Monday, December 31, 2012

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Well, 2013 is here. The world didn’t end (big surprise). It’s time to start new things. I got a nice slew of comics for Christmas. Some of my favorites, including Daredevil and Gambit. But I’m particularly enthused about Uncanny Avengers.

It’s taken me a while to warm up to this concept. Initally, I was feeling a little spent on all of the Avengers books that have been cropping up. New Avengers has put Avengers fandom at critical mass, resulting in Dark Avengers, Young Avengers, Secret Avengers, etc.

The prospect of an Avengers team that really spotlights mutant-kind--the idea of putting some X-Men center-stage in the Marvel Universe rather than on the periphery--is very intriguing. I mean, some have already been there, but not THIS WAY. Cap, Thor and Wolvie’s new team is dedicated to helping lessen the tension between mutants and humans by showcasing mutant superheroes.

It’s a nice chance to see worlds cross. We can get a glimpse of the Avengers tangling with mutant types and we can see some former X-Men go up against some of the really BAD iconic supervillains that the Avengers tangle with, like the Red Skull.

Review - Sleepy Hollow #3

Getting your head cut off might just ruin your day right. For an undead killer who hails from the bloodline of the famous Headless Horseman, losing one’s head goes right in with the story as you seek revenge. With Sleepy Hollow #3 from Zenescope you get to see what turn this new take on an old tale.

The issue is written by Dan Wickline, with art by AC Osorio, colors by Erick Arciniega and letters by Jim Campbell.

Shadowman #3 Explores the Depths of Deadside

Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher are excited. Not just because Valiant Entertainment is set to release Shadowman #3, but more so because it'll feature Shadowman's first clash with the minions of Master Darque in the unpopular tourist destination Deadside.

Trapped in the Deadside with no hope of rescue, Jack Boniface is on the run from the otherworldly horrors that dwell there. Meanwhile, his new friends and allies are at the mercy of Mr. Twist, whose plan to restore Master Darque is very nearly complete. But Jack is about to find help from some very strange and very unexpected sources… Could a light from Jack's past could still be shining in the depths of the Deadside's darkness?

The issue hits stores January 9, which also happens to be the same day that Shadowman #1 Zircher Second Printing Sketch Variant.

Full press release and preview interiors below.

March Solicits - Aspen Comics

2013 is slated to be a big year for Aspen Comics. They've got just about everything imaginable firing on all cylinders, gearing up to debut a slew of new series to hungry fans as well as continuing those series already in progress. March promises some great books that you can get your solicit on with.

Shrugged #1 is written by Frank Mastromauro, illustrated by Jonathan Marks and Micah Gunnell and illustrated by Beth Sotelo. Theo and his friends are entering their final year of high school, and even though Ange and Dev are still along for the ride, a host of new characters have joined in on the adventure! But, everything isn’t all fun and games this time around as an evil force has also returned and is preparing to silence those voices inside their heads…permanently. The issue hits stores March 13 for $1.

Second is a second issue in Legend of the Shadowclan #2 is written by David Wohl, illustrated by Cory Smith and colored by Jon Starr. The Arashis believed themselves to be just an average family, but everything changed the night that Dr. William Arashi inadvertently found himself in a battle with well-armed assassins, and he not only survived, but he defeated them. Exhilarated and confused, Arashi now discovers that this attack was not random, and that he and his family are anything but ordinary--they are members of an ancient and powerful ninja family known as the Shadowclan. But now that their secret has been discovered, they realize they are ALL in great danger. The issue hits stores March 6.

Executive Assistant: Iris Vol. 3 #4 nears the end of the Executive Extinction agenda, written by Wohl, illustrated by Alex Lei and colored by Teo Gonzalez. Iris finds her loyalty called into question when she is forced to choose sides between her employer--the CIA--and her fellow Executive Assistants, as they try to bring down the vicious Mazutsu and his criminal empire. And to make matters worse, Rose has returned, which can only mean even more trouble for Iris. But when one of her closest friends reveals her true allegiance, Iris realizes that nothing is as it seems in this world of intrigue, death...and betrayal.

Executive Assistant: Assassins #9 is written by Vince Hernandez, illustrated by Jordan Gunderson and colored by Gonzalez. The massive “Executive Extinction” crossover begins to tear apart the bounds of friendship and loyalty, as Lily, Orchid and Aster arrive in Tokyo on their final push to eliminate Mazutsu and end his cycle of bloodshed. However, the arrival of Executive Assistant Ivy has created a challenge for the girls’ revenge plan, as her past reveals dark secrets which may lead to all of their demise!

Finally, Soulfire Vol. 4 #6 is written by J.T. Krul, illustrated by Mike DeBalfo and colored by Nei Ruffino. As Malikai and his technologically infused magical allies try to save the world from the destructive force of the elemental dragons, Grace is freakishly transforming before their very eyes and becoming the living embodiment of Oris--the chaos demon! Can the group save her in time, and perhaps save the world in the process? Or will this be the decisive battle where everyone loses, no matter what the outcome?

Full solicitation text and covers below.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Defense With The BoomStick

(Disclaimer: This post is an ongoing story set in a world where zombies have taken over and people are fighting to survive anyway they can. Originally it was a post of news and tips to help survivors make it one more day alive, but now it has became a story of my fight after being bitten and partially cured to walk as a half-zombie among them.)

Made it about a day and half out before I saw the explosion. I didn’t think there could be that much explosive force left in this world, but sure enough I was able to see the explosion with the distance I put between me and the camp. It could have been the zombies or those bandits that set off that explosion; I can't tell you at this time who it was.

Review - Valhalla Cindermane #1 & 2

Stories of the children of god often follow a typical template. Said child is thrust into an impossible situation on Earth where they're forced to adapt to living as a human, despite being more powerful than them. If it ain't broke, then why fix it? That's the approach Enemy Transmission took with Valhalla Cindermane #1 & 2.

The first two issues are written by Michael Kuty, with pencils by Axel Gimenez, colors and inks by Daniel G.A. Goiz and letters by Kelly Ishikawa.

Preview - Vampirella Strikes #1

Vampirella has a lot of things going for her. Besides the sex appeal and vampiric nature, she's also got something of a monster in her, a monster seeking to take control. Her latest endeavor to control that evil takes place in Vampirella Strikes #1 from Dynamite Entertainment.

