Welcome to The Pull List, SYFY WIRE's weekly comics column that gets at the pulse of what's going on in comics right now. Everything from huge crossovers to real-life issues facing the industry, a cool first look, the week's hot new comics, and everything in between. Basically, we're here to help you with your pull list.
It's a special day in the comics world. After nearly two months of the majority of comic book shipping on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it's New Comic Book Day once again this week. While Marvel won't be picking up their own print runs against until next week, and DC's been at it through an alternative distributor model for a little while now, this is the first Wednesday when most of the other major publishers in the game get to push their fresh new product out to the shelves of local comic book stores.
Is it a normal New Comic Book Day? No, and it probably won't be for quite a while if you're thinking in terms of everyone everywhere being able to go shop normally. Publishers are still easing back into the market with a relatively small number of titles compared to a typical Wednesday, and even as the volume of comics ramps back up many stores are still at least partially closed due to public health concerns. It won't be New Comic Book Day as usual, but it's something, and it's something exciting. So, if you're hoping to get some fresh single issues from a local shop, be safe, wear a mask (maybe a cool, nerdy mask), and maybe take advantage of curbside pickup if your store is offering that. If you're looking for a local store to support right now, you can head over to 28 Pages Later and their amazing database of shops doing what they can amid various lockdowns right now. The safer and smoother we make this New Comic Book Day, the more likely it is that we'll get even bigger and better ones down the road.
This week's hottest new comics projects
Over the last couple of weeks we've seen a lot of very cool comics come through Kickstarter, including new projects from Jimmy Palmiotti, Matt Kindt, Jim Starlin and more. This week, yet another major campaign from major genre creators landed, and it's one you'll probably want to get in on. Writer/director Duncan Jones (Moon, Mute) and comics writer Alex de Campi (who just launched the excellent Bad Karma over at Panel Syndicate) dropped the Kickstarter campaign for Madi: Once Upon a Time in the Future Tuesday, and revealed an all-star lineup of artists who are working with them to bring the project to life.
Set in the same universe as Jones' films Moon and Mute, Madi follows the title character as she tries to free herself from an endless cycle of mercenary jobs to repair the technology implanted in her body, which just keeps sinking her deeper and deeper into debt. At the end of her rope, Madi takes a job that she thinks will allow her a buyout at last, but then something goes wrong, and she finds herself on the run in a globehopping sci-fi thriller.
For a lot of fans, the promise of Jones and De Campi collaborating on a story like this is probably enough to get you interested, but in case it's not, here's the list of artists working on the project: Dylan Teague, Glenn Fabry, Duncan Fegredo, LRNZ, Ed Ocaña, André Araújo, Simon Bisley, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, Tonci Zonjic, Pia Guerra, James Stokoe, RM Guéra, Chris Weston, Rufus Dayglo, Annie Wu, David Lopez and Christian Ward.
That's a hell of an impressive lineup, and because Jones started funding Madi out of his own pocket, all the Kickstarter fundraising will go to increasing page rates and royalties for the entire art team. If you're interested in getting in on that, you've got four weeks to back the project.
As the comics industry tries to jumpstart itself again after weeks of publishing on pause, some publishers are pulling out all the stops to make sure eager readers have major events to look forward to. This week, BOOM! Studios announced its own attempt to reinvigorate comics retail in the form of a comic that wasn't supposed to happen. Or at least, it wasn't supposed to happen this way, this soon.
The publisher announced this week that Wynd, from The Woods creative team of writer James Tynion IV and artist Michael Dialynas, will debut its first issue as a limited series next month. Why is this particularly noteworthy (other than, you know, a celebrated creative team launching a new story)? Because Wynd was originally solicited as a graphic novel that would be out this fall. With the industry being what it is right now, though, BOOM! and the creative team behind Wynd decided to launch things sooner, and to spread the story in a more serialized way. The surprise June release of Wynd #1 came without the typical three-month window between solicitation and publication, which means readers just have weeks instead of months to wait.
"Wynd introduces readers to a world where magical heritage is punishable by death, so a young boy named Wynd must keep his true identity – and pointy ears – a secret from everyone in Pipetown, even if it means he’ll never have the normal life he wants," BOOM! revealed in a press release. "But when his secret is threatened, Wynd is forced to leave his home behind to embark on a dangerous quest that will put him at the heart of a royal conspiracy beyond his imagination."
Wynd #1 debuts June 17, and you can check out a preview over at BOOM!'s website right now.
BOOM!'s not the only publisher dropping surprise new comics this week. DC Comics also announced Tuesday that its popular alternate universe saga DCeased is continuing with a new 14-part digital-first series that kicks off with its first issue this very week.
Titled DCeased: Hope at World's End, the series allows writer Tom Taylor and artists Dustin Nguyen, Renato Guedes, Carmine Di Giandomenico and Marco Failla to return to the Anti-Life War readers first saw in the original DCeased miniseries, and fill in the gap left by the time jump in DCeased #5.
“There was a point in DCeased where we had to make the decision to skip weeks of losses and triumphs and heroism or our first miniseries wouldn't exactly be a miniseries,” Taylor said in a press release. “But we knew we had a larger story to tell, so we seeded plots we could expand on and deliberately left huge characters off the table for the future. That future is here.”
