Category Archives: Books

Tony Millionaire’s Greatest Sea Monsters Come To BOOM! Studios

BOOM! Studios has announced Tony Millionaire’s Sea Monsters Coloring Book, an all-new nautical softcover collection of detailed, fun-to-color, irreverent illustrations from critically-acclaimed cartoonist, Tony Millionaire, featuring some his most beloved misfit characters. Arriving in stores September 2018, step aboard and experience the strange and beautiful world of the award-winning cartoonist with over 40 black and white illustrations with spyglass-like detail as you encounter everything imaginable above and below the high seas along with a couple of special guest land-lubbers. Humor fans and color enthusiasts alike can jump in feet first and bring this madcap, seafaring world to life with the most vivid and ridiculous colors of their imaginations.

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 or follow him on twitter at GCarmona3.


The Super Mario Encyclopedia Limited Edition Gets Four Limited Edition Variant Covers

Dark Horse has already announced the release of the Super Mario Encyclopedia as part of their ongoing publishing partnership with Nintendo and they have now announced the Super Mario Encyclopedia Limited Edition.

Like the standard edition, the Super Mario Encyclopedia Limited Edition includes content from all seventeen Super Mario games spanning more than 30 years of the franchise’s history. This deluxe limited edition comes with an embossed slipcase designed to look like the iconic Super Mario Question Mark Block! Inside, you’ll uncover one of four covers-Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, Super Star, or 1-Up Mushroom-each accentuated with shimmering holofoil! The book also includes a ribbon bookmark, printed with the original vine design from Super Mario Bros., and a sky-and-cloud design printed along the pages’ edge.

Specific cover images cannot be requested or guaranteed. But the mystery is part of the fun! Each cover variant is printed in equal quantities.

Super Mario Encyclopedia Limited Edition goes on sale October 23, 2018, the 256-page volume retails for $79.99. You can pre-order it now from Amazon, TFW, or your local comic shop.

AfterShock Announces The Art of Jim Starlin: A Life In Words And Pictures

There are few creative names in comics whose influence is felt more in pop culture than Jim Starlin, with his creations Thanos, Gamora, and Drax the Destroyer occupying such prominent roles in Marvel’s cinematic universe. The “father of the cosmic soap opera,” Jim Starlin’s name is synonymous with the larger-than-life epic, which is why AfterShock is proud to bring back into print, this epic 328-page retrospective on the career of one of the most popular and prolific comic book artists of the last 40 years! Covering everything from his humble beginnings to his rise as one of the industry’s top creative talents, this oversized volume includes glimpses into Starlin’s files and sketchbooks, as well as images of his personal favorites with insights into his life and creative process. The first edition of this volume sold out instantly. Don’t be caught short this time! Just in time for the release of Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War movie!

AfterShock will be releasing a new printing of The Art of Jim Starlin: A Life In Words And Pictures which is being released May 2, 2018. The 328 page book will retail for $49.99.

Dark Horse is Publishing a Super Mario Encyclopedia

Dark Horse has announced the expansion of their publishing partnership with Nintendo to release the Super Mario Encyclopedia! The Super Mario Encyclopedia is preceded by New York Times bestseller The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule HistoriaThe Legend of Zelda: Art & ArtifactsThe Art of Splatoon, and The Art of Fire Emblem Awakening.

The Super Mario Encyclopedia is jam-packed with content from all seventeen Super Mario™ games and spans more than 30 years of the franchise’s history —from the original Super Mario Bros.™ to Super Mario™ 3D World. Track the evolution of the Goomba, witness the introduction of Yoshi, and relive your favorite levels. This tome also contains an interview with producer Takashi Tezuka, tips to help you find every coin, star, sun, and mushroom—even explanations of glitches! With information on enemies, items, obstacles, and worlds from over thirty years of Mario, Super Mario Encyclopedia is the definitive resource for everything Super Mario!

Super Mario Encyclopedia goes on sale October 23, 2018 and the 256-page volume retails for $39.99.

Step Back Into the World of Pillars of Eternity

Thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign, the long-awaited sequel, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, is ready to transport players back to the history-rich world of Eora!

Dark Horse Books and Obsidian Entertainment present Volume Two of the Pillars of Eternity Guidebook. Traveling far from the Dyrwood, Volume Two explores the seaborne Deadfire Archipelago, the setting for the upcoming PC game, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. Discover why the Deadfire draws the likes of bloodthirsty pirates, eager colonists, horrifying creatures, and even a god reborn to its islands’ shores – and the waves in between them. This 120-page tome contains never before seen concept art and in-depth descriptions from the minds of the Pillars of Eternity II design team. Plus, it expands on the rich lore of 2018’s most highly anticipated cRPG. Add not just depth, but breadth to your journey through the Deadfire with this handsome, full-color tome!

