Category Archives: Books

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Aconyte and 404 Editions Expand their Partnership with Marvel Novels in French

Aconyte Logo

Launched in September 2020, Aconyte is the fiction publishing house of global games company, Asmodee. Its ranges of novels feature untold stories and new adventures set in the universes of Asmodee’s most popular board games and the fabulous worlds of partners such as Marvel.

Following the recent exclusive deal to publish Aconyte’s range of game-inspired novels in France, the collaboration between Asmodee and 404 Editions continues, this time bringing their Marvel prose novels to French readers. This exciting list will debut before the end of the year with Domino: Strays, featuring the popular X-Men heroine, with more titles published across 2022 and beyond.

Review: The Princess Who Saved Herself

Gloria Cheng Epstein Takahara de la Garza Champion likes to rock out with her pet snake but the witch next door doesn’t like Gloria’s guitar playing.

Story: Greg Pak
Based on the song by: Jonathan Coulton
Art: Takeshi Miyazawa
Color: Jessica Kholinne
Letterer: Simon Bowland

Get your copy in comic shops! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

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Amazon
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Underrated: Jack Staff: Soldiers

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet-pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Jack Staff: Soldiers


I find I have an affinity to superheroes wearing the Union Jack, probably because one of the first comics I picked up was Marvel’s Union Jack, the three issue miniseries from the late 90’s where the titular character faced off against a legion of vampires, becoming one of my favourite characters in the process.

Since then I’ve always been drawn to heroes wearing the British flag, and so when I did a bit of research on other flag wearing heroes for a very early edition of this column, I came across Jack Staff. Britain’s Greatest Superhero was conceived from a Paul Grist script that was rejected as a Union Jack concept, and found new life as Jack Staff. Written and drawn by Grist, with Phil Elliott providing the colours, Soldiers is the second volume published by Image comics, and collects the first five issues of the Image comic series (the first volume contained the pre-Image stuff).

The story within the book takes place concurrently in two time periods over the course of twenty years – quite how Jack Staff doesn’t seem to age isn’t exactly explained, but then it doesn’t need to be. Grist has written the comics in an anthology-like style as multiple characters are used for focal points with each of the smaller stories telling a smaller piece of the whole. As a graphic novel, this works wonderfully.

Because the events of the story are contained to Castletown, there’s never a world ending threat to contend with, and so the threat level seems more credible given the smaller scale of the book’s events (and given Jack Staff’s ambiguous power set, not quite knowing what he can do is half the fun of watching the shit hit the fan).

Jack Staff: Soldiers is a lot of fun. There’s an old school feel to the heroics in this story, with Grist hinting that the characters are part of a much larger whole as this book scratches the surface of Jack Staff’s world. Despite being listed as the second volume, it’s an excellent point for folks to jump on board, and if you’re anything like me then you’ll be hunting out the other three volumes that Image have published.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Scout Comics Signs a Non-Exclusive Canadian Distribution Deal with Universal Distribution

Scout Comics & Entertainment Holdings Inc. has announced that they are expanding their comic book, trade paperback, and merchandise programs by signing a non-exclusive Canadian distribution deal with Universal Distribution effective immediately. Scout Comics and all of its subsidiaries (Black Caravan, Scoot!, Outsider Comics, and Tracker Collectibles) will also be available on Universal’s platform beginning in May for July 2021 release.

Scout Comics and Universal Distribution

Image and Skybound will Publish The Labyrinth by Simon Stålenhag

Simon Stålenhag’s upcoming, highly anticipated narrative art book, The Labyrinth, will be published this November by Image Comics and SkyboundThe Labyrinth is Stålenhag’s fourth title.

The Labyrinth transports readers to a world covered by ruins and ash, the remnants of an otherworldly phenomenon that has ravaged the earth’s atmosphere and forced its few survivors deep underground. Matt, Sigrid, and Charlie leave the safe harbor of the enclave for an expedition into the wastelands of the surface world. During their journey they are forced to confront dark secrets from the time before civilization’s fall. The Kickstarter campaign doubled the project’s original goal.

The Labyrinth (ISBN: 978-1-5343-2069-7) will be available in hardcover for purchase at local comic book shops on Wednesday, November 3 and at independent bookstores or via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and Indigo on Tuesday, November 9.

