Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Death of a Renegade Part One (Harbinger) Sells Out

From the official press release . . . . .




Valiant is proud to announce that HARBINGER #22 – the FIRST ISSUE of "Death of a Renegade," the devastating new story arc from New York Times best-selling creators Joshua Dysart and Clayton Henry – has sold out at the distributor level just one week after its initial release, and will return to stores with a red-hot second printing on May 28th!

United by their unique abilities, five teenage misfits have come together under the leadership of dysfunctional runaway Peter Stanchek – a psionically-powered “psiot” forced to self-medicate to keep his immense powers in check. Recruited into the Harbinger Foundation – a secret academy where others like him are trained for the betterment of the world – Peter studied to become the protege of Toyo Harada, a wealthy business magnate and the only other "psiot" capable of rivaling Peter's incredible telekinetic capabilities. But teacher and pupil clashed when Peter discovered the true purpose of Harada’s secretive Harbinger empire – a better world…but one built by any means necessary, even subversion, conspiracy and control. Now, with only the rejected recruits of the Renegades to aid him, the one boy to ever challenge Harada’s vise-grip on the future of humanity has been left with no choice but to expose his former mentor to the world – then bring the fight to his front door.

Featuring a new cover by acclaimed artist Joe Eisma (Morning Glories), look for the HARBINGER #22 EISMA SECOND PRINTING VARIANT to arrive in finer comic shops everywhere alongside HARBINGER #23 – the next staggering issue of "Death of a Renegade"…and the dawn of a milestone moment that will change everything in its wake.

Beginning the storyline that will culminate in July's extra-sized HARBINGER #25 and the launch of August's HARBINGER: OMEGAS #1 (of 3), witness a pivotal turning point for the series The Onion/A.V. Club calls “one of the most binge-worthy superhero comics currently available” with an all-new beginning – and a sudden end – for Valiant’s premier team of teenage heroes on May 28th when HARBINGER #22 returns to the stands!


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Location:Winston Way,Oxford,United States

LETTER 44 Coming To Television




Portland, OR (April 30, 2014) – Oni Press is thrilled to announce that Charles Soule and Alberto Jiménez Alburquerque’s hit ongoing series LETTER 44, has been picked up for development for television by SyFy!

The series, which launched last year to critical acclaim and a slew of sold out issues, weaves the intertwined stories of President Stephen Blades, the United States’ newly inaugurated President, and the intrepid crew of The Clarke, a spaceship investigating a possible alien threat in our solar system.

"As I see it, we're in the midst of a golden age for serialized television drama, and I could not be more thrilled at the prospect of seeing Letter 44 translated into another medium,” said Soule. “Seeing President Blades and the crew of the Clarke brought to life, and watching their respective journeys unfold, will be a truly amazing thing. Go space!"




Produced by Oni Press’ sister company, Closed on Mondays, SyFy’s LETTER 44 will be a Universal Television and Universal Cable Productions co-production Executive Produced by Showrunner René Echevarria (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Castle, The 4400) and by the pilot’s Director and Screenwriter, Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3, U-571). Closed on Mondays’s Eric Gitter will serve as an Executive Producer and James Lucas Jones, and Joe Nozemack are also set to produce. More details on this science-fiction epic-in-the-making are expected to be revealed in the coming months.

In the meantime, LETTER 44 #6 hits stores on June 25th, and a collection of the series’ first story arc, LETTER 44 VOLUME 1: ESCAPE VELOCITY, is due to make landfall on July 30th; ensuring there’ll be plenty for eager fans to read while awaiting its television debut!


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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Video Trailer: ARMOR HUNTERS #1 - -- June release

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Once I get through the HARBINGER titles, I most likely will be following X-O MANOWAR and the new ARMOR HUNTERS series.  You can pick up a free preview of some of these books during Free Comic Book Day this Saturday.  Details  below . . . . .

from the official press release . . . . . . . . . .

 

Armor Hunters Trailer at You Tube

 

On June 11th, Earth will be the greatest hunt of all!
          Valiant is proud to debut the official video trailer for ARMOR HUNTERS #1 (of 4) – the FIRST ISSUE of VALIANT FIRST’s action-packed summer crossover event by New York Times best-selling writer Robert Venditti (X-O Manowar, Green Lantern) and superstar artist Doug Braithwaite (Unity, Justice).

          When Aric of Dacia returned to Earth with the stolen X-O Manowar armor of an alien race, he thought he finally found a weapon to guard the peace and kingdom he’d struggled so long to secure.  But now, a relentless and surgical strike team from the farthest reaches of space – sworn to exterminate the armor and all like it – have found their final target. The ARMOR HUNTERS are coming.  They will hunt.  They will trap.  They will kill.  And they will rid the universe of the X-O Manowar’s incalculable destructive power…even if it means taking the Earth with it.

          On June 11th, bend the knee…or take the head when Valiant brings the deadly legacy of the X-O Manowar armor down full bore on planet Earth, beginning in ARMOR HUNTERS #1 (of 4). Then, Valiant's most formidable heroes launch the resistance against the ARMOR HUNTERS' alien incursion with new, standalone arcs beginning in UNITY #8 and X-O MANOWAR #26 in June; and ARMOR HUNTERS: BLOODSHOT #1 (of 3) and ARMOR HUNTERS: HARBINGER #1 (of 3) in July – each featuring one of five wraparound Chromium shelf covers by some of the biggest talents in comics today.

          And that's just the beginning because, in 2014, there are six new reasons to read Valiant FIRST!  All summer long, Valiant will be rocketing to the top of your read pile with VALIANT FIRST – an all-new initiative unleashing a major #1 issue each month from May onward by some of the most talented creators in comics.  RAI #1 in May.  ARMOR HUNTERS #1 in June.  ARMOR HUNTERS: BLOODSHOT #1 and ARMOR HUNTERS: HARBINGER #1 in July.  THE DELINQUENTS #1 in August.  THE DEATH-DEFYING DR. MIRAGE #1 in September.  These are the titles that will have you reading VALIANT FIRST when you head home from the comic shop!
 

          For a sneak peek inside each monumental VALIANT FIRST release, look for the ARMOR HUNTERS FCBD 2014 SPECIAL – featuring previews of RAI #1,  ARMOR HUNTERS #1 (of 4),  X-O MANOWAR #24 (PRELUDE TO ARMOR HUNTERS), and much more – available at participating Free Comic Book Day retailers everywhere on May 3rd, 2014.

Where will you be on Free Comic Book Day?

