About these ads
Tag Archives: steve niles

Preview: Ash and the Army of Darkness #1


Steve Niles (w)
Dennis Calero (a)
Ben Templesmith (c)
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+

The battle has been fought and won. Ash battled and defeated the Deadite image of himself and saved the world. Now all he wants to do is get home and have a normal life. Too bad he messed up the Book of the Dead incantation. New series. New start. Will Ash ever escape the land of the Deadites? Will he ever find his girl? Will he ever remember the last part of the incantation? Now an army of unbelievable horrors rules the land and only Ash can annoy them.


Preview: Chin Music #2

Chin Music #2

Story By: Steve Niles
Art By: Tony Harris
Diamond ID: MAR130560
Published: August 21, 2013

Al Capone is dead. Shot through the skull by Shaws cursed slug, the gangland legend lies dead before Eliot Ness could drag him to court of tax evasion. Shaw’s interference has uprooted history and now Ness wants it set straight. The shot also alerted Shaw’s enemies of his presence in Capone era Chicago, and they are coming for him. They took his skin last time. This time they’ll have his eternal soul.


FanExpo Canada 2013: Dark Horse Announces Schedule!

This weekend, Dark Horse Comics is headed to Toronto for the second largest pop culture convention in North America – FanExpo! Stop by Booth #856 to pick up FREE giveaways—lanyards, window clings, buttons, and posters.  You can also buy copies of your favorite comics, books, and products, including an exclusive Fan Expo Canada variant cover of Halo: Initiation (10 per person per day). All giveaways, exclusives, and items for sale are available while supplies last.

Signings at the Dark Horse Booth

Lines may be capped as needed.

Friday, August 23


Vivek J. Tiwary (creator/writer)

*FREE The Fifth Beatle print!

5:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. ORCHID

Scott Hepburn (artist)

*FREE Orchid comic!

Saturday, August 24

11:00 a.m. –12:00 p.m. BREATH OF BONES and CRIMINAL MACABRE

Steve Niles (creator/writer) and Justin Erickson (cover artist, Criminal Macabre)

*FREE Breath of Bones poster and Criminal Macabre: The Eyes of Frankenstein print!


Vivek J. Tiwary (creator/writer)

*FREE The Fifth Beatle print!

2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m. MIGNOLAVERSE (Hellboy, B.P.R.D., Abe Sapien, Baltimore, Witchfinder, and more!)

Mike Mignola (creator/writer/artist)

*FREE Hellboy poster, Itty Bitty Hellboy window clings, and more!

Special Event

Saturday, August 24


Room 716

Since his first introduction in 1994, Mike Mignola’s Hellboy has gone on to achieve a status in comics typically reserved for characters created 40 years before him. Following up on the first arc of Hellboy in Hell (one of his most popular miniseries to date), an all-new Abe Sapien ongoing series, and the continuing adventures of the supporting cast of the B.P.R.D., we offer you a rare opportunity to enter one of the most intriguing minds of the industry today! Join Bloody Disgusting’s James Wright for a live interview with creator Mike Mignola, along with a chance to ask your own questions about your favorite cast of characters.


Ash and the Army of Darkness#1 Will Be Returnable for Eligible Retailers

Dynamite is betting big on writer Steve Niles and the first issue of Ash and the Army of Darkness, the highly anticipated reboot of the Army of Darkness comic book franchise. The debut comic will be offered to comic book and hobby specialty shop retailers with a special returnable incentive for qualifying accounts.  As a result, the retail customers of Dynamite’s exclusive comic book distributor, Diamond Comic Distributors, are able to go big with their orders and take minimal risk.

The qualifier for this special incentive is as follows:  Any retailer whose September Previews catalog initial order of Ash and the Army of Darkness #1 (any combination of the Ben Templesmith regular edition and the Dennis Calero subscription-only edition) matches or exceeds 120% of their final Red Sonja #1 orders (corresponding to Diamond item codes MAY130985-89, and MAY130993) will be eligible to return any unsold units during a window after the on-sale date.

