Read on to find out what we’re thankful for from Titan Comics this month.
Titan Comics News and Announcements
January 2020 Solicitations
How is Titan Comics starting off this new decade? With the second season of Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor. As reported last month, Thirteen meets Ten as they work to take down a a familiar foe, starting on January 8. (Hint: don’t blink—whatever you do, don’t blink!) And while that starts up, Life is Strange will conclude its current arc with issue #12 the following week.
Trade and graphic novel lovers also have much to look forward to from Titan Comics in the new year, with advance solicits for Minions: Paella, Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Holiday Special, and Shades Of Magic—The Steel Prince: The Rebel Army. Tank Girl fans also have a new collection of full color classics, and the first of the Snowpiercer graphic novels gets a reprint to get folks ready for the upcoming TV series.
Magazine lovers have a double dose of Star Trek periodicals in 2020. Star Trek Magazine #74 on January 15 will celebrate various film anniversaries, including the fortieth anniversary of the original Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The following month, celebrate twenty-five years of the Delta Quadrant with a commemorative magazine for Star Trek: Voyager.
Finally, if you missed picking up any of Titan Comics’s NYCC variant covers, they will all be available for purchase on January 22, 2020.
Life Lessons with Wade Wilson: The Philosophy of Deadpool
What’s Marvel’s Merc With a Mouth doing over at Titan Comics? Giving us a life lesson or two, thanks to the upcoming The Philosophy of Deadpool. Out on November 26, readers can find out just what makes this katana- and wisecrack-wielding assassin tick while reliving classic covers and favorite comic moments. And there’s no doubt unicorns will be involved.
ComicBooks For Kids Variant Cover for Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Holiday Special
If you like variant covers and helping kids in need, ComicBooks For Kids will have its first ever variant cover at select retailers in the US and UK for Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Holiday Special #1. The cover features three of the recent Doctors all in one place, including two that will be getting to know each other a bit better in the new year. Proceeds from this cover will benefit ComicBooks for Kids, which works to get comic books into the hands of kids in need. (And this one will be no exception: outside of the retailers listed here, the rest of the variant cover issues will go to kids in hospitals and cancer centers.)
Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince in the Goodreads Choice Awards
Last week was Election Day here in the United States, and hopefully you voted! Now it’s time to cast another vote, this one for the Goodreads Choice Awards. V. E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince is nominated in the Best Graphic Novels and Comics category. If you liked Maxim’s adventures, go over and vote!
Cromwell Stone Graphic Novel Trilogy Announced
Legendary European creator Andreas will bring this Lovecraftian story to graphic novel form in December. It’s a tale of the high seas, as the titular Cromwell Stone must find out why the survivors from a very mysterious sea voyage themselves have been disappearing mysteriously—and time is not on his side. This graphic novel will collect the entire trilogy in English for the first time when it drops on December 10 in the US. (UK readers: it’s out this week!) The book also has a very eerie and beautifully composed trailer to watch (if you dare).
What I’m Reading
This month’s Titan Comics reviews seem to have one thing in common: travel. (Maybe that’s because I’m heading overseas for work this week.)
Minions: Paella! #1
Renaud Collin (artist), Stephane Lapuss (writer)
November 6, 2019
Conventional wisdom says travel makes the world smaller, more empathetic to the human condition. If you’re those sassy little yellow pill-shaped creatures called Minions, it’s also bound to bring hijinks. Although the titular dish is nowhere in sight, this two-part miniseries finds them hopping across the world—from a picnic in the European countryside to a beachside fruit salad in the Caribbean—sampling some delicious fare and causing a fair bit of trouble (all in good fun) in their wake.
