Friday, September 4, 2015

Review - Soulbinder #1

"We've got a case. C'mon."

Even the best cops square off against their equals in the criminal element from time to time. Rarely though do those criminals boast a supernatural component to their deeds. That's the case in Soulbinder #1. The issue is written by Jimmy Wahl, illustrated by Aaron Bolduc and lettered by Joe Daxberger.

Small Press Expo Announces Programming Schedule

Small Press Expo wants people to get on board with the Small Press Expo. It's helpful then for fans to know what's going on and when and SPX 2015 has just announced its programming schedule. SPX is continuing the festival's established tradition of rich, thought provoking programming featuring leading comics artists and critics in conversation. As in previous years, the Programming Schedule features two simultaneous tracks on both Saturday and Sunday, September 19 and 20.

This year Bill Kartalopoulos has stepped down from the Programming Coordinator role at SPX. Over the course of nine years working in a volunteer capacity, Kartalopoulos has not only established SPX as a destination for robust and thoughtful programming, he has single-handedly elevated the standard for programming events across the entire field of comics festivals and related events. Additionally, this year Kartalopoulos co-curated, with Warren Bernard, the impressive and groundbreaking Alt-Weekly Comics exhibit at the Society of Illustrators that was sponsored by Small Press Expo.

"On behalf of the SPX Executive Committee, as well as the entire SPX Community, we cannot thank Bill enough for the tremendous time and effort he put into making SPX's programming the highest level it could possibly attain." says Small Press Expo Executive Director Warren Bernard.

This year's programming was developed by a committee led by Esther Kim of Fantom Comics that includes Michael Cavna and Jen Vaughn, with Kartalopoulos continuing in a consulting capacity with a focus on international guests. Programming will run on Saturday September 19 from Noon until 7PM, and Sunday September 20 from 12:30PM until 6PM. SPX 2015 programming includes Q&A sessions with Kate Beaton, Noelle Stevenson, Bill Griffith, Dylan Horrocks, Stuart and Kathryn Immonen, Jessica Abel, Scott McCloud, Luke Pearson, Philippa Rice and Phoebe Gloeckner.

Full press release below.

Long Beach Comic Con Announces Show Details

September 12 will be here before you know it. That date is significant because Long Beach Comic Con will descend upon Long Beach, bringing with it a stacked guest list, tons of programming and several major initiatives. All told, the convention will play host to more than 175 guests, 100 panels, and 300 artist alley exhibitors and more than 475 exhibitors. The convention will be held September 12th and 13th in the main exhibition hall at the Long Beach Comic Convention Center.

Initiatives include Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, Golden Apple LBCC Exclusive Star Wars variant cover, The Hero Initiative Limited Edition Beer designed by artist Clayton Crain, the LifeStream Blood Bank, a not-for-profit blood bank with host a blood drive on site and a Magic: The Gathering Tournament. And that doesn't even include the Inaugural Long Beach Space Expo.

The Columbia Memorial Space Center is partnering with Long Beach Comic Con for Space Expo 2015, an innovative and one-of-a-kind program that will connect comic book convention attendees directly with the world of scientific discovery. Panels will be held featuring top aerospace industry notables discussing hot button scientific topics and there will be interactive exhibits featuring robotics, 3D printing, and even a spacesuit – all curated by Columbia Memorial Space Center, the prestigious CA-based learning center dedicated to bringing the wonder and excitement of science to audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

“The Space Expo is an innovative way to connect the public to space and science,” said Columbia Memorial Space Center President Ben Dickow. “Instead of making people come to us, we're taking science and technology to them with two full days of activities and speakers who are at the top of the space field. The Expo will give the public the opportunity to interact directly with NASA professionals and space explorers. We've put together the largest collection of JPL scientists we know of, outside of an academic conference, all ready to share their love of space with you!”

Full press release below.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Review - Aliens/Vampirella #1 (@DynamiteComics)

"I mean, welcome, Vampirella, to our Mars Base One!"