FCBD Horizontal Generic

 

Editor’s Note:  Me?  I will be at my usual stomping grounds (although I frequent many comic book stores in the area and also during my business travels).  You can find me at CAPTAIN BLUE HEN COMICS in Newark, Delaware.  (Just in case you’re needing that autograph! Ha!)  I decided this year instead of being the usual spectator, I would look at things from the other side of the counter.  Yes, I volunteered my services to help out the good Captain with the anticipated massive turnout of customers. I may even end up writing about that here.  In the meantime, if you are a local PA/DE/MD resident, there are plenty of comic shops to visit, including THE COMIC BOOK SHOP in Wilmington, DE.  Hey, why not make it a day and go to as many different shops as you can!  Here’s some info on their event, which is a two-day celebration   . . . . . . . . .

Address: THE COMIC BOOK SHOP  1855 Marsh Road, Wilmington, Delaware 19810  store phone 302-477-1119

 

Free Comic Book Day Weekend 2014!

Saturday May 3rd   10a-8p

Sunday May 4th    12p-5p

Star Wars Day on Sunday May The Fourth!

2013 outside

FREE COMICS for EVERYBODY!

Choose from this year’s special selection of comics!
Kids Age 12 and Younger = 5 Free Comics  //  Age 13+ = 3 Free Comics!

MEET COMIC CREATORS ALL DAY SATURDAY!

Get the full lineup here!

COME IN COSTUME AS YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTER

Get an EXTRA Free Comic!
SuperWhyyy2

STOREWIDE SALE ALL WEEKEND!

Back Issue Bins 50% OFF!  Everything Else* 25% OFF!
*See details below.

Meet PODCASTERS from PAPERKEG and COMIC TANGO!

PaperKeg Crew & Spidey

A representative from the

JOE KUBERT SCHOOL OF CARTOON & GRAPHIC ART

will be here to talk to aspiring artists about quality education and getting a career in the industry!
Get your photo with

THE 501ST GARRISON STAR WARS CHARACTERS

SATURDAY at 1PM   &   SUNDAY ALL DAY!

Donate a toy to a child in need!

501st with Kids

Stock up on nerdy gifts from

GEEK BOY PRESS  &   SUPER SOX SHOP!

Enter our FREE DRAWING to win a DOOR PRIZE!

Door Prize #1:
A complete set of this year’s Free Comic Book Day Comics!
Door Prize #2:
A $75 Gift Certificate to The Comic Book Shop and loot
from this year’s guests!

SALE PRICING DETAILS

50% OFF Back Issue Comics & Magazines In Bins!
Discount Dollar Books 50¢ EACH!
25% OFF Display Case Books and New Variant Covers!
25% OFF Graphic Novels, Hardcovers, and TPBs!
25% OFF New & Vintage Toys!
25% OFF Statues, Busts, and Lead Figures!
25% OFF Gaming & Supplies!
25% OFF Comics Bags, Boards, & Boxes!
25% OFF Everything* Else!
*New Comics and Magazines, Prior Holds, Special Orders, and Food/Drinks are not discounted.
*Local/Independent Creators & Publishers are not discounted.
*Sale Prices cannot be used towards Layaway or with Store Credit.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

HARBINGER WARS: Month One - concise complexity

 

          So, what exactly is this 12 issue cross-over event that winds through issues of HARBINGER WARS mini-series, HARBINGER, and BLOODSHOT all about?  Prior to the beginning of this story, Bloodshot freed a group of psiot (super-powered) adolescents from a Project Rising Spirit (P.R.S.) experimental research facility.  Toyo Harada wants the escapees to join the ranks of the Harbinger Foundation.  Peter Stanchek and the Renegades want to keep the children away from Harada’s influence and control.  Since Bloodshot was a part of the initial capture and confinement of the children, he now feels responsible for their protection.

          As my own preface, I’m going to repeat my answer to the question: “Why should I read any Valiant books?  And that answer is: because they consistently pack a full load of story and character development into every issue and accompany that with very good art. It’s the one-two punch that satisfies without pain.  All Valiant titles are reader-friendly enough that you can pick one up at random and find an engaging story to follow without confusion.  Well, except for the opening issue below, which crams a ton of content into 27 pages.  And that’s why I’m going to make an effort to wrap it up for you in the review below.  It took me three enjoyable readings to wrap my head around all the activity in . . . . .

HARBINGER WARS #1 (Valiant Entertainment, April 2013) Written by: Joshua Dysart. Story by: Joshua Dysart & Duane Swierczynski. Art by: Clayton Henry, Clayton Crain, and Mico Suavan. Color Art by: Brian Reber. Letters by: Dave Lanphear.

HWARS_001_CVR_LAROSA_wars                    HWARS_001_VARIANT_ZIRCHER

          Issue #1 opens with a nice re-cap of Project Rising Spirit’s various attempts at weaponization of psionics.  This occurs via flashback during an interrogation of P.R.S. acting director Morris Kozol by a trio of federal national defense directors.

          The somewhat successful China mission is reviewed, when a team of four very young psiots (from 14 to 20 years of age) completely wipe out a synthetic virus (including its human victims).  Through the tight scripting of Dysart and Swierczynski this plays out across just eight pages in a precise succinct narrative.  It’s incredible to realize that there is enough content and depth in this little scenario to expand to an entire issue, series, or a damn good sci-fi action movie.  But they get it done in a heartbeat.

          The team is so interesting that we hope to see them again as HARBINGER WARS unfolds.  Chronos (code name) is the oldest and leader.  He is an energy healer and psychic surgeon.  Telic, 15 year old female, has both mental and physical prediction abilities.  The youngest at 14 years, Traveler is a male with teleportation abilities.  And most frightening is Hive, a 17 year old male who can absorb psychic imprints and wipe targets clean of all cognitive functions (an essential skill when wiping out the masses).

          The egomaniacal Kozol boasts that he saved the world that day.  How ironic that the very virus they eliminated was one that was created by Project Rising Sun in a partnership with China, using their political prisoners as test subjects.  Also noted is that the psiot team was coerced into their bloody clean-up via explosive micro-chips implanted in their brains.

HWARS_001_VARIANT_CRAIN

          Renegade leader Peter Stanchek receives a violent vision of a potential future courtesy of the Bleeding Monk, who implores Peter to “find the children before they turn humanity upside down.”  Cut away to a hidden P.R.S. facility in the Nevada desert, where the young team from the aforementioned China mission are chaperones to an entire school of psiots from pre-school age and up.  It’s here where we meet a new and intriguing character in Monica Jim, a female who can morph into gigantic cartoon-like animals (a lion, for starters).  Here is also where Bloodshot infiltrates, disabling the security systems and allowing all the psiots to escape.

          They escape not as one unit, but in two different directions with one small group remaining behind under the guardianship of Bloodshot.  Continuing the performance appraisal of P.R.S. director that began this story, Kozol now blames the escape on Toyo Harada and claims that he “orchestrated the attack on our facility.”  Through deliberate manipulation Harada made P.R.S. scientist Emmanuel Kuretich his “pawn” and forced P.R.S.’s hand, guiding them to deploy Bloodshot into a trap.  Kuretich was then instrumental in deprogramming Bloodshot and sent him on his way to attack the Nevada base.

