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1. ECCC’15: Valiant opens the Book of Death

Valiant has just revealed a brand new event at Emerald City Comic Con following up Armor Hunters entitled Book of Death. The following image drawn by Robert Gill was sent as a press release. With a 25th Anniversary, the publisher is looking to celebrate their line including the old and new versions of the company. The image teases a July 2015 release and popular characters like Quantum and Woody, Archer & Armstrong, X-O Manowar, Vincent Van Goat, Ninjak, Rai, Punk Mambo, Bloodshot, Dr. Mirage, Divinity, The Eternal Warrior, Shadowman, Faith, Peter Stanchek, and more hidden in the background. The heroes lurk below what seems to be a representation of Death in the Valiant Universe.

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Could we see some characters from the old Valiant line come back in this story? Is this the Blackest Night of Valiant?

0 Comments on ECCC’15: Valiant opens the Book of Death as of 3/29/2015 12:07:00 AM
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2. Interview: Balak, Bastien Vivès, and Michaël Sanlaville bring the award-winning Last Man to the states

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A collaboration of French stars from three different mediums, Last Man brings together the gifted animator Balak, Bastien Vivès, the much heralded comics creator, and Michaël Sanlaville, a rising talent in game design, for a manga influenced, tournament-based martial arts adventure that’s been all the rage in their native country.

The planned 12 volume series, 6 of which have been published, was recently awarded the Prix de la Serie at Angoulême this year, highlighting the popular and critical acclaim of the series overseas. Last Man centers on Adrian Velba, a 12 year old boy enrolled in Battle School whose highest ambition is to participate in the annual tournament sponsored by the King and Queen. After the sudden departure of his required partner, Adrian faces having to wait another year to compete, until a mysterious loner named Richard Aldana, who is also in need of a partner, crosses his path. This unlikely pair, and how they turn the tournament and city on its ear, makes up much of the excellent first volume, entitled “The Stranger”, which sees English-language publication from First Second on March 31st.

I was fortunate enough to chat with these three creators in the lead-up to its release in the U.S.:

balak 2

L to R: Sanlaville, Balak, Vivès

You began working on Last Man in 2013, what was the origin of the project and how was the creative nucleus of this ensemble formed?

Balak: Bastien and I have known each other for 12 years. We hung out at the same message board, catsuka.com<http://catsuka.com/>, chatting about comics, Japanese animation and well-endowed women, the usual geeky stuff. Then we went to the same animation school in Paris, Gobelins, where we met Michael. Bastien and Mic got along well and quit the school to make comics. Years later, Bastien told me he’d like to make a comic book with eveything we like in it: cool one-liners, great adventure with a manga-ish epic feel, larger than life characters and larger than life natural breasts. In short: The very reason Art exists. The catch is that we wanted to do it the manga-way: to draw 20 pages a week and publish 3 books a year. So we had to be a three-person team, well organized, and say goodbye to any social life for a few years. It seemed like a cool project, so  here we are.

While reading the first volume, I was reminded of my time perusing some of my favorite mangas, including that of the shounen variety, was that an influence…or more specifically, was there a particular type of action-based storytelling that informed this series?


Balak: Yes, that was the reason Bastien asked me and Mic to join in the first place. He knows we’re avid manga readers since forever. Basically, we wanted to have this very calibrated shounen feel that we love in the first books, and put our little twist on it: What if John McClane was thrown into a Dragon Ball tournament? We mixed the two things we loved: manga and US action movies we watched as kids. This stuff made us who we are today, for better and worse. Last Man is the result of this.

Last Man looks to have a fairly wide audience appeal, particularly in terms of age, what is it about tournament stories that seem the draw the younger audience?


LASTMAN-sampler-1lowBalak: Even the worst Hollywood script doctor would tell you that story is about conflict. A tournament is the core of the most basic, comprehensive storytelling. You’ve got a hero you’re rooting for: he wants to win the cup, and everyone wants the same thing as well. The premise is simple, almost visceral. That’s why manga of this type are popular, they manage to convey each characters burning will to win and emotions; each battle is a story in itself. But when we say it’s simple, it doesn’t mean “simplistic.” Keeping things simple is hard, there is an unnoticeable elegance to it that is very difficult to achieve.

Were there any story elements in particular that you implemented or had to adjust in order to attract younger readers?


Balak: Not at all, we just did things as we pleased. The only thing we naturally refrained was sex. It can be sexy, but you don’t have anything too graphic.

Describe a typical day in the creative process for the series, were you all huddled in a room together planning out the beats of the story or was it more segmented?


Balak: “A quiet mayhem” is the best expression that could sum up our typical day and creative process. We don’t write much like a regular script. Bastien puts down his ideas on 10 or 15 pages for the book to come. Mic and I read it, then we discuss it, have several meetings, decide what is changing, what would be better. I take quick notes on a paper towel and I directly draw the 20 first pages of storyboard, come up with dialogues ideas, new situations. Each Monday, we discuss what the next 20 pages will be about, while Bastien and Mic draw the previous pages, 10 each. It’s not very kosher, and it’s quite exhausting, but it’s what keeps our ideas fresh and our motivation going. If we had the classic “here is the script, then we do the whole storyboard, then we can draw the whole thing,” it wouldn’t work for us. With our method, it feels very organic, we are constantly reacting on each others pages, at any time.

There’s a fascinating sense of culture combination in this first volume, with a setting that resembles pre-Revolutionary era France but with Eastern traditions sprinkled throughout. What is it that makes these two very different cultures mesh so well together?


Balak: To be honest, we didn’t put a lot of thoughts into this culture mix. We just drew what seemed right to us, the French medieval thing is a part of our culture, we just put a martial art in it not thinking twice if it would match or not… It seemed obvious to us!

Bastien, you’ve had a few of your comics translated into English into the past, how has the LASTMAN-sampler-2lowtranslation process for Last Man compared? Has it been relatively smooth overall or have any pieces of dialogue had to be changed outright?


Bastien: My English is not very good, so I can’t really tell!!!  But I think First Seconds did a good job!
Balak: The translation is very good, some cultural, typical French things are well adapted to an English audience. The main difference is that the French version is filled with cursing and very bad language that the English version is toned down a little . . . Aldana is even more rude in French!

For Balak and Michael, was the transition into comics a difficult one from the work you’re used to, or is there a natural handover from gaming and animation into sequential art?


Balak: I always wanted to draw comics. That’s the very first thing I wanted to do as a kid, so it’s not an issue at all. Sometime I’m a little frustrated by the page constraint, the fact that you can’t surprise the reader anytime you want, you have to take care of the double spread, keep your surprises for the first panel of the left page. . . . But it’s fun. I tried to get rid of this by creating something called Turbomedia, a way to make digital comics. You can see how it works by looking up Marvel’s Infinite Comics line, I’ve worked with them on this. Or even better, check the great Mark Waid’s Insufferable, at Thrillbent.com.  It’s cool. (Yes, that was a shameless plug.)

Do you see Richard Aldana as a character to be admired or one to be pitied? Is it somewhere in the middle?


Balak: You pinpointed Richard. He’s right in the middle. He’s a badass, he’s looking cool and cracking jokes, but you wouldn’t want his life. But don’t try to show him pity, he would punch you in the face. Or walk away with a burning one-liner that would hurt you even more. Or both at the same time, if you’re not lucky.

Will Richard’s background play a bigger part going forward in the next chapters being released this year?


Balak: Yes, a big, BIG part. We’re even making a whole animated TV show about Richard’s past. It will be out in 2016 in France. It will be dark, violent and funny.

When you’re writing the dialogue of a child Adrian’s age, how difficult is it to find a right tone of voice that sounds natural?


