Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Arrivals: September 1, 2010

Hard to believe that it's already September; the summer definitely flew by. With September though comes football season and all the trappings of fantasy leagues. Huzzah. You're not here for fantasy football advice though (which I can gladly discuss 24/7) and with this being a comics site I should probably mention what book is coming out this week you may be interested in. That book is Mecha-Nation #1.

Mecha-Nation #1 is written by Greg Weisman, Vic Cook & Greg Guler and features art by Antonio Campo. In it, high school students Kevin, Marcus, Ray, Zehra and Susie have only recently discovered their true natures as Stealth, Blast!, Tank, Charge and Farenheit. Fears of a mole in Glass Lake High School cause them to fear that their secret identities are at risk.

The book has the look and feel of the Esurance commercials or Kim Possible with the art style. It's sort of manga-ish even. I guess though that since the story takes place in a high school that it's a prerequisite that the illustrations have that manga feel to them.

Enjoy!

New Arrivals: September 1, 2010

Stan Lee's Soldier Zero Trailer

Call me old fashioned, but I still have a slight difficulty in grasping the concept of a trailer for a comic book. I mean, naturally the climax of the trailer would be turning the page to the big reveal right (or the ad for wrestler action figures)?

I'm going on this rant because after the jump you can check out the fresh from the oven trailer for Soldier Zero, the upcoming release born of the collaboration between Stan Lee and BOOM! Studios and written by Paul Cornell with art by Javier Pina. The first issue ships this October. When you watch the trailer pay particularly close to the end...that's where you can learn how to forge Stan Lee's signature!


Defense with the BoomPick


Here we are again. Another week with more work to get done and still too many days until the long Labor Day weekend. Don’t fret yet, as all the new comics are there to break the cycle and give you something fresh to read. For my pick this week I'm going with a comic that falls in line with the action movies of old like Die Hard or Lethal Weapon. A five issue series aptly named 5 Days to Die #1 from IDW Publishing, written by Andy Schmidt and art by Chee. Each issue is a day in a sort of 24 fashion that brings our hero one day closer to his end.

5 Days to Die chronicles the trials of Ray Crisara, a cop John Mclane would be proud to work with, making a call that no-one should have to make. After surviving a terrible traffic accident that left his wife dead, his daughter fighting for life and him with a brain injury slowly killing him life isn’t getting any better for Ray. Realizing that his accident wasn’t in fact an accident, but a possible hit by the largest drug lord in the city sets him on the one of two paths. He has to decide whether to hunt down the men responsible for taking everything away from him or spend his last few days with his daughter. I see this comic getting gritty and raw when you have a man who has nothing left to lose. What’s to stop him from doing whatever it takes?

Review - Radical Premiere: Mata Hari



I don’t even know where to begin about this preview edition for the Graphic Novel of the same name Radical Comics is putting out in spring of 2011. Instead of reading other books I had available I finished the Radical Premiere: Mata Hari preview and was drawn in completely and felt compelled to write. I don’t know if you’ve noticed lately but I’ve been slacking and not writing as much in the last few weeks, so that is no small feat.

What elements do we have here? We have a mysterious exotic dancer with ties to high ranking military members (some confirmed, some created or at least not confirmed). We have a character that sits, as Rich Wilkes the creator and writer would have us believe, at the center of allied success in World War I. We have a historical setting that always intrigues me. If you read the backstory, a six page “Proposition” by Wilkes at the end, we may have one of the central figures in shaping our modern world.

Oh, you hadn’t heard of Mata Hari? Neither had I. What blows my mind is that while it cannot be confirmed as the files surrounding her real life trial as a spy in France are sealed, it could be ENTIRELY true as presented in this comic.

So what do we see in this preview edition? The story is being told from the perspective of a little girl that found her Uncle Vadim Maslov’s journal. She is a creepy girl that committed a pretty heinous crime of beheading a corpse and carrying it around with her. This is the first of many places where the illustration of Roy Allan Martinez and paints of Drazenka Kimpel were really stunning. The girl is creepy but also seems to have some information worth finding.

In the end this comic sets up a love triangle between Maslov, a renowned photographer during WWI, General Robert Nivelle and Mata Hari. This would eventually lead to Mata Hari being accused of treason and directly being responsible for the death of 50,000 soldiers during the Spring Offensive of 1917 by the French. I can already tell from the writing that the novel will skillfully weave together fact and presumed fiction to weave an intriguing story where Mata Hari may be the scapegoat that saved France from becoming a part of the German Empire in WWI.

