By Svetlana Fedotov
I read a lot of comics. I mean a LOT of comics, and I don’t even review nearly half of what I read. There are many reasons why I pass on covering the majority of what I find, though mostly, it comes down to time and how fresh the comics are. I know you readers; you demand hot and fresh reviews of the hottest and freshest comics! The closer to issue one I can get you to, the better! Well, I’ve decided to change things up a bit and give you a look into my private reading time, what I’m into when I’m not under pressure to dress up a comic book nice and prettily and parade it around like a child pageant contestant. These are the works that are already in the libraries, collected into a graphic novel, or are available online…
Ghosted (Image Comics)
Ghosted is still an active comic that is currently on its third story arc (which I should probably review.) I read the first graphic novel, Haunted Heist, and it was fantastic. The story revolves around Jackson T. Winters, the greatest criminal mind of our generation, as he is hired to assemble a team of pros for the weirdest heist of his life: stealing a ghost from a haunted house. Though he has his doubts, as do others on the team, the money from his ultra-rich financier proves all too real and he gives it a solid college try. Of course, this wouldn’t be an interesting comic if the ghosts proved to be some Scooby-Doo villain in a rubber mask, so not only is the house actually haunted, but it also hides a dark secret about its occupants, together with the real reason the teams finanicer is so eager to get his hands on the dead.
Written by Joshua Williamson with art duties by Goran Sudzuka, Ghosted is slowly climbing its way up the horror comic scene. It’s a really fun read that boldly mixes noir, horror, a bit of comedy and the slickest one-liners this side of the Mason Dixie line. Unfortunately, I haven’t picked up the following two story arcs, but if they’re anything like the first, they’re going to be pretty solid. Even the exposition sections where Winter goes around assembling his team move smoothly, with the interaction between the characters fast and snappy, like, well, a heist movie. Of course, just like your standard heist movie, don’t get too attached to any one character, as odds are they’ll bite the dust in the most gruesomely bad-ass way possible. A great read for those who wish John Constantine had a preference for well-tailored suits and a fine cigar.
God Hates Astronauts (Image Comics)
Have you ever thought to yourself “If Deadpool wrote a comic, I wonder what it would be like?” Well, wonder no more because God Hates Astronauts answers all of those questions! Bizarre superheroes? Check! Seriously messed up humor? Check! VIOLENCE GALORE! You bet your sweet ass that’s a check! Probably one of the most eclectic and downright weirdest comics that I have read, GHA is basically a kick up the ass of the superhero genre. Essentially, the comic is about a group of mismatched superheroes named the Power Pack Five who fight just as equally-mismatched villains and let the world pay the price. From Owl Capone, the owl version of the famous twenties gangster, to Tiger Eating a Cheeseburger, a space tiger prince who is constantly eating a cheeseburger, the series is unafraid to push boundaries into bold, new directions.
Originally starting as a web comic before Kickstarting its way into print, GAH is the baby of the one man team, Ryan Browne. Both drawing and writing the monstrosity, he had gotten quite the cult following on his site, godhatesastronauts.com, which has the entire series available for free. You can follow all the adventures of the Power Pack Five from the beginning, but I still suggest checking out the graphic novel for all the fun extras and the background stories of practically every character in the series. I highly recommend the work for anyone who’s sick of the standard superhero antics and wants to watch them self-destruct in the most hilarious way possible.
I Am A Hero (Shogakukan, Big Comic Spirits)
Hideo Suzuki is your average, thirty-something man. A hard working manga assistant by day and a paranoid schizophrenic by night, he spends the majority of his time shuffling from his job to his house to his verbally abusive girlfriend. Though he’s aware that he’s a bit loose in the skull, nothing he is seeing is real…right? Well, unlucky for him, a zombie plague breaks out in the middle of the night and he is soon forced to learn what is actually trying to kill him and what he’s just seeing in his screwed up mind. Filled with fantastically gruesome images and super-imposed with wise words for life, I Am A Hero is a perfect reminder that just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not after you.
Like a lot of mangas, this is a pretty long series (currently on Vol. 15 in Japan) so it takes a bit of investment. Also like a lot of manga series, it is written and drawn by one man, Kengo Hanazawa, and consists more of art than speech. That being said, it’s definitely not your standard manga, with a more realistic approach to its art style. The zombies, especially when they start mutating, are fantastically detailed and practically creep up on you as much as they do on poor Hideo. The pacing is a little slow, but you really get to see into Hideo’s life and the amazing amount of chaos that gets tossed at him. Though there is no “official” English translation, if you must own the hard copies and can read either Spanish, French, or Japanese, it’s readily available for purchase online.