Welcome to my weekly look at what new graphic novels and trade paperbacks are showing up on the stands.
The Books I Think You Should Buy:
Channel Zero Complete Collection
by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan; Dark Horse, $19.99
It’s been a number of years since I read Channel Zero, Brian Wood’s first published independent comic, and my memory of it is hazy. I will admit that I wasn’t up-and-coming enough to catch on to Wood’s work from the beginning, and instead tracked down this and Demo almost immediately after reading the first issue of DMZ, his long-running series at Vertigo.
When I read it, I was immediately impressed with Wood’s sense of design, and the strength of his vision. If I had to pick a comic to compare Channel Zero, and it’s follow-up book with Becky Cloonan, Jennie One, also collected in this new Dark Horse edition, I would have to suggest Jonathan Hickman’s debut, The Nightly News. Both books deal with similar themes, and both are created by people who have risen to be among the most respected names in comics, although neither of them draw much anymore.
The solicitation text for this book reads as follows:
A blistering take on media control in a repressive future America! DMZ and The Massive creator Brian Wood launched an all-out assault on the comics medium in 1997 with Channel Zero, an influential, forward-thinking series that combined art, politics, and graphic design in a unique way. Touching on themes of freedom of expression, hacking, cutting-edge media manipulation, and police surveillance, it remains as relevant today as it did back then.
The Channel Zero collection contains the original series, the prequel graphic novel Jennie One (illustrated by Becky Cloonan), the best of the two Public Domain design books, and almost fifteen years of extras, rarities, short stories, and unused art. Also featuring the now-classic Warren Ellis introduction and an all-new cover by Wood, this is the must-have edition. See where it all began!
Even though I already own both of the stories collected here in their AIT/PlanetLar editions, I’m sorely tempted to buy this book and read this all again.
Xenoholics Vol. 1
by Joshua Williamson and Seth Damoose; Image, $14.99
Xenoholics is a bit of an odd-duck comic, but it definitely has its appeal. It’s about a strange group of people (an ex-soldier, an ex-boxer, an actress, a cop, a housewife, and an undercover journalist) who meet each other in a support group for people who have been abducted by aliens. Everyone in the group has their own issues, but when concrete circles (like crop circles, only in an urban environment) appear in Times Square, and the kindly professor who runs the group’s meetings go missing, everyone has to work together to figure out what’s going on.
The first few issues of this five-issue mini-series were fantastic, as Joshua Williamson set up these bizarre characters and their stranger situations, as well as the environment they operate in (I love the cosplay brothel). Later, when the series became a little mired in political conspiracy, it started to lose me a little, but I enjoyed the characters in this book until the very end.
Seth Damoose’s art turned me off when I first saw it, and then proceeded to grow on me quite a bit. His characters are all a little stumpy, but he is deft at conveying a range of emotions.
This series would appeal to anyone who likes Chew or perhaps The Guild. I’m not sure if this is a one-shot deal or if a second volume is planned – if there is to be more, I’m going to be buying it.
So, what would you buy Were Money No Object?
Tags: Becky Cloonan, Brian Wood, Dark Horse, Image, Joshua Williamson, Xenoholics