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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: comics, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 1,805
26. Review: strange things are afoot in Bill and Ted’s Triumphant Return

BillandtedWritten by: Brian Lynch

Pencils by: Jerry Gaylord

Inks by: Jerry & Penelope Gaylord

Colors by: Whitney Cogar

Publisher: Boom Studios

As a fan of both of the goofy, strange and wonderful Bill and Ted movies, I wanted to like Bill and Ted’s Most Triumphant Return #1. And for the most part, I did. It’s got View Askew Productions veteran Brian Lynch on writing duties, who has done solid work for IDW’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer series spin-off Spike: Asylum. It’s got the art of Jerry Gaylord, who has lovingly personified other franchises like TMNT and Adventure Time. Yet while Bill and Ted were very much themselves, they also seemed to lose a little something in the translation.

Bill and Ted picks up right where Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey left off, with the titular boys from Wyld Stallyns high off their winning performance at the San Dimas High School battle of the bands. All your Bill and Ted favorites are there, Death, the Princesses and the Stations! Future nemesis De Nomolos is carted off in handcuffs, swearing revenge on the Stallyns and It’s not long before the media is clamoring to know when the pair will write their next epic single. Stopping home to check in with their newborns, left in the care of the now reformed “good” robot Bill and Ted, the boys find themselves wading through a field trip from the future San Dimas High that has phone-booth time traveled into their bedroom. And we’ve only just gotten halfway through the comic.

This is what left me a tad disappointed by this first issue. It felt a little more like a tour through a Bill & Ted theme park than a story in it’s own right. But this is a problem not unique to this comic, so some leeway must be given in this first issue of this comic adaption of the wildly successful, if critically mixed, Bill & Ted franchise. Still, the tour through all of the Bill and Ted characters we know and love should have moved along a bit quicker. Also missing was the somewhat dark, more adult sense of humor from the films. This book read more like a Saturday morning cartoon. Not the officially licensed Saturday Morning Bill & Ted cartoon, but a cartoon nevertheless.

Still, Lynch has the voice of Bill and Ted down pat: their dialogue seems very natural and unforced, and Jerry Gaylord’s art is a marvel: the characters look so good I almost wish this book would some how be the jumping off point for another animated series. I would’ve liked more Rufus interaction right up front, and not just for sentimental, George Carlin-related reasons. More Rufus interjections could have provided some framework that could have made the Bill and Ted interactions with fans, friends and followers seem a little less aimless. This may have been avoided due similarities with Evan Dorkin’s Bill and Ted’s Excellent Comic Book series.

Still, for fans of the San Dimas metalhead duo this comic will go down smooth and leave you with a smile on your face. It’s also bound to drum up buzz for that new Bill and Ted sequel that Alex Winters has been chumming the waters for since 2010.


0 Comments on Review: strange things are afoot in Bill and Ted’s Triumphant Return as of 3/15/2015 7:52:00 PM
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27. Dark Forces Summon Waid and Haspiel’s The Fox into The Dark Circle in April (Preview)


Archie’s The Fox: Freak Magnet mini-series is being reborn as an ongoing comic moving the book from the previous Red Circle line into the Dark Circle. Previous collaborators Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid are back to chronicle the adventures of Paul Patton Jr. as The Fox in the Fox Hunt storyline. CBR posted the first preview and solicit for the brand new series. We showed off cover artwork and a few other Dark Circle previews here, but with the first issue only a few weeks away this preview is our gift to you.

The Fox follows Patton Jr.’s continuing as a golden age hero. In fact, it’s a little bit strange to even refer to the character as a hero, his character draws out stories to snap them up as a photojournalist for his day job. If the previous storyline is to believed, The Fox is a magnet for sheer weirdness, spawning diamond powered handguns. The back-and-forth introduced into the opening dialogue from Patton introduces the humanity missing in the last storyline by humanizing the Patton Jr. as someone who needs pills on a crappy day. Waid and Haspiel seem to have something special on their hands with this new window into the freak magnet.


Fox-2var2-b586aStory: Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid

Art: Dean Haspiel

Colors: Allen Passalaqua

Cover: Dean Haspiel

Letters: John Workman

32-page, full color comic

$3.99 U.S.


THE FOX is BACK! Emmy Award winning writer/artist Dean Haspiel (Billy Dogma, HBO’s Bored to Death) is once again united with Eisner award-winning writer Mark Waid (Daredevil, Thrillbent) for FOX HUNT: Part One “The Situation”: When a billionaire philanthropist prepares Paul Patton Jr’s home town for demolition, our hero is sent on assignment to photograph the event. But what strange force lurks in the shadows, and why will it take Paul’s alter-ego, THE FOX, to stop it? The answer is the beginning of a deadly FOX HUNT and you won’t believe what happens next! Don’t miss the debut issue from the critically-acclaimed team that brought you THE FOX: FREAK MAGNET, featuring FOUR all-new variant covers! With art from Dean Haspiel, David Mack, Thomas Pitilli, Ulises Farinas and Chris Samnee!


0 Comments on Dark Forces Summon Waid and Haspiel’s The Fox into The Dark Circle in April (Preview) as of 3/14/2015 4:02:00 AM
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28. Zdarsky and Quinones Welcome you to the Quackshow With Howard the Duck #1 (Review)

If there is any pair of humans qualified to continue the legacy of Howard the Duck cultivated by the insane Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik: it’s Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones. Anyone curious as to why need only know that Zdarsky draws a comic entitled Sex Criminals and see Quinones’ excellent rendition of the titular hero. The leading quackshow is no stranger to debauchery, and openly welcomes a life of rancid sin if the George Lucas produced 80s film is any indication of the current status of the character.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 11.26.06 AM

This first issue is built mostly off of the interactions of other people in the Marvel Universe and Howard. This gives readers a gateway into the absurdist nature of this title.

The conflict starts with a burst of intergalactic lunacy laced with some endearing speech patterns from our frontman. It’s a problem that pays off a certain plot thread from an incredibly successful film later on in the issue. This moment also serves to widen the scope of this tale considerably.