LASTMAN-sampler-3lowBalak: Adrian’s way of talking is mostly Bastien’s. He’s kept is inner ten year-old child very close. It seems very easy for him. When I’m writing Adrian’s dialogues, it almost always sounds wrong.

Last Man was incredibly well received in your home country, to the point that it won the Prix de la Serie at Angoulême. What was the first thing that went through each of your minds winning such a prestigious honor?


Balak: I should’ve dressed better for this.
Bastien: It’s very good to feel supported in your country.
Balak: (Bastien tries to look tough and all, but he cried on stage. Really.)
Mic: It happened quite fast, I think I haven’t realized yet what it means. . . . To me, this prize goes out to all the great Japanese manga artists that inspired me to draw, and are still unknown to the wide audience for the most part. . . . But things are changing, so that’s good.



At what point was First Second the natural choice to bring Last Man to the states?


Balak: Mark Siegel gets the book totally, it seems that everybody there genuinely loves what they are publishing. We’re proud to be  surrounded by all these other great books.

Beyond the translation of Books 2 and 3 this year, what’s next for the series? I understand there are other media plans. How is that process coming along? Is it possible I’ll be playing as Richard Aldana in a video game soon?


Balak: Hopefully, it should happen this very year! We’re producing our own video game, called Last Fight. It’s kind of like Power Stone, you can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLFxFKmqYDs If everything goes smoothly, it will be released in September. And as I’ve said previously, the animated TV show about Richard’s past is scheduled to next year. On each project, we have a very close look on the whole creative process.

What can/should your American readers look out for in Books 2 and 3? Any major surprises you can tease?


Balak: I can guarantee you some surprises . . . I can only say that you won’t stay into King’s Valley too long.

You can pick up Last Man Vol 1: The Stranger this coming Tuesday, March 31st from First Second at a book retailer near you.

0 Comments on Interview: Balak, Bastien Vivès, and Michaël Sanlaville bring the award-winning Last Man to the states as of 3/27/2015 1:12:00 PM
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3. Marvel Reveals A-Force Presents Vol. 1: An anthology with Marvel Heroines

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Marvel is attempting to do something a little different with already published work via A-Force Presents Vol. 1. The series is a trade paperback anthology collection that presents work published from Marvel  in a new format shipping bi-monthly. Included in the first collection that is already up for pre-order for Amazon shoppers is Ms. Marvel, Black Widow, She-Hulk, Thor, Captain Marvel, and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

Also included on Amazon is the release date for volume 1 at September 29th of this year at $13.49. The next volume known as A-Force Presents Vol. 2 is coming shortly after on November 24th at $14.99.

Marvel seems be aiming for fans who have never seen this material on the bookstore market. Over their last few years of publishing, there has been a renewed focus on younger female heroines. As of yet, we are unsure of what is being published in the second collection.

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3 Comments on Marvel Reveals A-Force Presents Vol. 1: An anthology with Marvel Heroines, last added: 3/23/2015
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4. Another Take: Chrononauts is Not a Screenplay, It’s a Glorious Comic (Review)

chrononauts_issue_2_by_seangordonmurphy-d8eqj7jWriter: Mark Millar

Penciller: Sean Gordon Murphy

Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth

Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos


Writer Mark Millar is a polarizing creator, but with the recent critical success of Starlight, interested in his work has been reignited. Teaming the author with a killer creative team including both artist Sean Gordon Murphy and the excellent colors of Matt Hollingsworth & letters of Chris Eliopoulos should be a case for instant success. Fortunately, Chrononauts #1 reads as if it is cut from the same cloth of Starlight. The tale builds out a world and personality for our characters recalling some of the intense interpersonal work that Millar crafted in what is arguably his strongest Big Two work: The Ultimates.

Within the space of this one issue Millar fills these characters with heart and nuance. Corbin Quinn and Danny Reilly are both written with an immense amount of pathos and love in this tale. As soon as this comic establishes these two as interesting human beings with engaging backstories, it starts collapsing and shifting the dynamic. The high science aspects of this issue take a similar approach to the works this story is based off of like Back to the Future with similar color schemes, aesthetics, and heart. Those influences suit this comic well, and so long as we invest in the two personalities of these characters throughout the more action heavy parts of this story, Chrononauts is likely going to be a tale that’s engaging during the full span of the story.

Artist Sean Gordon Murphy is an incredible asset to the storytelling of this issue. Millar’s focus on cinematic presentation simply requires excellent artists fleshing out his environments and spreads added to the work. Perhaps the most mesmerizing sequences of this comic are the incredible instances of technology in which Murphy draws futuristic vehicles with all the bells and whistles that futuristic machinery could possibly have. Millar has always worked with top flight artists in the industry, and with the right project he and Murphy are a match made in comic book heaven. The vehicles aren’t the only excellent part of this comic, office spaces and scenic vistas are jam-packed with an immense amount of detail. This is the comic that you remove the staples from and tack to the wall. A crowd shot in the middle of the tale is filled with individuals that Murphy pencils in an immense amount of detail. Due to the nature of the title, time travel is a necessary component to the book – which is another strength of the penciller. The eras represented here feel authentic and unique. This book jumps to the future and the past, so clarity is a requirement.

The personal lives of our main characters is fleshed out to an excellent degree, giving them the right amount of emotion and comedic elements. On multiple occasions, I was shocked with just how funny this story was. Murphy and Millar both nail the comedic elements of this story with some physical humor from the leads to small instances of funny fervor hiding in the background of this story. More importantly, this comic never strays too far into either comedy or drama, but instead moves into the dramedy section of entertainment, as the stakes for our heroes is clearly and cleanly laid out amongst the first installment of this story.

Cinematic is a term that is sometimes daunting for the medium. It’s something that can absolutely be applied in this context, with a story that is lighter on dialogue and heavier on splash pages and big wide panels. These stories mix great on the comic store shelf next to complicated pieces covered with dialogue. Still, these cinematic comics shouldn’t read like movie scripts, they should read like comics. The medium should be taken advantage of at all times. That attitude of trying to get everything up on the screen is a turn off, and something that has distracted fans from Millar’s own writing. Chrononauts #1 reads like a comic, and it’s made all the better for being written, drawn, and created as such.

2 Comments on Another Take: Chrononauts is Not a Screenplay, It’s a Glorious Comic (Review), last added: 3/22/2015
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5. David Gabriel Reveals which Marvel titles are on hold During Secret Wars

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We knew Marvel had to thin out their line for Secret Wars, the huge upcoming event from Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic, but the degree that the new tie-in miniseries and other books have been paused or moved of the way is slightly maddening. ComicBook.com broke the news yesterday of which books the publisher is cancelling or putting on hold during the Secret Wars. Marvel’s SVP of Sales & Marketing David Gabriel broke the news.

  • All-New Captain America
  • All-New Ghost Rider
  • All-New X-Men
  • Amazing Spider-Man
  • Amazing X-Men
  • Angela: Asgard’s Assassin
  • Avengers
  • Avengers World
  • Captain Marvel
  • Cyclops
  • Deadpool
  • Elektra
  • Fantastic Four
  • Guardians 3000
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Hulk
  • Inhuman
  • Iron Fist: The Living Weapon
  • Legendary Star-Lord
  • Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man
  • New Avengers
  • Nightcrawler
  • Nova
  • Rocket Raccoon
  • Secret Avengers
  • Spider-Man & The X-Men
  • Spider-Man 2099
  • Storm
  • Superior Iron Man
  • Thor
  • Uncanny X-Men
  • Wolverines
  • X-Men

That’s 33 comics on hold for Secret Wars.

