Friday, June 28, 2013

Defense With The BoomStick

(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 to survive and to keep on living.)

Still in Ash Fork, Arizona and I still have some zombies out searching for me. Over the past week I've been constantly moving from building to building, staying one step ahead of the zombie pack that’s following me. I've managed to whittle their numbers down a few, but I still have a good number searching for me. With the intensity of their hunt it's safe to say there aren’t any other survivors in this town.

That's good for me, as I have a better chance of moving about quietly and finding useful supplies since a good amount of stuff was left behind. I haven’t been able to search them all, but I've ran past a few markets and gas stations that are sure to have some canned goods or bottled water left in them. Since that I made a beeline for the sheriff’s station thinking it could be a good spot to hold out against the zombie pack, but I was in for a surprise.

Upon arriving at the station I found out it’s a trailer that will not offer much of anything in the way of defense. What it did offer was a few boxes of ammo for a pump action shotgun I found in the back of a gun case.

Review - Lazarus #1

"Bullet one: ventral-dorsal traverse, entering eighth interspace on rising trajectory..."

Things aren't going well for you if that's the description of an assault you're suffering. In fact, there's a very strong likelihood you won't survive. Unless, of course, you happen to be super wealthy and have the means to revive over and over again. That's the premise behind Lazarus #1 from Image Comics.

The issue is written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Michael Lark and colored by Santi Arcas.

Aspen Reveals Independence Day Exclusive Cover

Folks love exclusive covers. What makes exclusive covers even more is when they're crafted to commemorate a holiday, such as Independence Day. Aspen plans to celebrate the day in style with a new set of exclusive items to celebrate the date. Starting on July 4th, Aspen will be offering an exclusive Fathom: The Elite Saga #3 Independence Day 2013 cover and print by Mike DeBalfo and Peter Steigerwald, limited to 200 copies and 75 print editions respectively.

Fathom: The Elite Saga is Aspen’s all new weekly summer event book featuring Fathom’s most popular characters in one massive storyline leading into this July’s All New Fathom #1, in celebration of Fathom’s 15-year anniversary. Aspen will also be revealing further Independence Day exclusive items as the holiday draws closer. Aspen strongly encourages fans to purchase their exclusives as soon as possible, as recent Aspen holiday exclusives have sold out quickly.

Full press release below.

Lazarus #1 Sells Out

Something about invoking Lazarus that's just so appealing. The name applies to someone who was raised from the dead and now it refers to a new series from Image Comics, written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by Michael Lark. That duo is extremely appealing and has led to the first issue being revived in a second printing, due in stores July 24.

“I'm not sure I'd claim that we've hit a particular chord or social note, but I do think Michael and I are talking about — at least as backdrop — a scenario driven by some very real-world concerns,” said Rucka. “Not that we're all headed to a genetically engineered future, or that the economic situation will become as dire and dark as we've painted it; but the fact is, we're living in a very unstable world, and economic instability is part of that, despite recent gains. I have friends who are worried about where their next meal is coming from, whether or not they'll be able to fill their gas tank, never mind their concerns for their future and the future of their children. That's our reality right now, and it doesn't take much imagination to extrapolate that to its worst.”

The story of Forever, an apparently-immortal young woman, who was created as a lethal bodyguard and enforcer for the powerful Carlyle family, LAZARUS is set in a society that is at once highly futuristic and regressively feudal. Concentrated wealth and technological knowledge has put a few families in control of the lives who those who work for them, and Forever’s job is to maintain her family’s hold on power.

The second printing of Lazarus #1 is available for pre-order now (MAY138228). Full press release below.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

BOOM! Studios Acquiring Archaia Means More Good Things for Readers

Big news for fans of smaller press publishing when it comes to comics: BOOM! Studios acquired Archaia Entertainment. The deal will bring together two forces in the comic book industry that will still act with some independence (Archaia will still operate as its own entity). This means there’s another burgeoning big boy on the block to provide some competition to not only Marvel and DC, but other publishers such as Image, IDW and Dark Horse. Business class aside though, what does the acquisition mean for the comic book reader?

Prior to the merger, BOOM! Studios was primarily known for fantastic creative control rights with their books. BOOM! seems to be striving to become a feeding ground of sorts for Hollywood. Ideally, creators can publish their books with the publisher, maintain creative rights and leverage the newfound attention to their work in a movie deal. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it encourages creators to bring their work to the publisher as they’re assured that it will remain “their” work. Marvel and DC have some pretty stringent contracts regarding rights (Mark Waid has an excellent piece on how DC contracts work here).

Review - Fathom: The Elite Saga #1

"Kiani--the darkness has arrived."

The depths of the ocean are typically devoid of all light. Amidst the intense darkness there is a blue, a blue that breeds warriors and regalness. Against that backdrop is when the events of Fathom: The Elite Saga #1 from Aspen take place.

The issue is written by Vince Hernandez, illustrated by V. Ken Marion, inked by Mark Roslan, colored by Jordi Escuin Llorach, Kyle Ritter and Peter Steigerwald and lettered by Josh Reed.

Preview - Rasl HC

Rasl is a thief and ex-military designer. That's enough to get him collected in a 472 page hardcover recounting his discovery of the lost journals of Nikola Tesla. Those journals bridge the gap between modern physics and history's most notorious scientist. But his breakthrough comes at a price. In this twisting tale of violence, intrigue and betrayal, Rasl finds himself in possession of humankind's greatest and most dangerous secret.

The work is written and illustrated by Jeff Smith, with colors by Steve Hamaker and is slated to hit stores in September for $39.95. Check out the interiors below.

Titan Comics Launches New Line at SDCC

A titan is on the verge of unleashing a new facet. Publishing giant Titan is launching Titan Comics, a spinoff offering creator-owned works in July 2013. Yeah, July happens to be the same month as SDCC, so they're clearly looking to make a splash.

The first wave comprises of debut dinosaur spectacular Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol by writer/artist Stuart Jennett; afterlife thriller Numbercruncher, by writer Si Spurrier, artist P.J. Holden and colorist Jordie Bellaire; B-movie comedy IT CAME! by Dan Boultwood; high-fantasy comedy Thrud the Barbarian by writer/artist Carl Critchlow, new horror fantasy collection Razorjack by colorist John Higgins – plus the completely remastered and relettered library of The First Kingdom by comics legend Jack Katz.

