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1. Image Announces Over TWENTY New Titles at Annual Expo— Kirkman, Albuquerque, Simone, Rucka, O’Malley & More!

It’s a good day for Image fans.

Today, the publisher took over the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and announced a huge number of titles.  Reboots of old favorites, deluxe hardcover editions, and brand new series abound!  See below for the full list of announcements.


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THE WALKING DEAD editor and Skybound Entertainment’s Editorial Director Sean Mackiewicz announced the forthcoming reboot of Kirkman’s long-running superhero series, INVINCIBLE.

In this new direction for INVINCIBLE, Mark suddenly finds himself without powers. Back home… but aware of everything he’s lived through. What does he change, who can he save… and how will he deal with his father now that he knows what’s coming?

The INVINCIBLE reboot will begin with issue #124 and is set to launch on October 21 and will retain the same creative team with THE WALKING DEAD writer Robert Kirkman and art by Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn, and Jean-Francois Beaulieu.


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What if the sexy Russian Bond girl was actually the hero?

Written by Antony Johnston (THE FUSE, The Coldest City, Daredevil) with art by Shari Chankhamma (SHELTERED, The Sisters’ Luck), and letters by Simon Bowland, CODENAME BABOUSHKA is an action-packed modern pulp spy thriller. Full of high-stakes thrills in exotic locations, CODENAME BABOUSHKA follows a kick-ass female hero in the style of James Bond and Modesty Blaise!

Codename Baboushka has everything you’d expect from me: a kick-ass female hero, bags of tension, and deep, dark secrets that everyone’s trying to figure out,” said Johnston. “But it’s also way more high-octane than anything I’ve done before, with guns, fists, and explosions everywhere!”

The enigmatic Contessa is a wealthy socialite, the last heiress to a noble Russian line—and secretly a deadly assassin! Blackmailed by the US government to carry out dirty jobs even the CIA can’t sanction, she’s got nothing to lose… and everything to fight for!

CODENAME BABOUSHKA #1 hits this October 2015.


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From Man of Action’s Steven T. Seagle and The New Yorker artist Jason Adam Katzenstein comes CAMP MIDNIGHT, an original 256-page graphic novel set to hit stores in early October 2015, just in time for Halloween reading.

Reluctant camper Skye is accidentally sent to the wrong camp for the summer. Not wanting to please her “step monster,” Skye is dead-set on not fitting in. Luckily, that won’t be a problem, as everyone at Camp Midnight—with the exception of fellow camper and fast-friend Mia—seems to be a full-fledged monster.

Camp Midnight is a brilliant graphic novel debut for cartoonist Jason Adam Katzenstein, and it’s the perfect book for readers who loved Raina Telgemeier’s Smile, but wished it had more bowls of gooey eyeballs during the dinner scenes,” said Seagle.

Can Skye keep her identity as a human secret until she catches the bus for home? Is all of this a figment of her overactive imagination? And what about Skye’s major crush on a boy who is far, really far, from her usual type? Find out in CAMP MIDNIGHT.


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BLUE MONDAY: THIEVES LIKE US makes its triumphant return with an all-new series from Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated cartoonist Chynna Clugston Flores. Bleu, Clover, Victor, Alan, and the entire gang from Fresburger, California are back! Winter has thawed into spring, the whole world is thinking about sex, and it’s all Bleu’s fault! Or at least, it seems that way.

Maybe Bleu should just suck it up and try to get some experience in these matters so that she can finally woo her history teacher, Mr. Bishop, once and for all. What schemes will she cook up to achieve her outrageous goal? And what the heck is going on between Clover and Victor? And Alan and Erin?! Is that really a thing now? Find out in this new series of teenage calamities and catastrophes that’s repeatedly been likened to “Archie Comics on crack.”


For the first time ever, Chynna Clugston Flores’ entire original catalog of BLUE MONDAY comics are collected together in one, massive volume from Image Comics in BLUE MONDAY: GERMFREE ADOLESCENTS. Experience the Pepsi-fueled misadventures of Bleu L. Finnegan, comics’ favorite blue-haired, Buster Keaton-obsessed, Adam Ant-worshipping teenager from the very beginning.

GERMFREE ADOLESCENTS collects in order all of the previously-published miniseries and one-shot comics, along with all of the rare short stories of the critically-acclaimed comedy that has often been compared to the comics work of Rumiko Takahashi and the John Hughes/Molly Ringwald film collaborations of the 1980s. This collection also includes tons of behind-the-scenes material you won’t want to miss.


Chynna Clugston Flores also announced an all-new series, SCOOTER GIRL, a love letter to southern California mod and scooter culture. SCOOTER GIRL is Chynna Clugston Flores’ screwball romantic comedy classic. Ashton Archer has it all. He’s the biggest man on his high school campus, he’s got a huge family fortune waiting for him, and his closet and garage are full of the coolest accoutrements available, from flashy suits to swank shoes to a slick Vespa scooter.

It appears that nothing can go wrong for this hard-hearted hottie—that is, until the confident and fashionable Margaret Sheldon motors by on her Lambretta. At that moment, Ashton’s life takes a turn for the worse. Everyone at school suddenly hates him, his father declares bankruptcy, and his scooter gets run over by a truck. Even high-tailing it out of town does him no good, because wherever he goes, Margaret follows. How can he get out of the black curse this woman has placed on his life? By getting her to fall in love with him, or else!

“I am extremely excited to be announcing that Blue Monday and Scooter Girl are back to print with Image Comics,” said Clugston Flores. “These series are near and dear to my heart, I’m hoping that not only new readers will embrace them, but that original fans will be pleased to see these sharp new collections as well as brand new Blue Monday material. There’s a lot in store, a lot of laughs, and a hell of a lot of fun to be had!”

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Throwaway (n.):
Cold War slang for a deniable asset, a disposable assassin meant to die alongside their target.

1973. Project MK-ULTRA shuts down for good, its goal of creating brainwashed assassins and psychic spies unrealized. That’s the story the world believes for thirty years, until Dean Logan, son of a successful ULTRA test subject, narrowly escapes a team of enhanced operatives sent to kidnap him back into the fold. On the run—not just from the dirtiest secret the CIA ever funded—but his own out of control psychic abilities, Dean is saved by Abby Palmer, a former Army Ranger taken by ULTRA in Afghanistan and reprogrammed to be an unstoppable, disposable killer.

Except Abby survived her expiration date, and now she’s turned her deadly skillset toward one goal: destroying the ULTRA program and dragging its masterminds into the light. Teaming up to take them down, Dean and Abby quickly discover ULTRA’s leadership has gone rogue, and the program’s charismatic head doctor has her own plans—for Dean and Abby, for ULTRA, and for the United States itself.

Looking into a future of superpowered assassins, telepathic intelligence agents, and far-reaching, government-toppling conspiracies, THROWAWAYS written by Caitlin Kittredge with art by Steve Sanders is the spy thriller as you’ve never seen it before.

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Something’s up in Sunset Park, and it ain’t just the rent. Are Brooklyn’s gentrifiers more than just economic vampires? A cartoonist draws a macabre story from a collection of notes, journals, movies and other ephemera he finds boxed, abandoned in the studio he’s recently rented along the latest frontline in gentrification’s relentless march over Brooklyn in SUNSET PARK.

Among the boxed items are what could be a copy of an old Warhol vampire film and what looks to be a journal belonging to Jean Michel Basquiat. SUNSET PARK is an all-new, limited series by Ron Wimberly coming from Image Comics.

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Ron Wimberly teased a second forthcoming project with Image Comics, SLAVE PUNK: WHITE COAL. SLAVE PUNK tells the story of how a genius slave defied the powerful King Cotton and ignited the Civil War in an attempt to end slavery.


Image Comics announced CRY HAVOC, a new series written by Simon Spurrier (X-Men Legacy, Marvel Zombies, The Spire), with art by Ryan Kelly (Lucifer, Northlanders, Three), and featuring colors by Lee Loughridge and Matt Wilson, letters by Simon Bowland, and design by Emma Price. CRY HAVOC is a journey into war-torn Afghanistan in the company of monsters, a London street-musician savaged by a ghostly hound, and a terrified prisoner tangled in a folkloric insurrection.

“Beneath all its snark, fanged horror-beasts, deadly firefights and exploding billy-goats, Cry Havoc is the intimate tale of one woman struggling to keep her life from falling apart,” said Spurrier. “To depict it all I’ve been lucky enough to partner with Ryan, who’s genuinely one of the greatest storytellers our medium has—not to mention a next-level monster-wrangler. Add to that some narrative mold breaking by our roster of superstar colorists and Cry Havoc is snarling to be set loose.”

CRY HAVOC features three parallel and interwoven story threads in the life of Lou Canton: an extraordinary woman being consumed by chaos with three different colorists lending their artistic takes in order to define the separate phases of the story.

Best described as Jarhead via Pan’s Labyrinth, CRY HAVOC is a modern mix of myth, military, and monstrosity.

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Bestselling writer Greg Rucka and artist Nicola Scott team up to conjure an all-new ongoing series in BLACK MAGICK, set to launch just in time for Halloween.

“I’m calling it witch-noir, because it’s not quite crime and it’s not wholly about the supernatural, but the two are somehow dancing together,” said Rucka. “And with Nicola’s art, it’s turned into a beautiful dance, indeed. I’ve been waiting six years to share Rowan’s story with the world, waiting even longer to get to work with Nicola on something creator-owned. This is that chance, and we’re both seizing it!”

BLACK MAGICK follows Rowan Black, robbery/homicide detective in the city of Portsmouth, and the latest in a line of traditional witches who can trace their lineage—and memories—back to before the library of Alexandria burned. Rowan has carefully built a wall between her professional life and her faith, but now that barrier is cracking.

If magick is the power to impose one’s own will on reality, where does that leave the rest of us?

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CROSSWIND is the cutting edge story of a suave, sharp hitman from Chicago and a seemingly unremarkable housewife from Seattle, and how they accidentally end up switching lives. It’s a suspense fantasy full of sex, violence, and the blackest of humor. Written with sardonic wit by Gail Simone and stunningly realized by Cat Staggs, CROSSWIND will be one of the most talked about books of the year.

Simone assured fans: “This is the comic that might make Dr. Wertham come back from the dead to try to ban comics again.”


SOUTHERN BASTARDS writer Jason Aaron, artist R.M. Guerra of Scalped, and colorist Giulia Brusco turn their attention to… The Bible in THE GODDAMNED.

Before the great flood, the world is filled with violence and wickedness. In just a couple thousand years, humanity has gone from paradise to depravity and ruin. God is beginning to seriously regret having ever created man in the first place.

Welcome to the world of THE GODDAMNED, an all-new, ongoing series to launch from Image Comics in November 2015. Set just before the Biblical flood, in a world so out of control with violence and depravity, God is just about to pull the plug. “It’s part caveman adventure story, part stark and brutal western,” said Aaron. “And did I mention there are dinosaurs? Imagine if Quentin Tarantino was hired to direct the movie version of the book of Genesis. That’s pretty much what we’re aiming for.”

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THE OTHER SIDE: Deluxe Edition

Jason Aaron and Cameron Stewart also announced that a new, deluxe edition of THE OTHER SIDE would be coming to Image Comics.

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Legendary comics writer Warren Ellis teams up with artist Tula Lotay again for a modern folktale about love, revenge, and the deadly grip of the supernatural in, HEARTLESS.

A female musician returns to northern England, where her family owned a little cottage in the middle of a forest. She wrote her first album there, and she’s “going back to the countryside,” as musicians used to, to write her next one. But the forest doesn’t want her there. She’s returning to face her demons—one in particular—and put herself back together, but the forest remembers what she did, and the devil wants his due.

Ellis said of the new project: “I wrote this for Tula, and it’s full of all the stuff we love: the spooky stories, the landscape, the folklore, and the things that haunt us.”

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Bestselling writer Mark Millar (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Kick-Ass, WANTED) will team up with artist Rafael Albuquerque (American Vampire) for an all-new project to be titled, HUCK.

Millar said of the project: “All the best old comics were about people you didn’t expect becoming empowered. Peter Parker wasn’t a classic hero. He was a lonely teenager. Matt Murdock was blind. Tony Stark had a heart condition. Doctor Donald Blake couldn’t walk without a stick. So we wanted to do something incredibly sweet about a small-town guy with learning difficulties who could do all these amazing things. He’s the purest, most decent character you’ve ever seen in a comic book. A big guy who just wants to help people and does it in secret so nobody even knows he even exists. It’s the ultimate feel good comic. A Frank Capra superhero story I guess about a small town and a close-knit community and an amazing guy they just all want to shelter from the outside world. He’s Captain America meets Forrest Gump. He’s just a nice guy in a very classic mould.

“Working with Rafael has been amazing. I’ve always been a fan, but you really only fully appreciate an artist when you see what he does with one of your scripts. I think this is one of the most beautifully drawn comics I’ve ever had my name on and it’s been such a pleasure. I finished the whole project in early summer and I’m starting the second arc soon. We’ve got three of these stories planned, each one six issues long, and we’re just having a good time. I think you stumble on something special every once in a while as a creator and my gut tells me we’ve got a project like that here.”

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PRIVATE EYE: The Deluxe Hardcover

Nominated for three Eisner Awards, PanelSyndicate.com’s digital comics sensation THE PRIVATE EYE by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin with colors by Muntsa Vincente is finally coming to print in a gorgeous deluxe hardcover edition. The book will hit stores this November 2015.

“Readers and retailers have been begging us for a physical version of this story ever since we first announced our hard-boiled parable about the future of privacy in America,” said Vaughan. “So when the time came, Marcos and I knew that we had to go with Image Comics, the most creator-friendly publisher of print comics ever.”

Set in an inevitable future where everyone has a secret identity, THE PRIVATE EYE is an eerily prescient sci-fi mystery about an unlicensed private investigator who stumbles onto the most important case of his life.

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New York Times bestselling writer Bryan Lee O’Malley teams up with artist Leslie Hung, colorist Mickey Quinn, and letterer/designer Maré Odomo for SNOTGIRL, a dark comedy set in the world of fashion bloggers.

Snotgirl is funny and f*cked up,” O’Malley warned. “It’s full of fascinating characters you’ll love to hate. Leslie’s art is lush and beautiful.”

