Comic Book Corner — New SF, A Shirtless Grayson, Lumberjanes, & A Whole Lot Of Rocket

Comic Book Corner Comic Books GeekMom
Rocket Raccoon
Rocket Raccoon #1, Art by Skottie Young © Marvel Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. Corrina takes a leap of faith into Deep Gravity #1 and checks out a shirtless Dick Grayson in Grayson #1. Kelly on the other hand, reads up on the upcoming star of Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket Raccoon in his solo ongoing series debut. Sophie heads to camp with the Lumberjanes and then dives into her first Bluewater comic book title – Amazing Storytellers.

Corrina — Deep Gravity #1 written by Mike Richardson, Gabriel Hardman and Corinne Bechko, art by Fernand Baldo 

This series caught my eye because of Bechko and Hardman, who I met at the special edition of New York Comic Con last month. Hardman did a commissioned sketch for me and I had to chance to talk to the husband-and-wife team a little bit about their work. There’s a preview of Deep Gravity’s first issue at the Dark Horse Comics website and it looks great, from the intriguing opening to the herding of aliens, and the woman who’s clearly not thrilled with the arrival of an ex-boyfriend.

Age Rec: 12+

Grayson #1 by Tim Seeley, Tom King, and Mikel Janin

DC, and the writers, clearly recognize Dick Grayson’s sex appeal in this first issue of the former Robin’s new series. Presumed dead by most of the world, Dick is now working (read: infiltrating) the spy agency known as Spyral. Helena Bertinelli makes her first appearance here in the New 52 universe and while I’m glad to see her being used, this version’s personality has little in common with her previous self. Maybe that will change.

Midnighter (the Batman analogue from DC’s Wildstorm universe) makes an unexpected but effective appearance and his battle with Dick is fun (“you fight like jazz”), Dick is acrobatic in some great art sequences, and he is shirtless in another panel of lovely art, but I wished the story was a little more focused. I’m not yet sold on the premise.

Age Rec: 9+

Kelly Knox — Rocket Raccoon #1 by Skottie Young

If you’re hoping to get acquainted with the Guardians of the Galaxy before the film’s big release, look no further than Rocket Raccoon #1. You might recognize Skottie Young’s distinctive work from many Marvel variant covers in recent years, including the joyous Captain Marvel #1 variant. Now debuting his own series featuring the one-of-a-kind Rocket Raccoon, the phrase “fun ride” doesn’t do the first issue justice.

Rocket Raccoon #1, Art by Skottie Young © Marvel Comics

Rocket Raccoon #1 requires no pre-reading or even much familiarity with the characters. Even without knowing too much about the Guardians beyond the first collection by Brian Michael Bendis, I never felt lost. The first issue kicks off with action, humor, and adventure while simultaneously introducing you to the scamp that is Rocket Raccoon. And Groot. And Star-Lord. Yes, the whole gang is here, but Rocket is obviously the star of the show.

While reading—and you should go buy it right now, what are you waiting for?—keep an eye out for Young’s fantastically descriptive and hilarious sound effects in the panels. I considered those almost worth the price of the book alone.

The main character is a fuzzy raccoon, granted, but don’t mistake Rocket Raccoon for an all-ages comic book. There’s some edginess to it that isn’t quite suited to the youngest comic book fans. Says Young, “You’re not gonna see any raccoon private parts. But I definitely want to play up the attitude people have come to expect and enjoy, never confusing Rocket for a cute and cuddly anthropomorphic character.”

But if your kids are old enough that you’d consider taking them to the theater to see the film, this comic should fill in nicely until August rolls around.

Age Rec: 12+

Sophie Brown — Lumberjanes #4 by Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson with art by Brooke A. Allen

Since its debut in April, Lumberjanes has taken the independent comic world by storm. There is already a “Which Lumberjane Are You?” quiz on BuzzFeed, and the series’ publisher, Boom! Studios, is releasing a set of exclusive Lumberjane Scout patches at this year’s SDCC. For a series only now releasing it’s fourth issue, those are some impressive credentials.

Lumberjanes  Image: Boom Studios
Lumberjanes Image: Boom Studios

Lumberjanes #4 sees the girls, and their leader Jen, out leaf spotting in the woods. Of course nothing can possibly stay normal for long and soon the gang have fallen into a patch of poison ivy whereby a group of impossibly polite young men from the nearby Mr. Theodore Tarquin Reginald Lancelot Herman Crumple Camp for Boys appear to assist them. (Oh, in case you missed it in issue one, the full name of the Lumberjanes camp is actually Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniguigul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types—try saying that after a few glasses of wine!)

So why exactly did the girls fall into ivy? Yetis of course. Walkman wearing, talking yetis with names like Janice if we’re being precise. It’s brilliant and insane but yet somehow makes perfect sense. Once treated at the boys’ camp, the girls once again sneak off in order to reach the lighthouse where they find, well you’ll have to read it and find out. Suffice to say that all is not as it seems at the boys camp and after a very nice, obscure little X-Files reference, it looks like Jen might be starting to come around to the girls’ way of thinking.

