Category Archives: Comics

Preview: Cryptozoic Man Vol. 1: Decapitation Strike

Cryptozoic Man Vol 1: Decapitation Strike

Bryan Johnson, Walter Flanagan (w)
Walter Flanagan (a/c)
FC • 112+ pages • $17.99 • Teen+

From the minds of Bryan Johnson and Walter Flanagan, stars of AMC’s hit television show, Comic Book Men! Shortly after Alan Ostman’s daughter goes missing on a family camping trip, he finds himself living life on the fringes. After a particularly rough night, an industrialist interested in Alan’s research focusing on the “alternative sciences” bails him out of jail and offers Alan a job. Think your boss is bad? At least they’re (probably) not a leather pig-mask wearing, inter-dimensional miscreant bent on having a race of malignant beasts exterminate the world’s best known cryptids and destroy the entire universe in the process. Does humanity have a shot? A mythical society of Gray aliens didn’t create Cryptozoic Man for nothing!

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Preview: Madame Frankenstein #6

Madame Frankenstein #6

Story By: Jamie S. Rich
Art By: Megan Levens
Cover By: Joelle Jones
Cover By: Nick Filardi
Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: AUG140659
Published: October 1, 2014

Tensions build to a boil. Henry confronts Vincent about his messing around with dead bodies and Vincent’s new girlfriend comes snooping in the lab. Violence erupts when the mad doctor’s creation meets her replacement!

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Matchett’s Musings: Creating Sparks Part 3

Creating Sparks Part 3: Do you hear that?

Those that know me will probably be familiar with the fact that if you meet me and talk to me for a significant length of time, you’ll discover my passion for Doctor Who. I could write an entire article on that show itself but for now I want to use it for an analogy.

In the show, one of the Doctor’s foes ‘The Master’ was recently revealed to have a constant drumming in his mind. This noise was the explanation for his villainous ways by and large, I mention it because I too have a similar sound in my mind. It’s not a drum though, it’s more like this.

Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

Patience has never been one of my attributes. In an infamous issue of classic X-Factor, Peter David wrote a rather famous bit of dialogue from Quicksilver about how he constantly feels pissed off because compared to him, everyone moves so slow. I’m a little like that but I don’t have super speed to blame, I can sometimes just be an impatient jerk.

 

I’ve always done things fast in terms of deadlines. In University and in comics I heard people jest that I would have the assignment done before there was even an assignment due. I just liked to be early which was a trait I picked up from my mother who at times liked to be 5 hours early for a flight at the airport.

This expediency can be a blessing, I’ve never missed a deadline and people tell me I’m dependable. Of course it can also be a curse because I work at such a rapid rate, I expect everyone else to as well. I need everything done yesterday and in the world of comics, things tend to move at a general glacial pace. I’ve written scripts for volumes that have seen a year (or more) from me finishing my part to it being in my hands. There are still scripts I wrote back in 2012 that I’m still waiting to see published.

Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

My impatience has led me to make bad decisions, cost me friends and more negative things than I care to remember. It has also allowed me to be an editor at GrayHaven that has more output than any of my peers with regards to completed volumes.

It was this double edged sword of a trait that led to Sparks artist A leaving the book, or rather me asking them to leave. I think they worked on the book for 6-8 months (maybe more, maybe less) and produced 2 character sketches in that time. I tried to be patient with them (or as I could be) contacting them every 2 months or so for a progress update. Eventually I decided to tell them that due to the delay the project had been cancelled.

I did this so I could find someone else. The project of course wasn’t cancelled but I felt this was a decision that was best for the book. I wanted someone who could really dedicate their time and focus to Sparks.  As talented as artist A was, that wasn’t them.

Over this time things had expanded quite a bit at GrayHaven. When I went to Andrew to ask about a replacement artist, he told me that I had to look outside the group of artists working for the company. This made sense to me because since GrayHaven doesn’t pay its contributors, we had to make sure the artists we had were put towards putting out the volumes.

