good this week

the fade out volume #1 : old time hollywood in the hands of CRIMINAL masterminds ed brubaker and sean phillips. this is about as good as noir gets, folks.

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sex criminals volume #2 : what would you do if you could stop time when you orgasm? give this a read, it’ll help you figure it out.

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abigail and the snow man #3 : is anyone better at this kind of innocently sophisticated cartooning as roger langridge? parents and the young at heart, start here and go to SNARKED and the wonderful MUPPET books roger did.

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spider-gwen #1 : this book brings a lot of heat on the heels of the over-the-top fun SPIDER-VERSE storyline. there was a lot of talk about the batgirl costume redo from a few months back, and that was cool, but gwen’s webbed hoodie is one of the best new character designs i can remember in a long time.

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ody-c #3 : whoah. this sci-fi gender-bent retelling of THE ODYSSEY is pure comics.

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the manara library volume 6 : the final volume in dark horse’s fantastic collection of italian master milo manara’s singular work takes off on its own sci-fi flight of fancy. yes, it’s sexy.

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curb stomp #1 : we’ve got the makings of the baddest girl gang since the lizzie’s here…

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django/zorro #4 : matt wagner just flat out knows how to handle these characters, and an improbable pairing becomes a cracking good yarn in his hands.

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–chris

The Locust Moon Top 40: April 2014

40. ALL NEW X-MEN #25

An all-star line-up of creators beautifies this anniversary issue of Brian Bendis’ goofily fun stab at adding to the X-mythos.

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39. Compendium of Comic Maps

Every comic (and every book) should start with a map. Delving into this wealth of literary cartography, it’s easy to imagine that they do.

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38. DARKSEID MINUS NEW GODS

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Remember Garfield Minus Garfield? Imagine that, juiced with the Anti-Life Equation.

37. SEX CRIMINALS

Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky bring an oddball eroticism to this supernatural sex-caper comedy, a generally gleeful creativity that springs from their ultimate turn-on: the expressive freedom of creator-owned comics.

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36. MoCCAFest 2014

Another MoCCAFest, another inspiring celebration of comics & craftsmanship, this one presided over by a Staypuft-Marshmallow-Man-Scale Charlie Brown balloon, and featuring well-deserved awards for Locust Moon contributors and our pals Alexandra Beguez & Dave Plunkert.

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The Locust Moon Top 40: March 2014

40. DESTINO

This is what it looks like when Walt Disney and Salvador Dali sort of collaborate. Sure makes you wonder what could have come of a deeper partnership.

39. BASEWOOD

Another delicious fruit of the Kickstarter era. Never before would a work as personal and idiosyncratic as Alec Longstreth’s BASEWOOD have seen publication in such a beautifully produced oversized edition, a handsomely made book containing a flawlessly cartooned story of loss, survival and connection.

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38. GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

OK, so none of us have actually gotten around to seeing it yet. But we’re so happy to have more Wes Anderson in the world that we’re listing it anyway.

37. MONSTERS & TITANS – the BATTLING BOY art book

Finally, we can see BATTLING BOY artwork the way it deserves to be seen: BIG.

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36. This Terrifying Short Film

Watch if you’re sick of sleeping, and would prefer never to do it again.

35. New Wu Tang Album

They are pressing one single copy of their new double album, which will be sold to the highest bidder. Something tells me we won’t end up finding this one for $3 in the bargain bin of the Princeton Record Exchange, like we did with 36 Chambers in 1997.

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good this week

saga volume #3 : hearts rejoice as the next collection of this compulsively readable series is on the shelf.

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adventure time #26 : kicking off a 4-part arc drawn by the magnificent jim rugg.

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sex criminals #5 : as purvis mack says, ‘matt fraction is coming along.’

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prophet #43 : a jam issue packed with killer visuals.

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zero #6 : kicking off a new storyline for this engaging, smart spy story.

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noah : a good-looking hardcover based on the upcoming darren aronofsky movie. having niko henrichon on art was a smart call.

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daredevil #1 : whether this relaunch was unnecessary or not it’s just good to have mark waid and chris samnee back in action and taking the man without fear to the west coast.

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thor #20 : esad ribic is a fantastic modern day thor artist. any issue he draws is cause for celebration.

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the white suits #2 : toby cypress continues to wow the heck out us with the best art any crime book has had in a long time.

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nemo the roses of berlin : alan moore and kevin o’neill roll out the latest chapter of THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN.

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sovereign #1 : paul maybury’s art gives this debut fantasy series a gravity that a lot of these kinds of books lack. off to a good start!

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–chris stevens

good this week

stray bullets killers #1 & stray bullets uber alles edition: back with a bang, david lapham’s ‘lost’ masterpiece returns this week with an ‘uber’ edition that collects the original series, an issue that wraps up the original run, and this brand new series. lapham crafts crime stories that read like slice of life tales from the suburbs. he’s a pretty flawless storyteller, and anyone who hasn’t checked out the world he created in STRAY BULLETS is urged to get into it.

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beasts of burden hunters & gatherers : this book is an instant smile whenever it comes out. evan dorkin’s wit and characterizations perfectly inform the watercolor world of animal paranormals that jill thompson paints. down to the distinctive lettering of jason arthur, all the details are in place to immerse you into this charming, sometimes scary world tailor-made for anyone who loves animals or hellboy.

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secret avengers #1 : this reads and looks like an outtake from HAWKEYE & FRIENDS. that’s a good thing. bang-up job establishing the team and tone here by ales kot and michael walsh.

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the fox #5 : haspiel & company go out with a bang, wrapping up the initial arc with all the whimsy, winks, and cartoony punch the series promised. lots of good character beats here that make me look fondly toward the next, just-announced run.

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cannon by wallace wood : the master does comic strips like no one else before or after. a pristine collection of wood’s military journal strips produced as entertainment for those soldiers overseas during the height of the cold war. so, so good.

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east of west #10 : onwards with one of the best monthly series in years.

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manifest destiny #5 : continually entertaining. a nice change of pace book.

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ff volume 2 tpb : wrapping up matt fraction & mike allred’s run on one of the best things to come out of MARVEL NOW.

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–chris stevens

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

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