While there is a credit of writer on this book, there is minimal text… which makes sense as these Minions don’t really speak English. Of course, in this case, “writing” may also include plotting and storytelling design, showcased in Renaud Collin’s charming artwork. Collin also has background in web design and Flash animation, and it shows in the artwork, which includes paneling in the style of film storyboards, bright, bold colors, and computer-drawn graphics. If any of these stories made the jump from page to screen, it would certainly be a seamless transition. For younger readers, these are also very short stories, none more than a few pages. Parents and children can enjoy this comic together without small attention spans losing interest.
Maybe I’ll try and sneak one of these Minions in my carry-on luggage this week when I head to Spain on business. No doubt they’ll spice up my work conference.
[Editor’s note: I cannot BELIEVE there is no actual paella in this book. I’m reeling.]
Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Holiday Special #1
Enrica Eren Angiolini (colorist), Comicraft’s Sarah Hedrick (letterer), Jody Houser (writer), Roberta Ingranata (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer)
November 13, 2019
The TARDIS meets Bad Santa, and he does not look at all like Billy Bob Thornton. Following right up on the Doctor Who Free Comic Book Day offering, the Doctor and friends find they really… don’t remember that outing at all. Grant, Ryan, Yaz, and the Doctor each have different—and rather disturbing—recollections of their time on Space Disneyland. Someone—or something—doesn’t want them to remember. Thus, it’s off on a quest not only to recapture that memory, but to figure out why it disappeared in the first place. And the journey eventually dumps them on the doorstep of the North Pole. But this Santa is far scarier than any department store version, and the Doctor is slowly beginning to have flashes as to what got them there in the first place.
If you didn’t get your hands on that Free Comic Book Day issue, it might be wise to read (or re-read) it, just to get a grasp on what drives this plot, though the brief description at the start does give you all you need to know. An increased page count gives Houser room to build the mystery of everyone’s missing memories while building tension. I’m intrigued enough to see how this will resolve in the next issue, though I do fear that we still may not have enough page count to put all the pieces together.
While the scripting is solid, the artwork proves quite distracting. Roberta Ingranata opts for very flat facial features with minimal shading, which works in some pages but leaves characters virtually unrecognizable in others. Add to this some very monochromatic coloring, and the humans look more alien than the actual aliens. This art style does work in the final third of the book, when everyone comes to their North Pole prison. Never have you seen such creepy toy soldiers (well, except in Nutcracker: The Motion Picture. Why do such classic holiday stories of joy and love somehow end up rather dark in film adaptations?).
We’ll miss seeing Jodie Whittaker on TV this Christmas, but this miniseries does prove a satisfactory substitute. With a different art style, this could be even better.
Life is Strange #10
Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt (letterer), Andrea Izzo (colorist), Claudia Leonardi (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer), Emma Vieceli (writer)
November 13, 2019
This particular arc is titled “Strings” and with good reason: the strings of Max’s timelines start to connect. Chloe’s beloved van makes its first appearance, a way for her and Rachel to travel together while on the road. Rachel asks Max questions about what she was like in Max’s old timeline. Max and Tristan start to string together just how she got here. Was it a push, or a pull on a string? In the midst of all this, the women prepare for their road trip and Tristan still tries to unravel his own mysteries. Is that another version of himself he sees on the beach, wearing a “The High Seas” shirt?
Just like the previous issue, this one focuses on character moments and conversations: Chloe and Rachel, Rachel and Max, Max and Tristan. Vieceli knows how to make the smallest moments full of significance and fun. But we’re halfway into this arc, and I’m eager for some forward plot movement.
The sublime work in paneling and layout from the last issue continues here as well. Characters remain framed in proper proportion, with art and text balancing each other. Andrea Izzo dials down her color palette to more muted tones, bathing everything in soft sunset hues: past the golden hour, but not full twilight. Perhaps this is metaphor for this period of Max’s life ending.
I also must praise Claudia Leonardi’s main cover for this issue, as seen above. It’s a beautiful tribute to one of the icons from the original video game: the butterfly.
It’s time for everyone to leave California behind, in more ways than one. And everyone leaves somewhat changed.