Euthanauts, The Thrilling Adventure Hour & More in Required Reading: Comics for 7/18/2018

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<i>Euthanauts</i>, <i>The Thrilling Adventure Hour</i> & More in Required Reading: Comics for 7/18/2018

What do afterlife explorers, old-Hollywood dilettantes, a beleaguered soon-to-be-cinematic superhero and Buzz Aldrin have in common? They’re all subjects of brand-new comics launching this week, alongside murderous heirs, wholesome caped crusaders and more. San Diego’s Comic-Con International takes place this upcoming weekend, so this Wednesday tends to get lost in the hype machine. Despite the onslaught of news, the 18th of July is still jam-packed with sequential goodness, perfect for plane rides to California or a relaxing weekend far away from the madness of Hall H. And if these 10 offerings are too intense for a sunny mid-July read, might we suggest kicking back with a cat or two


STL076004.jpeg Apollo
Writers: Chris Baker & Matt Finch
Artist: Mike Collins
Publisher: SelfMadeHero
The first successful mission to get men on the moon is one of those historical moments that has morphed into pop culture, with plenty of rumors and outright falsehoods coloring what was already a remarkable moment in time. It’s an event that’s been explored often, but there’s plenty about Apollo 11 and the men who were part of it that the average reader doesn’t yet know, and it’s a prime choice for adaptation into a graphic novel. SelfMadeHero may not be immediately recognizable to American comics readers, but the publisher has a great track record with original fiction and a solid one when it comes to historical graphic novels and literary adaptations. Writers Chris Baker and Matt Finch put in the work to thoroughly research and vet the information included in the book, and Mike Collins’s crisp, detailed art helps to lend emotional depth to an already riveting and fascinating tale. Already endorsed by Scientific American as a book worth checking out, Apollo stands to be included in classrooms and on the shelves of history and space buffs alike. Caitlin Rosberg


STL085691.jpeg Archie Meets Batman ‘66 #1
Writers: Jeff Parker & Michael Moreci
Artists: Dan Parent & J. Bone
Publisher: Archie Comics/ DC Comics 
Archie has cultivated an impeccable crossover record, from real-life bands to the Predator to the horror genre itself, and if anything, the only surprise about Archie Meets Batman ‘66 is that it didn’t happen sooner. Both properties unironically embrace a rose-tinted nostalgia for a previous era, and largely succeed in communicating that period’s wholesome fun without complications beyond high-school drama and henchmen with cartoonish bombs. In this crossover, Veronica’s father, Mr. Lodge, becomes Batman Enemy #1, and Veronica and her friends have to seek the Dynamic Duo’s help in getting to the bottom of whatever fiendish plan framed him. Writer Jeff Parker spearheaded the Batman ‘66 series for dozens of issues, and co-writer Michael Moreci is fresh off of a Detective Comics one-shot, among other projects. Cartoonists Dan Parent and J. Bone lend their well-honed styles to what’s sure to be one of 2018’s most biff-bang-POW fun comics. Steve Foxe


STL084753.jpeg Bad Girls
Writer: Alex de Campi
Artist: Victor Santos
Publisher: Gallery 13
Out this week from Gallery 13, Simon & Schuster’s comics imprint, Bad Girls revolves around three women—Carole, Taffy and Ana—attempting to flee Cuba on December 31, 1958. The date marks the advent of the Cuban Revolution, which witnessed Fidel Castro’s communist forces oust the right-wing dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. The trio of titular bad girls are also on a mission to redistribute wealth, fleeing their north Caribbean home with $6 million of liberated mob cash. This project nestles nicely into writer Alex de Campi’s oeuvre of extreme action and noir heroines, and will also draw more eyes to artist Victor Santos, whose work on the late-’60s heist book Violent Love showed a devotion to sweeping, romantic destruction. Those timeless black lines should bring Cuba’s art-deco architecture and glittery casinos to roaring, decadent life. Also: the man can draw mascara. Sean Edgar w/ Steve Foxe