Lottie is a huge success—she’s blog famous! Her online persona is flawless and fun, but her real life is filled with woes. She has terrible allergies, she just got dumped, and her blogger friends don’t understand her. Things turn around when Lottie instantly clicks with Caroline, a new girl on the scene… but can she turn chemistry into friendship, or will she ruin everything?

Hung added: “This is my first ongoing series, so I’m really excited. Snotgirl is going to be the best comic ever, if we don’t die making it!”

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Betrayed, beaten, and banished by his own, an outed cop fights his way across Jamaica for revenge.

UNDERTOW and Midnighter writer Steve Orlando and Murder Book artist JD Faith present a brand new, “queersploitation” graphic novel on the streets of Jamaica in, VIRGIL, in stores this September 2015.

This is a Foxy Brown-style revenge action with a new face and new fists. Holding his gun and his badge, Virgil thought he was safe in the police force, hiding who he is. But when his own brothers on the force out him in the papers, it doesn’t bring him down. It sets him free!

Now, he’s out for revenge. And he’s not leaving town without his man, and some blood on his hands.

From the foreword: “Steve Orlando and J.D. Faith have taken the conventions of the revenge thriller, mixed them in with elements of queersploitation, and managed to deliver a graphic novel that is entertaining, relevant, and politicized.” —David Walker, writer of Shaft, Cyborg

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From the creative team behind the critically-acclaimed series C.O.W.L.—Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis—comes a new psychological thriller in HADRIAN’S WALL, where the secrets of everyone involved are as dark as the space that surrounds them. The series is set to launch from Image Comics this November 2015.

In 1983, tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union culminated with nuclear detonations in New York City and Moscow. In the decades following, the two superpowers found peace through a partnership focused on building the first colony in space. But now, seventy years later, a new Cold War simmers… between Earth and that very Colony.

“With C.O.W.L., Image afforded us the tremendous opportunity to launch a creator-owned series focusing on dark, complex, morally ambiguous characters in a time of great change,” said Higgins. “We’re thrilled to continue that trend with Hadrian’s Wall, and even more thrilled to continue our partnership with Image.”

When a crewmember dies aboard one of Earth’s survey ships, HADRIAN’S WALL, investigator Simon Moore looks to determine whether foul play is involved. However, once on board, it doesn’t take Simon long to realize that few things are what they seem… including the identities of the crew and the real reason HADRIAN’S WALL is on the edges of Colony Space. With every crewmember a suspect, and tensions between Earth and the Colony mounting, the fate of both worlds may come down to one man and a ship.

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Creator and writer/artist Shane Davis alongside inker Michelle Delecki and colorist Morry Hollowell bring AXCEND to Image Comics this October 2015.

“In Axcend, teenager, Eric Morn’s life revolves around gaming,” said Davis. “He quickly finds himself locked against a vicious player only to realize the game, Axcend, has carried over into the real world with apocalyptic consequences.”

What happens when a video game decides to come to our reality to play? When there are no extra lives, and Armageddon looms on the horizon, when your life revolves around gaming like teenager Eric Morn, you Press Start.

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Written and drawn by Brian Haberlin, Shadowline/Image Comics is pleased to introduce readers to an all-new, interactive storytelling experience in FASTER THAN LIGHT, launching this September 2015.

In the very near future we discover the secret of faster-than-light travel. Suddenly the universe is wide open to us, but are we ready for it? With all the idealism of the original Star Trek and the grit and immediacy of Gravity, the story of humanity’s first thrilling and terrifying adventures to the stars takes flight!

Every issue features Anomaly’s free cutting edge Augmented Reality app, which makes it look like interactive holograms are coming out of the book!


Written by Jimmie Robinson (THE EMPTY) with art by Richard Pace, Shadowline/Image Comics also announced an all-new, five-issue supernatural crime series, EXPIRED.

In EXPIRED, a homeless war vet ends up helping a ghost who is connected to an old coin-operated parking meter. He can only see and communicate with her as long as he feeds the meter.  He has to solve the murder before the city replaces the meter with a modern version — and before the killer finds him, but who’s going to believe a homeless guy who looks like he’s talking to himself?

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Critically-acclaimed writer/artist/director Kaare Kyle Andrews (Spider-Man: Reign, Iron Fist: The Living Weapon) targets THE ONE% with his very first creator-owned comic.

In THE ONE%, they own more than half the world, and Renato Jones is going to even the score… one percent at a time.

“Creator-owned comics have always been part of the plan,” said Andrews. “I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to make the leap. I am hungry, I am angry, and I am throwing everything I have into this series. A dark neo-noir tribute to focus all of my rage and revenge.”

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RINGSIDE is an ongoing drama written by Joe Keatinge (SHUTTER, TECH JACKET), with art by Nick Barber, colors by Simon Gough, and letters by Ariana Maher set around the world of professional wrestling and coming from Image Comics this November. The series explores the artistry of performers rotating as cogs in the corporate machinery of an industry built to sell myth to the masses.

“Ever since I was a kid I’ve been caught up in the mythology professional wrestling sells us, that these larger-than-life men and women are unstoppable titans locked in a never-ending, action-packed drama,” said Keatinge. “However, in time you learn that they’re just as human as anyone else, that they’re very much putting their lives on the line to entertain us, that they’re just as much part of a corporate machine built for profit as anyone else. Ringside‘s a book about taking apart that machine and seeing how the industry functions and the lives it affects from a rotating set of angles including the wrestlers themselves, the creatives they work with, the suits in charge and the fans cheering them all on.”

RINGSIDE starts with three perspectives: a retired veteran forced to fight his greatest battle in the real world, a rookie struggling to get his first shot and a writer frustrated over lack of control.

But they’re just the beginning.

The real violence is outside the ring.

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2. Kieron Gillen Joins the Marvel Break Exodus

gillenWriter Kieron Gillen (Young AvengersThe Wicked + The Divine) took to his Tumblr today to state that he would be taking a break from Marvel superhero books following Secret Wars.  He confirms what many have suspected for a few weeks now, given his notable absence from the “All-New, All-Different” solicitations that have been rolling out at a furious clip.

Although he will not be writing any superhero books for Marvel, he will stay on Darth Vader.  He says his resolution is not a calculated move towards creator-owned titles, but rather a decision necessitated by scheduling.  In addition to Darth Vader, Gillen is currently writing The Wicked + The DivineMercury HeatUberPhonogram: The Immaterial GirlSiege, Crossed, and 1602 Witch Hunter Angela on a monthly basis.  Plus, Darth Vader is “basically a book and a half.”

I think it’s for the best. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve done at Marvel, but I’m aware that I’m starting to feel a little burned out on the MU. Both Iron Man and Young Avengers took more out of me than I was completely aware of at the time, and the work there has often felt hard since that (With the notable exception of SIEGE, which was designed to be a giggle.) That writing Darth Vader was so freeing made me suspect that even if my schedule hadn’t demanded it, I’d be better taking a step away from the MU and superheroes for a bit to recharge. I’ll see where my head’s at in 2016.

This brings the number of all-star writers taking a “break” from the big M up to three.  Rick Remender announced his decision earlier this week in the letters column of Deadly Class #14 and Jonathan Hickman has been planning his vacation since last year.

2 Comments on Kieron Gillen Joins the Marvel Break Exodus, last added: 7/4/2015
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3. 11 Years of Comics Beat: My First Comic

Everyone remembers their first.  Comic.  Whether it was a Peanuts strip, an X-Men floppy, or the collected run of Watchmen, we were all introduced to the wonderful world of sequential art in one way or another.


We at The Beat are celebrating the site’s eleventh birthday today and we were feeling nostalgic.  Join us as we take a look back at our innocent geneses and reminisce about the books that shaped the people we are today.


Believe it or not there was a time where reading comics got you ridiculed or to a more extreme consequence beat up. In the 90’s, I grew up in a city adjacent to the NWA’s hometown of Compton. In those cities being different meant being a target. Growing up I never really had anything that spoke to me or felt like my own. In order to fit in with the rest of the kids in school you either had to listen to music on KROQ and POWER 106 radio or know everything there is to know about basketball and football. Being 12 years old nothing was more important than having friends, so I did what any kid my age would do, I followed. Even in wearing the right team or having the hot CD; I managed to be the sore thumb that never got picked for a team or invited to a birthday party.

For a long time I felt like there was something wrong with me. One balmy September day, on a grocery trip with my mom at a Lucky’s in South Gate; I found myself lost in the magazine aisle flipping through Gamepro and Electronic Gaming Monthly. Then I saw someone fill a rack next to all the magazines with what looked like smaller ones. She dropped one and I picked it up off the floor, it was Jim Lee’s X-Men #4. Something about anger on Wolverine’s face and the confident shear on Gambit that dared me to open it. I’d never read any comic and I only knew Batman from cartoons. The story of a group of people who had to live apart from society because they were different. It was me. That day, comics found me. I had something to grow up with that felt like me. Today that comic sits torn and crinkled in my collection, but it’s pristine in the long white box of my heart.



I can’t remember what the first proper comic I read was – but I do remember having a odd almost guidebook to the origin of the X-Men, published by Scholastic (previously DK Children), which essentially guarantees that it was desperately trying to educate me. If I remember correctly, I could school anyone in the X-Men so long as the information was in the hopefully still up to date Story of the X-Men, How It All Began. That doesn’t really count, as it was a book about a comic, not a comic itself. No, the first comic I bought with my own money was a copy of the weekly Shonen Jump from December 2003.


I remember because it had the first chapter of Hikaru no Go in it (literally about a boy who gets periodically possessed by a ghost who wants to play a slick game of Go). I was young, foolish, and ate it up. Soon I was well on my way to being one of those kids sitting for hours on end in the manga section of my local Bookstar (owned and operated by Barnes & Noble) taking full advantage of Tokyopop’s incredible localization scheme of “throw it at the wall and see what sticks”. Viz, to their credit was a little more selective. My favorite series, and the first I caught up on Shaman King and though the serialized chapters only lasted until 2007 – I deeply loved it. Tokyopop didn’t actually care what they brought over so long as it could be rapidly translated to an acceptable degree of readability; it was a golden era, safe to say. I would read Samurai Deeper Kyo or GetBackers when Shaman King or One Piece just weren’t doing it for me (who am I kidding, One Piece is the best). Huddled betwixt those shelves, I found formative works like Battle Angel Alita and Claymore which still influence me to this day.

Though I found Sandman in high school, it wasn’t until I was shown the modest but diverse collection of comics in my college’s library did American comics hold my attention. I have no idea where any copies of my comics pre-2007 are but I can tell you in earnest that they were loved.

Alex Jones

My first comic ever…that’s a hard question to answer. As a younger reader, I jumped on around high school during a vacation in Hawaii. Being a major geek, I was thoroughly interested in Blair Butler’s comics analysis on Attack of the Show — which originally scratched my love of gadgets and nerd news. After watching her rave about All-Star Superman #10, I decided to give the issue a shot when I was browsing through a comic rack in Maui. Also, I picked up the New Avengers issue with Echo, number 39. I didn’t understood the nuance of All-Star Superman #10 until years later, but the comic still struck a chord with the Frank Quitely artwork. I was also charmed to meet Grant Morrison years later, who is so lovely and supportive of comics fandom in person — it doesn’t hurt that he’s one of the best writers in comics either.


Alex Lu

I could answer this question with a lot of different books and they’d all technically be correct.  If we’re talking about the first book that got me hooked on comics, we’d be talking about Tsugumi Ohba’s and Takeshi Obata’s Death Note.  Their thrilling tale about morally ambiguous (but really morally reprehensible) characters attempting to outsmart each other with careful strategies instead of testosterone-driven brawls was perfect for the twelve year old who hadn’t seen the appeal of physical action at the time.  If we’re talking about American comic books, we’d be talking about Jeff Loeb’s and Tim Sales’ Batman: the Long Halloween, which proved to me that superhero stories didn’t always follow the juvenile and simplistic tropes I had grown up being told they would.

However, the first comic I ever read was Bartman: Best of the Best.


Truth be told, I don’t remember very much about this book; only vague bits and pieces spring to mind when I think about the stories contained within the collection.  However, when I assemble those small memorable fragments now, what comes together is a very clever book.  The first story in the collection is entitled “The Comic Cover Caper” and on the cover, features Bartman hanging over a vat of silver foiling.  The plot focuses on the “cover enhancements” that were all the rage in the 90s when this book was first being published, and satirizes the ridiculous idea that a little bit of emboss or a triple gatefold could potentially raise the value of a unlimited print run comic to Action Comics #1 prices.


I first encountered this book and The Simpsons TV show when I was around four years old.  At the time, I didn’t understand the true depth behind either one.  I simply loved the irreverent natures of the characters and the colorfully rambunctious animation.  Perhaps it’s time for a nostalgic weekend marathon…


I’ve been reading comics for about 25 years or more, which doesn’t make me old by any stretch of the imagination (I’m 32, for the record), but I do have quite a comic book reading past behind me that just continues to grow. This also makes remembering what my first comic was rather difficult, as my memory of those years continues to fade away. Most of my comics reading came from my uncle, who passed along titles like Marv Wolfman and George Perez‘s New Teen Titans, and got me hooked on The Legion of Super-Heroes, which started an obsession that I’ve never been able to shake.

My uncle had a number of longboxes he kept, filled to the brim with “Silver Age goodies” as he’d call them, I remember specifically that he had the first appearance of Supergirl, the Superman Red/Superman Blue issue, along with a full run of many titles like Adventure Comics and The Brave and the Bold. But one of the boxes he had stuffed away contained two very seminal indie works that changed my perception of comics forever: Evan Dorkin‘s Milk & Cheese and The Hernandez BrosLove and Rockets. The latter of which, with its magical realism and punk rock energy remains my favorite comic of all time. Sure, there are things that occasionally challenge it for the crown: Maus, Palookaville, CriminalThe Invisibles, From Hell, there’s always something; but the sagas of Maggie, Hopey, Ray, Luba, Carmen, Heraclio, and a cast so rich I can’t even begin to list them all, has a hold on my heart like nothing else. I’m not sure it’s the first comic I ever read, but it’s the first comic I ever loved.

