Author Archives: George Carmona 3rd

Mine To Avenge: Book Of Layla #1 comes to Kickstarter

Mine To Avenge: Book Of Layla #1, a new Kickstarter which kicked off on the 14th of November, is a futuristic cyberpunk filled with action and a dash of the supernatural. As spoiler free as possible, the first issue is a solid starting point for readers with its fast-moving plot that pulls you in with tight dialogue and snappy banter. Mine To Avenge is a mystery that starts in pre-Civil War New Orleans, then time jumps to Russia in the 22nd century, where we find our main characters rescuing a damsel in distress followed by the return of a dark nemesis.

Written and created by Robert Jeffrey II, keep an eye out for him as a recent participant of the DC Comics Writers Workshop program, you can see the refinement of his writing skills in this creator-owned project. Supporting him is an Italian artist Matteo Illuminati, whose work is new to me, but another one to look out for as he does characters and action amazingly well. Also helping with the visuals of the book is colorist and letterer Loris Ravina, whose color pallet helps to enhance and set the mood of the story.

And for proof of development, here are the first six pages of the book.

Published by Evoluzione Publishing, for more information or character designs, check their Kickstarter or Facebook pages. The campaign runs until December 15.

Review: Batman and the Justice League Vol. 1

When the Joker and Lex Luthor team up to harness and control an ancient reality changing force of energy, it’s up to Batman, the Justice League and Rui Aramiya, a young boy from Japan in search of his parents, to stop them and save the day.

Hot on the heels of the Anime Batman Ninja, Batman is no stranger to the manga treatment. Having been manga-nized twice, first in Kia Asamiya’s Batman: Child of Dreams and a short story Batman: The Third Mask in issue #4 of Batman: Black & White by Katsuhiro Otomo, but this new collection is being serialized first in the Japanese anthology Red and is by Shiori Teshirogi, best known for her work on Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas.

If you’ve never read a manga interpretation of a western comic, the style takes a bit of getting use to when looking at it with traditional superhero sensibility lenses. Don’t be confused by the title, much like Bruce Timm’s Batman cartoon, this book makes Batman the lynchpin of the series/universe, with the exception of Superman, we barely see the League and when we do it’s with someone referencing them. Like most manga, it’s filled with a ton of introspective character panels and for a brooder like Batman, it works well.

With elements of post-Crisis DC and the New 52, undies on the inside and references to Jason Todd’s death, the story has that cosmic high stakes feel that we come to expect from most JLA runs. The art is top notch, the anatomy is a bit wonky, Superman’s head is a touch too small for his body, but the action is tight, engaging and energetic, and Teshirogi’s Joker is what a Joker should be, a stylized nightmare skeleton come to life.

The advance digital copy I reviewed from DC was a weird manga hybrid, the book read left-to-right, but the panels read right-to-left like most manga, not sure what the final product will be like. Either way this first collection is a solid fusion of the two genres, worth the read. Batman and the Justice League Vol. 1 is out now at your local comic shop and book stores on October 23rd.

Blerd City 2.0 Beams Back to New York

The first thing you need to know about Blerd City is that it isn’t a convention, it’s a conference. What’s the difference you ask, Blerd City was created by founder Clairesa Clay as a crossroads of geekdom and social issues that enhance or impact Black culture.

IMG_3285Blerd City 2.0 was aptly named as the conference had new dates July 13-14, a new home, St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York, and with the panels and events in a more centralized location moving from one to another was easier then last years. In addition to the main events there were more vendors, a free arts and station for kids, and for the grown folk excursions to local bars for a brief talk on Bourbon or cosplay meetup.

Day One

Saturdays highlights started with A Black Space Odyssey: 21st Century Sci-Fi Adventure, a discussion on the influence of sci-fi and media with people of color presented by Darlena Mari of the Starbase Centaur 42-10 fan group. Members of the group have a passion for Trek and it’s message of being less hung up on race theory or as Darlena put it “At least on Star Trek you died because of the color of your shirt not your skin.”

Code, Write & Sip moderated by Nicole Franklin and Mekesia Brown teamed up to tackle social problems with technology. Using writing techniques to craft a narrative for the coding, this crash course was best for folks who have a background in coding.

As a fan of Star Trek, I was looking forward to the Son of Mogh panel, an indepth look at everyones favorite Klingon, Worf. Presented by the energetic and funtastic Kennedy aka Storm Tribble of the Black Tribbles. She covered everything, from his hairstyles over the years, to the politics on screen and behind the lens.

Day Two

Normally I hate walking in on a movie that that’s already started, but for day two 2015’s Battledream Chronicle, an animated French film, was the exception with its digital animation and stylish character designs. In a world were most of the citizens are kept in a virtual universe, I was sucked into this mashup of The Hunger Games, the Matrix and Yu-Gi-Oh.

