Comics

Comic books and graphic novels

Mon
10
Nov

Zimmerman and Scott Unveil Area 51 History in Graphic Novel

Area 51

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. And sometimes, fiction is a lot more fun.

For much of my life, I've heard the strange tales about Area 51, Groom Lake, Nevada and the Roswell, New Mexico UFO story -- always connected, even though the two sites are a 14 hour drive apart. Oh, the theories that were generated about the strange lights in the sky, the rousting of trespassers, the autopsies of aliens and all advanced technology that we simply couldn't have come up with on our own. It was the seed from which the best science fiction stories blossomed.

Mon
03
Nov

Hooray for Hollywood Zombie Apocalypse!

Hollywood Zombie Apocalypse 1 of 2

When unknown actor Michael May gets cast in the lead role of Captain Liberty, he thought it was the beginning of a dream. Instead, it was the first day of a living nightmare. While participating in a full-dress script reading with his co-stars in the "Defenders of Liberty" movie, May finds himself suddenly fighting off a zombie apocalypse alongside the likes of Kevin Could-Be-Hart, Dwayne Might-be-Johnson, Tom Looks-Like-Cruise, Bryan Not-Bad-Cranston, Selena Gotta-Be-Gomez, and Shia Quite-Possibly-Labeouf. God help us all.

There's so much to like in this pop culture parody that marries together elements of ARMY OF DARKNESS with zombie films like ZOMBIELAND and Yard Dog Press's BUBBAS OF THE APOCALYPSE. The script from Ralph Tedesco and Joe Brusha is, in my estimation, screenplay ready for this to be adapted into one of the best science fiction B-movies, if only the right actors could be convinced to take on their roles.

Tue
28
Oct

Review: Cinderella: Age of Darkness (1 of 3)

Cinderella: Age of Darkness

Title: Cinderella: Age of Darkness (1 of 3)
Publisher: Xenoscope
Creative Team: Joe Brusha and Pat Shand (story), Pat Shand (writer), Ryan Best (artist), Renato Guerra (colorist), Jim Campbell (letterer), Nicole Glade (editor)

The latest offering by upstart indie company, Zenescope, is a Cinderella story like you've never heard before. Of course ALL of their fairy tales are unlike any you've heard before; that's kind of the point. In this version of the tale, 'Cindy', has drawn the ire of the Dark Queen for her repeated failures as an assassin. Rather than just kill Cindy herself, the Queen has decided to task her with a suicide mission: Hunt down and kill Hades, the last living God. Armed with her own sword, three 'gifts', and repeated advice to just run away, Cindy is out to prove once and for all that she's not an idiot...

Mon
27
Oct

Death Comes to Roman Dirge's Lenore

Roman Dirge's Lenore #11, Titan Comics

In this issue... someone dies!

Oh, sure, big deal. Happens in comics all the time. It's even happened in this comic series before. In fact, someone dying is the reason this comic has a protagonist -- Lenore, the "cute little dead girl" who flits through life with her otherworldly friends with all the innocent macabre of a zombie Harveytoon.

Where else can you find living pickle hats? Or see the absurdly logical and lethal extension of the Austin Powers peeing scene for someone who's been asleep for thousands of years instead of just tens? Only in the darkly comic tale of Roman Dirge's Lenore.

Sat
18
Oct

Archon 38 Encounter: The Art of BatSpats

Michelle Benz of BatSpats

Archon 38 continues to be the gift that keeps on giving! Nestled amongst the many vendors set up in the expansive dealers room, I chanced upon a chillingly familiar looking couple: The Joker and Harley Quinn!

But there was no need to scream or fire up the Bat-signal: this was the booth for Michelle Benz, the creative genius behind BatSpats.com, and some intriguing and refreshing takes on familiar comic book characters as well as other pop culture icons and tropes.

Here's a snippet of the encounter. Enjoy!

Fri
17
Oct

IDW Does America a Favor with Puck Collection

Puck from IDW

A picture, so the expression goes, is worth a thousand words. That being the case, the political cartoon is worth a thousand words and change, the art form being one that conjoins the satirical image with paucity of pithy text. Which brings us to one of the pioneers of the form: the magazine called Puck, the subject of this lavish (and heavy!) compendium from IDW and The Library of American Comics.

Wed
15
Oct

IDW Publishes Complete Wonder Woman Newspaper Strips

Wonder Woman The Complete Newspaper Strip 1944 1945

When you have someone list three superheroes off the top of their heads, without thinking, they usually recite the holy trinity of heroes by rote: Superman, Batman...and Wonder Woman. They've been on top of the media since they began, not just in comic books, but also in newspaper strips and (later) animated cartoons.

Wonder Woman's newspaper strip didn't have what one could call a lengthy run, but it certainly was an interesting one. William Moulton Marston, inventor of the polygraph and dabbler in polyamory and bondage play, introduced the need for a feminine hero while he sat on the editorial board for DC Comics. Tasked with creating the character, Marston gave the world Wonder Woman -- an Amazon princess with powers from the Greek gods.

Mon
13
Oct

Titan Comics Kick Off Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor with "Terrorformer"

Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald on the cover of Titan Comics Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #1

"Terrorformer" is the first comic book representation of Doctor Who as portrayed by Peter Capaldi, and, given what I've seen of the current series and the new Doctor's eccentricities, writer Robbie Morrison has accurately captured the essence of this version of the Timelord from Gallifrey.

The Doctor and Clara arrive on Isen VI, chose for Clara's skiing lessons because of it's icebound climate. Only Isen VI isn't so icebound any longer -- it's a lush tropical paradise, thanks to a team of engineers laboring in the employ of a multi-kajillionaire who wants his own planet. And as is to be expected, the technology goes in an unexpected direction.

Wed
08
Oct

Robot Chicken Serves Up Second Helping of DC Comics Insanity

#RCDCS2VIP

Lex Luthor in an 80s hair band? Batman baring his feelings of emasculation with Green Lantern? A Starbucks in the headquarters of the Legion of Doom? The real origin of Superboy?

It's your favorite DC heroes and villains as you've never dreamed of them before. Well, okay, maybe once before, because this is, after all, ROBOT CHICKEN DC COMICS SPECIAL 2 (#RCDCS2VIP). Nevertheless, even the first ROBOT CHICKEN DC COMICS SPECIAL wasn't enough to prepare you for the utter ballsiness of the R-rated humor Seth Green and the boys throw at you here with utter irreverent abandon.

Mon
22
Sep

New Collection of Fossilized Failure in Hugh Murphy's "T-Rex Trying and Trying"

T-Rex Trying and Trying

When Hugh Murphy's first collection, T-Rex Trying, hit the shelves, I shared it around the office as we all found several of the situations of the "I've got a great big head and little bitty arms" plagued dinosaur to alternate between thought-provoking and hysterical.

T-Rex Trying and Trying is the natural evolution (see what I did there?) of the series, putting our beloved and beleaguered tyrannosaur through even more mundane pitfalls, even as his own life expands to include She-Rex and, inevitably, Wee-Rex. Yes, T-Rex is now the patriarch of a prehistoric family, and they all fall prey to the same... shortcomings.

Fri
19
Sep

CBS Greenlights Supergirl Series, Sparking DC's Crisis On Infinite Networks

Supergirl artwork by Michael Turner

It's a good time to be a DC fan.

No, let me amend that. It's a great time to be a DC fan -- especially if you enjoy your comics characters brought to live action. Arrow is entering a third successful season, The Flash is preparing to launch in early October, Gotham is preparing to tell the story of a pre-Batman era James Gordon, and CBS has just announced that it's going into production of Supergirl.

The problem? Arrow and The Flash are on the CW, Gotham is on FOX, and Supergirl -- a one hour drama -- will be on CBS.

Fri
19
Sep

CW's "The Flash" Can't Get Here Fast Enough!

CW's Flash

Rocketing out of CW's Arrow comes another DC Universe super hero. His name is Barry Allen. He is the fastest man alive.

The CW pilot for The Flash does an exemplary job at setting the stage for all the events to come: telling an origin, providing a reason for the hero, and putting into play the long game (and the even longer game, but that would be spoiling things), all in the space of a one-hour episode. Hints have been dropped in Arrow for some time now about the Central City Particle Accelerator, and Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) has already made his guest appearance in that series. And while it won't be long before fans are finally rewarded with these hints culminating in a much-anticipated spin-off series, one thing is certain upon reviewing this pilot: CW's The Flash can't get here fast enough!

Wed
17
Sep

Justice League of America: Survivors of Evil

While the Crime Syndicate was busily taking over the Earth, the question was raised: Where was the Justice League?

The heroes of the world had been imprisoned, uniquely, within the Firestorm matrix, each in a world that capitalized on their psychological weaknesses, trapped in scenarios that prevent them from realizing they're in a fiction. Only the Martian Manhunter and Stargirl understand what is happening, as they probe deeper into the prison. But are they in the process of rescuing the heroes, or are they in a prison themselves?

Wed
10
Sep

Dawn / Vampirella #1 (of 6), "Life and Death Rattle"

Back in the mid-90s, I was picking up Joseph Michael Linsner's Dawn books. I didn't always get the content, but I certainly appreciated the artwork. In years prior, I also snuck peeks at Vampirella (I was too young to be allowed to get caught reading them), also for reasons of artwork as well as the cutting edge mature storylines.

Two great tastes ought to go great together, right?

Let's start with page zero -- the cover. This is classic Linsner. The color tones, the enigmatic smiles, the Lauren Bacall hair flip, the knowing eyes, the clean lines, the unapologetic breast forms. Frame this sucker somewhere, because it's simply gorgeous.

Tue
09
Sep

Justice League: Forever Heroes

DC's Justice League books were, perhaps, the most enjoyable ancillary chapters of the Forever Evil event. Not surprisingly, they were written by Geoff Johns, so their content didn't contradict anything happening in the main Forever Evil miniseries, and having Ivan Reis and Dough Mahnke provide the interior artwork made them a thing of beauty.

Wed
03
Sep

Grimm Tales of Terror #3, "Don't Turn on the Lights"

When I was a fledgling comics reader, one of my favorite genres was the horror anthology. I was too young to have enjoyed EC in its heyday, so my go-to titles were the DC books like House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Ghosts, Tales of the Unexpected and Ghosts. For a brief, bright time during that point in my life, I was also treated to Charlton Comics' Midnight Tales with Arachne and the Midnight Philosopher.

There's a void in the comics industry for this genre today, but Zenescope is taking steps to fill it. Grimm Tales of Terror isn't an anthology, so to speak, as each story takes up the whole issue, but at least the tales are standalone grisly tomes.

Tue
02
Sep

Forever Evil (hardcover)

Forever Evil

Geoff Johns proves time and again that he not only knows how to play with all the toys in the DC sandbox, but that he can do it better and use them in ways previously untried.

I've always enjoyed DC's decades-long riff on the Many Worlds theory. So much so that I have my Green Lantern #40, with Hal Jordan and Alan Scott learning about Krona and his multiverse-creating experiment, framed on my office wall, next to my two-part Justice League of America: "Crisis on Earth-3" issues. Those issues, introducing the evil mirror-image Justice League members known as the Crime Syndicate, form the keystone to this epic tale where the bad guys have been playing the long game -- and finally win (at least for a little while). The Crime Syndicate was quickly followed by the Lawless League of Earth-A, but that team didn't have nearly the resonance of the Crime Syndicate.

Wed
27
Aug

The Flash, Volume 4: Reverse

It took a little bit, but I'm finally starting to really like The Flash in DC's New 52 Universe. He has a new status quo, a new life, and a new love in Patty Spivot -- even though there's every indication that at some point in the future Barry Allen is destined to be with Iris West. He also has a new angle on his Speed Force powers, which play heavily into this fourth volume, "Reverse."

Wed
18
Jun

Carl Potts on Alien Legion: Uncivil War

Carl Potts is just as responsible for my comic fandom as Stan Lee, Bob Kane or Will Eisner. Not only was he responsible for helping industry luminaries Jim Lee and Art Adams break into the business, Potts also wrote or edited many of my favorite comics in the 80s and early 90s, including Dr. Strange, The Defenders, The Punisher War Journal, Strikeforce: Morituri, Marvel Fanfare, Shadowmasters, and the original graphic novels Last of the Dragons and The Alien Legion: A Grey Way to Die. That graphic novel spawned a very successful ongoing series under Marvel's more mature Epic imprint. Now, thirty years since its inception, the Alien Legion is back with an all-new mini-series, Alien Legion: Uncivil War. The first issue is scheduled to hit the shelves on 6/25/2014. The former Marvel Editor-In-Chief took some time to discuss the past, present, and possible future of his beloved space warriors. 

Thu
22
May

Pat Shand: Grimm Fairy Tales Turns 100!

A long time back (it seems) I remember reviewing Raven Gregory's Return to Wonderland. That has been my one and only exposure to the Zenescope line of comics. Certainly I've been aware of them. The eye-grabbing covers (yes, I'm male, why do you ask?) have captured my attention on more than a few hundred occasions. But I did not realize what was being built across the various titles. And now that the company is at the stage where their flagship title is nearing its 100th issue, I think it's time I gave this indie publisher some of the respect it deserves.

So a few emails and some time-zone mathematics later, I'm on the phone with Zenescope's Pat Shand, asking all the neophyte questions and trying to get a handle on all these various characters running about the titles as they prepare to kill each other.

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