August was a great month for compilations, and Dark Horse has lots of fun, new, heavy additions to its catalog. (Which I really like!)
Abe Sapien: The Drowning and Other Stories | Writer: Mike Mignola, John Arcudi | Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander, Patric Reynolds, Peter Snejbjerg
Abe Sapien: The Drowning and Other Stories is a fantastic take on some of the missing years of field agent Abe Sapien, from his first mission (“The Drowning”) to solo stories like “The Devil Does Not Jest” and “Lost Lives.” These are collectible stories drawn in many styles, made by different artists, all intent on helping us get to know who agent Abe is and what he may become.
At 448 pages, you will have plenty to look at. In the early 1980s, Abe Sapien was a new BPRD agent, and in his first solo mission at Saint Sebastien, all Hell broke loose. You’ll also find things like haunted lakes, Mayan vampires, and demonic monks—you can count on it.
I like this man very much, and I love the way in which he responds to things, always careful, always compassionate, and yet, sometimes rage gets the best of him.
Rage at this incomprehensible world, rage at the fights and the mysteries of his origin, rage at what the future may lay in front of him. In that regard, Abe is entirely human.
Format: FC, 448 pages; TPB
Age range: 14+
B.P.R.D. Omnibus Volume 6 | Writer: Mike Mignola, John Arcudi | Artist: Artist: Tyler Crook, James Harren | Colorist: Dave Stewart
B.P.R.D. Omnibus Volume 6 is something I’ve been waiting for a while because, once you get hooked on the omnibus series, it is the only format you want to read B.P.R.D. stories in for the rest of your life. This is a thick book (480 pages) filled back-to-back with primordial monsters, all intent on adapting to this new world and destroying its humans. What’s not to like?
I even find them comforting, after the pandemic, because, if we can deal with the Ogdru Hem, we can deal with anything. I love the secondary characters that keep cropping up, and I am interested in the ever-present BPRD enemy: those who are still intent on delivering this world to demonic forces outside our realm.
This volume is the latest in the series, and everything has changed since Hellboy’s death. Agents keep disappearing, Abe Sapien is in a coma, and on top of that, America’s monster problem has exploded. (Not to mention the entire world’s.)
All we have left to hope for is Liz Sherman, and we root for her because she is a force out of this world.
B.P.R.D. Omnibus Volume 6 is available on August 02, 2023.
Format: FC, 480 pages; TPB,
Age range: 14+
Lost Boy | Writer and Artist: Jay Martin | Letterer: Frank Cvetkovic
Our next great compilation is a new graphic novel meant for teens and up.
Lost Boy is the debut graphic novel by a music video director: Jay Martin, a man who (the foreword tells us) is used to making storyboards before filming.
So, imagine this graphic novel as a storyboard of a young protagonist who finds himself the only survivor of a deadly car accident in Wyoming, down under a deep ravine, covered in snow, with wolves at his back and a young deer (a fawn) as his only companion.
I am sure my own kid would breeze through this one; it is fast-paced, well-executed, and action-packed (although nothing like my favorite wilderness classic, The Hatchett, by Gary Paulsen).
The interesting thing is the message his father leaves him in a dream:
“You’ve run away from every challenge that was ever presented to you, but you can’t run from this.”
It’s true, and we want to see if he runs or stands his ground. So we read on.
Format: FC, 128 pages; TPB,
Age range: 12+
Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 8 | Writer and Artist: Stan Sakai
With Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 8, I’ve run out of words to keep praising the great Stan Sakai.
I think I said as much in my last review—this man is a genius, and, as Guy Davis says in the foreword:
It’s pretty much all been said, with everyone in agreement about Stan’s amazing stories and his ability to draw many different situations—and, of course, to draw them in a way that keeps the reader captivated!
Usagi Yojimbo is indeed one of the longest-running, most critically acclaimed, and most beloved adventure comics out there, with more than 200 single issues drawn by the same artist and creator. All following a samurai bunny exploring Feudal Japan, its yokai, and customs, with tales of valor and a swell of different characters we’ve grown to know and love—all of it for more than 30 years running.
So, yes, this is another collector’s item, a beloved classic presented in a hefty compilation of a whopping 567 pages. (Only comparable to the ones Stephen King crafts, in his own little corner of the world, you know… by doing them a bit every day.) This collection includes three major storylines: “Two Hundred Jizo,” “Thieves and Spies,” and “The Hell Screen,” plus issues #139-#158 of Usagi Yojimbo Volume 3, “The Artist” and “Buntori” from Usagi Yojimbo Color Special #5, and the bonus story “Sukanku.”
Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 8 is available on August 09, 2023.
Format: b&w, 576 pages; TPB; 6 5/8″ x 10 3/16″
Age range: 8+
Featured images all belong to Dark Horse Comics