This leads into a conversation with She-Hulk that is both inappropriate and hilarious. If the protagonist of this series was any other species, he would likely get slapped across the face. This comic also bears something important in She-Hulk land – it could possibly serve as the spiritual successor to the female jade giant’s cancelled title bearing a high amount of the supporting cast from the comic.

The author takes an opportunity to expand the supporting cast and world of the Duck with some added characters. To flesh out these characters and concepts further, there is an ample process of exploration within the medium. A big piece of this is owed to collaborator Joe Quinones, who perfectly plays off of the energy and concepts utilized within the story.

Spider-Man is also captured with a voice that suits the hero. Peter Parker is extra whimsical here, but who wouldn’t be in the case of talking to a certain duck. This leads to the danger that could be involved in the sheer silliness of this story, could the novelty of Howard’s species fade?


With the incredible facial expressions and bombastic work from Quinones, readers of this title are in good hands. There’s a lot here asked of the illustrator, who’s tasked with bringing, comedy, space drama, and a female jade giant to the absurdist comedy genre. With so many different Marvel characters populating this short tale, the toss-up of random Marvel heroes brings an endearing element to the story.

Quinones and Zdarsky even manages to touch on some influence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Howard the Duck #1 is a Marvel comic that peppers just the right layers of comedy on top of an engrossing lead character to forge a new incarnation of the hero. Long live Howard the Duck, and long live Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones’ tenure on the adventures of the world’s most irreverent quack show.

4 Comments on Zdarsky and Quinones Welcome you to the Quackshow With Howard the Duck #1 (Review), last added: 3/16/2015
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29. 90’s X-Men Animated Comes to Secret Wars

Marvel announced today, via Polygon, the universe of the Fox kids X-Men animated series would be part of their up coming Secret Wars event. X-Men ’92 will be a digital first series featuring the creative team of writers Chris Sims & Chad Bowers with Scott Koblish on art duties. The series was listed as an ongoing, but no plot details were given.

X-Men Animated debuted in 1992 and produced 76 episodes over five years. The show’s booming popularity went hand in hand with Chris Claremont and Jim Lee’s record shattering X-Men #1, which lead to the over saturation of X-titles in the 90’s. But does anyone still have those Pizza Hut comics and cups?

This new Infinite Comic debuts digitally in May and will see print in June. It’ll be fun to see how the creative team closes the open loops the cartoon left behind such as Professor X still in space with the Shi’ar after being infected with the Legacy Virus.


2 Comments on 90’s X-Men Animated Comes to Secret Wars, last added: 3/14/2015
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30. Advance Review- Rebels #1 gives new meaning to “Live Free or Die”

by Alexander Lu


Story: Brian Wood

Art: Andrea Mutti

Colors: Jordie Bellaire

Letters: Jared K. Fletcher

New Hampshire’s state motto, “Live Free or Die,” has always captivated me.  It’s raw and aggressive.  It’s frenetic and energetic in a way that captures the revolutionary feel of a newborn nation struggling to find its footing.  While Breaking Bad may recently brought the slogan back into the modern cultural discourse, Brian Wood’s (The Massive) and Andrea Mutti’s (Star Wars) historical narrative, Rebels, sets out to explore the history behind those four powerful words.

In its first issue, Wood and Mutti successfully lay the groundwork for a gripping historically-based narrative that explores the origin of The Green Mountain Boys, an American militia that captured Fort Ticonderoga during the American Revolutionary War.  The story is told through the eyes of Seth Abbott, who is introduced to us in a beautifully scripted and drawn opening sequence where Seth, under the guidance of his generally distant father, finds the courage to open fire on a group of British soldiers attempting to take over farmers’ land in the Albany territory and thus blossoms into adulthood just as America begins to emerge an independent nation.  The story then cuts to show us Seth as an adult, quelling a conflict between British militiamen and disgruntled American farmers at a Pennsylvania courthouse.

Rebels is not an unbiased comic.  At one point, the team shows British soldiers opening fire on unarmed American protesters, clearly aiming to cast the Americans as martyrs and the redcoats as ruthless villains.  As the lead protagonist and a native resident of the colonies, Seth is definitely portrayed as an American patriot through and through.  At the same time, however, Wood’s script does a good job of making sure Seth doesn’t turn into a gun toting all-American “hero” who is out for British blood.  In the opening scene, Seth takes a long time to find his courage, and as an adult, even ends up becoming best friends with a former British army runner named Ezekiel.  Even after the British soldiers at the American protesters, Seth encourages peace.  He says: “Have patience.  They’ve lost the day.  Soon enough they’ll realize it.  Wouldn’t you rather they dig their own graves, rather than have your loved ones dig yours?”

Great, chilling stuff.

Mutti’s art in Rebels contributes a lot to the story.  His panels are filled to the brim with details.  The trees of the New Hampshire forests are rendered with great care, and when the action moves to the courthouse in Pennsylvania, Mutti fills every panel with countless Americans and British in meticulously illustrated period garb.  His linework particularly shines when it comes to faces, which express emotion with energy and zeal.

While Mutti’s work is fantastic in Rebels, Jordie Bellaire’s (Moon Knight) colors take this comic to the next level.  Most of the book uses muted earth tone pastels, creating a color scheme that unifies the American people with the American landscape.  The British Redcoats, staying true to their name, are what stand out from the rest of the color scheme.  Their bright red uniforms clash with the browns, blues, and greens of the American people, and really make them feel like invaders in the landscape of America and the comic page.

Ultimately, Rebels #1 lays out a solid foundation for what is sure to be a thrilling dive into a part of American Revolutionary history that isn’t often told.  Choosing to focus on a more localized topic that doesn’t span the entire nation or the entire war allows the team to focus on building characters, which is what makes Rebels more than just an illustrated history textbook— it’s a comic with heart.

