The Masks and Mobsters team of Josh Williamson and Mike Henderson have taken their world of 1940s pulp noir and infused it with a generous dose of ‘the best Christmas story ever told‘ – Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – for this brilliant festive offering. As two hitmen try to hunt down a certain, Ebeneezer Scrooge, they are warned off their hit by some malevolent spirits who have other plans for Mr Scrooge.

The art of writing a Christmas special isn’t easy. Whatever medium you’re working in the need to avoid mawkishness, sentimentality or twee cliche is a tricky one to get right, so what do you do if you are Britain’s leading sci-fi comic? Well in the case of the 2000AD Christmas Special they have gone for quantity rather than seasonal themed merriment. This bumper issue features 100+ pages, to keep you going over the festive period, and is packed with the usual high quality action adventure you would expect. With several epic stories coming to their conclusion in the last few months,  new series and story arcs begin with this issue, and so there has never been a better time to get into 2000AD

Back in August we reviewed the sublime Thoughts on a Winter Morning from Kurt Busiek and Steve Lieber and published by digital only imprint MonkeyBrain comics. This was one of those highly personal and deeply charming books that make you cherish the depth on offer in the world of digital comics and now MonkeyBrain have done it again and released another, equally wonderful, but delightfully simple book in the shape of The Stars Below by Zack Smith and Rich Ellis.

If I were to describe this as a dialogue free, black and white book about a pigeon, you would justifiably be a bit wary and think that sounds incredibly dull, but that is to do this book a huge disservice. Yes, it is a book about a pigeon, and yes it has no dialogue or colour, but it is utterly compelling and quite mesmerising. Smith’s pacing of the story is sublime, with subtle scene setting, dynamic action and a sweet ending. Meanwhile Ellis’s work oozes charm and character making the pigeon’s emotions clear without ever resorting to cartoonish anthropomorphism.  With some beautiful and clever layouts, including a splash page of the bird being chased through an office block by an eagle and a brilliant Will Eisner inspired final page, this is a real showcase for Ellis’s deft touch.

Although this book might not sound like everyones cup of tea, at the bargain price of 69p means it is well worth downloading and will charm and delight in equal measures while reminding you that not every comic has to be packed full of supernatural scares and superhero slugfests be utterly wonderful.

The Stars Below is available from MonkeyBrain comics on ComiXology for 69p

This week sees the debut of Dan Goldman’s Red Light Properties published via MonkeyBrain comics. This tripped out psychedelic supernatural sleuthing book, is a perfect fit for the MonkeyBrain imprint and sees the first four titles available to download in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

With its story of psychic estate agents who clean up previously haunted properties in order make them saleable (or green lighted) Red Light Properties is a haunting mix of supernatural whodunnit with a surreal drugged out quality – in a large part thanks to lead character Jude’s reliance on psychedelics in order to waken the spirits. It’s eclectic mix of styles makes it feel like a strange mix of classic UK TV show Randall and Hopkirk Deceased, mixed with Stephen Kings the Shining and given a Grant Morrison style psychedelic makeover under the hot Miami sun.  Goldman’s mixed media art style combines stylised line work with photographic backgrounds and digital rendering helps further the other worldly feel to the book, as does the use of landscape pages which allows Goldman’s layouts to have a real confidence to them and work brilliantly as a digital product.

Adventure Time and Dinosaur Comics writer, Ryan NorthWe’ve been fans of the brilliantly bonkers Adventure Time from Boom! Studios since issue 1. With it’s hyperactive, tripped out stories and it’s technical colour acid-trip visuals it’s a real sensory overload of a comic – but all in the right ways! We wanted to find out more about the people who come up with these crazy adventures of Finn, Jake and Princess Bubblegum, so we contacted writer Ryan North to ask him where he gets his inspiration from, why he thinks Adventure Time has been such a hit and also to talk about his equally nutso web series Dinosaur Comics .

