A Dream Cast for the Netflix Adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

We’ve lost count of all the rumors and false starts surrounding the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s seminal comic series The Sandman. Efforts to turn the long-running comic into a TV or movie date back to the book’s original run, which lasted from January 1989 to March 1996. We’d say we’ll believe it’s happening when we see it on the screen, but the latest updates do sound pretty promising: a TV series seems to be a done deal at Netflix.

With Gaiman as executive producer, the 11-episode first season is reportedly a big-budget affair that is absolutely, no kidding, on the way, and will cover the first story arc or so of the Vertigo comic series, Preludes and Nocturnes. The story focuses on Morpheus of the Endless, a tragic figure who rules over the Dreaming, the place that hosts everyone and everything that sleeps. Over the course of the series, the rule-bound and static Dream Lord is forced to reckon with the idea that life itself is change. The supporting cast of dreams, nightmares, gods, demons, ravens, pumpkins, and humans of various shapes, sizes, and orientations, is one of the most impressive and beloved in comics history.

With all that in mind, and not a lot of other details to go on, we’ve got some ideas for who we’d like to see inhabit these iconic roles. The very large cast expands throughout the run, with characters coming and going throughout, so we’ll stick to those who show up early on.

Mahershala Ali

Morpheus

Dream of the Endless isn’t the most likable character in Neil Gaiman’s universe—not by a long shot. As in the best of Shakespeare’s plays, being personable and funny is a job for the supporting characters. Dream is sullen, moody, self-centered, and sometimes quite cruel, justifying even his worst behavior by relying on the letter of the very ancient laws of his people. The actor who plays Morpheus needs to have gravitas, and needs to be able to make the brooding and tragic character engaging without relying on the types of tics that would usually tell us, the audience, that this is a character we should want to follow. Though he may lack the Sandman’s trademark fair skin, multi-Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, Green BookTrue Detective) has the physical presence to play the imposing dream lord, as well as a resume that includes more than one hard-to-love character. (Gaiman himself has suggested Tom Hiddleston as a good choice, and we can’t argue, so we’ll consider him a very worthy understudy.)

Janelle Monáe

Death

One of Gaiman’s greatest tricks was making us fall in love with Death. More than sullen Morpheus, she’s probably the most beloved character in the entire Sandman Universe, and with good reason: she’s the only one of the Endless that you’d want to hang out with. While Sandman and his other siblings are moody, spastic, or unpredictable, Death is the wise, approachable, and calm center of the family. It’s her first appearance, in The Sandman #8, that brings the entire series into focus: Morpheus is being his typically brooding self when his sister swoops in and punctures his self-importance with some tough love before visiting some dying humans to make clear that she’s not to be feared. The look of Death in the comics was inspired by the late Cinamon Hadley, but Musician and actress (Moonlight, Hidden FiguresJanelle Monáe combines all of the elements that make the character so intriguing: there’s a mysterious and otherworldly quality to her experimental work, as though we could never quite understand how it is she does what she does, but her music also maintains welcoming messages of love and acceptance.

Ruby Rose

Desire

An early non-binary character in mainstream comics, Desire’s relationship with Morpheus hadn’t been particularly cozy for a long time as the series opens, and it only gets worse as the books go on. Though each maintains certain family formalities, casually cruel Desire is, in many ways, Dream’s most persistent nemesis throughout. At any given point, they can appear as any gender, or none—presumably representing whatever form and sensibilities that someone might find most appealing. Though she already has a DC-related job in the upcoming Batwoman series for CW, Ruby Rose (who identifies as genderfluid and generally uses female pronouns) makes an excellent physical match for Desire as first pictured by Mike Dringenberg. Ezra Miller, likewise, would make one helluva Desire…so maybe the two could share.

Uzo Aduba

Delirium 

On the TV show, we might not get to the youngest of the Endless right away, as she doesn’t appear until the fourth major story arc of the comics. Nevertheless, the character has a major role to play later the series and stands out as the only one of Dream’s siblings, other than Death, with whom he has any real relationship—so we’d best think about the casting now. Once Delight, tragedy left Delirium in a state of constant upheaval—while, at first, it seems like it might be fun to be her, the toll of her mania becomes clear after a time, and the character takes on tragic notes. Though crimson-haired Tori Amos reportedly served as Gaiman’s inspiration, Uzo Aduba, best known as “Crazy Eyes” Suzanne Warren on Orange is the New Black, has more than demonstrated that she can play an over-the-top character whose bizarre behavior conceals both tremendous anxiety, and an intelligence struggling to work its way to the surface.

Doug Jones

The Corinthian

An example of Dream’s casual disregard for humanity, at least early in the series, The Corinthian was created as a nightmarish reflection of the worst aspects of the living. What he became, instead, was a serial killer feasting on people’s eyes. Following Morpheus’ departure from the Dreaming some time before the series began, The Corinthian escaped with so many other residents of that land, eventually making his way to a convention for mass murderers before being intercepted and altered by Dream. His most striking features are his eyes—or, rather, his lack of eyes, replaced as they are by two sets of teeth that he can use to eat various bits of his victims. Actor Doug Jones (The Shape of Water, Pan’s Labyrinth, Star Trek Discovery) has proven himself more than adept at playing engaging monsters and at selling us on a performance in spite of make-up and CGI.

Matt Ryan

John Constantine

Though he appears (and has an important role) in Sandman’s opening story arc, it’s unclear whether the show would include a character who’s otherwise fairly tangential to the Sandman’s universe. If they do, they should probably just go ahead and call Matt Ryan—he’s been playing Constantine since 2014 in his own series, as well as in animated movies and on Legends of Tomorrow. He’s doing a fine job of it.

Ted Danson

Lucien

The tall, bookish Lucien runs the Dreaming when Morpheus isn’t around, becoming one of Dream’s most trusted allies and companions even as he finds himself somewhat put-upon by the complications of pleasing his master while maintaining the realm and keeping its denizens in check. A few years ago this might not have been in the calculation, but Ted Danson‘s The Good Place character has shown that he can play intelligent, harried, sometimes confused, sometimes commanding, and often flustered—all the makings of a perfect librarian, and  with the sense of humor required of Dream’s faithful and tolerant stand-in.

Jeffrey Wright

Hob Gadling

Dream and Death are hanging out in a London pub one day in 1389 when they overhear loudmouth Hob Gadling telling anyone who’ll listen that he has no plans to die—that doing so is just a bad habit, a thing for other people to do that he wants no part of. After a chat, the Endless siblings decide to grant him his wish, eternal life, fully expecting that he’ll come to see the wisdom of the cycle of life and, eventually, beg for the respite of death. He never does, and what starts out seeming like parable about being careful what you wish for becomes a story celebrating life with all its ups and downs. Jeffrey Wright (Westworld, The Hunger Games) is one of our best and most versatile actors, with the chops needed to play a 600-year-old character.