0 Comments on Advance Review- Rebels #1 gives new meaning to “Live Free or Die” as of 3/12/2015 6:24:00 PM
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31. Review: LOLA XoXo #6, A Violent Femme

LOLA XoXo #6



Story: Siya Oum

Art: Siya Oum

Letters: Josh Reed

Publisher: Aspen



As far as dystopian futures, where blood is spilled in the name of ruling what little civilization the world has left; LOLA XoXo is definitely one of the prettier versions of them. The series has been hit by some unavoidable delays, which Aspen Comics should be commended for sticking to their guns and letting creator Siya Oum finish this volume on her terms, as opposed to convincing her to bring in fill in help. LOLA XoXo #6 closes the series in a trepidatious way, but one that leaves much of the potential for great tales the series started out with.

Issue six brings the end of the standoff between the –salt of the earth—Carnies and the evil corporate Wasteland Trading Company, all with Lola caught in the middle after her friend’s betrayal in the previous chapter. Our protagonist has to gunsling her way out of this and find a way to get back on her mission of finding her family lost among the wasteland. This series is emotionally toned by the losses this character has had to face, and what she’s willing to do in order to ensure her survival despite them. Sia Oym draws on influences from stories like Tank Girl and Josey Wales in order to craft Lola, now we need to see more of what makes her tick.

LOLA XoXo’s strength is the art. From the movie poster like covers, through the interior pages, Siya Oum’s style is a visual treat. Her panels are illustrated like polished storyboards for a film. They go beyond simply setting up a camera angle and conveying everything necessary to understand what’s going on. This is particularly due to her eye-catching colors; they augment her line work and bring in an uncanny level of emotion to the characters. Subtle rose in the cheeks, blemishes on the skin are just some examples of the minor pallet touches she puts in that make all the difference. I want to see Lola smile, cry, frown, and mourn just so I can see more of Oum’s coloring.

If you’ve been following the series you’ll undoubtedly pick up the finale. These thoughts are for those whom fall on the fence about grabbing the trade once it’s released. Overall, Lola started out as a character with potential to be feminine and while out gunning the boys. The last few issues focus a bit too much on the plot at the cost of not letting the character open up to her potential. Though the glimpses of what she could be and the sheer beauty of the pages warrant a look. LOLA XoXo is a worthy introduction to this post apocalyptic world, but I’d definitely like to see both creator and character take more chances in future series.


If words like Batman are on your frequently used list or you enjoy the taste of coconut but not the consistency; follow Dave on twitter @bouncingsoul217

0 Comments on Review: LOLA XoXo #6, A Violent Femme as of 3/12/2015 5:12:00 AM
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32. Neary there! #cat #comics #illustration #ink #Sketch (at 17th...

0 Comments on Neary there! #cat #comics #illustration #ink #Sketch (at 17th... as of 3/11/2015 11:38:00 PM
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33. A New Convention Comes to The Garden State


MAD Event Management, the company behind Long Beach Comic Con/Expo adds a third show to their series. New Jersey Comic Expo will take place November 21 & 22, 2015 at the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center in Edison, NJ.

President of MAD, Martha Donato told convention scene:

“The success of films and television shows based on comic book characters originates with the creators. The comic shows we produce are first and foremost produced for anyone who has an affinity for comics, animation, games – really any type of pop culture that values content and its creators. We strive to create an environment that brings together a group of people who want to celebrate a culture and a lifestyle. And most of our team who produces the shows are based in the NY/NJ area, so this is a great place for us to do a home show.”


Both of the company’s southern California shows are not only tailored celebrations of the arts, but they put an emphasis on the creators behind the stories. Their most recent show, Long Beach Comic Expo, was widely covered by independent and mainstream media for introducing the Dwayne McDuffie diversity award.

For more information, including upcoming guest announcements and ticket sales, visit www.newjerseycomicexpo.com.

2 Comments on A New Convention Comes to The Garden State, last added: 3/12/2015
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34. Another X Revisit in Secret Wars

Marvel revealed, via CBR,  yet another classic X-Men story would be coming to Secret WarsYears of Future Past spins a new path from the Days of Future Past storyline of 1981. This new story explores what would have happened if Kitty Pryde had stayed in the Sentinel dystopia rather than travel back in time to prevent it. We also learned Battleworld will have a new patch known as Sentinel Territories.

The creative team for Years of Futrue Past consists of writer Marguerite Bennett and art by Mike Norton. Not many specific story points were given, but it was mentioned; fans of the original will see some changes to key players while seeing many of the original cast. The book launches in June and as with most of the other titles no word was given on how long the series will run.




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35. Review: Crossing the Space Rubicon in SOUTHERN CROSS #1




Writer: Becky Cloonan

Art: Andy Belanger

Colors: Lee Loughridge

Letters: Serge LaPointe

Publisher: Image


I imagine a typical Friday night for Becky Cloonan or Andy Belanger includes sipping wine and eating fancy cheeses while watching movies like Akira or The Abyss. How else could a science fiction mystery like Southern Cross exist? Regardless of the how, Southern Cross is now a thing, and it’s as necessary as any of the great 80’s sci-fi stories.

Written by Becky Cloonan (Gotham Academy), Southern Cross story is the journey of Alex Braith,  a young woman who hitches a ride on a space tanker called the Southern Cross. She’s traversing the galaxy to a moon called Titan in order to investigate the suspicious circumstances of her sister’s demise. The opening chapter is gritty and gives very little away as the story unfolds. We spend the majority of the issue learning about Alex and the corporation she suspects to be at fault, Zemi. Cloonan has crafted a character that readers can both love and hate. While her inner monologue gives us reason to feel for her; it’s the interactions with others aboard the ship that make you say “what an a**hole. “ For example there’s one tense exchange between Alex and her cabin punctuated by a dripping faucet in the background which makes it that much more uncomfortable to watch. Regardless of what side you fall on, Alex is a unique internal mystery of a character.

