Category Archives: Comics

Image Comics’ April Fools Variants

Image Comics has revealed the first eight of 11 variants planned for April’s 25th anniversary theme month—can you guess the month’s theme? APRIL FOOLS! Image Comics’ creators are unleashed all month long to prank fans with these covers—they’ll make comics readers do a double-take every Wednesday.

Each month of Image’s 25th year will boast a theme for special anniversary variants. The following covers are sure to get comic fans and collectors talking.

Available in stores on Wednesday, April 5th:

  • Rock Candy Mountain #1 by Kyle Starks, cover by Kyle Starks (Diamond Code JAN178689)
  • Sons of the Devil #11 by Brian Buccellato & Toni Infante, cover by Toni Infante (Diamond Code JAN178694)
Available in stores on Wednesday, April 12th:
  • Spawn #272 cover by Todd McFarlane (Diamond Code JAN178693)
Available in stores on Wednesday, April 19th:
  • Black Science #29 by Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera, cover by Rafael Albuquerque (Diamond Code JAN178692)
  • Curse Words #4 by Charles Soule and Ryan Browne, cover by Ryan Browne (Diamond Code JAN178684)
  • East of West #33 by Jonathan Hickman & Nick Dragotta, cover by Nick Dragotta (Diamond Code JAN178691)
  • The Fix #9 by Nick Spencer & Steve Lieber, cover by Steve Lieber (Diamond Code JAN178685)
  • I Hate Fairyland #12 by Skottie Young, cover by Skottie Young (Diamond Code JAN178686)
  • Invincible #135 by Robert Kirkman & Ryan Ottley, cover by Ryan Ottley (Diamond Code JAN178688)
  • Plastic #1 by Doug Wagner, cover by Daniel Hillyard (Diamond Code JAN178687)
Available in stores on Wednesday, April 26th:
  • Savage Dragon #223 by Erik Larsen, cover by Jock (Diamond Code JAN178690)
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Review: Gamora #4

Laura Perlman serves up peak Gamora in the latest issue of her namesake comic. Things come to a head in this issue of the arc, we are treated to all manner of chaos and action as the Ubilex gets more and more unstable with interactions and the environment itself. Gamora finds a family of sorts and the princess finds her own way but, as expected nothing is as it seems. Perlman goes deep into Gamora’s back story, explores her motivations and, weaves an amazing tale of not only Gamora but all of the main characters occupying her storyline.

If the story itself wasn’t enough to get you hooked, Marco Checcetto delivers some beautiful artwork that is stylized and pop art like, which goes well with the futuristic, otherworldly story that Perlman is telling. Andres Mossa gives Checcetto’s artwork the perfect color palette to convey the bleakness of the Ubilex’s fate and the dire straits of the people inhabiting the planet. The lines are solid and the muted colors add a richness that syncs up well with the sad story being told.

Perlman gives Gamora agency and puts her front and center in her story, showing her weakness & strength and, the way that she interacts with those around her. The story showcases how everything is connected and how every decision has consequences. There are no wasted words or panels and you can foresee the path that is coming through all of the chaos and you find yourself waiting with baited breath to see how it all shakes out. The arc is getting close to reaching its completion and you can see that the moments that will define the hero that Gamora will become are coming.

Overall, Gamora #4 is a solid character story but, it’s not all exposition and character development. There’s a whole lot of action going on and, a sense of realness and urgency. All of the central characters that have appeared in the previous 3 issues make an appearance, alliances are made and destroyed and, there’s a very strong reason to check out the next issue. Perlman tells a compelling story filled with genuine nuance and feeling causing any reader, fan or newcomer to the series, to get caught up in the balanced chaos. The looming destruction of Ubilex provides the perfect parallel and backdrop to the story being told and everything comes together with perfect symmetry making this issue more than worth a read.

Story: Laura Perlman Art: Marco Checcetto Color: Andres Mossa
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.1 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Over 5.7 Million Comics To Be Given Away at Free Comic Book Day 2017

Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) remains the major annual event of the comic book industry as over 2,300 comic book specialty retailers worldwide prepare to give away over 5.7 million comics on the first Saturday in May. This year’s event takes place at local comic shops on Saturday, May 6th–fans are encouraged to visit FCBD’s official store locator to find their participating local comic shop.

