Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are one of the most consistent and compelling teams in comics. I’ve never read any of Brubaker’s superhero books, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of his work with Phillips for Image Comics.
Paper Girls feels like a forgotten 1980s adventure that piles on the subversive twists. They don’t make movies like that anymore, let alone ones this weird. I think the technical term here is “box office poison,” and yet I’d love to see Paper Girls up on the big screen. It begs for the kind of lovingly nostalgic adaptation that could only work with modern special effects and sensibilities.
The Beauty Volume 1 has one cool idea and not much else: there is a new sexually transmitted disease that makes you beautiful. If you contract it, you become young, thin and pretty within minutes. The only apparent side effect is a constant low-level fever, so people go out of their way to get infected. It isn’t long before half the population has The Beauty.
There are factions who object to The Beauty for political and religious reasons, but the real problem is that people with The Beauty are starting to spontaneously combust and nobody knows why. When a woman combusts in public, two police detectives (one of whom is infected) try to find an explanation. They are opposed by government officials trying to cover it up and a shady pharmaceutical CEO who just wants to make a profit. The story turns into a by-the-numbers conspiracy thriller/mystery after only a few pages.
Rat Queens is a modern spin on classic fantasy tropes that plays within those boundaries while also subverting clichés, and does so with a light touch. It has a great premise: a group of rowdy adventurers in a fantasy world fight, fuck, and generally incite civic destruction. The twist is that they’re all women, and they are surrounded by other adventuring parties with similar mixes of race and gender.
The Wicked + The Divine, Volume 1: The Faust Act Written by: Kieron Gillen Illustrated by: Jamie McKelvie Colored by: Matt Wilson Published: November 12th 2014 Publisher: Image Comics Genre(s): Fantasy, Graphic Novel Format: Paperback Length: 144 pages The Wicked + The Divine takes celebrity worship to an extreme and imagines a world where the … Read more
Sex Criminals, Volume One: One Weird Trick Written By: Matt Fraction Art By: Chip Zdarsky Published: April 29th 2014 Publisher: Image Comics Genre(s): Graphic Novel, Comedy, Surrealism, Sex, Romance Format: Paperback Length: 128 pages Sex Criminals is a bit of a phenomenon. It’s one of those books that I heard a lot about before I … Read more
Published: August 20, 2013 Publisher: Image Comics Genre(s): Graphic Novel Format: Trade Paperback Length: 96 pages Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth is an odd little series about a kid named Todd surrounded by terrible human beings. It’s not exactly surreal, but it is nonsensical in a way that is clearly meant as darkly comedic … Read more