Tag Archives: graphic novels

Dylan Horrocks’s “Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen” Book Tour

Magic PenCritically acclaimed cartoonist, Dylan Horrocks bids farewell to his native New Zealand as he travels to the United States for his first convention appearance in over a decade on a book tour in celebration of the fan-favorite release, Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen. His first graphic novel since the classic, Hicksville, collected in 1998.

Sam Zabel is an exploration of the highs and lows of fantasy through the lens of Zabel, a popular, but creatively stymied, cartoonist. This provoking and thoughtful meditation on the comics medium as art, outlet, and industry leads the reader on an epic adventure with sex-crazed aliens, monks, pirates, and web-cartoonists. Horrocks approaches this one-of-a-kind tale with careful consideration for the artist, the reader, and of course, the story we all yearn to tell.

To promote the graphic novel, he’s taking a tour of the United States and Canada. Check out the dates below!

Tour Dates
September 18……………………..Politics & Prose – Washington DC
September 19-20………………….Small Press Expo – Bethesda, MD
Special Guest*
September 22……………………………Desert Island – Brooklyn, NY
w/ Joan Cornella*
September 24………………………..CCS – White River Junction, VT
Visiting Artist Lecture*
September 26………………….Harvard Bookstore – Cambridge, MA
September 28…………………….Magers & Quinn – Minneapolis, MN
September 30……………………..Challengers Comics – Chicago, IL
October 2……………………….Cartoon Crossroads – Columbus, OH
October 5-7……………..Sequential Arts Workshop – Gainesville, FL
Visiting Artist Workshop*
October 22…………..International Festival of Authors – Toronto, ON
Special Guest*

Snoopy Takes to the Skies in KaBOOM!’s Peanuts: Where Beagles Dare! Original Graphic Novel

KaBOOM!, the all-ages imprint of publisher BOOM! Studios, gets ready to send Snoopy off on a secret World War I mission this September in Peanuts: Where Beagles Dare!, a new, original graphic novel from writer Jason Cooper and artist Vicki Scott that serves as a great accompaniment to the upcoming The Peanuts Movie.

In Peanuts: Where Beagles Dare!, Snoopy, the World War I Flying Ace, is on holiday in France but his leave is cut short when he’s recruited for a top-secret mission. Snoopy must dodge his way through no-man’s land, go deep behind enemy territory, and battle the Red Baron in the blackened skies above. Will Snoopy ever return home to quaff a few root beers with Woodstock and have dinner with Charlie Brown? Find out in this new original graphic novel, which also features nine pages of behind-the-scenes sketches by artist Vicki Scott!

The Peanuts: Where Beagles Dare! original graphic novel arrives in comic shops on September 23rd with a cover by Vicki Scott, Paige Braddock, and Nina Kester for the price of $9.99 under Diamond order code JUL151096. It will arrive in bookstores on September 29th under ISBN 978-1-60886-711-0.

Peanuts Where Beagles Dare

Comics Are More Than Just Superheroes And Spandex

We’ve all got those friends who think that comic books are just people running around in their underwear fighting each other. Who think that comic books are for kids, and are great to waste a few minutes on but don’t actually have anything important to say.

We also all know they’re wrong.

captain-america-1Comics are far more than just superheroes an spandex. Comic books can teach you some of the most important lesson’s you’ll ever learn – at any stage in your life. There are studies that claim that reading comics, graphic novels or even Sunday newspaper strips can increase reading comprehension at an early age. Carol L Tilley, from the University of Illinois has said “If reading is to lead to any meaningful knowledge or comprehension, readers must approach a text with an understanding of the relevant social, linguistic and cultural conventions.And if you really consider how the pictures and words work together in consonance to tell a story, you can make the case that comics are just as complex as any other kind of literature.” Another study has shown that people retain information better from graphic novels than they do from traditional text books. I have also read an account where a dyslexic man explain how comics actually taught him to read (which you can read here). Apparently those who read comics tend to have a larger vocabulary than those who don’t read comics at an earlier age – translation: we’re smarter than those who don’t read comics (I apologize that I’m unable to find the link).

Evidence of comics abilities to help people with reading comprehension can easily be found with a quick Google search, but what of the messages within those comics? Most reading recommendations for younger people (rightly) focus on child-friendly comics. While I don’t advocate children reading Watchmen, those who tell us that comics are nothing more than superheroes and spandex will point to those child-friendly books and say “see,told you so.”