Laura Carmichael

Despair

In the family dynamics of the Endless, Despair isn’t particularly close to her brother Morpheus, but sticks close to Destruction and, particularly, to Desire–the two making a potent team. Fans of British-themed period dramas will recognize Laura Carmichael (Downton Abbey, A United Kingdom, The Spanish Princess) for a range of brilliantly depressing characters who occasionally make out in the end, but not before running a largely undeserved gamut of rejections and disappointments. Like any good actor, she can play other types, of course, but there’s no one working today who can do more to express sadness and dejection with just a downturned eye and a slightly quivering lip.

Zendaya

Rose Walker

Rose Walker grows up during the course of the Sandman series, but has her most prominent role during the Doll’s House story arc, relatively early on. Her own birth is manipulated by Desire in order to punish Morpheus, and ultimately Rose is marked for death by Dream in order to prevent her from inadvertently destroying his realm. Former Disney Channel star Zendaya broke out of her childhood roles in the two most recent Spider-Man movies for Marvel, as well as with the new HBO series Euphoria, and she’s perfect for the tough, but damaged, Rose.

What do you think of our picks? Share your own Dream cast for The Sandman below!

The post A Dream Cast for the Netflix Adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman appeared first on The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/a-dream-cast-for-the-netflix-adaptation-of-neil-gaimans-the-sandman/

10 Vertigo Series That Changed Comics

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

Cover of

With the sad news that DC Comics is shuddering it’s Vertigo imprint in favor of grouping their comic titles by age-appropriateness, it’s time to honor some of the many brilliant works that came out of this stories mature-reader publishing initiative.

In January of 1993, inspired by several of DC’s more outré offerings, now-legendary editor Karen Berger (who left the company in 2012 and has since launched an eponymous imprint, Berger Books, with Dark Horse) launched an imprint apart from the company’s typical superhero books: stories that weren’t afraid to have a point of view as they explored religion, politics, sex, or all of the above, sidelining industry prohibitions on “adult” content. For a time, and under Berger’s stewardship, there was not a single book with “Vertigo” on the cover that wasn’t worth reading. These 10, and many others, are certainly worth remembering.

The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman
There were six existing DC series that inspired the launch of Vertigo and jumped labels in the first wave, but Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman was almost certainly the marquee name. Already almost 50 issues into a 75-issue run, the story of elemental lords and the world of dreams remains Gaiman’s magnum opus (credit too goes to a rotating lineup of artists representing the medium’s very best). It’s unquestionably Vertigo’s most (justifiably) beloved legacy.

Y: The Last Man, by Bryan K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
This book, co-created with Pia Guerra, was the one that launched already celebrated writer Bryan K. Vaughan into comics superstardom (paving the way for the ambitious, medium redefining work that is Saga). It wasn’t his first work in comics, nor even his first for Vertigo (that would be a controversial/underrated run on Swamp Thing centered on conflicted elemental Tefe Holland), but the 60-issue epic kicked off a streak of impeccable books that’s still going. The wonderfully high-concept series follows Yorick Brown and his pet monkey Ampersand, who happen to be the last two surviving males on Earth in the aftermath of the mysterious plague that left only women alive. Vaughan and Guerra explore the ways in which a world without men might be very different, and also the ways in which it might not.

100 Bullets, by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso
The crime drama has an almost Twilight Zone-twist: finding individuals in extreme circumstances, the mysterious Agent Graves offers them a gun and 100 entirely untraceable bullets. With the assurance that any resulting shootings will be swept aside by the police, a rotating cast of characters each face a compelling moral dilemma: what to do with the power to kill with impunity? As the series progresses, the questions of morality give way to an exploration of American crime and power that dates back to the very first colonists at Roanoke. While Vertigo specialized in horror and dark fantasy, this Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso joint proved that bloody, gritty crime wasn’t out of the wheelhouse either.

Preacher, by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
Vertigo pushed plenty of boundaries—that was what it was there for. But perhaps no book trampled taboos as giddily as the 75-issue Preacher, from Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. It’s the story of small-town preacher Jesse Custer, who sets out across America after being possessed by a fugitive creature named Genesis, pursued by heaven and hell for having been born of congress between an angel and a demon. Ennis and Dillon are too smart to make a book that’s entirely profane, and amid a lot of bloodshed, the series thoughtfully explores American ideas of religion. By the time we meet the ignominious last descendent of Christ, it’s clear the creative team is utterly fearless.

Fables, by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham
What if characters of myth and legend lived real, day-to-day lives? Creator Bill Willingham isn’t the first person to have the idea, but he took it as far as it could go over the course of 150 issues and several spin-offs (most often working with penciller Mark Buckingham). In a little-noticed corner of New York City, the refugees of a devastating war led by a mysterious adversary live out their lives among us regular folk. It’s a book that has it both ways, featuring a huge cast of believable characters who also have attributes related to their own famous origin stories—before the focus shifts when the Adversary discovers the Fables have fled to NYC.

Transmetropolitan, by Warren Ellis and Derick Robinson
Beginning life at another DC imprint as the very short-lived sci-fi-focused Helix, Transmetropolitan represents a radical, but impressively prescient look at politics and the media. A couple of centuries from now, shirtless antihero Spider Jerusalem is a reporter in the Hunter S. Thompson mold. He faces two primary adversaries: a fascist authoritarian president called “The Beast” and his unscrupulous political opponent “The Smiler.” In the end, uncovering the truth about each of them makes Spider Jerusalem the most hated of all.

Incognegro, by Mat Johnson
As revolutionary as Vertigo was, it shared with mainstream comics of the time (and, to some extent, now) a reliance on white voices telling stories about mostly white characters. In contrast, Mat Johnson’s Incognegro graphic novel follows Zane Pinchback, a light-skinned black man in the 1930s, who goes undercover as a white man in Mississippi when his brother is accused of the murder of a white woman. Partly inspired by the story of one-time NAACP chief executive Walter White, Incognegro represents Vertigo’s most sharply impressive exploration of race and racism in America.

