One of my favourite comic books growing up in the 80s was The New Mutants. As a very young kid who fell in love with the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde thanks to Marvel’s Secret Wars II and Uncanny X-Men 196 (“What Was That?”), I loved seeing how the two teams interacted with one another, and reading about a team of teenagers who were older than me, but somehow still relatable. And when (SPOILER) The Beyonder killed them off in issue 37, it actually scared the hell out of me.
Co-created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Bob McLeod, the New Mutants was an easy access point for young mutant lovers, especially as the original X-Men were growing up, marrying and having children. When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the original series, Marvel Girl, Cyclops, Beast, Angel and Iceman were teens themselves, while the All-New, All-Different line-up was full of older and, in some case, most battle-hardened characters. With the New Mutants, Claremont and McLeod were able to bring being a teenage mutant into the 1980s, exploring all the angst that came along with it.
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!
Legendary author R.L. Stine brings his unique brand of horror to Marvel Comics as he makes his mark on one of the most monstrous creatures in the Marvel mythos! That’s right True Believer, the beloved Goosebumps & Fear Street scribe will pen the highly anticipated Man-Thing #1 – in stores on March 8th featuring art from German Peralta (Moon Knight, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and a bevy of comics’ rising stars!
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A likely story, right?
No one can escape their reputation. Michael Corleone famously reminded us of that fact in The Godfather Part III: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”
Al Pacino is all kinds of awesome.
And Wilson Fisk, the “Kingpin” of crime in the Marvel Universe, is all kids of bad.
Can the arch-enemy of Daredevil (not to mention Spider-Man and the Punisher), go good? Can he change his disposition? Does he want to? Will the world let him?
A new series, appropriately titled Kingpin, aims to answer those questions, beginning with the first issue, out today!
In the middle of things.
Boy, the old Latin language can sure sound an interesting turn of phrase, here in the twentieth century, can’t it? It’s the past and the future, gloriously shaking hands whilst shedding some light of understanding on each other. Its comingling makes one feel smart, when uttered in a proper, and apt, context, of course.
And today, uttering “in medias res” is proper and apt.
It’s used to describe the eleventh chapter of one of the most entirely riveting (and fun!) comic book series being published these days.
If you’ve been with Paper Girls for the last year, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re new to the title, don’t let missing out on the previous ten chapters deter you for picking up the latest installment – I’ve got you covered at the end of this column.
Handshakes aside, in medias res, today sees the release of Paper Girls #11!
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!