In addition, those Secret Wars banners may have been more important than we initially thought, as the books branded as having their Last Days are the ones that are coming to an end. “LAST DAYS titles are creators bringing their stories to their natural conclusions before the destruction of the Marvel Universe.” Then there’s Warzones – which is the stuff that the post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe is made of. “All of which are laying foundations for a new Marvel Universe.” The Battleworld books are the tie-ins, that’s why we have seen so many of those titles announced from the past couple of days.

“For example, during Secret Wars Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows is the “core” Spider-Man series. That should be pretty obvious considering Dan Slott is writing it.” During the event we are supposed to see the main titles as the Battleworld tie-ins (is that obvious though?)

Finally, Gabriel talked some numbers. “We’re going to surpass a half a million units on the first issue which is amazing. And that’s just selling straight to our Direct Market core retailers.”

11 Comments on David Gabriel Reveals which Marvel titles are on hold During Secret Wars, last added: 3/23/2015
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6. Welcome the Excellent Stuart Immonen to Star Wars #8

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Illustrator John Cassaday recently announced his departure from the Star Wars comic book with author Jason Aaron. Issue #6 is his last, as announced on Sunday from his Facebook page.

“While wrapping up my final issue (#6) and the first arc of STAR WARS,” said Cassaday.

The All-New Captain America artist Stuart Immonen is jumping on board with Aaron. Immonen is set to draw the upcoming issue #8, and provided a cover that has yet to be colored with Luke Skywalker – it should be no surprise that it looks nothing short of excellent. He’s a great choice for the series, able to provide lots of different characters and faces with dynamic action and linework as proved with his tenure on All-New X-Men.

Author Jason Aaron advised fans not to worry about his involvement with the title clarifying that he’s going to be on the comic for sometime.

Just for the record, I am on STAR WARS for the long haul. There are so many stories I want to tell with these characters.

CBR broke the news, and also teased that a special artist is jumping on #7. Any guesses? I’m hoping for Arthur Adams, but after delivering interior art for Guardians Team-Up #1 it seems unlikely.

3 Comments on Welcome the Excellent Stuart Immonen to Star Wars #8, last added: 3/18/2015
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7. IDW Announces a Miracleman Artifact Edition: Buy Responsibly

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Miracleman, a character with one of the most fascinating back stories in comics chronicled in our own Poisoned Chalice pieces is getting an Artifact Edition from IDW. The collection was announced this morning from Comics Alliance, and contains 144 pages of sheer Alan Moore awesomeness. The hardcover is going to set you back $95, but features an orientation size of 15 x 20. The book is for those who describe themselves as ‘process nerds’ featuring artwork in the size that it was presented with notes as the title was produced.

Miracleman Artifact Edition HC

The Original Writer (w) • Garry Leach, Alan Davis, John Totleben, and more (a) • John Totleben (c)

Miracleman was launched 30 years ago in the now legendary Warrior magazine. It turned the concept of “super-hero” on its ear with big ideas that helped redefine an entire genre… when Miracleman fought Kid Miracle Man on the streets of London… well, things would never be the same.

And then there was the art.

Miracleman had a true knack for bringing out the best work from extraordinary artists. Starting with co-creator Garry Leach, followed by Alan Davis (and others) and finishing with one of the most amazing endings in comics history by the phenomenal John Totleben, Miracleman was a work of art painted on a grand canvas, unlike anything before or since.

HC • BW • $95.00 net discount item • 144 Pages • 15” x 20” • ISBN: 978-1-63140-392-7

Miracleman is a special character who was finally capitalized on in recent reprints of the series from Marvel. This excellent work from people like Garry Leach, John Totleben, and Alan Moore (who is credited as the original writer) is now widely available in numerous incarnations across bookshelves, and for that we commend IDW and Marvel. Miracleman is so rich with history and intrigue, it’s excellent to think that a new horde of readers are going to be digging into the incredible work.

Please, make sure to buy responsibly.

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4 Comments on IDW Announces a Miracleman Artifact Edition: Buy Responsibly, last added: 3/17/2015
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8. A Tale of Three Kings: Ninjak #1 Review

NINJAK_003_COVER-A_LAROSABook 1

Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Clay Mann
Inker: Seth Mann
Colorist: Ulises Arreola
Letterer: Dave Sharpe



The Lost Files

Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Butch Guice
Colorist: Ulises Arreola
Letterer: Dave Sharpe



Ninjak #1 by Matt Kindt is the ongoing series that you’ve wanted ever since Valiant first relaunched in 2012. The highly sought after British Ninja’s first solo adventure is just what you’d expect, featuring all the guns, swords, and punching that you were hoping for. The first piece of info is a clue into the inner workings of Ninjak’s tools, which is an image perfectly captured and described by the folks at Valiant. This illustrates another important piece of this comic – this is a comic with a lot of substance and ideas that proves itself as an action story with both brains and brawn.

Clay Mann makes a fierce debut to the world of Ninjak, finally getting that big book that is going to set him apart from the competition in the industry. The first battle within the issue is a fight scene containing some incredibly intricate layouts. Mann proves his flexibility in the way he draws the young Colin King (Ninjak) to be so innocent, and the older version to be so cynical. The artist perfectly illustrates the juxtaposition of the two heroes. The streets of the big city look alive with the wonderfully fierce incarnation of an older Colin King invested towards further exploring this new place in which he calls home. Visual cues of technology prove how versatile this artist can be.

664412_320The briefing scenes from MI-6 perfectly utilize Ninjak’s own inner monologues to paint a unique landscape that draws attention to itself for all the right reasons. A computer folder shows a slow burn process of Ninjak learning new things about himself that recalls some of the best moments within Rai (also written by Kindt) which has arguably transformed into one of the best ongoings at Valiant Entertainment. The trio of scenes here are still utilized in an even stronger effect, showing that Kindt does have a great pull towards some of the espionage moments that could make a series like this truly great. This title is light on plot, but heavy on espionage. With a host of plot secrets surfing around this issue, Book 1 is a triumphant first solo outing for the hero that has an immense amount of potential to continue to reveal more about the Valiant lands.

The Lost Files backup storyline is another really intriguing debut for Kindt, revealing the sort of middle ground on how King became Ninjak passed his early youth. If I had any gripe with this storyline – I wish this plot was nestled in between the primary feature and the art was made to look more like flashbacks. Making the tale even more dense, and cramming it with more story and intrigue would have led to a really interesting thought experiment that would enlighten the world of Ninjak. Still, it’s incredible that Kindt can tell a story this strong in under ten pages in the back of the book. Also, the tale is even lighter on plot than the opening issue, which is mildly disappointing,

exclusive-Ninjak

Butch Guice is exactly the brand of awesomeness that Ninjak needs, it’s a quieter less complicated tale that still has the right amount of heavy shadows and linework to really keep my interest peaked. Guice’s work is just as lovely as Mann’s art, and I hope the two will eventually work together within the frame of one story.

Ninjak #1 is a sharp package that contains 30 pages of sheer delight. So many smart ideas and plotting instances are featured throughout this comic. Based on the success of this first installment, team Ninjak could have a book as good as Rai on his hands.

0 Comments on A Tale of Three Kings: Ninjak #1 Review as of 3/11/2015 8:08:00 PM
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9. What is the Secret of Gene Luen Yang’s Superman?

superman-d120fOf all the comics projects announced this far from DC after Convergence, the one that arguably has fans the most excited is Superman from author Gene Luen Yang. The indie cartoonist will likely bring a different vibe to DC’s flagship character that will be focused on some of the ideas reflected in his own works like Boxers & Saints and American Born Chinese. We learned today in the solicitation text that the Man of Steel is going to have a brand new secret after the events of the aforementioned storyline.

