Category Archives: Comic Previews and Picks
If you’re a casual comic book reader, there are more barriers than there should be in enjoying the medium.
For the established publishers – like Marvel and DC – the continuity and sheer number of titles make it hard to know where to jump in and feel confident that you’ll get the story they are trying to tell. For the mass of other publishers, titles are not familiar and it’s even harder to know if you’ll like the book because you don’t even know the characters.
If that describes how you’re feeling when thinking about heading to the local comic shop – or looking for comics online – there’s a new(ish) publisher on the block whose books you simply have got to try out.
Ahoy Comics has a whole slate of books that are perfect for casual fans – you don’t need to know decades of continuity or to be reading on a weekly basis to enjoy the incredible wit and amazing art in their titles. We’ve talked about a couple of their books in the past, but in our latest podcast, we’re shining a spotlight on our favorite publisher to recommend to comics readers. And I promise you – no money changed hands here – as much as I wish it had – their comics are just that dang good.
Ahoy Comics has been putting out an amazing slate of books since 2018. We first encountered them with “Captain Ginger: Dogworld” in early 2020, and we’ve been hooked ever since.
In our latest podcast, we’ve got in-depth reviews of:
The Wrong Earth: Night and Day #1
My Bad #1
Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Death #1
Plus, there’s way too much discussion about Hostess Fruit Pies and other snacks – all here for you on this episode of the Casual Comics Cast. Available below, or wherever you listen to podcasts these days.
Hi all –
It’s been a while since we discussed the hot new comics that y’all should be excited about. But, with all the COVID nonsense largely behind us (fingers crossed), we’re back on track and ready to roll on our recurring coverage of the comic releases that we are looking forward to this week.
Black Knight: Curse Ebony Blade #3 (of 5) – Marvel Comics
Writer: Simon Spurrier, Art: Sergio Davila
Suddenly – out of nowhere – the Black Knight is hot again. On the heels of Marvel’s announcement that The Black Knight -Dane Whitman – will play a major role in the upcoming MCU movie “The Eternals”, the comics publisher is getting the character back out in front of readers.
The Black Knight recently got his own one-shot as part of Marvel’s “King in Black” crossover event – which, if you haven’t checked out, you definitely should. Writer Simon Spurrier quickly educated readers who were new to the character nimbly, explaining the character’s back story and unique power/skill-set, in that one-shot. And his expert storytelling and dry wit carry through to this title.
Casual comics fans should love the mini-series format of “Black Knight Curse Ebony Blade”. It’s both a fun introduction to a character many are not familiar with and a self-contained story that requires neither extensive background knowledge nor a commitment beyond these five issues. It should not be hard to find the first two issues of this series – which has been top-notch so far – so now is a perfect time to fall in love with Dane Whitman, his curse, and his ebony blade.
Shang-Chi #1 – Marvel Comics
by: Gene Luen Yang , Dike Ruan , Leinil Francis Yu
Here’s another character that Marvel would like you to know more about heading into an upcoming movie release.
“Shang–Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” opens on September 3, 2021. This is a hero that I don’t know a ton about, so I’m actually really excited to read this book. The solicit promises a great introduction to the charatcter:
“SHANG-CHI VS. THE MARVEL UNIVERSE! Shang-Chi and his family are back! And this time, they’re colliding head-to-head with the Marvel Universe’s biggest heroes!”
I find that one way to make a hero (and his family) more accessible to casual readers is to create friction between said hero and the other characters that readers are much more in tune with. So, this should be an excellent jumping on point for people who want to get on board with Shang Chi before the movie rolls on the big screen.
Rover Red Charlie #1 (Dog Days Variant)
Writer: Garth Ennis, Art: Michael Dipascale
Personally, I find Garth Ennis a bit hit-or-miss, but this is definitely one of the more twisted “hits” in bibliography.
The release date on this one in the solicit is confusing, so don’t be mad if you’re not seeing this on the shelves this week. This is a re-release of a comic that I read (and loved) when it was first published back in 2013 and tells the tale of three canine pals who are living through the apocalypse. When an outbreak occurs that causes all humans to erupt in violent rage, the dogs are on their own in figuring out how to navigate a world gone wild. If you can imagine “28 Days Later” told from the POV of the pets, you’re halfway there.
