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Review: Twelve Reasons To Die TP

Twelve Reasons to Die

Twelve Reasons to Die acts as the source material for the 2013 concept album of the same title by Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah, and the record’s producer/composer Adrian Younge and executive producer RZA even get story and writer credits respectively on this comic, which is finally being released as a collected edition.A pre-4 Kids Walk Into A Bank/Marvel Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon handle the brunt of the scripting though. The comic is a multi-generational crime saga in the mold of such classics like The Godfather Part II, Goodfellas, and Once Upon A Time in America with a horror spin. With the exception of the final one, each issue tells two parallel stories. The first is about the rise of African-American gangster Tony Starks (One of Ghostface Killah’s aliases.) from muscle for the DeLuca family to a kingpin in his own right, and it is drawn predominantly by artist Breno Tamura. Gus Storms handles the other story which features “crate digger” Michael Migdal looking for 9 rare records for Lucraze, the don of the DeLuca crime family, because he feels like they’re cursed and wants to destroy them.

The parallel structure of Twelve Reasons to Die allows Rosenberg, Kindlon, RZA, Tamura, Storm, colorist Jean-Paul Csuka, and the various guest artists to play with different genres, art styles, and palettes like Younge and Ghostface Killah play with different beats, instrumentation, samples, and deliveries on the album. Starks’ story is a crime saga while Migdal’s story is more horror, and both use elements from the blaxploitation genre. This really shows up in the artwork with Tamura’s work being looser with scratchy inks and Bronze Age era Ben-Day Dots while Storms’ art is softer and more grotesque with the mysterious “Ghostface Killer” lurking around the edges like something out of a bad dream waiting for the needle to drop and to bring vengeance.

The different guest artists, like Nate Powell, Joelle Jones, Edwin Huang, and Riley Rossmo, meld well with Storms and Tamura while bringing extra flair to key scenes like Starks torturing a racist DeLuca made man and framing him for having an affair with the boss’ wife, Logan (Who Starks is actually sleeping with.) or several night club and murder sequences. Csuka’s colors really tie everything together and control the mood of each sequence whether that’s the sleazy red and blue of the strip club where Starks gets his first assignment from the DeLuca (and later runs) to the pop art pink of a “masqua-rave” that Migdal goes to get one of the records from a DJ, who decides to play the record and gets devoured by ravers turned into insects. It’s a Kafka-esque acid trip that shows the decadence of the DeLuca “social club” (They’ve filed off the serial numbers of their criminal enterprises.), and of course, there’s a panel where Migdal vomits.

Twelve Reasons to Die doesn’t shy away from showing the racism that Tony Starks faces from his employers, the Delucas, who bar him from becoming a made man because of the color of his skin and hurl slurs and stereotypes at him throughout the entire comic. Starks gets passed over for the mob equivalent of a promotion even though he has killed, tortured, and general gone above and beyond the call of duty because of the color of his skin. Eventually, this causes him to band together with his colleagues from the Black community to take over the DeLucas’ turf and even have some DeLuca foot soldiers work for him. There’s a dark, cathartic glee to watching him topple an empire in twelve months that had been established 30+ years ago. (See the prologue featuring Mussolini, mainland Italy vs. Sicily, and double page map spreads.) Starks’ ruthlessness is magnetic, yet frightening as he goes from possibly negotiating with one of the DeLuca’s made men to pistol whipping him in an alley and then tying his neck to the back of a car and having him dragged. This comic definitely uses torture creatively a la “Method Man” from Wu-Tang Clan’s classic album, 36 Chambers.

Twelve Reasons to Die

However, Rosenberg, Kindlon, and RZA also take time to develop Tony Starks’ softer and more vulnerable side through his relationship with Logan, who he genuinely cares about and basically uses as a spy for the DeLucas (Although she betrays him because femme fatale trope.) and especially for his love of records. There’s a touching scene where Starks says that his only dream is to get his hands on the most “hype” records, and he uses his organized crime money to build a factory where he can press his own wax. This is why his demise in that same factory is so tragic, and his vengeance via the drop of a needle is so satisfying as the Ghostface Killer slays the men who betrayed him in new and fucked up ways, or just a single page beheading. (I guess that’s pretty messed up though.) The exception is the noble fencer Batiato, who gets an epic sword fight complete with Ghostface in samurai armor and some fun, blocky cartooning from Edwin Huang.

I haven’t really touched much about Migdal in this review, and initially he seems quite distant from sex, violence, and racism-tinged world of Tony Starks and the DeLucas. He’s just a guy with a sarcastic sense of humor, who you’d see digging through the crates at your local record store, probably every day. However, as he continues to be treated like shit by the aging DeLuca crime bosses and see more horrific things, Migdal seems more attuned to this grindhouse movie of a world even though he doesn’t lose his innocence making the high energy Chris Hunt-drawn finale have a tinge of sadness. He really just wants to get paid so he can buy more records.

