ADVANCE SCOUT: Secret Histories and Psychedelics


Each week, the Capeless Crew picks out those books that we think are most worthy of your dollars and attention. These books are chosen based on a variety of qualities, including relevance to real-world issues of the day, their sheer excellence as examples of the medium and often with an eye towards the importance of a given book within the context of the comics industry.


This week our selections have a distinctly old-fashioned feel to them. There is a particularly noir vibe to just about every pick, with “Emerald City of Oz” being the lone exception. These are characters who would be familiar to your parents or grandparents, and the titles feature themes ranging from the adult to the absurd. Besides Dexter, very few of these books have much buzz coming into the week, despite the presence of superb creators like Matt Fraction and Skottie Young, not to mention the psychedelic glory that is “Secret History of D.B. Cooper”. Do yourself a favor, wander off the beaten path and nab a few of these.


1. “Satellite Sam #1”

ssam#1Matt Fraction has become one of the cool kids of comics in recent years, with breakout hits like Hawkeye and his much-lauded ongoing run on Fantastic Four. As creators of his stature are wont to do these days, he has branched out into the creator-owned space of Image Comics in this collaboration with fellow industry heavyweight Howard Chaykin.

The series is a murder mystery set around a children’s television show in the 1950s, the last heyday of old Hollywood. Fraction has discussed how he will be using the series to explore some of the concepts and problems that surrounded the industry at that time but, even beyond that, it is a story set in one of the most interesting and dynamic periods in American creative culture.

Jeff Hayes has a complete Advance Review HERE.


2. “Dexter #1”

dexter#1 The television series of the same name has been one of the most riveting on television for years now. The central conceit of Dexter as a serial killer who kills serial killers would, on the face of it, be simple enough were it not for the deep complexity of the character himself.

Audiences the world over have thrilled to watch Michael C. Hall’s portrayal of this anti-hero, and now Marvel Comics is looking to expand the legend onto the printed page.

If the comic book series can capture even a portion of the imagination and soul of the TV show, then this is a book that will have a long future in front of it.


3. “The Owl #1”

TheOwl#1For whatever reason, pop culture has been featuring a renewed fascination with old-fashioned pulp. Recent years have seen the rebirths of classic pulp staples such as The Shadow, The Spirit, The Green Hornet, and there is even a new film feature The Lone Ranger.

Digging deep into the library of characters who seem to unwaveringly add “the” to their names, Dynamite Comics have sought to breathe new life into The Owl.

Beyond an abiding love of all things old-timey radio, the idea of taking this character directly from his original setting and transporting him whole cloth into the modern world is a fascinating one. Watching how morals that may or may not seem dated interact with a world that is arguably much more complex than the one he left behind should be interesting to watch unfold.


4. “Emerald City of Oz #1”

ecozHot on the cinematic success of Oz the Great and Powerful, Marvel has gone back to their hotshot creative team of Skottie Young and Eric Shanower to take another trip down the yellow brick road.

The stories that they have added to this universe up until now have been enough to earn them Eisner accolades, and its reasonable to expect that they will continue their streak of excellence.

The Oz books under Shanower and Young have been bright and beautiful, but contained of a certain soul and complexity that are surprising to see captured in so straightforward a packaging.

This series is sure to delight readers the world over and is likely to be something that older readers will enjoy sharing with the young people in their lives.

5. Secret History of DB Cooper (HC)

dbhcBrian Churilla took a concept that has been fodder for everything from novels to television shows, that of infamous mid-air robber D.B. Cooper, and transformed it into one of the most visually stunning psychological narratives that you will ever read.

This spy drama set in the grotesque astral landscape of The Glut is one part thriller, one part horror, and one part character drama.

If you didn’t read this book when it was coming out, you can find reviews of the individual issues HERE, but even if you choose not to do a little digging first, go out and pick up a copy of this when it hits shelves this week. It is guaranteed to be one of the more delightfully bizarre books you will ever read.



Spies. Murder. Pulp heroes and fantasy worlds. If this week’s Scout isn’t enough to convince you that there is an awful lot of amazing work outside the world of capes and tights, then we’ve really failed you. Every one of these titles represents a fantastic use of comics as a medium rather than a genre. Hopefully you enjoyed these selections and will give at least one of them a try. Push your boundaries. Expand your horizons. Broaden your minds, and a great man once said: “stretch out with your feelings.” These are some good books. Search your heart, and you will know it to be true.




Thanks for checking out ADVANCE SCOUT! Be sure to check back next week for more recommendations, and don’t forget to share the link below!


Josh Epstein is the Publisher for the Capeless Crusader website. He also hosts the weekly Infinite Crossover podcast in cooperation with Fanboys Inc. He’s a lifelong comic nerd, and “Superman” is the first word he ever read aloud. He is also an actor, singer, and daytime supporter of all things technical. contact:


Josh Epstein

Josh Epstein is the Publisher for the Capeless Crusader website. He’s a lifelong comic nerd, and “Superman” is the first word he ever read aloud. He is also an actor, singer, and resident of a real-world Smallville.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle Plus