The first of six-issues is written by Tom Sniegoski, with art by Johnny Desjardins and covers by Michael Turner, David Finch, Milo Manara, JDesjardins, Chris Eliopoulos and Mike Mayhew. Vampirella never knows what she will be facing from one moment to the next, but what she finds waiting for her in her Boston Brownstone when she returns from a night of hunting is the most unexpected of all. Angels of Heaven sent by God...and they want Vampirella to work for them.

Check out the interiors below and the book in stores January 2.

February Solicits - Zenescope

Believe it or not, February is right around the corner. And now that we've gotten past that whole Mayan calendar thing, it's time to get back to planning for new comic books to start divvying up our weekly fund for. Zenescope has got a ton of books on tap for February, many of which you'll likely be interested in.

Madness of Wonderland #1 is the follow-up to Call of Wonderland and Detective Legrasse is still trying to make sense of what happened to the two murder suspects who disappeared. But when she's called in on a disturbing and brutal murder case, she realizes that there is a connection to be made somewhere. Meanwhile, the back-story that follows HP Lovecraft Lovecraft's journal continues as Lovecraft's disturbing dreams are becoming more and more real to him.

Mowglii returns in GFT Jungle Book: Last of the Species #1, fresh off her battle with Shere Khan. Unfortunately, that's not enough as Dewan of the Apes returns and the Payari Elephants face an attack from Bomani and the remains of the Tigers of the Shere.

Wonderland #8 perverts Violet and Harmony's night of youthful abandon into a night of blood and carnage when they find themselves face to face with the effects of Dream and its devastating side effects in the midst of the flower girls nightclub. Calie wakes finding Violet gone and goes in search of her daughter but she will arrive in time to save her from the minions of Wonderland or will Violet become the latest flower in the flower girls twisted garden?

GFT Valentine's Day Special is a tale from Sela's past, explaining the story behind her glasses and why she wears them. Presumably, it's not just so she can have 20/20 vision. Meanwhile, Grimm Fairy Tales #82 brings Sela back, intent on finding her daughter, despite the Earth needing her more than ever. Fly The Fall #5 features a powered up Francis kidnapping a helpless Mary. Eddie and the Hero must join forces to stop him in the conclusion to the new story arc.

The Best of Zenescope Special Edition reprints four classic Zenescope tales, including Jack and the Beanstalk, Sinbad, Return to Wonderland and Neverland. The Robyn Hood TPB collects the first volume of Robyn, fighting through the kingdom of Bree to help the repressed citizens. Myths and Legends Volume 5 boils down to a slew of marquis battles. Samantha versus Cindy. Beast versus Erica. Brittany versus Morrigan. Sela versus Venus. The Dark One versus Baba Yaga. Helios versus EVERYONE. It collects GFT Myths and Legends issues #16, 17, and #22 thru #25.

Finally, Grimm Fairy Tales Volume 13 has Sela facing the consequences of her actions in trying to select some inmates who deserve a second chance.

Full solicits and some covers below.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Review - Executive Assistant: Assassins #6

Kill or be killed. If there was a headquarters for Executive Assistants, that would likely be the motto emblazoned on the floor in a fancy tile-work. It's the motto that Lily is forced to live by in Executive Assistant: Assassins #6 from Aspen Comics.

The issue is written by Vince Hernandez, with pencils by Jordan Gunderson, inks by Mark Roslan, colors by Teodoro Gonzalez and letters by Josh Reed.

Preview - Mara #1

When he's not telling tales of a militarized NYC or a boat seeking its mate, Brian Wood dabbles a bit in tales of celebrity and pure athleticism. Joined by Ming Doyle and Jordie Bellaire, Mara #1 is the story of a gifted woman in a sports and war-obsessed future.

Young Mara Prince is at the top of the world, a global celebrity in a culture that prizes physical achievement above all else. After she manifests supernatural abilities on live TV, she becomes famous all over again but for the worst reasons. Integrating themes of superpowers, celebrity worship, corporate power, feminism and political brinksmanship, the book takes a classic genre to new places.

Check out the interiors below and the book in stores now.

Joe Palooka Smashes Way Back Into Comics

It's wholly possible with all the last minute shopping last week, you might have missed a tiny tidbit of news from IDW. That tidbit is that the debut of Joe Palooka, an all-new, MMA comic book, debuted across the country. That's right. Those not content with dropping money on MMA PPVs or video games can now get their fix in comic book form, created by Joe Antonacci.

"I can't believe we have the book online and in stores everywhere. After sponsoring top fighters like Johnny Hendricks, Jimmy Hettes, Brendan Schaub, and Dan Miller over the past two years, which made MMA fans aware that the book was coming, this represents a huge moment for me," stated Antonacci. "To sign on with a tremendous publisher like IDW, which gave us the opportunity to bring Joe Palooka to comic book and MMA fans worldwide is a tremendous opportunity. We plan to expand our relationship with them by having UFC fighters appear in the comic book as well."

The series is all about Joe Palooka, desperately trying to clear his name while fighting to earn a spot in the Legion of Combat fight series. The series pits fighters in team matches from countries such as the US, the UK, Brazil, Russia, Japan, China and other nations. It's like Street Fighter, only with less Sonic Booms and Hadoukens.

Antonacci added, "I'd also like to thank all of those who helped make today possible, including our advertisers, JACO and Authentic Sports Management, Azad Watches, Pete Morgan and Peerless Boilers, Dragon Door Kettle Bells, and KettlebellKing.com. Of course, Ted Adams, Chris Ryall, and Greg Goldstein from IDW, as well as Ed Catto and Heidi McDonald for their guidance, and my Team Palooka crew: writer Mike Bullock, artist Fernando Peniche, letterer Josh Aitken, and colorist Bob Pedroza."

"And the comic book has realistic MMA action throughout thanks to our MMA technical consultant, Phil Ross," concluded Antonacci.

Full press release below.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Review - Fathom Vol. 4 #8

Assistants in the Aspen Universe have a tendency to be a lot more trouble than they're worth. And while Judith isn't quite an assistant in Fathom Vol. 4 #8, she does have that tendency to be a thorn in Aspen's side.

