Writer Cullen Bunn has announced a new fantasy adventure comic, Deepest Catacombs. The story, which will feature dozens of artists, is inspired by the one-page advertisements for Dungeons and Dragons that appeared in comics in the 80s.
The comic will be released online in one-page installments. Each installment will be drawn by different artists with a mix of long-established pros and up-and-coming talent. When read together, the installments tell a complete story.
The heroes of Deepest Catacombs include Randall, the would-be knight; Kezira, the mage; Annalynn, the far-ranger; Fingerbones, the goblin thief; and Chops, Kezira’s pig familiar.
Art for the first two installments (and the “cover” image And character designs) was provided by A.C. Zamudio and Nick Zamudio. Other installments will be illustrated by a host of surprise artists. The first wave of the project will run 24 pages, though Bunn is already planning a second wave.
Bunn is working with frequent collaborator Anton Kromoff of Old Magic Gaming to release these stories. Kromoff is doing design work on the project, creating the logo, setting up page templates, and lettering the stories. He is also working with Bunn and some of the other creators to develop gaming content set in the world of Deepest Catacombs.
In the second episode of Comics Deserve Better, Brian, Darci, and Logan react to the 2020 Eisners and discuss the 2017 Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez comic, The Old Guard. Or what Logan likes to call “Blackwater, but queer”.
Other books talked about on the show include the webcomics Fangs by Sarah Andersen, Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell, and Clover and Nugget by Phil Sheldon as well as Scout Comics‘ Yasmeen #1and Tales from the Pandemic by Mario Candelaria and a bunch of awesome artists.
The KUTE Crew‘s weekly adventures will run every Tuesday at 9 AM PT on Webtoon, with digital comics available on Gumroad every time a 10-page chapter completes (about once a month) and self-published minicomics available shortly thereafter. The new digital series is by writer and letterer Nick Marino and artist Nils-Petter Nolin. The two previously collaborated on The Evil Life, another Webtoon webcomic, and have been working on KUTE Crew since 2016.
The sensational seafaring marsupials aboard the Tangerine Marine are the sole safeguard between the wild warring waters of the ocean and the rest of the animal kingdom on an Earth where humans never existed.
The KUTE Crew team has hooked us up with an exclusive first look at Chief Beef, the big bovine boss of the Kute Crew. Fin out more about the character and her design:
NICK: It all started with the name. When I was dreaming up characters who could be large and in charge of the KUTE Crew, I wasn’t sure what direction we should go. With koalas as our lead characters, I knew I wanted a boss who’d tower over them, but what kind? Panda, giraffe, whale, condor…? And then it hit me: CHIEF BEEF!
I love cartoon cows, there’s something so magical about them. It certainly didn’t hurt that I was just the right age to grow up with The Far Side and Gary Larson’s cows constantly plastered on the funny pages. I also have a strong affection for Barnyard Commandos, this obscure toy line from 1989 featuring militarized pigs and sheep, and I think of Chief Beef as an homage to that bizarre concept.
She works for Terra Firma, which is a government and military force formed out of a loose union of all land-dwelling animals living on KUTE Crew’s Earth. While our comic is really focused on the koalas and their underwater adventures, Chief Beef and Terra Firma are constant concerns behind the scenes, whether we see them or not.
Lastly, the KUTE Crew has a leadership problem… namely, its leaders keep dying. Chief Beef is the one constantly assigning questionable recruits to the leadership position, never having enough faith in the existing members of the Crew to provide their own leadership. I wanted to explore themes of leadership and authority with our story, and it’s through this role that Chief Beef most directly influences what happens in the comic.
NILS: Chief Beef was conceptually a mix between Nick Fury, a cyborg, and a cow. The Nick Fury part was to give a hint of familiarity since the eye patch combined with a uniform almost instantaneously communicates “stoic,” “military,” and “leader.” The cow was, if not obvious already, a must because of the character’s name. And the cyborg part, well… because cyborgs are cool.
In terms of colors, Chief got the same color scheme (orange, gold, blue) as our heroes to communicate that they were on the same side. However, the blue accent color that adorns some of our koalas was instead used as Chief’s primary color to differentiate her in a way that makes it clear that she’s not a part of the team but of a higher rank. Other characters that will appear later on in the story that work on Chief’s Terra Firma command deck also have blue as their primary color, so the scheme runs throughout the story.
