Tag Archives: comic books

Preview: Satellite Sam #10

Satellite Sam #10

Story By: Matt Fraction
Art By: Howard Chaykin
Cover By: Howard Chaykin
Cover Price: $3.50
Digital Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: APR140594
Published: September 17, 2014

The second arc of SATELLITE SAM comes to its thundering conclusion: everybody’s secrets get a little bit of daylight and all hell is set to break loose in front of, and behind, the cameras. Who killed Satellite Sam and why? What happened to Michael White during the war? And who can he trust to help him set things right?

SatelliteSam10_Cover

About these ads

Matchett’s Musings

Article picGreetings everyone and welcome to what is the first in what I hope will be a regular series of articles. My thanks to Graphics Policy and Brett for giving me this opportunity!

For those that don’t know me and are wondering why you’re reading my ramblings, my name is Glenn Matchett and I’m a comic book writer/editor from Northern Ireland. Having grown up as a comic fan my whole life, its been my dream to write comics for a long time. I love this industry and this medium. I love talking about it, writing about it and even having friendly debates regarding it. Comics are wonderful, special things and I just want to be involved in that wonderful experience on some level.

Pile-of-comicsIn an effort to achieve this I’ve been working with publisher GrayHaven Comics the last few years. I’ve written and edited quite a few of their anthologies that are intended to give up and coming creators a chance to show what they’ve got. I’ve also managed to get some of my own solo work published which has led to a lot of positive reviews and people seeming to get the impression I know what I’m doing.

Working to achieve anything in this industry, it requires a thick skin, a lot of patience and even more luck. I’ve done pretty good for myself but I’ve also had a lot of disappointment and genuine heartbreak. When talking to Brett about what I could contribute to the site, I thought it might be interesting to pull back the curtain somewhat. What are my experiences trying to make it in this crazy industry? What have I learned? What can I pass on to people looking to do the same? It may be useful, it may not be but if nothing else it may give some folks out there a step by step guide on what NOT to do.

Along with my own experiences I want to write some articles about how I feel about certain key matters in the industry as a whole. Of course my thoughts and views are all my own but if nothing else, perhaps they’ll inspire some healthy discussion and/or debate. Please note that my personal experiences are pulled from my own memory. The situations I tell are dependent on my own perspective and should be treated as such. I am not here to name names or shame people. If there are people I have had poor experiences with I will not be naming them here. I will only speak of the experiences because as far as I hear some of those people have had little to no issues elsewhere so it is entirely possible the problem could be on my end, not theirs. I can only tell you things from my experience and what may surprise you is that it doesn’t show me in a favorable light all the time.

I will however be raining compliments on some truly awesome people and name dropping wherever possible

Welcome to my comics world…where sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Creating Sparks Part 1: Conception

The second of the solo works I have released that I mentioned before was Sparks by myself and Kell Smith (on sale here *coughs*). It was the second work I had produced but actually it came before anything else. Before all the short stories, the other concepts and other projects there was Sparks. The fact that it wasn’t released first is a complex tale I hope to begin to share with you all now.

It’s a story that lasts over 16 years so buckle yourself up and prepare for quite a journey of how I made this comic come to life. My journey as a writer began was I was very young. I would write stupid short James Bond and Sherlock Holmes stories that lasted 5-6 pages. I did it because I loved the Bond films in my youth and I grew up reading classic style murder mysteries like Holmes, Poirot and Miss Marple among others. I was also the kid in class that would really take my creative English assignments as far as I could. In my youth I was basically the author equivalent of the kid who coloured outside the lines in art class (although I did that too).

I loved to read, I always have both prose and comics. Growing up it was a healthy diet of mystery, Stephen King, some R.L Stine books, Harry Potter and the teen ‘Point Horror’ series among others. Comics wise I grew up reading the UK strips the Beano, Dandy and Buster but it was around 9 or 10 when I discovered American mainstream comics. I’d been a fan for years of Batman: The Animated Series and Spider-Man: The Animated Series so having these characters in regular monthly installments was quite a treat for my young mind.

