Prism Stalker, Oblivion Song, Gideon Falls & More in Required Reading: Comics for 3/7/2018

Comics Lists Required Reading
Prism Stalker, Oblivion Song, Gideon Falls & More in Required Reading: Comics for 3/7/2018

If you’ve following along at home, a whopping seven (!) titles from our Most Anticipated Comics of 2018 list hit shelves this week, which is an excellent opportunity to judge our predictive tastes. Having now read most of these books, we’re standing by our suggestions, and throwing in a few additional ones to boot. With exciting new launches like the Black Hammer installment Doctor Star & The Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows, haunting horror slow-burn Gideon Falls, Skybound blockbuster-in-the-making Oblivion Song and Prophet-meets-Magical Girl genre Prism Stalker, this Wednesday is bursting with books—so much so that titles like Ballad of Sang, Firebug and the proper kickoff to Marvel’s Infinity Countdown didn’t quite make the cut. Scroll on down to see what did, and start scrounging for change now.

Brazen.jpegBrazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World
Writer/Artist: Pénélope Bagieu
Publisher: First Second
We swooned over California Dreamin’, French cartoonist Pénélope Bagieu’s biography of the Mamas & the Papas singer Cass Elliot, and now Bagieu is back with a look at a wider array of influential women throughout history. From Mae Jemison to Josephine Baker to lesser-known role models like Naziq al-Abid, Brazen celebrates the lives and accomplishments of more than two dozen female trailblazers, all rendered in Bagieu’s inventive, impressive cartooning. Brazen may be hitting shelves in March, but we have a feeling it’ll end up under quite a few trees next December as the ideal gift for the powerful, inspiring women in your life. Steve Foxe

DoctorStar.jpegDoctor Star & The Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows: From the World of Black Hammer #1
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Max Fiumara
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Despite popular runs on books like Green Arrow and Old Man Logan, Sweet Tooth creator Jeff Lemire doesn’t seem to click for too long at mainstream superhero comics (although surely DC Comics is hoping The Terrifics will be a different story). Luckily, he made up his own cape-comic universe, and it continues to expand this week with artist Max Fuimara in the pages of Doctor Star & The Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows. Fiumara rotated with his brother on Dark Horse’s Abe Sapien series and brings a haunted, smoky style to Lemire’s tale of fatherhood via cosmically powered super-heroics. Clearly inspired by DC’s Starman, Doctor Star & The Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows will tell dual stories set during this universe’s Golden Age and the present-day, and is sure to make good use of Lemire’s penchant for familial heartache in addition to Fiumara’s cosmic vistas. Steve Foxe

STL073871.jpegDodge City #1
Writer: Josh Trujillo
Artist: Cara McGee
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Another in the small cadre of YA-friendly sports comics, Dodge City has a lot in common with fellow BOOM! title Fence. Like Johanna the Mad, Cara McGee is a fan-favorite artist who earned an online following over the last few years. McGee became particularly popular after she began making custom blends of tea based on pop-culture characters, each with its own adorable illustration, and went on to work on the Over the Garden Wall comic. Writer Josh Trujillo has a slew of titles under his belt, from Adventure Time to the Mine! and Love is Love anthologies. Focused on Tomas and the rest of the Jazz Pandas, losers of their professional dodgeball league, Dodge City promises lessons about friendship, sportsmanship and overcoming the odds. Sports manga and anime is a huge market that western comics still haven’t figured out how to tap into, and McGee and Trujillo are exactly the kind of creators to help lead that charge. They love the medium and the genre, and they’re connected to the kind of fandom lifeblood that can help these stories succeed. Caitlin Rosberg

GideonFalls.jpegGideon Falls #1
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Publisher: Image Comics
Image Comics cemented its horror reputation throughout 2017, with breakout terror tales like Winnebago Graveyard and Redlands making bloody waves among fans. This week, frequent collaborators Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino launch their first creator-owned title together, based around the urban legend of the Black Barn, a structure that appears throughout history to foretell death and madness. Sorrentino’s shadow-drenched style is a perfect fit for the horror genre, but hasn’t been put to use in that arena since I, Vampire ended five years ago. This will be Lemire’s first straightforward horror entry, but the dual urban and rural settings should play to the same high-tension strengths he displayed in his Vertigo breakout Sweet Tooth. Horror fiends: Gideon Falls may be your number-one destination in 2018. Steve Foxe

