Tuesday, December 20, 2016

ALL STAR RECOMMENDS FOR DECEMBER 20TH: 2017 COMIC BOOK FORECAST


Perhaps the only positive about time speeding up exponentially, at least that’s what it feels like to this old man, is that the wait for next year’s comics should not feel too excruciating. Below you will find thirty of what I consider to be the finest releases of 2017 thus far announced, chosen from what limited knowledge I could glean this early from publisher websites, schedules and whatnot. 

They are listed alphabetically with a projected release month added. Release dates are slippery, flighty things so do not be annoyed at me if they change. I’ll be annoyed enough for the both of us, trust me. Best check in with your favourite All Star staffer if you truly are keen.

Oh, before I forget, in place of this week's webcomic (and video) is a gallery of Christmas cards drawn by a heaping of cartoonists over the years. As one would expect, Windsor McCay's is so detailed it looks like he must've started it right around the preceding Easter.
Click here for that.

I’ll be back in two weeks with the Best of 2016 column, but for now I hope you enjoy the peek ahead. We’re in for a good year – look at all these thriving publishers!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


2017 COMIC BOOK FORECAST


AKIRA 35th ANNIVERSARY BOX SET
By Katsuhiro Otomo
Published By Kodansha 
Due April

Brains and wallets are set to explode like Neo-Tokyo! Retailing for $199 US is the upcoming 35th Anniversary Box Set of Katsuhiro Otomo’s superlative Akira, a classic of both the comics and anime mediums. That might sound like a lot of money, but it’s a lot of comics. Here’s what you get – all six volumes of Akira, freshly re-translated, each in oversized hardcover editions which read right to left Japanese style, complete with the original Japanese sound effects and assorted odds and ends such as glossaries. Oh, also included is the Akira Club art book, similarly formatted, which cobbles together 256 pages of Otomo art and various promotional pieces for one of the most popular and acclaimed manga of all time. Oh, and it all comes in a slipcase. That’s seven hardcover books averaging out at roughly 300 gorgeous Otomo pages per volume. That, my friends, is a bargain. Start saving.




ALACK SINNER: THE AGE OF INNOCENCE 
By Carlos Sampayo & Jose Munoz 
Published By IDW 
Due May

Well this, the first of two volumes collecting the complete cases of private eye Alack Sinner is roughly a year late, but man once you fix your peepers on that sweet, sweet Jose Munoz artwork it will be more than worth the prolonged wait. Sinner’s creators are Argentinean, but he’s from New York and his adventures span decades – 1975 to 2000 to be precise. As noir as noir comics can get, IDW’s Eurocomics imprint promise Alack Sinner comes chock full of political themes and “meditations on the nature of violence and exile.” Eleven stories are contained within Alack Sinner:The Age of Innocence and the publisher is wisely trumpeting The Comics Reporter’s Tom Spurgeon’s view that Alack Sinner is one of the top 100 comics of the last century and “…one of the ten all-time best drawn.” That’s about as solid a recommendation as you’re likely to get.


CRAWL SPACE
By Jesse Jacobs 
Published By Koyama Press 
Due May

Potentially the year’s most psychedelic comics release is the new one by Jesse Jacobs, Crawl Space, which sees a group of kids find a gateway to a “rainbow hued” dimension in a basement and find relief from their mundane suburban existences in the hypnotic delights on the other side. The “appeal of the surreal” proves too strong for some, however, and things may well go a tad Lord of the Flies on acid. It’s a premise that almost guarantees readers will enjoy page after page of Jacobs’ strange, intricate drawings and, based on the cover alone, a mind-bendingly lysergic colour palate awaits us. Groovy.


THE DISSOLVING CLASSROOM 
By Junji Ito
Published By Vertical 
Due January

Yay! 2016 ends with the release of the complete Tomie and 2017 kicks off with the first-time-ever-in English The Dissolving Classroom. What a time to be a fan of J-horror king Junji Ito. The title seems to be a play on The Drifting Classroom, by Kazuo Umezu – a profound influence of Ito’s work – but focussed on a brother and sister who cause horrible things to happen to people around them, just how much classroom action there is remains to be seen. Expect demon-summoning and brain eating. Good times.


