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New Comics Haul Week Of 6.22.22

AND AS IF YOU HADN’T GUESSED YET, IT’S TIME FOR NEW COMICS! Brought to you slightly late this week because my goddamn cat decided it was time for a medical emergency this morning!


In any event: Yes, comics, and quite a few of them this week! Let’s take a look! At some books! A book-look.

“Jack the Ripper was never caught because no one was looking for him in the Wild West…No one accept The Order. An organization made up of the descendants of Crusaders sworn to eradicate the unnatural, The Order will stop at nothing to fulfill the pledge their forefathers made, even if it means crossing the ocean or a line or two…
Writer Marko Stojanović (La Croix Sanglante, The OUTsider) and artist Siniša Banović (Vidocq, Zodiaque) share a tale as dark as The Order itself.
This volume collects issues #1-5.”

I’m…pretty pre-angry at this book, actually; I can overlook the homophony-typo in the synopsis, that could be any fool thing and also given the number of diacritics in those extremely Serbian names it’s very possible that English is a majority second language here. I don’t mean that to sound condescending, I’m just trying to find wiggleroom here.
No, the reason I am furious at this book is the cover-art, which features some of the worst, most careless visual artifacting I’ve ever seen, which is completely absent in the Issue #1 cover to the right; if you can’t see what I mean look for the blurry outline surrounding all three figures, the blurriness of the title, it’s an embarrassment to the artists that worked on this and was almost certainly a production-end fuckup that didn’t get QA’d somehow, it is garbage and it’s an insult to everyone who worked on the book. I actually tweeted at Aftershock, they need to make this right.
Anyway, as mad as I am about that, this sounds cool as hell; I’m into Weird West, I’m into History’s Mysteries, I’m into secret occult societies, and I’m here for a bunch of Serbs’ take on all of them.

Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost, By Jim Mahfood, Peach Momoko, Jim Rugg, Matteo Scalera, “And More!”, which is not helpful for citation purposes!

“Superstar artist and comics-makin’ weirdo JIM MAHFOOD returns to his creator-owned GRRL SCOUTS universe for a brand new adventure!
Join DIO, TURTLENECK JONES, and GORDI as they face off against the sinister and unpredictable evil of THE TEETH! Hilarious, over the top, psychedelic action will ensue, you guys! Packed from cover to cover with completely unique eye-poppin’ MAHFOOD art, including bonus comics, and behind the scenes fun! Additional artwork from PEACH MOMOKO, JIM RUGG, MATTEO SCALERA, and more! Feel the Funk!

I ‘unno, just seems pretty punk is all.
Jim Mahfood has, to the best of my ability to determine, been working on Grrl Scouts stories since at least 2004, which is almost 20 years, a realization that causes me to instantly dissolve into ancient mummy-bones dust and blow away on the winds of time, as in only proper. From what I’ve been able to gather they seem like Lumberjanes crossed with Paper Girls and a splash of Tank Girl, and while obviously that’s a reductive and glib technology to describe anything, it IS a strong collection of iconic flavors that go well together, and I look forward to having my ass kicked by it.

To Strip The Flesh, Story And Art By Oto Toda

“Chiaki Ogawa has never doubted who he is, although the rest of the world hasn’t been as kind. Bound by his mother’s dying wish, Chiaki tries to be a good daughter to his ailing father. But when the burden becomes too great, Chiaki sets out to remake himself in his own image and discovers more than just personal freedom in his transition—he finds understanding from the people who matter most.”

A peek behind-the-shop-counter here: New Comic Book Day is (and I believe has been for some time) split between Tuesday and Wednesday and I include both days’ releases under one umbrella because I love writing these but I will not tempt karoshi; as a result, I sometimes have time to read a little of a Tuesday title before the roundup is due, and thanks to the Viz Manga Sampler 2022 I got a wee chunk of this and immediately bought the full volume, because the sample I read is excellent. (The fact that it’s a self-contained single volume story, a relative rarity in manga that make it to our shores, is also a HUGE plus in its column. Also Mangasplaining dropped an episode about it just today!)
I’m a straight cis dude–the mayonnaise of people–and consider myself fairly well versed in the vocabulary that the non-LGBT+ ally finds helpful in the effort to not be a piece of shit, because like you (whether you realize it or not) I have many loved ones to whom those letters apply and who deserve to be referred to correctly, and even just in the sample I read I had to do a chunk of figuring out what the terms they were using meant. And maybe that’s a translation/localization thing, different terms for the same things, but my point is that either Oto Toda is actually trans or really did his homework on this; I can’t verify either way because very little info is available about him in English, although I have confirmed that he enjoys roasted green tea, so we’ll have at least two things to discuss should we meet.
Anydangway: It’s clearly a great, realistic and relatable premise (in the broad strokes), and I haven’t finished it so I can’t vouch for how well everything is handled, but in a world this belligerently transphobic I am also not here to tell any trans person how to run their shit or represent themselves; trauma gonna trauma.

Viz Manga Sampler 2022

“Read an excerpt from eight of VIZ’s most exciting new series!”

