You’re not new to comics, but you’ve read all the big names and you’re not sure where to go next. Luckily, we’re here with five suggestions to make your November bookshelf that little bit heavier.
What It’s About: At its heart, Air is a love story between Blythe - a flight attendant who’s afraid of flying - and Zayn, who is as much a mystery to himself as everyone else. But Air is much, much weirder, and more interesting, than that: For one thing, Blythe is a natural hyperpraxis pilot, which means that she can travel to places, times and ideas that don’t, theoretically, exist... a skill she’s honing with the help of Amelia Earhart, who by the way is still alive. For another, there’s a war brewing between terrorists over control of the skies, and for a third, certain people may be very interested in that whole “hyperpraxis” thing. A series that’s gentle, human, full of wonder and emotion, and at times just beautiful, Air is unlike most comics - and television shows and movies, for that matter - out there.
Where To Start: Two collections are available, Letters From Lost Countries and Flying Machine. Pick both up; the series is great, but the first collection (Letters) stops at a frustratingly bad point, and you need to read the second to fully appreciate what’s going on.
Click here for a preview of Air.
What It’s About: We’ve all seen stories about aliens invading Earth, but what happens after they leave? FlashForward producer and Green Lantern movie scriptwriter Marc Guggenheim’s series starts with that idea and spins out a series that’s part Y: The Last Man, part Lost and all-over fascinating. Why did the aliens invade? Where did they go? No-one knows yet, but considering they’ve left behind technology and even one of their own, you can sure that we’ll probably find out somewhere down the line... but along the way, you can get sucked into the more down to earth stories of the humans left behind. Even if one of them is former president Bill Clinton, who was revealed to be more alive than everyone thought at the end of the most recent issue.
Where To Start: There’s already a collection of the first black and white series out there, but we’d actually recommend waiting until the start of next year, when the 368 page Resurrection Vol 1: Deluxe Edition, featuring the complete first series and the first seven issues of the current series, hits the shelves.
Click here for a preview of Resurrection.
Locke & Key
What It’s About: Ignore the punniness of the premise - The Locke family move to the family estate of Keyhouse, wherein there are magic keys that can do various weird and wonderful things, which puts them right in the middle of some bad things that’re about to happen - and instead, embrace and enjoy those weird and wonderful things that the keys can do: like open doors that turn people into ghosts or even open their own heads so that you can reach in and take out unpleasant memories. Mixing horror, fantasy, comedy and family drama and featuring moments that are genuinely unsettling, Locke & Key deserves all the praise it’s gotten, and a lot more.
Where To Start: There’re two collections out already; Welcome To Lovecraft and Head Games. Start at the beginning (Lovecraft), bearing in mind that Head Games is the better, and also the more freaky.
Click here for a preview of Locke & Key.
Nostalgia Done Right
Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka
What It’s About: A reimagining of Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy (with some nods to his other work thrown in), Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto is inventive, dramatic and in almost every single way, a lesson in how to take reboot and update an old concept the right way. Instead of retreading the old status quo, the series centers around robot detective Gesicht, who’s investigating the murder of various high profile robots around the world... Murders that may have been committed by another robot. Even if you don’t get sucked in by the economy and subtlety of the writing, there’s no way you could fail to admire Urasawa’s amazing artwork.
Where To Start: Unsurprisingly, Vol. 1. The seventh volume of the series is due in January, but that’s still too far away; when you finish the first volume, you’ll be hooked and get through the other five in days.
(No preview available, due to licensing issues. Sorry.)
What It’s About: I’ve written before about Brandon Graham’s stunning future crime book, but now that it’s being re-released in an easier-to-find serialization by Image Comics, I’ll use the opportunity to gush again; the bastard child of an orgy that included Moebius, Vaughn Bode, Jamie Hewlett and Osamu Tezuka (and maybe a little Alex Toth, come to think of it), King City is the tale of one thief, his broken heart, his cat that can literally do anything if given the right drugs, werewolves with war trauma, stolen organs, sidekicks in wrestling masks and pretty much all that’s good in the world, all wrapped in something that takes noir’s cliches and gives them a makeover laced with enough absurdity and love that it all seems new again. The whole thing manages to be both laid back and electrifyingly kinetic, and your heart will break for multiple reasons while reading it. Really, really worth tracking down.
Where To Start: The serialized reissue is on #2, so picking up back issues from the start really shouldn’t be a problem. The original Tokyopop release may offer more story in one sitting, but the Image re-release comes with bigger pages and brand new material to accompany the serialized reprint.
Click here for a preview of King City.