Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees announced

. . . Information courtesy of San Diego Comic Convention . . .

The awards will be given out in a gala ceremony on Friday, July 25, 2014 during Comic-Con International: San Diego.

From a personal perspective I have highlighted my favorites in italics.

Best Short Story

“Go Owls,” by Adrian Tomine, in Optic Nerve #13 (Drawn & Quarterly)
“Mars to Stay,” by Brett Lewis and Cliff Chiang, in Witching Hour (DC)
“Seaside Home,” by Josh Simmons, in Habit #1 (Oily)
“Untitled,” by Gilbert Hernandez, in Love and Rockets: New Stories #6 (Fantagraphics)
“When Your House Is Burning Down, You Should Brush Your Teeth,” by Matthew Inman, theoatmeal.com/comics/house

Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)

Demeter, by Becky Cloonan (self-published)
Hawkeye #11: “Pizza Is My Business,” by Matt Fraction and David Aja (Marvel)
Love and Rockets: New Stories #6, by Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
Viewotron #2, by Sam Sharpe (self-published)
Watson and Holmes #6, by Brandon Easton, and N. Steven Harris (New Paradigm Studios)

Best Continuing Series

East of West, by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta (Image)
Hawkeye, by Matt Fraction and David Aja (Marvel)
Nowhere Men, by Eric Stephenson and Nate Bellegarde (Image)
Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image)
Sex Criminals, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Image)

Best Limited Series

The Black Beetle: No Way Out, by Francesco Francavilla (Dark Horse)
Colder, by Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra (Dark Horse)
47 Ronin, by Mike Richardson and Stan Sakai (Dark Horse)
Trillium, by Jeff Lemire (Vertigo/DC)
The Wake, by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy (Vertigo/DC)

Best New Series

High Crimes, by Christopher Sebela and Ibrahim Moustafa (Monkeybrain)
Lazarus, by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark (Image)
Rat Queens, by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch (Image/Shadowline)
Sex Criminals, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Image)
Watson and Holmes, by Karl Bollers, Rick Leonardi, Paul Mendoza et al. (New Paradigm Studios)

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7)

Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas, by Philippe Coudray (TOON Books)
The Big Wet Balloon, by Liniers (TOON Books)
Itty Bitty Hellboy, by Art Baltazar and Franco (Dark Horse)
Odd Duck, by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon (First Second)
Otto’s Backwards Day, by Frank Cammuso (with Jay Lynch) (TOON Books)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12)

The Adventures of Superhero Girl, by Faith Erin Hicks (Dark Horse)
Hilda and the Bird Parade, by Luke Pearson (Nobrow)
Jane, the Fox, and Me, by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault (Groundwood)
The Lost Boy, by Greg Ruth (Graphix/Scholastic)
Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard, vol. 2, edited by David Petersen, Paul Morrissey, and Rebecca Taylor (Archaia/BOOM!)
Star Wars: Jedi Academy, by Jeffrey Brown (Scholastic)

Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)

Battling Boy, by Paul Pope (First Second)
Bluffton: My Summers with Buster, by Matt Phelan (Candlewick)
Boxers and Saints, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
Dogs of War, by Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox (Graphix/Scholastic)
March (Book One), by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
Templar, by Jordan Mechner, LeUyen Pham, and Alex Puviland (First Second)

Best Humor Publication

The Adventures of Superhero Girl, by Faith Erin Hicks (Dark Horse)
The Complete Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes and Rob Davis (SelfMadeHero)
The (True!) History of Art, by Sylvain Coissard and Alexis Lemoine (SelfMadeHero)
Vader’s Little Princess, by Jeffrey Brown (Chronicle)
You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, by Tom Gauld (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Anthology

Dark Horse Presents, edited by Mike Richardson (Dark Horse)
Nobrow #8: Hysteria, edited by Sam Arthur and Alex Spiro (Nobrow)
Outlaw Territory, edited by Michael Woods (Image)
Smoke Signal, edited by Gabe Fowler (Desert Island)
Thrilling Adventure Hour, by Ben Acker, Ben Blacker et al. (Archaia/BOOM!)

