Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Plans? - - - go to a Comics Flea Market


If you have ever wondered what the person who runs this blog is like, you have an opportunity today to meet me in person.  I will be trying to downsize my comics collection by selling some classic sets and single issues at bargain prices.  You can find me at the Memorial Day Collectibles Sale at Captain Blue Hen’s parking lot.  Details are below . . . .

Please stop by and chat - - I’d love to meet you . . . . . !!


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Free Comic Book Day 2015: Book Reviews, Part Six


STEAMPUNK GOLDILOCKS #1 (ANTARCTIC PRESS) Story and Art by Rod Espinosa (reprint from October 2014)


STEAMPUNK GOLDILOCKS is a clever and engaging re-imagining of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears fairy tale complete with archaic gadgets and other trappings of the steampunk mythos. In this version, Goldilocks partners with Miss Muffett to undertake secretive missions for the Dark Queen. They are expert thieves and are assigned to retrieve a “golden bear” artifact from a secure bunker guarded by a family of ursiforms (armored bears that resemble a cross between Iron Man and Predator). Traveling in a huge tank that resembles a Civil War era Ironclad, the two young schemers penetrate the security system. Goldilocks gets inside, and following the plot outline of the fairy tale, she also discovers the porridge, drinks, chairs and beds and tries them out. This version has an ending that won’t disturb any younger readers.

COVER APPEAL: As much as I like this cover, I wonder if a young person would assume this was a simple fairy tale comic and not a re-interpretation. If not for the word “steampunk” above the title, and certain aspects of Goldilocks’ attire (goggles pushed back on forehead, brass buttons on corset, extra buckles and fingerless gloves) this could easily be confused for a simple re-telling of the classic fairy tale. 2 Points.

STORY: Espinosa does a good job of establishing the fairy tale trappings of this fantasy world before he drops in the steampunk effects. That helps to make it more palatable. He also portrays Goldilocks and Miss Muffett as sweet innocents (hardly, but we don’t find that out until the story gets moving) and somewhat silly. They are definitely food-motivated and love sweets. This makes them more appealing. You may find yourself rooting for them to complete the mission. 3 Points.

ART: The air of innocence and silliness that makes this book so appealing is reinforced by the way that Espinosa draws these characters and details their facial expressions. They are buxom but cute, and still have their baby fat. While this should gain the attention of young boys in similar fashion to what Zenoscope does so well with their versions of Grimm Fairy Tales, the art never pushes the boundaries between acceptable young reader material and more mature offerings. Tastefully done. Backgrounds and props show a good eye for detail. This has a whimsical fairy tale look to everything. 3 points.

YOUTH APPEAL: This ought to hook the right audience, as well as anyone who enjoys these types of stories. 2 points.

NEW READER APPEAL: It’s not hard at all to jump into this story and follow along without need of any background material. 3 points.

PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATIONS: There is no filler here, just 22 pages of solid story. Antarctic Press at least puts their web address on the credits page. The cover logo also notes their 30th year of publication. It would have been better to include some ad pages featuring their other types of books. 1 point.

BONUS POINTS: WOULD I PERSONALLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? Yes. I liked this, even though the material is very familiar. In fact, I read my copy four times. Yes to younger readers and all fans of fairy tales. 2 points.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Free Comic Book Day 2015: Book Reviews, Part Five


NEIL GAIMAN’S LADY JUSTICE FCBD (Super Genius Comics) Based on a concept by Neil Gaiman. C. J. Henderson, writer. Michael Netzer, penciler. Rick Magyar, inker. Alex Wald, color. Ken Bruzenak, letterer. Painted cover art by Daniel Brereton


          I can imagine several FCBD attendees saw the Gaiman name on the cover and snatched this one up, only to groan and be discouraged upon opening up the book and discovering that he did not write the story. Hopefully, they continued on, read the story, and were pleasantly surprised at the quality of both script and art. In fact, this book is so good that I’m going to recommend it right now, before I finish this first paragraph!

