BOOM! Pubwatch: July 2019

Boom Pubwatch - banner designed by Cori McCreery

I don’t know about you but I have really been enjoying the summer so far. We’ve been pretty lucky weather-wise where I am, a few thunderstorms here and there but mostly warm and sunny. I’ve been trying to spend as much time as possible sitting outdoors, soaking up the sun and working my way through as much as my TBR as I can, including catching up with some BOOM! series I’m behind on such as Coda, Smooth Criminals, and By Night.

This month for the Pubwatch, however, we’ll be looking at what BOOM! has planned for SDCC as well as some Giant Days news. Then in the featured comics section, I’ll be checking in on my favourite ladies’ basketball team, The Avant Guards, and taking a look at a new series from GLAAD award-nominated Sina Grace. Happy reading!

BOOM! News

BOOM! at San Diego Comic Con

SDCC Logo 2019
This week, from July 17th to 21st, comics fans from all over will be heading to San Diego for Comic-Con International, and BOOM! will be there at Booth #2229. They have a number of panels featuring many of their talented creators. Unfortunately, I’m not able to make it out this year, but if I were going, these would be the highlights I would want to check out:

Thursday, July 18, 2019

12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.: Entertainment is LGBTQ Panel (Room 28DE)

BOOM! Studios and GLAAD present an in-depth roundtable discussion about LGBTQ representation in pop culture and the path forward to a brighter, more inclusive future, with special guests from all corners of the entertainment world including author Lilah Sturges (The Magicians: Alice’s Story, Lumberjanes), actor/comedian Zachary Barack (Spider-Man: Far From Home), author Sina Grace (Saban’s Go Go Power Rangers, Ghosted in LA), artist Noah Hayes (The Avant-Guards), Megan Townsend (Director of Entertainment Research & Analysis, GLAAD), and more. Moderated by Joshua Yehl (Senior Features & News Editor, IGN).

1:00 p.m.–1:50 p.m.: Signing with Lev Grossman, creator of The Magicians and Lilah Sturges (The Magicians, Lumberjanes)

2:00 p.m.–2:50 p.m.: Signing with the Once & Future creative team, Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora

Friday, July 19, 2019

3:00p.m.–3:50 p.m.: BOOM! Studios: Discover Yours Panel (Room 32AB)

Discover your new comic book obsession at Comic-Con—and we guarantee you’re going to find it at this panel! Join some of the most acclaimed and exciting creators in comics for a jam-packed, interactive panel featuring Kieron Gillen (Once & Future), Lev Grossman (creator of The Magicians), Lilah Sturges (The Magicians: Alice’s Story, Lumberjanes), Carly Usdin (The Avant-Guards), Sina Grace (Saban’s Go Go Power Rangers, Ghosted in LA) and Matt Gagnon (Editor-in-Chief, BOOM! Studios) as they discuss the diverse imprints of BOOM! Studios, Archaia, BOOM! Box and KaBOOM! with surprises for everyone in the audience. Moderated by Filip Sablik (President, Publishing & Marketing, BOOM! Studios).

5:30p.m.–6:20 p.m.: Signing with Ghosted in LA creative team Sina Grace and Siobhan Keenan, and writer of The Avant-Guards, Carly Usdin

Saturday, July 20, 2019

2:00p.m.–2:50 p.m.: Signing with the writer of Adventure Time: Marcy and Simon and voice of Marceline, Olivia Olson.

Giant Days Finale Announced

It’s official: after over fifty issues, the delightful and quirky series Giant Days will be coming to an end. Created by John Allison, the series has followed three young women—Esther de Groot, Susan Ptolemy, and Daisy Wooton—who share a hall of residence at university. It’s been nominated for multiple Eisner and Harvey awards, has sold almost half a million copies worldwide, and is currently being published in seven foreign-language editions.

Giant Days: As Time Goes By, cover by Max Sarin, kaBoom, 2019 - A photograph of three young people smiling, on a wood tabletop with three glasses of wine nearby

The series will conclude this October with an oversized one-shot issue, Giant Days: As Time Goes By. This issue will take place fourteen months after Esther, Susan, and Daisy have graduated from Sheffield University. They’ve moved on to different phases of their life and they’ve planned to come back for a reunion at Sheffield to reconnect and rebuild their friendships. But Esther’s obsessed with her new publishing career in London now and not sure she can make time for her old friends.

Will she be able to escape the time-sucking vortex of her vampiric co-workers, the Cressidas, and their awful influence long enough to make the reunion? Will Susan and Daisy ever forgive Esther if she doesn’t show up? Is this the absolute end for our favourite Sheffielders?

Journey to the heart of the Cold War with Strange Skies Over East Berlin

This October, BOOM! Studios will be publishing an original four-issue spy thriller, Strange Skies Over East Berlin, from Jeff Loveness (Judas) and Lisandro Estherren (Redneck). The series takes place in 1973 and introduces Herring, a disillusioned American spy, who has spent the Cold War infiltrating the inner circles of East German intelligence. He’s done everything his government has asked of him, but he’s not sure he believes in the cause anymore.