Love and rockets

Matthew Jent 

My big brother is 10 years older than me, so I was often running around in his wake blindly liking whatever he liked. He was a big comics fan, but in the mid-1980s our only options for getting comics were the spinner racks.

I had already been watching shows like Super Friends and (my fave) Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and I had a hand-me-down Mego Superman who was in pretty rough shape.

But it wasn’t until I was six and tagging along with my brother to Waldenbooks in the mall that I saw the comic book cover that made me say: I need to have that in my life.


Alpha Flight #23, the John Byrne run. Sasquatch fighting Sasquatch!

I had no idea who these characters were, but I liked monster and I liked (it turns out) when characters fight alternate versions of themselves. The issue featured a demon-possessed version of the hero Sasquatch in battle with Snowbird, a shape-changer, who (spoiler alert!) rips his heart out of his body and kills him. I read it over & over & over again sucking up every detail, searching for context.

Comics and superheroes had been around my house for years, but this was my first brush with non-A-list characters, and Byrne’s run on the book was one of tumult and constant change. Characters died, the team shifted, they fell in love with each other, they fought amongst themselves. This wasn’t just about the shepherding of lunchbox trademarks — this was storytelling.

I continued to follow Alpha Flight off and on as I found issues on the racks, or as another cover caught my eye. A few years later, writer Bill Mantlo brought Sasquatch back to life in Snowbird’s body, creating — kind of? — the first transgender Marvel Super Hero.

I’ve cobbled together a dollar box run of the Byrne/Mantlo Alpha Flight years, and nostalgia aside, it remains an underappreciated run of Bronze Age superhero stories.

Brandon Schatz

I always put a little asterix behind what I consider to be my first comic. It certainly wasn’t my first – that distinction would belong to a long forgotten Archie digest of some sort – but it’s the first that grabbed me and dragged me into the deep end of the comics pool.

Spider-Girl #0 Page One

This is a picture of my first comic, as it lives today. The cover fell off long ago, so I a young me decided it would be good to add more staples to the spine. It didn’t really work. That said, it’s a book I return to almost yearly to re-experience. Whenever I flip the cover off the rest of the comic, I’m hit with a wave of nostalgia. I remember paging through this what must have been hundreds of times, taking in some of the (admittedly cheesy) dialogue and completely missing how bananas it was that Ron Frenz was providing pencils that Bill Sienkiewicz would then go over. I mean seriously, Bill Sienkiewicz was essentially one of the co-creators of Spider-Girl and that’s insane to me now. But anyway, for those who want to check out that issue, it’s hanging up on the Marvel Unlimited app right now. As a word of warning, a lot of my love for it comes from a pure place of nostalgia. I recognize that in a lot of ways if this book came out today, I would be giving it side-eye like nobody’s business. But hey, in comics, there’s room for all types and all kinds. There’s room for your tastes to change, and for entire worlds to spread out before you. Its pretty wonderful, and I’m glad I got started on that road all those years ago with this book.

Victor Van Scoit

I wish that I could say the first comic book I picked up was a monumental moment. In reality it was likely a Disney comic in Spanish that I’d borrowed from my cousins to pass the time while visiting family in Mexico. What I can recall with much more clarity is that first real comic book moment. Where you think “Yes. This thing. It’s for me.”

My brother and I grew up on weekday afternoon and Saturday morning cartoons from reruns of the Herculoids to Johnny Quest, Transformers to Robotech, and Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. My brother being six years older had much more access than I to money (a job) and mobility (a car). He was able to go on weekly jaunts to the comic book shop and return with a stack of bagged and boarded comics. His collection was kept tucked away in a long box on the bottom of his closet safely in his locked bedroom. As a younger brother’s curiosity is wont to do, I had made it my goal to make sure he share his riches.

I figured out through a few bouts of trial and error how to defeat the lock on his door. I then went to the closet, sat on the floor, and slid the heavy long box my way. Removing the lid I rubbed my fingertips with anticipation like Indiana Jones stealing the golden idol, and quickly let my fingers walk over his comic collection. I’d slide a comic from it’s bag and gently open it no more than two to three inches. Holding it so, my hands in a somewhat prayer form, I’d tilt my head side to side as I read. I read for a few hours safely knowing my brother was at work and wouldn’t return for a while. I don’t remember everything I read but certain images and titles stand out. I can recall reading through Classic X-Men, The West Coast Avengers, X-Factor, and Daredevil. I remember that feeling of satisfaction and discovery and the expansion of my tiny world.

When I was done I put every comic back in its bag and back in its exact location in the long box. I covered the box and slid the heavy box back in place over the indentation in the carpet of where it once was. I pushed myself up, walked out, and locked the door with no evidence of my cultural heist. That’s not to say I wouldn’t get caught various other times, but it was worthwhile. These minor squabbles between my brother and I led to my parents making him let me tag-a-long on his trips to the comic book shop with my own allowance to start my own collection of comic books.

Edie Nugent

Like many kids my first brush with comics were Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes strips, and giant treasury collections of The Far Side. But my first real immersion in comic books beyond one to four panel stories were Archie Comics.

I went to sleep away camp in the woods in Connecticut for a month each summer. It was *real* summer camp: platform tents in the middle of the woods. No electricity. No TV. Flashlight size C & D batteries became the most valuable currency a kid could have during those four weeks. When night fell and curfew kicked in, I’d hide beneath the cover of my sleeping bag with a canteen of water and Archie, Jughead and Betty and Veronica double digests. I followed the exploits of the Riverdale gang like some people watch soap operas. Though I was eager to experience the kind of freedom these teenage characters seemed to have, I knew that real teenagers weren’t this clean and all-American, at least, not the teens I saw growing up in New York City in the 80s.


But there was something exceedingly comforting about Archie and his pals, and as an awkward child coming of age and on my own for 30 days I often found myself handing over a few dollars in pocket money to my camp counselor to grab me the newest Archie digest on their way through the nearest town. Only counselors could travel “off campus.” When she’d return with my comics, just seeing the covers gave me the same thrill I still feel every time I pick up a comic book. I know there are stories waiting inside for me, that escapism is only a page turn away.


Later I’d fine Eastman and Laird and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spider-Man and (sadly) The Clone Saga. I’d even end up creating my own characters and forming a comics label with two of my classmates. But Archie was first, and sometimes when I see an Archie cover I can still smell that musty sleeping bag all around me and feel the excitement of summers that stretched on forever.



Nick Eskey

Looking back, I guess my comic reading started later in life than most can claim. It wasn’t that I didn’t like comics, but rather never was introduced to them. And my book reading was at a school requirement level at best.

What I loved were toys. That was my thing. I had a whole Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles chest full of action figures and accessories. When the chest began to overflow, my toys spilled out onto my floor and then the carpet. Safe it to say my mom and I were very familiar with Toys R Us.

During one of my frequent visits, I was 11 years old and spending time that weekend with my dad. I was walking down one of the figure aisles when I saw wrapped in hard plastic, hanging from a hook, three comic books. It was a DC collection, with a giant sticker that claimed it was offering a great value. I was curious, and also fascinated with the packaging’s cover art. I grabbed one off the hook and my dad bought it for me.

Batman: Shadow of the Bat #52

Batman: Shadow of the Bat #52

After taking it home, and spending a good deal of time on the hard shell with a pair of scissors, I laid out the books leafed through them.

Two of them I don’t remember, but the third is still vivid in my mind. It was Batman: Shadow of the Bat #52. My only exposure to the Dark Knight at the time was the Tim Burton movies with Michael Keaton. But this was something different.

The first thing that caught me was the look. The art style was darker than any of the Sunday Funnies, both in color and content. The villain wasn’t any of the one’s I knew about, like the Joker or the Penguin. This was a guy named Narcosis. He wanted to put the whole city into a deep sleep using poisoned milk. For an eleven-year-old kid who loved his morning cereal, this messed with my head. I began to question hard whether I wanted my Frosted Flakes.

Narcosis and his Nightmare Dream Gas

Narcosis and his Nightmare Dream Gas

Batman and Robin had to intercept the milk before it was delivered to any innocent people, so the story took place in the early hours of the morning. Even I with my limited comic exposure knew then that Batman only operated at the dead of night. At the end, while Narcosis lay in a deep sleep from his own tainted milk, police argued with themselves that since it was daylight, it couldn’t have been the Batman.

Toys R Us didn’t carry comics for too much longer. But by then, I was finding my love for books like Goosebumps. Soon I came in contact with more comics from stores like Borders. My love of the Batman character also grew.

I’ve since ventured to other titles and genres in the years that came. But that one comic will stick with me for a long time I think.

12 Comments on 11 Years of Comics Beat: My First Comic, last added: 7/4/2015
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4. Dark Horse Brings More Big Video Games to Comics

Dark Horse Comics has announced two new books based on highly anticipated video games. Call of Duty and Lara Croft will join Mirror’s Edge: Exordium this fall as the publisher is quickly turning big video games into a full on line of comics.


Over on IGN, the publisher announced an official prequel comic to Activision’s upcoming Call of Duty Black Ops III game. Written by Larry Hama (G.I. Joe) with art by Marcelo Ferreira (Transformers, TMNT), Call of Duty: Black Ops III, the comic, will follow the story of an elite group of soldiers infiltrating a terrorist cell only to find something even more dangerous. A free mini-comic will be available to anyone attending SDCC next week at the Dark Horse booth and outside at the Activision experience. In addition to the free mini-comic, a full series is set to debut on November 4, just two days before the release of game.



Not to be outdone. Based in the same universe as the Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris and Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light games from Crystal Dynamics, Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen is a five issue miniseries written by Corrina Bechko (INVISIBLE REPUBLIC) and illustrated by Tomb Raider comics veteran Randy Green.

In this all-new adventure, Lara must stop a group of cultists from causing world-wide cataclysmic devastation, and ancient ivory artifacts hold the key to both salvation and destruction. The miniseries marks the return of impractical teal tank and dual pistols Lara Croft.

Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen will hit stores on Oct 7, 2015.

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5. Closing Time: Anthony Desiato’s ‘My Comic Shop History’ Chronicles the Life, Death, and Legacy of His Local Comic Shop


In the end, memories are what make us who we are.  Although they slip away so easily, these small fragments of past inform our future decisions and influence us every moment we’re alive.  For most of us comic book readers, a formative moment in our personal histories is the first time we step into a comic shop.  The pulpy smell of fresh floppies stacked in Diamond stamped boxes.  The glistening translucent cases filled with TCG singles at exorbitant prices.  The stern and booming voices of people arguing Batman chronology in the back by the trades.

The places individual comics fans make these universal memories shape their lives.  For Director and Comics Historian Anthony Desiato and many other comics luminaries from upstate New York such as Rocket Girl writer Brandon Montclare, these formative experiences took place at Alternate Realities, which is going out of business after nearly a quarter of a century.

Desiato has made it his mission to chronicle the store’s final days through his podcast, My Comic Shop History.  The last episode of this audio series comes out today, and in honor of his intriguing work and Alternate Realities’ storied history, we sat down with him to talk about the legacy of the store.


Alex Lu: So for those unfamiliar with Alternate Realities, can you give us a brief overview of your store’s history and what makes it special?

Anthony Desiato: Alternate Realities is (soon-to-be “was,” sadly) a comic book store in Scarsdale, NY, that is closing up shop for good after 23 years.

The store is the subject of my independent film, My Comic Shop DocumentARy, and my current podcast, My Comic Shop History.

The podcast is a 12-episode exploration of the store & its closing from the perspective of past and present owners, customers, and employees. We’ve been peeling back the curtain on the retail side of the comic book industry as we discuss the store’s inner-workings and comic shop culture generally.


What makes the store special—and the reason I’ve found it such a source of inspiration—is the community.

We count among our ranks a customer who worked at T.G.I. Friday’s but claimed to have killed 25 people in the line of duty as a secret agent; our resident curmudgeon, a former flea market vendor who condemns modern society with language that would make a sailor blush; and the store’s owner, Steve Oto, who traded his legal career for a life behind the counter and a very love-hate relationship with his clientele.

Lu: What’s your role in the store and how long have you been involved?

Desiato: Heroes World (a long-defunct store in White Plains) was my first comic shop, and when it abruptly closed on me during elementary school, Alternate Realities became my new go-to place. For the first few years of my patronage there, I was just the shy kid who would pick up my books every week while my mother waited in the car.

In high school, Steve offered me a summer job, and that was my entry into a whole new world. Throughout high school and college, both my level of responsibility at the store as well as my friendships with the guys who shopped & worked there would grow.

It wasn’t until the end of my employment there (during law school) that I began to take on my current role of—for lack of a better term—“store chronicler.” That new path gave birth to my film about the store, its spinoff (By Spoon! The Jay Meisel Story), and now the podcast.

Lu: What do you think drove the decision to close the store?

Desiato: If you believe Steve’s closing announcement, he’s closing in large part “because of those customers who have left me in the lurch” by not buying the items they ordered. However, if you truly analyze the situation, as we’ve been doing over the course of My Comic Shop History, it becomes clear that the stated reason for closing is perhaps a bit disingenuous.

If customers are reneging on their orders, there are steps a store can take to at least try to remedy the situation first. Closing the store is the nuclear option! It’s not really a proportionate response to address what’s ultimately a small group of delinquent customers.


What we all realize is that Steve’s complaints are really just symptomatic of a growing frustration and fatigue with running the business.

In Episode 7 (“Comic Shop Business School”), I spoke with the owner of The Spider’s Web, a relatively new comic shop in Yonkers. That owner is two years in and still has his passion for the business and the hobby.

After 23 years of the grind of running a small business, Steve simply doesn’t have that anymore. As he has said many, many times over the years—in person, on Facebook, in My Comic Shop DocumentARy, and in My Comic Shop History—he’s tired. And I don’t think anyone would dispute that he’s earned his rest.

Lu: How has the community responded to the store’s closing?

Desiato: That’s really what the podcast is all about and why I wanted to do it in the first place.

Aside from the friendship we share, what I hope listeners take away from this show is how much we all care about “The Store.”


Everyone who has participated in the podcast has worked, owned, or volunteered at Alternate Realities at some point. We’ve all invested time and effort and wanted the store to be as strong as possible.