          Super Genius Comics is a new imprint, a new venture from Papercutz (great graphic novels for young readers), aimed at an older audience. For their debut titles they have chosen to reprint in trade paperback collections for the first time some classic books from the former Tekno Comics (a 1990’s joint venture by Big Entertainment and The Sci-Fi Channel). Neil Gaiman actually created three separate concepts for Tekno, and Super Genius will reprint them all.

          With a veteran group of creators at the helm, LADY JUSTICE is a fast paced, dark, grim and gritty crime story featuring a wheelchair confined heroine who is given an opportunity to seek out the guilty parties and achieve justice. A former ballet dancer, Lady Justice has some fighting moves that will make Black Widow and Black Canary take notice.

COVER APPEAL: Absolutely lovely in every respect. Brereton conveys the right sense of mood, mystery and menace. 3 points.

STORY: Gun battles. Tragedy. Conspiracy. Blood thieves. Drama. Pain. Loss. Agony. Justice. Compassion. Action. To some, this may seem a little hokey compared to today’s sophisticated scripts. If you remember the 1990’s were the comics era when art trumped story, then this script rates above average for quality. I especially like the very last page - - just panels of art with a single caption for each: “It’s the crowning performance of a former ballerina . . .brought out of retirement by fate . . .choreographed by destiny . . . performed for an audience of one . . . who purchased his ticket at the going rate . . . and now . . . has been paid in kind.” Nice, Twilight Zone ending. 2.5 points.

ART: You will not be disappointed at the detail, design or panel placement. This is good stuff. 2.5 points.

YOUTH APPEAL: The cover disclaimer makes it very clear that LADY JUSTICE is not for very young readers. UnderneLadyJustice_01_coverath the logo, in bold yellow lettering, it says “Rated Teen+”. 1.5 points

NEW READER APPEAL: It’s an origin story, so everybody starts at page one. The text page gives a nice background on the publishers involved. 3 points. 

PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATIONS: Between the text page and the ads for the new trade paperback collections on the back cover - - this serves as a nice introduction for Super Genius. 3 points.

BONUS POINTS: WOULD I PERSONALLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? Of course. I have many of the Tekno comics in my collection, including this one. I’m glad to see LADY JUSTICE find a new audience. I recommend picking up the trade paperback. 2 points.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Free Comic Book Day 2015: Book Reviews, Part Four


GRONK / HERO CATS FCBD 2015 (Action Lab Comics) Gronk = Art & Story by Katie Cook, Colors by Heather Breckel. Hero Cats of Stellar City = Kyle Puttkammer, Writer/Creator. Marcus Williams, Pencils/Colors.


Gronk is a cute, lime green, young and small female monster with a nice tuft of sandy California hair on top. She left monster society because she didn’t fit in well and was very curious about the human world. She meets up with a single female in British Columbia who lives in a home with a large Newfoundland dog and a fuzzy kitten. Gronk is welcomed into their family and does her best to fit in. In “A Cake Walk In The Woods, “ Gronk tells a story of when she tried to make friends with the bigger monsters by baking for them.

The untitled Hero Cats story does not give a lot of background information but gets right into the action. Things have changed in peaceful Stellar City since the introduction of Galaxy Man (who the Hero Cats are spying on.) Not sure if he is good or evil, the cats just know that the increase in super-villains to menace the city began to happen when Galaxy Man showed up. Some of the cats put a new recruit through some vigorous training, in their playground variation on the X-Men’s Danger Room. There’s just enough mystery in this story to make readers curious to know more.

COVER APPEAL: Very basic, but very cute. Loveable Gronk hugs a kitten. This should get the attention of the intended audience - - beginning readers, very young readers, and very young children who enjoy being read to. If I was part of that audience, I would pick this up. 2 points.

STORY: The Gronk story is complete in this issue. It’s amusing enough to make older readers chuckle at some of the dialogue and situations and still hold the attention of younger readers. General themes of acceptance, understanding and friendship are lightly woven into the story. The Hero Cats story is more of a preview of the overall series, and does a good job of creating interest and suspense. 2 points.