DMZ, by Brian Wood and Riccardo Buccielli
A second American Civil War has left the island of Manhattan in a precarious position in this 72-issue saga: it’s the demilitarized zone between the forces of the United States and the secessionist Free States of America. Reporter Matty Roth arrives in the city under near-apocalyptic circumstances, as the Midwestern militia groups that instigated the conflict have gained moral ground against the US government and brought the conflict to a dangerous stalemate. Surely an exploration of a violently divided America could only ever be fantasy and in no way prescient…

Doom Patrol, by Rachel Pollack, Richard Case, and Stan Woch
One of the first wave of books to make the move to Vertigo, Doom Patrol got a new writer at the same time in Rachel Pollack, who built on the work of Grant Morrison (whose run was already legendary) and fearlessly took the series in new directions. Under Pollack’s watch, teenager Dorothy Spinner became the book’s focus as the team moved into a new headquarters populated by the ghosts of people who’d died in sex accidents. Pollack, herself a trans woman, introduced trans character Kate Godwin, an early and still rare example of a trans superhero. Though Doom Patrol existed before her and would continue after, Pollack’s two-year, 23-issue run left it forever changed.

Daytripper, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá
Perhaps fittingly, our list ends with a book about death… but in a more meditative vein than some of Vertigo’s more horror-themed offerings. Obituary-writer Brás de Oliva Domingos is the son of a famous writer. Brás laments that his days are spent writing about death when he’d rather write novels about the living. The story visits the writer at various points throughout his life, one day at a time, meeting him first as a young man, then a child, and later an old man. Coupled with Moon’s stunning art, it becomes a lovely and poignant exploration of death—more low-key than some of Vertigo’s other offerings, perhaps, but no less powerful for it.

What books define Vertigo Comics for you?

The post 10 Vertigo Series That Changed Comics appeared first on The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/10-vertigo-series-that-changed-comics/

DC Comics Just Killed Its Vertigo Imprint

io9

After 26 years and several reshuffles and reboots later—including one just last year—DC Entertainment has announced that its legendary adult-focused imprint Vertigo has been shuttered as part of a rebranding and restructuring of its imprint divisions.

Read more…

https://io9.gizmodo.com/dc-comics-just-killed-its-vertigo-imprint-1835249469

How 6 Beloved SFF Authors Persevered Though Career Hardship to Become Bestsellers

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

Some writers burst out of the gate with a brilliant debut novel that earns all the attention, awards, and (hopefully) sales—think Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind) or N.K. Jemisin (whose The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms earned her a Nebula nomination out of the gate). But some now very famous and successful authors didn’t have that experience—and not because their debuts aren’t worthy of acclaim. Sometimes, fate just doesn’t align to give them the start they deserve.

Happily, in books there’s always a chance the next chapter will be more exciting than the last—and that certainly has proven true for these six authors, all of whom put a rocky start (or mid-career rough patch) behind them and went on to create some of our favorite works.

The Near Witch, by Victoria Schwab
If you cast your mind back to the heady days of 2011, you’d be forgiven for not remembering it as the year Victoria Schwab published her debut novel, The Near Witch. Though it garnered good reviews and found a faithful following among those who read it, the book simply failed to get much traction—and, as Schwab detailed in a recent interview with B&N, her next two books didn’t meet her publisher’s sales expectations either (never mind that the publisher didn’t seem to know how to promote her work to the right audience). The young author was faced with a decision: would she give up on her lifelong dream, or recommit herself to her art? Thankfully for all who now adore her books—and there are legions of us—she chose the latter course, but changed what she was doing in one big way: she decided to write solely for herself, to create the messy, complex, and darkly beautiful books of her heart. Within short order, the results were Vicious and A Darker Shade of Magic; within a few years, sequel novels in both those series had landed on the bestseller lists and Schwab attracted the attention of Hollywood (and we’d put good money that one of her books will make it to the screen sooner rather than later). All in all: quite the career recovery.

The Armageddon Rag, by George R.R. Martin
George R.R. Martin has been writing since the 1960s and made his first professional fiction sale in 1971. Nowadays, he’s one of those authors who has become a celebrity—nearly as famous as the books he writes, which is saying something considering he’s the fountainhead of Game of Thrones, maybe the most successful TV show ever. He’s an accomplished writer of short stories, novels, and screenplays, and a respected editor… but that wasn’t always so. In 1983, he published his third solo novel, following the well-received space opera Dying of the Light and the fantastically atmospheric vampire tale Fevre DreamThe Armageddon Rag was an ambitious work, combining fantasy subtext with a murder mystery structure and plenty of ruminating on rock music and 1960s counter-culture. It was… not well-received, to say the least. Martin himself has described it in interviews as “a total commercial disaster” that “almost destroyed” his career. He shifted his focus from novels to comics and screenwriting, meeting with equal success and frustration in Hollywood, but he didn’t publish another novel for 13 years. The good news? That novel was A Game of Thrones, written both because reading Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy had shown Martin how much life remained in epic fantasy, and because, after years of working on failed TV pilots, he was ready to be in control of his own destiny once again. And there’s no need to feel too bad for The Armageddon Rag either: the novel has experienced something of a critical reassessment these days, and is now back in print and benefitting from the attention now granted to books with “George R.R. Martin” on the cover.

Duran Duran: The Book, by Neil Gaiman
No conversation about early career missteps is complete without bringing up the eternally fascinating fact that one of Neil Gaiman’s first professional credits is for a biography of the band Duran Duran. Gaiman was hired to write it when he was in his early 20s, and freely admits he took the path of least resistance to do so, limiting his research to press clippings from the BBC. He also admits he chose Duran Duran from a list of potential bands to feature because they had the shortest discography, meaning the book would be less work. The finished product was actually a success, of sorts—it sold well enough, but the publisher went out of business entirely shortly after publication. For years, Gaiman treated the book like a dark secret and made sure it stayed out of print. Well, it’s still out of print, there not being big demand for a surface-level pop bio of Duran Duran in 2019, but Gaiman has found his sense of humor about it by now. Probably the fact that his subsequent career involved writing a now-legendary comic series and penning novels that have been adapted for the screen one after another helped him find that perspective.

The Wind from Nowhere, by J.G. Ballard
If you’re under the impression that The Drowned World was J.G. Ballard’s first novel, you’re forgiven, for the man himself often said exactly that. Published when Ballard was 31, the author later described The Wind from Nowhere—a story about a steady westward wind that gains force until humanity is driven underground—as “hackwork” and chose to pretend it had never been published at all. He released The Drowned World the next year, launching a very successful career and establishing himself as one of the great British sci-fi writers of the 20th century—but if you can track down a copy of his actual first novel, you’ll understand how unlikely that once seemed.