Pop quiz: what do you get when you mix a vampire with an alien? A lot of blood most likely. For humans caught in the middle, the hope is that at least one is on their side and in Aliens/Vampirella #1 from Dynamite Comics, that one is Vampirella. The issue is written by Corinna Bechko, illustrated by Javier Garcia-Miranda, colored by InLight Studios and lettered by Simon Bowland.

Evil Hits Home in Rowans Ruin

The safety of your home is sacred. Everyone should feel safe within their home from external stressors, but what about evils lurking inside your home? Mike Carey and Mike Perkins team up for the first time in over ten years for Rowan Ruins to answer that question.

“Carey and Perkins are both incredible talents and we’re very excited to see this dream team collaborating on a new series,” said BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. “Rowans Ruin combines horror, unsettling thrills, and great characters in a macabre story that starts with a bang and doesn’t let up.”

Katie has always had things pretty easy, growing up in comfortable circumstances in Florida. But when she finds herself with a long summer break before grad school, she decides to do a house-swap with a British girl, Emily, as a way to vacation relatively cheaply—and to get out from under her parents’ attentiveness. England is great, so different from Florida, and the house, called Rowans Rise, is charming. But soon she starts having nightmares—really, really, strong ones. Curious, Katie researches the owners of the house, and discovers it may have more of a sinister history than she thought...

Rowans Ruin #1 (of 4) arrives in comic shops on October 7th with a main cover by Perkins for the price of $3.99 under Diamond order code AUG151194. Also available in a limited quality is a 10 Years incentive cover by Felipe Smith, a Jackpot incentive cover by Perkins and a retailer incentive cover by Andre de Freitas. The Final Order Cutoff deadline for retailers is September 14th.

Full press release below.

Hastings and Valiant Entertainment Team for The Craft of Comics

Ask anyone in the industry about "breaking in" and you'll get a wide variety of answers. Most will say hard work, many will say networking and still others will say it's not worth it. Regardless, people want to be doing something with comics, so Hastings and Valiant are teaming up to help facilitate that for some lucky individual. “The Craft of Comics” is a groundbreaking comic book workshop live-streaming with live audience Q&A for four weeks this fall. The month-long in-store event will launch Saturday, September 19th and continue every Saturday through October 10th.

Broadcasting live into more than 140 Hastings locations nationwide, each installment of “The Craft of Comics” will feature a live tutorial with an all-star Valiant creator as they detail the practice and principles underlying one of the four key disciplines involved in the creation of comics: writing, penciling, inking and coloring. Each Hastings guest will receive a free exclusive “The Craft of Comics” workbook produced by Valiant Entertainment to create and refine their skills over the course of the four-week workshop. Inspired guests can then enter “The Craft of Comics” contest, where one lucky contestant will emerge victoriously and earn immortal bragging rights by having his or her work published in an upcoming Valiant comic.

Full press release below.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Review - Danger Girl: Renegade #1 (@IDWPublishing)

"There. I've found her."

Being an adventurer comes with all sorts of ups and downs. The ups are typically way up and are usually represented by finding a great treasure. The downs can be way down though, as the traveler is forced to contend with all manner of danger and obstacle. Danger doesn't necessarily bother someone like Abbey Chase, using danger as her claim to fame in Danger Girl: Renegade #1 from IDW Publishing. The issue is written by Andy Hartnell, illustrated by Stephen Molnar, colored by John Rauch and lettered by Neil Uyetake.

Operation: Deadside Brings Back Shadowman

Vailant isn't short on major events, with Operation Deadside being the latest. The four-party storyline starts this December in Ninjak #10 by Matt Kindt and Doug Braithwaite. In the issue, Ninjak will collide with Shadowman. And--as an extra-added bonus--the first 40-page chapter of Operation: Deadside will also feature enhanced GLOW-IN-THE-DARK shelf covers by Braithwaite, Tom Muller and Trevor Hairsine.

