Okay listen: You know I love you people but my wife’s job is doing a cake for her birthday in forty minutes, and like, comics are still gonna be there later today, but the same cannot be said of cake, so let’s roll this beautiful book footage and get your boi a slice.
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WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE END OF THE WORLD?
For Claire Connell, it meant becoming the inheritor of the legacy of legendary pulp hero the Adventureman. Now Claire’s learning that to fight Adventureman’s fights means she’s the one who must fight Adventureman’s foes, past AND present…
Collects ADVENTUREMAN #5–9
God Adventureman is such absolutely delicious two-fisted pulp nonsense, it’s SO good, and in a completely different way than Planetary, not in the least because Adventureman‘s author didn’t turn out to be an honorless sex-pest after his goddamn work had already been a formative influence in your worldview and narrative sensibilities. It also has a completely different flavor from Atomic Robo, which is also definitely soaked in the pulp-milieu but in a much cheekier, self-aware way that’s fantastic and which I’ll read til I die, but which would be ill-suited to the sheer wide-eyed, grinning sincerity Adventureman brings to the table; this book really believes that Adventure Is Out There, and wants you to join in and come along in search of it.
The first volume was all the Who? Wha? Which? of the world, but now we know the stakes: Claire is the reincarnation or second-coming or vessel or whatever of the Adventureman, who was apparently real in some way that doesn’t subscribe to the traditional fiction/reality binary, and now his nemesis, Baron Bizarre, and everything else that ever hated him is after her ass and the asses of her entire family. It’s a bad situation to be in, but a GREAT one to read about.
Two Batgirls are better than one! Especially when their mentor used to be a Batgirl herself-only now she’s reclaimed her title of Oracle. Batgirls Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown have been masked vigilantes in the scary, gritty city of Gotham for a while now, so what happens when you move them to a whole new sunny neighborhood and make them roomies with Barbara Gordon? A whole lot of love, friendship, parenting…and homicide detective work? A serial killer is on the loose in the streets of the Hill and it’s up to the Batgirls and Oracle to get to the bottom of it! Except Oracle’s super-secure system has been compromised by a hacker, so the Batgirls have to do it old-school…by using walkie-talkies?! Do Steph and Cass even know how to use such a vintage device? This is a colorful whirlwind adventure you don’t want to miss! Collects Batgirls #1-6 and backup stories from Batman #115-117.
Look, I readily admit that it’s a good problem to have, but there’s just too much goddamn Batman out there before we get into your Nightwings and your Robins and Batgirls and Red Hoods and further-extended Bat Family. I know the names Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, and of course Barbara Gordon is synonymous with ‘Batgirl’ and ‘Oracle’, but they each have too many series and reboots and retcons, and I’ve been interested in all of them for a long time but totally overwhelmed by the amount of work (and financial investment) catching up would represent, so this seems like the perfect chance to if not get in on the ground floor, to at least catch the elevator when it’s come to a complete stop for once instead of trying to grab it as it rockets upward towards Accounting.
Also it just seems like it’s going to be a lot of fun, which isn’t unheard of in a Bat Family title but generally isn’t the staple grain they use to bake their Bat-lavash; I really enjoy the choice to just lean into the confusing, ridiculous nature of Comic Book Time and lampshade the fact that these girls are now too young to understand the ancient steampunk technology of a “walkie”-“talkie” despite the fact that Batgirl literally had her own set of them in the ’66 Batman show, when they were the cutting-edge of bat-communications bat-technology.
From the creators of Raiders, Daniel Freedman and and CROM, comes an original dark fantasy graphic novel of epic adventure and magic.
Bianca, teenage apprentice to an infamous arcane blacksmith, is forced to flee her homeland and seek out Atlas, a fabled land of light ruled by “the clean god.” She is joined by a mysterious guardian spirit known only as the “BirdKing”. Together they will have to overcome dozens of enemies to reach Atlas and along the way, unravel the mystery of the BirdKing and their ancestral connection.
CROM IS THE GREATEST, CROM FOREVER, AND FOR ONCE I DON’T EVEN MEAN CONAN OF CIMMERIA’S GRIM AND GLOOMY GOD ATOP HIS MOUNTAIN, although I DO imagine he’d be interested in the Riddle Of Steel. His and Daniel Freedman’ss 2020 mainstream comics debut Raiders was some of the finest sword-and-sorcery I’ve read this side of Head Lopper and Rat Queens, and I’ve been waiting for Birdking with all the patience of a rabid preschooler since I preordered it in March.
Crom’s style–and I say this as praise–is roughly 80% Skeletons With Crowns In Gothic Spacesuits (Feat. Ruins); all I’ve EVER wanted from him is expansion on that, and an ongoing series–especially from Dark Horse, given its history with such titles–is the perfect place to really let that stretch its beautiful ossified wings and grow.