ART: The art in Gronk is whimsical and colorful, with enough detail to keep it interesting but not confusing or cluttered for younger readers not used to viewing comics. The art in Hero Cats is a little more advanced, and more action oriented. The opening two-page spread is quite impressive, and features a car chase, attacking space ships and robotic insect monsters. Quite a teaser for the main books. None of this is featured in the FCBD story. In summary, the art here is perfect eye candy for younger readers. 3 points.


YOUTH APPEAL: Both stories are very interesting and sure to be popular with the right age groups. I prefer reading original stories like this over comics adaptations of popular toys or television cartoon characters. 3 points.

NEW READER APPEAL: The back story of Gronk is summarized very well on an “About Gronk” page that wraps up the first section of the book. It’s up to the reader to figure out who the Hero Cats are and what their purpose is from the overall story. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to do. An “about” page probably would have been beneficial. Gronk gets points here, but Hero Cats takes a little away. 2 points.

PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATIONS: Action Labs does not waste the opportunity. There is more information about where to get more Gronk and Hero Cats provided, as well as one page ads featuring other young reader titles from Action Labs. 3 points.

BONUS POINTS: WOULD I PERSONALLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? I think this is a very good book for young readers, especially those who prefer original material. Would I give it a personal recommendation? Yes, I actually enjoyed this book. 2 points.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

SUPERGIRL TV series to debut on CBS in November 2015




Thanks to the good folks at Under The Radar Magazine (which I highly recommend) I was able to watch an extended (seven minutes!) preview of the new SUPERGIRL series coming this fall to CBS TV.

    Based on this one preview, (which has some spoilers, so avoid watching if that bothers you) Supergirl shows a lot of potential. Appealing actors and actresses. Teenage angst.  Coming to grips with changes.  Learning to handle responsibility and powers.  Secret identify, or shared with a select few or shared with all?  Humor.  Drama.  Sappy emo background music (well, that I can do without. I’ll tolerate it if everything else is good.)   I’m looking forward to watching this.

The only conflict is it will air on Monday nights in the same time frame opposite Gotham on Fox TV.  Time to set the DVR to record.

Video courtesy CBS TV and Under The Radar magazine. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

FCBD 2015: Free Comic Book Day book reviews, Part Three


TERRIBLE LIZARD #1 FCBD EDITION  (Oni Press)  Written by Cullen Bunn. Illustrated by Drew Moss.  Twenty-two page story.

Terrible Lizard is a light-hearted and amusing tale of a friendship between a teenage girl and a T-Rex dinosaur pulled out of space-time.  This is an all-ages story that really does offer something for everyone. Jessica Anders is a typical teenage girl, part tomboy and mischievous. She’s lonely and bored with her life at Cosmos Labs.  Her single father is a respected scientist dedicating too many hours to a temporal displacement project.  Due to the impatience of the military funding his research, a lab accident brings several dinosaurs and giant monsters from their time-line into the present.  Teenage girl and T-Rex  (nicknamed Wrex) instantly bond. She becomes its’ champion/defender and the favor is returned.


COVER APPEAL:  With a tiny girl riding on the back of a huge dinosaur, there is just enough of a cartoony look to the cover to appeal to the right audience without making it look silly or childish. Dinosaurs have a lot of magnetism with the younger set, and older. Hey, who doesn’t like a good dinosaur yarn?  With the promise of a Godzilla-like monster that is toned down for a younger audience, this cover should also help parents give a little nudge and recommend their kids pick this one up.  3 Points.

STORY: This is both entertaining and engaging.  I’m way too old for this type of material, but not too old to enjoy and appreciate it.  I actually want to know what happens next. Writer Bunn does an effective job of setting the stage, introducing the characters, and building some suspense and mystery.  2.5 points.

ART: Without cramming too much into a single panel, there is actually some nice detail here. It’s several steps up from your standard kids comics - - good facial expressions, interesting use of colors and shading, depth and shadows used effectively.   2.5 points.

