Monday, April 30, 2012

Review - The Walking Dead

Leave it to Robert Kirkman to somehow make zombies super popular, despite an overall sense that their popularity in pop culture is waning. The Walking Dead continues to wreck sales in comics, is one of the highest rated shows on AMC and is now becoming a video game.

Telltale Games has just released the first "episode" of The Walking Dead, called "A New Day." After playing it, you come away fairly certain that the characters involved wish it was a different new day.

Omnicomic played the Xbox 360 version of the game provided by Telltale Games.

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

So when Netflix put Star Trek: The Next Generation up online, I watched them all.

Seriously, all of them. Back to back, in sequence. Why not? In between my long work hours it seemed like the thing to do.

And it was great. Cheesy, sometimes. But great.

So then I figured why stop there? And went right into Deep Space Nine.

And that’s when a realization I had had almost ten years prior came back to me: Deep Space Nine is the BEST Star Trek show.

I BELIEVE this, strongly. Maybe only the original compares and only then in the sense that the original was so groundbreaking for its time. But I think DS9 is one of the most under-rated pieces of science-fiction ever created.

Wild Children Explores Rebellion

Typically, when a notion starts off with the words "guns," "acid," "cameras," "school" and "wild children," you pay attention. Since it's a safe bet that after reading that you're now paying attention, keep reading. You'll find out that all of those things will coalesce in Wild Children, a new graphic novella from Image Comics, hitting stores in July.

It's written by Ales Kot and illustrated by Riley Rossmo and explores a high school hostage situation. The subject of school shootings behind the controversial Hellblazer: Shoot by Warren Ellis and Phil Jimenez merges with Grant Morrison's and Philip Bond's themes of teenage revolt in Kill Your Boyfriend, delivering a unique story of magic, passion and disinformation.

"Comics have tremendous transformative potential, and on top of that, they're pure fun when done well," said writer Kot. "This comic is the equivalent of a six-track pop EP — and if we've done our jobs well, Wild Children will be the weird pop EP you'll find yourself coming back to again and again."

Rossmo's getting some help with the art. Not that he needs it, but when you can add a colorist like Gregory Wright and a letterer like Clayton Cowles, you just do.

""For me, Wild Children is an experiment in cleanliness," said Rossmo. "My work is usually dirty, scratchy, messy -- but here I wanted to try a style I had only used in some of the editorial work I'd done. All line, no spotted blacks."

The 64-page novella will hit stores July 11.

Full press release below.

Review - Rapid City #11

The creator wave that's crashing through comics is funny when you think about it. You have young guns striving to cut their teeth in an unforgiving industry, able to write about just about anything. At the end of the day though, more and more are sticking with the tried and true superhero formula.

Rapid City #11 from Monolith is another in that line, written by Josh Dahl and illustrated by A. Kaviraj. It's a city full of superheroes and villains, both fighting battles that stretch far beyond fistfights with each other.

Archaia Celebrates Free Comic Book Day

It's a good week to want comics, because this week boasts two new comic days. Wednesday stands as the typical day, but Saturday, May 5, is Free Comic Book Day! Archaia's bringing their typical thunder with Mouse Guard, Labyrinth and Other Stories, an original anthology hardcover. You heard me. Hardcover.

Written by Jeremy Bastian, Nate Cosby, Royden Lepp, Jim McCann, Ted Naifeh and David Petersen and illustrated by Bastian, Chris Eliopoulos, Godbey, Janet Lee, Lepp Petersen the beautiful, 48-page anthology will give readers a glimpse of the Archaia world.

There's an all new Mouse Guard tale (Petersen), a trip back into the world of Labyrinth (courtesy of Ted Naifeh, Adrianne Ambrose and Cory Godbey), a new perspective on Jet Jones from Rust (Lepp), a new Cursed Pirate Girl (Bastian) and Cow Boy (Cosby and Eliopoulos), the comedy/western tale. There's even a follow-up to the always delightful Return of the Dapper Men by McCann and Lee which leads into the sequel Time of the Dapper Men.

The book clocks in at 6" x 9" and is in full color. And it's free. Revel in that for a second.

Check out interiors and full solicit below.

Preview - Pantha #1

She stalks the night, driving the forces of Chaos from the shadows with the intention of hunting them. It's not Catwoman, Vampirella or any of the other more famous comic book heroines. It's Pantha, returning to the pages of comics from Dynamite. And she's bringing all sorts of ruckus.

Written by Brandon Jerwa and illustrated by Pow Rodix (covers by Sean Chen and Mark Texeira), Pantha #1 features the feral shapeshifter as an avatar for the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet. The first arc is called "Dangerous Game" and will likely live up to it's billing.

Check out interiors below and Pantha #1 in stores soon.

Original Tank Girl Stories Now Available Digitally

Titan Comics is the latest publisher to announce the partnership with both comiXology and iVerse. The fruit of their latest partnership labor is the recently announced Tank Girl by Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin available on the iPad, iPhone, Android devices, Kindle Fire and the web.

The stories first appeared in Deadline magazine, following the adventures of Tank Girl and her mutant kangaroo boyfriend Booga. Hewlett parlayed his success on the series into creating visuals for some band named Gorillaz, by the way.

Titan Comics is releasing the original stories in chronological order as fourteen digitally remastered issues. The first five are now available digitally via comiXology and iVerse, with new selections following every four weeks.

Not only that, but Titan Comics is also building a complete Tank Girl digital collection, starting with Martin and Rufus Dayglo's Bad Wind Rising. In it, Tank Girl and Booga split up. Kind of a big deal.

Full press release below.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Art of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Published by Aspen

That man is worn. He's got an axe at his side and the stovepipe hat pulled low. He's thinking. About shepherding a country through one of its most divisive times ever. No, not the Civil War (although that's kind of a big deal). No, he's worried about the vampires running roughshod throughout the US, relying on his axe, height and wits to stop them. He's Abraham Lincoln, and he's a vampire hunter.

