It’s back to school time, and there’s plenty for students, parents, and comics lovers of all ages to enjoy this September from Titan Comics.
Titan Comics News and Announcements
Last month, we shared the news from SDCC that Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor would have a holiday special. And the November solicitations now give us more detail! The special, kicking off on November 13, will be in two parts and looks to answer some very simple questions. Can the Doctor save Christmas? Is Santa a Time Lord? Are chimneys bigger on the inside? This solicitation also reveals that there will be no TV Christmas special for 2019, so this comic special hopes to be a nice substitute. (Though I for one will certainly miss spending time with the TARDIS on screen over Christmas dinner.)
There’s also some new Titan Comics series kicking off in November. Rivers of London: The Fey and the Furious debuts on November 6 and looks to be a mashup of The Fast and the Furious with fantasy, a tale “of fast cars and fairy queens.” Despicable Me’s Minions get a chance to embark on a culinary adventure with Minions: Paella!, a two-part series starting on November 6. This will be deliciously fun, for sure.
Trade waiters will have plenty to choose from in November with trades of Blade Runner 2019 and the second volume of Ryuko, Hard Case Crime’s gangster manga. There will also be a new prequel hardcover original story set in the world of the video game MediEvil. You can also start prepping your pull list and budget for 2020 with early solicitations on trades for Tank Girl and Bloodborne, both dropping in January.
Finally, if you missed out on Titan’s SDCC exclusive covers, they’ll be on sale on November 6.
NYCC Exclusive Cover Reveals: Blade Runner 2019 #1 and Robotech: Remix #1
And on the topic of con exclusives, Titan Comics revealed two of their NYCC exclusive covers.
Blade Runner 2019 #1 will have a black-and-white cover done by John Royle, known for his work on G.I. Joe, Superman, Avengers, and many other properties. The new Robotech series, Robotech: Remix, will also have an exclusive cover of their debut issue from Adventures of Superman and Teen Titans: Year One artist Ken Kerschl. And since Robotech: Remix does not debut until October 9, fans who pick up the cover at NYCC also get to read the issue before it hits comic shops!
Stop by the Titan Comics booth at NYCC (#2142) to pick up these covers. NYCC will take place this year at the Javits Center from October 3 to 6, 2019.
The Prague Coup at the Graham Greene International Festival
Attending this year’s Graham Greene International Festival? You will have the opportunity to hear Miles Hyman and Jean-Luc Fromental, creators of The Prague Coup, speak on their graphic novel. Their talk will be held as part of the morning session on Saturday, September 21 at 11:15 a.m. The festival celebrates the work of The Third Man novelist Graham Greene, himself the subject of The Prague Coup.
Rutger Hauer, 1944-2019
Be sure to catch the brief tribute to Blade Runner actor Rutger Hauer, who died this year on July 19, in the opening pages of Blade Runner 2019 #2. The tribute plays on his famous line from the 1982 film. (Fun fact: that line, and that entire speech in the film, was completely improvised!)
What I’m Reading
Things start to heat up for Tank Girl and Blade Runner. And the latest arc of Life is Strange comes to its conclusion.
Tank Girl: Forever #6
Alan Martin (writer), Lou Martin (writer) Brett Parson (artist, letterer)
August 28, 2019
In the previous issue, Tank Girl and friends found themselves with a new and frightening foe in their old friend Barney. And now we find out more about how Barney’s dark side came to be: her BFF and very bad influence Joanie. In this issue Joanie drives a pretty big wedge between the former friends, and it’s too much for Tank Girl to handle. But there is soon a bigger problem: a very big meteor heading straight for Melbourne. One moment in Barney’s past, which Tank Girl takes full blame for, could be the answer to some of the problems in the present.
Tank Girl is a series that always hits the ground running. The shifts from past to present are quick cuts, but not so quick that character development takes a back seat. You know just what you need to know about Barney and Joanie and their friendship, enough to give context to the present day. There’s a few elements thrown in here that I’m not sure just what role they will play yet, including the imminent meteor and Tank Girl frenemy Mr. Precocious. But I trust in the plotting of Martin and Martin to make this all work in the end.