With the expansion of the internet I began to track down as many Spider-Man books as I could because I adored the character (I still do). I worked my way through the controversial Clone Saga and backwards. I absorbed all the Spider-Man knowledge I could but it wasn’t until I was 13 or 14 when I read the Spider-Man comic that would make me want to make comics my career.

I can’t explain what it was about J.M DeMatteis and Mike Zeck’s work on the Spider-Man story ‘Kraven’s Last Hunt’ that affected me so profoundly. It remains my favorite comic work ever and I felt incredibly inspired by it. I’ve read comics that have made me feel the same way as ‘Kraven’s Last Hunt’ but after I finished the final page of that story I decided ‘This is what I want to do.’

 

Of course like most people starting in comics from scratch I had no idea how to do it. It was like a kid who says they want to be a cop because their dad is in some ways I suppose. I started by creating some of my own Spider-Man stories and jotting them down. It could probably write an entire article about some of the ideas I came up with that have come to fruition in some form or another but even back then, during my period of useful ignorance I realized that I wasn’t exactly going to jump into the ‘big leagues’ right away. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day and I had read enough online to come understand one of my earliest but most important lessons in comics which was ‘Don’t do what we do, show us what you can do.’ What that basically means is that no one really got very far by being an imitation, they all got their by producing their own work. This then possibly leading on to work for companies that liked their stuff so much, they were willing to pay that person to work on their characters.

I thought about doing something that was all my own. I was 16 and sitting in front of a Windows 95 computer in English class (showing my age) when I first came up with the concept of Melanie Sparks. The first thing I thought was that I wasn’t likely to get very far doing a super hero book. Even before I discovered the wonderful world of non superhero comics I knew that there was no way a hero book I created could stand out. I had to do something else and I went to another genre I felt very comfortable with, the crime genre. I had grown up with it and was a fan of crime shows so I started going ‘if I were to do one, what would I do differently?’

Most of you reading this likely know but crime shows can come in a variety of forms and can have a wide range of tone and quality. You get some shows that I would describe as ‘popcorn crime’ that is fun and you don’t have to think about much like CSI and then you have the more realistic crime shows like The Wire or True Detective. Back before the days of some of these shows I tried to come up with something different.

In a few hours I had decided to have a female protagonist. It wasn’t something I saw a lot of in comics at the time and I was trying to be different. I also decided that the female protagonist would be a Private Investigator working in America (likely California at the time). The concept of what the character would be called came next as I wanted a name that sounded cool and catchy, something that would stick in people’s minds. I also created a slightly inept but lovable secretary in Kathy and the main story of the first issue quite quickly.

Those that have read Sparks know the story, TV soap star Ruth Gates is brutally murdered like the character she portrays on the show she stars in. The initial scene of her sitting alone, miserable while she watches herself talking happily on the television came to me all right there in front of that old PC in English class. The entire thing came together quite swiftly including other characters and something else that I wanted to do that was rarely seen in crime fiction. I wanted to show the reader who committed the crime and show how Mel figured it out rather than keeping it a secret from both. The classic crime show ‘Columbo’ used this device to great effect and even now the TV show ‘Motive’ does the same.

It still wasn’t enough for 16 year old me though. I needed something else because while all these things weren’t the norm there was nothing new…nothing really special that made my story stand out. Then something occurred to me, an idea popped into my head that seemed completely insane. I’ll admit and this might sound strange but the idea initially frightened me. Could I pull it off? Would it work? If I could make it work then it would be unlike anything I could recall experiencing at the time. What I’m speaking of course is the shock twist at the end of Sparks 1 which I won’t spoil here. The last few pages came to me in a flurry and the final image a lot of readers have told me left their jaw on the floor came to me.

It all seemed to come to easily. Surely now that I had what I thought was a killed concept that the rest would fall in line…as if by magic?

I soon learned another important lesson in comics, nothing worth having ever comes easy…EVER.

Next: An idea and writing isn’t the same thing? Well I never!

