Oni Watch: A Nice Change of Pace

Between the launch of their previously mentioned brand new tabletop game imprint, and the optioning of Heartthrob for TV with Studio 8, it’s looking to be a pretty great time to be an Oni Press fan!

Even better, the last few weeks have included several stories written and/or drawn by women, something I’ve been hoping to see for some time. I focused primarily on the original titles, curious to see what that branch of Oni Press is looking like these days, knowing their fun tendency to lean towards creators that have an unusual sense of humor and a lot of creative power. I was not disappointed.

As per usual, here are the highlights of this bunch:

1) The Teacher’s Methods—Bad Machinery Volume 2: The Case of the Good Boy by John Allison

Now, my day job is teaching, so any time I see a teacher in media who actually does resemble what I’ve seen in real life, it’s an interesting experience. In this specific case, we have a teacher who by all means would be considered the “cool” teacher in most schools: funny, willing to cut kids a break if they straighten up, and just sarcastic enough to be interesting without being hurtful. Bad Machinery has a quirky but familiarly English sense of humor that bounces from place to place a bit like a kid on a sugar high, but this character really steals the show in most scenes they’re in.

Overall, Bad Machinery is largely about a group of predominantly white British kids solving mysteries, but it’s a fun read if that happens to be your sort of thing.

2) Cleo and Myrtle Being Adorable Girlfriends—Wet Moon: Drowned in Evil by Sophie Campbell

With its sweet, rounded style and immense diversity in both body type and ethnicity, Wet Moon really catches the eye from the start. Cleo, one of the protagonists, is slowly coming out about her new girlfriend to her friends while struggling to reconcile what she thought she knew about her sexuality with these new experiences. A favorite scene of mine involved Cleo and Myrtle just lounging together in bed, simply talking and getting to know each other a bit more. Cleo in general is a relatable protagonist, struggling with her body image, her sexuality, her closeted identity when it comes to her family, and missing her runaway cat.

3) The Moon Bunnies—Kaijumax Season 3: Issue #2 by Zander Cannon

This is one of those titles that really encompasses what Oni Press is about: strange and new ideas with great execution that capture your interest from the beginning. The cover alone, a trio of buff, tattooed rabbits staring out menacingly at the reader, is enough to make you wonder what the rest of the issue holds. True to form, Kaijumax, which is more or less a monster prison drama, doles out giant rabbits that will give you fond, if slightly odd vibes of the Easter Bunny in Dreamworks’ Rise of the Guardians. The rest of the issue is jam-packed with the monsters typically expected, and the book’s vibrant art style and sharp writing thankfully continue strong into this third volume.

4) The Fear in Any Man’s Eyes When Dolores Appears—Angel City: Town Without Pity by Janet Harvey, Megan Levens, and Nick Filardi

I’ll admit that this title is one I’ve been most looking forward to reading. 1930s noir set in Hollywood as written and illustrated by women? Sign me up. Angel City follows Dolores Dare, the stunning and badass knee-breaker for a crime boss (who she also happens to be dating). Dolores gets some bad news about an old friend of hers, and, finding the cops less than useful, decides to find the killer herself. Dolores is incredibly skilled and one of my favorite things by far is that she escapes quite a few of the typical femme fatale tropes you would expect. Predictably, most of the men in the story are afraid of her when they realize what’s coming. Her closest associates throughout the story are Joe Yoshimoto, a journalist working with her to find the killer, and Rita, a Cuban actress who she quickly bonds with on the set of a gig. Angel City‘s art style is beautiful—classic is the best way I can describe it—and the action-drama plot keeps you turning the page, curious to find out what happens next. [Editor’s note: For a more in-depth look at this title, check out Annie Blitzen’s review.]

Anything in particular you’re excited to read? Anything you feel I should have included on this list? Comment below and let me know!

Azha Reyes

Azha Reyes

When not teaching, traveling, or sleeping, I write. Find me at @writethenoise on Twitter, or Writethenoise.tumblr.com