"I’ve been excited to bring Shadowman back for a while… He’s got a pretty dark past and some murky motivations that help him live up to his name," said "OPERATION: DEADSIDE" writer Matt Kindt told Entertainment Weekly. "As a writer, it’s some pretty juicy stuff to sink your teeth into. I also think that reader anticipation and curiosity over the character is another thing that really makes him attractive… So picking up a character like that and catching up with where he is and what he’s done since is going to be pretty dark...and pretty fun."

In 2015, a covert military intelligence unit sent a team of 20 agents and one special operative into a parallel dimension. Only one came back. The purpose of their mission was classified. Now, out of options, MI-6 has recruited their most elite operative - codname: NINJAK – to follow the doomed mission's sole witness – the mysterious occult specialist PUNK MAMBO – back into the dimension called Deadside…and bring her missing teammates home. What will they find there? And who will be waiting for them?

"We're incredibly excited to be bringing Shadowman back to the forefront and thrilled to be doing it with Matt, Doug and Ninjak," said Valiant CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani. "The fans have been screaming for Shadowman to return. The last time they saw him we left them with an emotional cliffhanger. We've been slowly laying the seeds for his big return and I can't think of a cooler, more exciting way to reveal what he's been up to."

Full press release below.

Small Press Expo Announces Brandon Graham and Phoebe Gloeckner

SPX is one of the best small press shows in the country and it's hitting Maryland in a few weeks. Adding to its already impressive resume are two more creators in Brandon Graham and Phoebe Gloeckner. Their presence will be in addition to that of Kate Beaton, Luke Pearson, Noelle Stevenson, Michael DeForge, Gemma Correll, Noah Van Sciver, Matt Bors, Lilli Carré, Theo Ellsworth, C. Spike Trotman, Jennifer Hayden, Stuart Immonen, Scott McCloud, Bill Griffith, Kathryn Immonen, Derf, Jessica Abel (Sat. Only) and Ted Rall, as well as international guests, Frederik Peeters, Dylan Horrocks, Brecht Vandenbroucke, Bendik Kaltenborn, Anna Ehrlemark and Joan Cornellà.

From his beginnings as a graffiti artist in his hometown of Seattle to his recent run as writer on the Image comics series Prophet as well as creator of his own comics Multiple Warheads, King City, Elevator and Universe So Big, Graham has been a vocal and passionate proponent of independent comics. Mr. Graham will sign his books as a fundraiser for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Diary of a Teenage Girl (Gloeckner's semi-autobiographical graphic novel published in 2002) was released earlier this year as a critically acclaimed movie starring Kristen Wiig. Gloeckner's work was published in such titles as Wimmen's Comix, Young Lust and the Robert Crumb edited magazine, Weirdo.

Full press release below.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review - If (@AlternaComics)

"There are no questions - only answers."

A good anthology has a lot of good stories in it. If from Altera Comics is one such anthology. The anthology features stories by Alex Eckman-Lawn, Brandon Barrows, Casey Reece, Chas! Pangburn, Chip Reece, Dino Caruso, Garrett Sneen, Glenn Matchett, James E. Roche, Jon Clark, Loki DeWitt, Michael Malkin, Mike Salt, Robert Menegus and Zach Bassett. The artists involved are Eckman-Lawn, Dan Lauer, David Brame, Eric Weathers, Fabian Cobos, Sneen, George Athanasiou, Clark, Mariano Laclaustra, Novo Malgapo, Peebo Mondia, Salo Farias, Sam Agro, Ugur Sertcelik, Tim Shinn and Bassett. Letters are by Adam Wollet, Eckman-Lawn, Brant Fowler, Pangburn, Dekara, Erica J. Heflin, Sneen, Athanasiou, Kenny Jeffry, Nic J. Shaw, Sertcelik and Bassett.

