It’s no simple task sifting through all the new comics and manga available on Comics Plus each week to curate our Recent Additions list, and perhaps even trickier to select which ones to highlight in this monthly roundup. With so many amazing titles crossing my desk each week, the real challenge is deciding what not to write about… a good problem to have!
Whether it’s the simple matter of surviving the trials of adolescence, to survivor tales of ever-increasing seriousness, the fierce struggle against adversity seems to be a common theme of our highlighted books this month… something we can all learn from, no matter who or where we are.
Like many of my generation, one of my first real exposures to sequential art was the eagerly awaited weekly funnies in the Sunday newspaper. Classic kid-centric strips like Peanuts or Calvin & Hobbes will always hold a special place in my young-at-heart heart, and while digital platforms like Comics Plus make accessing them easier than my childhood mind ever dreamed of, it’s nice to see the comic strip format lives on… in format and spirit.
Two fine examples of this torch being passed are Unsupervised (Andrews McMeel), a collection of strips from the instant classic Crabgrass series, and The Great Pencil Quest (Andrews McMeel), the latest edition in the Wallace the Brave series. Both are sure to excite your typical Big Nate (Andrew McMeel) fan — all great examples of the newest generation of loveable trouble-makers that kids of all ages are sure to relate to.
The stakes get a bit higher in our Teen level, as playful childhood adventures graduate to a much more serious tale of survival in Lost Boy (Dark Horse). As harrowing a “coming of age” tale as you’re likely to encounter, while still balancing some touching moments throughout, a teenage boy’s choices are put to the ultimate test when he finds himself the sole survivor of a terrible car crash and becomes stranded in a harsh winter environment. It really is a thrilling tale of survival, even if I am fairly certain someone going through the same ordeal in real life would have almost certainly died of hypothermia… (Safety tip: if you ever escape falling into icy water, don’t sit around in your wet clothes!)
Meanwhile, fans of witchy weirdness can rejoice as Haley Newsome brings us another edition of her insanely popular Unfamiliar (Andrews McMeel) series. If quirky supernatural teen angst (with a manga twist) sounds like your cup of tea, maybe you’ll see why this webcomic has such an avid following.
And if that’s not weird enough, the genre-inverting romp Spy Superb (Dark Horse), by the illustrious Matt Kindt, is a humorous espionage story about the ultimate sleeper agent that is seriously like nothing you’ve ever read before. It may even have you questioning aspects of your own identity by the end!
If you prefer your spy stories more straight-forward, don’t forget earlier this year we also added the deluxe edition of Kindt’s “other” espionage book Super Spy (Dark Horse), the critically acclaimed exploration of the lives of dozens of loosely interconnected spies operating during World War II. Whether it’s an oddball Archer meets Get Smart mashup, or an even more noirish and pulpy Inglorious Bastards, Kindt has a compelling lens to “spy” through.
For mature readers, the ever-prolific Brian Michael Bendis brings us his newest take on the supergroup, as The Ones (Dark Horse) is the ultimate genre crossover, where the “chosen ones” from various mythologies — think Buffy meets The Umbrella Academy, meets, well everybody! — are brought together to challenge the latest incarnation (Omen style) of the Devil himself. We’re just one volume in and already I’m excited to see where this series goes from here.
In truth though, I think perhaps the most compelling title to hit our platform last month was the deeply troubling, deeply insightful Second Generation: The things I didn’t tell my father (Europe Comics), an unflinching memoir by Michel Kichka, the son of a Holocaust survivor. The (at times) brutally honest portrait he paints of a father who never left the shadow of his ordeal is an exploration unlike anything else you’re likely to encounter on the topic. It’s the sort of book that will likely haunt you with many challenging questions long after you finish reading.
Honestly, that’s just a small sample of the great comics and manga recently added to Comics Plus. With literally thousands of titles to choose from, I could keep writing forever! Be sure to check in every month for more highlights from our recent additions. Until then, here are some more honorable mentions that (mostly for space reasons) didn’t quite make my list, but you may also enjoy checking out:
- Puppy Knight: Den of Deception (Silver Sprocket)
- Tokyo Babylon, Vol 1. – CLAMP Premium Collection (Yen Press)
- Otaku Blue – 1. Tokyo Underground (Europe Comics)
- It’s Only Teenage Wasteland (Dark Horse)
Read All The Comics!
With Comics Plus, schools and libraries can offer readers unlimited access to thousands of digital comics, graphic novels, and manga from popular publishers like ABDO, Andrews McMeel, BOOM! Studios, Capstone, Dark Horse, Europe Comics, Fantagraphics, Graphic Mundi, Humanoids, Image Comics, Kodansha, Lerner, Manga Classics, Oni Press, Papercutz, Tokyopop, UDON Entertainment, Yen Press, and dozens more.
No holds, wait lists, or monthly borrowing limits—all at a price that won’t break your materials budget.
Rob Randle is the Production Director for LibraryPass, and has worked in and around the comic book industry in various capacities, including as a book reviewer for the NY Journal of Books, and a judge for various comic book industry awards—the 2006 Eisner Awards, among others. Before joining LibraryPass, he had been the Director of Publishing for iVerse Media LLC since 2010, and prior to that was a purchasing manager for Diamond Comic Distributors where he helped to manage the monthly Previews catalog for close to a decade starting in 2002. Additionally, Rob occasionally does freelance work as a comics creator, and is the author of the critically acclaimed graphic novel Serial Artist. Rob holds a B.A. of Illustration from the Maryland Institute, College of Art (MICA).