Stumptown

Stumptown V1

The Pitch: The Rockford Files in Portland.

What It Is: Dex Pieros is a classic “down on their luck” detective living by the skin of her teeth due to equal measures of bad luck and self destructive tendencies. Each Stumptown mystery calls to mind classic 70s private eye shows, while showcasing the best and worst of Portland, Oregon with Greg Rucka’s impeccable sense of plot and character.

Recommended If You Like: The Rockford Files (of course), Veronica Mars, mysteries, detective fiction.

Currently Available:

  • The first two volumes are available from your local comic shop in gorgeous oversized hardcovers that sell for $29.99 each. A steep buy in, but the production value on is stunning and well worth the cost.
  • You can buy collections or single issues digitally from ComiXology where you can buy early issues for a scant $1.99 each – a far better deal to try the series out.

(If you’ve read Stumptown and would like to give your personal recommendation or help populate our “Recommended If You Like” section, please comment below!)

Lazarus

Lazarus01-1
by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark

The Pitch: In a future where the rich have only gotten richer, one woman defends her family and their resources. Too bad she’s just been shot.

What It Is: In a future where a small handful of Families have and maintain power, there is need for defines. Forever is that defence for the Carlyle family, a woman with specific abilities and training who helps maintain what her family has. Set in a near future where the gap between those that have and those that do not has only increased, Lazarus offers a chilling look at what’s to come.

Recommended If You Like: Spy thrillers, dystopian fiction

Currently Available:

  • You can buy the series in collected editions at your local comic shop. The first volume costs a scant $9.99 in print, and comes with a four page story that did not previously appear in the issues.
  • You can buy collections of single issues digitally from ComiXology or directly from Image Comics. Both methods offer DRM-free formatting.
  • If you want to try Lazarus before you spend too much money, Image offers the first issue for 99 cents digitally, and a dollar edition in print at well stocked comic shops.

(If you’ve read Lazarus and would like to give your personal recommendation or help populate our “Recommended If You Like” section, please comment below!)

Sale Alert // BOOM! Studios’ Humble Bundle

Oh wow.

BOOM! Studios has joined forces with the folks over at Humble Bundle to give you a smattering of their recent hit titles for… well, pretty much whatever you want to pay. You can take a look at what they have to offer here.

Each and every book will come at you digitally in pretty much any format you want. How’s that for some service?

Need some nudging? Here’s the quick-and-dirty on a few of my favourites.

Six Gun Gorilla #1

Six Gun Gorilla: An exploration about the joys of fiction in a world obsessed with reality, paired with a gorilla who shoots guns. In space. Easily the best things I read in 2013, which is saying something.

Lumberjanes: Out from the company’s BOOM!Box imprint, this new ongoing series features the ultra rad adventures of five young ladies summering at the Lumberjanes camp. Funny and wonderful, this is probably one of the company’s strongest titles at the moment.

Hit: A gorgeous old Hollywood crime story with stunning imagery from industry newcomer Venessa R. Del Ray. (The story is great too, but holy cow, that art.)

Mouse Guard: The shorthand for this series is “Redwall, but in comics”. David Peterson draws the hell out of this book, and the story is exactly what you’d want in a mice-with-swords fantasy series.

The Woods: A school gets stolen and dropped in the middle of some mysterious woods. A decidedly different series that will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games, who have been looking for more.

The rest of the books are pretty great too, but these are the books I’ve keyed into specifically – and with those alone, you’ll be getting more than your money’s worth.

If you’d like to preview any of the book’s offered in the Humble Bundle, follow the link and click on pretty much anything that’s there. You’ll be granted access to the first few pages to taste, then you can decide how much money you’re willing to part with. Enjoy!

What’s New for August 6th, 2014

Each and every Wednesday, we scour the new comic releases for your best bet at experiencing something new and awesome.