Illustrator John Romita Jr. is staying on the comic after his short stint on the title with previous storyteller Geoff Johns. In an interview with Hero Complex, the writer talked about his experiences working on some of those titles, and how an upcoming secret will be revealed that will change up the status quota of the character after the Convergence event. Yang explained to the outlet how this book will focus on Superman’s Earth experience as an immigrant reflecting the author’s own life chronicled in some of his earlier works.

That’s just an essential part of the character. And as I’m writing, what I’m expecting is that it will come out organically. Superman has been around for so long; he’s been around for, what, eight decades now? And he goes through these different eras where different aspects of who he is get emphasized. I think at the core of him is the idea of the immigrant experience. His creators were two children of Jewish immigrants.

Take a look at the solicitation for the issue from Hero Complex further teasing the big secret of Superman:

Superman # 41
Written by Gene Luen Yang
Art and cover by John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson
The Joker variant cover by Karl Kerschl
On sale June 24 • 32 pages, FC, $3.99 U.S. • Rated T
The epic new story line “TRUTH” continues with the debut of the amazing new creative team of new writer Gene Luen Yang (“American Born Chinese”) and continuing artists John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson! What will happen when the big secret is revealed?




The author also elaborated on his own attachment to Superman as a character:

There’s something very special about getting to the seed, to the genesis of this entire industry. And like I said before, I’m really fascinated by the ways in which facets of the immigrant experience play out in a very fantastic way within his origin and within who he is and what he does. I think over the years they’ve built up this very interesting supporting cast that I’m excited to play with.

Superman #41 goes on sale June 24 in digital and print marketplaces.

1 Comments on What is the Secret of Gene Luen Yang’s Superman?, last added: 3/11/2015
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10. Duggan and Shaner Travel Back to 1872 with Famous Friends

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With Agent Carter plugging up the airwaves with awesomeness, it’s time for the comics to start integrating period pieces back into the fold. Enter 1872, the newest Secret Wars tie-in from Marvel featuring two fine creators in author Gerry Duggan and artist Evan “Doc” Shaner taking our favorite heroes back a few century or two. 1872 #1 ships in May with a stunning Alex Maleev cover on the first issue.

A Western drawn by Shaner is worth the hole Secret Wars is blasting into your wallet. Don’t just take our word for it either “Doc’s first sketches blew holes in our heads,” said Duggan to the AV Club regarding Shaner. Let the saliva continue to drop from your mouth when you hear about Sheriff Steve Rogers, Blacksmith Tony Stark, and a young strapping Bruce Banner running amok in the Old West.

The best part of this entire story revealed by the AV Club might be the strapline: Real Heroes Die With Their Boots On. Duggan explained the genesis of how the off-the-wall title came to be with a few simple words “I pitched it.” This is yet another case of someone on a Secret Wars tie-in getting the opportunity to tell the stories that they want to tell.

Here’s the full solicitation and cover:

1872 #1

Written by GERRY DUGGAN

Penciled by EVAN “DOC” SHANER

Cover by ALEX MALEEV

Variant Cover by EVAN “DOC” SHANER

REAL HEROES DIE WITH THEIR BOOTS ON

  • SHERIFF STEVE ROGERS faces corruption and fear in the boom town of TIMELY.
  • The only thing ANTHONY STARK seems capable of is pulling a cork, so can he pull Rogers’ fat from the fire?
  • But…a stranger comes to town that will change Timely forever…for anyone left standing, that is.

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11. Archie taps Obscure Video Game Licenses from Sega and Capcom for Worlds Unite

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Archie previously revealed that the Worlds Unite crossover is going to feature two huge video game characters (Mega Man and Sonic) teaming up together. The publisher confirmed several more beloved franchises from Sega and Capcom that are coming out to play in the storyline. A brand new teaser from the crossover shows some wish fulfillment that you wouldn’t believe. Everything from Golden Axe to the obscure Alex Kidd franchises are contained in the full scope of this crossover. Here’s a quick lowdown on some of the different franchises teased in the image released today from the publisher.

Let’s kick things off with Sega:

Alex Kidd

  • First Appearance: Alex Kidd in Miracle World (1986)
  • Why do we care?
  • Kidd was Sega’s answer to Mario in the late 80s, and while he hasn’t been seen in a little while, we still have a soft spot for the Kidd.

Billy Hatcher

  • First Appearance: Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg (2003)
  • Why do we care?
  • Anything from Sonic Team is worth a second look.

Golden Axe

  • First Appearance: Golden Axe (1989)
  • Why do we care?
  • College.

NiGHTS

  • First Appearance: NiGHTS into Dreams… (1996)
  • Why do we care?
  • NiGHTS was one of the first games to take advantage of the video game art form featuring a heroine flying around on the Sega Saturn.

Skies of Arcadia

  • First Appearance: Skies of Arcadia (2000)
  • Why do we care?
  • The game is an early 3D RPG sporting good characters and a strong setting.

Panzer Dragoon

  • First Appearance: Panzer Dragoon (1995)
  • Why do we care?
  • Dazzling visuals and a unique approach to gameplay made this game an essential entry into the Sega Saturn library of games.

Onto the Capcom games:

Breath of Fire

  • First Appearance: Breath of Fire (1993)
  • Why do we care?
  • Breath of Fire is a Japanese title early on in the NES library that contained an actual plot and cast of fleshed out characters.

Ghosts N’ Goblins

  • First Appearance: Ghosts N’ Goblins (1985)
  • Why do we care?
  • Ghost and Goblins was one of the first games that really challenged gamers on consoles while still being fun and intuitive to play.

Monster Hunter

  • First Appearance: Monster Hunter (2004)
  • Why do we care?
  • While the game initially may seem archaic to some American gamers, there’s something mystifying and deceptively simple about the original Monster Hunter that makes it an incredible game to play.

Street Fighter

  • First Appearance: Street Fighter (1987)
  • Why do we care?
  • Street Fighter earned it’s acclaim as a staple game among fans in the arcade fighting scene.

Okami

  • First Appearance: Okami (2006)
  • Why do we care?
  • Okami took it’s time melding Japanese folklore with a more cerebral Zelda-style game design.

Viewtiful Joe

  • First Appearance: Viewtiful Joe (2003)
  • Why do we care?
  • This is one of those major gamecube built around the personality of the main character that can rewind time. Viewtiful Joe was an original idea in the space of video games.

A full prologue is launching along with Free Comic Book Day on May 2nd from Archie, after that this comic is directly spinning off into an epic 12-part crossover. Thanks to Comics Alliance for the cover. The tale is broken up into a flipbook featuring separate Mega Man and Sonic versions. Ian Flynn is writing the story. The Sonic comic includes art from Adam Bryce Thomas, with the Mega Man portion complete with art contributions from Patrick Spaziante, Jonathan Hill, Powree, Ryan Jampole and Jamal Peppers.

3 Comments on Archie taps Obscure Video Game Licenses from Sega and Capcom for Worlds Unite, last added: 3/3/2015
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12. Nice Art: Valiant Debuts Mico Suayan’s ENTIRE artwork for Bloodshot Reborn #1

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Valiant Entertainment are unveiling the interior artwork in full for the upcoming Bloodshot Reborn #1 written by Jeff Lemire with art from Mico Suayan. The company is launching each page on their brand new Tumblr account. The Tumblr is set to reveal daily updates with a behind-the-scenes peek at all the big artwork happening with Valiant Next. Bloodshot #1 debuts on April 15th.