This follows the relaunch by Dynamite of Red Sonja with writer Gail Simone.

There’s a lot to feel good about with this reboot of the Army of Darkness comic franchise. Steve Niles is an amazing writer and master of the horror genre. Plus there’s the fact it’s Ash and the hardcore fan base of the Evil Dead movies.

Ash and the Army of Darkness #1 is solicited in the September 2013 Previews Catalog #300, corresponding to items shipping in November 2013; the anticipated on-sale date is Wednesday, November 6, 2013.  Two cover editions are available for order, the regular edition by Ben Templesmith (Diamond Item Code SEP131050) and Subscription-Only variant edition by Dennis Calero (SEP131051); each edition retails for $3.99.  Retailers serviced by Diamond Comic Distributors can place wholesale orders online, via fax, or by contacting their dedicated Customer Service Representative.  Initial orders may be placed on Ash and the Army of Darkness #1 beginning on August 28, 2013, and the deadline for September Previews Catalog initial orders is September 26, 2013.

ASHandAOD01-Cov-Subscription ASHandAOD01-Cov-Templesmith

Review: Star Wars #8, Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #3

Star Wars #8

19819Brian Wood’s run on the original trilogy-era Star Wars has been great so far, following multiple plot-lines with relative ease while simultaneously developing characters like Leia and Luke to an emotional depth beyond the OT.

Star Wars #8 sees Luke and Wedge board Vader’s Star Destroyer Devastator in the hopes of placing a comm-spy, Leia greets a very odd and out-of-place ship from the Clone Wars era, and Han and Chewie get out of (and then into more) trouble. So, it’s good old classic Star Wars! To top it all off, after reading dozens of 1970s Star Wars comics from the months following the release of Episode IV in 1977, I can now with conviction compare Wood’s writing in this new series to early Star Wars comics. In fact, I’d wager that someone unfamiliar with the franchise could jump right on with issue one and feel completely comfortable. Wood’s writing, therefore, isn’t the high class narrative art of, say, Grant Morrison or Alan Moore or Neil Gaiman, but it works in its own way to create a ‘classic’ Star Wars.

Ryan Kelly’s art, however, does not do justice to the comic—or to the Star Wars saga—and has fallen to the wayside as some Star Wars series have certainly done, especially those that were ushered in following the hubbub of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Characters’ faces look awkward, like forcing their on-screen namesake’s into lines that don’t fit, although Kelly does as great a job as any on the starfighters and cruisers. David Michael Beck’s cover detracts from the work as a whole; if the cover is to be a selling point, Beck’s cover for Star Wars #8 would keep only the most die-hard of fans away.

Star Wars #8 is a solid continuation of a great on-going series; it’s certainly not my favorite Star Wars series right now, with that title falling to Legacy or Dark Times, but it’s the Empire era as it hasn’t been explored in comics for 30 years. This is a must buy if you’re a Star Wars fan, but I’d recommend you only read it if you’re not hard-core into Star Wars.

Story: Brian Wood  Art: Ryan Kelly
Story: 8  Art: 6.5  Overall: 7  Recommendation: Read

Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #3

22774Steve Niles and Dave Wachter have created a series worthy of Eisners and Harveys, a story of true heroics and a tale of faith-in-oneself that is uplifting without being preachy. Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #3 completes this miniseries, but is much too short. Unlike the recently ended and equally fantastic Amala’s Blade and Akaneiro, Breath of Bones #3 does not suffer from awkward plot speed, but concludes a stand-alone story deserving of more pages only because I can’t get enough of it!

Niles’ writing is curt, to the point, and almost non-existent. He is a writer who knows how to lend the reigns to the artist, and his few words are well-chosen and expertly spoken. If anything, the words are entirely unnecessary, except for the child’s, since he delivers the most potent lines of the fearful dangers of an ever-encroaching evil and the good that is waiting to be molded by our own hands.