DOPE 
By Trina Robbins 
Published By It’s Alive!
Due February

Owned and operated by former Dover Comics editor, Drew Ford, It's Alive! strives to bring back to print lost classics of the medium. The publishing venture's second release, Trina Robbins' Dope, is a prime example of this mission statement in full force. Dope is adapted from the 1919 novel by pulp writer and Fu Manchu creator, Sax Rohmer, and takes readers deep into the underbelly of opium dens and the drug trade of early 20th century London. Created between 1981-1983 for Eclipse Comics, Robbins' Dope has never been collected before and this restored gem by one of the founders of the classic Wimmen's Comix anthology and writer/artist of simply too many excellent comics to list here should be high priority for all.


FANTAGRAPHICS STUDIO EDITION: JAIME HERNANDEZ 
By Jaime Hernandez
Published By Fantagraphics
Due April

**swoooonn**

Okay, so the word on the street is that IDW editor Scott Dunbier got in touch with Jaime Hernandez about a possible Artist’s Edition of his work. If you don’t know, Artist’s Editions reproduce the original comics artboards, scribbles, wite-out blobs, margin notes and all, at original art size, to give readers the closest experience possible to holding the actual original pages. Anyway, Jaime turned him down because his own Love & Rockets publisher, Fantagraphics, was working on its own Artist’s Edition-styled books called, natch, Studio Editions (also announced: Prince Valiant’s Hal Foster. Swoon again). 

Right, so 200 pages of Hernandez’s best-loved stories are here: “The Death of Speedy,” “Chester Square,” “Wigwam Bam” and much more. Hernandez is one of the world’s greatest living cartoonists and this is sure to be a beautifully presented and designed book, fit to showcase some truly beautiful comics art in its rawest possible form. Bring it, Jaime.


FIRES & MURMUR 
By Lorenzo Mattotti & Jerry Kramsky
Published By Dover 
Due February

The arrival of any translated Lorenzo Mattotti is cause enough for joy, but this release in particular is sure to cause waves of celebration amongst lovers of international comics. Collecting two of the visionary artist's most celebrated stories is Fires & Murmur from Dover Comics, who once again deserve a firm bear hug and drinks bought in perpetuity by the house for their archival efforts. Fires, in particular, is worth running to the store on release day for. Considered a no-joke instant classic upon arrival in 1984, it's the story of a mysterious island where the hills are constantly burning and an investigation into disappearing ships leading to "mayhem, madness and murder." Paul Gravett's 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die (a treasure trove of information, by the way), says Fires is "...breathtaking from beginning to end." Dover's inclusion of Murmurs, also created with co-writer Jerry Kramsky, is a sweet bonus and yet another "fantastic journey" with more phantasmagoria and magic. Mattotti is a titan of European comics and this release simply cannot come soon enough. If you feel the need for a warm up, and if you can get your hands on it, his Stigmata was released by Fantagraphics in 2010 and also comes with a massive thumbs up.


GHOST IN THE SHELL DELUXE EDITIONS 1, 2&1.5
By Shirow Masamune
Published By Kodansha 
Due January

Perhaps the one real positive to come out of the American Ghost in the Shell live action movie (well, aside from the fact that Takeshi Kitano is in it) is Kodansha’s January release of deluxe editions of Shirow Masamune’s massively influential cyberpunk manga. Yep, volumes 1, 2 and even 1.5 (released in that order) are getting the hardcover treatment, something I’m extra happy about as I have no idea where my original trades went...

It’s difficult to overestimate just how important Ghost in the Shell is to our beloved medium – while not quite Akira-level crucial, it is kind of like comics’ Neuromancer; a genre-busting game-changer, packing as much sociology and philosophy as it does super-slick, high-tech gun battles.
Essential.