Mata being that close to General Nivelle and his personal photographer Maslov would have given her access to important information. Who knows if anyone was led astray? Her exotic dancing made her one of the most famous entertainers in Europe; did it also play a role in shaping the world from the early 20th century to now?

I know I’m dying to know. If the writing can somehow make me believe that six page proposition then this will be a really fun take on history as we know it. If only this novel was coming out sooner. See you in spring 2011 Mata Hari, I know I’m intrigued. Cue interiors.

Review – Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard #3

From tales of seductress, real life spies to the tale of mice fit to occupy a high fantasy tale we delve into the next entertaining issue of Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard. Archaia Entertainment and David Petersen bring us the third issue in this four part title.

The contest to tell June, the bartender and proprietor of an inn, the best story in order to clear a bar tab continues. The cast of characters in the bar range from surly fighters to bards to locals and every mouse covets the top prize. Once again the title brings a variety of art styles and story telling to the table which will surely make June’s decision that much more difficult.

Care to learn more about the stories within? Good, then please stick around and join me after the break.

As usual the bar scenes are really well written. Sometimes the conversations and writing in comics can be so cliché that it is hard to picture it actually happening. The scenes laid out by Petersen are anything but as the patrons take shots at each other, rate the stories that are told and generally just enjoy an evening in the bar playing games and relaxing by the fire. There isn’t anything that stands out about the scenes except how…comforting they seem. Does that make any sense? As the guard mouse goes to bed after offering his story (after all he has a patrol in the morning) a new tale is begun.

The first story is the tale of "A Mouse Named Fox," drawn and written by Katie Cook. The artwork almost reminded me of a children’s book. It didn’t strive to be ultra-realistic and had lots of bright pictures. Some foxes were unable to have children and were very sad. One day a bird swooped down and caught a mouse but dropped a bundle as it flew away. The bundle turned out to be a baby mouse, which the foxes raised as their own. The mouse named Fox would soon learn that he was not a real fox but still manage to find his place amongst his own.

After some ripe comments from the crowd, a mouse named Aynslee decides to submit his tale after seven games in a row won at a board game. Alas, those victories won’t pay a bar tab but with any luck the story of "The Critic," drawn and written by Guy Davis, will for the poor mouse. The critic is a comical tale where communication takes place in symbols. An artist depicts a tale of a mouse slaying an owl to become king and the critic decides to try this for himself. Things do not go as planned, however, and the mouse returns to let the artist know his final “critique” of his work. It seems that neither mouse was ever quite the same. The owls in this story were pretty creepy and the story had quite the amusing finish. Overall the art was simple but still managed to get across facial expressions that helped set the mood.

Next up is Ewyn the Bard with "The Ballad of Nettledown," drawn and written by Nate Pride. Nettledown is a town on the fringe of a river that was bound for flooding and destruction. One brave mouse named Doren of the guard came to the town warning of the oncoming flood. Before the town could be wiped from memory Doren does the impossible and not only saves the down but redirects the water to a new quarry. The means by which he completes this act is the miraculous part. The art in this story was closest to Petersen’s own in the bar and I thought it was really well done. I also enjoyed the writing as it was done in song form with rhymes and a recurring chorus as would befit a bard.

As the bard discusses tragedy avoided, one mouse begs to differ. How can there be tragedy after all if no one lives to tell the tale? Had the town been wiped out, they would have been faceless masses. Mourning for a single lost love however, that is true tragedy. Thus we get the final tale of this issue, an interesting take on The Raven.

That’s right, Poe’s famous writing with art and adaptation done by Jason Shawn Alexander and colors by Travis Ingram. Most people know of the raven and and Poe’s telling of a man's slow descent into insanity as he mourns his lost Lenore. This broken down mouse is more than done justice in this adaptation. With dark foreboding colors and a towering raven (the subject has become a mouse), this is by far my favorite work in this issue. The raw emotion drawn into the mouse is pretty incredible. For an issue that didn’t see as much action and more wit, I thought this brought it to an emotional close.

Curious what my art critiques amount to? Check out the interiors below to find out for yourself and pick this title up when it hits stores.  If you’ve enjoyed the first two issues you’ll find more of the same here.

