It's SUMMER! You wouldn't know it from the spring-like weather outside (mostly chilly, always rainy), but to me, June means that summer has arrived.
I remember when the arrival of summer meant a whole lot of reading time, and even though that's not the case anymore, I still love trying to make a little extra time to read here and there when June hits. Luckily, I have a lot of great newly releasing trades and graphic novels to choose from.
Valerian: The Complete Collection - Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières (Cinebook Ltd., June 1)
I've been wanting to read Valerian for a long time, and now that the movie is coming out, it's the perfect time. Publisher Cinebook Ltd. is putting out Valerian: The Complete Collection. From what I can tell, they're releasing three separate volumes — one in June and two in July. I'm really excited to finally have these books in print in English (and to know what order to read the stories in).
The Refrigerator Monologues - Catherynne M. Valente and Annie Wu (Saga Press, June 6)
Okay, this isn't technically a comic, but I'm including it on this list because (a) it's awesome, (b) I missed it for my Fangrrls SFF list and (c) ANNIE WU. In this prose book (with Wu's art), Valente creates a new superhero universe from the point of view of the women who are "fridged" — murdered, raped, kidnapped, etc. — to move a male character's story ahead. I don't imagine this book will be easy to read, but it's important to do so.
Bitch Planet, Vol. 2: President Bitch - Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine de Landro, Taki Soma, Kelly Fitzpatrick and Clayton Cowles (Image, June 6)
It seems as though Bitch Planet has become the symbol of fighting against the patriarchy. Noncompliant tattoos are ubiquitous; people love the comics and what they stand for, accepting women of all shapes, sizes, colors, beliefs and orientations. It's exciting, then, that the series finally (hopefully?) seems to be back on track after numerous delays. The second trade is finally releasing, and it appears that the monthly issues will return to a regular publishing schedule soon.
Kingsway West - Greg Pak, Mirko Colak, and Wil Quintana (Dark Horse, June 13)
I'm a huge fan of Greg Pak, so when I heard he was writing a supernatural comic set in the Old West, I thought, "Where do I sign up?" Now the entire series is being released in a collected trade. It features a Chinese gunslinger named Kingsway Law who just wants to live a quiet life with his wife. But when destiny calls, Kingsway has to step into a fight that he doesn't want to protect everything he holds dear.
Hawkeye: Kate Bishop, Vol. 1 - Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, Michael Walsh and Jordie Bellaire (Marvel, June 13)
No, not that Hawkeye. If you've only ever seen the movies, you're missing out on the best Hawkeye. While Clint Barton might carry the superhero name in the movies (and, okay, in some of the comics, including one of my favorite comics ever, the Matt Fraction/David Aja/Annie Wu Hawkeye), it's Kate Bishop who is Hawkeye to me. The first volume has Kate working as a P.I. in Los Angeles—and she teams up with Jessica Jones!
Spell on Wheels - Kate Leth, Megan Levens and Marissa Louise (Dark Horse, June 20)
Witches on a road trip? Yep, that's the premise of this series, that's been collected into a trade paperback. I first heard about Spell on Wheels a few months before the first issue came out. I love Kate Leth, and I love the premise, but because I am terrible at reading comics in issues (I just let them pile up and forget about them), I didn't actually read this series. Now that it's out in a bright shiny trade? You can bet I'll pick this up.
Threads: From the Refugee Crisis - Kate Evans (Verso, June 20)
Just the title lets you know that this graphic memoir isn't going to be an easy read, but I absolutely love it when writers and artists tackle difficult topics in the comics medium. It presents a raw and powerful narrative that words can't always convey. This memoir chronicles the author's time spent in the French port city of Calais, where thousands of African and Middle Eastern refugees are waiting, hoping, for entry into the UK. It's too easy to ignore problems like this with the world we live in, so while I can't say I'm excited about this book (it's going to be a downer), I think it needs to be read and am looking forward to doing so.
Aho-Girl 1 by Hiroyuki (Kodansha Comics, June 20)
A quirky slice-of-life comic about an adorably clueless girl in high school? I'll take it. Aho-Girl is a manga about a girl named Yoshiko who bumbles her way through life. If it wasn't for her devoted group of friends, people would take advantage of Yoshiko right and left. I don't love my reading too cutesy, but this seems like a good balance of cute and funny, and judging from the cover the art seems like it'll be fun. I'm definitely willing to give this a chance!
Everyone's an Aliebn When Ur an Aliebn Too - Jomny Sun (Harper Perennial, June 27)
Jomny is an alien who's been lonely his entire life. He doesn't fit in with his own people, but when he's sent to Earth, he finally finds somewhere he feels like he belongs. This collection is sweet and heartwarming; while I've checked out some of the adorable comics from the @jonnysun Twitter account, I haven't had a chance to look at the full collection yet. I'm definitely excited to dive in; I could definitely use more adorable comics in my life.
DC Comics: Bombshells, Vol. 4 - Marguerite Bennett, Laura Braga, Mirka Andolfo and Marguerite Sauvage (DC Comics, June 27)
If you're excited about Wonder Woman, then you should be reading DC Comics: Bombshells. This alternate-universe series (separate from the main DC Rebirth universe) imagines your favorite female superheroes (Catwoman, Vixen, Wonder Woman) in a World War II setting with excellent style. If you love seeing your favorite lady superheroes team up, then why aren't you reading this (gorgeous) series?