New Comic Book Day: Who Won Those Valiant Hardcovers?

Valiant Comics
Click to Embiggen

Last week, I asked for pics of how you show off your collections and the response was incredible. As a special gift for all of us, Valiant has given TR an exclusive one-page minicomic – look over there :points to the picture that says “Click to Embiggen” underneath: for that one, because it’s pretty awesome. You guys have some AWESOME stuff, and some of you are exceptionally talented at showing it off, and I wanted to start with a few honorable mentions.

Mataxis‘s Joes had me screaming “THEY BELONG IN A MUSEUM” until I found out they actually were. Props to 10glfan for very clearly being an awesome Dad. And to Luke because I’m an inveterate kissass (and holy crap, man, that’s a whole wall of figures). A shoutout to Toyota executive Faimekhan. Kozmik_Pariah‘s display case is incredible – great lighting, man. Nthman16, Kurutchin and Bearr have outstanding eyes for book shelving – not just showing off your books, but thinking about how they look standing next to each other.

One more honorable mention goes to montewilliams for reminding us all that libraries are great places to get hooked on comics. As a special thanks, I have a few trades from my own collection that I’d like to donate to your library, Monte. Shoot me an email with the address of your branch, and I’ll get those out this week.

Finally, we have our winner(s). The entries in this competition were just too good to pick only one winner, so here’s what we’re going to do. Christopherholden21 managed to turn an entire room into a walk-in diorama of love for comics, classic games and action figures. Seriously, I am incredibly jealous of you, and you’re the winner in this contest. But big.jim.slade has MOTHERFUCKING PREDAKING watching over his collection and that is awesome. So here’s what we’re going to do. Chris: please email me at thejimdandy1 at gmail dot com with which 3 of those 5 hardcovers you’d like, along with your mailing address and a screenshot of your MyVoiceNation user page, and those three books are yours. Big Jim, same thing, but you’ll get the other two books.

Thank you guys for inviting us all into your homes to see your amazing collections, and thanks to Valiant for offering up those awesome books. Now, we kill Quantum and Woody.

Valiant Comics

Quantum & Woody Must Die #1 (Valiant Comics)
Here is a brief list of the things that are awesome in QWMD:


To be slightly more comprehensive, I’m going to randomly pick 5 of my favorite moments.

1. The off chance that “I’m just bustin’ your labes” becomes a thing.
2. “When can I eat sushi again?”
3. Steve Lieber going full Charles Schultz.
4. Jokes about French-Canadians.
5. Emoji lettering in mainstream cape comics.

This is one of my favorite comics that I’ve read since I started this gig. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

You can pick up Quantum & Woody Must Die #1 at your friendly local comic shop or online via Comixology.

BOOM! Studios

Adventure Time #36 (BOOM! Studios)
This is the first one after Ryan North, Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline wrapped their 35 issue run. The new team is Chris Hastings (of Dr. McNinja fame) and Zachary Sterling, and I expressed some mild reservations about whether the book would continue to be so much fun.

I was unequivocally wrong to be worried. Sterling has nailed the body language and weird designs, while still keeping it feeling like Adventure Time art. Hastings has absolutely nailed the characters’ voices. It all clicked for me on the fifth page, when Hastings dropped in a joke that was a combination of really smart and so incredibly stupid (I say that with love) that I fell for this series all over again. Using typesetter placeholder text as a magical incantation was so close to my ideal quick comic gag that I’m disappointed I haven’t seen it before, and sad that it’ll never work again.

You can pick up Adventure Time #36 at your friendly local comic shop or online via Comixology.

Vertigo Comics

Effigy #1 (Vertigo)
Originally announced at New York Comic Con, this series from Tim Seeley and Marley Zarcone is about a washed up ex-child star who skulks home to where she grew up. When she gets back, she finds out that a cult is not only focused there, but that they worship celebrities, and have murdered someone in a manner that mimics a case from her old TV show about a tween detective.

That sounds delightfully bizarre. Early artwork from Zarcone looks interesting, and Seely has written good horror stuff before – I’ve heard a bunch of good things about Hack/Slash and I’ve enjoyed the couple of issues of Revival I’ve looked through. I’m not crazy about the idea that not-Dina Lohan turns out to be a competent, mid-level priestess in murder Scientology. She’s OT-2 at best.

You can pick up Effigy #1 at your friendly local comic shop or online via Comixology.

Dynamite Entertainment

King The Phantom #1 (Dynamite Comics)
Dynamite is celebrating King Features’ 100th anniversary this year with a series of minis based on old King characters (The Phantom, Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, Jungle Jim and Prince Valiant) followed by a big crossover tying them all together. The Phantom is from Brian Clevenger and Brent Schnoover. It’s a little light on the exposition – I definitely felt like I was coming in on the middle of a longer story. Events from earlier comics are mentioned and briefly summarized, but I still felt a little lost a couple of times.