Wachter provides the most impressive black-and-white sketches which lend gravitas to the emotions of the situation and which create some of the most complex shading work I’ve seen in comics. His Golem is everything a Jewish hero in WWII should be: a juggernaut that silently protects, defeats the enemies with ease, and becomes one with the earth when there is no need for defense. This hero is a defender, not a weapon.

Niles and Wacther’s Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem is a tour-de-force of what the comics industry can produce, a hope-giving triumph of the graphic narrative medium that reminds us what it means to be a superhero—a lesson we could all use in an age when heroes face the apocalypse ever other month.

Story: Steve Niles  Art: Dave Wachter
Story: 9  Art: 10  Overall: 9  Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review 

Review: Dark Horse Presents #26

22732As usual, Dark Horse provides tales of intrigue, terror, fear, fun, and excitement in the latest edition of the everything-and-anything anthology Dark Horse Presents #26. This series is a keystone in Dark Horse’s publishing career, as it draws together all of the elements that have made Dark Horse a fantastic company highly deserving of its spot as the third largest comic book seller in America. More so, it was Dark Horse’s main title starting in 1986, cancelled in 2000, and then revived on MySpace (of all places) between 2007 and 2010, with the current volume restarting in print in April 2011.

This month’s issue features eleven stories, some of them in on-going series that have been featured previously in DHP (e.g. the Trekker, Underground, Nexus, Alabaster), some that are debuts for new DHP series (Nosferatu Wars, Juice Squeezers), others that are one-shots, and a Buffy tie-in by television series writer Espenson. Plus, it continues the “Crime Does not Pay” series, which was the title of a famous 1950s comics series.

There’s just too much to review, so I’m only going to focus on my two favorite picks from Dark Horse Presents #26, “Nosferatu Wars” and “Steggy Wilmot and Spimps,” though my rating reflects the book as a whole. And don’t let my selections deter you from thinking there’s other incredible stories in this volume, because believe me, there are.

“Nosferatu Wars” was my favorite of the stories, a tale of vampires during the Black Plague which had my mind turning to Boccaccio’s Decameron (sorry, obscure), and which has a rather limited narrative. It’s written by Steve Niles, a horror master and current writer of Dark Horse’s Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem (not a horror story), and I was surprised to find that “Nosferatu Wars” reads like a hastily put together, cheesy tale of haute societe vampires, despite its definite narrative hook.

The highly realistic art of mMnton3 reminds one of the trompe-l’oeil style popularized in comics by Neal Adams in the 1960s, and has the ring of the fantastic work by Philip S. Tan on the early Savage Hawkman New 52 books (before that run got pretty bad and waned into nonexistence). But comparisons of Menton3’s art to others don’t do Menton3 any justice, as “Nosferatu Wars” has a nature all its own, unique and complex and lively and dead all at the same time.

Just as appealing, but much weirder…significantly so, is Patrick Alexander’s “Steggy Wilmot and Spimps,” which is a pointlessly hilarious and absurd day in the life of an extremely rich billionaire with a sad pig, an ugly butler, and a desire to write a newspaper. In just four pages, Alexander manages to astound and confuse with his out-of-this-world potato-head cast. I really don’t have a clue what’s going on with this story, and I imagine it’s like a rich British man on LSD, but I certainly hope we get more of Alexander’s “Steggy Wilmot and Spimps” weirdness. It’s just gotta happen, right?

Despite being an anthology—and one might fear that some bad eggs could slip in—editor Mike Richardson has ensured a batch of high-quality comics, which run the gamut of realistic horror to funny strip to classic sci-fi. While Dark Horse Presents #26 isn’t for everyone, I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in sampling the diverse possibilities of graphic narratives, as well as those who are fans of the genres or writers/artists featured in this issue. DHP certainly delivers.

