Tag Archives: Comics

Interview: Vince Hernandez Discusses Aspen’s Psycho Bonkers and Aspen’s Future

00a_PSB1-01-CMYKcropIn a past year of major changes as far as diversity of comic characters, one publisher has been flying under the radar, rethinking their past characters, and created new ones as well. Aspen Comics long ago shed the “sexy heroine” stereotype, and instead have been focusing on interesting stories and characters.

For the company, 2015 seems to be all about change, the first of which was the reworking of their character Kiani. Now, the company is focusing on the all-ages crowd with their new series Psycho Bonkers by Vince Hernandez and Adam Archer.

We got a chance to talk to Vince about the new series staring a teenage girl, and what else we can expect from the “new” Aspeb.

Graphic Policy: So tell us about what folks can expect in Psycho Bonkers?

Vince Hernandez: Well, to get rid of all the silly puns right off the bat, I’ll say that readers will be in for one heck of a ride! But, seriously, this is my ode to the fun and thrilling Saturday morning cartoons and video games we used to watch as kids, with big over-the-top concepts and thrilling adventure. I just wanted to have fun with this one.

Readers will be introduced to Shine, a precocious young racer who—along with the help of her sentient Bonk Racer and robotic assistant—is looking to win the race of all races, the Super Bonk Rally. Along the way, we will discover the tragedy that made her the girl she is today, and why it’s so important that she win the big race.

The book will be told over the course of the five legs of the race, and I hope readers will gravitate towards this breakneck style of storytelling as they learn more about our lead heroine and the importance of this one race.

00a_PSB1-02-CMYKcropGP: Where did the idea for the series come from?

VH: I grew up in the eighties, so for me, Knight Rider was an early inspiration that I always wanted to explore more. Primarily, I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of a sentient vehicle that could communicate with its driver. But while Knight Rider was a more adult-themed story, I thought mine could encompass a more all-ages feel. Another inspiration for this story are the races you find in video games like Mario Kart, where you feel like you live or die with these characters and their fate, and the near-impossibility of the challenges set before them. I thought it would make for an exciting concept.

GP: There are two things that immediately stand out about the announcement for the series, it’s an all-ages series, and it stars a teenage girl. What was the thinking behind the decision for those?

VH: Well, anyone who is a fan of my work knows I’m no stranger to working with a female, teenage lead heroine. My past books, like Trish Out of Water, and my most recent series, Damsels in Excess, have featured teenage lead heroines. The difference here, as you mentioned, is the all-ages factor that is certainly something we’re looking to expand upon at Aspen. I think this series coming out now was a culmination of us looking for something with a broader appeal and the right timing for an all-ages series following our Halloween ComicFest Ernie coloring book. We’ve been trending in that direction for some time now.

GP: I noticed the style of the comic is much more “cartoon” like; it seems to have more of a manga influence. Was there discussion in the art style and how it fits the possible audience?

VH: These types of choices always come down to what will fit the overall feel of the story. For Psycho Bonkers, it was evident that the artist needed to be able to capture the hyper-stylized look of a fictional world while keying in on the story’s vital character moments. Adam Archer became our natural choice at that point, as his work fits the bill and then some!

Aspen_Kiani_4_FinalGP: There’s lots of talk about moving “comics forward.” The big two get lots of coverage when they do something progressive with their characters or series. Aspen has been a company that’s had a lot of female led series, and character-wise has been very female focused from my observation. Why do you think folks overlook what you, indie creators, and other publishers have been doing for years and get so excited when the big two catches up?

VH: I think naturally people keep their attention on the larger publishers and consider us an afterthought when, you’re correct, a lot of these things we’ve been doing for years. We’ve been using female creators and featuring female heroines since 2004. But, I think a lot of people have a misconception that because Michael Turner founded our company, we’re just a company that focuses on sexy heroines. This, of course, is a woefully outdated perception of our line of books.

But, that’s okay. We’re never ones to try and stand on a soapbox about things that should be considered normal in our industry. Gender equality and diversity are not hot topic items to be cashed in on, but real life ideals that should be the basis for how every publisher operates.