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

 

Preview: Clockwork Angels #5 (of 6)

Clockwork Angels #5 (of 6)

Writer: Kevin J. Anderson
Artist: Nick Robles

The miniseries based on the Rush concept album continues! Owen’s been given a chance to take on the skies aboard Commodore Pangloss’ airship. But a heart like Owen’s can never stay in one place for too long before longing for a new frontier. With the Seven Cities calling to him, we’re off again on a new journey!

ClockAng05_coverA

Preview: Kevin Keller #15

KEVIN KELLER #15

Script: Dan Parent
Art: Dan Parent, Rich Koslowski, Jack Morelli, Glenn Whitmore
Cover:  Dan Parent
Sensation Variant:  Phil Jimenez, Matt Herms
Days of Future Past Variant:  Phil Jimenez
On Sale Date: 9/17
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

Kevin became a semi-celebrity after coming to the aid of a robbery victim, and it got Veronica’s wheels turning: of course, Kevin would make the PERFECT superhero! With her unlimited resources and limited common sense, Veronica built a secret lair into her mansion, where they could monitor crime and send Kevin out to fight it as THE EQUALIZER! The only piece of the puzzle left is Kevin—he still has to decide if he wants anything to do with her crazy schemes! This super issue features not one, but TWO variant covers by superstar artist Phil Jimenez!

KevinKeller_15-0

Preview: Stray Bullets: Killers #7

Stray Bullets: Killers #7

Story By: David Lapham
Art By: David Lapham
Cover Price: $3.50
Digital Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: JUL140579
Published: September 17, 2014

What happens when when you find out you’ve been living in a prison your whole life and had no idea? What happens when everything you thought was good is really bad and everything you’ve been told is bad is really good? And what happens when you know if you make the right choice your life will become a nightmare beyond your imagination? Tonight Eli is going to find out. He’s going to put his soul on the line and find out who he really is even if it kills him…or someone else. You’ve never read anything like these sometimes happy, sometimes sad, but always desperate…TALES FROM THE BOX.

StrayBulletsKillers07_Cover

Small Press Expo 2014: The Graphic Novel and Comic Highlights

an iranian metamorphosisI love Small Press Expo, as it’s a convention that puts me in front of hundreds of small press and independent comics that I never see in Previews or on my local stores’ shelves (let alone coverage at comic blogs, but we promise to do better!). I walked out with a decent pile of books from the show, and here’s the pile!

An Iranian Metamorphosis by Mana Neyestani and published by Uncivilized Books. The graphic novel was at the top of my list of books to get leading up to the show. One of Neyestani’s cartoons sparked riots in Iran, which landed him and his editor in solitary confinement. The graphic novel explores the complex interplay between art, law, politics, ethnic sensitivities, and authoritarian elements inside Iran’s Islamic Republic as well as refugee’s attempts to find safety and freedom.

on the booksOn the Books: A Graphic Tale of Working Woes at NYC’s Strand Bookstore (World Around Us) by Greg Farrel and published by Microcosm Publishing. The graphic novel is the first-hand account of the 2012 labor struggle at New York City’s legendary Strand bookstore.

War of Streets and Houses by Sophie Yanow and published by Uncivilized Books. The graphic novel is about the American artist witnessing the Quebec spring 2012 student strike on the streets of Montreal, the police’s brutal response all wrapped up in an exploration of urban planning and its hidden connections to military strategies.

The Nixon Museum by Art Baxter and published by Phinkwell Comics Collective. The graphic novel is an interesting look at the complicated former President. I have a weird love of Nixon.

War of Streets and HousesBonnie N. Collide: Nine to Five #5-#8 by Monica Gallagher. If you’ve never read this comic series you’re missing out. It’s about a roller derby girl and her non roller derby life.

Nervenkrank: A Story About John Heartfield by Katherine K. Wirick. The comic tells the story of John Heartfield who was a founding member of the Berlin Dada group and was best known for his political photomontages which satirized and railed against Adolf Hitler, the Nazi Party, German warmongering, and the injustices of capitalism.

The Rebel Gun #1 by Josh Hixon and Dead Crow Comics. The art looks fantastic in this crime noir. I flipped through the book and was sold just by the amazing art.