Also by this time, the money I had saved to perhaps pay an artist had been used on another project. I thought back pay was my best option.

The right and wrong of back pay vs. payment is something I will maybe talk about in future. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it here, I just know] what I’ve spent trying to break into comics I have never really gotten back. I’ve even had people steal from me and heard many stories from people who were stolen from. Sometimes making comics isn’t all its cracked up to be.

Along came artist B who said they had a day job, loved the project and back pay wasn’t a problem. A number of months later artist B then contacted me saying they had received an offer for a paying gig and would return ‘if they found the time’.

Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

Being frank, I found that artist B’s work wasn’t suitable to what I was looking for so for a change it seemed that things were in my favour. I needed someone who would care about the project, whose work I liked and someone I could trust. By this time GrayHaven had progressed on with more ambitious projects than my little British set one shot and it seemed to had been largely quietly forgotten. I don’t blame the company because you have to keep going forwards. If you spend your time on each problem project you’ll drive yourself insane.  I was largely left to my own devices and because of that, I went to the artist who I had wanted from the start, just like it was some sort of odd destiny.

I first became familiar with Kell Smith’s work when she did a cover for us for our 8th anthology that centered around the theme ‘myth’. It was a beautiful cover harkening back to the classic sword in the stone tale that featured King Arthur’s discovery of the mythical sword Excalibur. When I first saw the cover my question was ‘Who is this Kell Smith person?’

I was treated to more lovely covers, prints, pencils and colours by Kell who seemed to be a Swiss army knife of talent. I even had the fortune of working with her on the third volume of GrayHaven’s premier horror title ‘Tales From The Abyss’.

I contacted Kell with the story of my (at that time) over 2 years of headache’s and proposed she join me.  Given my misfortune to this date I didn’t expect a yes. I think Kell is immensely talented and GrayHaven was very fortunate to have someone like her, I didn’t think she would be interested in working with me.

It turns out I was wrong. Kell loved the idea and it seemed that fate had led me all the way back to her. She delivered in my view, beautiful work and brought Mel Sparks, Kathy Ericson and Barry Patterson to life. I was left speechless the first time she showed me the cover because I was brought back to that classroom where it had all been conceived and all the pain, disappointment and broken promises were suddenly worth it.

However getting a product in comics is one thing, getting people to buy it is another.

Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

Next: Release, Reviews and Marketing

Got any comments, suggestions or questions? Let me know! Also follow me on Twitter @glenn_matchett

Preview: Adventure Time Vol. 4 Mathematical Edition HC

Adventure Time Vol. 4 Mathematical Edition HC

Imprint: KaBOOM!

Writer: Ryan North
Artists: Braden Lamb, Mike Holmes, Shelli Paroline

BIGGER! BOLDER! MORE MATHEMATICAL!

The all-ages hit of the year is now available in a deluxe, oversized hardcover and totally mathematical edition! What time is it? Adventure Time!

Join best pals Jake the Dog, Finn the Human, and…the ICE KING?! It’s a Dungeon Bro-Venture as this crazy trio jumps into a game of danger and feelings. Will the treasure at the end be worth all the crazy emotions, or have Finn and Jake finally found a quest they won’t be able to finish? Don’t miss these brand-new adventures written by acclaimed cartoonist Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics, The Midas Flesh) and illustrated by dynamic art duo Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb in this deluxe hardcover edition.

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Preview: World of Archie Comics Digest #43

WORLD OF ARCHIE COMICS DIGEST #43

Script: Bill Golliher
Art: Various
Cover: Bill Galvan, Bob Smith, Rosario “Tito” Peña
On Sale Date: 10/1
160-page, full color comic
$4.99 U.S.

Veronica’s throwing the Halloween bash of the year and everyone’s invited—human and animal alike! But when an unwelcome intruder tries to crash the party, the pets spring into action! Will they catch the evil villain, or will it ruin their monster bash? See what happens in the BRAND NEW story, “A Haunting We Will Go!”

