First Quarter 2019 comic picks

It’s not the end of the quarter, but I felt like sharing this now. Usually I wait until the end of the year to make my list of comics that I’ve enjoyed. I try to consistently tweet what I’m reading and enjoying (@elizabethamber). I think the tweets can give more of a real-time go get this on Wednesday call to action — even if that’s a month after the issue is out because I let my TBR pile up.

Some of these will probably look familiar because they began in 2018 so they did make my year end list.

Bitter Root (Image Comics)

David Walker, Chuck Brown, Sanford Green. Rico Renzi & Sanford Green (colors), Clayton Cowles (letter & production), Green & Jarreau Wimberly (cover), Heather Antos (ed)

Bitter Root cover

There’s nothing not to love about Bitter Root. The art is exquisite. The coloring is potent and moody. Afro-futurism at its finest; the Sangyere family fighting monsters with time breaks jumping from present to past to show how racism and hatred have actually turned people into Jinoo. There are other types monsters the family has to learn to fight. Also the back matter contains great articles by historians.

Breakneck (Titan Comics Hard Case Crime imprint)

(W) Duane Swierczynski (A) Raffaele Semeraro (A/CA) Simone Guglielmini, (Colors) Chris Chuckry and Lovern Kindzierski

Breakneck issue 3 cover

R rated, end of the world, ticking clock in Philly, with secret agents and a bored married couple. Written in 2nd POV. Noteworthy gorgeous artwork by Simone Guglielmini (I name I have a harder time spelling than Swierczynski). This book has pulsing action and comic relief of Die Hard.

Vindication (Image Comics)

Matt Hawkins, MD Marie, Carlos Miko (P), Dema Jr (inks), Thiago Goncalves (color), Troy Peteri (L)


I have a preview of Issue One available so you can read more about the series there. This seems like an excellent plot, but the dialog is so wordy that the letterer, Troy Peteri, deserves an award. It reads more like a TV show where you expect everything to be verbalized between two characters in a scene, but comics doesn’t have time (panel space) for that. Nonetheless, I found the mystery intriguing and wish the team the best of luck in finding an audience.

BLACK AF: Devil’s Dye (Black Mask Studios)

Kwanza Osajyefo (plot), Vita Ayala (script), Liana Kangas (art), Maika Sozo (covers), Dave Sharpe (letters)

Black AF Devil's Dye cover

If you haven’t heard the names Vita Ayala and Liana Kangas by now, you need to plug back into the rising stars buzz of comics. Though they’ve been around the industry for a while, their names really started to take off in 2018.

Kwanza Osajyefo is one of the original creators of the BLACK series with the tagline: What if only black people had superpowers? “Devil’s Dye” has spun from that along with others like “Widows & Orphans” and “America’s Sweetheart“. Of the spinoffs, “Devil’s Dye” has been my favorite because of the character Indigo. She draws energy from dark pocket dimension and to hide herself or torture people with it. It’s hard for her to control her temper too so when she comes across a drug lord, she almost kills him.

Blackbirds volume 1 (Image Comics)

Sam Humphries (w), Jen Bartel (a), Paul Weinwand (layout), Triona Farrell (c), Jodi Wynne (l), Todd Dylan (designer), (ed) Jim Gibbons

Blackbird by Image Comics

This comic about Nina is a way to live out your fantasy RPG life. Magical cabals are real; everything Nina has been told is a lie. Her sister Marissa and mom Gloria are paragons and not dead. There has been a treaty among the cabals until the Hollywood region cabal was exterminated by the regular non-magical population. A turf war is on the brink.

Unfortunately, Nina’s family doesn’t want her involved. They would rather cast spells on her to forget what she sees, but her powers are too strong and see through their cloaking. Her companion Sharpie, the black cat with a third eye, is her guardian and will choose whether or not Nina is allowed to join the Zon cabal since her family has rejected her from their own.

Black Betty #7 (Action Lab Danger Zone)

Shawn Gabborin (w), Raphael Dantes (a), Rosa Rantila (color)

I read issue 7 because of the press release, I’ll be honest. There’s a young boy who is deaf and Black Betty (she’s not a WoC, just “large” and with black hair) and another woman are fighting over this boy Noah. I think this series spun out of other Danger Zone titles, Vamp Blade and Zombie Trap which I have done my best to ignore based on how they look. Those appear so incredibly misogynistic with the oversized breats covered by barely anything, skinny waists, and then conveniently thick thighs — and usually censored variants. Yet, Black Betty is full clothed in this press release. Though digging through searches, I see she’s also had “tattered” and “censored” covers. I’m guessing she’s clothed now because she’s fat. And when I say “fat” I mean “my” size; but at least she’s in jeans, a blouse, and a rockabilly style while wielding weapons to conquer monsters. **Though this completely depends on the artist!**

In past issues, she did not look like this. Back when issue one came out, it was all torn off clothes with bra and underwear showing and attention on her zaftig T&A – but she also wasn’t fat then either. So as far as judging this series, it’s gone through different artists and a lot of cover artist variants. Just like with Valiant’s Faith Herbert, it’s glaringly obvious when artists are stuck in a particular body shape and adding ten pounds is the most challenging they can manage to do not to mention daring to request that a size 16 stay looking like a size 16.

As of this post, I need to get back to finishing Man-Eaters, Crowded, Jook Joint, any other Faith minis, and some others. Crowded was my favorite for 2018 in a hard competition with Man-Eaters.

Yes, I’ve noticed that all but one of these books begins with “B”. Weird stuff.

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