Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. Even as we try to catch our breaths from the flurry of announcements from WonderCon in Anaheim — not to mention the Hugo Awards nominations — we turn our attention to the East Coast and the MoCCA Arts Festival.
Meanwhile, our contributors rattle off their picks for the best comics going on sale Wednesday, from the end of Glory to the debut of Thanos Rising.
WonderCon, Marvel’s ‘Avengers AI’ and Hugo Awards finalists
The weekend was, of course, dominated by WonderCon in Anaheim, California, where IDW Publishing announced its Jeff Smith’s Bone: Artist’s Edition while Mark Waid and Paul Smith will team up in July for a Rocketeer/Spirit crossover called Pulp Friction. James Robinson, writer of DC’s Earth 2, teased crossover between worlds in 2014, and Jeff Smith revealed his next project will be a free weekly webcomic called Tuki Save the Humans. That only scratches the surface, however. You can follow Comic Book Resources’ full WonderCon coverage here.
Although Marvel didn’t set up camp in Anaheim, it got ahead of the convention announcements with news of the first Age of Ultron spinoff, Avengers AI. Written by Sam Humphries and penciled by Andre Lima Araujo, the title boasts a lineup of robotic characters that includes the Vision, Ultron’s son Victor Mancha, a new character named Alexis, and a Doombot who’s been held prisoner by the Avengers. It also features Hank Pym, and the 616 Universe’s version of Monica Chang.
This weekend also saw the announcement of the nominees for the 2013 Hugo Awards, including the contenders in the best graphic story category: Grandville Bête Noire, written and illustrated by Bryan Talbot (Dark Horse Comics, Jonathan Cape); Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks, written by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW); Saga, Volume One, written by Brian K. Vaughn, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics); Schlock Mercenary: Random Access Memorabilia, written and illustrated by Howard Tayler, colors by Travis Walton (Hypernode Media); and Saucer Country, Volume 1: Run, written by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Ryan Kelly, Jimmy Broxton and Goran Sudžuka (Vertigo). Chicks Dig Comics: A Celebration of Comic Books by the Women Who Love Them was also nominated in the best related work category.
The winners will be presented at LoneStarCon 3, held Aug. 29-Sept. 2 in San Antonio, Texas.
This weekend, it’s MoCCA Arts Festival
The focus of the indie-comics community will be on New York City this weekend for the MoCCA Arts Festival, the first since the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art transferred its assets to the Societyof Illustrators in August. Held Saturday and Sunday at the 69th Regiment Armory, the event features guests of honor Bill Griffith and Jillian Tamaki, and a lineup of special guests that includes Gabrielle Bell, Bob Fingerman, Adrian Tomine, Lucy Knisley, Glyn Dillon and Dash Shaw.
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.
Superman: Secret Identity
This week brings a new printing of Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen’s Superman: Secret Identity, the story of a kid named Clark Kent who discovers he’s more like his fictional namesake than he ever could have imagined. It’s certainly one of the best Superman stories in recent memory, and it’s probably one of the best ever. Not only does it tackle the question of what a regular person would do with Superman’s powers – and, by extension, what it means to be Superman — it’s an involving, endearing story of growing up and growing old. If you’re a superhero fan and this isn’t on your bookshelf, now there’s no excuse. — Tom Bondurant
Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell wrap up their memorable run on the series. I’ve loved watching them rework this character and concept into something much more interesting than the Wonder Woman analog she started life as in the ’90s. It’s been a tense, emotional ride, and I’m sorry that I won’t get to keep reading it, but also pleased that, unlike most superhero comics, it has a real ending. — Michael May
The Love and Rockets legend compiles and completes the self-contained story tracking the life of a man that lives for 100 years, and in so doing, reflects on the 20th century. Gilbert Hernandez uses his masterful cartooning in a series of vignettes to detail the love and heartbreak, the war and struggles, that defined Julio and his family. This is already being called a masterpiece, and it’s a perfect way to sample one half of the brilliant Los Bros Hernandez. — Corey Blake
Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas
Toon Books puts out titles that are easy enough for a young child to read but sophisticated enough for an adult to enjoy. Benjamin Bear is a perfect example of this: Each one-page story is based on a puzzle or ends with a visual pun. It’s fresh and funny, and it tugs on your brain a bit, too. Creator Philippe Coudray has a colorful, clear-lined style and a nice eye for composition. It’s a great gift for an early reader and a nice indulgence for anyone who likes a clever comic. — Brigid Alverson
The Adventures of Jodelle
It feels like for as long as I’ve had an Internet connection, a month hasn’t gone by when I didn’t have a least one drunken night where I’d take a look around and try to find an affordable copy of Guy Peellaert’s The Adventures of Jodelle or Pravda. I wasn’t fussy; I’d take it in any condition, in any language. Never could find one, but this week Fantagraphics releases a typically gorgeous and erudite edition of the groundbreaking Jodelle, the work that brought Pop Art home to comics. I’ve been pining for this book since Fanta released preview images in February. Looking back at my youth, I realize the Belgian’s art used to be everywhere: His Rock Dreams images were on posters all over the diner in the seaside town I holidayed in, and the young me once mistook them for kitsch but later realized were inspired; he painted the cover to two albums I love, one a genuine classic (Diamond Dogs), the other a guilty pleasure (It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll); my crazy, loveable maverick of a French teacher had his Taxi Driver poster up in his classroom; Mick Jagger’s Turner had a massive Pravda poster up in his hideaway in Performance, a film I was obsessed with in my Stones-fixated late teens. So yeah, I’m a happy bunny. Can’t wait to get my hands on this one. — Mark Kardwell
The Last of Us: American Dreams #1
Honestly, I don’t know much about The Last of Us, the video game this comic serves as a prequel for, beyond that it’s some sort of post-apocalyptic survival game. What I do know is this four-issue miniseries is co-written and drawn by Faith Erin Hicks (Friends with Boys, Zombies Calling), one of my favorite creators, and that makes it a “must buy” for me. –JK Parkin
The appeal of BOOM! Studios’ Polarity #1 (previewed by CBR here [http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=15885]) is that it aims to portray a person who cuts back on his a bipolar medication only to find he has superpowers. The condition itself is not the draw for me, but rather that the story is written by Say Anything lead singer Max Bemis, who’s been quite open regarding his own bipolar diagnosis and treatment. We are still relatively early in the era of people publicly acknowledging their ability to address mental-health welfare without it being regarded as a stigma. To have a story where fighting one’s depression is an asset that manifests to some extent as a superpower is an approach I find both intriguing and laudable. In terms of multimedia promotion, BOOM! intends to provide a new original song written and performed by Bemis for download with the purchase of an issue. — Tim O’Shea
Thanos Rising #1
Oooh, it was a toss-up this week between a couple things, but hands down, I can’t wait to see what’s inside Thanos Rising #1. I’ll admit that Jason Aaron has been hit and miss with me, but a story this important needed to be told keeping in mind not only the fans but also the lookie-looks peeking in from the cinematic universe. Brian Michael Bendis’ Guardians of the Galaxy is being written with the movie-verse in mind, I have a feeling that Thanos Rising will be, too. It’ll be a great entry point into a specific villain and his motivation that you don’t get in other books, and who better to depicts the depths of that villainy in space than Simone Bianchi?
I was going to say that the (finally!) released Avengers Assembled Blu-Ray Set was the best thing out this week, but seeing where the future of that movie-verse might lead, not to mention “what comes after “Marvel NOW!” … now, that’s got my full attention. — Carla Hoffman