The art of Andy Belanger (Black Church) is well suited for Southern Cross. From a design stand point; the world of the story feels outer space massive in scale yet almost “down to earth” in a way. The massive spaceports almost look like city skylines. Even the Southern Cross itself doesn’t feel alien; it opts for the look of an oil tanker at sea. These strategic touches make easy connections between the readers and themes they’ll uncover throughout the series. For all the comforts he puts in the book, Belanger knows when to get sci-fi weird. The Cross is half Delorean and half creepy parts of the Queen Mary. Belanger’s art buttresses the story all the way through to the end. Once you get to that final intense panel, the horrors really begin and you want issue two already.

When picking up the book, keep in mind you’re in for a slow burn with a deep mystery that will unravel at the right moments. If you enjoy tension and suspense… pick up Southern Cross. If you’re a fan of haunting style horror… pick up Southern Cross. Should you fancy complex and rewarding character… pick up Southern Cross. This has officially become my new vice, it’s just that addictive.

If your frequently used words list includes Batman, Clutch, and pastrami pizza follow Dave on twitter @bouncingsoul217.


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36. A Tale of Three Kings: Ninjak #1 Review


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

The Lost Files

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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37. Interview: Eric Trautmann on Designing Worlds with Greg Rucka and Making His Own

Eric Trautmann is probably currently best known in the comics industry for his collaborations with comics author and novelist Greg Rucka, originally as an editor and sometimes co-writer. Most recently, though, he has been working with the co-creator of Lazarus and Lady Sabre as a graphic designer. Trainman flaunts his impressive design skills in the pages and back matter of Image series Lazarus, as well as on the Pocket Guide bonus reward from Rucka’s Lady Sabre Kickstarter. I spoke to Eric Trautmann to learn more about the role of design in comics and the man himself.

Lazarus_Fake Ad_1

How did you first connect with Greg Rucka?
When I was still working at Microsoft, part of my job was creating a publishing program for the Perfect Dark franchise. I was a huge fan of WhiteoutQueen & Country and the Atticus Kodiak books that Greg had authored, and to my mind there was no one else better suited to the task of writing our near-future corporate war dystopia. So, when I was finally given the go-ahead to approach Greg about the work, I introduced myself at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, and he was definitely interested. (I wasn’t allowed to actually name Perfect Dark yet, because the title hadn’t been announced as an Xbox 360 launch title, but I hinted strongly, and he reacted with appropriate manic fervor.)

Of course, it took months for the agreement with the book publisher to be completed, and by that point, Greg assumed the project died.

At the same convention, my wife invited him as a guest signer at the comic shop she owns (Olympic Cards & Comics in Lacey, WA), so I re-introduced myself to him. By that point, the publishing contract was done, and we were off to the races.

His two Perfect Dark novels paved the way for me to con…I mean convince… my bosses I should be allowed to write a tie-in comic series, and I slotted it right between Greg’s two novels. Between my edits on his novel manuscripts and the work I did on the comic series — and the fact that we hit it off pretty well — he later asked for me to help co-write Checkmate with him at DC.

The rest, as they say, is history.

What kind of discussions did you have with him to understand the complex world of Lazarus?
I was pulled onto Lazarus fairly late in the game; issue one was basically done, and they just needed someone to handle basic book design chores—typesetting of the letter column, the indicia, the inside back cover, and so on. So, I read issue one and had a pretty good handle on the tone Greg and Michael were looking for.

But, by issue two, I didn’t have a lot of design sketches or material like that to play with as incidental art for the letter column. I came up with the idea of the timeline that ran in the margins, which in turn led to lots of face-to-face and phone meetings to decide what material would be included. As with most of my half-baked schemes, it became a rather massive undertaking. Greg and I work well together, so he’ll often call, Skype, e-mail, etc. and we’ll hash out whatever background or story concern he has. I’m sort of a part-time back-up developmental editor, on a fairly small scale.

Lazarus_Fake Ad_3

What are top priorities when you’re designing the fake ads for Lazarus?
First, I want them to look authentic; I’ll research ad styles in various era/cultures to try to inject if not accuracy, then at lease verisimilitude. Then, I want them to underscore something about the setting, that edge of creeping corporate hegemony. And then, I try to inject just a little bit of black humor—slogans that sound just slightly over the top with latent villainy, for example. (That typically curdles a bit when you see or read something almost exactly like it in the real world.)

For the Hock ad, for example, they’re selling a visual acuity enhancer, and the list of side effects is long and horrible. It’s good for a bit of a laugh if you’re a bleak-minded fellow like me. Except, that list 99% culled from a list of actual side effects from contemporary visual acuity enhancements already on the market today.

That’s basically my “process” for the ads.

How do you effectively incorporate your design within the sequential pages themselves?For the interior art, my contribution is limited almost exclusively to computer screens, targeting reticles, and so on (with the odd signage for Hock thrown in). I whip the designs up based on Michael’s needs and the script’s descriptions, and Michael handles the actual integration on to the finished page.

I think it’s the dream of every world builder to have a map like the one in the Lazarus hardcover. How much work, and what kind, go into mapmaking?

Oh, lord, it took forever (no pun intended).

It started on Greg’s back porch, as we drank rye whiskey and used colored pencils and crayons to divide the world up on a photocopied map. After that, I brought the sketch into Adobe Illustrator, and began manipulating an old vector art map I’d purchased a decade ago, gradually building it into the final piece. It was fiddly work on a massive file, which I’m about to have to re-do again, if you’ve read issue 16.

Pardon the sobbing.

Is it satisfying seeing your designs in print form, like in the Lazarus comics and collections and with the patch?

Absolutely. I’m primarily a writer, but I periodically get the urge to make physical things. The hardcover was a massive undertaking, and I had to learn how to do a bunch of stuff I’d never done before—the spot gloss on the cover, the endpapers, and so forth. It was a bit of white-knuckle terror; I didn’t want to make some horrible mistake and cost us thousands of dollars, but it was also a lot of fun to learn some new skills.

(The patch, I should add, is actually Michael’s design. I did all the other Family crests, but they spring from his original template, the Carlyle family insigne.)

