13 Aug 2009

Ten Forward: October 2009

Every month we spend an evening scouring the pages of the latest issue of Previews and pick the ten titles we are looking forward to the most. This month it's the August issue of Previews which includes comics scheduled to ship in October 2009.

Writer: Brian K Vaughan & Michael Chabon
Art: Jason Shawn, Steve Rolson, Phillip Bond & Eduardo Barreto
Dark Horse $14.95

James R: If you’ve read Michael Chabon’s hymn to the Golden Age – the excellent novel The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay - then this is a must-buy. Brian K. Vaughn at the top of his game crafting a tale about three teenagers finding the legacy of the Escapist (the creation of the titular characters in the novel) and their attempts to create a comic worthy of their legacy. It might not sound much, but it works as a quasi-sequel to the novel and as a comic in its own right. This collected edition deserves a place along side Chabon’s classic on your bookshelves.

Writer: A.J. Lieberman
Art: Riley Rossman
Image $3.50

Matt C: The bonkers premise - people with Multiple Personality Disorders trained by the government unsuccessfully and now being used as highly effective assassins by some unknown party - is enough to guarantee my attention, but it's the art that has really sold this to me. Riley Rossmo's work on Proof has been a little bit special: rich, absorbing and highly distinctive, its continued development makes me keen to see anything he works on. AJ Lieberman….. I only really associate him with his Batman work a few years ago - it wasn't too bad, but not particularly memorable. He's certainly got a great high concept in Cowboy Viking Ninja so here's hoping the writing can do it justice.

Writer: Phil Hester
Art: Brian Churilla
Boom! Studios $3.99

Stewart R: Boom! have been impressing me of late with great minis such as Unthinkable and Poe, and now a new, ongoing title from them has caught my eye. The titular Anchor was a Viking Raider who went through a transformation into a hermit monk and now finds it is his holy duty to battle demons that have spilled forth from Hell while his physical form slumbered. On the face of things the promise of spiritual realms, hellish beasties and a friendly, hulking hero doesn’t sound like anything particularly new but Hester appears to be bringing this together with a level of intelligence and respect for the history surrounding Anchorite Monks - this comic seems to focus specifically on the Anchor’s outdated viewpoint in a modern world that doesn’t understand him. That alone has sparked my interest and the preview pages released so far are looking tasty.

Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Matthew Soutworth
Oni Press $3.99

James R: Mmm, tasty! DC’s main crime writer finally gets let out of Gotham for this series. If you’re familiar with Greg Rucka’s Queen & Country or Whiteout, you’ll know that his creator-owned titles have an extra punch to them, and those of you who have followed him from the late and much, much lamented Gotham Central to Detective Comics will know that he has a skill for a tightly-scripted books that keep you coming back for more. With great art from Matthew Southworth, it looks like Rucka has found a title to go toe-to-toe with Ed Brubaker’s Criminal. It’s a good time for stories about bad people!

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Art: Todd MacFarlane, Greg Capulco & Ryan Ottley
Image $2.99

Matt T: Just like all of the classic superhero premises Haunt makes little sense on paper, but with Kirkman at the helm I'm not too worried. Having Todd MacFarlane back on art duties I'm expecting a gothic, horror-tinged tale of revenge, with the eponymous hero being guided by his dead brother. Sounds like good times.

Writer: Warren Ellis
Art: John Cassaday
Wildstorm $3.99

James R: For one last hurrah, it’s time to salute the comics gods of Ellis and Cassaday, as this month Planetary returns for this bumper-size coda, with one of the coolest covers in recent memory. A series that has been consistently brilliant and serving as a showcase for these two talents, my excitement about this issue is tinged with sadness that it’s coming to an end, but you can guarantee that it will go out on a high – the release of this issue is the highlight of my comics reading year, and I can’t offer higher praise than that.

Writer: Various
Art: Various
Marvel $4.99

Stewart R
: The phrase ‘too many cooks’ springs to mind quite often during a year of comic reading as writers and artists come and go, but if there’s one character in Marvel’s canon who you are unlikely to relate that phrase to it would be Deadpool. His madcap antics have been hitting a high point of late and to celebrate the status of – inserting tongue firmly in cheek here – the longest running comic at Marvel we’re presented with this cacophony of chaos. Drafting in an abundance of creators, Marvel has set them all loose on the Merc with a Mouth, involving such elements as aliens, mimes and psychiatrists, and in my opinion none of this can do any harm to a character who oozes unpredictability. The cover from Dave Johnson is one of the best to grace a comic this year and I suppose the big question really is just which mini-story will come out on top of the pile?

Writer: Charles Vess
Art: Charles Vess
Dark Horse $39.95

Rob N: Charles Vess, like Barry Windsor-Smith, is influenced heavily by the golden age of painting and illustration during the turn of the 19th/20th centuries. His art evokes comparisons with the exquisite line work of Arthur Rackham and W Heath Robinson amongst others, who set benchmarks for illustrated books that have never been bettered. He's one of a handful of artists that could illustrate anything at all and I'd buy it. Dark Horse over the last couple of years has been moving away from its former film franchise basis with quality projects like the Creepy and Eerie archives, and now they're publishing a hardcover volume of art by Charles Vess that, for me at least, is a must buy. In an era when fantasy artwork has reached an all time low with derivative D&D influences, Vess remains in a class of his own.

Writer: J.P. Kalonji
Art: J.P. Kalonji
Dark Horse $16.95

Stewart R: This 392-page graphic novel reveals the tale of Ningen, an Edo-era swordsmen who is instructed to leave his dojo and travel the world to discover himself and improve his skills. J P Kalonji has been impressing graphic novel readers across Europe for several years now and with this translation – it was initially released in 2007 in French – so his profile in the English-speaking markets should grow. His edgy, modern, urban illustration style should hopefully ensure that this is a break from the usual samurai comic mould and with the full panel per page format this is looking incredibly promising for the price tag.

Writer: David Hine
Art: Roy Allan Martinez
Radical $4.99

Matt T: In my mind David Hine's best work is on the darker side, and FVZA should very much fall into that category. When the Federal Vampire and Zombies Agency is faced with a new, unbeatable strain of the zombie virus they have to dig deeper, uncovering sinister goings on. Well, more sinister than having hordes of the bloody undead wandering about anyway. Regardless of this it's rare that Radical turn out a bad product, so I'm expecting the artwork to be cracking at the very least, and Hine is a safe pair of hands for this kind of thing.

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