George R.R. Martin's Doorways Lanching from IDW

George R. R. Martin is most famous for two things: the series titled A Song of Ice and Fire (one of the books, Game of Thrones will be on HBO next year) and pissing off fans. How is he pissing off fans? By not finishing what he's started with the series. I'm guessing part of that time was spent trying to figure out where to take the storyline next, but part of it was also spent working alongside IDW on a new four-issue series called Doorways.

"DOORWAYS was the great 'what if' of my career, the television pilot that was right on the edge of being greenlit to series... but in the end was not. I spent a year and a half of my life with Tom and Cat, writing about them, thinking about them, making plans for their adventures. It broke my heart when it all came to naught,” said Martin. “But now, at last, thanks to IDW and the talent of Stefano Martino, the world will get to share some of those adventures. And even better, the comics format will allow us to do things with the story and the visuals that we would never have been able to do on television! I couldn't be more excited."

Doorways follows Dr. Tom Mason on a multi-dimensional journey as he attempts to solve the mystery of Cat, a strange, feral young woman who pops up in his E.R. one night, injured and barely able to communicate, except by ripping off limbs. Dr. Mason learns that Cat is being hunted by the government and a group of people (?) from another dimension.

Wearing rags that nearly disintegrate, Dr. Tom is drawn in the girl’s strange fears, until he discovers that “Cat” is a person of interest to the government, and a very odd group of “people” that don’t seem to be from around here… “here” being our dimension…

Artist Rebecca Wrigley will provide incentive covers for each issue of the initial series that hits stores in November.

Full press release after the jump.

Open DOORWAYS with George R.R. Martin
All-new comic series from award winning fantasy author

Coming in November

San Diego, CA (August 27, 2010) – Acclaimed novelist and Hugo and Nebula award-winning author of The Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin, has teamed up with IDW Publishing, to release an all-new miniseries, entitled DOORWAYS. Based on his pilot script for a television series that never was, DOORWAYS offers Martin’s science-fiction genius in an initial four-issue series. Martin and artist Stefano Martino bring this reality-bending tale to life starting in November.

"DOORWAYS was the great 'what if' of my career, the television pilot that was right on the edge of being greenlit to series... but in the end was not. I spent a year and a half of my life with Tom and Cat, writing about them, thinking about them, making plans for their adventures. It broke my heart when it all came to naught,” said Martin. “But now, at last, thanks to IDW and the talent of Stefano Martino, the world will get to share some of those adventures. And even better, the comics format will allow us to do things with the story and the visuals that we would never have been able to do on television! I couldn't be more excited."

Every issue of DOORWAYS treats Dr. Tom Mason, and fans, to the very definition of terrifyingly incredible, as doors open to worlds that are twisted mirror of ours. Said DOORWAYS editor Mariah Huehner, “One of the most interesting is a world with no oil. Which is pretty timely.”

DOORWAYS follows Dr. Tom Mason on a multi-dimensional journey as he tries to solve the mystery of Cat, a strange, feral young woman who pops up in his E.R. one night, injured and barely able to communicate, except by ripping off limbs.

Wearing rags that nearly disintegrate, Dr. Tom is drawn in the girl’s strange fears, until he discovers that “Cat” is a person of interest to the government, and a very odd group of “people” that don’t seem to be from around here… “here” being our dimension…

“Working with George on this project is a lot of fun,” continued Huehner. “It’s a dark sci-fi/fantasy, that’s not unlike the Twilight Zone in terms of taking an ordinary person and suddenly confronting them with very bizarre events and people. Tom is a total “good” guy, loves his girlfriend, likes his job, and just wants to help people. But when Cat shows up she turns his comfortable world upside down.”

Artist Rebecca Wrigley will provide incentive covers for each issue of the initial DOORWAYS series.

George R.R. Martin’s DOORWAYS #1 (of 4, 32 pages, full color, $3.99) will be available in stores in November. Diamond order code SEP10 0362.

Visit IDWPublishing.com to learn more about the company and its top-selling books.
About IDW Publishing 

IDW is an award-winning publisher of comic books, graphic novels and trade paperbacks, based in San Diego, California. Renowned for its diverse catalog of licensed and independent titles, IDW publishes some of the most successful and popular titles in the industry, including: Hasbro's The Transformers and G.I. JOE, Paramount's Star Trek; Fox's Angel; the BBC's Doctor Who; and comics and trade collections based on novels by worldwide bestselling author, James Patterson. IDW is also home to the Library of American Comics imprint, which publishes classic comic reprints; Yoe! Books, a partnership with Yoe! Studios; and is the print publisher for EA Comics and ComicMix.

