good this week

herobear and the kid special #1 : mike kunkel’s charming tale of a toy stuffed bear come to life as a cape-wearing hero who gets into mischief & adventure with his little boy best friend displays the ample cartooning chops at kunkel’s disposal; the easy wisp of a line that creates movement and voices characterization; the comedic timing and childlike imagination, where the every day becomes a playground for herobear & the kid.

fun stuff!

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east of west #3 : issue #1 was the best 1st issue in a long time. issue #2 was a little bit all over the place. this issue should let us know where we’re at with jonathan hickman & nick dragotta’s enticing new series.

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the hollows hardcover : the best looking sam kieth book in a long time. beautiful, sweeping vistas, strong settings that evoke an eastern feel, quirky, cute critters…welcome back, sam.

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the end : devastating. sad. realistic. you could call anders nilsen’s new book dealing with the death of his girlfriend any of these things, and you’d be right. but it’s also a graceful meditation on loss, and living, and a fine testament to the enduring spirit of love and partnership that’s at the center of the common human experience.

this cover kills me…

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lone wolf & cub new edition #1 : over 700 pages of this comic book masterpiece for 20 bucks? the folks at dark horse are bringing this samurai masterpiece to the masses in a big way. highly recommended.

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solo-the deluxe edition : one of the best mainstream projects of the 2000’s is finally collected in a hearty, handsome hardcover collection. DC COMICS editor mark chiarello gathered up some of the best artists in comics and gave them 48 pages to play with. darwyn cooke, tim sale, teddy kristiansen, scott hampton, sergio aragones, mike allred, richard corben, and paul pope are among the creators here, and they all take full advantage of the creative free rein, whether it’s with stories set in or outside of the DC universe. paul pope’s issue is worth the price alone, with one knockout story after another, from greek myth in ‘the problem with knossos’ to childhood magic in ‘life sized monster ghost’ to pure nyc pope in ‘on this corner’ to the james jean colored, eisner award-winning robin & joker story, ‘teenage sidekick’. darwyn cooke’s issue weaves in and out and somehow sews up a perfect single issue out of several short stories. neil gaiman writes a DEADMAN story for teddy kristiansen. mike allred runs around the dc universe like only mike allred could. and there are treasures to be found in each artist’s outing. one of the finest collections in a long, long while.

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–chris stevens

good this week

a pretty great week for comics — covers especially. there are some great images jumping off the new comics wall. marvel especially is doing a great job with their covers — even some of their less-notable books, like X-MEN LEGACY and MORBIUS THE LIVING VAMPIRE feature consistently stunning covers.

covers aside, here’s what we’re excited about this week.

comedian #6: azarello and local legend j.g. jones literally end this story with a bang. a twisted trip into the mind of one of comics’ most impenetrable characters. i have a feeling this thing will read a lot better in the collection than it did month to month. as it is, jones’ beautiful & elegant linework carried us through a ramshackle origin story.

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B.P.R.D. Vampire #2: ba & moon continue their loving homage to their spiritual forefather mr. mignola. two of comics very best young artists, working at the very tip top of their game. not to be missed.

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jupiter’s legacy: not much besides set-up in this hotly anticipated debut issue, but it’s a pretty good set-up. and damn if frank quitely doesn’t draw some pretty pictures.

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five ghosts #2: not much to say about this besides that it rolls along with its greasy retro-adventure energy, playing it straight and doing justice to its gloriously goofball concept. you might forget about it five minutes after you read it, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t time well spent.

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foxing #2: collecting poetry, illustration, comics, fiction, and whatever other cool shit they can get their hands on, jim rugg’s quarterly is definitely the best-looking zine we’ve seen this year.

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east of west #2: i’m pretty sure that jonathan hickman is using this book to found his own world religion. sign us up, wash our brains, take us away.

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good this week

miriam #1 : rich tomasso takes his pete & miriam saga into the eightball universe, formatting his first issue as a pitch-perfect tribute to dan clowes. but what comes off at first as cartoonist karaoke turns out to be a lot looser, sweeter, and more earnest than the eightball stuff. it’s like when some five-foot girl steps up to the mic, dials in hammer of the gods and totally makes robert plant’s howl her own.