That larger story, featuring some major moments for the Super Sons amid the DCeased story, will release in 14 installments twice a month beginning with the first issue, which is available now. So, if you're into the world of DCeased and you were hoping for more, surprise!
Anyone familiar with my particular tastes in comics knows that I'm a big Fantastic Four guy, and that I particularly enjoy writer Mark Waid's run with that team (my Twitter avatar is, and has been for years, a Mike Wieringo drawing of The Thing), so I was especially thrilled late last week when Marvel announced that Waid is returning to the First Family he writes so well, and he's doing with art from the great Neal Adams.
Marvel announced last Friday that Waid and Adams are teaming up this summer for Fantastic Four: Antithesis, a new series that will pit the Four, alongside Galactus and the Silver Surfer, up against a terrifying new villain. While it's a homecoming of sorts for Waid, the series marks Adam's first-ever full-length FF tale in his storied career.
“Working with Neal Adams has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. To share the page with a man of his talent is an honor,” Waid said in a press release. “The story begins with the Fantastic Four struggling to prevent an extinction event on Earth and just goes more cosmic from there. We all know of Galactus, but until now, no one has met his Antithesis.”
Fantastic Four: Antithesis #1 is on sale this August, and I'll be first in line to read it.
New reads to check out this week
Well hey, look at that, it's another week full of new comics to talk about. If we keep this up, it might just become a trend. Here's what we're excited about this week.
The Ludocrats #1: One of my most-anticipated new comics of the year has finally arrived, and it's everything I wanted and then some. I've been a Kieron Gillen fan for a long time because of the way he's able to nimbly dance in and out of various subgenres and influences, commenting on them while also delivering the goods, and The Ludocrats is in some ways the peak of that. Gillen, co-writer Jim Rossignol, artist Jeff Stokely, colorist Tamra Bonvillain, and letterer Clayton Cowles are all just leaving it all on the page with this one, and it's a joy to behold.
What's Ludocrats about? Well, that's a little tough to explain, but the title characters are the powerful and influential people in this world in which boredom is the ultimate sin. The first issue follows a pair of these bombastic characters as they prepare for and ultimately attend a wedding, where events are set in motion that are sure to become even more ludicrous by the second issue.
If you name your book The Ludocrats, and your cover art and preview pages promise to go this big with that concept, then the rest of the book better not let up for a second, and this first issue absolutely doesn't fail us there. Stokely and Bonvillain in particular are just nailing the aesthetic of this world, a world in which in a thousand different influences and ideas are all mashed together for the sake of sheer bonkers fun. There's an unhinged quality to the world of The Ludocrats, and yet the combined writing power of Gillen and Rossignol leaves you with a feeling of confidence, as though you can rest assured you know where they're going with this even if you don't yet. It might not be true, necessarily, but I can't wait to see how weird issue #2 gets.
Jimmy Olsen #10: Speaking of books that just keep getting weirder with a sense of confidence that allows you to keep reading, we've arrived in the final three issues of the brilliant Jimmy Olsen miniseries from writer Matt Fraction, artist Steve Lieber, and colorist Nathan Fairbairn. I don't want this series to end. I spent the weekend re-reading it and catching up on the most recent couple of issues, and one night I had to seriously work to keep from laughing so hard that I woke the whole house up. It's just that thoroughly joyful, and issue #10 is no different, as this time out we get a rooftop banana heist, a discussion of alien slang terms, and at long last some answers as to who's been trying to kill Jimmy this whole time.
If you've been reading this series already, you know what a delight it's been to watch Fraction and Lieber play in their ever-expanding little sandbox within the DC Universe. The book just keeps expanding out in increasingly broad ways, and with issue #10 we get even more of that expansion plus the sense that an endgame is taking shape. As usual, there are some amazing puns, perfect little background gags, and the kind of facial character work that makes Lieber perhaps the best comic "actor" in the superhero game right now. For my money, Jimmy Olsen might be the most purely entertaining book on the stands right now, and it's nice to see it back with just a couple of issues left. If you haven't given it a shot yet, go pick up the backissues and get ready for the finale.
Youth #2: Switching gears just a bit from a pair of very funny books out this week, I'd like to talk a little about the new comiXology Originals title Youth, from writer Curt Pires, artist Alex Diotto, colorist Dee Cunniffe, and letterer Micah Myers. Billed as something between Chronicle and Larry Clark's 1995 film Kids, the series follows two teenagers running away from their hateful small town and escaping to California, joining a band of fellow misfits in a van along the way. The first issue plays out mostly like a very authentic, engaging little coming-of-age tale, and then a last-page twist makes it clear that something stranger is going on.
Using emerging superpowers as a metaphor for growing up is certainly nothing new, but there's a freshness and an immediacy to the way Youth approaches it that hooked me right away. Pires' dialogue and Diotto's panels lure you in with a sense of familiarity, the sense that these kids could be people you've met a thousand times, and right at the moment you think the trip is going to lean into the mundane, something amazing happens. The first issue blew by, and the second issue moved even faster for me. If you're a fan of Chronicle, or even more recent intimate superhero stories like Fast Color, it's very much worth checking out.
And that's it for The Pull List this week. Until next time, remember what John Custer told his son Jesse in the pages of Preacher:
"You gotta be one of the good guys, son: 'Cause there's way too many of the bad."