          The issue ends in a big surprise as Harada and some of his Eggbreakers (super-powered psiots trained by Harbinger) find a remote ghost town where some of the children are, expecting to retrieve the former P.R.S. psiot captives.  Instead they meet a hostile Bloodshot.  The conversation between Harada and Bloodshot is a classic moment:

HARADA: “I’m not affiliated with P.R.S. I’m someone who can care for those kids. I’ve got a transport to get them to safety. I’m not here to fight you. I’m the one who freed you. Now you can just walk away and live your life. You’re P.R.S.’s problem. Not mine.”

BLOODSHOT: “It time you heard the news, friend. I’m everybody’s problem.”

HWARS_001_PULLBOX_HENRY

What a way to end the issue! What a great way to open this crossover series. I am all-in, and plan to share - - hoping you will accept the gauntlet.

You can get the full story of this epic event simply by reading the HARBINGER WARS title alone.  However, if you also pick up the HARBINGER and BLOODSHOT issues with the Harbinger Wars notation on the cover you get even more.  You will see these events in a bigger framework and understand that the links for this incredible cross-over were threaded through the Valiant universe many months ago and across several titles. So, on to the next item . . . . .

HARBINGER #11 (Valiant Entertainment, April 2013) Writer: Joshua Dysart. Artists: Khari Evans and Trevor Hairsine. Inks: Stefano Gaudiano. Color Art: Ian Hannin. Letters: Rob Steen.

Print                    HAR_011_VARIANT_ZIRCHER1

          We learn that both Rising Spirit Securities and Harada International (both their original names) first crossed paths back in 1969, when then Rising Spirit director Carter tried to persuade Toyo Harada to partner in “an exchange of research for resources.”

          As the capitalistic director of Rising Spirit puts it : “We’ve been in business since 1850. We have more patents than any other company in the U.S. A friendship with us would be advantageous.”

          The idealistic (even back then) Harada responds: “Rising Spirit creates and sells weapons.  During WWII your tech was in German V-2 rockets and Manhattan Project facilities.  You played both sides of the conflict.  You’re war profiteers and mercenaries. When I have my way, the engine of innovation will no longer be institutional violence, and your company will be obsolete.”

          There is an extended view of the scene from HARBINGER WARS #1 where the Bleeding Monk has a mental conference with Peter Stanchek.  He was playing both sides of the fence and called Harada into this shortly afterwards, deliberately letting him know that he (the Monk) sees a role for Peter in the upcoming exodus of P.R.S. pisot captives.

HAR_011_PULLBOX_HENRY_WARS

          The other members of the Renegades want some downtime for relaxation and persuade Peter to allow them to visit a bar.  The situation becomes hilarious and a little out of control as Peter has to resort to mind manipulation of police officers in order to get his team out of the limelight. We get some insight into the characters of both Flame, Torque and Faith while Peter has a quiet discussion with Kris about what just happened during his mental encounter with Bleeding Monk and Harada. Later, during a poolside meeting at a Las Vegas resort, the members vote on whether to get involved in rounding up and protecting some of the escaped children.  The team is almost split right down the middle as to who has a compassionate side and wants to help versus who has a selfish side and wants to keep the team small and carefree. The individuals on either side may surprise you.

          Also, despite his strong words it might appear that Harada may have a change of heart about partnering with Rising Spirit Securities, especially since his then mentor (the precognitive Bleeding Monk) cannot “see” into Rising Spirit and give him any pointers.

BLOODSHOT #10 (Valiant Entertainment, April 2013) Writer: Duane Swierczynski. Penciler: Barry Kitson. Inkers: Stefano Gaudiano with Barry Kitson. Color Art: Brian Reber. Letters: Rob Steen.

BS_010_WRAPAROUND_LAROSA2

          As this issues opens up, Bloodshot is leading a group of very young psiots away from the secret P.R.S. compound and into the Nevada desert, doing his best to keep them together and alive. During a bloody confrontation with some soldiers-for-hire, some of the childrens’ abilities manifest and are revealed.  Some of the children also object to Bloodshot’s abrupt and violent solutions and try to lecture and/or use their powers to influence him.  Some just start to doubt him.

          The issue ends as they take refuge in a ghost town, get contacted by the rogue P.R.S. scientist Kuretich, and then Harada shows up (at the beginning of the scene from HARBINGER WARS #1).

          Things are just getting warmed up.  I look forward to see where this goes in the next round of books.

 BS_010_COVER_SUAYAN_WARS           BS_010_PULLBOX_HENRY_WARS

Friday, April 25, 2014

Following the HARBINGER trail - - Issues #9 + #10

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Following the recent announcement that Issue #25 will end the current series, we continue to explore the HARBINGER title from Issue #1 forward as a tribute to the best Valiant title  - - so far.  Here’s hoping something just as special replaces it.

         The second story arc wrapped in Issue #8 with the formation of the Renegade team and subsequent pursuit of them by forces of Project Rising Sun. 

HARBINGER #9  (Valiant Entertainment, February 2013)  Writer:  Joshua Dysart.  Art:  Pere Perez.  Color Art:  Ian Hannin.  Lettering:  Rob Steen.

          Print

          This issue focuses on Faith Herbert, with an in-depth exploration of her character and psyche.  She is certainly one of the more complex members of The Renegades, overweight, lonely and insecure, but very idealistic and eager.   At the end of the second story arc, she fell into a forest after losing control of her flight powers, and was knocked unconscious.    In her comatose state, her subconscious reviews her past including the loss of her parents at a young age, life with an ailing grandmother,  and her introduction to Peter Stanchek who helped make her powers manifest.

       Faith’s parents were geeks and while still alive they raised their infant daughter Faith on all things popular culture.  She held onto this to the present time, and rightly so for her grandmother gave her words of wisdom to help cope:  “And I have a trick for you, Faith.  If you want your parents to always be by your side and in your mind . . . . . you must keep theH9_52 things and ideas that made them happy in your heart.”  It also explains why Faith references geek culture to help her remember dates, as in “The year the Scott Pilgrim movie came out, Nana began to get dementia.”

      The art in this issue is very expressive and helps moves the story along at a fluid pace. The colors and ink team deserve special mention.

        Project Rising Spirit, under the direction of the creepy Mr. Tull, manages to capture all the other members of the Renegades.  Non-powered Kris manages to put some doubt into Tull’s mind through the power of suggestion.  Tull is made to feel like a Tool.  It’s up to the only free remaining member, Faith, to wear the white Harbinger-supplied uniform and/or costume and become Zephyr in order to make a superhero styled rescue of Peter once again  - - just as the psiot helicopter transports arrive to take him and his team away.