Valiant’s Director of Marketing Communications & Digital Media Hunter Gorinson chimed in to explain what else the company has in store for their new social media account.

“Valiant prides itself on its close relationship with fans around the world, and this is a terrific place for us to add a whole new depth to that experience,” said Gorinson. “Every day, we’ll be showcasing something special from the walls of Valiant HQ – advance artwork, covers, webcomics, interviews, and more – beginning with each and every page of artwork from the biggest Valiant release of 2015 thus far: BLOODSHOT REBORN #1”

After becoming aware of Project Rising Spirit guiding his every move, Bloodshot is now living in exile. How does a killing machine controlled by others cope with life? Keep your eyes peeled on the Tumblr, as it will be receiving updates throughout the day.

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13. Does Morrison Spin his Astral Projections towards Redundancy in Nameless #1? (Review)

Namless-01-ff75dWith a conscious effort to stray away from superheroes, author Grant Morrison is taking even more chances than usual in the comics world. Even Multiversity, his only DC Comics project at the moment is bending the traditional superhero narrative into the world of psychadelics. Annihilator from the Legendary Comics imprint is a great example of taking chances, spinning the expectations of critics, and defying genre. In the same vein as Annihilator, The Filth, and 2012’s Happy! mini-series comes a comic entitled Nameless. A few outlets have drawn some comparisons between Annihilator and Nameless in that they are similar stories with different tones and ideas melded by each artist. The script for Nameless in particular seems tailored for Author Chris Burnham’s special brand of lunacy.

With an immoral character being introduced to a world he never knew existed, could this comic be carrying too many ideas echoed in Morrison’s other comics work?

Any tale by the author is nearly impossible to summarize in one paragraph, but this one involves an action story heavily influenced by the writer’s previous works with a certain sinister corporation (more on that later.) There is an explanation into strange and obtrusive words belonging to alien species littered throughout the issue. The rest of the plot gets even more funky, that’s where Image’s solicitation text is going to come in handy:

An astronomer kills his family, then himself, leaving a cryptic warning.
A Veiled Lady hunts her victims through human nightmares.
An occult hustler known only as ‘Nameless’ is recruited by a consortium of billionaire futurists for a desperate mission.
And the malevolent asteroid Xibalba spins closer on a collision course with Earth.
But nothing is what it seems—a terrifying inhuman experiment is about to begin.
Abandon all hope and experience ultimate horror in NAMELESS.




Whew, did you catch all of the in the first issue?

In many ways, the organization in this comic is a mirror reflecting Spyral, created by Morrison on his Batman tenure at DC Comics with Burnham. Visual cues and themes from that story are present here. It’s hard to deny that this issue isn’t fun and will likely turn into something unique provided the creative continue to work on the story. Still, it’s hard not to get a slight feeling of repetition from Morrison and company after work like The Invisibles and Annihilator reflect similar shades of this premise.

Burnham’s art in this comic can be described here as visceral. Fans will buy into the plight of everything that’s happening in this frenetic comic. At times it’s hard to understand exactly where this story is going, and what’s actually on the page. Also, the way that these pages are laid out in this issue is stirring. One page in particular shows Burnham’s maturation as an artist, as he’s taking some risks with layouts in this issue that are more than commendable. The fact that we can buy into the everyman perception of this hero, while intense dark sci-fi is going on in the background is a testament to the quality of the craft. Nathan Fairbairn is an important piece of the equation, and a rising talent that makes it easier for readers to pick out the mind-melding ideas of Nameless.

topper

Not everything needs to be absolutely understood in a Grant Morrison comic, but enough information has to be absorbed for fans to be interested in where the story is going next.  It’s interesting to see what the team can do without the constraints of DC Comics, yet still there’s not quite enough for fans to sink their teeth into to force them to run out to comic shops and grab the next issue. There’s something special in regards to getting a tale from the famed writer that is more action packed yet still contains his immense ration of ideas to page.  The author’s style may be more versatile than we could have ever thought.

While Nameless is an interesting beast, it’s not something that can quite rise above the immense amount of content from Image comics. However, this comic still contains an immense amount of great ideas worth celebrating. Fans hesitant about this story should keep an eye on what the critics say, as it could be just a few feet away from tipping into greatness.

1 Comments on Does Morrison Spin his Astral Projections towards Redundancy in Nameless #1? (Review), last added: 2/8/2015
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14. Visit for Poison Ivy, Stay for Black Hand: DC shakes up the New Suicide Squad Roster

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DC’s New Suicide Squad team is about to get shaken up yet again. In the aftermath of Convergence, DC is rebranding the team with an all-new set of villains. No, the comic will not renumbered, but will see a roster change. The news was announced in the Channel 52 backmatter page on this week’s releases from DC. Sean Ryan is still on the writing duties of the comic when the title shifts cast with issue #9, with Carlos D’Anda tackling the pencils on the comic.

This cast is really strange, as we have Reverse-Flash hot off the fame from the brand new tv show and his guest appearance from New Suicide Squad #5. Poison Ivy joins the fray who’s seen some interest in her exploits with Harley Quinn. Black Hand is an important character, but not someone who would usually be associated with the Suicide Squad meeting. Cheetah is a villain getting some play thanks to Wonder Woman. Seeing a Talon added to the full team is a great way to up the popularity of the infamous new Batman rogue. The only true question mark is Parasite, a Superman villain that DC is trying to push as much as possible as of late.

Group Desk Sergeant/Editor Brian Cunningham chimed in on some mission orders for the New Suicide Squad team:

Parasite will be the team’s secret weapon against ISIS in the next arc beginning in June’s issue #9. Black Hand has a power that Squad taskmaster Amanda Waller might covet for a team that can go boom on any given mission–he can resurrect the dead!

Look out for the comic in June, featuring the new team roster in New Suicide Squad #9.

2 Comments on Visit for Poison Ivy, Stay for Black Hand: DC shakes up the New Suicide Squad Roster, last added: 2/12/2015
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15. Review: Divinity #1 adds meta-textual richness to the Valiant Universe

Divinity-A

By Harper Harris

Valiant Entertainment has been gradually earning a loyal fanbase since their return in 2012, but in the last several months their line has skyrocketed to the top of the list of publishers to watch. This is largely due to the inclusion of some fantastic talents that have joined up in the Valiant Next initiative, including Matt Kindt, Jeff Lemire, Jen Van MeterPaolo Rivera, and more. Kindt in particular has really carved out his own section in the Valiant Universe, writing The ValiantUnityRai, and now, with Trevor Hairsine on pencils, Divinity, an original book that brings a new character to this fast-growing superhero universe.

The basic concept is pretty interesting: a Soviet cosmonaut is sent on a 30-year mission during the Cold War to the farthest reaches of our galaxy, only to mysteriously return in modern day with god-like powers. This allows for some potentially violent politicking between the communist god and the American military (and perhaps some of Valiant’s other heroes), not to mention the obvious culture clash inherent in the man returning to earth after several decades archetype. However intriguing this all might be, it isn’t wholly unfamiliar; what really makes this issue stand out, though, is the careful and complex style in which it is written.

Kindt takes the approach of utilizing a great metaphor to both describe and tell the story: the idea that time is like a book, with pages that can be flipped between at will. There are obvious ties to the famous Watchmaker chapter of Watchmen, but it is used quite well in its own right here. It allows the narration to skip around, introducing both Abram Adams (the cosmonaut/god) and David Camp, who might be our POV in the modern era. This overarching metaphor works brilliantly as a storytelling device and adds meta-textual richness to the actual comic book readers will hold in their hands.

