Tag Archives: Comics

Review: Brainstorm #6

brainstorm6-covThis sixth issue of this intriguing series marks the end of the short and quick run which it had, though leaving open the door for perhaps something else.  Thus far in the series, the story has focused around Dr. Cale Isaacs and the manifestation of his inner torment, the superstorm Hurricane Brandon.  It has been an equal part of social commentary and playing with the theme of mankind interfering with nature, and in this issue it finally comes to a conclusion, one which is maybe expected in some sense, but still has enough edge to keep the reader guessing.

Some may not recognize it immediately but this series is indeed science fiction, only that the science in question is one not often used in this genre, meteorology.  The lack of a connection disappears completely halfway through this issue as Cale dons a sci-fi inspired helmet to finally confront the storm.  There are some parts of this story which feel rushed, but then again this story could have been expanded easily into a couple of extra issues without losing the overall tone of the series.  That being said, it is an interesting confrontation between Cale and his storm, even if it is resolved in an expeditious manner.  What is more interesting than the actual climax in this series is the denouement, one which is a bit longer than what people might be expected to in comics, where the hero usually wins and the denouement is forgotten.  Instead here the writers throw in a bit more social commentary about the ease by which politicians spin tragedy to their own interests and even tie in some current geopolitics in another way.

It is a shame that this series was unseen by so many, because it combined a mature approach in its storytelling, while also aiming high for something new in a genre overpopulated with spaceships and green skinned aliens.  The writers managed to tie together everything that they were after, and left nothing hanging while telling their story but also meeting all of the underlying themes that were developed throughout.  This series covered all of its goals, and in so doing, ended up as more than the sum of its parts.

Story: Jeffrey Morris and Ira Livingston IV Art: Dennis Calero 
Story:  8.5  Art: 8.5 Overall:  8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Future Dude and Comixology provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Alternative Comics’ in Spring 2015

Clover Honey by Rich Tommaso

Abigail is an aspiring hitwoman out to prove her value to the family. She braves the wilds of Newark, overpriced parking, traffic jams, and bad hair days to track down Trevor, her former mentor, who is on the lam with a big briefcase of mob dough. A heavily revised, redrawn, and expanded twentieth anniversary edition of Rich Tommaso’s debut graphic novel.

Rich Tommaso has been writing and illustrating original comics and graphic novels since 1994. His graphic novel with writer James Sturm, Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, won an Eisner award for Best Reality-Based Work in 2008. 136-page paperback

Diamond Code: FEB150911
ISBN: 978-1-934460-86-3

Price: $14.95

Clover Honey

Sunbeam on the Astronaut by Steven Cerio

A long-awaited collection of comics, art, and stories by artist Steven Cerio that explores silly, psychedelic, and strange worlds. Smiling cartoon critters carouse with threatening cutout whales against a shifting comic landscape in these unique illustrated stories. The psychedelic meets Saturday morning cartoons in stories with such intriguing titles as “A Private History of Sunbeams and Head Colds,” “The Add Witch in The Berry Patch,” and “Ninny Noonday Ninny.”

Steven Cerio is a prominent rock poster and magazine illustrator. His work is best known from his ongoing collaboration with San Francisco-based performance art and music group The Residents.

48 pages/black and white guts/full color cover

ISBN: 978-1-934460-23-8

Price: $9.95

Sunbeam on the Astronaut

From Now On by Malachi Ward
Short Comic Tales of The Fantastic

A collection of hauntingly beautiful Science Fiction and Horror short stories by Prophet (Image Comics) and Ritual artist Malachi Ward. Collects stories from Mome, Study Group Magazine, Sundays, Best American Comics 2013, and more.

144 page paperback.

ISBN: 978-1-934460-91-7
June 9, 2015

Price: $14.95

From Now On by Malachi Ward

Smilin’ Ed Comics

by Raoul Vezina & Tom Skulan

Crisply and energetically drawn, snappily written, filled with pop culture references, and always funny; Raoul Vezina’s Smilin’ Ed Smiley comics were a breath of fresh air when they first appeared thirty-five years ago. All the original comics are collected here for the first time. Includes sixteen pages in color.

Raoul Vezina (1948-1983) was a brilliant cartoonist who came out of the underground tradition and put his own mark on the indie comics of the early 1980s in a handful of titles. He is best remembered for the four issue of Smilin’ Ed Comics published by Albany, New York’s FantaCo.

