Take a breath, everyone. We made it to the end of the roller coaster that was 2020. And while there is no guarantee of what 2021 will bring, nevertheless, we persevered. I do hope that wherever you are, and whatever holidays you celebrate this season, that you find some joy and hope within them.
This month, we take a look at the series debut of Blade Runner 2029, and the new Doctor Who #1!
Titan Comics News and Announcements
December 2020 Release Schedule
Please note release dates are always subject to change.
- Robotech Archives: The Masters Vol. 1: December 2nd
- Doctor Who #2: December 9th
- Rivers of London Vol.8 – The Fey and the Furious, Blade Runner 2029 #1: December 16th
Titan Comics February 2021 Solicitations
We’re excited for the expansion of the Blade Runner comics this month with the debut of Blade Runner 2029, but that’s not all from the world of Ash and the Replicants. February 24th brings the debut of Blade Runner: Origins, the story of the first Blade Runner. Longtime Blade Runner co-writer Mike Johnson is on board for this series. And the Blade Runner 2029 series continues as well with issue #3 dropping on February 10th. The relaunched Doctor Who comic also has its fourth issue available that same day.
Titan’s February solicits also included some advance solicits for the spring. The previously announced Little Victories: Autism Through a Father’s Eyes has a new release date of May 26th, 2021. The collected edition of Life is Strange: Partners in Time will be out on April 7th, along with a new collection of Peanuts comic strips from 1962-1965 called Snoopy Come Home. (I’m a longtime Peanuts fan, so any chance to expand my collection of the world of Charlie Brown is one I will take!)
Magazine and art book fans will have a plethora of titles this February. Those who have played (perhaps finished) Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales can go behind the scenes of the video game with a new art book on February 3rd. Later in the month, Star Wars: The Age of Resistance—The Official Collector’s Edition goes behind the scenes of The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and The Rise Of Skywalker. And prose fans have a new Morbius novel and a novelization to the game Death Stranding out on February 2nd and 16th, respectively.
Visit GoCollect for more information on these and all other offerings from Titan in February 2021.
Blade Runner 2019 Vol. 1 Artist’s Edition Arriving in January
If you like to see how comics are made, here’s a great post-holiday gift: the Blade Runner 2019 Vol. 1 Artist’s Edition. Collecting the first four issues of the series, you will see never-before-seen sketches, layouts, and thumbnails. Also included is an interview between artist Andres Guinaldo and series writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson.
We have a look at some of the interior art above from the book, which will drop on January 26th, 2021.
What I’m Reading
It’s a pair of debuts this month, with a rebooted Doctor Who and the start of Blade Runner 2029. We also check in with the latest adventures from Life is Strange: Partners in Time.
Doctor Who #1
Enrica Eren Angiolini (colorist), Comicraft’s Sarah Hedrick (letterer), Jody Houser (writer), Roberta Ingranata (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer)
November 18, 2020
Despite the new title, this is a continuation of the previous Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Season 2 series that concluded in May. To bring you up to speed: after the Tenth and Thirteenth Doctors defeated the Autons and Weeping Angels in 1960s London, Thirteen and the fam head back to the present, confident that they averted a paradox. Or so they think. Upon their return, they find Earth a bleak landscape under the control of the Sea Devils. Having conquered Earth centuries ago, the Sea Devil rule on Earth focuses on control and work. But there are glimmers of hope, though, in a human resistance led by Rose Tyler. But then Ten drops in…and are we on the verge of another paradox, one that could have even worse impact?
I’ve read several iterations of Titan’s Doctor Who line, and this creative team is the best one yet. They know their history, but don’t allow themselves to be too knee-deep in it. The choice of the Sea Devils as this arc’s antagonist is a brilliant nod to classic Who, but is also properly explained so as not to leave any reader clueless. And while this debut does seem to trot out a lot of guest stars, from Rose’s parents to the Tenth Doctor, I have faith in Houser’s script that she can juggle a large ensemble beautifully. After all, she proved it in the previous arc with two Doctors and two sets of companions, plus Weeping Angels and Autons.
The experience Roberta Ingranata has in drawing her characters shows. It’s hard capturing a likeness on a page without making it look like a caricature. And while there are still slight missteps in proportion on face, she gets the look and feel of both the human and the alien players quite right. Although the Sea Devils look more like gentle Muppets than ferocious foes, they are from an era of the series when there was a shoestring budget. But there’s also a lot comics can do that TV can’t, so I hope we see some innovation in design.
