good this week

east of west #18 : as good as it gets in monthly comics right now.

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ant-man #3 : nick spencer hits all the right notes in this family-oriented, funny superhero romp. fans of the taskmaster, delight.

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star wars #3 : jason aaron and john cassaday are making star wars fans everywhere very, very happy.

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the surface #1 : to quote from ales kot’s own words here, i have no idea whether this book is going to actually work, but the spirit that he and artist langdon foss brought to this opening issue make it worth it to find out.

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howard the duck #1 : SEX CRIMINALS artist chip zdarsky turns out to be the perfect guy to bring the irascible duck into the 21st century. teamed with joe quinones on art, this is a book that any fan of the recent HAWKEYE, SHE-HULK, or SILVER SURFER series needs to check out.

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silver surfer #10 : wonderful wrap-up to this all-new galactus trilogy from michael & aura allred and dan slott.

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mouse guard: legends of the guard vol 3 #1 : devid petersen’s anthology featuring various creators playing in his mouse guard world is always a delight, and with stories from creators like mark buckingham and skottie young, this new series is off to a fine start.

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ragnarok #4 : walt simonson’s grim, energetic return to the ground he built his own legend on is heating up.

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tuki save the humans #3 : the same can be said for jeff smith’s new series, as this 3rd issue is the strongest one yet.

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spider-gwen #2 : spider-ham! the vulture! that costume! fun stuff.

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–chris

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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

good this week

silver surfer #9 : barreling along in what’s going to be one of the touchstone SS runs, this galactus-ized issue sets up a thrilling 3rd act to this book’s best arc yet. the inimitable art work of michael&laura allred is worth the ticket alone. and this cover has to be an early candidate for cover of the year…

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the multiversity mastermen #1 : grant morrison continues to march across the entirety of dc’s history like adolph hitler thru 1939. wait a minute…that’s hitler on the toilet. thanks, grant.

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she-hulk #12 : so, so sad to see this book go away. if you haven’t, do yourself a favor and check out what charles soule, javier pulido, and co. put together here.

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bitch planet #3 : a world where women can wind up in an off-planet prison for…wanton obesity? but don’t worry, these ladies are about to fight back. another perfectly paced, involving episode of this early candidate for series of the year.

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silk #1 : cindy moon was bitten by the same spider that bit peter parker. what else do you need to know?

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eight #1 : the talented rafael albuquerque throws his hat into the sci-fi ring, with some good-looking early results.

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–chris

The Locust Moon Top 40: July 2014

40. THE WICKED + THE DIVINE

The new Image series from McKelvie & Gillen, a sort of bottomless bonus track to their dark-magic rock opera PHONOGRAM, is one of the most promising series to debut in 2014.

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39. This NSFW Spider-Man Statue

This baffling statue, atop a South Korean shopping mall, gives new meaning to the phrase “web fluid.”

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38. CHARLES SCHULZ’S PEANUTS: ARTIST’S EDITION

This beautifully designed collection of unaltered original Peanuts artwork brings us Charles Schulz’s earliest strips just as he made them — raw, unfiltered, and a little bit mean.

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37. OUTCAST

The world-weary horror of Robert Kirkman’s story is brought to life by the atmospheric, choking tension of Paul Azaceta’s moody, worrisome artwork. A promising debut for what looks to be a truly frightening series.

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36. This Animated Lobster Sculpture

Very lifelike. Keep it far away from butter sauce.

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35. THE LEFTOVERS

This off-beat, darkly funny, sprawlingly intimate HBO series, based on Tom Perotta’s novel of the same title, follows life in a small town in the years following the Rapture.

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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: 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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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