Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Review - The Westwood Witches #1

"But here in Westwood, we know how to handle irritating individuals."

To some, witches can be irritating individuals. To witches, everyone else are irritating individuals. It's a classic case where the powerful are annoyed by the powerless and their clashes often make for really good theater. That theater is on display in The Westwood Witches #1 from Amigo Comics.

The Westwood Witches #1 is written by El Torres, illustrated by Abel Garcia and lettered by Malaka Studio.

Quantum and Woody #1 Returns with Second Printing

Quantum and Woody is the new duo taking to the streets. They're working really hard at being the go-to guys when it comes to saving the day. And readers really seem to be taking a liking to the pair, as the first printing of Quantum and Woody #1 has sold out at the distributor level and will return to stores August 21, featuring a new cover by Emanuela Luppachino.

"Quantum and Woody is the first title of the second Summer of Valiant initiative. It has generated an enormously positive response from fans, critics, and retailers," said Valiant Publisher Fred Pierce. "Even with a generous overprint, Quantum and Woody #1 sold out at an incredibly brisk pace. Stay tuned, this is a book to watch and we have some big plans in store yet."

On August 21st, start reading here as James Asmus and Tom Fowler punt the world’s worst superhero team headfirst into the Valiant Universe. When their father’s murder leads them into the throes of a life-altering scientific accident, Eric and Woody Henderson will find themselves with a whole new purpose – and a perfectly legitimate reason to wear costumes and fight crime. Brace yourselves – Quantum and Woody are coming! Don't miss your chance to get in on the ground floor when the Quantum and Woody #1 Lupacchino Second Printing Variant arrives on August 21st.

This August, find out why this is the book reaping goat-loads of praise from fans and critics in the Quantum and Woody #1 Lupacchino Second Printing Variant and Quantum and Woody #2. Full press release below.

Godland Reaches Finale

Running as a series for nearly eight years is quite a feat. Sadly though, every good thing must come to an end. That's the case in Godland from Image Comics and the 72-page one-shot will be released in November, boasting the talents of Joe Casey and Tom Scioli.

"In the FINALE, we jump one hundred years ahead into the future," said Casey, "and show a world significantly transformed by Adam Archer's 'GØD-like' actions as seen in issue #36. But, once again, humanity is teetering on another major evolutionary brink... and what ultimately occurs in the final pages is the true culmination of everything this book has been about from the very first issue."

For both Casey and Scioli, this issue is much more than simply bringing the story to its mind-bending conclusion. It's about carrying on the tradition of experimentation that has been a hallmark of the series since its debut.

"In some ways, this is an attempt to take comics to another level, rethinking the ways that a story can be delivered in comic book form," said Casey. "We've got one last shot to make a glorious, significant artistic statement here, and we're going for it in a big way! There'll be new characters, new conflicts and new cosmic enlightenment — all in a single issue!"

"With GØDLAND I learned that you can be funny and still be serious," said Scioli. "For as bloated and excessive a prog rock comic GØDLAND is, I learned how to tell a story economically from it. We cover a lot of ground in those 37 issues. I had to draw seven different versions of the future, which is the biggest challenge I've ever faced in comics. I didn't know I had that many in me. Most cartoonists only have one or two in them."

On their creative collaboration, Casey said, "Tom can draw everything, and more importantly, he doesn't shy away from drawing anything. If you're gonna do a bona fide cosmic superhero epic, he's the guy you want drawing it. And there are sections of the FINALE that are as jaw-dropping as anything you've ever seen in a comic book before...!"

On working on the book, Scioli added, "I learned that there's more to life than Jack Kirby. Joe brought his influences to the project and I sought them out to see for myself. Cosmic jokesters like Starlin, Gerber and Englehart, among others. These creators have since become favorites of mine. Most of all, I learned how to collaborate. I couldn't ask for a better creative partner than Joe Casey. What we created together is very special to me. I'm eternally grateful to the people who supported us and our book."

The Godland Finale will be in stores on November 27 and can be pre-ordered in the September issue of Previews. Full press release below.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review - Captain Midnight #1

" less Nazi is hardly a bad thing."

Striking at midnight makes you predictable. When you're Captain Midnight though, it doesn't really matter if the enemy can see you coming. They still have to be able to stop you and, from the looks of Captain Midnight #1 from Dark Horse Comics, the enemy will have a tough time stopping the timeless hero.

The title is written by Joshua Williamson, illustrated by Fernando Dagnino, colored by Ego and lettered by Nate Piekos of Blambot!.

True Love for a Dark Hero in Reality Check

Every comic book writer and artist knows what it's like "breaking into the industry." It's a tough thing to do and requires quite a bit of perseverance and ability. Sometimes those works make it, but other times they don't. And sometimes, they become reality and make for great reading, written by Glen Brunswick and illustrated by Viktor Bogdanovic. Cue Reality Check from Image Comics.

Willard Penn is a struggling comic book artist with an unexpected hit and a very unexpected problem. After Dark Hour, his comic about an unlucky-in-love superhero sells out, Willard is hit with a bad case of writer’s block — and his creation is refusing to sit still and wait for it to pass. Literally. Dark Hour makes the leap from Willard’s page to the real world. His demand to his creator: Help him to find true love. Willard has problems other than finding Dark Hour’s perfect woman, though, because his comic’s archvillain, Devil-Inside, a homicidal maniac bent on causing havoc, has entered the real world as well.

“One of the side benefits of being forced to help Dark Hour hook up with a woman is it forces Willard to re-engage with the world as well,” Brunswick said, “so in that sense he's helping himself to connect with other people instead of solely focusing on his creative endeavors. It causes Willard to reevaluate his life.”

Reality Check #1 will hit stores September 4 and can be pre-ordered now from the July issue of Previews (JUL130410). Full press release below.

Black Beetle Returns

The Black Beetle returns with the Necrologue this fall. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I enjoyed X-Men: First Class. Really. It’s a good movie. I dug how it was all 1960’s style and how it tried to capture more of the feel of the original X-Men comic book than Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men from the 80’s. Because you know, let’s face it: that original comic book was pretty weird and getting that into a digestible form isn’t easy to do!