Best Digital/Webcomic

As the Crow Flies, by Melanie Gillman, www.melaniegillman.com
Failing Sky, by Dax Tran-Caffee, failingsky.com
High Crimes, by Christopher Sebela and Ibrahim Moustafa (Monkeybrain), www.monkeybraincomics.com/titles/high-crimes/
The Last Mechanical Monster, by Brian Fies, lastmechanicalmonster.blogspot.com
The Oatmeal by Matthew Inman, theoatmeal.com

Best Reality-Based Work

A Bag of Marbles, by Joseph Joffo, Kris, and Vincent Bailly (Graphic Universe/Lerner)
The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, and Kyle Baker (M Press/Dark Horse)
Hip Hop Family Tree, vol. 1, by Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics)
March (Book One), by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life, by Ulli Lust (Fantagraphics)
Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story, by Peter Bagge (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Graphic Album—New

Bluffton: My Summers with Buster, by Matt Phelan (Candlewick)
The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, by Isabel Greenberg (Little, Brown)
Good Dog, by Graham Chaffee (Fantagraphics)
Homesick by Jason Walz (Tinto Press)
The Property, by Rutu Modan (Drawn & Quarterly)
War Brothers, by Sharon McKay and Daniel LaFrance (Annick Press)

Best Adaptation from Another Medium

The Castle, by Franz Kafka, adapted by David Zane Mairowitz and Jaromír 99 (SelfMadeHero)
The Complete Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, adapted by by Rob Davis (SelfMadeHero)
Django Unchained, adapted by Quentin Tarantino, Reginald Hudlin, R. M. Guéra et al. (DC/Vertigo)
Richard Stark’s Parker: Slayground, by Donald Westlake, adapted by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
The Strange Tale of Panorama Island, by Edogawa Rampo, adapted by Suehiro Maruo (Last Gasp)

Best Graphic Album—Reprint

The Creep, by John Arcudi and Jonathan Case (Dark Horse)
Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories, by Ben Katchor (Pantheon)
Heck, by Zander Cannon (Top Shelf)
Julio’s Day, by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
RASL, by Jeff Smith (Cartoon Books)
Solo: The Deluxe Edition, edited by Mark Chiarello (DC)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips

Barnaby, vol. 1, by Crockett Johnson, edited by Philip Nel and Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics)
Percy Crosby’s Skippy Daily Comics, vol. 2: 1928–1930, edited by Jared Gardner and Dean Mullaney (LOAC/IDW)
Prince Valiant vols. 6-7, by Hal Foster, edited by Kim Thompson (Fantagraphics)
Society Is Nix: Gleeful Anarchy at the Dawn of the American Comic Strip, edited by Peter Maresca (Sunday Press)
Tarzan: The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips, vol. 1, edited by Dean Mullaney (LOAC/IDW)
VIP: The Mad World of Virgil Partch, edited by Jonathan Barli (Fantagraphics)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books

Best of EC Artist’s Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
Canteen Kate, by Matt Baker (Canton Street Press)
In the Days of the Mob, by Jack Kirby (DC)
MAD Artist’s Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
Will Eisner’s The Spirit Artist’s Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material

Adventures of a Japanese Businessman, by Jose Domingo (Nobrow)
Goddam This War! by Jacques Tardi and Jean-Pierre Verney (Fantagraphics)
Incidents in the Night, Book One, by David B. (Uncivilized Books)
Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life, by Ulli Lust (Fantagraphics)
When David Lost His Voice, by Judith Vanistendael (SelfMadeHero)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia

The Heart of Thomas, by Moto Hagio (Fantagraphics)
The Mysterious Underground Men, by Osamu Tezuka (PictureBox)
Showa: A History of Japan, 1926–1939, by Shigeru Mizuki (Drawn & Quarterly)
Summit of the Gods, vol. 4, by Yemmakura Baku and Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
Utsubora: The Story of a Novelist, by Asumiko Nakamura (Vertical)

Best Writer

Kelly Sue DeConnick, Pretty Deadly (Image); Captain Marvel (Marvel)
Matt Fraction, Sex Criminals (Image); Hawkeye, Fantastic Four, FF (Marvel)
Jonathan Hickman, East of West, The Manhattan Projects (Image); Avengers, Infinity (Marvel)
Scott Snyder, Batman (DC); American Vampire, The Wake (DC/Vertigo)
Eric Stephenson, Nowhere Men (Image)
Brian K. Vaughan, Saga (Image)