Pocket Guide Cover

The worldbuilding and design is meant to be in service to the story. How specifically do you think your design work serves the story being told in the pages of Lazarus?
I’m probably a little too close to it to judge it fairly. I view what I do as something that should be, for the most part, as seamless and invisible as possible. My contribution should be seamless—if it looks tacked on or out of place, I probably over- or under-designed it. My job is to, in whatever way I can, serve Greg’s story and Michael’s art.

In terms of specifics, I think the best integration was in issue 10: all the Hock signage works really well with Michael’s pages, but they’re there to sell the mood, the tone, the grimness and general awfulness of living under Hock’s rule.

You also designed Edwin Windsheer’s Pocket Guide for Ruck’a Lady Sabre Kickstarter. What were the challenges of designing a book of such a compact size?
There were many. Readability was a big concern, since there was a lot of text and not a lot of space. Plus, using vintage typography has its own readability challenges. I spent a lot of time looking at scans of old British newspapers and an old Sherlock Holmes hardcover my parents gave me a long time ago; it reproduced some pages from the Strand magazine, and I took a lot of my cues from that.

What kind of research did you do to make sure the pocket guide was historically accurate?
Lots of looking at books in my personal library, lots of Google image searches, that kind of thing. As for accuracy, I wasn’t too concerned, since we’re dealing with a world where people zip around in flying boats.

Who are some of your biggest design influences, in and outside of comics?
Howard Chaykin, for sure. His page constructions are unassailably clean and clever, as is his use of type.

As for specific design influences, probably very few individuals, but I do love styles—Art Deco is a favorite of mine, as well as Art Nouveau.

Pocket Guide Back Cover

What are your thoughts on the state of design in the comics industry?
It depends on where you’re looking. Big Two design has sort of calcified into a sort of lockstep “Logo up top, corporate brand upper left, UPC code down here” kind of template. There’s areas of individual excellence, for sure, but for the really interesting moves, Image Comics and Oni Press seem to be doing really neat things. The aesthetic on Saga is very clean and pretty (and had no small influence on our own approach on Lazarus); same for Low and Drifter. And the strongly graphic look of books like Letter 44‘s and The Fuse‘s trade paperbacks is just fantastic. The Fuse‘s TPB cover is more or less an infographic, something I couldn’t imagine on a Marvel or DC book, and it doesn’t just stand out on the shelf, it sings opera at you. Bitch Planet referencing old comics and grindhouse movie posters is another title that doesn’t really look like anything else out there while simultaneously managing to be totally familiar. That’s a hell of a trick.

And then look at ODY-C. Trippy, well-designed, ambitious. As a physical artifact, without reading a word of the story, it is gloriously eye-catching.

I love that. That’s exciting.

Lazarus_Fake Ad_2

How would you like to improve as a graphic designer? Are there things you want to do in books like Lazarus and the Pocket Guide but don’t feel ready for?

(Laughs) I generally feel unqualified to do just about anything I’ve ever done.

I try to push a little bit past my default skill set on just about every project I do. For example, I had never done a spot varnish cover before, where varnish is applied to specific areas on the cover image to make them shiny, while leaving other parts of the image matte. When Greg and Michael mentioned, “Oh, yeah, we’re gonna do a spot varnish cover on the Lazarus hardcover,” I maybe — perhaps — panicked a little bit. But that’s part of the fun: learning how to do new stuff. I asked the Image guys a million questions, and probably drove them nuts, but I know how to do it now, and fortunately, I didn’t mess it up on that cover.

I don’t have any specifics about stuff I tried or wanted to do that didn’t make it to press. The closest was the “Family D’Souza” ad I did for Lazarus. It’s a late ’60s-early ’70s ad for a large South American meat producer/packager. I found some stock art of a steak, and digitally repainted it into a piece of stake in the shape of South America. There was a lot more manipulation of the image than I’d done before, and I was concerned that it wouldn’t play. Happily, it seemed to click with the rest of the team. But, yeah, that one was nerve-wracking.

You’re not just a designer of comics, you’re also a writer of them. What are you currently working on?
I just wrapped up some short pieces for Dynamite, contributing to their “#100″ issues for both Red Sonja and Vampirella, titles I’d done extended runs on; I’m also hard at work on a comics story with Greg Rucka, to be illustrated by Matthew Clark, but it’s probably too soon to talk much about that one.

You’ve been mainly employing your design skills in comics on Greg Rucka’s titles. Do you have any interest in using them to build your own worlds?

Most of what I’ve done thus far is work-for-hire. I did sneak some stuff into various DC projects. The “Code Zoo” in Checkmate/Final Crisis: Resist is a good example; the concept was that Checkmate, DC’s global espionage/peacekeeping organization had a repository for various rogue AIs, alien operating systems, and other harmful, aggressive code that they’d managed to scoop up over the years. To represent that, there were various icons/screens to show what was being stored—a Thanagarian navigation AI, a bit of Kryptonian “Eradicator” code, a Durlan communications program, and so on. I whipped up designs and included them with the script, and the art teams on those issues (Chris Samnee on Checkmate #17, Marco Rudy on Resist) incorporated them into the final art.

I’ve yet to tackle a creator owned series (knock wood, that’s later this year), and when I do, you can bet I’ll be handling a lot of that kind of work.

Over on ComiXology, our long-stalled digital comic, Frost: Rogue State (co-created with Brandon Jerwa and artist Giovanni Timpano) features a lot of the same kind of work I do on Lazarus: I designed the logo, lay out the covers and credits page, lay out the backmatter and so on.

The tl;dr answer is “Yes. Yes, I do have that interest.”


You can learn more about Eric Trautmann at his website and online portfolio, and follow him via social media on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.

4 Comments on Interview: Eric Trautmann on Designing Worlds with Greg Rucka and Making His Own, last added: 3/11/2015
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38. Marvel Brings Two More Series to Secret Wars

Marvel announced two more Secret Wars tie-ins today respectively via their website and FastCompany. First, Marc Guggenheim and Carlos Pacheco bring the Squadron Supreme into the fold with a new series called, Squadron Sinister. The book brings brings back the original and much more villainous incarnation of the Squadron as seen in The Avengers #69 and #70 back in 1969.