I recently wrote what some would coin a “love letter”. It’s something I haven’t done in a long time. When I was in high school it used to be so simple. Trying to catch someone’s attention was easy. Sometimes, rejection was part of the equation, a necessary but painful part of being a teenager. Getting your heart broken is only part of the equation, sometimes they feel the same way.
As you get older, the murkier the waters get, as professing your feelings to someone is not as easy. So, I wrote this letter in hopes of reciprocation but I have to accept if it is not the same for her. Geoff Thorne writes of a love in the second chapter to his webcomic, Sist3rs.
We find Ruul, sensing her husband may be in distress, walking through literal fire for him. As her husband faces a supernatural power, before Ruul and her husband understand what happening, they are changed by the deity. Both inheriting abilities only a God can bestow on a mortal being. By the issue’s end, Ruul and her husband’s love for each other are what overwhelms the deity and they absorb his powers.
Overall, an excellent second issue that gives perspective on how Ruul gained her powers. The story by Thorne is beguiling. The art by Thorne is elegant. Altogether, a story that illustrates the beauty of true love.
The evil step-parent trope has been around for years and throughout every medium. The Harry Potter franchise made the main character so indelible because of the relationship he has with his aunt and uncle. The thing is, in real life, that whole relationship is quite tricky. To say that you only need to be a diplomat is quite an understatement.
As life goes on we require affection outside of our family. The one thing some parents fail to take into consideration is how the children receive that person or if that person if even likes children. As that relationship is paramount to whether the vessel is broken on arrival. In Jessica Chobot, Erika Lewis, and Claudia Aguirre’s second issue of Firebrand, our protagonist finds her powers as her relationship with her stepmother comes to a reckoning.
We find Natali and her stepmother in a one way heated exchange, as she told quite vehemently her new role now that her stepmother is in her life. As her stepmother’s true nature comes out right before her father takes the stage at a political rally. A slap by her stepmother inadvertently unleashes her powers, mistakenly hurting her stepmother. By the issue’s end, her father makes a decision to send her away, something that she finds a way to thwart.
Overall, a story that adds new elements of surprise with every chapter. The story by Chobot and Lewis is thrilling. The art by Aguirre is stunning. Altogether, a story that all readers can enjoy.
Story: Jessica Chobot and Erika Lewis Art: Claudia Aguirre Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
As a longtime fan of Wonder Woman, I was glad to see the live-action interpretation on the big screen. I had heard of the last attempt at a TV show, which excited me because of who played her but disappointed once the script leaked online. Most people my age group remember the after school reruns of the show that Linda Carter starred in. Then there was her part in Superfriends, which gave her a bit of dimension that wasn’t on the live-action show.
Then I saw the animated movie done in 2009, which the most current movie, borrows heavily from. That was the hero that I grew up reading in comic books. The first time I saw Themiscyra it was everything I imagined it would be and more. In the second chapter of Acursian, we find a bit of the mythology which shares some powerful roots much like Wonder Woman and the Amazons.
We are taken to the Isle of Shadows where the witches reside as well as every young witch in this world. As we meet some young witches, Effie, Ceillech, Connell, and Bregon, one who will be queen one day, as they play with their pets as we find out that they hold powerful talismans which controls the passage of time. As Bregon goes on a hunt with his hunting dog, a terrible accident occurs, leaving him to use the dagger of time to bring her back but at a terrible cost. By issue’s end, in modern-day, the dagger of time, has wreaked havoc, causing Charlie’s father to take drastic measures.
Overall, an exciting issue which ups the ante. The story by the creative team is awesome. The art by the creative team is incandescent. Altogether, a story which ratchets up the action, every single time.
Story: John Barrowman, Carole Barrowman, and Erika Lewis Art: Beni Lobel and Tommy Lee Edwards Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
The power of karma cannot ever be understated. One can look at it as fate, where one can control their destiny up to a point. You can do everything right and it can still go wrong at the end. One such impressive and sorrowful exposition of this concept is in the season finale of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.