This appears to be some kind of deluxe edition, so hopefully there’s some bonus content for those who have read this before. Avatar Press’ website is positively awful, so I guess we’ll all find out together.
Wonder Girl #1 – DC Comics
Writer: Joelle Jones, Art: Joelle Jones
Here’s the book I’ve definitely been dying to read. In the course of wading through DC’s huge “Future State” rollout, “Wonder Woman” was definitely the standout book in a mostly “meh” lot of books. Finally Yara Flor has her own ongoing series with “Wonder Girl”.
“Yara Flor has always felt something was missing from her life – and now she is headed to Brazil to find it. Little does she know her arrival will set off a series of events that will change the world of Wonder Woman forever. Her return has been prophesied, and with that prophecy comes the undivided attention of benevolent gods from pantheons beyond. “
I absolutely LOVED Joelle Jones’ take on the Wonder Woman mythos and the introduction of Yara into the DC Universe. Jones did a magnificent job of blending our mundane reality with the fantastic world of Greek mythology, and I cannot wait to read more.
And the art is magnificent – I mean just look at that cover. I’m going to read this one and then hang it on my wall!
As the first issue in an ongoing series – featuring a brand new character, nonetheless – this is a perfect time for casual comics readers to get introduced to a book you might just fall in love with.
That’s why “Wonder Girl” #1 is the official Casual Comics Pick of the Week.
Hey, folks – hope you’re hanging in there. This week, Pat’s back!
And, We’ve got some recommended watching and reading to get you through the week.
- Dredd (2012) starring Karl Urban
- Wonder Woman: Blood (2011), written by Brian Azzarello
- The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – the Netflix show and the comic –
Thanks for listening!
This week, join us and our special guest – Batman Super-fan, Ryan – as we discuss more new(ish) comics to catch up on during your Corona lockdown:
- Robin 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular – DC Comics
- Fantastic Four: Marvels Snapshot #1 – Marvel Comics
- Legion Of Super-Heroes #5 – DC Comics
- Transformers vs Terminator #1 – Dark Horse Comics
And our hot comic pick of the week – Judge Dredd: False Witness #1 from IDW
Plus, a bunch of the other nonsense you’ve come to know and love.
Cheers – and stay safe!
Casual Comics Cast Ep 205 – Netflix’s Locke and Key, Full Moon Comics’ Femalien, Marvel’s The End, Oni Press’ “Bactrack”, and more
This episode, we’ve got commentary on the new Netflix TV series – “Locke and Key”
We also review a bunch of comics, including:
- Femalien: Cosmic Crush #1, from Full Moon Comics
- Wonder Woman #750, from DC Comics
- Captain America: The End and Doctor Strange: The End, from Marvel Comics
Plus, you’ve got my solid-gold, Hot Comics Pick of the Week: Backtrack #1, from Oni Press
So, settle in with your favorite beverage and enjoy the show!
This episode is recorded in front of a live studio audience.
No kidding, we really do have a live studio audience. His name is Ryan and he’s here to talk about Batman. And to correct last episode’s disparaging remarks about a classic DC character – Leslie Thompkins.
This week, the Casual Comics Cast reviews of the following comics and beers:
• Red Sonja and Vampirella meet Betty and Veronica number eight, by Dynamite Comics
• Quantum and Woody number one, by Valiant Comics
• All Luck Comics number one, by All Luck Comics
• Skittley Bittley Bop, from Hoof Hearted Brewery
• Opera Cream Stout from Platform Beer Company
• And Bierwolf, from Great Lakes Brewing Company
Plus, other comic-related nonsense!
So, settle in with your favorite beverage and enjoy the show!
A couple of quick housekeeping items before I get to the Hot New Comics of the Week:
I was promised help this week from my podcast mates. They did not deliver. And, thus, these picks are once again the sole responsibility of me – your friendly Casual Comics Guy. I’ll take all the blame (and of course, the accolades) on these picks.
