This week’s pull list is heavily BOOM! Studios focused, with Sam looking at the first issue of Backstagers and Lumberjanes #29. Kylee made it to the halfway point of Lucas Stand from Kurt Sutter and Jackson finished out the Christmas-y(?) Klaus. Sam also read Briggs Land #1 from Dark Horse Comics.

Check out the full reviews below and tell us what you’re reading in the comments!


Sam’s Reads

Backstagers #1 (0f 8)

backstagers1covAuthors: James Tynion IV
Artist: Rian Sygh
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC

If you’re looking for the prefect new series to pick up then this is it. As a former ‘backstager’ myself (okay, I was a techie) I have been looking forward to this series ever since it was announced and I wasn’t disappointed in the least. The Backstagers is basically the cutest book I’ve read in a while and I’m already sad that it’s currently slated to be just an eight issue miniseries. The characters are awesome and, the setting is strange and weird, and the plot has incredible potential moving forward.

In our first issue, we’re introduced to Jory who has recently moved to a new town and is attending a new school. He thinks he might join the drama club in an attempt to make new friends but he quickly gets wrapped up in the hijinks of the backstagers. One minute he’s looking for a prop and the next he’s exploring an impossible labyrinth hidden underneath the school and wrangling up a bunch of weird, impossible creatures. At the end of the adventure, Jory decides he doesn’t want to be an actor but a backstager like his new friends!

The artwork in this book is awesome. I love the character designs and the way they manage to capture the personalities of each of the characters. I also love the bright, vibrant colors throughout the book. The panels are filled with purples, pinks, blues, and greens. While the book may take place deep in the depths behind the scenes (and beneath the school) it’s hardly a dark book – even the darker areas are full of color.

I’m really looking forward to what comes next with this series. Helmed by a bi writer and a trans artist, The Backstagers promises to be a fantastic LGBT-positive series, which is what we need more of in all-ages comics. While the focus was hardly on the characters’ sexuality this issue, I’m looking forward to seeing a positive portrayal of the LGBT community that speaks directly to all the queer, questioning drama kids out there.  This book is going to be so awesome for so many reasons – and potentially for so many people.

Lumberjanes #29

lumberjanes29covAuthors: Shannon Watters & Kat Leyh
Artist: Carey Pietsch
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC

Remember how Diane came back last issue? Well, as you can imagine that was sort of an omen of things to come. Picking up almost immediately after the last issue, the girls are all getting ready for a morning breakfast with the Zodiac cabin. Unfortunately when they show up they find that Barney and the girls have all been frozen into statues! Obviously, the blame immediately falls on Diane who just happened to not be in the cabin at the time.

But it turn out it wasn’t her. Diane went home to Olympus and was immediately sent on a quest to find a lost gorgon. Instead of starting on that immediately, though, she decided to come back to camp to spend some time with her friends. The gorgon unfortunately followed her. Diane’s family turns out to be no help and serves as a plot point for Molly. Remember when she got that letter and she seemed really bummed? Mal is worried about what kind of news Molly may have gotten – or what kind of family she may have waiting at home.

So worried that she and Ripley run right into the gorgon. Whoops.

I have a feeling that the gorgon will end up being less of a monster than we’re used to seeing them be because this is Lumberjanes! Everyone’s misunderstood. Everyone has a story. Everyone is more than meets the eye – even the monsters. I’m looking forward to the girls coming together with Diane and everyone helping Molly through whatever it is she has going on at home. This was a promising start to a new arc!

Briggs Land #1

briggs1covAuthors: Brian Wood
Artist: Mack Chater
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Source: Dark Horse Comics DRC

If you’re a fan of Sons of Anarchy or TNT’s Animal Kingdom then this is the comic book series for you. Briggs Land follows Grace Briggs – the wife of a hardcore criminal secessionist who has been running his empire from behind bars. In this first issue Grace decides to cut him off all together and take over their community – dubbed Briggs Land – from here on out. But things don’t go smoothly. While her son Isaac is on her side, her sons Noah and Caleb have loyalties that are less certain.

Briggs Land brings us the familiar feel of a crime family drama with a brand new setting. The secessionist angle is intriguing and I love the idea of a strong, powerful matriarch waging war with her tyrannical husband behind bars. Grace Briggs is just one in a growing number of older female leads in comics and I’m absolutely loving the trend. Too often our comic book heroes – especially our superheroes – are the young, fit archetypes we all have come to expect.