The writer teased a battle between Squadron Sinister and a modern Squadron Supreme, which won’t end well for one of the groups. When Guggenheim was asked about the idea behind the series, he responded, “This series is really rooted heavily in the new politics of Battleworld, which you’ll really get more of a sense of in Secret Wars,” Guggenheim told Marvel.com. “Our guys live in a province called Utopolis which they rule with an iron thumb. Basically the ruler of Battleworld gives the barons of the provinces pretty wide birth, but at the same time, if you screw up the repercussions are pretty severe.”


Marvel also announced via FastCompany that the fan favorite combination of writer KellySue DeConnick and Captain Marvel would get a Secret Wars revamp in the form of a new series titled Captain Marvel and The Carol Corps. DeConnick will be joined by co-writer Kelly Thompson and artist David Lopez. The series pairs Carol Danvers with an all-female squadron of fighter pilots. Some of these characters will be returning faces from the Banshee Squadron team introduced earlier in DeConnick’s run. More than just an off-beat story orbiting the event, the book will dive into Carol Danvers past while putting her in conflict with forces all over the Marvel Universe.

Editor Sana Amanat acknowledged the books title as a nod to the groups of fans that have identified themselves as Carol Corps, “It’s really meant to be a celebration of all of the women, and not even just women, all of the fans who flock towards Captain Marvel and Carol Danvers, who are really saluting her while they’re reading about her at the same time.”

Both series will launch in June under the Warzones! banner.

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39. Sascha Ciezata Uses Instagram To Serialize His Short ‘Heart of Darkness’

Los Angeles-based animator Sascha Ciezata reimagines Joseph Conrad’s 'Heart of Darkness' as a partly-animated serialized graphic novel on Instagram.

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40. AMC orders two seasons of Walking Dead prequel


Following the success of Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul, AMC has pre-emptively ordered two seasons of a Walking Dead spinoff series, which is set in a time period prior to the original show.

AMC ordered a pilot episode in 2014 and has greenlit a 6-episode first season run, set to debut late this summer, and has also ordered a second season for 2016. The spinoff is said to be a prequel that takes place in Los Angeles during the early stages of the zombie outbreak. AMC has confirmed the setting, but has not yet confirmed all of the plot details. The pilot was penned by Robert Kirkman, creator of the comic series, and Dave Erickson, who will serve as showrunner.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series will star New Zealander Cliff Curtis (Gang Related) as Sean Cabrera, a teacher who shares custody of his son with his ex-wife and is trying to do good. Kim Dickens (House of Cards, Sons of Anarchy, Gone Girl) will play Nancy Tomkins, a guidance counselor working at the same school as Cabrera. Frank Dillane (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) and Alycia Debnam Carey (Into the Woods) have also been tapped to play Nancy’s children.

Given that The Walking Dead is the most-watched scripted program on cable, the move isn’t a huge surprise. The Walking Dead is already well into its 5th season, and AMC has recently said goodbye to its groundbreaking series Breaking Bad. AMC will also see the sun set on Mad Men, one of its more critically-acclaimed series, this year. The network seems to be ushering in a second generation of companion programs in hopes to continue the success of these properties and broke records with the series premiere of Better Call Saul.

The question is whether the series will do as well in spite of its prequel status – can it maintain audience interest while headed towards a known, inevitable world state?


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41. Secret Wars Gets… Little

Today via MTV News, Marvel announced a new Secret Wars tie-in. It was about time for Skottie Young to enter the Secret Wars fold with more than just a cover or two, what better title than Giant-Size Little Marvel: AVX #1.

Young will revisit the original one-shot parody he did post AvX. When asked about how the series would fit into Secret Wars the artist was coy in responding:

“Hmmm… There’s just so many SECRETS I don’t know what to say. (Giant Sized Little Pun.) I’m doing what I usually do with my Marvel projects and having fun over in the crazy kid’s sandbox. I wrote this whole series while turning on the TV, sitting with my 5-year-old son, putting on episodes of our favorite cartoons and listening to him pretend and laugh and act up. After a week of that, one of us was crazy… or both. But that gives you an idea of the tone of the book. It’s just a lot fun with the little trouble-making versions of your favorite Marvel characters.”

As with most of the recently announced tie-in books, there was no word on how long the series would run.

• The toughest, funniest, craziest and most adorable Marvel heroes THROW DOWN.
• Featuring all your favorites including Cyclops, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Wolverine! They’re all
there, just shorter!
• Skottie Young brings out the big guns in the series fans have been waiting for!


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42. My earliest known comic.

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43. Valiant lands nine-figure deal with Chinese entertainment company for movies and more


Valiant Entertainment is partnering up with Chinese-based distribution company DMG Entertainment to bring Valiant characters to the big screen, according to a report from The New York Times. The deal is described as a nine-figure investment geared at creating films for global audiences as well as animation, theme parks, and merchandise.

Valiant already has three movies in development, including Archer & Armstrong and Shadowman with the Sean Daniel Company, and Bloodshot with Sony.

DMG Entertainment began as an advertising agency and added movie production to its services in the last 6 years, contributing to the production and distribution of Iron Man 3 in China. DMG’s involvement in Iron Man also contributed to the casting of Chinese actor Wang Xueqi and extra footage shot in Beijing. The company is said to have strong ties to the Chinese government and China Film Group, China’s largest state-run film enterprise.

Though the exact figure of the deal was not disclosed, the description is akin to the 2005 deal cultivated by Marvel and Merrill Lynch, which gave Marvel access to $525 million over eight years – the results of which were lucrative, to say the least.