I suppose my biggest gripe about X-Men: First Class--at the time--was that they did that thing where they didn’t do anything to contradict the movies that had come before it, but still sort of made it a reboot. Which seemed to me to make it only a kind of half reboot. And that bummed me out. Why even hamper yourself? Go nuts and use whoever you want in the movie, recast everyone, etc.

Because I’ve liked the X-Men movies, but I haven’t loved them, not as much as I should given what an X-Men fan I am. I think X2: X-Men United is great; there was a good movie in X-Men: The Last Stand somewhere in there and X-Men Origins: Wolverine is under-rated. But ultimately something just didn’t feel like it ‘delivered’ with the X-men movies the way I wanted them too. So if First Class was going to be a reboot I wasn’t scared to have them just start from scratch.

The Wolverine though? I had moderate expectations about its success. It's surpassed my expectations by such a wide margin that I'm embarrassed that I ever doubted the entire franchise.

Review - Lazarus #2

"If you keep following me, I'm going to kill you."

Living in the world is hard enough without having to deal with food rations and wealthy families fighting amongst themselves. That's a world not necessarily worth living, but one that makes for great theater in Lazarus #2 from Image Comics.

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

Preview - 2000 AD #1842

Get your jaw dropped to the floor: it's the 17th century and zombie hunter Defoe is on the move in 2000 AD #1842 from 2000AD. There's a lot more to it in the work written by John Wagner, Alec Worley, Rob Williams, Pat Mills and Dan Abnett, illustrated by Dave Taylor, Edmund Bagwell, Jon Davis-Hunt, Leigh Gallagher and John Burns and letters by Annie Parkhouse, Ellie De Ville and Simon Bowland.

Judge Dredd finds that the ‘God City’ downed at the end of last year’s Trifecta crossover isn’t as dormant as he thought, Ramone finds that paradise isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in ‘Sinister Dexter: Last Rights’, and the gods aren’t keen on listening in ‘The Ten-Seconders: Godsend’.

The book is in stores now with interiors below.

Samurai Jack Returns with Comic

Samurai Jack was a lovely cartoon back in the day. The battle between Jack and the demon wizard Aku was both great theater and reflection of a time from long ago, when samurai roamed. Sometimes, going down memory lane by watching the DVDs isn't enough and IDW has a plan to give you more of what you want in a brand new series by Jim Zub and Andy Suriano.

"Samurai Jack is an irresistible mix of high adventure, comedy and mythic storytelling," said Zub. Meanwhile, Suriano's affinity for Jack will help shape his continuing adventure. He added, "returning to Samurai Jack is such a personal experience and labor of love for me. It's like stepping through a time portal back to characters I know as friends and a world that really launched my animation career."

The first five-issue arc will explore the secrets of the "Rope of Eons." The first arc will feature variant covers by Genndy Tartakovsky himself. "As a Jack and Genndy fan I'm thrilled to be writing new stories that continue where the TV series left off. I'm channeling my inner samurai to deliver a fun action-packed ride each and every issue," said Zub.

Full press release below.

Friday, July 26, 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.)

Well that's the end of that. Here it is Friday; I think it is at least and I am back on the road, going as fast as I can. After what I left behind me speed is of the utmost necessity now more than ever if I want to survive. Yesterday morning I was up on the town water tower scanning the horizon when I saw this big blob moving down the road.

Zooming in with the binoculars I saw that it's one motherlode of a zombie horde heading my way. I haven’t seen a pack this large in at last a year (if not two) back in the northeast. I had about five hours before this herd hit the town I was in and when it hit I knew nothing would be left standing. There isn’t a place to hide anywhere in this town that could keep me safe, as a horde of this size will just mow through and destroy any building in their way.

Review - The Reason for Dragons

"Why would you take such great risks to prove yourself to those who think so little of you?"

If you ever encounter a dragon, it's good to be a knight. The stalwarts of history and fiction have made dragon slaying one of the top lines on their resumes and they've gotten quite good at it. A knight encountering a dragon makes sense in stories of lore; not so much in the present. Still though, such a scenario makes for good reading in The Reason for Dragons from Archaia.

The graphic novel is written by Chris Northrop, illustrated by Jeff Stokely and colored by Northrop and Andrew Elder.

Dark Horse Teams With Russ Cochran to Publish EC Comics Library

Dark Horse likes the archives. Some archives are a little more macabre and require a certain type of person to oversee and care for them. The Crypt Keeper is such a steward and his archives are overflowing with tales of terror. Dark Horse wants to bring those archives to a larger audience, as they've partnered with Russ Cochran to publish the EC Comics library, starting with Tales from the Crypt Volume 4.

“I have admired Mike Richardson and Dark Horse for many years and am very pleased to be working with them to bring the remainder of the EC archives to fans everywhere,” said Russ Cochran. “Dark Horse’s strength and clout in the marketplace will open new avenues of distribution for these great comic books.”

EC Comics produced many of the 1950s’ most controversial and talked-about works, including such legendary anthologies as Two-Fisted Tales, Weird Fantasy and of course, Tales from the Crypt. Now, Dark Horse will work with Cochran, under the careful guidance of Cathy Gaines, to continue this legacy with the release of Tales from the Crypt Volume 4 in October, with Vault of Horror Volume 3 following in January.

Each volume will be digitally recolored, using Marie Severin’s original colors as a guide. Tales from the Crypt Volume 4 collects issues #35–#40, featuring stories drawn by all-star comic artists Jack Davis, Joe Orlando, Jack Kamen, Graham Ingels, George Evans, Reed Crandall, Bill Elder and Bernie Krigstein.

Tales from the Crypt Volume 4 arrives on sale at finer comic shops everywhere for $49.99 on October 30, 2013, just in time for Halloween. Full press release below.

Fathom Omnibus Available on Comixology

Aspen Comics is bringing everything to the table in their tenth anniversary year. Their latest offering is a special one, in that they're bringing Michael Turner's best-selling Fathom Omnibus on Comixology. It just so happens to be released in conjunction with the release of All New Fathom #1 this week in stores.

