Yurtscope: the comics buzz from Comic-con

Yurtscope icon

I think, given the marketing deluge Comic-con unleashes each year, sometimes its easy to overlook the announcements made without the full fanfare and twenty piece marching band – which is to say, pretty much each and every comics-related announcement. It’s not – as I’ve heard said – that Comic-con simply isn’t a con for comics any longer; I think it’s just that film and tv companies have much, much deeper marketing war chests, such that they drown out the comics side of things with their Niagara Falls-like marketing roar. But given the excitement I saw in the packed comic author and artist panels, on the floor, and in signing and buying lines, believe me, comics are very much alive and well in San Diego – and there are a lot of good comics yet to come. So here are the upcoming series I discovered this year: 

Batgirl (reboot) by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr

Batgirl reboot 2

Launching: October 8, 2014

I guess technically this is only half a reboot, as it’s still the Batgirl we know and love (Barbara Gordon), just shown in a lighter, more fun kind of way. Now I’ll admit my kneejerk reaction to this announcement – coming hand-in-hand as it did with the news that Gail Simone was leaving the series – was one of misapprehension and gloom. But given the style of the redesign, and hearing the new creative team talk about how excited they are to bring a little hope and verve back to the Bat-verse, and even more so hearing Gail Simone’s enthusiastic endorsement of the new team, all in all I’m starting to feel a bit intrigued. So here’s hoping this quasi-reboot proves worthy of the hype.

DescriptionBarbara Gordon is no stranger to dusting herself off when disaster strikes…so when a fire destroys everything she owned, she spots the opportunity for a new lease on life — and seizes it! Following the rest of Gotham’s young adults to the hip border district of Burnside, Barbara sets about building an all-new Batgirl…and discovers all-new threats preying on her peers!

Southern Cross by Becky Cloonan and Andy Belanger

Southern Cross cover

Launching: Winter 2014

A new series from Becky Cloonan (Batman) and Andy Belanger (Kill Shakespeare, Swamp Thing), Southern Cross is billed as a science fiction/horror/thriller story of the type we all know and love – on top of which, it hails from Image Comics, who have absolutely been killing it lately. So yeah, I’m in.

Description: Now boarding: Southern Cross, tanker flight 73 to Titan. Alex Braith is on board retracing her sister’s steps to the refinery moon, hoping to collect her remains and find some answers. The questions keep coming though – how did her sister die? Where did her cabin mate disappear to? Who is that creep across the hall? And why does she always feel like she’s being watched?

Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher 

Gotham Academy

Launching: October 1, 2014

Gotham-style high school sleuthing hijinks…(happy sigh.) So long as this series doesn’t get mired in crossovers and cameos, and stays a little twisted and dangerous (and thus avoids wandering into Disney Channel territory), I’m in.

DescriptionWelcome to Gotham Academy! Gotham City’s most prestigious prep school is a very weird place. It’s got a spooky campus, oddball teachers, and rich benefactors always dropping by…like that weirdo Bruce Wayne. But nothing is as strange as the students! Like, what’s up with Olive Silverlock? Is she crazy or what? Where did she go last summer? And what’s the deal with her creepy mom? And how come that Freshman MAPS is always following her around? And is she still going out with Kyle? P.S. Did you hear the rumor about the ghost in the North Hall?!

Gotham Academy is a new, monthly teen drama set in the shadow of Batman and the craziness of Gotham City, with new characters and old, plus a secret tie to Gotham’s past…

Genius by Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman

Genius #1

Launched: August 6, 2014

A teenage anti-hero military genius – girl? In a world of diversity, poverty, gang violence, and moral ambiguity? Why yes, please.

Description: What if the greatest military mind of our generation was born to a people who are already supremely conditioned to wage war, who know nothing but violence since birth, and must continually adapt to new predators in order to survive? What if the second coming of Alexander the Great, of Genghis Khan, of Napoleon, of Patton…what if it was a teenaged girl from South Central, L.A. named Destiny? And what if she decides to secede three blocks of the ‘Hood from the Union? Who is going to take it back from her and her army of gangbangers? Who CAN?

From writers Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman (Alphas, X-Men Origins: Nightcrawler, The Authority) and rising-star artist Afua Richardson comes a harrowing, action-packed tale of a city that declares war on a brilliant young woman pushed to the edge. 

From Under Mountains by Marian Churchland and Claire Gibson

From Under Mountains

Launching: In 2015

I am nothing if not a sucker for high fantasy done well – and given that this is an Image book, paired with the glorious non-European-whiteness of the cover… Yep, this book pretty much had me at hello.

Description: Set in the isolated country of Akhara, rival houses face off in the struggle for political power and military security. Three unlikely figures – a lord’s daughter, a disgraced knight, and a runaway thief – will change the fate of their world, but the only hope of peace may lie with the mystery shrouded goblins and witches, and the ancient powers they command. (And by the way, you can check out the first five pages here.)

So there you have it, the comics that caught my eyes and buzzed my ears at Comic-con this year. So if anyone tries to tell you the comics part of Comic-con is dead, just turn to them and say: “Lying…” (And if they’ve read Saga by Brian K. Vaughan, they’ll know exactly what you mean.)