Tag Archives: featured

Comixstravaganza Live! this Wednesday at 8pm ET/7pm CST

No Geeky Tales, just Awesome Cool Adventures!

If you love comic books, Star Wars movies, Pop Culture and general awesomeness, then you’ll LOVE Comixstravaganza Live!

Johnny Dellarocca, AKA Big Daddy Cool (Swing Magic, The Magic Cabaret, Diesel Powered Podcast, Tales From The Geek) is the host and producer of Comixstravaganza Live! He his the time-traveling, comic book-loving, Dieselpunk Prophet of Pop Culture!

Comixstravaganza also stars former “geek girls” Tina Veda and “Darth Lee” LeeAnna Player! With weekly news from the Unlockable Characters and Cosplay news with the Cosplay Collective!

PLUS weekly guests and live performance segments!

You can catch the show right here this Wednesday January 7 at 7pm CST.

Movie Review: Justice League: Throne of Atlantis

1000427919BRDLEFO_14cd592In Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, Cyborg discovers an imminent threat in the depths of the oceans so powerful that it rallies together the newly formed Justice League. Meanwhile, wandering thousands of feet above the ocean floor is drifter Arthur Curry, a man with strange powers who may be the last chance to bridge the ancient Atlantean world with our own. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League must band together as they face off against warmongering Orm, an army of sea creatures, otherworldly weapons and perilous odds. In this all-new epic adventure from the DC Universe, mankind’s only hope of escaping from the darkness lies with the guiding light of a man – Aquaman!

The celebrity laden cast features primetime television stars Matt Lanter as Aquaman, Sam Witwer as Orm, Jason O’Mara as Batman, Christopher Gorham as Flash, Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern, Shemar Moore as Cyborg, Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman, Jerry O’Connell as Superman, Sean Astin as Shazam, Sumalee Montano as Mera, Sirena Irwin as Queen Atlanna, and Harry Lennix as Manta.

frame-048147The latest DC Comics animated movie is an adaptation of the storyline that ran within the Justice League comic and Aquaman, with a lot of liberties taken as far as the details, and a much more condensed storyline. The result is an entertaining version, missing some of the “soul” of its source material, and just enough loose ends to make some irritated.

If you’ve watched any of the previous DC Comics animated films, this one follows much of the same style, formula, and the end results are similar. The acting at times is stiff, animation really cool, characterization a bit stilted, but for some reason it’s still very fun and entertaining. A nice fill in between big budget live action movies. It fills an itch not met by the television shows, or upcoming movie slate. It adapts popular stories, and gives us characters we might not see otherwise.

There’s issues here. Arthur accepts the fact he’s royalty and an Atlantean a bit too easy. Manta’s character is really changed So is Mera. But, it continues the nice thread of stories that began with Justice League: War and brings together the Batman series of movies into one cohesive animated universe.

Overall, the movie is a fun time, a bit violent with some swearing, earning its PG-13 rating, but good for young teens to check out and enjoy, or die-hard DC fans who are willing to overlook the various changes.

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis might not be perfect, but it’s entertaining, and that’s what matters. Overall, it’s a welcome addition to the ever growing DC line-up of animated films and I’m looking forward to the next one, Batman vs. Robin.

Overall rating: 7.5

 

Review: Bitch Planet #2

bitch planet 2 a

Bitch Planet #2 does everything expected of it, which is no small task considering the high critical acclaim for the debut issue. The overarching world of Bitch Planet is expanded upon, giving readers a pretty clear idea of the setting crafted in this series by Kelly Sue DeConnick and her artist Valentine De Landro. More important than that, however, is the development of a plot thread focusing on an intimate group of characters, establishing what appears to be the more intimate angle of this series. Despite ridiculous and fun action, characterization, and world-building, this comic continues to be ferociously intelligent, too. Bitch Planet #2 is contemporary feminism and the comics craft done right.

The opening of this comic introduces readers to Father Josephson, a president-like figure so over-the-top loathsome that he proudly admits to embracing the “us vs. them” mentality in a speech. This concept seems so crazy to a sane, regular person in civilized culture, but in the world that Bitch Planet creates, it is believable. That is what is so special about this comic book; it creates a world filled to the brim with feminist themes and symbols that intellectually satisfies while being simultaneously satisfying in a more base fashion. It’s so seamless, which is an extraordinary achievement.