The Humans #0 by Keenan Marshall Keller and Tom Neely. I love Tom Neely’s Henry and Glenn: Forever, so to get in on the ground floor of his new series is a must. This one will get some mainstream love when the first issue is released by Image Comics in November.

Preview: Clive Barker’s Hellraiser: Bestiary #2 (of 6)

Clive Barker’s Hellraiser: Bestiary #2 (of 6)

Writers: Christopher Taylor, Ben Meares, and Mark Miller
Artists: Jason Shawn Alexander, Amancay Nahuelpan, and Carlos Magno

The journey into the Bestiary continues! In this issue, Christopher Taylor and Jason Shawn Alexander tell a tale of a blues singer who possesses a very unique guitar, while in the second part of “The Hunted,” we learn just who hired the mercenaries tasked with stealing Pinhead’s pins.

HR_Bestiary02_coverA

Preview: The Devilers #3

Devilers #3

Joshua Hale Fialkov (w)
Matt Triano (a)
Jock (c)
FC • 32 pages • $2.99 • Teen+

From Joshua Hale Fialkov, the writer of Ultimate FF, comes The Devilers! The City of the Damned attacks as the Devilers fight their way to Lucifer’s castle in the center of hell, but what, or rather, WHO they find there is not what they expected at all. Plus, the origin of the Deviler that might save them all.

Devilers03-Cov-Jock

Review: Batman Eternal #24

spoilerStephanie Brown made a less bombastic return into DC‘s New 52 than a lot of characters. After staying ignored for the first couple of years of the relaunch, she eventually showed up in a sketch by Dustin Nguyen. Suddenly instead of remembering what she looked like as the Spoiler before, we suddenly got a glimpse of what she might look like after. This new look though was purely speculative from a DC illustrator that might have had an interest in the character. With the latest issue of Batman Eternal the character has taken center stage for the first time in the new 52, looking a lot like what Nguyen had imagined.

While this cover was enough to draw my interest enough, despite being a passive enough Bat-fan, to buy the book, what was inside was a lot more enticing. I should probably note first of all that I have not really been following Batman Eternal at all. This is the first in the series that I have actually read, but despite that this issue was surprisingly well contained, building up enough energy to keep the series going, but also telling a distinct story in itself.

Dustin Nguyen sketch that launched the new look

Dustin Nguyen sketch that launched the new look

One of the more unique aspects of the character in her previous incarnation was her association with her father, the supervillain known as the Cluemaster. Long before she was Robin or Batgirl, she was the Spoiler, attempting to foil his crime sprees. Usually her motivation was fairly basic, although she was interested in the common good, it was not her main interest, rather she was more concerned with her father receiving the proper care and attention that he needed to once again become her father. This character showed a maturity beyond both her years and beyond the maturity of her father. She knew that he would have to serve prison time in order to learn his lessons, but she was happy in a sense to be the person that provided this. This carried on for a time as her father went through the cycle of reformed criminal back to criminal, but it all ended abruptly when her father died on a mission with the Suicide Squad.  Gone was this familial conflict and Stephanie became a regular superhero, first as Spoiler, then as Robin, then as Batgirl. Some might remember the character better from these days, especially as Batgirl when she became more approachable and likable than the fighting machine that was Cassandra Cain.

Batman Eternal #24 succeeds in both of these ways. The story here is primarily focused on the relationship between Stephanie and her father, and ends in a fairly fun and fulfilling way. At the same time, she is a hero to be taken seriously, not just some kid patrolling the suburbs. The result is quite satisfying, and is especially so for fans of the character or those that appreciate a self-contained issue featuring superheroes.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Andy Clarke
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.2 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Preview: Manifest Destiny #10

Manifest Destiny #10

Story By: Chris Dingess
Art By: Matthew Roberts
Art By: Owen Gieni
Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: JUL140558
Published: September 17, 2014

“Nothing cuts through the quiet of night like screams of panic and pain.” Stranded on the river, Lewis & Clark’s crew discover their place in America’s food chain…where man is no longer its greatest predator…

ManifestDestiny10_Cover

« Older Entries