Welcome to Graphic Breakdown!
Let’s look at some of the more interesting comics currently out.
We’re going to start off with a complete surprise.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Book 1
(collecting issues 1-5)
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sarcasa and Illustrated by Robert Hack
Published by Archie Comics
My god, was this fantastic. This book was something else.
Roberto Aguirre-Sarcasa took a concept that was basically lame and would make anyone cringe, and created with Robert Hack one of the most involving, shockingly good books on the market. It’s definitely one of the best books of the year.
Sabrina Spellman lives with her two aunts who are both witches. She goes to high school. Has a boyfriend.
Yet, on her sixteenth birthday, she has to make a decision: live a normal life or become a witch.
Aguirre-Sarcasa fills each page with power. Emotion.
He turns this silly concept into something that is almost in the Suspiria universe.
The horror that comes through each page is palatable. The tension is high. The heart and emotion poured into it is evident. The story is fantastic.
The art by Hack is awesome. Purely awesome. I pored over it. It was like reading an old EC horror comic book but with something modern. It’s beautiful.
Archie Comics have been killing it with their comic book line. Killing it. They have another hit on their hands with this. Another feather in their cap. Keep it going. You took a concept and a TV show I reviled and turned it into something great.
Written and Illustrated by Jeff Smith
Published by Cartoon Books
Jeff Smith is a genius. A pure genius.
Bone was one of my favorite books growing up. I actually picked it up from the very beginning and loved it.
When it ended, I was sad, but the entire run was so brilliant, it felt complete. He went on to do Rasl, which I loved, and later Tuki, which I liked.
When word came down that for Bone’s 25th anniversary he would be drawing a new Bone story, well, I flipped.
I was excited. And Smith didn’t disappoint.
It was so nice to see Fone Bone, Smiley, and Phoney Bone.
I nearly cried.
The story is a simple lark, nothing that impacts the main story. Smith hasn’t missed a beat with these characters. It’s just wonderful to read and see them interacting again.
This book is coupled with a history of Bone book that is pretty hit or miss plus an interview with Smith which is pretty good. But the main attraction is that new story. It was great but went by too quick.
I understand Smith wants to move onto other things. And he should. But next time, instead of giving us 36 pages, give us 200 or so. This is a great appetizer…but now I want more. Jeff Smith loves these characters. We love these characters. Why not see more of them?
Usagi Yojimbo V. 30: Thieves and Spies
Written and Illustrated by Stan Sakai
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Stan Sakai is something of a marvel. His book Usagi Yojimbo has been fantastic. It’s fantastic now. I have a feeling it’ll always be fantastic. Years ago I started reading this. 2012 to be exact. And I couldn’t put it down. Sakai’s blending of history and comic books always leaves me floored.
This book has a few stories in it. All of them are complete unto themselves but paint a bigger picture. Usagi travels and comes across old friends and new conspiracies. It’s fun, well told, and classic fun. There is not a book or creator with the track record Sakai has. He is one creator of legend.
Read this book to find out why. I implore you. Sakai is one of the best this medium has. Come laugh, cry and follow the adventures of a samurai rabbit and his friends. This is always such a pleasure. Every year, it’s a gift these collections.
Imperium V.4: Stormbreak
(collecting issues 13-16)
Written by Joshua Dysart and Illustrated by Khari Evans
Published by Valiant Comics
I love Joshua Dysart’s writing, plain and simple. This is no exception. Imperium has been something of a novelty book for Valiant Comics. It’s brutal. Off the cuff. And features some of the best plotting comic books has to offer.
This book follows the character of Livewire finally going to confront her former boss Toyo Harada. It’s a simple set up with tons of ambiguity in it. It kind of reminded me of the TV show Homeland (when it was good) and some really great cyberpunk stories for some reason.
Dysart writes some of the best characters in comics. It’s nice to see him teamed up with Evans with whom he did Harbinger with.
I heard this may be the last Imperium book. I hope not, as it’s a consistently great read which rewards it’s readers. I love it and want more.