The next wave, beginning in October begins with Death Sentence, by writer Monty Nero and artist Mike Dowling and classic fantasy epic Marada The She-Wolf by Chris Claremont and John Bolton. Titan Comics kicks everything off at this year’s San Diego Comic Con, showcasing brand-new comics and collections available for the first time exclusively at the show (only at Titan booth #5537) and special events programming.

The new line will be marketed at SDCC with a special 32-page preview, which will be distributed at the Titan booth #5537, within all panels and on signing tables. Comics legend Katz headlines the panel Titan Comics – Launching at SDCC and Beyond! Katz will be discussing The First Kingdom – a series of epic post-apocalyptic fantasy graphic novels that has been 25 years in the making. The panel will give attendees a behind-the-scenes look at new titles, coupled to exclusive announcements about brand-new originated titles by new and world-renowned talent. All attendees to the panel will receive a special limited edition double-sided poster: an IT CAME! 1950s themed cinema style poster, signed by Boultwood, and a fantastic Numbercruncher image by Holden.

Check out the full panel schedule, talent signings and press release below.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

CBLDF Teams with Dark Horse for Authoritative Manga Guide for Librarians and Educators

Librarians and educators are often underappreciated for all they do. They make sure that people of all ages are offered the opportunity to increase their intelligence, but sometimes the tools aren't always readily accessible. CBLDF is teaming with Dark Horse to make at least one more tool available in publishing CBLDF Presents Manga: Introduction, Challenges, and Best Practices, an authoritative yet accessible handbook designed to help librarians, educators and parents navigate the vast and popular field of manga.

Prepared by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, CBLDF Presents Manga provides what you really need to know about manga from those who really know it. The book will premiere at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, June 27–July 2, and at Anime Expo in Los Angeles, July 4–7. It was made possible with a grant from the Gaiman Foundation, designed to provide a concise and informed overview of manga—its history, genres, and issues. This educational work delves into the history of manga, its major demographic divisions, its most significant creators and the challenges it has sometimes faced in North America.

What sets this book apart from other manga guides is its expert panel of writers, including not only scholars of the medium but veterans of the manga industry itself—professionals who have worked from both the North American and Japanese sides of manga in publishing, editing, review, and library services. Edited by Melinda Beasi of Manga Bookshelf, CBLDF Presents Manga is written by Manga Bookshelf columnist Sean Gaffney, Ed Chavez of Vertical, Erica Friedman of Yuricon and ALC Publishing, Shaenon Garrity of Viz Media and Otaku USA and Robin Brenner and Katherine Dacey of School Library Journal.

CBLDF Presents Manga: Introduction, Challenges, and Best Practices is on sale in comic shops everywhere December 4. Full press release below.

Zenescope Announces Hit List

A brand new Zenescope series not written by Pat Shand? Surely you jest. That's just the case though with the newly announced Hit List, which will be joining the writing talents of Ralph Tedesco with the series about an underground crew of professional killers funded by a wealthy entrepreneur. In the first series arc, the collection of assassins attempts to methodically take out members of a dangerous white supremacist gang that deals in human trafficking.

“The story follows an ensemble of very different characters who happen to be paid killers. What if there was someone rich and ballsy enough to put together such a crew because idealistically he wants to make the world safer? I thought it would be fun to explore what could happen and, more importantly, what could go wrong.” says Tedesco “The story is very fast-paced and the action is in-your-face violent. There’s very little downtime in this series which will be a blast for readers.”

Zenescope will also be making Hit List a point of interest during San Diego Comic Con next month with a “Hit List” campaign that will allow convention-goers a chance to win prizes at Zenescope Booth 2301 while participating in an interactive experience taking place on the convention floor throughout Comic Con weekend. Hit List #1 is due in stores September, offering Retailer Incentive Covers for the first three issues by pinup artist Elias Chatzoudis.

Full press release and images below.

Review - Winter City #6

"Don't worry. My team will go in real easy. They can handle this."

Sometimes assault team cops get a little full of themselves. They allow the fact that they're covered in S.W.A.T. gear and have fully automatic weapons to cloud the reality that they might be up against something they're not quite prepared for. Of course, saying it's going to be easy jinxes things and leads to more chaos in the form of Winter City #6.

The issue is written by Carl and Patrick Purcell, penciled by Pablo Verdugo Munoz and colored by David Aravena Riquelme.

Preview - Grimm Fairy Tales Annual 2013

The Grimm Fairy Tales universe is currently facing upheaval, with the events of Unleashed making their way throughout. Having a bit more context for those events would be an annual that allows readers to get a bigger picture. An annual such as Grimm Fairy Tales Annual 2013.

The issue is written by Pat Shand, illustrated by Francesco Di Pastena and Jaime Salangsang, colored by Fran Gamboa and lettered by Jim Campbell. After tragedy strikes, the gods are scattered and they only have one defense left – flee! The Being has put his final horrific plan into motion, and no one is safe. Will one god’s selfishness lead to the fall of them all, or will Zeus’s plan save the Nexus once and for all? Don’t miss the finale to the first act of the biggest event in Zenescope history.

Check out interiors below and the book in stores now.

UDON Pays Tribute to World of Warcraft

While World of Warcraft needs no introduction these days, it could always use some good old fashioned homage. UDON Entertainment is one of the latest to fete the well-established MMO, opting to compile an extensive collection of art from the franchise.

Scheduled for release in October 2013, the collection showcases professional and fan artists alike. The deluxe softcover edition includes over 200 illustrations from the international fan community, along with special pieces created exclusively for the collection by Blizzard’s own Samwise Didier and Arnold Tsang.

The book measures at 8.25" by 11.75", is 224 color pages and will set you back $39.99 when it's released. Full press release and interiors below.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review - Minor Acts of Heroism #1

"Simon! Where are your pants?!"

It's a phrase uttered by countless parents towards their children on more than one occasion. Usually, invoking such a statement indicates mischief on the part of the child, which is exactly what Simon finds himself in throughout the entirety of Minor Acts of Heroism #1.

