Graphic Novel Friday: Best Comics of December

Alex Carr on December 29, 2017
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6a01b8d1fbcbaa970c01b7c940bf12970b-320wi.jpgHappy (almost) New Year's Eve, ABR readers! As we toast to year's end, we have selected three titles that pair well with a glass of bubbly and fireworks. See you in 2018!

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What better way to finish 2017 than with teenage cynicism, depression, and telekinetic murder? Writer/artist and multiple Ignatz Award winner Charles Forsman (see also his The End of the F***ing World from 2013) chooses Olive Oyl as the body type and haircut template for troubled protagonist Sydney and then saddles her with mutant mind powers and, worst of all, terrible posture. Forsman places what would otherwise be typical teen fare (best friend crushes, puberty woes, sexual anxiety) within a Mort Walker/Dik Browne palette, but this is no daily strip fare. The terrible heart of I Am Not Okay with This is Sydney’s inability to control her telekinetic impulses; they lurk in the panels until Sydney must choose romance or revenge.

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Welcome to a near future where coffee is illegal. Yes, it is time for panic, size venti. Thankfully, Helena Crash is here to make black market caffeine runs, but her mug runneth over with problems when she tries to diversify her morally questionable activities. Tasked with an assassination, Helena is all decaf, but she still has the kick to maneuver her way into spectacular car chases and slow-motion sword and gun fights. Writer Fabian Rangel Jr. keeps the pedal to the floor, with sci-fi action at the turn of every page, while artist Johnson Warwick Cadwell specializes in sharp corners, multiples planes of perspective, and tiny details in the fore and backgrounds. Really, the artwork in this first adventure is a marvel, and everything, including the plot, feels sped up from a great pull of espresso.

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There is no shortage of Spider-Man/Spider-Family books every month, so to introduce another requires a new hook. In this first volume of Spectacular, the hook is writer Chip Zdarsky’s scripts. Rather than focus on the weight of Peter Parker’s great responsibility, Zdarsky focuses on the everyday humor and the absurdity of being Spider-Man. Deep-cut and b-side villains factor into the adventures, as Parker attempts to have a personal life, but don’t worry: the book is still very accessible, with plenty of “editorial notes” to explain and poke fun at some of the more obscure references. This is a comic for longtime Spider-fans and new readers who might dread yet another angst-riddled take on the character. Adam Kubert is, of course, a marquee name in the industry, but here his art is muddier than usual, yet it never takes the “friendly" out of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

Happy New Year!

--Alex


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