Thursday, March 31, 2011

8-Bit Thought Bubbles


What makes someone “hardcore” at something? That's the topic I am going to delve into today. This concept can be applied to any different industry, career field or form of entertainment if you think about it; however I've heard it more often used in gaming that anywhere else. I feel that the shift towards free to play games and social gaming – think Farmville, iPhone games, etc. – is causing this discussion to pop up more and more as traditional gamers feel their turf is being invaded by people who aren’t ACTUALLY gamers.

I have no idea why people get so upset over this topic, but they do. Isn’t having more people gaming GOOD for video games? I guess the counter-argument is that if the masses trend towards what are sometimes perceived to be bad games, then good games will cease to be created due to companies catering to the market.

So is someone who plays Farmville, Mafia Wars, Angry Birds or another similar game automatically unable to be hardcore? Is it true that no one who plays those games also plays the “traditional” games like Madden, Call of Duty and Oblivion? What if I make the argument that simple social games are actually more innovative then your yearly releases that net a billion dollars in sales and the Call of Dutys and Maddens of the world and their hardcore senseless fans are actually the PROBLEM with gaming?

Let’s see if we can dive a little deeper into the rabbit hole and see what conclusions we can come to…not that my opinion means ANYTHING in the end. Let’s start here: What makes a gamer hardcore?

Some people like to think it's hours spent, but I don’t like that definition because you can be pretty terrible at a game and not really all that hardcore even if you sink 100 hours into it. I think you have to go deeper than that. Can you be a hardcore player and only play social or browser games? I think you can. I believe that a hardcore player is someone who delves into the mechanics of the game to try to be the best at it. If you are min/maxing your stats in a game to ensure that you are the ultimate weapon at the expense of maybe just messing around and not having as much – at least according to some people – fun, I’d call you hardcore.

Here's the catch. I don’t think it requires some massive amount of game play in terms of time spent to be that way. You can absolutely be a hardcore gamer but have a limited amount of time to play. To me this defines the hardcore gamer. Someone who looks into the rules to find ways to bend them and exploit holes to be the absolute best they can be. They will adjust their play style to meet what is “the best” instead of making the game adapt to their game style.

Now of course you can be hardcore and not be as extreme as I’m making you out to be above. I think if you play a million hours on a ton of different games and have a 30k gamerscore you could argue that you are hardcore and I’d listen. You certainly aren’t a casual gamer but I think hardcore is such an extreme word that it should imply something else. I’d say I play about 20-30 hours of games a week. I’m not sure where that places me overall in the grand scheme of gaming in America today, but I wouldn’t consider myself hardcore. Once upon a time I would have called myself a hardcore player of shooters, but those days are long gone.

So if you micromanage your Farm or City on facebook to the point where real life has started to fade away…I’m pretty sure you're hardcore. I don’t understand why you are pushing gaming in that direction instead of getting a nice safe AAA title and going into that, but that's just me being a snob.

If you buy Call of Duty or Madden in their incremental improvements on a yearly basis and then sink time into it but never get any better or try to understand the game mechanics. You aren’t hardcore. I’m sorry. You are just supporting publishers that put out the same game year after year while charging higher prices and reserving more and more content for DLC. (Notice I put some qualifiers in there so that not everyone who buys those games are disqualified, but I have a feeling a good chunk fall into my definition.)

It's so hard to classify these things that I’m not even sure my point is getting across perfectly here, nor am I even sure that it is POSSIBLE for my point on a topic this broad and far-reaching to be made in less than a novel dedicated to the subject. If you read through I hope you enjoyed this journey in my convoluted and poorly arranged brain. Just remember I had a baby 12 weeks ago so I’m tired and cranky. Happy reading!

Arnold Schwarzenegger Back as The Governator


The other night I was flipping through the channels, looking for something to watch. I came to HDNet Movies, who happened to be playing The Terminator. Despite the film being nearly 27 years old (I know right), it reminded me that this is essentially where Arnold Schwarzenegger's acting career really took off. He parlayed that launch into countless other films and, eventually, a run as governor of California. He's since "retired" from politics, but he's got one more trick up his media sleeve: a comic.

According to an EW article, Schwarzenegger has teamed up with Stan Lee to create a new comic and animated show called The Governator.

“When I ran for governor back in 2003 and I started hearing people talking about ‘the Governator,’ I thought the word was so cool,” Schwarzenegger, 63, tells EW in his first press interview since leaving office last January. “The word Governator combined two worlds: the world of politics and the movie world. And [this cartoon] brings everything together. It combines the governor, the Terminator, the bodybuilding world, the True Lies…”

The new property will boast all the trappings of a traditional superhero, including an Arnold Cave, supervehicles, Super Suits and sidekicks. One of the sidekicks will be Zeke Muckerberg, a 13-year-old computer whiz who also happens to be Arnold's cybersecurity expert. And since no comic with a superhero would work without a supervillain, Stan Lee is introducing the Gangsters Imposters Racketeers Liars & Irredeemable Ex-cons...yes, they're known as G.I.R.L.I.E. Men. The animated show and comic book won't be out until next year but you can bet that Stan the Man will be sure to get all of Arnold's finer nuances worked in.

“The Governator is going to be a great superhero, but he’ll also be Arnold Schwarzenegger,” Lee says of the semi-fictional character. “We’re using all the personal elements of Arnold’s life. We’re using his wife [Maria Shriver]. We’re using his kids. We’re using the fact that he used to be governor. Only after he leaves the governor’s office, Arnold decides to become a crime fighter and builds a secret high-tech crime-fighting center under his house in Brentwood.”

