April 22, 2015 | 7:00 a.m.
Magic, a Medieval fighting tournament and a mysterious stranger set the stage for the “Last Man” graphic novel series, by French comics creators Bastien Vivès, Michael Sanlaville and Balak. “Last Man,” which won the Prix de la Serie at the Angoulême International Comics Festival earlier this year, is available in English for the first time from publisher First Second. The six-issue story follows Adrian Velba, a young fighting school pupil preparing to enter his kingdom’s gladiatorial contest. When his partner falls ill the day of the tournament, Adrian’s luck appears to improve with the arrival of Richard Aldana — a stranger who fights without magic and has little knowledge of the local customs — and the pair team up to take on the kingdom’s most legendary fighters. The tale’s first installment, “The Stranger,” was released in English in March to critical praise. “The Royal Cup,” the second issue, […]
Feb. 03, 2015 | 3:31 p.m.
If you could trade decades of your life for the chance to achieve your dreams, would you? It’s the deal that Death offers a young artist named David in Scott McCloud’s new graphic novel, “The Sculptor” — 200 days to live in exchange for unfettered creative ability. David is granted the power to sculpt with his bare hands “at the speed of thought,” McCloud explains, and the intensely focused protagonist races against his death countdown to create something lasting and important. But when he struck the bargain to end his life, he didn’t expect to fall in love. In “The Sculptor,” which is out today from First Second, McCloud inks a heartbreaking tale of the meaning of life, the impact of art and the transformative influence of love in gorgeous black, white and blue. The Eisner and Harvey Award-winning author […]
Jan. 08, 2015 | 6:00 a.m.
“Little Robot,” an upcoming graphic novel from Ben Hatke, is the tale of an unlikely friendship between a lost, childlike robot and the little girl who helps him explore the world. The all-ages graphic novel is due out Sept. 1 from First Second, and Hero Complex readers get a first look at the book’s cover, which features the diminutive heroes. Hatke is best known for his bestselling “Zita the Spacegirl” graphic novel series, which introduced a galaxy-trotting superheroine on a mission to save her best friend from an intergalactic doomsday cult. Hatke has also contributed to the “Flight” anthology series and is the author of the children’s book “Julia’s House for Lost Creatures.” In “Little Robot,” which began as a series of watercolor cartoon strips Hatke published on his website, a curious robot befriends a shy girl who’s handy with […]
Oct. 14, 2014 | 4:28 p.m.
Cory Doctorow’s short story, “Anda’s Game,” was released in 2004, but it’s only become more relevant in the past decade. Exploring the concept of “gold farming” in video games — the practice of amassing virtual wealth that is then sold to less patient players for real-world currency — Doctorow’s tale offers a fascinating look at video game economies through the lens of a young female gamer. “Anda’s Game” has gained greater gravity as economic and gender dynamics shift in the video game community, making now the ideal time for First Second to release “In Real Life,” a graphic novel adaptation of the story. “I think science fiction’s signature move is predicting the present,” says Doctorow. “If you take stuff that’s already latent and clearly important in the world around us and write about it as though it were something that […]
Oct. 03, 2014 | 11:16 a.m.
Few new properties have landed with the immense impact of Paul Pope’s “Battling Boy,” the vibrant, exhilarating 2013 graphic novel that introduced readers to the son of a god, the daughter of a superhero, and the rich fantasy world they inhabit. Combining the best elements of ancient mythology, pulp science fiction, Japanese manga and American superhero comics, Pope created a multifaceted narrative with true all-ages appeal, moving away from the gritty maturity of his earlier work and embracing a more youthful, fun-loving approach to comics storytelling. The transition proved to be a major success, earning Pope an Eisner Award this year for “Best Comic for Teens” and making “Battling Boy” the foundation for a larger line of titles from Pope and publisher First Second. “I’m reactionary in the sense that I see voids,” Pope said. “I felt like, editorially, a […]
April 03, 2014 | 3:47 p.m.