Fans and new readers will definitely be interested in The Fathom Omnibus: Volume 1, which collects Turner's original first volume run as well as the sold out second volume of the series. The Fathom Omnibus #1 includes over 25 issues and is offered for $35.99. The Fathom Omnibus: Volume 2 includes both the third and fourth volumes of Fathom leading up to the All New Fathom #1 released this week as part of the publishers “10 for 10” initiative, and following the weekly summer event, Fathom: The Elite Saga. The Fathom Omnibus: Volume 2 features over 20 issues of Fathom and is offered at $29.99.

Turner’s Fathom celebrates 15 years in 2013, and Aspen will be revealing more Fathom news throughout the year. Full press release below.

Zenescope Publishing Jeff Kaufman's Angel Faling

Zenescope Entertainment has made a name for itself as a publisher on the backs of lovely ladies in fantasy settings. A new graphic novel about a woman who wakes up naked with no memory of who she is fits right into that business model. Jeff Kaufman is the man behind Angel Falling, scheduled to be released in September and illustrated by Kevin West, with colors by Tom Chu and inks by Mark McKenna.

Angel Falling is a fast-paced, action-packed, thrill ride from the one and only Jeff Kaufman," said Kevin Poling of ComicWow!. From the first page to the last, this graphic novel will fully immerse you in the world that Angel inhabits. Once linked with Conner, a child with autism, and a photographic physical memory, there is only one thing a reader need do and that is hold on tight for the ride of a lifetime.”

Angel Falling is a hundred page graphic novel about Angel, a women who wakes up on top of dumpster half naked with no memory of who she is. It doesn’t take long to figure out that Angel is one of the most deadly people on the planet. She’s being watched over by Connor Jacobs, a seventeen year old autistic kid with physical photo memory who knows where they both come from, but doesn’t want to go back. The story will spin you round and round as these two characters are hunted and forced to confront their past.

The book is available for pre-order through Diamond’s July edition of PREVIEWS Use order code: JUL131419. For more information on Angel Falling, visit Full press release below.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

(Bat and Super) Men on Film

Well, DC went and did it. They went to San Diego, hosted their panel about their characters on film and ended with a quote from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. And then they flashed a logo on screen that showed the familiar Superman S (or Hope if you’re Kryptonian) set against the backdrop of the equally familiar Batman bat. What followed was a roar of applause and cheers, followed immediately by rampant speculation. And while DC got the immediate reaction they were looking for, what happens next is entirely up for debate.

DC’s path to bringing their superheroes to the big screen has been admittedly clumsier than Marvel’s. Instead of building a cinematic universe based on a wider range of superheroes, DC is building the universe on the back of Christopher Nolan’s tone in the super-successful Dark Knight trilogy. Christian Bale redefined the role of Bats, but he’s been very clear he’s not returning for the role. That’s a rather crushing blow for DC and Warner Bros., both of whom are seeking to build a blockbuster film universe around their characters like Marvel. Marvel is making films that don't take themselves too seriously; DC is making films that treat you the viewer as if your dog just died.

Review - Head Smash

"All who oppose me are the sworn enemy of the horde."

A horde mentality is always good for the horde and rarely good for the individual. Sure, the individual wants to do their own thing, but they're trapped in a sense by the demands of the group as a whole. When one individual is turned on by the masses, it stands to reason that the individual doesn't stand a chance. Unless, of course, the individual has a name like "Smash" and gets some help from super serums in stories like Head Smash from Arcana Comics.

The TPB is written by Erik Hendrix (story by Vlad Udin), with art by Dwayne Harris and letters by Shawn Depasquale.

Rat Queens Mix Things Up in Fantasy

Never let it be said that you can't have enough high fantasy. All the adventure and excitement that comes with a fabled quest makes for great reading. Starting in September, Kurtis J. Wiebe and Rob Upchurch team up to bring a new mix of fantasy in Rat Queens. Those queens include Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Hafling Thief.

“I suppose it’s obvious at this point that this is a love letter to my years of Dungeons and Dragons and fantasy but tweaked ever so slightly with a modern twist,” said writer Wiebe, who collaborated with Meg Dejmal to round out his characters. “Rat Queens is a title I’m super excited about. This is a series I’ve wanted to write for years but never felt quite ready to do it.”

In this new series starting in September, the Rat Queens are taking on the quest of a lifetime... or at least the quest that’s going to get them out of the latest jam they’ve found themselves in: clearing out some pesky goblins from a cave. But these aren’t just any goblins, and Hindman Cave isn’t just any cave. Wiebe met his collaborator Upchurch at Comic-Con in 2011.

“A fantasy setting with female leads is pretty much the dream for me, so I'm having the time of my life with Rat Queens,” said Upchurch. “Creating these characters was both fun and challenging. The girls have very different personalities, so I wanted them to have very distinct and unique costumes to reflect that. The world itself is so fun to draw. I want this to be a place that fans of fantasy would want to live in with characters that they would want adventures with.”

A Rat Queens webcomic by Wiebe, Dejmal, and Upchurch will run each week on the Image Comics tumblr until the release of the first issue on September 25. Rat Queens #1 has a variant cover by artist Fiona Staples and can be pre-ordered now from the July issue of Previews (Diamond Code JUL130404). Full press release below.

One Week Till Midnight...

Check your clocks, because chances are they're wrong. There's one week till midnight. All you need to know.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Review - All New Fathom #1

"One day he would tell his grandchildren about this moment..."

Certain moments occur that transcend, well, everything. A giant glacier rising from the depths of the ocean with a living cloud accompanying it is one of those moments. Newlyweds on their honeymoon can sometimes be at the wrong place at the wrong time, giving cause for someone like Aspen Matthews to make an appearance and save the day. Those events are just the start of All New Fathom #1 from Aspen Comics.

Writing duties are handled by David Wohl, pencils by Alex Konat, inks by Mark Roslan and John Ercek, colors by Beth Sotelo and letters by Josh Reed.