Best Writer/Artist

Isabel Greenberg, The Encyclopedia of Early Earth (Little, Brown)
Jaime Hernandez, Love and Rockets New Stories #6 (Fantagraphics)
Terry Moore, Rachel Rising (Abstract Studio)
Luke Pearson, Hilda and the Bird Parade (Nobrow)
Matt Phelan, Bluffton: My Summers with Buster (Candlewick)
Judith Vanistendael, When David Lost His Voice (SelfMadeHero)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team

Nate Bellegarde, Nowhere Men (Image)
Nick Dragotta, East of West (Image)
Sean Murphy, The Wake (DC/Vertigo)
Nate Powell, March (Book One) (Top Shelf)
Emma Ríos, Pretty Deadly (Image)
Thomas Yeates, Law of the Desert Born: A Graphic Novel (Bantam)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)

Andrew C. Robinson, The Fifth Beatle (Dark Horse)
Sonia Sanchéz, Here I Am (Capstone)
Fiona Staples, Saga (Image)
Ive Svorcina, Thor (Marvel)
Marguerite Van Cook, 7 Miles a Second (Fantagraphics)
Judith Vanistendael, When David Lost His Voice (SelfMadeHero)

Best Cover Artist

David Aja, Hawkeye (Marvel)
Mike Del Mundo, X-Men Legacy (Marvel)
Sean Murphy/Jordie Belaire, The Wake (DC/Vertigo)
Emma Ríos, Pretty Deadly (Image)
Chris Samnee, Daredevil (Marvel)
Fiona Staples, Saga (Image)

Best Coloring

Jordie Bellaire, The Manhattan Projects, Nowhere Men, Pretty Deadly, Zero (Image); The Massive (Dark Horse); Tom Strong (DC); X-Files Season 10 (IDW); Captain Marvel, Journey into Mystery (Marvel); Numbercruncher (Titan); Quantum and Woody (Valiant)
Steve Hamaker, Mylo Xyloto (Bongo), Strangers in Paradise 20th Anniversary Issue 1 (Abstract Studio), RASL (Cartoon Books)
Matt Hollingsworth, Hawkeye, Daredevil: End of Days (Marvel); The Wake (DC/Vertigo)
Frank Martin, East of West (Image)
Dave Stewart, Abe Sapien, Baltimore: The Infernal Train, BPRD: Hell on Earth, Conan the Barbarian, Hellboy in Hell, The Massive, The Shaolin Cowboy, Sledgehammer 44 (Dark Horse)

Best Lettering

Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark’s Parker: Slayground (IDW)
Carla Speed McNeil, Bad Houses; “Finder” in Dark Horse Presents (Dark Horse)
Terry Moore, Rachel Rising (Abstract Studio)
Ed Piskor, Hip Hop Family Tree (Fantagraphics)
Britt Wilson, Adventure Time with Fiona and Cake (kaBOOM!)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism

Comic Book Resources, produced by Jonah Weiland, www.comicbookresources.com
The Comics Journal #302, edited by Gary Groth and Kristy Valenti (Fantagraphics)
Comics and Cola, by Zainab Akhtar, www.comicsandcola.com [9]
Multiversity Comics, edited by Matthew Meylikhov, www.multiversitycomics.com
tcj.com, edited by Dan Nadel and Timothy Hodler (Fantagrapahics), www.tcj.com

Best Comics-Related Book

Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary, by Michael Schumacher and Denis Kitchen (Bloomsbury)
The Art of Rube Goldberg, selected by Jennifer George (Abrams ComicArts)
Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps, by Art Spiegelman (Drawn & Quarterly)
Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth, by Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell (LOAC/IDW)
The Love and Rockets Companion, edited by Marc Sobel and Kristy Valenti (Fantagraphics)

Best Scholarly/Academic Work

Anti-Foreign Imagery in American Pulps and Comic Books, 1920–1960, by Nathan Vernon Madison (McFarland)
Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation, edited by Sheena C. Howard and Ronald L. Jackson II (Bloomsbury)
Drawing from Life: Memory and Subjectivity in Comic Art, edited by Jane Tolmie (University Press of Mississippi)
International Journal of Comic Art, edited by John A. Lent
The Superhero Reader, edited by Charles Hatfield, Jeet Heer, and Kent Worcester (University Press of Mississippi)

Best Publication Design

The Art of Rube Goldberg, designed by Chad W. Beckerman (Abrams ComicArts)
Beta Testing the Apocalypse, designed by Tom Kaczynski (Fantagraphics)
Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth, designed by Dean Mullaney (LOAC/IDW)
The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme: A Panorama, by Joe Sacco, designed by Chin-Yee Lai (Norton)
Little Tommy Lost, Book 1, designed by Cole

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Friday, April 11, 2014

INDIE COMICS MAGAZINE needs your Previews pre-order

INDIE COMICS MAGAZINE #8  (Aazurn Publishing, June 2014)  $6.49 black and white illustrations, 64 pages.  Available only through Previews April pre-orders for June 2014 release dates.  Video preview of Issue #8 here . . . .


