Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sweet Dreams

SANDMAN Vol. 1: PRELUDES & NOCTURNES
TPB: Sandman Vol. 1
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artist: Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg
With Neil Gaiman revisiting the Sandman universe with his new mini, Sandman: Overture, this seemed like a good time to review his original masterpiece. In the first volume, the Sandman is captured by a rich occultist who endeavors to capture Death and make it do his bidding. Instead, he captures the Sandman whom he imprisons for 70 years. Eventually escaping, he learns that the symbols of his office have since been turned into powerful relics used by the mystical community. On a search for the symbols of his station from which he draws power, the Sandman must deal with Constantine, go through Hell itself, and stop a deranged inmate of Arkham who suddenly has power and the sick mind to put it to use.
sandman-vol-1Neil Gaiman likely needs no introduction if you’re familiar with Sandman. It’s his best known work and one of the few graphic novels ever to make the New York Times Bestseller List.  Sam Kieth is both a writer and illustrator and is best known as the creator of the Maxx.
Drawing on everything from folklore, theology, mythology and fairy tales to populate his story, Gaiman masterfully writes about these larger than life characters while making them feel almost human. Confined for decades by someone who is terrified by death, Sandman feels he is resurrected after escaping and retrieving his symbols only to find his realm has decayed in his absence. In the final issue of the trade, Sandman reveals to his sister Death that he feels adrift now that his revenge has been taken and isn’t sure what to do with himself.
The art (Kieth for the first five, Dringenberg for the final three) is fantastic throughout. The character models including that of its titular character are all offbeat and stylized but not to the point of obscuring detail.  Shadows and lighting are used to similar effect but the eighth issue occurs in broad daylight showing that the art is always in service of the story and not the other way around. The Dreamscape backgrounds are similarly breathtaking.
I’ve heard the first volume is not very representative of the whole series so I’ll avoid attempting to paint the entire series with a broad brush based on only this trade. But in closing, after talking with my fellow podcasters, many had never read this series. For something started in 1989, that’s forgivable given many of our ages. But whether you’re rereading this two decades after it closed or reading it for the first time, I highly recommend picking it up before the second issue of Overture comes out in February.

Final rating (out of 5): 
5_Star

Friday, February 27, 2015

Photo Fun with Batman. . . . .

Editor's Note: I would love to credit the photographer here but they are not known to me, and could not be identified. This was sent to me by my son. It belongs right next to the Batman playing Batman pinball at The Comic Shop photo from last year.





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Where are you celebrating FREE COMIC BOOK DAY?





The Free Comic Book Day Store Locator is now LIVE and ready for you to type in your zip code to see what comic shops near you are celebrating the big day on May 2, 2015! Find out where you'll be able to get FREE comics now!

FIND A SHOP
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Go to www.freecomicbookday.com/store locator

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This Is Horror Awards 2014: Winners announced

EDITOR’S NOTE: I visit www.thisishorror.co.uk  on a regular basis. They do a professional job of covering modern horror in book, film and audio and even dapple in small press publishing. Every year they give recognition to the year’s best horror.  It makes a great shopping list and starting point for exploration.  See the link below for the full article . . . . . . .

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By ThisIsHorror on Feb 24, 2015 12:00 pm
It’s that time again. We’re announcing the winners of the This Is Horror Awards 2014. Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who voted, it’s your participation that makes the This Is Horror Awards such a special occasion. Now to the winners. This Is Horror Awards 2014: Winners Novel of the Year Winner: Bird Box by …

Continue reading »

Friday, February 20, 2015

ONI revives INVADER ZIM animated series in new comics

from the official press release . . . . . .

PORTLAND, OR February 18, 2015 – Oni Press, Portland’s premier independent comic book publisher, announced today it is collaborating with Jhonen Vasquez and Nickelodeon in producing an ongoing comic book series based on the beloved animated show Invader Zim.  The series will explore a new chapter in Zim’s Earth invasion and the adventures of GIR, Dib and Gaz.  The first comic will release on July 1st, 2015.

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          "All of us at Oni Press are elated to be bringing the first new Invader Zim stories in years to a rabid fanbase," explained Oni Press Editor in Chief, James Lucas Jones. "Getting to tell those tales with folks from the show like Jhonen, Aaron Alexovich, Eric Trueheart, and Rikki Simons just makes it all the more sweet."

          Zim, the diminutive, na├»ve Irken soldier, is assigned to invade Earth to keep him from disrupting his leaders’ plans to expand their empire.  Arriving on the unsuspecting planet, he tries to blend in by disguising himself and his malfunctioning robot sidekick GIR as a human boy and his dog.  Zim is constantly hounded by his nemesis Dib, who recognizes his alien nature, and Dib’s younger sister Gaz.

         “I’m always confused when people say how much they miss Invader Zim because the show never stopped running in my head, and then I remember everyone else isn’t in my head," said show creator Jhonen Vasquez.  "I try to imagine the world for all those people who don’t know what Zim’s been up to since the show went off the air and it makes me shudder.  How can people live that way?  Hopefully this comic helps make the world a better place.”

          In 2001 animation fans were introduced to Zim, his oft-foiled plots to enslave the Earth and Jhonen Vasquez’s dark, funny universe on Nickelodeon.  The show and Vasquez’s iconic characters went on to become cult classics with a following to this day. Fans have been waiting for the return of Zim and GIR; now they’ll get it in the first all-Zim comic book, part of Nickelodeon’s commitment to bring its beloved classic characters to new audiences.

About Oni Press
Oni Press has been revolutionizing comics since 1997. Home to a range of rad comics including Scott Pilgrim, The Sixth Gun, Letter 44, Stumptown, Princess Ugg and The Bunker, Oni Press strives to create comics for you.
About Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon, now in its 35th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. .It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. .The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books and feature films. .Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in more than 100 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for 20 consecutive years. .For more information or artwork, visit
http://www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIA.B).

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New publisher tackles ADHD, Dyslexia with web comic reprint

This article has been compiled from several official press releases . . . . .

