AS BEFITS THE SPOOKITY SZN, our yard has been claimed as the home, albeit probably temporary, of TWO BLACK CATS ₐₙd ₐₗₛₒ ₐ gᵣₑy ₐₙd wₕᵢₜₑ ₜₐᵦᵦy ₒₙₑ, whom we have lent the traveling-names of Hallie Ween (mama, black), Mage (bb #1, black), and Jack (of the Obsessive Bonesman fame, bb #2, tabby). They are disinterested in and hostile to our attentions, but more than willing to help us with our surplus of cat food and to have absolutely fucking terrifying Witching Hour scream-and-smack-the-glass fights with our cats at least three times between every midnight and sunup.
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Wipe the viscera from your eyes and prepare to assimilate into the flesh in this queer adult debut graphic novella exploring crunch culture and its casualties.
LA, 2028. Down-on-their-luck exterminator Sal Hernandez is sick of long hours, living in their work van, and ready to reconcile with their estranged partner. The only thing standing in their way is one last shift. What seems like a routine job is anything but, and when a proselytizing mass of flesh abducts Sal’s newest coworker, Luke, an extermination job quickly turns into a rescue mission.
Freshly concussed from a pro-bono job earlier in the morning, for Sal, the line between reality and hallucination begins to blur. Sal and their teammates Molly and Hussam are as experienced as they come, but will it be enough to overcome the horrific creature that waits in the shadows and the incompetence of their boss?
I’m just gonna come out and say what we’re all thinking: Sal deserves their workplace sword and I deserve one too.
Is this a scathing commentary on how the grind-economy devours our souls and steals our friends from us and us from them? Is it a story about a goddamn monster who picked the wrong fuckin’ day to start with the wrong fuckin’ Sal? BREAKING NEWS: IT CAN BE TWO THINGS, CITIZENS.
I’m just a humble shithead, but it seems to me that body-horror and the way our jobs eat our hearts one day at a time have always been deeply entwined; I was just telling my wife that Gregor Samsa’s very first thought upon waking to find himself transformed into an untranslatable vermin was “Oh god dammit this is gonna make me late for work, isn’t it”, and I’m sure Kafka himself would approve of The Devouring Capitalism being manifested as a ravenous, awful wave of flowing flesh and teeth.
Final thought: “will it be enough to overcome the horrific creature that waits in the shadows and the incompetence of their boss?” is possibly the most relatable thing I’ve ever read in a blurb and would’ve sold me even if the premise hadn’t.
The orphan Iyanu is thrust into the wildlands beyond the safety of the walls of her home!
She must quickly learn to work with an exile and the people of the Riverlands Settlement if she hopes to save her mentor. Meanwhile, Chancellor Nuro finalizes a diabolical plan that threatens to destroy the entirety of Yorubaland in his greedy hunt to capture Iyanu, also known now as the Chosen One! The YouNeek line at Dark Horse expands with this fantastic graphic novel series!
I:COW, Vol. 1 was a fantastic read that used elements of historical fantasy to explore and hammer home a theme that is more and more relevant to all of our lives: a society that does not care for its poor, allows wealth to accrue at the top and uses violence to keep it there is one that cannot survive and does not deserve to. Oh also there’s monstros and a Girl With Powers On The Run, and a mysterious race (???) of People of the Deep (which is NOT implied to be the ocean) that the corrupt rulers of the city ABSOLUTELY know about and want to manipulate for their own gain. It’s a lot, is my point, and Iyanu is JUST the Chosen one to sort it all out through GLOWING VIOLENCE.
One of the super gross things about the hypersaturation of the fantasy genre with European tropes and structures is that stories are one of the ways we learn about the world, and without context it would be easy to assume that I:COW was an entirely fantastical story instead of one rooted in Yorubaland’s actual, real-life history, to the point where the creators included helpful and interesting interstitial mini-infographics between issues explaining that there may not have been glowing magics and corrupted monstro-animals running around but walled cities like the one in this story were and remain very real, and similar. The part of my brain that loves to learn is related to and overlaps with the part of my brain that craves more diverse representation in comics, and they both light up like a pinball machine for this, or like Iyanu when she fights a bad, glowy jaguar as the case may be.
A final note: This series has some of the best, most thoughtful pacing I’ve ever seen in comics. The first volume had MAYBE four or five big plot beats, and the time was taking to explore them all without letting it descend into a slog, it’s just masterful and every indie and big-label comics team could take a note; I’m not saying it’s a pace that would work in every story, but considering pace more in general is something that the industry as a whole could definitely stand more of.
Supernatural suspense and terrifying thrills as gods, monsters, witches, vampires, and werewolves face off! A new nightmare begins in the Eisner Award-nominated horror series from RODNEY BARNES, the writer behind such hit shows as Wu-Tang: An American Saga and STARZ’s American Gods, and JASON SHAWN ALEXANDER, the artist who redefined SPAWN for a new generation.
As vampire queen Abigail Adams and necromancer Thomas Jefferson combine their might to devour the very heart of Philadelphia, James Sangster and their newfound werewolf allies make their final stand.