Dark Horse Comics, DC Entertainment, IDW Publishing, Image Comics, and Marvel Comics are among the 37 publishers offering 50 exclusive comic book titles and editions for Free Comic Book Day 2017.

After 16 years, Free Comic Book Day continues to appeal to a broad range of readers, making it a wonderful event for fans of all ages to explore what their local comic book shop has to offer. From superheroes, to adaptations of television and video games, to fan favorite icons, there’s something for everyone on Free Comic Book Day.

Interview: Mike Carey, Rori!, and Robin Furth of Femme Magnifique

After interviewing Shelly Bond, Brian Miller, and Kristy Miller about the big picture aspects of the Femme Magnifique Kickstarter, I had the opportunity to talk with several of the anthology’s creators about the specifics of their stories. I chatted with writer Mike Carey, writer/artist Rori!, and writer Robin Furth via email about their comics featuring Rosalind Franklin, Shirley Chisholm, and Ursula K. Le Guin respectively.

Mike Carey is a British comic book writer and novelist, who is best known for his work on Vertigo’s Lucifer, Unwritten, and Hellblazer, which he wrote for 40 issues taking over from Brian Azzarello. Carey has also written Marvel comics, like X-Men Legacy and Ultimate Fantastic Four, and a film adaptation of his novel The Girl with All the Gifts starring Gemma Arterton was recently released in February 2017.

Rosalind Franklin

Carey is writing a story about the British chemist Rosalind Franklin, who was involved in the discovery of the DNA double helix. James Watson and Francis Crick received the Nobel Prize after her death in 1958 and were “informed by some of Franklin’s work which they had obtained without her permission”. He says that Franklin’s life “illustrates very poignantly how the scientific establishment of that time was saturated with institutional biases and unacknowledged power politics” and basically “operated like a boys’ club”. Carey and Eugenia Komaki’s Femme Magnifique comic will “present a vignette from this sad story – and reflect on the Nobel Prize’s history in the process.”

Carey is collaborating on the comic with Eugenia Koumaki (Womanthology) with whom he says he has never worked with before. He “met her at a comics convention in Athens… and admired her art-especially her wonderful figure work”, which he describes as “simple, but immensively expressive”. Carey was also her sponsor when Koumaki applied for DC Comics’ New Talent Program.

The next creator I talked to was the writer/artist Rori! She is the creator of the autobiographical, slice of life webcomic Tiny Pink Robots, and one of her most recent projects was #100days100women where she drew a portrait of a great woman from history every day and posted it on Twitter. Rori! is co-writing (with her husband Gibston Twist) and drawing a story about Shirley Chisholm, who was the first African-American woman to be elected to Congress in 1968 and be a major party U.S. presidential candidate in 1972.

Graphic Policy: Why did you decide to write and draw about Shirley Chisholm for Femme Magnifique, and how has she inspired you?

Rori!: I think some of it was admiring her personality, she was very caring, but also no-nonsense, she didn’t let people push her around, and she had guts, lots of guts. She didn’t “wait her turn” for opportunities people were trying to keep from her, she confronted that head-on. She was a dynamo! I also loved her politics, she saw and thought deeply about the world around her, about the systems of oppression, and how to disrupt those. She cared so much for the disenfranchised, the voiceless. She was a champion of the people, and in the 1970s, she was well-known as this. That her story has faded is a true shame, you read her speeches and she was so ahead of her time that she was ahead of ours.

GP: What have been some of the challenges and/or reward from doing a comic in an anthology format versus a webcomic, like Tiny Pink Robots?

R!: Well, it’s a delight having a professional editor, for one (and Shelly is amazing!). Which is good, because it’s been a huge challenge to distill Shirley Chisholm’s story into three pages! Of course on a strip-style webcomic, your storyline is generally completely open-ended, especially on an autobiographical one like mine. I like that, though it’s also nice to create something finite. More long-form, story-style comics are my first love (I’m currently working on an adaptation of the Snow Queen). I do enjoy anthologies, though, the opportunity to share a book with other amazing creators is fantastic.

GP: Shirley Chisholm is best known as the first African-American woman to be a major party U.S. presidential candidate. What do you think has to change in the United States for us to have our first female president?

