Happy New Comic Book Day! Christmas is almost upon us but the new releases haven’t slowed down, in fact, I think this week is better than most. Here are our recommendations for the ten best issue #1s and graphic novels launching this week. Typically the focus is indie comics that don’t get a lot of attention despite thoroughly deserving it, but we also throw in some mainstream content if it’s worth a mention. NOTE: You can find the digital only comics on  Comixology.

1

Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez are back with Locke & Key: Small Word, a stand alone story that revisits the incredible world that the two creatives concluded three years ago. An impossible birthday gift for two little girls unexpectedly throws open a door to a monster on eight legs!

Klaus returns for a one shot in Klaus and the Witch of Winter to get you in the festive spirit. After spending decades imprisoned on the moon, Santa Klaus returns to Earth to discover the world he knew has drastically changed. Two children are kidnapped so Klaus helps the father find his kids while exploring his stolen past.  In Hookjaw #1 a rag-tag group of marine scientists find themselves caught in a conflict between pirates and the might of the US Navy. But why is the CIA so interested in the work of the scientists? And just how will they face up to the shadowy terror of the legendary great white…

Once considered more than a man, but now most would consider him more of a monster, Ed Ables has an insatiable hunger for human entrails. Things were going swimmingly for him. As the director of a funeral home, no one noticed when an organ or two went missing. When a drug epidemic spreads through the city tainting Ed’s food supply, he must dig up his past to help preserve his future. All this and more in Stitches #1.

The Jail Crimes Division of the Sheriff’s Office investigates crimes committed inside county jails. With a limited number of suspects these are usually easy cases to solve—but not this one. As Detective Linda Caruso gets closer to the heart of the case, she discovers uncomfortable truths about her friends, her job, and herself. That’s Dead Inside #1

After a rift opens between our reality and the After-Life, a cosmic powered Hitler is the first through with plans to conquer Earth. Thomas Jefferson and other nerdy dead presidents like John Quincy Adams and Richard Nixon, believe they are the only ones that can match a dead Hitler’s power. However, the actual president that can unite the 38 dead leaders is living up the After-Life with the Rat Pack. Check out The Unconstitutional Actions and Adventures of the Dead Presidents #1

Gumballs #1 is a one-man anthology comic from Erin Nations. His stories reflect a fascination with humanity in all its diverse foibles — hinting at one of his earliest creative influences, Matt Groening. Erin serves up a delicious variety of stories: recollections of growing up as a triplet, interactions with oddball grocery-store customers, the adventures of clueless dork Tobias, painfully funny faux Personal Ads, and “Tales of Being Trans”— reflections on Erin’s true-life journey of gender transition.

LXVIII is a personal story from writer/artist Johhny Herber. The comic deals with loss, uncertainty and sadness over losing ones’ grandmother. I haven’t read Forbidden Gallery #1 but it looks creepy. The only description available is this cryptic warning “Finally have you arrived at the apogee of your journey. Deepest dreams, adventures and horrors await! Revelations from which you might not return! Thus forewarned may you enter.” The only graphic novel to make this week’s list is The Cabinet. On a doomed 1901 mission to the arctic Northwest Passage, a “shadow cabinet” of social outcasts opposing America’s government find horror and madness that leads them to the assassination of the President of the United States.

That’s our pick of the week and the final pick for 2016. What are you reading? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below and we will be back early next year.

Michael Vane is a freelance journalist and co-editor of PN2. He’s on Twitter @DrVane

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