The issue is written and illustrated by by Adriana Ferguson and Kristen Van Pam.

Spawn Universe Expanding Digitally

Todd McFarlane has built up quite a reputation as an artist and writer in the comic book industry. One of his most enduring contributions is Spawn, a character who has produced legions of devoted readers. Now, Image Comics and Todd McFarlane Productions are teaming up to announce the digital release of five titles on comiXology, including Curse of the Spawn, Haunt Volume 4, Hellspawn: The Complete Collection, Sam and Twitch: The Writer and Spawn: The Undead.

“We're excited to make these once unavailable titles accessible to fans again in a modern-day format,” said TMP’s Managing Editor Jen Cassidy. “Todd McFarlane Productions' library is expansive, and we look forward to growing the digital collection.”

Curse of the Spawn is set in a futuristic world in the throes of apocalypse, when Evil stands at the threshold of victory, is a 29-issue series. After the initial four-issue release on June 18, two additional issues will be made available for purchase each week. Haunt Volume Four is written by Joe Casey and illustrated by Nathan Fox, continuing the saga of the Kilgore brothers — one of them living, one of them dead, both of them united as the superhero Haunt — in this series created by McFarlane and Robert Kirkman. The digital edition, available on now on comiXology, collects issues 19-24, the entire Casey and Fox run.

Hellspawn re-defined the Spawn mythos with stories by Brian Michael Bendis and Steve Niles, drawn by Ashley Wood and Ben Templesmith in a stunning new vision of horror. The complete collected edition, which includes the entire HELLSPAWN series as well as bonus art, a cover gallery, and behind-the-scenes content, went on sale on comiXology on June 18. In Sam and Twitch: The Writer, detectives Sam Burke and Twitch Williams, take on a serial killer with a literary bent as fear and snow alike descend on the city. Both the single issues (#1-4) and the collection are available now on comiXology. Finally, Spawn: The Undead focuses on the HellSpawn once known as Al Simmons, with a self-contained story about the individuals who encounter him in the Spawn world of urban horror in each issue. The complete nine-issue run and collection are up now on comiXology.

Releases on the horizon include Spawn: Godslayer on July 10 and Spawn: The Dark Ages starting the same day. Full press release below.

UDON Entertainment Tapping into The Legend of Heroes

The Legend of Heroes has become a mainstay of the Japanese RPG genre, offering a dozen games over the last twenty years. That makes it perfect for some books by UDON Entertainment poised to commemorate the artwork from the series. The latest game includes Trails of Blue, Trails of Zero and Trails in the Sky. This fall, some of those works will be collected by UDON Entertainment in The Legend of Heroes: The Illustrations and The Legend of Heroes: The Characters.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve released an English-language edition of an art book based on a game that isn’t available in North America,” said UDON Marketing Director Christopher Butcher. “It won’t be the last, either. While traveling in Japan, UDON Chief Erik Ko and I came across these books and just loved them, even in the Japanese. Whether fans are only familiar with the Trails in the Sky anime that was recently released in North America, or are coming to this series for the first time, we feel that they will appreciate the strong character designs, beautifully rendered artwork, and the hints of the epic adventures contained in these books… even without the games in hand!”

The Legend of Heroes: The Illustrations weighs in at more than 272 pages and is comprised entirely of fully-rendered artwork created for the games, including pin-ups, story artwork, advertising art and much more. The Legend of Heroes: The Characters is also 272 pages, and is a character-designers dream come true. It’s full to the brim with character designs, costumes, facial expressions, rough concepts and tons more. Both books have been completely translated into English, and the artwork contained within covers the games Trails of Blue, Trails of Zero and the Trails in the Sky trilogy, as well as the “Trails” artworks from the spin-off game “Ys vs. Trails in the Sky: Alternative Saga.”

Full press release below.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Well, Hollywood has certainly tapped the comic book gold mine haven't they?

We've seen most of what there is to see from Marvel and DC, which might finally be starting to open up its floodgates a little. I suppose there's nothing stopping anybody from keeping on cranking out reboots, but it sorts of leaves you thinking: where do we go from here? Is the Hollywood-comic book romance going to burst and hit the wall pretty soon?

Well, it may eventually, but I still think there are a few pockets of comic cooldom left out there that will be explored on the big screen before it's all said and done. Dark Horse has taken its crack with two enjoyable Hellboy movies. I've been wondering if Image might get in here?

Now mind you, there are plenty of places I'd like them to go with this. But I tried to write this article about movies that I think you're most likely to see in the next five years or so. Of course, I'm dying for a Dr. Strange movie and I've been thinking the idea of an Iron Fist flick sounds cooler and cooler. Still here are five likely candidates from lesser lauded series that I think probably have a shot at pulling a mainstream audience in.

BOOM! Studios Acquires Archaia Entertainment

BOOM! Studios likes explosions. Big ones that come from landing talents like Cliver Barker. Or putting superheroes together in a suburban setting in Suburbia. Or by acquiring Archaia Entertainment.

“We are thrilled and excited to join with BOOM!,” Archaia President and Chief Operating Officer Jack Cummins, who will continue in the same role, said. “BOOM! is very committed to maintaining the brand we’ve worked so hard to build and preserving our relationship with our creators, fans, and retailers. They’re fans of Archaia first and foremost, and are avidly working behind the scenes to expand our market penetration and carry our catalog deeper into retail channels. Archaia readers can expect the same editorial approach that has garnered industry-wide awards but we will have a much stronger platform to deliver our content in all forms and channels. I am personally looking forward to bringing our team together with the fantastic team Ross has built.”

The addition of Archaia positions BOOM!’s catalog of intellectual property as the largest independent company-controlled comic book and graphic novel library, behind only industry titans DC Entertainment and Marvel Entertainment. BOOM!’s comic books and graphic novels pioneer a new business model, sharing intellectual property ownership between the company and the creators who generate the content.

