Archer Coe

Jamie S. Rich

Oni Press

Street: 06.11

Performer Archer Coe is a talented magician and master of the supernatural use of hypnotism. He uses it as a tool to earn money from the wealthy, helping one particular client with marital problems. The woman in question persistently reminds Archer that they know each other from their past and yet he can’t remember it. When her husband winds up a victim of a criminal dubbed “The Zipper,” Archer is suspect number one and must use his abilities to clear his name.

The novel starts as commonly as any other mystery, but takes a turn down a mental rabbit hole—a trip down Archer’s mind—and leaves the reader wondering what is real and what is a figment of Archer’s fabricated mind. Archer Coe is definitely a character deserving of his own series, and I will never tire of noir-style comic book storytelling. Jamie Rich has created a character and story worthy of television adaptation, but it remains absolutely intriguing on page. –Rebecca Frost

City in the Desert Volume 2: The Serpent Crown

Moro Rogers


Street: 03.11

Upon first reading, I was taken on a rollercoaster in my mind through my inventory of genre knowledge trying to pinpoint just what City in the Desert is. City in the Desert: The Serpent Crown is the second book in the a series by writer/artist Moro Rogers and does not rely on bright colors and speech bubbles filled to the brim with exposition. Moro chooses to use only three colors to detail the story and set apart important characters and thoughts.

The book begins with a flashback, detailing the first encounter Irro, the main character, has with Hari, his impish sidekick. Irro is a monster hunter who is running low on work. Monsters have all but disappeared and their town of Kevala is threatened when the Spirit Fountain, the source of life for the town, is monopolized by a new and tyrannical king, both situations intertwined. The Serpent Crown leads up to a great climax and explanation only to be found in the next series of books, but the exotic-steampunk-desert-fantasy exists in a universe far more mystical than can fit in any one book. –Rebecca Frost

Diesel Sweeties Volume 2: Bacon is a Vegetable; Coffee is a Vitamin

R. Stevens

Oni Press

Street: 02.19

In the second volume of his webcomic Diesel Sweeties, R. Stevens brings plenty of beautifully retro-looking, pixelated art in each of the comics. Unfortunately, Stevens doesn’t bring much of the funny.

There are some gems peppered throughout the book, but most of the comics in this volume have punch lines that are found wanting, or they contain too much wit and not enough joke—which works great in graphic novels, but less so in panel comics. The art is fantastic and fun to look through, but Stevens would do well to stop attempting one-liners and start putting these enjoyable characters into some type of storyline. You can check out all of the over 3,500 “Diesel Sweeties” webcomics at –John Ford


Alexa Chung

Penguin Group

Street: 10.29.13

It is an autobiography about the life of fashion icon, model and TV personality Alexa Chung and her emergence into the fashion world. Chung jumps right into the conversation about how she developed her personal style as she discusses where she draws inspiration for her boyish yet feminine appearance.

She writes about how to find inspiration from aspects of your surroundings like culture, music or film, linked with an explanation of why, how and when she is influenced by an icon’s style. I found Chung’s childhood observations of style especially inspiring because our early years were both spent as awkward, skinny weirdos, and she discussed her struggle to feel beautiful in her lanky, stick thin body.

Chung kept me engaged with quirky illustrations and photos of her friends, herself and her style inspirations—I loved It. Her view on self-confidence in context of body image and heartbreak is lighthearted and enlightening. As a self-proclaimed groupie of Alexa Chung, this will remain my personal style bible till Chung releases another book. –Robin Sessions

Metallica: The Complete Illustrated History

Martin Poppoff

Voyageur Press

Street: 11.15.13

Poppoff’s latest ‘Tallica tome attempts to tell the band’s history via photographs and artifacts, creating a visual pastiche of the horsemen past n’ present to act as a sort of retrospective. Really, though, it should just be called Martin Poppoff Documents a Bunch of Rad-ass Metallica Shirts You’ve Never Seen Before and Would Kill to Find. I’m serious, folks. That “Crash Course in Brain Surgery” shirt? All those damn Pushead T-shirts?