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Debuting this June and available for pre-order in the April 2015 PREVIEWS catalog (Diamond Code FEB150906) is CLAY’S WAY COLLECTION MAGAZINE – reprinting 140+ comic strips from the online web comic strip at ClaysWay.com.  Young Clay and his best friend Pan handle life, ADHD, Dyslexia and keeping batteries in their light sabers.  The strip takes a humorous approach to a serious issue and offers guidelines, advice and links for parents of children with learning “differences” (as opposed to calling them learning disabilities).

The book is published by new company AFTERBURN, who recently entered the crowded super-hero comic book market with some original creations.  BC Refugees has been following their progress and noticed some interest and momentum building for their line.  CLAY’S WAY is a nice addition, which shows they are willing to invest in properties to promote worthwhile causes along with developing a line of standard comics and graphic novels.

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CLAY’S WAY COMIC STRIP COLLECTION MAGAZINE #1 takes the work of Robert W. Hickey, Jackie Hernadez, Chris Dreier, and Steve Segelin and compiles it into a full color, 56 page magazine-sized limited collection series. (Cover price $7.99).

The Clay’s Way web site gives some background on the comic strip . . . . .

“This site is the work of Katie and Robert Hickey.
Robert is a comic book writer and artist who also owned a comic book store in Florence, KY. 
For over twelve years Katie has worked hard to make sure her boys get the education that they desire while working a full time job. Katie also came up with the term “Learning Differences”.
Robert came up with the idea of Clays Way to share information and resources for other parents. Being an artist Robert decided to feature a comic strip based mostly on true events that he and Katie have observed with both of their sons who have Learning Differences.
ClaysWay.com features one comic strip update a week and with updates to the resources, blogs and more.

“We wouldn’t want our children to be any different. They have educated us in so many ways and have given us a new way to see life on a daily basis.”
-Robert”

CW_Collection_Mag_01pg02

About AFTERBURN:
With over 25+ years of manufacturing and publishing history, Robert W. Hickey, along with his brother Mike and co-creator Bill Nichols, has started AFTERBURN, a publishing arm that offers comics books, graphic novels and special items to stores in print and digital formats.
  Robert is the co-founder of Blue Line Art, the original manufacturer of professional comic book art boards. Blue Line has supplied thousands of artists over the years with quality art boards and supplies. Blue Line was the first to package and offer art boards to retail outlets with over 40 different products that support comic creators.
  Robert helped create Sketch Magazine (along with Bill Nichols as the current senior editor), offering comic creators their own magazine to learn and share tips and creative techniques of the industry.
  The founding force is SkyStorm Studio, where Robert has created comics for over 25 years. Within that time he has created top-selling comics for distribution into mainstream outlets such as Wal-Mart, Toys R Us and comic shops around the world.
AFTERBURN's goal is pulling together new and established talents such as Tom & Mary Bierbaum (Legion of Superheroes, Legionnaires), Greg Land (Iron Man, Avengers), Beau Smith (Guy Gardner, Wildcat from DC) and Chris Dreier just to name a few to create quality and entertaining stories.

Dynamite series to highlight female icons, female writers

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Fresh off Marvel’s announcement of an all female Avengers team with A-FORCE comes this news of a Dynamite cross-over event featuring their core female characters and scripted by an all-female writing team.  As long as these series are good, I say the more the merrier!  You can’t beat the quality of writing to be anticipated from this cast of creators.  Read on . . . .

press release written by Keith Davidsen . . . . . 

GAIL SIMONE HEADLINES ALL-FEMALE WRITING TEAMS
ON EPIC "SWORDS OF SORROW" EVENT,

UNITING RED SONJA, DEJAH THORIS, VAMPIRELLA, AND
MORE DYNAMITE ICONS
FOR CORE SERIES AND TIE-IN TITLES

Sorrow01-Cov-A-Campbell                      Sorrow01-Cov-D-Sub-Hack

February 18, 2015, Mt. Laurel, NJ:  Dynamite Entertainment is proud to announce the May 2015 launch of Swords of Sorrow, the genre-spanning crossover event featuring an all-star line-up of female authors, headlined by Gail Simone (Batgirl, Birds of Prey).   Debuting with a core Swords of Sorrow series by Simone, the crossover continues throughout May with tie-in titles including the Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella / Jennifer Blood miniseries written by Nancy A. Collins (Vampirella, Swamp Thing); the Swords of Sorrow: Chaos special by Mairghread Scott (Transformers: Windblade); and the Swords of Sorrow: Masquerade / Kato special by G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel) and Erica Schultz (M3). Subsequent months will debut related projects by additional female authors, including Leah Moore, Marguerite Bennett, Emma Beeby, and Mikki Kendall.  The crossover event brings together Dynamite's wide roster of female characters, including the iconic Red Sonja, Dejah Thoris (of the popular Edgar Rice Burroughs' Warlord of Mars franchise), and Vampirella.

GailSimonePressPhoto

Gail Simone, who has been planning the project since her involvement was announced in July, says,  "Here's the thing: I love pulp adventure, always have.  But as male-dominated as comics have often been, the pulp adventure world seems to be even more so.  Most of the big name stars and creators are dudes, and that's fine, it's great.  But it hit me... what if that wasn't the case?  What if adventure pulps had also been written with female readers in mind, and awesome female characters in the spotlight? That's the scenario we are imagining, and it's just been a blast.  The key players are Red Sonja, Vampirella, and Dejah Thoris, but it's such an epic-spanning, world-hopping event that we also have Kato, Jungle Girl, Lady Rawhide, Jennifer Blood, and so many more.  It's the crossover I dreamed of when I was a kid, and now we get to make it happen."

Simone's core Swords of Sorrow story serves as the starting point for a new universe of pulp adventure. Illustrated by Sergio Davila (Legenderry: A SSorrow01-Cov-F-Incen5-Chinteampunk Adventure), the series features the supernatural heroine Vampirella, Martian princess Dejah Thoris, crimson-tressed swordswoman Red Sonja, martial artist Kato (from filmmaker Kevin Smith's reboot of The Green Hornet), primal warrior Jungle Girl, and many more.  Drawn from a dozen worlds and eras to face off against a legendary evil that threatens their homelands, Dynamite's fiercest females must overcome their differences to harness the power of mystical blades -- the eponymous Swords of Sorrow -- in final conflict.

