Monday, August 3, 2015

Review - Zodiac Starforce #1 (@DarkHorseComics)

"I thought I was done with monsters."

There's a lot to like in Sailor Moon as a series, once you get past the relatively skimpy clothing of the title heroine and her compatriots. There were deep messages surrounding friendship pervasive throughout and the main characters learned they could get farther by relying on one another as opposed to going it alone. There are similar themes on display in Zodiac Starforce #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Kevin Panetta, illustrated by Paulina Ganucheau and color assists by Savanna Ganucheau.

Archaia Presents Final Installment of Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths

When Archaia and The Jim Henson Company team up, good things are bound to happen. They've teamed up in the past and now they're teaming up for the third and final installment in the exciting prequel to The Dark Crystal film, Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths Vol. 3, from writer Matthew Dow Smith and returning artist Alex Sheikman. The hardcover also features behind-the-scenes photos and concept sketches from The Jim Henson Company Archives documenting how the puppet design of one creature that never made it into the film was adapted and brought to life on the comic page.

“Archaia has had the joy of working with The Jim Henson Company for many years now, and revealing the prequel to The Dark Crystal has been a great honor,” said BOOM! Studios President of Publishing & Marketing Filip Sablik. “The world of The Dark Crystal is incredibly rich and detailed, and being able to dive into the history and lore of the Skeksis and Gelfling has been amazing. We’re very excited for readers to see how it all ends—and how it all begins.”

Following the events of the Great Conjunction, the once-powerful Urskeks have been split into two separate beings: the Skeksis and the Mystics. As the aftermath of the Great Conjunction wreaks havoc upon the Gelfling tribes, the Gelfling may have no choice but to rely upon the one race offering aid: the Skeksis.

Archaia’s Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths Vol. 3 hardcover arrives in comic shops on September 2nd and in bookstores September 8th with a cover price of $24.99 under Diamond code JUL151086. The cover is illustrated by legendary conceptual artist Brian Froud. The Final Order Cutoff deadline for retailers is August 10th.

Full press release below.

Hang Dai Coming to Baltimore Comic-Con

Hang Dai Studios is legendary in its own right. The Brooklyn collective will be sending five of its biggest names to Baltimore Comic-Con in September, including Dean "The Fox" Haspiel, Gregory "B+F" Benton, Christa "Ghetto Klown" Cassano, Jonathan "Plunder" Lang and Vito "Stray" Delsante. The group will be playing the dozens and selling their latest comix, prints, graphic novels and be available for commissions. Hang Dai Editions (in conjunction with Alternative Comics), will be debuting their three new graphic novels: Smoke by Benton, Beef With Tomato by Haspiel and Schmuck by the late Seth Kushner.

Haspiel created Billy Dogma, illustrated for HBO's "Bored To Death," was a Master Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, is a Yaddo fellow and a playwright, helped pioneer personal webcomics with the invention of and, and is the co-founder of Hang Dai Editions in Brooklyn, NY. Benton's book B+F was awarded the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art's inaugural Award of Excellence at MoCCAFest 2013. An expanded version of B+F was published in the autumn of 2013 through Adhouse Books (USA) and Editions çà et là (France). Cassano has a background in fine arts and began making comics in 2012 when she attended The Atlantic Center for the Arts. In 2013 she became a member of Hang Dai Studios in Gowanus, Brooklyn, where she wrote and drew The Giant Effect, did a comix-accordian collaboration with Haspiel called A Letter Lasts Longer and contributed to The Hang Dai Comix Anthology and Kushner's Schmuck.

Swifty Lang was born in Liege, Belgium and raised in South Florida. He received his M.A. in Film Studies from the University of Amsterdam. He is a comix writer and filmmaker. He won a Van Gogh Award for World Cinema Directing in 2015 from the Amsterdam International Film Festival for his film The Showing. Swifty is co-creator of the critically acclaimed, Feeding Ground (Archaia), which was optioned by Pressman Films in 2014. He was a contributor to Occupy Comics (Black Mask). He has worked with IDW on Garbage Pail Kids with Haspiel and lived his childhood dream of creating a GPK. Delsante is a comic book writer/graphic novelist and the co-creator of Stray, published by Action Lab Entertainment. He's written for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, and Simon & Schuster, including stories for Superman, Batman, X-Men and Scooby Doo, and his stories have been reprinted overseas.

