5 New Comic Book Series for my 2020 Read Pile

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IMG_6959Howdy Folks! Typically on this day every week, your old buddy, Andy Larson, hits you up again with another wonderful write up of a comic book or 3 that I’ve been reading recently. However, I thought on this week’s edition, I’d instead educate you all on 5 upcoming new comic book series that will be starting this year.

I know, I know…I often complain that the last thing I need in my life is more comic books to read, given how ridiculously large my read pile is right now. But there are sincerely some great titles on the schedule for 2020 which I just couldn’t ignore. In fact, if you are fans of our weekly podcast, I wouldn’t be surprised if by the end of the year we don’t showcase at least one or two of the books below officially on our show.

So with that being said, perhaps all of you should also pick up these books as well in hopes of reading along with the Ghosts of the Stratosphere gang. In that way, it’s like you have been invited to sit at the cool kids table, and partake in the very best of comic book delicacies before the masses catch up with us.

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X-men/Fantastic Four

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As I mentioned on our New Years Eve Podcast, this series is probably the one I’m looking forward to the most this year. That’s because it’s got so many things that I love. First off, there’s Chip Zdarsky writing it, but not only that it’s Chip writing The Fantastic Four!

As you might have heard on previous read piles we’ve done on our show, I was a huge fan of his work on Fantastic Four related book, Marvel Two-In-One a couple years back. So much so that I was actually severely angry when he was seemingly past over for the relaunch of the true “World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” with those writing chores going to Dan Slott instead.

I thought Chip brought a real wit and humanity to the FF which a lot of writers completely miss. I mean, it’s very easy to end up with a Fantastic Four that’s stuffy and elitist, given they are some of the most powerful people on the planet. But you never got that with Chip’s FF, which is a good thing given the early rumors are that the series mainly evolves around the X-men trying to recruit Franklin Richards into their “House of X” mutant cult.

Franklin Richards has always been one of the worst FF members to write good stuff for because he’s so extremely powerful and yet washed in a weird child like nativity, which can be off putting. However, I think Chip is more than up for the task of writing a solid relatable Franklin to be the core of this story.

Then of course, you get that gorgeous Terry Dodson art for the book, which lets be honest, I would have bought regardless of whether it was for an FF story or not. But to have him draw some of my favorite comic book characters in Marvel’s First Family, it’s like Christmas and my birthday wrapped up into one. Especially since it looks like I’ll be getting some great pictures of Sue Richards and Kitty Pryde at the very least. 🙂

Finally, the story promises to wrap up some loose ends that were started in the very first issue of “House of X” with a teased showdown between Reed Richards and Cyclops. Typically, some of the most “dickish” characters in the Marvel Universe, it will be interesting to see these two alpha dogs take a bite out of each other, especially given you know Reed will be coming with both barrels given this is all about his kids. Ain’t nobody gonna mess with the Richards kids. Not even if you are an entire island nation of practically immortal mutants…

7433-200Fantastic Four/X-men #1 hits stands this February.

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Strange Adventures

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Coming in a close second in terms of series I’m excited for in 2020 is this potentially ground breaking 12 issue prestige series coming out of DC Comics featuring the often overlooked “Flash Gordon” clone, Adam Strange.

Written by Tom King with art my Mitch Gerads, the series is somewhat of a follow up to their work on the insanely incredible Mister Miracle series which is on most critics short lists of the “Greatest Comics of 2010s”, so we here at the GotS offices are expecting big things from this series.

However, even more sweet for us at GotS is that Mitch is splitting artistic duties on this series with one of our personal favorites in Evan “Doc” Shaner, who we have loved since his Flash Gordon book we reviewed almost two years ago.

Chad and I were lucky enough to sit down with Doc Shaner a month or so ago and it looks like we’ll be getting some of his fantastic “Alex Toth”esque art work on the flashback scenes of Adam’s adventures on Rann and beyond according to the fictional memoirs he’s written about his exploits. Mitch is then going to do more of the real life day to day storytelling, so the contrast between those styles should be excellent.

I’m definitely  intrigued over that general conceit as the premise of the book what with it possibly being about the differences between private vs. public personas and how celebrities often write their own narratives which are sometimes way different than the reality of the situations. I think that will resonate greatly in this world of 24/7 self exploitation and “me” centric culture.

7433-200Strange Adventures #1 hits stands on March 4th.

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Ant-Man

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Finally, some more Scott Lang adventures! There’s no secret that some of my favorite MCU movies have been the charming Ant-Man adventures with the delightful Paul Rudd and it’s dynamite family friendly supporting cast of Evangeline Lilly , Michael Peña, Abby Ryder Fortson, and Michael Douglas. And with recent news that Marvel signed Peyton Reed up to direct a third Ant-Man movie, things are definitely looking up for us fans of heroes with cybernetic bug talking helmets.

