Comics We’re Excited About for 8/26/2015

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We’ve been bracing for this week as long as a month ago, but here it is: Matt Kindt’s excellent, relatable Mind MGMT is winding to a close with its final installment, New MGMT. And as bittersweet as it is to pick up this issue, there are also plenty of other releases keeping us sane, especially if you’re going to the comic shop with kids in tow. The engrossing Over the Garden Wall receives its own comic adaptation via KaBOOM! and Craig Thompson returns with a new, children-aimed book, Space Dumplins.

Check out our favorites below, and include your own in the comments section.



Black Canary #3

Writer: Brenden Fletcher
Artist: Annie Wu
Publisher: DC Comics

Though it’s still gathering steam, I’m pretty anxious for every new issue of Brenden Fletcher and Annie Wu’s Black Canary. It’s cut from a similar cloth as Fletcher’s current Batgirl collaboration with Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr, which explores a more care-free, fun take on the Barbara Gordon character—but Black Canary’s pace has ramped up, and it’s done so fast. The book is rooted in the punk-leaning world of its titular band—a tactic that can either make or break a comic. To the relief of all music-loving readers, Wu’s kinetic, bold take on the Black Canary crew has created a doorway that’s both true to the music and superhero world—chiefly through the otherworldly “Ditto” character, who we’ll learn more about in issue #3, but not before an epic fight atop a tour bus. Tyler R. Kane



Drive #1

Writer: Michael Benedetto
Artist: Antonio Fuso
Publisher: IDW

Sure, you won’t get the blissed-out synth soundtrack of Nicolas Winding Refn’s film—or, for some, more disappointingly, Ryan Gosling. But James Sallis’ Drive first gained notoriety in the printed medium—and IDW editor Michael Benedetto is trying to strike again for this Drive adaptation. From what I’ve seen so far, Antonio Fuso has dolled up this Los Angeles noir in a way that feels true to its predecessors, but with a comic style of its own. Drive’s already proven to work in books and film, so I’m curious to see its silent tension play out across a multitude of panels. Tyler R. Kane


E is for Extinction #3

Writers: Chris Burnham
Artist: Ramon Villalobos
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Of all the Secret Wars X-Men series, E is for Extinction feels the most bittersweet. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s leather-clad 2001 soft reboot all but saved the faltering mutant franchise after years of mediocrity, and now, 14 years later, it seems that movie studio flimflam will all but kill it. Recent tie-in media has had a noticeably reduced mutant presence, and the “All-New Marvel Now” launches in the fall with only five X-related titles. This mini-series is a peek into what might have been had Marvel not immediately rejected almost every change Morrison made to the franchise. Interior artist Ramon Villalobos and cover artist Ian Bertram both clearly draw inspiration from the same Mœbius-influenced sources as Quitely, and frequent Morrison collaborator Chris Burnham is in his element tackling the anarchist generation gap that drives the story, resulting in a top-notch nostalgia trip that may be better than our current reality. And don’t miss that beastly menagerie of a cover! Steve Foxe


Hellboy in Hell #7

Writer/Artist:Mike Mignola
Publisher: Dark Horse

A year and a season have passed since readers witnessed Hellboy in his new infernal home, which—despite his namesake—isn’t as hospitable as his lineage may allude. Since ripping out the heart of his beloved creation and sending him to the great abyss, writer and artist Mike Mignola has pivoted from pulpy elation to a narrative far more abstruse and psychological. This new chapter launches a two-entry arc called “The Hounds of Pluto,” showing Big Red weakened by a phantom parasite and resolving court disputes. As Shea Hennum notes in his review, the issue assumes a more plot-driven format while still retaining the stark, oppressive atmosphere of a Botticelli painting. Ultimately, it’s a comic drawn by Mike Mignola, with all of the impeccable shading and moody tones from colorist Dave Stewart that authorship guarantees. Sean Edgar


New MGMT #1

Writer/Artist:Matt Kindt
Publisher: Dark Horse

When Paste spoke with Matt Kindt about his upcoming undersea adventure, Dept. H, the writer and artist mentioned how the work of cartoonists like Daniel Clowes and other indie publications roped him back into comics after his interest in mainstream super-heroics atrophied. After working on autobiographic material, Kindt merged his reading history, coalescing the personal with the fantastic to create spy stories with deeply-relatable, flawed characters. Paste has written many words (and shed many tears) on Mind MGMT and its final issue, which falls under the one-time title New MGMT. Looking back on the four years of its existence, this title seems like a new pinnacle for the genres that inspired its creator. It’s smart. It’s personal. It will be seminal. 

Kindt weaves a fantastic tale of espionage around sad people who don’t require scrolls of dialogue to exhibit their nuances. These pages always show and never tell, with telekinetic savants who yearn for their old family in grand metaphors of despair and redemption. The further adventures of Meru and Henry Lyme may cease with this denouement, but the glorious ones they’ve made will replay in the quiet moments of readers’ minds for decades to come. Sean Edgar


Over The Garden Wall #1 of 4

Writer: Patrick McHale
Artist: Jim Campbell 
Publisher: KaBOOM!

I can’t help but feel that Over the Garden Wall is one of the most engrossing media experiences of the past 20 years. In the swirling communications hurricane of books, movies, television, games and comics, Patrick McHale’s 10-episode cartoon miniseries nears perfection, if it doesn’t outright nail it. The journey of two brothers—the adorably naive Greg and the neurotic teenager Wirt—lost in a folk fever dream, the fantasy immerses coming-of-age anxiety in a candy-colored sheen of ‘30s animated musicals and cautionary fairy tales. “Dark” tends to root most descriptions, but McHale contrasts oppressive lost-in-the-woods dread with moments of hilarity and surrealism, including a dream sequence inspired by Max Fleisher’s shorts and a tear-jerker climax that has no right to work as well as it does.