Full press release below.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Review - Transformers: Combiner Hunters One-Shot (@IDWPublishing)

"Let's just get through the next eight hours in peace and quiet."

For as much as the Autobots and Decepticons want to wage war against one another, there are some factions of Transformers who aren't as keen on the endless conflict. One of those is Windblade, who's struggling to find a way to unseat Starscream in more peaceful ways. In the meantime, she has to contend with other things, such as Arcee in Transformers: Combiner Hunters One-Shot from IDW Publishing. The issue is written by Mairghread Scott, illustrated by Sara Pitra-Durocher, colored by Yamaishi and lettered by Tom B. Long.

Patrick McHale and Jim Campbell Return for Over the Garden Wall

When Patrick McHale and Jim Campbell team up, good things happen. KaBOOM! knows that as well and they're teaming the two up together again for Over the Garden Wall, a new, four-issue limited comic series. Last November, Cartoon Network debuted McHale’s eerily sweet Over the Garden Wall, its first original animated miniseries, about half-brothers Wirt and Greg trying to find their way home. KaBOOM! published a companion one-shot that was eagerly snapped up by fans, selling out immediately.

“We are incredibly excited to dive back into the unknown with Patrick and Jim,” said BOOM! Studios President of Publishing and Marketing Filip Sablik. “We adored the Over the Garden Wall animated miniseries here at BOOM!, and this new limited series will allow us to explore even more adventures with Wirt, Greg, the Woodsman, and all our favorite characters.”

It’s a new Over the Garden Wall story set between episodes 3 and 4 of the animated series. Wirt and Greg are trying to hitch a ride out of schooltown but end up having to walk. Soon, they come upon two girls playing, and wind up having to keep them entertained so that they don’t wake their giant father. Headlined by an all-star voice-cast that includes Elijah Wood, Collin Dean and Melanie Lynskey, Over the Garden Wall is Cartoon Network’s first-ever miniseries, an animated comedy/fantasy story about two brothers, Wirt and Greg, who are trapped in a mysterious world. In this 10-part production, music plays an important role with a soundtrack full of Americana-influenced original songs. A DVD collecting all of the episodes will be released on September 8. Over the Garden Wall is created by Patrick McHale and produced by Cartoon Network Studios.

Over the Garden Wall #1 (of 4) arrives in comic shops on August 26th with a main cover by Campbell for the price of $3.99 under Diamond order code JUN151090. Also available in a limited quantity is a subscription variant by Adventure Time storyboard artist Steve Wolfhard, a 10 Years incentive cover by Jeffrey Brown and a retailer incentive cover by creator Patrick McHale. The Final Order Cutoff deadline for retailers is August 3rd.

Full press release below.

The Shadow Wars Start in August

Ninjak #6 kicks off a brand new story arc from Matt Kindt and Raúl Allén called The Shadow Wars. It kicks off Ninjak's quest to work his way through the secret leadership of the Shadow Seven and throws some new opponents in his path. And if the cover of the first issue is any indication, it's pretty clear that he's going up against some crazy enemies.

Ninjak went to Tokyo to destroy the shadowy Weaponeer arms cartel from the inside out, beginning with its secret council of shinobi masters…the Shadow Seven. Now, the world’s top super-spy is cutting his way through the four death-defying members – The Barbe, Fitzy, Fakir, and Sanguine – that stand between him and the one secret that still eludes him… Who really wields the power behind the world’s most powerful terrorist network? Who is the secret seventh member of the Shadow Seven? And what do they want with Colin King?

Ninjak #6 hits stores August 26. It features covers by Mico Suayan, Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic, Dave Johnson, Kindt and Clayton Henry. Full press release below.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review - Hacktivist Vol. 2 #1 (@Archaia)

"/all targets_verified. /all targets_confirmed. EXECUTE."

