Is there anything better than anticipation? Who doesn’t love watching a well-constructed movie trailer over and over to build up hype for a new release? Perhaps the only thing better than opening a present is the thoughts that go through your head wondering what exactly you are about to receive.
For those that do not know me I am a big believer in, “Comics are forever one, the key is finding the right one”. It is that pursuit I hope to help people with, and hopefully an article like this can point people in a direction they were not expecting.
With that in mind here are my Top 10 Most Anticipated Books for next week. It’s quite the stacked week so limiting to ten was not easy! After much thought here’s the list:
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Juan Frigeri
Description: You are cordially invited to the wedding of Anthony Edward Stark and Emma Grace Frost… Come join the lucky couple as they exchange vows. Attire is Hellfire formal. Orchis raid to follow. Plus some exclusive wedding extras!
Why it Made the List: I have been enjoying this current run of Iron Man a great deal, but even I was quite puzzled by the announcement of Tony Stark and Emma Frost getting married. It is rather out of left field, and I feared it was nothing more than a hallow gimmick that lacked much of a story. We have gotten a tad more context but I still have so many questions on how exactly this will work. It could easily go either way which is a big reason I am anticipating so much. Should give us plenty to discuss either way. Plus who doesn’t love a comic book wedding?
Writer: John Lees
Artist: George Kambadais
Description: Production on the Glasgow remake of House of Creeping Flesh is well underway, with the local supermarket transformed into a house of horrors for makeshift night shoots. But underneath the gory prosthetics and wooden line delivery, a very real threat is taking ever more concrete shape, growing harder for Thumper and his friends to control.
Why it Made the List: Spooky season is right around the corner which means bring on the horror movies and horror comics, and with The Nasty you get a bit of both. Love the throwback design of this series, and if you are a person who misses that feeling you would get trying to find that perfect movie at your local video store this gives you just enough nibbling of nostalgia. I have also enjoyed how much this series has kept me on my toes. Thought I knew exactly where it was going from the start but it keeps finding avenues I was not expecting.
8. Newburn #11.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky, David Brothers
Artist: Nick Dragotta, Jacob Phillips
Publisher: Image Comics
Description: An ex-Yakuza is on his way to the States for a liver transplant in exchange for intel on NYC Yakuza activities. To stop the info from making it to the Feds, Newburn and Emily have to dodge the cops and the FBI. PLUS: In “GO BACK” by DRAGOTTA & BROTHERS, the kid tries to find a single friend in a city of eight million strangers.
Why it Made the List: When it comes to television I am not a huge fan of procedural shows outside of throwing on Law & Order in the background when working on something else. With comics though? I love procedural storytelling especially when exists outside of the superhero world. Newburn has been exceptional in how it has utilized the classic soap opera storytelling style of having a differing A plot in nearly every issue, while the world and characters are built up in the B and C plots. Plus what an art team! Nick Dragotta and Jacob Phillips are both great storytellers who have styles that complement each other well. Great series for anyone who enjoys series like Criminal or 100 Bullets.
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Roberto De La Torre
Publisher: Titan Books
Description: ROBERT E. HOWARD’S LEGENDARY CONAN IS BACK IN A NEW TALE OF BRAVERY AND HEROISM! Years after the battle of Venarium, a weary CONAN returns to his homeland to seek rest and solitude. However, a mysterious scout rides in to warn the Cimmerians of an imminent threat on the march from the Pictish wilderness. Will CONAN and his new ally be able to hold off this new horde of invaders?
Why it Made the List: The recipe for a great issue of Conan the Barbarian is not the most complex, but there are plenty of great meals that are not that difficult to make. The key is to have a great artist, which this series has with Roberto De La Torre and colorist Dean White. The other piece is to understand the character of Conan. Yes, he is a Barbarian but he is not a mindless brute, and so far this current run has done a good job displaying that.
Writer: Jeremy Lambert
Artist: Claire Roe
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Description: There’s a monster lurking outside of Minersville, and he’s tired of hiding. Everyone thinks Viv’s crazy. Delusional. That she didn’t see what she saw. Everyone, that is, except the locals. Vivian copes the best way she can: with a visit to the local watering hole. But it’s what happens after that changes everything. The Mismatch Man is hungry, you see, and Vivian’s many wounds have never healed.
Why it Made the List: Dark Spaces: The Hollywood Special #1 was an issue I was not expecting much of but it really surprised me especially the artwork of Claire Roe. There was a page I broke down on my TikTok channel I just adored. It utilized the reflections of bottles as comic panels in a rather ingenious way. Rather excited to see what else this team can do as this story further develops as the horror element was just beginning as the issue ended.