GOLDEN KAMUY 
By Satoru Noda 
Published By Viz 
Due July

Adventure fans rejoice! Satoru Noda’s multiple award-winning Golden Kamuy is finally hitting our shores. A survivor of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 hits Japan’s icy north to strike it rich during a gold rush. Hearing the tale of a hidden stash of gold, he sets off with a young girl (who saved him from freezing) to claim it. Unfortunately there are other interested parties...and they have treasure maps tattooed on their arms. Golden Kamuy is currently a bestseller in Japan and little wonder with a cracking premise like that.


THE GREEN HAND & OTHER STORIES
By Nicole Claveloux 
Published By NYRC 
Due July

Now this is a surprise. I’ve been banging on about the lack of translated Chantal Montellier for ages, but this collection of stories by Montellier's fellow Heavy Metal alum, Nicole Claveloux is almost as welcome a release. Expect beautifully dreamy work – seriously this will be one of the year’s loveliest books – from a virtually forgotten comics visionary. Back when I recapped old Heavy Metal issues here each week, the inclusion a new Claveloux comic was always a highlight and functioned almost like a palate cleanser between courses of macho hallucinatory SF. Artistically like a kind of Richard Corben/Sam Keith hybrid, Claveloux’s fever dream comics are transportative , beautiful and oh so strange. Can’t wait.


HOSTAGE 
By Guy Delisle 
Published By D&Q 
Due May

From the preview pages alone, it’s clear that Guy Delisle’s Hostage proves just how much you can do in comics with so little. The true story of Christophe Andre, a Doctors Without Borders Administrator who was kidnapped and locked in a room in solitary confinement, Hostage should prove you need little else but a single well-rounded character to create some utterly simmering tension. Publisher D& Q tells us that Hostage “...takes a profound look at what drives our will to survive in the darkest of moments,” and early reviews suggest it’s a riveting, engrossing read even if it’s largely set in the confines of a small, dark room and starring a man handcuffed to a radiator. Hostage marks Delisle’s first departure from first-person travelogue comics but it supposedly feels just as intimate, perhaps even more so as his focus is exclusively on one man, hidden from the world, and his battle to remain sane in the face of crushing solitude. The visual choice to highlight Christophe and reduce his confines to the most minimal of lines is both brilliant and brave and I’m banking on Delisle to pull this off with aplomb.



THE HOUND & OTHER STORIES 
By Tanabe Gou 
Published By Dark Horse 
Due August

Being a giant dork, I actually have this collection of Tanabe Gou's H.P. Lovecraft stories in Japanese. It will be nice to be able to finally read it properly next year thank to Dark Horse. If you're a Lovecraft or weird fiction buff, this is a must for you and will sit nicely next to your copies of Alan Moore and Jacen Burrow's Providence and I.N.J Culbard's Lovecraft comics. Containing not just "The Hound," but also "The Temple" and "The Nameless City," Gou's atmospheric and, at times, downright creepy art brings a new and very distinct visual life to these tales o' cosmic terror with very grounded and spooky black and white pages. Gou loves his Lovecraftian beasties and the look on his protagonists faces, as they stare into the black hole of their own cosmically-induced existential breakdown, are a real highlight. At the end of the day, there's no point in me selling this, really. If you dig Howard Phillips, it's your jam. If you don't, you've probably already skipped on to the next entry. However, if you're the latter, you'll be missing out...


THE INTERVIEW 
By Manuele Fior 
Published By Fantagraphics
Due February

Oh wow. Just twelve months after 5,000 KMS per Second was translated from the French, Manuele Fior’s The Interview arrives to break English-speaking hearts all over again. A quick Google image search reveals Fior working in duotone rather than full colour this time around and the pages are just stunning. Moving the action to the year 2048, the Italian born artist is working in an SF vein for his sophomore effort, centered on an ageing psychiatrist, his young patient who claims telepathic powers and extraterrestrial signals beaming from space that she may very well be able to read.

