Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. There’s plenty to do this weekend on both coasts, as Boston and Washington, D.C., play host to Boston Comic Con and Awesome Con, while Fan Expo Vancouver explodes in British Columbia and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books arrives at the University of Southern California.
Meanwhile, our contributors select their picks for the best comics going on sale Wednesday, including Danger Girl Trinity #1, Popeye Classics Vol. 1 and Marshal Law: The Deluxe Edition. Plus, a preview of Bandette #4!
Fan Expo Vancouver, Boston Comic Con and more
It’s a busy weekend on both coasts, with four big events in four cities:
Fan Expo Vancouver will draw thousands Saturday and Sunday to the Vancouver Convention Centre for a lineup that’s heavy on media guests like Michael Rooker, Nichelle Nichols and James Marsters, but also features such comics creators as Stan Lee, Neal Adams, Kaare Andrews, Steve Epting, Pia Guerra, Phil Jimenez and Alex Maleev.
Boston’s Hynes Convention Center, meanwhile, will play host to Boston Comic Con, which boasts a comics lineup that includes George Perez, Mike Mignola, Carlos Pacheco, Amanda Conner, Mark Bagley, Nate Bellegarde, Jimmy Palmiotti, Amy Reeder, Frank Cho, Tony Daniel, Don Rosa, Colleen Doran, Bill Willingham, Sean Gordon Murphy and Chrissie Zullo.
About seven hours south, the wonderfully named Awesome Con D.C. will kick off Saturday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center with Larry Hama, Ben Templesmith, Justin Jordan, Herb Trimpe, Greg LaRocque and other comics creators. Media guests include Nicholas Brendan, Phil LaMarr, Billy West and Ernie Hudson.
And then there’s the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which features programming like “Graphic Novels: Adolescence Long & Drawn Out,” with Cecil Castellucci, Ron Koertge and Hope Larson, and “Graphic Novels: Drawing the Story,” with Leela Corman, Sammy Harkham and Derek Kirk Kim.
ROBOT 6 contributors name their top choices from among the comic books, and comics-related books, scheduled to arrive in stores this week. We welcome readers to highlight their picks in the comments below.
Good things come to those who wait. And for those of you, like myself, waiting for the release of Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover’s Bandette #4, your patient vigil ends this Wednesday. To whet your appetite for adventure Monkeybrain Comics Co-Publisher Allison Baker was kind enough to give Robot 6 a preview. When we last left the world’s greatest thief, she had come face to face with the assassin Matadori in Paris’ Père Lachaise Cemetery. There’s so much to love about Tobin and Coover’s storytelling, but in these preview pages what I enjoy the most (as I also do typically in the series) is how Coover’s layout and coloring allows the characters to jump out of the page. Added bonus, if you did not know, to satisfy Bandette fans in between the issues, Tobin has written five bonus Urchin stories with art by Alberto J. Alburquerque, Steve Lieber, Tina Kim, Jonathan Case and Jennifer L. Meyer. All the stories have the same infectious whimsy that defines the overall Bandette universe. — Tim O’Shea
Danger Girl Trinity #1
Danger Girl Trinity #1 (of 4) comes out this week, and apparently I’m not the target demographic for this book because I had no idea Danger Girl was attempting another comeback. This time, we’ll be following Abbey, Sidney and Sonya on three different adventures, drawn by three different artists, so it’s nice little grab bag of cheeky adventure for four issues. Will it change your life and how you view the world around you? No. Will it be worth millions on the collector’s market? Not in the slightest. But will it entertain you? That’s what I’m hoping and remains in the hands of John Royle, Stephen Molnar, Brian Stelfreeze who complete our trinity of artists. — Carla Hoffman
Classic Popeye, Vol. 1
It’s a little confusing, because IDW has already published a Vol. 1 of Bud Sagendorf’s Popeye comics, but this one will have a bit more appeal to methodical types, as it gathers together the first four issues of Dell’s Popeye comic in their entirety. The stories are goofy and episodic — Olive Oyl gets Popeye to swear off fighting, Swee’Pea is kidnapped by treasure seekers — just lots of good, clean fun with the classic Popeye cast. — Brigid Alverson
Dial H, Vol. 1: Into You
This is the second time I’ve highlighted Dial H in this feature’s short life, but the first collection (issues 0-6, written by China Mieville and drawn by Mateus Santolouco) is, as they say, an excellent jumping-on point. Dial H isn’t just one of the New-52’s most unusual and inventive series, it’s one of the best things DC’s put out in a long time. — Tom Bondurant
Marshal Law: The Deluxe Edition
Once upon a time, as a young man at the dawn of the 1990s, I truly believed superhero comics were dead, and that they’d been killed by three things, The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen and Marshal Law. While it is possible to interpret the first two of that trifecta as having come to praise the superhero idiom, Marshal Law definitely wanted to bury it. “Bury” is the wrong verb, really: It wanted to put a bullet in the back of its head, throw the corpse in the trunk of its car, drive it out into the desert and set fire to it. Pat Mills’ distaste for superhero comics was palpable, biblical and usually hilarious. This book maybe also features the career-best artwork of Kevin O’Neill. His typically frantic line work is softened here by (frequently, unexpectedly pretty) watercolor effects that seem to just make the horrible things going on in these panels even more terrible. And even if you love superheroes, you have to read this, because this book is something of a comic books Rosetta Stone — get this, and immediately understand how much Warren Ellis and Mark Millar absorbed from it, how much its ideas and tone filtered back into the superhero mainstream through comics such as The Authority, The Ultimates, Civil War and more.
Now that Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neiil would never have expected to happen. Of course, superhero comics were just rallying, damn their humps, saved by flooding the direct market and Tim Burton’s Batman film. Oh, well. Their day will come. — Mark Kardwell
Dragon Age: World of Thedas
When it comes to Dragon Age, I’m a total fanboy, buying up the comics and novels as I wait for the next edition of the game. This hardcover from Dark Horse looks like the kind of sourcebook that appeals to my inner fan, and I’d like to think I’ll spend as many hours poring through it as I did the original Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe when it came out. — JK Parkin
Miniature Jesus #1
A recovering alcoholic struggles with his sobriety and faith when a number of gods, demons and monsters from different cultures converge on him to cause chaos. Ted McKeever’s lush black-and-white illustrations are set to maximum creepy and disturbing in this five-issue miniseries. Not for the delicate but if you’ve never been through hell and back, this will probably serve as a good sampler. — Corey Blake
The Sixth Gun #30
The always-entertaining supernatural Western by Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree begins a new story arc with “Ghost Dance, Part 1,” as Becky Montcrief sets off on a vision quest to “to bear witness to what the terrifying power of the Six has wrought … and what it might yet bring about.” Sold! — Kevin Melrose