ADVANCE SCOUT: Genre Smorgasbord, NO “EVENTS” ALLOWED!

SITUATION:

With the Big Two locked in “event” or “crossover” mode, it’s a great week for independent publishers with some solid new series getting started, others finding their footing, and a great one coming to an end.

THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS:

1. “Brain Boy #1”

“Brainboy #1”
Dark Horse Comics

Writer Fred Van Lente (Archer & Armstrong) debuts a new series from Dark Horse: Brain Boy. The series will follow Matt Price, a powerful psychic, in what looks to be a supernatural conspiracy thriller. Fans of Archer and Armstrong know Van Lente for his ability to create intricate schemes for his characters to foil, so this promises to be a cliffhanger-filled run.

R.B. Silva will be handling the art chores for the series, and the mad angularity displayed in his work on Superboy should serve him well on this title.

2. “Locke & Key: Alpha #1”

Locke & Key: Alpha #1
IDW Publishing
(via CBR)

Joe Hill’s epic mystical masterpiece has, after five years, come to the final doorway. The series has received widespread acclaim since it was first released in 2008, and “Alpha #1” marks the beginning of the end for what has been arguably the best non-licensed work released by IDW. The conclusion will span two issues, after which readers will bid a tearful farewell for what has been consistently one of the best books on shelves every month.

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3. “Sidekick #2”

Sidekick #2
“Sidekick #2”
Via Image Comics

The first issue of J. Michael Straczynski’s series introduced readers to broken down sidekick Flyboy, who bears little resemblance to the squeaky-clean sidekicks of yesteryear on whom he is a commentary. With his hero gone and his life unravelling at every corner, the series should begin to take off as we see where Straczynski plans to take his young anti-hero.

To this point, he has been playing heavily with concepts of mass media as they affect heroes, as well as the psychological trauma inherent in being a publicly-ridiculed, grown child hero.

4. Boxers & Saints

Boxers & Saints
First Second Publishing

Capeless Crusader’s Jeff Hayes has an Advance Review of an excellent independent work from Gene Luen Yang.

“Gene Luen Yang presents in his new two volume story, Boxers & Saints, two tales that present the reader with food for thought about the power of religious/spiritual faith and belief for individuals within cultures and countries , and the problems that religion as manifest destiny had in the pre-20th century world. Do not let such heavy thoughts, however, put you off; rather, let me reassure you these are two stories that are a nice blend of drama and humor, the pain of love and the impact of loss, demonstrated through the characters in both the physical and the spiritual. Gene Luen Yang is a good storyteller, and as as a bonus, as it is a piece of comic art, both volumes are well designed and beautiful to look at.”

Read the complete Advance Review HERE.

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5. East of West Vol. 1

East of West Vol. 1
(via Image Comics)

The first five issues Jonathan Hickman’s Sci-Fi/Alt-History/Western are out in trade this week. In general, Hickman’s writing tends to read better in trade, so this is an excellent opportunity for those who’ve been waiting this series out to jump in and see what all the fuss is about. The interplay of history, magic, and science that is brought to bear in this story are tremendous to behold. Delving into the psyches of any of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse promises certain intrigue and no small amount of fear, but Hickman meets the challenge admirably. At a terrific price point of $9.99, this is a great buy.

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ANALYSIS

In terms of genre selection, there’s great diversity in this week’s list. Western, Thriller, Horror, Super-Hero, and Philosophy. If you want to steer clear of all the super-villain one-offs and grandiose cosmic tales from the Big 2, these publishers have some great things just a little bit further down the shelf. Go give it a look!

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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!

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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: joshuadepstein@gmail.com

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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.

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