YOUTH APPEAL:  Teenagers.  Parents that don’t understand them. Dinosaurs. Friendships. Mis-understandings.  I think younger readers can be hooked on this book if they check it out. 3 points.

NEW READER APPEAL: Since it’s a reprint of Issue #1 of the monthly title (the first trade paperback just came out) it’s not hard at all. This feels like a fresh beginning because it is - - starting at ground level. 3 points.

PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATIONS: Oni doesn’t show their entire hand here, as they are a very diverse comics company covering a variety of genres and mature titles. However, they appropriately dedicate some back pages to featuring ads for other titles aimed at younger readers and continuing to target those age groups = the Courtney Crumrin series, Part-Time Princesses, Princess Ugg, Mermin, and a brand-new title debuting in July - - Junior Braves Of The Apocalypse. (Too bad no one caught the  typo on the back cover.   2.5 points.  

WOULD I PERSONALLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK?  I prefer more mature content, but  I don’t object to reading material aimed at a younger audience as long as it’s well written and has something to offer.  I really enjoyed Terrible Lizard and have no qualms at recommending the trade paperback, even though I haven’t read any other issues yet.  Cullen Bunn is a writer I trust to tell a good story.  (See Sixth Gun from Oni for a delightful supernatural western.)  I wasn’t familiar with the art of Drew Moss before, but I’m impressed with this.  YES!  Please check out Terrible Lizard.  2 points.






Tuesday, May 12, 2015

FCBD 2015: Free Comic Book Day book reviews, Part Two


SAVAGE DRAGON LEGACY FCBD #1 (Image Comics) Writer/Artist Erik Larsen

          Savage Dragon is one of the longest running titles in super-hero comics. It is one of the original flagship titles from the then-upstart Image Comics back in the 1990’s. Erik Larsen is the sole creator, and has remained scripter and artist on this title since Issue #1 - - an impressive accomplishment.

          Larsen is heavily influenced by Jack Kirby, and his art style, which is not a deliberate mimic or copy, shows traces of that influence throughout - - from the way the feet are drawn, over-sized punches that move to the front of the panels, 1970’s sound effects, and Kirbyesque monsters and villains. His story-writing ability also has a 1970’s flavor to it, except when it comes to sexual situations (but none mentioned in the FCBD edition).

          The mantle of power and responsibility has moved from the original Dragon to his son, Malcolm, who takes on the same position with the Chicago Police as his father held.


COVER APPEAL: Very basic. Just a cut-out of Savage Dragon advancing forward, fists out and ready for a brawl. I suppose on a rudimentary level this could be very appealing to the very young readers just getting acquainted with super-heroes and wanting to try something different. 2 points.

STORY: The story opens with a big battle between Malcolm and equally huge Wrath, a dragon-like monster with an open brain case in the back of his head. It’s just a big punch out complete with garish sound effects (skrakka-frakk!, wramm!, thoom!, spakk! Sprakka-wrakk! - - that’s just the first two pages). It’s somewhat fun and lets us see that Malcolm is up to the challenge. There’s a meeting between Malcolm and his dad (now in jail) followed by another battle with a big cyclopean villain (Fountainhead) before a little character reveal and ending (he’s a married father of twins). If nothing else, Larsen is consistent and you can always expect to be entertained with his story lines, but never challenged. 1.5 points.

ART: Big panels. Big characters. Big style. Bold colors. Eye appealing, yet not different or dynamic enough for the full points. 2 points.

YOUTH APPEAL: Despite the popularity of the iconic Marvel and DC heroes, it can be very difficult to bring a brand new reader up to date on these characters or get them to understand the storylines without reading a giant stack of linked books. A brand new reader could really start anywhere with Savage Dragon and catch up and catch on. On the plus side, I would think readers from 10-14 years would be most attracted to a book like this. Maybe too violent or not as interesting for younger readers, and most likely not complex enough for 15+ readers. If you are a 40 year old who reads this title, please don’t be offended. You know what you like, and I don’t disrespect anyone who enjoys Savage Dragon. I’m just trying to think like a younger person and that’s how I came up with the speculations above. 2 points.

