With Further Ado #291: From Convention to Comic Shop

Conventions can be the perfect place for discovery. Here are three comics that I wouldn’t have stumbled across if not for first learning about them at conventions:

The Displaced
By Ed Brisson and Luca Casalanguida
Published by BOOM! Studios

After the recent ComicsPRO industry meeting, all the attendees traveled to various comic shops in the Pittsburgh area. The first stop was Pittsburgh Comics, owned and operated by Colin McMahon. Wow – what a fantastic store-it’s laid out well, upbeat and fun. Plus, it’s stuffed with so many treasures!

During this visit, Ed Brisson was on site signing and selling copies of his new comic, The Displaced. Brisson is an innovative writer and an industrious entrepreneur. I’ve been a big fan of his ever since I read his time traveling Comeback comic series. He always seems just as happy selling his books as he is creating them. I bought two issues of The Displaced #1 from him. Upon reflection, I wish I had bought his variant issue. He explained that sales from that comic fuels his signing tours.

The Displaced is a moody thriller with a disastrous event and then a creepy cover-up. It almost seems like it could be a modern-day version of one of the best The Twilight Zone episodes that never existed.

I had enjoyed Luca Casalanguida’s art on Scout’s Honor from AfterShock Comics a few years ago, and he’s only gotten better. (That one was written by David Pepose, and I’m eager for his new take on Space Ghost for Dynamite).

After I finished reading The Displaced issue #1, I texted a local comic shop to ensure they got a copy of issue #2 for me. I don’t want to miss it.

KEN PARKER: The Breath and the Dream
By Giancarlo Berardi and Ivo Milazzo
Publisher: Epicenter Comics

The man behind Epicenter Comics is the tireless Igor Maricic. He’s authentically enthusiastic and you can’t help but be fascinated by whatever current project he’s focused on. Their vision is all about bringing top-notch European artists to American audiences. I originally met Igor at San Diego Comic-Con and I’ve been an Epicenter Comics fan ever since.

The last project is KEN PARKER: The Breath and the Dream. It was created by two Italian masters: Giancarlo Berardi and Ivo Milazzo. I love westerns, but domestically they’ve fallen out of favor. It always seems like Europeans embrace the genre more enthusiastically. This volume consists of four short stories -each lovingly rendered. There’s a looseness to the illustration that keeps the story moving briskly. And curiously – each of these stories is wordless. That’s not to say there’s not a lot of story packed into each adventure- there is.

What an engaging introduction to this Ken Parker series. In fact, I’m going to pass this hardcover volume onto my dad. Lately, I’ve been giving him old issues of Jonah Hex (a favorite of his) but this will be fun for him too.

Silicon Bandits
by Jason Starr & Dalibor Talajic
Publisher: Magma Comics

At that ComicsPRO event last month (before we all drove to Pittsburgh Comics), I had a good chat with Joe Elad about the line of books from Magma Comics. The sampler he was handing out had one story that caught my eye: Silicon Bandits – written by Jason Starr.

Jason Starr is an accomplished writer and I reviewed his novel from Hardcase Crime, The Next Time I Die here.

This is a fascinating story- set in the near future that touches upon so many of the real-world anxieties we all have today including the rise of AI, post war trauma, the consolidation of wealth by the very few, tech downsizing and finding a balance between the comforts of technology and real life.

Here’s Magma’s solicitation blurb:

In 2089, in the aftermath of the most recent world war, the former United States is controlled by four trillionaires, and artificial intelligence has taken over most jobs. Kenji Sato and Aurora Withers are among the lucky ones- employed by a prestigious robotics company. But when they’re terminated too, replaced by the very androids they created, the couple hatches the ultimate revenge plan.

Dalibor Talajic’s art grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. He’s got it all: great anatomy and storytelling skills, clever POVs and his futuristic details all seem so ‘right’ without making a big deal of themselves.

Issue #1 of Silicon Bandits is on Sale April 10th.