But, do take a moment to listen to the podcast if you haven’t yet. And feel free to leave comments in the web zone below.
Casual Comic Picks of the Week
Frankenstein Undone #1
OK – it’s the first issue in a series. Just the right time to get on board with the comic. The Frankenstein myth is also an easy gateway into an unfamiliar title.
Mignola takes on Frankenstein! Frankenstein’s creator lies dead in the icy grip of the Arctic, and the monster searches for a new purpose. Just as he thinks he’s found one with a group of unlikely companions, disaster strikes–and the monster is catapulted out of Mary Shelley’s novel and into the world of Hellboy. Bridging Mary Shelley’s original Frankenstein novella and Mike Mignola’s Frankenstein Underground, this series brings together Mignola, Scott Allie, Ben Stenbeck, Brennan Wagner, and Clem Robins for an all-new horror adventure in the far north.
I’m not familiar with Mignola’s “Frankenstein Underground”, but he’s got an excellent track record for interesting gothic tales. Oh, so many years ago, I loved Fred Saberhagen’s “The Frankenstein Papers”, and the solicit for this comic gives me the same chills.
Clue TPB Candlestick
I’ve heard a ton of great things about this series from the fine gentlemen over at the Two Headed Nerd podcast. If you don’t already listen, you should.
Also, in running down my top movies of 2019, I find myself putting “Knives Out” easily in the top 5. So, maybe it’s time for the reinvention of the murder mystery genre.
Who did it? How’d they do it? And where? Answer these classic questions and solve the mystery in this graphic novel based on the timeless detective game. Cartoonist auteur Dash Shaw unleashes his murderous imagination on the quirky, thrilling, and mysterious world of Clue! Ripe with puzzles, secrets, and lies, everyone’s a suspect in this suspense-filled whodunit! Was it Miss Scarlet in the conservatory with the lead pipe? Suspicions mount as bodies start piling up.
More than 50% of my interest is from the raves that this got from the THN podcast. Now that it’s in a collected edition, sounds like the perfect time to pick it up.
Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica #8
That’s a lot of characters from a lot of different universes all packed into one comic. How did they get through seven issues without me knowing about this title? Guess it’s my lack of ability to get to the comic shop every week.
Ever wonder how Red Sonja and Vampirella could make it to Riverdale to hang out with Betty and Veronica? Now you’re about to find out! But to do so, you’ll have to travel deep into interstellar space, for the answer lies not on Earth, but on Drakulon! And the revelation is TWICE as bananas as you could imagine!
Did I ever wonder… I absolutely did as soon as I read the title. If it was only as bananas as I could imagine, I might just wait. But it’s apparently TWICE as bananas as I can imagine. And that’s pretty darn bananas. Count me in for this issue.
I’m going to go ahead and assume that there’s no exaggeration going on here, and that this book is 2x as much craziness as I can imagine and name “Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica #8” as my Casual Comics Hot Pick of the Week!
Until we meet again… Cheers!
Here’s the latest Casual Comics Cast. I promise you, the audio gets better about 5 minutes in (timestamp 5:13 to be precise).
On this podcast, we discuss :
- How Michael is doing with Dry January
- Pat and Michael’s extreme abuse of Joe’s physical comics
- Which comic character – if any – has cats in his/her mouth
Plus, some actual comic reviews:
- Warrior Nun: Dora #2 from Avatar Press (Pat’s verdict – 8 out of 10)
- Detective Comics #1000 from DC Comics (Michael’s verdict – 5/10)
- Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter or Terror: Season 2 #4 from Ahoy! Comics (Joe gives it 9/10)
And there are beer reviews, as well.
Join us, won’t you?
2020 already? It seems like just yesterday that I was starting up this site. Yet through the excessive postings during comic conventions and then into the lean times… through the launch, then relaunch of our Casual Comics Cast, we’re still here.
So, while I still have a little energy left over, here are my picks for the Hot Comics of the Week.