BOOM!'s Chief Executive Officer and founder, Ross Richie, noted, "Our creator-friendly model ensures that creatives are rewarded financially as they generate the franchises of tomorrow. Archaia operates with the same philosophy and objectives, which is one of the many reasons this combination is such a great fit. Archaia has a terrific track record for creating award-winning, beautiful books with high production values. Jack Cummins, Stephen Christy, Mark Smylie, and the entire Archaia team have built an amazing publisher. With BOOM!’s resources, Archaia fans will see more of the books they love, while retailers will enjoy better business through stronger trade terms."

The companies also plan to put key items from the Archaia catalog back into print. August 2nd sees the release of the first BOOM! Studios feature film, in 2 Guns starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, based on the Steven Grant comic book published by BOOM!. The company is currently preparing its second feature film for production: Jeremiah Harm, based on the comic book by Keith Giffen, Alan Grant and John Mueller, will be directed by Timo Vuourensola. Archaia has optioned Royden Lepp’s graphic novel Rust to Twentieth Century Fox. Among Archaia’s other announced deals are the development of Lucid, Bolivar and Feeding Ground.

Full press release below.

Review - Princeless Vol. 2 #4

"As for me, it's been my burden to be the beautiful sister."

Siblings tend to act differently based on their position in the children "pecking order." The oldest are typically one way while the youngest is another, but only when there's X siblings. It's a complicated and strange dynamic that always makes for interesting stories, stories set to conclude in Princeless Vol. 2 #4 from Action Lab Entertainment.

The issue is written by Jeremy Whitley, with art by Emily Martin, colors by Kelly Lawrence and letters by Dave Dwonch.

Preview - Templar HC

Templars are a funny bunch. They always seem to be there in the middle of some historic event. That's ok though, because now they're in the middle of a graphic novel, written by Jordan Mechner, illustrated by LeUyen Pham and Alex Pullivand. And it's a 480-page beast.

Martin is one of a handful of Templar Knights to escape when the king of France and the pope conspire to destroy the noble order. The king aims to frame the Templars for heresy, execute all of them, and make off with their legendary treasure. That's the plan, anyway, but Martin and several other surviving knights mount a counter-campaign to regain the lost treasure of the Knights Templar.

Interiors below with the book in stores July 9.

Green Knight Comes to Graphic Novels

A Green Knight isn't only one that's a newbie at the table. No, the character first appeared in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in the 14th century. Not only that, but the character also appears to have made an impression on J.R.R. Tolkien, who translated an edition of the story before writing his better known works. Now, writer Chris Hunting is bringing the character to comics. He'll be joined by artist John-Paul Howard, a relative newcomer on the comic book scene.

Bunting explains: "The Green Knight is pure comic book fare. He is a powerful giant green knight, and seems barking mad. He makes the ideal foil for the Green Man. Does any association remain with King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table? You will have to keep reading to find out. Expect a visually stunning Green Knight, yet one that is respectful to how he was originally intended. A character that clearly inspired J. R. R. Tolkien deserves nothing less."

The Green Man comic book, featuring the Green Knight, is available now from www. Full press release below.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Defense With The BoomStick

(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 to survive and to keep on living.)

On the road again and on the run for my life again. A pack of zombies is hot on my tail that must have followed me from William’s outpost. I caught sight of them on the horizon behind me, which got me going in high gear from the easy pace I was going. For about a day now I’ve been going hard, rarely resting as there aren’t too many places to hide out in on this stretch of Arizona road.

What worries me is the explosion I heard coming from that outpost maybe a few hours after I left. I never saw any traps or Molotov cocktails that could have caused that type of explosion; except for a big propane tank they used for cooking and heating. If it was that than I’m not holding out much hope on those survivors making it out of there. This pack on me must be one that didn’t get any of the spoils and somehow caught whiff of me.

Review - Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher #2

"And poor Allan, caught in all the turmoil."

It's often the case that outsiders get dragged into the turmoil of others. Often, they're just trying to help, but what they uncover is a lot headier than even they expected. Sometimes those instances involve a man trying to steal the soul of his sister through painting. This is Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher #2 from Dark Horse.

The second issue in the miniseries is written and illustrated by Richard Corben with letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot.

Rage - Bane of Demons Takes to Ulule

Sometimes, it's good to have rage. It seems to work out for the Hulk on more than one occasion. As long as you have a means of channeling said rage, you'll be good to go. Writer Eric Peyron needs you to channel some attention to his version of rage in Rage - Bane of Demons. The upcoming work needs some help and is over at Ulule as a potential crowdfunding project.

Rage - Bane of Demons is a digital graphic novel written by Peyron and painted by Thony Silas. So far, you can check this Graphic Novel as an independent App on the iTunes Store, and buy it to a lot of digital publishers
like Comixology, Kobo, Nook, Ave! Comics and Comicbin. Thanks to all these publishers, the first story of Rage is now available on nearly all digital devices. Not only that, but penciller Alan Quah is slated to join the team as well.

Here's where you, the reader, comes in. The first issue of the Rage Series is now a crowfunding project on Ulule, and everyone can have a part in the production of the run. Pledge for the first issue and you can win digital issues, a free code for the first Rage App, the Rage 2012 Portfolio and even lifetime subscriptions to the digital series when future issues are released. The project is looking for a shade under $4,000 before August 5. Check out the Rage website here.

Full press release and preview images below.

Review - State of Decay

For those who don’t know the premise of State of Decay is simple. You start as a survivor named Marcus up in the mountains coming back from a fishing trip with a buddy to find the world has been overrun with zombies, starting you with only a tree branch to fight the ones who greet you at the docks. From that moment on you are in the fight of your life gathering supplies, hooking up with other survivors and doing whatever you can to survive and manage to make it out of Trumbull County. After escaping the mountain you make it to a church that acts as your first home base for you to collect yourself and begin to branch out scavenging. With each home base you get to put in new facilities such as bunkhouses, infirmaries, libraries, gardens, watchtowers, workshops and others that gives you different bonus to aid you in surviving. As you get further into the game you get the chance to move your base to bigger ones, more conveniently located to supplies that allow you to build more facilities to help.