IDW's original horror series, 30 Days of Night, was launched as a major motion picture in October 2007 by Sony Pictures and was the #1 film in its first week of release. More information about the company can be found at IDWPublishing.com.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Defense with the BoomStick

(Disclaimer: This post is set in a world where zombies have taken over and people live in small spots all over the world. It’s a weekly broadcast of news from around the globe and a tip to help survival.)

It's been one long week around here as we finally managed to kill most of the zombie herd that had us surrounded and lured away the rest. Still have plenty of cleanup work to get done and fortifications to repair to fend off anymore zombie attacks. Just really glad we survived that one as at times seemed pretty desperate, but like all other survivors we are alive and continuing the fight. For those in the Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota area be on the lookout for the remainder of the herd that we lead away. When the herd loses track of the decoy crew we sent, they could head in any direction towards one of these other states. Now for the news.

News today is nothing major really, but bad unfortunately as word from spots around the globe have been confirming a growing trend. That growing trend is larger and larger zombie herds, some numbering in the tens of thousands, that are laying waste too everything in their path. Government forces from multiple countries are pooling their resources to do target bombings on these herds to thin them. It’s kinda of a blessing having these large herds, making it easier for the small number of remaining fighters to destroy such a large number of zombies with each bombing. The government forces monitoring these herds around the world are broadcasting their locations to warn any survivors in their path to take precautions or outright run out of their path. The tip today is going to be about alternate power sources that you can make to help you survive.

Now the easiest way to have power is to have generators and plenty of gas to run them, giving you access to lights, power tools and all manners of comforts from the life we knew before. For those not able to find any generators, alternate power sources are going to be your salvation, such as using the wind. Materials needed to build a windmill can be minimal and easy to put together with plenty of teamwork.

Building a windmill can provide you with plenty of power so long as you have a good, constant wind blowing. The design is pretty straightforward: use a tall pole in a clear area with the use of pulleys and gears connecting your blades to an alternator generating power. With the alternator getting juice you can use that to recharge batteries that can translate their power into whatever other uses you may need. You want to build the stand on top of the pole to be able to swing and move freely to keep it facing the wind; putting a tail fin on the end opposite the blades will aid in this.

That’s all I have for today. Still a little tired from this past week; it's draining when under constant attack. Until next week remember to keep surviving.

Preview - Critical Millennium: The Dark Frontier #2

For my money the only "milliennium" worth a damn is the Millennium Falcon. It did the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs! Archaia has their own answer to the "millenium" moniker and while I doubt it can do any runs nearly as fast as the Falcon it should still be cool nonetheless.

Critical Millennium: The Dark Frontier #2 hits stores September 1 and is written by Andrew E. C. Gaska and illustrated by Daniel Dussault. The 40 page book will be $3.95 follows Thomm Coney and Eryc Kartoneas testing an experimental engine. This engine is called the Blackstar drive and it utilizes miniature black holes to catapult vessels to other worlds. Meanwhile, in the slums of the Ghost Quarter in New Bombay a man called the Wraith has risen to power, organizing the Ghosts into a terrorist regime looking to kill those with their eyes on the sky.

Check out some interiors after the jump.

Dr. Frederic Wertham Papers Made Available to Scholars

Chances are if you're reading this you have at least a passing interest in comics. If you're one of those folks that like to think of themselves as an afficianado of the medium then you've most likely heard of Dr. Frederic Wertham. The doctor wrote the now famous (infamous?) Seduction of the Innocent, which attempted to correlate the then horrific and scary storylines of comics with youth violence. It was an interesting time in American psychology and, set against the backdrop of McCarthyism, Wertham used the nation's fear of Communism and confusion about the new medium of comcis to crusade against their sales to kids. The only problem was that kids were the primary consumers of comics at the time.

Recently, the Library of Congress made available his papers. These papers include his research, comics he found offensive and general opinions against comics being peddled to youths. Wertham was so passionate about taking responsibility away from parents and kids (and using government enforcement in its stead) when it came to choosing what to read that he felt not doing so would lead to anarchy.

“There seems to be a widely held belief that democracy demands leaving the regula­tion of children’s reading to the individual. Leaving everything to the individual is actually … anarchy. And it is a pity that children should suffer from the anarchistic trends in our society.”

