Europeans are known for their long summer vacations. So it should come as no surprise that our Titan PUBWATCH, which focuses on a publisher in the UK, took a little vacation itself last month! So we have a combined July/August edition for you this month as we soak up those last lazy hazy days of summer.
This month, we bid farewell to Missy and Minky Woodcock, but also welcome back Max and Chloe to our timelines in Life Is Strange: Coming Home. We also check out some new Rivers of London adventures.
Titan Comics News and Announcements
July 2021 Release Schedule
Please note release dates are always subject to change.
- Life is Strange: Coming Home #1: July 7th
- Rivers of London: Monday, Monday #1: July 7th
- Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Electrified Tesla #4: July 21st
- Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1: July 28th
- Doctor Who: Missy #4: July 28th
- ExtraOrdinary #2: July 28th
- Blade Runner 2029 #6: July 28th
August 2021 Release Schedule
Please note release dates are always subject to change.
- Life is Strange: Coming Home #2: August 4th
- Rivers of London: Monday, Monday #2: August 11th
- Blade Runner: Origins #5: August 11th
- Elric: The Dreaming City #1: August 11th
- ExtraOrdinary #3: August 18th
- Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #2: August 25th
- Blade Runner 2029 #6: August 25th
Titan Comics October 2021 Solicitations
While there aren’t any series debuts in our October 2021 solicitations, there are many series that are going full steam, such as Blade Runner Origins, Gun Honey, Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation, and Life is Strange: Settling Dust. It’s also a great time to stock up on your collections and trade paperbacks.V.E. Schwab’s ExtraOrdinary will have its collected edition drop on October 13th, including a limited edition signed by V.E. Schwab. You can also start planning ahead for some other graphic novels, as we have advance solicits for Volume 2 of Blade Runner 2029 and Elric: The Dreaming City, both coming in December.
One of the first films delayed by the pandemic, James Bond’s No Time To Die, will (fingers crossed) come to theaters on October 8th (September 30th in the UK). Shortly after the film’s release on October 13th, you can pick up No Time To Die: The Making of the Film and go behind the scenes of the 25th Bond film (which is also reportedly Daniel Craig’s last appearance as the sexy spy). October 5th sees the release of The Art of Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess’ Stardust, which will take you behind the scenes of the creation of this iconic fantasy novel. It will include work from the novel’s various editions, and a portfolio with contributions from Stan Sakai, Mike Mignola, and many more artists.
Visit GoCollect for more details on these and all of Titan’s September 2021 offerings.
Titan Comics at ComicCon@Home 2021
Missed any of Titan Comics’s panels from ComicCon@Home 2021, or want to watch them again? Here they are!
Exclusive Trailer and Art Preview for Gun Honey #1
Meet Joanna Tan, gun smuggler extraordinaire. Once working for the criminals, her newest job has her finding a criminal that she set loose. That’s the premise of September’s Gun Honey, the newest Hard Case Crime series. Written by the imprint’s co-founder Charles Ardai with art by Ang Hor Kheng, the series will also feature variant covers from Bill Sienkiewicz and Robert McGinnis for the debut issue. We have a preview of interior art above, and you can watch a trailer for the new series here.
Gun Honey #1 drops on September 22nd.
Solve the Mystery of The Junction Next April
The return of a missing child should bring joy to a family. But the return of Lucas Jones after an absence of 12 years, where he doesn’t appear to have aged a day from when he disappeared at age 11, provides more questions than answers. And the only clues to this mystery are his journal and four Polaroid photographs. This is the premise of Norm Konyu’s The Junction, debuting in April 2022. Konyu describes the story as a “deeply personal” project that combines his memories of growing up in small town Canada with dream imagery. Previously an animator, The Junction marks Konyu’s return to comics.
We have a look at one of the pages from the upcoming graphic novel, which is available to pre-order now from Amazon (in the U.S.) and Forbidden Planet (in the U.K. and Europe).
What I’m Reading
It’s the end of Missy and Minky’s adventures, but the start of new ones for Max, Chloe, and Peter Grant.
(Note that our reviews may contain spoilers, so proceed carefully!)
Doctor Who: Missy #4
Enrica Eren Angiolini (colorist), Jody Houser (writer), Roberta Ingranata (artist), Comicraft’s Richard Starkings (letterer)
July 28, 2021
The Masters seem to get just what they need out of U.N.I.T. as this finale kicks off. But there’s a little problem of another Doctor (and a Brigadier) in the way. It does seem that Missy and the Master will make it to the Planet of the Doors to fulfill their mission. But will they make it there alone? And given the bickering the two seem to have, they may just be each other’s worst enemy.
While we don’t get resolution to the Planet of the Doors story, this series wasn’t really about that. Indeed, this is a character study asking the question: who is the most masterful of the Masters? The marriage of classic and modern Doctor Who brings something for everyone. The Third Doctor’s tenure on TV aired before the series made it big in America, and I hope this leads fans to seek out his stories. It also does make one wistful for what might have been on TV as well, had Roger Delgado not passed away in 1973. This miniseries is a celebration that’s not too self-indulgent. And that’s something that only devoted fans of the series, which our creative team is, can pull off superbly.
One thing we haven’t touched on in these reviews is the covers. Each cover from this series is a work of art in itself. My favorite is the one you see above, the main cover by Blair Shedd. It truly conveys a closeness that Missy and the Twelfth Doctor have that didn’t come across on TV, and plays well into the final act in the series . . . a revelation that makes “Agatha All Along” look like child’s play. It also plants an idea for some future Twelfth Doctor stories questioning what side he’s truly on that I would love to see.
