Comics We’re Excited About for 6/3/2015

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Our first trip to the comic shop this June shouldn’t disappoint. Dark Horse comics is set to send us back in time with the ultra-cool dinosaur project, Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians #1, while an ages-old comic will close up shop. Archie is set to complete its 666-issue run (weird place to end, huh?), which will be followed by Mark Waid and Fiona Staples’ much-discussed relaunch. And DC is set to release one of its most promising titles in a long time; Steve Orlando’s Midnighter promises a more nuanced take on the gay hero.

Take a look at our favorites below, and share your own in the comments section.



Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians #1

Writer &Artist: Ricardo Delgado
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Ricardo Delgado repeatedly reminds us all how blessed we are to have grocery stores: within his viscera-drenched primordial ecosystems, one scaly monolith is always consuming another in the frenetic dance of dinosaur survival. Even flat-toothed bovine forerunners like aptosauruses won’t think twice before stomping out hapless path-crossers. Delgado releases his fourth storyline in the Age of Reptiles series with Ancient Egyptians. This new tale follows Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, a cranky crocodile-looking bastard who assumes the journey of ronin, looking for grub and dealing with trouble when it swims his way. Though not a caption, word bubble or sound effect disturbs these blissfully detailed pages, a chorus of grunts, screams, scuffles, slashes, plunges and tumult lies just underneath every perfectly rendered panel of this timelessly cool project. Sean Edgar



Airboy #1

Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Greg Hinkle
Publisher: Image Comics

First announced a few Image Expos past, James Robinson and Greg Hinkle’s Airboy has been a long time coming. The end result feels more meta than what was initially proposed, with the faux-Golden Age hero Airboy actually appearing to creators Robinson and Hinkle in the pages of the comic after their fictional avatars are hired to revamp the character and fail to come up with any decent ideas. Robinson tends to work best on eccentric properties rather than traditional superheroicsduring, as seen on his much-loved Starman run, and Hinkle’s expressive cartooning should help set the off-kilter tone of the series. Think of this as the gonzo version of It’s a Bird and just don’t ask too many questions. Steve Foxe



Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1

Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Adam Kubert
Publisher: Marvel Comics

One of the many wonders of the comic book Internet is how many fans still take to message boards to complain about One More Day, the 2007 Amazing Spider-Man story that dissolved Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson’s wedding via Mephisto, Marvel’s favorite stand-in Satan. Those dedicated forum warriors finally have their reward (kind of) with Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, a Secret Wars tie-in mini-series starring a Peter and MJ who stayed together and raised a daughter. Longtime Spidey-scribe Dan Slott promises big revelations and flowing tears, with artistic collaborator Adam Kubert guaranteeing event-level artistic spectacle to match. The payoff may be bittersweet—it seems unlikely if not impossible that this status quo will survive Secret Wars and Slott isn’t exactly known for being kind to Parker—but all bets are off, especially with Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales a confirmed transplant to the main Marvel U. Maybe Peter will finally have the time to commit to a family once again… Steve Foxe



An Entity Observes All Things #1

Writer & Artist: Box Brown
Publisher: Retrofit Comics/Big Planet

Box Brown’s eclectic collection of sci-fi vignettes may have come out a few weeks ago, but its pop culture medley is too good not to tout after a read-through. Brown—who also runs the appropriately named publisher Retrofit Comics—has made no effort to hide his adoration of the ‘80s. Whether framing the biography of larger-than-life wrestlers or prepping explorations of pioneering geometric puzzle games, the man clearly prefers the decade in which he was born above all others. An Entity Observes All Things likewise dives into the colorful, bizarre surrealism of the era. One story revolves around distilled god flesh used to flavor waffles, while another depicts a woman who achieves perfection, soon regretting the fragility and charm of inadequacy. (There are exceptions: one lengthy section merges religion and social media into a head trip that’s thoroughly disturbing.) Brown’s illustrations pivot from polygonal patterns to ben-day dot expressionism, constructing an immersive, minimalist aesthetic to ground these endlessly creative respites. Sean Edgar



Archie #666

Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artists: Pat Kennedy & Various
Publisher: Archie Comics

Oh Archie. For decades you remained relatively unchanged, a parody-ready picture of idyllic 1950s small-town teen life complete with easily reconciled conflicts and an eternally optimistic outlook. Much has been written about Archie Comics’ recent socially relevant revival with standout titles like the surprisingly somber alternate future book Life with Archie and alternate-reality zombie horror hit Afterlife with Archie, but the center of it all has always been the primary Archie series. Now, with the oddly ominous 666th issue, Archie comes to an end in preparation for its hip relaunch from Mark Waid and Fiona Staples. Trusted Archie pros Tom DeFalco, Pat Kennedy and others have assembled to bid farewell to Riverdale as we know it. Given Archie’s enduring popularity, it’s unlikely that the publisher has completely cast off the original version of America’s Favorite Teenager, but longtime fans will want to nab this historic goodbye all the same. Steve Foxe



Bat-Mite #1

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Corin Howell
Publisher: DC Comics

If Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin proved anything, it’s that Gotham is a dark, humorless city for a reason. But, quick on the heels of Marvel’s Howard the Duck reboot, DC is set to introduce The Dark Knight’s goofiest counterpart, Bat-Mite. The character, who first appeared in 1959 in Detective Comics #267, is an imp from another dimension and—like the Spider-verse’s Spider-Pig—usually annoys more than he contributes to battle. Writer Dan Jurgens has promised a fairly meta-storyline to the Bat-Mite tale; he’s going to be “an editor gone berserk”—a concept that could be a funny prod at some of DC’s relatively thin monthly output. Either way, Bat-Mite is a fun, six-issue rarity that I’m excited to give a try. Tyler R. Kane


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Broken World #1

Writer: Frank J. Barbiere
Artist: Christopher Peterson
Publisher: Boom! Studios

Frank J. Barbiere’s latest, Broken World, might read as a bummer version of Armageddon on paper. Our protagonist, Elena Marlowe, is stuck in a Kafka-esque approval process to leave Earth—all while a giant meteor plummets toward it. But Broken World—much like Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead and Brian K. Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man—doesn’t aim to lose itself in the drama of the apocalypse itself. Instead, Barbiere’s set to introduce us to a broad cast of characters who will try to live their lives in the face of the ultimate abandonment. Tyler R. Kane



Drawn & Quarterly: Twenty-Five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels

Writers: Various
Artists: Various
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

Thinking of Drawn & Quarterly as a publisher with a finite history seems borderline bizarre—founder Chris Oliveros’ imprint has made such an impact on indie, alternative and classic cartooning that it’s hard to imagine a time when it wasn’t stretching the boundaries of comics. This fact is no more evident in Drawn & Quarterly: Twenty-Five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels, a 778-page tome that celebrates the work of a small group of passionate comicphiles dedicated to curating the next generation of cartooning excellence, with a surgical emphasis on feminist and autobiographical work. The book overflows with strips, anecdotes, interviews and love letters to the cartoonists who flourished within its output. And while it may be reductive to list a sample of the creators D&Q introduced the world, the sheer size and range is staggering: James Sturm, Adrian Tomine, Chester Brown, Daniel Clowes, Rutu Modan, Joe Sacco, Chris Ware Lynda Barry, Kate Beaton and Michael DeForge are just a few of the luminaries whose work ran under the Montreal printer. Gorgeous, hilarious and uncompromisingly integral, this printed history certainly wasn’t necessary to prove the magic D&Q has accomplished, but you can’t help at marvel at the breadth of it when presented with such meticulous heart and passion. Sean Edgar



Future Imperfect #1

Writer: Peter David
Artist: Greg Land
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Peter David is one of a few comic writers with decades-long careers whose fan base has seemed to grow with the years, bolstered largely by his long and often ahead-of-its-time run on X-Factor. Follow-up series All-New X-Factor didn’t fare as well, likely because it jettisoned most of the cast members readers had come to know and love. Future Imperfect, his Secret Wars mini-series with artist Greg Land, stands to call those dedicated fans back with the revival of one of his most enduring creations, the evil future Hulk known as the Maestro—and the return of Ruby Summers, a key possible-future character from X-Factor. Land’s layouts and compositions have grown leaps and bounds in the last decade, and he is at his best working on characters with distinct silhouettes that require him to reach past his heavily photo-referenced comfort zone. Although Land’s divisive reputation might scare off some potential buyers, David’s track record and the combination of some of his best-loved concepts make this an event tie-in must-buy. Steve Foxe



Groot #1

Writer: Jeff Loveness
Artists: Brian Kesinger
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Welcome to a new series about an anthropomorphic space tree whose dialogue is restricted to three words: how can you not be curious? As cynical as reception could be to the third Guardians of the Galaxy spinoff, Skottie Young’s been doing standup work on Rocket Raccoon and this title sports an interesting pedigree. Jeff Loveness writes for Jimmy Kimmel and has a hilarious Twitter account, while Disney animator Brian Kesinger’s fluid preview pages hint at vast cosmic playgrounds filled with colorful characters. Hey, this could grow on us! Sean Edgar



The Hero Book One

Writer/Artist: David Rubin
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

David Rubin arrived on the American scene in a big way with The Rise of Aurora West, the Battling Boy spinoff written by superstar Paul Pope and J. T. Petty, and is poised to make an even bigger splash with the upcoming The Fiction, his BOOM! Studios collaboration with writer-on-the-rise Curt Pires. In advance of Rubin completely dominating the United States, Dark Horse Comics has snatched up American rights to The Hero, Rubin’s gorgeously illustrated retelling of the “first superhero,” Heracles. Rubin’s exaggerated, thick-inked work will feel familiar to fans of Pope and Rafael Grandpa. If you’re not familiar with Rubin yet, this hardcover is the perfect introduction to a world-class talent. Steve Foxe



Midnighter #1

Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: ACO
Publisher: DC Comics

Midnighter has always been an important character in the history of gay mainstream comics, but not without caveat. His characterization at the hands of writers like Mark Millar and Garth Ennis rarely rose above “Murderous Gay Batman,” and Midnighter’s previous solo outings almost wholly ignored his sexuality and personal life. Writer Steve Orlando and artist ACO are taking a much more nuanced approach to the character in his ongoing debut, separating him from pre-52 husband Apollo and longtime team Stormwatch to help Midnighter discover who he is when he’s not murdering legions of violent criminals. With equal attention paid to the character’s crusade against unchecked mad science and his newly single exploits, Midnighter is one of the most promising new series to emerge from the “DC You” soft relaunch, and of equal appeal to fans of hyperviolence and same-sex bedroom romps. Steve Foxe