This might not sound like the most thrilling of synopses, but Fior’s narrative strengths are in his depictions of interpersonal relationships --Fantagraphics make sure to emphasise that this is SF that “eschews the stars in favor of the delicate, fragile, interior world of human emotion.” If that still doesn’t do it for you, remember that his art is just absolutely sumptuous. Promising a unique, quiet take on the apocalypse, contemplative readers should mark The Interview’s publication date on their calendars and pray that Fantagraphics don’t push this one back to later in the year as they so sadly but frequently do...


KAMANDI OMNIBUS 
By Jack Kirby 
Published By DC 
Due July

Due to arrive right before what would’ve been Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday is this single volume, oversized, complete omnibus of arguably his most accessible DC creation, Kamandi: The Last Boy On Earth. If you’ve never read Kamandi before or have struggled to come to grips with what can at times seem like hopelessly dated comics by The King, this is the Kirby book for you. Brimming with fun, mutated anthropomorphic creatures and some top-shelf inking by Mike Royer (Kirby suffered tremendously throughout his career by being saddled with many an inker who could not hack his pace or match his talent, one of comics real tragedies, but Royer was the man), Kamandi’s adventures are time-tested. Hopefully this also comes with the essays included in the original two-volume editions from a few years back, as they are a fascinating insight into both the King’s personal and working life. 

It’s heartening to see DC get behind the King’s Centenary like this – the Kamandi Challenge also looks well worth a read – and surely a new collection of Kirby’s signature Fourth World work will also be forthcoming in 2017. C’mon Marvel, where’s my remaining Fantastic Four by Kirby and Lee omnibuses and can someone *please* get an omnibus of Kirby’s old 2001: A Space Odyssey series happening?


LONE SLOANE: DELIRIUS 2 
By Philippe Druillet &Jacques Lob 
Published By Titan 
Due September

How late is this book? Late enough that it is now featuring on its second straight annual comics forecast column. Here’s what I wrote for the look ahead to 2016:

"More Lone Sloane madness from Philippe Druillet finally back in print thanks to Titan, whose oversized hardcover editions of this material are tremendous facsimiles of the original French albums of the 60s-70s. Expect mind-bending spreads of space, entropy, existentialism and violence that are at once intricate but basic, beautiful but ugly."

Hopefully this is the last time you'll find this book on this list.



THE MAGICAL TWINS 
By Alejandro Jodorowsky&George Bess 
Published By Humanoids 
Due May

Yay! More Jodo and Bess! The Magical Twins appears to be the most slender work from the duo that brought us Bouncer, Son of the Gun, Anibal 6 and more. But even at 56 pages, judging by the writer and the premise, The Magical Twins is either going to pack more symbology and philosophical discourse than any other book in the coming year or will be one of 2017 most rip-roaring adventures. Maybe even both.

There's not a tonne of information on the book, but The Magical Twins sees a pair of twins (duh), Princess Mara and Prince Arum, who are particularly gifted at magic (double duh) try to rescue the King from the clutches of the evil Tartarath. The rub here is that the use of magic is expressly forbidden, so our young heroes will have to rely on other, wilier methods to get the job done. Bess is a favourite of mine-- he's capable of drawing absolutely anything -- and his busy but still lavishly illustrated and highly detailed pages are worth the price of entry alone. Jodorowsky is simply Jodorwosky, the man who invented the midnight movie, the magician who turned to comics when the limitations of cinema could not match his visions, and any new work by him is a more than intriguing prospect.