We love to talk about cosplay, unfortunately we don’t talk about mental illness, but thankfully Surviving as Womyn and NonBinary People of Color with Mental Illness in Cosplay did. Moderated by Mel Pellerano, panelist talked about how cosplay/geekdom helps with their various illnesses by giving them focus and momentum to move through the day. Adversely, it could also enhance their depression or lower their self-esteem, if costumes don’t come out as planned or people just being unnecessarily mean. My biggest takeaway was the obvious mental health has to be worked on, not so obvious, the work/selfcare that goes into it. These women should be commended for getting in front of strangers to open up and tell their stories.

An educator in her own right Deirdre Hollman’s Teens in Comics panel was a showcase of teens and their roles in educational comic workshops, being shown how to create structure for their stories. Also, part of this talk was the short film See You Yesterday by Stefon Bristol, a powerful sci-fi film about a young girl who keeps going back in time to save her brother from being killed by the cops.

As it did last year, the conference ended with citations being awarded, to deserving recipients who were acknowledged for their positive contributions to the culture. This years recipients were comic book artist Khary Randolph, Kyesha Ruffin, owner of Science in the City a NY based STEM program, educator and Black Comics Collective founder Deirdre Hollman and FUBU co-founder Keith Perrin Jr.

This was its sophomore year and like most conferences Blerd City Conference had some growing pains, but keeping the tech analogy going, things were updated on the fly and patches were put in place. The most important thing to take away is that this gathering of people geeking out, having fun, learning and sharing, is a worthy mid-season event for folks who like to shake things up. I look forward to Blerd City 3.0!

George Carmona3rd is an Artist/Writer, former Milestone Media Intern, former DC Comics paper pusher, current book lover, and lifelong comic geek. You can find his work at FistFullofArt.com or follow him on twitter at GCarmona3.

4th of July Patriots

The 4th of July means different things to many people, as we celebrate the USA’s birthday, I wanted to highlight 5 patriots that aren’t Steve Rogers but wear the colors and are willing to stand or take a knee for their beliefs.


5) America Chavez aka Ms. America – this super-powered young woman is one of the true faces of what America is, a one woman powerhouse, lesbian immigrant from another dimension. As she has settled in the 616 universe, she has worked to improve life as a member of the Ultimates.

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4) Super Patriot – straight from the pages of the Savage Dragon, Johnny Armstrong was a WWII superhero who was viciously beaten by villains in the 90’s resulting in his being turned into a WMD. In this new incarnation Super Patriot continues the never ending battle of good vs. evil.

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3) La Borinqueña – makes the list as a symbol of Puerto Rican resilience. As part of the US she uses her elemental powers to uplift and inspire Puerto Ricans on the island and throughout the US in the shared colors of the flag, and make no mistake she is American.

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2) Sam Wilson aka the Falcon – but forever my Captain, Sam is the Captain we need and he made the role his by incorporating his signature wings and social outlook into the legacy of carrying the shield.


1) Martha Washington – takes the number one spot because she can. This future patriot rose up from the most dangerous housing project in Chicago to become Earth’s literal savior without any powers or enhancements. Her force of will, coupled with her compassion is what makes her the number one patriot of this or any 4th.

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Women in Comics Con Rocks Brooklyn

On the last Saturday in June and first day of a NYC heatwave, the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza was host to the Women in Comics Con or WinC. This was its first year in Brooklyn but this free con has for four years showcased women creators in multiple disciplines and genres.

I was pulling multiple duties working to cover the panels, check out the vendors, one came all the way from California, and being a guest co-host on the livestream broadcast of Musical Pathways show. We spoke with any creators we could pull into the room.

Now you might be asking, as a guy why should I care? The answer is because theses creators, who just happen to be women are talented, and have ideas that transcend the page or screen. This con is called Women in Comics, but it is a massively inclusive event that works to bring fans together, whatever your gender, sexual orientation, or race.

With panels like “Feminism and Fandom” they discussed the issues that women face trying to simply have fun in their respective geekery. What made this panel a gateway was they didn’t just talk about the toxic elements in fandom, they gave solid suggestions on how to bring folks in without poisoning their love of the genre. Comic writer Vita Ayala put it best “Make friends and don’t be a dick!”

There were other panels and workshops that discussed how pros got their start, planning grassroots conventions, portfolio reviews, mental health in fandom and a lightsaber demonstration from the Rouge Alliance.

If you have kids that like comics sign up from their newsletter to keep up to date on their events.

