What happens when you cross supernatural spiders with a violent gang? You get Weavers, a graphic novel by Simon Spurrier and Dylan Burnett. After a gang-related attack, a young man called Sid Thyme finds himself strong armed into the Weavers, where his loyalty will be put to the test. Forget about great power coming with great responsibility. With great power comes loyalty to the family.
When we think of superheroes, we think of brightly dressed people with amazing powers. The fight to save the world so often we wonder how they could possibly have a personal life. Jessica Jones: Alias: Volume 1 takes the reader down to earth and shows what happens when a hero tries to live like the rest of us. A former Avenger, Jessica Jones used to go by Jewel, but she retired from the team and opened up a private detective agency. Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Alias is an influential graphic novel because it inspired Marvel’s MAX comic line. There’s violence, profanity, sex and people doing questionable things for what they think are the right reasons. When the first word is ‘fuck’ you know you’re in for something gritty.
Despite Marvel and DC being the most well-known comic houses, they aren’t the only game in town. Top Cow has published many successful comics, with one of them being Witchblade. The Witchblade universe is dark and down to earth, mixing crime with the supernatural. My favourite character from the series is Ian Nottingham. Nottingham is an underrated character and here is what makes him worth knowing about.
Hell, March 13, 1919
They have never caught me and they never will. They have never seen me, for I am invisible, even as the ether that surrounds your earth. I am not a human being, but a spirit and a demon from the hottest hell. I am what you Orleanians and your foolish police call the Axeman.
Ray Celestin’s debut novel, The Axeman’s Jazz, begins with a macabre letter that sets the tone for the rest of the book. The story is set in New Orleans in 1919 and is built around the real life case of the Axeman. The letter was written by the real killer, making the novel even more intriguing.
The serial killer genre is known to make use of specific tropes. The killer usually suffered trauma in their childhood to make them into the murder machine they are today. The victims are normally helpless to prevent their deaths and the killer is always brilliant and meticulous. These stories can be entertaining up to a point. But when every character becomes saddled with cliches then it’s time for something new. So, what about a novel that breaks away from the traditional journey of the serial killer genre? South African novelist Lauren Beukes’ The Shining Girls takes something we’ve seen before and offers a new slant.
Gaudy spires tore at the sky, tore at creation until the air splintered. They drained the colour from the sky till it was little more than an ashen pall. The buildings, monuments to man’s ingenuity offend the sky. They offended Saul as he ran. He gazed upon the cosmos as the rain hammered down. The rain flayed him as punishment for his crimes. Saul knew he wasn’t the only victim. The rain punished all who were caught.