Preview - The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction #1

Pairing up the Rocketeer with the Spirit seems to be a no-brainer. Both characters are icons in their own rights and both are just plain awesome. Bringing the two characters together deserve talent as good as they are, which makes the pairing of Mark Waid and Paul Smith on The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction #1 a perfect fit.

The Spirit, created by Will Eisner, and The Rocketeer, created by Dave Stevens, are brought together when a Central City Councilman disappears and is found dead in Los Angeles. Commissioner Dolan, along with Denny Colt (AKA The Spirit) and his daughter Ellen in tow, treks out to the City of Angels to investigate. Meanwhile, Cliff Secord (The Rocketeer) consoles his sweetheart Betty… who is traumatized after accidentally discovering the politician's body.

Check out the book in stores today and interiors below.

Sex Criminals Break the Law in September

Beck wanted to find the logic in the sex laws. He devoted an entire song to it, with a strangely appropriate video to match it. The point is, there are strange things that go along with sex. Some people, for instance, stop time when they have sex. People like Suzie in the brand new series from Image Comics called Sex Criminals, written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky.

“What is comics' The Apartment? What is comics' Some Like It Hot? It doesn’t exist,” said Fraction. “I love the genre in another medium, but it seemed like a completely virgin territory, no pun intended.”

Suzie has a secret. When she has sex, she stops time. She’s alone with this secret until she meets John, a young man with the same “gift.” The duo embark on a journey of self-discovery, intimacy, and... well, actually, they do what every time-stops-when-you-have-sex couple would do: They rob banks. Zdarsky keeps the tone snappy and fun with full-color art that’s the opposite of grim-’n’-gritty.

“I'm trying to make pages feel like candy, so you want to eat them, but also maybe sleep with them?” he said. “I wanted it to look as fun as it sounds: a bright, punchy book. ‘Adult’ is too synonymous with ‘dark’ in comics and I think Matt and I want to make sex fun again ... in the book ... just ... just in the book. Sex should be dark drudgery in real life."

Sex Criminals #1 will be in stores on September 4 and can be pre-ordered now from the July issue of Previews (Diamond code JUL130403). Full press release below.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review - My So-Called Secret Identity #2

"I guess now that bat's out of the cag."

Anyone can be a superhero. All you need is a motivator, a costume and missions. The fact that anyone can do it sort of levels the playing field and ensures that those with powers don't get too powerful. While not everyone is blessed with superpowers, some people are blessed with heightened abilities, such as Cat in My So-Called Secret Identity #2.

The second issue is written by Will Brooker and illustrated by Suze Shore and Sarah Zaidan.

Dark Horse Announces Halo Ongoing Series

If you thought that Halo 4 was the end of the Halo saga, you're pretty wrong. Sure, the ending definitely left open the possibility for the universe to continue to be explored, but there have been quite a few novels to mine the richness that is the property. Novels and video games aren't enough apparently, as Dark Horse is teaming up with 343 Studios on a brand new ongoing series called Halo: Escalation, written by Chris Schlerf and illustrated by Omar Francia.

“There are many, many more stories we want to tell in the Halo universe than we’d ever be able to explore solely through the games,” said writer Chris Schlerf. “Having the chance to see those adventures come to life on a monthly basis feels like the ultimate realization of an awful lot of dreaming on our part.”

While the first miniseries Halo: Initiation ties directly into Microsoft’s Halo: Spartan Assault video game, Halo: Escalation will spin directly out of the events of Halo 4. The series begins when the UNSC Infinity is assigned escort duty for a diplomatic mission between the Arbiter and the Brutes, but has to fend off an attack meant to thwart the negotiations. Featuring Captain Lasky, Spartan Palmer and a cast of recognizable characters, this ongoing series is poised to be essential reading for fans in search of new story lines set within the canon of the Halo universe.

The first issue of Halo: Escalation arrives in stores on December 11, 2013. Full press release below.

Twentieth Century Fox and BOOM! Studios Joining Sons of Anarchy

Motorcycle gangs have their own certain appeal. Whether it's their "bad guy" approach to things or if it's their general approach to life in general, they have a way of getting things done. Sometimes, getting things done include participating in a comic book series and that happens courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox and BOOM! Studios joining up for a Sons of Anarchy comic book, written by Christopher Golden and illustrated by Damian Couceiro (cover art by Garry Brown).

“Our team at BOOM! Studios includes some of the biggest fans of ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and with our long-time desire to create a comic series around the show now a reality, we couldn’t be more excited,” said Ross Richie, CEO of BOOM! Studios. “We are focused on adding to the mythology of the show in a way that is authentic and meaningful, while working closely alongside Kurt, FX and Fox so that the fans get the best experience from a ‘Sons of Anarchy’ comic.”

With season 6 in production, the series has been nothing but success for FX. The show is an adrenalized drama with darkly comedic undertones that explores an outlaw motorcycle club's (MC) desire to protect its livelihood while ensuring that their simple, sheltered town of Charming, California, remains exactly that--charming. The MC must confront threats from drug dealers, corporate developers, and overzealous law officers. Behind the MC's familial lifestyle and legally thriving automotive shop is a ruthless and illegally thriving arms business.

The book is slated to hit stores September 11. Full press release below.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I’m not one of those fanboys who runs around criticizing every move the comic book or video game industries make. I’m really not. I mean, they’re trying to give you something you can enjoy. It’s entertainment. It’s fun. What’s the big deal? Really, I’m very lenient.

So why am I having such a tough time assimilating this Superman vs. Batman business? I almost don’t know why my reaction is what it is, but for some reason the words ‘sell out’ keep on blasting through my head.

Maybe the problem is that Superman doesn’t deserve to have a sequel that’s overshadowed by Batman. We all love Batman, but isn’t it time for a Superman movie with Braniac? Or with Mongul? Or Lex Luthor, but an incarnation of Lex that’s more than just an annoying prankster obsessed with scamming people? Something that’s pertinent to Superman and nothing else? I enjoyed Man of Steel and felt like it was a good launch of that type of fleshing out the Superman universe.