THE BUNKER – VOL 1 by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Joe Infurnari (Oni Press)

the-bunker-volume-1-cover

The Pitch: While burying a time capsule in the woods, five friends discover a metal bunker filled with items and messages from their future selves. Turns out, they’re going to destroy the world together. Warned about the future, they attempt to make the right choices to avoid what seems inevitable. Things probably turn out just fine.

Available as:

The first volume is now collected in a handsome softcover for $19.99 at your local comic shop, or for $9.99 on ComiXology.

Alternatively, you can nab the first four issues in the collection separately for $1.99 each on ComiXology, if you’d like to test the first (nicely oversized) issue for relatively cheap and go from there.

TRILLIUM by Jeff Lemire (Vertigo/DC Comics)

TRILLIUM-TP-LEMIRE-VERTIGOThe Pitch: A love story set in 1921 and 3797. A portal exists between two different worlds, one that can save or destroy everything. Canadian writer/author Jeff Lemire takes a high concept sci-fi story and builds a beautiful account of the human condition, touching on life, death, empathy and matters of the heart.

Available as:

The complete story is available today as a softcover collection for $16.99 at your local comic shop. Individual issues of the 8 issue series are available on ComiXology for $1.99 each.

THANOS: THE INFINITY REVELATION by Jim Starlin (Marvel Comics)

The Pitch: The mad titan himself gets a swanky new graphic novel from the man who knows him best: Jim Starlin. This decidedly cosmic tale gives you everything you might want to know about Thanos, and gives you a fairly easy entry point to the character, who is more famous for his appearances in mind-bending crossover stories that often require quite a bit of previous character knowledge.

Available as:

The complete story is available in an oversized hardcover for $24.99 at your local comic shop, or $19.99 digitally on ComiXology. A bonus for getting the hardcover: you’ll receive a digital copy of the book for free.

If you want to get a free preview of the book, as well as a free Guardians of the Galaxy tale and a Spider-Man tale to boot, head over to ComiXology and nab this year’s Free Comic Book Day selection from Marvel.

Related Reading: What to Read – Guardians of the Galaxy

GENIUS #1 by Marc Bernardin, Adam Freeman and Afua Richardson (Top Cow)

The Pitch: What if one of the greatest military strategists of this generation lived below the poverty line in Los Angeles? That’s the central question of GENIUS, which follows the trials of a seventeen year old savant who has united gang factions in LA and is beginning to take what she believes is hers.

Available as:

This five issue weekly mini-series begins with a $3.99 first issue in comic stores, and digitally on ComiXology.

A “pilot issue” for the series can be obtained FOR FREE on ComiXology if you’d like to test the series before buying.

HOWTOONS: [RE]IGNITION #1 by Fred Van Lente, Tom Fowler and Jordie Bellaire

The Pitch: An all ages adventure series that teaches kids about science and provides fun instructional guides on how to make things like marshmallow guns and homemade flashlights. WITH SCIENCE.

Available as:

The first issue is available in comics shops and on ComiXology for $2.99.

A collection of the first HOWTOONS series (not required to read this one) is available for $17.99 at shop and at ComiXology as well.

———–

Are you excited about these or other comics coming out this week? Feel free to discuss them in the comments! We’d love to hear what you’re reading, and talking about good comics helps spread the word!

What To Read: Guardians of the Galaxy

One of the main reasons I started Variant Edition was to help everyone find the comics that they want to read. Sometimes that means helping someone find something new – and sometimes that means helping them navigate through a sea of product to find a good place to start.

With Guardians of the Galaxy hitting this weekend, there will be a lot of people looking for a place to start with the team. Here’s a few options to consider.

(Warning: very vague spoilers for the movie ahead.)

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (2013)

The Brian Michael Bendis Run

Starlord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, Gamora and… Iron Man?

This series is probably your best bet if you’re looking for something with the team from the movie. As an added bonus, it can function as a bit of an erstwhile sequel of sorts, as the plot deals with Starlord’s absent father.

As always with the comics, there are a few details that won’t quite jive with the movie (Peter Quinn’s abduction, specifically), but everything you could possibly want to know is explained, and the story is fun.

