May 31, 2014
In the weekly Atomic Books Comics Preview, Benn Ray highlights notable new comics and graphic novels.
Atomic Books has been named one of Bizarre Magazine's 51 geekiest places on the planet, as well as one of Flavorwire's 10 greatest comic and graphic novel stores in America.
100 Ideas That Changed Street Style
by Josh Sims
Why do we dress the way we dress? Well, the chances are good that most of what you're wearing right now is a result of some kind of street fashion. Sims’ catalog of later-20th through current 21st century popular fashion breaks it down from Surf to Glam to Steampunk to Geek Chic. It's all here, loaded with colorful photos and explanations, history, relevance, and more.
Chew / Revival #1
by John Layman / Rob Guillory / Tim Seeley / Mike Norton
It's a rich tradition in comics, the crossover! Fans love to hate them (or maybe hate to love them), as they never quite meet up to expectations. Here you have a flip comic, with each side telling a story in its respective style (Chew being more cartoony and Revival being a little more horror-ish). While it's unclear why the Chew squad was really necessary to solve either case, it was fun seeing these characters interact. And it's neat knowing they now all exist in the same universe (the same way Homicide, The Wire, Chicago Hope, The X-Files and Law And Order all exist in the same fictional universe).
Devil Dinosaur: Complete Collection
by Jack Kirby
I know some comics fans will disagree, but I argue that Jack Kirby was at his best when he was at his craziest - and this Marvel cult series is a perfect example. Primitive Moon Boy befriends a red T-Rex and fights all manner of beasts as well as other early humans who seek to dominate everything (as is their will, or genetic predisposition). A fun Kirby series, collected here in its entirety.
Everybody Dies: A Children's Book For Grown-Ups
by Ken Tanaka / David Ury
It's never too early to prep a kid for the inevitable. Sure, some parents may have issues with their kids reading this book (which is why it's a "Children's Book For Grown-Ups"), but it's also written to be read by an adult with a kid. Don't worry, it doesn't make death look like so much fun that they want to try it - it just explains what happened to the cat, or grandma. And it's done in the style of the classic Everyone Poops.
Don't let the rather long title mislead you, while it says this book contains 666 metal movies (a perfectly respectable evil, metal number), it contains way more than that. The write-ups are great. It's the sort of book you keep next to you when you watch movies at home and start thumbing through and the next thing you know, you've missed the movie you were watching.
Miracleman Book 1: A Dream of Flying
by The Original Writer (AKA Alan Moore) / Mick Anglo / Alan Davis / various
Miracleman was a British Captain Marvel (AKA "Shazam") knock-off from the 1960s that Alan Moore resurrected in the early 1980s. He breathed new life into a stiff, old, largely insignificant character for about 16 issues, and then a young writer named Neil Gaiman would take over. The old single issues of these could go for money to collectors, and the hard to find trade paperbacks could go for even more money as it seemed that the legal quagmire this character ended up in (over fights/lawsuits for ownership/rights) would never end and yet there were always people asking, “Have you read Miracleman? If you get the chance, you really should.” But miraculously, the legal logistics eventually got worked out. And Marvel is now giving everyone who's always wanted to read this series a chance to read it by reprinting slightly reworked single issues and then gathering them into collections like this. Sure, Alan Moore has removed his name from the project (not an unexpected move from Moore), but it's still his work. If you like the dark, deconstructionist superhero comics of the 1980s, you have to read Miracleman.
by Warren Ellis / Jason Howard
A new Warren Ellis comic series is an ample-enough reason to get excited, but when it's one that starts as eerie and fascinating as this, all the more reason! These large, giant tree-like alien things came to Earth and just planted themselves - on cities, homes, farmland, etc. And then they did... well, nothing. For years. So now, the story picks up ten years later. And they still do nothing - well except for expel some gross waste from time to time. But it's really weird what WE have done. Some places have walled off the Trees. Some have built up strange new communities around them. Strange things have started to grow - much like this story itself.
It's hard to believe that World War 3 Illustrated has been publishing hard-hitting, cutting edge political cartoons for 35 years. "Oh sure," some may say, "what's the big deal? What can a cartoon do?" Ask Muslims offended by the Danish Muhammad cartoons. Ask Ali Frazat, who had his hands smashed by the Assad regime in Syria for his comic criticisms. Ask Mahmoud Shokraiyeh, who was sentenced to 25 lashings in Iran for a caricature. "Okay," some of you may now be saying, "but what can comics do in America?" Ask Barry Blitt what kind of backlash he got for his infamous Obama fist-bump cartoon for the cover of the New Yorker. Hell, ask Matt Bors what kind of vile death threats and hate mail he gets for his cartoons. Political cartoons are like powerful essays that you read in a moment. For the good ones, you spend more time thinking about the cartoon than reading it. And for the great ones, they get stuck in your head and help change the way you think about something. World War 3 Illustrated is the MAD Magazine for the political-minded. This gorgeous hardcover features work by such important cartoonists as Sue Coe, Eric Drooker, Fly, Sabrina Jones, Peter Kuper, Seth Tobocman, Spain Rodriguez, Kevin Pyle and many more. Arranged thematically, this could also be used as an important history/social/cultural studies text book.
Questions, concerns, comments or gripes – e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If there’s a comic I should know about, send it my way at Atomic, c/o Atomic Books 3620 Falls Rd., Baltimore, MD 21211.
Atomic Books & Benn Ray links:
also at Largehearted Boy:
other Atomic Books Comics Preview lists (weekly new comics & graphic novel highlights)
52 Books, 52 Weeks
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)