The artwork pays homage to Golden Age comics and classic Saturday morning cartoons. Worm’s-eye perspective gives villains their sense of power and foreboding. Quick bursts of linework give every action a larger-than-life feel. Parson knows how to draw not only action, but also emotion, portraying everything from anger to arrogance to concern to fear in minimal strokes. He also switches up the color palette to help distinguish between past and present: wider variety but less contrast in the past, limited colors but big and bold ones in present day. Those who pick up the issue in print have the added bonus of a coarser, matte paper just like those Golden Age comics of old.
Can the team crack the mystery of what’s turned their dear friend, and save the world?
Blade Runner 2019 #2
Jim Campbell (letterer), Michael Green (writer), Andres Guinaldo (artist), Mike Johnson (writer), Marco Lesko (colorist)
August 7, 2019
The search for Isobel and Cleo Selwyn is on. But do they want to be found? As Ash makes her way through Los Angeles in pursuit of mother and daughter, that mother and daughter make their way “under” to meet with a dangerous man called “The Lung.” Aboveground, Ash discovers a doctor that specializes in making replicants pass for elderly humans, whom Isobel Selwyn contacted before her disappearance. The revelation of this skin doc’s identity prompts Ash to wonder just how everything connects. But she can’t wonder for too long when she finds herself at the heart of a ship crashing into a high rise.
A good second issue must build on the momentum that hooked the reader in the debut. While Tank Girl did this beautifully, Blade Runner 2019 has a few missteps. The decision to “show, not tell” leaves out what appears to be context that is necessary for new readers. What are skin docs? What is the importance of the Tyrell Corporation? It’s not necessary to give everything away, but an occasional footnote here and there would have been useful. That aside, action does flow beautifully, and the moments with Isobel and Cleo Selwyn have you wondering about their loyalties and chances for survival.
Thanks to Andres Guinaldo and Marco Lesko, while you may not fully understand what is going on, it’s still very pretty to view. Bright colors rule the day, even in the adventures “under.” Everything from the cityscape to the climactic moment of a ship crashing into a building gets impressive detail. It gives personality to the most inanimate of objects, treating city rightfully so as its own character. It lives up to the proclamation of the late Rutger Hauer (who died two days after this series debut): a thing he saw that we people would not believe.
While the script could use some tweaks to keep this accessible, your eyes will certainly enjoy an artistic feast. But that alone cannot carry a series, so let’s hope subsequent issues work on fleshing out (pun intended) the narrative.
Life is Strange #8
Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt (letterer), Andrea Izzo (colorist), Claudia Leonardi (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer), Emma Vieceli (writer)
August 28, 2019
So far in this series, Max has been the one saving things: her friends, her town, her life. Now in this issue, she’s the one in need of saving. Her decision to save Tristan from another drug bust gone wrong has consequences: the perps kidnap her. (She does find some time to be the hero, calling 911 after Callie overdoses.) Tristan enlists the help of Chloe and Rachel to save Max and take down the perps. And with the help of Rachel’s social media presence, they succeed. All’s well that ends well for our trio, with a promise to talk when Rachel returns from the road. But, as the final panel promises, this action will have consequences as well.
I wasn’t sure just how well Vieceli would wrap up a story with so many different strands. But she ties a bow on all these stories effectively and beautifully, bringing everyone together for an action-packed climax. As Tristan leaves this world, we are left with more questions than answers about him. I do hope he comes back—he’s someone Max needs in her life.
Andrea Izzo has some fun playing with color palettes to establish setting. Darker warm tones set up the L.A. party, even darker tones for the alleyways behind that party. Earth tones rule the moments of Max’s kidnapping. And fittingly, the final pages (where friends enjoy The High Seas and find comfort with each other) basks in warm reds, a sunset on this story. There’s also a fair number of close-ups in this final issue, and Claudia Leonardi renders emotion in minimal strokes very well, while not skimping on that detail in the action moments.
We’ll find out in October just what consequences Max’s actions from this arc will have.