MARIE ANTOINETTE, PHANTOM QUEEN 
By Annie Goetzinger & Rodolphe 
Published By NBM
Due August

Billed as part ghost story, part biography is Marie Antoinette, Phantom Queen by Rodolphe and the wonderful Annie Goetzinger. It’s 1930s Paris and an artist with psychic abilities is visited by the ghost of Marie Antoinette who cannot rest until a terrible secret about the true location of her remains is exposed and dealt with. It sounds like the plot to some kooky manga but as anyone who read Goetzinger's beautiful Girl in Dior a couple of years back will attest, this is going to be a lovely and sumptuous read, with the year's most perfectly, exquisitely drawn costuming from the 1800s and the 1930s to boot.


MOBY-DICK
By Christophe Chaboute 
Published By Dark Horse 
Due February

Has there ever been a literary classic adapted as many times into comics as Melville’s Moby Dick? There have been at least four previous attempts and another by R.Sikoryak (see his book Terms & Conditions below) is on the way. The latest challenger to Bill Sienkiewicz’s champion 1990 adaptation comes via French artist Christophe Chaboute, whose gorgeous and striking black and white pages look set to give Sienkiewicz a run for his money. Chaboute’s work lends a moody, nightmarish, but still very groundedair to Melville’s tale of obsession, revenge and the stalking of the unknown. 

Originally published over two separate albums, Dark Horse wisely brings the project into English in a single, oversized hardcover edition and at 256 pages this is likely the most complete and expansive adaptation to date, giving Chaboute plenty of room to render the never-ending smooth space of the sea and Ahab’s futile attempts to conquer it, fix it in place, and master its mysteries. There’s something kind of brain-popping about the idea of Chaboute entering the oceans of Melville’s mind and giving concrete vision to the author’s story about the search for the unknowable and a creature that is a multiplicity of meaning. This is one “fiery hunt” we should all be a part of.


MY FAVOURITE THING IS MONSTERS
By Emil Ferris
Published By Fantagraphics
Due February

Man, this is late...Originally due last Halloween is the debut comic by Emil Ferris, My Favorite Thing is Monsters, a sprawling work told in the form of diary pages by Karen Reyes, a horror-obsessed ten year old girl in 1960s Chicago. The preview pages look simply unreal, featuring highly detailed, beautiful pencil and ink cartooning by Ferris who has clearly been working on this project for quite some time (a video inked in a Comics Journal review of ...Monsters has artwork dating back to 2010). Karen's obsession with horror widens when her upstairs neighbour, Anka Silverberg, dies mysteriously. Investigating the demise, Karen begins to learn a lot more about the people she lives with and discovers "clues that link Anka’s life to Nazi Germany." Clearly destined to be one of the year's most visually striking books by one of the medium's true new voices to watch, My Favorite Thing is Monsters is coming in February, with the concluding half due in October....hopefully.



MY PRETTY VAMPIRE 
By Katie Skelly 
Published By Fantagraphics
Due August

A vampire named Clover makes her escape from the imprisonment that her own brother keeps her in and has plenty of “sex positive” adventures along the way to freedom in Katie Skelly’s latest effort, My Pretty Vampire. Fantagraphics’ collection of the self-published series is appropriately described as “pop shojo” and sees Skelly going full colour. Working with a colour palate and panel framing inspired by the best of ‘70s giallo cinema and the comics of Guido Crepax, Skelly also seems to be mainlining the pop art sensibilities of Guy Peellaert’s Adventures of Jodelle, which is always a good thing. Hopefully this is a real breakout book for Skelly, whose non-nonsense, tough-girl dames are veritable style manuals for any aspiring retro fashionista and whose visual storytelling chops are becoming more and more top-notch with each successive project. Surely one of the year’s coolest projects.


SCIENCE COMICS: DOGS 
By Andy Hirsch 
Published By First Second 
Due October

Science! Comics! DOGS! These three things come together at last thanks to cartoonist Andy Hirsh and First Second’s Science Comics series. Subtitled From Predator to Protector, I’m guessing Hirsch will track the history of almost everyone’s favourite animal, all of which are still somehow 99% wolf. How that’s possible, I’m too stupid to fully comprehend but surely Hirsch’s bouncily drawn pups will set me right. 


