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‘Black Panther’ Tackles the Politics of Rebellion

Plus an apocalyptic Western, a wayward teen, and weekly recommendations from a master of comic theory.
Panel selection from Black Panther #9. Illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze. Screencap via the author

Each week The Creators Project seeks out the best and brightest from the comics industry.

Hass Otsmane-Elhaou is a comic writer and the creator of the fantastic YouTube comic masterclass Strip Panel Naked. Hass was kind enough to pause his video essays — on everything from the use of color as subtext to the future of digitization in the medium — to talk about his favorite releases of the week. “Of course the fantastic Love is Love,” Hass recommends, “the beautiful book benefiting the survivors of the Orlando Pulse shooting.” Hass also recommends the newest Hulk, Black Widow, and A.D. After Death issues on shelves. But he really focuses on Love is Love, which he calls “a must-buy, must-read. The whole book is just a gorgeous series of stories about love and about acceptance. It perfectly balances those stories by a whole host of fantastic creators with some moments that remind you why you're reading those stories in the first place. Can't recommend it highly enough, it's an important book.”


Reviewed this week: New Black Panther from Ta-Nehisi Coates, an apocalypse story, a bratty little indie, and an incredible sci-fi manga.

Black Panther #9

Cover for Black Panther #9. Illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze. Photo courtesy Marvel Comics

Ta-Nehisi Coates— MacArthur Genius and National Book Award winner— is nine issues into his groundbreaking run as writer on Black Panther alongside artist Brian Stelfreeze, and the comic couldn’t feel more vital. Following the great empire of Wakanda and its crown son T’Challa, Black Panther is more about a nation coming apart at the seams than it is about a superhero is an awesome outfit kicking ass. In this issue, those trying to hold onto power plot their next moves, those trying to snatch up power question the ruthlessness of their tactics, and mystical elements begin to turn the tide. This comic is amazing at mixing the personal with the political. As family pride and the rule of kings clashes against various conflicts of conscience, this comic screams at the reader, “It’s not as easy as punching the bad guys!” A must read for fans of Game of Thrones-level politics and back-stabbery.

East of West #30

Cover for East of West #30. Illustrated by Nick Dragotta and Frank Martin. Photo courtesy Image Comics

East of West takes place after the apocalypse, and this issue is set in 2066, which is three years after the end times. The leader of a machine city squares off against a prophet preaching destruction, as war, death, and desolation sprawl before them. This is a very stylish comic, full of quirks and jolting moments. With tinges of western, plenty of sci-fi, and even some giant monster Kaiju action, this is as pleasing a comic to look at as it is to read.


Total Bleep Up #1

Cover for Total Bleep Up #1. Illustrated by Johnny Sampson. Photo courtesy Johnny Sampson

Total Bleep Up tells the story of a young lazy loser named “Total F**k Up,” and in this inaugural issue he heads to the carnival. He sneaks in, plays darts, steals half-drank beer and half-smoked pot, gets picked on by bullies, gets turned on by a pig, and eventually finds a new career. This is a great snotty, nasty, fun, bratty appropriation of 1950s “gee whiz” comic panel sensibilities. Reading Total Bleep Up feels like a comic book version of the band Wavves covering Dion and the Belmonts’ “A Teenager in Love.”

Manga of the Week: Inuyashiki #71

Cover for Inuyashiki #71. Illustrated by Hiroya Oku. Photo courtesy Kodansha Comics

Inuyashiki is an incredible science fiction manga from Hiroya Oku, and it follows Inuyashiki Ichiro, and old-looking man with a mean-spirited family whose life is transformed when he’s hit with a powerful beam and has his body replaced with a machine. But he finds he can do incredible things, like heal the sick and dying, so he sets out to do good in the world. In this chapter, Inuyashiki Ichiro finally comes clean to his family. What a wonderfully weird comic, a must-read for manga and/or sci-fi fans.

Panel selection from Inuyashiki #71. Illustrated by Hiroya Oku. Screencap via the author


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