Happy almost summer everyone! I, for one, can’t wait until the weather gets a little bit nicer and I can sit outside for hours with my stack of books and comics. This past month, while I’ve still be stuck inside I’ve been trying to catch up on a few new to me BOOM! series like By Night and Coda, while still staying on top of current comics that I’m loving, like The Avant Guards and Ronin Island.
In this month’s Pubwatch we’ll be celebrating BOOM!’s Eisner nominations as well as looking ahead to a comic series and graphic memoir hitting shelves later this year. Then in the Featured Comics section, I’ll be talking about two of my favourite KaBOOM! franchises, Adventure Time and Steven Universe, and an original graphic novel from BOOM!’s Archaia imprint.
Eisner Award Nominations
The nominees for the 2019 Eisner Awards were announced a few weeks ago and BOOM! has reasons to celebrate.
Giant Days, by John Allison, Julaa Madrigal, and Max Sarin was nominated for Best Continuing Series AND Best Humour Publication.
Petals by Gustavo Borges was nominated for Best Publication for Early Readers.
And last but not least, Matías Bergara was nominated for Best Penciller/Inker for his work on Coda.
Congratulations to all the very deserving nominees. We’ll be rooting for you on July 19th!
Return to the Unknown with Wirt and Greg
I adore the animated mini-series Over the Garden Wall. I’ve re-watched it more times than I can count, I recommend it to everyone can, and I proudly wear my “It’s a Rock Fact” t-shirt all summer long. In case you’re not one of the people I’ve badgered into watching this magical story, it follows brothers Wirt and Greg who get lost in the haunted Unknown. They have to overcome obstacles they would have never predicted as they try and find their way home, helped along the way by a talking bird, Beatrice. There are musical numbers and magical creatures and the brothers are just the most charming characters ever. You can check out a preview of the mini-series below:
Whether you’re a long time fan of Over the Garden Wall, or just getting into it for the first time, this August you’ll be able to return to this universe and the continuing adventures of Greg, Wirt, and Beatrice. In this new comic, Over the Garden Wall: Soulful Symphonies, the gang are ready for a break from the Unknown as they come across a small town full of theatres. The only problem is there are no players or musicians. But then a sweet young woman offers Greg and Wirt the roles of a lifetime in the play at her family theatre, and they decide to audition for the production. Like most of what they encounter, things aren’t quite what they seem. Who exactly are the three stage sisters running the show, and where is everyone else in the town?
New Graphic Memoir from Cecil Castellucci
This November, BOOM! will be publishing a graphic memoir from award-winning writer Cecil Castellucci. I was first introduced to Cecil Castellucci in 2014 when I picked up her science fiction novel, Tin Star. And then again in 2015 when she joined the Star Wars Expanded Universe with Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure. From there it was only a matter of time until I started reading her comics, most notably Shade the Changing Girl and Soupy Leaves Home.
Her graphic memoir, Girl on Film, will tell her story from a young age, when she was an aspiring artist, into adulthood and all the highs and lows of her career. We’ll drop into New York in the ’80s and the Toronto indie music scene, all “while exploring the act of memory and how it reshapes what we think we truly know about ourselves.”
Four different artists will be bringing this story to life: Jon Berg, Melissa Duffy, V. Gagnon, and Vicky Leta. I’m excited to see how all these creative minds will come together and tell Castellucci’s story.
Adventure Time: Marcy & Simon #4
Slimm Fabert (artist), Mike Fiorentino (letterer), S. J. Miller (colorist), Olivia Olson (writer)
April 17, 2019
I have been charmed by this Adventure Time mini-series since the first issue, and the fourth installment has been the best one yet. The series picks up after the finale of the show and finds Marceline trying to help Simon make amends for his time as the Ice King. But things start to fall apart with Simon begins to lose his memory and slip back into his Ice King persona. In this issue, the two sides of his personality are fighting for dominance, and if Simon wants to keep control, he’s going to have to come to terms with his own guilt and regret.
It’s nice to see this more vulnerable side of Marceline with both Simon and Princess Bubblegum, but it’s the relationship between Marceline and Simon that really sells this issue. There are just so many emotional moments between these two characters and though there isn’t much action in this issue I appreciated the way it explored father-daughter relationships and the lasting effects of trauma. This is a must-read for any Adventure Time fan (especially Marceline/Bubblegum fans).
Steven Universe: Camp Pining Play
Nimali Abeyratne (colorist), Mike Fiorentino (letterer), Nicole Mannino (writer), Lisa Sterle (artist)
April 17, 2019
Peridot and Lapis, like many others in Beach City, are huge fans of the TV show Camp Pining Hearts. And while looking for more ways to immerse themselves in that world, they stumble across Lars’ secret fanfiction and fall in love. Wanting to share this perfect fanfic with others, they decide to put on a play with the help of Steven, Connie, and the other Crystal Gems.
Since I’m a little behind on the show and comics, I’m not as familiar with Peridot and Lapis, so I liked having a whole graphic novel to get to know them a little bit better. There were probably a few moments that would have been more meaningful if I already had that background but it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the story. I also really like the central role fanfiction took in this story, and that it wasn’t treated as a joke or something to be ashamed of. Peridot and Lapis are open about their enjoyment of Camp Pining Hearts fanfiction and no one makes fun of them when they share their plans to put on a play. It was a refreshing change from the way fanfiction is often presented in media.
Deron Bennet (letterer), Ingrid Chabbert (writer), Edward Gauvin (translator), Carole Maurel (artist)
May 1, 2019
While the previous two comics are charming and touching in their own ways, Waves was an emotional read that I wasn’t expecting. Translated from French, it tells the story of a young woman and her wife’s attempts to have a child. After years of trying, they are overjoyed when they can finally announce their pregnancy to the world. But the pregnancy is a difficult one and eventually, the worst happens. With their hearts broken, they have to find a way to recover, rebuild, and move on in the face of an impossible loss.
Based on Ingrid Chabbert’s own experience, this is a heart-wrenching tale, that more than once brought tears to my eyes. There isn’t a lot of dialogue but what is there is, is carefully chosen and just right. In a similar way, the artwork is simple, with a soft aesthetic, but the shifts in colour easily set the tone and mood as we move through these characters’ journey with them. This won’t be an easy read, especially if you or someone you know has struggled with infertility or the loss of a child, but it is well-done and I’m glad Chabbert had the strength to tell it.