Super Sunday Shutdown (Part 7): What To Read During Your Time On Lockdown
by Olly MacNamee
We asked our fellow bloggers what they’d recommend you may want to read over the coming days and weeks, and some came back to us with their recommendations. We give you the following titles for your consideration and reading pleasure, and the reasons why you might want to pick them up, or digitally download them. With such a long list, covering sci-fi, fantasy, Manga, and more, there’s surely something for everyone.
Sentient by Jeff Lemire and Gabriel Walta (TKO Studios)
A science fiction story about space refugees with a hopeful ending. And in these trying times we need hope. Not to mention this title can be read digitally in either its six issue form or its collected edition. Plus, this and other TKO Studios titles first issues can currently be read for free. Finally this story is a bit of a departure from writer Jeff Lemire’s usual style of exploring mental health. – Benjamin Hall
Tito James recommends the following titles to look out for:
Urusei Yatsura by Rumiko Takahashi
The origin of the haram genre starts here and it couldn’t be funnier. This manga expires a teenage boys strange relationships with interstellar cuties.
Dementia 21 by Shintaro Kago
Kago Shintaro’s bizarro series of short stories explore fantastic ailments. If you ever wondered what would happen if Santa Claus got dementia now you’ll know.
Little Bird by Darcy Van Poelgeest and Ian Bertram (Image Comics)
This new breakout saga pits Canadian rebels against a hyper-religious fascist America. Balancing action, comedy, and tragedy; Little Bird can’t be missed.
Head Lopper by Andrew McClean (Image Comics)
The sword and sorcery genre is reinvigorated by Maclean’s stylized art. Hands down the best action fantasy comic on the shelves.
Polar by Victor Santos (Dark Horse)
If you dug the Netflix movie be sure to check out the original series. Santos explores the spy noir genre by utilizing storytelling techniques that can only be done in comics.
Water Snakes by Tony Sandoval (ComiXology)
What starts as a cute romance between two girls slowly evolves into an battle to rival 300. It’s sure to appeal to readers who enjoy stories that defy traditional categorization.
The Hero by David Rubin (Dark Horse Comics)
David Rubin’s post-modern reinterpretation of Heracles takes the best elements of comic book and weaves them into an epic for the ages. Rubin’s creative paneling and visual storytelling are second to none. This is a must read for anyone who wants to be a comic creator.
HillBilly by Eric Powell (Albatross Funnybooks)
Sword and sorcery with a southern twist and a heap of heart. HillBilly is poignant, emotional, and vividly drawn.
Brendan Allen, has these graphic novels and collections to recommend:
Lazaretto moves at a breakneck pace, and plays as an absolutely terrifying psychological thriller. The book hits a chord with its frank and realistic presentation. In an exclusive Comicon.com interview, Clay McLeod Chapman told me “Civil society is one sneeze away from collapse,” and it’s hardly an overstatement. That’s the kicker. It’s nearly impossible to create emotional distance, because this timely tale is a potential road map of where society is headed, right now.
Harrow County Vol 1, Library Edition by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook (Dark Horse Books)
Every place has a little piece of their history they’re not proud of. Something dark and twisted and evil that no one talks about. The residents of Harrow County all got together a couple decades ago for a good old fashioned witch hunt, resulting in the gruesome murder of Hester Beck. To be fair, Hester was a legit witch. She did some good work for the townsfolk, but she also blighted their livestock, lured their youth into ark arts, and stole their babies to feed her friends.
Flash forward 18 years. Emmy’s about to celebrate adulthood, and she may or may not be the second coming of the most powerful presence of pure evil the town has ever seen. Hester used her last breath to prophesy her own return, “whether to tend or murder.” Now Emmy must learn to control her unusually inherited powers to survive the very same townsfolk that brutally murdered Hester all those years prior.
Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook deftly weave occult themes, suspense, and horror into a classic Southern coming-of-age tale. Emmy is blissfully unaware of the town’s dark secret and her own origin, yet her dreams are haunted by shadows and screams of the past.
4 Kids Walk Into A Bank HC by Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss (Black Mask Studios)
4 Kids Walk Into A Bank is a fun, authentic book that deals with coming of age in a very difficult situation. It’s The Goonies and Stand By Me. It’s Ferris Bueller and My Girl and Ocean’s 11 and The Outsiders. It’s everything awkward and beautiful and painful and awesome about being a kid. It’s kinda okay and freaking awesome, but also really, really sad and pretty funny.