     It’s been a long time (October 2013) between issues of INDIE COMICS MAGAZINE.  Comics readers interested in independent creator-driven works have had to explore the hard way - - through painstaking searches on the Internet.  What INDIE COMICS MAGAZINE does so well is to showcase some of the cream-of-the-crop creators in a convenient print magazine that makes it much easier to get acquainted with the works of these hard-working writers and artists.  What better way to get a good taste of what’s available should curious readers choose to invest further.


            What makes this infrequently published magazine so valuable is that every well written short story inside its pages is prefaced with a short biography of the writer and/or artist and includes web addresses where interested readers can see and purchase more of their works.

     The magazine is available only through pre-order in the monthly PREVIEWS catalog with print runs limited to 1,000 copies.  That makes it essential for anyone interested in this title to put their pre-order in ass soon as possible through their local comic book shop.  As much as we’d like to say that you can pick this up from your favorite comics store, it’s highly unlikely to see INDIE COMICS MAGAZINE on their shelves.  Most stores are going to carry only what their customers pre-order, and then hold the copies for them.

          What those who decide to give this title a chance will see in Issue #8 are ten original illustrated tales of action, adventure, horror, folklore, crime, newspaper dailies,  and non-traditional super-hero fare as well as graphic expressionism.  We’ve been reading INDIE COMICS MAGAZINE on a regular basis and are beginning to recognize some of the regular contributors.  You will be treated to stories of rock bands signing their souls over to the devil (with art done in a cool Scooby-Doo style), philosophizing paid assassin/snipers, cocktail afficianados, weird zombies with an interest in ants, reprints of a high quality indie daily newspaper strip, tatoos and voodoo, an albino super crime fighter, and some more zombies.


22 Days Until FREE COMIC BOOK DAY !!!


"SNOOCHIE BOOCHIES!"  Jay Mewes likes Free Comic Book Day!  See what Jay has to say about it! . . . . .


View and preview all 60 FCBD comics at  . . . .


Find a participating comic shop near you to celebrate FCBD using the locator at  . . .


Exclusive look at the FCBD comics Magic Wind and Entropy . . .


Dress up for FCBD like cosplayer JoePool is! . . . . . . . .


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Breaking News: Amazon acquires Comixology

>EDITOR'S NOTES: I'm not sure how I feel about this. I suppose if Comixology is allowed to operate with the same business model they utilize today then I am okay with it. I just hope Amazon shares the same attitude of co-operation and sharing that Comixology has with the small comic book store and independent creators. On the plus side it could open new marketing doors and help ensure the preservation of our beloved form of storytelling.>>

SEATTLE—April 10, 2014—(NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon.com today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire comiXology, the company that revolutionized the digital comics reading experience with their immersive Guided View technology and makes discovering, buying, and reading comic books and graphic novels easier and more fun than ever before.

“ComiXology’s mission is to spread the love of comics and graphic novels in all forms,” said David Steinberger, co-founder and CEO of comiXology. “There is no better home for comiXology than Amazon to see this vision through. Working together, we look to accelerate a new age for comic books and graphic novels.”

“Amazon and comiXology share a passion for reinventing reading in a digital world,” said David Naggar, Amazon Vice President, Content Acquisition and Independent Publishing. “We’ve long admired the passion comiXology brings to changing the way we buy and read comics and graphic novels. We look forward to investing in the business, growing the team, and together, bringing comics and graphic novels to even more readers.”

Founded in 2007, comiXology offers a broad library of digital comic book content from over 75 of the top publishers as well as top independent creators. Following the acquisition, comiXology’s headquarters will remain in New York.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Subject to various closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.