The Labyrinth

Underrated: Becoming Superman

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet-pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Becoming Superman by J. Michael Strazinsky


I’m not usually one to read autobiographies, if I’m honest, which probably sounds like a contradiction to those of you who know how much I like reading about history – specifically the history of comic books – given that autobiographies will typically deal with history in some form or another. And so it was somewhat surprising to me that when I saw Becoming Superman show up at my local comic shop of all places I felt compelled to pick it up. Especially considering I didn’t consider myself a huge J. Michael Straczynski fan to begin with (more as I hadn’t read a lot of his comics as far as I was aware of than because I didn’t like what I read), and so I went into the book knowing relatively little about who he was.

The reason I’m focusing on that book this week, rather than the broader subject of comic book creator auto/biographies is purely that I haven’t read enough of them to have any kind of compelling point to make. Plus, I am sure part of me knows I can then milk the subject a bit further as needed.

Anyway, obviously this is a book that fans of Straczynski are more likely to pick up, but what about those of us who aren’t that into autobiographies or even that big a fan of the man himself?

As somebody who fits both those categories, I can honestly say this was a super compelling book (pun not intended). Straczynski doesn’t shy away from the harsh truths of his life or even the way his actions shaped them. It’s an often times unflinching look at his journey, and you can see how his childhood shaped the man he became, and how he has shaped that into his work. From the harsh reality of television, the highs and lows, JMS is a fantastic storyteller (which shouldn’t be surprising given the list of things the man has worked. Seriously, it reads like a geek’s Must Watch list – Babylon 5, He-Man… the man is nonstop. And yet he looks back upon his life with a wisdom and analytical mind that stops him from portraying the events with rose tinted glasses.

It’s as honest an autobiography as I’ve read, and certainly more than I expected.

Being a comics fan primarily, I came to this looking for insight on his comics, and boy was I not disappointed. His telling of the script writing for Amazing Spider-Man #36, the 9/11 tribute issue, is genuinely beautiful, and had me rushing out to find a copy for my collection (as well as reading it digitally because that all black cover is a nightmare with fingerprints).

I didn’t expect that this would be a book I’d ever cover here, but man oh man was it good. Becoming Superman is a book that checks a lot of boxes, and yet despite that I haven’t heard many folks talking about it, which is why I wanted to write about it today.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Yen Press Announces Ten New Series for Future Publication

Yen Press has announced a slate of upcoming releases that includes several light novels (I Kept Pressing the 100-Million Button and Came Out on Top, The Otherworlder, Exploring the Dungeon, Orc Eroica and The Hero Laughs While Walking the Path of Vengence a Second Time) and manga (Reign of the Seven Spellblades, The Detective is Already Dead, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? II, So I’m a Spider, So What? The Daily Lives of the Kumoko Sisters, and New York, New York). Additionally, Yen Press announced their entrance into the world of RPG books with Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! TRPG.

Reign of the Seven Spellblades (manga)

Story by Bokuto Uno
Character Design by Ruria Miyuki
Art by Sakae Esuno

When a boy and girl meet at a prestigious magic school, the curtain to a supreme fantasy series opens!

This year’s new students arrive at Kimberley Magic School. What meets them there is a brilliant parade of cherry blossoms in full bloom and magical creatures. They don’t know–this academy is a living demon’s shrine where no one’s life is guaranteed. A school fantasy about spellblades!

Reign of the Seven Spellblades is a manga adaptation of the hit light novel series, a rising star in the category. As a story taking place in a magical academy, Reign of the Seven Spellblades is often described as an action-packed and edgy version of Harry Potter that has a wide appeal to fans of fantasy stories.

Reign of the Seven Spellblades (manga)

The Detective is Already Dead (manga)

Story by nigozyu
Art by mugiko

I, an ordinary highschool student, Kimihiko Kimizuka, I was embroiled completely flawlessly into a plane hijacking, where I became the assistant to the angelically beautiful detective girl I met. In three years, the great detective and her assistant unfolded a dazzling adventure drama. Before long, we were separated by death. This takes place a year after that.

The only survivor, me, and the detective’s dying wish—their unfinished story.

The Detective is Already Dead is a manga adaptation of the light novel series from Yen On scheduled for June 2021 release. Due to its popularity in Japan, The Detective is Already Dead stands out as one of the most well received announcements from Yen Press this year. An anime adaptation has been scheduled to begin airing July 2021.

The Detective is Already Dead (manga)

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? II

Story by Fujino Omori
Character Design by Suzuhito Yasuda
Art by Taisei Yamachi

After Mikoto ventures into Orario’s pleasure quarter on a lead to find her long-lost friend, Bell, Lily, and Welf decide to join the search! Unfortunately, Bell’s hardly comfortable in such an unfamiliar environment, and after he gets separated from the group, he soon finds himself in a part of Orario he never knew existed. There, he spies a beautiful girl with fox ears and a tail, but little does he know, she’s exactly who Mikoto’s been looking for…

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? II is a continuation of the hit manga series, one that aligns with the events from the anime’s second season. With over two years passed since the conclusion of the first part of the Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? manga, this continuation is sure to please the many fans of the series, especially those eager for more content since the end of the anime’s third season in 2020.