NEW READER APPEAL: This is where I give points for the writers making an effort to familiarize new readers with the back-story and provide some information/history. Larsen does this in two separate , two-page sections of the story. It’s all dialogue between two characters but it gets the job done. A little flashback art might have helped make it less tiresome, though. There’s also a second story of young Malcolm that provides some history. 2.5 points.

PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATIONS: As with the Fantagraphic FCBD title, you really cannot get an idea of the diversity of books offered by Image from reading this.. However, it does promote Savage Dragon and the back cover lists all the trade paperback collections available along with ISBN numbers. 1.5 points.

BONUS POINTS: WOULD I PERSONALLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? While this is not the type of book that I seek out, there are some readers that I would suggest it to if I knew that this style of art and story was exactly what they were looking for. A personal recommendation? Nope. 1 point.


FCBD 2015: Free Comic Book Day book reviews, Part One

Editor’s Note: After posting my initial article on the FCBD books last week, I was preparing to begin posting reviews the very next day. Then, work and other obligations made for some very long days and no time to read and review. I hope to catch up soon. Please keep watching this space. For a guideline on how I am grading/ranking these books, please go to the Archives and read the article from Thursday, May 07, 2015.

HIP-HOP FAMILY TREE THREE-IN-ONE: FEATURING COSPLAYERS (Fantagraphics) Hip-Hop Family Tree writer/artist Ed Piskor. Cosplayers writer/artist Dash Shaw

          There is a ton of reading in the FCBD offering, a full 58 pages of material. Ed Piskor, a big fan of the hip-hop genre of music, took it upon himself to chronicle the history of this musical variation from roots and beginnings to later trends. He features many of the prominent artists and players in the development of hip-hop and most of his facial renditions are spot-on.

          While I respect the genre of hip-hop and rap, I rarely listen. I’m not a fan of this type of music and I don’t follow it. Yet, I was pulled into and enchanted by Piskor’s telling of this story – a little piece of music history. I admit that I am a big fan of rock music and all it’s spin-offs - - so there is still something to interest me here. I’m not sure any readers who don’t follow or appreciate music will enjoy this as much.

          The Cosplayers back-up features are just as interesting, giving an amusing and reverential glimpse into yet another variation on geek culture - - dressing up as super-heroes, fantasy figures and celebrities. It pokes fun at the hobby while still respecting it and not laughing. The spiritualistic comic-shop owner is not to be missed - - what a trip!


COVER APPEAL: It’s a montage of famous faces in hip-hop illustrated by Piskor. If you recognize some of them, then that is the appeal that will draw you to this book. Anyone with an interest in music who is fortunate enough to read the complimentary quotes on the back cover will be enticed to pick this up. Otherwise, I’m not sure anyone else would pick up this book based on the cover. I don’t think young readers would be attracted to it. 1.5 Points.

STORY: I was not expecting to enjoy a fact-based music history story as much as I did here. The FCBD edition reprints a story from 3 separate issues of Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree comic (now collected in a gift set from Fantagraphics), covering the periods of 1975-1981, 1981-1983, and 1983-1984. Piskor writes a very fluid, moving history and incorporates many asides and insights into the prominent players which helps bring them to life and make them interesting. Shaw is funny, quirky and shows us in geekdom how to laugh at ourselves without feeling inferior. Nicely done. 3 Points.

ART: Piskor employs a sweet art style featuring lots of panels that will remind many of the legendary Robert Crumb. I’ve seen Piskor’s art on some other books, and it’s different than what he does here - -- a very grand homage to Crumb and an excellent choice of methods in which to tell the story. There is a bonus feature by Piskor that pokes fun at the 1990’s Spike Lee produced commercial that starred artist Rob Liefeld (Cable, Youngblood, etc.) at the height of his popularity. It looks exactly as if Liefeld himself drew it, complete with exaggerated features and awkward leg positions. Shaw’s art is done in comic strip fashion, simplistic and effective, except when he stretches out and does a admirable full-page homage to Jack Kirby. 3 points.