Our Recommendation: 

Read the first collection (entitled Cosmic Avengers) and get a feel for the flavour. After that, the Guardians get hit with some big set pieces from the Marvel Universe and eventually do a crossover with one of the X-Men groups that are running around today, so your milage might vary beyond that point.

Currently Available:

  • The first volume is available in softcover for $19.99 in print at your local comic shop, or $10.99 in digital.
  • Issues are available for individual purchase for anywhere from $1.99 to $3.99 digitally (or a bit more for oversized issues), and you can find new issues in shops every month for $3.99 as well.
  • If you’d like a taste of what the first volume has to offer for free, you can read this Drax story and this Rocket Raccoon story for zero dollars digitally.

Additional Reading:

  • Rocket Raccoon has his own comic now, from writer/artist Skottie Young. The first issue is $3.99 at comic shops, and digitally. It’s a really fun book, that involves space wrestling. At least in the first issue, anyway.
  • Starlord has his own book as well from the wonderful Sam Humphries and Paco Medina. It also runs $3.99 at comic shops, and digitally. Peter Quill is totally this generation’s Han Solo, you guys.
  • You can check out a preview of what’s happening right now in the Guardians of the Galaxy book by checking out this year’s Free Comic Book Day offering for… well, free. You can also check out the FCBD offering for Rocket Raccoon here for free as well.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (2008)

The Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning Run

If you’re looking for the stories that inspired Marvel to make the Guardians movie, then look no further. This is the run that provided the foundation for the movie.

The team dynamic runs quite similarly, although there are quite a few different members to this specific team – and while the series originally ran afoul of a few different Marvel events (and emerged as the result of one), it reads remarkably clear on it’s lonesome.

Our Recommendation:

Start reading on ComiXology, where the single issues are regularly $1.99. if you’re into print comics, the first twelve issues were finally reissued a few short weeks ago in a collection. [Edit: Marvel and ComiXology are selling the individual issues for just 99 cents until August 5th, which is a great price if you want to test drive some comics.]

Currently Available:

  • You can get the first twelve issues in a print collection for $34.99 at your local comic shop or:
  • As stated above, ComiXology sells the issues for a little less than $2 a piece.

Additional Reading:

  • This Guardians series tied into quite a few events, so there’s a lot to read if you want to expand the story of the Guardians from that point in time. We recommend checking in on Annihilation Conquest: Starlord which sees the team form and Annihilation Conquest, which is the big event that cements the team. You can find them digitally at this link. (These titles are not currently available in print.)
  • If you wish to balloon out from there, there are many places you can go. Annihilation kicks off that era of cosmic Marvel books, War of Kings and Realm of Kings happen during the run of the comic, and The Thanos Imperative wraps the Guardians story up after issue #25 – but like we said before, you can pick and choose what you want to add on if you like.

Other Series

  • Do you like Groot and Rocket Raccoon? You can grab a The Complete Rocket Racoon and Groot for $14.99 digitally, or you can nab the same book print copy for $29.99.
  • Marvel has a Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude book featuring movie continuity stories that you can purchase as individual issues digitally for $2.99 (currently out of print) or as a $14.99 collection (both in print and digital) that includes the first appearances of all the Guardians at Marvel. Here’s the link to find them digitally, both as single issues, and as a collection.

 

Pre-Order: Pop

Pop #1
by Curt Pires and Jason Copland. Cover design by Dylan Todd

The Pitch: Pop stars are being manufactured for your entertainment. One of them has escaped.

What It Is: This four issue mini-series is an exploration of media consumption and finding identity within the structure. The story follows an escaped pre-programmed pop star and a record store owner as they traverse media and attempt to escape the clutches of an unforgiving media machine. On the surface? An enjoyable, high concept story about two fugitives on the run. Below the skin? A blistering rebuke of a lot of today’s media.