The twist with this game is even when you are not playing, time still passes within (albeit in a slower fashion) so when you fire the game back up you could have more supplies in your safe house, lower morale, more hordes walking around or even a survivor missing from your group. This feature makes it hard to stop playing as every bit of supplies you find, other survivors you recruit and goals you accomplish are all hard fought victories that you don’t want to lose out on by not playing. If you didn’t leave your survivors with enough food or medicine they will take out on their own to find some, but can run the risk of getting overwhelmed by zombies or go missing. At first I was annoyed it played like this, but then I came to see how it played into what Undead Labs was going for with State of Decay, making a pretty damn real world survival game.

BOOM! Studios Reveals SDCC 2013 Exclusives

Everything that comes with SDCC is larger than life. It only makes sense that BOOM! Studios will bring a series of exclusives to the show. And boy, are there a ton of exclusives.

Those exclusives include Adventure Time Enchiridion Vol. 1 Hardcover SDCC Exclusive with art by Stephanie Gonzaga (limited to 500 and $75), Adventure Time Vol. 2 Hardcover SDCC Exclusive with art by Aaron Renier (limited to 500 and $50), Regular Show Ashcan Mini-Comic with art by Jon Chad (limited to 500 copies and $35), Day Men #1 SDCC Exclusive with art by Brian Stelfreeze (limited to 500 and $10), Fairy Quest Vol. 1 Outlaws Hardcover BOOM! Exclusive with art by Humberto Ramos (limited to 500 and $40), Robocop Vol. 1 Hardcover SDCC Exclusive with art by Frank Miller (limited to 250 and $35) and Six-Gun Gorilla #1 SDCC exclusive with art by Jeff Stokley (limited to 500 and $10).

There are a bunch more and you can check out the full list and covers below.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Justice League Ask for Film Success from The Avengers

Despite some mixed reviews, it would appear that Man of Steel is what studio accountants like to call something of a financial success. The reboot brought in an estimated $113 million in its first weekend, poising the sequel for a fast track release. The film’s success has prompted talk of reviving the on-again, off-again Justice League movie. Of course, the talk is only natural, since it’s only a natural progression after Marvel proved it could be done successfully with The Avengers. The problem is that DC/Warner Bros. is behind the curve when it comes to the other grand team-up film.

Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are three of the most readily famous superheroes in history, considering they’ve been around for so long. This would seem to be a huge advantage for DC, considering they can rely on the name recognition alone to carry a Justice League film. The problem is that the people that do know them don’t quite number into the record-breaking audience amounts, which means more work has to be done to introduce the viewer to them. DC hasn’t really seemed to want to take such a risk, relying instead on continuous Batman and Superman movies while constantly eschewing films about Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (until a few years ago) and Flash.

Marvel’s Kevin Feige has overseen most (if not all) of the Marvel phased movie projects. His goal was to first introduce the characters to the audience; characters such as Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, Thor, Black Widow and Hulk. While some of these characters carry with them some name recognition, by and large, probably only Hulk was readily recognizable in a line-up before the solo films. In fact, the vast majority of the public probably knew very little about Iron Man before Robert Downey, Jr., stepped into the role.

Review - The Gun #1

"Irony has a funny way of showing itself sometimes. Unfortunately some don't see the humor in it."

It's true that there's humor in irony, but it's often only the case for people viewing the ironic situation. Those that are the subject of the irony often become so at the expense of their dignity perhaps or sometimes something greater. There's plenty of irony to be found in The Gun #1 from Creature Entertainment.

The issue is written by John Ulloa, with art by Jose Varese and lettered by Julio Alvarez.

Preview - Wild Blue Yonder #1

Ever look up and pine about the vastness of the sky? Ever look up during those pinings to see jets flying through the sky, screaming as they go? Well, that's the case in Wild Blue Yonder #1 from IDW.

The story is written by Mike Raicht, Zach Howard and Austin Harrison, with art by Howard, colors by Nelson Daniel and lettered by Thompson Knox. In the near future, mankind has destroyed the Earth, and the only refuge from radioactive pollution can be found in the skies. Unfortunately dwindling supplies and bloodthirsty air-pirates make life all the harder. Will the crew of the Dawn escape the merciless Judge and survive another week?

Wild Blue Yonder #1 is in stores now with interiors below.

Bloodhound Resurrected by Dark Horse

From one publisher to another, these are the days of a comic book series. At least, that's the deal with Bloodhound, the former DC series being resurrected by Dark Horse. And writer Dan Jolley and illustrator Leonard Kirk are planning to bring a new, five-issue series called Crowbar Medicine.

Travis Clevenger may not have superpowers, but he can put a beatdown on anyone who does! Consulting with the FBI in exchange for release from prison, Clev is getting his life together when an out-of-control superhuman’s destructive rampage and a rogue scientist’s response—offering designer superpowers to anyone who can afford them—shock the nation, leading to Clev’s biggest case yet!

Bloodhound’s acclaimed three-parter in the pages of Dark Horse Presents concludes today, familiarizing readers with what Bloodhound is all about through a complete story and paving the way for his epic return. Additionally, the first volume of the long-out-of-print original Bloodhound series is in stores now, collecting the DC series from Jolley, Kirk and Robin Riggs—232 pages of brutal goodness.

Bloodhound: Crowbar Medicine #1 is on sale October 16 in comic shops everywhere. Full press release below.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Review - Skyward #2

"He had nowhere to run."

The life of a witness is quite troublesome indeed. They've seen something they probably didn't want to see in the first place and sometimes, the people they see committing the action don't like that there's a witness. This necessitates a series of actions to stop the witness from recounting the events, including a chase through a forest in Skyward #2 from Action Lab Entertainment.

The second issue is written and illustrated by Jeremy Dale, with colors by Steve Downer and letters by Thom Zahler.

Image Comics Brings Talent to Image Expo

There are a ton of shows throughout the year that give publishers a chance to showcase their wares. The problem is that there's so much on hand that fighting your way to one particular booth can be something of a chore. That's why Image Comics has decided to throw their own party, taking the Image Expo to San Francisco on July 2.

Mark Millar will be making a special transcontinental appearance at the convention to talk about Jupiter's Legacy, which is co-created by artist Frank Quitely. Other guests include Robert Kirkman, Ed Brubaker, J. Michael Straczynski, Nick Dragotta and Kurtis J. Wiebe. All of these creators will join Stephenson on stage for conversations about their work and announcements of never-before-revealed projects. Stephenson, known for his inspiring and insightful speeches at comic book industry events, regards Image Expo as an opportunity to spread Image’s message.

