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Jul
02

Spinner Rack 1

Written by Seth Peagler

Spinner Rack 1Chances are, if you don't read comics, you've at least seen one of Hollywood's numerous adaptations of some of the industry's classic characters. It's not just evident in the big summer popcorn movies either. Sure, Avengers and Man of Steel get most of the attention, but let's not forget the more Indie-type films like Ghost World, American Splendor, and Tamara Drewe. Even if you didn't get dragged along to one of these films by your kids or significant other, it's easy to see that comics are everywhere these days.

If it's not apparent by the plethora of comic-related movies and video games, it's seen in the fact that comic writer Neil Gaiman continues to wind up on bestseller lists whenever he publishes a new novel. And then there's television, where comic writers like Brian K. Vaughan crossed over to write for Lost, and is a showrunner on the upcoming Under the Dome series. With comics bleeding into every form of media, where does that leave the good old print comics?

In this column I'll give you an overview of some of the big events that you'll be able to find each month on the comic shelves, while introducing you to some less visible comics from smaller publishers and comic creators around the world. Those of us who work in around the comics industry are prone to saying that "there's something for everyone," but that statement has never been truer than it is right now.

Take a look at some of the new comics available in July and you’ll see what I mean. If you grew up loving the Biff-Pow adventures of the sixties Adam West/Burt Ward Batman series, you’ll probably be interested in knowing that DC is kicking off Batman ’66 #1, which is the first time they’ve done a regular print comic in the campy vein of that show. For the record, both the Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt versions of Catwoman will be making appearances in the series, so there’s no need to argue.

Over at Marvel, July’s biggest newsmaker will likely be Guardians of the Galaxy #5. Now, most of you aren’t familiar that book, but that’s okay. Just think a space version of the Avengers, and you’ll be fine. With a big budget Guardians of the Galaxy film coming from Marvel Studios in the next few years, Marvel’s trying to increase public awareness of this property. To aid in this effort, they tapped Neil Gaiman to co-write the series starting with July’s issue five. Though he started in comics, Gaiman’s been busy with novels, movies and TV shows in recent years, so it’s always worth noting when he comes back to the funny books.

July also sees Marvel kicking off yet another Oz book from Eric Shanower and Skottie Young. The Emerald City of Oz #1 continues the pair’s excellent adaptations of the L. Frank Baum books. My wife and I have enjoyed all of the previous books in this series, and given several to young nieces and nephews as gifts. If you want to get your kids to read this summer but don’t want them to just read super hero comics, this is a great option for you.

We’ve talked DC and Marvel, but what about other companies in July? Image Comics offers up Satellite Sam #1 by Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin. This is being billed as a noir tale set in the Golden Age of television, where the star of a daily TV show dies mysteriously in an unseemly room. Fraction’s been doing some of the best work of his career recently over on Marvel’s Hawkeye, so I’m betting this pairing with a legend like Chaykin will be worth a look.

Some of you may be familiar with DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint. Over the past 25 years they’ve produced some of the darker, more literate comics on the shelves. From the gruesome horror of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, to the novelistic fantasy of Sandman, Vertigo has developed a strong reputation for quality and stretching the boundaries of what can happen in comics. In the past ten years, newer titles like Fables and Y: The Last Man have continued the trend of the publisher’s critically acclaimed titles. Sometimes, though, even heralded publishers need to change with the times. With their new July title Collider, Vertigo hopes to move away from some of that literal and figurative darkness. With fluid artwork from Robbi Rodriguez and the dynamic palette of Charlotte’s Rico Renzi, Collider’s science fiction elements look like nothing you’ve ever seen from Vertigo. This is a good thing not just for the publisher, but for any comic readers wanting a new book to pick up in July.

If you think comics are just fodder for Hollywood to turn into an endless parade of summer films, I’d encourage you to give some of these new books a try. This really is a great time to start reading, and you might be surprised by the variety of options. Keep an open mind, and maybe you’ll see what I (and countless others) already know: comics, like any great art form, provide a limitless array of experiences.

 

Seth Peagler   Seth Peagler

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