Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. If ROBOT 6’s contributors are anything, they’re varied in their tastes, as their picks of the week will undoubtedly demonstrate. There’s crime, horror, superhero adventure; there’s something for all-ages readers, and josei manga. Heck, there’s science! Well, Science.
To see what we’re talking about, just read on.
American Vampire Anthology #1
I’ve only read the first volume of the American Vampire collections, but I loved it and want more. Vampires are a tired, overused subgenre, but American Vampire reminded me of what I love about and want out of a good vampire story. The balance between horror and seduction is difficult to maintain and most storytellers tip heavily to one side or the other, but the American Vampire that I read kept them equal.
That makes me excited to read this anthology with stories not only by series creators Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque, but also Becky Cloonan, Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, Jeff Lemire, Greg Rucka, Gail Simone and others. I don’t know whether I’ll be lost, as I’m not caught up on the main series, but it’s the tone I’m looking forward to more than the plot. I’m picking this up now and catching up on the rest later. — Michael May
Things are just starting to heat up in Lazarus, from writer Greg Rucka and artist Michael Lark. The Carlyle Family is an interesting group of people that seemingly hates each other. And then there is the female lead, Forever, whom everyone is trying to use as a pawn. And I get the sneaking suspicion she is no one’s pawn. Added bonus that keeps me excited about the potential of this series? The series Tumblr with sneak peaks from Rucka and Lark, as well as links to quirky articles. — Tim O’Shea
Batman Incorporated Special #1
Grant Morrison has left the building, and the concept may be headed for limbo, but Batman Incorporated takes a victory lap this week with an oversized special. Series artist Chris Burnham (who writes and draws one contribution) headlines an eclectic mix of writers and artists, including Dan DiDio and Ethan Van Sciver’s Bat-Cow story as well as work from Joe Keatinge and John Paul Leon. While there’s no shortage of Batman anthologies these days, this one has a unique focus that should make it worthwhile. — Tom Bondurant
Helter Skelter: Fashion Unfriendly
Helter Skelter: Fashion Unfriendly takes a scathing look at fashion and body image through the story of Liliko, a model who undergoes head-to-toe cosmetic surgery in order to stay at the top of her profession. It’s a done-in-one story that looks like it should be accessible to readers who don’t usually read manga. Kyoko Okazaki, the author, is a veteran manga-ka who is regarded as the mother of josei (young women’s) manga, and when this book was released in Japan it won the prestigious Osamu Tezuka Cultural Award and the Japan Media Arts Award. Anyway, I’m always up for a good skewering of the fashion industry, and Helter Skelter looks like it will do the job. — Brigid Alverson
Itty Bitty Hellboy #1
Kids love Hellboy, and I don’t blame them. He’s a fascinating looking character who’s simple and dynamic enough to have been pulled from a Saturday morning cartoon show, and he had a great couple of movies that aren’t out of the reach of the younger crowd. Now, while adults have thrilled to the complex and esoteric comics that chronicle Hellboy’s journeys, I still find it a hit-and-miss opportunity when a kid asks my store for something with Hellboy in it. Thankfully, everyone can go home happy now with the new Itty Bitty Hellboy miniseries from the guys who brought you the amazingly addictive Tiny Titans, Art Baltazar and Franco. Kids can delight in getting some fun adventures with a known hero and adults can get the cheeky humor and Easter eggs we’ve come to love from the creative team (who used every character they could get their hands on in the DC universe) and the very nature of your average Hellboy tale. Remember the pancakes? They certainly will. This series is going to be fantastic, so buy two copies for the young and young at heart. — Carla Hoffman
Science: A Discovery in Comics
Margreet de Heer and her husband Yiri journey through the history of science for a great introductory book with tons of personality. One of the strongest points is the book’s ability to depict the ongoing conversation and debate held over years into an actual conversation and debate between innovators in various fields of science to explain the progress. This brings home the point that all of these numbers and theories come from us, human beings. And Margreet and Yiri carry us through this entire discovery as living and breathing humans reacting to what they find, instead of dry narrators. It looks to be one of the most entertaining crash courses you could take. If you’re still on the fence about this one, read J. Caleb Mozzocco’s review. — Corey Blake