Steve's Top Five: Sep - Oct

Here’s our next “Top Five” comics from writer Steve Paugh!

5 - Quantum and Woody

5 - Quantum & Woody

Like the rest of comic book fandom, I’ve been hugely impressed with Valiant’s comeback story, and while I’ve enjoyed all of the titles they’ve re-released so far, I’ve gotta give Quantum and Woody the highest props for being the publisher’s most entertaining revamp to date. The hilarious interplay between its titular odd-couple brotherly duo, the more introspective look into the pasts that have shaped that relationship and a madcap quest to avenge a fallen father (littered as it is with cybernetic power twins, weirdly-immortal despots, murderous farm animals and Lovecraftian clown-spiders), altogether make this one of the most enjoyable reads out right now. Asmus and the unfortunately departing Fowler have made comics fun again in Quantum and Woody, and there is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be getting in on the action. Check out the Comic Bastards sneak peek into the forthcoming series continuation, featuring new series artist, Ming Doyle!

4 - It Came!

4 - It Came!As you can see from my choice for slot five, I tend to enjoy good, wholesome fun in my comics, and Titan’s It Came! delivers those goods on so many levels. Set within an old British B-movie dynamic, which sees a chauvinistic scientist named Boy and his lady companion Doris escaping the machinations of a giant alien robot bent on robbing the British populace of their stiff upper lips, It Came! has perhaps the most unique and hilarious voice in comics today. I get a good few belly laughs with each issue and it’s one of those books that makes you want to flip back through, just to appreciate the quality of its innocent yet dynamic art. Boultwood is absolutely killing it with this series, and it’s just one of the many reasons that Titan is becoming one of my favorite indie publishers.

3 - Infinity

3 - InfinityYou know those people who are suckers for event books? Yeah, I’m one of ‘em. What can I say? The Infinity Gauntlet was the first thing that really got me into comics, and ever since then, I’ve viewed each event as a sort of Laff-A-Lympics, where all of my favorite characters are in one place, pitted against or working with each other to some ridiculous end. In my defense, Infinity is an event book that does it right, and I have no qualms about proudly stating how much I have loved this series. Hickman’s Marvel NOW work in total has been nothing short of spectacular, and he has threaded his narrative tapestry leading up to this book with a restraint not usually seen in the medium. The culmination of that measured approach in Infinity - a descendent of my beloved Gauntlet series, if only in name - has been astoundingly intricate and grand, yet somehow deeply character-based and intimate. I can’t wait to see how all of this malarky with the Builders, Thanos and the erstwhile collection of Avengers and cosmic despots finally congeals and ends, no matter how much of a sucker that makes me seem.

2 - The Manhattan Projects

2 - The Manhattan ProjectsIn a world of cheap imitation and reboots, there are really only a few titles that shine through as being truly unique. Paramount amongst these, in my opinion, is Jonathan Hickman’s The Manhattan Projects, a book that never fails to alternatively inspire or deeply sicken with a grizzled, warped visual style from Nicholas Pitarra (or sometimes stand-in artist, Ryan Browne) that is matched only by its bawdy and cacophonous approach to storytelling. Joining together the ultimate collection of insane theoretical physicists, murderous inter-dimensional doppelgängers, intrepid cosmonauts, undercover aliens and one cannibalistic destroyer of worlds, all in the name of ruling the universe with the iron fist of Science, every issue of The Manhattan Projects brings with it more originality than should be scientifically possible. With two volumes already in trade and more issues bleeding into the ether, it’s a great time to jump aboard this inherently singular and award-worthy title.

1 - Mind MGMT

1 - Mind MGMTThanks to Matt Kindt’s intoxicating visual and narrative direction, Mind MGMT has become, without question, the most experimental comic book in living memory. So yeah, with that kind of praise, and with what came before it, it’s really no secret that we of The Comic Bastards have a certain love affair with this book, with most of us at one time or another adding it to our Top 5 lists. That alone is testament to how dynamic and engaging it is, to be so popular amongst so many different voices and usually hard-lined opinions. Although this tale of an underground world beset by mental espionage is itself original, Kindt doesn’t just play with theme. He fucks with the entire structure of the medium, lacing peripheral text into his story like acid in a bowl of punch. The effect, combined with a constantly kinetic, ever hazy artistic direction is, not surprisingly, nigh-on hallucinatory and nothing short of infectious. The more this series chugs along, the better it gets, and surprisingly, the more mysterious it becomes. It’s like an old TV: just when you think you’ve got the aerial perfect, the static comes back, which of course only makes you want to try harder to see it more clearly. -- What are your Top Five comics of the month? Let us know in the comments!