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 ongoing, one completed.
Thanks so much and I hope you enjoy!
We’re returning to the world of Archie Comics this week with one my favorite things – one shot issues. Archies comes rolling in by throwing a reminder back into play that Archie actually does have a band. Teaming up with Jughead, Betty, and Veronica, he throws together a somewhat haphazard band in preparation for a show he’s already agreed to play. When he lets perfectionism go to his head, though, the band starts to splinter and, in true Archie fashion, he has to learn his lesson in order to get his friends back. Joe Eisma does the art on this one shot and Alex Segura teams up with one of my personal favorite writers, Matthew Rosenberg. (I will, in fact, pick up anything he has his name on.) Exactly as I expected, this book was funny and heartwarming.
In a lot of ways, it’s getting harder to take classic things and make them fun and exciting again. Not to worry, though! Donny Cates has teamed up with artist Lisandro Estherren and Image Comics to remind us how cool vampires can be even as they reimagine their world. Redneck takes place in East Texas, where the Bible Belt is still going plenty strong. Not an easy place for vampires to set up shop, but home is home even for the undead. The Bowmans are just that – a family of vampires who run a barbecue, using the meat from cattle they’ve drained of blood to feed the people and support themselves. Unfortunately, they aren’t completely unknown in the town. Father Landry and his church want them out and it’s a rivalry that is very soon going to come to blood on both sides.
For this week’s trade recommendation, be sure you aren’t terribly afraid of spiders before you read. Writer Simon Spurrier uses them along with the mafia family dynamic and sci-fi power plays to create a world that’s wholly new. Sid has been inducted into the family, whether he likes it or not, and has been given power he doesn’t know how to use from a spider he didn’t ask to be stuck with. Something strange is going on, though, and he’s being pulled in several directions to try and find out what it is before he ends up taking the blame one way or another. One thing I loved above the rest in this story was the use of various types of power to outdo one another. Some of the Weavers are inherently powerful, while others must use their strengths to very specific advantages to achieve their means. Dylan Burnett illustrates this dark, violent story for BOOM! Studios.
This week, I bring you another book that is all ages and yet not. Space Battle Lunchtime, drawn and written by Natalie Riess and published by Oni Press, is fun and silly while still having a bit of a dark side. Peony is working at a bakery when she is very suddenly offered a chance to be a contestant on a cooking show – in space. Without hesitation, she takes the chance and is whisked away to the set in space. There, she meets a cast of aliens who aren’t all bad, but certainly aren’t all good either. Some of her competition will do anything to win – including injuring judges or other contestants. People must compete to win, navigate space ingredients and tools, and avoid meeting the same end as the competitor she’s replaced. While there’s nothing outwardly mature about this series, I would suggest it for readers who are a little older. Some jokes may go over young readers heads, which isn’t the end of the world, but other things like the entrance of Cannibal Colosseum, may make some parents a little more wary.
The Love series, produced by Lionforge, is one that is near and dear to my heart for a few reasons. This week, it seems that both books I have to suggest to all ages readers are a little more violent than previous weeks, but with this series written by Frédéric Brrémaud and illustrated by Federico Bertolucci, it’s something that’s a little easier for younger readers to understand. Each book in the series, currently four parts, focuses on a day in the life of a predator in a different part of the world. As such, all of these books get a little bit bloody – a tiger or a lion or a dinosaur, even a fox, must kill to eat. Nothing in these books even comes close to what you might see on Animal Planet or the Discovery Channel, but tender-hearted readers might shy away from those pages. That said, these stories are beautifully illustrated with lively scenes and no words. Animals, after all, don’t say much. There’s no clear plotted narritive, but there is a fair amount of education within the story as to what life is like for animals in the wild. The art is astounding, something that will blow away anyone who takes the time to read it, and I suggest giving each page a good study.