning to make albums dedicated to each of the 50 states - 2 down, 48 to go) and this new book fits that bill. Crogan's Vengeance is the first of a planned 16 graphic novels (The Crogan Adventures) by cartoonist Chris Schweizer that will each tell the story of a different member of the Crogan Family Tree. It will span centuries, continents and genres and it begins here with a pirate tale set in the early 18th century where we meet "Catfoot" Crogan, an honest sailor who never wanted to be a pirate.
Schweizer, an MFA graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design, has a great animation-influenced style and sense of character design. He pitched his series idea to Oni Press by showing them this family tree image he created, promising to create a story for each person pictured. And the rest is family history.
Read a lengthy preview here.
NOT INTERESTED IN THOSE? HOW ABOUT THESE?
PUNISHER BY GARTH ENNIS OMNIBUS
Collecting not the gritty and realistic MAX series but the earlier, "lighter" fare like "Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe" from the Marvel Knights run.
JACK KIRBY'S THE DEMON OMNIBUS
It's omnibus reprint week! More mining of the Jack Kirby DC depths.
SPIRIT SPECIAL #1
In anticipation of the movie, more affordable Spirit reprints. This one has the stories "Sign of the Octopus", "Black Alley", "Sand Saref", and "Bring in Sand Saref".
FABLES VOL. 11 WAR AND PIECES
Cinderella on a cloak and dagger mission. Seriously you need to be reading this book.
UNCANNY X-MEN #504
Terry Dodson draws the X-ladies as a new 4 part story arc begins, written by Matt Fraction.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #578
Writer Mark Waid joins Marcos Martin, who I think is one of the most underrated artists working in superhero comics these days.
ARCHER & ARMSTRONG FIRST IMPRESSIONS HC
Reprinting a somewhat obscure but highly acclaimed Valiant comic by Jim Shooter and Barry Windsor Smith. It's a superhero buddy comedy.