STL075126.jpegGreen Hornet #1
Writer: Amy Chu
Artist: German Erramouspe
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Despite multiple attempts in several mediums, it’s been some time since the Green Hornet garnered the kind of attention and acclaim of the early radio show days, but Amy Chu is determined to change that. On the heels of a successful series of crossovers with Batman and The Shadow, Dynamite has paired Chu up with Disenchanted artist German Erramouspe for a brand-new take on a very old character. With Britt Reid Jr. missing, it’s up to Kato, his father’s former partner, and Kato’s daughter Mulan to find Britt and protect the city he calls home as both a civilian and the new Green Hornet. This is exactly the kind of fresh story and perspective that can invigorate the franchise, and Chu is an ideal choice to tell Mulan’s story. Hopefully, Erramouspe will lean into his sharp, action-heavy style to complement Chu’s plot. Fans of old radio dramas, noir mysteries or Chu’s excellent work on KISS and Red Sonja should definitely check this title out. Caitlin Rosberg

HighestHouse.jpegThe Highest House #1
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Peter Gross
Publisher: IDW Publishing
The latest collaboration between the Lucifer and The Unwritten team of Mike Carey and Peter Gross actually hit European shores a while back, but will finally become available to American readers via IDW Publishing this Wednesday. Tucked behind stunning covers from The Unwritten’s Yuko Shimizu, The Highest House tells the story of a slave boy named Moth who befriends a powerful entity known as Obsidian. Truth be told, after Vertigo heavyweights Lucifer and The Unwritten, there’s nothing Carey and Gross could publish that we wouldn’t recommend. These two industry veterans get sequential-art fantasy storytelling, and any new story from the pair is worth checking out. Steve Foxe

OblivionSongMostAnticipated.jpegOblivion Song #1
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Lorenzo De Felici
Publisher: Skybound/ Image Comics
Paste had the pleasure of sitting down last October with Skybound founder and The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman to help announce Oblivion Song, his upcoming ongoing series with Italian artist Lorenzo De Felici. Kirkman doesn’t really do small releases these days, with Outcast continuing to haunt horror fans and Invincible fresh off of its blockbuster end, and Oblivion Song is poised to make quite the impact. Set a decade after 300,000 residents of Philadelphia are teleported into a nightmarish alternate world, Oblivion Song follows a scientist who won’t give up on recovering the people lost in a flash. De Felici employs a highly fluid style reminiscent of Rumble’s James Harren, and a knack for memorable creature design. If Kirkman’s track record is any indication, Oblivion Song is in for a big 2018. Steve Foxe

PrismStalker.jpgPrism Stalker #1
Writer/Artist: Sloane Leong
Publisher: Image Comics
There’s no lack of Magical Girl and Chosen One stories in comics at the moment, but most of them are targeted toward young adult or middle grade readers—all-ages books with styles and sensibilities to match. But these tropes have even more to offer in the context of work oriented toward adults, and Sloane Leong is the perfect person to remind readers of that potential. Leong contributed to the Image Comics fantasy series From Under Mountains, and it’s gratifying that creators like her continue to find space for superhero-free speculative fiction in the medium. Early teases of Prism Stalker often reference novelist Octavia Butler, and the plot sounds like it would fit right in on a shelf with Afrofuturist novels and speculative fiction written by other people of color. It’s a story rooted in family and technology and metaphors for colonialism that should prove confrontational and unflinching. Comics can always use more speculative fiction stories, especially those created by artists with new angles or perspectives to explore, and Leong’s strong record so far makes Prism Stalker an easy title to recommend. Caitlin Rosberg

STL075474.jpegShade, the Changing Woman #1
Writer: Cecil Castellucci
Artist: Marley Zarcone
Publisher: Young Animal/ DC Comics
After 12 issues as a Changing Girl and a guest appearance in the “Milk Wars” event, Shade has returned with a new title—but thankfully the same creative team. Cecil Castellucci and Marley Zarcone have shepherded the titular character through some painful, remarkable and mind-bending growth and it’s good to see that they’re in this for the long haul. Shade, the Changing Woman picks up two years after Shade, the Changing Girl ended, and Shade finds herself struggling with some of the same questions of identity and agency as before, but in a new context as her friends Teacup and River have headed to college. Shade has already gone through several cycles of independence, both on her home planet of Meta and on Earth, and it will be interesting to see where her journey takes her as the people she trusts and cares about the most find some of that same autonomy without her ability to bend reality. What remains to be seen is what role Rac Shade, the original Changing Man, will play in Shade’s live moving forward, and what new struggles she will face with her new body and her new home. Caitlin Rosberg

WhyArtDavis.jpegWhy Art?
Writer/Artist: Eleanor Davis
Publisher: Fantagraphics
I don’t have to know any more than the title and the author get hyped about this book, which, thankfully, is out this week. The question of why to make or consume art, especially in a time as chock-full of horrible garbage as ours, is a big one and a tough one. It’s not necessarily easier to get off your butt and go do things to make the world a better place (which Davis also does) than it is to make art, but it can seem more worthwhile. But a world without art isn’t one I want to live in. I look forward to whatever answers she can provide. Hillary Brown

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