The eighth issue is written by David Wohl, with art by Alex Konat, colors by Beth Sotelo and letters by Josh Reed.

Preview - Deathmatch #1

BOOM! Studios has something that the big boys can't lay claim to: a superhero battle royale. A powerful and mysterious supervillain has imprisoned the world’s greatest superheroes, forcing them to fight to the death until there is but one victor. It’s kill or be killed as we settle the score on all those hypothetical superhero match-ups in the ultimate.

The story is written by Paul Jenkins, with art by Carlos Magno, colors by Michael Garland and letters by Ed Dukeshire. The issue is in stores today for $1.

Full press release below.

Hip Flask Comes Full Circle

Ladrönn has won an Eisner for his artwork in Hip Flask: Mystery City. That's quite an achievement in and of itself and it surely played a role in one of his next gigs. That gig is illustrating the penultimate issue of Richard Starkings' Hip Flask series in Hip Flask: Ouroborous.

"Call me a numbskull," said Starkings, "but I figured readers need more bang for their buck, not less."

As a bonus, the price of the book has been decreased from $5.99 to $4.99. It tells the story of the eponymous anthropomorphic hippopotamus, an information agent in a dystopian future where human-animal hybrids, created as implements of war, struggle to be accepted into society.

The book will hit stores December 26.

Full press release below.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

While I suppose technically X-Men’s take on mutation is more in keeping with the actual scientific definition of the word (although mutation isn’t always necessarily beneficial to an organism), for some reason TMNT’s cartoony definition of mutation seemed to just click with people.

In TMNT’s case, mutation seems like it’s more a matter of some organism being exposed to some substance that results in some strange rapid evolutionary development or some sort of hybrid animal/human organism. You sort of unquestioningly accepted this aspect of TMNT; it just seemed to make sense that that’s what a mutant was.

Not surprisingly the subsequent comic, cartoon and action figures were all chock full of other mutant specimens. Panda samurai, kangaroos outfitted for the Australian outback and gun-toting dinosaurs abounded. In fact, the lesser known but cult favorite TMNT Palladium RPG gave you a chance to play the Turtles, but it also gave you a chance to come up with your own mutants.

You could do sparrows, dogs, whatever. There was actually an extensive chart of animals that you could roll on when you started your character so you were welcome to have the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles team up with the Iridescent Mutated Commando Badgers or whatever you and your friends cooked up.

Still, while mutation seemed to give rise to our four green heroes it remains more of a chaotic and unnatural phenomenon in the TMNT-verse than in the Marvel one.

Review - Freelancers #2

Ah, the life of a freelance assassin. It's not all running on rooftops and fighting Templars. There's the social side of it, as best evidenced in Freelancers #2 from BOOM! Studios.

The second issue is written by Eric Esquivel, with art by Joshua Covey, colors by Vladimir Popov and letters by Pat Brosseau.

Aspen Comics Announces Idolized #5 Title Contest

All good things must come to an end and, unfortunately, Idolized from Aspen Comics is about to do just that. The series about Joule and the superhero reality show she was a part of has been a quality series so far and the fifth issue will hopefully wrap things up while leaving open some story threads. To celebrate the fifth issue, Aspen Comics is giving fans the chance to name the fifth issues.

“Each issue of IDOLIZED has had a title that’s a play on the title of a classic song, and readers have really gotten a big kick out of that aspect of the series” said Aspen’s Editor-in-Chief Vince Hernandez. “It seems like such a small detail at first, but people have really been responding to it.”

The prior issue titles were:

Issue Zero: ”Every Little Things She Does is Tragic”
Issue One: “Don’t Stop Deceiving”
Issue Two: “No Sleep ‘Til Top Ten”
Issue Three: “It’s the End of the Show As We Know It (Do I Survive?)”
Issue Four: “Glory Daze”

Until January 1, comic fans can visit www.Facebook.com/IDOLIZEDComic to cast their votes for any one of these potential titles:

“They Might be Idols”
“Contestants of the World, Unite and Take Over”
“We Need Joule Tonight”
“Forever Your Joule”
OR…
fans can enter their own potential titles into the mix

As an added bonus, two fans will win copies of all 3 covers of Idolized #5, signed by Schwartz. One set will go to the first person who correctly identifies each of the original song titles being used and the artist who originally recorded that song. Another set will go to a randomly-selected person who entered their own suggested title into the voting options.

“For issue five, we needed to find a title that reflected the themes contained in this big, over-sized final issue,” said Schwartz. “This issue is about redemption, about trying to find ways to let go of anger, fear and hatred, and to see what you can amount to, what kind of life you can live, if you finally stop harboring those destructive emotions. It’s also about unity, about a team of former competitors coming together to try and achieve something grand and heroic. So, each of these potential titles had to reflect that in some way.”

Full press release below.

Storm Dogs #1 and Comeback #1 Go Free

Storm Dogs and Comeback are just two of the many quality books that Image Comics is putting out these days. The publisher is crushing it when it comes to quality and quantity, so it's time the publisher gave a little something back. The debut issues of the aforementioned series are now free at comiXology and the Image Comics digital site and app.

"The free digital firsts are a great way for people who may have missed the print issues to get started reading a new series," said Image Comics PR and Marketing Director, Jennifer de Guzman. "Storm Dogs and Comeback have excellent receptions and reviews, and we don't want people to have to delay reading them. New fans can either follow up at their local comics shop or continue buying the series digitally — whichever they prefer."

Storm Dogs is by David Hine and Doug Braithwaite and depicts an alien world, futuristic technology and taut procedural mystery story. The second issue hit stores December 5 and the third issue hits stores January 16. Comeback is by Ed Brisson and Michael Walsh. It features an organization who time travels for profit and the consequences of messing with the past and future.

Full press release below.

ComixTribe Gives Everyone a "Working Holiday"

The end of the year is rapidly nearing, which means it's time to celebrate those various festivities while preparing to ring in the new year. ComixTribe wants to make sure you're in a festive spirit and are offering a solid offering in the way of wishing well. They're offering a free nicely naughty holiday themed Oxymoron short by Mark Poulton and Jules Rivera.