If Charlie Sheen can get a comic I see no reason why Arnold can't. I mean, the man is STILL something of a legend in Hollywood for his roles and presence. I'm not saying he was the greatest actor ever or anything, but he clearly garners a level of respect. And Stan Lee just seems to want to work on anything and everything he can so it's great to see that his creative juices are still flowing just as much as they were way back in the day. I'm going put the over/under as to how soon Arnold's character says "I'll be back" to one issue though.

The Armory Wars Getting Trio of Titles


Claudio Sanchez definitely isn't just some band guy dabbling in comics. No sir. He's going in all in and is behind the release of three brand new titles in The Armory War saga.

Hitting stores yesterday were The Armory Wars: In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 #1 $1 Edition, The Armory Wars: In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 Vol. 2 and The Armory Wars: In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 #9 all features the talents of Peter David and Chris Burnham, Kyle Strahm and Aaron Kuder. The former two get you up to speed on Sanchez's world while the latter continues the saga. The grand victory of Inferno and the rest of the Rebellion gives ride to their biggest fear and Heaven's Fence faces its darkest hour. Claudio Kilgannon must step up and be the hero the universe needs — but will he answer the call?

Full press release and covers after the jump.

CLAUDIO SANCHEZ & BOOM! STUDIOS BRING YOU A HUGE WEEK FOR AMORY WARS RELEASES:

NEW READERS! JUMP RIGHT INTO THE ACTION WITH THE AMORY WARS: IN KEEPING SECRETS OF SILENT EARTH: 3 #1 $1 EDITION

CATCH UP WITH ANY ISSUES YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED WITH THE AMORY WARS: IN KEEPING SECRETS OF SILENT EARTH: 3 VOL. 2

CONTINUE THE EPIC SCI-FI SAGA IN THE AMORY WARS: IN KEEPING SECRETS OF SILENT EARTH: 3 #9

March 30, 2011 – Los Angeles, CA - Claudio Sanchez and THE AMORY WARS fans prepare for a release of gigantic proportions as today, Wednesday, March 30, 2011, three fantastic titles take you back to Heaven’s Fence with THE AMORY WARS: IN KEEPING SECRETS OF SILENT EARTH: 3 #1 $1 EDITION, THE AMORY WARS: IN KEEPING SECRETS OF SILENT EARTH: 3 Vol. 2 and THE AMORY WARS: IN KEEPING SECRETS OF SILENT EARTH: 3 #9. Start, catch up and continue the epic sci-fi saga written by musical mastermind Claudio Sanchez with comics legend Peter David , and featuring sensational art by BATMAN & ROBIN's Chris Burnham, Kyle Strahm and Aaron Kuder!

For anyone who's never experienced Claudio Sanchez' intergalactic 12-issue tour de force, THE AMORY WARS: IN KEEPING SECRETS OF SILENT EARTH: 3 #1 $1 EDITION is an amazing way to jump straight into the action for $1. That's right! For only one dollar, begin Claudio Kilgannon’s adventure of war and rebirth against the evil forces of galactic dictator Wilhelm Ryan!

Enjoy the series but not sure if you're reading the whole story? THE AMORY WARS: IN KEEPING SECRETS OF SILENT EARTH: 3 Vol. 2 collects issues #5-8 and drops you right in the middle of the greatest war Heaven’s Fence has ever known! It's heart-stopping action as Inferno leads his rebel forces against the sinister Wilhelm Ryan and Mayo Deftinwolf’s Red Army. But when the dust settles, the war is far from over.

Once you're caught up, continue the unfolding space opera with the latest release THE AMORY WARS: IN KEEPING SECRETS OF SILENT EARTH: 3 #9! The grand victory of Inferno and the rest of the Rebellion soon gives rise to their biggest fear. When an evil figure reappears…Heaven’s Fence faces its darkest hour. Claudio Kilgannon must step up and be the hero the universe needs — but will he answer the call?

THE AMORY WARS: IN KEEPING SECRETS OF SILENT EARTH: 3 #1 $1 EDITION is written by Claudio Sanchez and Peter David with art Chris Burnham. This issue carries Diamond Code of JAN111024 and a price point of only $1. THE AMORY WARS: IN KEEPING SECRETS OF SILENT EARTH: 3 Vol. 2 collects issues #5-8 and is written by Claudio Sanchez and Peter David with art by Chris Burnham with Kyle Strahm and Aaron Kuder. This issue carries Diamond Code of JAN111022 and a price point of $14.99. THE AMORY WARS: IN KEEPING SECRETS OF SILENT EARTH: 3 #9 is written by Claudio Sanchez and Peter David with art by Aaron Kuder. This issue carries a Diamond Code of JAN111021 and a price point of $3.99.

About Evil Ink Comics
Evil Ink Comics is the independent publishing company of Claudio Sanchez, the lead singer of progressive rock band Coheed and Cambria, and also the creator and author of Evil Ink’s current projects, KILL AUDIO & THE AMORY WARS.

About BOOM! Studios
Award-winning "Best Publisher" BOOM! Studios (www.boom-studios.com) generates a constellation of bestselling comic books and graphic novels with the industry’s top talent, including Mark Waid series IRREDEEMABLE, Stan Lee's SOLDIER ZERO, THE TRAVELER, and STARBORN (the first new series in print from the industry icon in 20 years), new HELLRAISER comics written by Clive Barker as well as 20th Century Fox's PLANET OF THE APES, 28 DAYS LATER, and DIE HARD, Philip K. Dick's DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?, and The Henson Company's FARSCAPE. BOOM!'s recently rebranded all-ages imprint, KABOOM! will see publication of PEANUTS, SPACE WARPED, Roger Langridge's SNARKED!, Scholastic's WORDGIRL and DUCKTALES, as well as continuing to publish fan-favorite Disney Afternoon series DARKWING DUCK, CHIP 'N' DALE RESCUE RANGERS along with Disney standards MICKEY MOUSE, DONALD DUCK, UNCLE SCROOGE, and WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES.