Review - Department O #1

Clandestine organizations poised to protect humanity from things that go bump in the night are certainly not lacking for representation. While each of them have their own agendas, they do share one thing in common: an eclectic mix of teammates working in concert. Monkey Pipe Studios has another book with such a team-up in Department O #1.

The first issue is written by Jamie Gambell, illustrated by Andrew Maclean and colored by Heather Breckel.

Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland Hitting IDW

If you've been passing the years, wishing for a much darker take on Christmas then you're in great luck. Yes, there was Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas, but we're talking even darker than that. Something so dark that it would take a mind like Joe Hill's and CP Wilson III to bring it to life. The haunting take on the holidays is called Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland, acting as a prequel to NOS4A2.

According to Hill, "The world of NOS4A2 is very, very big, and I only had a chance to explore a part of it in the course of the novel. I told the story I wanted to tell, but I also feel there's a lot more to discover. In NOS4A2, we learn about Charles Talent Manx the iii, who has kept himself alive for over a century by draining an essential life force out of children, warping them into giddy monsters. When he's done with them—when Charlie has what he wants—he takes them to Christmasland, where they live forever and ever in an eternal Christmas Day."

"They live for fun and are good at having it, whether they're playing a game of tag... or a bloody game of scissors for the drifter. In Wraith, we're going back to Christmasland at an earlier time, to find out what happens when some unlucky grown-ups find themselves on Gumdrop Lane, and Charlie's children decide to have some fun with them. It's very much a standalone story, and it's my intention to craft something that can be loved by people who have never cracked the cover of NOS4A2, while hopefully giving those who liked the book a new Charlie Manx tale to enjoy."

In Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland, the reader is re-introduced to Charlie Manx, his world, and his car, a vintage 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith that runs on human souls instead of gasoline. When a luckless child falls into Charlie's grasp, her new best friend soothes her with a story: his story. From there, the series introduces a new cast of characters to Christmasland, and fully delves into its wonderfully devilish delights, as the sound of sleigh-bells ring in the background…

NOS4A2 was Joe Hill’s most accomplished novel to date, and its memorable villain Charlie Manx deserves the additional focus this series will bring,” said Chris Ryall, IDW’s Chief Creative Officer. “Joe and CP Wilson III have some nightmarishly clever things planned for this series, from an advent calendar-style cover to some bloody good fun on the interiors as well. The readers are really gonna get taken for a ride in this one.”

Full press release below.

UDON Entertainment Partners With comiXology

Another Comic-Con has come and gone and with it a slew of big announcements. With comiXology rapidly gaining traction in the digital comics realm, it only stands to reason that the company is looking for more and more publishing feathers to add to their cap. Looks like they got a fairly large feather in UDON Entertainment, with the two partnering on a distribution deal.

“We’re very excited to have many of UDON’s original and licensed works available through comiXology,” said UDON Publisher Erik Ko. “We’ve been working hard to secure digital rights for many of our licenses for the past several years, and we’ve prepared a slate of licensed comics and graphic novels from our Street Fighter and Darkstalkers line, as well as selections from our manga, art book, and original graphic novel series’ that fans are really going to love. We’re especially excited to see our works transformed with comiXology’s Guided View reading technology and really see all the action of our comics and graphic novels unfold in a brand new way!”

As of writing, titles such as Street Fighter #0-4, Makeshift Miracle #1 and Super Street Fighter Volume 1: New Generations are now available on the digital platform. What's more is that Street Fighter #0 is free!

“With amazing comics like Street Fighter as well as their original works, UDON Entertainment is a fantastic addition to comiXology’s ever growing library of comics and graphic novels," said comiXology co-founder and CEO David Steinberger. “We are thrilled to extend the reach of UDON’s unique style and high quality comics and graphic novels to comiXology’s worldwide readership!”

Full press release below.

Friday, July 19, 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.)

Even when there aren’t zombies around, bad things still happen...I found that out of the hard way. I was using one of the electric golf carts to move some supplies to a safe house I had setup and managed to miss a huge hole, flipping the cart in the process. This sent my supplies flying and me scrapping and scratching as the cart slid down the road. I lucked out in that no major injuries came about, but there were plenty of cuts, bruises and broken supplies.

I'm still in this small town, gathering all the supplies I can find. It’s kinda shocking the amount of supplies that were left in this town when the people bugged out. Maybe they got hit fast and hard or didn’t think the zombie threat was serious to them at all. With their proximity to Flagstaff, the stories of people eating other people must have reached them here. After almost five years since the outbreak started these are not the questions to be asking, as there is nobody around to answer them.

Review - Day Men #1

"Impressive. That penchant for adroitness bodes well for a Day Man. We'll be needing that in the coming days."

Vampires are sort of the inverse of humans. They live in the night and sleep during the day. They're fond of gourmet food, but not big on garlic. They do share one thing with humans in that they both thrive on blood and they rely on humans to get them through some tougher times. That's a scenario in Day Men #1 BOOM! Studios.

The issue is written by Matt Gagnon and Michael Alan Nelson and illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze.

Preview - The Strange World of Your Dreams: Comics Meet Sigmund Freud and Salvador Dali

Ever wonder what would happen if you combined Sigmund Freud with Salvador Dali? You'll likely get something crazy. Unless, of course, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby are involved, in which case the duo does great things with The Strange World of Your Dreams: Comics Meet Sigmund Freud and Salvador Dali.

The IDW published work will set you back #29.99 and features the complete 1950s comics in an innovative and rare series, lovingly restored for this large format full-color hardback. Produced by the greatest team in the history of the Golden Age of Comics, Simon and Kirby the book is a dream come true. Edited and designed by Eisner Award winner Craig Yoe, the work deserves your attention

Check out the book in stores now with interiors below.

Image Teases Dead

Nothing like a teaser for being dead to get your day started.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review - BubbleGun #2

"Looks alive to me. Maybe he's just a really expensive hard drive."

Making high-risk deliveries never seems to end as expected. Typically, the packages have some twist to them that gives the pursuers cause for concern and their lives. Luckily, the crews in BubbleGun #2 from Aspen Comics can handle a little curveball.