The Haunted Storm, by Philip Pullman
Today we know Philip Pullman as the author of the His Dark Materials series, among many other lauded works. But Pullman’s first novel, The Haunted Storm, is aggressively out of print and likely to stay that way. What’s interesting about this one is the fact that the novel was relatively well-received, and even shared that year’s Young Writers Award, an honor bestowed upon it by the New English Library. No, it’s Pullman who is sufficiently embarrassed by the novel, published when he was 25 years old; he calls it a “not very good book” and has worked to ensure that no one can read it unless they’re willing to pay a huge premium to buy one of the rare copies still floating around on the secondary market. We’ll have to take him at his word that it’s not worth reading; the evidence put forth by his other books certainly would suggest otherwise.

Survivor, by Octavia Butler
Octavia Butler published Survivor as part of her Patternist series in 1978—it was the third novel in the saga, and Butler was already well on her way to being acknowledged as one of the best minds in SFF. But Butler herself considered the novel to be a failure, and not only completely disowned it but made certain it went out of print by the 1980s. Her explanation for why she took that course of action is fascinating; she says that growing up she was disgusted by the stock sci-fi premise of humans discovering alien life that more or less stand in as lesser “beings of color.” After publishing Survivor, she felt that this was exactly the story she herself had told—so she buried it. It’s safe to say Butler’s career wasn’t too badly affected by either the quality of this novel or her decision to quash it—her next book, Kindred, became her bestselling, and is now widely considered a classic.

What other inspiring career “second chapters” come to mind?

The post How 6 Beloved SFF Authors Persevered Though Career Hardship to Become Bestsellers appeared first on The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/how-6-beloved-sff-authors-persevered-though-career-hardship-to-become-bestsellers/

This Week’s New Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books: False Memories, a War in Hell, and Star Wars from A- to X-Wing

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

God’s Demon, by Wayne Barlowe
Fantasy artist Wayne Barlowe tries his hand at prose in this ambitious debut, inspired by Paradise Lost. Barlowe looks to the villains of that foundational text—the demons who allied with Lucifer and are now exiles from Heaven, forced to make do with the torments of Hell as their new home. After ages have passed, one of them, Sargatanas, begins to dream of reentering God’s good graces, and he assembles an army to help him overthrow the forces of Hell as a sign of his good faith. The general of this unusual army is the soul of famous, fearsome mortal Hannibal. Doomed sinners and repentant demons ally to defeat Beelzebub and Lucifer in a battle for eternity—literally. The imaginative setup is matched by the author’s ability to paint in lurid detail the horrific habits and habitat of his demonic characters.

The Hive: The Second Formic War, by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston
Orson Scott Card and co-writer Aaron Johnston continue the sketch out the history of the conflicts that led up to the events of the classic novel Ender’s Game with the middle volume of their second prequel trilogy, this one focusing on the second conflict between humans and the insect-like “Buggers.” Having fought off an initial scouting ship, the nations of Earth must come together to defend the world from a larger invasion aiming to overtake the planet. Ender-verse fans know how this all turns out, of course, but that doesn’t make the buildup any less interesting, as we see the forming of partnerships and alliances that will create the Battle School that will once day turn Ender into the warrior humanity needs.

The Faded Sun Trilogy Omnibus, by C. J. Cherryh
This classic trilogy from C.J. Cherryh, set in her larger Alliance-Union universe, takes place in the aftermath of a 40-year war between the alien Regul and the humans—who have proven to be the fiercest and most bafflingly violent enemy the Regul or their honor-bound mercenaries the Mri have ever faced. In fact, after thousands of years of service the Mri have been nearly wiped out by humanity’s ruthless warring, and as the story begins, their homeworld of Kesrith has been ceded to the humans as part of a peace settlement. When the extent of the Regul’s betrayal of the Mri becomes clear, one of their last warriors, Niun; his sister Melein, last priestess of the Sen; and a human traitor named Sten Duncan become determined to locate a relic that holds the key to the Mri’s survival. The trilogy—now available in one volume after years out of print—explores themes on genocide, cultural assimilation, and the brutal consequences of war, while expanding the worlds of one of the most complex and satisfying fictional universes ever created.

Recursion, by Blake Crouch
At the start of Blake Crouch’s latest mind-bending high-concept sci-fi thriller, New York City detective Barry Sutton begins to encounter people suffering from False Memory Syndrome—a condition where they “remember” lives they never lived, and suffer emotionally due to tragedies they never actually experienced. A year earlier, a brilliant neuroscientist named Helena Smith accepts funding from a mega-wealthy sponsor in order to create a device that can preserve memories to be re-experienced whenever desired—but it also allows people to literally enter those memories, changing everything. As the disorder spreads throughout the city, reality itself is threatened; who can say what is real when you can’t trust your own memories? As Harry connects with Helena and they realize her research is destabilizing the world, the two join forces to find a way to save the human race from this threat from within.

Alphabet Squadron (B&N Exclusive Edition), by Alexander Freed
Star Wars: Battlefront author Alexander Freed returns to the galaxy far, far away for a new story set in the wake of the Rebel Alliance’s triumph in The Return of the Jedi. The Empire is in disarray and the New Republic is struggling to establish itself and finish the galactic civil war for once and for all. Yrica Quell is a defector from the Empire, recruited to be a pilot for the elite Alphabet Squadron (so named because it includes each of the Rebel’s iconic alphabetical ship designs, from A-Wing to X-). The squadron has been charged with locating and destroying Shadow Wing, an elite force of TIE fighters gone rogue, which has been inflicting lethal damage to New Republic forces. The Alphabet Squadron is like the burgeoning government itself—rough and ragged and internal and external threats that are always on the verge of destroying them without a single shot fired. But they’re also resourceful and dedicated—not to mention some of the greatest pilots in the galaxy. Freed recreates the balance of memorable characters and high-stakes action that typified the best of the now-Legends X-Wing novels, but that’s not the only reason to read:in an interesting publishing experiment, the flip side of the story is told in Marvel’s TIE Fighter comic, which views things from the perspective of the Imperial pilots of the Shadow Wing who are seeking to destroy the New Republic before it can even begin. The B&N Exclusive Edition features a set of three bookmarks.

The Good Omens Script Book, by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens is a classic of humorous apocalyptic fantasy, and pretty much since the day it was published, various people have been trying to turn it into a movie. Well, despite the valiant efforts of both authors, that never happened, and the dream of adaptation seemed to have died with one of the co-authors when Terry Pratchett passed away in 2015 and Gaiman swore never to allow it to move forward. But Pratchett had suspected that might happened, and penned his friend a letter, delivered posthumously, encouraging him to soldier on. So Gaiman did, ultimately serving as writer and showrunner for the Good Omens miniseries. This book give you a look at the blood, sweat, and tears the author put into adapting his 30-year-old novel into a new medium, featuring the complete scripts of all six episodes.

