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October 6, 2014

Atomic Books Comics Preview - October 6, 2014

In the weekly Atomic Books Comics Preview, Benn Ray highlights notable new comics and graphic novels.

Benn Ray is the owner of Atomic Books, an independent bookstore in Baltimore. The Mobtown Shank is his blog, and his comic Said What? is syndicated weekly in the Baltimore Sun's B-Paper.

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.

Best American Comics 2014

Best American Comics 2014
by Scott McCloud (editor) / Bill Kartalopoulos (series editor)

The new, annual survey in the best comics of the year from America (I guess it means North America as there seems to be some Canadians in here) is out, this year guest edited by Scott McCloud. It's designed to be read cover to cover - not browsed. And it starts off with an essay entitled something I have to explain on an almost daily basis as a bookseller who sells comics, "Great Comics Are Not A Genre." And to give you an idea of not only how great this collection is, but how great the past year has been for comics, here are just some of the names who turn up in these pages: Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez, Charles Burns, Robert Crumb, Adrian Tomine, Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples, Chris Ware, Ed Piskor, Michael DeForge, Theo Ellsworth, C.F. Lale Westvind, Aidan Koch, Sam Alden and more!

Debbie's Inferno

Debbie's Inferno
by Anne Emond

Told consistently in page after page of nine panel grids (which I'm a sucker for), Debbie must travel through a flood of wallowing, The Land of Cold Fish, a World of Icy Hearts, a Desert for Burnt Out Passion, a Cave of Self-Loathing, a Jungle of Jealousy, The Land of Crowds, The Plain of Broken Hearts, The Mountains of No Atmosphere, and finally The Void, while guided by her talking cat. She manages to avoid The Land of the Blowhards and The Land of People Who Have Their Heads Stuck Up Their Asses. This journey will take Debbie all the way back home to see if it's enough to help her get out of bed and back to her life. But will it be enough?

Fight Frogs

Fight Frogs
by Jimmy Giegerich

Fight Frogs is a modern take on a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-style comic. Light on story, heavy on fight and fun. The artwork is funny and gross, the characters almost seem custom-made for action figures and playsets. The story is essentially, the Frogs wake up and find their pad vandalized by the Dick Ducks. So the Frogs hop on their Ultra-Tough All-Terrain Mega-Dank Fight Frog Ultra Boards and travel the desert wasteland to catch up with the Ducks. A flex-off turns into an epic rumble. Grossouts and laughs abound.

Keep Your Hair Black

Keep Your Hair Black
by Jordan Jeffries

This full-color, silk-screened cover Jordan Jeffries comic at first seems like a collection of short, beautiful, melancholy and very realistic stories set in different years (ranging from 1993 - 2014). But these characters frequently cross paths in each of the stories at different times of their lives. The result is one of the most beautiful, realistic looks at Millennial life. Surprisingly complex, and effortlessly ingenious.

New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft

New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft
by H. P. Lovecraft / Leslie S. Klinger

There has been many a beautiful collection of Lovecraft's work, but this tome tops them all. Complete with a foreword by Alan Moore which doesn't shy away from the problems of embracing Lovecraft in the modern world, the collections of his writings comes with annotations, illustrations and more. This is something every Lovecraft fan needs.

Number 2

Number 2
by Box Brown

Box continues his Numbered series with this issue containing 2 stories. "Sk8r H8r" is the story of thirty something skateboarder Rose, drunkenly on her way home. Trying to get a burger turns into several levels of mild harassment familiar to anyone who lives in a city - first by a local crazy and then second by the po-po who come to collect the local crazy. And "Elroy Mirrors' Big Score" is the story of a depressed filmmaker who is looking for meaning in his life and work. "Sk8r H8r" is a fairly straightforward but surprisingly complex glimpse into modern urban life and while "Elroy" is a platform for Brown to cleverly integrate modern technology that Elroy is never without into a story.

Number is a great series, and Brown continues to push himself as an artist.

Southern Bastards Volume 1: Here Was A Man

Southern Bastards Volume 1: Here Was A Man
by Jason Aaron / Jason Latour

Collecting the first 4 issues of Aaron and Latour's excellent, violent, moody, exploration of southern culture on the skids, Southern Bastards is part Friday Night Lights, part Walking Tall. Aaron's story takes very unexpected turns and Latour's art completes an atmosphere every bit as thick, sticky and delicious as bbq sauce.

Taxidermy Art: A Rogue's Guide to the Work, the Culture, and How to Do It Yourself

Taxidermy Art: A Rogue's Guide to the Work, the Culture, and How to Do It Yourself
by Robert Marbury

This full color, hardcover book highlighting artists whose medium is taxidermy is everything you'd want it to be - beautiful, strange, creepy, disturbing and unsettling. But there's also a workshop section for the home taxidermy enthusiast, as well as a section on places to visit, a brief history, legal resources, a brief history and more. Marbury has compiled the first modern taxidermy bible.

Yeti Files #1: Meet the Bigfeet

Yeti Files #1: Meet the Bigfeet
by Kevin Sherry

Kevin Sherry has created a fun, magical world of cryptids. They try to keep a low profile, but unfortunately, there's an idiotic cryptozoologist named George Vanquist who keeps trying to take pictures of them to prove they do exist. This conflict creates hijinks, but the real fun is Sherry's elaborate pages, full of childlike whimsy, fascination and fun.

Questions, concerns, comments or gripes – e-mail 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)

Online "Best of 2013" Book Lists

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)
musician/author interviews
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)

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