Gail Simone also serves as the architect for all storylines tied into the event, providing direction to her personally selected team of writers.  "We got the best writers around, gave them a fun combination of characters and just let them go wild," says Simone.  "It's creators like G. Willow Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, Nancy A. Collins and more, with book titles like Vampirella vs. Jennifer Blood, Kato vs. Masquerade, and Red Sonja vs. Jungle Girl.  More about these tag teams will be coming soon, but it's just a ridiculous amount of fun to set these characters against each other, and I'm very proud of the astounding team of writers, who I hand-picked from among the very best of new female adventure writers.  There's never been a crossover event in comics like this, ever."

Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite, says, "The prospect of Gail Simone helming this historic event (and I really think "historic" is the applicable term, because we've never seen such a far-ranging cast of female icons before) would have been enough to make the Dynamite team ecstatic ten times over... but then Gail took it to the next level.   She proposed to make the event even bigger by creating a tapestry of interwoven stories, a work of art to which many of today's most revered female talents could contribute.  What would have been a big event suddenly became a Grand Event, and we couldn't be more pleased with the incredible creators that she's brought together, working hand-in-hand with our editorial team to create some of the best comics of the summer."

Several of the participating writers contributed their thoughts on the event:SoS-Vampi-JB-001-Cov-A-Tan

  • Nancy A. Collins, author of the Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella / Jennifer Blood miniseries (illustrated by Dave Acosta), says, "I'm having to play catch-up; I don't have a lot of experience with tie-ins and cross-over events, as the last one was the Children's Crusade crossover at Vertigo, back in the early 1990s -- but luckily, Gail Simone has been a great help in that regard.  I think that the Swords of Sorrow event will give Dynamite's core fan-base what they want while helping to introduce new readers to all the wonderful characters the company has to offer."  Regarding her miniseries, Collins adds, "Both Vampirella and Jennifer Blood touch on elements I've exploited in my prose novels, especially the Sonja Blue series, which is an urban fantasy with strong roots in crime noir and hardboiled pulp fiction."   
  • Mairghread Scott, author of the Swords of Sorrow: Chaos special SoS-Chaos-Cov-A-Chin(illustrated by Mirka Andolfo), says, "There are few times in your career where you get asked to write a book made entirely of villains (and one tortured anti-hero), and I got to do it for the intro issue to some of the biggest names in comics.  I've pulled out all the stops on this one, trading in the morally gray antagonists of my Transformers work for some straight-up evil women.  It's been a blast. Swords of Sorrow: Chaos buries you in some of the darkest minds in Dynamite's roster.  These are the kind of ladies who are fond of how blood stains look on six-inch heels and they make no apologies for it."
  • Erica Schultz, co-author alongside G. Willow Wilson on the Swords of Sorrow: Masquerade / Kato special (illustrated by Noah Salonga), says, "I love being a part of a crossover event, especially with these other amazing talents.  Gail and Dynamite have put SS-Masq-Kato-Cov-A-Tantogether a really great group of ladies to tell such a fantastical story.  I know everyone is going to love it. Having worked on Revenge for Marvel, and my own series M3, I have a penchant for writing kick-ass ladies, and these stories fall right in line."

Swords of Sorrow #1 features a variety of cover editions, including a Main cover by industry superstar J. Scott Campbell (Danger Girl); variants by Jenny Frison, Emanuela Lupacchino; a subscription edition by Robert Hack available to fans placing preorders with their local retailers; and incentive editions by Joyce Chin, Tula Lotay, Nei Ruffino, Cedric Poulat.   Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella / Jennifer Blood #1 and the Swords of Sorrow: Masquerade / Kato special both feature covers by Billy Tan, while the Swords of Sorrow: Chaos special spotlights Joyce Chin.

The May Swords of Sorrow releases will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors' March 2015 Previews catalog, the premiere source of merchandise for the comic book specialty market.   Comic book fans are encouraged to reserve copies of Swords of Sorrow #1 and related titles with their local comic book retailers.  Swords of Sorrow will also be available for individual customer purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital.

Sorrow01-Cov-H-Incen20-RuffinoSorrow01-Cov-I-Incen30-PoulatSorrow01-Cov-G-Incen10-Lotay

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Dynamite partners for collectible character statues

EDITOR’S NOTES:  I’ve been keeping an eye on the growth of this New Jersey comics company lately, and  I continue to be impressed with their progress. This looks like some high quality work, although I wouldn’t be allowed to have this art in my home. In spite of the provocative imagery, it remains some really fine art.

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

dynamite-logo

BrewingFactoryLogo-BlackBlue

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT AND THE BREWING FACTORY
TEAM TO DEVELOP AND MANUFACTURE 3-D MERCHANDISE

LINE LAUNCHES WITH J. SCOTT CAMPBELL-INSPIRED
WOMEN OF DYNAMITE COLLECTIBLES, DEBUTING WITH VAMPIRELLA STATUE

February 16, 2015, Mt. Laurel, NJ:  Dynamite Entertainment, a leading publisher of original and licensed comic books, graphic novels, and e-books, expands its extensive merchandising program with its proud announcement of a creative partnership with The Brewing Factory, the merchandise development company founded by Georg Brewer.  The partnership will grow the Dynamite product line with new three-dimensional categories, most notably collectible statues and toys.   The first projects will be a line of female character statues, Women of Dynamite, debuting with a Vampirella statue featuring the iconic comic book heroine and horror hostess (sculpted by Jason Smith and based on the artwork of J. Scott Campbell), and slated for release in June 2015.

