HOT PICKS EXTRA: Digging Deeper Into the Stacks

A little late this week, but still in time to hit the store!

By MENACHEM LUCHINS, owner, Escape Pod Comics, Huntington, L.I.

There are a lot of interesting looking books coming out that, frankly, are hit or miss for me. It’s not that I don’t think they’ll be good, it’s just that they’re so niche I can’t see them having that wide a range of appeal.

I hesitate to put them here, but they may be really up your alley, so I’ll give a brief listing:

Girl in Dior (NBM) is a translated French docudrama about the earliest days of the haute couture fashion house; Room for Love (Self Made Hero) is a tale of a struggling suburbanite and the hobo she lets into her house and heart.

In reissues, DC Comics has deluxe editions of both Mad Love and The Filth coming out, if that’s your thing, and Fantagraphics has collected all 14 of the visionary Johnny Ryan’s Angry Youth Comix into a single volume.

Angry Youth

Similarly, there are three terrific second volumes coming out. Many comic fans don’t like starting in the middle, so I suggest you either grow up or track down the first volumes of these wonderful series:

Bandette Vol. 2 (Dark Horse) follows Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover’s adorable digital-first thief as she gets herself and all her cohorts into even more mischief and, it appears, darker territory than the first volume. Polar (Dark Horse) of course, can’t get much darker, but that’s not for lack of trying! Victor Santos’ (mostly) silent espionage comic is a pulse-racing, sex-appealing, blood-flying masterpiece and I can’t imagine its second volume will be any less.

Then, of course, there is the long-awaited Digitally Restored 30th Anniversary Cerebus: High Society. Many people will tell you that the second book of Cerebus is where it “starts to get good” and that’s why this volume was chosen to be restored first. But the vagaries of digitally fixing zipatone and many other bizarre circumstances delayed and delayed this book so that it is now the second one out, in it’s proper order. I don’t think I can talk Cerebus up enough in my allowed space, but you should read it. Bonus: This edition is limited, signed and numbered by Cerebus creator, writer, publisher and Comic Legend Dave Sim himself.


And where would we be without the ubiquitous Number Ones? In trade we have Natasha Allegri’s Internet sensation Bee & Puppycat’s first trade paperback (Boom!), full of light, fluffy silliness that made these two a YouTube hit and the wonderfully macabre and rich Gunnkrigg Court (Archaia), which has never been printed in softcover.

While the new Image trade isn’t one of their $10 ones, I can assure you that The Spread, Justin Jordan‘s tale of a post-infection world, a mostly silent man, and the baby he finds who may change everything, is well worth the extra fiver, if not for the well-paced story than just for the tightly rendered Kyle Strahm art alone.


In single issues we have the return of Dean Haspiel’s take on the classic Archie superhero, The Fox. Rarely has a revival captured the spirit of the original in such a way as to use its own themes and ideas to propel it forward into a new era but Haspiel did just that with the last Fox miniseries and I expect no less here — zany, wacky adventure that never veers into the silly.

If you’re on the Internet and interested in all-ages comics, odds are that you’ve heard of Nutmeg (Action Lab), a digital book about middle school, rivalry and friendship that’s had countless commenters over the moon. Regardless whether you’ve heard about it before or just now, you know about it now, so pick it up!

But the jewel in the crown of comics this week is CLEARLY Alex de Campi’s Archie vs. Predator (Dark Horse/Archie). This is a title that just makes you go WHA? It shouldn’t work, your brain tells you, but it does! Reading much like one of de Campi’s Grindhouse stories, if they came by way of ’50s beach movies, this book does the seemingly impossible task of being both gruesomely entertaining while also keeping that old school “Archie” flavor. Maybe you just want to buy it for a lark, maybe the concept truly appeals to you — either way, you certainly shouldn’t miss it!


Author: Dan Greenfield

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