HARBINGER #10  (Valiant Entertainment, March 2013)  Writer:  Joshua Dysart.  Artists:  Matthew Clark, Alvaro Martinez, Dimi Macheras and Brian Thies.  Inks:  Stefano Gaudiano.  Color Art:  Ian Hannin.  Letters:  Rob Steen.

HAR_010_CVR_SUAYAN1

          Despite the change to an artistic team effort this issue,  the transition to various illustrators comes off seamlessly.  There are subtle changes in the look and style but if you are engrossed in the story you may not even notice them.  Good work from the art group to make it look this good. Give some credit to a steady job by the two stalwarts on color art and letters. 

        The introspective microscope turns back this issue to mainstay Peter Stanchek.  While in a subdued state and struggling to rise out of it, his thoughts turn to reflection and what might have been.  The only true friend he’s had in the last several years is his mental patient inmate and partner, Joe Irons.  Peter feels personally responsible for his deathPrint (although he is not the cause) and fears he is taking his new friends / partners down the same perilous path.

     Peter puts himself into a mental funk again due to the activities he has to engage in to extricate his team (with the help of Faith / Zephyr) from P.R.S.’s suffocating embrace: deceit, trickery, manipulation, and pure lobotomizing mental force. 

       The Renegade members have to make a leap of faith (ha!) in order to escape and experience their own personal big fall.  Flamingo learns out to utilize her thrust powers.  Upon landfall, every one learns the true nature of Torque - - he’s a physical psychic projection of a weak, crippled invalid.  The Renegades seem to be bonding together as a team and beginning to look to and trust Peter’s decisions.  Good stuff here.  Don’t miss out.

NEXT:  THE HARBINGER WARS cross over. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

HARBINGER #22: Death Of A Renegade Part 1

EDITOR’S NOTE:  With just four issues to go, many new and curious readers will want to know if this is a proper jumping on point to check out this title.  It absolutely is.  I’m also reading this book out of sequence, and I had no trouble picking up the story and following it easily.  We’ll tell you just enough here to whet your appetite, and avoid spoilers.  Our regular exploration of this series will continue after this brief intermission . . . . . .

HARBINGER #22  (Valiant Entertainment, April 23, 2014 release date)  Writer: Joshua Dysart.  Art: Clayton Henry.  Color Art: Brian Reber.  Letters:  Dave Sharpe.  Covers: Michael Walsh, Zach Montoya, Barry Kitson

HAR_022_COVER_WALSH-310x476

          The credits page of every Valiant issue is a model of economy. Every book manages to summarize the story up to the current point in just a few paragraphs.  Even if a reader has never picked up a HARBINGER book before, the opening paragraph gets to the root of the main storyline . . . . .

         “Peter Stancheck was a young man with incredible psionic abilities and a history of drug abuse and mental illness.  Adrift in the world and on the run from the authorities, Peter had reached his nadir when a powerful businessman named Toyo Harada -  also imbued with amazing psionic abilities – recruited him for training at the Harbinger Foundation.  At the Foundation, Peter learned to shape his powers and sharpen his thinking, but he soon realized that Harada, the Foundation’s leader, had few qualms about using violence to achieve his ends.  Leaving the foundation forever, Peter found other psiots, and along with his childhood friend, Kris, formed a powerful team know as the Renegades.”     

           This is the first of three parts leading up to the final issue of HARBINGER, beginning the campaign by the Renegades to take the confrontation back to the opposition’s home-front with the intention of disabling the Harbinger Foundation. It also alludes to the upcoming death of a Renegade member and drops hints as to who that might be.  Again, the contents page informs the reader in a clear and concise fashion, and brings us right up to the current point in time . . . . .

“Recently a computer hacker named @X claimed responsibility for a world wide leak of Project Rising Spirit and Harbinger Foundation data, revealing the true nature of Harada’s instituion, as well as the existence of psiots. . . . . .  Local authorities nearly captured @X, but Peter and his band of Renegades intervened and rescued the young hacker. . . . . Seeking refuge in their underground base, @X revealed to the Renegades that he had planned to draw them out, hoping to join the band of young psiots in their war against Harada.  The Renegades quickly joined forces with @X, and began working on a plan to defeat Harada once and for all.”

HAR_022_001-640x984

          There’s a budding (and physical) romance between Faith and Torque.  While Peter comes up with the big ideas and big plans, it still appears that non-psiot Kris is still acting as manager of the team and exerts much control/influence. There are still trust issues between Kris and Peter.   New addition @X gets involved in the battle plan immediately, as the Renegades plot to strike at the Harada facility in Pittsburgh, and have him extract as much data as possible.  Gotta love that nickname - - @X!  How appropriate as well!  What does an “axe” do?  Hack, hack.

     Harada amasses the majority of his forces in what he believes to be a frontline location for the upcoming battle,  and makes a passionate speech to bind them to his fanatical cause, portraying his organization as pacifists and the Renegades as war-mongering trouble-makers.  The Renegades team plan looks good on paper, and the opening moves include some activity that Harada was not expecting. But still, his fortifications are strong and his acting chief operating officer (Ion) is extremely powerful.  Harada’s team fights back and fights hard, managing to drive a splinter into the team that allows self-confidence to falter.

  It’s still not possible to tell who will get the upper hand, and while the closing pages seem to indicate which Renegade member is in the most danger, there’s still more story and battle to come.  It’s a very fast-paced and exciting story that won’t disappoint.  Highly recommended.

Extinction Parade Optioned for Television Series

. . . . . From the official press release . . . . .

April 23, 2014

Max Brooks and Avatar Press have announced Legendary Television and Digital optioned the New York Times Bestselling Author Brooks’ Extinction Parade as an original property for development as a new television series. Brooks is closely tied to the development of the project and will be writing the Pilot episode.

“I only brought the idea to one company, Legendary, because they do the kind of quality work of which any writer would be proud." stated Brooks.

"Max Brooks is a visionary with an incredible ability to tell stories that deliver a fresh approach to the horrors that haunt our nightmares. His work on Extinction Parade has been a stunningly rich tapestry of cultures in decline and a biting indictment of the perils of privilege. It will make the perfect television series to appeal to fans who have until now settled for thinly veiled soap operas parading as horror,” said William Christensen, Publisher of Avatar Press.

Legendary is the studio behind recent blockbuster film 300: Rise of an Empire and the upcoming release of Godzilla this spring. Their slate of film projects has firmly targeted the pop culture and comic book reading community and provided some of the best blockbuster genre movies ever created. They bring the ideal approach to adapting a hit property like Extinction Parade into a successful television series.

Brooks is known for his meticulously researched zombie fiction and is the author of the bestselling novels World War Z and the Zombie Survival Guide. Recently World War Z was adapted into one of the biggest theatrical horror releases of 2013 and now Extinction Parade is set to follow suit as an upcoming television series.