Wertham, fairly or unfairly, has gotten a bit of a bad rap within the comics community. He worked with the poor in Harlem by starting an outpatient clinic and was a critic of segregation. He was even against outright censorship, but he decided to use his position and intellect for more selfish reasons. Basically, he decided to create a national hysteria about comics and say they were corrupting our youths (hence the seduction of the innocent title). This hysteria lead to book burnings and even him appearing in televised Senate committee hearings, seeking to pass laws essentially banning comics (all outlined magnificently in David Hajdu's The Ten Cent Plague). What comics did he have a problem with? Batman for one.

"At home they lead an idyllic life. They are Bruce Wayne and 'Dick' Grayson. Bruce Wayne is described as a 'socialite' and the official relationship is that Dick is Bruce's ward. They live in sumptuous quarters, with beautiful flowers in large vases, and have a butler, Alfred. Batman is sometimes shown in a dressing gown. As they sit by the fireplace the young boy sometimes worries about his partner: 'Something's wrong with Bruce. He hasn't been himself these past few days.' It is like a wish dream of two homosexuals living together. Sometimes they are shown on a couch, Bruce reclining and Dick sitting next to him, jacket off, collar open, and his hand on his friend's arm. Like the girls in other stories, Robin is sometimes held captive by the villains and Batman has to give in or 'Robin gets killed'."

Wertham's assumption (correct or incorrect) about the relationship between Batman and Robin perpetuated that myth that still stands somewhat today (with less emphasis). His is the classic case of taking advantage of an uninformed public to espouse his own beliefs and thoughts in and effort to dictate legislation. Now that these papers have been made available for public research access maybe we'll be able to gain more insights into the doctor that crusaded against the depravity of comic books in an effort to shield kids from the troubles of the world.

Ethan Van Sciver’s Cover for Justice League of America #50

I know you woke up this morning and your first thought was "I wonder how Ethan Van Sciver's cover for Justice League of America #50 is looking?" Well, see Exhibit A above and commence drooling (and hopefully being able to go back to sleep with a clear head.

Lady Death Returns in November

So it's not a perfect Halloween release or anything, but November is pretty damn close to October that it's relatively Halloween at that point. Boundless Comics is taking the opportunity to launch Lady Death Origins Volume One in November, collecting the adventures of Lady Death herself. This 160-page collection, written by Brian Pulido and features artwork by Ron Adrian and Richard Ortiz.

In it, two storylines are told. “Abandon All Hope” recounts the tale of a young woman’s transformation into an avatar of death. “Wicked” expands on this origin story, firmly establishing Lady Death against the backdrop of the Blacklands, the mystic realm she would eventually conquer. The three versions will be a softcover edition for $19.99, hardcover edition for $27.99 and a limited edition (1,250 copies) signed hardcover for $34.99.

Full press release after the jump.


August 28, 2010 – New publisher Boundless Comics is proud to announce the November release of LADY DEATH ORIGINS VOLUME ONE, the first in an exciting new line of graphic novels collecting the historic adventures of Brian Pulido’s beloved femme fatale. This 160-page collection, written by the character’s original creator (and Chaos! Comics founder), features artwork by Ron Adrian and Richard Ortiz, and will be available in softcover, hardcover, and special autographed variant hardcover editions.

Two pivotal storylines from Lady Death’s past are retold in LADY DEATH ORIGINS, providing insight into the heroine’s deep mythology. “Abandon All Hope,” originally a five-issue series published by Avatar Press, recounts the tale of a young woman’s transformation into an avatar of death. An additional tale entitled “Wicked” expands on this origin story, firmly establishing Lady Death against the backdrop of the Blacklands, the mystic realm she would eventually conquer. LADY DEATH ORIGINS will be engaging, essential reading for fans and newcomers, just in time for the launch of the character’s new ongoing monthly series in December.

The pricing and format of LADY DEATH ORIGINS VOLUME ONE is as follows:

· Lady Death Origins Volume One Softcover Edition $19.99
· Lady Death Origins Volume One Hardcover Edition $27.99
· Lady Death Origins Volume One Signed Hardcover Ltd. Edition $34.99 (Autographed by Brian Pulido, limited to 1,250 copies)

Boundless Comics recently made waves by announcing the October release of LADY DEATH PREMIERE, a comic book available for free to customers nationwide as a precursor to the new ongoing LADY DEATH series launching in December. The massive LADY DEATH PREMIERE promotion draws fresh attention to the fan-favorite character, setting the stage for the bold new direction – and apocalyptic-level mayhem – of Boundless’ ongoing comic and graphic novel publications.