Graveyard of Empires #1 Due This Summer


Afghanistan has a lot that it's known for and not much of it's very good unfortunately. The country is the latest inspiration for a brand new series from Image called Graveyard of Empires where Marines are faced with enemy forces as well as the undead. Writer Mark Sable is joined by illustrator Paul Azaceta in the new series that combines current military events with the intense horror.

"Despite the many conflicts the US military is engaged in, there is currently a real dearth of war comics," Sable explained. "I'm honored to return to Image, a publisher brave enough to tackle a comic that literally rips the face off of modern warfare."

"Mark and I researched the hell out of this book to make the military aspect as authentic as possible," added Azaceta. "But don't let that fool you – this is heart-pounding survival horror at its best!"

In Graveyard of Empires a young lieutenant arrives at Combat Outpost Alamo in Afgahanistan. There's an old adage that, in war, when you kill one insurgent you create ten more by angering his family and friends. Graveyard of Empires twists that adage in the sense that here, if you kill one insurgent he comes back from the dead to infect ten fellow marines.

"Mark Sable and Paul Azaceta got off to a truly auspicious start with GROUNDED, and it's great to have them working together again at Image on GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES," Stephenson said. "They've come up with a fantastic fusion of horror and war comics that's probably best described as Robert Kirkman meets Harvey Kurtzman. Really, really excellent stuff here."

Graveyard of Empires #1 hits stores June 15 for $3.99. Interiors and full press release after the jump.

SURVIVING A GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES
Mark Sable and Paul Azaceta Return to Image with a Grisly New Series This June

BERKELEY, CA – 30 March 2011 – From Alexander the Great to the Soviet Union, war-torn Afghanistan has brought the world's greatest armies to their knees, earning the nation its infamous reputation as the “graveyard of empires." With the debut of this new series from Image Comics, the Marines will not only be in danger from enemy forces, but also from the undead!

Mark Sable, writer of Unthinkable, Teen Titans: Cold Case and Two-Face: Year One returns to Image with GROUNDED co-creator and Amazing Spider-Man artist Paul Azaceta for an all-new series that combines current military events with stark horror.

"Despite the many conflicts the US military is engaged in, there is currently a real dearth of war comics," Sable explained. "I'm honored to return to Image, a publisher brave enough to tackle a comic that literally rips the face off of modern warfare."

"Mark and I researched the hell out of this book to make the military aspect as authentic as possible," added Azaceta. "But don't let that fool you – this is heart-pounding survival horror at its best!"

In GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES, when a young lieutenant arrives at Combat Outpost Alamo, a remote outpost in Afghanistan, he learns a new kind of insurgent math. It’s said that in war, when you kill one insurgent, you create ten more by angering his family and friends. In this story, when you kill one, he comes back from the dead to infect ten of your fellow Marines.

"Mark Sable and Paul Azaceta got off to a truly auspicious start with GROUNDED, and it's great to have them working together again at Image on GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES," Stephenson said. "They've come up with a fantastic fusion of horror and war comics that's probably best described as Robert Kirkman meets Harvey Kurtzman. Really, really excellent stuff here."

GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES #1 (APR110400), a 32-page full color horror/survival comic that will appeal to fans of The Hurt Locker and THE WALKING DEAD, will be available for sale in a comic shop near you on June 15, 2011 for $3.99.

ABOUT IMAGE COMICS

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.




Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review – The Mission #1


Ever been given a task to do that you just didn’t think was possible? Something that is so contrary to your nature that you feel you just can’t do it? What if the person telling you about it was named Gabriel and seemed to indicate this was a battle of good and evil and you have been chosen? This person also inexplicably knows personal details about you that they shouldn’t and seems to know everywhere you are going to be. Things are getting creepy now right? At some point you’d probably just do the task in order to get this weirdo away from you, but there is a catch. The task is to kill someone and you have no idea why.

Jon and Erich Hoeber bring us The Mission with Werther Dell’edera, Arianna Florean and Dave Sharpe on art and Image Comics Publishing. I feel like I’ve seen the whole, “you have been called by a higher power to fight on the side of good” story before, but there are some different twists here that had me very interested. This isn’t – to my knowledge – the story of someone with an ancient bloodline calling them to be an assassin for God or anything like that. By all accounts the main character is a normal guy who has been selected to carry out a task that is beyond his means to comprehend.

The main character of the story is Paul Haskell. He is finishing up a doctor’s appointment where everything is right with the world to start off the story. He has a wife and twins and seems to have a job. Things begin to change while Paul is going to his car after his appointment. There he meets a man who calls himself Gabriel who explains that Paul has been selected to complete a mission in the war against good and evil. Pretty heady – and creepy in a dark parking garage – stuff.

As any rational person might do, Paul ignores his 48 hour assassination mandate at first thinking that Gabriel – Gabe – is just another wacko. Of course the next day when Gabe shows up again to reiterate the importance of the mission, backed up by some drastic changes in Paul’s health according to his doctor, things move to a level beyond disbelief. After some weird dreams that evening Paul decides to investigate his target, a man named Neal Corman.

