Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. It’s only Monday, but our contributors have their eyes on Wednesday releases, ranging from Sex Criminals #1 by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky to the fifth volume of A Bride’s Story by Kaoru Mori to the Dark Horse collection of Cameron Stewart’s acclaimed webcomic Sin Titulo.
To see what we’re looking forward to this week, just keep reading.
Sex Criminals #1
A sex comedy might not be the safest, most mainstream choice if you’re going to create a comic book from the ground up. Sure, sex sells, but it’s harder to show mom what you’ve been doing with your life. And comedy is criminally undervalued; they hardly ever take home the Best Picture Oscar, and they’re a minority in comic books (despite the origins of the word “comic book”). Best to make an overly serious action/adventure that will be an easier sell to Hollywood. Fortunately for us, Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky aren’t looking for the easy sell with Sex Criminals. Instead they want to make a comic book about two bank robbers who can stop time when they have sex. While there is a mature readers warning on the book, they’re not going for titillation but a more character-driven story. While definitely a comedy, they’re also not going for a simple joke book. Previews have exceeded my initial hopes for this book, and I can’t wait to sit down with the full story. — Corey Blake
I don’t normally keep an eye out for this non-continuity-burdened A+X series, something sparked my enthusiasm: the prospect of reading a present day Beast and Wonder Man team-up written by Christos Gage. After Jeff Parker, Gage is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated and underutilized writers to grace Marvel’s universe in the past few years. What I saw of the story proves what a great understanding Gage has of Hank and Simon’s history, as well as how to effectively use that history in the context of the characters present=day incarnations (while the book is not considered part of continuity, per se, this story clearly capitalizes upon current continuity in a good way). To see the presence of wit in these two characters is good to see again–while not lapsing into the ham-handed comedy of the early 1980s takes on the character. (Added bonus, on the summary front page, they use the old 1970s The Beast logo). — Tim O’Shea
A Bride’s Story, Vol. 5
This is the fifth volume of Kaoru Mori’s story of life on Asia’s Silk Road in the 19th century, but she switches up the story often enough that it’s not that hard to jump into. Mori has a special talent for telling emotion-filled stories in exotic settings; her first manga to be translated into English, Emma, was a romance between a wealthy man and a housemaid in 19th-century England. Mori’s art is clear and detailed, but she doesn’t let it get in the way of her story, and she creates some memorable characters along the way. Yen Press has done this series right, in lovely hardcover editions, and each volume is a work of art in its own right. — Brigid Alverson
Justice League #23.4: Secret Society
You wouldn’t think an issue of Justice League written by Geoff Johns would need any more promotion, but when it comes in the thicket of terrifying tie-ins known as Villains Month, it risks getting lost in the shuffle. Therefore, those of you with access to big neon arrows may wish to point them over Justice League #23.4, spotlighting the Secret Society of Super-Villains, as the Forever Evil scribe (along with artists Manuel Garcia and Rob Hunter) takes time out of his Chief Creative Officer duties to provide a little background on that other group of bad guys. — Tom Bondurant
In which Dark Horse collects Cameron Stewart’s webcomic. Begun originally as an exercise in improvisation, the jumble of autobiographical elements coalesced into a very David Lynchian piece indeed. Elements of noir and dream logic soon invaded, taking the strip into some very unexpected places. It’s genuinely unsettling, and like the best of Lynch’s work, left this viewer/reader with some unanswered questions rattling around his head. Plus, it’s drawn by the Seaguy guy, so you know it’s a great looking book. — Mark Kardwell