An Indie Eye on Previews: February

It has been a while since we have had our act together done one of these. So, we are going to flip through the February Previews for books released in April.  I have provided ordering links for each book (if available) through Amazon in case you are worried your LCS will not be able to order it for you, or in case you do most of your ordering online.

last of usThe Last of Us: American Dreams (Dark Horse) – Normally I’m not much for video game tie-ins.  But, when that video game tie-in is written and features art by Faith Erin Hicks, I’m in!

The comics-exclusive prequel to the new game from Naughty Dog! Creative director Neil Druckmann teams with breakout comics star Faith Erin Hicks to present the story of thirteen-year-old Ellie’s life in a violent, postpandemic world. A newcomer at a military boarding school, Ellie is reluctant to toe the line, which earns her new enemies—and her first glimpse of the world outside.

 

X

X #0 (Dark Horse) – Back in the early 90′s when Dark Horse launched its Comic’s Greatest World line, X was just about the baddest looking guy on the block.  He screamed “grim n’ gritty”.   Other than that, though, the X concept didn’t do much for me.  However, given how much I have enjoyed the updated take on that other Comic’s Greatest World property, Ghost, I am willing to give X another shot.

Three crime lords in the decaying city of Arcadia have received photographic death sentences from the mysterious “X Killer.” Their cunning defenses won’t stop Arcadia’s vigilante from making sure each one of them suffers. From the pages of Dark Horse Presents.

VictoriesMichael Avon Oeming’s The Victories (Dark Horse) – This title is headed over to Dark Horse Presents.  But, before it does, this is the perfect time to catch up on what you have been missing.

Not long from now, all that will stand between you and evil are THE VICTORIES: heroes sworn to protect us from crime, corruption, and the weird designer drug known as Float. As one member hits the streets looking for blood, he discovers himself touched by a painful past through the powers of a psychic. Will this trauma cause him to self-destruct or to rejoin the good fight? Collects the five-issue miniseries.

McNinjaAdventures of Dr. McNinja Omnibus (Dark Horse) – Dr. McNinja was one of the first webcomics I ever read.  Unfortunately, I got into Dr. McNinja early and was caught up within ten minutes.  As much as I intended to get back to it and read more once there were more pages, I kinda got distracted.   With this omnibus I can get all caught up.

He’s a doctor! He’s a ninja! And now, his earliest exploits are collected in one mighty omnibus volume! Featuring stories from the very beginnings of the Dr. McNinja webcomic, This book offers a hefty dose of science, action, and outrageous comedy. This omnibus presents more than five hundred pages of hilarious strips, some of them long out of print.

transfusionTransfusion (IDW) – Transfusion is one of the most beautifully haunting books published by IDW.  Its got robots.  Its got vampires.  It has Steve Niles and Menton3.  What are you waiting for????

In a future overrun by out-of-control machines and monsters, a handful of human survivors try to fight their way back to a normal life. But what is normal in a world where both monsters and machines need human blood? And which are the real bad guys? Find out in this horrific new series by 30 Days of Night co-creator Steve Niles and menton3, the demented artist behind Monocyte!

 

godzillahalfcenturyGodzilla: Half Century War (IDW) – Godzilla has not been this awesome since 1974.  James Stokoe, creator of the amazing Orc Stain series, steps away from the gronch long enough to turn in a story that does not skimp on the monsters or the mayhem while still anchoring it firmly in a human experience.  See what all the fuss has been about.

Introducing a new and exciting look at Godzilla’s reign of destruction, courtesy of Orc Stain creator James Stokoe! The year is 1954 and Lieutnant Ota Murakami is on hand when Godzilla makes first landfall in Japan. Along with his pal Kentaro, Ota makes a desperate gamble to save lives… and in the process begins an obsession with the King of the Monsters that lasts fifty years!