The little known facet of Honest Abe's life was chronicled in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, now a soon-to-be-releaesd movie by Timur Bekmambetov. Bekmambetov is teaming up with Aspen Comics to release The Art of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter deluxe edition hardcover book, due in stores this summer. It will contain 128 pages of never-before-seen storyboards, conceptual art, and production illustrations.

“Our visual team, led by Bazelevs’s storyboard artist Indar Dzhendubaev," said Bekmambetov, "created a rich and exciting world for the movie. In revisiting their art, we tried to craft a book that pushes the envelope of visual design and does justice to their great work. I am very happy that fans will finally get to enjoy the expanded world of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.”

Aspen's David Wohl is overseeing the project as editor.

“Timur’s attention to detail and vision for the project, combined with the exquisite artwork for the film in the hands of Aspen’s designers, has created an “art-of” book that is truly unique and visually spectacular. It’s been a pleasure to be part of this one-of-a-kind project.”

Full press release below.

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.)

I didn’t figure the magnitude of destruction I have seen this past week was still possible. When the war first broke out between humans and zombies, governments around the world stuck to more conventional weapons and only when the tide was turning against us did they start to carpet bomb whole cities. When all seemed lost-- that was when they busted out the nuclear weapons. Only a few were used here in the US as the men in charge of launching some of them disobeyed and instead fled to find their loved ones.

Review - Skeleton Key: One-Shot

A skeleton key has the power to (theoretically) open any door. What lies on the other side of that door is part of the adventure in having that sort of freedom. It's those adventures that Andi Watson chronicles as both writer and artist in the Skeleton Key: One Shot is published by Dark Horse Comics.

Aspen Comics Celebrates Free Comic Book Day

Aspen Comics is getting in on the FCBD action, and they've got a ton of creators they're sending across the country for the big day. Peter Steigerwald, Vince Hernandez, Joe Benitez, Alex Konat, Mike DeBalfo, Oliver Nome, Tony Parker, JT Krul, David Wohl and David Schwartz will be celebrating the day with the release of the Worlds of Aspen 2012 Free Comic Book issue.

The Worlds of Aspen 2012 issue will feature two never-before-seen Aspen properties, the supernatural teen action-adventure series Homecoming, by creators Michael Turner, Wohl and Scott Lobdell and Idolized by Schwartz. In addition to the all new stories, the Worlds of Aspen 2012 issue will offer a first glimpse at Aspen’s new series coming up including Zooniverse, Shrugged Volume 2, Charismagic: The Death Princess, and Aspen’s first ever ongoing series, Executive Assistant: Assassins.

The Free Comic Book Day issue also includes previews of popular Aspen titles Fathom, Soulfire and will feature a special centerfold pinup of the red hot Aspen character Lady Mechanika.

Full signing list below.

IDW Discovers the Funnier Side of Frank Frazetta

Frank Frazetta and fantasy art are more or less interchangeable terms. Frazetta has made a name for himself as one of the most prolific fantasy artists, well, ever. That doesn't mean he doesn't have a sense of humor though, as IDW is discovering in the new Frazetta-Funny Stuff large format, full-color, 256-page hardcover collection, edited by Craig Yoe.

Yoe says, "Besides the amazing art itself, Frazetta fans will be stoked by the sheer quantity in this big thick book. There are 27 comic book stories, well over 200 of The Master's delightful text illustrations, and tons of rare and unpublished original art, illustrations and photos carefully reproduced in the introduction."

Frazetta's "Fire and Ice" collaborator Ralph Bakshi have created a freeform, stream of consciousness intro that readers will enjoy.

"The team at Yoe Books put countless hours in restoring these charming strips to ensure a proper vintage reading experience," said IDW Senior Book Editor, Justin Eisinger. "Like each and every Yoe Book, FRAZETTA—FUNNY STUFF is a lovingly created artifact that itself is a piece of art."

Frazetta-Funny Stuff will set you back $49.99 on April 25. Full press release below.

Abnett and Lanning Do Cosmic for BOOM! on Free Comic Book Day

Oh Free Comic Book Day, one of the most hallowed of the hallowed comic book release days. The day where creators venture to stores to banter with the fans and readers. The day you can get free books to check out new series, or produc tie-ins that keep you on the Marvel and DC habit. It's even the day that publishers like BOOM! Studios give readers a glimpse at a brand new series.

The Hypernaturals #1 hits stores in July, but on FCBD readers can get a 16-page story by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning that serves as a prelude to better things to come. Not only that, but the book features a cover by Francesco Mattina and interior art by Brad Walker and Tom Derenick. This story will not be reprinted in the first issue, so this is your only chance to check it out.

In it, The Hypernaturals are tasked with preserving an era of prosperity in the galaxy of the far future. Things are going well until they all vanish, which leads to the inevitable unraveling of the order they maintained. It's up to a group of retired and forgotten Hypernaturals and their new recruits to save the galaxy from complete desctuction.

Be sure to add The Hypernaturals to your FCBD haul. I'm fairly certain the version you get won't have the "Comic Book Resources" banner plastered on the front. Full press release and interiors below.

The Walking Dead from Telltale Games Releases With Hype

These days, you slap The Walking Dead on anything and it's going to generate some interest. Robert Kirkman has successfully transcended comics with the AMC adaption of his comic. Now his transcendance is going one step further with the release of The Walking Dead from Telltale Games.

The first episode is now available for download on PSN, PC and Mac. Today, it hits the Xbox Live as well for 400 points.

Official Xbox Magazine awarding the game an Editors' Choice with a score of 9 out of 10, saying the episode was, "Slam-bang entertainment," adding that, "Everything just feels right" with its "Striking art style and cinematic presentation."

Website Shacknews said, "The Walking Dead is more than just a great adaptation of a beloved property—it is easily one of Telltale's best games."

The Walking Dead: Episode One – A New Day features Lee Everett, a man convicted of a crime of passion, given the chance for redemption in a world devastated by the undead. Players will be able to meet new characters and some familiar from the comic and visit locations that foreshadow the story of Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes.

The first of five episodes is now available.

Full press release below.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Aspen Solicitations - July 2012

July. Big month for comics. Primarily because San Diego Comic-Con has "comic" in the title and makes everyone think of comics for one week, despite the show not really being about comics at all. But I digress. Aspen's got a big month planned for July, with a lot of good stuff due in stores.