About comiXology
ComiXology has revolutionized the comic book and graphic novel industry by delivering a cloud-based digital comics platform that makes discovering, buying, and reading comics more fun than ever before. ComiXology’s Guided View™ reading technology transforms the comic book medium into an immersive and cinematic experience, helping comiXology become a top ten grossing iPad app in 2011 and 2012 and the top grossing non-game iPad app in 2012 and 2013. Offering the broadest library of comic book content from over 75 publishers – and independent creators as well – comiXology will not stop until everyone on the face of the planet has become a comic book fan. ComiXology is based in New York City, with offices in Los Angeles and Paris.

About Amazon.com
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth ’s Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel, Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial. Amazon Web Services provides Amazon’s developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon’s own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. Amazon Fire TV is a tiny box that plugs into your HDTV for easy and instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, SHOWTIME, low-cost video rentals, and much more. Kindle Paperwhite is the world’s best-selling and most advanced e-reader. It features new display technology with higher contrast, the next generation built-in light, a faster processor, the latest touch technology, and exclusive new features designed from the ground up for readers. Kindle, the lightest and smallest Kindle, features improved fonts and faster page turns. The new Kindle Fire HDX features a stunning exclusive 7” or 8.9” HDX display, a quad-core 2.2 GHz processor, 2x more memory, and 11 hours of battery life, as well as exclusive new features of Fire OS 3.0 including X-Ray for Music, Second Screen, Prime Instant Video downloads, and the revolutionary new Mayday button. The all-new Kindle Fire HD includes an HD display, high-performance processor and dual speakers at a breakthrough price.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Ghastly Awards–March 2014 update

 (Editor’s Note: We thoroughly enjoy the return of quality horror creations to the comics medium. The Ghastly Awards serve to recognize the best of the best each year through their nomination and awards program. Here is an update plus some recommended reading from several of the Ghastly Award judges. Their blog sites are included for further viewing . . . .)

          Horror comics are becoming more and more frequent in our reading culture, and the Ghastly Awards are here to recognize, through Horror Comic submissions, those that shine the brightest.  We encourage all Comic Creators to take the time to head over to www.ghastlyawards.com and submit your work for 2014 Ghastly Award Nomination consideration.
          Creators please remember that you can submit your Horror Comic work through out the calendar year! For the month of March 2014 the Judges are recommending you take a look at:

Curse-01-rev-Page-1-17122-300x461Curse #1 (BOOM!) - Laney Griffin is a normal loving father who would do anything to save his dying son.  With the medical bills piling up and his sister in law threatening to take his child away, he is forced to extreme measures. That includes trekking into the woods to catch the creature that has mutilated and devoured 5 people in order to claim the bounty on it.  But, when Laney actually comes across the creature this encounter will leave him anything but normal again.  Writers Michael Moreci and Tim Daniel really hit this first issue out of the park.  As a girl who is always searching for a great creature feature comic this one certainly fits the bill.  The writing is spot on and fast paced and Riley Rossmo and Colin Lorimer’s artwork is so beautiful and compelling you can feel yourself being pulled into the story.  Issue #2 has already hit shelves and I am already hearing great things about it and I am not surprised. This is the comic that is a must have on your pull list. - Spaced (http://youknowyourcertifiable.blogspot.com/)


Revenge #2 (Image Comics) - This comic is insane. I’d love to be more eloquent in my description but it doesn’t require an iota of eloquence because it’s INSANE.  Writer Jonathan Ross swings full-throttle with sex, drugs, violence, and gore which Ian Churchill dutifully backs up with graphically gruesome art.  The plot--a washed-up actor in his 70’s tries to hold onto his fame with an experimental skin replacement surgery and winds up in a horrifying state of awareness during the monstrous process--is absolutely relentless.  The unique use of flashbacks is not only a great storytelling tool, but also a great way to build the sickening atmosphere.  The flashbacks are so flawlessly trippy that the reader feels like they are hallucinating right along with our main character.  This isn’t the average revenge plot.  detailed and deep.  It sets the stage and players perfectly through a series of non linear events meant to throw us all for a loop.  Fine entertainment, indeed--if not a bit gaggy at times. – Bree Ogden (agentbree.wordpress.com)

Vault Of HorrorThe EC Archives: The Vault of Horror, Volume 3 (Dark Horse) This is Dark Horse’s first entry into the Vault of Horror EC archives and they have come at a very very good time.  This volume collects VoH #24 through #29, and the title is hitting it’s stride within.  Every issue has Johnny Craig, Jack Davis and “Ghastly” Graham Ingels  and the fourth slot is rounded out by greats like Jack Kamen, George Evans, and other legends.  Scripts by Craig, Ray Bradbury, Al Feldstein... this is really the cream of the crop.  For anyone who hasn’t read the EC comics before, this is a no brainer and really, not a bad place to start.  Strong story-telling and the best art to ever grace a comic book, horror or otherwise, bar none. This isn’t just my opinion... it is a FACT!  We owe Dark Horse a huge debt of gratitude for picking up the pieces and continuing the EC Archive series. - Mike Howlett (http://eeriepublications.blogspot.com/) mnstersjpg


