Comics, comics, and more comics — the Beat Staff is a little obsessed with their own supply. The only way in which to satiate our immense need for the written word and illustration is for our supply to grow…larger. A group of the Beat’s most favored (desperate) staff members banded together to make this list after finishing off every single graphic novel and floppy in the mansion, (it was the only way for the team to quench the thirst for knowledge!) While others call it unhealthy, we deem our staff picks as a public service announcement to gather the masses together and enjoy the wild world of comics.
Alex’s Picks: Convergence: Swamp Thing #1
Writer: Len Wein Artist: Kelley Jones Colorist: Michelle Madson
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! The dome has cut off all the heroes from their powers – but what happens when Swamp Thing is cut off from his life source in The Green?
Author Len Wein is returning to one of his greatest creations Wolverine Swamp Thing! Joining him is classic horror artist Kelley Jones for one of the wackier Convergence tie-ins. After reading author Charles Soule’s ingenious take on the hero, we simply can’t get enough of Alec Holland’s mysterious monster-based alter ego.
Matt’s Picks: Kaptara #1
Writer: Chip Zdarsky Artist: Kagan McLeod
A space expedition goes horribly wrong because if it didn’t there would be no story! Reluctant explorer Keith Kanga and his crew crash land on KAPTARA, a world filled with danger and weird danger and dangerous weirdos! And if he can’t survive then earth, the place where YOU live, is doomed! Join CHIP ZDARSKY (Sex Criminals the Duck) and KAGAN McLEOD (Infinite Kung Fu) as they put the ‘fi’ back into ‘sci-fi’ and pretty much disregard the ‘sci’ part in this epic story of punching and love!
Yes, the first issue hasn’t come out yet. No, I don’t have an advance review copy. So how is this recommendation not premature? Because Chip Zdarzky’s solicitations and relationship with his local Applebee’s alone have me excited for Kaptara. Two issues of Howard the Duck further demonstrate that Chip is a helluva writer, and, as long as his scripting isn’t eating into his time drawing Sex Criminals, I am totally on board for Kaptara and anything else that comes out of his demented head.
Dave’s Pick: Ninjak #2
(W) Matt Kindt (A) Clay Mann, Butch Guice (CA) Dave Johnson
He’s part Shinobi and part James Bond, Ninjak was one of the best creations of the old Valiant Universe. Now he remains one of the best things about the new Valiant. Issue one was ninja espionage action at its best and issue two promises more of the same:
It’s all-out ninja-versus ninja warfare as the deadliest men and women of five continents converge on the Tokyo underworld for a blood-spattered blowout!
Brandon’s Pick: Beyond Belief #2
(W) Ben Acker, Ben Blacker (A/CA) Phil HesterBased on the hit Nerdist podcast!It’s time to send the little ones to dream land, and set your radio’s dial to “SPOOKY.” Steel yourself for mysterious suspense in…BEYOND BELIEF! Meet Frank and Sadie Doyle, toast of the upper crust! Headliners on the society pages. And oh yes…THEY SEE GHOSTS! Who cares what evil lurks in the hearts of men…unless evil’s carrying the martini tray!
For the past few years, I’ve been consuming the Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast with a voracious appetite. If you haven’t heard it before, the show features many different “radio” segments, starring a bunch of awesome actors and actresses – and the whole things is rad as hell. Beyond Belief is one of their staples, following Frank and Sadie Doyle and they consume spirits, and casually deal with the supernatural. It’s incredibly fun, and this trip into comics is something I can’t wait to read.
(Also, I second that Kaptara recommendation. That book is going to be amazing!)
Heidi’s Picks: Haunter
Study Group Comics
Distr. by Alternative Comics
Without any fanfare, here’s a collected edition of the full color webcomic by Alden that you an actually still read online at Study Group. It’s a fantasy story about a young hunter who disturbs a powerful goddess and then has to run for his life. It’s basically one long, gorgeous and tense chase scene. (Part of it was excerpted in The Best American Comics 2013.) Online the story had a very cinematic effect as the chase intensified…I’ll be interested to see how it reads in printed format.
In case you’re not familiar with Alden, he currently works on Adventure Time and has quite4 a body of increasingly complex comics both in print on the web. More here.
Infinite Loop #1
Pierrick Colinet and Elsa Charretier
The first issue in a sleek SF tale about a pert young woman named Teddy who speeds through the desert in a convertible while wearing red driving gloves. Oh she’s also a time fixed who has to fix time paradoxes, but I was sold at the gloves. This book was originally printed in France where all the cool comics come from nowadays.
Alex L.’s Pick: Deadly Class #12
(W) Rick Remender, (A) Wes Craig, (C) Lee LoughridgeAs the Devil’s Cartel hit squad closes in, Marcus must rely on the girl whose heart he just broke to avoid getting a bullet in his own.
Imagine The Karate Kid meeting Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Throw in a hefty dose of relationship drama and an edgy visual sense that’s inspired by Mexican and Japanese culture, and you have Deadly Class. The series is primarily set in a hidden school of assassins, and the amount of beatings these kids go through would make Jackie Chan wince a little bit. This issue is the start to a new story arc, so now’s the perfect time to get on board.
The Elite Beat Staff is a trained squad of ninja masters.