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manhattan projects volume #2 : fresh off an eisner nomination for best new series & continuing series, the second collection of jonathan hickman and nick pitarra’s gets deeper, dirtier, vaster, and just plain crazier. i like to think if you were brainstorming ideas with a drunk nobel prize winner who’d just eaten mushrooms and wanted to make a comic that the result would look like this.

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batman year 100 : this book had me breathing hard, actually worried about this future batman, a freedom fighter in a shitty world where the government knows everything about everyone and uses teams of marauding super-cops and packs of cybernetic pit-bulls to keep the peace. paul pope is just a flat-out master. he puts batman in peril with a variety of stunning shots, dizzying angles, and superb body language…this guy’s just a guy, he’s being hunted, and there’s no guarantee he’s going to make it…it’s something you don’t get out of a batman book, it goes back to when bruce wayne first started fighting crime in gotham and he was getting his ass kicked too often…immediately this batman is the underdog and you’re cheering for him. and pope, with jose villarubia, creates an ugly dystopian gotham of 2039. the government presence, the creepy and outlandish group of characters introduced here, is personalized enough that it avoids the rut of dull satire or evil cabal. i won’t spoil any moments for anyone, trust me it’s a great book.

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marshal law the deluxe edition : this book was a bomb on the late 80’s comics scene, marrying post-watchmen blues with a nihilistic, absurd attitude that somehow still seemed romantic to my 13 year old self. what if frank miller’s batman ran wild through the marvel & dc universes, and he just didn’t give a fuck? brooding & mocking, intense & comical, with fine art from a pre-LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN kevin o’neill, this is a long out of print masterpiece dropped on your lap.

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happy : grant morrison’s dirty cop/imaginary friend mash-up is, to use the rather salty language of the book itself, fucking nutso. we loved it, and look for blue feathers falling wherever we go.

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house of secrets omnibus : a post-grunge coming of age series set firmly in the deep end of the VERTIGO pool, this was one of the more delicate & sensitive books produced by the now-failing but once mighty imprint. the series main character, rain harper, and her crew would have fit in just fine in the world of THE SANDMAN. steve seagle puts his heart into it and teddy kristiansen, in his only sustained american sequential work as far as i know, is sublime & creepy, delivering every day moments and supernatural chills in the gorgeous fashion he’s known for. highly recommended.

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good this week

manhattan projects #10 : jonathan hickman and nick pitarra’s quirky sci-fi series mixes real life geniuses (einstein, oppenheimer, feynman etc) with strange alien races to produce one of the most consistent and fun books coming out. ryan browne gives pitarra a break this month, and his style fits the book perfectly.

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uncanny x-men #3 : chris bachalo in fine form handling the x-men, with the avengers following up on the whole avengers vs xmen fracas and magento wearing his goofy new white suit…what’s not to like?

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hawkeye volume #1 : when you let talented creators step outside of the usual BIG TWO bullshit and make a book that comes from the heart, you get a book like hawkeye. matt fraction and david aja (with javier pulido) deliver street level heroics with nuanced cartooning and a big heart. highly recommended.

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change #4 : i have no idea what’s going on here and i’m not even sure if it’s any good. but this book is so out there and different from anything else coming out that i dig it.

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The Locust Moon Top 40

THE LOCUST MOON TOP 40

Counting down the hits this month

40. UNCANNY X-MEN #1

As dumb as AVENGERS VS. X-MEN may have been, the consequences have energized the X-universe. We love it for, among other things, this Cyclops propaganda poster.

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39. HAPPY

Grant Morrison wraps up his tonally schizoid miniseries that draws equally from THE TWILIGHT ZONE, Disney movies, and a half-century of dumb comics about hit men.

38. Trying to find a title for the Locust Moon quarterly comics collection

Any suggestions?

37. Virtual Reality Helmets

Because, as James Bond reminds us, THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH.

36. KILL SHAKESPEARE: THE TIDE OF BLOOD

If comics be the food of love, play on. We’re excited for more adventures in the bardosphere.

35. This Cake

Celebrating the first year of the gloriously anachronistic RETROFIT COMICS with cake, booze and arguments.retrofit cake

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