Editor’s note: Taking over from Laura Bishop, Reagan Shaw brings you this quarter’s Lion Forge PUBWATCH.
Lion Forge’s line-up is really growing! Here’s a brief tour of new and upcoming releases.
Kobane Calling from Lion Forge, written and illustrated by Zerocalcare, translated by Jamie Richards, is a blockbuster of a book. Named after the region Kobane, the work is a very human telling of life in a war zone, vivid, and unlike the majority of autobiographical comics on the market. The storytelling is witty and engaging. There’s a real love for cartooning in the work and a lively spirit of defiance. A must-read.
Other recent and upcoming works are a mixed bag.
Superb #3, (Sheena Howard, David Walker, Ray Anthony Height, and Alitha Martinez) is engaging from the start, with a sinister and X-Men-reminiscent plot that refers to “enhanced” teens with special abilities. With four people on inking duty for the issue, it seems a little unfair to fixate on inconsistency in style, but it does break your sense of immersion. A character sitting perfectly still in four panels appears to have been copied and pasted three times to save on re-drawing. Overall, Superb definitely delivers, but would definitely benefit from the creative team having more time and resources.
Incidentals # 2 (Joe Casey, Larry Stroman, and Rob Stull) is fairly interesting. One of the comic’s greatest strengths is in placing the characters in consistently well-chosen and attentively drawn backgrounds. It has a cinematic impression at the same time as producing a very classic “comics” feel.
In other releases, Kino #1 (Joe Casey and Jefte Palo) also has a classical look. However, it also tries remarkably hard to convince us that the protagonist is British from first page in a way that seems bizarrely forced. Fans of by-the-numbers explosions may enjoy this title.
Astonisher #1 (Alex de Campi and Pop Mhan) has some nice attention to detail especially in crowd scenes and reveals. The characters aren’t particularly memorable, and although the art carries the issue, I’m not sure whether it’s enough to leave anyone wanting more. There’s something inherently unappealing in the emoji sexting scene. While it’s meant to establish two characters as a couple neither of them seem particularly real or likable.
Noble #5 (Brandon Thomas, Jamal Igle, and Robin Briggs) definitely pushes the upper boundaries of how much text can be included in a single panel, which makes the splash pages a welcome relief. It’s definitely gratifying to see more black superheroes, which feels like the major selling point here.
By and large, Kobane Calling is the take-home book here. The announcements for coming projects also leave us on an exciting note.
No Ivy League by Hazel Newlevant, to be released in 2018, promises to be an unflinching coming of age memoir. Newlevant has been making waves since 2015, with Chainmail Bikini: The Anthology of Women Gamers, and in 2017 with the Comics for Choice Kickstarter, which is nothing short of impressive.
The upcoming Puerto Rico Strong anthology supporting Puerto Rico disaster relief also looks like a worthwhile read and is demonstrative of Lion Forge’s commitment to humanitarian efforts.