The issue is written by Mark Roslan, illustrated by Mike Bowden, colored by David Curiel and lettered by Josh Reed.

Dynamite Bringing Bob's Burgers to Comics

When Sterling Archer suffered a bout of amnesia, he found himself running a burger joint with a brand new family. Naturally, a man of his talents and shortcomings isn't quite cut out for such a role, but the Bob in Bob's Burgers is. While the show on Fox is a rather successful animated comedy, it's yet to really venture out beyond that. Until now. Dynamite Comics is partnering with Fox to bring the show to the comics.

"We could not be more pleased to add Bob's Burgers to the our line of comics," says Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of the comic and graphic novel publisher Dynamite. "It's stylish and hilarious, a feel-good concept that can be both heartwarming and mischievous at the same time. When we told our team that we were approaching Fox for the license, everyone lit up at the opportunity. We look forward to working with our partners at Fox to put out a fantastic product that will appeal to readers of all ages."

Bob's Burgers follows the ups and downs of Bob, who runs the Bob's Burgers restaurant with the help of his wife and their three kids. Bob has big ideas about burgers, but his family falls short on service and sophistication. The show debuted in 2011. Numerous critics have applauded the series' offbeat sense of humor. The show was recently nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program and was also a Critics' Choice Television nominee for Best Animated Series.

Full press release below.

Plants vs. Zombies Staggers to Comics

Swarms of zombies refusing to get off your lawn means you need some defenses. Sometimes, those defenses include various plants apt at helping with said defense. Plants vs. Zombies is a videogame franchise from Pop Cap presenting such a scenario and now Dark Horse is offering the chance to expand upon the universe with a new comic book series from Paul Tobin and Ron Chan.

“We’re excited to see Plants vs. Zombies come to life as a comic book miniseries from one of the industry’s coolest and most innovative publishers,” said Jeremy Vanhoozer, Plants vs. Zombies franchise creative director at PopCap. “With Plants vs. Zombies Adventures recently launched on Facebook, Plants vs. Zombies 2 becoming available for iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touch devices later this summer, and Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare shambling to market in spring of 2014, it’s a great time to give the millions of Plants vs. Zombies fans around the world a new way to enjoy this beloved franchise.”

The six-issue miniseries will be available first digitally and will be collected in a beautiful hardcover available later this year. In conjunction with this epic release, Dark Horse has crafted a standalone iOS app for Plants vs. Zombies comics, which will be available for 99 cents and includes the first issue. As a special SDCC launch, the app and issue #1 will be free for the duration of Comic-Con International (July 17–July 21)!

Folks attending SDCC can stop by the Dark Horse booth (#2615) or the Plants vs. Zombies Booth (#129) at SDCC to pick up a limited print exclusive edition of Plants vs. Zombies #1. Issues go on sale weekly starting July 24 through August 14, with the Plants vs. Zombies: Lawnmageddon hardcover collection on sale in comic shops November 6—and on sale in bookstores November 19.

Full press release below.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Image Comics Announces Signing Schedule

Image Comics is bringing more than 50 Image creators to the big show. That means that their booth will be a hotbed of activity, hosting writers and artists and Top Cow President Matt Hawkins conducting portfolio review sessions.

Among the talent at the show will be Robert Kirkman, Brian K. Vaughan, Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson, Ed Brubaker, Nick Pitarra and Teddy Kristiansen. Rick Remender, whose two new upcoming Image projects, Black Science and Deadly Class, were announced at Image Expo at the beginning of the month, will also be sitting down for signings with members of those two titles’ creative teams. Three Image Comics founders will also be signing: Erik Larsen, Marc Silvestri and Whilce Portacio.

Full press release and signing schedule below.

Review - The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys #2

"Remember to get those headphones on, folks. As we say in Battery City, 'what you can hear can't hurt you.'"

Life's hard enough as it is without having to deal with life-powering batteries running down, roaming bandits and a city under strict rule. Of course, all that does make for a rather interesting story, which means people will pay attention when you throw characters smackdab in the middle of a world like that. A world like that of The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys #2.

The issue is written by Gerard Way and Shaun Simon, illustrated by Becky Cloonan, colored by Dan Jackson and Nate Piekos of Blambot!.

Archaia and Alyssa Milano Announce Hacktivist

Cover to Hacktivist SDCC Ashcan

Alyssa Milano is pretty awesome. She's established a legacy as the precocious daughter in Who's the Boss? and, ever since, she's been making a name for herself as an epitome of the aforementioned awesomeness. The latest example of that awesomeness? Partnering with Archaia Entertainment for a new graphic novel called Hacktivist that explores the modern world of hacking and global activism.

“I’m very involved with in global activism and philanthropy. I like the idea of everyday people doing good,” explained Milano. “My inspiration for Hacktivist is actually Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter and Square. I picture him leaving the office at night and going home, where he locks himself in his room and starts hacking to change the world."

Inspired by current events from around the world and Milano’s own philanthropic endeavors, Hacktivist is a fast-paced cyber-thriller about friendship and freedom in a time of war. The story follows Ed Hiccox and Nate Graft, the young founders of the world’s most innovative social media company who moonlight secretly as one of the most notorious black-hat hacker teams on the planet. When the U.S. government discovers their operation, they must face the real world beyond the code and choose between loyalty and what they believe to be is right.

“I felt Hacktivist was a strong story that I really wanted to tell visually,” Milano expressed. “Doing a graphic novel allowed me to dream big and it gave me the freedom to create without boundaries.”

The work is written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, with art by Marcus To, colored by Ian Herring and lettered by Deron Bennett. The book will debut digitally in Fall 2013, followed by a hardcover print release in Summer 2014. A Hacktivist Ashcan comic, limited to 500 copies and containing exclusive preview content, original concept art from To and Herring, and an interview with Milano, will be distributed for free at the Archaia booth (#2229) at Comic-Con International in San Diego, Calif. (July 17-21).

