Monday, February 2, 2015

Indie Corner - 01/28/15

Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.

A couple weeks back, I'm chatting with the manager of my local comic shop and he offhandedly mentions Lady Killer, believing I'd purchased it that week.  I hadn't, but it he successfully put it on my radar in that moment.  I've since checked it out and love it.  It's totally my kind of thing.  I'm going to do something rare for me and copy and paste the official description from Dark Horse because it's perfect:
Josie Schuller is a picture-perfect homemaker, wife, and mother—but she’s also a ruthless, efficient killer for hire! A brand-new original comedy series that combines the wholesome imagery of early 1960s domestic bliss with a tightening web of murder, paranoia, and cold-blooded survival.

I'm not sure I'd go with "comedy" but otherwise it's dead-on.  Written by JoĆ«lle Jones and Jamie S. Rich with art from Jones as well.  Her work is fantastic and it's only a matter of time before someone notices and she's placed on something more high profile.  Lady Killer is a five issue mini series with issue 2 out Feb 4th.  I'm in for all of it.  Thanks Rick!

Casanova: Acedia 1
Before reading either of the stories inside, I went looking for the back matter.  To my great sadness, there were only ads.  Fraction's letter column in previous volumes was one of the only letter columns I consistently read.  They were informative, amusing, and intensely open and personal.  It's one of the reasons I continued to buy the single issues instead of switching to trades like I do on much titles.  Here's hoping it will return.

As I said, this issue has two stories - the first by Fraction and Fabio Moon with the second from Michael Chabon and Gabriel Ba.  I loved Fraction's; it had all the insanity of the old Casanova I've been craving.  Chabon's was good as well, but didn't really feel like Casanova.  Maybe once it's fleshed out some more.  If I haven't mentioned it recently, I absolutely adore both Ba and Moon.  The next issue can't come fast enough in my opinion.

I've long praised both the Ghostbusters and Ninja Turtles series from IDW and have continued that trend for this crossover mini series.  There's not a lot I can say that I haven't already - the teams, both creators and the title characters, work really well together and the resulting book is a blast.  I mean, Mikey's in a jumpsuit on Page 1 here.  That's awesome and just the beginning of the humorous moments that book provides while bringing the final showdown with Chi-You.  That fight takes up the bulk of the issue, making it feel suitably epic.  While not required reading for fans of the Turtles book, I'd recommend it for anyone reading Turtles and curious about the Ghostbusters IDW series.  Ghostbusters recently concluded and this looks to be the final hoorah for the franchise for now.  A sad end, but they went out on on top.

It's hard for me to figure out how I feel about this series.  On the one hand, it's pretty cool... but little things keep creeping into my head and I'm not sure how long I'll be able to keep them from spoiling an otherwise good read.

People with special abilities exist and they like to keep it secret.  Okay, I'm with you there.  That a dozen or so live in the same house starts me tingling, because I've seen enough random episodes of The Real World to know this generally causes some problems.  However, we really haven't seen interactions with the cast yet, so I'll let that slide for now.  Where the book really starts to lose me is how our cast treat the normal humans around them.  The book opens with a small group from the house mugging a human.  This is explained to the newest member of the household and our current POV character as the way of things and everyone seems okay with it.  We've seen a bunch of characters, but none of them really stand apart from any of the others and this sameness all living under one roof is kinda driving me nuts.  I'm going to stick with it through at least issue four to see where things lead, but I don't know.

This book is completely nuts, and I am entirely okay with this.  Issue six came out this week, as did a collection of the first five issues.  Convenient!

The series is about the afterlife.  Spoiler!  It's kind of in the title.  Thus far, it's been a loose Judeo-Christian type of afterlife, with an emphasis on "loose."  Granted, I've never actually read a bible, but I don't recall anyone ever mentioning a giant rabbit.

This issues gives us a one page micro-origin for one of our cast members while an antagonist gets radically transformed.  The rest of the cast are simply trying to figure out what to do next.  By the end of issue six, they've all got some new information to consider.

