(The first installment's here; last week's is here. This week I'm singling out a few books whose creators will be at the Stumptown Comics Fest. For more Stumptown-y comics, check out this week's feature, as well as Floating World Comics' impressive Diamond 6 anthology, available for free in selected copies of this week's Mercury.)
Bucko by Jeff Parker and Erika Moen (webcomic)—Jeff Parker and Erika Moen's "dick and fart joke murder mystery" is about as Portlandy as Portland comics get—in one of the first installments, protagonist Rich rides his bike to have PBRs with a friend and see a "Pixies tribute band where the lead sang from a fixed gear bike. Track-standing the whole time." But Parker and Moen are both funny and enthusiastic enough to make Bucko, despite its sometimes too-familiar Portland tropes, a fun, catchy read. You can check it out here, and Moen will have a table at Stumptown, too, presumably with a few copies of DAR! A Super Girly Top Secret Diary Comic on hand.
Strange Tales II by A Whole Bunch of People (Marvel)—Every once in a while, Marvel lets indie creators run amok in their superhero universe—while the results can be hit-or-miss, the ones that hit offer a fantastic, unique sort of fun. This Strange Tales collection is significantly better than the first, and it features a few creators who'll be at Stumptown—Benjamin Marra, Jeffrey Brown, and Farel Dalrymple (whose Spider-Man story is one of the best things in the book). Whether you're into superhero comics or indie comics or—gasp!—superhero and indie comics, any collection that features contributions from Rafael Grampá, Nick Gurewitch, Kate Beaton, Harvey Pekar, James Stokoe, and Jeff Lemire is worth your time.
Beware the Sabre-toothed Vampire by Mike Russell (self-published)—CONFLICT OF INTEREST ALERT! CONFLICT OF INTEREST ALERT! Well, sort of. True, I'm pals with Mike Russell, but also true: I'd be singling out this sabre-toothed vampire business even if I wasn't. Funny and weirdly sweet, this 24-page ashcan contains Russell's ridiculous stories of an adorable vampire whose villainy is impeded by his giant fangs. It's a throwaway concept that the imaginative Russell gets some great mileage out of. At Stumptown, Russell will also have a few of his other books available too, like his Cort and Fatboy children's book and his Star Wars parody Jaxxon's 11.