"While the comic series from Avatar continues, I am thrilled to be working with Legendary to develop Extinction Parade into an innovative new series for television,” stated Brooks.

As these two fan favorite undead species prepare to make their television debut under the direction of Brooks’ definitive vision joining programs like The Walking Dead and Hannibal as the best horror on television, the first chapter of the Extinction Parade graphic novel series is set to premiere this coming July. The trade paperback collection offers a unique opportunity to step into the world of zombies vs vampires and experience a terrifying new chapter in horror.

Extinction Parade, a softcover graphic novel with color interiors is available for preorder from your favorite comic book retailer, Amazon, and B&N, 6.5″ x 9.5″, 160 pages is on sale 7/1/14. – ISBN 978-1-59291-234-6 $19.99 (US)

Max Brooks is a critically acclaimed author most widely recognized for his New York Times bestselling novels World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide. World War Z was adapted into a blockbuster theatrical release in 2013 and has an upcoming sequel in development. His graphic novel, The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks, is also a New York Times bestseller.

Legendary Entertainment Legendary Entertainment is a leading media company with film (Legendary Pictures), television and digital (Legendary Television and Digital Media) and comics (Legendary Comics) divisions dedicated to owning, producing and delivering content to mainstream audiences with a targeted focus on the powerful fandom demographic. Through complete or joint ownership, Legendary has built a library of marquee media properties and has established itself as a trusted brand which consistently delivers high-quality, commercial entertainment including some of the world's most popular intellectual property. In aggregate, Legendary Pictures-associated productions have realized grosses of more than $8 billion worldwide at the box office. To learn more visit: www.legendary.com

Avatar Press is a groundbreaking independent publishing company which produces a wide variety of cutting-edge comic books, graphic novels, and original web content. Their high-quality publications include the work of such industry luminaries as Garth Ennis (Crossed, Chronicles of Wormwood), Warren Ellis (Freakangels, No Hero), Christos Gage (Absolution, Crossed), Kieron Gillen (Uber), Max Brooks (Extinction Parade), Jonathan Hickman (God is Dead), and Alan Moore (Neonomicon, Fashion Beast). For more information about Avatar Press, their publications, and creators, please visit www.avatarpress.


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Sometimes They Come Back

REVIVAL Vol. 1
Writer: Tom Seely
Artist: Mike Norton
Image Comics | graphic novel | $12.99
Image is one of my favorite publishing companies. Along with Vertigo and Dynamite, Image is a great place to find creator owned, non-capes and tights stories that are consistently compelling. Revival is the latest breakout hit from the same company that brought us such fan favorites as FataleElephantmenInvincible and Saga.
You might know Tim Seely as the writer of Hack/Slash and as the penciler of the New ExilesMike Norton has illustrated extensively for DC and has his own webcomic, Battlepug.
Revival is the story of a small town in Wisconsin where the dead are returning to life but it’s not a Walking Dead wannabe. When the dead rise they are just as you remember them, a doting grandmother, a son taken too soon or a dearly missed spouse. In a town that is under government quarantine, decried by the clergy and under siege from grave robbers looking for the key to immortality, Officer Dana Cypress is trying to solve a murder that may have been committed by the of the Revived.
The writing in the book often jumps from the main narrative to short vignettes of people in the town dealing with the otherworldly implications of the dead returning to life. While I usually don’t like straying far from the main narrative, Seely does a good job at this. Sometimes he weaves some minor characters into the main tale and other times the small stories help to flesh out the town while having unexpected payoffs. The art in Revival is clean but detailed. The flat tones help impart the noir feel the book is going for but also works well for action scenes of which there are many.
The book succeeds at turning the zombie genre on its head and exploring its novel premise with asides while moving the main story forward in the first trade. I eagerly anticipate buying the second.
Final rating (out of 5): 5_Star

From The Archives: continuing down the HARBINGER trail

Editor’s Notes:  Today marks the beginning of the end for the current HARBINGER series, with part 1 of a 3 part “Death Of  A Renegade” story arc in HARBINGER #22 that leads up to the final issue in July with HARBINGER #25.   I am still in shock to learn that my favorite Valiant title is going away, but also a little giddy with anticipation as I expect things to wrap up in a very big way.   If you haven’t been following the HARBINGER stories, I will review them all here so you can catch up.  Just make sure you score a copy of Issue #22 today!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

HARBINGER 2: A Valiant young Harada

          The new Valiant books are all worthwhile, combining engaging story and intriguing art. The best of the bunch is HARBINGER, which recently supplanted X-O MANOWAR as my favorite of the new titles based on recent issues.  Get them both - - but if you’re on a tight budget then pick up HARBINGERIssue #0, which drops in comics stores today (2/06)  is a great starting point.   Just in case you’re not a regular reader of this website, HARBINGER was named my PGHHEAD PICK FOR THE BEST REBOOT OF 2012 and you can read more about the first story arc in our Blog Archive for January 8, 2013.

          HARBINGER is a thoroughly entertaining look at the seemingly unlimited power of the mind as exhibited by various characters and epitomized by the two main protagonists - - the wealthy “humanitarian” Toyo Harada and Peter Stanchek the extremely powerful but uncontrollable rebellious student who didn’t last long before breaking out of Harada’s school for mentally gifted.  They are two defined opposites.  Consider careful planning versus spontaneous reaction.  Harada is a character you admire but don’t trust, and therefore have a hard time liking.  Stanchek is an unstable, unpredictable, disturbed character who also happens to be in possession of super-powers and uses them improperly - - and is even harder to really like.  But because of the scripting talent of Josh Dysart you become fascinated and can’t get enough of either one of them.

HAR_006_CVR

HARBINGER #6 -8 (Valiant November 2012 – January 2012)  Writer: Joshua Dysart.  Penciler: Phil Briones (#6).  Art: Barry Kitson with Lee Garbett and Khari Evans (#7)  Art: Lee Garbett (#8)  Inkers: Andrew Hennessy with Phil Briones (#6).  Colors: Ian Hannin (#6). Color Art: Ian Hannin with Dan Brown (#7).  Color Art: Moose Baumann (#8). Lettering: Rob Steen.

