The big news in comics this week is the leak that Disney Channel star Zendaya may be cast as the role of Spider-Man’s long-time love interest, Mary Jane Watson, in an upcoming reboot. And, in the most pathetic corners of Twitter, comic nerds are crying out because “Mary Jane can’t be black.” This is the worst of what comic/nerd/fandom culture can be, and anytime some “controversy” like this crops up, it makes one want to drop their trade paperbacks, shelve their video game systems, and run for the hills. For all the work that Marvel’s doing to amp up its diversity and push toward inclusion, there’s still, culturally, in a big-picture sense, a very long way to go. But it has to start at the top, and casting Zendaya in this role is another good, smart, bold step in the right direction.
As for this week in comic books, the best are strangely about horror, possession, apocalyptic stories...and Scooby-Doo.
How’s this for a premise? Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne, and Fred all live in the near-future where a plague of nanobots have turned humans into bloodthirsty creatures inspired by classic movie monsters. In this verison of Scooby-Doo, Scoob can talk because he’s a cybernetically enhanced “Smart Dog,” Daphne and Fred are kickass documentarians that can handle huge rifles, Velma’s a super-scientist, and Shaggy has a twirly moustache. This issue sees the crew learning to work together as they’re chased from point to point. Dialogue heavy, this comic should please fans of Scooby-Doo and The Walking Dead.
This indie comic sports shaky-hand, early 90s indie-inspired character illustrations and a washed-out color palette to create an overwhelming sense of haze and malaise. Dr. Crowe is an exorcist helped by his goth-assistant Sparrow, and the two attempt to exercise the various demons of Los Angeles. In this first issue, Crowe tangos with a possessed boxer and gets tangled up with the mob. While it’s good and bloody, this comic also has a lot of personality and fans of exorcism stories should definitely check it out.
The Broken Moon series is a classic horror story set in an apocalyptic future where destruction of the moon has caused all manner of nasty monsters to spring forth. From werewolves and vampires to Frankenstein’s monsters, and more. In this new printing, a small harbor village of human survivors is attacked by a giant sea kraken, and the people reluctantly accept the help of crazed motorcycle-riding marauders. Illustrated by famed horror illustrator Nat Jones and written by Philip Kim (of the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland), Legends of the Deep is a pitch-perfect horror story that shines in a crowded field. Horror fans should absolutely be reading this as it comes out.
A whole host of storylines, characters, and comic series have sprouted from Mike Mignola’s Hellboy. The most intense, and longest running, is B.P.R.D. (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense), and follows an organization dedicated to solving paranormal problems. But what makes this comic so stunning, and feel so huge, is that the creators have decided to blow it all to hell and bring about the end of the world. This isn’t an apocalypse story that has always been an apocalypse story, this was a clever little procedural comic that cracked itself wide open in the middle of its run. Now, the world is a smoking ruin, and strange forces (like a little Russian girl in a white dress who wanders through hell) are trying to carve out dominance in the wastes. Interested readers should either jump in right here and now, or go back and read everything.
What were your favorite comics of the week? Let us know in the comments or tweet at us @CreatorsProject.