Pillars of Eternity Guidebook: Volume Two— The Deadfire Archipelago goes on sale April 3, 2018.

Review: How to Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels

I remember the first time I saw a comic strip, it was on the back of the newspaper my Dad was reading when I was 5. I wanted to know more, I wanted to understand what they were talking about. This lead to my Dad taking me and my sister to picking up our first comic books when I was 7. This lead to me want to read, comic strips, first, then comic book s and eventually everything I was inquisitive about.

Yet the comic strip is the building block from whence I came, and how thousands of kids around the world came to want to read. As true as those may have been when I was growing up, it no longer is as true now. Now the world, could care less for reading comic strips in newspapers, as everything you can find digitally. In Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden’s How to Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels, it reminds well-worn readers and novices how one should enjoy sequential art.

We are introduced to Ernie Bushmiller, the creator of Nancy, as we get to find out how he started drawing comic strips. As fascinating as the history of the strip is, the creation of many nuances of the comics were created at the same time. We get to find out not only the details of how comics are made, but also the business side of it. By book’s end, the reader is more informed of both the process and the business and ultimately the creators who make them.

Overall, an excellent and painstaking investigated book that will give the reader a better understanding of the comics Industry.  The research by Karasik and Newgarden, show their love for the medium. The writing, never lulls, which is miracle for a research book. Altogether, even if you never read Nancy, you will love this book.

Story: Mark Newgarden and Paul Karasik
Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Underrated: Books On The History Of Comics.

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:  Books On The History Of Comics.

Last week we looked at why comic book history was Underrated. This week, we’ll look at some books that, should you be interested, will help shed some light on the stories behind the stories.

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe was published in 2012. Howe decided to write the book because the stories comic creators told in fanzine interview always seemed different from the official narrative. Starting with the comics published during the golden age, and the characters created by Jack Kirby, Joe Simon and Stan Lee, the book follows the publisher’s story to the new millennium up until the creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with upwards of 150 interviews conducted by the author.  GQ’s Joshua Rivera described the book as “one of the most comprehensive and well-researched accounts” of Marvel.

Bill The Boy Wonder written by Marc Tyler Nobleman with art by Ty Templeton. Presented as a childrens book, Bill The Boy Wonder tells the untold tale of Batman’s creation. By shining a light on who Bill Finger was, Nobleman’s extensive research led to Finger finally getting a byline credit whenever Batman appears. The book’s presentation is designed to allow as many people, of any age, to learn about Bill Finger – and it works.

Superheroes!: Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture by Laurence Maslon and Michael Kantor.  Assembled as a companion piece to the three part PBS documentary series Superheroes, this volume chronicles the effect of superheroes on American culture through the various mediums they appear in, and conversely the effect of America culture on superheroes. Featuring more than 500 full-color comic book panels, covers, sketches, photographs of both essential and rare artwork, Superheroes is an in-depth look at this powerful presence in pop culture.

Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster – the Creators of Superman by Brad Ricca. Published in time for the 75th anniversary of the Man of Steel, comes the first comprehensive literary biography of Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, the co-creators of Superman Brad Ricca’s Super Boys is the first ever full biography about Superman’s creators, and with more than ten years of research he made some interesting discoveries; the book reveals the first stories and pictures ever published by the Siegel and Shuster, where the first Superman story really came from, the template for Superman’s costume, and more than will be listed in this blurb

The Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio by Joe Simon, Mark Evanier, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. At nearly four hundred pages, this historical look at the art produced by the Simon and Kirby studio is a must for any fan of either artist. The reproduced comics allow you to actually see the corrections done to the artwork such as drawings over areas of white-out, the faint lines used as reference for writing the text, portions of the panels being pasted over with bigger pieces of paper with bigger corrected drawings, the yellowing clear tape… The look into the creative process of these men is captivating.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History by Andrew Farago. Detailing the story of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from their humble beginnings in black-and-white comics to where they stand now as four of the most recognizable in animation and comics, this book features interviews with the characters creators and other key figures in the Turtle’s ascendancy. With reproduction artifacts from the Turtle’s history, including their debut, this hardcover book is worth looking into for any fan of the pizza loving teenagers.


This is by no means a definitive list of books to look up, but merely a selection to get you started, and there are obviously many, many more great books out there to delve into; far more than I have listed here (you’ll find a few purely from Amazon’s suggested list after looking these up). But that doesn’t mean we should stop learning about the medium’s history, eh?