The general atmosphere of Bitch Planet is just really cool, as well. It’s a grimy, gross looking book that often conjures up thoughts of the exploitation films its inspired by, but it’s much easier to digest and take lightly. Fights translate onto the page in such a way that feels rough, but it’s framed in such a way that keeps things light. One scuffle in this issue, for example, takes place in the background of a quiet, dialogue-heavy scene, implying brutality through obscure drawings. The muddily-colored prison set-up intrinsically creates a sort of messy, uncomfortable atmosphere, but the science fiction bent adds some whimsy and fun to this aspect of the comic. Brightly-colored holograms clashing against a drab prison environment really goes a long way in establishing a certain mood.

All of that is merely a continuation or extension of what made the first issue so great, though; what’s important in this second issue when examined as a follow-up to the debut is it effort to establish its main characters. Providing a more micro-level, human angle is essential for a comic like this, because otherwise it would risk coming off as overly academic. Not only does this issue provide further characterization for who appears to be the protagonist, but it gives her a stake in this world and a simple goal to chase that necessarily involves interacting with other characters. There isn’t any truly thrilling character moments, as it is still in an expository phase, but this issue takes a necessary step forward and does a good job.

It really is incredibly admirable how seamlessly Bitch Planet simply works. It’s patriarchy in space, with prison-based rambunctiousness held afloat by academic smarts.

Story: Kelly Sue DeConnick Art: Valentine De Landro
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.75 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Check out Matt’s digital portfolio here

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

BitchPlanet02_CoverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

Top Pick: Bitch Planet #2 (Image Comics) – The first issue was the best debut of 2014, mixing action, entertainment, and political/societal commentary wrapped up in a women’s prison exploitation story. The second issue has been one of my most anticipated reads since.

The Dying and The Dead #1 (Image Comics) – A new series from writer Jonathan Hickman is a western meets revenge story. The look fits his previous work, especially East of West. The first issue is more than enough to make me want to return for the second issue, especially knowing Hickman is a master at long storytelling.

Find #1 (Comixtribe) – This one shot is absolutely magical, evoking the wonderment I felt as a child. Just a perfect all-ages title and the best debut of 2015 so far.

Munchkin #1 (BOOM! Box/BOOM! Studios) – If you’ve ever played the game this comic is based off of, you’ll know why it’s on the list. It also doesn’t hurt there’s an exclusive card for the game available in each issue’s first printing.

Quantum and Woody Must Die #1 (Valiant) – Valiant consistently knocks it out of the park, and this first issue is the insanity I expected. Just pure action and humor as only Quantum and Woody can deliver.

Edward

Top Pick: Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: The Jungle Book: Fall of the Wild #2 (Zenescope) –  The first miniseries in this trilogy was a standout, the second less so.  The first issue of this third series looks like it might recapture some of what made the first series so good.

Gotham Academy #4 (DC Comics) – This series was one of the biggest surprises of 2014 and although ostensibly aimed at teens, is an all-ages read, and should be on a lot more pull lists.

He-Man Eternity War #2 (DC Comics) – This series has been below most people’s radar, but this isn’t your childhood He-Man.  The writers continue to use the traditional characters as a base for a new and exciting take on fantasy and sci-fi.

Inhuman #11 (Marvel) – Marvel’s focus on Inhumans in comics and on the big screen continues here. This series has been unexpectedly gripping with its diaspora theme and well written characters

Thor #4 (Marvel) – There are surely those that are still holding out for the return of male Thor (who has never really been gone yet), but the new direction in this series has been fun so far.

Matt

Top Pick: Batman #38 (DC Comics) – The “Endgame” arc in Batman has been stupendously creepy and expertly done thus far, and there is absolutely no reason to believe this next issue won’t be more of that. Snyder and Capullo understand the comics craft more than a lot of creative teams doing work today.

Bitch Planet #2 (Image Comics) – The first issue of Bitch Planet received loads of critical praise focused mainly on its elegant yet ridiculous take on feminism within the context of female prison exploitation fiction. A second issue to flesh out the characters and larger conflict comes highly anticipated.

Harley Quinn #14 (DC Comics) – The three issue arc focusing upon a team-up with Powergirl that just concluded in Harley Quinn dragged on for way too long despite all of the fun it brought to the table. A fresh storyline sounds great, which is what this issue promises: one about a new love interest for Harley, to boot.