Story: Ron Randall, Steve Niles, Andrew Vachss, Mike Richardson, David Lapham, Mike Baron, Patrick Alexander, Jane Espenson, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Frank Bariere, Dara Naraghi  Art: Ron Randall, Menton3, Dominic Reardon, David Lapham, Steve Rude, Patrick Alexander, Patric Reynolds, Karl Moline, Andy Owens, Steve Lieber, Micah Kaneshiro, Tom Williams
Story: 8  Art: 8  Overall: 8  Recommendation: Read

SDCC 2013: Dynamite Announces Steve Niles on Ash and the Army of Darkness

AshAndAODLogoTempLeading up to this week’s San Diego Comic-Con, Dynamite has announced that their flagship comic book title, Army of Darkness, will receive a complete overhaul and a new ongoing series as imagined by Steve Niles, acclaimed author of 30 Days of Night and Batman: Gotham County Line.  A horror/action series with dark comedic overtones, the newly-titled Ash and the Army of Darkness continues the time-traveling, demon-fighting adventures of Ash Williams, the smart-mouthed hero of the 1992 cult-favorite film of the same name.

Niles is calling it a complete reboot, a word that often worries fans. But Niles is looking at this as a continuation of the movie series instead. The new series will start and the last frame of the film and then go right to the next.

Niles said about the announcement:

It’s a wild ride and I think fans of the film will be very happy because I am bringing back a lot of what made the movie so fun.  My run of Ash and the Army of Darkness takes place almost entirely in the 1300′s setting. That was what made Army of Darkness stand apart.  I’m hoping readers agree.

The film is one of my favorites and I think we have a really fresh, exciting take for Ash’s continuing adventures fighting the dead.  Dynamite has been expanding their line and have an impressive array of comic creators working with them now.  I’m looking forward to joining the team.

Niles is probably best known for his work on 30 Days of Night, but he includes a long list of series as a writer including  I Am Legend, Hellspawn, Chin Music, Simon Dark, The X-Files, Remains, Criminal Macabre, and 28 Days Later.

Should be a cool series and with Niles on it, immediately goes up into the anticipated category, especially with the persistent rumor we’ll be getting a new entry in the movie series from Sam Raimi himself.

ASHandAOD01-Cov-Template ASHandAOD01-Cov-Template-Calero

Review: Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #2

20130709-211557.jpgSteve Niles strayed far from his horror comfort zone to scribe this wonderful three part World War II fable. After rescuing the pilot of a downed allied aircraft, the residents are torn between saving his life and risking theirs or turning him away for the good of the village. After a divided decision to keep him, led by the grandfather of Noah, the boy who found the plane, they race to keep him hidden. It is all in vain though. A Nazi search party discovers his location and scrambles out of the town to alert the forces. The grandfather decides it is time to make believers out of a Jewish folk tale and awaken the golem.

Niles smartly sticks to a tight script, and lets Dave Wachter‘s simple, yet elegant black and white pencils do an equal amount of talking. The single best decision this team makes is the slow burn reveal of the beast. The first issue didn’t even hint at it until the final frames, and this latest builds on that tension as the townspeople use mud in imaginative ways. Therein also lies my biggest complaint…the covers. So much time and care was spent on the slow reveal, yet the covers have a full fledged golem head butting tanks and chucking Nazis like frisbees. I have to believe this was a marketing decision, because there is an inside credits page that shows two cupped hands holding a golem figurine that would have made a beautiful cover.

As I await the third and final issue of Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem, I have no doubt I will be left wanting a monthly run. But, as with folklore, some of the best stories aren’t necessarily the longest. Battling the Third Reich is good versus evil of the highest order and, along with Niles’ exceptional miniseries, will never get old.

Story: Steve Niles Art: Dave Wachter
Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

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

Review: Star Wars #7, Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #2

Star Wars #7

SW7Brian Wood’s Original Trilogy era Star Wars comic continues with Star Wars #7, the start of a whole new arc for the heroes of the Rebellion, with pencils by Ryan Kelly, inks by Dan Parsons, and solid color work by Gabe Eltaeb, a Star Wars comics regular. I once read a review of the first issue of this series which said that this series is exactly what Star Wars is supposed to be (can’t remember where I saw that…), and I have to say that reviewer nailed it square on the head. It’s a complex but easy-going, multi-plot comic with the atmosphere of the first three films and their space fantasy ingenuity. Star Wars #7 does not disappoint.