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? II

So I’m a Spider, So What? The Daily Lives of the Kumoko Sisters (manga)

Story by Okina Baba
Character Design by Tsukasa Kiryu and Asahiro Kakashi
Art by Gratinbird

So, as you mighta noticed, I got reincarnated in another world—as a spider! And somewhere along the line, I somehow picked up skill called Parallel Minds. Which, y’know, is great when you need a little extra help running from monsters and firing off magic spells. But it can get kinda crazy when there’s four of me living in my head…

So I’m a Spider, So What? The Daily Lives of the Kumoko Sisters is a gag manga spin-off of the hit light novel series. Whether it be the original light novel, the manga adaptation or the anime adaptation, Kumoko’s parallel minds have been a beloved aspect of the series, making this manga a treat to the fans!

So I'm a Spider, So What? The Daily Lives of the Kumoko Sisters (manga)

I Kept Pressing the 100-Million Button and Came Out on Top (light novel)

Story by Syuichi Tskukishima
Illustration by Mokyu

Allen is training to be a swordsman, but he’s just no good at it. After losing a duel with high stakes, he’s about to drop out when a mysterious man offers him a chance to get 100 million years’ worth of training with the press of a button. But what happens when he presses it over and over?!

I Kept Pressing the 100-Million Button and Came Out on Top is a quirky light novel series with a powerful protagonist who was cursed to live millions of years going through tortuous training. With its comedic storytelling and overpowered protagonist, this series appeals greatly to fans of The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious.

I Kept Pressing the 100-Million Button and Came Out on Top (light novel)

The Otherworlder, Exploring the Dungeon (light novel)

Story by Asami Hinagi
Illustration by Kureta

In this dark fantasy tale, an accident transports Soya to a parallel world filled with danger and mystery. On his quest to explore this uncharted land, he encounters a gaggle of quirky friends, like Mysranica, the god of deception and secrecy, and a pair of elf sisters banished from their forest home. Before he knows it, Soya is making rogue adventurers eat lead, beating up petty nobles, and taking on dungeons where death lurks around every corner!

The Otherworlder, Exploring the Dungeon is a fun light novel series that cleverly combines science fiction and fantasy elements—a story about an unlikely hero and his defective AI in an alternate world. This ongoing series is reminiscent of light novel favorites, such as Combatants Will Be Dispatched! and High School Prodigies Have It Easy Even in Another World!

The Otherworlder, Exploring the Dungeon (light novel)

Orc Eroica (light novel)

Story by Rifujin na Magonote
Illustration by Asanagi

Bestowed with the title of “hero” for downing countless foes in the War of Twelve Tribes, Bash commands great respect from his fellow orcs.  But this hero has a dark secret: His success on the battlefield doesn’t match up to his success in the bedroom. With his reputation on the line, Bash sets out on a quest of a lifetime…all for the explicit purpose of getting laid…!

While it seems that light novels have addressed nearly every topic in a fantasy setting, very few have addressed dating in another world quite like the hilarious and eccentric story that is Orc Eroica. This series is a fun read for those who enjoy light novels with unique takes on fantasy worlds, such as If the RPG World Had Social Media…

Orc Eroica (light novel)

The Hero Laughs While Walking the Path of Vengence a Second Time (light novel)

Story by Kizuka Nero

Summoned to a fantasy world as a hero, Kaito Utage defeats the Demon Lord alongside a band of noble adventurers…only to be double crossed and brutally murdered by his former allies! But when a twist of fate gives him a second chance at life with his all his memories intact, he sets off on a quest to slaughter his traitorous party members one by one. “Come…let vengeance commence!”

The Hero Laughs While Walking the Path of Vengeance a Second Time is a dramatic and compelling isekai that heads into darker territories than most, one led by a crazed antihero. This dark tale is perfect for fans of light novel series such as Torture Princess: Fremd Torturchen and The King of the Dead at the Dark Palace.

The Hero Laughs While Walking the Path of Vengence a Second Time (light novel)

New York, New York

Story & Art by Marimo Ragawa

New York police officer, Cain, while hiding that he’s gay, goes out every night in Manhattan in want of a one night stand. But when he meets his ideal man, Mel, he finds the love of his life… An ambitious work which depicts love and humanism with gay themes!