From here the book takes an interesting psychological twist and we get to hear Paul’s thoughts as he tries to figure out if he is capable of killing a man and why he would be doing it. The writing is really solid and it had a very human feel to it...I could see someone having this conversation in real life. The end has a nice twist to it that I really did NOT see coming and I’m sure it will haunt Paul in the issues to come.

Overall I was really impressed with the title. What would it take to turn an ordinary man into an assassin for good? Is Gabriel the same as the similarly named Archangel delivering messages from God? Will Paul develop what it takes to take a life in the name of good? This issue has left me craving the next issue in the series, which in storytelling and comics is probably one of the better compliments one can give. Check out some interiors below and the book should be in stores today. Happy reading!





Aspen Comics June Solicits


I'll say one thing about Boston weather: it certainly doesn't feel like June here. Spring has sprung but it's still brisk, which makes believing that comics about a heroine that spends time in the ocean due in June is downright chilling. Hopefully by the time June actually rolls around here we'll be in warmer environs, making Aspen's solicitations for that month even more enjoyable.

Set to release this June from Aspen are three new issues. Executive Assitant Iris Vol. 2 #0 is by David Wohl, illustrated by Eduardo Francisco and colored by Sunny Gho and picks up where the cliffhanger ending of the first volume left off. Mr. Ching is a ruthless, corporate power-monger who left behind a vast empire rife for taking control of. June 8th for $2.50 sounds about right.

Soulfire Vol. 3 #3 is by J.T. Krul, illustrated by Jason Fabok and colored by John Starr and thrusts the reader into a world taken over by Chaos. Malikai encounters said Chaos brimming with confidence regarding his power while fighting to keep his life. Meanwhile, Grace attempts to hold together the people of Anantia after an attack by Onyx. The issue is due in stores June 15 for $2.99.

Finally, Fathom Vol. 4 #2 is the series that put Aspen on the map. Written by Scott Lobdell, illustrated by Alex Konat and colored by Beth Sotelo, the issue returns for its fourth volume. Aspen Matthews is back in San Diego where everything is sunshine and rainbows, until she encounters the Secret Service. It's going to get ugly for Aspen when the issue hits stores June 15 for $2.99.

Check out the full solicitations and covers after the jump.


EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT IRIS (vol 2) #0
David Wohl Story / Eduardo Francisco Art / Sunny Gho Colors

Iris is back, but will she survive - The Hit List Agenda!!

Following the shocking cliffhanger ending to the critically acclaimed first
volume, Executive Assistant Iris is ramping up the excitement and intrigue
as this action-packed introductory zero issue kicks start an entirely new
landscape of exotic locales and of course--Executive Assistants! With Mr. Ching, the ruthless corporate power-monger now out of the picture, a new
cast of characters vie to take control of his empire. Yet, an even greater
evil will rise up from the ashes of Ching¹s legacy, and this time, their
reach is global! And by far the most important question of all is still a
mystery‹just what happened to Iris?!?

An all-new 12-page story by original series writer and creator David Wohl
that sets the stage for the brand-new EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT IRIS #1 issue
heading your way next month, make sure to get in on the ground floor of the
second exciting Iris story arc! Complete with an additional sketchbook
section, never before seen art, and a stunning cover by returning series
artist Eduardo Francisco, this special #0 issue is not to be missed!

Aspen¹s first ever Summer-spanning event, ³The Hit List Agenda² starts right here!

Executive Assistant Iris (vol 2) #0 is in stores June 8th, 2011!
FC 24 pages $2.50




SOULFIRE (vol 3) #3

J.T. Krul Writer / Jason Fabok Art / John Starr Colors

The magic has returned! But, this time҆the light has grown dark.

The Chaos has taken over! Across the globe, the number of victims to this
dark and sinister magic begins to grow quickly. But Malikai, confident with
his own increasing power, encounters the Chaos with surprising results.
However, the biggest challenge to Malikai¹s existence will prove to be
someone not looking to take his power‹but his life. While in the magical
kingdom of Anantia, Grace attempts to hold together the people after the
vicious attack by Onyx and the murder of their esteemed leader. Yet, Grace
will soon learn that the power of Onyx and the Shadow Magic are far more
evil than even she could have ever anticipated!

New adversaries, exotic locations, and a fresh cast of exciting characters,
including some from the Soulfire Universe¹s long forgotten past, reign
supreme in this epic third SOULFIRE volume!

SOULFIRE (VOL 3) #3 is in stores June 15th, 2011!
FC 32 pages $2.99


FATHOM (vol 4) #2
Scott Lobdell Writer / Alex Konat Pencils / Beth Sotelo Colors

Michael Turner¹s Fathom makes its return for the sensational fourth volume!

Aspen Matthews finds herself back in her peaceful hometown of San Diego, but soon she will discover all is not fun under the sun. With her life¹s privacy now a thing of the past, even a trip home will prove deadly for the daughter of both worlds. When a run in with the Secret Service turns ugly, her already infamous reputation above the surface reaches a breaking point amongst the Humans. However, the scorn of the people is far less threatening to Aspen¹s present than the surprise return of someone from her past!

For the legions of FATHOM fans who have been waiting to see Aspen in her
element, taking control of her life, now is the time to jump on in‹the
water¹s just fine!

FATHOM #2 is in stores June 15th, 2011!
FC 32 pages $2.99

Dark Horse Auctioning for Japan


The massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan was a few weeks ago, but that doesn't mean that the fine folks in the Land of the Rising Sun still couldn't use some help. There are the typical ways, such as donating via Red Cross. There are also the ways that comic folks know how, as in auctioning off gorgeous pieces of original art.