YOUTH APPEAL: Whatever age young people begin to develop an interest in music these days - - that would be the target audience. Anyone younger is not going to be attracted to this book. However, if this book helps music fans of all ages gain an appreciation for how comics can tell stories about music, then I would give it an extra ½ point for that. 2 points.

NEW READER APPEAL: You don’t need to be familiar with the back-story of hip-hop or even have listened to much of it to be able to appreciate the fine story-telling. It’s all here. 3 points.

PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATIONS: You really cannot get an idea of the diversity of books offered by Fantagraphics from reading this FCBD title. They missed an opportunity here. Also, a website address is not featured anywhere in this book where readers could go to learn more or even try to order their own copies of Hip-Hop Family Tree. Sure, we can assume that everyone knows how to look up a website address. But will they? Much safer to make it easier for them and include one.  1 point.

BONUS POINTS: WOULD I PERSONALLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? To fans of hip-hop? Absolutely. To music fans? Yes. To anyone interested in how comics can tell history or biography? Yes. To regular fans of standard-fare comics? No. 1.5 points.

FINAL RANKING FOR FCBD HIP-HOP FAMILY TREE:                                               15 points  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Free Comic Book Day 2015: Evaluating the books


     For many years  I have written about the value of Free Comic Book Day (FCBD), and emphasized the opportunity it presents for comic shop owners to promote their business as well as grab the attention of new and younger readers.  For one of the best examples of how to pull this off, go to the BC archives and read my May 2010 detailed report  of FCBD at Captain Blue Hen Comics in Newark, Delaware.


photo courtesy free comic book day organization

          By the same token, FCBD is an opportunity for comics publishers to draw attention to their products and create interest, hoping to obtain new readers as well.  After reading your 2015 FCBD pick-ups, how well do you think they did?

         Thanks to the kind folks at Captain Blue Hen Comics I have a big stack of FCBD titles and will be reviewing and evaluating them.  I’m going to revive a 20 point rating system that I haven’t used since the last time I had a big stack of FCBD books. Keep in mind that these are the opinions of one and one only reviewer and are meant to be subjective.

PERFECT = 20 POINTS.  So good that you should pay for it!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED = 15-19 POINTS.  A perfect example of representing the industry proudly!

MEETS EXPECTATIONS = 12-14 POINTS.  Above average and worth your time. Comes close but misses the bulls-eye.

SOMEWHAT LACKING = 7-11 POINTS.  There’s just not enough here to recommend this book.

POOR EXAMPLE = 0-6 POINTS.  This does not represent the industry well at all.  So bad you should pay someone to read it or take it off your hands.

               For those of us who missed the FCBD event at their local comic store, these reviews may serve as  useful guide to determine if a specific book that you missed is worth pursuing.  You may decide to try and obtain it either through your local shop or the various online comics selling services that may offer it.   

   Here’s how the ratings will be determined . . . . . . . . . .

COVER APPEAL:  0-3 points.  If the FCBD titles were displayed in a glass case and the reader could only choose a few, which ones would they be?  In the case of unfamiliar material, the choice would largely be made on the appeal of the art and cover design.

STORY:  0-3 points.  How good of a job does the writer do?  Is the story entertaining?  Is the story engaging?

ART: 0-3 points.  How good of a job does the artist do?  Is the art entertaining?  Is the art engaging?  Does it enhance the script and add to the story-telling power of the comic?

YOUTH APPEAL: 0-3 points.  Recognizing that the best opportunity to bring new readers and fans into the world of comics is to hook the younger readers - - then any FCBD title accomplishing that gets more points.  I’m very supportive of bringing younger readers into the world of comics.  The art form needs new blood and new readers to thrive.

NEW READER APPEAL:  0-3 points.  Does the title take into consideration that a new reader would be unfamiliar with characters and continuity and address that by either explanation or simplification?

PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATIONS: 0-3 points.  Does the title help promote the publisher’s line-up and provide information to help guide new readers t learn more about it?

EXTRA BONUS POINTS = WOULD I PERSONALLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK?  0-2 points.  All the above ratings are determined by imagining that I am a new and curious comic reader trying to determine whether to allocate some of my leisure funds and leisure time to comics. This forces me to think outside the box that I normally inhabit.  The extra bonus points allows me to be myself - - a long term mature (?) comics reader somewhat jaded by the amount of material I’ve read over the years.  How well did I like it?  Hey, since this is my rating system - - I’m allowed to be thoroughly subjective here.

Now that we have set the ground rules, it’s time to explore the stack.  I’ll be reviewing several FCBD 2015 titles in the next installment.

Monday, May 4, 2015

More creators to participate in Baltimore Comic Con 2015

from the official press release . . . . .

Legendary DC Creators Chiang, Fradon, Levitz, and Tomasi Come to Baltimore

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - May 4, 2015 -  Join us in Baltimore's Inner Harbor the weekend of September 25-27, 2015 for the 16th annual Baltimore Comic-Con! Held at the Baltimore Convention Center, we are proud to announce the appearance of legendary DC Comics creators Cliff Chiang, Ramona Fradon, Paul Levitz, and Peter Tomasi.

A Harvard graduate with a joint degree in English Literature and Visual Arts, Cliff Chiang began his career as an assistant editor at DC before moving over to the creative side. He has provided art for titles such as Human Target, Beware the Creeper, Green Arrow/Black Canary, and Wonder Woman. You can find his pencils gracing DC Comics covers for Batgirl and Batman Eternal.

Beginning her extensive comics career in the 1950s, Parsons School of Design graduate Ramona Fradon is responsible for artwork in many comics, past and present. She spent much of her comics career at DC Comics working on titles like Adventure Comics, Brave and the Bold, Plastic Man, Freedom Fighters, and a very long run on Super Friends. Moving to comic strips, Fradon took over art duties on Brenda Starr from 1980 until her retirement from the title in 1995. In recent years, she continues to be active on titles like DC's Convergence: Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters, Bongo Entertainment's Spongebob Comics and Annual-Size Super-Giant Swimtacular, and Marvel's Invaders Now!, Namora, and Girl Comics.

Paul Levitz has been a mainstay at DC Comics since 1972, serving as a writer, editor, and President (2002 - 2009) over the tenure of his career. His name is synonymous with the Legion of Super-Heroes, which he wrote from 1977-1979 and 1981-1989, and he created such notable characters as the Stalker, the Earth-2 Huntress, and Lucien the Librarian. Levitz has since returned to writing the Legion of Super-Heroes for the New 52, as well as the Earth-2 centric book, World's Finest. Last year, Levitz moved onto the next phase of his career, accepting a Board of Directors position with BOOM! Studios. He is currently writing Dr. Fate and Convergence: World's Finest Comics for DC Comics.

Peter Tomasi is a writer and editor best known for his work at DC Comics. He began his career in 1993, editing such titles as Green Lantern, the Batman titles, Aquaman, Hawkman, and JSA before being promoted to Senior Editor in 2003. In 2007, Tomasi decided to move from editing to writing full-time and, in 2010, took over writing Batman and Robin with issue #20. Since the launch of the New 52, Tomasi helmed the new volumes of both Batman and Robin and Green Lantern Corps. His recent work can be found on DC's Batman: Arkham Knight and Batman and Frankenstein.