Edgar Allan Poes Snifter of Terror Season 2 #4
This goes against every fiber in my being. It’s a “second season” of a comic where I haven’t read the first. Also, it’s number 4 in the series, and I haven’t read the first three. On the plus side, this looks like an anthology, so while the wraparounds might have some ongoing story, the bulk of the issue should stand on its own.
Check out the solicit:
More audaciously reimagined Poe stories! A smart car leads a lobbyist to murder in ‘The Black Cat!’ Plus! The survival of a space station astronaut depends on ‘The Gold Bug!’ Extra! ‘Poe and the Black Cat’ continue their slapstick war, and short prose stories round out this issue.
Between the excessive exclamation points and that gorgeous cover, count! me! in!
Wonder Woman #750
At this point, I’m just a sucker for the “anniversary” collections that DC is publishing this year. To be fair, they have been hit (Action Comics #1000) and miss (Detective Comics #1000). But of DC’s big three, I think this one has the most potential.
There have been a couple of great Wonder Woman arcs over the last few years. Brian Azzarello’s recent run was absolutely amazing.
Side note: looking back, that “recent” series started in 2011. Time is fleeting, my friends…
Let’s take a look at what DC has to say. And, let’s hope they can start taking it easy on those exclamation marks. We’re getting into Marvel-level yelling on some of these.
An all-star 96-page celebration of the Amazon Princess by longtime favorites and acclaimed new voices! In the lead story, Wonder Woman’s epic ‘Year of the Villain’ battle comes to a close, leading the way to new challenges ahead. Additionally, this oversized gem tells tales from Diana’s past, present and future by some of the greatest storytellers in the business- including Colleen Doran, Mariko Tamaki, the Teen Titans: Raven team of writer Kami Garcia and artist Gabriel Picolo, and legendary Wonder Woman creators returning to the character, including Gail Simone and Greg Rucka!
Ghostbusters Year One #1 (of 4)
This one gets on the list for checking many of the casual comic fan boxes. First issue. Limited Series. Familiar property. Yep. Let’s see what’s going on with these ‘busters.
In anticipation of the new Ghostbusters feature film coming to theaters Summer 2020, we look back at the Boys in Grey’s first year on the job, showcasing never before seen adventures! After defeating Gozer and becoming heroes in the city, county, and state of New York, a publisher has decided to cash in with a biography of the Boys in Grey and sends a writer to interview them all for background. He starts with WINSTON ZEDDEMORE, the first ‘buster hired into the supernatural start-up. Winston relates the story of his very first bust, so we can finally know what kind of… ahem, stuff he’s seen that’ll will turn you white!
Punisher Kill Krew TPB
This is the kind of comic that has me intrigued. I solidly know that I will be confused. This is a tie-in to a massive crossover event that I didn’t read. But… it’s just familiar enough and just insane enough that I feel like I have no alternative but to check it out.
The War of the Realms may be over – but for the Punisher, the conflict never ends! To combat Malekith’s invasion, Frank Castle raised his own personal army. And now, in the war’s aftermath, they have some scores to settle! The Punisher has stolen Thor’s flying goat and is traversing the Ten Realms on a mission. But why is his first stop Counter-Earth?! Frank made a promise of vengeance – and he keeps his promises. But a van full of orphans is about to make that vow a lot more complicated. And while Frank has picked up some unlikely allies, can he keep them alive? Featuring the Black Knight, Foggy Nelson and more in an action epic unlike anything you’ve ever seen. One Krew. Ten Realms. All-out war! Collecting PUNISHER KILL KREW #1-5 and material from WAR OF THE REALMS: OMEGA. Parental Advisory
Stop… You had me at “Punisher has stolen Thor’s flying goat”.
Just when I think Marvel can’t surprise me, they get me one…more…time.
For that reason, “Punisher Kill Krew” is my Casual Comics Hot Pick of the Week.
Coming up on next week’s Casual Comics Cast, we’ll be previewing a few issues that hit the shelves this week: Detective Comics #1000, The Walking Dead #190, and War of The Realms #1. Look for the podcast early next week!
