We have not gone after our regular reviews in a while, maybe we are just saving up because we know we will have a dozen Vertigo books to get at. It is always difficult to pick what books we want to go after, so we try to pick ones that are interesting and relevant and there is something to say about them. That is certainly true with the line-up that we have for this round. Our line-up today are all from Image Comics, which is little surprise for those who are watching where the real interesting books are coming from today.
This may be one of the most pined for books of the year as we all know that Brian K Vaughn really knows how to knock out a first issue, especially if it is with an ongoing series. Paper Girls hits that note perfectly. The story looks at a group of bike bound newspaper delivery girl, with one new girl to the neighborhood guiding us into the group. They come across what has to be an alien spaceship, and an adventure begins that reminds us of pre-teen classics like The Goonies or just about every movie in the early nineties. What is done so well here is developing characters that are likable, situations that are engaging, and a general world that we believe. This is to say that in just a few short issues we want to keep going, and it was something we could comfortably add to our pull list after only a first read. Then we gave it a second. This is one of the books to watch this year, and a reminder of what a real master can do with such as simple concept.
Postal is a good example of what has become popular over at Image, as well as a few other places in the indie comics sphere. A story about a strange central character in an even stranger rural town, where murder, intrigue, the supernatural, and lies boiling under the surface drive an evolving narrative. Over all, Postal has been a bit uneven, but for people who are fans of this set-up it has been a good book to continue with. Issue #7 works as one of the more lucid and tight narratives from the series where we look at Mark making a deal with a local fighter to show him how to win his lady love in exchange for helping him win against the town racist. This gets a little closer at who Mark is, but also revealing both the more and less likable areas. It sets him up for the next step in the arc, which is important, but this is also a great jumping on point for someone who really does not care to step backwards and start at the beginning.
For anyone that has followed Skottie Young, you will have noticed that the center of his career is his play on the childlike art of storybooks and children’s tales. This started him out in the Oz adaptations at Marvel, but really crystalized in the dozens and dozens of Skottie Young Baby Variant Covers that he has done for Marvel #1s. His style towards baby versions of your favorite heroes has made him a collector’s favorite, and he will occasional turn this vision into an entire issue with Baby Marvel stories( the most recent A v X miniseries for Secret Wars was a good example). Now he has taken this vision into a darker place with the much anticipated I Hate Fairyland. The plot is simple: a young girl is taken into a storybook world filled with creates of awe and wonder. Cut to decades later, where she still looks like a little girl, but has lost her sense of whimsy. Instead, the violence and irony is at the center of her experience of this place, as you continue to meet strange creatures and societies. The book itself makes great use of the art style he is known for, but really takes it into a place of dark humor more than anything else. The essay at the end of the issue talks about his history with Mad Magazine, and that trend towards parody is certain baked in. It is hard to tell how this could be an ongoing series, even on just the technical terms with him both writing and drawing, but as it stands right now it appears to be exactly that. I guess we will have to stick with it to see, and I am guessing that these early books are going to be hot items at conventions.