160 page 8″ x 10″ black and white paperback with 16 pages in color and color covers

ISBN: 978-1-934460-85-6
June, 2015

Price: $19.95

Smilin' Ed Comics

The SAW Guide to Making Professional Comic Strips by Tom Hart

The SAW Guide to Making Professional Comic Strips is a complete how-to manual for making the best comic strips you can, from conception to idea generation to layout, lettering, finishing, coloring and even selling. From an experienced professional comic strip artist (Hutch Owen, Ali’s House), the book is loaded with examples and instruction as well as personal stories within the industry.

96 page 8 1/2″ x 11″ color paperback.

ISBN: 9781934460894
June, 2015

Price: $12.95

The SAW Guide to Making Professional Comic Strips

Quit Your Job and Other Stories by James Kochalka

On his way to work, Magic Boy discovers an enchanted ring and starts an expedition to the North Pole.

Eisner Award winner James Kochalka has been called “one of the brightest lights of independent comics” and Quit Your Job is a shining example of his genius. On his way to work at the Chinese restaurant, Magic Boy discovers an enchanted ring and determines to make an expedition to the North Pole. He only gets as far as the coffee shop on the next block, but his world is forever changed in the short journey. The predecessor to the author’s popular American Elf diary comics. Includes the entirety of Kochalka’s 1997 book Paradise Sucksand an additional story featuring characters from that world. Double the size of the first edition. Introduction by Jeff Smith (Bone, RASL).

192 page 6.75″ x 675″ black and white paperback with color covers

ISBN: 9781934460931

Price: $15.95

Quit Your Job and Other Stories

Oh, That Monroe by Sam Henderson

Monroe Simmons, cartoon everyman, faces twenty-something life and is squashed like a bug at every turn in this series of harrowing and humorous tales from Magic Whistle and Scene But Not Heard creator Sam Henderson. This new edition features nearly 30 pages of never before collected comics and a new introduction by the author.

128 page black and white paperback with color covers

ISBN: 978-1-934460-87-0

Price: $11.99

Oh, That Monroe

Jason Inman Joins DC All Access

Faster than a speeding download, more powerful than a rapid WiFi signal, able to share breaking DC Entertainment news in a single video… it’s a web series, it’s a new season, YES, it’s DC All Access with all-new co-host Jason Inman! Jason was discovered through an online talent search.

Jason grew up in the small town of Stark, Kansas, on a farm not unlike The Man of Steel himself, and has now taken his talents to Los Angeles, CA. Between his YouTube channel Jawiin and podcast Geek History Lesson, Jason is no stranger to educating and entertaining audiences on a variety of geeky subjects.

With his superhuman love of comic books and super-hilarious punch lines, we’re sure he’s the perfect new partner in crime for returning host, Tiffany Smith.  Together they’ll take you inside the shows, movies and games you crave.

DC All Access returns for its third season on February 3.

Review: Fallen Ash #4

greenskinFor those looking for something new when it comes to either superheroes, science fiction or fantasy, new and up-and-coming artists can be some of the best places to look at.  A lot of the shared universes at DC and Marvel are constrained by the story telling that is available.  Taking characters in completely new directions or changing things dramatically are not really possible due to editorial control.  Even cosmic stories, usually a setting which better accepts the mantra that “anything goes” is pretty regulated at the Big Two, especially as it might touch the continuity of some of the big names like the Green Lantern Corps or the Guardians of the Galaxy.  Those looking for something without restrictions therefore kind of needs to find it in the smaller publishers or even the self published.

While these stories can often be less limited in terms of their concepts and storytelling, they are also often in the hands of the less experienced.  It is evident that for those starting out in the field that there are a handful of traps that await new storytellers, be that stunted dialogue or one dimensional characters.  The series Fallen Ash is a good representation of this level of storytelling, both for good and for bad.  The story is roughly divided into two different parts, one part with Anrew training to defend the small kingdom and the other with Arly being escorted by a Bengal Fox.  The former has a way of talking and discussion which is full of the usual from the genre – a young male having to live up to the legacy of those that came before.  It is the latter where this issue finds some heart, as Arly enters into an unconventional discussion on how to live life, as guided by Akari the fox.

It is this duplicitous nature which is the frustrating part of picking up an issue like this.  One half of the story is completely forgettable while the other half is endearingly approachable.  There are glimpses of something great here, but it is not even the part of the issue that is being focused on.  As a science fiction story this therefore falls a little bit short, but equally those looking for something a little different might want to have a look.  It is not of the highest quality, but then neither is it restrained in any way.