Upgrade Soul is the new digital comics project from artist Ezra Claytan Daniels, developer Erik Loyer and composer Alexis Gideon. It’s a fantastic sci-fi graphic novel in app form with it’s own unique audio soundtrack it tells the story of aging couple, Hank and Molly Nonnar who are given the chance to extend their lives by upgrading their souls. But all is not as simple as it might seem and the events play out with exquisite, highly detailed artwork from writer/artist Daniels and moody atmospheric music from Gideon. It’s so much more than just a page turner though with a fantastically readable user interface and motion graphic elements within each page that help it really come to life. Upgrade Soul is an absolute gem of a title, so we got in touch with Ezra, Erik and Alexis to find out just how this fantastic project came into being.

Having graced the pages of 2000AD since 1977, Judge Dredd is a quintessentially British comic book creation, mixing bleak dystopian science-fiction with sharp satire and a black, often odd-ball, sense of humour. Getting the recipe right is a fine art that only a handful of greats have managed to do with aplomb. Which brings us to this, the first issue of a new ongoing Judge Dredd series from IDW Publishing. This is the second attempt at bringing the Mega City lawman to a wider (i.e. US) audience, after a short run with DC in the early 1990s. But as is often the case when Dredd is taken out of the safe confines of his homeland it is never quite the same, and with this new incarnation it looks like Dredd, it reads like Dredd, but there’s something missing.

Whther it’s larger than life characters, the eternal battle of good vs evil or tight fighting lycra outfits, the world of comics and professional wrestling have a lot in common. We’ve previously spoken to artist Jill Thompson about her work with wrestlers like Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho, but what about the wrestlers themselves? With many wrestlers waxing lyrical about their love of all things comics-related on Twitter and social media, we caught up with one of the most passionate – Impact Wrestling’s Christopher Daniels. This stalwart of independent wrestling in the US and current star of  Impact Wrestling on Spike TV, we asked the man known as the ‘Fallen Angel’ just why there is so much in common between the two worlds and whether we could ever see his alter ego grace the printed page.  

Jeff Lemire’s The Underwater Welder reminds you, that underneath their superhero hyperbole comics truly are still an art form, capable of telling intelligent, emotive and highly personal tales without resorting to twee cliche. On the surface this tale of the titular sub mariner is a Twilight Zone style supernatural mystery about a diver who discovers a mysterious pocket watch at the bottom of the ocean and the strange link it has to his past, in particular his missing father who disappeared on Halloween in mysterious circumstances. But this rather circumspect synopsis does not do the plot justice as under the surface are fathoms worth of hidden depths that make this a truly wonderful read.

You wait for ages for a book with a big blue cartoon guardian angel in and then two come along at once. However IDW’s Memorial: Imaginary Friends  by Chris Roberson and Rich Ellis could not be more different from Grant Morrison’s Happy, even though its main characters share a similar hue!

Imaginary Friends is the follow up to IDW’s charming Memorial series from last year and has a very classic fairy tale feel to it. Reminiscent of 80s classics like a Neverending Story or Labyrinth with a hint of the Narnia books and a generous dose of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman for good measure, this new instalment introduces Jonathan who is struggling to look after his senile mother and trying to figure out why she is drawing pictures of his childhood imaginary best friend, – an 8 foot blue dinosaur called Nox. When his daughter is kidnapped, Jonathan discovers Nox has entered the real world and they must set off to rescue  her with the help of Em, Peter and Schodinger the cat, who are alerted to this improbable arrival and offer to help rescue his daughter from the sinister world of Maybe

Although it doesn’t offer the reader anything particularly new and original, Memorial’s charming artwork and sweet, simple  story makes it a really fun read. Released fortnightly as digital exclusives these 10 page mini issues are a bargain  at 69p and really make the most of it’s simple adventure based plot which  will definitely keep you coming back for more as we learn yet more about Em and the world of Maybe.

Memorial: Imaginary Friends is available via the ComiXology app or via the IDW publishing app and the first Memorial story is available here.