Pic-5Well of course we want kids to see the superheroes.

Superheroes can, and frequently do, inspire us to become better people, although very few of us actually put on a mask and go out and fight crime, there are some that do. While most of us also enjoy reading superhero comics because they’re they’re entertaining, they also have something pretty powerful to say.  Right from the very beginning, Captain America has always been a superhero wrapped in patriotic symbolism. When his very first appearance was punching Hitler in the face on the front cover to 1941’s Captain America Comics #1, Timely Comics (later Marvel) were coming out swinging in their support for the war effort – remember this was more than nine months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Couple that with the image of him bleeding to death outside a courthouse where he was being charged for defending the right for us to keep our information private. Something that, for all of us, is a huge concern in today’s world.

250px-MausFor non-superhero fare, take a look at Art Spiegelman‘s Mausa starkly brutal tale of his father’s life before and during the Holocaust. As a biographical tale of one man’s experience as a Polish Jew in the Auschwitz concentration camp, the story is told by way of Art interviewing his father for the book he is writing (the one you are reading), and by using anthromorphic animals to represent the different races (Jews are depicted as mice, Germans as cats, and non-Jewish Poles as pigs) he both distances the reader just enough from the story to enable them to read the book without becoming too shocked, but at the same time enables the reader to readily identify with the characters. Maus is a book that everybody should read at least once; for non comics fans to see just how wonderful a story telling method it is, and for everyone to appreciate the ways in which Spiegelman deconstructs the medium of comics and explores themes of racism, genocide, familial guilt, and hope.

Maus is a Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novel that has more to say than most books could ever hope to say.  Considered one of the Big Three graphic novels released circa 1986–1987, (the other two are Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns), that are said to have brought the term “graphic novel” and the idea of comics for adults into public awareness. Maus has been credited with changing the perception of what comics could be during a time when, in the English-speaking world, they strongly associated with superheroes and were considered to be for children, and honestly hasn’t changed as much as we’d like to think.

Comic books are much more than just superheroes and spandex, and anybody who tells you that comic books don’t have anything important to say simply doesn’t read them.


Originally posted on Ramblings Of A Comics Fan

Review: Nanjing: The Burning City HC

Nanjing the Burning CityAfter the bombs fall, the Imperial Japanese Army seized the Chinese capital of Nanjing. Now screams echo off the rubble as two abandoned Chinese soldiers—trapped and desperately outnumbered inside the walled city—try to escape. What they’ll encounter will haunt them. But in the face of horror, they’ll learn that resistance and bravery cannot be destroyed.

The story of what happened in Nanjing is something I learned a lot about in college. For those that don’t know, the Japanese army seized the city and committed beyond describe atrocities. By some accounts there was a great rate of murder committed in the time they occupied the city than the Nazis committed during all of World War II. Add on top rape and torture, and the whole event can only be described as the stuff from horror films. If you want to learn more, I highly recommend reading the Rape of Nanjing.

Ethan Young portraying a story during this time isn’t as easy as it sounds. There’s controversy that surrounds it, with each side making claims as to what really happened. Instead of attempting to go into hard details, Young focuses his story on two Chinese soldiers caught in the city and a bit of a focus on the safe zone that existed and mostly housed international individuals.

With that focus, the comic for me felt a little watered down and didn’t show enough of the crimes committed. It hints at some of the atrocities, but other than the rape, there’s not much detail on the rest. That may be good, in that seeing visual depictions of what happened may have actually been too disturbing to read. It also may have been difficult with such a narrow focus, and the horrendous acts being so pervasive.

As is, Young presents an interesting introduction to this real world even, and hopefully it spurs folks into wanting to learn more about what happened. The narrative is a familiar one, two soldiers having to protect some citizens at the risk of their own lives. It’s an entertaining read, and packs just enough emotional oomph to make it relateable.

Young’s art is solid, presenting a clean narrative, and allowing our minds to fill in the gaps for some of the horror that is presented.

Overall, Nanjing: The Burning City feels like a good book to start teens on in hopes they want to do further research about this event that’s often ignored in the West. The graphic novel itself is a fine and quick read that gives a little insight into what happened, and packages it into entertainment, like Saving Private Ryan. Here’s hoping it spurs some more discussion and research into what really happened.

