After several weeks off we are finally back, refreshed and ready to delve into the world of indie comics once again. If you’re a newcomer, then welcome to our weekly guide to the best issue #1s and graphic novels. What better time to invest in a new series than the beginning of a new year. This week it’s rifts in the space-time continuum, post-apocalyptic Mohawks and a shout out to our pal Sigourney Weaver. NOTE: You can find the digital only comics on Comixology.
It’s already been two years since Mad Max: Fury Road reminded us that action movies can be awesome without a tonne of CGI although it’s left a post-apocalyptic gap in my heart (sad face). That’s where Barrens #1 comes in. In Barrens, the world’s population has dwindled due to a virus and warfare. The remaining cities are well protected, inhabited by the wealthy, and spread out across the country. When these wealthy need to be transported from one city to another, they hire an escort for protection. When they need something taken care of without question, they hire The Barrens. And when the barrens are involved, Esme Ford is the only one you can trust. It’s got violence, vehicular warfare and Mohawks aplenty.
Tales from The Suicide Forest #1 is a non-Japanese take on manga and Japanese horror films. Some say that the souls of the people who commit suicide wander forever in the Aokigahara forest condemned to be ghosts. This issue features two horrific ghost stories that work on their own and also add more background to writer El Torres’ graphic novel The Suicide Forest.
Staying in horror territory, Thin is a graphic novel about Doris Greene, a suburban housewife with a weight problem. When she discovers that her husband is having an affair, she turns to desperation and books an appointment for a mysterious operation in the hopes that it will make her thin once and for all. But the method proves to be an actual nightmare, and when she wakes up in the middle of the operation, Doris must fight for her life. It will make you uncomfortable in all the right ways.
Dollface #1 has a Weird Science vibe to it as a couple of MIT students use technology and a 3D printer to create the perfect women. Instead, they transport the soul of a 17th-century witch hunter into the body of a life-size, ball-jointed doll. It’s bizarre. The first issue is double-sized and tells the tale of how she came to be known Dollface. The Rift #1 tells the story of a single mother and her son whose lives change forever after witnessing a WWII fighter pilot from 1941 crash land in present-day Kansas. They find themselves drawn into the work of Section 47, a secret government organisation responsible for rifts that open in space and time.
Did you know the hit animated series The Deep began as an indie comic published by Aussie label Gesalt? Now that the series is a hit, it’s being reprinted as a monthly comic series by Boom! This all-ages adventure begins with the daring aquanaut family, The Nektons, aboard their state-of-the-art submarine, The Aronnax. When an earthquake off the coast of Greenland leads to strange reports of monster sightings, William and Kaiko Nekton, along with their kids, Fontaine and Ant dive into the mystery. That’s The Deep #1.
In 2016, Walter Hill, director of The Warrior’s, released a film titled (Re) Assignment starring Michelle Rodriguez and Sigourney Weaver.I’d never heard of it either. Apparently it’s not very good and certain groups found it incredibly offensive. Anyway, the story is getting a second chance at life in comic form as a series called The Assignment. Hitman Frank Kitchen’s assignment to kill a celebrated fashion designer who’s fallen behind on his debts takes a turn when his victim’s sister, a sociopathic surgeon, decides to punish him in the unique way only she can. Abducted and operated on against his will, Frank awakens in an altered condition – but with a hunger for revenge. It’s worth a read for the film’s infamy alone.
Born in 1910 to a poor, Jewish family outside of Kiev, Lola lived through the Bolshevik revolution, a horrifying civil war, Stalinist purges, and the Holocaust. She taught herself to read, and supported her extended family working as a secretary for the notorious NKVD and as a lieutenant in the Red Army. Her family moved to the U.S. in the wake of Chernobyl and forged a new life. Soviet Daughter is a coming of age graphic novel about Lola and her political awakening in the midst of the radical politics. At times heartbreaking and at times funny, this graphic novel memoir unites two generations of strong, independent women against a sweeping backdrop of the history of the USSR.
In space, everyone can hear you laugh. Enough Space for Everyone Else is an anthology of all things outer-space. From interspecies friendships, transporters to do your groceries, and crashing spaceships, this collection features stories about the full possibilities of life outside Earth.
That’s our pick of the week and the first for 2017. Until next week, what are you reading? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below.
Michael Vane is a freelance journalist and co-editor of PN2. He’s on Twitter @DrVane