Heroes and Villains: Royal City, Blackwood, Zinnober

This week’s Heroes & Villains is brought to you by UNSEASONABLE WARMTH. As I sit on my porch and write this week’s entry it is currently in the low 90’s in my corner of Michigan which makes it the perfect weather to write about HOT NEW COMICS.

Royal City #11
Jeff Lemire (W/A)
Image Comics

I’m a huge fan of Jeff Lemire’s work. An autographed hardcover of Essex County sits on my bookshelf and a print of The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie by him hangs on my wall. So I was super geeked when Royal City was announced just over a year ago.

It’s definitely different than the genre stuff Lemire had been working on previous it and it’s more in line with the above mentioned Essex County and, say,  The Underwater Welder. This issue sees the Pike family continuing to deal with old traumas as well as some new family developments that hurry the plot along.

That said, there’s a note from Lemire at the end of this issue saying that Royal City is coming to an end with issue #14. His reasons for doing so are understandable (the story had just reached a natural endpoint) but I’m still incredibly bummed the book is ending. Over the last year it has been one of the best crafted and consistently enjoyable books that I’ve been reading.

Blackwood #1 (of 4)
Evan Dorkin (W)
Veronica & Andy Fish (A)
Dark Horse Comics

What’s the scariest thing about college? Student loans? Public speaking classes? Graduating with a liberal arts degree? Well, Blackwood has none of that and is all the more terrifying for it.

The first issue is had me hooked immediately with its Hogwarts meets Lovecraft vibe featuring an occult college crawling with creepy tentacle monsters. The characters are interesting insomuch as they all have a backstory that will hopefully all be expanded upon in equal measure as the story progresses. 

I have to admit, I was surprised to see that this was a limited series since it seems like such fertile storytelling ground. Hopefully, there’s more miniseries or an ongoing planned beyond this.

Advance Alert!
Zinnober #1
Thorsten Brochhaus, Ralf Singh (W)
Ralf Singh (A)
Scout Comics

Post-apocalyptic fiction seems to alway be in fashion but it’s in danger of getting a bit stale. Global pandemic? Yawn. Zombies? BORING. But…Dragons? Now you’ve got my attention.

Out June 27th, Zinnober is about the end of the world AND a war with dragons! That alone should be enough to sell you on the book but, believe me, there’s so much more to stick around for. The issue is well paced and serves as a good introduction to the characters and the world they inhabit. Plus, a giant dragon does show up in the book too. I think that’s Chekhov’s rule of dragons: “Don’t show a dragon on the cover unless you’re going to show it in the book.” Pretty sure that’s what The Cherry Orchard was about.

The art in the book by Ralf Singh really stands out as well. The characters are all well defined, the action pieces of the book flow well, and the backgrounds! There’s a great establishing shot of London that starts off the book that really sets the tone for the world the characters are living in.

If any of this sounds intriguing to you, ask your Local Comic Shop to order you a copy!

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