The Art of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter features art by Timur Bekmambetov and others. The deluxe edition contains never-before-seen storyboards, concept art, production illustrations, costume designs, as well as drawings from Bekmambetov. It also features commentary by Bekmambetov, along with several others who helped bring the film to life.

Executive Assistant: Assassins #1 is written by Vince Hernandez and illustrated by Jordan Gunderson (colors by Teo Gonzalez). The first issue of the new ongoing series about the Executive Assistants kicks off with a three-part story called "Life After Death." Lily attempts to piece together a life after losing her master in the first issue, due in stores July 5th.

Soulfire: Despair #1 is written by David Schwartz and illustrated by Jonathan Marks. It's the first in the "Search For Light" Soulfire summer event, where Faye attempts to forge a new legacy for the absent crown, abandoned by King Arlin, in stores July 5th. Soulfire: Faith #1 is written by Amanda McMurray and illustrated by Siya Oum and features the disappearance of Malikai threatening the world of magic. Pili continues to search for Samusara, while the visions in her head could prove world destroying. That issue is due in stores July 11th.

Soulfire: Power #1 is written by David Wohl and illustrated by Khary Randolph (colors by Emilio Lopez). Ren returns in the absence of Malikai as a conduit for the uncontrollable magic pulsing through the world. That magic becomes deadly though, leaving only Benoist and his allies in Tokyo to stop it. It hits stores July 18th. Soulfire: Grace #1 is the last of the four Soulfire comics in July, written by J.T. Krul and illustated by Pasquale Qualano (colors by John Starr). The Five Masters of magic must unite to find Malikai and restore order to the world. It hits stores July 25th.

Fathom: Kiani (Vol 2) #4 is written by Vince Hernandez and illustrated by Oliver Nome (colors by John Starr). Hitting stores July 11th, Kiani and her dissidents are left with only one option against Siphon and the Elite Council: battle his forces for survival.

Broken Pieces #4 hits stores July 18th and features Mark Roslan as the writer, Cory Smith on art and Beth Sotelo on colors. Gabriella attempts to regain some semblance of focus after a big loss, while her work at Trinion continues. Damon Ludas, meanwhile, is set on ending the man that's become a monster and a pain he has to deal with. Cue Harrick, a mercenary equally as ruthless.

July 25th sees the release of Dead Man's Run #6, written by Greg Pak and illustrated by Tony Parker (David Curiel on colors). The finale to the series has Sam Tinker and his allies in the heart of darkness. The Warden comes clean with her plan and they have to decide whether or not they can trust her.

Finally, both Executive Assistant: Iris Vol 2 TPB and Executive Assistant: The Hit List Agenda TPB hit stores on July 5th. The former is written by David Wohl, illustrated by Ryan Odagawa and Eduardo Francisco and colored by Teo Gonzalez, while the latter is written by Vince Hernandez, Scott Lobdell and Marc Andreyko, illustrated by Oliver Nome, Micah Gunnell and Pop Mhan and colored by Emilio Lopez, David Curiel and John Starr. The two volumes collect the two respective series, giving fans a great way to catch up on the Executive Assistant universe.

Check out the full solicitations and covers below.

PAX EAST 2012 - Best in Show

The way I see it, when you attend an event as massive as PAX East it takes a while for your brain to wrap around it. If you are looking for an exact number, let's go with approximately three and a half weeks. That said, it's WAY past time that I speak to the good times and changes that were PAX East this year in Boston.

Last year I believe I claimed was the rise of the free-to-play revolution. Nexon was there in force and several other games had that vibe as well. That was not the case this year! I believe that most of the MMOs in attendance actually have a more traditional model, or at least they will for six months. There were a few interesting games there, but something happened where I didn't leave the show as wowed as I did last year. I really can't put my finger on it but something was different.

I'll try to explain that and also reveal the game that I enjoyed most from what I saw there after the break!

Man Against Machine in Planetoid

The answer to the age old battle question of man vs. machine may not be answered anytime in the near future (spoilers: I'm pretty sure it will be machine), but that's not going to stop Image Comics. They're publishing a brand new, five-issue series called Planetoid, created by Ken Garing.

In it, Silas is a hardened space smuggler, jaded by tragedy and hard labor. That all comes in handy once his ship crashes on a living, metal planet. A metal planet with its own intelligence and agenda.

"The world of Planetoid is that of a vast, abandoned industrial landscape," said Garing. "The story, however, will revolve around the efforts of the planetoid's inhabitants as they struggle together against extraordinary odds in the hope of building something new out of the devastation."

What's interesting about the book is Garing's use of color palette. The palette of the painted interiors will contrast the combatants, with "the occasional splash of human blood amidst the monochromatic grays and rusts of the planetoid."

Planetoid #1 was exlusively digital on Graphicly, but will now appear in print on June 13. The 32-pager will be just that, a pure 32-pages with no ads for $2.99.

Full press release below.

Review - Meadowhell: The True Horror of Shopping

Some people hate shopping. With a passion. Crowds, prices, long days. There are lots of reasons to hate shopping. Few of them usually involve finding cleanly stripped skeletons at a mall though, like the investigators in Meadowhell: The True Horror of Shopping.

The 51-page graphic novel is published by CDComics and is written and illustrated by Craig Daley.

ComixTribe Publishing Anathema

If you're a comic creator, looking for a publisher for your lesbian werewolf horror series, who do you turn to? If you're Rachel Deering, you turn to Kickstarter and ComixTribe. The former to fund the remaining issues and the latter to publish said issues.

"I've re-read Anathema five times now, and it gets better each time," said ComixTribe publisher Tyler James. "This is a perfect first issue to what promises to be an outstanding series by Rachel Deering and Chris Mooneyham. We're thrilled to welcome Anathema to the tribe!"

Anathema is a six issue limited series horror comic that tells the story of Mercy Barlowe, a tormented young woman with a dark side. She must fight through treacherous lands and unspeakable horrors to reclaim her lover's soul, which has been stolen by members of a sinister cult, bent on resurrecting a terrible and ancient evil. Even Deering is happy she's got her book in with ComixTribe.