But the breakout star for me in this series has been Enrica Eren Angiolini’s colors. Her love of color and use of the variety of shades and tones in her paintbox brings new life to backgrounds. And while she does get to have fun with some celestial-themed page backgrounds, she also uses subtle tones and shades throughout post-apocalyptic London. It adds dimension to backgrounds and even touches of hope, light in darkness. Never has grey looked so good.
This creative team had a high bar set with Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious, and that momentum continues as they dive back into their main story.
Life Is Strange: Partners In Time #2
Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt (letterer) Andrea Izzo (colorist), Claudia Leonardi (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer), Emma Vieceli (writer)
November 18, 2020
The road trip continues apace with Chloe, Rachel, and Max breathing in the spectacle that is the American Southwest in the MaxTimeline. In the TristanTimeline, Chloe and Tristan begin their plan to bring Max home…but not before a little bit of fun first in Sedona. Not to be outdone, the MaxTimeline also finds themselves at the same Western town, dressed as pirates. But the timelines are starting to connect in small, subtle ways. And what will be the implications of things when that does happen?
With two parallel universes to juggle, it does appear odd to introduce the character of Victoria Chase, but it’s a nice homage to the original video game. Nicer still is seeing some character growth in her. In the game, she was the Regina George of Blackwell Academy (the school Max attended): ambitious, self-centered, clinging to her family’s money for power. Today, she’s more self-aware. For now, I just hope this is a cameo and nothing more: there’s already enough people in these universes. Too many cooks spoil the broth, as the cliche goes.
There’s another subtle art distinction I noticed in this issue that helps keep the timelines straight. In the MaxTimeline, skin tones have a pink undertone to them. But over in the TristanTimeline, at least for Tristan and Chloe, their skin tones have more of a white base. Pink is a color of friendship, harmony, and peace. Is this an astute way of indicating where Max is finding her greatest peace, possibly making her reluctant to return home?
Any good Western story will have a showdown at high noon to put all the stakes on the table. This series is no exception.
Blade Runner 2029 #1
Jim Campbell (letterer), Andres Guinaldo (artist), Mike Johnson (writer), Marco Lesko (colorist)
December 16, 2020
Okay, first thing we have to get out of the way, before anything else: that Peach Momoko cover is stunning. I’m getting all sorts of Cowboy Bebop vibes from it. Like interior artist Andres Guinaldo, she knows how to make a dystopia look amazingly pretty.
As the title suggests, there’s a time jump of a decade from the last series. Ash is back in the Blade Runner unit hunting down future replicants in the most mundane of situations (like a real estate showing). The job pays the bills, but Ash wonders if it’s time to retire. Her body isn’t getting any younger. And also, she’s helping Replicants escape and go underground. Something is going to have to give, and a mysterious man’s final two words may hold the key to the journey to make that decision.
This is going to be an all-new, all-different Blade Runner adventure. There will no doubt be action. In fact, our opening scene, a flashback to 2017, is a shootout in a pawn shop. But this is an older Ash. A wiser Ash. An Ash who struggles with an aging body and a north star for her moral compass. This is going to be the Blade Runner series where we really get to know Ash the person, and that’s all over this first issue in her voiceovers and character moments: domestic time with a partner, compassion for a Replicant she helps get off the grid. There were moments in Blade Runner 2019 where things were feeling a bit one-note, so this opportunity to know Ash as more than a Blade Runner who shoots to kill because she gets paid for it is an opportunity I welcome.
Andres Guinaldo has a lot of fun playing with large space in this issue. We get sweeping interior and exterior scenescapes that are the star of the page. Sometimes they’re rich in detail, sometimes they’re beautifully minimalist. It requires shrinking down characters to the smallest, most rudimentary shapes possible, but the effect is worth it. This is a comic based on a film series, and it translates cinema’s establishing shot to the page well. I’m already eager for any Artist’s Edition that may come of this series; I want to see how this design process plays out.
These vast scenescapes may seem like an odd choice for art direction after I talk about how this is going to be a series that puts character first. But rest assured, there’s many lovely intimate art moments, particularly of Ash’s domestic life that hammer home the themes Blade Runner 2029 sets off to explore.
It may be premature and presumptuous to say this, but this could be the best Blade Runner series yet.