good this week

prophet #42 : ron wimberly jumps in and delivers one of the best issues of the entire turned-on-its-head relaunch led by brandon graham & co.

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afterlife with archie #3 : the most improbably awesome book of the year rolls on.

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alex + ada #3 : the romance heats up!

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miracleman #1 : one of the greatest and most influential superhero comics of all time is also one of the least read due to over 20 years worth of legal shenanigans. but starting here alan moore’s masterpiece rolls out monthly.

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black dynamite #1 : ron wimberly double dips this week, here providing the kinetic pencils that fuel this blaxploitation-era romp.

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amazing x-men #3 : bamf! more ed mcquinness goodness.

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–chris stevens

Locust Moon’s Top 40 Comics of 2013

Farewell, 2013. In place of our monthly Top 40 Countdown, we decided to spotlight the 40 best comics we read this past year.

Here are our favorites, in no particular order:

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EAST OF WEST

Josh: Jonathan Hickman & Nick Dragotta are perfectly matched on this genre-defying retro-futurist opus. Equal parts western, sci-fi, romance, alternate history, religious deconstruction and social parable, it feels nothing like a mashed-up melange — it feels like a pure, high howl, equal parts fear and longing, that echoes off the motherboarded cities and across the wide, lonesome plain.

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IT WILL ALL HURT

Chris: Begun as a means of unwinding from the grind & pressures of producing what would become the 304-page THE WRENCHIES, this magical, surreally lyrical  adventure packs as much feeling and pure cartooning chops into one issue as most cartoonists are lucky enough to get out of a whole career.

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FANTASY BASKETBALL

Andrew: Few comics this year had me jumping out of my chair to cheer the main character on. Equally few inspired an immediate re-read — not to understand it better or anything, but to simply relive and extend the joy of reading it for as long as possible. Sam Bosma’s Zelda-meets-NBA Jam dungeon romp did both those things. It is simply a perfect comic, the kind I never knew I needed till I had it.

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CELEBRATED SUMMER

Josh: 2013 has been a hell of a year for Charles Forsman. During his breaks from almost single-handedly resurrecting the subscription model with OILY COMICS, his mini-comics publishing dynamo, he’s managed to release two of the best graphic novels of the year. CELEBRATED SUMMER stars Wolf, a lonesome, chubby teenager who goes with his buddy Mike on a very boring and dissolute acid trip. Forsman is a master of silences — few cartoonists are as articulate with words left unsaid — and this utterly recognizable and deceptively simple story speaks volumes without saying much at all.

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HIP HOP FAMILY TREE

Chris: Ed Piskor throws down an encyclopedic account of the early days of an American art form. The telling of the tale is as fresh as the old-school treasury format, which Ed recreates in loving, meticulous detail. Bring on volume #2!

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good this week

the wake part one : this is a smart offering, collecting issues 1-5 of the much-buzzed-about sci-fi horror story from popular creators scott snyder and sean murphy. a creepy, claustrophobic yarn that will read better in chunks, this one is highly recommended.

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pretty deadly #3 : the strongest issue yet of this myth- & blood-drenched spaghetti western. one of the best single issues of the year.

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fables volume 19 : the newest collection of the beloved series.

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saga #17 : the most consistently entertaining book of the last two years, with no sign of slowing down.

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east of west #8 : this book gets my year-end vote for ‘BEST OF’.

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figma metroid action figure set : yep.

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–chris stevens

good this week

alex + ada #1 : on the surface this book could easily fall flat on its face; a wallflowerish dude in a high-tech future can’t get the girl, so his rich grandmother surprises him with a top of the line female android to tend to his needs. but, like everything else, it’s all in the execution. there’s nothing salacious or dorky-guy fantasy fullfillment here; in fact, there’s a real tenderness at play that is underscored by the clean, controlled-yet-warm art from jonathan luna. looking forward to seeing what develops here.

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satellite sam #5 : a nasty piece of work in all the right ways.

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parker: slayground : more virtuoso cartooning from darwyn cooke, throwing it down in the dark, cruel world of crime fiction giant richard parker. this series of books represents some of the finest comics of the last decade.

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rai vol. #1 : the much-loved early 90’s publisher VALIANT put out a tight line of books that fans of that era still pine over. rai was one of the best. a spiritual, robot-smashing 40th century japan classic. the only bad thing i can say about this collection is they left out the #0 issue, which had one of the most iconic covers of the time…

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the immortal iron fist complete collection : a complete renovation of a once marginal character, matt fraction and ed brubaker bring myth and mystery, and some bad ass kung fu movie action courtesy of the hugely gifted artist david aja, to the marvel universe. fans of the current HAWKEYE series take note.

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this book is cool enough someone took the time to make these action figures of the seven deadly weapons…

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rage of poseidon : anders nilsen breaks out an accordion-style exploration of a wisconsin-bound poseidon wherein greek myth and christian allegory are updated with insight and wit.

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–chris stevens

good this week

mouse guard legends of the guard #4 : david petersen’s anthology series wraps up with a rare bill willingham-illustrated tale, a painted story from jackson sze, and an illustrated ballad based on traditional mouse lyrics. i’ll be looking forward to the next series. this is a delightful package.