“Hacktivist is literally ripped from headlines,” said Archaia VP of Development Stephen Christy. “It’s a story focusing on the benefit and consequences of our increasingly connected world. To be able to bring Alyssa Milano into the world of comics is very exciting for all of us at Archaia, and by teaming her with Marcus To and Ian Herring fresh off of their brilliant work on Cyborg 009, we've built a comic that will hopefully connect with and inspire people all over the world.”

Full press release below.

Action Lab Announces Skyward to Become Ongoing Series/

Ever look up at the sky? Gazing upwards, thinking about all the possibilities? Finding out that your gaze just seems to be, well, ongoing? It makes perfect sense that a comic called Skyward be ongoing too then right? Because that's just what's happening to the Action Lab Entertainment work in becoming the publisher's first ongoing series.

"I'm thrilled to announce that Skyward, my new creator-owned series, is now ongoing,” says series creator Jeremy Dale. “We are simply overwhelmed at all the amazing feedback from the fans! This will allow me to tell more stories with these amazing characters, as well as tell them in the manner they deserve." Dale adds that, "We have a lot of amazing plans on the horizon for Skyward, and we can't wait to share them with everyone!"

In addition, each issue of Skyward, beginning with issue #3, will feature an alternate cover produced by some of the more popular and well-known artists in the industry. Confirmed guest cover artists include Stephane Roux for issue 3, Mike Norton for issue 4, Khary Randolph for issue 5, Randy Green for issue 6, Phil Noto for issue 7 and Chris Giarrusso for Issue 8. There are number of other artists already lined up for future issues, including Brandon Peterson, Tim Seely, Todd Nauck, Cully Hamner, Gene Ha and more. Issues 1 and 2 will also feature alternate covers, but these will be available only at San Diego Comic Con. Issue 1 alternate has art by series creator Jeremy Dale, while issue 2’s alternate is a blank white sketch cover.

Action Lab President Kevin Freeman added, “We’ve been talking about the idea of adding ongoing series for some time, but it can be difficult for independent publishers to maintain numbers. But with Jeremy Dale’s Skyward, we see the perfect opportunity not only to break into the ongoing market, but to also showcase a grand story without the confines of compartmentalizing story arcs. It’s a win-win situation.”

Beginning with issue 3, Skyward, and all Action Lab regular titles, will cost only $2.99, down from $3.99.

Full press release below.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Asylum Press Releases Lori Lovecraft: Into the Past #1

Ever hear of Lori Lovecraft? If you haven't, then Asylum Press has got you covered. The publisher is poised to release Lori Lovecraft: Into the Past #1, a brand new series written by Ventrella and Mike Vosburg with illustrations by Vosburg. And Vosburg is tapping into a rather creepy source for inspiration for the character.

"Lori was actually inspired by my experiences working on HBO's Tales From the Crypt," explains Mike Vosburg. "It's a combination of two things I dearly love: drawing beautiful women and old movies. And Pete Ventrella's scripts were magic to work on."

Lori Lovecraft: Into the Past #1 has Danke Schoen hiring private eye R.C. Bowen to find the child she gave up 
for adoption years ago. Lori and R.C. follow a trail that has them crossing 
paths with basketball star Lenny "the Legend" Raven, the Mayor of LA and
 the devious Amanda, a Hollywood player who heads the insidious Cabal, and Elston Gunn the aging king of Rock 'n Roll. They are all after the Necronomicon, the fabulous book of spells that Lori has in her possession and they will stop at nothing to get it. This one culminates in a cosmic rock concert with in Voodoo Mansion with all the villains, Horatio and Zelda, and lots of Lori's old boyfriends in attendance. And then there is Lori's wedding at the end.

“We’re excited to have Mike on board at Asylum,” says publisher Frank Forte, “Retrowood fits in with our growing list of titles. After Lori Lovecraft: Into the Past #1 we have a number of one shots coming out as well as a Linda Lovecraft (Lori’s aunt) series that Mike had hidden in his coffers for years."

Full press release below.

Review - Rage: Bane of Demons

"Yes...even from here, I can feel his power. Gods, I wish I wouldn't be forced to free such a calamity on men!"

In humanity's darkest hour, we often turn to the unlikeliest of allies. Sometimes, those allies include a force so unstoppable that it must be contained for the safety of everyone. Releasing that force for protection is never the best of ideas, but sometimes it must be done and is the story behind Rage: Bane of Demons.

The work is written by Eric Peyron, illustrated by Thony Silas and lettered by Steve Wands.

Unseen Shadows Hits Web as Free Series

When the X-Files meets anything, then you know that things are going to get weird. Supernatural even. And a character found in Cancertown from Cy Dethan will bring with him his own share of strangeness. That strangeness comes in a new comic web series, courtesy of Bob Kelsey.

“Bob Kelsey is an everyman in a world populated with monsters and heroes," said Dethan. "To survive in those hunting grounds takes the self-preservation instincts of a feral rat. That’s what Bob Kelsey is to me.”

Dethan took Kelsey, originally written as a minor character in Barry Nugent’s modern day pulp adventure novel Fallen Heroes, and expanded his role, revealing what the character was up to following the events of the novel. Bob Kelsey Investigates is a standalone web comic, released for free via the Unseen Shadows website and other digital outlets.

First out of the gate in the new webseries will be a two-pager called "Neck on the Line" by Unseen Shadows newcomers Virgil Yendell and James Evans. The story sees Bob recounting his latest supernatural misadventure over a drink, or three. The comic is available to read on the Unseen Shadows website now, with a second story already in development by Richmond Clements, Roy Huteson Stewart and Paul Mclaren.

“These are not just nice little side stories with no impact on the events surrounding them,” said Nugent, the founder of Unseen Shadows explains. “The spin-offs expand and enhance the characters lives and relationships within the novels. It was important to me that the spin offs can be read, watched and listened to independently of each other and the novels, but you will get more insights into the characters by experiencing everything the Unseen Shadows universe has to offer.”

Full press release below.