"I've believed in ComixTribe from the start. After getting into the comic scene, I noticed that ComixTribe was a huge presence in #comicmarket, so I was already convinced of their dedication to the medium. I'm happy to have found a publisher that supports my vision."

The Kickstarter campaign has only four days left and is currently 97% funded. To get that last 3%, two new ComixTribe-themed reward levels have been added.

$25 ComixTribe Fan Package - ComixTribe T-shirt, plus printed first edition copies of both issues #1 and #2 signed, and delivered to your home! International backers, please add $5 for shipping. (limit 15)

$101 ComixTribe SuperFan Package - ComixTribe T-shirt, Anathema 1-6, plus EVERY comic book or graphic novel ComixTribe publishes in 2012, including SCAM, THE RED TEN, OXYMORON, THE STANDARD, TEARS of the DRAGON, and more. (limit 5)

There's no publication date for Anathema as of yet, but early indications are pointing to fall.

"Vampires vs. werewolves in a love story that sticks with you long after you've put the book down? What's not to love?" said ComixTribe Editor-in-Chief Steven Forbes. "Rachel's Anathema brings diversity and bredth to the line of ComixTribe books, while maintaining and enhancing our growing reputation as a publisher of quality indepedent titles."

Full press release and interiors below.

Riven Sends a Shiver Through Dark Horse Presents

Dark Horse is using their anthology series Dark Horse Presents as a vehicle for cool new stories. Some of those stories happen to be of the horror variety. Dark Horse can do horror very well, so you should expect good things from Riven, the third collaboration between co-writers Bo Hampton and Robert Tinnell, slated to hit stores August 22. And it will start in Dark Horse Presents #14.

“Dark Horse Presents is bringing together such a great mix of talent and stories at the moment that it’s honestly an honor to be included in the book. From all the chatter Dark Horse Presents has been generating it’s clear the book is appealing to discerning, articulate readers—and those are precisely the sorts of people we hope are attracted to Riven,” said Robert Tinnell.

Katya has been in a coma for five years. When she wakes up, everything's changed. The most noticeable difference is that she's now a gorgeous teenager with a mysterious pass that's quite gruesome. Not only that, but there's a terrifying power growing in her body, triggered by the touch of the full moon.

“It was a great spawning ground in its original incarnation and I’m really happy to be part of Dark Horse Presents now. I’m looking forward to seeing the Riven pages in that format,” Bo Hampton added.

Check out Riven in Dark Horse Presents #14, on sale July 18. Full press release below.

Carbon Grey Launches Volume 2

Sisters bound by blood are very special indeed. Such blood sisters are very special in Carbon Grey, so special in fact that they're returning this June in a second volume called Carbon Grey Volume Two: Daughters of Stone.

Volume one closed with the relationship between the sisters torn apart by the murder of the Kaiser of Mitteleuropa, the man they were tasked with protecting. Evan and Giselle are in exile and the vicious Anna is on the hunt for conspirators. The fourth Grey, Mathilde, is trying to find the truth about the source of her family's power.

"A lot of research goes into every page, whether it's a costume designs or different settings," said Nguyen. "I want to make sure that it's believable. My inspirations comes from looking at fashion, photography, architecture, industrial and set design. I like to go beyond the norm and bring something new and different to my drawings."

The three-issue monthly mini-series will be co-written by Hoang Nguyen, Paul Gardner and Khari Evans, with art by Nguten, Evans and Kinsun Loh. The first issue will be in stores June 6.

Full press release below.

John Romita, Jr. Added to Baltimore Comic-Con

Have you made plans to check out Baltimore Comic-Con yet? No? Well, maybe the announcement that John Romita, Jr., has just been added to the lineup for the show, appearing courtesy of the Hero Initiative. Fans at the show can also pick up an Avengers vs. X-Men #1 variant by the same artist.

And for those that don't know, the Hero Initiative is a federally charted not-for-profit corporation dedicated to helping comic book creators in their hour on need. By providing financial safety nets for medical aid, financial support for the necessities of life, and an avenue back to paying work, the Hero Initiative, through the support of its donors, has been able to grant more than $500,000 to over 50 comic veterans.

Full press release below.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

PAX East: War of the Roses First Look

My personal favorite game that I encountered at PAX East was War of the Roses. I intend to defend that statement now vigorously and convert at least two of the five people that will read this article to pay more attention to this title and pick it up when it comes out.

At PAX East I had the opportunity to sit down with the Senior Producer for War of the Roses by Paradox Interactive, Gorden Van Dyke. It was a great conversation and has me convinced that if I ever change careers again (inevitable) maybe I'll actually pursue journalism.

Essentially, War of the Roses seems like it's trying to be a deliberate skill based, first-person medieval meele combat game. I think that makes it a FPMMC, which might be a first for the genre! Even in this early stage of the game, the combat was both difficult and rewarding, and I'm happy to report that I managed to utilize strategies like attacking Mr. Van Dyke from behind or when already engaged by teammates to ruthlessly murder him at least 20% of the time that I attempted it.

Review - Shadowflame

Time and the universe are a lot vaster than we think. Doctor Who (David Tennant) refers to it as a "big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff" that is far from linear. It's an entity where things occur beyond our wildest imaginations, yet sometimes those things still need humans for one reason or another.

Shadowflame (Graphic Novel) is a great example of such an instance, a four-issue miniseries collected by Arcana Studios. It's created and written by Joe Martino, who also handles the pencil duties on the first four issues (Naser Subashi pencils the third while Rick Buckler, Jr. pencils the fourth). Peter Palmiotti inks the first two issues, Dash Martin colors the first issue and Ian Sokoliwski colors the latter three issues. Johnny Lowe handles the lettering.

Asylum Press Announces Zombie Terrors as Ongoing Series

Zombie Terrors are doing more than just being terrorizing zombies. They're doing it now on a monthly basis.