Story: Ethan Young Art: Ethan Young
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Gunnerkrigg Court Vol. 5: Refine HC

Gunnerkrigg Court Vol. 5: Refine HC

Imprint: Archaia
Author: Thomas Siddell
Artist: Thomas Siddell

Thomas Siddell’s award-winning webcomic series continues to be collected in a new hardcover. Antimony’s new responsibilities thrust her into the heart of the forest, taking Parley and Smitty along for the ride! Meanwhile, Kat is left to deal with the mysterious letter she received, and Renard takes the time to reflect on his past decisions. As the year reaches a close, some friendships will grow stronger and some will have to come to an end.

Gunnerkrigg_Court_v5_HC_cover

Love: The Fox Video Trailer

Illustrated by Federico Bertolucci and written by Frédéric Brrémaud Love: The Fox follows a spry, intrepid, one-eyed fox during an average day of foraging when a natural disaster erupts. Readers are taken on a thrillride as animals of all shapes and sizes react to the danger, but the fox inexplicably runs towards the fire, braving daunting obstacles and looming predators to reach a desperate location in the heart of the storm…

This second volume in the celebrated Love series is another beautiful all-ages title that explores genuine natural behavior, like a nature documentary told through the dramatic lens of Disney-esque storytelling. Love: The Fox a lavish, gorgeously rendered and ultimately heartwarming story that is a monument to modern sequential narrative.

BOOM! Announces Three New Series for November

This week, BOOM! Studios announced three new titles that are coming out in November. While the new issue of PREVIEWS doesn’t come out until August 26, you can get the details below!

Last Sons of America #1 (of 4)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Matthew Dow Smith
Cover Artists:
Main Cover: Tonci Zonjic
BOOM! 10 Years Incentive Cover: Brian Stelfreeze
Incentive Cover: Matthew Dow Smith
Format: 32 pages, full color
Price: $3.99
On sale: November

What’s to Love: We were instantly taken with newcomer Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s inventive high-concept story and mature characterization. Throw in a crime thriller element and Matthew Dow Smith’s moody art and Last Sons of America can be the perfect answer to the question, “What if Elmore Leonard directed Children of Men?”

What It Is: When a biological terrorist attack makes it impossible for anyone in America to conceive children, adoption of kids from other countries explodes. Brothers Jackie and Julian are adoption agents based in Nicaragua. They usually do all their options through legal means, but they’re facing increasing competition from straight-up kidnappers. One desperate move from Jackie could put them in the cross-hairs of some very dangerous people.

Last Sons of America #1 Main Cover by Tonci Zonjic

The Amazing World of Gumball Vol. 1: Fairy Tale Trouble

Original Graphic Novel
Publisher: KaBOOM!, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writers: Megan Brennan, Jeremy Lawson
Artists: Katy Farina, Jeremy Lawson
Cover Artist: Katy Farina
Format: 6″ x 9″, 160 pages, full color, softcover
Price: $14.99
On sale: November

What’s to Love: The mixed-media look of The Amazing World of Gumball lends itself perfectly to comics, but now, we get to tell a full-length story, much like what it’d be like if you were watching a super-sized episode of the animated series!

What It Is: It’s a beautiful day for a Renaissance Faire, and the Watterson family is having a blast taking in ye olde fun and games…until a magician’s illusion turns into a real spell, and all of Elmore is cast into a fairy-tale world of quests, danger, and magical adventures! Can Wizard Darwin, Knight Anais, and Jester Gumball save Richard from his everlasting, turkey-leg-induced sleep, or will the citizens of Elmore remain trapped in the Middle Ages forever?

The Amazing World of Gumball Vol. 1 Fairy Tale Trouble OGN Cover by Katy Farina

Peanuts: The Snoopy Special

One-shot
Writers: Jason Cooper, Charles M. Schulz
Artists: Vicki Scott, Charles M. Schulz
Covers:
Main: Charles M. Schulz
Incentive: Charles M. Schulz
Format: 48 pages, full color
Price: $4.99
On sale: November

What’s to Love: With The Peanuts Movie set to debut in November, it’s the perfect time to recognize everyone’s favorite beagle in this Snoopy-centric special, featuring a new, original story.

What It Is: Celebrate the release of the new film with this one-shot Snoopy Special. Follow Snoopy, the World Famous Sergeant-Major of the Foreign Legion, on the mission of a lifetime to save his dear brother Spike, encountering adventure at every which corner of the neighborhood—from Lucy’s Psychiatric Booth to Schroeder’s piano.