"On behalf of the entire ComixTribe crew, I'd like to wish the entire comics community a Merry Christmas, happy holiday season, and a joyous New Year!" said publisher Tyler James.

This short is one of 10 stories featured in Oxymoron Volume 1, a wildly successful Kickstarter project, the rewards for which have started shipping to backers this week. Oxymoron is a supervillian obsessed with contradiction, and plays a major role in the new ComixTribe series The Red Ten, which debuts in comic shops world-wide on January 2, 2013. Oxymoron Volume 1 will be available at select retailers in ComixTribe's micro-distribution network starting in January, before being released through Diamond later this year.

A limited edition holiday variant featuring the OXY-GRINCH cover by Rivera is on sale between December 21 - January 2 only. You can grab the copy of the book here.

Full press release below.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Defense With the BoomStick

(Disclaimer: This post is an ongoing story set in a world where zombies have taken over and people are fighting to survive anyway they can. Originally it was a post of news and tips to help survivors make it one more day alive, but now it has became a story of my fight after being bitten and partially cured to walk as a half-zombie among them.)

Days grow colder. Nights feel longer and the constant battle rages on.

Still under siege by zombies. The electric fence is overwhelmed and blew the generators, costing us most of our power. This morning we were hearing more gunfire from outside of the fence line that I take to mean those bandits have managed to find this place.

With them out there the zombies are split between coming through the fences at us and fighting the bandits too. Things are beginning to look more and more dire to hold out in this spot for much longer. Not sure about the others with me fighting here, but I think a strategic running away is in order--at least that is what I am thinking.

Review - Change #1

Change is good right? It leads to new things, whether they be good or bad. They can also be part of a new comic series, a four-parter from Image Comics starting with Change #1.

The first issue is written by Ales Kot, with art by Morgan Jeske, colors by Sloane Leong and letters by Ed Brisson.

Liquid Comics App Features Digital Comics by Top Filmmakers

Liquid Comics has the market cornered on comics from some top-name directors and creators in comics and film. In fact, they're so good at the area that the app is number 4 in the App Store under iPhone free book apps. And why shouldn't it when it boasts talents of the likes of Guy Ritchie, John Woo, Barry Sonnenfeld, Shekhar Kapur, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis, Andy Diggle, Marc Guggenheim, Mukesh Singh, Jeevan J. Kang and more.

“Liquid Comics aims to be a home for great creators across film, television and comics to collaborate together on new ideas and bring them to audiences through the visual medium of graphic novels and interactive entertainment,” commented Sharad Devarajan, Liquid Comics Co-Founder & CEO. “The Liquid Comics app for the iPhone and iPad allows us to share these creators stories with potentially millions of people through one of the most compelling visual devices ever created.”

Available through the app will be "Coming of Rage" by Wes Craven and Steve Niles. Available now are works such as "7 Brothers," by Woo, Ennis and Kang, telling the story of how six hundred years ago mighty Chinese treasure fleets set sail to reach every continent. Now in modern day Los Angeles, an ancient prophecy must be fulfilled and seven men with nothing in common but their destinies must face the Son of Hell to save the world.

"Dinosaurs vs. Aliens" features the talents of Sonnenfeld, Morrison and Singh. The story is based on a secret world war battle that was never recorded in our history books. When an alien invasion attacks Earth in the age of the dinosaurs, our planet’s only saviors are the savage prehistoric beasts which are much more intelligent than humanity has ever imagined. "Gamekeeper" is from Ritchie, Diggle and Singh and is the tale of epic espionage. Brock is a reclusive, enigmatic, groundsman who lives a quiet existence, until mercenaries invade it and destroy any remnants of his life he has left. Now, set on a path of vengeance, it becomes difficult to tell who has more power, the man, or the animal within.

"Snakewoman" features the talents of Kapur, Wells and Gaydos. Jessica Peterson is learning first-hand that the cycle of revenge cannot be broken. Without understanding why, she finds herself turning into a creature - a vicious Snakewoman. Her mission - to avenge a centuries old wrong that was conceived half a world away. Jessica must confront the monster that lurks inside her before it is too late. "Nowhere Man" is created by Guggenheim. What if you could have the world of your dreams...and all it cost you was every thought you ever had. A futuristic thriller set in a world where the government monitors everything - including your most private thoughts.

New titles on the horizon will include “The Megas” from Jonathan Mostow, “Dead Soldier” from filmmaker John Moore, “Voodoo Child” by Weston Cage, Nicolas Cage and Mike Carey and “Dock Walloper” by Ed Burns and Jimmy Palmiotti.

Full press release below.

End of the World Reading List

If you're reading this, then chances are the Mayan prediction of the apocalypse were less than accurate. No matter though, as regardless of whether or not the world really does end, Dark Horse wants you to know they've got a slew of good stuff to read on your way out.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review - R.I.P.D.: City of the Damned #2

In the face of evil, we rely on good. Sometimes that good is morality and other times that good is the tears of Christ. While most aren't lucky enough to have the latter on hand, there are some in R.I.P.D.: City of the Damned #2 from Dark Horse Comics who do. And boy, does it pay off.

The second issue is written by Jeremy Barlow, with art by Tony Parker, colors by Michelle Madsen and letters by Richard Starkings and Comicraft.

Preview - Django Unchained #1

Django will be unchained next week on the big screen. It's not enough for Vertigo though, as the publisher will be releasing a comic by the same name in Django Unchained #1.

The title is adapted from Quentin Tarantino's screenplay, with art by R.M. Guera and Jason Latour, colors by Giulia Brusco and letters by Sal Cipriano.

The book is in stores now with interiors below.

Dark Souls 2: Hoping for More Pain

Editor's Note: This article also appears on The Nerd Machine.

There’s a video making the rounds on the internet. Well, there are millions of videos making the rounds on the internet, but one in particular that bears mentioning. That video is the trailer which debuted at the Spike VGAs for Dark Souls 2, the sequel to the critically acclaimed and universally feared game Dark Souls. Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura have taken the directorial reins from Hidetaka Miyazaki, and it’s a statement by Shibuya that has Dark Souls purists a little on edge:

“I personally am the sort of person who likes to be more direct than subtle,” he tells us. “[Dark Souls II] will be more straightforward and more understandable.”

