Comics Disassembled: Ten Things of Note from the Past Week in Comics, Led by a Transcendent Publisher

In a week with no massive news in comics, I’m taking the time to celebrate one of the greats in comics these days. Let’s look at that and more in Comics Disassembled, my deep dive look at ten things I liked or didn’t like from the past week in comics.

1. First Second, Coming in First

We spend a whole lot of time talking about the varying ways comics fails its readers, characters, creators, industry or whatever, and I’ll be honest, sometimes it grates at me. Not because there aren’t things worth getting unhappy about – there certainly are, and they should be brought up – but because of our tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater. There’s a lot of amazing work in comics these days, and I do wish that’d earn comparable amounts of tweets and articles as how this or that person or publisher did something stupid today.

So, hey, in a light week, let’s take a minute to tout the publisher I think is at the top of the pile these days, at least on a pound for pound basis: First Second Books. I may have mentioned them a time or two before, but there’s a reason for that. They’re incredible, and they publish phenomenally crafted and produced books. 2019 might even be their finest year yet, and we can just look at a pile of six books I’ve acquired in the past few months or so for proof. Lucy Knisley’s Kid Gloves, Faith Erin Hicks and Rainbow Rowell’s Pumpkinheads and Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero O’Connell’s Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me are all truly exceptional comics that dropped this year, and I’ve managed to get my hands on three others that I’m thrilled to read in Jen Wang’s Stargazing, Tillie Walden’s Are You Listening? and Alex Alice’s third Castle in the Stars book, The Knights of Mars.

Each of these titles are gorgeous works that will move you in some way, coming from some of the best and brightest in comics today. That they’re all coming from the same publisher speaks both to First Second’s taste and pedigree: they’re someone the best in the business want to work with. And all of that is just the tip of the iceberg, as they have a slew of other exceptional comics from top creators, and even ones I adore on the periphery like Andy Hirsch’s Science Comics: Cats book that I feasted upon because I’m basically cat propaganda in human form at this point. They’re creating comics for readers of all ages that service a wide base of readers, and it’s a line that is so thoughtfully put together that I respect the heck out of their whole team for what they do.

Some might write off First Second because they are ostensibly a comics publisher designed for younger readers, and while that’s true, that’s not the whole truth. There’s something for everyone here, and their 2019 is something to behold. And I’m sure it’s only going to keep getting better, as they’ve been doing ever since they first launched in 2005.

2. Marvel, Making Everything

This column easily could just be addressing the announcements Marvel made at the D23 Expo. It’s incredible to think that Marvel had so much left in the tank after rolling out ten movies and shows at San Diego Comic Con, but apparently they still had…a lot! I shouldn’t be surprised, as there’s plenty to pick from throughout Marvel’s history. But still, so much in just a month or so span is pretty incredible. Here’s a quick rundown of the news from that event, along with quick commentary on each of them:

  • Kit Harington of Game of Thrones fame is joining the MCU, as the actor known for playing a brooding knight that’s often found on a horse is playing Dane Whitman, aka Black Knight, a…brooding knight that’s often found on a horse. Clearly Kevin Feige had to really struggle for this casting job, but as a card carrying member of the Harington Hive – aka one of the people who thinks that the actor is in fact good at acting – I think the actor will do good work here. And he will need to. Because the Black Knight is, in fact, the worst. That’s right, people. I’m slandering the Black Knight. I’ve never been impressed by him, and there’s a reason he’s never in comics anymore. So good luck with that, Kit. You’re going to have your work cut out for you in The Eternals, which is, inexplicably, where the character will first appear.
  • This is not an alert! I repeat, this is not an alert! Ms. Marvel is getting a Disney+ series! It’s coming from showrunner Bisha K. Ali, a comedian and writer for the recent 4 Weddings and a Funeral show at Hulu whose first search results revealed her being condemned by the dumpster fire that is Bounding Into Comics, ensuring Ali is probably an excellent hire! I’m very excited for this. Kamala Khan is an incredible choice for a Disney+ series, and the character has a ton of potential. I easily could see her becoming the most popular character from the upcoming slate of Disney+ shows, including The Avengers related ones. Needless to say, I’m onboard.
  • Speaking of new Disney+ shows, She-Hulk and Moon Knight will also be getting their own shows, which is a heck of a thing. It’s kind of funny that She-Hulk is getting a show or really anything before Marvel goes down the Hulk solo experience rabbit hole again, but the nature of She-Hulk just makes a ton of sense for the character, especially if they use Charle Soule and Javier Pulido’s run with her as a guide. I’d be all for that. Meanwhile, Moon Knight makes even more sense. Multiple personality Batman sells itself, and fingers crossed for the Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey run leading the way for showrunners here. These are inspired picks. I dig them.
  • Within that article I linked to in the previous point, it’s revealed that Kat Dennings and Randall Park are returning to the MCU in the WandaVision series on Disney+, as the comedic relief characters from Thor and Ant-Man and The Wasp will reprise their roles. As someone who very much enjoyed those actors in those roles, I’m totally onboard. I also dig Wyatt Russell joining the Falcon and The Winter Soldier series as John Walker, aka U.S. Patriot, as Russell a) rules and b) is kind of a perfect fit for a busted Captain America type. Kurt Russell’s kid can act! This is a great choice as well.
  • Speaking of WandaVision, though, apparently they’re going for an old school sitcom vibe at times, with Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s The Vision seemingly being an inspiration. Here’s my wild prediction: this show is about how Wanda copes after all of the Thanos business, as she creates her own version of reality to live in where she and The Vision were able to have a domestic life together. Needless to say, science-adjacent and law enforcement people like Dennings and Park’s characters take an interest. It gets weird. I hope I’m right because that sounds good.
  • Lastly, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur are getting an animated series on Disney Channel, with Laurence Fishburne serving as an executive producer for the series. I love this whole idea. It’s a perfect fit, and I bet this show will be a success. All of this considered, though: gimme some Squirrel Girl! Animated! Live action! I don’t care! With the New Warriors series seemingly dead, she’s ripe for her own series. Let’s do this, people.

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