Created by indie press icon William Christensen in 2010, Boundless Comics publishes high-quality, action-oriented comics, as exemplified by its initial release, LADY DEATH by Brian Pulido and Mike Wolfer. For more information about Boundless Comics and their exciting new publications, please visit www.boundlesscomics.com.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

There’s a Bizarro movie script.

Seriously. This might be old news to the few that make it their business to stay very, VERY informed about such things- but this recently came to my attention and I was completely flabbergasted.

At least, that’s the rumor. With Green Lantern in full production, a Flash script getting put through the paces and, well, hope, I guess, for a Wonder Woman movie, it’s no surprise that Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are just the harbingers of what’s probably going to be a renaissance of DC Hollywood movies. I mean, why wouldn’t they follow Marvel's suit, right?

I can barely wrap my head around this, but the rumor is thus (and pardon me, because I know I’m a year late here): Robert Gordon, famed science-fiction-comedy screenwriter known for Men in Black 2 and Galaxy Quest wrote a movie. Starring Bizarro. No one is picked it up yet. But it’s written. In case you want to check the source and get a bunch of spoilers on the plot, Latino Review has got the goods. But this actually popped up on my radar at the MTV Splash Page

Wow. I just don’t know what to say.

Well, okay, maybe I DO know what to say and it might be totally shocking, but this DOESN’T sound like SUCH a bad idea to me. This could be really FUNNY. I mean, you’ve seen so many Superman movies, live action and animated TV shows, abysmal video games. Wouldn’t it be hilarious to watch some ridiculous, absurd parody of the whole thing? Can’t you just picture him, with his weird, big smile, running around, trying to do ‘good’ (‘bad’ to him)?

It’d be that kind of dark comedy that’s like a train wreck. Like you, the viewer, can see the potential for disaster for miles and miles ahead, but the simpleminded, good intentioned Bizarro obliviously plunges forward causing disaster after disaster. And you just have to sit and WATCH this happen, over and over, and the people around him just take it in. Like, maybe said characters get this idea in their head that he’s really Superman? So they just keep trying to justify the totally absurd stuff he’s doing? Because why wouldn’t Superman know what he’s doing- he’s Superman? Or maybe they just think that most people don’t see Superman and up close and realize that he’s, just, an idiot, when you get to know him better?

I like to think that it could be a sort of Arrested Development style thing- you know, where the best of intentions unwittingly sets off this series of events that eventually culminates in some outrageous, serendipitous frantic rush. Of course, the details of the script seem a little more widely scoped than that, with maybe a bit of a 'who doesn’t love Bizarro, after all?’ kind of appeal tossed into the end. But I really think this would be the way to go.

And I think it would be hilarious! I have a feeling this project won’t even get off the ground, which is too bad really. But I would love to get my hands on a copy of the actual screenplay, just to get the feel that Gordon was going for.

Review - King! #1

Despite what anyone tells you Elvis is very much alive, in some form or another. Whether it be one of the many costumed performers in Vegas, the pilot of the UFO you saw the other night or Bruce Campbell in Bubba Ho Tep, the King is very much alive and kicking. And in the case of Blacklist Studios King! #1, he's alive and kicking ass. How's the ass kicking? Well I'm glad you asked and I just so happen to have a review here for you to use to make your decision.

Written by Thomas Hall and and illustrated by Daniel Bradford King! #1 is a story about a former professional wrestler that kills monsters for hire. The one catch is that he closely resembles the King of Rock n' Roll himself Elvis Presley. So it's not really the King himself fighting, but a reasonable facsimile. In this first issue, it's up to King to save the local Blubber Tubber Burger joint from an undead infestation and satisfy his hunger for a peanut butter banana burrito with bacon.

As most retired wrestlers are wont to do, the issue opens with a lazing King interrupted by the delivery of a mysterious package. The package is actually a job (delivered in a heartwarming fashion) offer for King: in less than one hour the demon god Ai' Apaec will enter the world through a hole in the fabric of the universe. King makes his way to the Blubber Tubber Burger and, sure enough, faces off with the monster. If you want to know whether or not he gets to enjoy that peanut butter banana burrito with bacon you'll have to read the book to find out.