STL086530.jpeg Batman #51
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Lee Weeks
Publisher: DC Comics 
If you somehow avoided Batman #50 and the news hubbub surrounding it, consider this a spoiler warning. Despite the marketing blitz preparing readers for a wedding between the Bat and the Cat, Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle did not, in fact, tie the knot, with Catwoman leaving Batman at the “altar” (a.k.a. a dark rooftop). Catwoman had her reasons, but Batman #50’s final page revealed to the reader that there’s a grander conspiracy afoot, and Batman #51 may offer our next clues about the master plan behind writer Tom King’s 100-issue run. Or it might not! If King has proven anything, it’s that he has no interest in being a typical Batman scribe. Even if this issue doesn’t further tease the mystery, there’s plenty going on to hold our interest: Bruce Wayne is selected for jury duty on a Mr. Freeze trial, and Freeze’s claim that Batman used excessive force gives the Bat something serious to ponder. Also, apparently Nightwing is leaping around in a Batman outfit again. Joining King for this issue is Batman/Elmer Fudd artist Lee Weeks, one of the finest sequential storytellers to work on King’s epic run. Steve Foxe


STL085659.jpeg Clankillers #1
Writer: Sean Lewis
Artist: Antonio Fuso
Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Summaries for Clankillers sound a bit like what might have happened in alternate versions of Lord of the Rings, if Faramir and Eowyn had gotten fed up with their respective parents and just decided to kill all of mankind instead of saving the world from impending doom. Writer Sean Lewis and artist Antonio Fuso have created a world that’s medieval in appearance and structure, but rather than focus on high fantasy and courtly intrigue, they’ve set their sights on two young people who would rather commit mass murder than sit quietly and do what they’re told. It’s a little bit of Hamlet and a lot of Game of Thrones, thrown into a blender and pureed until extra homicidal. Fuso has mostly worked on G.I. Joe titles to this point, so it will be interesting to see how he handles a serious shift in setting, but Lewis has already made a name for himself with stories of violence and revenge in books like Coyotes and The Few. For fans of some of AfterShock’s more overtly violent titles, Clankillers seems like an easy sell. Caitlin Rosberg


Euthanauts #1
Writer: Tini Howard
Artist: Nick Robles
Publisher: Black Crown/ IDW Publishing
Right on the heels of the final issue of Assassinistas, Tini Howard brings a brand new adventure to IDW Publishing’s Black Crown imprint. Black Crown, run by Shelly Bond, is doing something relatively uncommon with comics: launching multiple miniseries instead of shooting for runs that go on for years or even indefinitely. The cost of entry is low, and barrier for entry even lower. Euthanauts takes the reader into new territory, but sticks to the Assassinistas template by revolving around three primary characters. Artist Nick Robles has a far more detailed style than Assassinistas’s Gilbert Hernandez does, however, and it will lend Euthanauts an air of near-gothic funereal adventure. The three protagonists go off to explore death, which seems to be a physical realm of sorts. With constant reboots and resurrections, death is not a subject a lot of comics deal with seriously in this day and age, but Howard and Robles are set to change that. Fans of Caitlin Doughty’s “Ask a Mortician” or Southern Cross should definitely check it out. Caitlin Rosberg