Green Valley, by Louis Greenberg
Louis Greenberg sets this Black Mirror-esque novel in Stanton, a city that has thoroughly rejected the surveillance state, banning all forms of intrusive digital tracking and data collection. Across from Stanton is the last holdout—Green Valley, a bunker where the inhabitants live in a permanent virtual-reality, offering up all the data they can generate. When dead kids with VR implants start turning up in Stanton, police consultant Lucie Sterling—whose niece Kira lives in Green Valley—is called in to take the case, which takes a desperate turn when Kira is abducted. Lucie will have to dive into the virtual world in order to save her and solve the mystery—but she quickly discovers the surface image of a perfect digital paradise Green Valley presents hides a much darker reality.

The Outside, by Ada Hoffmann 
In a universe where incredibly advanced AI are worshiped as gods and cyborg angels serve as their avatars, humanity’s last hope to break free lies with the space station The Pride of Jai, built entirely without gods’ help and powered by brilliant scientist Yasira Shien’s innovative reactor design. But when the reactor is powered up, disaster strikes—a singularity destroys the station and kills almost everyone on board. Yasira is brought before the gods and told that the disaster is part of a plot to warp reality itself, allowing for an invasion of terrifying monsters from outside our reality. The all-powerful AI believe the plot was engineered by Yasira’s own long-missing mentor Evianna Talirr, but as Yasira is transported to the edge of the galaxy to confront her former teacher, she finds herself questioning the divinity of the gods and the ruthless angels she has always obeyed without question. Hoffman’s debut is starkly original, and tinged with hints of horror fantasy—truly operatic stuff.

God of Broken Things, by Cameron Johnston
As this sequel to last year’s The Traitor God opens, outcast mage Edrin Walker has saved the world, but at great cost: he’s defeated the monster unleashed by his enemies, but it has already infected the leaders of his city with mind-controlling parasites. Edrin’s own mind control magic is all but gone in the wake of his recent, exhausting trials, and an amy of invaders in marching on the city, giving him little time to gather his strength. Edrin gathers a band of anti-heroes to head them off in the mountains, but there also lie difficult trials: vengeful gods, deadly monsters, and secrets Edrin would rather stay buried. A wicked sense of humor and a cast of flawed but striving-for-good characters keeps this mid-series entry from getting too grimdark.

The Grand Dark, by Richard Kadrey
Richard Kadrey takes a detour from his bestselling Sandman Slim series for a dark, gritty novel with shades of dystopian sci-fi and bizarre fantasy. In the aftermath of the Great War, Lower Proszawa is a city finally free to sink into endless hedonism and decadence. Largo Moorden has already been swallowed by the city—an addict, he works for a shadowy crime lord, navigating a world covered in mysterious “city dust,” inhabited by genetically engineered monsters, plagued by a ruthless disease known as The Drops, and crawling with artificially intelligent automata that are relentlessly replacing humans. Largo has a plan to get out of the slums and rub shoulders with the elites, but his ambitions run him smack into those of other forces, which share a much darker collective vision for the future of Lower Proszawa—and the world beyond. Even readers who might miss the more overt gallows humor of Kadrey’s other work will goggle at the scope of the imaginative worldbuilding on display here.

The Last Supper Before Ragnarok, by Cassandra Khaw
The final volume of Khaw’s sharply funny and subversive urban fantasy series following Rupert Wong: by day, a cannibal chef for powerful ghouls; by night, a bureaucrat in Diyu, the hell of Chinese mythology. His efforts to please an ever-growing cadre of gods and ghouls are gruesome and grin-inducing, never more so than in this final volume, in which the Greek Pantheon is no more, and a world world of gods and monsters are vying to fill the power vacuum left by their violent destruction. Rupert and his allies—the assassin Tanis Barlas, the godkiller Cason Cole, and the prophet Louie Fitzsimmons—must deal with the mess while tackling larger questions that will determine their destinies. Which is to say, things could go very bad.

Velocity Weapon, by Megan E. O’Keefe
Megan O’Keefe (airship heist fantasy Steal the Sky) launches a new space opera series with the story of Sanda and Biran Greeve, a skilled pilot and politician respectively. Together they seek to defend their homeworld and deter an all-out war with its enemies. But when Sanda’s ship is attacked, she goes down—and wakes up more than two centuries later, missing a leg and marooned on an abandoned enemy warship. Her only company is the ship’s AI, the Light of Berossus, aka Bero, who informs her that both warring planets were destroyed long ago, and she might be the only human left in the universe. In the past, Biran struggles with the impact of war and a young thief named Jules plots a heist; in the present, another survivor arrives on Bero’s ship—an enemy combatant named Tomas. As the two timelines slowly converge, the twists come fast and furious, as Sanda must decide what it means to be human, and whether there is even room for humanity in a time of war. In a fantastic year for space opera (see below), this one shouldn’t be overlooked.

A Sword Named Truth, by Sherwood Smith
This series-opener from fantasy master Sherwood Smith is set in and closely tied to her epic Inda series, opening in the wake of a great conflict and a world just very much on the mend. A wide-ranging cast of characters, weathered by the recent hardships, must come together to combat a new threat: Jilo, a new leader unprepared to actually lead his people; Atan, the untested queen of a land that was frozen in time for decades; Senrid, who newly rules over a nation of warriors; and Hibern, a young wandering mage. You may notice that all of these characters are still growing into their powers, meaning they’ll face additional challenges as they ally and prepare to defend themselves against the Norsunder, an enemy force gathering strength. It’s easy to immerse yourself in the day-to-day struggles of these characters as they prepare for another war, and though new readers can pick up the narrative here, readers familiar with the characters, plot, and worldbuilding of the Inda series will be better equipped to tackle this impressive, multilayered novel.

The Sol Majestic, by Ferrett Steinmetz
This unusual SF romp from the author of the decidedly wacky Flex urban fantasy series centers on Kenna, a teenage member of a religious group called the Inevitable Philosophers. Followers like his parents once wielded great influence in the galaxy, but the religion has waned. One night, doubting Kenna arrives at the famous restaurant the Sol Majestic, where the rich and powerful wait years for a reservation and a nightly free meal is offered to the person who offers the best answer to the question “why do you love food?’” and wins the prize, endearing himself to the head chef, Paulius, who finds his religion intriguing. Kenna is brought into the restaurant’s  inner circle, and ersatz found family, and is introduced to the galaxy of great food. But as his Wisdom Ceremony approaches—even as his faith in the Inevitable Philosophies shrinks—Kenna must find his own truth, even as a villain emerges who threatens everything he’s come to suddenly find most dear.

