Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Jumping On Points: 03/02/2011

This column looks at the best access points in comics each week for new readers, and old readers looking for new titles. Hit the jump to see why you don't need continuity, background knowledge, or prior love to buy and enjoy a pulpy spy delight, a time displaced barbarian, superpowered tweens, a hyperviolent and cinematic femme mash up, or one of today's most interesting artists on a very old literary character.

It’s hard to get new readers into the comic stores and when you do stage a coup and get them across the threshold there so rarely is much that seems approachable. Most superhero comics have continuity longer than anyone can reasonably chase down, and many indie comics are going the same way. But there are jumping on points to be found and this column is going to highlight them. Sometimes it might be a new number one, other times a creative team change or new direction. No matter what, we’re dedicated to finding perfect points for you and your friends to try new comics without being weighed down by too much.

The Intrepids #1

Written by Kurtis J Wiebe
Art by Scott Kowalchuk

It’s easy to jump onto an Image miniseries because the entire thing is going to be a stand alone tale, or usually is. The Intrepids is a new title from Kurtis Wiebe, a creator at Image I think you’ll be seeing a lot more from in the coming months/years. He’s got Green Wake, which I’ve raved heavily about, launching in March, but we can get in on the Wiebe ground floor this week with this comic.

To sell the actual comic, The Intrepids is a spy-fu title about mad scientists and a band of orphans brought together to fight awesome fights and possibly bears that look like they escaped the Weapon X program. The art, by Scott Kowalchuck, makes this title look like something that just stepped out of the 60s. It’s like Bond and Umbrella Academy through a zany lens of old pulps and kooky missions. It looks like fun. This is the sort of tale you can probably read a few times, noticing different things in the background of the playful art.

If you are after something a little different then this comic could be a good place to start this week. It’s nice to see a comic that truly looks like it is setting out to entertain. I think this one will be fun, but it might also just be great.

Prior Knowledge Needed - Absolutely nothing. I think it might not hurt to brush up on your spy fiction but only so you can appreciate and contrast this work better. Otherwise, this is a clean slate.

Carbon Grey #1

Written by Hoang Nguyen, Paul Gardner
Art by Khari Evans, Kinsun Loh, Hoang Nguyen

Image is dropping these number #1s this week and it is appreciated. This comic stands on its own, but it also stands out from the crowd. This hyperviolent exercise in female brutality might owe a lot to the likes of Kill Bill, and maybe even Ms .45, but I can't also help but see similarities to a flick I haven't even seen yet. I know the story of Sucker Punch, the soon to be released flick by Zack Snyder, and this story isn't the same but it appears to inhabit the same genre space and female-fu trickery across battlefields and men's brains.

This comic has been touted as a labour of love taking nearly a decade to get onto shelves and that level of dedication intrigues me. As do the panels of gruesomely destroyed heads that ape the distinct feel for detail of someone like Geoff Darrow but polished with an almost Radical Comics house style feel, only better. The art in this book is gorgeous but the only gorgeous things it represents is the hyperbole of an almost-Manga world and some very vicious people.

Prior Knowledge Needed - So long as you know how to appreciate a gory tale with pretty females you should be just fine here.
Wulf #1

Written by Steve Niles
Art by Mat Jones

Another fresh first issue. And though this is actually a relaunch of an old title, this kick off issue should be pretty open for you to just enjoy. It’s all about a barbarian transported from the killing fields to New York City in the present day by a sorcerer’s spell. I'm getting a real Warlock vibe, and hopefully in a good way. This is an old character thought, and new life will surely be forced into his body and whole concept.

Steve Niles is the scribe behind this title and he’s all about you trying new, non-corporate, characters. This kind of fits the bill. It’s certainly the sort of crazy concept he usually does pretty well. He has certainly stated he wants this to be a fresh start for people to dive straight into.

In the sea of comics that look and feel the same this one should certainly offer something a little different. It should be worth a try so go and check it out.

Prior Knowledge Needed - You could be a fan of the old Atlas comics featuring this character but it doesn't seem like you need to be to get this relaunch. Come in clean and they should give you everything you need.