To see the store end in this way has been very bittersweet. Not to speak for the entire community, but for myself and many of the people I spoke to on the podcast, I feel there’s a sense of sadness that it came to this, acceptance that it’s the right move for Steve, and, most importantly, appreciation for everything the store has meant to us. It’s been our clubhouse, truly.

Lu: Given that Alternate Realities has such a long and storied history, those who have been there have had the unique perspective of having seen the comics reading audience grow exponentially and the industry dramatically change. How would you compare comics at the store’s opening to comics now, at the store’s close?

Desiato: Well, seeing as how I was 5 when the store opened, I’m not sure I can really give a full answer to that question! Interestingly, though, the store opened the same year that “The Death of Superman” (my first comic) came out. That was arguably the beginning of “event” storytelling as we know it today, and the store is closing amidst Convergence and Secret Wars, two huge events from the Big Two. So, in a way, maybe not that much has changed!


To answer your question more specifically: Based on the time that I’ve been affiliated with Alternate Realities, I would argue that we have not seen huge shifts the way you might expect. For example, the rise of comic book movies didn’t necessarily drive hordes of new customers to the store. At the same time, the advent of digital comics did not erode our customer base too much, either.

Lu: What do you think is the next big thing for the industry?

On the retail side, one of the things we talk about on the podcast (we do a “Comic Shop Business School” series-within-a-series across a number of episodes) is how comic shops need to be a “destination” in order to survive these days. Areas to hang out, events, signings–things like that.

Lu: What new projects are the Alternate Realities crew heading off to pursue?

To find out what the store’s owner, Steve Oto, is up to next, I encourage folks to listen to the finale of the podcast, out today! Up next for me is a new documentary and, hopefully, more podcasting in the future! As for our group, we plan to continue the friendships we forged at Alternate Realities. The store may be gone, but the community lives on.

RENT My Comic Shop DocumentARy and By Spoon! The Jay Meisel Story on Vimeo!

SUBSCRIBE to My Comic Shop History on iTunes!

LIKE My Comic Shop History on Facebook!


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6. Titan at SDCC: Assassin’s Creed, The Blacklist, Heroes, Lenore and, of course, Doctor Who!

Titan has announced their full line-up of SDCC activities, and there’s lots to choose from with ten signing sessions and two panels, as well as a bunch of exclusive covers, merchandise and sneak-peaks of their upcoming titles.


Their Doctor Who line gets it’s own panel this year, where details of a brand new Doctor Who miniseries will be announced, including which of the Time Lord’s many regenerations will star in it. From Titan:

Titan Comics gives you a sneak peek at the next chapters for the Doctor in all his incarnations – including sneak peeks at the direction of Year Two featuring the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors! Writer Cavan Scott and artist Blair Shedd discuss the smash-hit Ninth Doctor mini series! Writer Paul Cornell gives you a sneak peek at August’s comics cross-over event! Writers George Mann and Cavan Scott and cover artist Alice X. Zhang take you behind-the-scenes of the Twelfth Doctor SDCC exclusive short story edition. Plus, we reveal the next brand-new mini series – which Doctor is it going to be? Come along to find out! All attendees receive a FREE Doctor Who comic + prizes to win!

The Titan Doctor Who Comic panel is on Saturday July 11th from 3:30PM-4:30PM in room 5AB.



Fans of Assassin’s Creed can look forward to Titan’s global premiere of  artwork from the upcoming comic series based on the hugely popular video game franchise at Titan’s other comics panel on Thursday July 9th from 2:30-3:30PM in Room 4. In addition, the panel features TV producers and writers from Heroes Reborn and The Blacklist who will discuss their work on series tie-in comics. Roman Dirge, creator/writer and artist of the cult-smash series Lenore will also be on hand to talk about his planned new work. From Titan:

Titan Comics takes you behind-the-scenes of major new projects including Assassin’s CreedHeroes and The Blacklist! See the global premiere of artwork from the new Assassin’s Creed comics, plus be the first to find out about the launch storylines and the all-new Assassins! Heroes Reborn Supervising Producer Seamus Fahey gives you a sneak peek at the new Heroes comic and special SDCC ashcan. The Blacklist TV show writer Nicole Phillips talks about writing the new The Blacklist comic series, which debuts at SDCC! PLUS! The artists of the creator-owned hits of tomorrow will be in attendance! Cult writer Roman Dirge gives you a ghostly glimpse at Lenore and his upcoming new projects! Artist Des Taylor takes you undercover of hit series Scarlett Couture! Harvey award nominated writer Mark Wheatley discusses his new remastered edition of Breathtaker! Plus, more comics talent and prizes to win!


Want to grab an author-signed copy of that gorgeous, SDCC exclusive Heroes ashcan with art from Paul Pope? How about one of only 200 FREE Doctor Who: Four Doctors art cards signed by four Doctor crossover series writer Paul Cornell? Here’s the complete signing schedule, all signings taking place at the Titan booth #5537:




Writer/Artist DES TAYLOR signs copies of Scarlett Couture from 12:30PM – 1:30PM


Writer/Artist ROMAN DIRGE  will be signing copies of Something at the Window is Scratching, The Cat Really with a Really Big Head and Lenore Pink Bellies: 4:00PM — 5:00PM



Heroes Reborn Supervising Producer Seamus Kevin Fahey will be signing copies of the Heroes comic SDCC ashcan with exclusive art from Paul Pope from 12:00PM — 1:00PM


The Blacklist TV show writer Nicole Phillips and cover artist Alice X. Zhang will be signing copies of The Blacklist #1 from Time:  2:00PM – 3:00PM


Writers George Mann and Cavan Scott and cover artist Alice X. Zhang will be signing copies of Doctor Who: Twelfth Doctor SDCC exclusive short story edition from 4:00PM — 5:00PM

Did you miss Roman Dirge’s 7/9 signing? No problem. he’s back at the Titan booth on 7/10 signing copies of Something at the Window is Scratching, The Cat Really with a Really Big Head and Lenore Pink Bellies5:30PM – 6:30PM



Writer Cavan Scott and artist Blair Shedd will be signing copies of Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor series from 11:30AM – 12:30PM.

Writer Paul Cornell will be signing a FREE Doctor Who: Four Doctors art card. Only 200 available! From  1:30PM – 2:30PM.

Did you miss Writers George Mann, Cavan Scott and cover artist Alice X. Zhang on 7/10? Fear not, they’re back at the Titan booth signing more copies of Doctor Who: Twelfth Doctor SDCC exclusive short story edition from 5:00PM – 6:00PM.


Writer Max Davison, artist Matt Hebb, colourist Tracy Bailey and inker Jason Worthington will be signing copies of DreamWork’s Home #1 comic from 12:00PM – 1:00PM.

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7. Eternal Warrior, Dr. Mirage and X-O Manowar #50: News from the #ValiantSummit

The #ValiantSummit just wrapped, where the publisher announced a whole bunch of new titles and announcements from Valiant Entertainment’s comic book line in a live setting. One of the first and biggest announcements was X-O Manowar #50, a landmark achievement in publishing giving the current state of the industry. The issue will feature the writing talents of Robert Venditti — who launched the new Valiant Universe with X-O Manowar #1 alongside Bloodshot: Reborn artist Mico Suayan. The comic is shipping in 2016.


Next up is Wrath of the Eternal Warrior, which Robert Venditti teased in our exclusive interview covering the Book of Death with the author — Venditti noted that the Eternal Warrior is one of his favorite characters in the Valiant Universe. Raul Allen is joining Venditti to draw the comic, which is launching in November. Also, the publisher debuted the cover to the first issue, a wraparound cover with David Lafuente linework.


The last issue of the previous Dr. Mirage series teased that the series was coming back, but Valiant has now confirmed the next comic entitled The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage: Second Lives. The comic is another four-issue mini with author Jen Van Meter and Robert De La Torre returning as the creative team set for a December debut.


Valiant is releasing eight of their first issues for a dollar each in the publisher’s One Dollar Debut line. The comics company also released the information that the landmark Book of Death event has over 70,000 pre-orders. Take a look at the new trailer for the event here. The summit was a fine showing from Valiant, containing news that fans should be excited about while offering newcomers the chance to get in on a new #1 with Wrath of the Eternal Warrior and the publisher’s own One Dollar Debut line of comics.

1 Comments on Eternal Warrior, Dr. Mirage and X-O Manowar #50: News from the #ValiantSummit, last added: 6/30/2015
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8. Massive Update to the All-New, All-Different Marvel Scorecard

Recently, a bunch of cover solicits from Marvel’s All-New All-Different preview book leaked.  We now have 46 titles on deck.  Besides some major shakeups we’ve previously covered such as Jeff Lemire debuting on X-Men and Rick Remender leaving Marvel to focus on his creator owned work, there aren’t any huge shakeups to the roster of creatives in this All-New world.

The titles below are organized alphabetically by series genre.



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Guardians Of The Galaxy

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Marvel has also announced a Gamora title with Nicole Perlman on scripts.


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9. Check out the All-New, All-Different Amazing Spider-Man Costume

Man, Marvel loves their hyphens.

Dan Slott recently gave an interview to MTV regarding his and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli’s upcoming Amazing Spider-Man run, which begins following Secret Wars‘ conclusion in October.  In the article, MTV debuted new designs from the series including a brand new costume created by Alex Ross (Kingdom Come) and a Spider Mobile conceived by Camuncoli.

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As head of Parker Industries, the tech company that Doc Ock founded while his mind was in Peter Parker’s body, the newly restored Parker is now an incredibly wealthy inventor.  Slott promises that Parker will put this wealth to use by expanding his heroic operations beyond the Manhattan skyline, traveling to Shanghai, San Francisco, and London to face greater threats than ever before.

It’s worth comparing this new take on Spider-Man to the Batman Inc. era Dark Knight.  Bruce Wayne, as head of Wayne Industries, financially endorsed Gotham’s #1 vigilante and helped him expand Batman’s reach beyond his home city, much like Parker will help the web slinger do in Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man.

Spider Mobile = Batmobile

Did I mention that Spider-Man’s suit is high tech now, too?


“The things this suit will be able to do and the innovations that Peter Parker has put into it will be astounding,” Slott noted, “and when you want to take something to the next level, you go, and make it look real, you go, ’hey Alex Ross, take your best shot.’ ”


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10. Return of the Sandman Meditations

Boomtron just published my latest Sandman Meditation, this one on Chapter Two of The Wake.

"Sandman Meditation?" you say. "That sounds ... vaguely familiar..."

In July 2010, I started writing a series of short pieces called Sandman Meditations in which I proceeded through each issue of Neil Gaiman's Sandman comic and offered whatever thoughts happened to come to mind. The idea was Jay Tomio's, and at first the Meditations were published on his Gestalt Mash site, then later Boomtron. The basic concept was that we'd see what happened when somebody without much background in comics, who'd never read Sandman before, spent time reading through it all.

I wrote 71 Meditations between July 2010 and June 2012, getting all the way up through the first installment of the last story in the regular series, The Wake. 75,000 words.

And then stopped. I read Chapter 2 of The Wake and had nothing to say. I tried writing through the lack of words, but the more I tried to write the more what I wrote nauseated me. I couldn't go on.

I got through 71 Meditations by only looking back once — in the piece on "Ramadan", I misread a word (yes, one word) and completely misunderstood the story. When Neil gently brought the mistake to our attention, I was shocked. So I went back and re-read "Ramadan" and what I'd written about it. Though in the immediate moment, I felt like a total idiot with entire chicken farms of egg on my face, I've come to cherish that mistake, because it showed just how carefully and subtly constructed so much of Sandman is, and how a simple slip in reading can make a text flip all around. It gave me a certain freedom, too. I'd always been terrified of making some dumb, obvious mistake in my reading of Sandman, because I know it's so well known by its passionate fans, and I didn't want to either let them down or annoy them. Once I made that big mistake, I felt somehow freer to go wrong, and that kind of freedom is necessary for writing. I went forward, trying hard not to think about whether I was writing well or terribly, thinking well or thinking badly, reading well or reading as if I'd never learned to read at all.

But by the 71st installment, my confidence fell apart. I was terrified that I'd written nothing but drivel, and the weight of that fear pulled me back. Why should anybody want to waste time reading what I've got to say about this? I wondered. This is a beloved series of comics, a beloved story full of beloved characters, an intricately woven tale that I'm just blundering through blindly. I couldn't do it.

Eric Schaller kept bugging me. "So are you ever going to finish your Sandman stuff?" he'd ask, and I'd change the subject.

I figured as more time passed, everybody would forget about my crazy reading experiment.

Jay Tomio remembered. I felt terrible for letting him down. He'd been so supportive, and I'd failed in the end. But he never seemed to hold it against me; he seemed to understand. It had been a long run. Boomtron went through some changes. The Meditations disappeared for a while. Then Jay started reconstructing, and so out of the blue one day I got a note: "Any chance you'd like to continue?" he asked.

I was terrified. A lot had changed. What would it mean to continue?

But continue I did, and continue I will. (I'll finish The Wake in the coming weeks, then continue on to Endless Nights. If all goes well, I think it would be fun to finish up with the recent Overture, to return full circle back to the beginning. Fingers crossed.)

As you'll see from the new piece, I thought of David Beronä, and I knew exactly what he'd say if he were here for me to ask about it. "Use the time you have," he'd say. "Do it now."

It's nice to be back.

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11. Rick Remender Leaves Marvel to Focus on Creator Owned Work

rickremenderLast night, Rick Remender announced his intentions to “take a break” from his work with Marvel comics.  The writer, known for his tenures on Uncanny X-ForcePunisher, and Captain America, says that he owes Marvel a great debt for enabling him to “provide for [his] family as it grew” and for taking a chance on him when he quit his first job as a successful animator to pursue his career in comics.

Before Remender worked with Marvel, he put out several books with Image, the most notable of which is Fear Agent with Tony Moore.  Creator-owned work has always been Remender’s greatest passion, though when he started out the market “didn’t seem to want such things.”  Recently, however, things have changed.  Remender currently writes a number of my favorite Image titles including Black Science; Deadly Class; and most recently, Low.  This work has become increasingly time consuming, and so:

For the next year, I’m only going to do work that the artists and I own.  Putting my ass on the line along with my partners, and try for the dream one more time.  To get back to doing what feeds my soul.  To be around for my family during some trying times and spend my work hours making comics with the people I want to, the exact way we want to make them, and owning and controlling the fruits of our labor.