It’s worth noting, too, that while the issue primarily lays the foundation of the story rather than focusing on its characters, the pieces that build up Abram Adams are unique and allow for some subtlety that could really pay off down the line. I particularly like the fact that Adams is a person of color in an otherwise Caucasian group of scientists, students, and soldiers in Soviet Russia. This is obviously a conscious choice, especially interesting as we see the contrast between the racial riots in America on TV while Adams’ comrades recommend him for the most important mission in their country’s history without a second thought as to his race.

The art by Hairsine, who has pencilled many issues of a variety of Valiant books, is mostly serviceable, but shines in small bursts. The talking heads pages where we see a bit of Adams’ education are nothing special, but the more action packed segments–those with rockets taking off and of a wince-worthy rock climbing accident–pack a surprising gut punch. As we get a glimpse of the oddly beautiful powers of Adams returned to Earth at the end of the issue, I’ll be interested to see how Kindt and Hairsine design future uses of this god’s unique and terrible power set.

Divinity doesn’t pack the excitement of The Valiant, but what it lacks in epic superheroics it makes up for with fantastic writing. It’s hard to tell whether the distinct style will continue with the book or whether it was just a great way to introduce the story, but either way Divinity is one to watch in an increasingly exciting line from Valiant Entertainment.

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16. Space Goat Productions launches its own print line

COVER_C

There’s a fool born every minute, but a comics publisher every other minute. But this one is launching with a pretty sound roll-out. Shon C. Bury’s Space Goat Productions is most known as a packaging and talent-management company, but in May they’re jumping into the publishing world with Space Goat Publishing. The line will launch with three titles, and has also snagged the license to Evil Dead 2. SG publishing will be making its debut at this weekend’s ComicsPRO meeting.

The launch includes

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• Big Game Hunters #1 – A three-issue miniseries of Victorian monster hunters killing their way through a Steampunk world, “Hellboy meets Walking Dead.”.

 

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• Mage, Inc.: The Intern #1 – A three issue miniseries about a non-paid internship at a modern Mage Guild and all of the magic and paperwork that goes with it, “Hermione Grangers first after school job.”

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• Space Goat Presents Vol. 1 – The premiere 120-page hardcover anthology features seven genre-spanning stories by both veterans and new talent.

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SGP_ModelSheet

• An Evil Dead 2 prequel written by Frank Hannah (The Cooler) and drawn by Edgar Salazar (DC’s Smallville and Constantine).

In June, Evil Dead 2: Beyond Dead by Dawn a three issue mini series written by Frank Hannah and drawn by debuts, and in July an anthology title Evil Dead 2: Tales of the Ex-Mortis comes out. Beyond Dead by Dawn is also written by Frank Hannah, with art by Barnaby Bagenda and Oscar Bazaldua. Tales of the Ex-Mortis reads more like Hellraiser with jokes and features stories from industry veterans Greg Pak, Jeff Mariotte, Justin Peniston, Georgia Ball, Ivan Cohen, and more.

These titles are a completely different license and storyline than the Army of Darkness books that Dynamite has been publishing for some while, I’m told.

“The market has matured so much since we opened our doors as a packaging and creative services company—and we feel very strongly there’s a market for the type of material we personally want to bring to readers in print and digital,” Bury explained. “We’ve packaged and provided talent and creative services for the world’s biggest comic book companies for a decade–DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Penguin Books and more. We love the editors we work with at those companies and consider them friends and partners. But there’s still talent and voices that aren’t being heard. And I want to fix that with Space Goat Publishing.”

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17. Marvel Drafts a Redux of Planet Hulk for Secret Wars with Humphries and Laming

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The mystery behind what Marvel was planning with their Planet Hulk teaser has just been officially revealed with a comic entitled…Planet Hulk! The tale features the creative team of Sam Humphries on writing and Marc Laming on art, who are chronicling the new adventures of Hulk, Steve Rogers, and Devil Dinosaur during the upcoming Secret Wars crossover. CBR broke the news and ran an exclusive interview with Jack Kirby creation Devil Dinosaur on the inception of the brand new series–Yes, you read that sentence correctly.

The Dino was interviewed in place of author Sam Humphries, who took a vacation to New Attilan. Fans can look for Planet Hulk in May, and take note that this series falls under the Warzones! banner of Secret Wars.

“RAAAAAAUGH!! The scent of blood burns my nostrils,” said Devil Dinosaur to CBR. “The Captain and I are far, far from the colosseum. The colosseum of battle, and death. The colosseum where we are warbound. “May he who dies, die well.” But death follows us to Greenland. This is a place where we HUNT. We hunt the RED KING!”

This crossover bodes well for the company, as Marvel is continuing to take advantage of some really quirky ideas for tie-ins including the Garth Ennis project announced earlier this week. Where Monsters Dwell mixes World War I with more Dinosaurs. This week’s new Marvel announcements contain all the dinos that we could possibly ask for.

It seems that the extinct animal is hunting for Steve Rogers who appears to be caught in his crosshairs:

“ROOOOOAWL! The Captain and I are WARBOUND. We fight in the coliseum. Every day, the Captain’s mighty axe, bathed in blood. From different lands, yet we are brothers. Brothers in battle. I will kill all who fight the Captain! I will smash their skulls in my TEETH. I will rend their flesh in my CLAWS! They will know THE FURY OF DEVIL DINOSAUR!!”

Finally, lets give the creature a hand for some extraordinary etiquette in the manner in which the Devil Dinosaur signs out his emails:

ALL HULK FALL UNDER OUR RAGE!!!

If you have any follow up questions, I will be happy to address.

Many thanks and have a great day.

— DD

1 Comments on Marvel Drafts a Redux of Planet Hulk for Secret Wars with Humphries and Laming, last added: 2/13/2015
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18. Final Verdict: She-Hulk wraps with Next Week’s Issue #12 (Preview)

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Fans of Marvel Comics got something radically different in the lawyer/superhero adventures of author Charles Soule’s She-Hulk. However, the comic quickly turned into a fan favorite and sparked new interest and love into the character. Unfortunately, low sales caused the beloved series to come crashing into an early cancellation. We’re sad to run this preview with the comic’s final issue from CBR. Fortunately the incredible original artist Javier Pulido is back to celebrate the end of an era for Jennifer Walters. February 18th see’s the end of the series, in which Jessica discovers who’s really behind her investigating what’s left of the mysterious blue file and why. Marvel and Soule are resurrecting Nightwatch for the finale, an absurd 90’s character that seems to be pulling the strings of the series from the background. Celebrate the end of a great series with these preview pages.

SHE-HULK #12

CHARLES SOULE (W)

JAVIER PULIDO (A)

Cover by KEVIN WADA

FINAL ISSUE VARIANT COVER BY JAVIER PULIDO

FINAL ISSUE!

  • The end of the Blue File…and the end of an era!
  • But when one door closes, another one opens, and Jen finds herself face to face with her most important case yet.

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3

4

5

1 Comments on Final Verdict: She-Hulk wraps with Next Week’s Issue #12 (Preview), last added: 2/13/2015
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19. Nice Art: Guice’s Ninjak: The Lost Files Art is Covered in Espionage tinged Delight

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In comics we usually put a spotlight on the writers of storylines, however, Butch Guice is the star of this article. The artist’s excellent linework and shading add an extra layer to the story of Ninjak with Ninjak: The Lost Files. The tale is the second feature in the upcoming Ninjak ongoing series debuting from Valiant Entertainment. Via a press release Valiant gave a staggering preview of the upcoming second story that will lift even the heaviest of eyebrows. March 11th, see’s the debut of the issue written by comics superstar Matt Kindt. The author is writing both features, as the first includes pencils from up-and-coming comics illustrator Clay Mann. The Lost Files storyline investigates the origin of Colin King’s life as he trained to be Ninjak working for the MI-6. King is hunting down the Shadow Seven in this tale – a secret cabal of shinobi that have important plot threads tying back into Ninjak’s own origins.