Recommended If You Like: The Josie and the Pussycats movie (no, seriously)

Pre-Order: Pop will be on August 27th, 2014 at comic shops everywhere, and on the Dark Horse digital comics service. Each issue will cost $3.99 US. If you’re interested in nabbing a copy, let your local comic shop know before Monday, August 4th, 2014. This date is when final order numbers are due, as Dark Horse will be sending the book to the printer, and setting their print run.

Multiversity has a great order form you can print out and hand to your local comic shop.

Incentive: Still not sure if you’re going to like Pop? You can read Curt Pires’ LP for free. Here. Both books feature music as a catalyst of sorts, and while they are quite different (like different albums made at different times, to really drive home the metaphor), you should be able to get a taste of what Pop has to offer you inside there.

Sale Alert // Guardians of the Galaxy

Later today, we’ll be running a feature for those of you who are champing at the bit to read some Guardians of the Galaxy comics (complete with recommendations on where to start and where to buy), but we just had to let you know about this great sale Marvel is having first.

From now until August 5th, you can nab digital copies of the Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning run of Guardians for just 99 cents a pop over at ComiXology. You’ll also find listings for the Drax mini-series that turned the character into who he is today, as well as the original Rocket Raccoon mini-series, and the recent Thanos Rising mini-series. All of these are great introductions to the characters.

Well? What are you waiting for! Go! Buy!

Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga

Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga
by Jiro Kuwata

The Pitch: Batman ’66 by way of Japanese pop influence

What It Is: This series of Batman stories ran for just over a year across the Pacific from April 1966 to May of 1967 in an attempt to capitalize on the big Batman craze that had hit during that time. While the series didn’t last long, it’s filled to the brim with crazy Batman stories that are quite unlike those we are used to today. Hearkening back to the period they were created, these stories reflect the crazy style of silver age comics (and the Batman ’66 TV show) while retaining the clear influences of a different style of comics entirely.

Recommended if you like: Fun Batman stories, B-movies, and absurd humour.

Currently Available:

  • This series is being serialized on ComiXology in single issues (the first issue is just 99 cents!) with plans for collections later this year.

More Information:

(If you’ve read Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga and would like to give your personal recommendation or help populate our “Recommended If You Like” section, please comment below!)

LP

by Curt Pires and Ramon Villalobos
by Curt Pires and Ramon Villalobos

The Pitch: A quest for power by way of hyper-violent noir, featuring the soul wrecking power of music.

What It Is: Music as expressed in a physical hyper-violent form. This done-in-one story conveys the force of a largely audible medium on the comic page with a verve rarely seen. Part noir, part love letter to the music that effects and affects us, and set to gorgeously violent licks laid down by writer Curt Pires and artist Ramon Villalobos.

Recommended If You Like: Hyper-violent cinema Asian cinema, Geoff Darrow comics, Phonogram

Currently Available: Right here, for free, thanks to the generosity of Pires and Villalobos. Don’t try to tell us we don’t give you nice things.

More Information:

(If you’ve read LP and would like to give your personal recommendation or help populate our “Recommended If You Like” section, please comment below!)

Theremin

by Curt Pires and Dalton Rose
by Curt Pires and Dalton Rose

The Pitch: Leo Theremin (inventor of the Theremin) uses the titular instrument to travel through time and do spy stuff.

What It Is: Theremin continues Curt Pires’ exploration of music as a form of power. Mixing elements of actual history with a fractured narrative and sci-fi elements, this all-too-brief series delights in exploring the comic medium to the fullest, while playing with meta-narrative. While this series is not recommended to those new to comics due to its complex use of the medium’s tools, it is highly recommended to those looking to experience something decidedly off-kilter and fresh within comics.

Recommended If You Like: Twisted spy stories, The Prisoner (the original TV series), The Invisibles (by Grant Morrison),  Casanova (by Fraction, Ba and Moon)

Currently Available:

More Information:

(If you’ve read Theremin and would like to give your personal recommendation or help populate our “Recommended If You Like” section, please comment below!)