GP: You’ve shaken up the character Kiani a bit, there’s this series, is making comics for a broader readership something that’s foremost on your mind now?

VH: Without question! Delving more into what I mentioned above, we had talks about how we could achieve an even broader appeal with our flagship titles, and with Fathom: Kiani starting up again early this year, it was the perfect launching pad for this new appeal and her new design.

KIANI-V4-03c-Garbowska-prevGP: You clearly thought about things with Kiani, are you re-exploring some of your other established characters or properties?

VH: We’re doing so across the board on our lineup of titles, and fans can expect to see more of these changes in the near future. It’s time to accept that with the huge following that comics are bringing in, we need to ensure that we’re making our characters as accessible as possible while staying true to the story and the creator’s vision for the title.

GP: In that talk, there’s discussion of having broad content, but not a lot about how to actually get it out there beyond the current readership. How do you think the industry can improve in expanding the readership?

VH: I think, as publishers, we tend to over-think ourselves and try to turn everything into a news byte or an initiative in order to pull in new readers. But, call me old-fashioned—I still think the only surefire way to keep fans satisfied and grow your readership is to put out compelling stories and quality products. Everything else is just smoke and mirrors.

GP: Has digital shifted your plans at all?

VH: It hasn’t shifted our plans, but it has offered new avenues for us to explore and capitalize on. Also, digital offers us a great opportunity to reach markets where we might not necessarily be sold, so there are a lot of benefits to that platform.

GP: Are there more exciting plans for Aspen this year you can hint about?

VH: Absolutely – we have two Fathom and Soulfire spinoff titles that will feature all new casts of characters and set a new tone for those two flagship series: Fathom Blue and Eternal Soulfire. We’ll also be debuting new series like Lola XOXO: The Wasteland Madam by Siya Oum, The Four Points by Scott Lobdell and Jordan Gunderson, Psycho Bonkers by myself and Adam Archer, the return of JT Krul’s Jirni, and two exciting new concepts I can’t reveal yet by writers that will surprise some people. Stay tuned!

New Lone Sloane Masterpiece Library Series, Kicks-off With The 6 Voyages Of Loane Sloane by Legendary Artist Philippe Druillet!

This July, Titan Comics brings you psychedelic science fiction The 6 Voyages Of Loane Sloane by legendary Heavy Metal artist Philippe Druillet, which is the first in a Lone Sloane masterpiece library series.

800 years after a catastrophic event, a troubled space traveler wanders the universe encountering space pirates, gigantic robots, dark gods and other-dimensional entities!

Back in print for the first time in 20 years a cosmic game has begun. And Lone Sloane is the pawn they all want to play.

Traveling alone in the cosmos, Sloane, a solitary interstellar explorer has become imbued with mystical powers. He finds himself escaping one power-seeking madman only to be captured by another. Follow Sloane through six unpredictable Lovecraftian journeys from space pirates, dragons, to ancient Gods.


Preview: Norman Vol. 1


PUBLISHER: Titan Comics
FORMAT: HC, FC, 8” x 11”
PRICE: $14.99/$16.95 CAN/£10.99 UK
ISBN: 9781782762393


Norman is a typical eight-year-old, living in a little old house with his zombie uncle. A fan of horror movies, he seeks to recreate his favourite scenes starring his heroes: Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers.

As his next victims, Norman chooses his classmates, the new boy, Jeremy, and the local rich girl, Grace. As they join the ranks of the local missing children, Norman has to work hard to avoid discovery…


Around the Tubes

It’s new comic day! What’s everyone excited for?

Around the Tubes

Hollywood Reporter – Before ‘Catwoman': The Problematic Record of Comic Books’ LGBTQ Representation – A good read.

CNet – Free online course lets you study superheroes with Stan Lee – Very cool! I want to take the course.

Talking Comics – The Gender Politics of Saga – A solid read.

ICv2 – Famous Monsters Launching Comics Line – Come on in, the water’s fine!