SPINNING 
By Tillie Walden 
Published By First Second
Due September

Clocking in at over 400 pages is Tillie Walden's graphic memoir tracing her teenage days as a competitive figure skater. Exposing the "twisted, insular world" of the sport, Walden's coming of age story promises conflict both on and off the skating rink, lovingly drawn in an effortlessly graceful, fragile style. I have a feeling that this is going to be a *big* release for the year, a critical darling and a breakout showcase for a creator making a big step up in artistic ambitiousness.
Watch out for it.


SNOW DAY 
By Pierre Wazem & Aubin 
Published By Humanoids 
Due February

The surprise with Snow Day is just how un-Humanoids it looks. Sure, the Euro-publisher puts out more than just slickly illustrated SF and other genre fare, but there’s some kind of Franco-Belgian comics tradition imbedded in almost everything else. Aubin’s black and white art for Snow Day looks positively stripped back, bare bones, in comparison to that of, say, Yves Chaland or Laurent Rullier. This is not to suggest it’s sub-par, far from it. The preview pages show a striking use of black and white with scratchily inked characters exhaling wobbly balloons of breath condensing from the cold. It’s lovely.

Writer Pierre Wazem concocts what appears to be a European slice of American country noir, with an “outsider” sheriff in a sleepy and frozen town forced to do his job for a populace that doesn’t want him there in the first place. It’s an old crime fiction trope, for sure, but one I always like and with the publisher promising “an icy and poetic” comic, you can surely expect some metaphysical angst to creep in and bring the smarts. Plus, again, it looks really pretty.



TERMS AND CONDITIONS 
 By R.Sikoryak 
Published By D&Q
Due March

You haven’t read them and neither have I, but R. Sikoryak has and he’s probably got a cult hit on his hands as a result. A comic book detailing the full iTunes terms and conditions sounds like the year’s dullest read, but you’d be wrong to assume that given Sikoryak has drawn every single page in the style of a completely different comic/artist. This is, no joke, the complete and unbridged document we all click “yes” to without really thinking about put to a visual mix tape of comics history. In the hands of Sikoryak, performance artist and clearly skilled cartoonist, it’s become a must-read as he inserts all manner of legal gobbledegook into pages styled after Eddie Campbell, John Romita Jr, Jim Steranko, Hal Foster, Mort Walker, John Buscema, Matt Groening and many, many others. Interestingly, according to this interview in The Observer, Sikoryak frequently rearranged panels on his page to better fit his (or iTunes’) text, making the book a kind of visual, Burroughs-esque cut up. It’s not as random as that may sound however as, for example, the “Objectionable Material” section is adapted into a mimicked Garden of Eden page from Picture Stories From The Bible by Montgomery Mulford and Donald Cameron. Witty stuff. Is there a real point to the project, however? You can make your own mind about that. Me, I’m just glad that comics, once again, has made difficult reading material way more fun.


TO HAVE AND TO HOLD
By Graham Chaffee
Published By Fantagraphics
Due May

Oh, man. This has been a long time coming. Good Dog creator and Christa Faust’s favourite tattoo artist, Graham Chaffee, has been chipping away at this prime piece of comics pulp for years. In the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a couple face “their own domestic cold war” with suspicions leading to paranoia, paranoia to bad choices and worse events and, presumably, violent ends. Don’t sleep on this one, crime fans, Chaffee’s inky goodness awaits!


UNCOMFORTABLY HAPPY 
By Yeon-Sik Hong 
Published By D&Q
Due March

Hard to believe I sent an email to Mitch just two weeks ago whining about the lack of Korean comics available in English. Drawn & Quarterly provide a rapid-fire answer in the form of Yeon-Sik Hong’s Uncomfortably Happy, the tale of a young couple that moves from the city to the country, a change that creates “new anxieties.” Expect lovely cartooning of the Korean countryside as it changes seasons, a strong examination of interpersonal relationships and the world beyond the urban sprawl. It also comes with a translation by the brilliant Hellen Jo who hopefully has new work of her own to roll out in the coming year.Sounds super sweet and it’s about time we got some quality Korean comics.