Aspen Announces SDCC Schedule

Aspen Comics celebrates its 10th anniversary with a trip to SDCC and they've got a lot on tap to celebrate. The publisher will be hosting their largest ever gathering of Aspen creators at the Aspen Comics Booth #2321. Creators Frank Mastromauro, Peter Steigerwald, Vince Hernandez, Mark Roslan, Mike DeBalfo, Paolo Pantalena, Siya Oum, Alex Konat, J.T. Krul, Ale Garza, Joe Benitez, Eric Basaldua, Nei Ruffino, David Wohl, Tony Parker, Beth Sotelo, Lori Hanson, Jonathan Marks and Josh Reed will be appearing throughout the weekend at the booth for signings, free sketches and more.

In addition to Aspen creator signings, the publisher will also be featuring live Aspen cosplay photo ops with cosplayers Katy Mor, Rosanna Rocha and Leah Rose throughout the weekend. Aspen will also be hosting the “Ten Years of Aspen Comics Panel” in Room 9 on Friday from 12-1 PM to showcase the latest “10 for 10” books yet to be released, all new releases for 2014 and more. As well, the first 250 fans in attendance will receive a special Aspen 13 x 4 ¾ print featuring all five Fathom: The Elite Saga Talent covers on one piece by Talent Caldwell and Peter Steigerwald. This one-of-a-kind print will only be available to those in attendance.

Full press release and signing schedule below.

BOOM! Studios and Archaia Announce SDCC Signing Schedule

It may be the first time that BOOM! and Archaia are making appearances at SDCC, but it is the first time the two publishers are making an appearance together. And they'll be making sure that they've make their first joint debut something worth checking out.

Full signing schedule at booth #2229 below.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Review - Blood Brothers #1

"Rise and shine."

Vampires walk among us in the dark. It's helpful for them to inhabit a city like Las Vegas, where they can be up all night and not have anything look amiss. Two vampires up all night and chasing bounties in the city that never sleeps is good for business. Blood Brothers #1 from Dark Horse Comics presents lots of good business.

The first issue is written by Mike Gagerman and Andrew Waller, with art by Evan Shaner, colors by Dan Jackson and letters by Nate Piekos.

Image Comics Offering SDCC Exclusives

Image Comics will bring the ruckus at SDCC, offering up a ton of exclusives and variant covers for fans of the publishers. These editions will be available in limited quantities only at the Image Comics/Skybound booth (#2729) or the Top Cow booth (#2629). In addition, Image Comics will be offering copies of its Image Expo variant editions for sale at their booth, as well as new T-shirts and tote bags, and a variant edition of LAZARUS #2 by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark will be available at the booths of participating retailers who are exhibiting at the convention.

Among the variants will be Ghosted #1 by Joshua Williamson and Goran Sudzuka with a cover by Matteo Scalera, a convention exclusive edition of Satellite Sam #1 by Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin with black-and-white cover art by Chaykin and Sidekick #1 by J. Michael Straczynski and Tom Mandrake with a cover by Whilce Portacio. Additionally, also on hand will be Clone Volume One by David Schulner and Juan Jose Ryp, Invincible Compendium Volume One by Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley, Thief of Thieves Volume Two by Robert Kirkman, James Asmus, and Shawn Martinbrough and The Walking Dead Compendium Volume Two by Kirkman and Charlie Adlard will be for sale in limited quantities each day.

The hardcover edition of Think Tank Volume One by Matt Hawkins and Rahsan Ekedal will be for sale at the Top Cow booth. Other variants to be sold at the Image booth are a special foil-cover variant of Chew #35 by John Layman and Rob Guillory and Ten Grand #4 by J. Michael Straczynski and Ben Templesmith. In addition to the Think Tank hardcover, Top Cow will be selling an exclusive Aphrodite IX #3 “Cosplay” edition with a photo cover. A complete list, with images, of Image variants can be found on the Image Comics blog.

On the merchandise side, Image Comics will be selling their Image Comics logo tote bags and T-shirts, which made their debut at Image Expo in San Francisco on July 2. Also available will be the “Lying Cat” T-shirts featuring brand-new artwork of the fan-favorite character from the wildly popular Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.

Full press release below.

Women 10 Premiering at Aspen from SDCC

Michael Turner maintains influence over the comic book industry, offering up a legacy in the form of Aspen Comics. That legacy continues on display at this year's SDCC, where the publisher will offer the Women 10 art book, limited to 500 copies. The full color oversized 12 x 8.5” art book will feature an array of Turner’s most incredible pieces over the ten year span of Aspen Comics, as well as feature several rare and hard-to-find covers. The sketchbook will be available exclusively at the Aspen Comics Booth #2321 with limited quantities made available online.

Friday, July 12, 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.)

Zombie problem solved.

With three zombies still chasing me around something had to give. I figured I could take on three zombies head on with the shotgun I got and so I did. Had them chasing me through the halls of the high school so they didn’t have a lot of room to move or dodge and just sent shell after shell down the hall, taking them all out.

With them out of the way I was free to move about the town in a somewhat relaxed state. I still listened for out of place sounds and kept to the shadows, minimizing the noise I made just in case. Even though I haven’t seen any zombies about except for those that followed me here, I still need to be safe. It's been nice to have the run of a small town without too much fear of being mauled by some pack of zombies and I have gotten a good bit done.

BOOM! and Archaia Celebrate Their Partnership at SDCC

BOOM! Studios and Archaia snagged some headlines recently with the news of their merger. And the timing couldn't be better for the brand new entity to hit up SDCC with nothing but style and swagger. And they're blitzing the show with a tremendous energy in the first time they're exhibiting together.

The new booth will be positioned between Marvel and Sideshow Toys on the convention floor. Gallery Nucleus/Bolt City Productions will now be exhibiting at booth number 2743 (previously BOOM! Studios). The duo will also be bringing the ruckus with their co-hosted 8th Annual Drink-Up at the Hilton Bayfront Odysea Bar on Thursday night beginning at 9 PM. The Drink-Up continues the tradition of the only open party at Comic-Con that welcomes fans, professionals and creators alike to celebrate.

On top of all that, the two publishers (now one) will have a ton of panels showcasing some of their upcoming works and talent. Check out the full list below.

Full press release below.