But more is at stake than they realize, and the plot twists even further as knights become traitors, kings become pawns, and new grandmasters emerge…
Welcome to the new ruling class—the immortal, the undead. Bow before your masters!
Collects KILLADELPHIA #19-24
This…used to be such a straightforward series. A detective solved vampire-crimes! And now there’s Thomas Jeffersons and gods and werewolves and witches embroiled in a battle for the nation’s very soul and I love it so friggin’ much you guys. This is one of the rare instances I can think of where additional complications actually make a scenario more dynamic and interesting instead of just crowding each other for attention and taking up all the air in the plot. Admittedly it’s strayed more than a little from its premise of ‘how would the founding fathers feel about their actions in the modern day’, but that straying has been in the name of exploring other aspects of American–and particularly Black American–life and history, AND ALSO FOR REFORMED SHORT KING JOHN ADAMS TO LEARN HIM SOME FRIGGIN’ MAGICS.
It’s all coming to some kind of head, clearly, but I think before it wraps up it’ll find room for a chupacabra, Spring-Heel Jack, the Hamburglar, and Brundlefly to each play their part in the final fight for control of America’s soul.
Today’s hottest Native American and Indigenous talent make their mark with stories that explore the rich heritage of Marvel’s incredible cast of Indigenous characters! Alien invaders discover that Echo hits back! Dani Moonstar undertakes a personal mutant rescue mission — but expect the unexpected when she fights alongside Forge, Warpath and more of Krakoa’s finest Native heroes! Discover the greatest hopes and fears of the Champions’ Snowguard! And find out why it ain’t easy being a super hero, along with American Eagle! Plus: Tales featuring the new Werewolf by Night, the Captain America of the Kickapoo Tribe, the mysterious River and more!
COLLECTING: Marvel’s Voices: Indigenous Voices (2020) 1, Marvel’s Voices: Heritage (2021) 1, Champions Annual (2018) 1, Marvel Comics (2019) 1000 (Jeffrey Veregge page), Werewolf by Night (2020) 1, United States of Captain America (2021) 3 (Captain America of the Kickapoo Tribe story), Phoenix Song: Echo (2021) 1, Native American Heritage Month variants
Listen: it is well established that yes, my guilty white ass will buy almost anything to support a marginalized creator of any kind, this is not a secret and I do not hide it; it’s what a cool guy I follow on Twitter calls the Honkey Tax every time he asks us to buy his cookie recipes, and I’m happy to pay it. (At least this tax isn’t supposed to be for schools and infrastructure but actually buys drones.)
That said, even without the unforgivable sins of a nation on my shoulders I’d’ve bought this shit because look at that line-up of titles and creators! Rebecca Roanhorse! New Werewolf By Night! Friggin’ Stephen Graham Jones, making his comics debut by launching IDW and Marvel titles IN THE SAME MONTH! (That IDW title, incidentally, kicks ass.) It’s a cavalcade of quality, and I’m here to both devour it and put as much money as I can in the creators’ pockets. Not the Werewolf By Night though; even if his pants survive the transformation they’ll probably just fall off when he re-humans.
Lenny and Beardo have been friends as long as they can remember. Through good times and bad, they’ve stuck together. When Beardo’s dad dies, he leaves them both the family bar. Now they face the greatest challenge of their long friendship: running a business together.
Y’ever tried to start a business with a friend? Or just like, do a project with them? Listen, you love your friends! Nobody is saying you don’t. Seriously you don’t have to convince me; I believe you. But like…right? I mean…yeah, you get it. Youuuuuuuu get it. Say no more, mum’s the word. But hear me out, I think I have a solution, something we can add to the situation that will make all the complications of running a business with a lifelong friend vanish like a safety deposit: alcohol.
Obviously this is just a nice little story; there PROBABLY won’t be any Mole-Men or a Jaws or the ghost of JFK or anything, and if they do show up they’ll probably just order a Classic Manly Drink to seem sophisticated and worldly, then mainline Grasshoppers and daiquiris and pitchers of Sand In Your Shorts all night, as Store-Brand God intended for people who actually want to enjoy alcohol.
From the ancient warrior Gall Dennar, to Sir Edward Grey, to the B.P.R.D.’s Agent Howards, the iconic Hyperborean sword from the world of Hellboy has landed in many influential hands.
And this has been no accident. Trace the sword’s path through the adventures and encounters that finally brought it to Ragna Rok, at the end of the world, and witness the sword’s journey through history.
Collects The Sword of Hyperborea #1–#4.
