Welcome all, to this week’s Rae’s Recs! This small, weekly comic recommendation posts every Thursday and I’ll be doing my best to bring you some cool titles you may not have noticed on your first go-round on New Comic Book Day! I recommend two of my favorite single issues for the week, one or two graphic novels or trade comics from the past few weeks, and then two all-ages comics. These have no time frame, but are just some really great titles to share with a kiddo, or even an adult, in your life. One of them is still in issues, one is in trade format.
Thanks so much and I hope you enjoy!
It’s hard to keep personal biases out of an opinion or recommendation list, but usually I do fairly well. This week, I’m throwing it out the window for this title. Moose and Midge from Archie Comics are my absolute favorite characters and this week, they have brought us the Big Moose: One Shot. With three stories in this single issue, we get to see a little further into the thought processes of a big guy most people think doesn’t have any thought processes. Moose has rarely had such a spotlight on him like he does in this issue, but writers Sean Ryan, Ryan Cady and Gorf team up with artists Cory Smith, Thomas Pitilli and Ryan Jampole to shine that light. (As further example of my bias for this particular comic, this isn’t even the regular cover, it’s simply my favorite variant.)
IDW Publishing has been on a roll as of late, and once again they’ve brought us an impressive title this week. Night Owl Society follows high school student David putting together a group of his classmates to get back at a crime boss in town. Each of them has a particularly useful skill for the job, although they aren’t friends and most of them have never even noticed him. Written by James Venhaus and drawn by Pias Bak, the cast of very different people drew me in, along with the way this story has actively tossed out the stereotypes of how people are supposed to act when compared to their appearance.
Yume Miru Taiyō, or Dreamin’ Sun, came to the states this week from publisher Seven Seas. This story follows Shimana Kameko, who runs away from home and quite literally stumbles across a weird man in the park. He allows her to live with him for very cheap rent under three conditions – tell him the truth about why she’s running away, get back the key to his home so he can actually get back in, and have a dream. Kameko finds that she’ll actually be sharing the house with two of her classmates. Having set out simply to just get away from a place she feels uncomfortable, Kameko finds in this house that she’s made friends and that she feels like she belongs, even as she starts to fall in love with one of the boys she’s living with. Ichigo Takano, creator of the manga Orange, does an amazing job of creating a story that’s well balanced and silly. It could easily have gotten… skeevy, but I was excited to find that the story didn’t fall into any of the potential pitfalls of a teenage girl living with a group of men. This book is definitely more than worth a try.
At this point, most people are familiar with Steven Universe, especially if they’re interested in any kind of all-ages merchandise. There’s a great new comics series for the Cartoon Network show out now from kaBOOM! Publishers, too! The cartoon was created by Rebecca Sugar and the comic is written by Melanie Gillman and drawn by Katy Farina. This fun, sweet comic doesn’t hold any specific continuity with the other comics or with the show, so even if you’re very far behind (like me) it doesn’t throw readers for a loop. Definitely pick up an issue of this soon, and if you missed the first or second one, that’s okay! They’re all stand-alone short stories, fun for anyone.
Nameless City is more of a “mature” book than most of those that I include on the all ages listings, but it’s one that I feel very strongly about. Not for mature themes or anything graphic, but because the content is something younger kids who may still be new to reading won’t grasp readily. This book is, however, great for fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender or Legend of Korra. Set in a valuable port city, its protagonist Kaidu is a member of the most recent in a line of invaders. In his interest to learn more about the city, he meets the local resident Rat, finding that there’s more to this city and it’s culture than his people have ever believed. The more he learns about the people, though, the more he realizes how mistreated they are. This story is a vibrant and beautiful tale of young people learning about one another’s cultures and ways. There’s nothing in this book that would specify it to be for older audiences, but I would urge parents to be ready to answer a few questions about vocabulary words and what this book tells us about the world around us every day. Written and drawn by Faith Erin Hicks, colored by Jordie Bellaire, this comic is very visually similar to the Nickelodeon shows so many of us grew up on, but with less magic and a lot more running on rooftops.