1. Material (No. 2, June 2015, Image) – Ales Kot & Will Tempest
A sociopolitical and philosophical palate cleanser, Kot & Tempest’s art house comic is tailor-made to pique the interest of an Entropy audience as it namechecks Bela Tarr and Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts. Organized as a series of existential vignettes, Material opens with an elderly white-haired intellectual, who resembles Sartre & Chomsky, lecturing to an auditorium full of incredulous college students on the
My favorite sections of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program are on pages 37, 45 and 46, which detail the CIA’s use Enhanced Interrogation Techniques on Abu Zabaydah. . . . Abu Zabaydah is the first person who falls victim to a pre-existing set of cultural assumptions. He is tortured. The people who are torturing, who are devising the techniques, who are making it up as they go along, know that torture will not gain intelligence. Here is a 2014 quote from James Mitchell, who co-created the program and billed tens of millions of dollars for his efforts: “I would be stunned if [the Senate Committee] found any kind of evidence to suggest that EITs as they were being applied yielded actionable intelligence.” / Mitchell and his cohort establish a circumstance in which they define not only the techniques but also the parameters of their own success. They literally can not fail.
2. Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians (No. 1, June 2015, Dark Horse) – Ricardo Delgado & Ryan Hill
From the expansive warm shallow seas of the Cretaceous period to the overabundance of now-extinct marine life, Ricardo Delgado’s labor of love starring a lone Spinosaurus trekking the dangerous swamplands of ancient North Africa may just reignite your childhood obsession with dinosaurs. Though Delgado himself has described the project as basically a western that stars a samurai “who happens to be a forty-foot-long predatory dinosaur,” both Jurassic World fans and longtime dinosaur enthusiasts will be bowled over by the zoological accuracy and sheer extensiveness of Delgado’s archival research. Among the largest of carnivorous dinosaurs (i.e., quite likely larger than the Tyrannosaurus and Giganotosaurus), the Spinosaurus would’ve undoubtedly given the Indominus rex a run for its money. Don’t expect to outrun it in high heels.
3. Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps (No. 1, Aug 2015, Marvel) – Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kelly Thompson & David Lopez
Reading Renee Angle’s Entropy posts on Jem and the Holograms got me thinking about the best representations of female ensembles in comics today: On top of the pile has to be DeConnick & Thompson’s Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps. No real surprise here given the former’s impressive work on the feminist-adjacent, pulp comic Bitch Planet and the latter’s remarkable writing on the rebooted pop rock comic Jem and the Holograms. The false girl power notes of the current run of Lumberjanes and Batgirl aside, Cap’s female fighter pilots remind us once again that this industry is at its best when it raises, rather than limits, its demographic sights.
4. Jem and The Holograms (No. 4, June 2015, IDW) – Kelly Thompson, Sophie Campbell & M. Victoria Robado
A highly satisfying read, Thompson & Campbell’s reboot of Jem and The Holograms may just be the sleeper hit of the summer as it steadily wins over longtime fans of the original 1980’s cartoon series. Even if you’re not at all familiar with Jem, the strength of Kelly Thompson’s writing alone, especially in elevating the mythos for 2015, will convert you to revisit the franchise – warts and all. The story thus far: To overcome her crippling stage fright and meet the entry deadline of a battle of the bands competition, lead singer Jerrica relies on a holographic alter ego created by her late father to gain entry into the pop music industry. Much to the dismay of the lead singer of the rival established band Misfits, the keytarist for Jem and The Holograms has begun to fraternize with Stormer, the Misfit’s talented keytarist and backup vocalist. Shenanigans aside, issue #4 in particular will intrigue onlookers who have specifically gravitated to Thompson’s version of Jem and the Holograms for its adventurous treatment of same-sex relationships in the pages of a comic book.
5. Giant Days (No. 4, June 2015, BOOM! Box) – John Allison, Lissa Treiman & Whitney Cogar
Quite easily the most well-written title in BOOM! Box’s expanded 2015 catalog, Allison & Treiman’s pictorial love letter to the halcyon days of college is certain to transport readers to that time in their lives when all of life’s priorities circled around reading Sylvia Plath and pursuing a liberal arts education. Follow Daisy as she turns eighteen and experiences a rite of passage night involving recreational drug use and sexual rejection. Especially endearing throughout Daisy’s journey is the overprotectiveness of her pals Esther and Susan. Entropy readers in particular will get a kick out of seeing Susan’s youthful venture into zine-making come back to bite her in the ass: “‘Femmist!’ That’s you, Susan? I saw some girls handing it out at the train station. . . . They were about thirteen years old. I found them very intimidating.” “I only . . . printed fifty copies. / It was just meant to be . . . funny . . . I mean . . .” “This is like a third generation copy of your zine, Susan. / You’ve gone ‘viral’, Susan, 1992-style viral.”