Jupiter's LegacyJupiter’s Legacy (Image) – Mark Millar runs hot and cold for me.  Sometimes I really enjoy his work.  Sometimes not so much.  The same can be said for Frak Quitely’s art.  Sometimes I like it.  Sometimes it just does not quite fit the tone of the story.  But, given the previews for this series, it looks like both creators may be turning in some of their best work ever.

The world’s greatest heroes have grown old and their legacy is a poisonous one to the children who will never live up to their remarkable parents. Unmissable.

 

chin musicChin Music  (Image) – Its another Steve Niles comic.  But, honestly, that is not the appeal of this book for me.  This book is all about Tony Harris.  This is the book that Harris announced last year and has been talking about ever since.  The art looks gorgeous and the story sounds interesting.  This one is definitely worth checking out.

Shaw is a man on the run and lost in time. Fleeing ancient enemies, Shaw finds himself in prohibition-era Chicago surrounded by gangers and demons alike and caught between law enforcement and the local supernatural underground. CHIN MUSIC is a tale of mysticism and violence like nothing you’ve experienced before.

Happy_Vol_1Happy! Volume 1 (Image) – Grant Morrison writing a story about a hitman.  And a blue horse. Named happy.  This one needs to be picked up just to see what it is all about.

Meet NICK SAX – a corrupt, intoxicated ex-cop turned hit-man, adrift in a stinking twilight world of casual murder, soulless sex, eczema and betrayal.
With a hit gone wrong, a bullet in his side, the cops and the mob on his tail, and a monstrous child killer in a Santa suit on the loose, Nick and his world will be changed forever this Christmas.
By a tiny blue horse called Happy…

 

mind the gap 2Mind The Gap Volume 2: Wish You Were Here TP (Image) – One of the best mysteries in comics continues.  Why are you not reading this???

ONE OF THE TOP 20 BOOKS OF 2012 ROARS ON!
New threats arise as the curtains pull back to reveal some of the most shocking secrets surrounding the mystery behind the attack on Elle Peterssen. Meanwhile, what is her connection to a 10-year-old girl who claims to actually be Elle’s mind trapped in this girl’s body? All of this plus the acclaimed silent issue “speechless” and the unmasking that changes the entire series.

 

strange attractorsStrange Attractors (Archaia) – Strange Attractors is part of the branch of Mathematics which deals with chaos theory and looking for patterns of seemingly unrelated causes and effects.  On top of that, writer Charles Soule (27) layers in influences from Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, and Darren Arnofsky.  This seems like it could be one hell of a book!  Archaia is known for carefully choosing the projects it publishes, so the fact that they are publishing Strange Attractors carries significant weight.

A young graduate student discovers that his aging professor has been saving New York City from collapse by a series of “adjustments,” a la the Butterfly Effect, only to be informed that he must be the one to take over keeping the city alive. A grounded sci-fi thriller in the vein of Source Codeand The Adjustment Bureau.In 1978, Dr. Spencer Brownfield saved New York City from itself, bringing the city back from the verge of collapse and ruin. And for 30  years, his small, minute and unnoticed adjustments to the city’s systems have, a la the Butterfly Effect, kept the city afloat. Or so he claims to Heller Wilson, a young graduate student that Dr Brownfield has chosen as his successor. But are Dr Brownfield’s claims about “complexity math” and its application to the city’s patterns of life real, or are they the ravings of a man broken by the death of his wife and daughter, desperate to find some kind of control over the world around him? Strange Attractors is about control—what you can control in your life and what you can’t, and how important it is to recognize the difference.

who is acWho Is AC? (Atheneum Books) – Hope Larson’s Chiggers is perennial reading among DJ and her group of friends.  So, when it was announced that Larsen had a new OGN in the pipeline there was no question that it was going to end up on the pre-order list!