Remender’s announcement comes on the heels of a number of creative shakeups for Marvel’s “All-New All-Different” line up.  Yesterday, Marvel announced that Jeff Lemire would take the reigns on the new Uncanny X-Men series.  Jonathan Hickman has previously stated that he would also be taking a vacation from the House of M following the end of Secret Wars.

Things are moving at a breakneck pace in the lead up to SDCC.  It’s hard to imagine how Marvel will top themselves at the convention.

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12. Anti-Bullying Comics Anthology RISE to Release Third Volume

by Melanie Burke

Images courtesy of Northwest Press

“It’s like an after school special but it’s a good one,” says Adam Pruett of the anti-bullying comics anthology RISE. “I’m not just saying that because it’s my book and I want to promote it—I actually believe in the material.”

Born from a frustration with caustic attitudes and gatekeeper mentalities within the comics community, RISE is the collaborative effort of editors Joey Esposito, Adam Pruett, Erica Schultz and Kristopher White. With hundreds of different contributors from all over the globe, the book currently has two issues out with Northwest Press and a third is slated for digital release this summer.


“Out of that [frustration] came this idea, ‘Let’s do an anthology of celebrating being yourself’ and if there’s any place where that should be acceptable it’s the comics community,” says Esposito of the book’s initial inception.

The editorial team began working together in 2010 and approached Northwest Press several years later, launching a Kickstarter to fund printing costs in October of 2014. The Kickstarter platform, in addition to the for-sale issues on the Northwest Press website, made it possible to fund a book that is largely given away for free.

In addition to being available for free download at risecomics.org, RISE is distributed at all-ages events and school tours by Stand for the Silent and Prism Comics.

“It feels like we’re contributing to society,” says Esposito. “In a small but important way.”


Part of the goal for the editorial team was to approach the issue of bullying from all sides—hence the power of an anthology that delivers such a diverse voice and wide range of art styles. The individual narratives range from tales of redemption and forgiveness between reformed bullies and their former targets to frustrated scientists with singing plants to aliens admonishing their peers for participating in late-night cow tipping.

“It’s not us and them, it’s not good guys and bad guys,” says publisher Charles “Zan” Christensen.“I think that the stories do a good job of showing that it’s not just there are bad people who do bad things, but that people sometimes do bad things.People can change, people can learn and do the right thing in the future.”

Tackling such a sensitive subject in a grand-scale way produced its own unique challenges—like coordinating such a large group of contributors.


“We’re working on four different time zones, two or three continents, god knows how many countries,” says Schultz.“You’ll send an email off [and it] will be the end of the night, and then the next person who gets it is replying the equivalent of 2am for me.”

“It’s like herding cats,” says Esposito, laughing.

Additionally, the team had to make decisions regarding language and content for a young audience, without sacrificing the sometimes brutal realities depicted within the anthologies.

“That process was really illuminating,” says Christenson.“It was good to have those discussions and figure out how to strike that balance.”

Schultz says that the trade off to the chaos is “being introduced to creators who I wasn’t familiar with. And not just comic creators but people who work in different mediums as well coming on to write comics. That’s always great, getting to meet new people, getting exposed to different styles.”


For Esposito, the excitement from contributors helped fuel the process. “[Seeing] the enthusiasm from everybody but seeing these really established creators come on board—donating their time and artistic talent to do something like this—was really exciting for me.”

The third and last issue of RISE will release sometime late June or early July of this year. After that, the team hopes to see the project continue in any variety of ways—potentially a once-a-year anthology.

“I hope it takes on a life of its own,” says Schultz.

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13. Marvel explores Synergy of Games and Comics with Contest of Champions from Ewing and Medina


Marvel has just announced a new Contest of Champions title — a return to the three-issue mini-series of 1982 originally dubbed: Marvel Super Heroes Contest of Champions. The new game on IOS bearing the same name serves as the inspiration of the comic, which includes Maestro (Hulk villain) headlining the cover to the first issue. Al Ewing and Paco Medina are chronicling the adventures of this new team of Champions who have been gathered by the Collector to do battle with each other. Ewing wondered aloud: “Where are the trapped heroes stored when they aren’t fighting?”

Venom and Gamora appear to be locked into a battle with various other characters in the Marvel Universe frozen over in blocks of ice. CNet announced the news — along with the cover to the issue. Contest of Champions will launch in October as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe. Also featured in the series is Guillotine, a new character created jointly by Marvel and Kabam, the developers of the Champions IOS title. The heroine is powered up via a special sword handed down all the way from the French Revolution.


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14. All-New By Its Cover #5 (Covers For May 2015)


The column that judges a book by its cover, focusing on the month’s best-designed comic covers. For the month’s best-illustrated comic covers, see Best Comic Covers Ever (This Month).

Note: Apologies for the delay this month. I’ll try to get the next installment out super quick!



Ninjak #3 by Lewis Larosa

Wow, that is an extreme perspective. The easiest way to make a composition feel dynamic is to have something in both the extreme foreground and in the background, and this has a single person existing in both. That is something.

The expectation that comic solicitations have some cover art to go with them means that artists are asked to create the art well in advance. When it comes to designers who are never quite happy with their designs, this means you can get a glimpse of their thought process when they tweak the cover before final publication.


The layout on the left is pretty standard and boring. Using a drop shadow to separate the text from the image is a quick solution, but not very elegant and often a sign that the design just isn’t working yet. The image on the right is getting closer, but the glow around the logo is just as bad as the drop shadow, and is actually flattening out the art and ruining the illusion of depth.

The final printed version at top is clearly the best solution. Having the publisher logo and credits in the character’s hair feels a little bit weird maybe, but it works for me.



Mythic #1 by John McCrea (A), Matteo Scalera (B), John McCrea (C)

I enjoy the concept of vertical logos and the design possibilities they open up. It’s just unfortunate that this one is nearly unreadable.

The two-color look of the cover above is really nice, but I think the composition could’ve been improved. It feels to me like the logo and image are fighting each other for focus. In particular, I’d try to move the head-in-hand out from under the logo and more into the upper corner where people might look first. Here’s a quick rough example of what I mean. It’s a little easier to make the image out now, right?


I enjoy this composition slightly more because it has a foreground figure overlapping the logo, creating a dynamic sense of depth, and the vertical logo makes the vertical figure feel extra tall (at least to me). Again, if only it was readable.


I’ve included this one just as an example of the worst aspects of both of the above covers. An interesting full cover image, but it’s being drowned out by the logo clumsily stamped on top of it. At the same time, the colors chosen for both the art and the logo are causing the logo to recede somewhat, which would make it harder to read if it wasn’t already unreadable. The other two variants are pretty solid, though.



Arcadia #1 by Matt Taylor (above), Eric Scott Pfeiffer (below)Deep State cover

I absolutely love this logo box, and how it integrates the issue number and even the bar code into an interesting design. This logo is such a win (does anyone know who designed it?)

Unfortunately, the extra-busy cover art kind of clashes with the simple and stylish logo. Matt Taylor’s collage of lines worked really well last month with the lock theme of his Deep State cover, but here it seems like it’s more actively obscuring the art than just adding texture. And I feel like the the logo would work better with art that’s simpler and more open.


This is my favorite of the Arcadia variants, a rare example of a comic being printed without any text on the front cover. Which I’m a huge fan of, because it reminds me of the glory days of rock album cover design. Even better, the concept of this image even looks like something that might be photographed as a rock album cover.

My one problem with this design is that the space below the bed seems like its just screaming out for a logo or text of some sort. White space is great for leading the eye around, but this is a case where the art feels a little unbalanced, like it needs a thing under the bed to balance it out. In case I sound like a crazy person to some of you, here’s a quick rough example of how I might rebalance the image without adding text. all I did was “zoom in” on the bottom half of the image. Do you see what I mean about the balance working better?



Ghosted #20 by Dan Panosian

Speaking of rock album covers, this looks so metal. Even the treatment of the logo would work for an album cover. “R.I.P,” the new album from Ghosted.

The one thing that bugs me a little is the flower pedals touching the bottom of the frame. I kind of want just empty space all around the image so that you focus into the image and stay there, without being led out of the image through the bottom. Rough example — do you see what I mean?



Fight Club 2 #1 by David Mack

I love the concept of this illustration, representing Tyler “waking up” while the narrator remains oblivious. I just wish the text around it had been placed better. ‘Some imaginary friends never go away” is a nice way to sum up the story, but its so hard to see here, it might as well not be there at all. And I’d rather the Fight Club 2 logo had been centered horizontally on the same background color as the illustration, rather than the so-so trade dress block that’s been designed.



Divinity #4 by Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic

This is a great example of an illustration where having a tiny minimalist logo really works. We’re focusing in on the distant character (with dramatic lighting behind him just to accentuate him that much more), and the logo is right there. Compare to this variant, where the logo placement just doesn’t work at all.



Heart In A Box #1 by Merideth McClaren

Wow, this is striking. The large field of white surrounded by darker colors draws our eye in, and the field in question is a word balloon with a character speaking…an image of a heart (plus the issue number). What does it mean? I don’t know, we should find out by reading it.

My one critique would be that the heart is so busy. The white areas had me wondering if something more was going on, like if it was being pulled apart or something? It would’ve been less confusing if all the pieces of the hard had been colored red, no white negative sections. Or maybe even simplified a little.



Dead Drop #2 by Raul Allen

This is the sort of cover I was saying would’ve worked better with that Arcadia logo. Simple and graphical. The speeding police car and the money flying away tells a slice of a story without even having to show us (presumably) the car being chased. There’s a great sense of movement, and yet the police car also feels like it’s a piece of the logo. Are the people running inside the logo necessary? Not at all, but they don’t hurt it, either.



Trees #9 by Jason Howard

It’s a little mean for me to put this cover right after the last one, but I wanted to show how they coincidentally had a similar layout and similar movement in the same month of comics. But instead of a dramatic chase, this one conveys the feeling of being drowned.

The main problem with it (other than being placed right below Dead Drop, which looks a little more refined as an illustration) is that the bubbles floating upward don’t look much like bubbles. I wondered briefly if the bubbles were maybe transforming. Imagine if the one up top looked like a butterfly escaping, and what that might symbolize. But it’s not, it’s a sloppy group of bubbles.



Ei8ht #4 by Rafael Albuquerque

I think this is the most successful Ei8ht cover yet in terms of the balance of space around the logo and how it relates to the main image. It’s also a nice contrast to go from the previous action images on a diagonal to a quiet, sad image on a diagonal. The large amount of black also helps a lot. The added contrast puts more focus on the white areas, which smartly includes the character on the bed.


Kate Willaert is a graphic designer for Shirts.com. You can find her her art on Tumblr and her thoughts @KateWillaert. Notice any spelling errors? Leave a comment below.

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15. How Lying Made BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT the Best Comic Game Ever (Spoilers!)


Rocksteady’s Arkham Knight, the finale to their Batman trilogy is here and with it all the comic easter egg goodness. Warning before we get into the why and what not about the game’s relevance let me disclaimer you: this will be filled with spoilers. So if you care about that kind of thing and haven’t played the game or watched the cinematics on YouTube, turn away.

Just an update before we get started. Last week, Comics Beat put up a story about the press release sent out in regards to WB pulling the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight from store shelves and Steam. It was written in a way that made it seem as though Rocksteady was only at fault for the game’s catastrophic PC launch. The PC edition was ported and optimized for computer hardware by a different developer known as Iron Works. Rocksteady has since stated they’ll come in and devote resources to fixing the game with Iron Works, in fact yesterday they released a patch to remedy some of the issues. Yes, we’re in the age of pre orders putting out inferior and often times buggy product, but Rocksteady have had a great track record of working games and the controversy shouldn’t reflect solely on them.


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If you’re going to San Diego Comic Con in a few days and want a limited edition Arkham Knight print, E3 shirt, and Batman: The Animated Series figure just follow us on instagram @ComicsBeat and I’ll post details later on.


Ok let’s get into the game spoilers in 3… 2… 1…


First, we have to acknowledge the elephant in the bathtub. Just about every review and comment from gamers who’ve  played Arkham Knight loathe driving the Batmobile in the game. These opinions aren’t entirely unfounded. Driving around in Batman’s car and having it handle like a lawnmower with an attached jet engine can be frustrating for two reasons. First of all; the car is just plain overused. More than 3/4 of the objectives in the game can’t be completed without the Batmobile. In fact the moment where the car is crushed by the giant drilling machine gave me a sigh of relief, only to be snatched out from under me by the addition of a back up car. Secondly, using the car wouldn’t be so bad if there was more of a learning curve to driving. Particularly in the Riddler track challenges that Batman has to complete in order to release Catwoman from the bomb collar. You’ll go from an easy straight forward track to executing barrel rolls in a sewer as you have to focus on steering and triggering puzzle elements in the level. Then there’s the tank mode, at the push of a button the car goes battle stations and takes on enemy vehicles . These sequences slow down the pace of the game but never enough to take you out of the story. Learning to transition between the sets of controls effectively takes time and patience. Both of which I have in spades… now excuse me while I put this quart of frozen ice cream in the microwave.


This all begs the question; would we have been better off not having the car in the game? No. Having the game on newer consoles like PS4 and Xbox One meant it was going to be bigger and better looking. It needed something new, something more forthright than switching between Robin or Nightwing during certain melee sequences. Driving the Batmobile was a logical progressive addition to the series. Could it have been better executed and more balanced with the story? Yes, but I’ll take Batmobile over no Batmobile any day.

The Stories that made up Arkham Knight

After E3, we talked a bit about how “one-way” the streets that connect comics and video games can feel. Comics are more often tasked with bringing video games to books than gaming taking on the tales we love. Sure there’ve been a few games that have tried translating the language of comics in games. Most of the stories lucky enough to make the jump become cannon fodder for the activity/reward relationship games are built on. With Arkham Knight, Rocksteady, managed to translate pieces from a library of Batman stories containing 75 Years worth of history to build something that harmonizes with sitting down to play a video game .