The Chinese tradition of ghost marriages — weddings performed for deceased bachelors — serves as the inspiration for “The Undertaking of Lily Chen,” the latest graphic novel from author Danica Novgorodoff. The ancient practice sought to partner recently deceased singletons for their journeys into the afterlife, but a modern resurgence of the macabre tradition in contemporary China has led to grave-robbings and even killings — setting the stage for Novgorodoff’s tale. “Lily Chen,” from First Second Books, follows a young man named Deshi whose elder (and more favored) brother dies in an accident. Deshi’s parents hold him responsible and send him on a quest to find a corpse bride so his brother won’t have to enter the afterlife alone. When he meets the eponymous Lily Chen, a sharp-tongued and impulsive young woman trying to escape an arranged marriage, he sees […]
Feb. 07, 2014 | 8:00 a.m.
Do you and your Valentine put Clark Kent and Lois Lane to shame? Or is your greatest love a platonic one, like Sherlock and Watson or Finn and Jake? Whether your loved one is a gamer, a Whovian or a comics aficionado, the Hero Complex Valentine’s Day gift guide has you covered. Click through the gallery above and check out the list below for our selection of the best geeky Valentine’s Day gift ideas, sure to make your sci-fi-loving soul mate swoon. Under $25 “The Adventures of Apocalypse Al,” $2.99 per issue: J. Michael Straczynski’s new Joe’s Comics title follows plucky redhead Allison Carter, a resourceful private investigator tasked with saving the world from all manner of supernatural threats — zombies, imps, wizards, closet trolls and even undead ex-boyfriends, all while dispensing wisecracks with deadpan aplomb. If that winning combination […]
Jan. 23, 2014 | 5:00 a.m.
Imagine a world in which children brutally slay demons in order to survive, knowing that when they grow up, they’ll become demons too. “The Wrenchies,” an upcoming YA graphic novel from alternative comics star Farel Dalrymple, chronicles the adventures of the toughest gang of those children, the so-called Wrenchies. The book is due out this fall from First Second, and Hero Complex readers get a first look at the book’s cover, which shows the eponymous gang clad for battle. Dalrymple is best known for his award-winning comic series “Pop Gun War,” an urban fantasy about a boy who acquires a pair of angel wings and uses them to fly off on adventures. He also co-founded the comic anthology “Meathaus,” illustrated the Marvel limited series “Omega the Unknown,” written by novelist Jonathan Lethem, and authors the ongoing Web comic “It Will […]
Oct. 22, 2013 | 9:58 a.m.
Illustrator Jillian Tamaki and writer Mariko Tamaki remember what it feels like to be on the cusp of growing up, that moment in life where adult problems start to seep into summer days of bicycle-riding and seashell collecting. The Tamaki cousins open a window to that stage of life in “This One Summer” — initially titled “Awago Beach Babies.” Their much-anticipated graphic novel follows Rose and Windy, two girls whose families have always spent lazy summers swimming and building sand castles together in a sleepy cottage town by the beach. But this summer is different as they become wrapped up in the drama of the town’s teenagers, not to mention their own families. The book is due out in May. The cousins first collaborated on “Skim,” their 2008 graphic novel about a Wiccan, Gothic, Japanese-Canadian teenager grappling with depression and sexuality […]
Oct. 10, 2013 | 12:17 p.m.
“Battling Boy,” by alternative comics creator Paul Pope, follows the self-dubbed Battling Boy, the son of a warrior god sent to save a city under siege by deadly monsters. The young hero arrives in Arcopolis with a magic credit card, a book called “The Encyclopedia Monstrosity,” and a dozen enchanted T-shirts, each bearing a different animal totem, which allow him to become clever as a fox, strong as a Tyrannosaurus rex, powerful as a gryphon, etc. Meanwhile in Arcopolis, a girl named Aurora mourns the death of her father, the city’s jetpack-wearing hero Haggard West, and makes plans to take up his quest. “Battling Boy,” out this week from First Second Books, is filled with secret science laboratories, sci-fi ray-blasters, bandage-wrapped monsters and plenty of beast-bashing action. For Pope, the project is a mash-up of everything he loved as a child. […]