Things Get Dark, A Desire to Touch the Stars, and Forced Love

New Comic Book Day highlights some of the best books released that week.

Whoa…what’s this…a brand new, never before seen New Comic Book Day. How exciting! I’ll have everyone know that today I parked outside my local store for almost an hour to make sure I was first in line to get my books…just so I could get the quickest start on writing today’s post. That, or it was far more convenient for me to sit in my air-conditioned car, listening to Fat Man on Batman for an hour than it was for me to drive home, sit for 15min, then drive back to the store. I’m going with the former rather than the latter, but you can decide for yourself. Let’s do this…

Criminal-10yr-Ann-CoverCriminal: 10th anniversary Special

Written By: Ed Brubaker
Art By: Sean Phillips & Elizabeth Breitweiser
Published: April 20, 2016 by Image Comics

One of the most intriguing aspects of storytelling is how we retell stories of old. Disney is a fine example of the point I want to make. Many, if not most, of the Disney animated films that are based off of prior works, such as Little Mermaid or Aladdin, don’t end as they do in the movies. Little Mermaid doesn’t get married to the prince, he marries some other lady and then our mermaid princess turns to bubbles and dies.

I bring this up because Criminal never follows the “happily ever after” path. It’s goes for the powerful, the raw, the make-you-feel-exposed stories, and I loved it. If there’s one thing this book does correctly, and there are far more than just one, it has at it’s core powerful artwork accompanied by a strong sense of storytelling. The book itself is following the life of a young boy, and his criminal father. They’re tracking someone down, and this kid has been pulled into the center of his father’s mess. Every day for this kid seems like the worst day possible, but he burdens it all with the strength a child should never be forced to have. There’s even a point when you see this young man making excuses for his dad, and you just want to scream because he deserves better. For me, this was an emotionally charged book, and the power found within this story comes from the setup provided by Brubaker, all of which is leading to a ending I never expected. This is definitely a must read if you’re interested in something that’s both phenomenal comic (art and writing) and powerful storytelling.

Honestly, do yourself a favor and pick this up….it’s really good.

Tokyo-Chost-Issue-Six-CoverTokyo Ghost #6

Written By: Rick Remender
Art By: Sean Gordon Murphy
Colors By: Matt Hollingsworth
Published: April 20, 2016 by Image Comics

I’m going to start off by making a bold statement: if you haven’t read one issue of Tokyo Ghost, you must hate yourself. I understand if you’ve picked it up and it wasn’t for you, that’s cool, every has their own jam. However, if you haven’t even attempted to delight your eye holes with the wonderment that is Tokyo Ghost, I don’t even know what to say to you. Do better for yourself.

After three months of no Tokyo Ghost, and one of the best story-arcs a series could start with, this writer is joyous and relieved that this book is back, and holy crap did it come back in a big way. Our boy Dent is back on his normal rampaging, internet drug induced escapades, and from the looks of things issue five left him a little roughed up. Los Angeles is being thrown aside by the powers that be, and they’re headed to New Tokyo, a new city built only for the rich and horny. However, all is not bleak, a new contender arrives, and for the first time in the series we’re given a character that ties back into the name…the Tokyo Ghost. If this is how arc number two is starting, I’m strapping in for a ride like no other. Seriously, Murphy’s art is unreal, Remender can write a book like no one’s business, the colors bring life to everything, and I’m just sitting here soaking it all up.

The first arc is trade-paperback bound and available for those who are interested, and if you haven’t yet, get interested because you’re missing an amazing book.

Joyride-Issue-One-CoverJoyride #1

Written By: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly
Art By: Marcus To
Colors By: Irma Kniivila
Published: April 20, 2016 by BOOM! Studios

What’s this we have here…that’s right…SCIENCE FICTION! At this point, if you’ve read even a handful of posts, you should know I love me some sci-fi. I write it, study it, if I could I’d bathe in it…wait can I bathe in it somehow? I. Love. Science Fiction. So, it should come as no surprise when BOOM! Studios puts out a book like this, I’m all over it…both figuratively and not (I may have rubbed this book all over my face).

Where do I even start with this comic…it was amaze-balls. Oh my goodness, so good. I guess I’ll start with the writing and art because those are the easiest as they were both unbelievable. The entire book feels like an animated feature, with a mix of anime thrown in just to make things better. The coloring, inking, panel to panel transitions, pacing, it’s all so good. Then there’s the story which is wonderfully done. It builds slowly, gives some breathing room for character development, which is done expertly as you don’t know that it’s happening because of how naturally it takes place. Then we get to the point of the book…what this entire thing is all about.

