Tag Archives: Oni Press

Queen & Country

Queen & Country Definitive Edition
Oni Press
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Steve Rolston, Brian Hurtt, and Leandro Fernandez
BW, $19.99 US

It was a crazy 2019 holiday season at ComicReaders, which is just the way we like it. (Thanks to everyone who shopped local for the holidays, by the way.) As a result, it has been a while since I posted and to be honest I did not read ANY comics in the month of December. (Shock!) My bus and evening reading was solely John le Carre.

I had picked up a heavily worn copy of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy a few years ago after watching the BBC miniseries starring Sir Alec Guinness as George Smiley. The first chapter was great. I found the second chapter a slog and put the book down and moved onto other things. As we put our house back together after a renovation was completed in December I rediscovered the novel and decided to give it another go. The first chapter was great. The second chapter was STILL a slog, but I kept going and quickly got lost in this thoroughly gripping spy novel. A spy novel that is mostly Smiley digging through archives and reading old documents or interrogating people!

After Tinker, I borrowed the second novel, The Honourable Schoolboy, from the RPL. That one had actual boots on the ground spycraft but it made me so angry by the end! Needless to say, I followed up with Smiley’s People, which I’ve just about halfway consumed.

These John le Carre books reminded me of the excellent BBC series The Sandbaggers, which ComicReaders’ Dana recommended to me many moons ago. And thinking of The Sandbaggers got me thinking about Queen & Country, the comic series from many moons ago, which is quite fascinating because in December a young chap came into the store and bought Queen & Country volume 1!

Queen & Country is available in three definitive editions from Oni Press and it is a set I like to keep in stock even though I might only sell one edition every 2 years. Dana and I talked about this the other day over breakfast. If you run a comic shop there are certain titles you keep in stock to demonstrate you know your craft. Most often these are current bestsellers, award-winners, and titles that are important to the industry because of their influence, but just as often there are titles that are important to the individuals in the store. Queen & Country is, for me, one of those titles. It did win awards. And it did feature a cast of artists that continue to do stellar work in the industry. And it did give something that I would argue has yet to be duplicated in modern comics– spy stories that feel real– and that is the reason I like to keep it on the shelf. If someone was to come into the store and say, “Hey, you ever read John le Carre?” or “You ever hear of The Sandbaggers?” “Do you have anything like that?” My reply would be, “Well, yes– yes, I do.” And we’d head over to where Queen & Country resides. And as we walked over there I’d look over my shoulder and ask the person’s opinion on that second chapter of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. (Chad Boudreau)

Kaijumax Season 5

Kaijumax Season 5 issue #1
Oni Press
Writer: Zander Cannon
Artist: Zander Cannon
FC, 32 pgs, $3.99 US

Zander Cannon’s Kaijumax is unlike anything I’ve read in comics and with so many comics being published these days I think that is a high compliment. Giant monsters (kaiju) incarcerated on a prison island run by Ultraman / Power Rangers / Voltron style guards. Cannon has said it’s HBO’s prison drama Oz with monsters and I can think of no better way to describe it in so few words. It is as unsettling, uncompromising, and socially relevant as that show…but with monsters.

Season 5 begins with Pokemon style creatures running an illegal fight tournament where kidnapped children are forced to battle each other. A raid breaks up the illegal activity and its “don”, a green, Pikachu-like badass named Pikadon is sent to the prison island, thus exciting the hopes of a class of inmates that have all escaped from a capsule, ball or watch at sometime in the past. You see, they’ve never had a leader to organize them and they now see Pikadon as a way to gain some territory and respect.

I think the heart of this particular “season” is going to be Sharkmon, a recovering addict who runs the prison barbershop. He is beaten and robbed by other inmates, teased about homosexual tendencies, and is currently den mother to a devil/goat/man that was turned into a regular goat in a previous “season”. That goat’s soulful, sad eyes is a constant reminder of Cannon’s talent, by the way.

I’ve managed to hook at least five other people on Kaijumax in trade paperback form. Now, if only I had the same success with Eric Powell’s The Goon. (Chad Boudreau)

Stumptown #1

Stumptown #1stumptown 1
Oni Press
(W) Greg Rucka
(A) Matthew Southworth
FC 32 pgs w/ ads $3.99 US / Higher in Canada

If there’s one thing that Greg Rucka excels at, its gritty crime stories. I usual follow Rucka to whatever project he’s working on with a few exceptions. I’m not currently following his run on Action Comics and Superman: The World of New Krypton. I hear they are good but I just don’t have the money to follow everything and I’d rather read Rucka on Detective or even better – something like this series.


The story is familiar, a private detective, in this case a woman named Dex, who is a bit down on her luck is forced to take a missing persons case to pay an outstanding debt. The second she starts snooping there’s the familiar threats from some mysterious toughs and then there is the rich, respectable business man who also is involved.

This is a story that I’ve read before in a dozen or so dime detective novels and seen in similar films. I don’t know why but I never get tired of it though. And Rucka has me hooked into the story with his strong characterizations as always. Matthew Southworth is meticulous in his rendering of Portland, Oregon which grounds the series in reality and his dark pencils are reminiscent of Michael Lark’s work. It adds the right look for this book.

This first issue has hooked me and while I’d like to see more Queen & Country from Rucka, this feels like a series that I’m going to really enjoy. (Shane Hnetka)