This is shaping up to be a pretty interesting week, with lots of great new product coming out. There’s a crime comic theme to my column this week it seems, as there are three different books being released in that genre. I also want to bring everyone’s attention to the publication of Guerillas at Oni Press. This is an amazing read.
Books I Want to Buy:
Vampire Boy TP
by Carlos Trillo and Eduardo Risso; Dark Horse, $24.99
Not that long ago, I read the first volume of the SAF edition of this title (where it was translated as Boy Vampire), and I liked it a lot (you can read the review here).
It doesn’t take a genius to assume that a comic with Eduardo Risso art in it is going to be good, but Trillo’s writing is what made me want to read the second volume, which I have been unable to find. Now, Dark Horse is coming along and giving us the entire series (four French-sized volumes originally) in one place, and I couldn’t be happier.
The story is about a young boy, the son of a pharaoh, who becomes a form of vampire and lives to our time, constantly pursued by a nemesis from his own era. The kid is portrayed as likeable to a point, but it’s hard to forget what he is. There’s an odd sub-plot involving the last “Indian” land in New York (I assume that’s where it’s set), but the focus is largely on the difficulty our hero has in bonding with humans.
I’m sure the pages in this printing are going to be smaller than they were when originally printed, but since Risso uses large panels, the effect on his art should be minimal.
Sickness in the Family
by Denise Mina and Antonio Fuso; Vertigo, $19.99
The Vertigo Crime imprint has been notoriously hit or miss, but for some reason, I keep believing that each new release is going to be good. Part of it is down to aesthetics – I like the way these books look, with their thick hard covers and crappy paper, and I enjoy reading them.
This book is about a family Christmas dinner, where people start dying. Apparently everyone at the table has a motive to kill the others, but there could also be a supernatural element at play. It sounds like a modern, horror take on an old school Agatha Christie parlour mystery, and that’s kind of cool. The family being named Usher feels like a bit too obvious a nod to Poe, but whatever.
I haven’t read any of Mina’s run on Hellblazer, so I don’t know how she is as a comics writer. I’m not very familiar with Fuso either – apparently he drew an issue of Fear Agent I’ve read, but that appears to be his only North American comic I own. I guess this book is completely an unknown quantity for me…
Sam and Twitch: The Writer
by Luca Blengino, Luca Erbetta, Fabio Bono, and Filippo Rizzu; Image, $9.99
I barely read any issues of Spawn (I dropped it shortly after the guest writer issues demonstrated how badly written it usually was), and never tried out any of the Sam and Twitch spin-off series that followed, despite the fact that it was well-received. So why would I be interested in this collection of a four-issue mini by a bunch of Italian (I’m guessing) creators I’ve never heard of?
Well, I like crime comics, and the last five or six years of Vertigo books have demonstrated that there are a lot of talented comics artists coming out of Italy. Also, the price is just $10, which makes me much more likely to sample something new.
The story sounds conventional but interesting – dead drug dealers are turning up with parts of a story written on their body. There’s enough in that premise to be intriguing, at least at that price point.
All Saints Day: An Amy Devlin Mystery HC
by Christina Weir, Nunzio DeFilippis, Dove McHargue, and Kate Kasenow; Oni, $19.99
I was surprised when I saw a few weeks ago that Oni had reprinted Past Lies, the first Amy Devlin mystery graphic novel, in a handsome hardcover format that reminds me of the Vertigo Crime books, but with slightly nicer production values. Now that I see there is a new entry into the series, it makes a little more sense, although I still have a few questions about this.
One thing that stood out for me about Past Lies was the way in which, with just a few minor changes, it could have been appropriate for a young adult audience, which would open up a much wider audience. With this book, I see again that the publishers are going for an older audience, which seems a little restrictive to me, since the ‘adultness’ of the first book was not all that essential.
This sounds like a cool story about a killer who kills every ten years. There seems to be a glut of private eye books on the stands these days, but Weir and DeFilippis are very talented writers. I’m not familiar with either of the artists on this book, but am not surprised to see that Christopher Mitten hasn’t returned to the title, given his difficulties with Wasteland (man, I miss that comic).
Books I REALLY Think You Should Buy:
Guerillas Vol. 1
by Brahm Revel; Oni, $14.99
There hasn’t been a new issue of Guerillas since May of 2009, as Revel has done other work and switched publishers from Image to Oni. Guerillas was one of my favourite comics of that year, and I’ve been itching for some new material and to see what’s going to happen next. This first volume collects some of the already-published stuff (I’m not sure how much; four issues were complete, and they were all around 50 pages in length), but I see it as a move in the right direction, as the rest of the series can’t be too far behind.
Guerillas is brilliant. It features a group of chimpanzees who were trained to fight in the Vietnam War. They’ve gone rogue, and are in a jungle, continuing to fight the war as they see fit. They come across a young American enlistee who is the only survivor after his squad was ambushed, and sort of adopt him into their unit. At the same time, one of the doctors who trained the chimps is hunting for them with a group of Special Forces soldiers. As well, there are VC everywhere.
This comic is amazingly well-written when you consider the campiness of the concept. John, the Private, reminds me a lot of the character in Jason Aaron’s classic The Other Side; he’s a bit of a mess and definitely does not want to be in Vietnam. Revel’s art is wonderful, as he imbues the different chimps with some real personalities, and they become immediately recognizable as individuals.
I can pretty much guarantee that anyone who picks up this comic is going to enjoy it, and so urge anyone reading this to give it a try.
So, what would you buy Were Money No Object?