Bradford's illustrations are gritty and dirty in a way. King is characterized by Hall as an slovenly and ill-tempered ex-wrestler and the grittiness found in the illustration matches that. It's hard to find a monster comic (or monster anything for that matter) these days that doesn't involve zombies or vampires, but the duo here gets bonus points for making Ai' Apaec as gnarly as possible. Clearly some Mojo inspiration going on there.

I can easily see fans of We Kill Monsters or Johnny Bravo really loving this book. I know that Bravo was somewhat based on Elvis and I get the same vibe from King as a character: a little dimwitted but strong enough that he can pretty much power through any situation. I mean, you know you're in for a good time when the artist throws out this gem of a quote:

“I get to draw bad-asses, brains, big guns and burritos… what could be better?”

The book is 32 pages full color with a $3.99 cover price and is not being carried by Diamond. If you're a retailer and want to pick up the book, all you have to do is email Tom at tom@blackliststudios.com or Tony Shenton at shenton4sales@aol.com. Interested fans can go straight to the website (www.blackliststudios.com) and order it online. The book should be available now and interiors are below.

Solicitation - Top Cow Bible Addendum #1

With all of this Witchblade, Darkness and Magdalena stuff going on it's safe to say that Top Cow subtly incorporates religion into their works. I'm not saying they're religious comics or anything, but there is a sort of religious aspect to the stories. This works out well, especially when they release the Top Cow Bible Addendum #1 as a "scripture" for all things Top Cow to come.

The addendum is a compilation of all Top Cow writers and artists (affectionately called "Top Cow's Finest") and features over 25 new properties and series overviews. This includes art from Marc Silvestri, Dale Keown, Kenneth Rocafort, Jeffrey Spokes, Erik Jones, Jorge Lucas and many more. The book debuted at Comic-Con and hits stores November 10 for $5.

Image Burning Out and Fading Away

One thing that most rockers have in common is a relatively short lifespan. Unless you're named Steven Tyler or Mick Jagger chances are you can't handle the excess of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Hendrix, Cobain, Joplin and Morrison are all among those that died at age 27. In a new four-issue series written by Charles Soule and illustrated by Renzo Podesta (cover by W. Scott Forbes), Image is presenting 27 in large, Golden Age format.

In the comic, the 27 Club admits only the most brilliant musicians and artists and proceeds to kill them in their 27th year. Will Garland is a famous rock guitarist unable to play for months due to a neurological disorder that affects his left hand. Throw in some mad scientists, long dead rock legends and cosmic entities to stop him from making it to his 28th birthday.

The book hits stores November 10. Full press release after the jump.

BURNING OUT AND FADING AWAY
A rockstar tries to survive his talent in 27, a new miniseries from Image Comics

Berkeley, CA - 26 August 2010 - Hendrix, Cobain, Joplin, Morrison. All died at age 27. In 27, and all-new miniseries from Image Comics and Shadowline, a gifted rock musician fights to make it to his 28th birthday.

This four-issue series is written by Charles Soule (Strongman), drawn by the brilliant Renzo Podesta (Hard Drive, Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom), and features gorgeous covers by W. Scott Forbes (FORGETLESS). It will be published in the larger Golden Age format.

In 27, the "27 Club" admits only the most brilliant musicians and artists -- and kills them dead in their 27th year. Will Garland is a famous rock guitarist, secretly unable to play for months due to a neurological disorder afflicting his left hand. He's also 27. With mad scientists, long dead rock legends and cosmic entities in his way, can he make it to 28?

27 #1 (of 4), a 32-page full-color comic book in the Golden Age format, will be in stores November 10, 2010.

Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, Skybound and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit www.imagecomics.com.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Manga - The Other White Meat

This week brings us one step closer to the end of an arc in Bleach with a very exciting chapter…where not much happened. In Naruto we finally learn more about the background of one of the series' most intriguing characters, Kisame Hoshigaki, and how he came to be under the control of Uchiha Madara and the Akatsuki.

In Naruto, as usual, the battle was pretty furious and we find out just how tricky Captain Might Guy can be with his techniques. We also learn the lengths that Kisame will go to for his loyalty to Madara. In Bleach we see the beginning of the results of Ichigo’s new training as well as get a closer look at his new form, which I assume is a result of conquering his sword's true power. We haven’t seen Ichigo in quite some time so it is nice to have him back as it indicates both the end of this arc and a move to something new.