New York, New York is a classic boys love manga by Marimo Ragawa, the artist behind the manga adaptation of The Vampire and His Pleasant Companions. As a mature and beautiful boys love manga that is credited for its realistic portrayals of gay male relationships, New York, New York is must have for passionate fans of the category. The Yen Press edition of New York, New York will finish the series in two omnibus volumes.

New York, New York

Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! TRPG

Story by Natsume Akatsuki
Illustration by Kurone Mishima
Adaptation by F.E.A.R.

Live out the wildest fantasies in the world of Konosuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World with the TRPG developed under Natsume Akatsuki’s full oversight. Whether it’s playing as a luckless reincarnation or pursuing a quest as an all powerful magician, a life of hilarious adventures awaits!

Yen Press enters the world of RPG books with Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! TRPG, one that was created by FEAR, a leading company in the world of Japanese TRPGs. With Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! standing out as one of the biggest Yen Press properties combined with the RPG elements the series is known for, this TRPG book is the perfect start to this new venture.

Konosuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World! TRPG

The Art of Overwatch is Back with a Second Deluxe Edition

The wait is over! Dark Horse Books and Blizzard Entertainment present The Art of Overwatch Volume 2 Deluxe Ed. This highly anticipated tome is filled with the behind-the-scenes work from four years of new Overwatch content, including heroes, skins, and maps!      

A deluxe-edition compendium including never-before-seen concept art for new characters—from Doomfist to Echo! This volume showcases new content from summer 2017 onward, including the development process around fan-favorite heroes, environments, and cinematics. Beyond new content, this all-encompassing guide goes further, expanding on the construction of unique, event-driven game modes, NPC design, and more. Introduction text and a sneak peek at Overwatch 2, meticulously crafted with the Overwatch game team, complete this beautiful collection. 

The Deluxe Edition features an exclusive cover rendered in eye-catching foil and comes with a clamshell case for the book, along with three lithographs housed in two portfolios. Created in close collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment, who will be offering the standard hardcover edition.

The Art of Overwatch Volume 2 Deluxe Ed will be available everywhere books are sold on October 27, 2021. It is available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at your local comic shop and bookstore. The Art of Overwatch Volume 2 Deluxe Ed will retail for $99.99.

AMC, Skybound, and Image Announce The Art of AMC’s The Walking Dead Universe

AMC Networks, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Comics have announced The Art of AMC’s The Walking Dead Universe, a compilation of behind-the-scenes pre-production and production art from AMC’s iconic The Walking Dead series: The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, and The Walking Dead: World Beyond. Launching on September 29, 2021, the art book will feature never-before-seen original sketches, concept art, storyboards, special product illustrations, and more from the shows inspired by Robert Kirkman’s comic book turned pop-culture phenomenon. The book marks AMC Networks’ first venture into book publishing.

The Art of AMC’s The Walking Dead Universe is a 240-page hardcover book featuring a wrap-around cover with over 50 characters from all three shows, an introduction by Chief Content Officer of The Walking Dead Universe Scott M. Gimple and fun facts from creators and crew members on all three series.

The Art of AMC’s The Walking Dead Universe will be available digitally and in print, and sold through Book Market and Comics Market, with an exclusive special variant edition available on Skybound.com and a second exclusive special variant edition available on TWDUshop.com.

A must-have for anyone who has ever shouted, “We are the Walking Dead!”

Udon Reveals the Mega Man X: Maverick Hunter’s Field Guide

Charge up your Mega Buster and look to the sky! UDON Entertainment has announced the upcoming release of the Mega Man X: Maverick Hunter’s Field Guide. The fan-favorite Mega Man X games took the classic platforming franchise in a dynamic new direction. In this future world filled with conflict and strife, sentient artificial beings known as Reploids have grown in population. When rogue Reploids called Mavericks threaten humanity, the daring Maverick Hunters rise up to meet them. Written by David Oxford and Nadia Oxford, The Mega Man X: Maverick Hunter’s Field Guide is your ultimate handbook to the Reploids of the 22nd century!

Inside you’ll find detailed profiles of every dangerous Maverick, plus other important characters like X, Zero, Axl, Sigma, Vile, and many more. The book also includes a detailed appendix section covering X’s armors, vehicles, and the various forms of Sigma. Featuring a mix of classic Capcom art, and new art illustrated by Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz, Mega Man X fans will not want to miss out on this essential guide!

Mega Man X: Maverick Hunter’s Field Guide will be released on August 17, 2021 and is available for pre-order now! 

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