Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. While some of you will be taking full advantage of the three-day Memorial Day Weekend by enjoying a summer blockbuster, a barbecue or the first dip of the year in the outdoor pool, others will be heading to the Phoenix Convention Center for the 13th annual Phoenix Comicon.
But while everyone else is packing their bags, and stocking up on sunscreen, ROBOT 6’s contributors are busy spotlighting some of the best books going on sale Wednesday.
This weekend, it’s Phoenix Comicon
Although it’s difficult to believe, we’re already charging in to Memorial Day Weekend, and that can only mean one thing. OK, it means many things — the traditional start of summer, the opening of public swimming pools, the premiere of a couple of blockbuster movies. But somewhere on that list is the annual Phoenix Comicon, held Thursday through Sunday at the Phoenix Convention Center and Hyatt Regency.
The convention boasts an impressive list of comics guests, including Aaron Lopresti, Andy Runton, Ann Nocenti, Ben Templesmith, Brandon Peterson, Bret Blevins, Brett Booth, Christopher Mitten, Christos Gage, Christy Marx, Colleen Doran, Cory Walker, Dan Jurgens, Don Rosa, Ethan Van Sciver, Frank Cho, Geof Darrow, Greg Capullo, Greg Horn, J. Michael Straczynski, J.T. Krull, Jamie S. Rich, Jim Cheung, Jim Rugg, Jim Valentino, Joelle Jones, Joshua Dysart, Katie Cook, Kevin Eastman, Kevin Maguire, Kieron Gillen, Marat Mychaels, Matt Wagner, Laura Allred, Michael Allred, Mike Mignola, Neal Adams, Peter David, Scott Kolina, Si Spurrier, Terry Moore, Tom Scioli, Richard Pini, Wendy Pini and Whilce Portacio.
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.
Solid State Tank Girl #1
I’ve been writing about my love for the art of Warwick Johnson-Cadwell since 2006, so it feels genuinely thrilling to see him finally bag such a high-profile gig. And it’s a great first issue, with Alan Martin is on top form writing his signature character with his trademark combination of juvenile humor, beatnik jive and ultra-violence; WJC draws like no one else in comics, which can’t be said too often, and he also colors this issue like no one else in the medium, in gorgeous bubblegum and pastel hues that really pop. There’s a crazy energy coming off this comic that makes this hardy perennial feel brand new. Buy it! — Mark Kardwell
The Green Team: Teen Trillionaires #1
It’s long overdue that Art Baltazar and Franco get the chance to play in the DC Universe. After making the really fun Tiny Titans and Superman Family Adventures for DC’s kids’ line, they’re teaming up with Ig Guara for The Green Team: Teen Trillionaire, about a team of incredibly rich people and their adventures in the DC Universe. “They have a lot of [money], more than you or I could ever imagine in a lifetime — and they use it in new and interesting ways,” Franco told CBR. This should be fun. — JK Parkin
Star Trek: John Byrne Collection
IDW Publishing’s Star Trek: John Byrne Collection is unusual in that none of the miniseries it collects is a conventional Trek tale. One stars Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln, one focuses on a character from the earliest days of the Original Series, one follows Dr. McCoy’s career after the end of the five-year mission, and one’s about the Romulans. It might sound like exercises in obscurity, but John Byrne makes them accessible, expanding the reader’s knowledge of the Trek-verse. You might say he’s going boldly where no miniseries have g– OK, I’ll stop now. — Tom Bondurant
Lobster Johnson: Satan Smells a Rat
Lobster Johnson: Satan Smells a Rat is a perfect combination of elements: First off, what a great title for this one-shot. Most importantly, however, I think this marks the first time Kevin Nowlan has drawn a Lobster Johnson solo adventure. I appreciate Dark Horse giving this supporting character his own spotlight periodically. Clearly it is not a character who could support its own standalone title, but these infrequent appearances on the Dark Horse schedule are always a pleasant surprise — particularly when it is the writing team of Mike Mignola and John Arcudi. — Tim O’Shea
Rutu Modan’s new graphic novel is both a thing of beauty and an engrossing read. It’s the story of two women who travel from Israel to Poland, an older woman who wants to reclaim her family’s property, which was lost during the Holocaust, and her granddaughter, who is her travel companion. The story quickly gets complicated, though, with bits of the past coming through in surprising ways and a host of side characters, each with his or her own agenda, arriving on the scene. Modan’s pacing and storytelling are perfect, and she really uses the graphic novel medium to full advantage to bring her characters and the story to life. — Brigid Alverson
Half Past Danger #1
Stephen Mooney has spent most of his comics career drawing other people’s characters in IDW Publishing titles like CSI, Angel and The A-Team, but he’s doing his own thing now, writing Half Past Danger as well as drawing it. With its dinosaurs on a Pacific island in World War II, it sounds a lot like The War That Time Forgot, but Mooney’s including secret agents among his international cast of military characters (some of whom have secrets of their own) to add extra layers of intrigue and tension to the dinosaur-fighting. Sounds terrific. — Michael May
Occupy Comics #1
This is the result of a successful Kickstarter project to create a comics anthology in support of the Occupy Wall Street Movement and its “We are the 99%”-inspired philosophies and activism. While most press doesn’t cover the movement to the extent it did in 2011, the movement continues on albeit in an evolving form. Coincidentally coming out around the same time as DC Comics’ Occupy-reminiscent comics, the full Occupy Comics anthology has an all-star line-up that’s pretty tough to beat: Alan Moore, David Lloyd, Art Spiegelman, Charlie Adlard, Amanda Palmer, Molly Crabapple, Steve Niles, Ben Templesmith, Matt Bors, Mike Allred, Dean Haspiel, Susie Cagle, and many more. Susie Cagle was arrested during her coverage of the event, so her contribution in particular has me interested. The Kickstarter project ran in late 2011, and creators have been contributing stories from that time up to fairly recently, which should give the book a fascinating reflection of the evolution of the movement. Matt Miner will be contributing a more recent piece about how Occupy Sandy rescued his community. Where ever you stand on the issue, this should be an interesting documentation of recent history. — Corey Blake