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You Read These With Your Eyes | October 31st, 2012

Every week, Comics! The Blog goes through the list of new releases and we tell you which comics to plug into your mind hole. Your mileage may vary. 

BATMAN: LI’L GOTHAM #1 (DC Comics)

Continuing their initiative of great digital-first/only comics, today DC releases a great little series that will be incredibly easy to miss if you don’t pay attention to digital comics, and with this one, that would be a damn shame.  Batman: Li’l Gotham has a lot of great things in its corner:

(a) A top-notch creative team, with writer/artist Dustin Nguyen joined by Derek Fridolfs as co-writer.  Nguyen is often known best for his dark, moody art, but here he sets that aside to use a very different style – let’s call it watercolour-chibi – to evoke an entirely different mood;

(2) It’s all-ages!  A lot of the Bat books, even when they’re amazing, often take on a lot of the more adult themes of the character’s world, and as a result, kids and fun-lovers of any age can get left in the lurch.  With this series, there’s no risk of that; Nguyen‘s great sense of character meshes with his unique style combine to tell a story anyone can love, and that’s basically the whole point of comics;

(#) It’s got a great concept behind it!  Every month, the book will feature a story around the month’s major holiday.  The rest of the year will see Thanksgiving and Christmas-themed issues, but this month it’s Halloween in Gotham, and Damian Wayne has to learn the true meaning of the holiday (candy!) while trying to tell the difference between villains and kids in costume as monsters and villains!  I anticipate adorable violence.

Buy it now!

BEDLAM #1 (Image Comics)

Nick Spencer is best known for his combination of action and mystery in series like Morning Glories and Thief of Thieves.  Riley Rossmo is known for his visceral, frequently terrifying art in series like Green Wake and Rebel Blood.  Today, a new series arrives from the pair: Bedlam.

Bedlam is all about Fillmore Press.  A long time ago, Press was known by the name Madder Red, and he was a criminal and murderer who terrified and abused the town of Bedlam for years.  We’re told he got better.  We’ll see, I guess; Bedlam is about what happens next.

Spencer is a master of elevator pitches that bring in readers but don’t give much of anything away.  His “Runaways-meets-Lost” description of Morning Glories assured a lot of curiosity before the series’ intrigues made them devoted fans.  Bedlam will no doubt be no different.  We know enough to expect violence and mystery.  Who knows what that will actually turn out to be, but with Spencer, we can be sure it will be good.  Similarly, Riley Rossmo is one of the most unique artists in comics, and his style is incredibly-well suited for a series like Bedlam; he’s one of the best artists around at conveying fear and uncertainty on a page, but he never sacrifices the humanity behind it all.  Rebel Blood was so effective not just because of how well his loose, violent lines looked when showing gore, but because he could tell a scene of longing and despair on the next page.  Horror works best when the storytellers don’t lose sight of its characters’ emotions and what drives their fear deep down.  Good horror lets you identify with characters so that their dread bleeds off the page, and from the looks of it, Bedlam will thrill you even as it unsettles you for an hour after you finish reading it.

COW BOY: HALLOW’S (Archaia Entertainment)

Spooky!  Scary!

Earlier this year, Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos released Cow Boy, the first installment in their series about a young boy on the frontier hunting down his ne’er-do-well family members.  It was a mixture of humour and deep emotion that would be incredible for any comic, let alone one that’s perfect for people of any age.  It’s rare to find a book with the same delicate touch to somberness and regret, but Cow Boy did it, and today, we get more.

Cow Boy: Hallow’s is a mini-comic continuing Boyd Linney’s story, designed as a special treat for shops to hand out to trick-or-treaters – or, in my case, twenty-seven year-old aspiring writers who think dressing up in a baseball jersey they already own counts as a costume.  It’s a complete story about Boyd facing off against Billy the Kid (!) and not only is it great for anyone as bait to get them hooked, it’s sweet salve for those of us eagerly anticipating any new material in that world or our Artists’ Editions to arrive in the mail.  It’s a slice of Free Comic Book Day in October and it’s just what we all need.  Cow Boy is peerless and this is just another notch in Cosby and Eliopoulos‘ belts.

Plus, did I mention it’s free?  You literally have no reason not to make yourself happy.

JOE KUBERT PRESENTS #1 (DC Comics)

Earlier this year, the comics industry lost one of its titans.  Joe Kubert wasn’t just a revolutionary artist, but the founder of a school for cartooning, comics and graphic art that has influenced generations of creators since.  DC is justifiably paying tribute to the man, and Joe Kubert #1 is the first issue, featuring art by the man himself and some newer artists.  48 pages for $4.99 and a great way to remember one of the industry’s most defining talents.

WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #19 (Marvel Comics)

Well, uh… let’s all have some fun times in comics’ happiest series?

For those not in the know, Wolverine and the X-Men‘s previous issue, #18, ended with a big, violent shock, even though most of the cast remained oblivious.  That was Jason Aaron‘s way of ending his series’ first year, and it left people… upset.  There may have been some words and some tears.  At least one reader asked us why Aaron hates us.  It was intense.

It’s also the mark of a great series that people can feel so emotional over a character they only met a year ago, in a series that had a lot of humour and lighter moments.  With that fierce fanbase still reeling from the cliffhanger, Issue #19 arrives this week to usher in the next year for the Jean Grey School.  New teachers.  New students.  Laughs and tears.  Let’s do this.

And for god’s sake, buy CAPTAIN MARVEL #6 and the final issue of THE MIGHTY THOR!

These are five of the many great books being released this week! You can find the full list of comics being released here. If you have any other recommendations, let us know in the comments below.

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