There's a heightened awareness surrounding surveillance--courtesy of Snowden--that has defined a new zeitgeist for the world. It's one where surveillance is viewed as a gift and a curse and offers little comforts when it comes to protecting one's identity and privacy. Tapping into that zeitgeist is Hacktivist Vol. 2 #1 from Archaia, created by Alyssa Milano, written by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing, illustrated by Marcus To, colored by Ian Herring (with Becka Kenzie) and lettered by Deron Bennett.

Valiant 25th Anniversary Convention Tour Adds New Dates

Valiant has already made a ton of appearances at shows all across North America. That's not enough for the rapidly ascending publisher though, as they're adding new dates for their 25th Anniversary Convention Tour. The new dates extend the publisher's year-long celebration of 25 years. Kicking off at StocktonCon 2015 in Stockton, CA on August 8th, the next leg of Valiant's comic book roadshow will be coming soon to fans at Alamo City Comic Con 2015 in San Antonio, TX, Rose City Comic Con 2015 in Portland, OR, Baltimore Comic Con 2015 in Baltimore, MD, and New York Comic Con 2015 in New York, NY…with many more major appearances anywhere and everywhere in between!

Valiant is bringing its biggest, best and brightest to fans across the country, beginning this August. The second leg of the Valiant 25th Anniversary Convention Tour officially kicks off next week at StocktonCon 2015 in Stockton, CA – and they're bringing a boatload of giveaways and merchandise to kick things off. From Saturday, August 8th through Sunday, August 9th, join Valiant at Booth #45/46 inside the Stockton Arena and find out why Valiant is the best reviewed publisher in comics today with a complete collection of volume one trade paperbacks – each intro-priced at just $9.99.

Fans can also check out Valiant's acclaimed ongoing and limited series with trade paperback collections from the most nominated publisher of the 2015 Harvey Awards with nominated titles including The Valiant and The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage. Plus, jump on board Valiant's latest sold-out series with Book of Death, Divinity, Bloodshot Reborn and more – available at the Valiant booth all weekend long.

Full press release below.

Dynamite Entertainment Kicks Off Third Groupees Bundle

Dynamite Entertainment and Groupees LLC are teaming up for their third book bundle promotion that will once again allow comic fans and potential new fans, the chance to purchase 70 digital Dynamite comics with "Pay What You Want" purchasing power. The Dynamite Swords, Sandals and Sorcery! Groupees bundle marks the third time the two companies have worked together. In the Dynamite Swords, Sandals and Sorcery! Groupees bundle, customers can purchase a bundle of digital comic book and graphic novels for a price they decide.

Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment, says, "Our first two team-ups were a tremendous success. We're proud to continue working with Groupees to create more awareness of comics among their audience, who in turn will come into our industry and many of whom will then become ongoing readers. We continue to see a lift in titles having re-orders through Diamond and digital sales with this model."

The first tier of exciting digital content is unlocked with a $1.00 minimum pledge which helps new fans discover some of Dynamite's best-selling titles including Game of Thrones #1. Fans can increase the title count by pledging at least in the $5.00 tier. Dynamite offers a highly desirable batch of comics at the third tier for a $10.00 minimum pledge or more to help support the Dynamite line of titles. While customers who make a pledge of $50.00 or more will receive not only the digital comics, but also a unique "Premium Mystery Box" of 4 Dynamite Premium Limited Edition Comics MSRP'ing at over $200 sent to the address they provide. Dynamite and Groupees will also feature - for the first time - a unique "Premium Mystery Box" of high-end collectible items for customers who pledge at the $50 tier or higher with the full digital comics package. A portion of the proceeds will be contributed to one of the industry's most important charitable organizations, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The bundle promotion is running now. For those who participate in the "Pay What You Want" initiative with considerable support, Dynamite will reward the top 10 contributors with a greater package of Dynamite Premium Limited Edition Comics.