Five Days of Books

Everyone’s heard of Comic Con be it the San Diego or New York editions, for the non-comic geeks or book nerds there’s ReedPOP’s other pop culture offsprings Book Expo America and Book Con. These two events combine over five days, May 30th to June 3rd, in New York City to give readers a glimpse at upcoming books and a chance to meet their favorite authors.

To be clear the first three days, Book Expo America or BEA, are more for industry folks, giving them a chance to chat and politik, like I did, look for upcoming book reviews as soon as I get a chance to power through my book haul. The last two days, Book Con is for the fans to get a chance to grab autographs and also learn about books on the horizon, and snag some discounted books, I spent a bit more than I needed too.

What follows are my 3 highlights, which can different from someone else’s, so please be kind as I went to panels that sparked my interests.

Day 1 is more for signing in but I was able to squeeze in my first panel, The Graphic Novels You Can’t Miss of 2018, moderated by Publishers Weekly’s Calvin Reid gave me a heads up on a gang of graphic novels that cover several genres; a memoir by David Small (Home After Dark), a new take on food by Blue Delliquanti (Meal), sports stories by Ngozi Ukazu (Check, Please!) and more sci-fi from the mind of Tim Fielder (creator of Matty’s Rocket).

 

On day 2, for whatever reason, odds are my Mom and her politicking, I’ve been in rooms with Congress people and Mayors before, but never a living legend like Congressman John Lewis and I was one of the lucky ones to meet him, Afua Richardson, and Andrew Aydin as they signed samplers of their new book Run.

My last panel for the Con on day 5 was PBS’s The Great American Read with authors Glynnis MacNicol, Yahdon Israel, Veronica Roth, Daniel Jose Older, and host host Lindsay Ellis. This literary showdown pitted American classics against each other in preparation for the eight-part series that explores 100 best-loved American novels chosen from a national survey. I still can’t believe that Harry Potter was the winner of our panel event. To vote or for more information go to PBS.

Of course there were other great panels, filled with authors who were gracious with their wit and insight in a carnival like space with a few Cosplayers, but if you’re a book lover like me you need to find your way to one of these amazing gatherings of book nerds.

 

George Carmona 3rd is an Artist/Writer, former Milestone Media Intern, former DC Comics paper pusher, lifelong comic geek and book lover. He is also the author of  DC Super Friends Joke Book from Penguin Random House. You can find his work at FistFullofArt.com or follow him on twitter at GCarmona3.

Book Review: Head On

HeadOnCoverTo some left with nothing, winning becomes everything

If HBO needs a near future season for True Detective, the world of Lock In is it, and Head On is the sci-fi buddy cop book you didn’t know you needed.

In this follow up to his hit book Lock In, John Scalzi takes us deeper into this near future world where 1% of the Earth’s population are unable to move and are “locked in” to their bodies. People afflicted with this disease, Haden’s Syndrome, use robot hosts to interact with the world outside their bodies.

Told in the first person, our main character FBI Agent Chris Shane, a person with HS, and his lead partner veteran agent Leslie Vann investigate a tragic incident in the popular game of Hilketa, a sport that is a mashup of football and gladiator matches born out of HS. From there the two agents travel down the rabbit hole of deception and murder surrounding the future of this sport.

As an exercise in world building, Scalzi delivers a masterclass creating a world that isn’t just about folks who need to use robot avatars. He has created the science behind the disease, the tech to overcome it, fleshed out the laws and economics for people with HS. He has developed the social etiquette of the afflicted and of course created the game Hilketa that this book centers on.

Head On is a fast paced thriller that sucks you in and Scalzi’s signature dialog keeps you engaged. If I’m ever murdered, I want Agents Shane and Vann on the case.

Head On will be released in hardcover and digital on April 17th 2018 by Tor Books.

 

Tor Books provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

 

Review: Deathstroke #30 – Deathstroke vs. Batman part 1

When Batman discovers a mysterious package containing DNA test results proving that he is not Damian Wayne’s biological father, the Dark Knight sets his sights on his son’s true father-Deathstroke! But Damian Wayne can’t really be Slade Wilson’s son-can he? And who sent the package-and why? The ultimate custody battle ensues as the World’s Greatest Detective and the World’s Deadliest Assassin clash in this instant classic!

It’s always noteworthy when Deathstroke and Batman cross paths, it’s a special event when the writer is master scribe Christopher Priest.

In Deathstroke #30, the first issue of this six part arc, Priest uses a Venn diagram with genius effect, breaking the characters down he’s able to intertwine their worlds by connecting then through their aides de camp, the relationships with their son’s and past histories with Talia Al Ghul.

The art team of Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, and Jeromy Cox take Priest’s hot script and turn in slick art filled with action and cool shots of the two badasses going at it. And as nice as the action is, I really enjoyed the moody Batman doing his detective scenes the most.