Monsters! & Other Stories (Dark Horse) - After reading this book and then writing this review, I’ve come to one conclusion.  I need to read this book again and again and…again!  This book has Award winner written all over it, and it’s only the start of 2014.  I mean come on, I’ve read a lot Horror Comics, but this one is up there in that top tier.  It’s screaming at me, “TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW ABOUT ME!  I’M THAT DAMN GOOD!”  It’s going to be hard when December rolls around for this book to not be my Best OGN of 2014.  So just go read it already…stop reading this…SERIOUSLY STOP…now go read this book!- Decapitated Dan (www.decapitateddan.com)

Before Infinity, There was Annihilation

Writer: Kieth Giffen
Artist: Andrea Vito
Marvel Comics | graphic novel | $14.99
As we reach the end of Jonathan Hickman’s fantastic Infinity miniseries, I find myself thinking more and more about the last big cosmic crossover, AnnihilationAnnihilation was a six issue mini with a multitude of crossover issues (collected in Books 1 and 2) and an epilogue mini called Annihilation Conquest. Unlike the current series which draws in all the major players of the Marvel UAnnihilation focused mainly on Nova as well as the other space-based heroes such as DraxGamoraPeter Quill (taking a break from being Starlord), FirelordRed Shift and Stardust.
The Annihilation Wave, composed of warships led by Annihilus, breaks out of the Negative Zone and into deep space as a result of the universe’s constant expansion. The Nova Corp is the first victim of the wave, being totally wiped out with the exception of Richard Rider who then is imbued by the Worldmind with the full power of the Nova Force. Gathering an army composed of the members of the Guardians of the Galaxy and some former heralds of Galactus, Nova makes a desperate last stand on dying world after dying world as the wave pushes inexorably towards Earth.
annihilation2Harkening back to the larger than life cosmic crossovers of the ’80s and ’90s often penned by Jim Starlin, Annihilation is a long overdue addition to this collection. Eventually pulling in every cosmic character from Ronan the Accuser to Galactus, this series pulls no punches as alien civilizations crumble and fall one after the other. Overshadowed by the other crossover going on at that time, Civil War, Annihilation was arguably the better event.
The writing in this series is fantastic and leaves you on the edge of your seat with hard fought and seemingly hopeless battles right through to the final issue. Although I’m not a Nova fan, I thought he was handled exquisitely in this book as he mourns the loss of his corp while trying to save the rest of the universe. The art is clean and crisp throughout and credit is due to Andrea DiVito for his backgrounds which never give in to the easy convention of depicting space as an empty void with nothing for the reader to look at.
The multiple tie-ins collected in Books 1 and 2 are excellent almost without exception.  Although the crossover seemingly has too many tie-in issues, they help to flesh out the back stories of those involved and display the intricacies involved in the conceiving of this story. The subsequent series, Conquest, deals with the fallout of the destruction that happens in this trade and is also highly recommended.
Final rating (out of 5): 5_Star

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Publisher Aims To Put The Monthly Back in Pulp, Genre Fiction