The final scene hints that Missy’s misadventures aren’t over just yet. I hope to see those misadventures sooner rather than later.
Life is Strange: Coming Home #1
Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt (letterer) Andrea Izzo (colorist), Claudia Leonardi (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer), Emma Vieceli (writer)
July 7, 2021
It’s been a long and at times painful journey for Max and Chloe. But as this title suggests, it’s time to come home. Others in Max’s orbit start to feel more of her presence, as Pixie recounts to Chloe and Tristan how she feels more of Max’s presence. But more shocking is that Pixie sees Rachel Amber alive. Meanwhile in Max’s timeline, Max, Chloe, and Rachel experience the awe of Carlsbad Caverns, but not without some tension. And then Pixie figures out just how to cross the timelines like Tristan. This action will have consequences to be seen.
The revelation that Pixie has similar abilities to Tristan opens up possibilities for future Life Is Strange stories, now that Max and Chloe’s story is reaching its end. The video games are moving on from the world of Arcadia Bay and Blackwell, so it makes sense for the comics to do the same. Another supporting character from the Arcadia Bay era that makes an appearance is reformed mean girl Victoria Chase. Wisely, Vieceli lets her grow up, acknowledging Max’s photographic talent and offering her gallery space when she returns. Life is Strange is a complex world, interlaced with many characters and plots. Vieceli shows great talent in fleshing out supporting characters as well as her principals. It shows her long-term investment in the series.
The scenes in Carlsbad Caverns are a delight to view. The artistic detail is exquisite, giving life to each rock formation in the cavern. But there’s also a heavy emotional scene taking place, as Chloe and Max work out their differences. It’s a delicate balancing act for script and art. You don’t want too much detail to take over the powerful emotional narrative, but you also want it to complement that narrative. The complexity of the caverns serves as metaphor for Max and Chloe’s complicated feelings, and each balances the other effectively.
We’re not home for Max just yet, but we’re now finally on the road there. It will be a bumpy one, but the journey is just as necessary as the destination.
Rivers of London: Monday, Monday #1
Ben Aaronovitch (writer), José María Beroy (writer), Andrew Cartmel (writer), Jordi Escuin Ilorach (colorist), Rob Steen (letterer)
July 7, 2021
There is no rest for the weary for Peter Grant, who comes in to help Miriam Stephanopoulous on an operation to bring down some of London’s teenage gangs. But if you’re bringing in Peter Grant, it’s no ordinary operation. There’s something just a bit odd, perhaps electrical, about one of the hoodlums that Miriam’s team apprehends. What she’s facing doesn’t appear to be of this world. It may be a Monday but it’s never a dull one.
It’s annoying that the solicit for this title spoiled the fact that Peter Grant will have a werewolf on his hands. That takes out a lot of the tension and discovery from the issue. You now know that central conflict before you even read the first page. But what the script does well is set up the world of Miriam Stephanopoulous and Operation Willow . . . perhaps a little bit too well. Is there too much time spent on introducing people and setting that could have been used to bring in that supernatural element? Perhaps. But this could be a Chekov’s Gun situation. These details must contribute to the larger story in some way if we are spending time on them. Keep that thought in the back of your head as you read this debut issue and you can understand scripting decisions much better.
This will be the second time in this PUBWATCH I discuss cover art. And when you see that main cover from Veronica Fish, you’ll understand why. I’ve loved her pastel dreams from her work on Archie. They provided a unique style of escapism and innocence that is a hallmark of Archie Comics. Here, she takes those soft colors and lines and translates them perfectly to the Rivers of London world. It would be interesting to see her collaborate with José María Beroy, who has some history with the cosmic and supernatural thanks to his work on 2001’s Deadman.
In the past, I struggled with Rivers of London series because I felt like I was jumping in the middle of something. This one does set the table quite well for new readers. But the spoiler of the main threat takes the wind out of some of the sails.
Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Electrified Tesla #4
Jim Campbell (letterer), Cynthia von Buhler (writer, artist)
July 21, 2021
What does Minky Woodcock say to the Nazi that wants to sentence her and Josephine Baker to death? Not today. But while the two get out of that thanks to science, it’s the family affairs that tear Minky in two. On her father’s deathbed, she finds out more about why Dad never wanted her to enter the family business, along with some disturbing family secrets. There’s not much time for mourning, though, as both Minky and Josephine start taking down the Nazi informants in plain sight in New York City, along with the secret to Nikola Tesla’s death. Tesla’s plans are safe, and Minky finds a little bit of time for fun with her new French friend.
The high quality of the first three issues didn’t extend to this finale, at least when it comes to the script. The mystery of Tesla’s death fizzles out, as with the cremation of Tesla’s body the real cause of death will never be known. The inclusion of a deathbed confession from Minky’s father about why he never wanted his daughter to be a detective, along with the true circumstances of her mother’s death, read as cliché, not smart sexy storytelling I expected after the three previous issues. But we do get resolution on the Nazis’s pursuit of Tesla’s ray, so the ending is not a total loss – – just bloated and slightly directionless.
A standout of any of Cynthia von Buhler’s books is her flat stained-glass style artwork. But this art isn’t completely without its depth, using both broad black inks and soft subtle shading to give three dimensions. And action scenes have beautiful follow through, using Jim Campbell’s letters to emphasize the recoil from each punch, kick, and splash. The artwork may be flat, but all these touches bring it even further to life. Seeing Minky’s mother in flashback and how much mother is like daughter adds justification for why he withheld this information from her, amplifying the emotion of their final conversation. (Even as clichéd as that final conversation was.)
While this series that started out so well sputters towards its finale, having Minky back on my pull list after too long of an absence was truly a joy.