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

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20. Injection, Material, Valhalla Mad and More: Meet the New Image Comics Launching in May

Image launches an assortment of brand new number ones each month, however, May‘s selection of new Image titles features some huge names creating important new properties. Before May comes around the pipe, lets take a look at all the new titles launching in that month. Thanks to CBR for posting these solicits and covers.

We heard about projects like Valhalla Mad at the Image Expo before last, so it’s a relief to finally be seeing author Joe Casey‘s take on the god flavored funny fiction. Casey’s new batch of comics riffing on Marvel’s Thor with veteran artist Paul Maybury deserves to be on your radar come May.

ValhallaMad-01-46538VALHALLA MAD #1

STORY: JOE CASEY

ART / COVER A: PAUL MAYBURY

COVER B: NICK PITARRA

MAY 20 / 32 PAGES / FC / T / $3.50

Their names are legend: the Glorious Knox! Greghorn the Battlebjörn! Jhago the Irritator! Three warrior gods vacationing on Earth, just looking to get their drink on and have a good time! Join the drunken festivities with toastmasters JOE CASEY (SEX) and PAUL MAYBURY (SOVEREIGN). The new mythology begins now!

The hottest new title coming from Image in the next couple months has to be Injection, the new comic book series from the awesome creative team of Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey. The two creators are coming off of a fan-favorite run of Moon Knight. With their new Image project solicited with a brand new beautiful cover here:

Injection-01-f7a0dINJECTION #1

STORY: WARREN ELLIS

ART / COVERS A & B: DECLAN SHALVEY & JORDIE BELLAIRE

MAY 13 / 24 PAGES / FC / M / $2.99

Once upon a time, there were five crazy people, and they poisoned the 21st Century. Now they have to deal with the corrosion to try and save us all from a world becoming too weird to support human life.

INJECTION is the new ongoing series created by the acclaimed creative team of Moon Knight. It is science fiction, tales of horror, strange crime fiction, techno-thriller, and ghost story all at the same time. A serialized sequence of graphic novels about how loud and strange the world is getting, about the wild future and the haunted past all crashing into the present day at once, and about five eccentric geniuses dealing with the paranormal and numinous as well as the growing weight of what they did to the planet with the Injection.

Next up is Mythic, a new title from Phil Hester and John McCrea about how science is dead. With a stunning cover and an excellent first two names associated with the project, the story is due for a look from fans searching for something a little different in the comics market. The high concept is that magic has to be suppressed from the surface world as science doesn’t exist. Take a look at the cover and solicit:

mythicMYTHIC #1

STORY: PHIL HESTER

ART / COVER A: JOHN McCREA

COVER B: SEAN GORDON MURPHY

MAY 6 / 32 PAGES / FC / T+ / $1.99

SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY PRICE OF $1.99!

Science is a lie, an opiate for the masses. The truth is, magic makes the world go ’round. And when magic breaks, MYTHIC fixes it. Apache shaman Waterson, Greek immortal Cassandra, and cell phone salesman Nate Jayadarma are the crack field team assigned with keeping the gears of the supernatural world turning, and more importantly, keeping you from ever knowing about it.

Join Eisner nominee PHIL HESTER (Green Arrow, The Coffin) and Eisner winner JOHN McCREA (Hitman, The Boys) on their latest expedition to the dark heart of weird comics.

Ed Brisson, the creator of hit indie comic Shelter is working on a new comic entitled The Mantle. Brian Level is joining him with art for the title. The two creators are telling a superhero story about a young man getting the powers of mysterious object called (you guessed it) The Mantle.

the mantleTHE MANTLE #1

STORY: ED BRISSON

ART / COVER A: BRIAN LEVEL

COVER B: PHIL HESTER

MAY 13 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99

Robbie never asked for any of this. While drunkenly walking home from a punk show, he’s hit with lightning and wakes to find that he’s been chosen as the new host for The Mantle, a power set of unimaginable scope. Despite his lack of interest, he’s forced into action. The Plague, a being who has spent 50 years killing every previous host of The Mantle, is already coming for him.

Ales Kot and Will Tempest‘s Material contains the high concept ideas of Kot’s other work, as the story tells various plot threads seemingly unrelated to each other that will all line up to something? Tom Muller is back designing the covers for the project, showing off the artwork in some exciting new ways. The cover should be enough to hook some into the brand new Image comic.

materialMATERIAL #1

STORY: ALES KOT

ART: WILL TEMPEST

COVER: TOM MULLER

MAY 27 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.50

A man comes home from Guantanamo Bay, irrevocably changed. An actress receives an offer that can revive her career.

A boy survives a riot and becomes embedded within a revolutionary movement.

A philosopher is contacted by a being that dismantles his beliefs.

Look around you. Everything is material.

We conducted an interview with Brian Buccellato on his upcoming Sons of the Devil project, a story that he’s launching with artist Toni Infante switching from Kickstarter to Image comics. The comic is contained in both a short film and this upcoming project about a man that learns of his dark familial ties to a deadly cult.

SonsOfTheDevil-01-a68f6SONS OF THE DEVIL #1

STORY: BRIAN BUCCELLATO

ART / COVER A: TONI INFANTE

COVER B: FRANCIS MANAPUL

COVER C: PAOLO RIVERA

MAY 27 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $2.99

From New York Times bestselling writer BRIAN BUCCELLATO and artist TONI INFANTE comes a psychological horror story about TRAVIS, an average guy trying to get by, who discovers that he has familial ties to a deadly cult.

Told across three decades, SONS OF THE DEVIL is an exploration of cults, family, and the dark side of human nature. It’s TRUE DETECTIVE and ORPHAN BLACK meets HELTER SKELTER.

1 Comments on Injection, Material, Valhalla Mad and More: Meet the New Image Comics Launching in May, last added: 2/18/2015
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21. Secret Wars: To Me My Ghost Racers!

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Marvel’s Ghost Rider is a character inexplicably tied to the 1970’s. The best treatments of the character have embraced this silly premise of a dude with a fire-laced whip riding a motorcycle beating up dudes. The upcoming Ghost Racers storyline is mixing the character up with a few friends, but keeping in tune with the psychedelic 70’s roots of the hero. The tale is one of those wackier Secret Wars tie-ins along the tune of Where Monsters Dwell – a previously announced Secret Wars comic with dinosaurs and World War I. The upcoming Ghost Racers comic book see’s a horde of Ghost Riders from several different eras teaming up together to kick butt.

The relatively new Ghost Rider Robbie Reyes is confirmed to play a role in the story alongside author Felipe Smith. Juan Gedeon is tackling pencils for the series that’s launching in June. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fantastic cover for the comic illustrated by Francesco Francavilla. While the details on plot for the series are limited as of this moment, Smith went to Newsarama where the story was announced for a fantastic quote on how to depict the visuals of racing when writing for another artist in a static medium. This advice will really come in handy for authors looking to write excellent craft and fans interested in taking a peek behind the curtain of the process within comics.

I see this a lot in articles; people commenting on how hard it is to depict motion (and racing) in comics as a medium. I can’t say that I really agree with that statement [laughs].

But I guess the key to doing it correctly is the pacing of your panels, the sizing and distribution of them across the page, and what moment of the described action you chose to depict visually.

The amount of things you choose to show and not show in a sequence is what determines how quickly the reader’s eye moves through the page and goes to the next one.