Age Rec: All Ages

Amazing Storytellers by J.S. Earls, Tony Laplume, Michael Lent, Brian McCarthy, Tom Smith with art by Luis Chichon, JM Cuellar, Marco Gerratana, Kent Hurlburt

Bluewater productions is known for their graphic novels depicting the lives of famous individuals from musicians to politicians. Amazing Storytellers collects comic book biographies of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, J. R. R. Tolkien, and George R. R. Martin. Each one is written in a broadly similar style to that of the author they discuss, and covers the subject’s life from birth right through to the present day.

For those with only a vague interest in the lives of these authors, they are a brilliant introduction. However, fans are unlikely to learn anything new. I doubt there are many Stephen King fans who don’t know about his 1999 brush with death, or many Tolkien fans who are unaware of the importance of faith in his life. The comics read like illustrated Wikipedia entries that highlight the important events that shaped their lives and careers.

Sadly there are issues throughout.

The books randomly shift tense from past to present creating a very disjointed feel, they also moved between the first and third person at will, blending quotes from the subjects with the writers’ own prose. In the Stephen King comic especially, I was often unsure whether I was supposed to be reading a biography or an autobiography. There are editorial mistakes right from the first page and frustrating lack of detail elsewhere. In the George R. R. Martin story, it is mentioned that he once wrote a letter to the editor that was “published in one of the most popular comics of the time” —however the book doesn’t bother to say what comic that was (FYI, it was The Fantastic Four #20 in 1961—thanks Google.)

Regardless of these issues, and of the artwork which I found consistently unpleasant, I did honestly find the books interesting.

While I have read novels by all four of the included authors, I knew very little of their personal lives which probably makes me the ideal reader for this series. It has made me want to go out and start reading more material by these men. I do have one final criticism which is that in a book titled “Amazing Storytellers“, not one of them was female. There are so many wonderful female writers who could have been included (J. K. Rowling, Agatha Christie, and Mary Shelley immediately spring to mind) that it seems a shame to not have included at least one in this compendium. Perhaps we might see an entirely female follow up to this one day?

Age Rec: 12+

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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American Vampire Second Cycle #4 New Series
Animal Man Vol. 6 Flesh And Blood TP
Batgirl #33
Batman Bruce Wayne Fugitive TP
Batman Eternal #14
Birds Of Prey #33
Coffin Hill #9
Constantine #16
Detective Comics #33
FBP Federal Bureau Of Physics #12
Grayson #1 New Series
Green Lantern Corps #33
Infinity Man And The Forever People #2 New Series
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two #7
Justice League Of America Vol. 1 World’s Most Dangerous TP
Justice League United #3 New Seriies
New 52 Futures End #10 Weekly Series
New Suicide Squad #1 New Series
Nightwing Vol. 4 Second City TP
Royals Masters Of War #6 (Of 6) Final Issue
Scooby-Doo Where Are You #47 Kid Friendly
Smallville Season 11 Lantern #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Superboy #33
Superman Wonder Woman #10
Talon Vol. 2 Fall Of The Owls TP
Worlds’ Finest #25
100th Anniversary Special Spider-Man #1 GM 
All-New Invaders #7
All-New X-Men #29
Amazing Spider-Man #1.3 GM
Amazing X-Men #9
Avengers #32
Avengers Undercover #7
Captain Marvel #5 New Series
Daredevil #5 New Series
Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #3 (Of 4)
Deadpool #31
Deadpool Dracula’s Gauntlet #1 (Of 7) New Mini-Series
Fantastic Four #7
Guardians Of The Galaxy By Jim Valentino Vol. 2 TP
Marvel Universe Avengers Assemble #10 Kid Friendly
Marvel Universe Guardians Of The Galaxy Cosmic Team-Up Digest TP Kid Friendly
Nightcrawler #4 New Series
Original Sin #5.1
Original Sins #3 (Of 5)
Spider-Man 2099 #1 New Series
Star-Lord Guardians Of The Galaxy TP
Superior Foes Of Spider-Man #13
United States Of Murder Inc #3
Winter Soldier The Bitter March #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Wolverine #10
X-Force #7
X-Men Battle Of The Atom TP
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Angry Birds Comics #2 New Kid Friendly Series
Black Dynamite #3 (Of 4)
G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #204
Judge Dredd #20
Knuckleheads Fist Contact TP
Maxx Maxximized #9
Star Slammers Re-Mastered #4
Star Trek #35
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro Series Vol. 1 TP Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 1 Change Is Constant TP GM
Transformers Micro Comic Fun Pack Kid Friendly
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #31
Abe Sapien #14
Abe Sapien Vol. 4 The Shape Of Things To Come TP
Chronicles Of Conan Vol. 27 Sands Upon The Earth And Other Stories TP
Doctor Solar Man Of The Atom Archives Vol. 3 TP
Eerie Comics #5
Star Wars #19
Strain Vol. 1 HC
Terminator Enemy Of My Enemy #4 (Of 6)
Terminator Salvation The Final Battle #7 (Of 12)
Usagi Yojimbo Color Special The Artist (One Shot) Kid Friendly
X #15

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading

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