Anyone that’s played previous Arkham games knows, like television, there’s always two plots to a story. While the surface of Arkham Knight is about stopping the Scarecrow from unleashing his fear cloud over Gotham; Batman was grappling with his Joker infection from the events of Arkham City. A disease that threatens to wipe away Bruce Wayne and replace him entirely with the consciousness of his worst enemy. It’s a story we’ve seen before in the Batman Beyond animated universe story, Return of the Joker. There it was Tim Drake of the future who felt the Joker take over his mind from beyond the grave.

Then there’s the Joker running down the events of his days of yore with the dark knight. If you played the game, those chilling moments in the Batman’s mind where Joker makes him relive the horror of paralyzing Barbra Gordon from Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke. Rocksteady captured that iconic moment in history nearly panel-for-panel. Knowing what would happen when Joker stepped through that doorway made it that much more intense for us and kudos on not diluting the madness of that moment for the sake of a friendlier rating. When the game first received it’s “mature” M from the ESRB, it wasn’t hard to guess we’d see some of the Batman’s most graphic moments played out in front of our eyes.


The sequence where Batman and Robin (Tim Drake) have to recover escaped Jokerized patentients in the movie studio cuts to a piece of comic’s history. It nods to the, A Death in the Family, story where Joker blows up second Robin, Jason Todd. Not only did it tell parts of those events, but it somehow made them more brutal. In Rocksteady’s version there would be no desert and no bomb. Instead they got around the revolving door of comic death by not actually killing Jason Todd. Joker would hold Robin in secret, warping his mind and turning him against the Batman.


Red Hood Story Pack

Joker’s torture created the Red Hood comic fans are familiar with today. Most of the events the actual Arkham Knight character puts Batman through during the game are calculated insider tactics only someone close to the Bat would know. Breaching Wayne security, informing Crane about Oracle, even calling the Batman “Bruce”; it all pointed to Jason Todd being the Arkham Knight. During the game’s penultimate moments, the Arkham Knight lifts his veil and reveals himself to Batman. So much of that moment and Jason’s motivations borrow from Judd Winnick’s Under the Red Hood.

There’s the lies Rocksteady told

An editorial I came across last night, over on IGN, read like an angry complaint letter to the game. I see how anyone invested in the Batman mythology could feel lied to. One should understand the ballsy chance Rocksteady took. In today’s age of “scoops” where secrets and mysteries just don’t exist; the developer risked agitating the audience and consciously chose to add mystique where there couldn’t have been any. It worked. We all guessed Jason would be under the Arkham Knight’s mask, but we took Rocksteady at their word when they said it would be an original character. Is being honest and upfront a requirement for making great games? Who knows. Though it’s hard to be angry at Rocksteady because the lies they have been telling since Batman: Arkham City have value. Remember when Mark Hamill came out and said voicing the Joker in Arkham City would be the last time he’d ever do it. Had the studio come out a year ago and said Jason Todd is the Arkham Knight, then it would have been easy to deduce the return of the Joker. After all he’s as intertwined with him as he is with Batman.


Sure by the middle of the game it’s bombastically obvious, Jason Todd is the Arkham Knight.  That wasn’t the surprise this game banked on. Had I known about the Joker in the game before it’s release then I would have lost that moment where I’m about to put the controller down for the night and then like a bolt of lightning to the system, I see the face of the Clown Prince of Crime alive and well (sort of). The shrill echo of Mark Hamil’s laughter comes through my speakers and no I’m definitely not turning in yet.


The argument about this not being an original story is also flat. When you look at all three Arkham games as a whole, it’s probably the most original Batman story in recent years; next to Scott Snyder turning Gordon into the new dark knight. Sure, Arkham Knight borrows a lot of notes from several DC Comics stories, but that’s the way it should be. DC could sell tons of books to gamers who’ve never read comics by marketing the list of “stories that inspired the game”. Lies equated to an end result that has potential to boost two industries. That’s a fair trade for any negative PR they’ll get.

This Arkham universe remained true and defied the convention of comic’s revolving door of death where no one ever really dies. Joker was dead and using him in Batman’s head was a brilliant way of still being able to keep him in the series without betraying the events of before. If Rocksteady isn’t lying and THIS is the end of their Batman run then they went out on a better note than what Christopher Nolan did.

In the end, they lied. So what? The Golden State Warriors lied and now they’re NBA champions. Tom Brady did the things with deflated sports balls and he’s married to a supermodel. A story about a fictional comic book character is allowed to be marketed any way it sees fit to make money in a gray world.

Batman: Arkham Knight is a gorgeous end to the character. One where he loses in the end, not a loss he’ll live with either. It’s an ending we could never get in comics or film. The existence of the Arkham universe is finite and it gave Rocksteady a freedom no one else has had with the character. Sure they took some liberties with our attentions over the last two years but in the end we got the Batman game we deserve.

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16. HeroesCon Interview with Michel Fiffe Part 1: The Challenges/Merits of Self-Publishing and the Appeal of the Analogy


For me, COPRA is the one of the few superhero comics that really matter.

A few years ago, I was at a point where I had basically given up on everything produced within the arena of the “Big Two”. Sure, I enjoyed the occasional Grant Morrison comic when they would rear their head, but for the most part I had lost the exhilaration I used to get when I would read the adventures of my favorite costumed adventurers. Then, in the midst of a discussion of Jack Kirby and John Ostrander, a good friend floated along the idea that I would find great delight in reading the self-published wonder that is Michel Fiffe‘s riff on Ostrander’s biggest legacy work. What I found was a comic that embraced everything I loved about superheroes and the ideas of some of their most iconic creators, and then spun them off in wholly exciting and unpredictable directions. The jubilation that I feel whenever I crack open a new issue of COPRA is likely on par with what readers in the 70’s felt when a new Fourth World installment was released, or their counterparts in the 80’s when the aforementioned Suicide Squad and Watchmen were being unfurled upon an unsuspecting public.

COPRA reminds me of the actual potential of this side of the medium, and it’s a book that I wish everyone had their hands on. It is superhero comics at their absolute best.

While at HeroesCon, I had the opportunity to sit down with Fiffe to discuss what’s coming up in his lauded series along with other points of interest that encircle self-publishing and the day to day process of creating the issues in which he is responsible for every facet, including their mailing to subscribers. Here is Part 1 of our discussion:

When you conceived of COPRA, what was the impetus to say: “I’m going to self-publish this and do everything myself” vs. pitching it to a publisher like Image or Boom! or any other publisher that might have found a home for it?

I find the pitching process to be rather exhaustive and time consuming. I know it well, I’ve done it many times. It’s such a slow process getting a book green-lit and that’s not the nature of what I wanted to do with COPRA. It had to exist almost immediately. I don’t have a committee to answer to and that’s appealing to me. I’m not comfortable giving that power to whatever company.

And you did a lot of pitching before that you said?

Tons of pitching, tons of submissions, I’ve done pretty much everything I could think of to do to get in through the door. I’ve got some published works as a result, but nothing really satisfying, or that I really felt confident about. So, self-publishing, once I started doing that, that’s when I felt like I was creating comics on my own terms. COPRA is a natural extension of that, especially when I started giving myself a monthly schedule, mimicking the schedule of mainstream comics. For me, that’s the interesting dichotomy of it, where I’m harnessing this kind of “old-school” rigorous schedule to fit my independent needs.

Copra 4But are there significant challenges you find? I know there’s promotion that would be available in a big house publisher, like if you were working with Image there’d be press releases constantly. Is bandwidth an issue?

Well, motivation is always the biggest hurdle to overcome, especially given an unrelenting schedule. I have to wake up every day and treat this like a job, because it IS my job, it is my full-time job. I have to get it done somehow, I can’t wait for the muse to strike. I have to get an issue done a month, or as close as possible. But as far as challenges in not having the marketing muscle of other companies? I’d rather stand apart from the wall of noise. How many press releases does anyone really read, anyway?

Your comics, at least in their monthly form, are only available on your Etsy page and I noticed that you share that with your significant other, I think I saw some nice craft jewelry I think?

Yeah, Kat Roberts sells all kinds of stuff, zines, handmade purses, prints. I totally piggy-backed off her store on Etsy. That was a platform I was familiar with, so when I started publishing Zegas (Fiffe’s first self-published comic) I didn’t have a place to sell it from, except conventions and maybe the occasional store that would take a risk on it. Etsy allowed me to slowly build up my readership. By the time I got to COPRA, there was a significant amount of people that were interested in the stuff I did and that made it easier for me to move forward.

Copra 22Let me turn to the actual creation process of an individual issue, say you’re sitting at your desk and working on Issue 22 right now?

That’s the one that just came out.

Good, let’s use that one as an example, if you’re working on Issue 22, what is your step by step? Do you script first and then directly move into the illustration phase? Do you create thumbnails? How do you piece your typical issue together?

It always changes, but the constant thing is that I always map out the story, page by page, and then I script it loosely. Then I start penciling loosely with the first draft in mind. The real work portion of the process begins when I start refining the script while inking and sometimes hand lettering. That’s when it all starts coming together. But generally I have a very loose plan in mind per issue. It’s equal parts organic and strict. I just have to get a number of pages done every day, that’s basically my main objective.

What’s your average rate right now?

Comfortably, I’d say about two pages a day, complete with full color. And that may range, sometimes I may get three, sometimes just half of a page, it just depends. And then you also have to consider the managerial aspect of it after the book is done. I have to get it shipped out to readers  and stores and that’s definitely a job in of itself.

Copra Rax

Was there ever a page or spread or a panel layout that was really hard to crack? Was there any particular example where you just said “oh my god, what am I doing with this thing?”

Every page is like that, but I try to make it work somehow. I have to bring that blank page to life somehow. But the trick is to not think about it too much, because if I over-think it – which is my natural inclination – it kills it. You can get caught up in that and then nothing exists, there are no results. I strive for perfection, but being my own worst critic, I have to be real careful to not crush my gut instinct.

You’re a real master of negative space, and I read an issue and think “damn, Fiffe really knows how to use that white”. I think that’s a rare talent, and I’m not trying to kiss ass, but when I read through recent issues it’s hard to not notice how much your craft continues to grow every single issue. I’m floored by the way you use this stuff.

Thanks, man!

AsesinosBack to COPRA‘s origins, if I may, when you began to pull together your characters designs and tried to piece together the different teams…and there’s a number of different teams now I guess, you’ve got COPRA, Asesinos…

Right, it’s all splintered.

Yeah, I almost have a hard time keeping track.

I should map it out.

I would love that, if you would put a thing at the end of each issue with the full cast.

I’ve been thinking about that, actually.

That would be awesome, and I’ll take full credit if it happens. But when you were conceiving of your core cast, there are obviously analogous elements to Ostrander’s Suicide Squad.


Copra BoomerDid you ever find it was difficult to skirt the line between your own original ideas and those aforementioned analogous elements or did you just say, I’m going to use this as a starting point and go my own way?

When I initially set out to do this comic, I put myself in the mindset of: “what if a publisher hired me to take over a title, and gave me complete freedom”, which would never happen in the current landscape. So using that fantasy to guide me, I took the Dirty Dozen-esque concept, which has been around for a while in many different forms, and I used it as a blueprint to work from. I wanted a world I could really sink my teeth into month in and month out. I wanted to make something that was serialized, that maximized the nature of the single issue, I wanted to build a place that made it easier for me to explore all my interests. The analogous aspect of it… I was reluctant at first, but I had forgotten that some of my favorite comics are analogous, too, some more blatant than the others.

Are there any examples you can cite? At least of the ones that fall favorably with you?

I mean, the Fantastic Four included a Kirby monster, Plastic Man, and Carl Burgos‘ creation as the Challengers of the Unknown… as a response to JLA.  Watchmen, Marvelman, Supreme, everything Alan Moore does, basically. That’s no secret. So I moved forward citing those comics, using the current cultural momentum of irreverence to just do whatever I want. Plus, I figured no one’s going to be reading this anyway! We’re talking small press here, not many copies exist. It was liberating.

How far ahead did you map out your story?

Not that far, I did it issue by issue. I also wanted it to feel like a very immediate, raw, I wanted it to be as direct a thing as possible. So, it was really just one or two issues ahead. I mapped out twelve issues with super brief descriptions and that’s all I had to go on. I also wanted to make sure that I could fill twelve issues worth of stories. Luckily it worked out.

Look for Part 2 of our discussion on Sunday, when we discuss the possibility of digital distribution and what readers can expect in upcoming issues of COPRA.

You can purchase recent issues of COPRA at Michel Fiffe and Kat Roberts’ Etsy store, or you can order. While Bergen Street Press is currently sold out of both collected editions of the series, you can purchase the first collection at InStockTrades.

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17. Image EXPO Schedule Announced: Parties, Signings, and Art Exhibits!


Today, Image Comics released the schedule for their 2015 Expo, which will run on July 2nd at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

Ticketing Info

Tickets to the event are now available for sale. General Admission is $25 and Premium Admission is $65. Seating is limited. Admission for retailers and members of the media is complimentary.

A General Admission Ticket will grant one (1) person entry to Image Expo and includes a program guide book, access to all programming and events, and admittance to the official Image Expo after party for a chance to mingle with creators, press, retailers, and fellow-fans.

A Premium Admission Ticket will grant one (1) entry to Image Expo and includes a program guide book, access to all programming and events, as well as guaranteed premium seating during programming, a pack of Image Expo exclusive variants, one (1) pass to an exclusive signing with creators behind the Image Expo variants, a T-shirt, an Image Comics branded cloth tote bag, and access to the official Image Expo after party for a chance to mingle with creators, press, retailers, and fellow fans.

Image Comics fans can follow the latest Image Expo updates at imagecomics.com/expo.

Panels & Speeches

10:00 a.m. — Theater Doors Open for Seating

10:30 – 12:00 p.m. — Keynote Address
Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson‘s keynote address will debut several new projects and initiatives for Image Comics and our incredible roster of creators, providing a sneak peek into what’s hot and new from creator-owned comics and where the comics industry goes from here.

12:00 – 1:30 p.m. — Intermission
12:00 p.m. — Retail Counter Opens

Image Comics Presents: The Sessions
Our afternoon programming will go into even greater detail on the projects announced during the keynote address, giving you a chance to pick the brains of the creators in attendance, gain insight into what’s coming, and unveil a bit of the magic that makes an “Image comic” the hottest book on the shelves.