I’d consider myself a fairly high-level BPRDVerse nerd, but even I’ve had trouble keeping up with the post (now clearly faux) grand-finale dandelion-seed dispersal of supplemental titles; Young Hellboy, Sir Edward Grey: Acheron, House Of Lost Horizons, and those two new Hellboy volumes last week, one of which was a collection of new short stories and the other an adaptation of one of Christopher Golden’s illustrated Hellboy novels, I’m sure I’m forgetting something. It’s a lot, is my point, but this deluge is comprised mostly of new and pretty interesting stuff, which leads me to doubt they’re at the point of scraping the barrel for ideas and said “fuckin sure, Captain Caveman’s sword, why not” just to make more money; first, I don’t think Mike Mignola would consent to milk a large part of his life’s work like that (at least I should hope not), and more than that if they were gonna do a “Where did Artifact X come from” story this sword would certainly be on the list, but well below items like the Hunping soul-jar, or the Black Flame’s armor, or I dunno, friggin’ Excalibur??? My point is that I think this is being done with purpose, and toward something, because like Stephen King and The Dark Tower, I think Mike Mignola tried to end it, but is going to be telling this story for the rest of his life, and I for one could not be more grateful.
Talli, Daughter of The Moon is an incredibly epic adventure from French-Laotian cartoonist Sourya that evokes the best of manga and bandes dessinées in one sweeping narrative.
Talli is a Summoner: a nearly extinct people, hunted by those who fear their mysterious powers. As a baby, she was adopted by Lord Koska, and all was well for many years… But one day, their castle is sacked by Koska’s rival, Lord Ulric. Talli escapes in the chaos and darkness with the help of the noble (some might say too noble) knight Sir Alan.
With Ulric’s forces hot on her heels, Talli and Alan keep one step ahead, gathering a motley crew of companions and protectors that includes the lethargic-but-incredible swordsman Lélo. Ulric’s Captain Nina pursues them doggedly, but she is unaware of the secret of Talli’s blood: the secret of the Summoners!
I always feel kinda gross about including the particulars of a creator’s background in my list of reasons to be excited for their work, but fuckin’–like I’m supposed to pretend I’m anything less than Stoked To The Gills for a French-Laotian collision between manga and bande dessiné, the later of which are only just now getting any kind of widepread exposure in the U.S. outside of Tintin and Asterix & Obelix? (Not counting Mœbius, who certainly overlaps here but is distinct enough not to just count as one.) It’s not surprising that manga influences are really starting to show among French comics artists, considering how wildly popular it’s become there (that link is more interesting than you’d think, check it out), and while France’s history with Asian cultures is, shall we say, checkered and horrifying (although look who’s talking), that history has had long-lasting legacies whose fruit, distanced from the planting of the tree, are tasty as hell.
Aside those reasons to be excited, this story just sounds classically fun and rad: last of her kind princess on the run from the man who kilt her pa, with a gaggle of misfits to protect her against an implacable pursuer and the empire she represents is some archetypal shit, like that’s the plot to dozens of stories in every medium, and that’s a good thing because it allows the creators to embellish and personalize the particulars to really let the characters and world live, and I for one can’t wait.
🚨NON-COMICS HONORABLE MENTION🚨
Two murderous pirates find a child stowaway on board and attempt to balance pillaging with co-parenting. A woman raised by wolves prepares for her parents’ annual Thanksgiving visit. An aging mutant superhero is forced to learn humility when the mayor kicks him upstairs to a desk job. And in the hard-boiled caper “The Big Nap,” a weary two-year-old detective struggles to make sense of “a world gone mad.”
Equal parts silly and sincere, New Teeth is an ode to growing up, growing older, and what it means to make a family.
I forget which podcast recommended this to me–I wanna say it was The Besties, because they regularly recommend non-video game things as well as video game things?–but I snagged a sample (one of the many benefits of the Kindle), started the first story–the one about the pirates raising a wee girl–and my brain was immediately completely paralyzed with laughter.
And when the little girl saw me, she held up her hands and said, “Up?” And I gave her a crooked grin and said, real ominous-like, “Arr, I be lifting you up all right.” And she smiled, because she be too young for understanding subtext.
And so Rotten Pete picked up the small girl, and we took her to our berth, and we wrapped her in a blanket and dried off her face, and we stared at her for a while, not really sure what to do. Because we’d been through squalls and mutinies together, been shipwrecked, shot, marooned, and left for dead. But having a kid be different. It’s like, there be no manual for this.
And that is when I told him me big plan, which was that I was going to be raising the girl in a cool way so that she be ending up cool. And instead of making her follow rules like a landlubber, I was going to teach her to reject conformity and rebel against society and also to listen to cool bands.
I’m completely aware that I’m a top-tier sucker for exactly this kind of writing–your Dave Barry, David Sedaris, Dave “Ryan” North–and a target the size of a Me is pretty difficult to miss. Listen you know whether you just laughed at those as hard as I did, I can’t make this choice for you, I can only place it before you to tempt, to damningly tempt.
So that’s me this week gang. How about you all, what’d you get? When was the last time your job gave YOU a cost-of-sword-maintenance increase? How long do you think you and your best friend would last running a bar together, and where would you start handing out resumes the next morning? Are the cats in my hard actually Three Spirits come to teach me the True Weening of Hallowmas? Lemme know in the comments!
Until next time, be good to yourselves, be good to each other, wear your goddamn masks, and tell Rotten Pete I said it’s his turn to bring orange slices to peewee sea-hockey.