By Molly Jane Kremer, Stefania Rudd, Mickey Rivera, Jami Jones, 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 Image Comics’ ‘Shanghai Red’ #1 to the latest needle drop from Black Crown, here’s what has our hearts set ablaze this week.
Written by Christopher Sebela.
Art by Joshua Hixson.
Letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou.
JJ: 4 years, that’s what it took to see Shanghai Red realized. It’s not backed by a Kickstarter, not funded from some anonymous benefactor, wasn’t championed by a major publisher. Just evident sweat, likely some tears, and perhaps some blood, who knows — I’m better off not knowing. There’s certainly enough of it in this crackerjack debut about Red, kidnapped and shipped out in chains via the very real Portland tunnels from the 1800s. Put to work under an assumed identity (Red, out of necessity for survival, became “Jack”), whipped, beaten, and denied prospects of a future, Red initiates a righteous coup that sets her and the surviving members of the indentured crew on a quest for sweet revenge.
4 years Christopher Sebela, Joshua Hixson, and Hasan Otsmane-Elhaou toiled to get this book into our hands. I’ve read it, we’ve run a review for it (written by our own Brendan F. Hodgdon), and now I’m telling you — pick it up. This is a story unlike any you’ll read, a historical fiction with blood on its knuckles and a score to settle. It’s creeped up on us over these past few years — and now it’s here, breathing down our necks. What will you do? With this much to offer, all you can do is submit. Shanghai Red. Get it.
Black Crown/IDW Publishing/$3.99
Written by David Barnett.
Art by Martin Simmonds.
Color Flats by Dee Cunniffe.
Letters by Aditya Bidikar.
MR: Things have gotten explosively manic in the life of Feargal Ferguson, the pimple-faced, daydreaming, unwittingly psychically-armed British teenager at the center of Punks Not Dead. In recent issues, he and the rude yet oddly supportive spirit of Sid Vicious have been in a lock-step hunt for the secret about why they’re seemingly inseparable from one another. Their hunch that a sudden bout of dancing plague cropping up in the nearby town of Wigan may hold some clues turned out to be right, but they now find themselves in more danger than ever. Their plight is leading them inevitably into the path of the creepy federal ghost-chaser Dorothy Culpepper, a crass old biddy who’s grotesquely posh stylings belie a mind that’s more keenly aware of what all of this means than anyone else in Britain.
This series’ artwork by Martin Simmonds and Dee Cunniffe is a beauty to behold, and when combined with David Barnett’s occult coming-of-age tale the whole thing screams with glowing punk-rock ferocity. I never would have thought two things could have gone together as well as punk rock and the occult, but here we are at Punks Not Dead #5, ready for more.
Written by Jason Latour.
Art by Robbi Rodriguez.
Colors by Rico Renzi.
Lettered by Clayton Cowles.
JamiJ: Spider-Gwen #34 looms ever-present, bringing with it the departure of writer Jason Latour, artist Robbi Rodriguez, colorist Rico Renzi, and letterer Clayton Cowles, but Gwen still has some business to deal with. Thankfully her creators are still running the show.
She’s escaped ninjas, been trapped in universes other than her own, and has repeatedly dealt with the reality of her death on other Earths, but now she’s wrapped up in chains stickier than her webs. Gwen’s secret is out and now she is going to have to face up to her actions as Spider-Woman.
Latour hasn’t shied away from introducing Gwen to the harsh realities of life, so it will be interesting to see how she fares in the criminal justice system of Earth-65. Rodriguez and Renzi continue to craft a Gwen who saves lives and accidentally becomes a trendsetter while doing it. Renzi’s hyper-pigmentation, Rodriguez’s signature style, and Latour’s expertise in writing an intensely relatable character have made Spider-Gwen the only spider that I will wait patiently for.
BOOM! Box/BOOM! Studios/$14.99
Written by John Allison.
Art by Lissa Treiman, Caanan Grall, Jenn St-Onge and John Allison.
Colors by Sarah Stern and Jeremy Lawson.
Letters by Jim Campbell.
MJ: Giant Days is the sort of series that leaves you desperate for a new issue as soon as you finish one. As enveloping and all-consuming as it is (in the best way of course) means any extra undiscovered bits are like shining gems uncovered. While the Giant Days ongoing series has been published monthly in comic form for many years now (and even longer as a webcomic), BOOM! Studios has released a fair share of one-shots and short stories to satisfy that craving for more; and now in Extra Credit Volume One, they’re available for trade readers too!
Included among the odds and ends are the Holiday Specials, the first containing a Sliding Doors-esque what if that muses on possible events had our favorite trio not become friends. Original series artist Lissa Treiman returns for that short, colored by Sarah Stern. It’s lovely to see Treiman return, even if it’s in one of the most upsetting parallel universes ever conceived. (Not really. And it all turns out all right in the end of course.) Not to ignore another famous British rom-com, the last full story in the book is called “Love? Ack, Shelly!” that, despite a very on-the-nose title, is er, actually really great. The art by Jenn St-Onge and Sarah Stern is a wonderful fit for the series and for the London-set story. It will leave you giggling—and also hoping we see more of Esther’s friend, Shelley. (And yes, her name has the “ey” though the story’s title has only the “y”.)
We even get some John Allison-penned-and-penciled Giant Days shorts before the end. And like magic, our wish to see more Shelley (albeit in more nascent form) is granted here as well. The characters in Giant Days are nuanced, delightful, and brim with some of the best dialogue across any comic — Extra Credit being no exception. This is obviously a must-buy for any completist fan, but it’s also a very satisfying read for those of us who have come to feel as much kinship for Susan, Esther and Daisy as they do for each other.
Written by Christopher Hastings.
Art by Anna Johnstone.
Colors by Joana Lafuente.
Letters by Mike Fiorentino.
SR: The end of the Regular Show cartoon series resulted in an epic battle to the death for Pops, one of the most beloved characters who lived in the Park. Show also fast-forwarded its timeline to 25 years after his death to give us all a little glimpse of where these characters ended up in life. Now BOOM! Studios is taking it a step further in their new six issue limited series, Regular Show: 25 Years Later.
With it we’ll finally get to see how Mordecai and Rigby have fared and what has changed for them, as well as what has remained the same. You know when these two get together they’re bound to blunder into some sort of adventure. Writer Christopher Hastings, who has written for Deadpool, Unbelievable Gwenpool, and Adventure Time is no stranger to wily, mischievous characters. I doubt he’ll hold back when it comes to the cast of characters found within the Regular Show universe. Embracing irreverence is exactly what I am here for.
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.