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the fox #2 : dean, you baffled me here, out MADMAN-ing MADMAN at times. but damn if you don’t look good doing it. and the added bonus of that killer paul pope cover is a cherry on top of a good old fashioned sundae someone slipped a micky into.

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elephantmen #52 : did you know that every copy sold of this series helps clothe & feed a baby elephant? well, it does. so don’t be cruel. buy some. the elephants will be better for it. you will be better for it.

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trillium #5 : things get topsy turvy in this standout sci fi adventure from jeff lemire.

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The Locust Moon Top 40: November 2013

40. DELUSIONAL

This art & sequential bits & bobs book from Farel Dalrymple & AdHouse made our Top 40 back when it was announced. Now that we’ve finally gotten our copies to pore over, we want to put it on ALL the Top 40s.
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39. The Fantagraphics Kickstarter

Because we all need our continued supply of Uncle Scrooge.

38. BOARDWALK EMPIRE

The hopeless glory of season 4 ended with no winners, only losers. Pretty appropriate for a show set in Atlantic City.

37. DISAPPEARANCE DIARY

Hideo Azuma’s autobiographical chronicle of a cartoonist dropping off the map and going on the lam from relationships, responsibilities, and sobriety is a fascinating and oddly adorable illustration of the kind of personality with which some of us can identify a little too much.
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36. Calvin & Hobbes Dancing

We’d usually say that Bill Watterson’s opus is hallowed ground upon which fan art must not tread, but this animation of Calvin & Hobbes dancing is delightful, touching, and utterly true to its origins.

35. This Mountain Man

I hope to one day also stand in court and declare, “I AM THE NATURAL MAN.”

34. THE ART OF RUBE GOLDBERG

This book about Rube Goldberg is also an ACTUAL FUNCTIONING PAPERCRAFT RUBE GOLDBERG MACHINE! How cool is that?
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good this week

black science #1 : rick remender seems re-energized in this killer 1st issue. and the art, from matteo scalera and color wizard dean white, is gorgeous and nuanced. this book goes straight to the top of the list of books i’ll look forward to each month.

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saga #16 : things are ratcheting up in this consistently entertaining, surprising series.

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hip hop family tree vol. #1 : ed piskor throws down an encyclopedic account of the early days of an american art form. the telling of the tale is as fresh as the old-school treasury format, which ed recreates in loving, meticulous detail. good stuff.

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pretty deadly #2 : emma rios is hitting a whole new level in her art, and kelly sue deconnick’s poetic, dreamy script works with her to build a book that’s carved out its own unique place in just two issues.

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the sandman overture #1 special edition : the criterion collection version of the new sandman series is a vehicle for celebrating jh williams’ remarkable art in mostly black and white, going so far as to render the lettering translucent to unveil as much of jh3’s virtuosic work. along with process talk from todd klein and script annotations by williams, this is a fine way to experience the return of the dream king.

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afterlife with archie #2 : in 30+years of reading comics, i’d never read an archie comic cover to cover. and i am not into the zombie genre at all. and y’know what? i loved the first two issues of this new series. it’s just flat-out good comics from francesco francavilla and roberto aguirre-sacasa. looking forward to more.

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mister x eviction & other stories : one of the best worlds ever built in comics.

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the maxx maxximized #1 : a remastered rolling out of the seminal sam kieth series. YES.

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–chris stevens

good this week

samurai jack #2 : yee haw!

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sex criminals #3 : sex. crime. letter columns.

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daredevil #33 : looking good, jason copland. looking good.

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the fifth beatle : a handsome hardcover bio on brian epstein.

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delusional : gorgeous, odd, warm, dark, touching, withdrawn…the graphic & sequential work of farel dalrymple.

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–chris stevens

good this week

copra #11 : the snazziest issue yet of michel fiffe’s killer action book.

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manara erotica #3 : dark horse continues the hardcover collections of milo manara’s gorgeous guys & gals. no one’s ever drawn better women.

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The Locust Moon Top 40: September/October 2013

40. DOGS OF WAR

Nathan Fox and Sheila Keenan’s heart-wrenching, half-century-spanning tale of soldiers and soldiers’ best friends is old-fashioned in its storytelling and forward-looking in its gorgeously sleek illustration.
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39. Will Laren

It is… unsettling how funny we find these inexplicable and off-kilter comic strips.
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38. Z2 Comics

We can’t wait to see Paul Pope’s ESCAPO and Dean Haspiel’s BILLY DOGMA collection from Josh Frankel’s ambitious new imprint.
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37. TURMOIL IN THE TOYBOX

7 and 1/2 minutes of the gospel truth. The toys, comics, cartoons, and games of the ’80s turned our entire generation into satanists. Watch this as you perform your daily sacrifice.

36. INHUMANS

One of the finest stories Marvel Comics has ever told is back in print. Jae Lee and Paul Jenkins explored the artful outskirts of what is possible in a superhero comic.
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35. TEOTFW

Chuck Forsman’s dark, opaquely frightening story of two broken young people on the run plays like a Gus Van Sant version of BADLANDS. It gets under your skin.
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