Multiversity Guidebook #1 (DC Comics) – Despite what our esteemed editor in chief would have you believe, Multiversity kicks ass thanks to Grant Morrison’s expert knowledge of both DC Universe continuity and superhero worship. An expansive guide to the vast multiverse of DC from him, along with some bonus narrative, should be a real treat.

Sex Criminals #10 (Image Comics) – The delays for Sex Criminals have been absolutely brutal, but the end result of the effort put into each issue has been consistently fantastic. This issue marks the end of the second arc, leading into a third that will hopefully release on a reasonable schedule.

Nevada

Top Pick: Betty Page: Queen of Curves (Rizzoli) – This fabulous collection of Bunny Yeager’s photographs of the iconic Betty Page is a coffee table book for the ages. I love coffee, books, and Betty’s classic look on the cover–along with a leopard, no less, so this will have a place of honor in my living room.

Cisco Kid  TP  Vol.  I 1951-1953 (Classic Comics Press) – I’m a fan of this golden era of Westerns and used to watch the Cisco Kid TV show featuring the excellent actor Leo Carillo as Pancho (Mr. Carillo had also worked as a cartoonist). Love the classic look of the drawings here and looking forward to more!

Film Fax #139 (Film Fax) – Any volume that contains news of Bela Lugosi and Bobby Rydell between the same two covers has me at first glance. Add to that the 1950’s robot history included here and Miss NASA 1960’s and I’m in retro pop-culture heaven!

New York Burlesque: Photos by Roy Kemp (Schiffer Publishing) – With today’s renaissance of burlesque as an art form from New Orleans to New York City, where this timely volume is set, Mr. Kemp’s photographs will provide a historical context that’s as informative as it is sexy and fun.

Sleepy Hollow #4 (Boom! Studios) – I’ve watched the show since the very beginning and am new to the comics, so I have bit of catching up to do here.  As someone who loves an archaic turn of phrase and obscure expressions, Ichabod’s mid-eighteenth century lamentations on modern society make me swoon.

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

TV Review: Gotham S1E13 Welcome Back, Jim Gordon

gotham cast When the key witness in a homicide ends up dead while being held for questioning by the police, Gordon suspects that it’s an inside job and looks to an old friend for information.

Gotham was in top form tonight with two vital storylines running, and a third that’s a bit meh.

The meh is the story with Bruce and his search for Selina. Overall, it’s the weakest part of the series, and the less it focuses on Bruce Wayne and the murder of his parents, the better the series is. It’s particularly weak when it deals with the young Selina or Ivy. They, along with Bruce, feel a bit forced.

The other two storylines have to deal with Gordon’s return to the police force as well as the rise of the Penguin. Both were solid here, moving along each respective plotline well, especially when it comes to the characters themselves.

We slowly see how Gordon becomes the leader we know he becomes, slowly winning over his fellow police, and fighting against the odds and system. This is a great spot of the series, and I think brings some of the strongest character aspects to the series.

Penguin has also risen, taking over Fish’s club, except Fish isn’t exactly out of the picture. Watching Robin Lord Taylor’s Penguin is fantastic. He’s probably the best of the series, and to see him grow has been fascinating.

Where these two stories intersect are particularly interesting and some of the strongest things of the series. When it does the mob/cop aspect it shines.

This episode shows what the series can be, and at the same time seems to be phasing out some of the weaker elements. Gotham is back, and it is stronger than ever.

Overall Score: 8.25

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.  

We Talk He-Man with Mark Roberts

Mark Roberts is fairly new in the comic book industry but has already worked as a colorist on numerous titles at both Dynamite and Zenescope.  He has recently taken over coloring duties on He-Man with DC Comics, just as the series is launching into Eternity War.  We got  chance to talk with him about 80s cartoons, green skin and alien blood.

Graphic Policy: Were you a fan of the Masters of the Universe when you were younger?

ew003Mark Roberts: Absolutely!  I was a child of the 80’s, that Golden Age of toys and Saturday morning cartoons, and even with so much to choose from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was my favorite.  I had a pretty sizable collection of action figures, the mini-comics, I can even remember having some of the books that came with a record that had voice-over and sound effects on it.  Sadly, all that stuff got tossed in the garbage at some point, but I’ve been slowly rebuilding a collection.

GP: Do you have a favorite character?  And do you have a favorite to color?