Open wide for four more scoops of the bestselling, critically acclaimed, psycho-horror comic ICE CREAM MAN. Here, bound with medium-grade paper glue, are four tales of objective subjectivity: a man’s last wishes are carried out; a controlled experiment loses all control; a cosmic scale is balanced (in verse!); Doug tries his darndest to get clean. It’s another assemblage of anguish and ennui for the anthologically-inclined art appreciator. Lickety split, y’all!
Collects ICE CREAM MAN #29-32
I AM SO GLAD AND ALSO TERRIFIED THAT ICE CREAM MAN IS BACK. It’s been six months and I was ALMOST convinced it was safe to go back into the freezer-aisle; it’s not exactly a comfort to be disabused of the notion, but the knowledge of danger will only make the Choco Tacos all the sweeter. Th–they’ve still got Choco Tacos, right? No extinction event has rocked the world of frozen novelties since the last time I steeled my heart and ventured past the Lean Cuisines?
It’s a GOLDEN AGE of anthology horror-comics; maybe not the way it used to be, but between Ice Cream Man, The Silver Coin, Razorblades, and surely others I don’t know about, it is a GREAT time to like your horror mean and gross and episodic the way the Crypt Keeper intended.
Besides the Horrible Goddamn Thing Of The Week and the pitch-black Stealth Hilariousness that ICM offers, there’s a through line regarding the Man himself, who travels from place to place and time to time ruining lives and spilling blood like hot fudge, and while it may not be this volume, that story is gradually coming to a head with the powers are attempting to bring him to ULTRATERRESTRIAL JUSTICE. They didn’t have to do that! They could’ve just had the grinning son of a bitch spreadin’ his red and goopy mischief!
I’ve said before that reading Ice Cream Man is the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to a waking nightmare, and the worst part is that it’s always someone else’s nightmare, and there’s nothing you can do for them besides ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ witness, no matter how much it undercuts your point that your wife set your autocorrect to change “ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ” into “ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ” and you don’t know how to change it back.
🚨NON-COMICS HONORABLE MENTION🚨
Four-time Hugo Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author N.K. Jemisin crafts a glorious tale of identity, resistance, magic and myth.
All is not well in the city that never sleeps. Even though the avatars of New York City have temporarily managed to stop the Woman in White from invading—and destroying the entire universe in the process—the mysterious capital “E” Enemy has more subtle powers at her disposal. A new candidate for mayor wielding the populist rhetoric of gentrification, xenophobia, and “law and order” may have what it takes to change the very nature of New York itself and take it down from the inside.
In order to defeat him, and the Enemy who holds his purse strings, the avatars will have to join together with the other Great Cities of the world in order to bring her down for good and protect their world from complete destruction.
N.K. Jemisin’s Great Cities Duology, which began with The City We Became and concludes with The World We Make, is a masterpiece of speculative fiction from one of the most important writers of her generation.
It has been a while since I reviewed The City We Became and, interestingly enough, in the same article as Gideon The Ninth, which also just got a sequel that destroys the previously established series-length, and in f–WAIT A GODDAMN SECOND, DID TAMSYN MUIR STEAL ONE OF THESE BOOKS SO HER SERIES COULD BE FOUR ENTRIES LONG, DAMNING THE GREAT CITIES TO A LIFE OF TWO-NESS???
Jkjk (probably); N.K. Jemisin loves a duology, not to excess but certainly more than the average author does, and it definitely means something that the reader’s mind recoils against the thought of a two-book series. But it makes sense! You can put one in each hand and hold them out and TWIRL TOWARD A BETTER TOMORROW! Also, ngl, it’s pretty good that I won’t have to re-read this one in three years when the next one would’ve come out, and I can just re-read it for fun instead.
This is pure speculation, but The City We Became came out in 2020 and was explicitly about racism on both individual and institutional scales, gentrification-by-monstro, and and breakfast sandwiches; it wasn’t super-subtle, and it wasn’t trying to be. Then January 6th 2021 happened, and it became clear that even the thinnest glaze of symbolism would prove opaque to the eyes of the public, and it was time to demand tax returns and campaign donation-records and yell THE HAND THAT SHAKES THE DEVIL’S ONCE STAYS IN HIS FOREVER through a megaphone, and N.K. was forced by conscience and climate and the ugliest parts of humanity crashing like a racist wave against the steps of the Capitol to write this book instead of the other two she had planned.
Again, this is just me throwing pasta at pandas and seeing what they think is bamboo, but it feels right, and if it is I’m sorry N.K. didn’t get to write the trilogy she originally envisioned, but I’m grateful that if we have to live through a time like this, we have her here to write the duology we need.
So that’s me! What did you all get this week? When was the last time you treated your skull to a flaming crown to show your appreciation for all it does? How many Batgirls do you think it takes to work a walkie-talkie? What did your significant other do to your autocorrect that makes your life difficult on a daily basis that you can’t bring yourself to change for the love your ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ them? Lemme know in the comments!
Until next week, be good to yourselves, be good to each other, wear your goddamn masks, and now 👏it👏is👏time👏for👏cake👏, I’ll save you all a slice IN MY BELLYBASKET.
I’ve been waiting for the bus
Since the Sun came up
But the sun ain’t out no more
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