Hmm. There’s something wrong — something missing — especially considering the name Comic-Con. With all of the promo material, free bullshit, movie stars dashing between photo ops, and exclusive Funko bobbleheads flying around, it’s difficult to recall that actual comic books still exist.
While most use the con as an opportunity to selfie their way across San Diego, a smaller and more depressing faction still braves the sea of bodies to find new and interesting stories in this masochistic medium. Ask any creator, “How do you do it?!” And they’ll perk up from their hunched back with glazed eyes, perpetrating a visible musk because they’re cartoonists and cartoons always have stink lines to indicate stink.
“I ask myself that same question,” they might say. Or, “I don’t even know anymore,” if they haven’t had their coffee. Regardless, they’re still toiling over their pen and paper or their laptop, churning out The Next Book. Everyone at the mercy of the narrative.
Welp, despite all that depressing shit, there were some cool comics announced. Here are some that we’re anticipating, despite the slow and inevitable heat death of the universe which shall eventually claim all life.
Bryan Lee O’Malley, Nathan Fairbairn, Jason Fischer
Release Date: TBA
When the Scott Pilgrim creator’s new collaboration with Leslie Hung was announced — the Image comic Snotgirl — fans of the Canadian cartoonist were disappointed to learn he’d not be handling art duties.
The reasoning finally comes to light as the first part in a new trilogy was announced in San Diego, and O’Malley’s aesthetic is all over that first teaser. While the artwork of Worst World looks slightly less stylized in the manga/video game-esque designs of Scott Pilgrim and Seconds, it retains all of the charm and high-contrast coloring that his latest works have employed.
Nathan Fairbairn returns to color the series after his work on Seconds and the Scott Pilgrim re-re-releases. Hopefully, this story will have more consequence than Seconds, which ended up being a story devoid of consequence compared to his other works.
Garden of the Flesh
Do you read Love and Rockets? There’s no excuse not to, with more than two decades of varied storytelling and deft cartooning over its storied history. And though Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez have maintained the quality over the years, they’ve not sacrificed the rich continuity they’ve crafted between the Palomar and Las Locas storylines they’ve respectively told.
Gilbert’s latest release spins out of his own Palomar universe, in a way, as he portrays the Bible’s earliest stories in Genesis as an erotic — scratch that, make it pornographic — rendition of Eve, Adam, Cain, and Noah.
The highly graphic and sexual nature of these biblical foundations underscores the purity of organized religion, depicting the sacred in a much more human language. While it subverts the holy nature of religion for dubious means, the results are much more engaging in that these earliest tales of divinity are about lust, love, and the act of human compassion.
After all, there is a reason we refer to doin’ the nasty as “knowing biblically.”
World of Wakanda
Roxanne Gay, Afua Richardson, Alitha Martinez, Yona Harvey, and Ta-Nehisi Coates
Release Date: November 2016
It’s hard to give Marvel the benefit of the doubt here. Especially when word of this comic came after another cash-grab to cater to its diversified reader base when they announced the new Iron Man title would star a young black girl — STILL WRITTEN AND DRAWN BY WHITE DUDES.
You fucked up, Marvel.
But you’re trying! We can see that. That’s why you recruited one of the most prominent feminist scholars in North America, Roxanne Gay, to become the first black woman to ever write a Marvel comic. Let that sink in: the first black woman to write a comic book for Marvel.
And she only had to be an award-winning scholar before it happened. Can you tell how hard our eyes are rolling?
Despite the dubious circumstances under which we’re receiving this comic, it’s still welcome. Lining up Afua Richardson and Alitha Martinez on art and acclaimed poet Yona Harvey writing the backups, telling narratives of black women and black queer women, is the type of representation needed in mainstream comics. No one is saying white dudes can’t write characters of color. What we are saying is, we want more creators of color telling those stories. And they are out there. You can go find them, because that’s your goddamn job.