Dark Horse is funding one such auction, auctioning off original artwork from Duncan Fegredo, Hellboy comics miniseries (Hellboy: Darkness Calls, Hellboy: The Wild Hunt and Hellboy: The Storm) and signed editions from the personal collection of Mike Mignola himself. There are a ton of other works being auctioned off with 100% of the proceeds going to the American Red Cross for helping out in Japan.

Check out the full list of goods being auctioned after the jump.

In an effort to aid the American Red Cross’s tsunami and earthquake relief effort in Japan, Dark Horse Comics is auctioning an amazing signed lot of limited-edition artwork and books for fans eager to donate and support a greater cause.

Auction details:

eBay

“Original Art 'Hellboy by Duncan Fegredo' - Dark Horse”
Auction for Red Cross Japan Efforts Dark Horse Comics
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250795729390#ht_1536wt_927
Auction opens: March 28
Auction closes: April 1
Opening Bid: $0

Original artwork signed by Duncan Fegredo

Comics and graphic novels signed by Duncan Fegredo:

Two sets of the comics miniseries Hellboy: Darkness Calls, Hellboy: The Wild Hunt,

and Hellboy: The Storm

Free Comic Book Day comic: “Hellboy: The Mole”

Two sets of the graphic novels Hellboy: Darkness Calls, Hellboy: The Wild Hunt, and Hellboy: The Crooked Man

Signed editions from the personal collection of Mike Mignola:

Hellboy: Seed of Destruction (Limited edition—out of print)

Signed bust of Hellboy (Limited edition—1 of 3,000)

Signed bust of Abe Sapien (Limited edition—1 of 3,000)

Dark Horse Comics will donate 100 percent of proceeds of the event to the American Red Cross for Japanese earthquake and Pacific tsunami relief.

Too Much Coffee Man Comes to BOOM!


One of the best things about The Tick was the crazy, off-the-wall villains created. Chairface Chippendale, the Deadly Bulb, Barry...the list goes on and on. New Yorker cartoonist and indie comix creator Shannon Wheeler created her own character who could easily fit in with that gallery of rogues in Too Much Coffee Man, one of three new works from Wheeler. Joined by a sequel to I Thought You Would Be Funnier and Grandpa Won't Wake Up, Wheeler's works will be published under the BOOM! Town imprint this fall.

“There are few names in the indie comix scene bigger than Shannon Wheeler, and I'm honored to be working with him again,” says BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. “We're excited to have Shannon's signature creation, TOO MUCH COFFEE MAN, and his other projects join the “BOOM! Town” line and will be putting a lot of muscle into making these books something comics and humor fans will not want to miss!”

“Having been there at the genesis of TOO MUCH COFFEE MAN when we lived next door to each other back in Austin, I can’t tell you how excited I am to see TMCM come to BOOM!,” says BOOM! Studios Marketing Director Chip Mosher. “I've known Shannon for over 20 years and even helped him staple some of his first TMCM mini-comics, so it is great to be working on TMCM again in an official capacity. And you better believe we'll be pushing to make all of these next Shannon Wheeler books huge hits!”

Clearly the image above proves that he has, in fact, had too much coffee. Full press release after the jump.


TOO MUCH COFFEE MAN COMES TO BOOM!

SHANNON WHEELER SIGNS 3 BOOK DEAL WITH BOOM! STUDIOS' BOOM! TOWN IMPRINT

March 29, 2010 - Los Angeles, CA - TOO MUCH COFFEE MAN comes to BOOM! as sensational New Yorker cartoonist and legendary indie comix creator Shannon Wheeler signs a three-book deal with BOOM! Studios lit-comix imprint, BOOM! Town! It's a landmark publishing event as Shannon Wheeler ushers in three new bodies of work, TOO MUCH COFFEE MAN: CUTIE ISLAND & OTHER STORIES, GRANDPA WON'T WAKE UP and a follow up to last year's smash hit I THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE FUNNIER, sure to delight comedy fans everywhere!

“There are few names in the indie comix scene bigger than Shannon Wheeler, and I'm honored to be working with him again,” says BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. “We're excited to have Shannon's signature creation, TOO MUCH COFFEE MAN, and his other projects join the “BOOM! Town” line and will be putting a lot of muscle into making these books something comics and humor fans will not want to miss!”

“Having been there at the genesis of TOO MUCH COFFEE MAN when we lived next door to each other back in Austin, I can’t tell you how excited I am to see TMCM come to BOOM!,” says BOOM! Studios Marketing Director Chip Mosher. “I've known Shannon for over 20 years and even helped him staple some of his first TMCM mini-comics, so it is great to be working on TMCM again in an official capacity. And you better believe we'll be pushing to make all of these next Shannon Wheeler books huge hits!”

Shannon Wheeler kicks off his three-book deal under the BOOM! Town imprint this fall with the all-new original graphic novel GRANDPA WON'T WAKE UP written by simon max hill, followed up next winter by a new collection of Wheeler's signature creation with TOO MUCH COFFEE MAN: CUTIE ISLAND & OTHER STORIES, and finally next spring sees a sequel to the critically acclaimed I THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE FUNNIER with an all-new collection of rejected New Yorker cartoons!

Shannon Wheeler and “BOOM! Town” previously teamed up to release last year's critically acclaimed I THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE FUNNIER, collecting the best of his rejected cartoons from The New Yorker which quickly sold out its run and will be reprinted in the fall of 2011 in a new gift-friendly hard cover format.