Now, the combination of the statement and the venue for the trailer’s unveiling has led to some handwringing amongst those who appreciated the challenge of Dark Souls. Does that mean the game will be more mainstream? Will it be easier? Will Namco Bandai try to make this an annual property, a la Call of Duty? All manner of questions have been raised about the sequel. Judging by the trailer though, it looks like a lot of the fears may be as big as Seath the Scaleless.

There seems to be a greater emphasis on story in the sequel, something that was sorely lacking in Dark Souls. Sure, there was a very thin plot about restoring light to the world or keeping it dark and there were NPCs scattered throughout, but the story didn’t drive the experience. What drove the experience were the RPG elements, such as combat, leveling up and equipment/inventory management.

From that perspective, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it right? Yes and no.

Review - Executive Assistant: Iris Vol. 3 #1

Executive Assistants in the Aspen universe all look towards Iris as the standard bearer for the profession. After all, she is the first of the specially trained assassins. How she fares in the face of extinction gives cause to read Executive Assistant: Iris Vol. 3 #1 from Aspen Comics.

The first issue is written by David Wohl, with art by Alex Lei, colors by Teodoro Gonzalez and letters by Josh Reed.

Dynamite Premieres Alex Ross and Paolo Rivera Covers for Mark Waid's Green Hornet

Boy, that headline sure does have a lot of talent crammed into it. Mark Waid has been tapped for a brand new Green Hornet series from Dynamite (featuring art by Daniel Indro), due in stores March 2013. That's not good enough for the publisher though, as they've also got Alex Ross and Paolo Rivera doing covers. And they're pretty sweet.

"Writing the Green Hornet is a dream come true," says writer Mark Waid. "It's our goal to reinvigorate the characters, remind readers why he's still relevant, and underscore the elements of the Hornet that make him unique among crime fighters. Seriously, Alex outdid himself with a dead-on pop-art distillation of the spirit of our new approach. I'm awestruck. And everyone who's been buying DAREDEVIL knows that Paolo is one of the greatest cover artists working today, but what he's doing with the Hornet shows an amazing versatility as well."

In Green Hornet #1, The Hornet faces his most dangerous enemy ever--an egotistical, arrogant Britt Reid. In his alter-ego as a powerful newspaper publisher, the Hornet has lost control, becoming a social crusader far too sure of himself and of his judgment. But when he finally goes too far, an innocent man pays a terrible price--and the legend of the Green Hornet begins its cataclysmic collapse.

"I remember my high school English teacher telling me ‘There are no new stories, just fresh ones,'" adds cover artist Paolo Rivera! "Mark has many specialties, but one of his greatest skills is the ability to take iconic characters and reassemble their motivations in a way that was always there, but somehow overlooked. With Green Hornet, Mark seems to be pitting him against his own success, forcing him to earn his iconic status all over again. The result is a true test of his character, at once classic and fresh."

Full press release below.

Aspen Comics Presents Jirni This April

Aspen isn't playing around with the whole tenth anniversary thing. 2013 marks that celebration and the publisher's "10 for 10" initiative is set to release ten new books. One of those books is Jirni, written by J.T. Krul and illustrated by Paolo Pantalena and Brett Smith. Krul in particular is excited for the book.

"Jirni is a celebration of all the things I love about fantasy and adventure. It's the tale of a girl on a quest beyond anything she ever imagined, venturing into a world she barely knew existed. For anyone who has been captivated by the vivid imagery of Frazetta's masterpieces, this book is for you."

"For anyone who relished in the visceral energy of Conan the Barbarian or got lost on the rich mythic sagas of Excalibur or Clash of the Titans; for anyone who rolled a ten-sided die or refused to leave Middle Earth; for anyone who followed such adventurers as Flash Gordon or John Carter, or walked the long and crazy path with a gunslinger named Roland, this book is for you. Don't miss it. It's going to be a hell of a Jirni."

Trekking through a violent and dangerous frontier of savage barbarians, devious thieves and wild creatures, a warrior-princess named Ara searches for her mother, who was stolen away from her kingdom by a mysterious sorcerer with the help of his powerful D'jinn. What great and terrible secrets await her in the distant horizon? Prepare to experience an epic tale of fantasy and wonder without boundaries. This is Ara's quest. This is Ara's destiny. This is Ara's Jirni.

The affordably priced Jirni #1 ($1) will feature a direct cover by the series team of Pantalena and Smith, while fans who add the series to their local comic shop’s subscription box are eligible for the special Jirni #1 Aspen Reserved Edition cover by Pantalena and colorist Peter Steigerwald. Fans who collect all ten of Aspen’s “10 for 10” Reserved Edition covers will be eligible to receive the free full-size Aspen Comics “10 for 10” Jam Poster from their local retailer.

Full press release below.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review - Godstorm #3

Oh to be the son of a god. And learning to deal with it. Like Jules in Godstorm #3 from Zenescope.

The issue is written by Pat Shand, with art by Jason Johnson, colors by Ben Sawyer and letters by Jim Campbell.

IDW Announces The Colonized With Art by Dave Sim

Spring 2013 is rapidly approaching. It's a time of ice melting and flowers blooming, as well as aliens and zombies making an appearance. The combination of both aliens and zombies will be found in a new property from IDW called The Colonized, written by Chris Ryall, illustrated by Drew Moss and colored by Jay Fotos. Oh and there's covers by Dave Sim.

In the Carbon Falls Collective, Huxley Robertson is dealing with the passing of his father and pushing against old guard objections as he attempts to push the separatist camp into becoming a fully sustainable green town. As if circumstances weren’t volatile enough, a craft full of alien explorers inadvertently re-animates the town’s dead! Throw a rogue ATF agent into the mix, on the hunt for the town’s weapons cache, and let’s just say this is a bad time for the otherwise sleepy Carbon Falls Collective to be cut off from the outside world.


"Exploring the idea of ultimate outsiders like aliens landing in a separatist community and then having both besieged by zombies sounded like ripe territory for commentary-free chaos and some thrillingDrew Moss artwork,” said Chris Ryall, also IDW’s Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief. “But then whenDave Sim miraculously signed on to do covers, it made it all coalesce into something even bigger and better.”