3 Comments on Valiant lands nine-figure deal with Chinese entertainment company for movies and more, last added: 3/9/2015
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44. Archie taps Obscure Video Game Licenses from Sega and Capcom for Worlds Unite


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

Let’s kick things off with Sega:

Alex Kidd

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

Billy Hatcher

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

Golden Axe

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


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

Skies of Arcadia

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

Panzer Dragoon

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

Onto the Capcom games:

Breath of Fire

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

Ghosts N’ Goblins

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

Monster Hunter

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

Street Fighter

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


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

Viewtiful Joe

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

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

3 Comments on Archie taps Obscure Video Game Licenses from Sega and Capcom for Worlds Unite, last added: 3/3/2015
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45. Duggan and Shaner Travel Back to 1872 with Famous Friends

640 (1)

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

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

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

Here’s the full solicitation and cover:

1872 #1


Penciled by EVAN “DOC” SHANER


Variant Cover by EVAN “DOC” SHANER


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


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46. All-New By Its Cover #2 (February 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).



Ei8ht #1 by Rafael Albuquerque

This is such a fantastic cover. The diagonal angle is dynamic, and the limited color palette is striking. The only things that break from the color palette are the numeral “8” and the face of the character’s watch. Personally, I might’ve tried to make those two items the same color to unify them (and draw more attention to the watch), but it still works.

The only thing that really bothers me is the way the title logo leans awkwardly on the Dark Horse logo. If we’re committed to keeping the DH logo and barcode where they are, I might’ve tried playing with the logo placement and size to do some more dramatic and poster-esque, along the lines of this.



Ivar, Timewalker #2 by Raul Allen

This is a brilliant concept, using the language of comics (panels and gutters) to represent a person literally walking through time. The muted colors and heavy use of black are so sharp, it took me a moment to realize how similar the cover concept is to the old Sega Genesis game Comix Zone, because this looks so much nicer.

I’m not sure who designed the logo (another Tom Muller creation?), but I like how ultra-modern and traditional fonts have been mixed to suggest two different time periods.



The Empty #1 by Jimmie Robinson

This image does a great job of suggesting a long journey. The warm-and-cool color palette used here and on Ei8ht is one of the most effective color palettes, but that also leads to it going through periods of being overused. Right now I think it’s okay because magenta is currently the most overused color palette for covers that are trying to stick out.

The one thing that kind of bugs me is how the creator’s name is off center, while the logo itself appears centered enough that it doesn’t look like it’s intentionally flush-left. I have a feeling it was because of that difficult uppercase “Y”, where it might look odd for the name to be sticking out past the bottom. Personally, I might’ve tried playing with something along these lines instead.



Bunker #9 by Joe Infurnari

I love the energy of this cover. It might not communicate anything to me in terms of story (other than the story being explosive?), but I have a soft-spot for covers that involve destroying the logo. One thing to note: a friend I showed the cover to felt it looked like the logo said “The Bunken.”



Uncanny X-Men #31 by Chris Bachalo

One of my favorite things about Bachalo X-Men covers is how often he draw the logo in himself, in order to make it a more organic part of the illustration. It’s also a great way to make the logo is exactly where you want it if someone further down the line is going to be adding it in.

I’m not sure about the placement of the credits. Personally, I would’ve put them in one of the upper corners…and yet, there’s something that works about Cyclops nearly getting tossed into them. They could maybe be nudged upward just a bit, though. Right now they’re awkwardly touching the tip of one of the background buildings, and I’d kind of want the three lines to match up with the “U” in “Uncanny,” since the three lines together are roughly the same height as that word.



Drifter #4 by Nic Klein & Tom Muller

I’m enjoying all the covers for Drifter, but I’m running out of things to say about them. What is it that I like so much, exactly? Is it because I love circles and grids, and every cover has grids and circles and circular grids?



Divinity #1 by Jalena Kevic-Djurdjevic

I’m a big fan of minimalist logos, so this is right up my alley. The only problem is, the other design elements don’t fit into the minimalist theme. If I knew nothing about comics, I would assume this was called Valiant #1, and “Divinity” is maybe the name of the storyline, or an oddly placed subtitle (Valiant: Divinity #1).

What if we got rid of that whole blog in the upper-left, and had a version of the “Valiant Next” patch that was just a “1” above a “V,” and centered that shape horizontally at the bottom of the cover? I’m not sure where the creator credits would go, but maybe they could be spread out along the top. But I think “Divinity,” at it’s current size, should be the largest text on the cover.



Lady Killer #2 by Joelle Jones

I have a very dark sense of humor, so this appeals to me greatly, yet it’s not quite working for me. If this was colored like a vintage car ad, the focus would be on the trunk being the out of place element. Instead, the sky is colored a scary red, which makes the smiling woman in the bright yellow dress the out of place element, which isn’t as funny.

The cover of the first issue used a slightly more pastel color palette, but it still doesn’t quite work because the black lines are so overpowering. Both of these covers would work a lot better if they’d been painted in the same style as vintage ’50s advertisements, or at the very least had the linework colorized. Bodies #1 did a good job of creating contrast between vintage ’50s and blood, even if their design went more for horror than dark comedy.

Agree? Disagree?


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.

3 Comments on All-New By Its Cover #2 (February 2015), last added: 3/7/2015
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47. Review: ALL-NEW HAWKEYE…Ready…Aim…Run


All-New Hawkeye (2015-) 001-000


Storytellers: Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez

Colors: Ian Herring, Ramon Perez

Letters: Joe Sabino

Publisher: Marvel



Jeff Lemire’s works have been very hit or miss for me. Sweet Tooth is a book that I still adore. His work on Green Arrow was solid, but his Constantine issues felt rushed or cut short. When Marvel announced that he would launch a new volume of Hawkeye with artist Ramon Perez, it definitely got me curious about All-New Hawkeye #1.

My immediate thought after finishing the opening chapter is that there isn’t much to go on in the first issue. The story recalls events from Clint Barton and his brother Barney’s childhood as on-the-run orphans. These events are interwoven with Clint and Kate Bishop currently invading a hidden Hydra fortress in search of the evil organization’s latest ultimate weapon. While the opening chapter definitely doesn’t lack substance, it does however leave a lot to the imagination as far as where the story is going in this arc.