The Fall, by Tracy Townsend
The dense and rewarding sequel to Townsend’s impressive debut The Nine. The series is set on an alternate version of Earth where science and alchemy serve as the dominant religion (which sounds like an oxymoron, but it isn’t when God appears to be something of a scientist Himself, His bible akin to a manual unlocking the secrets of creation itself). Teenage vagabond Rowena Downshire, now apprenticed to a powerful Alchemist, has learned she is one of the Nine described in God’s book—one of the creator’s test subjects used in his literal worldbuilding experiments. But the book is now in the hands of forces who’d rather kill the Nine than see God’s plan realized—which would be bad news for the world. This startlingly original and well-built science fantasy series deserves a wider readership.

What new SFF is on your list this week?

The post This Week’s New Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books: False Memories, a War in Hell, and Star Wars from A- to X-Wing appeared first on The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/this-weeks-new-sci-fi-fantasy-books-false-memories-a-war-in-hell-and-star-wars-from-a-to-x-wing/

Good Omens’ Aziraphale and Crowley Have a Very Nice and Queer Thing Going On

io9

“Hard Times,” the third episode of Amazon’s adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens, is unique among the miniseries’ six, tightly-packed episodes because it slows down for a breath to take a look back at Aziraphale and Crowley’s curiously long-lived friendship. It’s one that dates back to their…

Read more…

https://io9.gizmodo.com/good-omens-aziraphale-and-crowley-have-a-very-nice-and-1835208212

One of Good Omens’ Best Additions Was an Excuse to Give David Tennant and Michael Sheen More to Do

io9

The Good Omens TV show is a delightful adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s beloved novel—retaining all of its charms while effectively parceling out the book into six neat chunks of TV. But it goes beyond that by adding some wonderful elements to the original, including a grand sequence mainly born out of…

Read more…

https://io9.gizmodo.com/one-of-good-omens-best-additions-was-an-excuse-to-give-1835207337

Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens Is the Apocalyptic Novel We Need Right Now

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

There is no better time in history than right now for Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s 1990 novel Good Omens to experience a revival.

Politically and environmentally, the Year of Our Lord 2019 has been another trash fire year in a seemingly unending string of them; certainly a mere glance through social media will convince you the end of the world is nipping at our heels, as every day we’re inundated with news that makes the case. Even our escapist fantasy entertainments are overloaded with grimdark slogs through violence and war.

Now is the perfect time for Good Omens to bust in and remind us that the end of the world is scary, yes, but it can be a really good time. It’s a lesson Pratchett and Gaiman’s book has been imparting for nearly 30 years, and now, with a television adaptation dropping and interest in the book rising, pop culture seems primed to take heed.

Good Omens was originally released into a startlingly different world, one without without iPhones or Netflix (or other online streaming video providers that we won’t mention here). Though always battered by partisanship, the political atmosphere was far less inhospitable (never mind the literal atmosphere). The internet was in its infancy; tech fans were still goggling over the Sony Walkman. It sounds like ancient history—thirty years that in some ways seems like thirty eons. Despite this, Good Omens feels oddly timeless. Never mind the differences in technology (they still have landline phones!); the book itself is built on a foundation of religious absurdism that will never go out of style, strengthened by core themes of friendship and love between, of all non-people, a demon (Crowley) and an angel (Aziraphale).

It’s the story of the coming of the Antichrist, and of the two preternatural gents trying to stop him from bringing about the end of the world (because they’ve grown pretty fond of it over the millennia). Along the way, they deal with witches, witchhunters, hellhounds, the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse, and an absurd number of truly excellent footnotes. Magic’s answer to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, it’s the gold standard of funny fantasy, brought to us by two of the best writers the genre has ever produced. The combined powers of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman deliver us a story full of inventive adventure, heart, and humor (it’s anyone’s guess who contributed more of which element, though I’d guess Pratchett did a lot of the footnotes). It’s absurdly philosophical at times, a mirror held up to our absurd civilization by a grinning jester in sunglasses (perhaps while Queen plays distantly in the background).

Oscar Wilde once said, “Give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth.” The masks here are worn by an angel/demon duo who love humanity so much they’ll risk just about everything to save it, even if it means going against their bosses in Heaven and Hell to do so—though also only because they screwed things up so badly a decade earlier years ago that they’ve kind of sort of lost the Antichrist. Look, even immortal beings procrastinate, ok? They got around to managing the apocalypse eventually. It’s fine.

As a novel, Good Omens is a panacea for all the darkness of the modern day. You hear that, Game of Thrones? I’m calling you out specifically. Now that the War for the Iron Throne is over it’s time for some fantasy that brings back color and whimsy. Sure, it’s the end of the world, but we can still have some fun.

Crowley and Aziraphale stand with the most lovable characters in all of fantasy fiction. They are fabulous together and just as wonderful apart. They spring fully formed onto the first page of the novel, quite possibly literally the original odd couple. Crowley’s sarcasm and Aziraphale’s earnest nature form a perfect yin and yang, and it’s easy to see why they turn their backs on their respective factions to work together. What’s the point of being an angel if Heaven don’t even have sushi bars?

The supporting is also stacked: from grouchy witch hunter Shadwell, to dippy middle-aged spiritualist Madame Tracy, to the precocious, preternatural, possibly Anti-christlike Adam Young, this is a story full to bursting with larger than life characters. Some of them are played for laughs, while others are artfully arranged archetypes, but every single one of them is memorable, and the banter that peppers their interactions is just so sinfully good.

This is a novel that can be reread it every few years, whenever you need to feel a bit better about yourself and humanity in general. It’s almost cleansing, a warm cup of tea for the soul, a cheeky smile after a spectacularly bad pun, a hug from a friend you haven’t seen in years. Nothing is sugar coated in it: bad things happen. The world is seconds away from ending. But even in its darkest moments, it never slips and falls into the mud of depression and despair. It acknowledges that those things exist, yes, but it doesn’t dwell on them. It looks at the challenges laid out before us and says with a smile, “By God (or Satan), I am going to make things right!”.

We have never needed a story like this as badly. It boldly declares that we are headed to hell in a handbasket, but still have a chance to… turn that basket around? (I may have lost the thread of that aphorism). It relies on comedy and wit instead of violence and bloodshed. It’s a novel of resistance, a story of what we can do when we band together, a bright light in the dark void of our current political and cultural reality.