Announced in 2010, BOOM! Town is an imprint of BOOM! Studios, specializing in high quality, lit-oriented comix. BOOM! Town has already released works by such indie comix luminaries as Denis Kitchen with DENIS KITCHEN'S CHIP BOARD SCETCHBOOK, and through association with Denis Kitchen, R. Crumb's HEROES OF THE BLUES and EARLY JAZZ GREATS trading card sets, as well as Harvey Kurtzman's THE GRASS HOPPER AND THE ANT and more.

TOO MUCH COFFEE MAN has had a storied publishing history, first self-published in the 90's by Shannon Wheeler himself and then during the last decade by Dark Horse Entertainment from which previous volumes can still be purchased today.

About BOOM! Studios
Award-winning "Best Publisher" BOOM! Studios (www.boom-studios.com) generates a constellation of bestselling comic books and graphic novels with the industry’s top talent, including Mark Waid series IRREDEEMABLE, Stan Lee's SOLDIER ZERO, THE TRAVELER, and STARBORN (the first new series in print from the industry icon in 20 years), new HELLRAISER comics written by Clive Barker as well as 20th Century Fox's PLANET OF THE APES, 28 DAYS LATER, and DIE HARD, Philip K. Dick's DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?, and The Henson Company's FARSCAPE. BOOM!'s recently rebranded all-ages imprint, kaboom! will see publication of PEANUTS, SPACE WARPED, Roger Langridge's SNARKED!, Scholastic's WORD GIRL and DUCK TALES, as well as continuing to publish fan-favorite Disney Afternoon series DARKWING DUCK, CHIP 'N' DALE RESCUE RANGERS along with Disney standards MICKEY MOUSE, DONALD DUCK, UNCLE SCROOGE, and WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Arrivals: March 30, 2011


I'm a big fan of world history. A big part of that history is the Roman Empire and its legacy of rulers, Caligula among them. I do find it odd that there hasn't been a comic about this particular ruler yet (that I'm aware of), but Avatar Press will remedy that this Wednesday.

Caligula #1 is written by David Lapham and illustrated by German Nobile (cover by Jacen Burrows) and chronicles the transition of Caligula from reasonable ruler to depraved tyrant. The title takes a new look at the ruler, a man drunk on power and prone to tales of horror. The series promises to have as much blood as an episode of Spartacus, so if that's your cup of tea then this issue may be right up your alley.


Defense With the BoomStick
For me when I saw this listed I knew it would be my pick today: Kick-Ass 2 #2. This second issue of the sequel has Dave still donning the mask and going out into the new world he helped create. Now with more people making the jump into the superhero world life could get better for Kick-Ass with more heroes or it could get worse with more villains looking to take Kick-Ass out. Better go back and get the first issue on top of this one so you don’t miss out on it.


Enjoy!

New Arrivals: March 30, 2011

Review - Bonnie Lass #3


As far as treasure hunter days go, Bonnie Lass' are going from bad to worse. She's managed to get her hands on the Pacification Beacon, crucial for getting the Eye of Leviathan, but the next phase of her voyage isn't quite as cut and dry. Why? Well, we're introduced to the main baddie vaguely referenced in the first issue: Monet. Oh yeah. And the Leviathan.

The third issue focused almost exclusively on explaining the true power behind the Eye of Leviathan and Monet's motives. Monet leads a group of pirates (or adventurers) known as Ebb Tide. They've been tracking Bonnie et al, seeking out the Pacification Beacon in their possession to help him attain the Eye of Leviathan. It's a nice setup as Monet is pretty much a power-hungry guy with something of a superpowered arm that gives him immense strength. The issue features more swashbuckling fights and zany expressions but ends with the group rapidly descending into an even more precarious situation than before.

Michael Mayne continues as writer and illustrator (with Tyler Fluharty assisting in the co-writing duties). One of my earlier complaints about the series the characterization of Bonnie Lass herself and it seems those complaints have been addressed. Obviously not because I made them but because they're part of a greater character arc for her. Initially, I felt that Bonnie was more brash than swashbuckling, but this issue really showed her for who she really is. That is, some of her actions in this issue felt more sincere to me and really made her out to be an adventurer who gambles and often wins.

I also really like the introduction of Monet. At first it seems like he's going to be just another typical baddie who gets item X and is beaten in the last issue of the series, which may still be the case to an extent. But Bonnie Lass #3 showed us that yes, he is nefarious, but he's also vulnerable and isn't going to run off with immense power right off the bat. It's also nice to see a tale about seafaring reference the Leviathan instead of the Kraken (although I'm sure in some mythologies they're the same thing).

I'm really intrigued to see how the fourth and final issue plays out. Bonnie Lass and Monet are both seeking the Eye of Leviathan for very different reasons, with the former learning more about theirs from the latter. Bonnie's decision at the end of the third issue will no doubt have great consequences to both quests, but the only way to find out is to check out the next issue.

Bonnie Lass #3 is currently available at comiXology and iVerse and you can check out interiors below.





MIMOBOT DC Line


DC Comics recently signed a deal with Mimoco. You know, the company that does Hello Kitty and Star Wars flash drives. I think you can gather the reason for the partnership. I had a chance to speak with a Mimoco representative at PAX East and he had quite a bit to say about the DC Comics line.

The drives range in size from 2 to 16 GB and start at $19. They come preloaded with desktop wallpapers, screensavers, icons and avatars. When asked about the possibility of including comics the response was that it was definitely something being considered for future Mimoco flash drives. I also asked about the possibility of other DC lines being adapted to the Mimoco style. The answer? Most likely yes. Superman was brought up as a natural next line to adapt, but of course there's the Lanterns, Wonder Woman, villains...tons of material here for them to work with.