The whole book is basically awesome and it’s a nice change from a lot of the other stuff I’ve been reading. I’ve been mostly sticking to all-ages books lately and that is decided the polar opposite of Briggs Land. Instead of bright colors and happy storylines we’ve got a much darker book here. Mack Chater’s artwork and Lee Loughridge’s muted coloring really fit the mood and help bring the series to life. The use of lighting from panel to panel is excellent.

Crime fans, this is your book. Pick it up ASAP.


samstaffpic2Sam Wildman  is a co-founder and co-editor at Nerdophiles. Follow her on twitter @samaside.


Kylee’s Reads

Lucas Stand #3 (of 6)

LucasStand_003_A_MainAuthors: Kurt Sutter & Caitlin Kittredge
Artist: Jesús Hervás
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC

In the third issue of Lucas Stand, the titular character finds himself body-hopping to the wild west. He’s saved by the bounty hunter, Dedham, who set up the complicated plot to hang him in an attempt to draw out a gang of outlaws. He succeeds, accepting Lucas’ supernatural ties a little bit too easily, and proceeds to help him hunt down the Tempter in this time period.

If that sounds slightly convoluted, that’s because it is. Thematically, readers are supposed to be seeing Lucas’ redemption story and he does have a surprisingly progressive view of westerns, but he also makes a judgement call this time around that easily damns a lot of innocent people. Tonally, it’s off – from hardly looking at his discarding of lives to a quick jump back to the present where readers are reminded that he ran a family off the road in issue one, it’s a gray area that’s muddled for more than one reason. A few half pages of seeing his shrink before he’s thrust into his next mission is whiplash at best and filler at worst.

That being said, I like what Hervás and colorist Adam Metcalfe did with the setting this time around, with the gritty lines and dusty tones lending themselves perfectly to the old west. Their ability to make imposing figures out of Tempters serves the story well and I’m interested to see what they do with their next setting. The placement of some narration served to chop the action of certain scenes, and not in a good way, but being halfway through this limited series already, there’s not so much left that I won’t come back for the next mission.


Kylee Sills is an associate editor at Nerdophiles. Lucas Stand feels the same way about westerns as she does. Also… they’re kind of boring? Follow her on Twitter @kyleewho


Jackson’s Reads

Klaus #7 (of 7)

Authors: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora
Publisher: BOOM! Studios

In Klaus #7, Santa Claus punches a demon into the stratosphere while shouting about naughty children. Do I need to say anything more about Klaus #7?

Ugh, fine. Klaus #7 wraps up Grant Morrison and Dan Mora’s slightly twisted, high fantasy meets super heroic take on Santa’s origin with a knockdown, drag-out brawl between a nature-empowered warrior Santa and an unhinged Krampus as the pair fight over the soul of an oppressed berg.

It’s every bit as crazy as you’d expect out of a Santa Claus origin story written by Morrison and the series has touched on all of the writer’s pet fascinations: druidic magical traditions, the power of stories, the transformative power of sacrifice and selflessness versus selfishness. For a comic that features repeated stabbings, children being consumed by demons, and the painful process of aging, it’s a surprisingly heartwarming, sweet portrait of how gift-giving and selflessness can change families and communities.

Much of that success is due to Mora, who displays an amazing talent for fully detailed worlds and stylistic combat. He’s an almost impossibly accomplished artist and is perfectly suited for an action-packed fairy tale like this.

Much more so than his last attempt at a Christmas comic, 2014’s dreary gangster-revenge story Happy, Klaus is a fully realized portrait of Morrison at his most optimistic. More than many of his recent comics, Klaus doesn’t engage with the big questions of storytelling and universes as much as it engages in character.

It’s more a spiritual successor to All Star Superman than The Multiversity and that’s going to be a refreshing thing for a very specific reader. More than most comics, Klaus makes a compelling case for itself to be added to the Christmas comics canon and your seasonal entertainment rotation.


AslO75XCIAExmT4Jackson Adams is a staff writer at Nerdophiles. Most of his favorite Christmas comics involve Hellboy or the Punisher. Follow him on Twitter @JacksonInACup.


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