“Image Comics isn’t just a unique comic book company, it’s a unique entertainment company,” he said. “Nobody else does what we do, and I welcome every opportunity I get to highlight the benefits of our unprecedented support for new creativity.”

In addition to media and retailers, to whom Image is extending complimentary admission, the public may attend Image Expo by purchasing premium and general passes, which are available in limited quantities. Retailers and premium ticket holders will receive exclusive Image Expo editions of new Image Comics titles and a T-shirt. The exclusives, T-shirt, as well as other Image comic books and merchandise will also be available to purchase.

The Image Expo exclusives are special editions of Fatale #15 by Brubaker, Ghosted #1 by Joshua Williamson, Goran Sudzuka and Miroslav Mrva, Satellite Sam #1 by Fraction and Howard Chaykin, Sheltered #1 by Ed Brisson, Johnnie Christmas and Shari Chankhamma and a black-and-white ashcan of Sidekick #1 by Straczynski, Tom Mandrake and Brian Miller. Image Expo will give comics readers the opportunity to also interact with creators in a more intimate setting than the bustling environment of huge comic book conventions like Comic-Con International in San Diego. Signing sessions with Image’s special guests will take place during the afternoon.

Ron Richards, Image’s Director of Business Development, brings his experience of organizing 2012’s successful comics conference, MorrisonCon to the event. “Image Comics has a long history of innovation in comics,” he said, “and now we’re excited to continue that tradition with Image Expo and give fans, retailers and the press a new and different way to interact with Image Comics and our top creators.”

Full press release below.

Arcana Comics Announces Seven Holes for Air

Teaming up with celebrities seems to be all the rage these days with comic book publishers. It makes sense, considering some celebrities may really want to tell their story in the comic book form. Bill Paxton is one such man, teaming up with Arcana Comics on Seven Holes for Air, written by John J. McLauchlin and illustrated by Mick Reinman.

The book introduces the reader to Bob Rourke, a man in rare supply in modern times. He's a tough, fifty-year-old steelworker who smokes, drinks and never complains. When Bob is facing the end, disease ravaging his body, he soldiers on at home, at work, and in an alternate Spaghetti Western reality in which his real-life antagonists become actual villains. Now, Bob will stare down death the only way he knows how - with grit and determination - as he struggles against the ghosts of his past and the desire to leave something behind for his wife and daughter.

7 Holes for Air will debut at San Diego Comic Con 2013 and Paxton will make a special appearance with some of the creative team on Thursday, July 18th at 2 PM to sign copies of the book.

Full press release below.

Valiant Originals Launch Signature Series

Every resurrection needs an original body. In the case of Valiant, that original body is being tapped to celebrate the publisher's current success, as the publisher has just announced the Valiant Signature Series. The new line spotlights creators from Valiant's birth in the form of special covers.

"I began my career in comics at the original Valiant and all of us who were there have stayed very close over the years," Valiant Publisher Fred Pierce said. "Now, with the new publishing line well underway, it's an immense pleasure to finally be reuniting with the talents who forged the foundation and gave the original Valiant Universe such a special and well-deserved mystique."

Valiant will release one Signature Series cover per month, beginning this October with the Harbinger #17 Valiant Signature Series cover by Sean Chen – the veteran artist that began his comics career at Valiant with titles including X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Bloodshot and Rai and the Future Force. Over the course of the coming months, the Signature Series will also debut new works by creators Bob Hall, Mark Moretti, Kevin VanHook, Sal Velluto and more as they interpret the modern day versions of Valiant's signature heroes for the very first time. The first of many to come, look for more Signature Series artists to be announced in the near future.

Added Valiant CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani:

"Valiant is incredibly fortunate to have worked with a long list of incredible talents in its 25 year history, and their work is something that we continue to celebrate to this day. As both fans and creators, we've been anxiously awaiting the moment when some of Valiant's original greats would return to bring their vision to the modern day Valiant Universe, and, with the Valiant Signature Series, that moment has finally arrived. Sean Chen, Bob Hall, Mark Moretti, Kevin VanHook, Sal Velluto – these are the guys who helped build the house we live in, and fans can look forward to seeing even more storied talents from the original Valiant era return over the next year."

Full press release below.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Review - Zoë: Out of Time #1

"Jeez, these kids today think they're invincible."

Youth brings with it a sense of arrogance, that nothing will catch up to you and you're right about everything. That leads to some individuals of the younger persuasion to live life on the edge, jumping from one potential calamity to the next. Sometimes, luck runs out and throws you back in time though. Zoë: Out of Time #1 is a prime example.

The first issue is written by J. Michalski and Alexander Lagos, with art by Derlis Santacruz and colors by Oren Kramek.

Dark Horse Unveils White Walker Statue

Anyone who's seen Game of Thrones or read the books (which, to be honest, is probably just about everyone at this point) know about the White Walkers. The undead denizens of the north instill fear in all who cross their path, but have an averseness to Dragonglass. Luckily for collectors, Dragonglass isn't readily available, which means the upcoming statue from Dark Horse can stand on display without fear of disintegrating.

“The first appearance of the White Walker was the climax of the show’s second season,” Dark Horse’s David Scroggy recalled. “We thought that would be a perfect image to seize. We used exotic resins to simulate his ice spear, and will also re-create the striking blue luminosity of his piercing eyes. Game of Thrones is one of the best television sagas ever, and we owe it to the audience to capture every detail. Hopefully, we’ve succeeded.”

Arriving at finer comic shops, bookstores, and specialty retailers on December 18, 2013, the White Walker is a hand-painted, numbered limited edition collectible. Each bust is packaged in full-color collector box, will include a numbered certificate of authenticity. Retail price is $124.99. White Walkers, or the Others, are a fierce mythological race who are seldom seen as they lurk and prey in their land in the frozen north of Westeros. The Wall was constructed ages ago to keep them isolated. This evil creature speaks in cracked tones and brandishes a deadly icy weapon, as immortalized in this beautiful collectible piece.