While I don't recommend anyone jump into the series at issue six - I guarantee you'll be confused - anyone curious about the series should definitely pick up the trade.  (This is why I'm reviewing the two together.)  It's been a wild, but highly enjoyable ride that shows no sign of slowing down.  The collection is only $9.99, which is less than the cover price of the individual issues.

The Dying and the Dead 1
A few days ago I read the preview pages for this issue on CBR.  It's always been my belief that preview pages are supposed to give potential customers a sense for the issue or series.  Or, if not that, provide an enticing hook to get readers interested enough to buy the issue.  In either case, those preview pages were terrible at their job.

The first issue is 60 pages (there's two ads at the back, everything else is story) and costs $4.50.  If you like Hickman's East of West, you should definitely check this out.  I'm just going to say to buy it, because I'm not sure any preview pages, high concept tag line, or description is going to properly convey what's going on here. 

The book is very good.  The word "cinematic" springs to mind, and I don't just mean the whole "widescreen" thing it has going on.  It's in every aspect of how this story is told.  I wish I possessed the means to communicate what's actually happening in this book, but to boil it down to a couple sentences would be a mistake.  It's good, and I recommend it.

Wow.  So, I still kinda live in... not fear of this book, but I put off reading it each month.  It always winds up near the bottom of my read pile.  The top of the read pile is always whatever quick, easily forgettable super hero books I'm reading.  This week the indie titles outnumbered the superhero stuff by some ridiculous amount like 6:1.  So I get the hero stuff out of the way, then start making my way through the indies while writing these things whenever inspiration hits.  I think mostly about the cops, trying to remember the storyline that was going on in the last issue.  But the story is entirely irrelevant in this series.  The brilliance is entirely with the character interactions - the tiny moments, the humor, the honesty, the quiet suffering, and eternal for a connection.  And the real reason I avoid the book for so long is because I know all of this in the back of my mind, know that I need to be in the right frame of mind to read it, and am just waiting for the right moment.  Because it's going to be some Heavy Shit when I do.

I had no idea what this book was about when I bought it.  Usually, I go through this whole thing where I read the solicits for books coming out months from now, forget most of it, then every Thursday I get an email from my comic shop with everything coming out next Wednesday.  That's when I read up on new series I haven't heard of or don't remember and figure out if I want to buy it or not.  In this case, I knew Effigy was drawn by a friend of mine and didn't care what it was about.  Tim Seeley as the writer is just icing.

Thankfully, the book is awesome, and I'm not just saying that.  It's got a Coffin Hill vibe, with the female lead returning to her hometown and mystery right from the outset.  The main differences being the inclusion of a sentai children's show the lead was part of, and that this story has set it's hooks in me better than Coffin Hill did.  I hope this series gets a long run, because Marley's perfect for it.

Twice today I've seen DeConnick say Bitch Planet should run roughly 30 issues.  Once in a Tumblr Q and A and again in the back of this issue.  Knowing this somehow makes me feel better about the series.  The creative team aren't going to try and run this forever - from the sound of it, they've got a pretty tight story in mind.  I also learned every third issue will spotlight a different character.  That's slightly weird in that it sounds like any momentum the storyline builds up will be regularly paused, but I'll see how it turns out in practice and roll with it.

The issue itself is quite good, moving things along very nicely while giving the barest hint of the 30-issue storyline.

This was one of the first books I read this week and one of the last reviews I write.  I'm really struggling my thoughts into words this time.  On the one hand, each issue is a great read and I love the art.  On the other, the connective tissue that should be binding one issue to the next into an overarching story appears to be missing.  I get that there's stories happening at two different points in time, I mean that's pretty obvious and not the problem.  First Rasputin's at home, then a monastery, now the palace... and he picked up some huge blond guy along the way... and they still haven't addressed that guy and his "hammer time" from a couples issues back... like, what is happening?  We do get some confirmation of what we were told last issue, even if it does seem to be disproportionate to what we've seen Rasputin do thus far.  Maybe it'll read better as a trade, I don't know.  If I can find some time in the next month, maybe I'll try to re-read from the beginning and see if that helps.