In addition to Sim’s covers, each issue will also offer special subscription-only variants from artists like John Byrne--who tackles issue one--Gabriel Rodriguez, Zach Howard and a player-to-be-named-soon.


“It’s great to be able to work with my friends on this,” Ryall added, “especially when those friends are so damned talented, they elevate anything they work on. Having Dave Sim or John Byrne covers on a book of our creation is an endless thrill for both Drew and I.”


The Colonized #1 will be in stores April. Full press release below.

End of Glory

All good things must come to an end and Glory is no exception.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review - Robyn Hood #4

Bree is known for its scenic rivers, lush forests and brutal oppression by the king. Thankfully, there's a great tour guide in Robyn to guide you through the perils of the kingdom in Robyn Hood #4 from Zenescope Comics.

The issue is written by Pat Shand, with art by Larry Watts, colors by Adam Metcalfe and letters by Jim Campbell.

True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys Launches in June 2013

Gerard Way spent some time at NYCC dropping tons of news. News of the variety that he's teaming up with Shaun Simon and Becky Cloonan for a new title called Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. As announced at New York Comic Con, an early look into this world will be published as part of Free Comic Book Day 2013, with the first issue hitting stands the following month on June 6. And the comic will be based on My Chemical Romance's album "Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys."

“The original idea for the comic informed the record,” said Gerard Way. “The record helped refine the idea, and then Becky had done a drawing of the Girl for the single ‘The Only Hope for Me Is You’ and I saw it and thought, this is the comic. It’s basically the last video, it’s the last part of the Killjoys story, while at the same time being totally its own thing.”

In the album, the Killjoys fought against the tyrannical megacorporation Better Living Industries. It cost them their lives, save for one—the mysterious Girl. Today, the followers of the original Killjoys languish in the desert while BLI systematically strips citizens of their individuality. As the fight for freedom fades, it’s left to the Girl to take up the mantle and bring down the fearsome BLI or else join the mindless ranks of Bat City.

“I think we have created a broad range of characters here,” said cowriter Shaun Simon. “A lonely teenage girl hiding from her past in the desert. A couple of android call girls wanting nothing more than to be together. An aging assassin with a secret that could destroy his life . . . Even though these characters are living in a bizarre sci-fi world, their struggles are the same we face in our own.”

Full press release below.

Review - America's Got Powers #4

Tommy. Tommy, Tommy, Tommy. It's all about Tommy and his abilities. It's those abilities that brought him fame and glory and it's those same abilities that's got him in quite a predicament in America's Got Powers #4 from Image Comics.

The issue is written by Jonathan Ross, with art by Bryan Hitch, inks by Paul Neary and Jason Paz, colors by Paul Mounts and letters by Chris Eliopoulos.

Revamped Michel Gagné series collected in January

Michel Gagné has some tricks up his sleeve. Tricks that make aliens appear on earth. Even if those aliens are cute, silly ones named Zed. And even if those aliens named Zed are in a new collections of series featuring art and writing revised by Gagné.

"I fell in love with comics at an early age, and recall wanting to be a comic artist as one of my first childhood dreams", said Gagné. "I later became interested in animation and special effects and pursued a career in that field. Despite this new passion, I never wavered in my love of comics and ultimately couldn't shake the festering desire to create my own series. In early 2001, after finishing up a demanding job as Head of Special Effects at Warner Brothers Feature Animation, I took time off to make that dream come true. This is how ZED was born."

The first issue of the series was published in July 2001. The series concluded with issue 10 in January 2012. Unfolding over the issues is the story of a cute young alien whose invention makes him the target of a galactic villain. Facing seemingly insurmountable odds, Zed must find the courage to save his home world from destruction.

Doing a comic series after hours, single-handedly, proved to be a more difficult task than Gagné first anticipated. "I planned to tell my tale over a period of ten issues and felt pretty confident, at the time, that I could have the whole thing wrapped up and published within a couple of years," said Gagné. "Little did I know that it would take me eleven years to finally bring the series to fruition. ZED is, first and foremost, a labor of love which I created at my own pace. The comic series became a way for me to build my graphic novel."

The work features Gagné's deep love for golden age science fiction and oddball cartooning. It's influenced by his favorite books and movies, as well as political news, rock concerts and things he has experienced and witnessed throughout his life. With the series wrapped up, Gagné combined all ten issues into a single graphic novel that reads as one uninterrupted story. Because of the time span it took to get the series done, Gagné felt that the writing and art style needed a second pass to make them more consistent.

"The disparity from one issue to the next was less visible when separated into individual comic books, but all strung together in graphic novel form, the inconsistencies became painfully obvious", said Gagné. "When putting the final book together, I didn't treat it as a straight reprint book. I spend several months reworking the art and writing to make it more cohesive. I consider ZED: A Cosmic Tale published by Image Comics to be the definitive version of the story."

Zed: A Cosmic Tale will be in stores January 30 for $19.99. Full press release below.

Action Lab Merges With SR Graphic for the Danger Zone

Action Lab Entertainment is excited to make an announcement. An announcement that would be classified after hours. An announcement that will have fans of comics intrigued an excited for some more adult fare. Super Real Graphics publisher Jason Martin will spearhead the new mature readers line at Action Lab Entertainment called Action Lab: Danger Zone.

"Bringing Jason Martin, and Super Real Graphics, into the Action Lab family is quite the coup," says Action Lab President Kevin Freeman. "Not only do we get a proven talent in Martin to ply his trade with us, but this move also allows us to look for and publish quality work of all kinds--not just kid-friendly fare. This lets us expand our horizons, and Action Lab undoubtedly will be better for it."

While Action Lab is known more for its high-profile all-ages friendly properties, the publisher wants to reinforce its dedication to publishing a full spectrum of comic book content. The creation of the Danger Zone imprint allows it to continue to seek out the best projects for any audience, and as the newly-appointed publisher for the brand, Martin can use his experience running a mature readers line of books to help ALE achieve bigger and better things. On the Action Lab side of things, books such as Zombie Tramp from Dan Mendoza and Double Jumpers by Dave Dwonch will be the first titles to jump over to the new line.