My one criticism of this issue is it felt more like a Bat book, which makes me wonder why he hasn’t written one of the main Bat titles before. All in all a great start to a great read, buy it, I’ll be adding it to my pull list.

Story: Christopher Priest Art: Carlo Pagulayan
Inks: Jason Paz Color: Jeromy Cox Letterer: Willie Schubert
Cover: Lee Weeks & Brad Anderson
Group Editor: Brian Cunningham Editor: Alex Antone Assistant Editor: Dave Wielgosz

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Midnight Front is Mission Impossible meets Harry Potter

Known primarily for his extensive work with a specific Space Traveling franchises, David Mack takes a creative detour to bring us a shadow war of mystics set during World War II in his novel Midnight Front.

After losing his parents Cade Martin, a magical prodigy with a hidden secret, becomes part of this clandestine group of mystics and learns how to control magic to join the Allies fight against their evil Nazi counterparts during the war.

If you’re not familiar with Mack’s other works he is a pro at entertaining readers, and Midnight Front is no exception. Here he takes the hero’s journey and elevates it into an engaging thrill ride in the shadows of wartime Europe, from the Holocaust to the Invasion of Normandy and the bombing of Dresden, he intertwined his characters into this period of history like master.

The framework that Mack creates for their use of magic, or the Arts as they call it, is intense in its details and he’s one of those writers who isn’t afraid to torture or even kill a character, trust me I know. And the characters are a diverse group that doesn’t come off as two dimensional stereotypes, they’re fleshed out people that deal with the adverse effects of handling magic with smoking and drinking. I love that his characters recognize the need to beat evil but not at the cost of their core, fighting for what’s right.

 

On a personal note, Mack through Midnight Front doesn’t pull any punches with his chapters that take place in the Concentration Camps, at first I was overwhelmed and wondered why so much time was spent at the Camps, but then it occurred to me that was the point, to show the depth of the crime that happened during the war. Midnight Front puts a spotlight on the Nazis, their supporters, the atrocities that they committed and remind us that they are an evil that needs to be fought and eradicated in any time period. He also doesn’t flinch at the homophobia that forced people to hide their orientation, the hypocritical racism of the US and its willingness to acquire power by any means.

If you like magic, military thrillers or historical fiction Midnight Front is the book for you. Available in different formats, Midnight Front is the first book in the Dark Arts series from Tor Books.

 

George Carmona 3rd is an Artist/Writer, former Milestone Media Intern, former DC Comics paper pusher, current book lover, and lifelong comic geek who’s been killed off in a Star Trek Book by David Mack. You can find his work at FistFullofArt.com or follow him on twitter at GCarmona3.

 

Black Comic Book Festival Kicks Off the Season

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Con season for comics starts with the Black Comic Book Festival, held January 12-13, at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, located in Harlem, NYC. Now in its 6th year, BCBF is a free event that has grown into one of the premier destinations for creators and fans of Black Comic Culture to come together.

While Friday is a subdued day, it started the con by welcoming local schools for a morning trip to come experience Black and Latino geek culture, where they learned a bit about the craft and got some insight to the source materials of their favorite comics and cartoons. In their opening remarks BCBF Founders Jerry Craft and Diedre Holdman told the kids that they created this event because “We wanted you to know that there are people like you creating Heroes.“

Like most cons, there were vendors, two full days of panels and colorful cosplayers strutting about, but this celebration was extra special with all the excitement around the upcoming Black Panther movie and Black Lightning tv show. And with that excitement, many panels that address diversity, and not just the problems, but the solutions and benefits of proper representation in media. Speakers gave solid reasoning and understanding of the needs for more diversity behind the scenes, on the page, on the screen, and the power to help shape that goal with our purchasing power.

BCBF also had a lighter side, with more space for independent creators fans had plenty of opportunities to cop some great reads, I know I spent a pretty nickel. Friday capped off with a special featurette from the makers of the Black Panther and BCBF sponsor Lexus, which was followed by Schomburg Director Kevin Young interviewing one of the cast from Black Panther, actress Florence Kasumba, check out GP contributor Elana Brooklyn’s video after this. And Saturday saw the fan favorite Cosplay Showcase, a colorful expression from the Fans who are passionate about their favorite mediums.

This small con still has some growing pains, but it keeps pushing in attendance and star power, spilling out of those marginalized shadows, and making a space for all creators and fans to truly let their blerd flag fly, and I’ll be there to salute next year.

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George Carmona III, is an Artist/Designer/Writer, former Milestone Media Intern, former DC Comics paper pusher, book lover, lifelong comic geek, and is the author of the DC Super Friends Joke Book from Penguin Random House. Follow him on Twitter @GCarmona3.

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