That complaint aside, this was still a good book. There’s a six-panel action sequence (like, page 14) that is just awesome. It’s everything you want from a quick action moment – it’s one of those fixed-camera sequences that’s really clear and fluid, but it’s also pretty funny and pretty badass. Overall, this is a breezy, pulpy, entertaining action book.

You can pick up King The Phantom #1 at your friendly local comic shop or online via Comixology.


Uncanny X-Men #30 (Marvel Comics)
So, I guess that theory’s out, and with it the entire rationale for the existence of most of the main X-Books. You know how in All New X-Men, Beast can’t send the original 5 back to their own time? My speculation was that it was because there was no past to send them to, because the incursions were eating away at the timeline or something. P.S. that’s also Secret Wars speculation.

That theory goes in the toilet with this issue, though, because in it, Eva Bell uses her powers to go back and have a chat with Professor X. So fun question: if Eva can go back in time, and Beast’s time machine isn’t working, why don’t they send the original five back with Eva? The entire premise of like, 2 whole series is now fundamentally invalid because nobody seems to really care about linewide consistency, and this has been a problem with the X-Books since “Schism.” Sure, we’ve had some incredible comics since then, but for about 5 years, there was an amazing synchronicity to the entire line. Everything X from “Messiah CompleX” to “Second Coming” and a little past felt like it was telling the same story, and the quality of creator on every book was outstanding. Lately though, it feels like the top right hand doesn’t know what the middle left hand is doing. Yes, that’s a Spiral joke.

You can pick up Uncanny X-Men #30 at your friendly local comic shop or online via Comixology.

Image Comics

They’re Not Like Us #2 (Image Comics)
Speaking of the X-Men, Eric Stephenson, Simon Gane and Jordie Bellaire have crafted a neat, quiet story that really feels like X-Men: First Class if Professor X had decided to throw up his arms and say “You know what? Screw you, screw humans and screw this world. I’m gonna get mine.”

It’s got a hip, mod sheen to it, but this really just feels like a dark, cynical take on an X-Men origin story. I hate cynicism for the sake of cynicism, but this doesn’t have any of the winky “LOOK HOW KEWL THESE ASSHOLES ARE” crap that is usually part and parcel of juvenile power fantasies that are the typical examples of this kind of writing. Stephenson and Gane have drawn the characters in a way that makes me think that this is an exploration of power and the abuse of that power, looking at people who are willing to do anything to protect themselves and just where they cross the line from self-defense and into outright villainy. This is shaping up to be a very good series.

You can pick up They’re Not Like Us #2 at your friendly local comic shop or online via Comixology.

Archie Comics

Sonic Boom #4 (Archie Comics)
HUMBLE BUNDLE TIME! Archie’s doing the new Humble Book Bundle, and once again, it’s a great deal. I paid more than $15 for my copy of Afterlife with Archie, so the fact that you can grab that, The Fox (and get a great preview of their new Dark Circle hero books) The Death of Archie, AND Sabrina’s wedding spooktacular for $15.01 is a ridiculous deal. AND YES THAT’S A TERRIBLE PUN and maybe a spoiler. Deal with it.

As for Sonic Boom #4, the variant cover’s tagline is “Sticks with Stones Being Chased by Bones,” and it brags about its pun-density. I think you know where I stand on this.

You can pick up Sonic Boom #4 at your friendly local comic shop or online from Archie.

Every week there are way too many comics for me to read and keep track of. So in every column, I’m going to take a look at a book that came out in the last few weeks, but that I only just had a chance to read.

Top Shelf Productions

This week, it’s March Book Two by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell.

March proves proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that for me, comics are the best for nonfiction, because it is an utter masterpiece of the form. I’ve always known on an intellectual level how horrific the fight for even the slightest shreds of dignity and equality in the ’60s was. It wasn’t until I read this story that I actually felt the terror the people on the ground fighting for equality must have gone through. This is legitimately one of the scariest comics I’ve ever read, and that terror was heightened by the fact that every couple of pages I would step back and remind myself that all of this is real and it happened to real people who kept fighting through it.

I think everyone’s familiar with the history behind this, but it’s really masterfully told by Congressman Lewis and Aydin, and Nate Powell is one of the best artists working in comics right now. Framing the story with President Obama’s inauguration made book one that much more emotional. Here, they’re used to set up a juxtaposition – how terrible things can be with a moment of incredible triumph.

I’ve been saying it a lot for so early in the year (and I’m going to say it again next week, as emphatically as I am today) but I’m surprised at how many potential best of the year books are coming out so quickly. March Book 1 is one of my favorite comics of all time. March Book 2 is one of the best.

You can pick up March Book Two at your friendly local comic shop or online via Comixology.

That’s what I’m reading this week. What are you picking up?