“I have been a fan of Jason’s SRG brand for many years, and I’m thrilled that he will be extending his talent, positive energy, and dedication to the craft to the Action Lab stable of books,” says ALE Creative Director Dave Dwonch.

2013 is poised to be a big year for the publisher(s). Titles such as The Trip, The Rabid, Ehmm Theory, American Goth Chick, Ghost Town and Night of the 80's Undead.

Full press release below.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I’m expecting that TMNT might be on its way back into the hearts and minds of many adolescent movie goers and toy collectors.

It’s so funny to me that this excellent comic and series has fallen a bit to the wayside over the last few years. I mean, everyone still LOVES the Turtles and they’ve had some pretty solid forays into the realm of animation lately. But at one point, TMNT was really kind of ‘on the pulse’ of what was cool in comic books and pop culture.

What I suppose a lot of people never realized about the original Turtles' comic was that it was, in fact, a bit GRITTY. I mean sure, it was funny because the idea of four gigantic, anthropomorphic ninja turtles named after famous artists is too whacked out to not be funny.

Review - Idolized #4

Rigged or not, reality shows have to have a conclusion. A final outcome, usually dictated by someone winning the entire thing. Idolized #4 from Aspen Comics is no different.

The title is written by David Schwartz, illustrated by Pasquale Qualano, colored by David Curiel and lettered by Josh Reed.

Arcana Comics Bringing SteamPunk Original to FCBD 2013

Arcana is bringing a little steampunk action to FCBD 2013. That is, the publisher is working their SteamPunk Originals magic to release a preview of the upcoming The Steam Engines of Oz. And it's going to be a doozy.

Find out what happens 100 years after the witch is dead. In an Oz ruled by a once revered hero, salvation comes from the unlikely wrench of Victoria Wright, who dares to question the status quo and sparks a rebellion. This FCBD edition will give you an exciting extended preview of the upcoming graphic novel and a look at what else Arcana's SteamPunk Originals line has in store for readers.

The preview is written by Sean Patrick O'Reilly and Erik Hendrix, with art by Yannis Roumboulias and colors by Chandran.

Full press release below.

Action Lab Going Double on FCBD 2013

FCBD 2013 is slated to be pretty massive for the folks looking for some new comics to check out. Action Lab is adding their wares to the day as well for their first FCBD and they're offering up two comics instead of one. Those comics are Molly Danger/Princeless and NFL Rush Zone: Season of the Guardians.

“We are thrilled to be offering not one, but two separate books for Free Comic Book Day 2013,” said Action Lab president Kevin Freeman. ”We believe both of these titles are of the highest quality, and showcase the type of material that we are capable of creating. Fans and retailers are going to be blown away by both of these titles.”

Molly Danger/Princeless is a combo offering, with the first title written by Jeremy Whitley and the latter written by Jamal Igle. This is a teaser for the full-color premium hardcover that Igle will publish later in 2013. The second book contains two stories by Kevin Freeman and Jeremy Whitley, with illustrations by M. Goodwin and Jerry Gaylord.

Both books are full-color, 32 pages, will appeal to readers of all ages, and, of course, free.

Full press release below.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Defense With The BoomStick

(Disclaimer: This post is an ongoing story set in a world where zombies have taken over and people are fighting to survive anyway they can. Originally it was a post of news and tips to help survivors make it one more day alive, but now it has became a story of my fight after being bitten and partially cured to walk as a half-zombie among them.)

You fight, run, survive. That's life. That's our life.

All the preparation in the world never truly prepares you for the fight that will come your way.

Archaia Classes Up FCBD 2013

Archaia has been making it a point to keep Free Comic Book Day awesome. They always bring together great talent in a top-notch presentation that makes you wonder how the publisher can give away the book for free. Well, 2013 is no different, with the publisher slated to release the Mouse Guard/Rust FCBD Flip Book.

The 32-page book is written by David Petersen, Royden Lepp, Sean Rubin, Ted Naifeh, Adrianne Ambrose, Nate Cosby and Yehudi Mercado, illustrated by Petersen, Lepp, Rubin, Cory Godbey, Chris Eliopoulos and Mercado and covers by Petersen and Lepp. In Petersen’s Mouse Guard short, a young Sadie is told a mouse fairy tale about proving one’s self and the best trait to look for in love. Lepp’s Rust tells how rocket-boy Jet Jones learns an important lesson while helping the younger members of the Taylor family with their daily chores on the farm.

The book also includes short stories from Rubin's upcoming Bolivar, Henson's Labyrinth and Eliopoulos' Cow Boy. Add on top of that Pantalones, TX activity pages by Mercado.

Full press release below.

Review - Ghost #2

What's a ghost to do when she doesn't know about her past? Work with two ghost hunters to find out the answer of course! The investigation continues in Ghost #2 in Dark Horse Comics.

The issue is written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, illustrated by Phil Noto and lettered by Richard Starkings.

Aspen Comics Kicks of "10 for 10" with Legend of the Shadow Clan

Aspen's turning ten years old in February 2013. That's an incredible feat for a young publisher and Aspen is making sure to do things up right. That is, they're launching a brand new initiative called "10 for 10" that will feature ten new series releases, one each month over the span of ten months.

Legend of the Shadow Clan #1 kicks things off on February 6 by David Wohl, Brad Foxhaven, Cory Smith and John Starr. It follows the Arashi family, a family with ancestors holding a dark secret that they were a clan of ninja in feudal Japan. When the leader was murdered and the Arashi clan blamed, the family fled to America where they lived peacefully until their past life was revealed.

To celebrate the first release of the “10 for 10” initiative and to thank fans and retailers for their support in getting Aspen Comics to the milestone decade mark, Aspen is releasing the first issue of Legend of the Shadow Clan for the highly affordable price of only $1. As well, every subsequent #1 issue for each new release in Aspen’s “10 for 10” program will be offered at the same low $1 price.

To help support comic shops’ push for Legend of the Shadow #1 and the Aspen “10 for 10” titles to follow, Aspen is offering a multitude of special incentives for stores to choose from on the debut issue, priced at a near Free Comic Book Day level to retailers:

Every fan or new reader who lets their local retailer know to add Legend of the Shadow Clan #1 to their subscription box is eligible to receive the special “Aspen Reserved Edition” cover for each “10 for 10” #1 title. Fans who collect all ten Reserved Edition covers at their local comic book store will then be eligible to receive the free Aspen “10 for 10” Jam Poster (to be revealed) featuring characters from all ten titles and colored by superstar colorist Peter Steigerwald.