Preview: Altered States: Vampirella One-Shot

Altered States: Vampirella One-Shot

Nancy A. Collins (w)
Francesco Manna (a)
Billy Tan (c)
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+
Billy Tan B/W Art retailer incentive cover

Welcome to Altered States… Dynamite Entertainment’s parallel reality in the vein of DC’s Elseworlds and Marvel’s What If! Ella Normandy is one of three space explorers sent on an expedition to Venus—But on the way to their destination, the interplanetary ship is sucked into a mysterious space-time portal and ends up crash-landing on the alien planet Drakulon, where the rivers run with blood. There she climbs from the wreckage to find herself the only human on a planet filled with vampires—and no way to get back home!


Preview: Herocats of Stellar City #4


Writer(s): Kyle Puttkammer
Artist Name(s): Marcus Williams
Cover Artist(s): Marcus Williams
32pgs./ FC/ Teen

Dangerous sinkholes are opening all over Stellar City and it’s up to the Hero Cats to save the day!  Ace, Midnight, Cassiopeia, Belle, Rocket & Rocco explore an underground world filled with new friends and adventures.


Preview: Cluster #2

Cluster #2

Author: Ed Brisson
Artist: Damian Couceiro

Samara and the other prisoners who managed to survive the Pagurani attack on the T-Towers are stranded on the battlefield, but they’ll need to find a way to trust one another before they can hope to find a transport to safety. They just better hope it happens before their Punch clocks hit zero…

BOOM_Cluster 02_A_Main

Preview: Big Man Plans #1

Big Man Plans #1

Story By: Eric Powell
Story By: Tim Wiesch
Art By: Eric Powell
Cover By: Eric Powell
Cover Price: $3.50
Digital Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: JAN150572
Published: March 4, 2015

From ERIC POWELL (Eisner award-winning creator of The Goon) and TIM WEISCH (a guy who used to be a bricklayer) comes BIG MAN PLANS, a brutal crime drama with a shocking mystery at its heart. Even the most marginalized in society can exact revenge if they don’t care how they do it.


IDW Publishing Previews: 3/4/15

Cartoon Network: Super Secret Crisis War!, Vol. 2

Ivan Cohen, Louise Simonson (w) • Paulina Ganucheau, Derek Charm (a) • Derek Charm (c)

The Super Secret Crisis War spreads into the worlds of Johnny Bravo, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Cow & Chicken, and Codename Kids Next Door!

TPB • FC • $19.99 • 120 pages • ISBN: 978-1-63140-232-6

G.I. Joe #6

Karen Traviss (w) • Steve Kurth (a) • Jeffrey Veregge (c)

THE FALL OF G.I. JOE! COBRA stands tall, but will SCARLETT and her G.I. JOE team manage to turn the tables? Political intrigue collides head-on with military action as the darkest chapter in G.I. JOE history unfolds!

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #21

Chris Mowry (w) • Jeff Zornow (a & c)

The Trilopods arrive, and no monster is safe! As the Cryog Emperor unleashes an all-out assault on the planet, Lucy and Woods face their own dangers and their only hope for the future may lie in the monsters from the past.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Monster Motors: The Curse of Minivan Helsing #1 (of 2)

Brian Lynch (w) • Nick Roche (a & c)

Transylvania, Kentucky is being overrun by Monster Motors! Vampire cars that suck gas from their victims! Lunar-powered werewolf vehicles that grow fangs and claws when the moon is full! Someone has to keep them all in check. Enter MINIVAN HELSING: four-wheeled monster-hunter.  It’s his job to hunt down the Monster Motors and bring them to justice.  His new target?  Genius Mechanic Vic Frankenstein and his Frankenride, a monstrous mac truck made from the parts of fallen cars and trucks!