Dynamite_Vampirella.stt_promo2D

Georg Brewer is an award-winning creative and production expert, and former Vice President of Design & Product Development at DC Comics; well known for establishing DC Direct, the successful (and fan-favorite) collectibles business where he led creative development.  In 2011, Brewer founded The Brewing Factory LLC, providing a wide range of creative, design, franchise development and brand management consulting services for new and established products and brands.

"I've been really fortunate to work on some great projects these last few years, but my first love will always be comics," says Georg Brewer.  "Working with Nick and Joe at Dynamite, and their talented comics creators, has been a blast!  It's certainly been a fantastic way for me to get back to where it all started, and along with sculptor Jason Smith, we are creating an amazing line of statues."

"We are extremely fortunate to work with someone of Georg's knowledge, skill, experience, and sterling reputation," says Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment.  "His passion and expertise in the development and manufacturing of cool fan collectibles is second to none, and our being able to work with Georg is going to help bring fans additional great product lines featuring Dynamite's extensive library of characters.  The debut product line resulting from our creative partnership will be Women of Dynamite statues inspired by J. Scott Campbell artwork, and from there, we will continue to delve into our expansive library of intellectual properties."

The Brewing Factory has created many successful toy and collectible products, developed new IP concepts, and a line of electronics accessories.  Aligned with key strategic partners, Brewer has also created deluxe Collector Editions items for the video game industry and premiums for Star Wars Celebration conventions.  In 2012, Brewer expanded his focus to cover international markets, partnering with clients throughout Europe and Asia developing innovative and successful branded products and media content for both boys and girls distributed internationally.  Entering into a long-term agreement with the Hong Kong based toy and entertainment company, Dracco Co. Ltd.; Brewer led the creative, brand management and digital groups supervising teams in three countries.  Expanding further into media content, Brewer is now the Executive Creative Producer for the CGI TV series, currently in development, Funtasia based on the popular European toy brand Filly, and is working with renowned music producer KlausD developing original pop music for the series and individual release.  Two new animated web series based on toy concepts he helped create, Zombie Zity and Kitty Club, are also in the works.

Dynamite_Vampirella.stt_promo1D

Dynamite was founded in 2004 and is home to several best-selling comic book titles and properties, including The Boys, The Shadow, Vampirella, Warlord of Mars, Bionic Man, A Game of Thrones, and more.  Dynamite owns and controls an extensive library with over 3,000 characters (which includes the Harris Comics and Chaos Comics properties), such as Vampirella, Evil Ernie, Chastity, Purgatori, and Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt.   In addition to their critically-acclaimed titles and bestselling comics, Dynamite works with some of the most high profile creators in comics and entertainment.  Dynamite is consistently ranked in the upper tiers of comic book publishers and several of their titles have debuted in the Top Ten lists produced by Diamond Comics Distributors.  The company has also been nominated for and won several industry awards, including the prestigious Gem, Harvey, and Eisner Awards.


"LIKE" DYNAMITE'S FACEBOOK PAGE TODAY!
http://www.facebook.com/dynamitecomics
Join the conversation on Dynamite Entertainment's twitter page at http://twitter.com/DynamiteComics
To find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook or visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com/
For art and more information, please visit: http://www.dynamite.com/
All characters, names, logos, etc. are ™ and © their respective owners.  Press release written by Keith Davidsen.

Monday, February 16, 2015

NINJAK #1 includes second feature, origin and secrets

EDITOR’S NOTES:  This looks to be another exciting debut for Valiant this year.  I heard that Captain Blue Hen Comics in Newark DE is planning an in-store event to celebrate NINJAK on the release date of March 11. You can find more details on their website . . . .  http://www.captainbluehen.com/

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

NINJAK_001_COVER-A_LAROSA

 

          Valiant is proud to present your first look inside NINJAK: THE LOST FILES – an essential second feature from New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (THE VALIANT, RAI) and Eisner Award-nominated artist Butch Guice (Captain America), beginning on March 11th in NINJAK #1!

          Clocking in at 40 pages monthly for the standard $3.99 cover price, each issue of NINJAK's highly anticipated ongoing series features a lead feature by writer Matt Kindt and superstar artist Clay Mann, PLUS a new chapter of Ninjak’s never-before-revealed origin in NINJAK: THE LOST FILES!

          More than just a typical back-up feature, each chapter of NINJAK: THE LOST FILES will be integral to the lead narrative of NINJAK's ongoing series.  Not oNINJAK_001_COVER-B_MANNnly will NINJAK: THE LOST FILES reveal the secrets of Ninjak’s training and origin for the first time in any medium, but also add new depth and dimension to the epic adventures of MI-6’s leading super-spy as he begins the hunt for the Shadow Seven – the clandestine heads of the terrorist Weaponeer organization – in the modern day.

          Then: meet inexperienced MI-6 recruit Colin King on his first mission in the field as he learns the basics of spycraft and counterintelligence, and develops a volatile relationship with his first handler.  Now: Colin King is Ninjak, the world’s foremost intelligence operative, weapons expert, and master assassin. And he’s tracking the Shadow Seven – a secret cabal of shinobi masters with mysterious ties to his training and tragic past.

          The past and future of Valiant's deadliest secret agent collide on March 11th in NINJAK #1 – the first 40-page issue of the latest ongoing series from VALIANT NEXT by all-star creators Matt Kindt, Clay Mann, and Butch Guice!

For more information, visit Valiant at Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and ValiantUniverse.com.