Takio GN

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Michael Avon Oeming

The standalone original graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Oeming has had its fair share of press but it must be said this thing might be published by Marvel, through their Icon imprint, but this is a comic that anyone can buy. And I think they’re hoping anyone, and everyone, will.

This tale of tween girls who receive superpowers looks to be aimed at the younger set and that’s kind of nice. There’s plenty of kid comics out there but not many done by high profile creators so I’ll be interested to see how this one does. At least it shows some kind of dedication from Marvel to constantly allow the niche market of kids, that no one caters perfectly to, to be found, explored, and offered to. I'm all for more young kids reading comics. Let's just hope Bendis doesn't make them chatty little brats.

For $9.95, you can pick this up without knowing anything else at all. You just enjoy the tale, soak it in, and continuity be damned. It must be said, a good OGN can do wonders for a weekend.

Prior Knowledge Needed - A standalone graphic novel full of brand new and creator owned characters. You're right to just dip on in and get a complete story in this one. Share it with your kids, save it as a Hallowe'en treat to be handed out. This one is built for a new audience.

Emma #1

Adaptation by Nancy Butler
Art by Janet K Lee

Another Marvel literary adaptation. They’ve done a fair few of your favourites so this time it’s Emma’s turn. You might not like the idea of your favourite prose novel being turned into funny pages but it must be said Marvel are doing this smart because they’re hiring top notch artists to render these pages.

Skottie Young has revolutionised the way I see Dorothy in the Oz tales and now Emma gets the treatment and you should be excited because the art is done by none other than Janet K. Lee, she of Return of the Dapper Men fame. Her art is phenomenally, excitingly, and awesomely good. From the preview pages, she seems to be a great choice to bring this tale to life.

Get in on this one now and it’s only a five issue miniseries, that’s not too much to invest in.

Prior Knowledge Needed - There is the source novel, Emma by Jane Austen, but you certainly don't need to have read it to get this comic and enjoy it. The whole point is this adaptation will give you the novel so if you've got an assignment due on this thing later in the year you can catch the comic instead and have all you need (Note: as a teacher, I do not agree that you'll have ALL you need by only reading the comic, but I'm sure you could still get a passing grade).

If you pick up any of these issues please let us know what you thought of them in the comments below.

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jerry said...

These are all great titles , It's just a shame the majority of the weekly readers only care about immature and childish disscussions on spider man's suit or superman going on a walk

maskedmanissue1 said...

Psyched about The Intrepids (formerly Rat Bastards) and also looking forward to the Herculian #1 coming out this week which, although not necessarily a starting point since it's an anthology, should be fun to read.

Tony Soldo said...

I'm excited for Takio and The Intrepids.

Eric in Ottawa said...

Nice article and thanks for showcasing these lesser-known titles. I think I'll actually check out Wulf based on this (well, this and Steve Niles)!

One small qualm though: the article is called "Jumping on Points", and all the books above are either #1s or OGNs. In terms of "jumping on" to a title, the first (or only) issue is a bit self-evident. I was hoping to see some titles that have been around a while (Hellblazer, Detective Comics, etc) and are a bit tougher to decide when to pick them up.

Nevertheless, good read and I'm looking forward to Wulf!

Stephen Waniak said...

I think this is a great feature. The only one of these that really interests me is the Intrepids. i hadn't heard of that title before now, but unless it gets some lousy reviews I'll almost certainly pick it up in trade.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

Hey, thanks for the appreciation of this new column. I'm thinking it should be fun each week. I'm also glad to see the love for The Intrepids, this is the one I'll be picking up this week. Should be good!

@Eric - one a title offers up a good jumping on point I'll be all over it. It's just a shame that the best diving spots for this week are #1 issues, but trust me, I'm keeping my eye out for a good mainstream issue people can get in on.

mrpeepants said...

i never fear jumping into the mysterious! but new columns and alternative title recommendations are always welcome.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@mrpeepants - we are glad to have served, good man. Hopefully this column eventually introduced you to your future favourite comic.

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