August! New month, more comics, ’nuff excitement. We have a shuftie round and picked out the comics we’re looking forward to this month:
With an appearance slated for September’s SPX, Seth’s long awaited PALOOKAVILLE #21 couldn’t come out at a better time. With a promised extended continuation of the ongoing“Clyde Fans” serial as well as sketchbook memoir titled “Nothing Lasts,” Seth’s newest release seems like it could be one of this year’s best autobiographical works. What peaks the most of my interest is the differing forms of Seth’s life writing (can’t wait to see the turnout of his “rubber stamp diaries”) as well as his profile on the cartoonist behind La Vie En Images, Jacques Gagnier, an undeniably obscure old time Canadian artist. If there’s one thing Seth is a master of, his ability to reclaim the past while simultaneously blurring reality with fiction is unmatchable, and that alone makes PALOOKAVILLE 21 worth getting your hands on.
YOUNG AVENGERS #9 (Marvel, Aug 28)
KIERON GILLEN (W), JAMIE MCKELVIE, MIKE NORTON (A)
Because the last issue made me pinball through my feelings so fast my eyes were spinning. Roughly translated, the events of issue #8 went like this: nooo, not a beard, ick; Oubiliete omg!; this is the cutest thing I have ever seen ಠ_ಠ; DEMIURGE! I definitely want plushies of these; uh-oh, this can’t be good; panel playing, yay!; oh no no no; America Chavez, who are you?!; OH MY GOD. OHMYGODOHMYGOD; more panel play, I love this; OH HOLY SHIT.
If you’re not reading Young Avengers you are missing out on the biggest adventure in comics right now. The cast is amazing, the writing is ace, and McKelvie’s storytelling is off the charts. This comic is really about the characters and how much we have come to care about them, but it is also about just plain fun.
There is Kid Loki, there is angst, there is humour, and there is real heart. And there is America Fucking Chavez. Read it folks, read it now.
LOST CAT (Fantagraphics, Aug 3)
Jason’s work is quite difficult to adequately describe. His sparsely worded black and white cartoons, previously in graphic novella form, and now in full blown graphic novel, are characterised by his anthropomorphic animal characters and his canny understanding of how people work, particularly when they are somewhat broken. Despite my often buoyant enthusiasm for the comics that I adore, I do not use the word genius lightly. But Jason, following firmly in the footsteps of George Herriman while carving out his own unique path, is indeed a master of the medium; a cartooning genius.
Responding to a Lost Cat poster when he finds the missing kitty, our detective Dan meets the intriguing and mysterious Charlotte. Their conversation, sprawling across some 20 pages, is cartooning at its finest. It sounds incredibly simple, yet the methods Jason employs makes these pages fly past while evoking all manner of emotions. What follows is not so much about the developing mystery, or the added sci-fi elements, but about the worlds we build up within our own heads to make our mundane isolated lives more bearable. One on hand a cinematic noir, on the other a sci-fi shocker, but overall a story about people.
If you’ve never read Jason before, start now. And enjoy.
MONSTER ON THE HILL (Top Shelf, Aug 3rd)
ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #26 (Marvel, Aug 28th)
BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (W), DAVID MARQUEZ (A/C)
There’s been a revamp in Ultimate Spider-Man over this past story arc, which jumped forward a year in time and set things up with a whole host of new characters – Kate Bishop and Cloak & Dagger amongst them. It’s been a shake up for the book, and one which has put a lot more grit and determination into lead character Miles Morales. This issue will follow on from a breaking point for the character, and looks to be setting up a big corporate mystery sort of story which’ll come into play for the next few months.
Ultimate Spider-Man’s really started to kick into place for me this year. Miles Morales has now bumped away the remnants of Peter Parker and settled entirely into the title as his own man and own type of hero. But he’s also really come to embody the idea of power and responsibility which strikes through the heart of the Spider-Man franchise. He’s been knocked back repeatedly over the last few months, but now it looks like he’s going to make his first move to protect the people of New York.
I can’t wait!
A DISTANT SOIL (Image Comics, Aug 14th)
This 80s comics broke ground in many ways: it was on the cutting edge of the first blush of indie comics publishing, it was one of the earliest manga-influenced US comics, and one of the first comics to have a woman doing everything from writing to publishing. Colleen Doran was just 12 when she came up with the story of two teens—one a girl who is the most powerful psychic in the galaxy—caught in a web of interplanetary intrigue and danger. It’s a classic comics space opera with a long and complicated publishing history—way too long to go into.
What’s important is that this second edition offers something no previous one did: cleaned up artwork, giving Doran’s fine lines a showcase they never had before. A distant Soil has never looked better, and finally, thanks to Image, it’s being seen in an edition that Doran has full control over. Aside from some 80s style hairdos on the character, the story is still as fresh and compelling as when it appeared. The golden age of comics reprints continues.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.