Story: Kimberley Smith Art: Benjamin Bartolome
Story: 6.0 Art: 6.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

HumanKimberly and Comixology provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.  

Preview: Munchkin #1

Munchkin #1

Imprint: BOOM! Box

Authors: Tom Siddell, Jim Zub, and John Kovalic
Artist: Mike Holmes, Rian Sygh, and John Kovalic

Kick open the door. Kill the monster. Steal the treasure. Screw over everybody you come in contact with. Welcome to the world of Munchkin, a gathering of stories based on the popular game series. It’s a laugh a minute, pal. Plus, every first printing of every issue will ship with an exclusive card for the game.

Based on the immensely popular card game, the Munchkin comic series takes place in a very flexible mashup of genres. Originally a satire of fantasy roleplaying, the game has since taken on non-fantasy and non-gaming elements, and the new comic series is a direct reflection of that. Munchkin#1 features four stories set in and around the world of the game, featuring Spyke, Flower, and all the other characters, monsters, and settings players have come to love.

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KickStarting: Comics

Money_CashIt’s a new week and KickStarting: Comics is back with a look at how much was raised/pledged for comic projects on Kickstarter for the past week!

I realize some projects are not in US dollars, but they all will count the same regardless of origin, for now. $1 US will be the same as $1 CAD, $1 AUD, etc.

Over the past week 2 projects were successfully funded.

For the past week from January 19 to January 25 the statistics are:

Average goal: $425
Average pledged: $464
Average number of backers: 31.5
Average pledge: $14.73
Average percent raised: 109.18%
Most common given amount: $18 (13 times)
Most money from pledge level: $18 level brought in $234

Total pledged for the week: $928

For the week, the top projects were:

The top grossing project: Broken Angel #1 - $822

Most backers: Broken Angel #1 – 56 backers

Highest percent above goal raised: Broken Angel #1 – 109.60%

Highest average pledge: A Really Awesome Comic Book Critique – $15.14

Lowest average pledge: Broken Angel #1 – $14.68

For the month of January, for the 26 successful projects, the statistics are:

Average goal: $6,283.04
Average pledged: $9,275.88
Average number of backers: 209.04
Average pledge: $44.37
Average percent raised: 147.63%
Most common given amount: $30 (1433 times)
Most money from pledge level: $30 level brought in $42,990

Total pledged for the month: $241,173

For the month, the top projects were:

The top grossing project: MOONSHOT: The Indigenous Comics Collection - $74,792

Most backers: MOONSHOT: The Indigenous Comics Collection – 1569 backers

Highest percent above goal raised: Pewfell in: Drain of Chaos – 1294.50%

Highest average pledge: El Ultimo Volume I – $257.25

Lowest average pledge: Broken Angel #1 – $14.68

That wraps up this week’s data! I’ll be making tweaks to this as more are done, so let me know what you want to see!

Review: Purgatori #5

Purgatori05-Cov-A-RuffinoThus far this series has had its share of ups and downs, despite being only four issues into the series.  At times there has been little to distinguish this series from any number of other low production supernatural horrors on the comic shelves, as the main character has been a bit flat in her presentation, and her settings have been a bit too generic to really care that much about what will happen to her.  As much can be said about this series at least until this issue, as finally the character seems to be getting a more focus on who she is as opposed to what was before.

The story follows Purgatori as she has returned to the underworld, keen on revenge, but also still not fully whole in her own self, still lacking her powers.  While previous issue have attempted to establish some tension or supposition that things will not work out for her, this issue throws that aside and finally gives her a chance to cut loose.  This issue is far more about action than it is about character development, but strangely more of the character comes out in this way.  After she finishes with her enemies, the anti-hero comes out in how she treats them afterwards.

This comic is by no means a masterpiece, by at the very least it has finally captured something about the character which has been missing thus far.  An attempt to build an Indiana Jones style arcane story for her return to Hell was met with a lot of false starts, but once she got back on home turf she finally made a stand, both in the story and out.  If the writers can continue to capture the same gritty and sassy nature of the character, there might be a chance to make this work as an ongoing, but so far their record is about one out of five issues for having done so, so while this might leave the character pointing in the right direction, it took a long and twisted route to get there.

Story: Aaron Gillespie Art: Javier Garcia-Miranda
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dynamite provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.  

Review: Find #1

Find #1When young Teddy Chance stumbles upon a strange, otherworldly object while out exploring, so begins a night of peril and excitement that will alter the course of his entire life.