Weekly Shonen Jump Joining comiXology

Amazon is known as the world's biggest bookstore. comiXology doesn't really need an introduction as a purveyor of digital comics. And VIZ Media is well-known for manga and anime releases. Naturally, the three teaming up makes a lot of sense, which is exactly what they're doing. The English language digital manga magazine comes out weekly and is published simultaneously with the print version in Japan. This debut gives comiXology and Kindle fans a taste of the latest manga from Japan, on the same day, now accessible to English speakers across North America, the U.K., Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

"Weekly Shonen Jump is a fan favorite magazine where emerging and long-running hit manga series are shown to the world first," says Andy Nakatani, Editor-In-Chief of Weekly Shonen Jump, "We're excited to expand the readership of this magazine to the comiXology and Kindle audience."

Weekly Shonen Jump is published digitally each week by VIZ Media and features the latest installments of some of the world's most popular manga series released to English readers across North America, the U.K., Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand on the same day as the magazine's general print release in Japan. Currently featured series include Black Clover, Bleach, Blue Exorcist, Food Wars! Shokugeki No Soma, My Hero Academia, Nisekoi, One Piece, One-Punch Man, Seraph Of The End: Vampire Reign, Toriko, World Trigger and Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V.

"It's amazing we live in an age where it's possible for fans to read manga in English the same day as appears in Japan," said Chip Mosher, comiXology VP of Communications & Marketing, "This is why we're thrilled to share Weekly Shonen Jump on comiXology and Kindle as we're now able to give fans access to the latest and greatest manga around."

Full press release below.

Baltimore Comic-Con Adds Even More Talent

Just when you thought Baltimore Comic-Con was running out of room for talent to make appearances, the show continues to add even more. The latest additions to the already burgeoning list are Bret Blevins, Geof Isherwood, Justin Jordan, Joe St. Pierre and Marcio Takara.

"It's so great to be able to announce another batch of top-tier comic talent," said Marc Nathan, promoter of the Baltimore Comic-Con. "From industry veterans with long resumes to newcomers making big waves, these creators are all a big part of our little ecosystem, and we know their fans will be excited to meet them in Baltimore."

Beginning his comic book career in 1981, Blevins began a decade of working almost exclusively for Marvel Comics on many of their most famous characters, including Spider-Man, Wolverine, The X-Men, The Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, The Fantastic Four, The New Mutants, Sheena, Ghost Rider, Conan, Solomon Kane, The Inhumans, the Punisher, Sleepwalker, Clive Barker's Nightbreed, The Bozz Chronicles, Cloak and Dagger, The Trouble with Girls, The Destroyer, Terror Inc. He also worked on various licensed properties, including graphic novel length adaptations of the films The Dark Crystal, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Krull and The Last Starfighter. Isherwood drew comics for Marvel, DC, Broadway and Heroes Of The North starting in 1982. Major title runs include Dr. Strange, Suicide Squad, Conan the Barbarian, Conan The King, Namor and The 'Nam.

Jordan first came to the attention of the comic-buying pubic writing his creator-owned The Strange Talent of Luther Strode (with Tradd Moore on art) published through Image Comics. That title was followed up with two sequels, The Legend of Luther Strode and The Legacy of Luther Strode. At Valiant Comics, he wrote the relaunch of Shadowman and co-created Deep State at BOOM! Studios, Spread and Dead Body Road at Image Comics and Dark Gods at Avatar Press. St. Pierre graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and began his professional career in 1992 as a penciller for the fledgling comic book publisher Valiant, taking on writing responsibilities in time as well. His best known work at Valiant was a 10-issue run of the title Secret Weapons, which he wrote and drew.

Marcio Takara is a relative newcoming, having worked in comics since 2006. His art has graced the pages of Marvel Comics' Marvel Adventures Super Heroes, Captain Marvel and Armor Wars, Image Comics' Dynamo5, BOOM! Studios' The Incredibles and Incorruptible, and DC Comics' Blue Beetle, The Flash and Smallville: Lantern. He has also launched a successful Kickstarter project with writer Bryan Q. Miller called Earthward, and provided artwork for the game League of Legends.

Full press release below.