R!: Ah! This took me a bit. Short answer: the Electoral College. Straight-up, Hillary received significantly more votes than her opponent. Millions more, tens of millions of Americans WERE ready for a female president, but the system in place denied that. In many ways, the Electoral College, a relic created by landed white men to placate slave-owning landed white men, is an embodiment of the systems that are made to keep disenfranchised people out of power, and a small, homogeneous minority IN power. Those systems must be recognized, resisted and dismantled so that we see not just the first female president, but the SECOND, and so on, as well as more women and marginalized people in all positions of authority. In addition, we have to continue to work on the hearts and minds of Americans, to dispel bigoted notions. (And that includes ourselves.)

I think there are more Americans that are on their way to accepting diverse leaders, especially when it comes to women and some people of color. (We still have a long way to go as far as different religions, recent immigrants, and trans/non-binary people go among other things.) But it’s not enough to educate toward openness and acceptance. It’s not enough to dismantle the exclusionary systems. We have to do both. That’s what we need. And we need to internalize that getting that milestone of “first” is amazing, but it’s just the beginning. Unless we create a system where the “first” can truly unleash a flood of diversity, they just becomes a token, or trivia, and their influence is diminished. It’s like Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s quote about the Supreme Court having “enough” women when there are nine on it. There’s a lot of history to catch up to; a lot of lost time and talent to make up for.

Finally, I got to interview Robin Furth and discuss about her comic about legendary science fiction and fantasy writer Ursula K. Le Guin that she is doing with artist Devaki Neogi (Skeptics) for Femme Magnifique. Furth was a research assistant for Stephen King and wrote The Dark Tower: A Complete Concordance (2006) that was nominated for a Locus Award for Non-Fiction. As far as comics, she has worked as a co-writer on Marvel’s Dark Tower adaptations, wrote the one-shot Legion of Monsters: Satana, and has been published in anthologies, like Girl ComicsWomanthology, and Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu.

Graphic Policy: How does Ursula LeGuin inspire you, and why did you decide to write about her for Femme Magnifique?

Robin Furth: Ursula Le Guin has been a hero of mine since I read The Wizard of Earthsea when I was thirteen years old. I’d always been an obsessive reader, especially of fantasy (The Chronicles of Narnia were my favorite books when I was a child.), but the profound themes of the Earthsea novels were a revelation. I identified with Ged, the protagonist of the story, and the tale of him summoning a shadow from the netherworld, and then being relentlessly pursued by it, chilled me to the bone.

In the years since that initial reading, I’ve returned to the Earthsea books many times and have sought out all of Le Guin’s other work. In my opinion, Le Guin is one of the finest living American authors.  Few people can pen novels, criticism, and poetry with an equally masterful hand, but Le Guin accomplishes this with fluidity and grace. Many of Le Guin’s books are classed as young adult fiction, but the ideas explored within her novels are very mature. She writes about alienation, the search for self-knowledge, power abuse, inequality, and environmental destruction.

Another reason that Le Guin’s writing is so perfect for Femme Magnifique is that gender is such an important topic in her work. Le Guin was born in 1929, and over the course of her life, she has witnessed tremendous social upheaval, both good and bad. But one of the subjects she returns to over and over is what it means to be a human being, whether male or female. When she published the first Earthsea book in the late 1960s, the women’s movement was just getting underway. The hero of that novel was a magically talented young man from a world where women’s enchantment was considered base. To learn his craft, Ged journeyed to the island of Roke and to the wizard’s school, where the mages were celibate, and women were forbidden from becoming students.  However, in one of the short stories recounted in Tales from Earthsea, we learn that Roke’s original mages were both male and female, and that their powers were equal.  The division of the sexes and repression of women’s magic came later.

The acclaimed novel The Left Hand of Darkness is an even more stunning examination of gender. In that book, the inhabitants of the planet Gethen are androgynous, and only become male or female during the short fertile period of kemmer.  To make matters more intriguing, a Gethenian never knows whether he will play the female or the male role, and so any Gethenian can father a child or become pregnant.

GP: How did your background as Stephen King’s research assistant and the author of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: A Complete Concordance influence your work on Femme Magnifique?

RF: My Dark Tower Concordance has had an indirect but important influence on everything I’ve written since then. It was such an intensive training ground in the art of fiction and world building, and I had the honor of traversing that landscape with Stephen King himself. I learned a tremendous amount. It was because of my work in Mid-World that I became a consultant and a co-writer for Marvel’s Dark Tower comics. (I’m now a consultant for the upcoming Dark Tower film as well.)