I went into the first issue of Find not knowing what to expect. Its publisher Comixtribe usually puts out solid under the radar indie comics, but writer Sam Read was a complete unknown to me and I was only slightly familiar with artist Alex Cormack‘s work.

Find #1 is magical. That’s the best way of putting it. Reading it, I felt transported back into my younger self when movies like E.T. left me excited and full of wonder. There’s something so innocent and cute about it all. It’s a fresh read, and something you don’t see to often in comics, something that’s for all-ages that’s fun for all-ages.

That freshness is helped by the art of Cormack that brings a style that I can only describe as something I’d expect in a kids picture book. That’s not a bad thing at all. The art is solid, and exactly a style I’d expect in a comic whose audience is supposed to be for anyone. It’s a great combo of writer and artist.

Find is an all-ages adventure about the power of curiosity and inspiration, and how comic books really are universal. This is a first issue and it does its job and makes me want to see more. In a year that has already seen over a dozen new series hit the shelves, this stands out as my favorite debut of 2015 so far.

Story: Sam Read Art: Alex Cormack
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Comixtribe provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Around the Tubes

It’s a new week of awesome comic goodness! What awesome comics did everyone read this past weekend?

Around the Tubes

iO9 – Why Early Wonder Woman Was A Champion Of Feminism… And Bondage – A good read for those that don’t know the history.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Seattle Pi – Bumperhead

Talking Comics – Burning Fields #1

CBR – Fantastic Four #642

Talking Comics – Ivar, Timewalker #1

The Mary Sue – Secret Identities #1

Action Lab Entertainment in April 2015

PUPPET MASTER #2

Writer(s): Shawn Gabborin
Artist Name(s): Michela Da Sacco (pencils, inks) and Yann Perrelet (colors)
Cover Artist(s): Michela Da Sacco (pencils, inks) and Yann Perrelet (colors)

The Bodega Bay party goes sour when a dead body turns up. Now, as the remaining teens search the Inn for their missing friends, the Puppets increase the body count! But are the Puppets working on their own accord or is there a new Master in the shadows? Charles Band’s legendary Puppets continue their first comic rampage in over 20 years!!

Story Centric cover: Artist- Michela Da Sacco, Colors- Yann Perrelet
Tunneler cover: Artist- Michela Da Sacco, Colors- Yann Perrelet
Tunneler Sketch cover: Artist- Michela Da Sacco
Tunneler Photo cover

32 pgs./ Mature Readers/ FC $3.99/ $4.99 Variant

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VAMPLETS: THE NIGHTMARE NURSERY #2 (of 6)

Writer(s): Gayle Middleton and Dave Dwonch
Artist Name(s): Amada Coronado (p), David Dwonch (i) Bill Blankenship (c)
Cover Artist(s): Amanda Coronado (a), Bill Blankenship (c)

Teenager Destiny Harper continues her adventures in the world of Gloomvania, where dark creatures lurk the streets, and the world is being mysteriously overrun by baby vampyres called Vamplets! Can Destiny serve her term as Governess of “The Nightmare Nursery” and return home? Fairy tales get a modern update in this coming of age tales of monsters, mayhem, and magic! Variant cover by Gayle Middleton herself (limited to 2000 copies!).

32 pgs./All Ages / FC $3.99

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GRONK: A MONSTER’S STORY VOLUME 3 TPB

Writer(s): Katie Cook
Artist Name(s): Katie Cook
Cover Artist(s): Katie Cook

The third volumes of Katie Cook’s popular webcomic, Gronk: A Monster’s Tale, is here! Full color and jam-packed with funny, follow Gronk and her peculiar clan through another year of misunderstandings,  friendship and adorable mayhem

64pgs./All Ages/ FC $9.99

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FIGHT LIKE A GIRL TPB

Writer(s): David Pinckney
Artist Name(s): Soo Lee
Cover Artist(s): Soo Lee

Standing before a jury of nine gods, Amarosa pleads for a chance to risk her life and gain entry to the Wishing Well where she will fight her way through nine trials to claim her prize: a single wish that will save her terminally ill brother. Though she has some help, what she learns about herself here in the first four trials may be her only chance of survival. Collects the first four issues of this critically acclaimed series.