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

My Little Pony: Friends Forever #14

Jeremy Whitley (w) • Agnes Garbowska (a) • Amy Mebberson (c)

When a dragon problem in Fillydelphia threatens to get out of hand, Luna enlists Spike’s help to find a peaceful solution. There are many suspects and no easy answers as both Spike and Luna must admit to personal shortcomings in order to find the true culprit.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Powerpuff Girls Super Smash-Up #2

Derek Charm, Sean E. Williams (w) • Charm, Paulina Ganucheau (a) • Charm (c)

The Powerpuff Girls’ inter-dimesional search for Dexter’s mutated sister Dee Dee has brought them to the doorstep of Courage the Cowardly Dog! But when they are mistaken for dog sitters, the Girls find themselves thrust into the disturbing nightmare that is Courage’s life. Plus, a Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends story—Bloo starts a “Small Club” while Wilt starts a “Tall Club” in response…

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Robert Heinlein’s Citizen of the Galaxy #1 (of 3)

Robert Lazaro & Eric Gignac (w) • Steve Erwin (a) • Gignac (c)

Just outside our galaxy the atrocities of slavery thrive, and young Thorby is just another orphaned boy sold at auction. But when he crosses paths with a mysterious crippled beggar, his destiny is forever changed. Citizen of the Galaxy is an interstellar action/adventure coming of age tale by the “Dean of Science Fiction”… Robert A. Heinlein!

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Shadow Show #4 (of 5)

Dave Eggers, Charles Yu, Mort Castle, Sam Weller (w) • Matthew Dow Smith, Christine Larsen, S L Gallant (a) • Christian Wildgoose (c)

In Shadow Show, acclaimed writers and artists come together to pay tribute to the work of the one and only Ray Bradbury! The stories featured include “Who Knocks,” written by Dave Eggers with art by Matthew Dow Smith, a classic horror tale about what lurks beneath the water; “Earth: A Gift Shop” by Charles Yu and Christine Larsen, about the future role of our planet as an intergalactic curio shop; and “Altenmoor, where the dogs dance” by Mort Castle and S L Gallant, where a young boy discovers the world that his grandfather wrote about in his fantasy novels.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Star Trek: New Visions: “A Scent of Ghosts”

John Byrne (writer, artist & photo-manipulation)

John Byrne continues his new Star Trek photoplay adventures with “A Scent of Ghosts” and “Memoriam.” Past and Present collide, as the Enterprise takes aboard a special figure from Spock’s past, only to find themselves haunted by an mystery from years before. Plus, a sad farewell.

FC • 48 pages • $7.99

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes #3 (of 5)

Scott Tipton, David Tipton (w) • Rachael Stott (a & c)

It’s the battle for the ages! Taylor has escaped the Planet of the Apes, and Captain Kirk must bring him back! Plus, the Klingon/Gorilla alliance makes its move against Dr. Zaius and Ape City!

FC • pages • $3.99

Transformers #38—Days of Deception

John Barber (w) • Andrew Griffith (a & c)

THE ONYX INTERFACE! The AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS face down human forces—and strange battlelines make for strange allies. Who will emerge with the ancient ENIGMA OF COMBINATION… and who will usher in the COMBINER WAR…?

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #38—Days of Deception

James Roberts (w) • Alex Milne (a & c)

JOURNEY’S END! Across time, across space, from prewar Messatine to postwar CYBERTRON—it’s all been heading towards this—the moment when the fate of the AUTOBOTS and the DECEPTICONS is sealed. At the heart of it all: three killers, two outcomes… and one terrible, terrible choice.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Winterworld #0

Chuck Dixon (w) • Tommy Lee Edwards (a & c)

Tommy Lee Edwards comes to chill in Winterworld! This grand comics auteur joins with Chuck Dixon to create a single issue story that tells us of Wynn’s life before she met Scully. This is the tale of one childhood that’s brutal and short. We learn how Wynn survived alone in the frozen world of the future at an age when most kids are entering pre-school. Find out how Wynn became one tough teenager in this special event issue!

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Preview: The Blood Queen vs. Dracula #1

The Blood Queen vs. Dracula #1

Troy Brownfield (w)
Kewber Baal (a)
Jay Anacleto, Fabiano Neves, Ardian Syaf (c)
Fans & retailers, order the cover of your choice!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+
Jay Anacleto B/W Art retailer incentive cover
Fabiano Neves B/W Art retailer incentive cover
Ardian Syaf B/W Art retailer incentive cover

The Prince of Darkness clashes with Elizabeth Bathory in this explosive new mini-series! Dracula returns from war to face a potential threat in the form of the Blood Queen. Whether they become allies or adversaries, there WILL be blood!


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