This week’s list will be shorter than usual, not because there are any fewer excellent titles from the independent sphere, but because of how few of those titles are what one would consider friendly to new readers. Image mounts an impressive lineup with new issues of some of their best ongoing series, but only offers up one new series this week, which has become something of a rarity. The other publishers seem to have made a similar calculation probably not wanting to compete for customer dollars against yet another huge roll-out of All-New Marvel NOW! titles. Regardless, there are a couple of great choices out this week which any fan of comics should be able to sink their teeth into so, without further ado.
1. “Flash Gordon #1”
Jeff Parker is one of comics’ rising stars. With solid work under his belt on titles like Aquaman, he’ll be tackling one of science fiction’s greatest icons in Flash Gordon. Combined with Jordie Bellaire’s delightfully clean-lined, throwback style, this title should be a delight for long time fans of the character himself and even help to create a whole new generation of fans.
2. “Shutter #1”
In Image’s only new series of the week, Joe Keatinge will attempt to update the “traveling archaeologist” trope of classic pulps for the 21st century. Keatinge has made a heck of a name for himself to this point, earning Eisner’s for his work on the Popgun anthologies. Shutter marks his first major solo project and, if his previous work is any indication, should be wonderfully scripted.
Alongside him, Leila Del Duca makes her big time comics debut. Her tremendous skill at crafting emotionally energetic characters and placing them in intricately formed environments should make her the perfect partner for a globe-trotting series such as Shutter.
3. “Twilight Zone #4
There are few comics on the shelves these days which tell single-issue, compact stories. In the modern age, writers seem to favor long-form, decompressed tales which take months to pick up steam before really delivering the action.
Writer J. Michael Straczynski is as prone as any scribe to this tendency. His recent work on his own imprint, Joe’s Comics, is a fine example. Twilight Zone is not. In keeping with the classic format of the television show, Straczynski is telling single tales of thrilling mystery. Any issue of Twilight Zone is both an entry and exit point, making it a perfect addition to the pull list of any reader who enjoys a compelling story.
This week’s picks represent an intriguing approach by small-market publishers. In seeking to compete with a Big Two whose offerings are increasingly geared towards adaptation to the big screen, they’ve delved into the past for themes and characters which first popularized serial storytelling in the 20th century. If everything old is new again, perhaps success on the part of these books will encourage the wider industry to look more to its roots for inspiration.
Until next week…
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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 resident of a real-world Smallville. contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @CrusaderZero6