Graphic Novel Roundup: A Vampire Chef, Extra-Large Avatar, and a New Look at the Man of Bronze

decomposiaArchie Comics announced this week that Archie, published continuously since 1942, will ominously end its run in June with issue #666 (don’t worry, though, a reboot is on the way). In similarly demonic news, Fox is developing a pilot for the Lucifer character from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and its spin-off. In contrast with comics, and in what might strike some as a massive conflict of interest, the TV Lucifer will help the LAPD solve crimes. Which is, possibly, the only idea for a police procedural that hasn’t already been done.

Meanwhile, are the new graphic novels coming out this week:

Starlight, Volume 1, by Goran Parlov and Mark Millar
Mark Millar’s action-filled, yet frequently poignant series from Image Comics, Starlight is about Duke McQueen, a John Carter/Adam Strange-style space hero who saved the universe as a young man. Now widowed and retired back on Earth, even his kids don’t really believe his stories of intergalactic adventure. In the same way that adventure often shows up in children’s stories to provide an escape rom boring, everyday life, Duke is also given a chance to leave behind a world and family that don’t have time for an old man. Study up on this one now: Fox has X-Men: Days of Future Past screenwriter Simon Kinberg working on a movie version.

 

Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula, by Andi Watson
The latest from U.K.-based Andi Watson, Decomposia tells the all-ages story of a stressed-out, overworked princess of the underworld. (Sounds like my life story already.) Stuck with running the kingdom on behalf of her distant, emotionally manipulative father, she hires a charming vampire chef in order to lighten her workload just a bit. Like Watson’s other work, expect surprising depth from the relationships between the king, the princess, and the vampire.

 

Avatar: The Last Airbender—The Rift Library Edition, by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru
If you can spare the space on your bookshelf, the Dark Horse Library Editions are a good value and a nice presentation. This one collects the Rift trilogy of stories that follow Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Toph in adventures beyond Airbender and prior to The Legend of Korra. Aang’s attempts to celebrate a forgotten Air Nomad holiday lead to the awakening of a powerful ancient spirit bent (ha ha) on destruction. The Library Edition includes the three original graphic novels in an over-sized format along with annotations and extra art.

Love And Rockets: New Stories No. 7, by Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez
The seriously long-running indie series returns in the latest annual volume from the Hernandez brothers. As (almost) always, this collection splits the page count between Jaime’s Locas stories and Gilbert’s more eclectic Palomar tales. In the former, recovering punks and sometime-lovers Maggie Chascarillo and Hopey Glass take a road trip to break up the domestic monotony, while Beto places his character in stories involving Morgan Le Fey, Aladdin, and World War II.

Doc Savage Omnibus, Volume 1, by Alex Ross, John Cassaday, Bilquis Evely, Roberto Castro, and Chris Roberson
Doc Savage is a deeply weird throwback to the pulp era. Full of the violence and nasty villains that characterize serialized adventures of the 1930s, the stories also have a steadfast, Star Trek-y optimism about humantiy. For Doc and his team, humankind is infinitely perfectible: As individuals, we can train our bodies and brains to achieve extraordinary things; with modern science and technology, we can push that process even further. A truly evolved man can even achieve a tan so awesomely dark and even that people will ignore many other truly amazing achievements and take to referring to him as “The Man of Bronze.”

This omnibus collects last year’s seven-part (plus annual) Doc Savage series from Chris Roberson. The individual stories build upon one another, following the long-lived Doc and his organization through the decades, from the 1930s to the present. Crime-fighting is generally incidental to Doc’s mission, but there are threads throughout that come together as the bad guys take gradual advantage of his occasional overreach. Facing the future, Doc and his crew wind up questioning their grandiose plans for mankind. Still, no matter how bad things look, the series never gives up on the hero in favor of cynicism. It’s a unique message, in a retro kinda way.

What’s on your pull list?

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