1:30 – 2:10 p.m.: Kyle Higgins & Alec Siegel, and special surprise guests

2:15 – 3:00 p.m.: A Conversation with Robert Kirkman

3:15 – 4:00 p.m.: Greg Rucka Nicola Scott, and special surprise guests

4:15 – 5:00 p.m.: Jason Aaron and special surprise guests

5:15 – 5:50 p.m.: Tula Lotay, Steve Skroce, Brian K. Vaughan, and special surprise guests


Alongside each panel will be signings for our attending creators. Some signings will have an item limit, require a wristband, or be closed after a certain number of guests have been admitted. Signings with an item limit and wristband requirement have been marked with an asterisk.

1:30 – 2:10 p.m.: Premium Exclusive Variant Signing*: Jason Aaron, Nick Dragotta, Robert Kirkman, Tula Lotay, Greg Rucka & Nicola Scott, Steve Skroce, Brian K. Vaughan, and special surprise guests

2:15 – 3:00 p.m.: Surprise Guests Signing

3:10 – 4:00 p.m.: Jason Aaron, Kyle Higgins & Alec Siegel, Tula Lotay, , and special surprise guests

4:10 – 5:00 p.m.: Brian K. Vaughan & Steve Skroce*, Greg Rucka & Nicola Scott, and special surprise guests

5:10 – 5:55 p.m.: Robert Kirkman*

Art Exhibitions

Admission to Image Expo includes free entry to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, our hosts for Image Expo and a treasured museum in the Bay Area. With fascinating exhibits located just next door to Image Expo, take advantage of the opportunity to enhance your Image Expo experience.

Previously announced Image Expo variants and merchandise that will be available at the show include:

  • AIRBOY #2 by James Robinson & Greg Hinkle

  • THE EMPTY ZONE #1 by Jason Shawn Alexander

  • THEY’RE NOT LIKE US, VOL. 1 by Eric Stephenson & Simon Gane

  • A new NOWHERE MEN t-shirt

  • SONS OF THE DEVIL #2 by Brian Buccellato & Toni Infante

  • SOUTHERN BASTARDS #9 by Jason Aaron & Jason Latour


Join Image Comics creators and staff at the Image Expo After Party, once again held at the Cartoon Art Museum on 655 Mission Street.

7:30 – 8:00 p.m. — Press and Retailer Mixer
Open to members of the media and comic book retailers only, this pre-party mixer will be an opportunity for industry professionals and Image Comics creators and staff to discuss the day’s events before the party gets underway.

8:00 p.m. — Image Expo After Party
Open to press, retailers, premium ticket holders, and general ticket holders, the Image Expo After Party will wrap up Image Expo with drinks, snacks, and a chance to mingle with Image Comics creators and staff.

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18. DC Comics Available for the First Time on Public Library App Hoopla


In their struggle to stay relevant in the technology-obsessed 21st century, many public libraries have turned towards e-book services to keep membership levels high.  Historically, comic book publishers have been slow to embrace digital reading, with Dark Horse Comics only having joined Comixology this week.  However, today DC Comics began its partnership with public library e-book app Hoopla to bring select titles to subscribers around the United States.

Right now, 18 titles are available via the service, comprised of a number of collected trades including Batman: The Long HalloweenWatchmenSuperman: Red SonFinal Crisis, and The Killing Joke.  In order to access these titles, you will need a local library membership at a branch that supports Hoopla.  According to Engadget, Hoopla will add additional DC titles to its library each week, and there will be over 200 DC titles available for borrowing by the end of the summer.  Hoopla’s digital service uses an “action view” feature akin to Comixology’s guided reading mode.

It’s great to see major comic book publishers like DC providing free access to titles and supporting local libraries.  Comics are an expensive hobby, and the cost can be a major turnoff for new readers.  Granting the public access to classic titles like Watchmen will hopefully expand paid comics readership in the long term.  For now though, I need to get a new library card.

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19. Say What?! Michael Keaton to Star and Produce Film Adapation of Boom’s Imagine Agents

When I was a kid, I wasn’t as well versed in pop culture as I am now.  Thus, I missed out on Beetlejuice and Michael Keaton’s stint as the Batman.  My first experience seeing him in theaters was in his role as washed up actor Riggan Thomson in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Best Picture winning Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).  What a first experience it was.  His acting blew me away, so I’m glad to say that we’ll be seeing him again in cinemas through an adaptation of Brian Joines’ Imagine Agents.


As announced on The Hollywood Reporter, award-winning publisher BOOM! Studios is excited to reveal that Michael Keaton (Birdman, Batman) will star in and produce a film adaptation at 20th Century Fox of the comic series Imagine Agents, created by Brian Joines.

Written by Joines (Krampus) and illustrated by Bachan (Rocket Salvage), Imagine Agents is the story of two agents who work for clandestine organization I.M.A.G.I.N.E. to keep kids’ imaginary friends under control. Little do they know that an abandoned “friend” from long ago is about to disrupt the status quo and turn everything upside down. The series was published from October 2013 to January 2014, with a collected edition released in December 2014.

Imagine Agents has been the most rewarding project I’ve worked on and the fact it’s going to be a movie with Michael Keaton, whose work had a huge impact on my teenaged years and indirectly played a role in my decision to become a writer, is just a mind-blowing continuation of that reward,” said Joines.

BOOM! has a first-look feature film deal at 20th Century Fox that includes first-dollar gross on films based on any of its comics, which the publisher splits with its creators.

BOOM! Studios Founder and Chief Executive Officer Ross Richie will produce the film with Keaton and Anonymous Content’s Michael Sugar. President of Development Stephen Christy will executive produce with Anonymous Content’s Eli Selden. Senior Vice President of Film Adam Yoelin will co-produce in cooperation with Anonymous Content’s Ashley Zalta.
Keaton, best known for his roles in Beetlejuice and Batman,  is coming off his award-nominated performance as washed-up superhero actor Riggan Thomson in New Regency Pictures’ Birdman and is currently filming The Founder, a biopic about Ray Kroc, the founder of the McDonald’s fast-food chain.

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20. M-11 Visits the Stately Beat Manor Comics Pull for 6/24/15


The writers at the Stately Beat Manor just finished reading and writing about the newest supply of comics in time for the weekend (which doesn’t always happen.) Spirits were high and income was low as The Beat crew retired to our quarters late in the evening. Due to all of our recent visits of characters from comics past, we were all sure that was going to be the very first week that we had no visitors and our lives would return to normal. The very next morning, we awoke to find various Beat Staff members left all alone in the laboratory encased in our own attic. They were busy recreating M-11 (also known as Human Robot.) The Human Robot IS a dangerous wildcard and added a lot of stress to the underworked Staff Members (how do you feed a robot?) The Manor divided into subsections of staffers — those that liked M-11, and those that hated him. When the upset staffers finally decided to go confront M-11, they discovered he was nowhere to be found, and was actually waiting for them in the reading room prepared to deliver but one thing: his weekly staff picks for brand new comics.

Alex’s Picks:

We are Robin! #1


Writer: Lee Bermejo   Artist: Rob Haynes, Jorge Coronoa and Khary Randolph

Spinning out of the pages of BATMAN! The teenagers of Gotham City have adopted the ‘R’ and made it their own. A new Robin? No, HUNDREDS of new Robins! Don’t miss the start of this new series from rising star writer Lee Bermejo (JOKER, SUICIDERS), who also provides the covers!

For all of the hullaballoo about the New DC Universe, most of the series thus far are familiar concepts being dusted off the shelf and turned into new comics. We are Robin! — a title shrouded in delicious mystery is one of the strongest contenders to really add something new to the DC formula — no pressure or anything. M-11 promised me that he would give the first issue a shot after lots of convincing.

X-Men ’92 #1


Writer: Chris Sims and Chad Bowers   Artist: Scott Koblish  

Everyone’s favorite version of the X-Men from the ’90s is back! When Baron Kelly charges the Clear Mountain Project and it’s mysterious new director with ‘mutant rehabilitation,’ it’s up to the X-Men to investigate! PLUS: Free Range Sentinels?!?

M-11 loves X-Men, and his attachment to the 90’s X-Men knows few boundaries, though he doesn’t like stories that have multiple numbers in their name — M-11 declares this as a forgivable sin. With that in mind, we decided to give a shoutout to one of the most exciting new books of Secret Wars known only as: X-Men ’92. The story stars all your favorites from the old cartoon going and fighting an extremely unique opponent from a different X-TREMELY awesome era of comics.

Matt’s Pick:



Writer: Mark Waid   Artist: Greg Smallwood

The SHIELD agent you’ve been demanding – Skye, a.k.a. Quake, a.k.a. Daisy Johnson – has only one ally she can turn to: her father, Mr. Hyde! Rated T+

Though sales don’t seem to be on its side, SHIELD by Mark Waid and friends is responsible for some of the most fun I’m having reading comics in recent months. This issue, introducing “Skye” to the series, coincides perfectly with my Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD binge on Netflix. Read this if you want solid superheroics with a modern bend and impressive art from The Dream Thief’s Greg Smallwood.

Kyle’s Picks:

Superman #41

Superman 41

Writer: Gene Luen Yang    Artist: Klaus Jenson, John Romita, Jr.

The epic new storyline “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?

Gene Luen Yang is writing Superman. I repeat, Gene Luen Yang, multiple Eisner winner, and the cartoonist behind what I’d argue was the finest graphic novel of 2013 (Boxers & Saints) is writing freaking Superman! This is like Jaime Hernandez coming on board to write Wonder Woman, or Craig Thompson taking over Batman, it’s that kind of a monumental hire. Wednesday can’t come soon enough.

Dave’s pick:

Sons of the Devil #2


Writer: Brian Buccellato    Artist: Toni Infante

After the suspicious murder of his friend, Travis tries to move on with life. But when his girlfriend Melissa follows a clue that might lead to his birth family, they wind up in the crosshairs of a killer. Also, a look into the past and the cult of David Daly! Grounded, character-driven psychological horror.

If you missed issue one, you missed the breakout debut of Brian Buccellato‘s instant classic. Travis is a deeply disturbed enigma you’ll want to know. Murder, the occult, mystery; all the things you expect in an Image comic and more.

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21. HeroesCon Interview: Kevin Wada Talks Style, Process, and the Future

by Harper W. Harris

Kevin Wada has been one of my favorite cover artists since he started on She-Hulk; it was one of those rare but wonderful circumstances where the cover artist seemed to really play a key role in the creative team, and his unique style was part of what made that book such a standout. Since then he’s gone on to provide covers for many series and continues to become more and more of a fan favorite. HeroesCon 2015 kept him busy and his commissions list full, but I got a chance to have a brief chat with him on Sunday about his interesting path to comics, his process, and what to expect in the future.


Kevin Wada HeroesCon Comic Artist She-Hulk

Kevin Wada at HeroesCon 2015

Harper W. Harris: We are here with Kevin Wada, one of my absolute favorite artists and the cover artist of some of my favorite books. How is your con going?

Kevin Wada: I am doing great, I feel re-energized and I’m ready to end the con on a strong note!

HH: You have a really interesting story about how you came into comics from outside of the comics industry, could you elaborate a little on that?

KW: I had done this series of X-Men as fashion illustrations and it went viral. Because it was popular I continued it, making more ambitious projects. When the new X-Men team launched and it was all women, I did an illustration of that. I think this is what happened: Brian Wood bought a print of that from my store and I tweeted to him like, “Thank you!” and I think he passed my name along to editors at Marvel. Then I got my first X-Men variant and then the editor that I worked with who was amazing really wanted to get me on an ongoing book and that’s how She-Hulk happened.

HH: Have you been a fan of comics your whole life? Were you an avid reader or did you come to it from more of the art side of things?

KW: I always say I was sort of orbiting ‘planet comic’. My cousin was really into comics, and he was like my best friend growing up, so I always had this very loose handle of superheroes and all that kind of stuff. I loved it–I loved it aesthetically, I loved the drama of it all–but I wasn’t a hardcore reader, it was very, very casual. So I have this nostalgic affinity and it kind of makes me feel very comfortable. But I’m not going to know the history of every single character.

HH: You have a really unique style. Can you talk a little bit about what your process is and what your materials are?

KW: I work in watercolor, but other than that it’s a pretty straightforward process. It’s pencils to either colored pencils or pen on top of that, and then I use the watercolor to flesh it all out. Often, but not always, there’s some digital editing going on. It’s not unlike retouching a photo–I’ll correct colors, I’ll correct like if an eye looks a little wonky I’ll fix that. One thing I usually have to correct in the computer is my sense of value, my sense of value is horrible. I’ll push my lights, I’ll push my darks, and really make the image pop.

HH: You work primarily as a cover artist with some of the most talked about covers in the industry. What is your creative process for coming up with an idea for a cover? Do you typically know a lot about what the content of the issue is going to be before you start?

KW: That really depends on who you’re working with and what their schedule is, and if they’re on top of things. I’ll often get a one sentence synopsis and a one sentence concept that they want me to push, and then you kind of just have to go. It’s kind of scary because you have this really horrible idea of what the story is or what the themes are, so luckily it’s just one issue and then you’re on to the next one!

HH: One of the things I love about your covers is that you’ve got a great ability to tell a story with a single, wordless image. Do you have an interest in pursuing that kind of storytelling in interiors, from a panel-to-panel perspective?

KW: We’ll see, it’s a totally different beast. I haven’t flexed that muscle since college. I don’t know how good I’d be at it–I’m down to learn, I know it’ll be a lot of work and that’s scary because I’m very lazy (laughs). So I don’t know, we’ll see…time will tell.

HH: Where can people find your stuff, and what are you working on now that you’re excited about?

KW: You can find me @KevinWada everywhere, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, I’m on Facebook but I don’t really use it. Coming up is a lot of Catwoman covers and a lot of DC variants, they’ve been throwing tons of work my way. I have an A-Force variant for Marvel, some character designs coming out…that’s about it!

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22. Spider-Gwen Gets an All New #1 This Fall

Call it a reboot.  Call it a marketing ploy.  After her massive Spiderverse debut and five solo book issues, Spider-Gwen is getting a new comic.  It will debut this fall after Secret Wars under Marvel’s “All-New, All-Different” relaunch banner.  However, the more things change, the more things stay the same.  Despite being renumbered, Spider-Gwen will continue to keep its creative team of Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez and will pick up from where Spider-Gwen #5 left off.  It will even take place on Earth-65, indicating that Secret Wars may join the long line of events that promises to change everything but doesn’t end up changing much of anything– at least we get Battleworld out of this one.

