Comics I’m Picking Up the Week of December 5, 2018

Here are the books I’m looking forward to seeing at my local comic store the week of December 5, 2018.

Black AF: Devil’s Dye

Publisher: Black Mask
Words/Story: Vita Ayala
Art/Colors: Liana Kangas

“When a new drug called VANTA hits the streets, word is it’s the hottest thing since Ecstacy. For regular people, it has all the highs and none of the lows of traditional drugs. There is some fine print, however—for empowered Black folks, the drug causes a total and violent loss of control.

The Project sends Indigo to investigate, and it soon becomes apparent that this is more than just a new designer distraction for the masses. Indigo, together with former Detective Ellen Waters race to find the source of the substance poisoning their people, before it’s too late! ”

Category: Support Emerging Talent

Why I’m Excited: In a conversation recently, I was expressing frustration with the nature of stories based on IP characters and the limits of serialized publication schedules. As the scope of comics expands and the ways that creators can express themselves are freed from the monthly episodic constraints of the Big Two, the limited series is the new laboratory. Shared worlds like that of Black, where only black people have superpowers, will continue to expand with each new set of issues moving characters and ideas forward.

Devil's Dye cover

Black Mask

Martian Manhunter

Publisher: DC
Words/Story: Steve Orlando
Art/Colors: Riley Rossmo

“No matter what you know about J’onn J’onnz, you’re not prepared for this! Back on Mars, J’onn was about as corrupt as a law officer can be, and when a reckoning comes for his entire society, he’ll get a second chance he doesn’t want or deserve! One shocking murder, and an unexpected fragment of the Mars he lost, will change his life—and the course of the Earth—forever!”

Category: Tried and True Creators

Why I’m Excited: The success of the recently concluded Mister Miracle (itself influenced by The Vision) is giving even DC and Marvel a sense that allowing creators more creative freedom can indeed sell books. Steve Orlando is, in my experience, a plot-centric writer, so giving him a single character to explore seems an interesting choice by the editorial team, but pairing him with Riley Rossmo is a great choice.

Cover of Martian Manhunter #1

DC Comics

Grumble

Publisher: Albatross Funnybooks
Words/Story: Rafer Roberts
Art/Colors: Mike Norton

“When the forces of good and evil are hunting you down, the only logical thing to do is disguise yourself as a dog and go on the run! Eddie is a low-rent hustler who got magically turned into a pug during a con gone wrong. Tala is Eddie’s long-lost, part-demon daughter. When Tala finds herself the target of powerful inter-dimensional forces, she goes to Eddie for help—setting off a chain reaction of chaos and destruction that could threaten the very fabric of existence. Can Eddie and Tala put aside their differences long enough to survive the magical mayhem and madness that they started, or will they kill each other first? (It’s probably the second one!) For readers who like it gruff and anthropomorphic, get ready for your new favorite comic!”

Category: Emerging/Veteran Creator Collaboration

Why I’m Excited: I loved Rafer Roberts’s A&A series from 2016, and I paged through Modern Fantasy, his collaboration with Kristen Gudsnuk, as it was shipped (now in my ever-expanding “to read” pile). The way that he brings a level of realistic character interaction and smart-alecky dialogue to the most absurd situations is great. Mike Norton’s worked with pretty much everybody in the industry over the last 20 years, but this looks to be a first in creating a story from the launch. Plus, a talking pug! I’ve got a weak spot for talking dogs.

Grumble cover

Albatross Funnybooks

Die

Publisher: Image
Words/Story: Kieron Gillen
Art/Colors: Stephanie Hans

Die is a pitch-black fantasy where a group of forty-something adults have to deal with the returning unearthly horror they barely survived as teenage role-players. If Kieron’s in a rush, he describes it as ‘Goth Jumanji.'”

Category: Like They Need My Help

Why I’m Excited: Those of you as obsessed with Riverdale as I am know that the youthful folly of the Archie parents has brought a dark character to haunt today’s teens. As a survivor of the ’80s war on RPGs (darn you, Tipper Gore and your ilk), I’m feeling a nostalgia moment. The Stranger Things kids could likely be alive and well in the new millennium, and I would be interested to see how their experiences would shape the the adults they became. Die takes a similar premise, and Stephanie Hans is a wonderful choice to direct this script.

Die #1 cover

Image Comics

Merry Men

Publisher: Oni Press
Words/Story: Robert Rodi
Art/Colors: Jackie Lewis

“13th century England. Robert Godwinson, former lover of King Richard, lives with his band of Merry Men in Sherwood Forest, away from the watchful eye of Prince John, who has outlawed homosexuality. Though isolated, the men live in peace—that is, until a stranger enters their camp seeking aid for a nearby town besieged by the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robert—nicknamed Robin—is reluctant to help, but equally eager to be rid of this perplexing stranger . . . and to put his formidable bow-and-arrow to use. It’s Robin Hood like you’ve never seen him before, based on scholarly speculation about what’s really behind the outlaw’s legend.”

Category: Return to a Beloved World

Merry Men cover

Oni Press

Also out this week: two Marvel character spotlight minis (yeah, it’s a trend); Winter Soldier; Killmonger; a holiday special focusing on the X-Men; a Power Rangers story about convention staple and fan favorite Jason Frank’s Green Ranger; and a pair of crime dramas, Breakneck from Hard Case Crime and Nice from American Gothic.

And just in case you were wondering, Marguerite Sauvage and Mike and Laura Allred tied for favorite Archie #700 cover in our Twitter poll last week. See you at the racks!

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