Is Aquaman an Underwater Terrorist?
Plus, indie comic artist Fabian Lelay offers up his favorite comics of the week.
Panel selection from Aquaman #13. Illustrated by Scot Eaton. Screencap via the author.
Each week, The Creators Project seeks out the best and brightest from the comics industry.
Fabian Lelay is the co-writer (along with Katy Rex) and artist behind the Breakfast Club-meets-Sailor Moon action/fantasy comic Jade Street Protection Services, from Black Mask Studios. With a new issue hitting shelves next week, Lelay's offered up some picks for great comics to read right now. Fabian says two books “stood out among the rest,” and recommends readers check out Jem: The Misfits #1 and Archie #15. “We rarely see any book that tackles issues and topics in a setting not far from the real world,” explains Lelay. “And thematically, comics being a superhero/supernatural/crime dominated medium, I like seeing the change of pace with a band-themed book in The Misfits.” Lelay explains that there should be more storytelling in comics dealing with subjects other than punching Doomsday in the face or trimming Tony Stark’s goatee. “Even sports themed books would be good to show the diversity of the comic genre and not to be just tied to the old themes we've been so used to.”
This week’s comic roundup includes some varying themes, from Aquaman’s political intrigue, to a great Polish indie comic, to a heartfelt story about growing up confused about one’s gender, and some classic manga.
Aquaman is one of the more interesting members of the Justice League these days, thanks, in part, to the political intrigue that encompasses his story. Atlantis, the nation he rules, is at war with the United States, but there may be a third, evil entity pulling the strings and making it look like Atlantis is the aggressor. Believe it or not, the U.S. is responding with extreme prejudice, and trying squash what they see as a hot war. Aquaman’s now an enemy of the state, and the government plans to squash him as best they can. This is as good a comic to jump into as any in the DC lineup out this week, and it’s nice to see little glimpses of the Justice League doing what they do (working together, bantering, offering differing opinions). The political plot of this comic isn’t anything that’s going to blow a reader’s mind, but the race-against-the-clock feel to the whole story arc adds some much-needed tension.
FKT is a comic drawn by Polish graphic designer Andre Krayewski and written by Krayewski and his son Ed. Translated into English, the comic follows in the mold of “true life” comics like American Splendor, but twists and contorts the action to show Andre and his son as near-Looney Tunes-esque characters (Ed is even illustrated as a pig in this comic, complete with buttcrack constantly peeping out from beneath his pants). In this issue, a story emerges about the two trying to turn their comics into movie properties, and Ed constantly getting his ideas stolen, getting nudged out of the equation, and losing opportunities.
Gumballs is a comic that feels true to its name. As a brightly colored series of short, one-to-three page comics, Erin Nations' work forms an incredible anthology. It serves up slices of life, and features “Tales of Being Trans,” honest stories that reflect Erin’s own transition. There’s a wonderful, powerful art at work here, where the main character of an (albeit indie-aesthetic) comic is transgender, and it focuses on his life in all its facets, from adolescent confusion, to coming out, to strange customers at the grocery store where he works, to being afraid to make phone calls. Gumballs presents both the height of struggle and the mundanity of daily life through the eyes of Erin the comic character, and the result is a fully rendered, real, sad, funny, conflicted story. Originally published by Top Shelf Comix, Gumballs will now reach a much larger audience and take up plenty of shelf space with IDW Publishing.
Manga of the Week: Weekly Shonen Jump Vol. 253
Weekly Shonen Jump is the best-selling weekly manga collection in Japan. First launched in 1968, Weekly Jump has hosted weekly installments of everything from Dragonball to Yu Yu Hakusho to One Piece and more. If it was a quality manga released in a serialized format, there’s a good chance it’s been in Jump. This week’s issue is a special treat for U.S. audiences, as the magazine takes the next two weeks off in Japan. So included are the first parts of a Yu-Gi-Oh story and a Rurouni Kenshin story. These are both great jumping-in points, as each story starts with a short paragraph catching up new readers. While the card game comic Yu-Gi-Oh normally runs a little young, this story features virtual reality, strange entities, and an exciting view of the possible futures of gaming. The Kenshin manga is predictably manic and all over the place, but its frenzy is charming.
What was on your pull list this week? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @CreatorsProject.