Before the Concordance appeared in print, I was publishing mainly poetry.  But when Dark Tower moved to comics, I had the chance to explore another medium I loved. So, I suppose that my Concordance was my way into comics and ultimately into Femme Magnifique.

GP: What role do you think fantasy stories with a diverse cast of characters, like the Earthsea books, play in the sad, xenophobic political reality of 2017?

RF: Le Guin’s vision is unique in its poetry and its breadth, and she constantly makes us question what it means to be human and what it means to be humane. The protagonists of her novels are from many different races, and she constantly examines issues of gender equality (or inequality) and the horrors of power abuse. By writing about alternate societies and cultures, Le Guin creates mirrors in which we can examine our own world with a more critical eye. In The Word for World is Forest, she explores the utter destruction wreaked upon indigenous peoples and natural environments by so-called “advanced” cultures. In The Left Hand of Darkness, she asks what it would be like to live in a world where there is no gender. In the Annals of the Western Shore, she explores the injustice of slavery. Ursula Le Guin makes us think, and that is something we desperately need to do.

GP: And just for fun, what is your favorite Ursula Le Guin novel or short story, and why?

If you’d asked me this question ten years ago I would have said the Earthsea books, but now I must say that it is Le Guin’s vision that I love. If you stranded me on a desert island but gave me a library of Le Guin’s work to keep me company, I’d be happy.

The Femme Magnifique anthology is estimated to be released in September 2017, and you can find more information about it here. You can also follow it on Twitter.

Exclusive Preview: Clean Room #17

Clean Room #17

Written by: Gail Simone
Art by: Walter Geovani
Cover by: Jenny Frison
U.S. Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: March 29, 2017

The barrier between the known world and what lurks beneath crumbles as the Entities’ true malevolence is unleashed on the world, and the moment Astrid Mueller has been preparing for comes with a wave of fire from above. The death that reaches for you may be coming from the mirror!

Normandy Gold #1: Brand-new Hard Case Crime title with interior art by Steve Scott

Titan Comics has revealed their next Hard Case Crime comic series, Normandy Gold, out June 14, 2017.

Sex, violence and corruption collide in Normandy Gold, a gritty thriller set in 1970s Washington D.C., written by acclaimed author Megan Abbott, and bestselling crime novelist Alison Gaylin, with art by industry legend Steve Scott.

When her younger sister is found murdered in a D.C. hotel, relentless Sheriff Normandy Gold dives headfirst into the seedy world of prostitution and politics, soon discovering a twisted conspiracy that could lead right to the White House.

Featuring covers by Fay Dalton, Steve Scott, Alex Shabao, Kody Chamberlain, and Elias Chatzoudis.

Preview: Doom Patrol #5

Doom Patrol #5

(W) Gerard Way (A/CA) Nick Derington
In Shops: Mar 22, 2017
SRP: $3.99

The team is back together at last, though why they are back together remains an unanswered riddle. After the mind- blowing revelations of the previous issues, Casey Brinke has to figure out what this all means going forward. Or maybe it’s just the end of everything after all? Plus, Robotman punches stuff!

Preview: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #52

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #52

James Asmus (w) • Tony Fleecs (a & c)

Twilight and friends dive into the secret history of Equestria to find out the origin of the new villain, Shadowlock!

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Preview: Elektra #2

Elektra #2

(W) Matt Owens (A) Juan Cabal (CA) Elizabeth Torque
Rated T+
In Shops: Mar 22, 2017
SRP: $3.99

ELEKTRA COMES OUT TO PLAY!

ELEKTRA has tried to lie low, but she finds herself in the crosshairs of a dangerous force in Sin City. A string of clues including high tech weaponry, kidnappings and assassins lead her to a game of chance more deadly than she ever expected. Can she outsmart this mastermind…or is she playing right into his hand?

Preview: Deathstroke #15

Deathstroke #15

(W) Christopher Priest (A) Carlo Pagalayan, Jason Paz (CA) Bill Sienkiewicz
In Shops: Mar 22, 2017
SRP: $2.99

“TWILIGHT” part four! Faced with a career-ending diagnosis, Deathstroke is coached by Power Girl to reinvent himself – and comes face to face with a rival assassin known as Deadline!

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