good this week

moon knight #1 : warren ellis steps in with a fresh take on a difficult character, and declan shalvey takes his game to a new level with killer pacing, characterizations, and design. and a swanky new look for our crazy hero.

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turok #2 : this is an inventive new spin on a classic character, with sensitive, imaginative writing from greg pak and fine art from mirko colak.

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batman/superman annual #1 : a straight forward superhero romp graced by the exquisite art of jae lee and june chung.

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uncanny x-men #18 : marco rudy, fresh off a bang up stint on marvel knights spider-man, weaves and winds through this issue with some of the most interesting layouts in a long time.

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afterlife with archie #4 : a powerful issue that hits you with a punch. this book is just getting better, somehow.

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jupiter’s legacy #4 : the best issue of this series so far, with some enjoyable character moments and peak frank quitely art.

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she hulk #2 : the first issue was no fluke. charles soule and javier pulido (and THE PRIVATE EYE’s muntsa vicente!) are on to something special here.

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starlight #1 : i hope this is the breakout book goran parlov so richly deserves. this is a gorgeous comic with impeccable design and storytelling on parlov’s part, and mark millar has a fun concept lined up.

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wolverine and the x-men #1 : summer school kicks off at the jean grey school, and the kids are in good hands with jason latour, who slides right into jason aaron’s place with enough of his own voice to make things feel fresh, and mahmud asrar, who’s come a long way from his digital webbing days.

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velvet #4 : top-notch spy thriller from brubaker and epting. this series is really finding its groove.

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trillium #7 : we’re nearing the end of this fantastic mini series.

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–chris stevens

The LOCUST MOON TOP 40: February 2014

40. UNDERTOW

With an intriguing premise from Steve Orlando and moody, expressive artwork from Artyom Trakhanov, we can’t wait to see where this new Image title takes us.

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39. SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN

Following Hawkeye’s mix of humor, character-driven realism, and gleeful formal experimentation, SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN has quietly become one of Marvel’s very best books. Don’t let the secret out, but it almost seems like somebody over at the House of Ideas got it in their head that superhero comics are supposed to be fun…

38. This Shirt

Yeah, what if??

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37. THE BUS

We detect some of the spirit of Winsor McCay in Paul Kirchner’s quietly masterful surrealist comic strip.

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36. B + F

We were pleased to play host to Greg Benton and his huge, beautiful nightmare of a graphic novel. Greg is one of our favorite cartoonists and one of comics’ most righteous dudes, and we can’t wait to see what he does next.

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35. INSECT BATH

True to its title, this new alt-zine style anthology series feels like a submersion in the creepy, underfoot world.

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34. SPRING TRAINING

Baseball beckons, and with it a world made new.

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good this week

deadly class #2 : a strong issue that cements my hopes for this series. we get into the whole school aspect of things, and it’s a lot of fun meeting the various cliques. wes craig kills every aspect of the art–design, character, layout.

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hawkeye #15 : it feels like things are coming to a head for clint and his building. any time david aja drops in to draw an issue it elevates an already good book. this run is going to be an evergreen.

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batman/superman #9 : JAE LEE.

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elephantmen #54 : a killer cliffhanger for one of the very best serial reads there is.

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black science #4 : after a couple of issues that, while still excellent, felt like they were racing to keep up with the explosive debut issue, this feels like it’s leading us out of the fire and into the frying pan.

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sock monkey treasury : a gorgeous new collection of one of the more idiosyncratic cartoonist’s most accessible work.

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wolverine and the x-men #42 : jason aaron, nick bradshaw, chris bachalo and company wrap up their run on what has been one of the most fun books of the last few years. and they do it in style, with a touching, chuckling read that feels just right.

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miracleman #3 : you can argue with the way marvel has rolled this out, but you can’t argue with the material. this issue leads us into the truly masterful work alan moore does the rest of the way.

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–chris stevens

memory lane

i’ve got a couple of boxes of books from my personal collection here at the shop, and i went through them for the first time in ages today.  these books still hold such wonder for me. stuff like…

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on the surface it’s just about the goofiest book ever, but i must have read this 500 times. there’s the great paul smith cover and a script from j.m. dematteis that felt so real and relatable to my 8 or 9 year old self.

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when i was a kid i felt like the x-men was my own private soap opera, and issues like this one were a big reason why.

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these issues of gi joe that really built the snake-eyes/storm shadow relationship were so filled with mystery and excitement. to this day two of the coolest costume designs in comics.

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batman & Ethe outsiders was probably my favorite super hero book outside of x-men when i was a little kid. frank miller, doing mike barr a favor i’m guessing, set the tone here with a great cover, and inside we get a classic old school confrontation between the team and a group of government-led goons called, yes, the force of july. glorious stuff.

