Eternity Girl, New Mutants: Dead Souls, Vampironica & More in Required Reading: Comics for 3/14/2018

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<i>Eternity Girl</i>, <i>New Mutants: Dead Souls</i>, <i>Vampironica</i> & More in Required Reading: Comics for 3/14/2018

What do an existential, undying not-quite-superhero, a bloodsucking cheerleader and a haunted young Muslim woman have in common? They all lead new comic series debuting this Wednesday, alongside long-anticipated releases like the body horror of Come Into Me, the hip-hop science fiction of Sci-Fu and the second installment of Dark Horse’s faithful Neil Gaiman adaptation, American Gods. New Comic Book Day is almost always a grab bag of wildly different concepts sharing self space, and this mid-March release date is no different. Whether you’re looking for the all-ages fun of Encounter or the supernaturally tinged super-heroism of New Mutants: Dead Souls, Paste has you covered.


American Gods: My Ainsel #1

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Writer: P. Craig Russell
Artist: Scott Hampton
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Neil Gaiman’s American Gods made a visually stunning leap to the small screen in 2017, and with it came a perfectly timed—and slightly more faithful—comic adaptation from Dark Horse, written for comics by frequent Gaiman collaborator P. Craig Russell with art by Scott Hampton. Russell knows the pacing and cadence of Gaiman’s myth-weaving, even in a tome as large and loping as American Gods, and Hampton’s realistic figure work drives home the interpersonal drama of the cast while making each act of godhood, whether inspiring or horrifying, stand out from the world around it. American Gods: My Ainsel continues the adaption into a new volume as Shadow and Wednesday leave the House on the Rock. With the TV show’s second season somewhat uncertain following the departure of its original showrunners, this return to Dark Horse’s iteration is a welcome one. Steve Foxe


Come Into Me #1

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Writers: Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler
Artist: Piotr Kowalski
Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Bloodborne just hit shelves at the end of February, but artist Piotr Kowalski is already staying busy with a simultaneous horror comic first announced here at Paste that promises to be just as disturbingly violent as that fan-favorite videogame property. Co-written by The Dregs breakthrough team Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler (soon taking over Marvel’s Cable in advance of the character’s screen debut in Deadpool 2), Come Into Me channels David Cronenberg and social-media over-sharing for this tale of a technology that allows two minds to share one body. As one might expect, the effects of constant contact are more than a little maddening, which will surely provide fertile and bloody storytelling opportunities for Thompson, Nadler and Kowalski in this unsettling Black Mask body-horror outing. Steve Foxe


Dry County #1

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Writer/Artist: Rich Tommaso
Publisher: Image Comics
After four issues of critical darling Spy Seal, Rich Tommaso has taken a hiatus from that title to work on something new for Image, a neon and pastel murder mystery set in Miami in the late ‘80s. Tommaso has a deceptively simple style, and it seems well-suited to something in the vein of Archer: Vice. Though Tommaso has been prolific at Image, his style might fall closer to what one might expect from Fantagraphics, which Tommaso has worked with in the past, or other prestige graphic-novel publishers. That might explain some of the hiccups that Spy Seal has experienced, struggling to find a larger audience. Tommaso’s work is weird and wonderful, and hopefully Dry County will outstrip the vague and lackluster description Image has given it so far. With this new first issue, it’s worth diving in to discover if any of Tomasso’s other work might be for you. Caitlin Rosberg


Encounter #1

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Writers: Art Baltazar, Franko
Artist: Chris Giarrusso
Publisher: Lion Forge
Despite all the indications that they shouldn’t, most comic publishers eschew all-ages and kid-friendly superhero titles, attempting to cover that niche of the market with kid-lit and books published the traditional way. Bucking that trend are titles like Tiny Titans and Mini Marvels, telling stories about big heroes for little kids (with enough sly nods for adults to enjoy, too). The creative minds behind both of these books have teamed up for a brand-new superhero story that sounds like Superman meets Martian Manhunter, with a canine companion in tow. Art Baltazar and Franco, the minds behind Tiny Titans, are writing, while Chris Giarrusso will contributes his beloved cartooning. All three have a great handle on what makes a kid-friendly comic that will keep adults entertained, too. This is one of several changes and new titles coming to Lion Forge that have marked a new direction for the company writ large, and it will be interesting to see where this partnership can take the publisher and the involved creators. Caitlin Rosberg


Eternity Girl #1

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Writer: Magdalene Visaggio
Artist: Sonny Liew
Publisher: Young Animal/DC Comics
The Young Animal imprint at DC Comics, launched in 2016 and curated by Gerard Way, injected some much-needed change and weirdness into the lineup of titles at the publisher, and with three of its core titles currently relaunching and Doom Patrol, the line’s flagship, slipping into deeper and deeper delays, fans have been waiting to see what’s next. From writer Magdalene Visaggio and artist Sonny Liew, Eternity Girl marks the third Young Animal book to have a female titular character, this one a woman who can’t die—so she decides to destroy the universe. Visaggio has shown a penchant for fun action stories with serious emotional weight as well as great comedic timing, and it was no surprise to fans of her work that Kim & Kim was nominated for an Eisner last year. What’s particularly exciting is to see her working with Sonny Liew, whose skill with bright and overwhelming full-page spreads and grand fantastical elements made the most recent Doctor Fate run remarkable. The two of them together will take readers on a wild, visually engrossing journey, and the only bummer is that Eternity Girl is slated to explore its existential themes as a miniseries, not an ongoing. Caitlin Rosberg