Frank Forte has just announced that the Asylum Press title will be an ongoing digital series. The anthology of the undead gathers together artists and writers to provide different takes on zombies. Issues 1-5 will feature content form the Zombie terrors TPB released in 2010 and issues 6 and on will feature all new content.

“We’re very excited about the possibility of reaching so many people all over the world, “ explains publisher Frank Forte, “tablets and smart phone ownership is exploding and we want to provide great comics content. The one obstacle we face is coordinating releases an all platforms and devices. We’ll be updating which comics are available on which platforms on our website.”

Zombie Terrors #1 is a collection of zombie tales. Forte delivers Beheaded, a tale of a crazed hillbilly who takes trophies off of his zombie victims. "The Feast" tells the tale of a gourmet chef taken hostage by a greedy mob boss, By Royal McGraw and Aduato Silva. In "Hate", by Doug Williams, a recently turned undead still has some semblance of his humanity--and he hates it. Pin-ups by David Hartman.

Full press release and interiors below.

Renegade Unleashes The Loxleys and the War of 1812

The War of 1812 has the misfortune of sorts of being smackdab in the middle of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Because of that position, it's not really as well-known as the other two wars. There are some that wish to educate you better about the events of that war, as in Renegade Arts Entertainment and The Loxleys and the War of 1812.

The title is written by Alan Grant and illustrated by Claude St. Aubin and Lovern Kindzierski. The paperback features a 101-page story about a Canadian family--the Loxleys--caught up in the war. There's also a 53 page summary of the war and its implications for Canada and America, which is written by Canadian military historian Mark Zuehlke and presented with maps and illustrations.

The Loxleys are a Canadian family living in the Niagara peninsula as they're torn apart by the American invasion of Canada in 1812, and the subsequent war that raged across both countries as British troops, Canadian militia, and First Nation warriors sought to thwart the expansionist plans of the American government. The story follows the characters through key historical events as they deal with the realities of war on their doorstep, the personal loss, setbacks and victories tied into the conflict.

The 176-page paperback will be in stores June for $19.99.

Full press release below.

Dark Horse Digital One-Year Anniversary Sale

In the immortal words of Kanye West: "grab a drink, grab a glass." Those words ring true for Dark Horse Digital, celebrating its one year birthday on Friday, April 27. And instead of doing what the next lyric in "Celebration" says and facing a potential lawsuit (remember companies are people), Dark Horse Digital is celebrating differently. As in an anniversary discount.

This weekend, all titles will be 10% on the web store. Not only that, but an additional coupon will be sent to newsletter subscribers and new subscribers who sign up by Thursday, April 26. The coupons stack too, so there's that.

The sale starts this Friday (April 27) and ends Sunday (April 29) at midnight PST.

Full press release below.

The Walking Dead Trailer

Telltale Games has been doing great things with games adapting famous properties. Both the Back to the Future and Jurassic Park video game adaptions have been very well received, so it's only expected that the studio will do good things with The Walking Dead. Based on the newest trailer, it's looking pretty solid.

The first episode of the game is called "A New Day," and gives players the chance to play Lee Everett, a man convicted of murder. Due to whole zombie apocalypse, he's gotten a new lease on life and a chance at redemption.

The first episode will sell for 400 Microsoft® Points on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, $4.99 on PlayStation Network and on PC and Mac as a season pass covering all five episodes for $24.99 from the Telltale Online Store and other digital distribution outlets.

Check out the trailer below.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review - The Rift #1

When humans gain the capacity to traverse space and time, there certainly won't be a shortage of creative ways to do so. Our imaginations have created the TARDIS, Mass Relay, Hyperspace...even a DeLorean modded to travel through time. A tried and true method of interplanetary/interdimensional travel though is the good old fashioned rift. Like the one in The Rift #1 from GI Studios.

The Rift #1 is written by Andrew LoVuolo and penciled by Connelly (inks by LoVuolo and colors by Danimation). It doesn't have the DeLorean, but it does have a rift.

Daniel Johnston to Play MoCCA Fest Afterparty

Everyone loves a good afterparty. Everyone loves a good afterparty even more when there's good music at the party. Everyone should really love the MoCCA afterparty even more now that Daniel Johnston has been announced to play it.

On Saturday, April 28, Johnston will make a short acoustic appearance, fresh off his European tour. Not only that, but he'll also be returning on Sunday to sign copies of his new graphic novel, Space Ducks: An Infinite Comic Book of Musical Greatness.

Johnston will also have a special one-on-one interview conducted by Brian Heater as part of MoCCA’s official programming, at 3:15 on Sunday in panel room A. Attendees of MoCCA are invited to the Village Pourhouse, 3rd Ave & East 11th Street from 7-10pm on Saturday the 28th for the official MoCCA Fest afterparty and launch party for Harvey Pekar’s posthumous “Cleveland” graphic novel.

A celebrated musician and recording artist with a 30-year career and over 20 albums—including covers by Death Cab for Cutie, The Flaming Lips, Tom Waits, Beck, and TV on the Radio—Johnston was the subject of the 2006 documentary "The Devil and Daniel Johnston," which won the Sundance Film Festival Director's Award. His drawings and paintings have hung in art galleries and museums across the world, including the Whitney Museum of American Art. Johnston rocketed to global notoriety in the early 1990s when album artwork from his "Hi, How Are You?" record was featured on a t-shirt worn by Kurt Cobain at the height of Nirvana's exploding popularity.

Full press release below.

The Globe Gets New Guardians

If you're planning to schedule a lunch with Robert Kirkman anytime soon, unless you're a very important person in his life, chances are it's not going to happen. Not because Kirkman is a bad guy or anything, but he's just a tad bit busy these days. Especially with the announcement that Guarding the Globe will return in September as an ongoing series.

The series won't be written by Kirkman; instead, Phil Hester will be the scribe for the series. Todd Nauck will handle all the art, but expect that Kirkman will be involved in the process at least somewhat.

"The Invincible Universe has outgrown its parent title and I’m very excited about being able to tell larger, more in depth stories with some of the key players from that book in this series," said GUARDING THE GLOBE creator/writer Robert Kirkman, "Phil Hester and Todd Nauck are well known to fans of superhero comics and I think people are fully aware that they’re going to knock this book out of the park.”