STL087164.jpeg Life of Captain Marvel #1
Writer: Margaret Stohl
Artist: Carlos Pacheco
Publisher: Marvel Comics 
Carol Danvers has had a rough go of it over the last few years, even as millions of devoted Marvel Cinematic Universe fans await her film debut in early 2019. Following fan-favorite writer Kelly Sue DeConnick’s departure from the Captain Marvel series, the “Carol Corps” of passionate readers seemed to fall off, too. Young Adult writer Margaret Stohl has had some success with Marvel prose, but her tenure on Captain Marvel seemed to suggest that her strengths lie in YA, not mainstream superhero comics, as new teen additions to the cast distracted from Carol’s ongoing story. Not that Stohl shoulders all of the blame; former Marvel architect Brian Michael Bendis’ use of Danvers as a near-villain in Civil War II soured many readers on the character, placing Stohl at a disadvantage in her first ongoing comic series. This week, Stohl kicks off a new Danvers mini-series that looks to define her convoluted origins once and for all, and perhaps returning to an earlier time in Carol’s life will bring out Stohl’s skills writing younger protagonists. Joining her for this outing is veteran artist Carlos Pacheco, whose clean-lined superhero style should feel right at home as Captain Marvel takes to the skies for the very first time (again). Steve Foxe


STL084339.jpeg Oh S#!t It’s Kim & Kim #1
Writer: Magdalene Visaggio
Artist: Eva Cabrera
Publisher: Black Mask Studios
After two very successful limited runs and an Eisner nomination, Black Mask has given Kim & Kim an ongoing series. The whole team is back together both on the page and behind it, with the creative team of Mags Visaggio, Eva Cabrera and Claudia Aguirre returning to write, draw and color, respectively. For the uninitiated, Kim & Kim will prove a wild and heady ride, with the story of two best-friend bounty hunters that share almost everything, even their name. There are hints of popular anime like Cowboy Bebop and Outlaw Star, with the Kims crossing the empty chasm of space on a hunt for money and adventure, with hilarity sure to ensue. The first two volumes of their story are available in trade now and are definitely worth checking out before jumping in on the new series. Cabrera and Aguirre have created a neon future with a cast of bright, funny, beautiful characters and Visaggio has a talent for writing both action and comedy that flow effortlessly into character development and emotional weight. With a longer format to work with, it will be exciting to see where the team takes the titular duo, and how far from home their adventures might go. Caitlin Rosberg


STL077859.jpeg A Sea of Love
Writer: Wilfrid Lupano
Artist: Gregory Panaccione
Publisher: Magnetic Collection/ Lion Forge
Lion Forge has already had an ambitious 2018, ramping up its original superhero efforts alongside the Roar imprint for young adults, the Caracal imprint for middle-grade-aged children, the CubHouse imprint for early reader and a commitment to European imports, mostly via its Magnetic Collection line. A Sea of Love is one such overseas gift, but it’s not quite a translation—Wilfred Lupano and Gregory Panaccione’s graphic novel is a wordless affair. “When an old fisherman fails to return after a storm, his doting wife goes on an adventure across the ocean to find him” is the brief description provided to readers, but Panaccione’s lush, comical cartooning should be all the marketing potential readers require. Wordless comics, like Shaun Tan’s beloved The Arrival, are an excellent tool for teaching comics literacy, as they highlight just how much of the book’s story can be told through sequential art. A Sea of Love looks like a worthy addition to the silent canon. Steve Foxe


STL085575.jpeg The Thrilling Adventure Hour #1
Writers: Ben Acker and Ben Blacker
Artist: M.J. Erickson
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
The Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast ran for years as a spoof on “old time radio” dramas—Mr. and Mrs. North, The Shadow, The Lone Ranger—with a comedic twist. Married mediums Frank and Sady Doyle had a fleeting comic series of their own at Image a few years ago, and podcast creators Ben Acker and Ben Blacker are bringing the series back to print, along with some all-new adventures, at BOOM! Studios. The original Beyond Belief series, with art by Phil Hester, was just collected for the first time as A Spirited Romance with a new cover and behind-the-scenes material, while this week’s The Thrilling Adventure Hour #1 introduces a brand new story with new series artist M.J. Erickson. Erickson is an incredible illustrator whose style should be a perfect fit to the weird charm of The Thrilling Adventure Hour, and if the original series is any indication, this will be a wonderful jumping on point for both longtime Adventurekateers and fans of weird mysteries with off-beat casts you can’t help but love. C.K. Stewart

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