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Spinner Rack 2

Written by Seth Peagler

Spinner Rack September 2013
by: Seth Peagler

mary-janeAs with every month, September offers lots of variety by way of new comic selections.  If you’re looking for a large mainstream comics event to jump into on the ground floor, Marvel offers up X-men: Battle of the Atom #1.  For the unaware, this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the X-men.  Marvel celebrates it with this ten part story line starring X-men from the past and future teaming with mutants from the present.  It's probably no coincidence that time travel plays heavily into the upcoming X-men: Days of Future Past film, but Marvel wisely attached some of their more prominent creators to this series in hopes of bridging the gap between the film and print audiences. 

Then there’s The Star Wars.  Notice, I said THE Star Wars.  This new series from Dark Horse is actually based on George Lucas' rough draft for what eventually became the pop culture phenomenon we all know so well.  How is it different?  Luke Skywalker's still around, but is now a wiser, older Jedi general.  Han Solo is still around, but is a large green alien, and Darth Vader, while still the antagonist, looks more like an evil samurai than a cyber-enhanced intergalactic threat.  Plus, the visuals for this series hold truer to some of the designs by Ralph McQuarrie, which means C-3PO looks like a dead ringer for the robot from Fritz Lang's fabled film Metropolis.

If you want something a little more down to Earth, I’d recommend The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story HC.  This one’s for art and music aficionados alike.  While music fans can appreciate writer Vivek J. Tiwary's detailed story of the life and death of the Beatles' influential manager, art lovers should revel in the work of artist Andrew Robinson.  Though he’s always been a reliable illustrator, this book looks like it may be the work of Robinson’s career. 

It is my humble opinion that DC Comics has faltered in recent years when it comes to the quality of their monthly books.  Their miniseries, however, are a different story.  A prime example is September’s Batman Black and White #1.  This isn't the first time DC has produced a color-less, stand-alone Batman anthology, but if their first such series was any indication, this one should be equally impressive.  Featuring contributions from famed book designer Chipp Kidd, comics legend Neal Adams, and talented modern artists like Joe Quinones, Maris Wicks, Sean Murphy, Michael Cho and Chris Samnee, this series is a perfect way to get your Batman fix without having to wade through the quagmire of monthly Batman titles.

There are several books currently published that exhibit the odd crossover that exists between hipster comic readers and kids/young adults.  Think about Adventure Time, Regular Show, and Bravest Warriors: all animated series that manage to attract plenty of hipsters.  In September, you can add Powerpuff Girls #1 to that esteemed group. This new series based on the popular animated series will undoubtedly reach both of these seemingly unrelated groups.

Another worthwhile all ages offering is Archaia’s Cow Boy vol. 2: Unconquerable.  In addition to featuring a ten year old bounty hunter as the protagonist, this one features art from Chris Eliopoulous, who has, in part, made a career out of producing quality art that kids and adult readers can appreciate.  Parents looking to encourage further reading from their kids should also check out Fortunately, The Milk, the latest children’s book from Neil Gaiman.  This tale of aliens and breakfast cereal is greatly embellished with illustrations from award winning artist extraordinaire Skottie Young. 

For my money, the comic most deserving of your hard earned September money would be Hip Hop Family Tree.  Admittedly, I've never been a big fan of Hip Hop.  That said, this is my top pick of the month because I know writer/artist Ed Piskor has been tirelessly working on this book for years, and every page I've seen makes me want to read the book even more.  Aside from Piskor's meticulous research and fine cartooning, the book hopes to encapsulate the entire history of Hip Hop music over the course of several volumes.  I can't think of another graphic novel that has aimed so high in terms of recounting a music's varied history.  Cartoonists respect Piskor's craft, and I know he's received good feedback from musicians and critics in the Hip Hop community at large.  Like the aforementioned The Fifth Beatle, this one has a lot of crossover potential, and I hope the music fans among you give this one a look. 

You can find all these new releases and more throughout September at your local comic shop.  If you want to do more than just read comics, I’d encourage you to check out the Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find Discussion Group on Saturday, September 28.  Full details are available at

www.HeroesOnline.com, but the short version is that this group offers a chance to dig into a popular comic in a laid back environment.  September’s selection is the award winning Saga by Lost and Under the Dome producer Brian K. Vaughan and acclaimed illustrator Fiona Staples.  The group usually convenes at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find (1957 E. 7th St.), then proceeds to a local restaurant to dissect the current selection over drinks and grub.  Having been a regular contributor to this group over the years, I can attest to its critical and entertainment potential.  More than that, it’s a prime example of Charlotte’s impressive comics community.

Seth Peagler   Seth Peagler

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