Thee Comic Column #106: Birthright

Birthright-01-VAR_Alright, I’m currently traveling so this will be a short one cribbed in airports and cafes while I make my way home to Chicago. That said, I’ve found yet another new comic I’m really digging and that is what this column is for – to spread the word.

I always say, one of the things about a great comic shop is the knowledge of the staff. And their willingness to talk comics, and also as I always say, Manhattan Beach, California’s The Comic Bug (now TWO locations!) has both of these qualities in spades. Case in point: Ben – who you’ve no doubt met if you watch Drinking with Comics – recently put the first issue of Joshua Williamson & Andrei Bressan’s Birthright from Image Comics in my pull box. Now, I was under no obligation to buy Birthright, other than the self-imposed one. You see, let me run a brief list of things the Bug crew have suggested to me via this method in recent months:

Robert Kirkman’s Outcast – Awesome!

Cullen Bunn & Vanesa R. Del Rey’s The Empty Man – Fantastic!

Jason Aaron & Jason Latour’s Southern Bastards - Great!

Mark Millar’s Starlight – Well, I dug the first issue but I’m behind – from what I hear though I’m missing out.

Anyway, so the point is I take the staff at the Comic Bug’s recommendations to heart. And I’ll be darned if I didn’t absolutely love the first issue of Birthright.

I have the feeling this book is going to be a BIG story. First issue was basically a set-up and I’ll tell you, it’s real juicy junior. REAL juicy. If you read this column you know I try to stay away from spoilers, so if this already sounds good stop right here and go grab number one. If you need more I’ll give you most of what we get in the first issue. Father and son playing catch behind their house. Ball goes into the woods that border the property and the kid runs after it. Kid disappears. Family falls apart. Time goes by. Then this guy shows up:

image__Image_Comics_NYCC_exclusives_02_BirthrightI’ll stop there, you might already see where this is going. And it’s intriguing, particularly the way Williamson and Bressan handle the story as it unfolds.

There’s a fantasy element here, and while I’m definitely not in the camp that’s crazy about the seemingly endless iterations of the Lord of the Rings-inspired, medieval fantasy stuff, here it is balanced with a modern True Detective/X-Files element. Maybe that’s just in the introduction to the larger story, but it’s captivating. And it helps add that sense that Birthright is gearing up to go big. Other-worldly big. And enough of that other-worldly element was balanced in this first issue with the real-world police procedural surrounding the kid’s disappearance that what I got out of this first issue was a unique experience that I’m definitely coming back for with issue #2.

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Can’t find a comic shop? You can always use old reliable Comic Shop Locator at 1-800-COMIC-BOOK. Or you can take some of my recommendations. If you live in the greater Chicagoland area I recommend any of the wonderful four locations of Amazing Fantasy Books. In Los Angeles it’s The Comic Bug. Las Vegas it’s Alternate Reality Comics. San Francisco? Try the Isotope Comic Lounge and if you happen to venture a little further North I’d say you have to visit The Escapist Comic Book Store in Berkley (with the wonderful Dark Carnival Books next door and owned by the same folks). Read on!!!

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

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