Peanuts The Snoopy Special Main Cover by Charles M. Schulz

DC Entertainment Releases Graphic Novel and DVD/Blu-Ray Sets

This week marked DC Entertainment‘s first-ever Graphic Novel and DVD/Blu-Ray sets. The first six are available for $26.99 and feature fan-favorite stories of iconic DC Comics characters, the line-up includes: Batman: Year One, Batman Black And White + Batman: Gotham Knight, The Death Of Superman + Superman: Doomsday, JLA Earth 2 + Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths, Justice League + Justice League: War and Wonder Woman. Each Graphic Novel & DVD/Blu-Ray set is available for purchase through, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, Books a Million, FYE, Hastings, Indie Bound, and Various Comic Shops.

In addition, starting November 3rd, fans can purchase a slipcase set of all six books for $144.99. Attached is the slipcase artwork that was revealed this morning. This will no doubt be a must-have for the Holiday season!

The Little Red Fish from Sink/Swim and Rosarium Out September!

Little Red Fish CoverThe Little Red Fish will be available to the public September 15th from Sink/Swim Press and Rosarium Publishing!

The Little Red Fish by James Moffitt and Bizhan Khodabandeh is an Orwellian retelling of the Iranian revolution. It takes place on a reef off of the Persian Gulf, and follows the journey of a young fish, as he grows into a renowned leader.

With a growing following, and significant critical praise, The Little Red Fish is becoming a known name within the indie comics world. The book is being taught at several arts colleges and is held in collections at several universities, including Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Arkansas. Sink/Swim Press, an independent publisher in Richmond, Virginia, recently released the second book of the six-part series.

Sink/Swim Press and Rosarium Publishing are happy to announce a distribution partnership for The Little Red Fish. Washington, DC-based Rosarium Publishing will now be responsible for all digital distribution of The Little Red Fish Comic series.

Review: American Barbarian The Complete Series

Layout 1Growing up, I used to love watching Saturday morning cartoon TV shows, as any child of my generation, knew that it was the only time we got to watch what we wanted and for hours and n multiple TV channels. I remember waking up at 6:00 in the morning to watch what was on, everything from Gargoyles to Zorro to MASK. I remembered this is the exact medium where I was introduced to high fantasy, everything from Thundarr the Barbarian to He-Man and Masters of the Universe. From that point, I was hooked, I started reaching for everything that was similar, anything to do with dragons and warriors and princesses, all at the same time, seemed like a magical world that one could get swept up in an instance.

Tom Scioli, is a master storyteller, whose talents I believe are nowhere as appreciated as his contemporaries, as I was introduced to his talents in the superb modern classic, Godland. His prior work had been excellent up to this point as his skills as a writer remind of Jim Steranko in so many ways. When I heard that he was using his talents to not only draw but write a series that was based in high fantasy, I was instantly interested in how the end product would turn out. He not only excels in American Barbarian, but his love for everything “Saturday morning cartoons,” exudes throughout the series.

Within American Barbarian, we are introduced to Yoosamon and his seven sons, whose hair, is colored in American Red, White and Blue, who are taking part in a fate ceremony, where they must pull a sword to determine their destiny, as they are protectors of the Lionhorn Dynasty, in a place called New Earthsea, defending against robots, rising dead, genetic supermen, dinosaurs, etc. One is chosen to be the American Barbarian, through this ceremony, and must be the ultimate savior for the kingdom. All seems to fine, until they are attacked by the Two Tank Omen, Ancient Egyptian like creatures who have tanks and invade the kingdom, ultimately killing most of the Yoosamon family except for American Barbarian. He plots his revenge by joining the Two Tank Omen, where he plans to infiltrate them and destroy them from within, ending the series with more than a satisfying end, reminiscent of those Saturday morning cartoons where it draws its inspirations from.

Ultimately, the series is a fun romp through high fantasy, equal parts Turok the Dinosaur Hunter and Heavy Metal, eventually becoming something not only nostalgic but exceptional. Scioli’s story is nothing but love for high fantasy, not only of those Saturday Morning cartoons, but also of authors like Ursula Le Guin. Scioli’s art is the main reason why I loved his work on GI Joe and is the reason why I love his work on this series. Overall, a fun time, that will not only feel reminiscent of the best fantasy out there, but just like any good fiction, will take you away.

Story: Tom Scioli Art: Tom Scioli
Story: 10 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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