There are two groups of people this book is for; fans of Lemire/Perez, and fans of anyone ever using the Hawkeye name. Just like the previous volume, while the book is called Hawkeye, it could have just as easily been called Hawkeyes, and that should tell you the value readers get in the book. If for some reason you missed the Fraction/Aja run on Hawkeye, don’t worry Lemire’s story is quite fresh and welcoming to new readers. Because of the book’s subtlety and elegance, All-New Hawkeye might put off those who expect mega Avengers scale battles in their comics, but those readers most likely never got on board with Fraction’s run either. Also, don’t worry that the last issue of Fraction’s run hasn’t come out yet, this one stands on its own.

Ultimately, All-New Hawkeye #1 is just flat out fun to read. The flashbacks of Clint and Barney growing up are gorgeous. Ramon Perez’s watercolors present an interesting dichotomy when compared to Ian Herring’s more traditional color work in the book, but both are solid and don’t stray far from what made Hawkeye one of Marvel’s most unique titles. Jeff Lemire is no stranger to writing archers, and it looks as though he’s going to infuse needed depth into Clint Barton’s upbringings, while taking anyone who has carried the name Hawkeye along for the ride. For an opening issue, the book could have used a little more setup. Based on the stellar watercolor work and witty banter between Clint and Kate; we liked All-New Hawkeye, but it still has a little bit to prove before we love it.

If you pick up one Jeff Lemire book this week, make it Descender from Image Comics. Should you find yourself with an extra $4 then give All-New Hawkeye a shot.

Tell us what you thought of Hawkeye here or @bouncingsoul217 

As always with Marvel, first come first served.


code: TMA7S7Y6PUVS


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One of the more obvious teasers run by Marvel in the build up to announce Secret Wars was Dale Keown’s image of Peter David’s Future Imperfect series. Back in 1992, David and George Perez told the tale of a dystopian future where an evil version of the Hulk, known as Maestro, laid waste to the heroes of the Marvel Universe in the Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect mini series. While he was killed in the  series by the Hulk we know, the character has recently appeared in Spider-Man 2099. Today, Hollywood Reporter announced that a new Secret Wars tie-in would revisit the world of the Maestro.

Set to release on June 3, Future Imperfect by Peter David and artist Greg Land will tell a stand alone tale of the Maestro wreaking havoc on Battleworld. David has also promised a big surprise when readers find out who’s leading the charge against this out of control monster, “I will tell you this: there’s a character in the series referred to as ‘the boss,’ a person who oversees the battle against the Maestro. I feel pretty confident in saying that no-one will be able to guess that person’s identity until it’s revealed on the last page.”

An interior page from the book was also displayed and shows a female Red She-Hulk. Though the writer would not say if the character was Betty Ross as in the current Marvel U.



It was also revealed today that the Maestro is officially the big boss of Marvel’s Contest of Champions mobile game. Currently available on iOS and Android the mobile fighter lets you build a team of heroes or villains as you fight through a tournament in the game’s own Battleworld. The game is free to download and actually is one of their more interesting titles for fighting boredom in convention lines.


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49. Review: Big Con Job is a dark, meta, fandomy heist: and I can’t look away

BIGCONWritten by: Jimmy Palmiotti and Matt Brady

Art by: Dominike “Domo” Stanton

Colors by: Paul Little

Letters by: Jim Campbell

Publisher: Boom Studios

I came into Big Con Job #1 cold: Amanda Conner’s lively cover art shows a bunch of aging space-opera stars at a convention table. Their larger than life TV personas are depicted on banners that stretch high behind their real life counterparts; looming over the actual people behind the clearly much younger characters. The images overwhelm and diminish them. It’s a great piece of art because on first glance it has a self-aware, lighthearted look to it. After reading the issue, however, that cover takes on a much darker tone.

Palmiotti and Brady have created a group of characters instantly familiar to fans of comic books, science fiction and fantasy in general: aging TV stars wearily working the convention circuit to earn their daily bread. There’s the buxom, Princess Leia-like love interest to the pulpy, Captain Kirk-ish Buck Blaster in the aptly-named series ‘Treck Wars’. The pair look out into a sparse audience that has turned on them: asking accusatory, confrontational questions and demanding answers from the actors (Blaze Storm and Danny Dean) who obviously had very little input on their character’s development.

There’s nothing lighthearted about the look Big Con Job’s writing team provide into the hardscrabble lives of the increasingly obsolete actors. They can’t pay their rent and are getting evicted; they’re getting stiffed on promised appearance fees and drooled over by the invasive fans they must cater to. In one particularly gut-wrenching scene, Poach Brewster, the man behind the show’s Spock-esque scientist, breaks up with his younger partner. She’s a beautiful actress on the rise, and he knows his melancholia is holding her back. As he clutches her pillow to his face the next morning, I actually turned my face away from the panels. I keenly felt the anguish of these characters. I’m sure the recent loss of Leonard Nimoy added poignancy to Brewster’s story; thank goodness Nimoy had a rich artistic life post Star Trek.

Some intensely heartbreaking scenes are still to come. A warning: if you struggle with depression, or are just having a rough day, you might want to read this issue when the clouds disappear. But you should read it. I was shocked by the unexpected depth, not just of the plot but also of Dominike Stanton’s art. It seemed to subtlety change from page to page, morphing so the characters and settings matched the tone of the story. In the convention scenes, where the actors put on their best imitations of happiness and nostalgia, the art becomes rounder, and more stylized. When Dean and Brewster try to drink away their pain, the images seem to stretch slightly, giving them a more strung-out look.

It all lays the groundwork for a strange heist scheme, which name-checks the San Diego Comic Convention just before the book ends. Most heist narratives waste little time in defining the “why” of the robbery or con-job; it’s enough to know that money is at stake, or perhaps a loosely-sketched blackmail scenario. Not so in Big Con Job. The why is painful, understandable and relatable. Comic readers may not be washed up actors well-past their 15 minutes of fame, but they have loved the characters portrayed by those people. Have traveled with them in their hearts and minds to distant lands and planets; but will they follow them past the adventure scenes and epic battles through the dismal struggles of the real-world people behind the fame?  To see what likely-illegal schemes that desperation and tragedy can push a person to consider? For my part, I’m ready to watch this group break bad: I can’t look away.

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