Next week’s Underrated will look at some other aspect of the comic book world.

Review: My Girl Power Journal

My Girl Power Journal is filled with fun prompts that will encourage girls to write, draw, create, contemplate, and grow strong in the process.

The book by Sarah Parvis is full of activities for kids to go through along with art through the decades from DC Comics.

We review what you can expect from this book!

Get yours now!


Downtown Bookworks​ provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Underrated: A Once Crowded Sky

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: A Once Crowded Sky

It’s no secret how much I love comics. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

While most pretty much all of the comics I read can, to varying degrees, be placed on the superhero side of things, sometimes I’ll pick up the odd non-superhero comic.  I’m a big fan of the modern comic book re-imaginings of the early pulp heroes such as The Black Bat, The Spider, and The Phantom, although one could argue their closeness to the superhero genre renders the example moot, so let me be blunt; the point I am poorly trying to make is that I love superhero stories (of all varieties) in my comics more than any other type of story. 

Amazingly enough, I also read books.

If you look at my book shelf you’ll see a lot of fantasy, sword and sorcery, and historical fiction. There isn’t much set within the last one hundred years or so that I tend to pick up and read. I can think of, maybe, twenty books (or series) that I’ve read in the last fifteen years or so that are set within the last century, and only a handful of them were based around superheroes. One was an average Wolverine tale I read on Kindle, one is the hugely enjoyable Dresden Files series and another was A Once Crowded Sky by some dude named Tom King, which  is the subject of today’s column.

Although the story wasn’t quite mind blowing, it was remarkably well told, and had some incredible ideas within its pages. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the book is actually the way it is told. In a book with multiple point of view characters, each character’s point of view is laid out like a comic book; the book is set up like a text version of a collected comic book tie-in event across multiple issues. It’s a brilliant way to tie in the obvious influence and homage to the four colour medium, as is the occasional comic book page within the book itself.

A Once Crowded Sky is a relative anomaly for me; it’s a superhero story that I read, and enjoyed, that wasn’t in a comic book. Now, my sample size of superhero books is obviously incredibly small compared with that of superhero comics, but the thing I must stress here is it isn’t that I’ve had no access to superhero books, it’s that I simply have no desire to read about superheroes in any other medium that isn’t a comic book, and I have no idea why.

Maybe it’s because up until A Once Crowded Sky every superhero book I’ve looked as has been hard to justify the price tag. I found A Once Crowded Sky for $3 on a table of reduced hardcover books at a chain book store – it’s easily worth four times that amount, but would I have looked at it for more than $3? Seeing as how it took me two days to decide to pick the book up even for about the price of a comic, well, then probably not. Maybe I don’t like superhero books because they lack the visual nature of comics, which probably does have something to do with it, but I’m more then happy reading the Dresden Files novels and graphic novels, but then the Dresden Files and superheroes occupy two different genres. Maybe, and most likely, it’s because there simply hasn’t been much buzz about any superhero books.

So what’s A Once Crowded Sky about, and why should you read it?

“The superheroes of Arcadia City fight a wonderful war and play a wonderful game, forever saving yet another day. However, after sacrificing both their powers and Ultimate, the greatest hero of them all, to defeat the latest apocalypse, these comic book characters are transformed from the marvelous into the mundane.

After too many battles won and too many friends lost, The Soldier of Freedom was fine letting all that glory go. But when a new threat blasts through his city, Soldier, as ever, accepts his duty and reenlists in this next war. Without his once amazing abilities, he’s forced to seek the help of the one man who walked away, the sole hero who refused to make the sacrifice–PenUltimate, the sidekick of Ultimate, who through his own rejection of the game has become the most powerful man in the world, the only one left who might still, once again, save the day.”

Tom King’s debut novel has some lofty ideas, and some great presentation ideas that more than out weigh the at times overly wordy moments as King at times loses himself in backstory and internal monologues. There are flashes of his later brilliance in this 2012 novel, and it’s fascinating to see how he’s grown as a writer since this book. Despite having some rather interesting names for his characters (no, that’s not food – that’s my tongue in my cheek), it’s not hard to identify where their inspiration came from. Soldier of Fortune and Captain America do bear more than a slight similarity, after all.

But by using his own versions of these characters we’re all so familiar with, King is able to tell the story he wants without worrying about the guiding hand of either of the big two publishers impacting his story.

What we’re left with at the end of the day is a solid, and very enjoyable superhero novel written by a man who would go on to write some utterly fantastic comics. This book isn’t on that level, but it’s still well worth checking out should you come across it.

Someday, hopefully soon, superhero books will have their own section in the book store and when they do, that’s where you’ll find me.

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