In the meantime, here are a few more comics that caught my eye.
Black Hammer ’45: From the World of Black Hammer #2
“From the World of Black Hammer comes a truly gripping tale of war and intrigue!
With their orders to save a family of scientists from the clutches of the Nazi regime, the Black Hammer Squadron are on the move. As they encounter fantastical foes, the elite air-men also find themselves with the aid from a hero Black Hammer readers will find familiar!”
Black Hammer is one of the titles I recently came across on Comixology. For those of you who have a subscription to the service, but have not yet checked out Black Hammer, I highly recommend it. It’s got sci-fi, action, magic, and mystery all blended together into a pulpy froth.
The first two books in the series – Black Hammer: Secret Origins and Black Hammer: The Event were mind-blowing, but the second volume came out in 2017, and the trade paperback of Black Hammer: Age of Doom didn’t come out until January of 2019. I’ve been wondering what’s going on in the expanded Black Hammer Universe, so I’m curious how this volume will pick up / tie into the story.
Adventures of the Super Sons #9 (of 12)
“Takron-Galtos, the prison planet, may be behind them-but in order to beat the Gang and get home, the boys must saddle up to survive a wild wild world of the west! An unlikely guide on this lawless planet might just help Superboy and Robin survive…but what in the west world is Jonah Hex doing out here in space?! Hold on to your hats, this one’s going to be a bucking good time! “
Here’s a great case study in being a casual comics fan. I walk away from this blog for what seems like no time at all, and I come back to a world where Superboy and Robin have their own comic book? One question – why is it called “Adventures of the Super Sons“?
Is this a world where Robin is Batman’s son? Somewhere deep in my memory banks, I’m recalling a character named Damian who was Batman’s son with Talia al Ghul (I think). In this comic is Damian the new Robin? And which Superboy are we dealing with here? I guess that’s more than one question… and that’s why DC comics sometimes make my head hurt.
Cool cover, though, and glad to see Jonah Hex is still getting some run in the DC Universe. And, he’s getting off-world too. Good for you, Jonah! Bonus points for using “bucking” instead of a different word here in a solicit where sensitive readers might see it.
Immortal Hulk #16
Here’s a classic case of following my heart vs. my head for my Pick of the Week. (Spoiler alert, this is my Casual Comics Pick of the Week).
For those of you following along, I’m assuming that it’s because you’re interested in comics, but not that deep into what’s going on day-to-day or month-to-month. I’m also hoping that it’s because you’re looking for comics worth checking out. If you’re looking for one book to buy this week, The Immortal Hulk #16 is not that issue.
The Immortal Hulk is another series I got into via Comixology. The original conceit had very little appeal to me. It was pitched as a way to get the Hulk back to his “horror roots”.
Having read some of those old Hulk comics, I never thought of them as all that scary. There are certainly elements of a werewolf story early on – when Hulk’s transformations were caused by nightfall. And, later series certainly lean on the Jekyll/Hyde dynamic – a scientist whose creation overtakes his body.
The Immortal Hulk, though, really leans into some heavy ideas and digs further into the inspiration behind the creation of the character.
In Stan Lee’s book, Origins of Marvel Comics, he discussed his inspiration for the character. “We would use the concept of the Frankenstein monster, but update it. Our hero would be a scientist, transformed into a raging behemoth by a nuclear accident.”
In The Immortal Hulk, the character truly becomes a terrifying beast – compounded by the fact that he literally cannot be killed. Having read the first trade paperback, this is the Marvel series I am most eager to catch up on.
I’m such a fan of this title that I’m going to, for the first time I can recall, link to the title here. Amazon Unlimited subscribers – as well as Comixology members – should be able to read this title for free.
It’s for those reasons (and More) that The Immortal Hulk #16 is my selection for the Casual Comic Pick of the Week.
PS – I love this comic so much, that the first two people to DM me at @casualcomicsguy requesting a physical copy of the first trade paperback will get one for ABSOLUTELY FREE!
Here’s what you’ll be getting!
Hope to hear from you soon casual comics fans!