By Molly Jane Kremer, Arpad Okay, Mickey Rivera, and Jarrod Jones. Comics that challenge us, slay us, beguile us — the comics we simply can’t wait to devour. That’s DoomRocket’s Staff Picks. From ‘Punks Not Dead’ to ‘Redlands’, here’s what has our hearts set ablaze this week.
Black Crown/IDW Publishing/$3.99
Written by David Barnett.
Art by Martin Simmonds.
Color flats by Dee Cunniffe.
Letters by Aditya Bidikar.
JJ: Black Crown’s latest debut has me feeling pumped. Kid Lobotomy was and is everything I thought it would be, Assassinistas continues to be nothing short of absolutely lovely, and the Quarterly is my new religion. Punks Not Dead has been the outlier, not just because it was the last book in Black Crown’s first wave to be released, but because I simply wasn’t up on who this David Barnett fellow was. Now it’s arrived, and my heart’s all a-flutter.
Punks Not Dead is about music as lifestyle. Or, in this instance, after-lifestyle. Sid, one of our eponymous undead punks, has been stuck haunting Heathrow airport for damn near 40 years. Then along comes Feargal “Fergie” Ferguson, a student living in Preston, Lancashire with a host of problems of his own. Fergie’s got something about him. Now, suddenly, Sid’s haunting Fergie. Not maliciously, mind you. But — of course, there is a “but” and this is why I’m enjoying this book so dang much — there’s more to Sid’s connection to our man Fergie than meets the eye.
The art and colors from Martin Simmonds knocks me dead. Think Phil Noto smashed together with Bill Sienkiewicz and you’re about halfway there. Simmonds takes Barnett’s words and makes the Punks version of Preston feel alive. His rendition of Sid seems obvious — a bit of Vicious, with just a smidge of Dream — but like most everything about Punks Not Dead, there’s more going on here than you might surmise.
A gorgeous comic that feels as fresh as the zits on Sid’s sneering face. You’re goddamned right it’s a Black Crown book. Now go read it.
Written by Joshua Williamson.
Art by Riley Rossmo.
Colors by Ivan Plascencia.
Letters by Deron Bennett.
MR: I’ll admit it: I’m drawn in by bright colors. This hot pink cover hides what’s likely to be an eccentric and trippy fable. To summarize Deathbed: A legendary formerly-vanished explorer, the dashingly named Antonio Luna, enlists the help of failed novelist Val Richards to chronicle the past 20 years of his life, which have been spent adventuring into terrifying, psychedelic regions of the world.
Luna’s tales of supernatural violence strain credulity: maybe he’s full of crap, maybe he’s senile… but maybe it’s all true. Val, bitterly trying to forget her novel writing days by taking up journalism, is determined to find out the truth. She travels to a castle owned by Luna to investigate.
What happens next is a mystery, but we’ve got enough talent here to know Deathbed is going to be something special. Joshua Williamson (Evolution, The Flash) has done brilliant, nuanced horror writing in the past, and the art by Riley Rossmo and Ivan Plascencia is what drew me to this title in the first place. Wherever Val’s investigations lead her, the ride is going to be wild and weird.
Written by Christopher Priest, Don McGregor, and Reginald Hudlin.
Art by Mike Perkins, Daniel Acuña, and Ken Lashley.
Colors by Andy Troy and Matt Milla.
Letters by VC’s Joe Sabino.
MJ: This past weekend the world got a taste of the power of Wakanda, and though a successful superhero movie doesn’t always equal proportional comic book interest, at least in my shop we had a number of customers interested in further Black Panther reading.
Marvel did well in scheduling its Black Panther Annual when they did, because it features three of the exact writers whose names have been bandied about the most in groundbreaking Black Panther runs. (Once past the obvious, and excellent, suggestion of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ current run, of course.)
The annual is structured similarly to Jason Aaron’s initial run on Thor: God of Thunder, with a current story, a past story, and a future Black Panther story all in one book. The current day storyline is written by Christopher Priest (author of one of T’Challa’s most definitive runs) with art by Mike Perkins and Andy Troy. The past story (specified as “alternate-past”, so perhaps it exists in a status quo that was retconned away) is written by one of Black Panther’s seminal Seventies scribes, Don McGregor with art by Daniel Acuña. And the future story (like McGregor’s, an alternate-future) is by Reginald Hudlin with art by Ken Lashley and Matt Milla.
Black Panther Annual #1 is a great way to get a small taste of what these three men—so influential and important to the Black Panther legacy—have done for a character finally getting the worldwide recognition he deserves.
Written by Jordie Bellaire.
Art by Vanesa Del Rey.
Colors by Jordie Bellaire.
Letters by Clayton Cowles.
AOK: Reading Redlands is putting together a puzzle crafted by H.P. Lovecraft. There’s no box, so you can only guess at what it is you’re assembling. Every time enough pieces come together to show you what it is your mind is pursing, you lose a little sanity. I like to throw the word “haunting” around when it comes to good horror comics, but sweet Christmas, that last issue of Redlands left me utterly shooketh.
The principle difference between Redlands and Lovecraft is Redlands is a story by and for women. A monster rag, to be sure, but one where the true beast is the patriarchy. Far beyond witches. Jordie Bellaire pens the most nuanced, disturbing, au courant book on the shelves today, and Vanesa Del Rey’s illustrations for it are as beautiful as they are devastating. I can’t wait for the new issue; I can’t even tell you why. Redlands is essential.
What books are YOU looking forward to reading this week? Sound off in the comments below. Best answer wins a free set of DoomRocket stickers!