There were a lot bombshells out of San Diego Comic-Con last month that left fans buzzing. Wonder Woman received a badass new trailer, Brie Larson was announced as Captain Marvel, and the cast of Black Panther revealed Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and Michael B. Jordan are joining Chadwick Boseman in Wakanda.
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.
Overwatch: First Strike
Ludo Lullabi and Mike Neilson
Release Date: November 2016
Dark Horse nabs another license to bolster its line in the form of Blizzard’s FPS sensation. The first parts of this deal will see the Blizzard-produced Overwatch digital comics hit Dark Horse’s platforms, followed by an art book with behind-the-scenes looks and exclusive art from French artist Bengal.
But then, we are getting an original graphic novel that will detail the origins of the Overwatch Strike Team.
The classic Team vs Team action allows for a lot of creative liberties to be taken, being that the game itself is devoid of a story mode and classic cutscenes. But the lore is there and ripe for exploration. We’re excited that we’re getting a robust and thorough exploration of Blizzard’s latest universe.
Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four Artist’s Edition
Release Date: January 2017
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The entry for this section of the post should really just be a GIF of Homer Simpson drooling. Untouched, uncorrected, unprocessed Jack Kirby greatness oozing off of the oversized page in a beautifully collected hardcover, showing the true origin of the zany Marvel universe in the form of the First Family’s discovery and defeat of the all-consuming Galactus.
Jack Kirby is the undisputed King of Comics. He’s created or co-created Captain America, the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Black Panther, the Silver Surfer, the New Gods, Kamandi the Last Boy, and the Incredible Hulk. YES, ALL OF YOUR FAVES BELONG TO KIRBY.
IDW’s line of Artist’s Edition books, curated and produced by Scott Dunbier, almost feels like a thankless task. Dunbier and his team at IDW track down every piece of original artwork produced in the comics and scan the original pieces with all of their details, capturing line work, erased marks, editor’s blue line edits, thumbprints, scuff marks, and white-out corrections.
The result is an artist’s full realization before it gets colored, mastered, produced to the point that you see on the printed page. These editions are unfettered examinations of the artistic process with regards to monthly comic book production. And no artist is more deserving of this treatment than the undisputed King Kirby.