There is one character that I can muster a little more warmth for = Kris Hathaway, Stanchek’s childhood “friend” who was telepathically manipulated to love him.  She was later freed from Peter’s mental control, leaving her feeling betrayed, angry, empty and used in the worst way.  Issue #6 shows her recovering from her mental funk and coming to terms with her situation.  She’s very smart and totally bored with school, but these are just “normal” mental powers that she developed through her own personal readings.  I’m reminded of Spider-Man a little bit by her situation.  She’s not living with relatives like Peter Parker did, but her family situation is shaky.  Her father is unemployed, uninsured and recovering from a stroke.  Her mom tries to manage the rising medical bills, hang onto their home while keeping the debt collectors at bay and hopes for spiritual support to get by.  Peter Parker used his super-powers initially to try and make some money to help his family.  Kris is a powerless Peter Parker.  Instead she uses the abilities of others to try and make/obtain some money and aid her family.  She opts to become the manager of Peter Stanchek’s life, help him plan his comeback/revenge on Harada, and grab some money (bank-robbing, etc.) as compensation for her efforts.  Okay, maybe she’s not totally righteous and proper but I’m still rooting her to come out on top.

          The other character to keep an eye on is Faith (who names herself Zephyr so she can realize her superhero fantasies).  Faith is an eternally optimist overweight high school misfit whose psiot powers are activated by Peter.  In gratitude for her feats of flight, she rescues a badly beaten Peter from what could have been a fatal confrontation with Harada. My second favorite line of Issue #6 is a thought caption from Kris: “Faith is a good name for this woman.”  (You’ll need to read it in context to fully appreciate it.)  My favorite line is also a thought caption from Kris regarding Harada:  “This man can do anything.  Kill anyone.  Affect everything.  And I ask myself, why is it considered heroic when a person with great power decides what’s right for the rest of us?”

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          The resourceful and becoming admirable Kris also gets the better of Harada while avoiding the next confrontation, and obtains the list of “rogue” psiots not under the protective umbrella of the Harada Foundation.  She then helps Peter start to form a group of Renegades so that his side will have a better chance next time. She seems to be the brains of this loose group and Peter begins to act a little more stable and less chaotic after allowing her to pull his strings.

         In Issue #7, the other secret organization interested in Peter and other psiots - the militaristic Project Rising Spirit – returns.  We meet some new latent psiots which Peter and Kris recruit and then activate.  There’s pole-dancing Flamingo with incendiary abilities.  Her initial meeting and back and forth trash-talking conversation with Kris is funny and not to be missed.  In Issue #8 we meet Torque, the dumb but strong and powerful protector of his crippled, bedridden brother.  Oh, wait - - the muscular guy may just be a projection made physical by the mental abilities of the guy with the useless legs.  This should be interesting.

          OK.  I’ve caught you up with events without giving away too much.  Remember to check out this next issue, which debuts February 6.  I was lucky enough to get an advance preview.

HARBINGER #0 (Valiant, February 2013)  Writer: Joshua Dysart.  Artists: Mico Suayan & Pere Perez.  Color Art: Brian Reber.  Letters: Dave Lanphear with Rob Steen.

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         Which brings us to this issue, and a great place to begin as well as a great place to continue.  “Few know the events that put Harada on the road to save the world from itself . . . and fewer still know why that mission is so personal” - - - and this issue gives us the details and background.

          Hiroshima, Japan August 1945 is when Harada’s powers were activated by the atomic bomb devastation during which he lost his family.  This issue flips back and forth between a very young and alone Harada finding his way (and his powers) where selfishness and corruption bloom anew amidst devastation.  These events probably turned Harada perceptions enough to help determine his future mission - - - however he learned way too early the power of violence and fear.  This background story contrasts with the present when an also young Darpa gets his first mission from mentor Harada and uses his powers to influence events in modern Syria.  It’s a dark little one-shot story that’s sure to make you want to look further within HARBINGER.

 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

From The Archives: HARBINGER first story arc reviewed

EDITOR’S NOTES:  As we begin the final story arc of HARBINGER tomorrow with Issue #22 (April 23, 2014 release date) it’s time to revisit this landmark Valiant title.  If you aren’t already familiar with this book, maybe this reprint of a BC REFUGEES blog from January 08, 2013 will encourage you to check it out . . . . . 
********************************************************************************
PGHHEAD PICK for Best of 2012: HARBINGER

           Every single one of the Valiant character revivals in 2012 was excellent.  I cannot say the same for all of the revived DC and Marvel titles of 2012 - - likewise for the other comics companies whose books I read last year.  So, Valiant was my choice to select as a “pick” for 2012 - - but which book ?  That was a tough choice.  While X-O MANOWAR was an early frontrunner, HARBINGER started out amazing and just got better with each issue.  So, my PGHHEAD PICK FOR THE BEST REBOOT OF 2012 is HARBINGER. **********

If you have over-looked this title you are missing one of the most engaging and different books among the current choices.  Valiant is wisely putting out the first-story arcs of their new titles in affordable $9.99 trade paperback editions.  Lucky you!   The HARBINGER Volume One trade paperback (Issue #1-5, “Omega Rising”) hits comic store shelves tomorrow!

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          HARBINGER provides an adventurous exploration of all aspects of enhanced mental abilities through the way that various characters utilize them.  They are referred to within the storyline as “psiots”; and exhibit powers of “telekinesis, levitation, spatial atomic distortion, electro-psychokinesis, etc . . .”  The two most prominent characters are both psionics = wealthy “humanitarian” Toyo Harada and fugitive Peter Stanchek, seemingly at opposite ends of the universal spectrum like Order and Chaos, or Ying and Yang.  There are also various scenes within the book that contrast how these two characters handle similar situations, beginning with the opening of Issue #1 which highlights two separate incidents when they were both 18 years of age.

          Things get intriguing from the get-go as it all begins in 1951 when a very young Harada (then 18) braves the unknown to uncover an uncharted monastery in Tibet, and holds off a heavily-armed security force with only the power of his mind.  He finally meets the “bleeding monk” who has inhabited and haunted his dreams and who aptly names his discoverer “harbinger”.  This new mentor (who later accompanies Harada back to the U.S.) can see into the future and describes Harada as “an unassuming wind . . . waiting to be whipped into a storm.”

          Those words foreshadow the panels introducing Peter Stanchek (18 years old in 2012), also battling some waking dreams as his mind acts like a radio receiver, constantly picking up the thought patterns of every single person within his perimeter of reception. (Issue #1 features a fantastic expressive cover which details a barrage of thought balloons bombarding Stanchek from all sides.)  Rather than meet his challenges head-on (as Harada did in Tibet) he seeks to muffle or conceal them by using pharmaceuticals to keep himself in a constant stupor.

          Toyo has a vision for the future and a purpose, and his every action is calculated to move those plans closer to fruition.  (Acquire the building blocks. Develop. Create events that move things forward. Control. )  Pete does not think beyond today, and his actions are immediate and more spontaneous rather than thought out or planned.  ( Satisfy immediate needs only. Get numb through sedation. Escape. Avoid.)