The best comedy, like the best horror, tells us something true about ourselves. Good Omens tells us about the power of working together, the importance of friendship, and the urgent need to pay attention to the environment. It tells us that we can change who we are for the better, and in doing so, help change the world. It’s just the apocalypse we need right now.

Naturally, Good Omens is available now.

The post Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens Is the Apocalyptic Novel We Need Right Now appeared first on The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/neil-gaiman-terry-pratchetts-good-omens-is-the-apocalypse-we-need-right-now/

The Best Comics & Graphic Novels of June 2019

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

Saga: Book Three, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
We’re still waiting for Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ blockbuster space opera family drama to return from that post-devastating-cliffhanger-hiatus that followed the publication of issue #52. Here’s a decent way to bide your time until then: reread the entire series via the deluxe hardcover editions. Book Three takes us up to date with Saga as it stands, collecting issues #37 to #54 (reflecting the contents of trade volumes 7-9), and features some fantastic bonus material in the form of an 18-page interview between Vaughan and Staples that covers the genesis of the series, highlighting the development process and the controversies that marred the launch of the book. We’re also given a (heavily redacted) peek at the original story document Vaughan provided Staples that lays out his vision for the narrative arc of the whole, er, saga.

Six Days: The Incredible Story of D-Day’s Lost Chapter, by Robert Venditti, Kevin Maurer, and Andrea Mutti
During the D-Day campaign, a group of 182 paratroopers were mistakenly dropped 18 miles away from their intended target, into the small French village of Graignes. The villagers agreed to feed and shelter the soldiers, but German reprisal was swift: over 2,000 Nazi troops passing by laid siege to the town, with only the small band of American soldiers and French villagers to hold them off. Based on the true story of a lesser-known incident from World War II, this book, grittily illustrated by Andrea Mutti, is timed to honor the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing.

Moonbound: Apollo 11 and the Dream of Spaceflight, by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm with Michael Collins
Another milestone anniversary—50 years since the Moon landing—this year is celebrated in this graphic history from Fetter-Vorm. With an attractive and accessible (but not simplistic) art style, the book alternates between a narrative retelling of the harrowing and epic moments immediately prior to the 1969 moon landing, and capsule biographies of key figures like Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Margaret Hamilton, and Wehrner von Braun. It’s an impressive homage to an inspiring historical moment—and the remarkable individuals who made it happen.

BTTM FDRS, by Ezra Claytan Daniels and Ben Passmore
This cool satirical horror-comedy follows a fashion designer named Darla and her image-obsessed friend Cynthia as they visit the “Bottomyards,” a blighted neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, in search of cheap rent in an expensive city. What they find instead is something sinister lurking behind the walls of their new home. The book is bright and lively regardless of its commitment to gory horror elements, and like the best satires, it also has plenty to say—in this case about cultural appropriation and gentrification.

Fearscape, Vol. 1, by Ryan O’Sullivan, Vladimir Popov, and Andrea Mutti
The Muse, an other dimensional being, periodically travels to Earth in order to retrieve each generation’s greatest storyteller. In her realm, the Fearscape, humanity’s own worst fears are made manifest, and only the greatest of us is able battle the fear-creatures on our behalf. This time, though, something went wrong: instead of the great fantasy writer she came looking for, the Muse found failed author and plagiarist Henry Henry, who was in the process of stealing a manuscript. The pretentious fabulist is suddenly our only hope, which is decidedly not a good thing. This archly funny horror comic from O’Sullivan (Void Trip) and Andrea Mutti features great art and makes a lot of great points about the art of storytelling.

Jook Joint, by Tee Franklin, Alitha E. Martinez, Taylor Esposito, and Shari Chankhamma
Another horror series, this one focused on well-earned revenge, is led by creators Tee Franklin (last year’s wonderful Bingo Love) and Alitha Martinez (Black Panther: World of Wakanda). The hottest jazz brothel in 1950s New Orleans is a place where dreams and fantasies come true, but not all of the male guests are interested in following the rules and keeping their hands to themselves. Mahalia, who runs the Jook Joint with her coven of slain women, is happy to remind them. She also helps the sick and frightened, including abused wife Heloise, who has to decide how far she’s willing to go to get rid of her husband.

Detective Comics #1000: The Deluxe Edition, by James Tynion IV, Kevin Smith, Jim Lee, Neal Adams, Paul Dini, Tom King, Brian Michael Bendis, Becky Cloonan, Warren Ellis, Christopher Priest, et al.
The 80th anniversaryof Batman, by chance or design, lined up very nicely with the 1,000th issue of Detective Comics, the book in which Batman made his debut way back in 1939. If you missed picking up that landmark issue a couple of months ago, you’re in luck: DC is re-releasing it as a fancy hardcover with all of the original content as well as a new bonus adventure by Robert Venditti and Stephen Segovia and several pages of new art. The celebratory stories from several all-star creative teams speak to the many different facets of the Bat-mythos, and offer a few peeks into Gotham’s future as well.

The Dreaming, Vol. 1: Pathways and Emanations (The Sandman Universe), by Si Spurrier, Bilquis Evely, Mat Lopes, and Neil Gaiman
It’s been quite a while since we last visited the world of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman in earnest, but Gaiman himself is curating this new series featuring an impressive creative team led by Si Spurrier (Cry Havoc) and Bilquis Evely (Wonder Woman). As the book opens, it’s been 23 years since Daniel was anointed to take Morpheus’ place as the lord of dreams—but now he’s disappeared, leaving his domain open to catastrophe. Lucien the Librarian is left to protect the Dreaming from internal disarray and, more pressingly, an external threat making its way to the gates. But Lucien is no warrior, and the dangers are real and growing.

CALEXIT: Emmie-X, Vol 1, by Matteo Pizzolo, Carlos Granda, Lauren Affe, Soo Lee, and Tyler Boss
Publisher Black Mask returns to the world of CALEXIT, in which California responds to an authoritarian government by declaring itself a separate Sanctuary, with this largely standalone story set. Emma works at a punk record store until Homeland Security turns the mall into a detention center for immigrants. In response, she switches her focus to pirate radio to counter the government-friendly channels, even befriending a Homeland Security trooper in the process. It remains to be seen whether he’ll defy his bosses or choose to turn her in.

Cemetery Beach, by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard
Master of high-concept sci-fi Warren Ellis kicks off his latest with an impressively wild premise: there’s another Earth out there, a colony that split off from our own decades ago and has since been left to develop on its own. Its society and culture have deviated from ours, and it’s full of people who aren’t quite mentally stable. A pathfinder come to check on the colony is captured, narrowly escapes from his torture cell, and sets out to reach his extraction site with only a young murderer for company. High-concept action abounds.

