People tend to forget, I think, that there is more to Comic-con than just sound and fury – no matter how deafening the Star Wars din. In fact, my favorite part of the con each year is the veritable sea of publishers, small press, and indies, just waiting to be explored – because every year I find a new favorite in that undiscovered country. So here’s what I unearthed this year:
Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix
Inspired by the works of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen, Newt’s Emerald is a Regency romance with a fantasy twist. New York Times bestselling author Garth Nix presents a charmed world where everyone has something to hide.
After Lady Truthful’s magical Newington Emerald is stolen from her, she devises a simple plan: go to London to recover the missing jewel. She quickly learns, however, that a woman cannot wander the city streets alone without damaging her reputation, and she disguises herself as a mustache-wearing man. During Truthful’s dangerous journey she discovers a crook, an unsuspecting ally, and an evil sorceress—but will she find the Emerald?
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
In this thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell, the tales of Snow White (sort of) and Sleeping Beauty (almost) are woven together with a thread of dark magic.
On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. The queen casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes up her chain mail and her sword, and follows her three brave dwarf companions into the tunnels under the mountain toward the sleeping kingdom, intent on saving the princess and deciding her own future. Alas, the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems….
The Ancient Magnus’ Bride by Kore Yamazaki
The Ancient Magus’ Bride is an all-new manga series that features a fascinating relationship between a troubled teenage girl and an inhuman wizard. Kore Yamazaki combines a fantastical shoujo style with a darker, brooding tone that is reminiscent of shonen hits like Pandora Hearts and Blue Exorcist.
Chise Hatori has lived a life full of neglect and abuse, devoid of anything resembling love. Far from the warmth of family, she has had her share of troubles and pitfalls. Just when all hope seems lost, a fateful encounter awaits her. When a man with the head of a beast, wielding strange powers, obtains her through a slave auction, Chise’s life will never be the same again.
The man is a “magus,”a sorcerer of great power, who decides to free Chise from the bonds of captivity. The magus then makes a bold statement: Chise will become his apprentice – and his bride!
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.
This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra – who are barely even talking to each other – are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more – Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
Planetes by Makoto Yukimura
It’s the 2070s, and mankind has conquered space, making interplanetary travel possible and igniting the imaginations of the world. It’s also vastly increased the amount of dangerous space debris, and someone has to clean it up. Hachimaki, Yuri, and Fee are a crew on that beat, each with their own goals, tendencies, and personal problems: Hachimaki dreams of deep-space exploration in his own ship, Yuri is still recovering from the death of his wife in an accident caused by orbiting debris, and Fee is secretive, but there’s a lot going on under the surface!
Just trying to do their jobs in an age of space-age environmental concerns and new vistas of exploration, the crew deals with Hachi’s fear of isolation hampering his hopes of joining an upcoming Jupiter mission, keep an eye on the wreckage for signs of Yuri’s lost wife, and become unwitting heroes when the only place Fee can still smoke is threatened by terrorists!
Dark Horse Manga is proud to present Makoto Yukimura’s award-winning hard sci-fi epic Planetes in two omnibus-sized editions, complete with bonus color pages never before seen in America!
Crosswind by Gail Simone and Cat Staggs
Crosswind is the cutting edge story of a suave, sharp hitman from Chicago and a seemingly unremarkable housewife from Seattle, and how they accidentally end up switching lives. It’s a suspense fantasy full of sex, violence, and the blackest of humor. Written with sardonic wit by Gail Simone and stunningly realized by Cat Staggs, Crosswind will be one of the most talked about books of the year.
Simone assures us: “This is the comic that might make Dr. Wertham come back from the dead to try to ban comics again.”
So there you have it – another year, another happy pile to add to the TBR stack. Oh Comic-con, you know what I like…