From Fante Bukowski to Secret Wars: 6 Retail Gurus Discuss What Comics To Read in 2015

Comics Lists Secret Wars

While the Paste Comics crew devours a wide range of ongoing series and graphic novels to maintain a borderline-omniscient grasp of the medium, our knowledge pales in comparison to another group: retailers. These men and women witness the tides of comic books flow in and out of their stores on a weekly basis, giving recommendations, anticipating demand and staying afoot of the latest trends. They are both the keymaster and gatekeeper.


While Paste already presented the comics we’re looking most forward to this year, we touched base with some of our favorite retailers to see what they couldn’t wait to get into their stores. From artistic Bildungsromans to mammoth superhero events, the entries below provide an expansive look at some of the most intriguing books that will soon ship to your favorite comic shops.

Benn Ray, Atomic Books
Baltimore, MD
Anticipated Comic: Fante Bukowski by Noah Van Sciver
Release Date: August 15, 2015


Noah Van Sciver is easily one of the best young, alternative cartoonists. He’s prolific as hell, and I do my best to follow everything he does (which, given his prolific output, isn’t always easy). He has the right blend of intense linework and smart and typically satirical storytelling. He’d been posting pages of this Fante Bukowski story to his Facebook wall, and while I’ve been reading along there, I prefer my comics on paper. In fact, I liked this comic so much I approached Noah about publishing this myself (via our Atomic Book Co.), but Fantagraphics Books had already scooped it up (they know a great comic when they see it). As you’d expect with a protagonist whose name is based on two cult American writers, Fante Bukowski spends his time in dive bars drinking and associating with the down-and-out and thinking of himself as the Great American Writer. The only problem is, unlike his namesakes, Fante Bukowski’s writing sucks. This comic novella looks to be an excellent study in the self-deluding nature of artists and an immediate Van Sciver classic.

W. Dal Bush, Challengers Comics + Conversation
Chicago, IL
Anticipated Comic: The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
Release Date: February 4, 2015


I’m not sure if it’s cheating to pick The Sculptor as the book I’m most anticipating for 2015, because I’m not anticipating reading it. I’ve already read it. What I’m anticipating is everyone else getting a chance to read it. It’s astonishingly good. Scott McCloud is a master of the comics medium, having literally written the book on what comics can do in Understanding Comics, and The Sculptor is him putting all of those skills, all of that knowledge, to work in the most emotionally resonate, enormously affecting story he’s ever told. It’s a book that encompasses discussions about making art, about appreciating art, about appreciating the people in our lives, about embracing our successes and our failures, about when and how to pursue our passions. It’s a powerhouse book from a creator who has, almost impossibly, managed to release yet another career-defining work.

Jason Leivian, Floating World Comics
Portland, OR

Anticipated Comic: Ice Cream Kisses by Blaise Larmee
Release Date: 2015

It’s been a few years since Blaise Larmee’s first graphic novel, Young Lions, was published. Since then, he published a webcomic called 2001, a few minicomics and limited edition art books, and quite a bit of internet art under a number of pseudonyms and online identities. I think that for a while he had lost interest in comics and wanted to explore some other mediums. I’m excited to see where his work is at now, what type of book he’s intersted in making today.

Anticipated Comic: O.M.W.A.T. Terror Assaulter by Ben Marra
Release Date: Fall, 2015

Ben Marra’s comics just get better and better each year. The first issue of Terror Assaulter was his funniest book yet, with great colors and design, printed by Colour Code. I’m stoked that Fantagraphics is working with Ben now, ideally publishing a new book every year or so. Ben’s work is expertly crafted for maximum entertainment and comics fun per page. Can’t wait to see more of Terror Assaulter!

Anticipated Comic: Powr Mastrs Vol. 4 by C.F.


C.F. made a mini-comic sampler of Powr Mastrs 4 and on the back it said that Fantagraphics would be publishing this book in 2015. I haven’t seen confirmation anywhere, but it’s good to know that a lot of books that got cut from Picturebox’s publishing schedule are finding homes elsewhere. I expect they’ll produce it to the same standards as the first three volumes and then hopefully collect the whole thing in a nice big book for everyone to read. These books are the most inspiring, the most beautiful, the best way to spend your time.

Shelton Drum, Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find
Charlotte, NC
Anticipated Comic: Spider-Gwen by Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez
Release Date: February 25, 2015


I’ve been watching my friend Jason Latour cook up this fun twist on the Spidey mythos since mid 2014. What was thought to be a one-off appearance turned into the biggest superhero debut in years! I’m flying in Robbi Rodriguez to join locals Rico Renzi and Latour for the Spider-Gwen #1 release party on Saturday, February 28th. Joining them will be Married With Sea Monsters, the band that recorded the overnight YouTube sensation Face It Tiger. We will have a special store variant cover of the comic by Jason Latour, plus the first ever release of the song on a limited edition white vinyl 7” record, complete with custom illustrated sleeve by Rodriguez and Renzi!

Jeff Stang, The Laughing Ogre
Columbus, OH
Anticipated Comic: Nameless by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham
Release Date: February 4, 2015

Richard Neal, Zeus Comics
Dallas, TX
Anticipated Comic: Secret Wars by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic
Release Date: May 2, 2015

As a retailer AND as a fan, my enthusiasm is for Marvel’s Secret Wars! It will be a journey to the end of the Marvel 616 Universe in Secret Wars starting this summer and leading into the All-New Marvel in September. Recently Marvel saw HUGE success with Star Wars #1 selling over a million copies. They’re going to try and duplicate this with brand new #1s and an All-New Marvel.

Marvel is at an all time high in terms of consumer awareness thanks to the success of their cinematic universe. It’s a risk but it’s also the perfect time to capitalize on their brand’s popularity. Some of the obvious opportunities: Appeal to new readers by simplifying decades of history and giving fresh introductions to familiar and loved characters; make the comic universe more in line with the cinematic universe;
reclaim characters and properties lost to other studios; establish diversity from the outset of this new universe.

I would say that Nameless by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham is my most anticipated book of 2015. I really enjoyed the creators’ run on Batman Inc. and Morrison has been knocking it out of the park with Annihilator and Multiversity. The art I’ve seen so far looks like Burnham is at the top of his game.

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