"These four guests are by no means the only talent coming to the show in 2015 with work past and present from DC Comics, but all four are highly esteemed for their bodies of work there ," said Marc Nathan, promoter of the Baltimore Comic-Con. "We love to be able to bring talent of this caliber to the show, both for the fans and for ourselves! "

This year's confirmed guests for the show include: Neal Adams (All-New Captain America); Jeremy Bastian (Cursed Pirate Girl); Christy Blanch (The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood); Mark Buckingham (Fables); Sean Chen (Secret Origins); Cliff Chiang (Wonder Woman); Frank Cho (Jungle Girl); Steve Conley (Bloop); Amanda Conner (Harley Quinn); Katie Cook (Gronk); Darwyn Cooke (Richard Stark's Parker); Ramona Fradon (Spongebob Annual-Size Super-Giant Swimtacular); John Gallagher (Buzzboy); Cully Hamner (Convergence: The Question); Dean Haspiel (The Fox); Jaime Hernandez (Love and Rockets); Klaus Janson (Superman); Dave Johnson (Inhumans: Attilan Rising); JG Jones (Strange Fruit); Denis Kitchen (The Best of Comix Book: When Marvel Went Underground); Barry Kitson (Empire: Uprising); Seth Kushner (Schmuck); Paul Levitz (Convergence: World's Finest Comics); Mark Mariano (The Other Side of Hugless Hill); Ron Marz (Convergence: Batman and Robin); Terry Moore (Rachel Rising); Tom Palmer (The Avengers); Jimmy Palmiotti (The Con Job); Dan Parent (Archie); Andrew Pepoy (Afterlife with Archie); David Peterson (Mouse Guard); Ron Randall (Convergence: Catwoman); Budd Root (Cavewoman); Don Rosa (Donald Duck); Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo); Matteo Scalera (Black Science); Bart Sears (Bloodshot); Louise Simonson (Convergence: Superman - The Man of Steel); Walter Simonson (Convergence: Superman - The Man of Steel); Andy Smith (Earth 2); Charles Soule (Uncanny Inhumans); Marcio Takara (Armor Wars); Ben Templesmith (Gotham by Midnight); Frank Tieri (Suicide Squad); Peter Tomasi (Green Lantern Corps); John Totleben (Swamp Thing); Rick Veitch (Saga of the Swamp Thing); Charles Vess (Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream); Mark Waid (Daredevil); John Watson (Red Sonja); Kelly Yates (Doctor Who); and Thom Zahler (My Little Pony: Friends Forever).

Illustrator Bautista nominated for Manning newcomer award

from the official press release . . . . .



PORTLAND, OR May 1, 2015 – Oni Press, Portland’s premier independent comic book publisher, today celebrates a Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award nomination for Gabo, artist on The Life After.

Gabriel "Gabo" Bautista is an Eisner and Harvey award-winning colorist and illustrator located in Chicago. He has previously worked on titles such as Will Eisner's The Spirit, Elephantmen, and All-Star Western. Gabo's work on the Oni Press comic The Life After, as illustrator and colorist, has earned him this nomination.

“I pretty much fainted when I heard the news, and then I saw the other nominees and I fainted again,” says Gabo about the nomination. “I am so incredibly honored and thrilled to be standing next to such brilliant artists. I owe all credit to my editor Ari Yarwood, the rest of the Oni Press crew, and of course Josh Fialkov for this. They've trained and nurtured me like a prize fighter, I love them all dearly.”

The Life After is a psychedelic, dark comedy adventure through Heaven and Hell, with the one man who could change the very nature of the afterlife itself. Jude's life seems like every day is just a repeat of the last one, until he discovers supernatural abilities that reveal the world around him is Purgatory for suicides. Now awake, he and the legendary Ernest Hemingway plan to change the afterlife for the better even if that doesn't sit well with the bigwigs down below or up above.

About the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award

The Russ Manning Award has been given out annually at San Diego Comic-Con since 1982. It is presented to a comics artist who, early in his or her career, shows a superior knowledge and ability in the art of creating comics. It is named for Russ Manning, the artist best known for his work on the Tarzan and Star Wars newspaper strips and the Magnus, Robot Fighter comic book. Manning was a popular guest at the San Diego convention in the 1970s.
About Oni Press
Oni Press has been Portland's premier indie comic book publisher since 1997. Home to a range of rad comics including Scott Pilgrim, The Sixth Gun, Invader Zim, Rick and Morty, Stumptown, Princess Ugg, Letter 44 and The Bunker.