Weird comics artist Q Hayashida is back with Dai Dark, her successor to fantasy-horror-comedy masterpiece Dorohedoro. The story is set in space this time, but all the hallmarks of her style are there: sprawling catacombs of rust, bone, and gore; bizarre, setting-specific conceits everybody takes for granted; and a cast of lovable goofs who engage their enemies in shocking violence. Plus, there's Shimada Death! With the release of the first volume, now's as good a time as ever to get in on the ground floor and see how the story shakes out.
There have been plenty of stories at this point about the promise and peril of musical genius. What sets Blue in Green ahead of the pack is the way that its art works in synergy with its writing, transforming what could have been a fun throwback to Vertigo horror comics into an experience with genuine flow and texture. It's a comic that captures how it feels to both hear and play music, one of the hardest things to do in a non-musical artform. For that alone it has my recommendation.
One of Japan's most famous cultural institutions is the Takarazuka Revue, a female-led theater company that puts on productions where women play every role (including the male characters!). Kageki Shojo!! lightly fictionalizes the Revue, giving us the story of two teenage girls applying to an all-female theater troupe and their respective experiences working their way through the ranks. It grapples with tough topics (eating disorders, bullying, stalkers) but grants its characters the space to navigate them on their own terms, rather than leaning on melodramatic twists. A refreshingly down-to-earth series, with further volumes on the way!