Wood’s story takes an interesting turn in this issue, including Darth Vader revealing a side of him that hasn’t been seen often, a side that has him plotting his own means to gain power within the Empire under Palpatine’s nose (at the expense of Colonel Bircher). Meanwhile, Luke points out something that, as fans of his heroic exploits, I think many of us forgot: to the Empire, Luke is completely anonymous, absolutely no one knows who he is. Well, duh! Why didn’t I think of that? We also see a more emotional side of Luke and Leia, bonding over the death of Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen on a return to Tatooine, and Leia’s loss of Alderaan, which we’ve never seen her grieve for. On the Core Worlds, Han and Chewie continue their attempt to escape Coruscant in a classically unusual and garbage-related manner.

While Wood’s writing is not spectacular, his narrative continues to be a great addition to the Star Wars universe’s great galactic history. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of the transition that’s been made to artist Ryan Kelly; I much preferred Carlos D’Anda, who drew the first six issues. Kelly is great with the long-shots and capturing the Star Wars menagerie of ships and galactic background—however, there are perhaps too many half-page and full-page panels—but his illustrations of faces suffer from awkwardness, and the one image of Chewbacca looks like a photograph of someone wearing a Chewbacca costume, including the costume lines and all (I’m not sure if that’s misplaced skill or just failure to capture Chewie for comics). This is the difficult thing about franchise art: either you get the character’s faces to a T, or you make it abstract so as to be beyond reproach (e.g. the Buffy comics). Despite these shortcomings, Eltaeb wraps everything neatly in his colors, making the transition to the new artist almost unnoticeable. Almost.

On the whole, Star Wars #7 is an intriguing comic that continues the post-Battle of Yavin saga of the Rebellion and Darth Vader’s attempt to rebuild his standing in the eyes of the Emperor, despite the issue suffering slightly from awkward illustrations.

Story: Brian Wood  Art: Ryan Kelly, Dan Parsons, Gabe Eltaeb
Story: 7.5  Art: 6.5  Overall: 7.5  Recommendation: Read

Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #2

BB2Writer Steve Niles’ and talented illustrator Dave Wachter’s Dark Horse mini-series about a boy and his golem continues in Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #2. I found myself moved by the story, and was so caught up in the suspense of a coming German invasion that I didn’t realize I’d already reached the last page! That’s a pretty strong indication that this comic is worth the buy, and overall a solid and well-orchestrated follow-up to the premiere issue.

Niles’ writing is once again eloquent, telling a story that is both new and old on many levels. Content wise, it’s a story about Ashkenazim (Eastern European Jews) using faith and community to stand up to moral and political wrongs. In a way, it’s sort of timeless—the protagonists aren’t ever labeled ‘Jews,’ and the enemies aren’t called ‘Nazis,’ just “Germans.” But the iconography is unmistakable, replete with iron crosses, starched stormtrooper uniforms, the garb and donnings of poor Eastern European villagers, and, most importantly, the golem. Perhaps it’s the silent presentation of place and time that make the narrative seem timeless, allowing the reader to put her own thoughts and emotions into the story, creating a much more personal reading experience.

Wachter’s artistry helps build the nostalgic milieu of this bleak landscape: a community faced with destruction, a dying grandfather, and a child learning what it means to trust in faith. Emotions come to life on character’s faces, and Wachter truly captures the terror of grayed Nazi uniforms and all that the traumatic historical baggage therewith. Last but not least, we get to see the communal construction of the golem—truly a wonder of artistry—and Wachter brings animates the mythological monster in the last, full-page panel.

“The goodhearted need never fear failure. It is only the wicked who can fail at this task.” Niles and Wachter have created a future classic, one that tells a tale of psychological and faith-borne maturity and resistance in the face of impending doom. Niles has told a Jewish tale of WWII in which the Jews might not be victims, but their own heroes, and Wachter has brought this complex scenario to life, expressing the emotional spectrum and gravity of the situation through his black and white pencils.

Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #2 has a little bit of something for everybody, and is in general a saga to find yourself happily lost in.

Story: Steve Niles  Art: Dave Wachter
Story: 9  Art: 9  Overall: 9  Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

Review: Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #1 (of 3)

Breath Bones 1Whether you knew it before, or not—and now you know—Judaism and comics go hand in hand, especially here in America. I’m talking creators (Will Eisner, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Al Jaffee, Neil Gaiman, Jerry Robinson, and Art Spiegelman), famous comics and graphic novels (Maus), and thematic issues which can be read as metaphors for anti-Semitism (X-Men). But while Greek, Roman, Norse, and Indian mythology populate the narratives and superhero origin stories of thousands of comics and characters, Jewish mythology seems to be missing—and I think most people would ask, what is Jewish mythology?

Pick up Steve Niles’ new 3-part mini-series from Dark Horse, Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem, illustrated by Dave Wachter, and you’ll get a grand taste of one of the most famous figures in Jewish mythology: the Golem.

Of course, just about any Nerd knows what a Golem is, especially those who’ve played D&D or basically any fantasy RPG in the last 30 years (console, computer, or tabletop). Golem means ‘unshaped form’ in Classical Hebrew (a language which I have some training in, as both a Jew and a former Classics student), and stories of the Golem date back to the time of the Talmud (c.200 CE) and stretch throughout the Middle Ages and, as this comic shows, to the present. The Golem is seen as a protector, and nothing could be more of a superhero for the downtrodden, denigrated, and persecuted Jews of Eastern Europe. Effectively, the Golem might be the original superhero figure at least in theme.

Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #1 is a wonderful read, and it’s a book I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, as a Jewish comic book collector and a literary enthusiast. Steve Niles is typically a horror comics writer, one of the finest there is, and his story (co-developed with Matt Santoro) does not disappoint from a general reader’s perspective. It’s a touching, vivid portrayal of the horrors of war from the eyes of a young Jewish boy, showcasing the burden of parents in protecting their charges both physically and emotionally. It’s also a tale of a tight-knit community working together to save a man and protect themselves, knowing full-well that the onslaught of war will reach them no matter what.

As Americans, it’s truly difficult for us to imagine the fear of war-wrought devastation and the total breakdown of national security and personal/communal safety. It is my theory that, following the events of 9/11, the rise of apocalyptic scenarios in film, television, and literature is partly a result of America mentally preparing itself for what a world without order, ruled by war, would be like. We haven’t known that fear so close to home since the 1860s, and yet for most of the rest of the world’s citizens (except, perhaps Canada and Antarctica) the trauma of war and conflict is recent history or current events.

World War II may be almost 70 years in our past, but the historical and generational trauma of the event in Europe and for the Jews in particular is very much alive, especially in a world where Holocaust deniers persists and anti-Semitism continues to be a popularly held conception in many circles. Niles captures this perfectly, telling a story that is not sappy with self-pity but instead resilient and staunch in its objection to persecution and resistance against all odds.

Dave Wacther’s black-and-white prints drain the color from this bleak period in history, a time of rations and hysteria, when the sound of any engine or thump was cause for alarm. Wachter’s art is some of the most complex, detailed, and humanistic I’ve seen in a while, the comic book equivalent of Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers, busy with intensity when appropriate, calm and quiet (but not serene) when necessary. And kudos to the folks at Dark Horse for printing all of the interior advertisements in color and not disrupting the flow of the visual narrative.

If you only read superhero comics, you’re missing out; there’s so much the comics medium can achieve, and Niles and Wachter showcase just some of its breadth with eloquence and respect, bringing another Dark Horse masterpiece to market in the shape of Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #1

Story: Steve Niles and Matt Santoro  Art: Dave Wachter
Story: 9  Art: 10  Overall: 10  Recommendation: Buy


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,999 other followers

%d bloggers like this: