Monday, December 22, 2014

Nostalgic return to B-movie greatness: Escape from New York

 

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ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK #1  (Boom! Studios, December 2014)  Writer: Christopher Sebela.  Artist: Diego Barreto.  Colorist: Marissa Louise.  Letterer: Ed Dukeshire.

     Reading Boom!’s ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK brought back fond B-movie memories and made me want to watch John Carpenter’s classic film one more time.  Alas,  my only copy was a VHS tape that I sold many years ago! 

     What made Carpenter’s film so memorable was iconic character Snake Plissken, so aptly portrayed by actor Kurt Russell.  That signature eye patch, swagger, and take-no-shit attitude made a real impression, just like a writhing snake tattoo might.  The film had style in capital letters.

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          ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK the comic has that same style stamped all over it.  Writer Christopher Sebela seems to have studied the film very closely.  You will believe this is Snake Plissken. He talks and acts exactly the same.  Fans of the classic film will love this book.  Those who have heard of the legend of Snake Plissken, but perhaps are too young to have experienced it,  can read this book and find out what all the fuss is about.

      The setting is near-future America, where the island of Manhattan has been fenced off and turned into a prison colony.  The film ended with Snake being pardoned by the President of the United States and then playing an embarrassing prank on the chief executive.  Issue #1 opens up with this same cassette-tape scenario.  However, in this version the action has real consequences.  It’s spoiled any chance of the USA brokering a peace and may lead to World War III.  The President immediately revokes the pardon, and brands Plissken a traitor.

   True to the boom efny01_coverbtitle, Plissken escapes and joins up with a team of rebels on their way to the separatist state of Florida, where individuals must enter and survive the Crucible to become a member. The story ends on a cliff-hanger.

    Snake wise-cracks, talks back, and fights his way through the issue in his trademark style. Artist Barreto is not going to supplant any upper-tier stylists as your new favorite artist, but he is to comics art what B-movies are to entertainment. Very functional. He moves the action along and gets his moments to show what he’s capable of. The more you study the art the more satisfying it becomes.  One of my favorite panels occurs early in the story when Snake takes over a seat  formerly occupied by  a helicopter pilot.  Turn the page to find out what happens to the pilot.  There’s a lot of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK in that panel.  There’s a lot of Snake Plissken’s imprint on that panel.  That panel has swagger. 

     This is a fun book.  So, have some fun. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Prestige Format redefined for new Valiant books

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Back in the 1980’s when the comics industry first began to experiment with different papers, DC Comic debuted the “prestige format”.  Prior to this, all comics were printed on cheap, pulpy, or composition paper (made of various grades of paper).  The DC prestige format printed its copies on a 1) heavier stock of paper, making it more durable and also 2) on paper that was whiter and less grainy than traditional, which made the colors more bright and vibrant.  DC only printed a select number of titles in their prestige format, usually charging a $1.00 more per copy than the standard comic. Now in the 21st Century, Valiant puts a new spin on the format with theier Valiant Prestige books.

from the official press release . . . . . .

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As VALIANT NEXT readies for the launch of six epic new ongoing series and prestige format projects beginning with the release of THE VALIANT #1 (of 4) on December 10th, Valiant is proud to reveal the first look inside the all-new VALIANT PRESTIGE format – a new form of deluxe packaging for Valiant's most important standalone limited series and events! 
Beginning with the release of THE VALIANT #1 (of 4) – the first issue of the four-issue epic from New York Times best-selling writers Jeff Lemire (Green Arrow, Animal Man) & Matt Kindt (RAI, Mind MGMT) and Eisner Award-winning artist Paolo Rivera (Daredevil) – next week, fans and retailers can look forward to a high-end presentation unlike anything else in comics today with each and every issue. Features for THE VALIANT #1 (of 4), the very first release to feature the VALIANT PRESTIGE format, will include:

  • Deluxe matte laminate card stock covers
  • Custom-designed heavyweight end sheets
  • An oversized, 25-page first chapter
  • An exclusive guide to THE VALIANT, detailing the backstory and origins of the series' principal players
  • Never-before-seen commentary and back matter, curated by Eisner Award winner Paolo Rivera
  • All complete with no advertisements and a standard $3.99 cover price!

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Each subsequent issue of THE VALIANT by Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, and Paolo Rivera will feature the same deluxe presentation, as will DIVINITY #1 (of 4) – the VALIANT NEXT prestige format limited series debuting in February from New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (RAI, Mind MGMT) and blockbuster artist Trevor Hairsine (X-Men: Deadly Genesis). Featuring the landmark debut of Valiant's first major new character, each issue of DIVINITY will feature covers by Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic (Thor) and designer Tom Muller (Zero) in addition to an array specially crafted special features and behind-the-scenes insights into the development and design of Valiant's next pivotal hero.
"The thinking behind the VALIANT PRESTIGE format is simple – match the scale, scope, and dynamism of our most unique, most epic stories with an equally compelling presentation that practically leaps off the shelf," said Valiant Publisher Fred Pierce. "By design, the first two titles to receive this treatment – THE VALIANT and DIVINITY – are stories that couldn't be told in an ongoing book, or even as standard limited series. They truly are can't-miss excursions into the Valiant Universe, telling stories unlike anything Valiant has undertaken before. The presentation of our VALIANT PRESTIGE offerings – no ads, exclusive content, upgraded covers, end sheets, and more – designates these titles as special books within the Valiant line, and will give fans an extra-added layer of depth to the storytelling experience."

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"Over the past three years, Valiant has introduced several new innovations to great success – subscription-only Pullbox variants, expanded Plus Edition issues, QR code-enabled talking covers, and many more," said Valiant CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani. "VALIANT PRESTIGE is a central new addition that list. It's both a tribute to the great standalone, prestige format tales that helped inform our love of the medium, like Kingdom Come and Marvels, while, at the same time, a chance to break new ground by revitalizing and refining the concept of what prestige format can be for a whole new generation of readers. We have some truly special stuff in the offing for these titles, and we can't wait to see them on the shelf."
Look for more developments soon on each VALIANT PRESTIGE release, and visit your local retailer today to pre-order each epic VALIANT NEXT series. Beginning with THE VALIANT #1 (of 4) on December 10th, VALIANT NEXT continues with five blockbuster new series in 2015, starring Valiant’s biggest, most-demanded heroes alongside all-new, never before seen characters:

  • IVAR, TIMEWALKER #1 by Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry in January
  • DIVINITY #1 (of 4) by Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine in February
  • IMPERIUM #1 by Joshua Dysart and Doug Braithwaite in February
  • NINJAK #1 by Matt Kindt and Clay Mann in March
  • BLOODSHOT REBORN #1 by Jeff Lemire and Mico Suayan in April
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Friday, December 19, 2014

Dynamite properties to get alternate spin in March 2015

EDITOR’S NOTES: I guess it was just a matter of time before some second tier publisher (after Marvel and DC) takes a cue from the Big Two and sets up their characters in alternate realities a la Elseworlds, What If, Next, New 52, etc.  I don’t know why it bothers me a bit - - as long as a good story is told it shouldn’t matter. Still, I’m hoping the other publishers don’t jump on the idea and start up their own imitations of regular characters from Dark Horse, Image, Boom, IDW, etc . . . . .

     from the official press release . . . . . .

Dynamite Takes Familiar Characters To Altered States In Upcoming One-Shot Comics
Red Sonja, The Shadow, and More enter all-new adventures in Altered States

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December 19th - Mt. Laurel, NJ - Dynamite Entertainment is excited to announce the first wave of its all-new Altered States line where familiar characters from Dynamite's comics will appear in brand-new adventures unlike anything fans have seen before. Vampirella, Red Sonja, The Shadow, and Doc Savage will each star in their own story set in a parallel reality in the vein of DC's classic Elseworlds and Marvel's What If! where anything can - and will - happen to them.

The publisher has brought on an array of the industry's top talent to help tell these unique tales:

· Writer Brandon Jerwa teams up with artist Juanan Ramirez for Altered States: Red Sonja, a story about a red headed museum worker in New York City who soon finds herself fighting for survival in a dystopian-inspired Hyborian wasteland.

· In Altered States: Vampirella, veteran Vampirella scribe Nancy A. Collins and artist Francesco Manna turn the tables on Ella Normandy after she survives a crash landing to become the sole human on a planet full of Vampires.

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· Writer David Avallone pulls double duty in this special event, teaming up with artist Ivan Rodriguez for Altered States: The Shadow, and a tale that proves once and more that there are worse things in the world than the evil that lurks within the hearts of men. Then in Altered States: Doc Savage, David and artist Dave Acosta explore what happens when the world's most powerful man is turned into a rampaging beast whose very humanity may be lost forever.

Each issue will feature a cover by Billy Tan.AlteredSavage-Cov-A-Tan

"What If? and Elseworld stories have been a part of comics for 40 years," said Dynamite Publisher and CEO Nick Barrucci. "There's always that "Would that be cool" or "what if we had him or her do that" story that doesn't fit in to continuity. Now we can pick some of the best stories and create "Altered States" for our branded characters. These 4 books stand on their own yet will be the foundation for this universe of characters."

Each Altered States story will unfold in a 32 page full-color comic. With a new issue planned for release every Wednesday in March. Fans eager for more info on Altered States should follow Dynamite on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram for the latest updates as they come in.

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Altered States will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors' January Previews catalog, the premiere source of merchandise for the comic book specialty market, and slated for release March 2015. Comic book fans are encouraged to reserve copies of Altered States with their local comic book retailers. Altered States will also be available for individual customer purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital.

Fifteen Dollar Donation equals 143 digital comics!

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Dynamite just added more titles to their generous Humble Bundle package just in time for Christmas.  A mere fifteen dollars (or more to get even more) donation to a worthy cause rewards you with a total value up to $600 in comics.

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

December 17, 2014 - Mt. Laurel, NJ - Following the launch of last week's Humble Dynamite MEGA Bundle with over ten thousand redemptions in the first twenty-four hours. Dynamite Entertainment is excited to announce the latest additions to its massive year-end promotion over on humblebundle.com/books.

In addition to an array of comics ranging from Gail Simone's Red Sonja, Shaft #1 from David F. Walker, Uncanny by Andy Diggle and Aaron Campbell, and the hit debut issue of Bob's Burgers, fans can now read all six issues of The New York Time Bestselling series Jim Butcher's Dresden Files: War Cry, the complete Mercy Thompson Moon Called Vol. 2, the original Doodle Jump comic inspired by the best-selling video game and more!

The full list of additional books include:

Mercy Thompson: Moon Called Vol. 2

Doodle Jump #3

Doodle Jump #4

Uncanny #2

Red Sonja Vol.2 #9

Red Sonja Vol.2 #10

Jim Butchers: Dresden Files War Cry #4

Jim Butchers: Dresden Files War Cry #5

These new additions push the total value of the bundle to just over six hundred dollars. However Dynamite fans who donate fifteen dollars or more will access to all 143 comics to read on the digital device of their choice. Fans who beat the average with their donations will now receive 116 comics including all five issues of the recent New York Times Bestselling series Jim Butcher's Dresden Files: War Cry.

"The out pouring of support for us so far has been amazing," said Dynamite CEO and Publisher Nick Barrucci. "We're blow away by the donations are fans have made, and are truly humbled by the opportunity to help raised funds for some wonderful causes."

The Humble Dynamite MEGA Holidays Bundle will continue to support Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, Make-A-Wish, as well as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund which defends first amendment rights of comic book professionals nationwide.To date Humble Bundle has raised over 50 million dollars for charities around the world. With Dynamite's help last summer they were able to give over $100,000.00 during The Humble Dynamite 10th Anniversary Bundle in July. 

The Humble Dynamite MEGA Holidays Bundle runs for two weeks and ends Wednesday, December 24, 2014 at 11 a.m. Pacific time. Fans should follow on Dynamite on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram for the latest updates as new offerings become available. 

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About Humble Bundle

Humble Bundle organizes pay-what-you-want plus charity promotions for awesome digital content and puts the power directly in the hands of the consumers, offering them fully-featured titles at prices they set themselves. Consumers pay what they want and decide how to allocate their money between content creators, charity and a humble tip. Humble Bundle also offers the Humble Store, a digital storefront that features great games at great prices with a portion of sales going to select charities. Since the company's launch in 2010, Humble Bundle has helped empower its community to allocate more than $48 million toward charity to date. For more information, please visit https://www.humblebundle.com

About Dynamite Entertainment

Dynamite was founded in 2004 and is home to several best-selling comic book titles and properties, including  The Boys, The Shadow,  Vampirella, War lord 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,  Pantha,  Evil Ernie,  Smiley the Psychotic Button,  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, including Kevin Smith, Alex Ross, Neil Gaiman, Andy Diggle, John Cassaday, Garth Ennis, Jae Lee, Marc Guggenheim, Mike Carey, Jim Krueger, Greg Pak, Brett Matthews, Matt Wagner, Gail Simone, Steve Niles, James Robinson, and a host of up-and-coming new talent. Dynamite is consistently ranked in the upper tiers of comic book publishers and several of their titles - including Alex Ross and Jim Krueger's  Project Superpowers - have debuted in the Top Ten lists produced by Diamond Comics Distributors. In 2005, Diamond awarded the company a GEM award for Best New Publisher and another GEM in 2006 for Comics Publisher of the Year (under 5%) and again in 2011. The company has also been nominated for and won several industry awards, including the prestigious Harvey and Eisner Awards.  www.dynamite.com

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Warren Ellis does BLACKCROSS for Dynamite this March

from the official press release . . . . .

December 17, 2014, Mt. Laurel, NJ - Dynamite Entertainment is proud to announce the full creative team for Project Superpowers: Blackcross, a supernatural thriller written by comic book luminary Warren Ellis.   Colton Worley, the fan-favorite Dynamite mainstay whose previous works include The Shadow Now and The Complete Dracula, will lend his atmospheric, hyper-realistic art style to the project.  The March 2015 debut of Blackcross will be supported by a generous helping of variant covers from industry superstars and previous Ellis collaborators, including Jae Lee, Tula Lotay, Declan Shalvey, Jason Howard, Gabriel Hardman, and interior artist Colton Worley himself.

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          In the all-new Project Superpowers series, Warren Ellis and Colton Worley take readers on a sinister journey away from the brightly clad heroes of the Golden Age, and into the small town of Blackcross, nestled in the Pacific Northwest.    All small towns have secrets, but Blackcross has more secrets than most... it's a lonesome place, haunted by something truly impossible.  Project Superpowers: Blackcross is a ghost story about something reaching out from the other side of the night, through the forest and mist of a remote town, to grasp at the hearts of its unsuspecting residents -- victims who won't know that they're the targets of a strange killer until it's much, much too late.

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          Dynamite first announced Ellis' participation in a Project Superpowers series in April 2014, but today marks the first public statement of Worley's involvement in the project.  "I'm delighted by Colton Worley's art," says Warren Ellis . "It's the kind of dark, muscular, classical American comic-strip illustration that I thought they didn't make any more, with the control of light and shade that makes the whole thing feel like a supernatural thriller from noir cinema."

          Colton Worley says, "Ellis wrote a hell of a good script for me and everyone else to work off of.  We're all very happy with the end result and glad we can show it off a little before everyone has it."
Alongside a handful of Dynamite's most beloved cover artists, Project Superpowers: Blackcross #1 will showcase a number of artists from Warren Ellis' most popular recent releases, including Declan Shalvey (from Ellis' acclaimed run on Marvel's Moon Knight), TuBlackcross01-Cov-C-Shalveyla Lotay of the Image Comics title, Supreme: Blue Rose, and Jason Howard of Trees.  Jae Lee, the superstar artist of Batman/Superman, has a long history of providing highly sought-after cover editions for Dynamite Entertainment titles, as have Gabriel Hardman (Magnus: Robot Fighter) and, of course, Colton Worley.

          "Since our initial announcement, fans have consistently been asking us two questions: who will be the artist, and when will the series ship?  Warren wanted to have multiple scripts written, as well as the right artist on-board (and well into the series), a preference that we stand behind, since we want to ensure on-time delivery for fans and retailers.  Warren was very hands-on with the selection of the artist, and we're proud to announce that Colton Worley will be the visual foundation of Blackcross," says Nick Barrucci, Publisher and CEO of Dynamite Entertainment.  "With Warren Ellis at the helm, we couldn't do any less than gather the best!  The next chapter in the Project Superpowers saga is a mind-blowing, spine-tingling descent into the shadows, and rest assured, it's in good hands."

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          Project Superpowers: Blackcross #1 will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors' January 2015 Previews catalog, the premiere source of merchandise for the comic book specialty market, and slated for release in March.  Comic book fans are encouraged to reserve copies of Blackcross #1 with their local comic book retailers.  Project Superpowers: Blackcross will also be available for individual customer purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital.

Free Comic Book Day May 2, 2015 titles announced

All 50 FCBD Books Revealed

 You can find the list and cover images here . . . . .

http://www.freecomicbookday.com/Home/1/1/27/981

Nobody is likely to have all 50 comics unless of course, you are willing to pay for them.

Most comic shops cherry pick this list and don’t take everything.  To make sure you get what you want  it’s advisable to request it from your local comic shop in advance to ensure you get a copy of the title you are most interested in.

If I had to narrow it down to just five books, these would be my picks (in no particular order):

  1. BOOM 10 Year Anniversary
  2. Dark Circle Comics  (Archie Comics returns to super-heroes)
  3. Kodansha Comics Sampler  (publisher of the classic Attack On Titan)
  4. Legendary Comics Sampler
  5. Valiant 25th Anniversary Special

Blood Queen versus Dracula mini-series in March 2015

from the official press release . . . . .

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December 16, 2014, Mt. Laurel, NJ - Dynamite Entertainment proudly announces the first-ever confrontation between two of its premiere horror characters in Blood Queen Vs. Dracula, a four-part storyline scheduled for March 2015 release.   Written by Troy Brownfield and illustrated by Kewber Baal, the series will debut with captivating cover images courtesy of artists Jay Anacleto, Fabiano Neves, Ardian Syaf, and Lucio Parrillo.

          "Having the Blood Queen face off with Dracula seems like the most natural thing in the world," says Troy Brownfield, who introduced the villainous Elizabeth Bathory in Dynamite's 2014 series, The Blood Queen.  "Considering that the historical personages that they're based upon come from the same area of the world, and that they've had a strong and occasionally linked profile in pop culture forever, it struck me as a pretty solid place to go.  It certainly doesn't hurt that I wrote a Dracula novel, Prince Dracula, for Dynamite last year, either."

          In Blood Queen Vs. Dracula, the Prince of Darkness returns from war to face a potential threat in the form of the Blood Queen.  Will they become allies, or adversaries?  Whatever the outcome, one thing is certain: blood will be spilled.  "You always want to challenge your characters," says Brownfield.  "Is there a bigger challenge for Elizabeth than the Prince of Darkness?  I'm really excited at the chance to expand the Blood Queen world, and to do new and different things with Dracula while I'm at it."

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         Dracula has been a staple of Dynamite Entertainment projects throughout the years: plaguing Army of Darkness hero Ash Williams, leading a supernatural assault on the Top Cow Universe in the Monster War crossover, and fighting alongside his daughter Eva in the Prophecy miniseries event by Ron Marz. The literary character's classic story was retold in The Complete Dracula in 2009, while Dynamite has also revived Dracula's long-standing feud with Vampirella, stemming back over forty years to his first appearance in Vampirella Magazine.  In April 2014, Dynamite published the digital prose novel Prince Dracula, written by Troy Brownfield and told from the perspective of Mina Murray.

         The Blood Queen is a much more recent addition to Dynamite canon, debuting in June 2014.  The Blood Queen portrayed the historical "blood countess" Elizabeth Bathory as a tragic figure whose descent into villainy is not without good reason.

          Nick Barrucci, Dynamite CEO and Publisher, says, "I'm very happy to announce Troy Brownfield's participation in this project.  His work on our Prince Dracula novel was such an intimate look at the vampire lord's dark passion and tragic history, and it's that kind of character examination that's going to play so well once our Blood Queen enters the fray.  They're similar creatures... which will undoubtedly lead to some bloody conflict.  And speaking of the blood that will flow, Kewber Baal is a welcome addition to the creative team, since he spilled so much during his work on our Jennifer Blood title."

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Blood Queen Vs. Dracula #1 will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors' January 2015 Previews catalog, the premiere source of merchandise for the comic book specialty market, and slated for release in March.  Comic book fans are encouraged to reserve copies of Blood Queen Vs. Dracula #1 with their local comic book retailers . Blood Queen Vs. Dracula will also be available for individual customer purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Best of 12/17/2014 Releases: Don’t Miss SQUARRIORS

 

          Every so often, a new release comes out that catches everyone off guard.  Not many regular comics fans  pre-ordered a copy.  Comic shops didn’t order heavy, more likely they ordered light or not at all. Remember CHEW #1 from several years back?   I predict the combination of dynamic story and breath-taking art in SQUARRIORS is going to make it a sell-out once the word of mouth gets around.  What’s the best thing you can do with this information?  Get to your comic store tomorrow and pick up a copy.  Supporters of the Kickstarter fundraising campaign received an advance digital copy.  I’ve seen it and read it and it’s worth every penny.  Trust me on this one . . . . Pick it up! 

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SQUARRIORS #1 of 4  (Devil’s Due Entertainment, December 17, 2014 release date)  $4.99   44 pages  Creator/Writer/Layouts by Ash Maczko.  Art/Letters/Colors by Ashey Witter.

         The book opens with a scene inside a 1986 Illinois bar (catch the double meaning on the illuminated sign) with very few patrons.  The overhead television set plays a newscast that alludes to a disaster and warns of suspended emergency services due to a lack of law enforcement support.  Currency is worth nothing, and those wishing to obtain goods or services must have something of value to trade for it.  The violence inside the bar seems to indicate that society has collapsed and many have reverted to values more in line with berserker barbarians.

          Flash forward ten years and it appears that only animals have survived (at least until 3/4 of the way through the issue), and species once at odds with each otsquarriors coverher or former predators and prey have banded together in order to eke out a living.

             The story follows one such colony (or tribe), the Tin-Kin, comprised of various species of squirrel, fox, field mice, rabbit, chipmunk, groundhog and raven/crow.  Starvation is thinning the ranks of the Tin-Kin and the land they occupy does not provide enough food. They have to consider making peace and offer trade with a neighboring warlike tribe in order to survive. They discuss contacting  the Maw, until a small scouting party encounters a band of marauding Maw just south of their encampment.  War is more likely to occur.

          The first issue covers a lot of ground and there are a multitude of characters to introduce, some of whom do not live until the end of the issue.  This is not a cutesy animal book, and the battle scenes are very brutal and bloody. It’s not clear who the main characters are just yet.  We only learn the the Tin-Kin are apparently the most peaceful and rational of the various colonies.

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    Even more intriguing than the story is the incredible illustrations.  Witter’s art is very detailed and photo-realistic. She is equally adept at depicting landscapes and scenery as the movements and nuances of each animal species. The emotions that play across the features of each animal are very easy to interpret thanks to her skills. The colors in use here are very bold and vibrant. 

     Issue #1 is rounded out with a quality guest artist gallery, afterword by writer Mazko, and a very useful guide to the various tribes and how they are organized. My favorite art page is by Corbyn S. Kern. It’s a great tribute to a classic Stanley Kubrick movie.

  SQUARRIORS is a premium effort from the creative team.  I look forward to upcoming issues and anticipate that both story and art will get even better, elevating this book to a level that only a few achieve.  

         

Advance Look: Valiant Next IMPERIUM starts in February

from the official press release . . . . .

A psychic dictator, an inhuman robot, a mad scientist, a murderous alien, and a super-powered terrorist are about to try and take over the world…and you’re going to be rooting for them every step of the way.

IMPERIUM_001_COVER-A_ALLEN     IMPERIUM_001_COVER-B_ALLEN     IMPERIUM_001_COVER-C_ALLEN


          Valiant is proud to present the first look inside IMPERIUM #1 – the FIRST ISSUE of the all-new VALIANT NEXT ongoing series from New York Times best-selling writer Joshua Dysart (Harbinger, Unknown Soldier) and superstar artist Doug Braithwaite (Armor Hunters, Unity).  The daring new superhero saga of the year starts here on February 4th as Toyo Harada rises from the ashes of the Harbinger Foundation to recruit a more explosive…more cunning…more ruthless army to remake the future of Earth in their own image.  This is IMPERIUM!

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          Toyo Harada is the most dangerous human being on the planet.  Imbued with incredible powers of the mind, he has spent his life guiding humanity from the shadows.  But today he is a wanted man.  His powers are public knowledge, his allies have turned to enemies, and he is hunted by every government on the planet.  Instead of surrendering, Harada has one last unthinkable gambit to play: to achieve more, faster, and with less, he will build a coalition of the powerful, the unscrupulous and the insane.  No longer content to demand a better future, he will recruit a violent legion from the darkest corners of the Earth to fight for it.  The battle for utopia begins now.

          "This is a real chance for us to play around with some super-villain tropes the same way we played with super-hero tropes in Harbinger," saiIMPERIUM_001_005d writer Joshua Dysart.  "This time the tropes we're playing with are an 'evil alien,' a 'robot soldier,' a 'mad scientist,' a 'political extremist' (the most terrifying of all monsters), and, of course, a 'global dictator' bent on taking over the world.  So all of that breeds new fun characters to throw into the Valiant Universe."

          Featuring three standard shelf covers introducing the vanguard of IMPERIUM's ultra-powered ideologues – commander Toyo Harada, the alien powerhouse Lord Vine-99, and the manipulative artificial intelligence Mech Major – start reading here as the global takeover begins…and IMPERIUM rises.  From the writer of Harbinger and the artist of Armor Hunters, VALIANT NEXT continues right here in an essential, new ongoing series on February 4th, only in IMPERIUM #1.

          Don’t miss each exciting new release from VALIANT NEXT – an all-new wave of ongoing series and prestige format projects from some of the premier creative talents in comics today.  Beginning with THE VALIANT #1 by superstar creators Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, and Paolo Rivera in December and continues with five blockbuster new series in 2015:

  • IVAR, TIMEWALKER #1 by Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry in January
  • DIVINITY #1 (of 4) by Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine in February
  • IMPERIUM #1 by Joshua Dysart and Doug Braithwaite in February
  • NINJAK #1 by Matt Kindt, Clay Mann, and Butch Guice in March
  • BLOODSHOT REBORN #1 by Jeff Lemire and Mico Suayan in April

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

For Valiant merchandise and more, visit ValiantStore.com.

IMPERIUM #1 [VALIANT NEXT]
Written by JOSHUA DYSART
Art by DOUG BRAITHWAITE
Cover A (Harada) by RAUL ALLEN (DEC141700)
Cover B (Lord Vine-99) by RAUL ALLEN (DEC141701)
Cover C (Mech Major) by RAUL ALLEN (DEC141702)
Valiant Next Variant by TREVOR HAIRSINE & TOM MULLER (DEC141704)
Character Design Variant by DOUG BRAITHWAITE (DEC141705)
Artist Variant by DOUG BRAITHWAITE (DEC141706)
Blank Cover also available (DEC141703)
$3.99 US | T+ | 32 pgs. | On sale FEBRUARY 4 (FOC – 1/12/15)

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Women Of The West: Lady Rawhide/Lady Zorro this March

 
December 16, 2014, Mt. Laurel, NJ - Dynamite Entertainment proudly announces the March 2015 debut of Lady Rawhide / Lady Zorro #1, the first chapter of a four-part miniseries that will see two of the comic book industry's Western heroines cross paths for the first time. Written by Shannon Eric Denton and featuring interior artwork by Rey Villegas, Lady Rawhide / Lady Zorro #1 features cover artwork by acclaimed artist and Lady Rawhide co-creator, Mike Mayhew.

          In Lady Rawhide / Lady Zorro #1, the two female vigilantes must live up to the legend of Zorro after the inspirational hero is murdered.   When brutal slavers descend upon a village and steal away all its adolescent girls, Lady Zorro and Lady Rawhide - who would sooner ride alone than ride together - must put aside their ideological and methodical differences to free the missing girls from a fate worse than death.

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          Writer Shannon Eric Denton says, "Women were a huge part in the settlement of the Old West but are often overlooked in the historical context. With characters like Lady Rawhide and Lady Zorro, they don't let you overlook them. They're two powerful characters with equally powerful personalities that tamed what is now Southern California. As a current Los Angeleno, I couldn't be happier to contribute to their mythology and the mythology of this part of California."

          Lady Rawhide (along with her alter-ego Anita Santiago) was introduced into the Zorro mythos by writer Don McGregor and artist Mike Mayhew in 1994, a masked vigilante skilled with swords, guns, and her signature bullwhip.  Driven to avenge her brother's suffering at the hands of a crooked government, she first had an antagonistic relationship with Zorro, but eventually became his confidante and staunch ally.  Lady Rawhide's popularity as a Zorro regular grew, leading to her headlining several Lady Rawhide comic series.

          Lady Zorro is a more recent addition to the Zorro mythos, created in 2012 as a strong supporting cast member of the Zorro Rides Again series by Matt Wagner and John K Snyder III. Seeking vengeance after her husband was murdered by corrupt government officials, Lady Zorro cut a bloody swath across the countryside until the elder swordfighter calmed her rage.  The character appeared in a successful 2014 self-titled series by Alex De Campi and Rey Villegas.

          The violent origins of the fictional heroines very much reflects the history of the region, which will be incorporated into the new series. Denton says, "There was so much hardship and adventure in the Old West, even when you aren't dealing with heroes like Lady Zorro and Lady Rawhide, so adding them to the mix really sets the stage for a truly captivating story.  I'm trying to tell a good story first, and trying to be as true to the history of the period as I can without being beholden to it."

          Regarding his contribution to the overall Zorro mythos, Denton says, "I'm honored and thrilled. Outside of growing up loving the comics and TV shows, my life has intersected with the character several times. I've lived in places where they filmed Zorro like Cerrillos, NM, and my current home in Los Angeles. I currently live near frequent movie site Vasquez Rocks, which is named after notorious bandit Tiburcio Vasquez, the inspiration for Don Diego de la Vega (Zorro). Zorro roamed what is now Los Angeles, so I'm surrounded by his mythology all the time. Being able to contribute to characters within Zorro's mythology, like Lady Rawhide and Lady Zorro, is incredibly rewarding!"

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          "The folks here at Dynamite love two-fisted, gun-blazing, whip-cracking action, and that's exactly what Lady Rawhide / Lady Zorro delivers," says Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher. "With his flair for pulp action, Shannon is a perfect choice to take up the reins on the new miniseries. And there's no one better suited for bringing these two pistoleras together than Rey Villegas, whose supreme skill brought both characters to life in their respective solo series. Buckle up, comic fans - it's going to be a wild ride!"

          Lady Rawhide / Lady Zorro #1 will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors' January 2015 Previews catalog, the premiere source of merchandise for the comic book specialty market, and slated for release in March.  Comic book fans are encouraged to reserve copies of Lady Rawhide / Lady Zorro #1 with their local comic book retailers. Lady Rawhide / Lady Zorro will also be available for individual customer purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Spider-man Fever Dream

TPB:  Spider-Man Reign
Writer:  Kaare Andrews
Artist: Kaare Andrews
Price:  $14.99

On my first ever From The Booth show, Randal asked me if I had ever stopped collecting comics and if so, what comic got me collecting again.  My answer was yes I had and the comic that got me back in (along with a lot of other people, I imagine) was The Dark Knight Returns. It’s easy to see why it’s so popular. Our heroes are usually mortal and mortal beings age and become weak.  It’s an inevitability that we try to avoid in telling their stories.  Batman was 29 years old for several decades and Spider-man stopped aging around his 30th birthday as well. 

Spider-man: Reign is an attempt to look at what happens to Peter Parker years after he’s burned the costume in the trashcan for what should have been the final time.  In this future, a tyrannical government has overtaken New York City and Reign troops terrorize the populace.  Parker is now a senior citizen eking out a meager existence working at a flower shop.  His wife and aunt are dead and his time as Spider-man seems like a distant memory until J. Jonah Jameson comes to his door.  Jameson knows who he was and recognizes that, now more than ever, the city needs its savior.  

Andrew Kaare is a Candian comic book writer and illustrator who has done mostly covers along with some single issues and very short runs on interior work for many popular titles.  More recently, he’s worked on Iron Fist: The Living Weapon.

Although the premise seems like a pretty cool idea for a Spider-man book, the execution falls flat.  Children’s nursery rhymes are repeated over and over sometimes relating to the panel where they are located, sometimes not.  Trite sayings abound as if Kaare were attempting to make every bit of dialogue quotable.  At one point the reason for Mary Jane’s death is revealed (SPOILERS!) and it has to do with ALL of Spider-man’s fluids being radioactive and cancer causing.  Just think about that for a minute.  The panels also try to convey inner turmoil through orchids being crushed and Mary Jane’s corpse being batted about by a dead Doc Ock (whose arms still function autonomously) but the effect is that the entire book comes off as creepy and deeply disturbing. 

The art is well done with the contrast of the clean, detailed art for children and the more stylized art with jagged edges for the elderly incarnations of our favorite characters.  The backgrounds suggest some digital work which I always appreciate.  However, the art is not enough to save the book which veers back and forth between plot and metaphor like a drunk.

Final rating (out of 5):



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tales Of The Valiant web comic debuts today at IGN

EDITOR’S NOTE:  This new four-part web comic begins today and runs every Wednesday. If you are a regular reader of Valiant titles, then this may have less value to you than a newcomer. If you are just beginning to explore the Valiant universe, you should consider this essential.  Why not follow it, since it’s free.  More details below, including a link to the IGN site . . . .

from the official press release . . . . . .

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This December, a battle ten millennia in the making begins in THE VALIANT #1 by New York Times best-selling writers Jeff Lemire & Matt Kindt and Eisner Award-winning artist Paolo Rivera…but, first, meet the blockbuster heroes behind THE VALIANT in a new weekly webcomic exclusively at IGN!

 

Valiant is proud to announce IGN PRESENTS TALES OF THE VALIANT – an all-new, four-part webcomic counting down to the release of THE VALIANT #1 by New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (THE VALIANT, RAI) and Harvey Award-nominated rising star Pere Perez (HARBINGER WARS, ARCHER & ARMSTRONG), debuting exclusively at IGN each Wednesday!

"THE VALIANT is a ground-level introduction to Valiant's most iconic and enduring characters," said Valiant CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani. "True to form, Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, and Paolo Rivera have crafted a story that is a true epic, covering centuries of history and drawing nearly all of Valiant's most important heroes and villains into the fray. Now, in concert with IGN, we're excited to zero in individually on each of the series' primary leads – the Eternal Warrior, Bloodshot, Geomancer, and Ninjak – for an intimate adventure preceding the events of THE VALIANT #1. Matt and Pere have expertly captured what makes these characters tick, and IGN PRESENTS TALES OF THE VALIANT is a perfect short-form introduction to the stage and setting of THE VALIANT before issue #1 arrives in December."

Eternal Warrior has protected the Earth for more than 10,000 years. A master of countless weapons and long forgotten martial arts, he is guided by the Geomancers – those who speak for the Earth. During his long watch, the Eternal Warrior has failed three times. Each time, the Geomancer was killed…and a new dark age for humanity began. Each time, he was unable to stop The Immortal Enemy – a monstrous force of nature. A civilization killer. A horror that appears differently each time it arrives…and whose seemingly only purpose is to bring disorder and darkness to the world. Now, the time has come for The Immortal Enemy to return once more. But, this time, the Eternal Warrior will be ready. This time, he has a force greater than any single warrior. This time, he has…THE VALIANT.

But before THE VALIANT begin their star-crossed showdown with the Immoral Enemy on December 10th, meet each of the series' most important players in the exclusive TALES OF THE VALIANT webcomic, beginning today at IGN! Eternal Warrior. Bloodshot. Geomancer. Ninjak. United to prevent the dawn of a new Dark Age for mankind, each of these fearless heroes is stepping to the fore for a special standalone adventure detailing their origin and escapades prior to THE VALIANT #1 with a new installment of IGN PRESENTS TALES OF THE VALIANT each Wednesday!

The adventure begins right now in the first installment of IGN PRESENTS TALES OF THE VALIANT by Matt Kindt and Pere Perez, available only at IGN!
And don't miss the first epic issue on December 10th in comic shops everywhere when superstar creators Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, and Paolo Rivera unleash THE VALIANT #1!

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

For Valiant merchandise and more, visit ValiantStore.com.

THE VALIANT #1 (of 4) [VALIANT NEXT]
Written by JEFF LEMIRE & MATT KINDT
Art & Cover by PAOLO RIVERA (OCT141678)
Interlocking Variant Cover by JEFF LEMIRE & MATT KINDT (OCT141679)
Variant Cover by FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA (OCT141680)
B&W Sketch Variant by PAOLO RIVERA (OCT141681)
Blank Cover also available (OCT141682)
$3.99 | 32 pages. | T+ | On sale DECEMBER 10 (FOC – 11/17/14)