MR: As a kid I was all about He-Man.  Now, I still dig He-Man, but I think She-Ra is just as cool.  If I had to pick a favorite I think I’d have to say Sea Hawk.  I just think he’s an interesting character who has a ton of potential for entertaining stories.   I’d love to see him make an appearance in the DC title with an upgraded look.  As for a favorite to color…  it’s gotta be the transformation scenes.  Whether it’s He-Man or She-Ra, I just love trying to capture that same effect and the excitement it made me feel watching it as a kid.

ew004GP: The characters in this series were originally designed as toys and their color schemes are different than what you might necessarily expect in comics.  Is it challenging to incorporate different coloring techniques for the same characters across different mediums?

MR: No, I don’t think so.  The comic is quite different in tone from the cartoons and the toys and while Eternia and the characters who inhabit it can be quite colorful, it’s not really a challenge to make it work in a more serious context.  I actually quite enjoy it.

GP: The colors in the first issue of Eternity War really popped off the page.  How did you achieve this look?

MR: Thanks!  Well, for this new arc of He-Man I really wanted to make things more alive and vivid.  The previous arc, Blood of Grayskull, was a much more somber tale.  We didn’t get to see a lot of characters, we spent a lot of time in barren terrain or dark forests and caves.  Now we have this huge cast of colorful characters fighting massive, epic battles and I’m just trying to do it justice.  Pop is going all out on his pages, the detail he’s putting in is mind blowing, and I want to make sure nothing gets lost in the colors.

ew001GPSome of the coloring is this issue also achieved a lot by omission, notably in the first pages with Hordak and the mostly pale blue background mixed with the red from the blood.  How do you choose when not to add a lot of color, thus setting a different picture?

MR: It’s all about serving the story, creating mood or putting emphasis on a certain character or action.  That’s really a big part of your job as a colorist, making those decisions.  Sometimes the script might contain some color notes or the artist might request something, but for the most part it’s up to you to interpret the script and the line art and make color choices that complement everything and bring it all together.

GP: Teela is shown here with green skin, which is a fairly common skin color to show something being different or alien.  Why do you think that this is so common in pop culture to show aliens in this color?

MR: Oh, jeez, I don’t know…  The color green can have different meanings.  It can represent nature, life and growth but it can also be associated with things like envy or sickness so I guess that makes it fairly versatile.  In this particular case, though, I think the green serves as the opposite to the red of the Horde.  Luke’s green lightsaber versus Vader’s red, if you will.

ew005GP: About half way through this issue there is a beautiful splash page depicting some of the background of the characters.  Does incorporating so many elements into one large panel pose different problems for adding the color?

MR: No, not really.  Those pages were fun to do and not really that complicated.  With all the images coming from a magical conjuring it was fairly simple to unify them through color and then separating the flashbacks from the here and now with color holds on the lines.

GP: What is your favorite part about working on He-Man?

MR:  There’s nothing about it I don’t like.  Just working on He-Man and getting to relive my childhood would be enough, but getting to work with Dan and Pop is awesome.  I’m a big fan of both of these guys.  I get excited every time I get a new script in and can’t wait to see what Pop does with it.  Everyone at DC and Mattel have been amazing to work with and I gotta say, the fan support has been fantastic.  This whole experience has been the highlight of my career so far and I look forward to each new issue!

 

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!

Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel, to the Rescue on San Francisco Buses

For those not in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, or Washington, DC, the hate group, American Freedom Defense Initiative run by anti-Islam blogger Pamela Geller, has been running ads on buses telling the “truth” about Islam. Really, it’s a lot of bigotry and hate. A federal court ruled that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had to run the ads, and its not the first time that the MTA has had controversial ads run.

Graphic Policy Radio co-host Elana pointed out this awesome photo posted by the Muslim Community Network where we see Marvel‘s hit new hero Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, covering up the ads that are running in San Francisco and preaching to “stop the hate.”

Kamala stars in her own series Ms. Marvel published by Marvel comics, and is a teenage Muslim girl from Jersey. A brand new character, she’s broken out and one of the stand-out comic debuts of 2014. The comic is written by G. Willow Wilson, a Muslim herself, and is a prime example of the new diversity in comics. It helps that the comic is a fantastic read no matter you’re background.

This is an awesome example of culture jamming, using pop-culture to fight hate speech! Whomever is doing this, awesome job.

10417648_904498016268354_7196046278961532024_nUpdate: We had indicated these buses were in NYC, but in fact this is San Francisco.

Update 2: It looks like its street artists combating various injustices through art are behind it. We’ve reached out to the San Francisco transportation authority for further details.

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