Meet Lin, a formerly average teenage girl whose cell phone zaps her with magical powers. But just as superpowers can travel through the ether, so can evil. As Lin starts to get a handle on her new abilities (while still observing her curfew!), she realizes she has to go head-to-head with a nefarious villain who spreads his influence through binary code. And as if that weren’t enough, a teen blogger has dubbed her an ‘anonymous coward!’ Can Lin detect the cyber-criminal’s vulnerability, save the day, and restore her reputation?

relishRelish: My Life in the Kitchen (First Second) – Food and comics are a natural pairing.  You consume both first with your eyes and your imagination.  There are also strong connections created between food and memories.  Whether it is an important dinner party, a family gathering, or the comforting meal that Mom made, food triggers something inside us all.

Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession honestly. In her forthright, thoughtful, and funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. Each chapter is bookended with an illustrated recipe—many of them treasured family dishes, and a few of them Lucy’s original inventions.
A welcome read for anyone who ever felt more passion for a sandwich than is strictly speaking proper, Relish is a graphic novel for our time: it invites the reader to celebrate food as a connection to our bodies and a connection to the earth, rather than an enemy, a compulsion, or a consumer product.

JerusalemJerusalem: A Family Portrait (First Second) – Last year Boaz Yakin wrote the fantastic Marathon graphic novel from First Second.  This year he has turned his attention to Jerusalem and the story of a single family struggling to survive during the early days of the new nation’s formation.  This has the potential to be quite an informative and enthralling book.

Jerusalem is a sweeping, epic work that follows a single family—three generations and fifteen very different people—as they are swept up in chaos, war, and nation-making from 1940-1948. Faith, family, and politics are the heady mix that fuel this ambitious, cinematic graphic novel.
With Jerusalem, author-filmmaker Boaz Yakin turns his finely-honed storytelling skills to a topic near to his heart: Yakin’s family lived in Palestine during this period and was caught up in the turmoil of war just as his characters are. This is a personal work, but it is not a book with a political ax to grind. Rather, this comic seeks to tell the stories of a huge cast of memorable characters as they wrestle with a time when nothing was clear and no path was smooth.

avalon chroniclesThe Avalon Chronicles Volume 2 (Oni Press) – DeFelippis and Weir are one of my favorite writing teams.  While they are most readily recognized for their mysteries, they are also quite good at writing fantasy.  The first volume of the Avalon Chronicles was a fun twist on an age-old concept, so I am looking forward to returning to the world of Aeslin Finn.

Aeslin Finn is living a double life. Teenage girl on weekdays, Dragon Knight and Princess of Avalon on weekends and holidays. Traveling into her favorite book, Aeslin must find her father and free the kingdom from a tyrant. But to do either, she’ll need to win over the reclusive elves and their sacred Unicorn, who will force Aeslin to decide what kind of girl she is once and for all!

sandcastleSandcastle (SelfMadeHero) – This one grabbed my attention because of the premise.  A day at the beach turns tragic as  a dead body is found floating in the water.  Now a disparate group of people must work together to unravel a mystery.  I know nothing about the creative team on this book, and precious little about the publisher (other than that they published the fantastic Nao of Brown).  But, if we always played it safe, how would we ever discover something new?

Early morning on a perfect summer’s day, people begin to descend on an idyllic, secluded beach. Amongst their number, a family, a young couple, a refugee and some American tourists. Its fine white sand is fringed with rock pools filled with crystal clear water. The beach is sheltered from prying eyes by green-fringed cliffs that soar around the cove. But this utopia keeps a dark secret.
A woman’s body is found floating in the waters, which brings these thirteen strangers together to try and unravel the riddle of the sands and escape the beach alive in this tense, fantastical mystery.

Battle-of-Blood-and-InkThe Battle of Blood and Ink: A Fable of the Flying City (Tor Books) – Another one where the description caught my eye.  This appears to be a paperback release of a hardcover which is already in print.  Score!  Cheaper version of something that is interesting!

If you’re visiting the flying city of Amperstam without the latest printing of The Lurker’s Guide, you might as well be lost. This one-sheet is written, edited, and printed by Ashe, a girl raised on the streets of the flying city, and is dedicated to revealing its hidden treasures and deepest secrets—including many that the overcontrolling government doesn’t want anyone to know. The stakes are raised when Ashe accidentally uncovers the horror of exactly how Amperstam travels among the skies and garners the attention of those who would rather that secret be kept in the hands of the city’s powerful leaders.