          So which of these two is the main character in this book?  And who should we root for?  The answer is both and neither.  As the story progresses it becomes clear that the fates of Harada and Stanchek are intertwined and dependent on each other (but not equally).  Toyo does have admirable qualities but you immediately sense that something much darker is hiding behind the curtain of his persona.  (One of the reasons I’m following this book - - I want to find out more).  There is even less to like about Pete - - - he’s dangerously unstable and an explosion waiting to happen.  He’s on the run and not sure where to turn.  We can understand his plight and empathize with his situations.  But we are unlikely to get warm and fuzzy in the way that issues of teen angst made us root for PETER PARKER, SPIDER-MAN.  Stanchek’s problems are self-induced and far removed from simple adolescent angst.  He’s a certified “nut job” (apologies to anyone who thinks I’m referring to them).  Sure, there have been mentally disturbed characters in comics before.  THE BADGER (First Comics, 1980’s) comes to mind as an extreme example.  However, he was crazy and funny at the same time. S tanchek is more crazy, and he’s not funny at all.  In fact, he’s realistic in a very frightening way.  Imagine a mentally disturbed person with super-human abilities.  (This is a another reason I’m following this book - - this makes it different than the usual fare).

          In the hands of a writer with average abilities these situations would seem more fantasy than reality.  We would not care because it would not feel real.  Writer Joshua Dysart is a master at this type of writing, and can make you feel it as if it is happening to you.  Watch and marvel at his style.  (Check out VIOLENT MESSIAHS and THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER for more evidence).  Artist Khari Evans brings a realistic style to this book that helps enhance the effect even further.

          There are several Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary (Eleventh Edition) definitions for “harbinger” = 1) a person sent ahead to provide lodging;  2) one that pioneers in or initiates a major change (precursor), and  3) one that presages or foreshadows what is to come (forerunner).  Between Toyo Harada and Pete Stanchek, which one is the “precursor” and who is the “forerunner”?   Are they both “harbingers”? Let’s pile up some more evidence before deciding that.  Right now it seems able to go either way.

ISSUE #1 HIGHLIGHTS:

          We get the details on the duration and reason for Pete’s flight and meet his also conflicted companion.  We learn of the vast scope of Harada Conglomerates and their efforts to help prop up struggling world economies while providing humanitarian aid to areas of famine or political turmoil.  Pete is so disturbed (and lonely) and has struggled so hard to cope that he has to reach back eight years to find any instance of companionship or love.  He trashes that relationship and manipulates situations in the worst possible way. The panels in which this occurs will make you sad.  There are other organizations besides Harada Conglomerates that are looking for Stanchek and they may be equally dangerous. Pete’s “friend” Joe Irons is operating within an entirely different level of disturbed, and his personal state of confusion causes him to slip up and bring trouble to them both.  (They recently escaped together from a mental institution).  Toyo has the ability to project images and converse long-distance and communicates with Pete, who only sees a talking dog.  He can also mentally project an imaginary setting and make it seem real. T oyo explains his purpose and mission, and offers Pete a chance to join his organization and learn to control his powers, find happiness, perhaps . . . .”  Dysart crams so much information into the debut issue that it requires several readings to recall it all.  But it’s not clutter.  The script has a real flow with perfect pacing so you never notice how much goes on and how quickly it happens until you get to the last panel.

Valiant - X-0 HARBINGER PAGE RH HAR_003_cvr

ISSUE #2 HIGHLIGHTS:

          Harada’s mental powers surfaced during the Hiroshima bombing.  New character Darpan (“The Mirror”) can bring horrible memories to life again and incapacitate a person by doing so.  Phased electromagnetic pulses at a certain frequency will disrupt the nervous system of psiots.  (Good to know!)  Pete reveals more of his powers (a psychic wall with enough force to repel and propel assailants) to add to his thought-reception and mind control / memory wipe abilities.  Meet Harada team members Rachel Hopson, a psiot sensate with tele-link abilities and Edward Sedgewick (Stronghold), who draws energy from mass, pulling it from building structures, etc.  Pete accepts Toyo’s offer in exchange for a promise of safety for his friends.

ISSUE #3 HIGHLIGHTS:

          Peter gets assigned quarters at the Harbinger Foundation, the secret school where he hopes to learn to better control and develop his powers.  Meet new character Amanda McKee (Livewire), able to control machines with her mind.  Toyo gives more insight into his operation, explaining that it’s a “culture” more than a corporation.  The pre-cog powers of the Bleeding Monk still see Peter Stanchek as a threat.  Hidden Moon is the headmaster of the school and a psionic dampener.  The students access their specific powers through a painful process referred to as “activation”.  Ingrid Hillcraft is a telepath who conducts the psychological evaluations for the school.  Her consultation with Pete reveals that his powers manifested at an early age and in a violent way, when he was being taunted at a playground.  His efforts to bring out similar abilities in others cost him a family member. Eventually everyone became so afraid of him that (while still of elementary school age) he was put under the care of one mental institution after another.  Student Daniel Hessler (Ion) controls electricity.  Lunchtime and the social hour go badly for Pete.

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ISSUE #4 HIGHLIGHTS:

          New character teenage Faith Herbert is blond and big and lacks confidence, but seems to act on hope.  Training at the school reveals more of Pete’s powers: a mind whip called “the sting”, thought-transference, limited telepathy, and impact psychokinesis (the repelling wall of force).  He worries about his friends and begins to see them in hallucinations.  The board members at Harada have mixed opinions and are conflicted about how to best handle Stanchek.  Pete learns of the gruesome consequences as Toyo shows him an activation session that ends up failing.  Toyo suggests that Pete may be able to activate latents with his mind, thereby avoiding the dangers of the machine process. Pete manages (with unexpected help) to get away from the compound and then rebels when he learns the news about his friends.

ISSUE #5 HIGHLIGHTS:

          Toyo Harada does not seem to deviate from his professed calling to help engineer a better world.  But mixed in with his public projection as a great humanitarian/benefactor we see evidence of lack of compassion .  He seems a great contradiction.  The man who wants to help mankind will also easily accept risking the lives of others to achieve those ends.  Didn’t someone once say that “deeds, not words” take a true measure of a person?  If so then his stated intentions mask an inner heartless being.  Pete gets angry and turns extreme, forcing a showdown with Toyo.  He get help from those unexpected sources.

          As you may suspect, there is an awful lot of great stuff occurring in this title.  Just look how many words it took me to try and describe some of it to you !  The contents of Issue #1 alone would take multiple chapters of text to truly convey, but Dysart and the art team pull it off through the visual power of the comics medium.  Good stuff.  Get some for yourself.

 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Advance info on HARBINGER: shockers ahead!

HAR_022_COVER_WALSH

(Editor’s Note: I’ve been  a big advocate for HARBINGER as Valiant’s best title, not an easy choice to make as all their books are high quality.  After reading the first story arc multiple times (and loving it) I stock-piled the following issues, planning a marathon reading binge at some future point. After learning of these two upcoming developments, I feel the urge to begin reading HARBINGER again as soon as possible. Here’s the first announcement  - - only second in importance due to the nature of the next announcement. Without that, this would probably be an even bigger deal.)