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Rafael de Latorre
Publisher: DC Comics
Description: Oswald Cobblepot is preparing to take back the Gotham underworld at the behest of the U.S. government, but to wage this war, he’s going to need some ruthless soldiers. For starters…the Help, the merciless assassin Penguin first encountered in the epic Batman: Killing Time. But can the Penguin free the Help from a prison of his own making? Whoever wins, everyone dies. The tough-as-nails series continues!
Why it Made the List: I am going to say something that might lose me any ounce of credibility I had with some people…I rather enjoyed Tom King’s run on Batman. (Pause for Boo’s) I tend to be fascinated with the way he takes on Gotham. Did everything work for me? Of course not, but even things I thought were not successful were at least interesting. So seeing him return to Gotham has been a treat, and not having the baggage of being a Batman main title so there’s a bit more freedom. And as always he is teamed up with a great artist in Rafael de Latorre. Penguin’s never been a character I gravitated toward, but the approach has made him more than an overblown gimmick.
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Chris Samnee
Publisher: Image Comics
Description: Another member of the Johnson family has learned the fire power, but with Shaw’s reach extending in Chicago, Owen and his army will have to strike soon—whether they’re ready or not.
Why it Made the List: Robert Kirkman is the King of Comics right now beyond the success of the adaptations of many of his comics Skybound is already seeing massive success with the Transformers and G.I. Joe comics, (And they haven’t even been released yet) What can be lost in all that, is what I consider his best comic series, is nearing its end. Chris Samnee is one of today’s best artists when it comes to depicting great action sequences so placing him in a martial arts epic series like this has been a treat. Sad this is ending at issue thirty but also much prefer a series ending too soon than ending far too late.
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Leonard Kirk, Richard Pace
Publisher: Ahoy Comics
Description: Heartbreaking final issue of the series that’s “incredibly empathetic, thoughtful, and — in the right places — deeply funny” (Comics Beat). Sheila and Sunstar must make some tough decisions, ones that will change not only their lives but their son’s life as well. It’s never easy to say goodbye… Also featuring bonus stories and illustrations, including a new chapter of the AHOY fifth anniversary prose serial.
Why it Made the List: Get ready to see a lot of Mark Russell series showing up on these lists in the future. Ever since his work on Prez and The Flintstones, he has been one of my favorite writers. The Second Coming series has been up there as one of his best books as well. Not often you get this thought-provoking tale that combines theology and superheroes in an elegant but humorous way. This year marks the fifth year anniversary for Ahoy and in my opinion, in those five years this has been their best series.
2. The Flash #1
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Mike Deodato Jr.
Publisher: DC Comics
Description: WALLY WEST RACES TOWARDS THE FUTURE WITH A NEW ALL-STAR CREATIVE TEAM! Wally West has never been quicker, more fulfilled, more heroic. His loving family is around him. And yet something is off. Very off. His evolving understanding of his powers has opened Wally to new avenues of sci-fi adventure and attuned his senses to strange new ideas. Something whispers from the dark vibrations beyond the Speed Force, and as Wally experiments with creative new approaches to his powers he encounters new realms, mysterious allies, and mind-shattering terrors.
Why it Made the List: Part of me is still upset this comic exists because I was really enjoying the Flash Run prior to this. Felt like the closest we have gotten to Mark Waid’s epic run, but not in a way that was overly reliant on what came before. With that said this creative team has me excited about what is possible for this character. Simon Spurrier’s run on Hellblazer was one of my favorite DC comics in forever, and Mike Deodato Jr. has been putting out quality work for decades including his recent work for AWA Upshot. Hearing this has more of a horror feel has me both intrigued and skeptical. Suffice to say this has me filled with a multitude of emotions.
Writer/Artist: Stan Sakai
Publisher: Dark Horse
Description: Usagi and Yukichi are still in the snowy mountaintops of Northern Japan, following Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo story arc, “The Green Dragon.” They are led to the hut of a strange hermit who allows them to spend the night at her home to shelter from the snowstorm. Meanwhile, the maniacal Jei and his familiar, Keiko, are on Usagi’s trail when they stumble upon a bandit lair and subdue a band of cutthroats and thieves.
Why it Made the List: When it came to number one this week that choice was quite easy. Despite that number one on the cover, there have been hundreds of issues of Usagi Yojimbo. If you have never read an issue prior don’t fret because Stan Sakai is the master of writing stories that are welcoming to new readers and satisfying to old. This does mark the series’ return to Dark Horse, and despite the number of different publishers throughout its over thirty-year run the quality of storytelling never suffers. It is not hyperbolic to call it one of the most impressive runs in the history of comics and after a few months off we are getting a new issue! Considering all that and my love of the series easily my most anticipated book of the week.