128 pgs./Teen/ FC $14.99

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NUTMEG #2

Writer(s): James F. Wright
Artist Name(s): Jackie Crofts
Cover Artist(s): Jackie Crofts (main cover), Josh Eckert (variant cover)

Fall, Part 2: “…And Everything Nice:” After some initial trepidation, Poppy takes her first step on the dark side, deciding to go through with Cassia’s plan to sabotage rival Saffron’s Brownie Brawl fundraiser—and Saffron’s chances with local heartthrob Bobby Benson—using some strategically-placed baked goods, and just a dash of malice.

32 pgs./ All Ages/ FC $3.99

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HEROCATS OF STELLAR CITY# 5

Writer(s): Kyle Puttkammer
Artist Name(s): Marcus Williams
Cover Artist(s): Tracy Yardley (reg) Marcus Williams (var)

Everything has been building to this! Secrets are revealed as the masks come off. The Hero Cats must defend the home front as Galaxy Man unwittingly returns to his observatory with an infestation of space bugs. Cover by Tracy Yardley (Sonic the Hedgehog) with a variant cover by Marcus Williams, limited to 1,500 copies.

32 pgs./ All Ages/ FC $3.99

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HOLY F*CK TPB

Writer(s): Nick Marino
Artist Name(s): Daniel Arruda Massa
Cover Artist(s): Daniel Arruda Massa

Sister Maria has recruited two horny drug-fueled weirdos to stop the apocalypse. Their names? Jesus and Satan. Can these biblical frenemies help this nun with a gun defeat an army of pissed off mythological gods? Only one thing’s for sure — it’s gonna be a wild ride! Collecting the controversially contagious Holy F*ck #1-4.

128 pgs./Mature Readers/ FC $14.99

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PIRATE EYE: EXILED FROM EXILE # 4 (of 4)

Writer(s): Josiah Grahn
Artist Name(s): Carl Yonder
Cover Artist(s): Carl Yonder

Face to face with his old foe at last, Smitty fights for his life and for his future. But Burroughs has very different plans for both. The thrilling conclusion to this critically-acclaimed storyline!

32 pgs./Teen/ FC $3.99

Pirate Eye issue 8 Previews Cover Image

PRINCELESS :THE PIRATE PRINCESS #4 (of 4)

Writer(s): Jeremy Whitley
Artist Name(s): Rosy Higgins, Ted Brandt
Cover Artist(s): Rosy Higgins, Ted Brandt

Join us for the finale of Princeless: The Pirate Princess. Adrienne and Raven are surrounded and outnumbered by pirates ten to one. Will our pair of powerful princesses be able to pound these pesky pirates? Of course they will, but it’s gonna be fun to watch!

32 pgs./Teen/ FC $3.99

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STRAY #4 (of 4)

Writer(s): Vito Delsante
Artist Name(s): Sean Izaakse
Color Artist(s): Ross Campbell
Cover Artist(s): Sean Izaakse/Ross Campbell (reg), Julian Lopez/Juan Albarrán/Brett R. Smith (var)

The Doberman’s killer is revealed! Who (and what) is Duette? And will Rodney survive their confrontation to become the hero he’s destined to be? The smash series concludes here! Variant cover by Julian Lopez, limited to 1,500 copies!

32 pgs./Teen/ FC $3.99/ $4.99 Variant

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ZOMBIE TRAMP: SLEAZY RIDER TPB

Writer(s): Jason Martin, Dan Mendoza
Artist Name(s): Dennis Budd, Anna Lencioni, Winston Young
Cover Artist(s): TMChu

Zombie Tramp hits the open road, encountering all manner of oddities throughout the Southwest. From werewolf truckers, to “illegal” fight clubs, to lethal fast food chains. It’s enough to make her deadly detour to Detroit seem downright dreamy! Join a lineup of amazing new artists bringing the fan-favorite street walking dead’s latest open road adventures to life!

Collects the second story arc of the wildly popular ongoing series.

128 pgs./ Mature Readers / FC $14.99

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ZOMBIE TRAMP #10

Writer(s): Dan Mendoza. Jason Martin
Artist Name(s): TMChu
Cover Artist(s): TMChu (regular, risqué variant), Dan Mendoza (limited variant)

Zombie Tramp faces a new monster of her own creation, when a Detroit meth maker cooks up a batch of her undead bath salts! Meanwhile it’s chaos in the streets as the new drug has users turning into tweaker zombies! Plus Motor City’s own resident bad girl, Vampblade, cuts in on the action! Features a variant cover by Dan Mendoza (limited to 1500 copies) and a risqué variant cover (limited to 2000 copies).

32 pgs./Mature Readers/ FC $3.99/ $4.99 Variant

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