The DC Line is currently available. The crown jewel of the collection is currently the grey and black-clad Vintage Batman MIMOBOT styled after his first appearance in Detective Comics #27 and is limited to 5,000 pieces. It's a vintage tribute to DC's 75th anniversary and is, quite frankly, awesome. Like other Mimoco drives though these will most likely sell out and then no longer be available. I could easily see this gaining a place on the bookshelves of fans all over.

Mimoco will be at San Diego and their presence was promised to be big, so if you're at the big dance make sure to stop by their booth. Check out some more images of the drives after the jump.




Image Debuts The Red Wing in July


Growing up I was a pretty big hockey fan...I can still recite parts of The Mighty Ducks from heart. Part of that love for hockey was a hatred for the Red Wings (and the Devils, whose offside trap was partially responsible for killing the pace of the game but I digress). That hatred won't transfer to Image Comics' new title this summer, The Red Wing.

"We're all pretty excited for this one," Hickman explained. "We believe we not only have a solid concept for an engaging new series, but even at this early stage, THE RED WING has that lightning in a bottle feel to it. I think people are really going to like it."

THe series is written by the every busy Jonathan Hickman and illustrated by Nick Pitarra (Rachelle Rosenberg on colors) and is Hickman's first creator owned work since A Red Mass for Mars. The title takes place in the future where the best fighter pilots in the world are asked to navigate the tricky 4th dimension. The four-issue miniseries is the first in Hickman's ongoing "Plus!" project.

"Well, I've been promising I'd get to this for over a year, so now it's time," Hickman said. "We'll start with THE RED WING, and then I'll be writing and drawing something called, FEEL BETTER NOW, before Nick and I move on to our next exciting project. We have a busy, aggressive slate of exciting stories to tell, and, like I said before, it's time."

The first issue is due in stores July 6. Full press release after the jump.

FUTURE REFLECTIONS
Jonathan Hickman Debuts New Creator-Owned Series at Image in July

BERKELEY, CA – 28 March, 2011 – No one can ever claim Jonathan Hickman is lazy. Not content with helming head-turning runs on Fantastic Four, Secret Warriors and S.H.I.E.L.D., not to mention re-imagining the FF for his most recent hit, The Future Foundation, Hickman returns to Image this summer with an all-new creator-owned miniseries, THE RED WING.

"We're all pretty excited for this one," Hickman explained. "We believe we not only have a solid concept for an engaging new series, but even at this early stage, THE RED WING has that lightning in a bottle feel to it. I think people are really going to like it."

Written by Hickman, with art by amazing newcomer Nick Pitarra and colors by Rachelle Rosenberg, THE RED WING marks Hickman's first creator owned work since the conclusion of the critically acclaimed A RED MASS FOR MARS.

"Nick is going to really surprise some people," Hickman said. "When the art for this starts hitting the web, and then when the finished product shows up in stores, many of them are going to wonder where this guy has been hiding. Nick's a very hungry, special, special talent. I consider myself fortunate to be working with him."

Set in a future where the best fighter pilots in the world not only have to master their craft and perfect their skills, the heroes of THE RED WING also have to learn how to navigate through time. Described by Hickman as "the greatest battle in the history of the history of three worlds," the four-issue miniseries is but the first concept to be mined by Hickman & Pitarra as part of Hickman's ongoing "PLUS!" project.

"Well, I've been promising I'd get to this for over a year, so now it's time," Hickman said. "We'll start with THE RED WING, and then I'll be writing and drawing something called, FEEL BETTER NOW, before Nick and I move on to our next exciting project. We have a busy, aggressive slate of exciting stories to tell, and, like I said before, it's time."

"It's a real privilege to be working with Jonathan and the incredible team he's assembled for THE RED WING," added Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson. "Since his comics debut with THE NIGHTLY NEWS, Jonathan has been one of the most unique and visionary voices in contemporary comics, and after hearing what he has planned for THE RED WING and the rest of the PLUS! series, I can guarantee you he's not planning to rest on his laurels anytime soon!"

THE RED WING #1 (of 4), a 32-page full color comic with a cover price of $3.50, will be available for order now in the May issue of Previews and will go on sale July 6.

ABOUT IMAGE COMICS
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.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)


Okay, I kind of can’t believe I’m going to stick my neck out here and say this. (ahem) So here’s what I’m into lately: DC Comics’ audio books on tape. WAIT, WAIT, don’t go! Let me explain…

I’m as surprised as you are. But they’re pretty good! Seriously! Like so many things in the world of comics, I always feel like the people manning Warner Bros. just don’t quite seem to steer DC with the same killer business plan that the guys at Marvel have dreamed up. With DC, you get one good video game a year (lately). With Marvel? You get a legacy that extends back to the Commodore 64.

With DC you get script rewrites and production changeovers that doom projects to development hell. With Marvel you get an Avengers movie with Joss Whedon at the helm. Marvel will give you access to what can only be like a third of their entire comic LIBRARY online for something like ten bucks a month. DC: download individual issues. You get the drift. (Sidenote- DC animated work? Superb. Bruce Timm is the man. But I’ve said this before.)

With DC and Marvel scrambling to break in on new and interesting ways to hoist their product, we’ve had some interesting things come up these last few years. I do sort of dig Marvel’s motion comics. And part of what I dig about them is just that- they ARE Marvel comics. It isn’t some limited, forgettable online series that somebody cooked up that no one is going to ever reference in any comic on the rack for the rest of your life (or at least, not all the motion comics are). It really IS Astonishing X-Men, done animated movie style- with some voice-acting that isn’t TOO shabby and a few neat effects that bring the panels to life. It’s cool.