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Preview: Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files: War Cry #5

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files: War Cry #5

Jim Butcher, Mark Powers (w)
Carlos Gomez (a)
Stjepan Sejic (c)
FC • 40 pages • $4.99 • Teen+

Giant-sized conclusion! Harry Dresden and his Wardens are beaten, exhausted, and vastly outnumbered. But a supernatural weapon of mass destruction has been unleashed—and it doesn’t distinguish between wizard and vampire, Red Court or White Court, Venatori or civilian! Can Harry and his half-brother Thomas accomplish the impossible and contain the otherworldly beast before it devours thousands, while simultaneously battling the bloodthirsty Red Court? Their long night is almost over – but a new and darker one may just be starting…

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Preview: Tech Jacket #4

Tech Jacket #4

Story By: Joe Keatinge
Art By: Khary Randolph
Art By: Emilio Lopez
Cover By: Khary Randolph
Cover By: Emilio Lopez
Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: AUG140686
Published: October 1, 2014

Just what is the Colossal doing to Zack Thompson? The evolution of the Tech Jacket starts here!

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Preview: Cloaks #2 (of 4)

Cloaks #2 (of 4)

Writers: David Henrie, Caleb Monroe
Artist: Mariano Navarro

After the shocking reveal of what truly happened to his mentor and father figure Blackstone, Adam reluctantly agrees to join the ranks of the CLOAKS black-ops organization and is immediately thrown into his first mission: hunting down his predecessor on the team, someone who Adam can’t help but find familiar…

Cloaks #2 cover

Review: Blood Queen #5

BloodQueen-05-Cov-AnacletoOne of the most surprising trends on the modern comic market is the presence of fairy tales. While these have always been with comics in one way or another, their resurgence in popularity has been one of the defining features of the past ten years. Conversely, while comics as a whole tend to incorporate almost every genre, fantasy is often one of the more niche choices of setting. In terms of overall popularity, fantasy does not compete in the medium when compared to superheroics or science-fiction. With both of these trends in mind, the story of Blood Queen is one of the more interesting on the market at present time. Most fairy tale stories incorporate fairy tale characters into the modern day, but some are based in a fantastical setting. Even these though lose this concept of the fantasy world pretty quickly and focus more on the fairy tale aspect. The exception to this trend as far as I have seen is in the series Blood Queen.

So far into this series the characters have interacted in a way which incorporates both genres. A lot of the story is based around stories straight out of fairy tales (though none specifically) such as poisoned drinks or poisoned fields. Behind this trend though is a strong impulse of the court setting which is so common among fantasy. Blood Queen thus feels like a fairly strong entry into both genres, with an engaging story.

If there is one drawback to the series thus far it is the rather drab artwork. While it fits the period to a degree, it also has a tendency to make a lot of the characters look the same. For someone that reads only one series per month, it might be easy to sort out the somewhat generic looking characters here, but without strong visual identifiers a lot of the characters tend to get muddled together. At the same time this is not of any great importance, as the main concept of the plot supersedes the individual banter between whoever it is that is speaking, either two witches or two knights.

This series has been one of my biggest surprises of the past year, and it is one of the few series which I look forward to coming out. While it is flawed in some minor ways, for fans of either fairy tales or fantasy (or both) this is an excellent series to get into, especially as it is still close enough to the start of the series to find the other issues.

Story: Troy Brownfield  Art: Fritz Cases
Story: 8.0 Art: 7.8 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Dynamite Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Tally Marks #3

Tally Marks #3

Writer/Artist: Natalie Nourigat
Price: $0.99
Pages: 29
Rating: all ages

Travel sketches from Paris, London, Amiens, Abbeville, Saint-Valery, Le Bois de Cise, and Valberg.  This issue features Boxing Day shoppers, rockabilly clubbers, and celebrity speed-drawings!

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