Hell, if nothing else, Metallica proves that even in the eras when they were making the most god-awful music, their shirt game was unparalleled and, no lie, I’d wear that Woodstock ’99 tee TODAY, no matter what kind of heat it got. Sure, there’s also obscure images of flyers, a few pics that even I hadn’t seen before, alternate single artwork and some great editorializing by many of the journos who’ve been covering the band since their first cut on Metal Massacre, but I’m just not going to give up on those shirts. Seeing them all laid out together, all stipples and skulls and fire and eyeballs and it just … It just reminded me of how beautiful things can be sometimes, man. –Dylan Chadwick

Sugar House Review #9: Fall/Winter 2013

Various Authors

Sugar House Review

Street: 10.01.13

If you haven’t caught on to what the Sugar House Review is doing yet, get on board! With a variety of poets, you’re definitely going to find something that appeals to you even if poetry isn’t your thing. If anything, you’ll find a nice book review, such as Kate Rosenberg’s review of Whelm, a book I’ve added to my own queue. In fact, I’d dare say that if poetry isn’t your thing, then this will be. In this series, I was particularly drawn to Albert Abonado, whose poem “In the City of Falling Cats” particularly piqued my cat-lady tendencies, but made them a bit more poetically justified by comparing cats to the spirits of the dead. –Brinley Froelich

Theories of Forgetting

Lance Olsen

Fiction Collective 2

Street: 02.28

First and foremost, Lance Olsen (English Professor at the University of Utah) is the literary astronaut we dreamt of being when we were children—turning far-out worlds abuzz with the difficult imagination, surviving re-entry with stories to share. His latest, “wunderkammer,” an avant-novel called Theories of Forgetting, is a textual embodiment of Robert Smithson’s land artwork Spiral Jetty and its intrinsic entropology, which here, amounts to wearing down and decay at sites of language—narrative, character, sentence, word, letter—and the blank spaces in between that give them meaning.

The book runs three narratives cover-to-cover from opposite ends, upside-down from and parallel to each other. In this way, the reader chooses which to privilege—either the diary of experimental filmmaker Alana struggling to make a documentary about Spiral Jetty, who succumbs to a mysterious illness called “The Frost,” or the story of her husband, Hugh, owner of a bookstore in Salt Lake City, who slowly disappears while traveling in Jordan, at the call of religious, barbiturate-worshiping poetic-terrorists and whose manuscript is annotated by the couple’s daughter Aila, an art critic living in Berlin, penciling in a one-sided conversation with her estranged brother, Lance. This isn’t an S.O.S. (same old story): It’s a gorgeous wind-up into intricate spirals of human lives that we lead and the loss that we’ll inevitably face. –Christian Schultz

[[ there. ]]

Lance Olsen

Anti-Oedipus Press

Street: 02.01

“[[ Because how does one write the contemporary? ]]” wunders Lance Olsen in this “trash diary,” 130-ish pages of critifictional tweets, cultural reflection and memory-raking that amounts to a remarkably fluid narratological assemblage. Written over the author-professor-literary activist’s five-month stay at the American Academy in Berlin, [[ there. ]] is a casual and sharp text about the confluence of travel, curiosity and innovative writing practices, or what it means to be alive here, now.

From film and philosophy to avant-garde music, art and hypermedia, to personal reminiscence of world travels and life in the restlessness of Berlin, Olsen makes the slurry of flash narratives and observations compelling. Whether you read [[ there. ]] chronologically or bounce around the book among its clusters, you’ll find a hypertext’s rhythm, a Wiki-wormhole of cultural knowledge, a poet’s narrative slant-rhyme and wonderful human-being-ness all in a beautiful whirl from one of innovative writing’s greatest minds. –Christian Schultz