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.

Continue reading “Smash Pages’ favorite comics of 2018”

Smash Pages Q&A: Sophie Campbell on ‘Wet Moon’

The creator of the seven-part graphic novel series discusses the final volume from Oni Press.

I have read Sophie Campbell’s work since the beginning of her career, and as I told her, I still have a battered first edition of Wet Moon Volume 1, her debut as a writer and artist. Since that book came out in 2005, she’s worked on a number of projects. She wrote and drew the graphics novels The Abandoned and Water Baby, in addition to two Shadoweyes books. She’s drawn Glory at Image, Jem and the Holograms at IDW and many issues of TMNT. For some people, her best work, her most intimate and personal work, has been Wet Moon. Oni Press just published the seventh and final book of the series. It’s been a long time coming, but it is a beautiful and perfect ending to the series.

The book doesn’t get enough credit or attention, but I’m far from the only person who loves the books so passionately. Campbell was able to write characters, to craft mysteries with such precision, and she was able to make a series that for the most part was plotless slice-of-life stories about a few months in the lives of these characters and make them so compelling. It is an immense work and even today stands out for so many reasons. Campbell and I have spoken a few times over the years, and I wanted to mark the book’s release by talking with her again.

Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Sophie Campbell on ‘Wet Moon’”

IDW announces ‘Jem and the Holograms’ anthology series

Kate Leth, Tana Ford, Sophie Campbell and more lined up to contribute stories.

IDW Publishing has announced a new anthology series set in the world of Jem and the Holograms. The series will feature rotating creatives teams and two stories in each issue, starting with Kate Leth, Tana Ford and original Jem and the Holograms artist Sophie Campbell.

“Sophie, along with series regular writer Kelly Thompson, took the classic Jem and the Holograms concept, and reimagined it for a new generation of Jem fans,” said Sarah Gaydos, IDW Group Editor, in a press release. “Now, with Dimensions, the floodgates have been opened for creators new to Jem to come play in Kelly and Sophie’s arena for an all-star jam session.”

Continue reading “IDW announces ‘Jem and the Holograms’ anthology series”