Smash Pages’ favorite comics of 2018

See what the Smash Pages’ staff enjoyed reading this past year.

With 2018 winding down, Smash Pages’ contributors take a look back at some of their favorite comics of the year, from Hey Kiddo and Spectacular Spider-Man #310 to Wet Moon and The Secret Voice.

Brigid Alverson

Silver Spoon, by Hiromu Arakawa (Yen Press)
Arakawa is best known as the creator of Fullmetal Alchemist, but you couldn’t get any farther from that series than Silver Spoon, a comedy about a city boy who goes to agricultural school in rural Hokkaido. Yuugo Hachiken worked hard and did everything he was told, but he still didn’t get into an elite high school, so he takes what he thinks is the easy way out by going to a school that’s not academically focused—or so he thinks. In fact, the students at Ooezo Agricultural High School are very knowledgeable in their fields, but those fields are things like genetics and animal husbandry. The rubber really hits the road in the practical lessons, though, and Hachiken quickly realizes he is out of his depth when it comes to herding chickens, riding a horse, or fetching a stray calf. There’s a lot of city mouse-country mouse comedy in this series, but it’s also a fascinating look at where our food comes from (at least in Japan), and the different agricultural models espoused by different farmers. In fact, like Hachiken’s classmates, this book is very smart and sophisticated in addition to being endlessly entertaining.

Meal, by Blue Delliquanti and Soleil Ho (Iron Circus)
The idea of eating bugs may elicit an “Eeeww” from most people, but Delliquanti and Ho go beyond the ick factor in this romance about an insect cuisine enthusiast and a chef who wants to start a new restaurant based on the dishes of her youth—dishes that include ants, grasshoppers, and tarantulas. There’s a love story woven in there as well. Yarrow has just moved to a new city in hopes of getting a job in the kitchen of Chandra Flores, insect chef extraordinaire, who is about to launch a new restaurant. Milani, her neighbor, is friendly and helpful but the two have a little trouble making it click. At the same time, Chandra suspects that Yarrow is only into insect cuisine because it’s sensational, while to her, it’s part of her heritage. There’s a lot in this slim volume: Love, food, bugs, and bugs that are food, and the creators even include a couple of recipes at the end of the book.

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Comics Lowdown: ‘Love Is Love’ brings in another $51,000 for The Trevor Project

Plus: Tumblr changes its guidelines, November comics sales drop, Olivia Stephens, Sophie Goldstein, Geoff Johns, Kieron Gillen, Todd Klein, more best-of-the-year lists and more!

The Love Is Love anthology published by IDW Publishing and DC Comics continues to raise money for LGBT organizations; earlier this week IDW announced a donation of $51,000 to The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people. This follows a donation of $165,000 in 2017 to the OneOrlando Fund to assist the victims and families impacted by the deadly attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016.

“This has so exceeded any of my wildest hopes for the amount of money it could raise and the attention it got,” Marc Andreyko, who organized and curated the anthology, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “We were able to give $51,000 to the Trevor Project two years out, when the news cycle is so fast people don’t remember what happened five minutes ago. I’m happy and sad that there is an evergreen quality to this.”

The anthology is currently in its sixth printing, available via online booksellers, comic book specialty retailers and through digital platforms.

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Image reveals many, many new titles at Image Expo

New projects announced from Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss, Rob Guillory, J.H. Williams and Haden Blackman, Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel, Annie Wu and more.

As they’ve done in previous years, Image Comics dropped a metric ton of announcements at their Image Expo event, held today in Portland, Oregon.

The line-up of announcements this year includes five new titles from Todd McFarlane’s camp, new titles from Chew creators John Layman and Rob Guillory, two comics from Christoper Sebela, the fact that they’ll publish the Netflix/Millarworld titles starting with The Magic Order and much more. No doubt there are interviews aplenty dropping around the internet on all these new projects, so I’ll start with the text of the press release, then add art and commentary as I find it.

So let’s get to it …

Blackbird by Sam Humphries & Jen Bartel
Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel team up to co-create Blackbird, a modern fantasy story best described as Harry Potter meets Riverdale. It follows a young woman named Nina who discovers a neon-lit world of magic masters in Los Angeles. Now they’ve kidnapped her sister, and Nina is the only one who can save her.

“Blackbird is a labor of love, a coming of age story and beautiful people doing insane things with magic,” said Humphries.

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Teenagers quest for porn in ‘Smutt & Jeff’

Kody Chamberlain, Gavin Guidry, K. Michael Russell and Rob Guillory seek support to publish a new comic about one boy’s mission to find porn. Pre-internet, of course.

It’s a rite of passage that every teenage boy likely went through in the 1980s, before the internet made it so easy — seeing your first porn magazine. Now Kody Chamberlain, Gavin Guidry, K. Michael Russell and Rob Guillory are looking to bring one such teen’s mission to life in Smutt & Jeff. And they’ve turned to Kickstarter to help make it happen for Jeff.

“Jeff is a typical teenaged boy spending the last week of summer vacation stressed about high school,” their website reads. “It’s a very familiar feeling of being a boy unprepared for the journey into a man’s world. After being mocked and ridiculed, Jeff is determined to find and steal the one item he’s told will transform any boy into a real man: His very first porno magazine.”

Check out some of Guillory’s character designs below; the Chew artist will also provide covers:

Character designs by Rob Guillory
Character designs by Rob Guillory

They plan for Smutt & Jeff to be a five-issue series, and they’re offering copies of the issues, cameos in the book and creative workshops to backer. See more on Kickstarter, and check out a preview of the book below:

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