VOICES IN THE DARK
By Ulli Lust
Published By NYRC
Due September

New York Review Comics continues to please me greatly with its thoughtful selections. The debut graphic novel by Austrian cartoonist Ulli Lust is their latest pick up, and readers familiar with Lust’s excellent comics memoir, Today Is The Last Day Of The Rest Of Your Life (one of best releases of 2013) should be thrilled.

Voices in the Dark is Lust’s adaptation of a novel by Marcel Beyer, a dark story set at the tail end of WWII. It features a character named Hermann, a sound engineer employed by the Nazis, who visits Joseph Goebbels home and meets Goebbels’ eldest daughter who is “just beginning to suspect the horror that surrounds her.” From there, Hermann is given a final assignment -- to record the final words of Adolf Hitler as Germany falls into chaos around him. Lust is a brilliant cartoonist and her scratchy, lively lines should bring great power to what already sounds like an affecting read.


THE WILD STORM 
By Warren Ellis & Jon Hunt-Davis 
Published By DC 
Due February

The last time writer Warren Ellis took on Jim Lee’s universe of characters (in most notably The Authority with artist Bryan Hitch), he wound up profoundly influencing the direction of mainstream comics through the creation of what (if I recall correctly) he termed “decompressed” and “widescreen comics.” Twenty years later, he’s back and he just so happens to be writing the best comics of his entire life. Jon Hunt-Davis (Clean Room) is the artist along for the ride this time, a suitably dynamic illustrator and a fine choice to bring whatever madness Ellis has planned this time around to vivid life. This series is contracted to run for a minimum of two years, making it the largest *monthly* comics project Ellis has undertaken in, what, fifteen years? Who can resist that?


YOU & A BIKE & A ROAD 
By Eleanor Davis 
Published By Koyama 
Due May

This year, Eleanor Davis took a bike ride across the USA and illustrated it as it happened. Next year, Koyama Press releases the results of this comics-memoir-journalism-road trip and the pages are sure to be filled with the vibrant immediacy of the moment. At this point it’s getting difficult to find new adjectives for just how lovely everyone’s art is but while, because of the spontaneity in which these diarised comics were produced, much of You & A Bike & A Road will not have the finesse of her earlier How To Be Happy, there’s an undeniably personal aspect to this project and hopefully the immediacy of each recorded moment shines through. Comics Workbook called images from You & A Bike & A Road that Davis showed on Twitter, “a gracefully flowing diary. A great way of honing in on notable thoughts from the day.” It’s a book sure to inspire more interesting creative output from readers than any other next year, I’d imagine. 



ZONZO 
By Joan Cornella 
Published By Fantagraphics
Due February

How much wrongness can Joan Cornella pack into his second collection of evilly, hilariously dark silent comics? I’m not sure but, by gum, I’m down to find out. The Spanish cartoonist is particularly adept at balancing a weirdly childlike innocence with a profound uncomfortableness as he skewers a plasticky, hyper-coloured simulacrum world through ultraviolence and horrible accident. Remember when Michael Jackson set his hair on fire while shooting a Pepsi commercial in 1984? That’s the kind of grimly hilarious Cornella-esque view of the world you can expect in Zonzo, but adding the kind of surreal visual punch line that will have you giggling through gritted teeth.

Just the tip of the iceberg of incredible releases, 2017 is sure to fill our shelves and empty our wallets in the same heartbeat and while leaving us grinning ear to ear in the process.

Thank you for checking in here for these weekly comic musings and all the best for the Holiday Season and New Year.


See you in two weeks. Love your comics.


Cameron Ashley spends a lot of time writing comics and other things you'll likely never read. He's the chief editor and co-publisher of Crime Factory (www.thecrimefactory.com). You can reach him @cjamesashley on Twitter.


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