According to Latour in an interview with IGN:

The aim with this first couple of issues is to give folks who are new an entry point into Gwen’s world but to also fill in a little back story for people who’ve been with us awhile.

So with that in mind we begin with Gwen discovering that someone has re-created Peter Parker’s LIzard formula. This of course is a terrible realization for her, in that becoming The Lizard is what killed Peter and branded Gwen a fugitive. So as she sets out to figure out just who is behind all of this she’s torn between her chances to clear her name and the great debt of responsibility she feels toward Peter’s legacy. It’s a story that will take Gwen down memory lane a little and we’ll see just how a lot of this came to pass.

Of course there are still a lot of loose ends from “MOST WANTED?” (our first volume) and we haven’t forgotten them. Captain Stacy is still the only thing standing between Gwen and Frank Castle’s NYPD and “Matt Murderdock” is still out to, I guess you could say, “get” Spider-Woman.


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23. Interview: Comics Extraordinare Dirk Manning on Tales of Mr. Rhee and Nightmare World

Dirk Manning is a constant feature of the Comic Con scene. This comic creator and writer extraordinaire might be one of the hardest working men in comics. He does panels at every comic con he attends, stays on the floor to greet fans, gives inspiration to those trying to get into the comic industry, and cranks out books like no tomorrow. Tales of Mr. Rhee from Devil’s Due is his latest work. Recently, The Beat spoke to him to see what’s up with his latest entry into the comics world, what the comic con scene is like, and what is up with all those panels.

Seth Ferranti: You do a lot of panels at comic cons. Do you think you are the hardest working creator out there?

Dirk Manning: Oh, wow! You’re putting me on the spot right off the bat! [laughs] I’d be hesitant to say I’m the “hardest working creator in comics,” because, on a certain level, I think that makes it sounds like there’s a competition where there isn’t one. That being said, I suppose I’m one of the BUSIEST writers who’s not doing any work for the “Big Two” (yet). Last year I did 37 conventions and in-store appearances– including 24 appearances in 18 weeks – in support of my books such as Tales of Mr. Rhee from Devil’s Due, Nightmare World, Love Stories (To Die For) and Dia de Los Muertos from Image Comics, The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West from Big Dog Ink and the Write or Wrong collection from Caliber.  I’d like to think that we ALL work hard… but I can say for certain that between all my writing and book touring, I stay very BUSY, at least. [laughs]

Dirk and Josh Ross at NYCC

Ferranti: What’s it like going to the comic cons all the time?

Manning: As anyone who’s done a lot of conventions can tell you, it takes a lot of stamina and energy to be “on your game” when you’re doing multiple conventions… especially when you’re doing them back to back to back to back to back…etc. [laughs] Admittedly, due to what I post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, a lot of people think that “Life on the Road” (as I label it) is all about hanging out with my “con family,” signing books, hosting panels, and eating a lot of ice cream… but the truth of the matter is that it’s really a lot of work to set-up at conventions as a professional… especially when you’re a one-man-show like I am. When I’m doing a show I’m almost always running my own tables and my own panels… and even fun work like that is work. Basically, doing conventions almost every weekend of the year (after working a day job every weekday and writing almost every weeknight) means rarely getting to sleep in, rarely having any “downtime” for video games or Netflix…but that being said, I wouldn’t trade where I’m at in my career right now for anything in the world.

Ferranti: What is your book, Write or Wrong: A Writer’s Guide to Creating Comics, about?

Manning: Write or Wrong is primarily a collection of my inspirational/how-to columns that ran on another website for several years, now slightly revised and updated for print. There are a lot of books out there about how to write scripts and such, but Write or Wrong is a book for people who know they can write and would like guidance and advice on how to MAKE COMICS even if they can’t draw them themselves, including advice and guidance on meeting and working with artists, keeping your team going, and really how to deal with the roadblocks life can – and most likely will – throw at you as you take that journey.


Ferranti: Is that also the concept behind your Write or Wrong: LIVE! panels?

Manning: The panels – and the book, really – are both my way of “paying it forward.” Sometimes people come up to me and say “Aren’t you afraid that you’re helping the competition?” and I always get a playful chuckle out of that before explaining that, as a writer, you should have no competition, because you should be writing books only YOU can write. That aside, I have a few Write or Wrong: LIVE! panels that are especially popular, including “The 10 Commandments of Working With Artists” and “Building Your Brand as a Creator (or: Doing the Work is Only the First Step)”… and I suppose the names give a pretty fair description of what they’re both about. [laughs]

Ferranti: What other panels do you do at the comic cons?

Manning: Over the last year or so I’ve had the pleasure of teaming-up with with Buddy Scalera of Comic Book School and doing mini-presentations (or, as he loving calls them, “sermons”) to lead-off his Creator Connection panels at C2E2 and New York Comic Con. Thus far my motivational bits have been VERY well-received, so that’s nice. Several people from the Creator Connection panels have already come back to me at later shows to show me books they created after hearing me speak and getting help from Buddy in meeting co-creators… so that’s really rewarding.

Ferranti: What’s the concept and storyline of the Tales of Mr. Rhee series?

Manning: Tales of Mr. Rhee is about a magician who lives in a world where, after the Armageddon and Rapture has happened, everyone left behind wants to think things are back to normal again. Mr. Rhee knows they aren’t, though, and is trying to convince people of what’s REALLY going on in the world – even though they don’t want to admit it.As a result, it’s very much a “man-against-society” type of book… almost a H.P. Lovecraft meets George Orwell kind of horror… with some Franz Kafka mixed in for a little extra creepiness and despair.

RHEEv1 -- 2nd Printing

Ferranti: What would you tell someone they can get out of reading Tales of Mr. Rhee

Manning: A lot of what publishers call “horror” comics are really super-hero comics in disguise, where, instead of super-heroes they have magicians and instead of super-villains they have monsters… but that is NOT the case with Tales of Mr. Rhee. Rather, Tales of Mr. Rhee is a straight-up horror comic that really studies what it would be like to live in a world where our protagonist know nasty things exist in the shadows and the effect that knowledge has on him long-term… especially when everyone else is in such denial. Imagine being that one person who knew that monsters and demons were real – or, in this case, still skulking around Earth. How would you make friends? Or work a job? Or even trust anybody – ever – knowing they could be some sort of demon or vampire or monster sympathizer or something? That’s what Tales of Mr. Rhee is about: The toll being a “monster-hunter” would really take on someone over time…

Ferranti: You recently finished Tales of Mr. Rhee Vol. 2: Karmageddon. When is the release date?

Manning: We recently wrapped-up a very successful Kickstarter for Tales of Mr. Rhee Vol. 2 via Devil’s Due through Kickstarter (pulling in just shy of $20,000 inpre-orders!), so the Kickstarter backers are going to get their books first. The Tales of Mr. Rhee Vol. 2: Karmageddon TPB is been solicited for an October release in comic stores across the country, though, so people who missed the Kickstarter can get a copy that way. Tales of Mr. Rhee Vol. 1: Procreation (of the Wicked) also recently sold-out of its first print run, so Devil’s Due will be resoliciting the new printing of that book when Tales of Mr. Rhee Vol. 3 starts as a five-issue mini-series early next year. The good thing about Tales of Mr. Rhee, though, is that you can pick-up any volume and just dive right into it. That’s a priority in ANYTHING I do: Making sure anyone can pick-up any TPB I’ve written, read it, and know exactly what’s going on. In my opinion that’s what all comic creators should strive for, as it’s entirely possible to tell big, complex, and engaging stories without requiring readers to buy the previous three dozen issues to understand what’s going on.


Ferranti: You’ve had a long career to date… what are some of the highlights?

Manning: I self-publishing my first comic series Nightmare World online back in 2002, and back then I couldn’t understand why digital comics and online comic distribution weren’t a bigger thing… so I’m of course super-excited to see that platforms like Comixology are now being so strongly embraces by readers and publishers alike. That aside, I have to say that working with Riley Rossmo (Constantine: the Hellblazer) and Eric Powell (The Goon) on the covers to the first two Tales of Mr. Rhee collected editions, respectively, has been a professional highlight, for sure, as they’re two of my favorite comic artists currently working in the industry.

Ferranti: What is up with Nightmare World?

Manning: Shadowline Comics, which is Jim Valentino’s partner studio  of Image Comics, ran Nightmare World in syndication as part of their online comics hub when it still existed, and from there went on to publish three-fourths of the series over the course of three TPB collections. That being said, there’s still ¼ of the series not in print, and not a convention or signing appearance goes by where people aren’t asking me about releasing one last Nightmare World collection or – better yet – an omnibus that collects all 52 eight-page stories in one giant book. I switched gears away from Nightmare World for a few years to launch Tales of Mr. Rhee and the first Write or Wrong collection in print, but that being said, I know that people are clamoring for one last Nightmare World book to cap-off the series – especially since the events of Nightmare World and Tales of Mr. Rhee are more clearly becoming intertwined – so I fully intend to release Nightmare World Vol. 4 sooner than later at this point. Stay tuned to all my social media outlets and my personal webpage for details!

Life on the Road-2

Ferranti:What comics did you like growing up?

Manning: I didn’t really get into comics until my teens, at which time I started with Peter David’s run on The Incredible Hulk.  Then, I started reading Ghost Rider before moving into the works of Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, Mike Mignola, David Lapham, and Japanese horror comic master Junji Ito, all of whom continue to have a huge influence on my writing to this very day.

Ferranti: Where do you get your inspiration from?

Manning:My inspiration is writing comics that only I can contribute to the world and then bringing them to life with some of the most talented up-and-coming artists in the industry. Take Tales of Mr. Rhee, for example. The “magical monster hunter” trope has been done to death in comics, especially, but I can guarantee you that there’s no other comics out there like Tales of Mr. Rhee.

Ferrnti:What’s next for Dirk Manning?

Manning: My writing schedule right now consists of Tales of Mr. Rhee Vol. 3, Nightmare World Vol. 4, Tales of Mr. Rhee Vol. 4, Write or Wrong Vol. 2, and a few other projects on my plate… not to mention any other opportunities that I may take-up along the way, of course. Honestly, due to how much I love doing my own creator-owned comics I say “No” to a lot of things, but even if I just stick to that list of creator-owned projects listed above – not to mention all of my touring across the convention circuit – it’s going to be a very busy 2016 for me, for sure! [laughs]


Dirk’s personal website, complete with tour schedule, can be found at  www.DirkManning.com, He’s also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr under the handle “DirkManning” at each site.

0 Comments on Interview: Comics Extraordinare Dirk Manning on Tales of Mr. Rhee and Nightmare World as of 6/24/2015 2:08:00 PM
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24. All-New, All-Different Avengers Assemble with Kubert, Ross and Waid


When Marvel takes news to big outlets like The Wall Street Journal, they usually have something sizable to announce, a new artist for the main Avengers title after Secret Wars, shipping schedule, an Alex Ross cover debut, and roster confirmation are little details that add up to news.

The Free Comic Book Day Avengers issue already revealed the roster of the team after the Secret Wars eight months later event. Marvel even gave us what looks like a (fairly) stable creative team in Mark Waid and Mahmud Asrar. But today, they revealed that artist Adam Kubert will be switching storylines with Asrar. Also, they shared this Alex Ross cover: which is kind of insane. In addition, this comic book will be shipping more than an issue every month. The Avengers will first come together to fight someone that Marvel Studios film watchers and Nova fans will be familiar with: Warbringer, a Chitauri alien warlord. This new set of Avengers will be low on money, (I guess the whole Superior Iron Man thing burned some bridges?)

“They’re poor, and they have to manage their assets,” said Marvel Executive Editor and SVP of Publishing Tom Brevoort. “Another new wrinkle: Half the team goes to school. They’ve got hours of operation, and if they get stuck in Zimbabwe, somebody’s going to have to write the absentee slips.”

Marvel isn’t looking that bad when comparing their Avengers to DC’s Justice League strictly in terms of diversity. The Vision is a robot. The team has not one, but two women. It’s great to see three younger kids joining the Avengers ranks as well — all three are powerful and with the support of Vision and Tony Stark as Iron Man, they have nothing to worry about. How long with the new Thor be around? Her character is very ill and may have precious little time left to serve as an Avenger. Hopefully Waid will naturally integrate Sam Wilson into the Captain America mantle in a way that doesn’t seem forced, AXIS did some damage to his new role in the Marvel Universe. As ComicsAlliance pointed out as well, this roster is slim, a far cry to the massive Jonathan Hickman-penned multi-character Avengers world concept. As interesting as that story was, it’s time to take the franchise in a new direction, and Marvel seems to be doing just that with the new effort.

2 Comments on All-New, All-Different Avengers Assemble with Kubert, Ross and Waid, last added: 6/25/2015
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25. Titan to release new five-part Assassin’s Creed comic series

ASSASSIN’S CREED logoTitan Comics announced today that they’ve acquired the license to publish a new series of comics based on the popular video game series Assassin’s Creed. No release date has been given for the upcoming five-part story arc, which will be illustrated by Neil Edwards of Titan’s much anticipated Four Doctor’s crossover. From Titan:

Assassin’s Creed is one of the most popular franchises in the video game industry, with more than 93 million units sold since its inception in 2007. Over time, Assassin’s Creed has broadened its reach into numerous media beyond games, enriching the Assassin’s Creed lore for the joy of many fans.

Titan comics will soon expand the realm of Assassin’s Creed visual storytelling with the creation of a brand new comic series.

“We’re so excited to be working with Ubisoft on this fantastic new adventure, said Lizzie Kaye, editor, Titan Comics. “Assassin’s Creed is one of the most notoriously beautiful games on the market, and the team at Ubisoft have created a world that is perfect for us to explore, expand and inhabit with a raft of new characters in new settings. We’re really hoping to surprise readers with the direction for this new series.”

The first 5-part arc will be illustrated by the artist of Doctor Who: Four Doctors – Neil Edwards!

12 Comments on Titan to release new five-part Assassin’s Creed comic series, last added: 6/27/2015
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