At the start of this month, I was on vacation. Sitting poolside with a stack of reading material. I definitely wasn’t expecting that a week later I would be preparing to work from home and self-isolate. I was forced to stay at home for a few months last winter, and the memory of that still feels fresh in my mind. At times it’s very lonely and cabin fever is a very real thing. But at least this year I know it’s for the greater good and I had time to stock up on some new books beforehand. What will you be doing to keep yourself busy during this time? (There are digital versions of all of this month’s featured comics if you need some help getting started.)
Goldie Vance is back!
The main Goldie Vance series may be concluded but Goldie and her friends Diane and Cheryl are coming back for an all-new adventure in the original graphic novel, Goldie Vance: Larceny in La La Land.
In this installment, the teen sleuth and her friends will be traveling to Los Angeles. While her friends are busy chasing their dreams, Goldie is entranced by old Hollywood and befriends a star from the silent film days. And because she’s Goldie, she also takes up a case! At first, it’s just to look for some stolen film memorabilia but she soon realizes it’s part of a larger conspiracy and she’s just the person to solve it.
This new graphic novel is written by Jackie Ball, illustrated by Mollie Rose, coloured by Natalia Nesterenko and lettered by Jim Campbell. It will hit shelves July 2020 but you can check out a preview now.
New Look at Heavy Vinyl Y2K-O!
Speaking of previews, BOOM! has released a new preview of the upcoming Heavy Metal original graphic novel. Like Goldie Vance, this was another series that I loved in single issues that has since concluded.
For those who may have missed the original series, it takes place in the late 90s and centers around the all-female staff at the record shop, Vinyl Destination. But this group of awesome ladies aren’t just music experts, they’re also a vigilante fight club. In this new graphic novel, the 90s are coming to an end and panic about Y2K is mounting. Will they be able to balance work, dating and still be able to save the world in time to ring in the new millennium?
We don’t have to wait nearly as long for this one since it will be released March 31, 2020, but you can check out the preview here.
Meet Jo & Rus
Jo & Rus is a debut middle-grade graphic novel from cartoonist Audra Winslow. When Jo and Rus first meet they don’t think they have that much in common, she’s a middle schooler trying to avoid constant bullying and he’s an aspiring rock star/high scholar. But after being brought together by a mysterious one-eyed cat they realize how much they have in common and become unlikely best friends.
This isn’t out until mid-September but it sounds adorable and I love the parts I’ve seen already. Plus I need to know more about this mysterious cat! It’s definitely one I’ll be keeping an eye out for (no pun intended).
Ben 10: The Manchester Mystery
Eleonora Bruni (colourist), C.B. Lee (writer), Warren Montgomery (letterer), Francesca Perrone (artist)
March 4, 2020
Like many 10-year-olds, Ben Tennyson spends a lot of time watching YouTube. He’s particularly obsessed with the supernatural reality show, The Mystery Boys. And when he happens to run into them while on a family trip with his cousin Gwen and his Grandpa Max he thinks its the perfect opportunity to guest star on the show. All he needs to do is solve the mystery of what’s haunting the Manchester House.
C.B Lee has been knocking it out of the park with these Ben 10 comics recently. I previously enjoyed, The Truth is Out There, and The Manchester Mystery is just as fun. For starters, I love Ben’s journey from being a huge fan of the Mystery Boys to being disillusioned by celebrity, to deciding to take matters into his own hands. For an age-range that is currently obsessed with YouTube and TikTok personalities, it’s a good reminder that they’re human too. There was also a really fun Scooby-Doo-esque quality to the mystery (but with aliens) and the overall mayhem made me want to keep reading page after page. I’m not sure if more C.B. Lee Ben 10 stories are planned but I sure hope so!
All My Friends Are Ghosts
Mike Fiorentino (letterer), Hannah Krieger (artist), S.M. Vidaurri (writer)
March 11, 2020
Effie is having a hard time at school. She doesn’t have a lot of friends and she has a habit of losing her temper. One day she’s had enough and decides to run away from home, which is when she discovers a ghost school in the woods. She befriends a trio of ghosts who sneak her in and she is amazed by all of the cool things they can do like poltergeist-ing and possession. But it’s not all fun and games, as her new friends need her help to track down a lost spirit that’s been spotted nearby. It’s a dangerous task and in order to succeed Effie will not only need to trust that her new friends have her back, but she’ll also need to learn to believe in herself.
This is a very sweet story about a young girl who’s just struggling to find her place. At the beginning of the story, you really feel for Effie. She’s having trouble fitting in at school and a large part of that is because she struggles to communicate with those around her. But you can also tell that she doesn’t have a lot of confidence in herself. The artwork does a great job reflecting this turmoil as Effie’s face is always so expressive. There are no subtle shifts in mood. Effie feels everything and she feels it deeply and that’s obvious as soon as you look at the page. I appreciated that her journey in this comic wasn’t just about finding a group of friends who understand you, which is, of course, important, but also about getting to know and love yourself.
Wicked Things #1
John Allison (writer), Jim Campbell (letterer), Whitney Cogar (colourist), Max Sarin (artist)
March 18, 2020
After 55 issues it was sad to see Giant Days come to an end back in October, so I was glad to see John Allison and Max Sarin would be returning to the world with a new series centered on the young detective, Charlotte Grote. This story kicks off, just as she’s about to head off to Oxford for school. Before she goes, however, she’ll be taking a quick trip to London with her pal Claire because she’s nominated for the prestigious National Solver teen sleuth awards. But the night of the awards she’s framed for murder! In order to prove her innocence, she’ll need to work with the police and find out the truth about what happened the night of the awards ceremony.
As you may have already guessed from the earlier Goldie Vance news and my Ben 10 review, I love a fun mystery. I credit that to growing up with Nancy Drew, Harriet the Spy and of course, Scooby-Doo. And Wicked Things is right in my wheelhouse. Charlotte is such a lively and relatable character. She’s got a great sense of humour and the artwork does a great job demonstrating what a big personality she has. I think it was a great choice to center this new series around her and am looking forward to getting to the bottom of this mystery.