Any retailer who orders 50 copies of the $1 priced Legend of the Shadow Clan #1 will receive a signed and numbered copy of the direct cover edition, along with a certificate of authenticity. Retailers who order 100 copies of the $1 priced issue one will receive the above listed incentive as well as one free CCG 9.8 edition of Legend of the Shadow Clan #1 Reserved Edition cover. For every 250 total combined copies of the standard and Reserved Edition covers ordered, retailers will receive all of the above listed incentives and one free original hand drawn Sketch Cover by Legend of the Shadow Clan series artist Cory Smith.

Each retailer who orders 750 total combined copies of the standard and Reserved variant edition covers are eligible to receive those copies with an exclusive cover featuring their store logo or image incorporated into the cover illustration. Qualifying retailers will be contacted to confirm the specifics of your exclusive image. All prior listed incentives are also included at this level.

And for stores who order 1500 total combined copies of the standard and Reserved variant edition covers, those retailers will receive a special store signing appearance by a creator of Legend of the Shadow Clan, receive 200 additional past Aspen exclusive comics for the signing, and be included in an interior ad page of the comic promoting the event. Qualifying retailers will be contacted to confirm the specifics of your signing. This incentive is highly limited to the first five participating stores. All prior listed incentives are also included at this level.

Full press release below.

Dark Horse Set to Release Camilla d'Errico's Helmetgirls

Camilla d'Errico is a recognizable name in comics, namely pop surrealism. Her work is definitely unique and awesome, so the fact that Dark Horse is releasing Helmetgirl as a personal look at her art and lifestyle. Both of which fuses manga, steampunk and fine art into an original aggregate.

“She is part of what may be the first art movement in Western history where women are not second-class citizens, but may even have an edge in the mind of the public, especially when it comes to capturing the essence that is woman.”—Juxtapoz

Gargantuan biomechanical headgear adorns beautiful, wide-eyed, and seemingly fragile girls. More than just decoration, the helmets express each girl’s character, needs, and desires. Look deeply into the Helmetgirls’ eyes—they have a story to tell. The first volume Femina and Fauna was released by Dark Horse and has hit multiple printings. The new book hits stores everywhere on February 27, 2013.

Full press release below.

ComixTribe Announces The Red Ten #0 for FCBD 2013

It's pretty clear that more and more publishers are taking Free Comic Book Day seriously. Everyone is making their announcements months in advance and ComixTribe is no exception. The publisher ComixTribe is celebrating the day in full effect, both as a Silver Sponsor and with the inaugural debut on the day with The Red Ten #0.

"ComixTribe couldn't be happier to be a 2013 FCBD sponsor," said publisher Tyler James. "It's a tremendous opportunity for a young imprint like ours to get our books into reader's hands, thanks to the remarkable generosity of hardworking retailers."

The Red Ten is a ten-issue superhero retelling of Agatha Christie's classic story "And Then There Were None." It's written by James and illustrated by Cesar Feliciano, with covers by CP Wilson III. The first issue is due out later this month, with the second one not too far behind in February.

"THE RED TEN #0 will delve a bit deeper into the ten heroes featured in the series, giving readers a chance to get to know them a little better...before they meet horrible, horrible ends," said James. "The story will also give more face-time to everyone's favorite contradiction-obsessed psychopath, the OXYMORON." The book features a cover by rising star artist Joe Mulvey (SCAM), and an Oxymoron back-up story by the critically acclaimed team of Paul Allor and Aaron Houston (Clockwork.)

Full press release below.

Valiant Joins Free Comic Book Day 2013

Free Comic Book Day 2013 (May 4th) already merits your attention. Never too early to start game planning for what books to snag on the day while visiting your local comic shop. Valiant Entertainment has two books they hope to catch your eye with: Valiant 2013: Harbinger Wars FCBD Special and Valiant Masters: 2013 Showcase Edition.

The first features an exclusive look at the conflict between Bloodshot and Harbinger. Not only that, but who will stand against X-O Manowar in Planet Death? What will Archer and Armstrong get into next? The issue features the art of Patrick Zircher, Cary Nord, Trevor Hairsine, Clayton Crain, Marko Djurdjevic and more. It's everything you need to know about the Valiant Universe in 2013.

The other book previews the year for the publisher. Featuring all-time classic work by some of comics' most celebrated creators, including Jim Shooter, Joe Quesada, Barry Windsor-Smith, David Lapham, Bob Layton and more, this is the perfect opportunity to discover how the Valiant Universe created a new generation of comics fans and became the stuff of legend.

Full press release below.

Image Comics Announces Something Savage

This March, April is going savage. Vicious. Angry. And they're tapping Jim Zub and Edwin Huang to find that anger in The Savage Skullkickers #1.

"The response to Uncanny Skullkickers was so tremendous that we knew we couldn't just let something that was working remain unchanged," said Image PR and Marketing Director Jennifer de Guzman. "Relaunching Skullkickers was a total game-changer! For a whole month, it wasn't just plain Skullkickers. It was Uncanny! And now it's going to be Savage! Game. Changer.”

The series continues the storyline and is a great point for new fans to jump right in. Not only that, but the name of the new title pays homage to Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon in the naming.

"With over 180 issues released over the past 20 years, Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon is one of the most compelling and consistent creator-owned comics ever made," said creator Jim Zub. "In order to commemorate Erik's hard work and strident 'no relaunching, no renumbering' approach to his series, we thought we'd relaunch and renumber Skullkickers, stealing his precious 'Savage' adjective while we're at it. Thanks, Erik!”

The issue hits stores in March. Full press release below.

Robyn Hood vs. Red Riding Hood

Pat Shand and Zenescope want to find out themselves whose worthy of keeping "hood" in their name. Is it Robyn Hood, with the edgy name? Or Red Riding Hood, with the fancy garb?

Yeah, it's likely the stakes are much higher than that. Still have to pick a side though.