          Pro Se Productions, in business since 2010 as a small independent publisher of genre fiction, recently announced their innovative plans for 2014 and beyond.
          From its' beginnings  as producer of three magazines that featured "new pulp" short fiction by modern authors, Pro Se has steadily increased its output each year.  Pro Se later closed the magazine line and began publishing novels and short story anthologies. The PRO SE PRESENTS magazine later returned and earned several awards before ending with it's 20th issue in February 2014. In December of 2013 they debuted a new imprint - - Pro Se Single Shots.  Based on the success of that line, Pro Se moves forward with Pro Se Single Shot Signatures.
         Tommy Hancock, Partner and Editor-In-Chief of Pro Se explains the transition to the new concept:  "We are always focused on producing the very best in new pulp and genre fiction in all aspects, including the format which we present it in.  It's no secret that publishing in the last five years, particularly for independent presses such as Pro Se, has moved more and more into the digital realm."
         "Not only can readers carry more books around on their e-readers or their phones, but the price point is tremendously better in most cases over print books.  Digital publishing also affords writers and publishers to produce any size work they wish, including single short stories that can be offered for less than a dollar each."
        The main idea behind the Single Shot Signatures is to take each story that would have appeared in their magazine and offer it individually to readers in a digital format.  Hanson explains further: "That way a mystery fan could pick up the mystery stories he or she wanted for a reasonable price without having to feel like they were buying other stories they may not enjoy."  But an even more intriguing idea presented itself to the publishers.
         "The concept of digital singles affords Pro Se to really bring the concept of pulp storytelling and even, in an indirect way, the idea of recurring tales from a consistent stable of authors on a regular schedule - - much like classic pulps did - - into the 21st Century.  This kernel of an idea took root with us rather quickly and brings us now to possibly the most exciting announcement Pro Se has made in a long time = Pro Se Single Shot Signatures."
      The Pro Se Single Shot Signature line brings together 38 writers from across the spectrum of genre fiction. Each of these authors will be producing either an original series of his/her creation featuring recurring characters or concepts, or writing an imprint of individual stand alone stories entitled "From The Pren Of . . ." and the author's name. Multiple genres are represented, from jungle tales to horror stories to some that defy description.
         Some will produce stories on a bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, or bi-annual schedule.  Each story will range in length from 3,000 to 15,000 words. Three titles will debut in April.   In the coming days, news concerning the individual authors and the series and/or imprints they are working on as well as production schedules will be released from Pro Se Productions.
        To learn more go to www.prose-press.com

Free Comic Book Day guests announced at Captain Blue Hen

  Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) is now less than one month away.  The traditional day of local comics stores offering free (to the consumer) titles previewing creative works from various publishers continues in 2014, occurring on the first Saturday in May.

       Locally, Captain Blue Hen Comics in Newark, Delaware always does a great job of offering more than just comics on FCBD and features artist appearances and special panels and events to entertain visitors to their store. 

        Recently, they have announced the line-up of artists that will be participating and offering fans a chance to meet the creators and obtain a sketch or autograph.  Featured artists for 2014 will include . . . . .


Neil Vokes - - prolific artist (Batman, Spider-Man, Eagle,  etc.) presently working on FLESH AND BLOOD for Monsterverse.


Buz Hasson


Ken Haeser

LIVING CORPSE and covers for Dynamite and more!

Jamar Nicholas


Penelope Gaylord


Jerry Gaylord


Interrobang Studios

Many webcomics!

Ben Harvey

Webcomics, manga, and more!

Robot Chicken DC Comics Special: Villains - - watch tonight


The Robot Chicken DC Comics Special II: Villains in Paradise returns the DC Comics universe of characters back into the twisted talons of the Emmy Award®-winning Robot Chicken.  This time around, the villains take charge of the narrative, and their unpredictable tale takes them from the swamps to the sky to the beach, where they finally face a mind-boggling threat to their very existence!
Premieres Tonight at 11:30pm (ET/PT) on Adult Swim/ CARTOON NETWORK


DC Super-Villains relaxing on the beach - -  sounds like fun.  I’ll be putting this on on DVR! 


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Book Review: STOP ME

by Richard Jay Parker
Trade paperback, 320 pages
Allison & Busby, publishers
January, 2010
          The premise is different.  A serial killer sends emails to family members of his victims, suggesting they forward it like a chain letter to ten recipients.  If the chain email finds its' way back to the killer, he will spare the victim.
          Eleven women have died.  When Leo Sharpe's wife is abducted from under his nose and he receives the Vacation Killer's email - - he gets frantic.  He turns into an obsessive compulsive as weeks and months go by and his wife's body never turns up.  Is she still alive?  Was she spared, perhaps because the chain email got back to the serial killer?
          This book kept me guessing right up to the end.  I was totally baffled.  It went in several directions I never expected.  Just when you think you can predict where this will go, RIchard Jay Parker puts a different spin on events.
          As Leo Sharpe continues to try and find answers, he encounters several unsavory characters who claim to help, but are after their own personal gain.  The ability of the Internet to link all sorts of individuals with strange tastes and preferences is explored, as well as spot-lighting those who profit from catering to the same.
          At times I was disgusted but never bored while paging through this book.  The ending provides a satisfactory closure.  You must read it or I will email you!   Highly recommended.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Crashing Climax To THE OTHER DEAD

