Hundreds of new comic books are released each month and it's virtually impossible to keep up with all of them. Even if you somehow managed to find the time to read thousands upon thousands of comics a year, the financial cost of that endeavor makes it even more improbable.
No matter how many titles make the average reader's weekly pull list, there's always a worthwhile series or graphic novel they either haven't had the opportunity to try or simply haven't heard about yet.
CBR wants to remedy that situation. Today, we're kicking off a new feature in which five of our regular contributors and editors look through their own current pull lists and select their favorite comic you should be reading, but probably aren't -- do yourself a favor and check these out.
By Josh Williamson & Mike Henderson
Published by Image Comics
Do you love "Hannibal?" Are you addicted to "Making a Murderer," or dying for the return of "Twin Peaks?" Then call your local comic shop and ask them to add Williamson and Henderson's "Nailbiter" to your pull list -- immediately.
Dark, disturbing, and riddled with black humor, this series might just be the perfect comic for anyone who appreciates the creepiness of small towns and their twisted past. The premise is simple: most of the world's known serial killers come from one small town in Oregon... but why? As law enforcement investigates, they peel back layers of haunting history, only to discover even more mysteries. The first three trades are available now, with volume 4 landing in early April -- you've got plenty of time to catch up!
-- Casey Gilly
By Ollie Masters, Tyler Jenkins & Colin Bell
Published by BOOM! Studios
"Snow Blind" is that rare thing: a crime comic which catches you out, sharing similarities to "Fargo" in its calculatedly innocuous narrative style and the contrast of a tranquil small-town America with the dirty, grasping mindset of the people who live there. Artist Tyler Jenkins certainly sets things up in stunning fashion, creating an immediate warmth amid the lush snow-tipped pine trees, as the series' lead slowly unfolds a dark, slow-motion mystery involving his father.
But the key of the series lies in the premise, which slowly dawns upon you once you turn the final few pages of the first issue and reveal the big twist. Because the premise catches you off-guard on such a personal level, it's thrilling to eventually push through and uncover the brilliant secret which brings the narrative to life. "Snow Blind" is beautiful and lovely to look at, sure, but the heart of this very human mystery bleeds beautiful black.
-- Steve Morris
By Tom King & Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Published by Marvel Comics
"The Vision" is the most thought provoking and original title Marvel has published in a long time, yet it never loses sight of its classic Marvel Comics roots. The series' central conceit centers on what would happen if the Vision moved to the suburbs with his newly built, artificial family. With this premise front and center, Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta's present a classically twisted sci-fi story that reads as if Ray Bradbury teamed with Stephen King to tell a tale set firmly in the familiar confines of the Marvel Universe. King's script continually surprises and intrigues, while Walta infuses his mechanical characters with such humanity that when the reader is reminded of the fact that these beings are in fact machines, the results are often potent and horrifying.
-- Marc Buxton
By Stan Sakai
Published by Dark Horse Comics
"Usagi Yojimbo" is the acclaimed and award-winning tale of a wandering ronin in feudal Japan. But despite its accolades, the series has never shown up at the top of industry sales charts, and that's a shame, because it's everything readers are looking for in a great comic. After thirty years, most "Usagi" issues remain accessible to new readers, but there's a deep tapestry being woven that rewards committed readers who've stayed with the series for literally decades.
The supporting cast are all vividly realized -- from gruff bounty hunter Gen to playful con-woman Kitsune, from honor-bound Tomoe to subtle Inspector Ishida. The action is dynamic and thrilling, and the challenges Usagi faces are complex enough to challenge him physically, mentally and morally. The artistic storytelling is honed to excellence, and the illustrations are packed with detailed textures that breathe life into every scene. And, if you enjoy supporting creators who are in it for the long haul, this might be a further selling point: Stan Sakai has written, drawn and even lettered every single issue of the run.
-- Michael Lorah
By Jeff Lemire, Emi Lenox and Jordie Bellaire
Published by Image Comics
Jeff Lemire has received a good deal of attention for "Descender," his Image series with Dustin Nguyen, and with good reason: It's a sweeping sci-fi tale with an engaging mystery and an emotional heart. But standing in its shadow is "Plutona," a lower-key miniseries that uses superheroes as a (distant) backdrop to explore adolescence, as five suburban kids stumble across the body of the world's greatest superhero, and then struggle with the fallout of their decision to keep their discovery a secret.
Beautifully illustrated by Emi Lenox and colored by Jordie Bellaire, "Plutona" is a story of secrets and childhood relationships. Quiet, obsessive Teddy is a "cape spotter" who searches for signs of superhero activity in the distant skies and monitors reports on the police radio. It's only when Plutona's body mysteriously turns up in the woods that the world of superheroes collides with the everyday life of the suburbs, upending the status quo. The children are brought together by their shared secret, and then pushed apart by it.
(And if you're a fan of straightforward superhero comics, there's something for you, too: Lemire chronicles "Plutona's Last Adventure" in the back of each issue.)
-- Kevin Melrose