Required Reading is DoomRocket’s love chest, where each week one of our contributors goes crazy over a book they just can’t seem to get enough of. Intrigued to find something new? Seeking validation for your secret passions? Required Reading gets you.

This article was originally posted on Kinja’s Observation Deck and has been republished here with the author’s permission.


By Arpad Okay. This comic is exactly what you’d expect. The ideal of what a title like that implies in a read. Why are you even reading this review? Go get Head Lopper.

Flashing swords. High fantasy blissfully free of meddling. Don’t get me wrong, I love Finn and Jake, I think Prophet is the best comic in years, Simon Roy’s Habitat is the highlight of the ongoing Image anthology Island, but it is nice to read something that is just fantasy with (so far) no post-apocalyptic twists, no secret space stuff or ancient technology.

So, what has Head Lopper got? First off — call him Norgal.


Norgal and his traveling companion, the head of the Blue Witch Agatha. Castles and ruins. A blacksmith and a ferryman. A boy king. A secretly evil steward. An old friend with a new family. The Sorcerer of the Black Bog. Rock chameleon dudes and giant wolves.

Action. Intrigue. 96 pages and no ads. A quarterly printing schedule to ensure quality. A story reminiscent of the criminally overlooked Dungeon series by Lewis Trondheim and Joann Sfar, or The Unsinkable Walker Bean by Aaron Renier, or Busiek and Nord’s Conan, or Mike Mignola’s anything. A knack for balancing action and lighthearted dialog that reminds me of Genndy Tartakovsky. Head Lopper is Image declaring itself not just the new Vertigo but also the new First Second Books, the new Top Shelf, a professional home for indie comics that feel like indie comics.


The creator/writer/artist Andrew MacLean has another series called ApocalyptiGirl, described as “Nausicaä meets Adventure Time” so that is obviously next on my list.

Arpad Okay writes about comics, movies, music and lit for various blogs on the Kinja network. He put out a zine called Jinxremoving (RIP 1998-2012) and has a comic in a forthcoming anthology published by the folks at Lumpen Magazine and curated by Damon Locks.