Light your menorah, pour a glass of eggnog, fire up the carols, and let’s see how Titan Comics is ringing in the holiday season.
Titan Comics News and Announcements
February 2020 Solicitations
2020 looks to be the Year of Sherlock, with February 5 bringing us a new spinoff series, “Adler,” focusing or Mr. Holmes’s lady love Irene Adler facing down Moriarty. Irene is also the star of the current “Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia,” which will drop its third issue also on February 5.
The latest “Rivers of London” series, “Rivers of London: The Fey and the Furious,” also reaches its conclusion on February 5.
February seems to be the month for trades and novels from Titan Comics, a perfect Valentine’s Day gift. A new set of Tank Girl Full Color Classics drops on February 12, covering the years 1994 and 1995. If you’re looking forward to the Bloodshot movie due out on February 21, Titan Comics has the official movie novelization on February 4. Firefly fans have a new prose novel, Firefly: Big Damn Hero, also releasing on that same day. And furthering my belief that for Titan Comics, 2020 is the Year of Sherlock, Mr. Holmes meets Martians in The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes—The Martian Menace, landing on February 11.
The Prague Coup Selected for “Books of the Year” List at The New Statesman
Congratulations to The Prague Coup for being selected for The New Statesman’s “Books of the Year” list! Contributor Michael Moorcock (who proclaims that he had “never been much of a comic reader”) found himself quite intrigued by the tale of writer Graham Greene’s life in Prague. He went on to call it “a great antidote for too much Christmas cheer.”
Shades of Magic Makes Goodreads Choice Awards 2019 List
Another Titan Comics series makes a “Best of 2019” list, with V. E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince a finalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards graphic novels category. This is the only major book award chosen by readers, and nearly 17,000 of them selected it as their favorite graphic novel of the year.
A Chat With Rivers of London’s Ben Aaronovitch
If you’re a fan of Ben Aaronovich’s Rivers of London novels and comics, you’ll enjoy this interview with him on the Professional Book Nerds podcast. This podcast (hosted by library media company Overdrive), dives into crime, police procedurals, mythology, London—and how they all fit together.
Ten Meets Thirteen—More Details of the Doctor Who Crossover Revealed!
Bleeding Cool provides some additional details on the crossover that will kick off the second year of Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor. As previously reported, the crossover will feature the Weeping Angels. What we now know is that the crossover will take place during the episode that introduced those Weeping Angels: “Blink.” That episode also introduced the world to our favorite phrase to explain time travel when you can’t explain it: timey-wimey. It will be interesting to see how the comic fits Jodie Whittaker and friends into this traditionally Doctor-light storyline. We’ll find out on January 8!
(And PS: did you all watch the trailer for the new Doctor Who season that drops on New Year’s Day? If you haven’t, here you go.)
What I’m Reading
We’re back with a look at the latest from two of the three series we reviewed in last month’s Pubwatch, along with the finale to Tank Girl Forever.
Life is Strange #11
Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt (letterer), Andrea Izzo (colorist), Claudia Leonardi (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer), Emma Vieceli (writer)
December 11, 2019
If Max isn’t going to make a decision about her road trip with Chloe and Rachel, someone is going to make it for her: Tristan. That vision he saw at the end of the last issue was Chloe, reaching out from whatever reality she is in to connect with Max in this one. But as Max connects, this reality’s Chloe starts to feel the effects. And Max realizes that she’s not the only one looking for answers. Someone’s trying to reach out to her too.
There’s a wonderful opening monologue from Max with some pretty deep and heavy philosophy about the nature of time as a filter that will certainly have you thinking. But Vieceli does not write this in an overly intellectual way. Max is smart for her age, but never precocious. This is also a pure Max and Chloe story. Rachel is very much a supporting player, a hint at the fleeting nature of her role in Chloe’s life. In fact, you can take out the middle third of the story, a scene at a table read for Hamlet, and the main plot isn’t lost. (Though if you do remove it, you lose out on some very clever Shakespeare jokes.)
It can be hard to convey transparency in artwork, but Claudia Leonardi does a decent job here. I just wish her Ghost Chloe looked a little bit more like Chloe. I completely missed that it was her in the last issue, and if not for the recap, would have done so again. But Leonardi does a smashing job of the cover for this issue, using the recurring theme of the butterfly from the source video game.
No one knows what is going to happen to Max, Chloe, Tristan, and Rachel. But it’s becoming very clear that this is not the reality meant for Max.
Minions: Paella! #2
Renaud Collin (artist), Stephane Lapuss (writer)
December 4, 2019
Those pesky and adorable Minions are back at it to conclude this two-issue arc of their own brand of globe-hopping. (Though still, no actual paella. Where’s the truth in advertising?) This round of adventures takes them to Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Hawaii, and Twickenham (the home of England rugby, if you didn’t know). There’s a little bit of mischief, a dash of misunderstanding, and heaps of fun. In the spirit of the season, there’s even a few Christmas (mis)adventures, from an attempt to bring home the perfect tree to trying to get Santa’s sleigh off the ground.
While I was initially hesitant to take on a comic from this property, I certainly found the second issue as enjoyable as the first, if not more. Perhaps it was the more familiar locations, everywhere from the Louvre to Christ the Redeemer in Rio. Perhaps it was how the stories flowed. Nothing was more than one page, and there was a clear structure with minimal work to fill in gaps. Perhaps it was seeing the Minions come up with clever ways to solve problems. Whether it was how to fix a busted video game or watching a rugby match with a blocked view, the life lesson that no problem is unsolvable is good at any age.
Collin also mixes up page and panel layouts in this issue to allow for some full-page spreads. Those spreads work the gags they present beautifully. This creative team understands the importance of good layout and uses it accordingly.
I’d love to see more Minions adventures. They’re perfect for younger readers who are just learning how to read, and give adults a chuckle or two. But next time, if you’re going to promise me paella, please deliver.
Tank Girl: Forever #8
Enrica Eren Angiolini (colorist), Comicraft’s Sarah Hedrick (letterer), Jody Houser (writer), Roberta Ingranata (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer)
November 20, 2019
We last left Tank Girl on a cliffhanger. Literally. Barney was about ready to take out Sub Girl to teach Tank Girl a lesson, and the two seem to meet their demise off the cliff. But Sub Girl finds herself far from dead… just in Barney’s subconscious. Tank Girl is still trying to fight Joanie (from Barney’s subconscious as well), and let’s not forget that problem of the meteor. Is everything going to be put right in the end? And who, if anyone, will pay with their lives?
I don’t think Martin and Parson knew how to end this. Rather than try and fail miserably (because let’s be honest, there’s been a LOT going on here), they embrace the chaos instead. You get a cameo from original Rolling Stone Brian Moss, pages that look like they were cut and pasted on other pages, and copious amounts of coarse crayon. Put together, it sets a scene of “we’ve got to get this done and fast!” It’s disorderly, and you’re not totally sure what’s going on, but it sure looks fun.
The conflicting storylines lead to energetic splash pages, such as one with the meteor exploding alongside a tableau of Barney’s memories. It all comes together as amusing commentary on how certain mass-market superhero movies just try to cram in every possible plot line to resolve the franchise. (Dialogue should give you a pretty obvious clue about which movie.) It’s parody executed decently, if a bit all over the place. Suspend expectations of linear storytelling, and you’ll enjoy this final issue.
At this writing, there are no further Tank Girl issues solicited. The final page lends more to that sense of finality, but I have a suspicion we’ll be back in Australia very soon.