Throughout the first season of the show, we find the protagonist using her newfound gift to solve the problems of those closest to her and strangers. This, of course, changed in the season finale when she could not do anything to help her father’s ultimate demise, something she knew was coming and had to accept no matter what she did, sometimes bad things happen to good people. In the debut issue of Acursian, we find a protagonist who has a made life until he gets cursed with an old Celtic legend.
We open on three birds who we find out are actually old Celtic witches, who ascend on Charlie Stewart, a successful lawyer after a late night/early morning tryst. The witches looking at his charmed existence decides to change everything through a curse. We find out the night before, in Chicago, his father, Jock, awakened a Celtic god, unleashing an unparalleled evil. By the issue’s end, a series of unfortunate events leads him to question everything.
Overall, an engaging debut issue which this team masterfully crafts. The story by John Barrowman, Carole Barrowman, and Erika Lewis is thrilling. The pencils by Beni Lobel and design by Tommy Lee Edwards is luminous. Altogether, a story which pushes boundaries and adds to the canon of fine storytelling.
Story: John Barrowman, Carole Barrowman, and Erika Lewis Art: Beni Lobel and Tommy Lee Edwards Color: Chris Sotomayor Letterer: Taylor Esposito Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
There are times in our lives where we question everything. When we wonder if we are living a lie. In these instances, we ponder our circumstances and the people we surround ourselves with. It also begs us to question our choices in life and for those who we are responsible for.
This sometimes makes us take chances. This is when those closest to those of us may think we are crazy. In truth, we may be, but at least we lived. In the eleventh story arc of the hilarious and relevant Discombobulated, David decides to take a chance.
We find David, ruminating on what Annie told him and what his inner conscience has revealed to him. He ponders over the last year including his episode with K’Tel, which made him question his sexuality but opened himself to even more questions. David eventually looks to K’Tel for direction but not to be a guide, as simply a sounding board as he still doesn’t understand everything about bisexuality. By the story’s end, David becomes more aware of his ignorance.
Overall, a candid chapter about the creator. The story by David F. Walker is honest. The art by CM Dyer and Marcus Kwame Anderson is fantastic. Altogether, a story that shows the complications of choices as an adult.
Story: David F. Walker Art: CM Dyer, Marcus Kwame Anderson Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
This summer, an ambitious storytelling experience will bring the world of science to comics like never before. An impressive roster of comic book creators —including Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard, Friendo writer Alex Paknadel, UK Comics Laureate Hannah Berry, colorist and designer James Devlin, and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou —are collaborating on Planet DIVOC-91, an ambitious webcomic debuting July 15, 2020 on WEBTOON.
The nine-part webcomic, which is funded by some of the most prestigious scientific organizations in the UK, is an offbeat sci-fi satire about a pandemic outbreak in the far reaches of outer space. In Planet DIVOC-91, all young adults between the age of 16-25 have been transported to an earth-like planet which has been terraformed, so that both humans and aliens can breathe the air. Each chapter features the work of a different creative team and cover artist and is interspersed with short articles, links to videos, and other pieces of art by young adults about issues related to COVID-19, and mixes from world-renowned DJs and Producers.
Planet DIVOC-91 follows the adventures of two earthlings: Sanda Oung, a 23-year-old girl from the UK, and Champo Oung, Sanda’s 19-year-old, non-binary sibling. In the series, 15% of the world’s population of 7.5 billion people are now stuck on another planet, miles from the safety of home. Sanda learns that humans have been brought to Planet Divoc-91 because the Earth is at risk of an extinction-level event – and young adults have been moved to safety by the Board of Adversity Scientists for Intergalactic Leadership’ (BASIL), led by a charismatic and fearsome alien named ADRO.
The series will feature covers from all-star artists Elsa Charretier, Marco Finnegan, Leslie Hung, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, VV Glass, Matt Kindt, Alitha Martinez, Anand RK, and David Rubín.
The series’ first chapter is written by Sara Kenney and illustrated by legendary Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard. The first chapter features a cover by acclaimed artist Elsa Charretier, 17 pages of comic storytelling, and 17 pages of extra material. Subsequent chapters will feature between 6 and 8 pages of comic storytelling, in addition to the essays and reporting.