Races (and successful action) are fast-paced, and the key is guiding the reader’s eye quickly through the sequence, and then slowing his eye down during certain moments for visual payoffs.

Ghost Riders launches in June.

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1 Comments on Secret Wars: To Me My Ghost Racers!, last added: 2/21/2015
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22. Sundowners, The Ghost Fleet, and Resurrectionists continue as Digital First Comics

New-Dark-Horse-Digital-Exclusives

Dark Horse is turning their distribution model inside out for three of their low selling series. Sundowners, The Ghost Fleet, and Resurrectionists are all shifting to digital first comics for sale on the Dark Horse application. Graphic novels will be available, but only after the stories finish their digital runs. These titles are all creator-owned series and set to become branded as the ‘Dark Horse Digital Exclusives.’

Anyone who has been reading either Sundowners, The Ghost Fleet, or Resurrectionists will have to seek out these titles digitally to finish the stories, unless they wait until the graphic novel versions launch in the fall.

Big Comic Page announced the news and included a blurb from author Tim Seeley with his take on the story:

“I’m not sure why some books succeed while others don’t, especially when I know Dark Horse has been making some super-cool, all-new, creator-owned material that I was proud to be part of. But I’m glad they’ve got the dedication and respect to ensure readers and creators get to bring their stories to a logical conclusion.”

Author Donny Cates also chimed in with his thoughts on the series:

“Since my very first baby steps with the company, Dark Horse has been incredibly welcoming and supportive—they take wild chances on wild creators with bananas ideas (Go get The Paybacks in September!)”

Finally, Fred Van Lente added his perspective:

“They’re all great comics, and moving them to the digital space is a great opportunity to give them another chance to thrive.”

Here is the solicitation information for the next set of trades for each series:

The Ghost Fleet Volume 2: Hammer Down

Donny Cates (writer), Daniel Warren Johnson (artist)

$14.99, 978-1-61655-711-9

Available 10/7/2015

Resurrectionists: Near-Death Experienced

Fred Van Lente (writer), Maurizio Rosenzweig (artist)

$19.99, 978-1-61655-760-7

Available 8/19/2015

Sundowners Volume 2

Tim Seeley (writer), Jim Terry (artist)

$19.99, 978-1-61655-785-0

Available 8/26/2015

3 Comments on Sundowners, The Ghost Fleet, and Resurrectionists continue as Digital First Comics, last added: 2/24/2015
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23. Aaron and Sprouse Extend a Secret Wars Invitation to the “Thor-cop bar”

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“This is basically me doing a cop story, but with hammers instead of guns,” exclaims Thors author Jason Aaron to Marvel.com. “This is me getting to do ‘Homicide: Life on the Street’ with lots of cosmic cops. It’s every version of Thor you can imagine, all walking beats, solving murders, getting yelled at by their commissioner and blowing off steam at their local Thor-cop bar.”

Marvel is looking to expand Secret Wars even further (10+ series have already been announced) with a new comic entitled Thors. The tale features the incredible creative team of Jason Aaron and artist Chris Sprouse. Thors follows up on some crucial plot points that have yet to be revealed in Secret Wars #2, but the cover features various characters (the new Thor, Ultimate Thor, Beta Ray Bill, Frog Thor, and more) equipped with hammers. Little regarding the plot is known except that all these different characters are investigating a murder case for the ages.

The comic ships in June, and is cited to be one of the more important titles for Secret Wars.

“I’ll just say that this book is probably more of a direct tie-in to the main SECRET WARS series than a lot of the other tie-ins you’ll see, in that the role of the Thors is something that is set-up quite extensively in SECRET WARS #2,” says Aaron.

2 Comments on Aaron and Sprouse Extend a Secret Wars Invitation to the “Thor-cop bar”, last added: 2/24/2015
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24. Nice Art: Sorrentino goes Marvel Exclusive, Shows off X-Men Artwork

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Marvel welcomed artist Andrea Sorrentino to the Bendis-verse with Uncanny X-Men Annual #1. The penciller is continuing his work with author Brian Michael Bendis and Marvel with the upcoming All-New X-Men #38 and his exclusive Marvel contract. The comic is the fourth entry into the Black Vortex crossover with the X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy characters. Comics Beat recently covered the announcement that saw Sorrentino move with Bendis on the upcoming Old Man Logan #1 launching in May which takes place during Secret Wars.

“I’m very, very excited about this new chapter of my career,” said Sorrentino. “I’ve always been a huge fan of Marvel characters and I’m thrilled at what is coming in the next couple years now that I’ve joined the family full-time.”

The artist first dazzled the critics during the Big Two with I Vampire alongside author Joshua Hail Fialkov, turning the comic into a fan favorite New 52 launch title. He once again delighted the press with his run on Green Arrow with Jeff Lemire. CBR ran the press release and announced the news this afternoon.

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1 Comments on Nice Art: Sorrentino goes Marvel Exclusive, Shows off X-Men Artwork, last added: 2/24/2015
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25. Cosby and Salas Bestow Fantastic Presentation upon Prince Valiant (Review)

KingValiant01-Cov-CookeCol-600x922Written: Nate Cosby

Pencils: Ron Salas

Color: Luigi Anderson

Letters: Marshall Dillon

Cover: Darwyn Cooke


Dynamite’s recent relaunch of King heroes is finally here. This week’s title is Prince Valiant. While I’m not familiar with Valiant, author Nate Cosby, or even artist Ron Salas, I did find an emotional hook here that is incredibly distinctive. This comic book has a voice that is all it’s own employed early on in the very first scenes. The prose within the tale is written with a swagger and efficiency that’s unlike anything I’ve seen in a comic of this nature.

“Once, there was a boy. He had a burden. Ever present and persistent.”

This first installment is full of similar language that can alienate the reader at first, luckily Cosby is spinning a yarn that fans should be familiar with regardless of previous exposure to the Prince Valiant character. Cosby pulls from Greek Mythology in telling the story of an arrogant God that has to figure out how to cope with everyday life. Think of a mortal version of young Thor.

The bottom line is that when Valiant falls, he takes a massive descent resulting in him being cast out of his own land. This is the story of how his reckless abandon can be redeemed through later pursuits. Deeper questions lie within this comic than that of Valiant’s own morals. The plot thickens at the last page featuring a cliffhanger notable in it’s own sheer ambition. This surprise spins the story in even more new directions, and perfectly bookends the tale through following up on a story weaved within the first pages of the comic. One of the only negative aspects of this story is how the language provides some distance with readers at times. It’s hard to decipher exactly what point these characters are trying to illustrate with each other in the dinner scenes, thankfully that’s where the art of Ron Salas comes in.

Salas’ art in this comic book story is abstract in it’s versatility. The story has a slight independent vibe supported by the colors of Luigi Anderson. At times, the fluid motion can be slightly lost in how the panels connect to each other. There are several styles employed within this comic, with the aforementioned dinner scene sporting a minimalist spark that is extraordinarily different than the detail in the framing scenes earlier in the story. There is great potential here, and hopefully Salas can just be slightly more consistent with the plethora of different styles at play throughout the course of this issue. The penciller definitely deserves some praise for the highly unique layouts and experiments in the form on display throughout the issue. The layout featuring negative space seen in preview pages should engage fans on a craft level. The caves soaked in darkness evoke just the right shade from Anderson.

One word to describe this entire affair is subversive. Through engrossing language, deft characterization, and the last twist throwing readers for a loop towards the end of this comic, Prince Valiant is something that should stay on your pull list – especially if you it was never on your pull list in the first place.

3 Comments on Cosby and Salas Bestow Fantastic Presentation upon Prince Valiant (Review), last added: 2/27/2015
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