Hester and Nauck have described the first issue of the GUARDING THE GLOBE ongoing as a perfect starting point for those that haven't read any of the series before. Invicible's gone and the Viltrumite War rages on. Meanwhile, the ranks of the Guardians of the Globe are suddenly depleted and new blood must be tapped.

"When Robert first approached me about this ongoing series, I knew I wanted to be a part of GUARDING THE GLOBE," said Nauck, whose creator-owned series WILDGUARD was published by Image. "I really respect what Robert's accomplished so far with the series and I'm having a blast drawing this book. I feel it's my best work to date. It's great to be working with Image Comics again!"

"When Robert floated the idea it didn't take me very long to say yes," added Hester. "The characters in GUARDING THE GLOBE have the same kind of freshness INVINCIBLE does. It's a great chance to both pay homage to super heroes and upend them a bit in way that isn't cynical, but humanizing."

Full press release below.

Review - The Adventures of Alibi Jones #1

Space is the place for adventures and events that threaten both space and time simultaneously. It's bred countless heroes, villains, storylines and adventures. Alibi Jones is one more dashing do-gooder traversing the galaxy in The Adventures of Alibi Jones #1.

Published by Earthbound Comics, the work is written and lettered by Mike Luoma and illustrated by Meisha and Rhys Ap Gwyn.

Preview - Vampirella: The Red Room #1

There's a good chance that any room Vampirella visits will end up red. With her being a vampire and all, she's going to get blood on more than just her lips. On the lips is where it's sexy though, so reading Vampirella: The Red Room #1 will let you know how sexy it actually is.

The title is written by Dan Brereton, with art by Jean Diaz and covers by Brereton, Fabiano Neves and Ale Garza. Vampirella and a driven lawman track vampires on a blood-letting rampage through Arkansas to the Red Room. The Red Room is an underground circuit where high rollers stage mortals versus monster death matches.

The book is in stores his week and you can check out interiors below.

Valiant Unveils New Logo

If you thought Valiant would take the whole exiting publishing thing lying down, think again. The company has been working to return to the halcyon days of glory. The days when Jim Shooter, Bob Layton, Barry Windsor-Smith, Joe Quesada, David Lapham, Bryan Hitch and Steve Ditko roamed the halls. The days ahead will feature some great talent, in addition to the brand new logo seen above.

The publisher is officially returning to its trade this May and the accompanying logo above created by Rian Hughes will help usher in the new Valiant age. The logo will first be plastered on X-O Manowar #1 on May 2. That's being written by Robert Venditti and illustrated by Cary Nord.

"It is always a challenging and interesting project to design the visual identity of a publisher from the ground up in every detail -- logo, trade dress, title logos -- and to cohesively pull all these elements together so one strong visual identity emerges. Rebooting the Valiant line's design has been one such great project. The Valiant characters have a strong fanbase and heritage, and so the new logos are fresh and modern as befits a forward-looking publisher while still paying tribute to the originals, just as has been done with the characters themselves," said Hughes, whose previously published work includes logos and design pieces for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, MTV Networks, Virgin Airlines, Penguin Books, Archaia Entertainment and the BBC, among many others.

Valiant reincorporated as Valiant Entertainment in 2007 by CEO Jason Kothari and Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani. It's launching with some favorites in X-O Manowar #1 in May, Harbinger #1 in June, Bloodshot #1 in July and Archer & Armstrong #1 in August.

"The day that Valiant titles return to the shelves of comics shops worldwide is one that fans have been eagerly awaiting for some time," said Kothari. "This powerful, yet versatile new logo is the perfect way to signify a new era for Valiant both as a company and a premier creative brand."

Full press release below.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Boston Comic Con 2012 - Who's Who

Boston Comic Con is quickly turning into a solid show, rife with lots of creator-owned comics that you might not have heard of before. There were a lot of good creators there and we wanted to shed a light on some of their works.

Check out a list of creators below (in no particular order), highlighting their works of the moment as well as works of the future moment. There's some quality stuff out there folks. Granted this isn't an exhaustive list, as there were tons of creators there we just didn't get a chance to talk to. When it comes to creators and works you may or may not have heard of, these are some of the ones that stood out.

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Let’s face it: it’s a tough economy right now. Even yours truly finds himself scrambling to line up a job for the coming year as soon as my tour of duty with the current full-time job I work for is all tied up.

Superheroes and employment are interesting subjects, actually. I’m constantly surprised to find that often, a superhero’s secret identity is well crafted to highlight or portray some element of the hero’s mythology or identity. Sometimes this seems like this aspect of the character was well constructed at the character’s inception. Other times it seems like modern day writers have put some effort into making that character’s work a bigger piece of the story.

Selling newspapers and running into phone booths have become the sort of comic staple of superhero parodies. Regardless, the fact that Clark Kent works for a print newspaper actually remains, to me, one of the most brilliant aspects of what makes the character tick.

Nowadays, you’re used to sneering at the news and feeling like someone somewhere was trying to drum up a story to get ratings or overexposing you to pictures of graphic violence in the world that isn’t really informative;just shocking.

It’s an old fashioned point of view, but I think what it boils down to is this.

Zak Penn Writing Comic for Avatar Press

Comic fans should be well aware of Zak Penn. He broke into screenwriting at the age of 23 with a script for Last Action Hero. He parlayed that success into being one of the big writers on numerous superhero films, including The Avengers, X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand, Elektra and The Incredible Hulk. Granted, a couple of those films left something to be desired, but you can't really pin all their shortcomings on Penn (no pun intended).

Regardless, the man is quite the prolific writer, with a propensity for superhero tales. What comes next then, having done so many big-name movies? A six-issue miniseries called Hero Worship, launching in July and featuring art by Michael DiPascale. The series will be aided creatively by Scott Murphy.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled about Zak Penn bringing his debut comic project to Avatar,” says publisher William Christensen. “Zak is an incredibly gifted and inventive writer, and Hero Worship is a fresh perspective on the entire genre. It’s slick and innovative, taking risks like every great Avatar title should. Let the other Brand-X companies tell the same-old, ‘Guy-in-Tights-Punches-Another-Guy-in-Tights’ stories; here at Avatar, Zak’s got the freedom to blow all the doors off their hinges.”