For Valiant merchandise and more, visit ValiantStore.com.NINJAK_001_COVER-C_JOHNSON

 

NINJAK #1 [VALIANT NEXT]
Written by MATT KINDT
Art by CLAY MANN with BUTCH GUICE
Cover A by LEWIS LAROSA [JAN151636]
Cover B by CLAY MANN [JAN151637]
Cover C by DAVE JOHNSON [JAN151638]
Cover D by MARGUERITE SAUVAGE [JAN151639]
Blank Cover Also Available [JAN151640]
Valiant Next Variant by TREVOR HAIRSINE & TOM MULLER [JAN151641]
Character Design Variant by CLAY MANN [JAN151642]
B&W Sketch Variant by LEWIS LAROSA [JAN151643]
$3.99 | 40 pages. | T+ | On sale MARCH 11 (FOC – 2/16/15)

NINJAK_001_COVER-D_SAUVAGE                    NINJAK_001_001_guice

DC’s FCBD 2015 focuses on three new DIVERGENCE titles

EDITOR’S NOTES:  Not to be outdone, DC attempts to trump Marvel with their own re-boot beginning June 2015 when DIVERGENCE begins with 24 new title launches. Wow!  The New 52 didn’t last two long, did it?   Personally, I’m way beyond the point of saturation with super-hero titles and have no stomach to digest the massive pile of books that will encompass both Marvel’s SECRET WARS and DC’s DIVERGENCE events.  Perhaps I can find another writer with a keen  interest in reviewing all these titles and post their articles here.  I would like to provide our BC readers some commentary on these books. I just know it’s not going to come from me.

You can read more of the full details on DC’s plans at the PREVIEWS website.

. See more on that big news at PREVIEWSworld.com.

FCBD DC_1

Here’s a short summary of the DC Free Comic Book Day, offering provided by PREVIEWSworld:

“A first look at upcoming storylines will be the focus of DC Entertainment’s Free Comic Book Day issue – DC Comics: Divergence – available Saturday, May 2, featuring three 8-page previews for the June releases of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman, as well as Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok’s launch of the Darkseid War within Justice League featuring the biggest villains in the DCU – Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor, and Gene Luen Yang's DC Comics debut with celebrated artist John Romita, Jr on Superman.   More than half a million free issues of the DC Entertainment sampler will be given away at comic book retailers globally.”

FCBD reveals details of Marvel SECRET WARS FCBD offering

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Allegedly the Marvel Universe comes to an end, to be replaced by Battleworld - - all outlined in SECRET WARS #0, Marvel’s Free Comic Book Day offering this May.

The website has posted a full interview with Marvel Editor Tom Brevoort, which you can read at this link . . . . . . . . 

http://www.freecomicbookday.com/Home/1/1/27/206?articleID=159981

FCBD Marvel681239_4

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valiant getting ready for 25th birthday celebration

VALIANT_25th_logo_designed-by-Rian-Hughes

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

          Valiant's 25th year is going to be the biggest one yet!  The silver anniversary celebration begins this May on Free Comic Book Day 2015, and continues all VALIANT_FCBD2015_COVER_Art by Rafa Sandovalsummer long with monumental new releases honoring Valiant's historic place in comics history – and laying the groundwork for another 25 years to come!

          In 1990, the first Valiant comics hit the shelves and, then, the impossible happened – an upstart, independent company created a new, cohesive universe that managed to go toe-to-toe with the industry's biggest publishers, forever changing the comics landscape in the process.  Some of comics' greatest talents – Jim Shooter, Bob Layton, Barry Windsor-Smith, and more – joined the ranks with a who's who of up-and-comers – including David Lapham, Joe Quesada, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Sean Chen – to build one of the first true legends of the modern age of comics.

          Quickly becoming one of the most recognized comic book companies in the world with more than 80 million comics sold, Valiant became the first publisher to ever approach Marvel or DC in scope and sales.  In turn, Valiant's now-classic characters – X-O MANOWAR, BLOODSHOT, HARBINGER, ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, RAI, and dozens more – became a pivotal force in comicVALIANT-HANDBOOK-2015_COVER_GUICEs fandom, reshaping the industry with a character-first approach to comics storytelling and creating what would eventually grow to become the largest independent universe anywhere in comics.

          Now, two and half decades on from those monumental origins, Valiant is proud to announce the Valiant 25th Anniversary celebration – a months-long commemoration of the indelible heroes, volatile villains, and world-class creators that shaped Valiant into one of the most celebrated publishers in comics history.  Spanning an all-star cast of Valiant's talents past and present, this summer's celebration of 25 years of Valiant begins on Free Comic Book Day with the Valiant 25th Anniversary Special, and will continue with all-new new releases across Valiant's monthly publishing line in print and digital, hardcover and trade paperback catalog, and roster of licensed merchandise.

          "Valiant has always been about creating stories that will stand the test of time 25 years from now, not reflecting on the successes of 25 years ago," said Valiant Publisher Fred Pierce.  "As a member of the Valiant team across more than two decades, I can say that our 25th anniversary is an incredibly exciting turning point for us as one of the premier storytelling companies in comics.  All summer long, we'll be revealing glimpses of where Valiant is headed next with special initiatives in print, digital, and licensing for one of our largest and most coordinated efforts to date."

BSRB_002_VARIANT_25th-SANDOVAL          IMPERIUM_004_VARIANT_25th-SANDOVAL          UNITY_018_VARIANT_25th-SANDOVAL

          "Even after two decades, many of the innovations Valiant brought to the industry shortly after its arrival in 1990 continue to be felt today," said Valiant CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani.  "For the 25th anniversary, we're celebrating that spirit of creative freedom that made Valiant such an influential force in the first place, and honoring those that made it possible for us to continue the mission of making the best superhero comics in the industry.

          "Each year, we always make it known to fans and retailers that they can expect something big from Valiant on Free Comic Book Day," he added.  "Rarely are there occasions bigger than the 25th anniversary of one of the most iconic publishers in comics history.  Kicking off with our Free Comic Book Day release, and continuing throughout the summer, we're going to make Valiant's 25th year its most exciting to date.  Titles like BLOODSHOT REBORN, NINJAK, IMPERIUM, and DIVINITY are only the beginning.  All summer long, we'll be revealing a slew of surprises spinning out of our silver anniversary plans."

VALIANT_25th_poster_Artwork by Kano

          The year's can't-miss celebration officially kicks off on May 2nd in the FCBD 2015: VALIANT 25th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL – featuring two all-new stories and a myriad of never-before-seen special features chronicling Valiant's storied place in comics history!  First, New York Times best-selling writer Jeff Lemire and blockbuster artist Butch Guice chronicle the devastating fallout of THE VALIANT as Bloodshot rises from the ashes to unleash a never-before-seen prelude to BLOODSHOT REBORN!  Then, Valiant superstars Robert Venditti and Rafa Sandoval throw down the gauntlet for an action-packed introduction to the world of X-O MANOWAR and an all-new tale of DEAD HAND!  Plus: NINJAK; IMPERIUM; DIVINITY; IVAR, TIMEWALKER; RAI; special guests from throughout Valiant's decades-long history; and a cavalacade of special surprises!

          The Valiant 25th Anniversary celebration continues throughout the summer with a host of new offerings in May and beyond, beginning with two very special places for fans to discover Valiant's biggest heroes!  First up, don't miss the all-new VALIANT UNIVERSE HANDBOOK: 2015 EDITION, spotlighting everything you need to know about Valiant's heroes – who they are, what makes them tick, and where they're headed next!  Featuring highly detailed and thoroughly updated entries on all of Valiant's most important players, discover everything you need to know about Valiant's award-winning publishing line here -- just as the 25th Anniversary celebration begins in full force!

VALIANT_FCBD2015_003

          Then, get up close and personal with the legendary origins behind Valiant's most indelible icons in the VALIANT: ZEROES & ORIGINS trade paperback collection, re-presenting each of Valiant's greatest zero issue introductions to X-O MANOWAR, BLOODSHOT, HARBINGER, SHADOWMAN, and more from a world-class cast of creators including Joshua Dysart, Matt Kindt, Lewis LaRosa, Clay Mann, Peter Milligan, Mico Suayan, Robert Venditti, and many more!

          Plus: don't miss a very special new series of Valiant 25th Anniversary variant covers by red-hot artist Rafa Sandoval showcasing a diverse cast of heroes and villains from across 25 years of Valiant history beginning in May!  A special series of alternate shelf covers featuring Valiant's ever-growing line-up of heroes new and old, look for these Valiant 25th Anniversary variant covers on your favorite Valiant titles all summer long.

          May 2015 is only just the beginning… Stay tuned for even more exciting Valiant 25th Anniversary news and releases in the weeks and months to come!

VALIANT_FCBD2015_001          VALIANT_FCBD2015_002

For more information, visit Valiant online at Facebook.com/ValiantComics, Twitter.com/ValiantComics, ValiantEntertainment.Tumblr.com and ValiantUniverse.com.

For Valiant merchandise and more, visit ValiantStore.com.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Indie Comics: pre-order big Adventure issue

EDITOR'S NOTE: We have been regular endorsers of INDIE COMICS MAGAZINE, which provides an affordable forum for independent creators to get their work exposed to a bigger audience. Issue #9 looks to be very entertaining. Here are the details:
. . . . . From the official press release . . . .



Today's the day to order Indie Comics Magazine #9 in February's Previews!

It's the Adventure Issue! From highly trained, covert operatives, to anthropomorphic noire, to murder foul, Indie Comics Magazine #9 explores feats of excitement and peril!

Look for the 1/2 page ad in the order book to order from Aazurn Publishing, right at the beginning of the comic book listings!

“Cruzader, Agent of the Vatican” runs deadly missions for the pope! Omar Morales is the energetic writer, creator, and publisher of the action-packed “CruZader” graphic novel. With the tagline "Prophecies, Aliens, Sinners and Saints," CruZader features pencils and inks by Joel Cotejar.



“The Professional(s)" kick butt to save a city and build a legend! Writer Ramon Gil spent 20 years working advertising in New York City. He taught at the Parsons School of Design, started his own design and marketing company, and now writes SciFies, The Men from Darpa, The Hard Code and more.



A mysterious hooded cult appears for “The Harvest!” Troy Vevasis’ latest anthology series is Ghostly Comics #2. Fan favorites Furry Qaileny (all ages comics), Vaxdor and The Ikton Conflict, and the Trolik series featured distinctive art by Lee Milewski.

We investigate a brutal murder in “The Case of the Misused Grant!” Marta Tanrikulu is an American writer of comics stories in various genres. Her work has appeared on the Verticalismi website, in Red Stylo Media anthologies, and in the Cellar Door: Ancient, the 215 Ink Ignition Volume 1, the Arcana Steampunk Volume 2, and the Indie Ladies Comic: Ladies Chatter anthologies.

Microman is let go from his super-group in “The Downsizing of Quentin Mykroh!” Devastating Roulette Studios is a team of creators formed in 1993 by writer Derek Adnams and Brandon Bullock.



Uncle Pat reveals the story of a maiden, disease, Conquistadors and death, in “The Womanatee!” Writer Terry Cronin is a creator of Students of the Unusual, author of The Skinvestigator novels, and writer of the new, all ages comic series “Horse Power G.”

Heresy shall not be tolerated as the Astral Crusaders return! Writer Paul Bradford lives in Western Australia and writes comics containing a broad spectrum of themes and ideas. He also writes Gothic poetry under the pseudonym Hierophantom and has produced small press "zines" through his company Inertia Publications.




Plus, we introduce “Toots Malloy, Blues Ninja,” a no-nonsense musician with a passion for his art. The series is written by Patrick Cline and produced by Guys 'N' Ties Comic Studio: Matt Rooke, Stephen Sharar, David Andres, and Jon Scrivens.

Tell your buddies at the comic shop how much you enjoy our variety and our done-in-one stories! A Previews exclusive found only in comic shops, Indie Comics Magazine #9 can NOW be ordered from FEBRUARY 2015’s PREVIEWS CATALOG under Aazurn Publishing.


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Sherlock Holmes and Kolchak work the same ground in expanded novel




Editor's Note: I'd heard that this was an exceptional graphic novel. Now readers like myself, who missed it on the first go around, can check it out.