Those collective 115 minutes end on a sublime note; to stretch the series further could well tamper with a length and rhythm that define greatness. Fortunately, McHale (who also served as creative director of Adventure Time for three seasons) and storyboard artist Jim Campbell are following up their splendid one-shot comic with four additional standalone chapters published by KaBOOM! These addendums straddle the absurd and whimsical undertones of the show; this first issue pits Wirt against the wits of two girls with some very strange chore requests and a fearsomely large father. This is a fleeting opportunity to visit a world of danger and delight before McHale moves onto other projects. Bonus: sheet music to the show’s amazing music. Sean Edgar


Rumble #6

Writer: John Arcudi
Artist: James Harren
Publisher: Image Comics

What if John Arcudi and James Harren were creating the single best comic on the stands each month and no one was around to read it? That’s hyperbole, of course—there are a number of books ready to fight for the coveted “least appreciated” title—but the bizarre gods, monsters and all-too-human sadsacks of Rumble easily comprise career-best work from the pair of frequent Mignolaverse contributors. Everything in the series works on its own off-kilter dream logic, making for a steep barrier to entry for fans expecting an easily digestible high concept. But once you opt to go with it and lose yourself in Harren’s gorgeously-violent visual ballet and Arcudi’s surprisingly tender story, you’ll fast find yourself a devotee of the scarecrow god. Nab the first trade and this second-arc kickoff before we have to start talking about this gem in the past tense. Steve Foxe


Space Dumplins

Writer/Artist: Craig Thompson
Publisher: Scholastic GRAPHIX

If Craig Thompson writes something, there’s a formidable chance Paste will give it top billing on a year or decade-end list. Space Dumplins marks a new path for the celebrated cartoonist, offering a kids book that (probably) won’t leave us in a nuclear meltdown of our feels. Joining the ranks of YA royalty like Raina Telgemeier (Smile) and Jeff Smith (Bone), Thompson joins the Graphix imprint with a colorful space opera revolving around Violet Marlocke, a spunky adolescent who embarks on a cosmic adventure to rescue her imperiled father. With themes of environmentalism and family forefront,Space Dumplins could well impart Thompson’s thoughtfulness in a package that emphasizes fun over the cathartic intensity of touchstones like Blankets and Habibi. If the lush illustrations and adept storytelling are any indication, we’ll adore it just as much. Sean Edgar


Star Wars: Lando #3

Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Alex Maleev
Publisher: Marvel

Out of the Star Wars properties right now, Lando has been one my most reliably pleasurable reads. Though Billy Dee Williams had limited screen time in the proper Star Wars films, enough character traits were set in carbonite to declare Charles Soule’s take as spot-on—not to mention Alex Maleev’s art, which transports us back to the early ‘80s in, somehow, a pleasant way. Lando’s smooth in every facet, and throughout this interpretation, we see the titular character making his way through galaxies via savant calculations and guile. Like Han, though, he’s not a big fan of hearing his odds. And while issue #1 showed Lando Calrissian’s prowess for sly—and, uh, seductive—solutions, he’s found himself in much deeper problems by issue #3; Lando stole Emperor Palpatine’s space-yacht. One massive Star Destroyer battle later, I’m aching to see how the second half of Lando’s five-issue run kicks off. Tyler R. Kane


Stringers #1

Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: Justin Greenwood
Publisher: Oni Press

If Stringers wasn’t published by Oni, it’d likely receive the oft-lobbied criticism that it’s just an IP farm in the making: a convenient visual pitch for future film or television adaptation. After all, writer Marc Guggenheim has an extensive TV background and the FX-ready LA shootout premise doesn’t sound like it’d break a network budget. Oni is picky with its projects, though, and the involvement of Fuse and Stumptown artist Justin Greenwood bodes well for Stringers standing on its own as an entertaining action alternative for fans uninterested in science fiction and superheroes. Steve Foxe



Sunny Side Up OGN

Writer: Jennifer L. Holm
Artist: Matthew Holm
Publisher: Scholastic GRAPHIX

Three-time Newbery Honor-winner Jennifer L. Holm and her brother Matthew Holm are no strangers to all-ages comics as the creators of the enormously popular Babymouse! series, but Sunny Side Up moves the pair thematically closer to Jennifer’s prose work with a touching, challenging story about a family in turmoil. Tapping into the absolute legion of young readers tearing through Raina Telgemeier’s Smile, Drama and Sisters as well as Victoria Jamieson’s Rollergirl, Sunny Side Up is an ultimately uplifting entry into the increasingly important young, primarily-female graphic novel niche. Take note: books like this are creating the adult comic fans of tomorrow. Dismiss them at your own peril. Steve Foxe



Zodiac Starforce #1

Writer: Kevin Panetta
Artist: Paulina Ganucheau
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

An extremely promising generation of young cartoonists is entering the mainstream comics world at the moment, and they’re bringing with them reverence not for nineties Big Two excess, but for the anime and manga the stormed America’s shores around the turn of the century. Nowhere is this more obvious than a summer in which two major U.S. companies launch distinctly different “Magical Girl” series. While Kate Leth and Matt Cummings’ delightful Power Up knowingly subverts genre tropes, Kevin Panetta and Paulina Ganucheau’s Zodiac Starforce looks to be a relatively earnest entry into a category that never gained much native traction here in the states, but continues to flourish in Japan. Expect high school conflicts blown into cosmic threats and stunning transformation sequences galore. If you hold unnecessary anti-anime bias, think of this as a thematic companion to the work Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie did on Young Avengers. Steve Foxe