Hero Worship introduces the ultimate celebrity--an indestructible superhero called Zenith--and the rabid fans that worship him. Those adoring admirers follow every disaster, trying to speculate where they can catch a glimpse of him at the rist of their own health. It's sort of like papparazzi, only in this case one of the stalkers develops powers of his own.

Full press release and a wraparound variant cover below.

Review - Fictionauts #1

Fictional history is littered with characters and events that are iconic. Moby Dick, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens...they're all stories you at least have heard of or know by heart. What if those stories needed "fixing" though? That's where the Fictionauts come in, the supergroup charged with fix anomalies in fictional worlds.

Studio-407 publishes Fictionauts #1, due in stores in June. It's written by Mauro Mantella and illustrated by Leandro Rizzo.

Rolling Thunder and Wonder Momo Join ShiftyLook

See that character over there? The one with the shifty eyes, darting back and forth? That's ShiftyLook, a webcomics platform. They're looking around so much because they're worried someone's going to come along and snatch their latest grab, with both Rolling Thunder (under the title Rapid Thunder) and Wonder Momo (under the title Wonder Momo: Battle Idol) joining their lineup.

Rapid Thunder will be written by Jimmy Palmiotti, with art by Juan Santacruz and made by Cryptozoic Entertainment. The series will launch on May 2, 2012 and will be released twice weekly on Wednesdays and Fridays thereafter.

Wonder Momo: Battle Idol will be written by Erik Ko and Jim Zub and feature the art of Omar Dogan, created by UDON Entertainment. That series will launch on May 15, 2012 and be released twice weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays.

"Both Wonder Momo and Rolling Thunder evoke strong, iconic nostalgia amongst gamers of different kinds," said Rob Pereyda, Producer and Editor-in-Chief of ShiftyLook for NAMCO BANDAI Games. "We hope that with these new webcomics, we have captured the cheeky magic of 80s arcades and created something fans will enjoy, both old and new."

Full press release below.

BOOM! Studios Lauches Extermination in June

A dollar doesn't go far these days, but sometimes what it can get you will go farther. BOOM! Studios is testing the limits of the dollar this June with an all-new ongoing series set to debut by Simon Spurrier and Jeffrey Edwards and it will only be $1.

“Si Spurrier is a massive talent,” says BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. “With EXTERMINATION, he's boldly exploring the dark crevices of the entire superhero genre. Not to be missed!”

Extermination #1 takes place in the wake of an apocalyptic alien invasion, where the world's greatest superheroes and supervillains allied to prevent their own extermination. Two arch-enemies, Nox, a driven hero, and Red Reaper, a ruthless villain, form a volatile partnership for the greater good. That volatility will naturally spill over into future storylines once the aliens have been driven out.

The first issue ships in June with main covers by John Cassaday, Trevor Hairsine, Michael Gaydos, James Harren and Frazer Irving, as well as James Harren and Trevor Hairsine sketch covers. There will also be a special 1:100, CGC certified 9.8 Near Mint sketch variant by legendary artist John Cassaday.

“I love the premise of this post-apocalyptic series,“ says BOOM! Studios Founder and Chief Executive Officer Ross Richie. “At $1 for the first full issue and with this exciting cover line-up and a killer creative team, this book is ready to catch on fire."

Full press release and interiors below.

The Library of American Comics Goes Daily

IDW is taking great strides to become a household name when it comes to quality comic book publishing. They're adding fuel to that fire with the recent announcement of The Library of American Comics Essentials, a new series from its imprint. The same imprint that's been lauded as "the gold standard for archival comic strip reprints.”

The new volume will reprint early daily newspaper strips considered essential to the history of comics. The book's format will be 11" wide by 4.25" high and each page will contain a single daily strip.

“It's different from our other books which generally contain two or three years of strips printed three to a page,” says LOAC Creative Director Dean Mullaney. “By reproducing the strips one per page in an oblong format, it allows us to have an experience similar to what newspaper buyers had fifty to a hundred years ago—reading the comics one day at a time.”

Every volume in the series contains a year's worth of dailies bound in hardcover, retailing for $19.99 each. Each page will showcase the title given to that daily by the cartoonist, plus the weekday and date. In addition to recreating the feeling of reading sequential comics one at a time, the idea sprang in part from Harold Gray's set of bound Little Orphan Annie proofbooks.

“When reading a great run of dailies,” adds Associate Editor Bruce Canwell, “the proofbook format creates an irresistible urge to flip the page and see what happens in the next day's strip.”

The first three titles lined up for the first three volumes include Baron Bean by George Herrimen, Polly and Her Pals by Cliff Sterrett and The Gumps: The Saga of Mary Gold by Sidney Smith.

Full press release below.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Top Cow Rides into the Sunset

The sunset is a destination for many great stories. It's the end of the day and things end there. Or do they? Top Cow and Minotaur Press have teamed up to present a new original graphic novel called Sunset, due in stores July 2012.

Written by Christos Gage and illustrated by Jorge Lucas, the self-contained, black and white hardcover graphic novel will be published in the digest format. Fans will get a chance to sample the story in Sunset: First Look, available at San Diego Comic-Con.

“I couldn't be more excited or honored to be part of the very first original graphic novel from Top Cow and Minotaur Press. And their release of the $1.00 preview book containing the first chapter ensures everyone can sample it for a bargain price,” explained writer Christos Gage. “Once people see Jorge Lucas' hard-hitting art and witness Nick Bellamy snarl hipsters into submission - not to mention kill three armed mobsters with a lightbulb, a paint can and some drain cleaner - I hope they won't be able to resist reading the rest of the story!”

The "two-fisted" tale of revenge and redemption. Nick Bellamy is another veteran retiree who also happens to be a former enforcer who stole a fortune and years of freedom from his former mob boss. He's lost everything now, save revenge and the chance to die guns blazing.