THE OTHER DEAD #6 of 6 (IDW, March 19, 2014 release date) Writer/Co-Creator: Joshua Ortega. Co-Creator: Digger T Mesch. Art: Qing Ping Mui. Art (Epilogue): Mike Shoykhet. Inks: Jose Aviles, James Lyle, and Qing Ping Mui. Colors: Blond. Letters: Tom B. Long

The good news is that you don’t have to be a regular reader of THE OTHER DEAD in order to appreciate the contents of Issue #6. In fact, if you’ve stayed on the sidelines all this time you can still get a pretty good feel for the atmosphere and tone of the mini-series by jumping on right here. What you will be treated to is an intense story of human survival against impossible odds. Issue #6 spins a grisly yarn that pits the team of seven remaining characters against one nasty obstacle after another until the final resolution some 23 pages later.

The bad news (well, for some of us) is that it ends without any explanation of the events that caused the animal epidemic to occur. There is also no indication that the contagion has been halted, or even contained. (The epilogue contains more bad news). On the other hand, there is so much more story to tell that many readers will be glad to know that a second THE OTHER DEAD series will debut later this year. Rightly so and very welcome news to many of us, as we have only seen a little cross-section of this imaginative creation (a clever spin on standard zombie tropes). There’s a much bigger world here, and I suspect an even bigger story to tell. Bring it, gentlemen!

Everything comes to a gigantic broil in Issue #6 as the intrepid band of survivors make their escape from the surrounded homestead only to end up in an even worse place. As they await the President’s extraction team to rescue them, they face an even tougher selection of raving mad berserker animals out for human blood and guts. Instead of facings squirrels, rats, birds, deer and bear they must hold out against more exotic animals, including zebras, elephants, lions, tigers, caribou, boar, and a rampaging rhino. Just as they seem to be safe, their luck turns sour as they crash their helicopter inside a wild game preserve!

This issue is a gigantic showcase for the incredible illustration skills of artist Qing Ping Mui, who doesn’t hold back and lets it all out: great detail, savage action, red-eyed rage, faces of determination, fear, despair, and also hope - - it’s all here. The rest of the art team does a superb job of highlighting his fine work and are equally up to the challenge of inking and coloring scenes that for the most part take place in the dead of night and in the middle of a hurricane force storm = dark, cloudy, gray, red and atmospheric times three!

Not to be missed are the scenes involving a crazed and determined rhino with more lives than Morris the Cat. Brave little Tommy puts a lubricated exclamation point on the end of that encounter.

Perhaps it was done so no one feel cheated, as one member of the party doesn’t survive the opening scenes. There may be some readers out there who were rooting for the animals to claim final victory and be disappointed that anybody survived. However, when the actual President of the United States gets inserted into the storyline, you should be anticipating a somewhat happier ending. Seriously, did you expect writer Joshua Ortega to kill President Obama off?

During the course of this story, there are instances of symbolism as well as the possibility of deeper meaning for readers who might want to explore further. But, there is never any indication that an actual political statement was under the surface story. THE OTHER DEAD does portray the President in a favorable light, as he responds the way American citizens expect their president to respond in a time of crisis - - with bravery, patience, leadership and determination. Sure enough, when the situation calls for balls-to-the-walls intensity and time to fight back with fury and defend humanity, he lets it all hang out. There probably won’t be a Republican Party rebuttal to the events of THE OTHER DEAD. (Besides, didn’t somebody once say that Republicans don’t read comics?)

Some may say the story ends, appropriately enough, with both a religious and then an inspirational message. No sooner does little Tommy get on his knees to pray (and joined by redneck Chet) than his prayers get answered. Then, Chet turns to the President to infer “Take it you ain’t that religious, either”. Obama responds with “Oh, no, I am . . . but I also put great faith in humanity.” After reading this series from the beginning and never experiencing even a whiff of spiritual essence up to this point, I remain skeptical that this was writer Ortega’s intent. I seriously doubt that he suddenly began to drink or wash with holy water and came up with this ending as a result. Rather, I believe the clue to the inspiration for the entire series is exhibited (and not for the first time, just much bigger here) on the very last page. There is a clever interpretation of a famous logo there (“His Master’s Voice”, the RCA Victor dog). It wasn’t holy water that kept things flowing - - it was a little sumpin’ on the order of a more adult beverage.

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