Release Date June 2015
SHERLOCK HOLMES & KOLCHAK:
“Cry for Thunder”
Author: Joe Gentile
Cover Art: Doug Klauba
6’ x 9’, sc, 139pgs, $9.99
ISBN: 978-1-936814-87-9(5999)

The long awaited MUCH EXPANDED (over TWICE the story!) novelization of the
critically acclaimed crossover graphic novel!
Two of the most unique investigators of all time attempt to untangle the same
mystery…100 years apart from each other! The lawless wild west- the hidden
world of Victorian London- the present day hell of Hollywood…there…and back
again.…one of the strangest stories never told…

“Gentile's characterization was top-notch. Holmes is brilliant, sharp-
tongued, crafty, manipulative, physical and surprisingly compassionate in his
pursuit of justice in the name of an unjustly imprisoned immigrant…Gentile's
narrative voice for Kolchak perfectly captures Darren McGavin's noirish
voiceovers and downtrodden schmuck-who-won't-give-up personality.”- BookGuide


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Monday, February 2, 2015

DEAD DROP conspiracy thriller drops in May 2015

from the official press release . . . . . .

Four issues. Four stories. One ticking clock. The countdown to DEAD DROP begins this May!

Valiant is proud to announce DEAD DROP #1 (of 4) – the FIRST ISSUE of an all-new four-issue limited series from red-hot writer Ales Kot (Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier, Secret Avengers) and rising star Adam Gorham (Zero).  Beginning this May, an unlikely cast of superhuman operators – X-O Manowar, Archer, MI-6 spymaster Neville Alcott, outdated android Beta-Max, and Quantum and Woody's inside woman on the DCPD, Detective Alejandra Cejudo – fall in deep for an undercover conspiracy action thriller in the darkest corners of the Valiant Universe…

DEAD-DROP_001_COVER-A_ALLEN

         There is a secret black market in New York.   It is hidden in plain sight – in our streets, trains, restaurants.  Those who know how to navigate it exchange secrets of extraordinary nature.  But when the secret in circulation is a biological weapon derived from Vine technology, the gloves are off – and the most extraordinary agents are released to stop the disaster before it occurs.

          Otherwise, in less than thirty minutes, there will be no world to come back to.


          X-O Manowar, Archer, Neville Alcott, Detective Cejudo and Beta-Max are ready to save the world.  
"DEAD DROP is a series of self-contained issues, each with a slightly different theme aDEAD-DROP_001_COVER-B_GORHAMnd atmosphere, but they all connect," writer Ales Kot told Comic Book Resources.  "The first one is very much a human tank x parkour runner chase through Manhattan, the second one is...well, a chase as well, but without pants (it's Archer, after all) and with a 'man chases a car through Brooklyn' vibe, the third one is spy game weirdness, and the fourth one is a whodunit."

 

          "With DEAD DROP, Ales Kot and Adam Gorham have drilled deep into the insane brain of the Valiant Universe, creating a helluva story featuring four characters that don't normally hang out together, including the Visigoth warrior X-O Manowar and the outdated cyborg known as Beta-Max," added Editor-in-Chief Warren Simons.   "Each story's unique tone is based on the issue's key character, which makes the series a combination of action, subversiveness, humor, and mystery.  Across these four issues, you'll see four characters with four very different viewpoints deal with an unprecedented threat in a manner that only Ales could cook up."

X-O Manowar
Heir to the throne of the Visigoth people, the fifth-century warrior named Aric of Dacia was abducted and enslaved by an alien race called The Vine before escaping with the aid of their most powerful weapon – the X-O Manowar armor.  Returning to Earth, Aric found himself stranded in the modern day where he now defends the planet from threats both internal and extraterrestrial as the alien-armored hero called X-O Manowar.

Archer
Adopted and raised by an evil organization called The Sect, Obadiah Archer's uncanny ability to mimic any skill made him an invaluable asset to his parents' mission: kill the drunken immortal called Armstrong.  Archer eventually turned on his parents and formed an unlikely partnership with his former quarry as they travelled globe to root out and destroy The Sect's conspiratorial plots.

Neville Alcott
Little is known about the MI-6 liaison who pulls the strings of the most powerful beings on Earth – Neville Alcott. But as the designated handler of superteam UNITY, his reach and influence are seemingly limitless.

Beta-Max
Beta-Max is a genius who pioneered cyborg technology using himself as a test subject.  Unfortunately, his transformation was completed in the 1980s…and any modern day upgrades would be lethal.  He can send a mean fax though!

Detective Cejudo
A genetic copy of the Crone, leader of an evil secret science society, Detective Alejandra Cejudo broke free from her creator thanks to the bumbling efforts of Quantum and Woody.  She now serves as their top liaison inside the Washington D.C. metro police department.

          A virus on the loose… A king after him…  Things are not what they seem…  This May, acclaimed creators Ales Kot and Adam Gorham bring the far corners of the Valiant Universe crashing down on New York City for a four-issue race against the clock in DEAD DROP #1 (of 4) – featuring covers by Raul Allen (IMPERIUM), Adam Gorham (Zero), Juan Jose Ryp (Ghosted), and Brian Level (Lazarus)!

DEAD DROP #1 (of 4)
Written by ALES KOT
Art by ADAM GORHAM
Cover A by RAUL ALLEN
Cover B by ADAM GORHAM
Cover C by JUAN JOSE RYP
Cover D by BRIAN LEVEL
$3.99 US | T+ | 32 pgs. | On sale MAY 2015

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The 2014 Ghastly Award Nominees announced, open for fan voting


The Ghastly Award Judges are proud to announce the 2014 Ghastly Award Nominees. The Nominees, chosen by the Ghastly Award Judges, reflect the wide range of Horror material being published in print and web comic form today. All Nominees were selected from work that was submitted by Comic Publishers and Creators throughout the year for Ghastly Award consideration.



Named after acclaimed comics creator “Ghastly” Graham Ingels, the awards are now in their 4th year.

Fan and Creator Voting will be open from February 9, 2015 until February 22, 2015 at www.ghastlyawards.com. You may only vote once for the 2014 Nominees, and Fans will decide the winner of the Best Horror Comic Cover Award. Winners will be announced on March 1, 2015.

We thank everyone who took the time to submit their work for this year's awards.