No recommendations for other series today but those will be back next week. Onwards to the recaps!

BLEACH

I mentioned above that Chapter 417 was exciting even though nothing happens. That seems to be a little contradictory doesn’t it? Allow me to try to explain. Just about the ONLY time anything interesting happens in Bleach these days is when we get to see someone’s new powers. That is what we get a glimpse of in Ichigo in this chapter.

Physically he looks much the same as he did. The only noticeable changes are that his hair has grown out and the chain that was at the back of his sword now wraps around his right arm and his cloak sleeve is ripped off. He is also wearing some kind of glove and it seems like the hilt of his all black sword has changed. He hasn’t bulked up or had any nonsense like that happen, but the art overall just does a good job of making him seem…stronger. I have no idea why or how, suffice it to say it does. Gin, who apparently isn’t dead yet – I forgot that no one dies in Bleach, EVER – takes one look at Ichigo’s eyes and thinks to himself that those are indeed strong eyes, and he will now leave defeating Aizen to Ichigo. I have no idea if that was a dying thought or not.

Everyone is confused, from Ichigo’s friends to Aizen, however, because they can’t sense ANY reiatsu at all from him. Technically, as Aizen states, it is possible to mask one’s power but not to eliminate it completely as Ichigo has done. Ichigo asks Aizen to relocate for their impending fight despite this fact and when Aizen states that it would be impossible for someone with no reiatsu to fight him, Ichigo simply…moves them. He basically just overpowers Aizen and in an instant they are somewhere far, far away from his friends.

The chapter ends with Aizen in shock and, for what seems like the tenth time, with someone – Ichigo here – stating that he will simply end this in an instant. So like I said, I enjoyed the chapter, but really, nothing happened! Next week should have a bit more action and a closer look at Ichigo’s new power. I’m sure we have at least one or two more power-ups to go, although it would be great to be shocked and have Ichigo just mop it up in a second as promised leaving everyone else half terrified and half in wonder of him.

NARUTO

Chapter 507 of Naruto has a mix of action and history, which is always a good time because, unlike Bleach in my opinion, Naruto has really interesting characters with intertwined backgrounds and motivations.

We open with Guy facing down Kisame, both having used their ultimate attacks. It is Afternoon Tiger versus Giant Shark Missile – advantage Guy in the name category – for all the marbles. Kisame’s shark has a trick: it can absorb any opposing person’s chakra from the technique to gain strength. Kisame thinks that he has won because of this, but Guy’s technique cuts right through the shark and pretty much decimates the akatsuki member.

How could that have happened? Guy explains that it is because his attack was actually a pressure wave from a massive punch. There was no chakra in the move; it was a pure physical attack. Kisame praises Guy for having a technique that powerful up his sleeve even after four fights between the two of them. Guy warns Kisame not to move and when even a finger twitches he delivers a massive punch to the midsection that knocks out the enemy agent.

After this we find Kisame in stocks, presumably ones fortified with some kind of ninjitsu since Kisame is beastly strong and I feel like wood wouldn’t hold him. One of the Konoha ninja is an interrogator that can go into people’s minds to get information. It is here that we discover how Kisame came to have to leave the mist country and also how he first came to meet Uchiha Madara. Kisame is one of the few Akatsuki members that knew about Madara from the start and thus probably never truly thought Pain was their leader. He respects Madara’s strength and feels this is finally a place where he can belong. The rest of the ninja world was just a world of lies where he was nothing more than a tool. With Madara he felt he could be more. Before any more information can be found, Kisame bites off his own tongue to force himself to consciousness and then breaks the stocks in a crazy feat of strength.

I’m pretty sure that he is about to die as he is surrounded by Lee, Naruto, Guy, Yamato and three other pretty strong ninja and he is already weakened from his fight. If so I’m sure he’ll go out in a blaze of glory and his usefulness as a source of information is probably over. Great chapter.

So until next week, happy reading and I hope to be able to attempt to continue to recap and entertain you.

Preview - Fathom: Blue Descent #1

Aspen Comics is intent on schooling you on Aspen Matthews' childhood. So they went ahead and plotted a four-issue miniseries that starts with Fathom: Blue Descent #1. The story is by Alex Sanchez and John Starr and multiple covers are by Michael Turner and Dave Finch. The book hits stores September 1 and interiors are after the jump. Or dive I should say.