However, Marvel has also been knocking it out of the park over the past decade with the adventures of this pint sized lovable loser in comic book form. Of course, most of those previous adventures were penned by GotS Favorite, Nick Spencer, and this one will not be, which I won’t lie gave me pause for a moment.

But, all was right in the world when I found out that this new upcoming 5 part series will be written by Zeb Wells of Nova fame, who was also a Robot Chicken writer to boot, so you know he’s got the comedic chops.

Besides, I think they hooked me when they mentioned that possibly one of the bad guys could be the “D” list Spidey villain, Swarm, which is just a dude made out of bees! Bees and Ants. They are like Ali vs. Fraizer! Coke vs. Pepsi! They downright hate each other! This could be tremendous!

Plus the art by Dylan Burnett looks pretty damn sweet!

7433-200Ant Man #1 hits stands this February.

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Plunge

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You know what we don’t have more of? Really great horror comics! I mean they used to be around by the dozens, but other than Walking Dead, I sometimes struggle to list any.

Well I guess that’s a major reason famous Stephen King offspring and pretty remarkable writer in his own right, Joe Hill, has teamed up with DC Comics to create a brand new horror line called “Hill House Comics”. And taking center stage among the books published under this imprint is an upcoming 6 issue story entitled “The Plunge”!

As Joe Hill put it in a recent interview, the impetus of the story came from the mention in the classic Lovecraft horror story “Call of Cthulhu” that the city where the evil elder god lived, R’lyeh, was actually underwater. So what would happen if a modern day oil rig was built over it’s sleeping body and they started pumping blood instead of oil!?!

Don’t tell me any more Joe, you had me at Lovecraft and doomed expeditions! Sign me up! Under your masterful hand, I’m sure we are in for a chilling yarn about the costs of mucking around with forces you can’t understand.

Plus it’s got my favorite Nextwave artist, Stuart Immonen, on art duties which is HUGE given my co host, Chad Smith, said he thought he had retired from comics altogether. I guess the right project right get any one to saddle up one more time, which again adds to the intrigue about how good this book might be. I mean…people are ditching retirement to do this! That’s Cushy armchairs and quiet relaxed reading. Who would want to leave that unless you definitely had a winner on your hands!

 

7433-200Plunge #1 hits stands on February 19th.

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Kidz

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Just in case you thought I was only going to name books from the Big 2 on this list, I’m gonna burst your bubble and deliver some indie goods to help with that all important street cred of mine. But seriously, it looks like we’ve got a super interesting new book coming out of ABlaze Publishing entitled Kidz by Aurélien Ducoudray and Jocelyn Joret.

Aurélien Ducoudray for those of you that might not be familiar is a pretty great French comic author who has penned some terrific European comics over the years including The Grocery and my personal favorite, Bots. The only problem is I believe I’ve only seen Bots in the original French so unless you can read that language like me, it’s definitely lost on an American audience.

But that’s why it’ll be great to have this series out there so you here in the US can finally enjoy what this terrific author has to offer. Plus it doesn’t hurt that it’s got a Goonies/Stranger Things vibe with a lot of homages to those wonderful cheesy 80s youth adventure movies we all remember fondly. Heck there’s even a character named “Spielberg” who films the adventures of our young zombie hunters as they try to survive this post apocalyptic nightmare world!

Plus I’ll get to be introduced to some fresh new art talent that I haven’t sampled before with Jocelyn Joret. Just based on her sketches and the stuff I’ve seen so far with samples from issue 1, I definitely think I’ll be in for a treat.

7433-200Kidz #1 hits stands on January 15th.

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Bonus Book!

2020 Machine Man

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Of course, what list of comic book recommendations of mine would be complete if I didn’t include a book starring one of my favorite characters of all time, Machine Man!

Yes, the robot whose brain needs beer will hit comic book shelves for a brief time with a brand new two issue mini series which is in someways an homage to the fact that we have actually caught up year wise with the date of his  glorious 4 part cyberpunk masterpiece of a series. Yes, I’m talking about the original “Machine Man 2020” which was written by Tom DeFalco way back in 1994 which was supposedly supposed to show us a glimpse into our dystopian future filled with flying cars and hacker terminals right out of Shadow Run. Of course, the flying cars never happened but some could argue the dystopian part is accurate.

Anyways, it’s kind of neat that I’ve lived long enough to see one of the future prediction books actually reach the year that it was supposed to take place in. I doubt I’ll live to be 120 so I can see this happen with the Marvel 2099 line, but you never know.

The series, written by Christos Gage with art by Andy MacDonald, looks to be a continuation of the themes brought up in Dan Slott’s recent Iron Man run where Machine Man is somewhat of Robot revolutionary, aggressively standing up for the rights of his fellow AI kind that have been trampled on over the years by humans. Not sure if that’s gonna make for the best story, but if he gets another showdown with Arno Stark, Iron Man 2020, like he did in the original story, I’m all for it.

7433-200Machine Man 2020 #1 hits stands this February.

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