Green Lantern Earth One Vol. 1

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Writers: Corinna Bechko, Gabriel Hardman
Artist: Gabriel Hardman
Publisher: DC Comics
The Earth One books have been a boon for some DC fans over the last few years, an Elseworlds-style exploration of what could be for familiar and beloved characters. Diversifying the types of stories told about tent-pole characters only makes fans happier: if a reader isn’t enjoying one creative team’s take, there’re always different options to check out. Hal Jordan, often maligned and misunderstood, finally gets his own Earth One story this week from Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, the creators of Image sci-fi series Invisible Republic. Green Lantern Earth One imagines a world in which Jordan is already off Earth, operating as a space prospector rather than a hotshot pilot, before he finds the ring that changes his life. Jordan isn’t even at the center of the main-continuity Green Lanterns title right now, and his story can definitely benefit from some fresh life and a new direction unburdened by wider continuity. Bechko and Hardman did some great work for Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman, and have a long-running partnership with titles like Savage Hulk, Star Wars Legacy, and Planet of the Apes on their conjoined resumes, which raises anticipation for this latest Earth One offering. Caitlin Rosberg


Infidel #1

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Writer: Pornshak Pichetshote
Artist: Aaron Campbell
Publisher: Image Comics
It’s a good time to be a former Vertigo editor: founder Karen Berger’s eponymous imprint is rolling out at Dark Horse, Shelly Bond is digging deeper into Black Crown at IDW, Cliff Chiang continues to amaze on Paper Girls and now Pornshak Pichetshote joins the party with Infidel, a new horror series for fans of Get Out, drawn by The Shadow and James Bond: Felix Leiter artist Aaron Campbell. Pichetshote’s writing debut updates the haunted house for the MAGA era, as a young Muslim woman and her multiracial neighbors move into a building stalked by spirits that feed off of xenophobia and racism following an explosive attack that claimed the lives of several residents. Like Days of Hate, Infidel pulls from the modern tumult to tell a thrilling genre story the way that only comics can, enhanced by Campbell’s shadowy style, which pulls off some of the most genuinely unnerving spirits in sequential-art memory. Steve Foxe


New Mutants: Dead Souls #1

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Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Adam Gorham
Publisher: Marvel Comics
For a seemingly endless period of darkness at the height of Disney/Fox contention over film rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four, Marvel seemed to de-prioritize the merry mutants, much to the chagrin of a generation raised on the animated series and mutant melodrama. Those gloomy days seem to be behind us, and now the publisher is even capitalizing on some movie synergy. New Mutants: Dead Souls revives the fan-favorite underdogs as a team willing to confront paranormal threats—a clear connection to both the Bill Sienkiewicz era and the upcoming (delayed) horror-inspired movie. Written by Phoenix Resurrection scribe Matthew Rosenberg and drawn by Rocket’s Adam Gorham, New Mutants: Dead Souls looks to be a love letter to the franchise’s first junior-varsity team and a much-welcomed (if temporary) expansion of the X-line. Steve Foxe


Sci-Fu

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Writer/Artist: Yehudi Mercado
Publisher: Oni Press
Books like Ed Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree and Ron Wimberly’s Prince of Cats prove just how well hip hop can translate into comics when shepherded by the right creator. Yehudi Mercado is trying to do just that by combining hip hop, science fiction and kung fu into an all-ages graphic novel full of music and adventure. Sci-Fu tells the story of kids from ‘80s-era Brooklyn transported to an alternate version of their home and bestowed with powerful abilities. The book promises neon and robots and epic boss battles, all in a kid-friendly setting and with bright art that wouldn’t look out of place opposite Steven Universe or Hey Arnold. Sci-Fu seems like it’s going to follow in the successful footsteps of young adult and all-ages graphic novels like those of Raina Telgemeier, while also tapping into the genre that had Marvel creating hip hop variant covers. Encouraging kids to read and giving families a fun book to experience together is always a win; hopefully Sci-Fu will help expand the subject matter that all-ages graphic novels can successfully cover. Caitlin Rosberg


Vampironica #1

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Writers: Greg Smallwood & Megan Smallwood
Artist: Greg Smallwood
Publisher: Archie Comics
Archie Comics has worked hard in the last few years to make its name synonymous with, of all genres, horror: from the shambling undead of Afterlife with Archie to the macabre witchcraft of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and most recently the hirsute carnage of Jughead: The Hunger. Even Archie’s wildly popular Riverdale television adaptation takes an unusually dark approach to the stereotypically sunny residents of Archie’s all-American past, earning frequent comparisons to Twin Peaks. The next Archie/arch-fiend mash-up making its way to shelves is Vampironica, arrviving this week from the brother/sister team of Megan and Greg Smallwood, the latter of whom recently wrapped up an impressive run on Marvel’s Moon Knight with writer Jeff Lemire. In the Smallwoods’ capable hands, Riverdale resident Veronica finds herself saddled with sanguine desires…and powerful new abilities, and she must determine whether she’ll use her new powers responsibly, or turn Riverdale into her personal blood bank. Archie has a killer (pun intended) track record with its horror line, and the artistic prowess of Greg Smallwood makes Vampironica the closest thing comics has to a sure bet. Steve Foxe

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