 Soon Ashe is on the run from thugs and assassins, faced with the choice of imperiling her life just to keep publishing, or giving in to the suggestion of a rich patron that she trade in her voice and identity for a quiet, comfortable life. It’s a war of confusion for Ashe, but one thing is very clear: just because you live in a flying city, you can’t always keep your head in the clouds.

double barrelCrater XV/Heck (Top Shelf) – These two titles comprise the digital anthology Double Barrel.  Now Top Shelf is publishing hardcover editions of each one, for people who enjoy their comics the old fashioned way, on paper.  Both are solid titles and well worth a look.

Heck: It’s his own personal Hell.

After the funeral of his estranged father, faded hometown hero Hector “Heck” Hammarskjöld finds himself the new owner of the old man’s house… and inside it, a portal to the underworld! With few other prospects on the horizon, Heck goes into business settling inheritance disputes by contacting the recently deceased, accompanied by his faithful sidekick Elliot. But when an old flame knocks on their door with an important message for her late husband, Heck and Elliot embark on an terrifying journey down into the nine circles, braving the horrors of Hell for an assignment that will reveal more than they ever imagined.

Crater XV: You’ve never seen a Cold War like this! In Crater XV, the follow-up to 2009′s Eisner-nominated Far Arden, Kevin Cannon weaves together an intoxicating tale of swashbuckling adventure, abandoned moon bases, bloodthirsty walruses, rogue astronauts, two-faced femme fatales, sailboat chases, Siberian pirates, international Arctic politics, and a gaggle of horny orphans. Mixed up in all of this are Army Shanks, our salty sea dog still reeling from a devastating loss, and Wendy Byrd, a plucky teenager who wants nothing more than a one-way ticket off the face of the Earth. For mystery, thrills, and Arctic chills, set a course for Crater XV! — A 496-page hardcover graphic novel.

Saturn Apartments 7Saturn Apartments, Vol. 7 (Viz) – This is the final volume of what has been a touching and thrilling story of love, loss, and desire, all taking place in the orbiting ring of apartments which encircle the earth.  Like Twin Spica, Saturn Apartments will resonate differently depending on the age of the reader.  this is the perfect book for both parents and teens to read.

Far in the future, humankind has evacuated the earth in order to preserve it. Humans now reside in a gigantic structure that forms a ring around the earth, thirty-five kilometers up in the sky. The society of the Ring is highly stratified: the higher the floor, the greater the status. Mitsu, the lowly son of a window washer, has just graduated junior high. When his father disappears and is assumed dead, Mitsu must take on his father’s occupation. As he struggles with the transition to working life, Mitsu’s job treats him to an outsider’s view into the living-room dioramas of the Saturn Apartments.

vader's princessDarth Vader and Son (Star Wars (Chronicle)) (Chronicle) – Jeffrey Brown’s first volume, Vader and Son, was a hilarious send up of Star Wars while still being a moving tribute to the relationship between a father and son.  Now he is back for another go round, this time looking at Vader’s relationship with his other child, Princess Leia.  As the father of two girls myself, I cannot wait to get my hands on this one!

In this irresistibly funny follow-up to the breakout bestseller Darth Vader and Son, Vader—Sith Lord and leader of the Galactic Empire—now faces the trials, joys, and mood swings of raising his daughter Leia as she grows from a sweet little girl into a rebellious teenager. Smart and funny illustrations by artist Jeffrey Brown give classic Star Wars moments a twist by bringing these iconic family relations together under one roof. From tea parties to teaching Leia how to fly a TIE fighter, regulating the time she spends talking with friends via R2-D2′s hologram, and making sure Leia doesn’t leave the house wearing only the a skirted metal bikini, Vader’s parenting skills are put hilariously to the test.

Ok folks.  that’s about it for me this month.  What did you find that was interesting?

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