Look it was free, and even though ComiXology does offer samples of any title, you have to find a thing to even want a sample of it, and this kind of thing is a great way to encounter titles that might otherwise never have entered your sightline.
There are a couple of things in here I’ve already read–Sakamoto Days, which fucking rules, and Crazy Food Truck, which is Fine–and I see a couple that I recognize but don’t know anything about, like the Junji Ito-lookin’ dame at 2 o’clock and that Inuyasha spin-off with the name so generic it slides off my brain like a frog that left his suction cups on his other feet. The rest are completely foreign to me, but you’d better believe I wanna know what that rooster’s deal is. (My deal, just like last week, is that he reminds me of Poyo and I miss Chew.)

When A Cat Faces West, Vol. 2, By Yuki Urushibara

This is the strange, action-packed story of the working life of Hirota, a contractor who deals with a mysterious natural phenomenon known as “Flow,” his employee Chima-chan (who looks 12, but is really 35), and Shacho (a cat)! Whether it’s a drying rack going for a walk by itself, a bridge sprouting four legs and moving around, or a staircase that was already long and steep suddenly getting even worse: if you see something unusual, it’s probably Flow. Even Mother Nature makes mistakes sometimes.

So, I’m not here to call a book’s own synopsis a liar, but I have to say that I just read the first volume in preparation for this one (and really enjoyed it), and of all the descriptors I would use, “action-packed” is entirely absent from the list; in fact, the thing I loved most about Vol. 1 was how gently paced and laid-back it was. Although that was, of course, merely an initial outing; series can evolve and tell different kinds of stories, or maybe the incidences of Flow they encountered in Vol. 1 just weren’t conducive to action civic-science. What are they gonna do, punch a cherry tree that’s blooming when it shouldn’t be? In any event, I’m always up for a “slacker is forced into decidedly non-slacker situations; shenanigans ensue” story, so hell yeah, gimme the action-packed version of mysterious, sometimes beautiful impossibilities imposing themselves on our reality.

Witch Hat Atelier, Vol. 9, By Kamome Shirahama

With their magic contraptions in hand, Coco and her friends head to Ezrest for the annual festival, Silver Eve! The cobblestone streets of the crown city are lined with vibrant tents, and visitors from across the land partake in reunions and greetings anew. Here, witches, royals, the Knights Moralis, and even the Three Wise converge—each party carrying with them their private motivations and powerful histories. However, the bright lights and merriment lure in the uninvited as well…

I actually just dipped back into WHA because my backlog was building up, and I happen to be on the volume in which the above asshole–or an asshole similar enough as to make no difference–is introduced, wavin’ around a magic banner, trying to run everybody’s shit.
I’m intrigued by the mention of apparently everybody gathering at this festival, including these jackass knights; usually an event at which several groups with incompatible agendas there’s a code of conduct or formal declaration of neutral ground, and I’m not predicting anything here, I’m just saying it would be pretty clutch if that was enforced magically by all of the tents and tables and stuff being arranged in a giant runic sigil-circle.

Wolverine & The X-Men By Jason Aaron Omnibus, by Jason Aaron, Allred, Bachalo, Bradshaw, Ferry, Larraz, Lopez, Molina, Perez, and Sanders

“Collects Wolverine & The X-Men (2011) #1-35, #38-42 And Annual #1.
Writer Jason Aaron’s incredible, hilarious and touching run is collected in one oversized volume! Wolverine returns to Westchester to start over with a new school, a new student body and a lot of surprises! But can Logan — and a staff including Beast, Iceman, Rachel Grey, Kitty Pryde, Storm, Husk and Doop — really lead the next generation of mutants into the future? Only if they survive the new Hellfire Club, Krakoa, Sabretooth, an army of mischievous Bamfs, war with the Avengers, the Phoenix Five and more! As new students join the school, including the time-displaced original X-Men, new threats emerge — including Frankenstein’s Murder Circus, Wolverine’s half-brother Dog Logan, Mystique, the Hellfire Academy…and S.H.I.E.L.D.! Welcome to the Jean Grey School, Wolverine — hope you survive the experience!”

As I’ve noted, I’m a fan of what Jason Aaron does and the way he does it, but I was led to this particular title through America’s Rascal Elliott Kalan (of the Flop House and I, Podius podcasts, a couple of great children’s books and friggin’ Maniac Of New York fame) and his work on Spider-Man & The X-Men, whence came everyone’s favorite villain who doesn’t want to cure cancer, he wants to turn people into dinosaurs! I don’t expect this title to be quite as full of goofs and Dune references as Elliott’s work, but I do understand that several of the Gifted Youngsters that appeared in SM&TXM also feature in it, such as Shark-Girl and America’s Other Rascal Glob Herman, and I find those newer characters a little more approachable than those that have been around for 60 years, like Slim Summers. (I’m not making that up, Scott’s original name was ‘Slim’, and I think we can all agree: much better name.)
Ordinarily I’d be hesitant to invest in 1,000 pages of X-Men because let’s face it, there are a million series by a million authors and the quality varies wildly, but I’m lured in by the premise of Wolverine–OR SHOULD I SAY THE WOLVER-DEAN???–starting his own school, and with a writer I trust, I’m confident I’m in good hands, meaning, in this context, hands that go *snikt*.

So that’s what ya boi snagged this week! Sound off in the comments, throw your computer through a neighbor’s window so they can read this, tattoo this list on the longest left arm you can find, and I’ll see you next week!
–The Bageler

emotional feedback on a timeless wavelength
bearing a gift beyond price
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