Full press release below.

ComixTribe Announces The Red Ten #4 Trailer

If you're not getting amped up for The Red Ten #4, then boy, does ComixTribe have something to sway you. They've just unleashed a trailer for the fourth issue, with the book available for preorder now in Previews (JUN130942) and available in August. It's the fourth trailer for the series.

"With nearly 40,000 copies of THE RED TEN series now in circulation, we've far exceeded our wildest expectations for the series," said writer and co-creator Tyler James. "Each issue is stronger than the last, as the creative team is really in a groove right now. And the best is yet to come."

Full press release and trailer below.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I'll admit that Zod isn't a true dyed-in-the-wool comic book villain in the sense that he was an immensely popular and an iconic villain with a line of action figures made after him and all that. While Zod did appear in the comics, he really seemed to fit in best in Richard Donner's legendary Superman II (yes, you heard me- you can research the director controversy of Superman II on your own). I never really dug that the Superman movies seemed to sport their own kind of canonical approach to the Superman story and pulled out either original or lesser known villains. In retrospect, this probably made sense as they likely didn't have the special effects necessary to get Braniac in a 1980's Superman movie.

Zod never interested me that much outside of the movie. He had some great lines and it was kind of cool to see him slap Superman around, but it never seemed to me that he really belonged as an important part of Superman's rogue gallery. That being said, in recent years DC has set about proving me wrong. Zod has become a more iconic presence in Superman comics when he was re-imagined for Smallville and now Man of Steel. I'd like to think that Zod now has a lot more to teach us about Superman than I use to believe.

Mainly the following.

Review - Captain Midnight #0

"The pilot just jumped out of the plane and is coming down on me with some kind of--wings!"

Words such as those do little to inspire confidence in the skills of a pilot. After all, if you're flying expensive, military equipment and an individual decides to pretty much just land on top of it mid-flight, what are you supposed to do? Give the guy a lift of course, as in Captain Midnight #0 from Dark Horse.

The issue features the writing talents of Joshua Williamson, art by Victor Ibáñez and Pere Pérez, colors by Ego and letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot. It collects the three stories from Dark Horse Presents: "Midnight at 10,000 Feet," "Lost" and "Redacted."

Dark Horse Deluxe Gets Grimm

Grimm's Fairy Tales are something of a hit with history. They're stories that have endured for centuries and continue to both fascinate and haunt children at the same time. The success of the property has been adapted into numerous other medium, with a TV show being one of them in Grimm. That TV show is about to go the Dark Horse Deluxe route, with new items being offered based on the characters and stories of said show.

“As Portland residents, we feel a special kinship with a series filmed in our hometown,” Dark Horse Product Development VP David Scroggy observed, “although we would have been drawn to Grimm if it were filmed in North Dakota. The production team has been most accommodating, inviting us to visit the sets, examine the props, and meet with the key design and VFX staffers to help inform our line. This kind of cooperation is rare, and it has ensured a great accuracy down to the smallest details.”

Grimm is a cop drama inspired by the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tales, following Portland homicide detective Nick Burkhardt into a reality he never knew existed. Once he discovers this new world, and his role in it, he has to deal with much more than the usual criminals and investigations. With his partner Hank and ally Monroe (who is also a magical creature called a Blutbad), Nick delves into cases involving bees, bats, bears and more. Dark Horse Deluxe is launching their Grimm line with an assortment of products. The centerpieces of this first wave are sculpted, wearable pin replicas of Nick’s key and one of the coins of Zakynthos.

Nick is bequeathed the key as his dying Aunt Marie introduces him to his destiny as a Grimm, warning him to guard it with his life. The key is revealed to have a map carved on the outside, which is etched into the replica pin’s surface. Two small loops on the key allow the wearer to easily convert it from a pin to a hanging pendant. The mysterious, ancient coin of Zakynthos has a long history of bringing a bad end to its possessors, although the Grimms seem strangely immune. While its purpose remains a mystery, various dark forces are seeking it and will kill to attain ownership of it. The Dark Horse coin pin replica is given an antique finish over zinc alloy, re-creating the patina of antiquity.

An embossed, heavy-gauge, litho-printed, classic tin lunchbox, a sixteen-ounce pint glass, a deluxe coffee mug and an embroidered skull-design patch round out the initial range of collectibles. Dark Horse will continue to offer more Grimm products, including busts, journals and playing cards, and some very cool lenticular items. Grimm collectibles go on sale September 25, 2013, at fine retailers everywhere.

Full press release below.

Six-Gun Gorilla #1 Hits Second Printing

What's better than two printings? How about six guns? How about a six-gun equipped gorilla? There's apparently something special about that scenario, as the work by BOOM! Studios featuring a six-gun gorilla has sold out in less than 24 hours since release. Now, a second printing of Six-Gun Gorilla #1 is on the way, bringing along the talents of Simon Spurrier, Jeff Stokely and Ramón Pérez.

Welcome to “the Blister” -- a bizarre other-world colonized by humans sometime in the 22nd century, which quickly became a hotly-contested source of fertile land and natural resources long ago exhausted on Earth. In this new frontier, a rogue gunslinger and his companion wander across a wilderness in the grips of a civil war, encountering lawlessness, natives, and perversions of civilization in a world at the crossroads between the past and the future. The fact that said gunslinger is a bio-surgically modified silverback gorilla toting a pair of enormous revolvers is neither here nor there.

The second printing ships with a striking new cover by Joe Querio with a retail price of $3.99. Full press release below.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Defense With The BoomStick

(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 to survive and to keep on living.)

Another interesting night in the life of the zombie apocalypse. In surveying the ground on the other side of the wall I see there are zombie bodies all over. For all the shortcomings this survivor outpost in Williams has, what makes it really worthwhile is how easy it is to defend. It can be done with a handful of people raining down a lot of destruction from these walls.

I've been spending the past week working with a group of survivors here in Williams, foraging for supplies, reinforcing the defenses and making melee weapons. Yesterday afternoon we were inside the walls moving things around when we heard the moans. All of us rushed to the walls to find the source: about thirty zombies were heading our way. Even though we were behind the walls we still got chills.