The 2014 Nominees are:
Best Ongoing Title:
Afterlife with Archie (Archie Comics)
Crossed: Badlands (Avatar Press)
Nailbiter (Image Comics)
Outcast (Image Comics)
Rachel Rising (Abstract Studios)

Best Limited Series:
‘68: Homefront (Image Comics)
Caliban (Avatar Press)
Deadworld: Restoration (IDW Publishing)
The Strain: The Fall (Dark Horse Comics)
Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland (IDW Publishing)

Best One-Shot:
Crossed: Special 2014 (Avatar Press)
Dismal Incantation (Herman Inclusus)
Edgar Allan Poe’s Morella and the Murders in the Rue Morgue (Dark Horse Comics)
Edgar Allan Poe’s The Premature Burial (Dark Horse Comics)
Killogy: Halloween Special (IDW Publishing)

Best Anthology:
Bloke’s Terrible Tomb Of Terror #10 (Indy)
God Is Dead: The Book of Acts - Alpha (Avatar Press)
Hellraiser: Bestiary (BOOM! Studios)
In the Dark (Tiny Behemoth Press / IDW Publishing)
Monstrosity Vol. 2 (Alterna Comics)

Best Short Story in an Anthology:
Beneath the Surface (Blokes Terrible Tomb of Terror #10)
Grandeur and Monstrosity (God Is Dead: The Book of Acts Alpha)
Not All There (In The Dark)
Red World (Grimm Tales of Terror #4)
Trial by Cauldron (Canaan Cult Revival)

Best OGN:
Carbon (Caliber Comics)
Monsters & Other Stories (Dark Horse Comics)
The Absence (Titan Comics)
The Curse Of Ragdoll (Mike Wolfer Entertainment)
The Shadows of Salamanca (Humanoids Inc.)

Best Archival Collection:
Collection of previously released material / Historical Book on Horror Comics
28 Days Later Omnibus (BOOM! Studios)
EC Archives:The Vault of Horror Volume 3 (Dark Horse Comics)
Serenity Rose: 10 Awkward Years (SLG Publishing)
Swampmen: Muck-Monsters and Their Makers (TwoMorrows Publishing)
The Chilling Archives of Horror Comics: The Worst of Eerie Publications (IDW Publishing/Yoe Books)

Best Writer:
Alex de Campi (Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight)
Joe Hill (Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland)
Joshua Williamson (Nailbiter, Ghosted)
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Afterlife with Archie, Sabrina)
Terry Moore (Rachel Rising)

Best Artist:
Ben Templesmith (Squidder)
Francesco Francavilla (Afterlife with Archie)
Herman Inclusus (Dismal Incantation)
Leonardo Manco (John Carpenter's Asylum)
Menton3 (Memory Collectors, Nosferatu Wars)

Best Inker:
Christian DiBari (Cutter)
John Bivens (Dark Engine)
Martin Stiff (The Absence)
Mike Wolfer/Dan Parsons (The Curse of Ragdoll)
Terry Moore (Rachel Rising)

Best Letterer:
Herman Inclusus (Dismal Incantation)
Jack Morelli (Afterlife With Archie)
Rachel Deering (In the Dark, Creepy, Sabrina)
Terry Moore (Rachel Rising)
Tyler & Ma’at Crook (Bad Blood)

Best Colorist:
Elizabeth Breitweiser (Outcast)
Francesco Francavilla (Afterlife with Archie)
Jay Fotos ('68 Rule of War, '68 Homefront, Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland)
Kelly Fitzpatrick (Dark Engine)
Tyler Crook (Bad Blood)

Best Web Comic:
Disenchanted (http://www.disenchantedcomic.com/)
Graveyard Gang (http://www.thegraveyardgang.com)
Karma Springs (http://karmasprings.tumblr.com/)
Split Lip (http://splitlipcomic.com/)
Wart (http://www.wartcomic.com/)

Best Horror Comic Cover:
Fan voting will determine the Winner
'68 Rule of War #1 (Nat Jones)
'68 Rule of War #3 Cover B (Tim Vigil & Jay Fotos)
Afterlife with Archie #6 (Francesco Francavilla)
Caliban #1 Terror (Facundo Percio, Sebastian Cabrol & Hernan Cabrera)
Hellraiser: Bestiary #04 Cover B (Daniele Serra)
Memory Collectors #3 Sub. Variant (David Stoupakis)
Nosferatu Wars (Menton3)

Hall of Fame Inductees:
Al Hewetson
Jack Davis

Normanton Award Honoree:
Presented for their commitment to carrying on the legacy of Horror Comics for generations to come.
Peter Normanton

The Ghastly Awards congratulate all of the Nominees for what they bring to the comic reading community. To be nominated by the Ghastly Award Judges is an honor and the Ghastly Awards are here to celebrate these achievements.



______________________________________________________

Judges:
Decapitated Dan, Mike Howlett, Belinda "Spaced" McNeill, Lonnie Nadler, Bree Ogden, Steve Banes, Denise Dutton, Daniel Viney
Founded in 2011 by Decapitated Dan with the help of Steve Banes, Mike Howlett, Lonnie Nadler and Mykal Banta, the Ghastly Awards recognize outstanding achievements in Horror Comics over a range of 15 different categories. The nominees are chosen by other horror comic book professionals and winners are chosen by a panel of judges.

The Awards were named for acclaimed comics creator "Ghastly" Graham Ingels.
Starting in 2013 the Ghastly Awards switched over to a Submission based process. Comic Publishers and Creators can submit their books for nomination consideration throughout the calendar year. The top five nominees in each category will be chosen by the Judges, and will then be voted on by the Judges, Creators and Fans to decide the winners.

The Ghastly Award Judges work strictly on a volunteer basis. There is no paid staff and the awards are completely funded from the generous donations of its sponsors listed below. Sponsorship does not guarantee, or influence Ghastly Awards Nominations or Winners in any way. Sponsorship is solely used to help raise funds for the Awards and costs of running the Awards on a yearly basis.


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