The Grave, by Dan Fraga
Dan Fraga (the comic book and storyboard artist currently working on TV’s Doom Patrol) developed this charming, creepy coming-of-age tale over the course of a year, doing just a panel a day. It was a labor of love, and it shows. During a weekend camping trip, three boys discover a shallow grave with a cigar box seven items: a knife, a coin, a pocket watch, a rare baseball card, a gold ring, a silver spoon, and a strange manga comic. Each item has a story, as does the mysterious body found with them… and they’re all inter-connected—to each other and, ultimately, to the boys who’ve uncovered them. Fraga’s detailed art is a highlight.

West Coast Avengers, Vol. 2: City of Evils, by Kelly Thompson, Daniele di Nicuolo, Gang Hyuk Lim, and Moy R
The funnier, sunnier team of Avengers has been a highlight of Marvel’s recent line-up, an odd next-generation team consisting of two Hawkeyes (Clint and Kate Bishop), America Chavez. Gwenpool, Kid Omega, and Fuse. In the second volume, Kate is troubled by the return of her ex-, Noh-Varr, who brings word of a new Masters of Evil forming in Los Angeles. At the same time, the Temple of the Shifting Sun has its eyes on America, their prophesied savior.

Avengers: No Road Home, by Al Ewing, Jim Zub, Mark Waid, Paco Medina, and Sean Izaakse
And now to the other Avengers. In 2018, the miniseries No Surrender put an end to one era of the team. Nevertheless, the success of that series (and the need to clear up a few loose ends) allowed for this sequel starring Voyager, the villain of the earlier book, before she was moved by the selfless nature of the Avengers and became a hero. Returning from her self-imposed exile, the Grandmaster’s daughter assembles a team of Avengers to oppose Nyx, the embodiment of darkness. Like the earlier series, it’s smart and action-packed, building toward an impressively impactful conclusion.

DIE, Vol. 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker, by Kieron Gillen, Stephanie Hans, and Clayton Cowles
There’s been a lot of buzz around this series heading into its first collection, and the art alone is enough to justify it: this is the first comic series from digital painter Stephanie Hans, and visually, it’s a stunner. Fortunately, that art is in service of a compelling fantasy/horror narrative with a neat hook: in 1991, six teenagers disappeared while playing a Dungeons & Dragons-esque role-playing game. Found two years later and 50 miles away, they are unwilling or unable to explain where they’d been. Years later, as adults, they’re drawn back into the dangerous, otherworldly plane from which they’d previously escaped. Shades of Stranger Things, Ready Player One, and Birthright make this one a surefire fan favorite.

Paradox Girl, Vol. 1, by Cayti Bourquin and Yishan Li
Though a comedy, Paradox Girl cleverly deals with the consequences of time travel in ways that other more straightforward sci-fi books can’t be bothered to. The hero fights crime using her ability to visit anywhere in space and time, but, in the process, leaves behind versions of herself that are sometimes helpful and sometimes only get in the way. As a result of having changed time so frequently and chaotically, she’s not even really sure who she is anymore. It’s a fun book that grapples with questions of identity, told in a not-entirely-linear way—Paradox Girl’s abilities mean that different versions of her show up unexpectedly, often for reasons that only come to make sense much later in the story.

Old Souls, by Brian McDonald and Les McClaine
Everything’s going pretty good for Chris Olsen: he’s got a decent job with a promising future, and enjoys a relatively happy family life—at least until he encounters a homeless man who triggers memories of past lives and buried traumas that have never really left him. Digging into the wold of the “grave robbers” who can help him dredge up his past lives, he grows increasingly desperate to find closure without losing sight of his life in the here and now.

The Follies of Richard Wadsworth, by Nick Maandag
Nick Maandag’s darkly satirical collection of stories follows several characters who find themselves in deeply awkward and uncomfortable situations, usually as a result of their own questionable morals. “Night School” sees a fire Chief attending to a fire alarm during a class and refusing to leave; “The Follies of Richard Wadsworth” finds the title philosophy professor coming up with an absurd business plan while high at a student’s party; and “The Disciple” follows sexual shenanigans at a coed Buddhist monastery. If the comedy of awkward silences and cringeworthy behavior is your thing, Maandag delivers.

Giant Days, Vol. 10, by John Allison, Max Sarin, Julia Madrigal, and Whitney Cogar
It’s hard to believe that this beloved, perpetually EIsner-nominated slice-of-life comedy series is nearing its conclusion as Esther de Groot, Susan Ptolemy and Daisy Wooton move into their final year of college. Following Ed’s long-gestating declaration of love for Esther and a blow-up between Susan and McGraw over their new flat, senior year is off to a bumpy start. Meanwhile, Daisy’s stuck with nowhere to live as the world of adult problems and adult choices looms for the best friends (for now).

X-Force, Vol. 1: Sins of the Past, by Ed Brisson, Dylan Burnett, Damian Couceiro, and Jesus Aburtov
Cable, founder of X-Force, is dead, and the original team of Domino, Cannonball, Shatterstar, Boom-Boom, and Warpath have come together to hunt down his killer. Time travel being what it is, though, it’s not nearly that simple: their target is soon revealed as a younger version of Cable himself. Matters are further complicated by the interference of the clone Stryfe. It’s a whole lotta X-Force action and a whole lotta twisty-turny time tripping.

Star Trek vs. Transformers, by John Barber, Mike Johnson, Philip Murphy, and Jack Lawrence
Sure, it’s a ridiculous crossover—the Enterprise and the Autobots join forces against the Decepticons and their new allies, the Klingons—but what are comics for if not to allow us to indulge a little once in a while? There’s a lot of fun to be had in this book’s off-the-wall mashups and beautifully retro art, which mixes the ’80s-era Transformers with the ’70s-style Star Trek: The Animated Series crew, but it’s not all silliness: Transformers veteran John Barber and long-time Trek writer Mike Johnson ensure that there’s a real story in the mix alongside the fun call-backs and colorful action.

Prince of Cats, by Ron Wimberly
This new edition of Wimberley’s way-cool work sees Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet refashioned to focus on the story of Tybalt, Juliet’s quick-tempered cousin. Oh, the drama is also set in Brooklyn, in the ’80s, with both hip-hop and kung-fu thrown into the mix. It’s a unique take on Shakespeare, to say the least—a romp that scoffs at following a formula while respecting the spirit of one of the Bard’s most beloved works.

What’s on your pull list?

The post The Best Comics & Graphic Novels of June 2019 appeared first on The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/the-best-comics-and-graphic-novels-of-june-2019/