This month I really tried to spend some time catching up on a few series. There are so many great BOOM! comics out right now it’s easy to fall behind when I’m doing my reading for this Pubwatch. In particular, I spent a little extra time catching up on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and The Magicians. It was nice to get to spend a little more time with the worlds and characters than if I had just read a single issue and I think this will be a trend I continue throughout this year. Each month I’m going to pick 1-2 series to binge read that are either new to me or that I’ve fallen behind on. Stay tuned for me to share some of my favourites in future Pubwatches.
New graphic novel from Roxane Gay
BOOM! Studio’s Archaia imprint will be publishing a new original graphic novel, The Sacrifice of Darkness, based on one of Gay’s short stories. The graphic novel will expand upon the events of the short story and follow a woman and man’s powerful journey as they make their way through this new world. Gay is joined on this project by writer Tracy Lynne Oliver, artist Rebecca Kirby, and colorist James Fenner and the preview pages they’ve already shared look amazing.
This graphic novel won’t hit shelves until October, but in the meantime, you can read Gay’s original story in her collection, Difficult Women.
Slaughterhouse-Five gets the graphic novel treatment
There seems to be a mini-trend recently of adapting classic novels into graphic novels. Last year I read the graphic novel adaption of To Kill a Mockingbird and this year it looks like I’ll be experiencing Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut in a whole new way.
For those who may not have read the novel (yet), it follows one Billy Pilgrim, a man who has read Kilgore Trout, opened a successful optometry business, built a loving family, witnessed the firebombing of Dresden, travelled to the planet Tralfamadore, met Kurt Vonnegut and come unstuck in time. It’s a dark satire about the horrors and tragedies involved in war and it was inspired in part by Vonnegut’s own experience as a prisoner of war.
This adaption will be brought to us by the creative team of writer Ryan North (How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler) and Eisner Award-nominated artist Albert Monteys (Universe!) with colour assistance by Ricard Zaplana and will be available September 9th 2020.
The Lumberjanes companion you’ve been waiting for
As I’ve mentioned recently, I am very behind on the main Lumberjanes series and one of my goals this year is to finally get caught up. And I think The Encyclopedia Lumberjanica: An Illustrated Guide to the Hardcore Lady-Types of Lumberjanes by Susan Coiner-Collier, is exactly to the companion book I want to have on this journey.
This book is basically a who’s who of the incredible people throughout history who have inspired the Lumberjanes, with bonus commentary from the Lumberjanes themselves. People like Juliette Gordon Low, bell hooks, Bessie Coleman, Sally Ride, to name a few!
“What better way to celebrate the Lumberjanes than to put the spotlight on the role models who best embody the spirit of the camp and its residents,” said Jeanine Schaefer, Executive Editor, BOOM! Studios in a statement. “Lumberjanes of all ages can dive deep into the exciting lives and accomplishments of real-life heroes who have inspired hardcore lady-types everywhere!”
Print and digital copies of the encyclopedia will be available in September 2020.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2
Walter Baiamonte (colourist), Simone di Meo (artist), Ed Dukeshite (letterer), Ryan Parrott (writer)
January 8, 2020
I was initially a little skeptical that I would like this comic. It just seemed like an odd crossover and I never got into Power Rangers as a kid so the lore and the characters were foreign to me. But when working on the IDW Pubwatch I started to read and enjoy the Ninja Turtle comics, so I decided to give it a shot. Now here I am, two issues later, and way more invested than I thought I would be.
In the first issue of this series, we find out that Tommy (the green Power Ranger) is the reason these two teams have come together. He’s joined up with the Foot Clan and inevitably ends up fighting the Turtle brothers. Which is when the rest of the Power Rangers track them down. They decide to work together to get Tommy back and find out what the Foot is up to. The second issue is filled with some great scenes of the two teams working together. The dialogue is great and it was fun to see the Turtles introduce the Power Rangers to their world. There are a lot of characters to keep track of but everyone gets some panel time and before long you’ll have figured out who’s who, even if you’re not familiar with one of the properties like I was.
The Magicians #4
Pius Bak (artist), Gabriel Cassata (colorist), Mike Fiorentino (letterer), Lev Grossman (writer), Lilah Sturges (writer)
February 5, 2020
If you’re familiar with the Magicians book series by Lev Grossman, or the TV show it inspired, this comic is a must-read. It’s a brand new story, set in the same universe, with a new class of students at Brakebills College. But three of these students aren’t like the others at the college. They are hedge magicians, a.k.a self-taught magicians, and it’s the first time ‘Hedges’ have been allowed to attend the school.
The first few issues in this series do a good job building up these three hedge magicians, as well as the three existing students they’re paired with, in their Battle Magic class. It’s a good reintroduction to the world, that sets up the big conflict, which is finally revealed in this issue. It’s tough to build up suspense in a comic when you’re not revealing the antagonist until the fourth issue but Grossman and Sturges really pull it off here. This issue ends on such a surprising note I can’t wait for the next one and it’s really making me want to go back and re-read the original book series again while I wait.
Jim Campbell (letterer), André May (colourist), Simon Spurrier (writer), Chris Wildgoose (artist)
February 12, 2020
In this new series from Simon Spurrier and Chris Wildgoose, three teenagers walk into the woods on their way to school. Each one is a bit of an outcast in their own way. Samuel is the new kid who craves attention but is also tired of the status quo. Samir, on the other hand, is desperate to fit in and does everything he can to be just like everyone else. And there’s Samantha, who is just counting the days until graduation when she can get out of her hometown. They’re just regular kids, with regular problems until they come across an other-worldly creature that joins them together in a way they could have never anticipated.
This comic has a bit of a Sense 8 vibe and the simultaneous narratives in this story are really well done. Each of the Sam’s has a distinct voice but they’re blended together seamlessly. The same effect is accomplished through art and lettering. The panels are structured in such a way that we can follow each character’s storyline but also easily start to see the new ways they’re invading each other’s lives.
The creators have taken an average group of people, in an average setting and infused just the right amount of science fiction into it. It’s a great way to launch a series and I can’t wait to find out how this new reality changes the life of these three teens.