“I was proud to work on Sunset, and thrilled that the epic story of Nick Bellamy will be seen at last! I hope all readers will enjoy this story as much as I enjoyed drawing it,” added artist Jorge Lucas. “Christos Gage is an amazing writer, who has built a real thriller in the spirit of film noir and the great road movies.”

Sunset: First Look will be released July 4 and collect the first 22 pages of the story for $1. The full hardcover will be 160 pages and hit stores July 18. Full press release below.

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.)

I just walked into a new hell. You know all those survivors and government camps I was looking for? Well I found them.

In a manner of speaking.

I found a war zone.

Review - Star Wars Blood Ties: Boba Fett is Dead #1

If there is one man to fear more than Darth Vader or the Emperor himself within the Star Wars Universe it would be Boba Fett. He's a one man army that can do any job all over the universe and do it right, provided you pay the amount he asks for. You figure with that sort of pedigree who could possibly get the drop on him? Let alone kill him?

Well the new comic from Dark Horse Comics is going to answer that question. Star Wars Blood Ties: Boba Fett is Dead #1 is written by Tom Taylor and features art by Chris Scalf and Michael Heisler.

Reading With Pictures Creating The Graphic Textbook

Reading is a skill that is taken for granted by many. It's something that's assumed most people can do, but the sad reality is that there could probably be more programs aimed at improving existing reading levels. And what better to encourage more reading than comics?

The Graphic Textbook is a new project that will enable educators to take comics beyond supplementary reading. The book will bring together some of the best in the industry, including Fred Van Lente, Ryan Dunlavey, Janet Lee, Amy Reeder, Katie Cook and Roger Langridge. They'll be working alongside Dr. Katie Monnin and Dr. James Bucky Carter to create a tool overseen by Dr. David Rapp of the Learning Sciences Department of Northwestern University.

Josh Elder, President and Founder of Reading with Pictures, explains “This project has been years in the making, and it's been developed with input from hundreds of educators, academics and students nationwide. With their help, we're going to create a comic that teachers will actually want to use and a textbook that students will actually want to read. And we've done it while respecting our contributor's rights and keeping our product price below the gong market rate. We know that there's a need for this product, now we just need your help to prove it."

Aimed at grades 3-6, The Graphic Textbook features a dozen short stories (both fiction and non-fiction) that address topics drawn from the list of Common Core Standards. The accompanying Teacher’s Guide will include Standards-correlated lesson plans customized to each story, research-based justifications for using comics in the classroom, a guide to establishing best classroom practices and a comprehensive listing of additional educational resources, both in print and online.

The Graphic Textbook will be financed entirely through a Kickstarter campaign set to launch on April 13 and run through May 17. The finished product is set for a spring 2013 release in both print and digital formats.

Full press release below.

Dark Horse Unveils Comic Book Experience App for ePlate

There's a lot of technobabble up there in that title, but fear not. It'll all make sense. Dark Horse is teaming up with Dynamics Inc., an innovator in next-generation payment devices. The partnership will yield a new application for ePlate mobile payment devices.

At any time, users can decide to use the Dark Horse Experience™ application for the ePlate™ payment device. The app will give users pages of exclusive Dark Horse comics with each purchase. Once all pages are obtained, the user gets the complete digital comic. After a certain number of digital comic books are collected, Dark Horse provides, at no cost to the user, a collectible print copy of each exclusive comic book earned.

Users will be able to earn comic books faster with purchases made at Dark Horse affiliates, sponsors, and retail outlets. At any time, a user can also decide to earn Dark Horse credits instead of exclusive content so that the user can earn any product from

“Dark Horse is always looking for new ways to expand the comics-reading audience,” said Mike Richardson, president and founder of Dark Horse Comics. “Our new partners at Dynamics have created a platform which gives not only existing comics fans, but a wide variety of consumers, the ability to obtain exclusive Dark Horse content just by making day-to-day purchases.”

Full press release below.

MoCCA Fest 2012 Programming

MoCCA Fest 2012 is right around the corner. Next weekend to be exact. It's a good time to get a look at all the capital panels that will be hosted over the course of the show. To that end, MoCCA has announced final times, guests and agendas for the panels and programs at the show.

They'll have two floors of activity, including downstairs panel discussions as well as the main exhibitor floor upstairs. And on Sunday morning, families will be privy to four panels in a row devoted to entertainment and fun for the whole family.

Tickets are still available for preorder. Check out the full panel list below.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Shia LaBeouf Isn't Ruining Creator-Owned Comics

Shia LaBeouf is a somewhat reviled man. For some reason people just don't like him.

I'm not going to try to convince you he's good or bad; I don't know him personally. He may be the nicest guy in the world who helps old women cross the street. Or he could be a complete jerk that kicks kittens for fun. I don't know. This isn't an article to attack or defend him as a person or actor.

Some people seem to have issues with LaBeouf making an apperance at C2E2. Well, not quite an "appearance" in the sense you'd expect from an actor like him. Rather, LaBeouf made an appearance as an artist in Artists' Alley. And that in and of itself isn't all gloom and doom as some would have you believe.

Grim Leaper Latches Onto Shadowline

Lou Collins is not having a very good go of it. He's died thirteen times, knowing that the fourteenth time is right around the corner. There's more to life for Lou than just dying though, as Kurtis J. Wiebe and Aluisi Santos show readers in Grim Leaper #1 this May.

"This is the gory love story you've been waiting for, a buckets of blood romantic comedy for the ages," said writer Wiebe.

Every time he dies, Lou jumps into a stranger's body, and just as he's learning something about his new host, another gruesome accident sends him leaping to the next one. Lou wants to escape the violent cycle and find eternal rest — that is, until he meets another "leaper" named Ella.

"Grim Leaper is a story about that person you've always wanted to date but never had the chance to," added Santos. "Except now your bad luck is a killer."

Grim Leaper #1 hits stores May 30. Full press release and teaser images below.

Interview - Brandon Barrows

Jack Hammer's got some grittiness to him, thanks to writer Brandon Barrows. His debut in Jack Hammer Book One: Political Science introduced a new look at the streets of Boston.

Barrows was nice enough to answer a few questions about the work and some other things.