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i could probably write a 1000 words on how much i loved, and still love, the two gumby books arthur adams did in the 80’s. here arthur employs a slightly less ornate style than usual for him at the time, and the result is a delightfully pure cartoony look. even the little odds & ends arthur drew here–a bio pic of him as a scarecrow, a pin-up of gumby & pokey riding a dinosaur–are fantastic. these should be reprinted in a proper edition, not the sad shit show of a book like the digest version that came out a few years back.

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practically forgotten today, atari force was a better book than it had any right to be. 30 years later it holds up as a fine read, particularly the first dozen or so issues penciled by the great jose luis garcia lopez. this issue, filled with all kinds of interesting critters, was a favorite.

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my love of this little guy is well known amongst my pals. true story: my mom’s dad was an alcoholic ww2 vet who i saw in alternatingly sweet and scary visits. one of the last times i saw him before his suicide i stole $5 off his dresser drawer top. i bought this comic with it.

–chris stevens

good this week

the mercenary sea #1 : this throwback adventure book is all high seas and searches for lost islands. toss in a nod to king kong and some animation cel style art that makes great use of blacks and i’m on-board for the next issue.

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she-hulk #1 : this book surprised me. it has a kinda HAWKEYE feel, and that’s a good thing. if they can keep it up we’ve got a good book here.

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the fuse #1 : a cop show set in space, this book sets up its two main characters in a way that makes the veteran/rookie pairing that’s a staple of this kind of thing feel fresh. let’s see where it goes.

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prophet volume #3 : brandon graham and company continue their trippy journey through the prophetverse, and this volume is all decked out in a brand new cover from farel dalrymple.

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invisibles deluxe edition volume #1 : one of the all time great series gets the hardcover treatment. grant morrison’s wildly imaginative counterculture spy saga drips with blood, intelligence, and heart. highly recommended.

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spongebob comics #29 : sandy the squirrel takes center stage. spongebob and squirrels. yee haw!

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–chris stevens

good this week

trillium #6 : this series is going to make for a great evergreen once it’s done. a huge heart, compelling story, and killer cartooning & atmosphere from jeff lemire and josé villarrubia.

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red light properties : haunted real estate and tasty storytelling chops, courtesy of dan goldman. one of the more interesting books to come out in a while.

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ant colony : michael deforge seems like he was born speaking comics instead of english, his first words a 9 panel grid. then, as he grew up, the language became one that’s all his own. come hear him speak it next wednesday.

https://www.facebook.com/events/250044305164145/

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the fox #4 : dean haspiel is pouring a ton of fun into this comic, and his clean, poppy art is worth the price of admission on its own.

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new avengers #14 : dr. strange sells his soul, and simone bianchi makes damn sure he looks good doing it.

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judge dredd mega city two # 2 : ulises farinas continues his star-making turn. surf’s up!

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–chris stevens

good this week

the midas flesh #2 : i missed the first issue of this charming little sci-fi series from the creators of the ADVENTURE TIME comic. with a solid gold concept, breezy dialogue, and pleasing, clean art, this book was a nice surprise and one i’ll be looking out for from now on.

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pretty deadly #4 : another magnetic issue from a sure-fire series of the year candidate–and we’re less than a month in. this issue sets things up for a walloping climax to the opening storyline.

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there’s also a killer brandon graham pin-up…

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judge dredd mega city two #1 : the venerable judge steps into a wacky west coast version of mega city that’s modern day L.A./hollywood to the max. but what really matters here is ulises farinas’ crazy-in-the-best-way artwork. i haven’t had so much fun poring over background details since zander cannon and gene ha delivered the goods in alan moore’s TOP 10. mixing insane detail with hyper-clean lines, ulises brings his A game and firmly announces himself on the scene.

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deadly class #1 : rick remender and wes craig kick up some dust in this elegantly designed & drawn entry into the teenage assassin club genre, with the twist being this feels kind of like an inverted real-ish world original x-men. let’s see where it goes.

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yearling masked detective #1 : rich tommaso’s super avenger crime series kinda reminds me of a straight-edge, non-team version of COPRA that’s more interested in dan clowes than jack kirby and frank miller. with a 1st issue that’s all set-up i’m curious to see where he takes it.

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unwritten apocalypse #1 : as one of the best modern day vertigo series looks into the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s a good time to celebrate what mike carey, peter gross, and yuko shimizu have accomplished. get into it, whether you start here or with volume one.

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ff #16 : sad to see this book come to an end, but it’s a glorious end, with 15 extra pages of art from mike & laura allred and all the character moments and then some that you’ve come to expect from this first rate series. one of the more endearing marvel books of the last decade.

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–chris stevens

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

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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