Welcome to the first shipping week of 2015! These are the selections that caught my interest as the year gets underway. First up is Lady Killer #1 by Joelle Jones and Jamie S. Rich, published by Dark Horse. Jones is a big draw for me, capable of some very graceful lines, while Rich was a stalwart figure on the indie scene a decade or so ago, and always worth a look. They’re promising a weird juxtaposition of domestic bliss and visceral violence, in a way that reminds me of The Milkman Murders, a seminal work by Joe Casey and Steve Parkhouse that was tongue-in-cheek suburban horror, sort of subsuming the American Dream and traditional social roles.
Image Comics has a strong trio of titles out, starting with The Humans #3 by Keenan Marshall Keller and Tom Neely. Neely is one of my three favorite indie artists working today (along with Noah Van Sciver and Julia Gfrorer for anyone keeping score at home), and I was pleasantly surprised to find that The Humans was not just about comedic monkey love and raucous biker adventures, but also very honed social commentary, in a way that 1970’s cinema captured the bleed through of the Vietnam War experience. I’m interested to see where Keller and Neely take the series. Rick Remender and Wes Craig have Deadly Class #10 out, as Remender taps his go-to theme of the parent-child dynamic, specifically what happens to a group of kids in the absence of strong parental figures. The story is fun, but I’ve been blown away by Craig channeling the sensual lines of Marcos Martin, and early Frank Miller panel layouts, among other influences. There’s also Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s Trees #8, which has proven to be not just the wry sci-fi we expect Ellis to turn in, but also a closer examination of evolving interpersonal dynamics in the near-future, hyper-exaggerated by the presence of the extraterrestrial “other.”
I might take a peek at Captain Victory & The Galactic Rangers #4 from Dynamite Entertainment, with Joe Casey and a host of artists (including personal favorite Nathan Fox), which is usually a bat-shit crazy love letter to Kirby era concepts. It doesn’t always make linear sense, but it’s usually pretty fun to pore over the pages at the very least. On the collected edition front, I can also recommend the Casanova Complete Edition Hardcover Vol. 2: Gula, published by Image Comics. This is Matt Fraction and Fabio Moon’s 168-page follow up to Fraction and Gabriel Ba’s first volume featuring multiversal time travel and fourth-wall breaking zany espionage zeitgeist, answering that age-old question: When is Casanova Quinn? Casanova was largely an experiment at the time, but history has fashioned it an avant-garde pioneer of Image Comics raison d’etre – a thought lab that can take those gambles, gleefully publishing creator owned visions before it was once again in the recent rage stage.