So how can DC follow suit and not be copycats? I mean, that’s the problem really: every time Marvel breaks into something like this, faster than fast, DC execs probably sit around scratching their heads, wondering how they can do the same thing only in a way that somehow distinguishes them from the competition. So? Audiobooks.

I’ve never really been into comic book novels, but I admit when done right, I see a certain appeal. Again this works best, for me, when the novel is an adaptation and retelling of an actual comic book story- I remember that the ‘Death and Return of Superman’ corresponding novel actually sold pretty well at the time. I mean it makes sense, right? You’ve got a bunch of people who see on the news that DC is going to kill off Superman.

They all run out and by the comic, hoping it’s going to be some massive collector’s item eighty years from now (alas, the supply and demand of comic books like this just aren’t what they used to be- Superman’s Death is hardly Amazing Fantasy #15 is it?). The thing is? The actual comic probably confused the hell out of these people. I mean at the time that Superman ‘died’, Lex was running around in a cloned body masquerading as his own son (complete with a whole set of hair), Supergirl was frickin’ alien (no not a Kryptonian- just don’t ask), and I’m sure the Eradicator and Mongul weren’t exactly the most well known superman characters around.

When done right a novel can give a story two things that I like. The first? Even campy, over-the-top comic book characters and plot lines can take a sort of adult sensibility when you read the exchanges in print, rather than in comic. There’s something about the pacing, the narration- it slows things down, makes you feel like things are progressing step by step rather than at a breakneck, four panel a page pace. It helps that authors tend to embellish a little bit too, providing their own take on what it might feel or be like to talk to or speak to the Batman or Wonder Woman, etc. Everything can seem a little more human somehow. No matter what absurd realms of science fiction we’re diving into.

The second? A novelization of a comic book story is practically an annotation of the story. Whereas it may be assumed that your average comic book reader is going to look at a panel, view such and such superhero, and immediately identify that character, their methods, and their motivations...authors tend to write under the assumption that the audience will not have a damn clue what, or who, they’re talking about unless they take the time to explain it. This can save countless hours of scouring the internet to understand how character A fits into the grand scheme of mega-crisis-crossover X and the like (…not that I’d do that. Ahem).

Now- novels filled with original content? I’m skeptical. Oh, I am skeptical. Partly because I have been burned bad. Marvel seemed (for once!) to take a wrong turn here in the mid nineties. I remember a slew of Spider-man and X-Men novels hitting the rack- all non-canonical, original stories. They were all pretty bad. BUT it paled in comparison to the day when strolling through Barnes and Noble brought the penultimate fan-fiction-ish indulgence of this era to my attention: I swear to GOD there is an X-MEN/ STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION CROSSOVER NOVEL. This EXISTS. Someone WROTE this. …words fail. I shutter to think what terrible, terrible literary atrocities lie within.

Anyway, DC audiobooks. They’re sort of like radio shows. With voice acting, and a few special effects thrown in here and there…and they aren’t bad! Seriously! It’s like listening to a TV show. And really, I mean- the sky is kind of the limit with these, aren’t they? There’s probably hardly much production cost. It’s doesn’t take hours of filming or animators toiling away to make. There isn’t a limit to the length that they can run, either- no preset number of episodes commissioned for a season. It’s like a book; it can be as long as it needs to be to tell a story.

Consequently, adapting lengthy (and I mean lengthy) and complex comic book crossovers is not out of the question by any means. On this note I’ve got to hand it Gregg Cox! It seems like he has painstakingly taken the time to adapt the entire DC universe ‘meta plot’ that has emerged over the last DECADE! I mean seriously this guy has written an adaptation to Infinite Crisis, 52, Countdown AND Final Crisis, which I can only suspect wasn’t exactly a walk through the park. I mean, this is really out there stuff we’re talking about, with Alexander Luthor and Superboy Prime running around, Mr. Mind and 52 parallel earths, the Anti-Life equation...

Okay, these big titles are the ones everyone buys every summer. But at their core, they are confusing as &%$#. Admit it half the time you don’t even know what the hell is going on! You just know that Blackest Night is the comic to go buy THAT summer. And the art is pretty. And some stuff blows up. But only the hardcore are really keeping score as to how the crises are forming and re-shaping the DC timeline. You can actually plug in and listen to everything that’s gone down these last few years, online, if you’re up for it. I swear, the production value isn’t bad at all.

I’m actually a big fan of hearing Final Crisis play out, sort of live. Don’t get me wrong, I think Morrison’s got style, but sometimes I think his ironic dialogue can actually belie the very thing he’s trying to invoke thematically. At its heart, Final Crisis is some scary &%$#, apocalyptic in nature. If you want, you can read it as the book of Revelations, done DC Universe style. The audio book really captures this I think. I don’t know if Cox is out there but if he’s up for any more of these, I would be dorking out if he took a pass at the Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night and Brightest Day. And corresponding ‘radio dramas’ would be cool I think.

Preview - G.I. Joe: Cobra Civil War #0


The folks in G.I. Joe are just as susceptible to a civil war as anyone else, so it only makes sense that IDW puts them in that position in G.I. Joe: Cobra Civil War #0. Written by Chuck Dixon and Mike Costa and illustrated by Javier Saltares, Antonio Fuso and Agustin Padilla (covers by Tom Feister, Fuso and Gabriele Dell'Otto), the series focuses on the death of Cobra Commander. What that means is that those vying for the title will fight tooth and nail to become the new Commander. How are they determining that person? Whoever kills the most Joes.

The 40-pager will be available April 13 and interiors are after the jump.