Strange Skies Over East Berlin, Evan Cagle, BOOM! Studios, 2019 - A shoulders-up portrait of a man in silhouette, with a landscape visible through the portrait's outline and an asteroid with a flaming red trail making touchdown through his forehead
Meanwhile, the Soviets have sent the first ever human to the stars and something not quite human has followed them back. So when a mysterious alien probe lands outside East Berlin, into Soviet control, the Americans send Herring in to investigate. But as he gets closer to the truth at the heart of the conspiracy, he may find that the power he so desperately seeks is too dangerous for anyone to control or contain.

The first issue of Strange Skies Over East Berlin will be available October 2, 2019.

Featured Comics

The Avant Guards #6

Ed Dukeshire (letterer), Noah Hayes (artist), Rebecca Nalty (colorist), Carly Usdin (writer)
June 21, 2019

The Avant Guards #6 - Ed Dukeshire (letterer), Noah Hayes (artist), Rebecca Nalty (colorist), Carly Usdin (writer) BOOM! Box June 21, 2019 - A trio of characters in argument, shown as cutouts against a pointillated background
I first wrote about the second issue of this series way back in my first BOOM! Pubwatch and to be honest I’ve been enjoying it so much I could have featured the new issue every month since. I’ve held back to give some other deserving comics some love, but I’d like to check in with the Avant-Guards again now with issue #6.

Despite the initial obstacles, the basketball league is up and running and the Avant-Guards are feeling good after winning their first few games. But they’ll be facing their biggest challenge yet when they go up against the only other undefeated team in the league, the Selfies. Now that the team and the league are established, the conflict of the most recent issues has moved inwards and focused on the personal dynamics of the team members. This particular issue highlights Ashley, the stand-in coach. We get some additional insight into who she is as a coach and also her desire to get back out on the court. She’s a character who had previously faded into the background for me, but whom I am now seeing in a new way—and I am curious what lies ahead for her.

If you haven’t picked this series yet, I think now is the perfect time, since the ending of issue #6 indicates that there is going to be some exciting drama up ahead!

Ghosted in LA #1

Sina Grace (writer), DC Hopkins (letterer), Siobhan Keenan (artist), Cathy Le (colorist)
July 10, 2019

Ghosted in LA #1 Sina Grace (writer), DC Hopkins (letterer), Siobhan Keenan (artist), Cathy Le (colorist) BOOM! Box July 10, 2019
Daphne isn’t having the greatest time lately. Right before moving to LA, she got into a big fight with her best friend, who said she was only moving to follow her boyfriend. Then her new college roommate wants nothing to do with her and she gets ditched by her new “friends.” And if all that wasn’t bad enough, her boyfriend (the one she admittedly did follow) breaks up with her. With nowhere to go and no one to turn to, she stumbles across the haunted Rycroft Manor and decides to move in. All she has to do is help out the ghosts with some “errands” and she can live rent-free and have access to their pool!

This is a strong start to a new series. Daphne is such a relatable character. She had the best of intentions but ends up having her whole life turn upside down. It’s a contemporary story we’ve seen many times before, but with the added twists of wisecracking ghosts. Keenan’s artwork adds to the experience, with expressive and energetic facial expressions on both the human and ghost characters, and I’m excited to see her interpretation of different LA neighbourhoods and landmarks as the series progresses. Also, I just have to know what kind of “errands” these ghosts are going to send Daphne on.

Steven Universe All in One Edition

Lamar Abrams, Rii Abrego, Coleman Engle, Katy Farina, Chrystin Garland, and others (artists); Jim Campbell (letters); Whitney Cogar, Leigh Luna (colors); Josceline Fenton, Melanie Gillman, Grace Kraft, Jeremy Sorese, and others (writers); Rebecca Sugar (creator)
July 10, 2019

Steven Universe All in One Edition - KaBOOM! July 10, 2019 - Shoulders-up portrait of Steven smiling widely
Full disclosure: I haven’t finished reading this whole collection yet, but that’s only because it’s over 500 pages of Steven Universe fun and I’ve been dipping in and out of it whenever I want to spend some time with the Crystal Gems. This collection brings together over thirty stories from the Steven Universe world, including Steven Universe (2014) #1-8, Steven Universe & the Crystal Gems #1-4, and Steven Universe (2017) #1-12, as well as a new story from series creator Rebecca Sugar.

Steven Universe™ (2014) #1-8, Steven Universe™ & the Crystal Gems #1-4, and Steven Universe™ (2017) #1-12.
I love Steven Universe and will often throw on the show or pick up a comic whenever I need a mood boost. The characters are just so charming and delightful and it never fails to make me smile. To have all these stories together in one giant collection is just what I need. I only have a digital review copy at the moment but (if any friends or family are reading this) I am hoping a print version may find its way to me for my birthday next week.

Best Covers

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #40, cover by Jamal Campbell, BOOM! Studios, 2019 - A white-suited Power Ranger wielding a sword against a rain of falling glass or crystal
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #40, cover by Jamal Campbell
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #6, cover by Marc Aspinall, BOOM! Studios, 2019 - Giles holding a pile of books, standing astride a fiery rift in the floor
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #6, cover by Marc Aspinall
Over the Garden Wall: Hollow Town, Miguel Mercado, KaBOOM!, 2019 - Greg pulls on Wirt's arm as he slides down what looks like a giant open palm coming out of a gnarled tree
Over the Garden Wall: Hollow Town, cover by Miguel Mercado
Christa Seeley

Christa Seeley

Books Editor. Maple Flavoured Darth Vader Fangirl.