          Per the official press release, writer Joshua Dysart  “has made no bones” about his plan to kill a member of Valiant’s beloved teenage heroes, the Harbinger Renegades . . . . . but who will fall?   The devastating answer will be revealed in a three-part milestone called “Death Of A Renegade”.   This begins this Wednesday, April 23rd, featuring more incredible artwork from Clayton Henry.  It’s been labeled as the “most powerful story Valiant has released to date.” 

 

 

HAR_022_VARIANT_KITSON                         HAR_022_VARIANT_MONTOYA

(Editor’s Note:  The following announcement is the one that has me shocked. On the plus side, I fully expect a dynamic story with a finite ending.  As a consolation, at least there will be two Harbinger mini-series scripted by Dysart to get us through the summer.)

HAR_025_COVER_A_SUAYAN

          Spinning out of the deadly consequences of "Death of a Renegade" in next week's HARBINGER #22, Valiant is proud to announce two major milestones coming this summer for the wildly acclaimed ongoing series HARBINGER by New York Times best-selling writer Joshua DysartAs detailed  at WonderCon 2014, the title will reach its long-planned finale with July's HARBINGER #25 – an oversized, anniversary milestone issue featuring the final chapter of Dysart's long-running confrontation between Harbinger's super-powered team of teenage Renegades and their omega-powered ex-mentor, telekinetic zealot Toyo Harada.

          "I've always tried to remind readers that these are kids and they're in over their heads and they've never been very good at what they do.  There's just repercussions to this kind of behavior even if you have superpowers," writer Joshua Dysart revealed in an interview with Comic Book Resources.   "That's what we're moving toward, we're moving toward that final statement – really saying that strongly for the reader, 'This is what the story was always about.' It was about inexperience in the face of great danger."


          Clocking in at a massive 48 pages, HARBINGER #25 will also feature the return of original series artist Khari Evans (Archer & Armstrong) – plus all-new stories and artwork from an incredible cast of talents, including Barry Kitson (Adventures of Superman), Justin Jordan (The Strange Talent of Luther Strode), Lucy Knisley (Relish: My Life in the Kitchen), Riley Rossmo (Bedlam), Ron Wimberly (Prince of Cats), and many, many more.
Then, in August – out of the ashes of HARBINGER #25's devastating climax – find out what happens next to the most powerful players in the Harbinger universe as Joshua Dysart and heat-seeking artist Rafa Sandoval (Red Hood and the Outlaws) pick up of the pieces with an all-new, three-issue mini-series – HARBINGER: OMEGAS #1 (of 3) – that cloHAR_OMEGAS_001_COVER_LAROSAses the door on one generation of Harbinger Renegades…and prepares the foundation for another
.(Editor’s Note: Don’t forget the ARMOR HUNTERS: HARBINGER mini-series as well.)


          "HARBINGER: OMEGAS is about both the surviving members of Harbinger and how they move on from the loss and the finality of the event at the end of the Harbinger book; and it's also about Harada rebranding, changing his empire, dismantling Harada Global HTC and refashioning himself as really, for lack of a better term, what we would see as a more traditional super villain in comics, because he hasn't been given a choice," said Dysart.  "It's a bridge story about the change in these environments and how we're going to get to the next chapter of the Valiant Universe."

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Dynamite debuts creator-owned titles in July 2014

from the official press release . . . . . . . . . .

JOSHUA HALE FIALKOV KICKS OFF A NEW CHAPTER AT DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT.  THE DEVILERS ARRIVING IN JULY FOR ONLY $2.99.

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April 18th, 2014, Mt. Laurel, NJ:  Dynamite is proud to present the first book in a series of creator driven comics, featuring all new characters from the industry's best and brightest.  The Devilers is written by the acclaimed author Joshua Hale Fialkov, working with Dynamite for the first time, and accompanied by the incredible art of Matt Triano.

          Single issues in this line will be priced at $2.99, allowing fans the opportunity to affordably try all of the new series.  And to help retailers stock up with confidence, each launch issue will be completely returnable.  To sweeten the deal for fans and retailers alike, The Devilers #1 will feature covers by Eisner Award Nominee Jock and a beautiful retailer incentive by the masterful Marc Silvestri.  Be sure to look for The Devilers, coming this July to retailers and digital platforms.

          The following creator driven books are a small sampling of titles that will come after The Devilers, beginning August 2014 through 2015, to keep the momentum going, from the best comics has to offer:
Peter Milligan - Terminal Hero
Duane Swierczynski - Ex-Con
Andy Diggle, Angela Cruickshank, and Ben Oliver - Control
James Robinson - Grand Passion
More creators and titles are scheduled to be announced.

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          When the world is under siege from the pits of hell, it's up to The Devilers to set things right.  The world's greatest exorcists pit themselves against Satan's army, while all of creation hangs in the balance. From the writer of The Bunker, The Ultimates, and I, VAMPIRE comes a horror-fueled adventure through hell itself.

          "Fans of the work I did on I, VAMPIRE will find a continuation of a lot of the themes and ideas I started over there, but in a completely new package," says best-selling comic book writer Joshua Hale Fialkov, "It's been a blast to tell a big ol' supernatural horror adventure story again."

          "There's a great tradition of team books in comics and we've worked hard to continue that tradition here." - Joseph Rybandt, Dynamite Senior Editor.  "This series is the ‘Magnificent Seven' of different religious figures banding together to fight off an evil that will take all of their powers.  Joshua is an incredibly gifted writer who has proven that he can tackle any genre.  He has an impressive track record from Elk's Run and Tumor to his I, Vampire, Ultimates, Bunker comic series and more, and I will be biased in stating that The Devilers is his best work to date.  His writing is crisp and smart.  Add to that the incredible artwork that Matt Triano is delivering, and the unbelievably captivating covers by Jock, and you have an incredible series.  This is the first in an incredible line of creator driven books and we're launching off our creator-driven the line up with an incredible group of creators bring incredible passion for the launch series to help celebrate and usher in for the next chapter at Dynamite."

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          Joshua Hale Fialkov is the Eisner, Harvey, and Emmy award nominated creator of The Bunker, Tumor, Punks, and Echoes.  He was the writer of the critically acclaimed I, VAMPIRE for DC's New 52, and is an architect of the ULTIMATE UNIVERSE at Marvel Comics.  He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, daughter, two dogs, and a disgruntled cat.
The Devilers #1 will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors' May Previews catalog, the premiere source of merchandise for the comic book specialty market, and slated for release on July 16, 2014.  Comic book fans are encouraged to reserve copies of The Devilers #1 with their local comic book retailers.  The Devilers #1 will also be available for individual customer purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital.

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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