Joyride is set on a planet where the humans have locked themselves away, and willingly submitted to being trapped on Earth. The entire planet has sort of gone into this, the-government-knows-what’s-best-for-us mode, except for our main girl Uma. By the end of the first page I knew I loved Uma. Her best friend, possibly boyfriend, Dewydd, or D, has been working his way up the cooperate government ladder in order to execute an escape plan Uma has concocted. What’s most wonderful about this story is the oppressive nature that Lanzing and Kelly build over the course of a few pages. You feel trapped alongside D and Uma. You want off this world as bad as they do, thus as they go for their plan, you almost have this sense of “Take me with you.” Of course, nothing goes as planned, and of course, I don’t do spoilers. Let’s just say that the conflict is both riveting and entertaining, and by the end I was emailing my store and adding this beauty of a book to my pull list.

It’s going to be a four part series, so no long-term commitment is needed, and if BOOM! Studios has taught me anything, it’s that they know how to publish short-story comics like champs.

Dept-H-Issue-One-CoverDept. H #1

Written By: Matt Kindt
Art By: Sharlene Kindt
Published: April 20, 2016 by Dark Horse

I find new comic book day to be a roller coaster of emotions because of the dramatic differences found in all the different stories I write about specifically for today. For example, Joyride got me all amped up over sci-fi, then I dive (haha it’s funny because Dept. H is about underwater things…get it…dive…sorry) into a book like Dept. H and all the emotional connectors are different: art, pacing, characters and how they develop, even the things direction each book takes is wildly different. By the time I finish writing NCBD posts, I’m exhausted in every good and wonderful way.

However, with that said, as I read about Mia, the protagonist of Dept. H, and her deep driving need to find her father’s killer, I was quickly brought down from Joyride, and drawn into this very tense murder mystery story. The main hook for Dept. H is found in the fact that Mia’s father was murdered in a deep sea lab some seven miles below the surface. Everyone within the lab is either a friend, colleague, or related to him. Therefore, her dad not only had chosen to live in this underwater lab, but in essence everyone that was with him was sort of like this close knit work-family. That’s some deep conflict and intense emotions to deliver in a first issue, and in my opinion, it did so expertly.

This was such a great book, and the intrigue and mystery surrounding the story is done superbly. If you’re interested in reading a mystery book, with a very cool twist, Dept. H delivers in every way. In fact, I had to send another email to my store to add this to my pull list as well…it’s such a great NCBD.

Jonesy-Issue-Three-CoverJonesy #3

Written By: Sam Humphries
Art By: Caitlyn Rose Boyle
Colors By: Corey Breen
Published: April 20, 2016 by BOOM! Box

Jonesy! Oh my goodness do I love me some Jonesy. She’s just so adorable, and I honestly wanted to finish up today’s post with this book because of how lighthearted and fun it is. If I can be somewhat direct for a moment, something I find lacking in much of today’s comic world is the sense of fun. No one seems to want to make something just for the sake of it being fun. It has to be serious, and dark, and mean something. Everything everyone does has to have deep serious meaning, and that isn’t bad. Creating stories with deep cultural ties, and serious topics with depth and meaning are great, but that’s just one small portion of what’s available. Everything doesn’t need to be super serious power hour. Thus Jonesy is so refreshing, and so well done, that I can’t help myself.

What’s most exciting, and depressing, is that Jonesy is a four-part series, and this is part three. For me, I can’t wait to see how this story ends, but I’m actually bummed that issue four ends this adorable adventure of Jonesy. Humphries is such a great writer, and he’s captured the essence of this story and character perfectly. Everything has a comedic tone to it, even the more serious aspects, such as Dealing with Jonesy’s dad being divorced, and his first date since that time. Mix in Boyle’s wonderful art style and what you have is a mixture that blends so perfectly together that you can’t imagine anything else working better.

I don’t want to tell people what to do with their lives, I really don’t. However, if you’re into comics that are both fun and lighthearted, wrapped around the most adorable character ever who’s overly dramatic and in love with an internet superstar named “Stuff,” then find yourself some Jonesy, and thank me later.

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