Cemetery Beach TP by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard (Image Comics)
Cemetery Beach TP is an easy, engaging read with some fantastic world building. There are elements of 007, mashed up with some Doctor Who, Star Wars, and The Village, all taking place in colonial space Russia. Steampunky tech, explosions, and mutants. Espionage and conspiracies. Good times.
Bone Parish Vol. 1 HC by Cullen Bunn and Jonas Scharf (BOOM! Studios)
Bone Parish is a compelling occult noir with notes of horror, crime procedurals, and mafia tropes. It’s like Breaking Bad and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein had a beautiful and horribly twisted baby. It’s hideous and gorgeous, mean and emotional. It’s a story about family, in the best and worst possible ways. Also, haunted drugs.
Crowded Volume 1 by Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, Trionna Farrell and Cardinal Rae (Image Comics)
Crowded is a fantastically dark, yet shockingly light look at modern society and our interpersonal interaction. Constantly connected, yet hopelessly disconnected. It’s a slick commentary on where we are as humans, and a sly little piece of satire that takes a good hard poke at our dependence on tech and our constant need for validation.
WWE Forever #1, (BOOM! Studios)
WWE Forever #1 is another well played WWE outing for BOOM! Studios, leaning heavily into the nostalgia that many WWE fans cut their teeth on. The characters, for the most part, are portrayed true to their established personas, and the artwork is solid. I do wish we could have delved a little deeper into WWE history. Throw up some Bruno Sammartino at the Garden, maybe? Anyway, solid book. Well worth the price of admission.
Robocop: Citizens Arrest SC by Brian Wood and Jorge Coelho (BOOM! Studios)
Brian Wood and Jorge Coelho’scyberpunk vision pulls in several familiar themes from the 1987 film. Insane levels of commercialization, militarization of police, privatizing public services, and deliberate misrepresentation by the media are all themes that were relevant in the eighties, and have become even more so with the modern enhancement of internet and social media. Basically, the media, government, and OCP are all in bed to keep the general populace distracted enough to keep them all rich and comfortable.
Citizen’s Arrest feels like a natural extension of the source material. This sentimental cyberpunk satire hits all the nostalgic beats when RoboCop brings his old fashioned moral code and futuristic brand of justice to a whole new scene.
Editor-in-Chief, Erik Amaya, has this mammoth collection to suggest, available free to subscribers of DC Universe:
Legion of Superheroes vol. 4, issues #1-61. Available on DC Universe
Perhaps the most unlikely introduction to long-form comics, but the fourth volume of DC Comics’ Legion of Superheroes has everything an angsty teen transitioning from superheroes to Vertigo or indie comics could want: chain smoking, trench coats, and regret.
The premise sees the galaxy five years after the Magic Wars of the preceding LoSH series. The galaxy never really recovered from those events and even the Legion itself disbanded in the fallout. But long retired Legionnaire Reep “Chameleon Boy” Daggle has a plan to revive the group. He just needs to convince founding member Rokk “Cosmic Boy” Krinn to join him. Soon, the two journey across the galaxy reuniting with old friend; who, of course, have problems of their own. Meanwhile, a secretive enemy gets worried about the reunion and sends its own agent to stop the Legion from reforming.
For the most part, the characters are never in costume, they rarely use their powers, and many of the stories deal directly with the characters, now middle-aged, processing the trauma of being teen superheroes. And thanks to the Keith Giffen’s layouts and pencils – inspired in part by Italian comics of the day – the book felt different from its DC stablemates; to say nothing of superhero books from other publishers. One would even be tempted to call it a “post-punk” in terms of mood, subject matter, and presentation.
Of course, the book becomes more colorful and heroic as it continues toward the epic conclusion of Giffen’s association with it. #38 is literally called “The End,” but the story of the middle-aged Legion continued for several more years under the guidance of his writing collaborators Tom & Mary Bierbaum, and, later, Tom McCraw and Mark Waid – and artists like Stuart Immonen and Lee Moder. Issue #61 was the finally tale of the original Legion and, thanks to Waid’s love of the characters, it is as fine a send off as we could get for that team.