Review - Invincible Universe #3

"The police do not come to Sikole."

Any place that doesn't even merit the attention from the police is one that should be a little frightening to all. Well, not all, as there are some in Invincible Universe #3 from Image Comics who are perfectly content to venture into the small town and make amends.t

The issue is written by Phil Hester, with art by Todd Nauck, colors by Gabe Eltaeb and letters by Rus Wooton.

Preview - The Crow: Curare #1

Sometimes, being a good cop just isn't good enough. For whatever reason, being on the job could lead to things like injury or even death. If you're really lucky, dying on the job may get you some vengeful empowerment a la the Crow. The newest incarnation is on the case in The Crow: Curare #1 from IDW, written by James O'Barr and illustrated by Antoine Dode.

Retired Detroit cop Joe Salk was a good cop, but after a little girl's murder, his wife left him because of his obsession to find her killers. Now completely alone, his need for revenge might just be helped by the young victim, returned and empowered by the spirit of vengeance, the Crow.

The book is in stores now with interiors below.

Burn the Orphange Kicks Off in August

It's really tough to be an orphan. If you're not bounced around from home to home, you're forced to live in an orphanage with a bunch of other orphans. Naturally, this could lead to motivations to be angry for whatever reason. Maybe angry enough to burn down said orphanage. And maybe readers are curious enough to read about the aforementioned fire in Burn the Orphanage, the first part of the Born to Lose trilogy by Sina Grace and Daniel Freedman.

"I'm lucky enough that I get to work with one of my best friends on a comic book that was birthed from a love of video games, music, and styles of our shared childhood,” said Grace, who both co-writes and draws the series. “We're going to put our rough and tough hero Rock through the wringer in Burn the Orphanage, and I'm glad that the industry embraces the product of our intense friendship."

Rock was a young orphan when he was left for dead in a burning building and now he’s out to find the person responsible. With action inspired by 1980s video games like Double Dragon and Streets of Rage, Rock will take on every goon and punk in the city, along with his friends Lex and Bear, who bring their own talents into the mix.

"Burn the Orphanage is Sina’s and my baby to the world,” said Freedman. “While it was in our collective womb, we piped in shred guitar and 8-bit techno. Birthed it by way of interstellar travel. Nursed it on an unhealthy amount of side-scrolling, brawling, and button-mashing. And clothed it in the fur-lined rags of our childhoods, meaning acid washed jeans, bandanas and fishnets. I'm just excited for people to finally get a look at this monster."

Burn the Orphanage: Born to Lose #1 will be in stores August 7 and is available now to pre-order from the June issue of Previews (Diamond Code JUN130429). Full press release below.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Xbox One Plus PlayStation 4 Equals Playing Games in a Diskless Future

E3 2013 is winding down and boy, was it chock full of news. Sure, there were a lot of games shown at the big show, but all the conversation has centered on the online and used game policies of Sony and Microsoft. From Sony’s announcement that the PlayStation 4 will support lending and sharing disk-based games (as evidenced by this instructional video) to Microsoft going to the other way, saying that the Xbox One will require an internet check-in every 24 hours, fans were divided.

Microsoft executive Don Mattrick even said that if you don’t like the online check-in of the Xbox One (or work on a nuclear submarine apparently), then get an Xbox 360. On its face, that comment seems a little shortsighted on the part of Microsoft. Why alienate most of your customer base likely to make the jump to the next console by saying if you’re not happy with its features to stay where you are?

Microsoft’s comments have lit up the Internet, with many Xbox 360 purists swearing off the Xbox One, while others are a little confused as to what they’re thinking. What’s more is that the Xbox One will cost $499 versus $399 for the PlayStation 4. Surely Microsoft has some grander plan they’re not revealing to gamers just yet right? The short answer seems to be yes, but it’s probably going to take a few years for that answer to fully make sense.

Review - Homemade Heroes #3

At the end of the day, superheroes are just like everyone else. The only difference? They have something that makes them special, but it's not something that necessarily makes them different. Homemade Heroes #3 is a book that looks at such heroes and their daily trials and tribulations.

The third issue is written and illustrated by Russ Walton under the Grim Rascal Presents pseudonym.

Sons of Anarchy Goes BOOM!

As far as teasers go, they really don't get much more explanatory than the above. Sons of Anarchy is coming to BOOM! Studios. Stay tuned.

The Ugliest Kid on Earth Gets Collected

Sometimes, the Ugly Duckling does get everything in the end. That's not to say that beauty is king, but it is rather difficult to make a name for yourself if you don't have the "Hollywood" beauty. Image Comics has a character who thrives on ugliness though and that character will see the first four issues of his now ongoing series get collected in TPB form. That's right ugly fans: Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth will see the four-issue miniseries in one volume, showcasing the talents of MK Perker and Ken Kristensen.

"It was always our hope that we'd be able to make TODD an ongoing series, but it wasn't just the critical and commercial success of TODD that compelled us," said artist Perker. "It was public service! I don't think it's hyperbole to say that armageddon is upon us. And with the next story arc, 'Charlie Rose's Table: Public Broadcasting Satan,' Todd is the only thing that stands between Charlie Rose and global catastrophe."

The new arc takes a look at the unholy intersection of comic book conventions, public television, and paranormal investigation, as Todd unwittingly uncovers a conspiracy that literally goes as deep as the depths of Hell. It starts in September, fresh off the TPB's release August 7.

"The survival of PBS in American culture has always been difficult to explain," added writer Kristensen. "A television network with high artistic standards, educational programming, and a ratings juggernaut in Downton Abbey? Clearly they've made a deal with the devil — and starting with issue #5 TODD, THE UGLIEST KID ON EARTH will unearth the ugly truth."

Full press release below.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review - The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys #1

"Look alive sunshine!" That's always a good way to wake up, even it if means waking up in a desolate landscape with packs of marauders roaming and looking for death. It also doesn't help if you're a girl with a cat in that world, fighting for food and living off the memory of a reputation. That's The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys #1 from Dark Horse.

The first issue is written by Gerard Way and Shaun Simon, with art by Becky Cloonan, colors by Dan Jackson and letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot.