Heads Up: Indie Comics Previews – February 2012

A monthly column devoted to recommending interesting indie comics for pre-order. Pre-ordering supports indie creators and can often be the difference between a book succeeding or failing. Plus, you usually save money by doing it, too.

dicks # 1

Dicks #1
Garth Ennis & John McCrea
Order Code: DEC110861
Publisher: Avatar
32 pages – Full color – SC

Ennis and McCrea’s renowned private investigators series is back in a newly colorized and remastered edition. As you might expect from Ennis, Dicks is packed full of low-brow, gross-out humor. If you like that kind of thing, especially Ennis’ brand of it, you’re going to like Dicks. This new series reprints all of the previous Dicks stories and, when those are done, will follow them up with new stories. As you can imagine with Avatar, there are multiple covers available here, including an “offensive” cover and a black and white version.

Genetiks Vol. 1
Jean-Michel Ponzio & Richard Marazano
Order Code: DEC110806
104 pages – Full color – HC

I can’t find a ton of information online about this, particularly in English (it’s coming to us from France), but it looks interesting. Genetiks is the story of a pharmaceutical company employee who has donated his genetic material to his employer. As the company decodes his genes, though, intellectual property law means that the company literally owns him. There’s not a lot more information about it to be found, but the glimpses of the art I’ve seen look to be in the realistic European tradition and the story touches on a lot of interesting issues.

Kill Shakespeare: The Complete Edition
Anthony Del Col, Conor McCreery & Andy Belanger
Publisher: IDW
352 pages – Full color – HC


An omnibus edition of all 12 issues of the upstart hit series. Kill Shakespeare creates a world in which Shakespeare is a mysterious wizard and his most famous characters are real people. A group of Shakesperian heroes–Hamlet, Juliet, Othello, and Falstaff–are engaged in an adventure and struggle against Richard III, Lady Macbeth, and Iago to find and kill Shakespeare. I tend to be a little skeptical of works that take the characters, worlds, and creations of others to repurpose them for new stories, but this one seems like fun and has great buzz.

James Sturm’s America
James Sturm
Order Code: DEC111052
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
192 pages – Partial color – HC


If you enjoy American history, especially comics about it, there’s perhaps no better practitioner of the form working today than James Sturm. This book collects three of Sturm’s early graphic novels that provide compelling glimpses into different moments in the country’s life. Rather than creating didactic, fact-filled narratives, Sturm dramatizes the periods he finds interesting by creating characters that experience them. America collects Hundreds of Feet Below Daylight, a goldrush story, Golem’s Mighty Swing, about an all-Jewish barnstorming baseball team, and The Revival, about the Great Awakening. This is far and away my favorite recommendation of the month.

Joe Sacco
Order Code: DEC111124
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
176 pages – Partial color – HC

Joe Sacco is well known for his journalistic comics about some of the world’s most dangerous and distressed areas, including Bosnia (Safe Area Gorazde), Palestine, Sarajevo (The Fixer), and Gaza (Footnotes in Gaza). For his unflinching work, Sacco has earned an Eisner and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Journalism collects a number of Sacco’s shorter pieces, including reportage on Saharan refugees, Chechnya, war-crimes trials at The Hague, and Abu Ghraib. Perhaps not the most uplifting materials, but no doubt important.

ROAD RAGE #1 (of 4)
Stephen King, Joe Hill, Chris Ryall & Nelson Daniel
Order Code: DEC110367
Publisher: IDW
32 pages – Full color – SC

Stephen King and his son, Joe Hill, have both has long-standing involvement with comics over the years: King mostly recently with his backups in American Vampire and Hill with his successful Locke & Key series. The pair’s first-ever collaboration was a short story called “Throttle”, which paid tribute to Richard Matheson’s classic road-horror story Duel (the basis of Steven Spielberg’s first full-length feature film). The first two issues of this series adapts Throttle (written by Ryall), with the last two–also written by Ryall–adapting Duel. Sounds like a good time to me.

Sam Costello is the creator and writer of Split Lip, a horror webcomics anthology that Comics Should Be Good has called “the best horror anthology on the internet.” It offers over 500 pages of free comics.

Split Lip: Termites In Your Smile and other stories is available now directly from Sam. It’s 174 pages of comics for $15. Just try to beat that.


  1. Correction: Stephen King has had a backup story in the first arc of AMERICAN VAMPIRE.


  2. I met Garth Ennis at a signing that my then-girlfriend couldn’t attend. She made sure to tell me “Tell him that I love his work on Dicks, since no one really talks about that series”, which I was more than happy to do for her. Problem was, though, while talking to him, the requested exchange went like this: “…Oh yeah, my girlfriend wanted me to tell you that she loves dicks!” Kinda embarrassed.

  3. I actually picked up the first volume of Kill Shakespeare at my local Borders going out of business sale. I didn’t read it though, wanted to get volume two first and read it all at once. I’m hoping I get it for Christmas.

  4. Anyone know how many original issues are in the original run of Dicks? Before they bring out new stuff?