Planet DIVOC-91 is produced by Dr. Bella Starling, Director of Vocal at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Sara Kenney, Creative Director at Wowbagger Productions, in association with the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. The project has since grown in scale and ambition, and there is a young editorial team from UK, India, South Africa, and Malawi who are interviewing experts from scientists to historians, ethicists to anthropologists, and from that material curating articles, creating art and videos in reaction to the interviews.
The project was kick started via NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre seed funding who are providing continued support. Additional supporters include The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC); Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC); The University of Manchester through the Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund award; Sarah Iqbal, DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance; Anita Shervington, Blast Fest and Nabeel Petersen, Interfer (South Africa). The series was inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inhibitis a new webcomic riff on the superhero genre by Scottish cartoonist, Eve Greenwood. It tells the story of Vic, a young man with the superpower, or variant as it’s called in-universe, of controlling electricity. He was meant to train at the prestigious Urquhart institution, but ended up having issues controlling his powers and ended up at Earl Estate, a kind of alternative school for youngsters, who have issues controlling their abilities. Along the way, he struggles with authority, malfunctioning power inhibitors, a mission gone wrong, and a mysterious woman with abilities that are far beyond this universe’s norm.
This plot description might make Inhibit like a thrilling comic in the vein of X-Men, Umbrella Academy, or My Hero Academia, but British. However, in reality, Inhibit is an inconsistent read. There are definite highlights like Vic going on a ride-along with old mentor Nate to see what life with a “license” to be a hero is like that basically makes them come across as tools of the establishment with the matching uniforms giving off an eerie, militaristic quality compared the varies shapes, sizes, and looks of Vic and his buddies at Earl. But Inhibit has some macro-structure issues that are hopefully improved upon in future books.
For example, Greenwood turns a quirky/slice of life party story in Chapter Four into a harboring a fugitive plot that would have made a great cliffhanger ending to get readers excited for Book Two. However, they undercut that by immediately doing an extended flashback to Vic’s days training at Urquhart with familiar faces like Nate and a supporting character named Masha. This chapter does serve some good world-building purposes by establishing what variants are and what Urquhart is like, but it would have fit better earlier in the book, especially as I was trying to parse out Vic’s motivation as a character other than brooding and killing time. For example, Chapter One ends on a fire/graffiti-filled cliffhanger where another school for superpowered young people is targeted, but I didn’t have the context until later to understand that it’s a big deal. All in all, I might say I like this comic on a scene/panel level, but not in the big picture.
Greenwood’s art style, which is playful and emotive, is much more enjoyable and memorable than their plotting and even the dialogue, which sometimes gets weighed down by “variant” shop talk instead of revealing the character’s personalities. (They are exceptions like Vic’s buddy David hyping himself up to play a song and then ask out his crush from another unit.) The way they use exaggerated facial expressions, vibrant colors, and diverse body shapes reminds me a lot of 2010s animation like Steven Universe or Thundercats Roar. Greenwood also excels at building tension during chase or fight scenes like when Vic has to fend for himself against a (then) unknown superhuman. In this sequence, they cut up the panels, draws facial expressions of discomfort and fear, and then makes Vic’s assailant exhibit abilities that are hard to clock compared to the usual fire, ice, electricity, and invisibility. It adds an air of mystery to the story and a sense of purpose to the overall plot while also showing that the superhumans of Inhibit can’t always be classified into neat little boxes. Greenwood’s colors add a little extra power to these pages with a curtain of flame ripping through between the panel gutters.
When the text drops out, and Eve Greenwood goes all-out in a superpowered sequences and shows the struggle Vic has to control his abilities, Inhibit shows signs of being a compelling take on a well-worn genre. However, it is hamstrung by the overall structure and “editing” of the story with information about characters and the world being parceled out in ways that undercut the flow and dramatic tension of the story. I would hazard a guess, and say that this unevenness comes from the book’s origin as a serialized web comic with Greenwood feeling out their characters, narrative arc, and the elements of this bureaucratic, superpowers with an expiration date world at the beginning and finding momentum as the story progresses. Inhibit has some fun character designs and epic moments, but has yet to reach its potential as a comic.