Here is the breakdown:

#1 Contributor - $1,000.00 of Dynamite Premium books (at our MSRP)

#2 Contributor - $800.00 of Dynamite Premium books (at our MSRP)

#3 Contributor - $700.00 of Dynamite Premium books (at our MSRP)

#4 Contributor - $600.00 of Dynamite Premium books (at our MSRP)

#5 Contributor - $500.00 of Dynamite Premium books (at our MSRP)

#6 - #10 Contributors - $400.00 of Dynamite Premium books (at our MSRP)

Thomas Brooke, Founder and CEO of Groupees, adds, "We are excited to work with Nick and the Dynamite team on another promotion featuring a fantastic lineup of comic books from some of the industry's most accomplished creators and artists. Promotions such as these are a great vehicle for discovery, and we are honored to partner with Dynamite to help introduce new fans from around the globe to comic books."

Full press release and books below.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Review - Awake #1 (@ActionLab)

"Regn, there is nothing to fear here. Not for you."

Climate change is something affecting our planet. Finding ways to stop the damage is vital, but that doesn't stop detractors from naysaying the efforts. It'd be helpful to have an individual who could heal the planet with special powers, as in Awake #1 from Action Lab Entertainment. The issue is written by Susan Beneville, illustrated by Brian Hess, lettered by Jaymes Reed and flatted by Darne Lang.

Book of Death: The Fall of Bloodshot #1 Sells Out Ahead of Second Printing

Readers really, really want to know what's happening to Bloodshot. So much so that Book of Death: The Fall of Bloodshot #1 has sold out of its first printing and will return to shelves September 2 with a second printing. Jeff Lemire and Doug Braithwaite team up to provide readers a glimpse into the future fate and ultimate end for Project Rising Spirit's indestructible commando in a special standalone tale bridging BLOODSHOT REBORN and BOOK OF DEATH!

The lovers he’s known, the allies he’s trusted… All will eventually return to dust… But will the nanites that transformed Bloodshot – body, mind and soul – ever let him truly rest? For the very first time, read an essential chapter of the Book of the Geomancer as Project Rising Spirit’s ultimate walking weapon soldiers on from the modern day into the far future of the Valiant Universe…and reveals the truth behind what could be the very last Bloodshot story that will ever come to pass…

Full press release below.

Baltimore Comic-Con Adds Jules Feiffer

Baltimore Comic-Con already has everything you could want from a show and then some. Why not add a little more? The show announces the addition of industry veteran Jules Feiffer as a special guest. Feiffer began his storied career in comics back in the 1940s working under comics giant Will Eisner at Eisner's studio. Initially working on art clean-up chores, Feiffer soon found himself with writing responsibilities, finishing Eisner's plots on The Spirit. He eventually launched his own comic, Clifford, which ran within the pages of The Spirit between 1949 and 1951.

"This is such a privilege," said Marc Nathan, promoter of the Baltimore Comic-Con. "Jules Feiffer is one of the greats of our industry, not to mention his many accomplishments outside of comics. He has seen and done so much, and continues to produce great work to this day. We couldn't be more pleased to have Jules joining us in 2015!"

Generally thought of as the godfather of alt-weekly newspaper comix, Feiffer launched his own strip, Sick Sick Sick, in the pages of The Village Voice in 1956. It was later renamed Feiffer's Fables and finally just the eponymous Feiffer, which ran in the paper for over 40 years. Feiffer was nationally syndicated and has been collected in books from McGraw-Hill and Fantagraphics. More recently, Feiffer created his graphic novel, Kill My Mother. Released by the Liveright division of W.W. Norton, Kill My Mother garnered accolades such as winning the 2015 NCS Reuben Award for Graphic Novel, being declared a Vanity Fair Best Book in 2014 and a Kirkus Review Best Fiction Book in 2014, as well as being nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album-New.

Beyond his work in comics, Feiffer is a man of many talents. He is a novelist, a non-fiction writer (including The Great Comic Book Heroes), an autobiographer, a playwright and a children's book author. He has adapted works to musicals and film alike. He has taught at ivy league universities and continues to hold an adjunct professorship at Stony Brook Southampton. And beyond his aforementioned accolades, he has been recipient of an Academy Award, an Obie Award, an Outer Circle Critics Award, a Pulitzer Prize for political cartooning, a George Polk Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Writers Guild of America, a Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Cartoonists Society and has been inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Full press release below.