The bombs bursting in air!
OK. We’re talking about comic books, not the star-spangles banner of the United States of America – although the two, seemingly disparate elements, intermingle today.
We’ve all talked about his before: one of the great things about comic books is that they are ever-malleable in terms of art, design and story. Regardless of distribution method, or frequency, or shape, or size (all great aspects inherent to comics) there’s also no effects budget to hinder the artistic look of an individual issue. There’s no defined wall, no genre that a writer can’t hurdle a story over – or gloriously crash one through!
There’s proof through the night (and day) of this belief every time we pick up and read a comic book.
Today is Wednesday. It’s new comic book arrival day, a day all comic book readers eagerly look forward to. Let’s celebrate the first issue of a new volume of stories set in America’s nascent past that proves this point – again.
Let’s celebrate Rebels: These Free And Independent States #1
Under the pen of award-winning author, Neil Gaiman, you know that those seemingly disparate elements will make for a compelling story.
Heck, if you’ve read any of his comic book stories, let along his novels, it sounds a lot like the stuff you probably have in your long box collection: The Sandman, Stardust, Miracleman and Death: The High Cost of Living.
But this time, we’re talking about his Hugo, Bram Stoker, Locus, World Fantasy and Nebula Award-winning novel, American Gods – which, finally, gets adapted into the comic book forum in a new monthly series from Dark Horse Comics.
And the writer and artists behind that adaptation are as star-powered as the author who penned the original prose.
Today sees the release of American Gods: Shadows #1!
And teenage sleuths!
But these aren’t the teenage sleuths you thought you knew.
No, we all remember reading the investigative exploits of amateur detectives Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys during our formative, pre-pubescent years. If you’re at all into the mystery and noir genre today, these three characters probably play a significant role in the development of that interest. You know, along with Scooby Doo.
But Nancy Drew and bothers, Frank and Joe Hardy, were never ones for light and rollicking comedy. Their adventures often took them into the worlds of dark, shadowy and dastardly villains, and often around the world to far-flung locales.
Today sees their return with the release of Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys: The Big Lie #1, a new series featuring these beloved, time-honoured characters, in a take that’s completely twenty-first century… but still totally noir!
For the better part of a decade, Lemire has been awing readers in a multitude of comic book genres with both company-owned characters and original creations.
Whether it’s his ground-breaking Essex County Trilogy in 2008, his post-apocalyptic series, Sweet Tooth, which brought the writer/artist mainstream attention and acclaim in 2009, his take on the “Invisible Man” in the graphic novel, The Nobody, the space/time bending Trillium in 2013, his riveting ongoing science fiction series, Descender, his brilliant take on Wolverine with Old Man Logan last year, or the current Moon Knight and Black Hammer superhero series that he writes for different publishers, Jeff Lemire never disappoints.
That’s a lot of writing – and, often, drawing.
Today, we add another title to the ever-growing list of Jeff Lemire must-reads with Royal City #1!
A couple of weeks ago, friend and compatriot Glenn Walker (he of @monsura and regular contributor to all things cool on this very website), came to visit my hometown city of Toronto for Biff Bam Pop!’s Editor-in-Chief, Andy Burns’ monumental birthday celebration.
It was a wonderful affair, full of frivolity, chatter and seemingly endless shot glasses of Jägermeister (many of us are still shuddering at the taste in our mouths).
At a breakfast get together the next morning, Glenn and I stated talking about our love of comic book industry-changing creator, “King” Jack Kirby (creator of so many of your favourite comic book heroes and villains), and his 1972 post-apocalyptic protagonist, Kamandi. He reminded me of the mid-eighties DC Comics series, the DC Challenge, on which today’s Wednesday Run column comic book pick is based.
And Kamandi, the beloved Last Boy On Earth: in a brand new, limited series, full of story and art and wonder and industry legends working on the creation of the industry’s all-time Legend.
Today sees the release of the hugely-anticipated The Kamandi Challenge #1!
In many ways, the comic book annual is a thing of the past – the last refuge of a special excitement for regular readers of an ongoing comic book series. For the most part, the “Annual” magic died out in the mid-1990’s. That makes for at least two generations of young comic book readers that have never really known the thrill of the double-sized, more experimental, stories that “Annuals” often produced.
Today, the “Annual” has generally been replaced by the one-shot issue, the miniseries, or completely wiped from existence in lieu of publishing multi-part stories within an ongoing comic book, that can be easily collected into trade paperbacks or hardcovers. With market-driven forces changed and thin margins and full workloads, there is no appetite for the back-end work needed to create a separate visual tale within the story of an ongoing series.
But there was a time when comic books were madcap fun – and the “Annual” was a staple and eagerly anticipated part of comic book lore.
One series aims to return to those glory days.
Today sees the release of the thrilling, multi-faceted, multi-part, Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual!
And all of comic book fandom rejoices!
It’s the best kind of comic book reading, believe me.
Now, you might be getting comics given to you as gifts. (Maybe there’s one or two from this list or this list.) But you might still want to pick up something to read that signifies the season. Something featuring the greatest superheroes and villains the world has ever known.
Lucky for you, both DC Comics and Marvel Comics are publishing their own holiday specials today… you might want to consider getting in on the zany, wintry, heroic fun!
Follow me after the jump for the low down on the DC Rebirth Holiday Special #1 and the Gwenpool Holiday Special: Merry Mix-Up #1!
As Biff Bam Pop! continues it’s 2016 edition of 31 Days Of Horror, this week, the Wednesday Run column gives you yet another in-season choice to read.
Imagine then, a small town in rural America, beset by a dreadful history of witchcraft and malevolent magic that is plagued in present day life by an unending series of “Haints” – inhuman creatures, ghosts, goblins and monsters!
Harrow County is an absolutely beautiful monthly horror series from publisher Dark Horse Comics, and one this site has recommended before. If you need to catch up, there have been three volumes collected already, with a fourth on the way, early next year. (Just so you know, Harrow Country is also in development as a television series!)
That said, the scary season is upon us and that means that the comic book to pick up this week is Harrow County #17!
With that one, end-of-film revelation, the 1987’s The Lost Boys cemented itself as a fan favourite, vampire-flavoured, horror-comedy. Grandpa knew the town was rife with the undead – all along! For a fervent fan base, that meant story-line speculation, insinuation and a broadening of in-film lore.
As a teenage kid coming out of that movie, my friends and I would endlessly debate: was Grandpa a vampire? How many other vampire clans were there in Santa Clara? Was David really dead? How many head vampires might there be? Wouldn’t werewolves make for a great sequel?
And therein lay the excitement…sequels!
Today, just in time for Biff Bam Pop’s continuation of 31 Days of Horror, Vertigo Comics releases a sequel miniseries to the film, affectingly and simply titled: The Lost Boys!