Even though it has an entire restaurant of chefs in its proverbial kitchen, Twelve Reasons to Die is a damn good fusion of the crime and horror genre with a charismatic protagonist and a social conscience in the midst of all the schlock. However, it never gets preachy. For three decades, Ghostface Killah has been one of hip hop’s best storytellers, and his vision translates really well to the comic book page thanks to Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon, RZA, Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Chris Hunt, Jean-Paul Csuka, and the guest artists that are the visual equivalent of that perfect drum sound or soul sample that raises a track from skippable to total earworm. Finally, and it goes without saying, but this comic pairs really well with the 12 Reasons to Die album.

Story: Ghostface Killah, Adrian Younge, C.E. Garcia
Story/Script: Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon with RZA

Art: Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Chris Hunt
Guest Art: Kyle Strahm, Joe Infurnari, Tim Seeley, Nate Powell,
Tyler Crook, Toby Cypress, Joelle Jones, Edwin Huang, Russell Roehling,
Ryan Kelly, Riley Rossmo Colors: Jean-Paul Csuka
Letters: Jim Campbell and Nic J. Shaw
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: AmazoncomiXology

Comics Deserve Better Episode 16: 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank by Matthew Rosenberg, Tyler Boss, and Thomas Mauer

On this episode of Comics Deserve Better, Brian and Logan geek out about the darkly comedic, crime comic 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank by Matthew Rosenberg, Tyler Boss, and Thomas Mauer.

They break down the cast of annoying, yet endearing middle-school-aged characters, their favorite sequences, and the connections that this Black Mask Studios masterpiece has to other works of pop culture. Brian and Logan also discuss the latest indie comics news, including Graham Coxon‘s comic Superstate from Z2, the announcement of Vault‘s queer monster love story Hollow Heart and Geoff Johns and Gary Frank‘s creator-owned series Geiger, and a new ordering format from Scout Comics. They also talk about the upcoming Black Hammer: Visions and their dream creators on the miniseries. Other comics mentioned on the show are We Only Find Them When They’re Dead, Getting It Together, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, and 12 Reasons to Die. (Episode art by Tyler Boss)

Preview: 12 Reasons to Die

12 Reasons to Die

Created by: Ghostface Killah / Executive Produced by: RZA
Written by: Matthew Rosenberg & Patrick Kindlon
Illustrated by: Ronald Wimberly, Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Kyle Strahm, Joe Infurnari, Christopher Mitten, Jim Mahfood, Tim Seeley, Nate Powell, Ben Templesmith, Tyler Crook, Toby Cypress, Juan Doe, Joelle Jones, Edwin Huang, Johnnie Christmas, Russel Roehling, Ryan Kelly, Michael Walsh, Chris Hunt, Riley Rossmo, David Murdoch, Garry Brown, Johnny Ryan, Shaky Kane, Benjamin Marra, and Brian Level
Colored by: Jean-Paul Csuka
Lettered by: Jim Campbell, Nic J. Shaw
Mature / $24.99 / 180 pages

Guns. Sex. Vinyl. Revenge. Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah and RZA teamed with then young-gun writers Matthew Rosenberg (Uncanny X-Men, 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank) & Patrick Kindlon (Survival Fetish, Nobody Is In Control) for this brutal tale of a dangerous crime lord’s rise and fall.

Collects issues 1-6.

12 Reasons to Die

Black Mask Launches Tube Comics

Black Mask LogoPublishing and production company Black Mask Studios has debuted its latest tech-entertainment innovation today: tubecomics, a new digital comics format, and Blackmask.tv, a YouTube multi-channel network that will serve as tubecomics’ home. The format/platform duo are designed to encourage ad-supported binge-viewing of comics, a project developed by Black Mask co-founder Matt Pizzolo.

The Blackmask.tv network launches today with five initial series: the sci-fi actioner Ballistic, Ghostface Killah and RZA’s horror odyssey 12 Reasons To Die, supernatural pulp adventure Five Ghosts, monster-hunter super-heroine series Hack/Slash, and the animal-rescuing vigilantes tale Liberator.

The network will post new episodes weekly and additional series monthly.

Tubecomics replicate the panel-by-panel reading style of a digital comic, but do so in a video format that can be viewed on any device from HDTVs to smartphones and tablets, adding voice narration and music to the package. Unlike motion comics, tubecomics do not add animation–Black Mask is placing an emphasis on tubecomics retaining the structural integrity of the paper comics’ art and story.

Tube Comics

 

Review: 12 Reasons to Die #3, Ballistic #2, Liberator #3

12 Reasons to Die #3

12ReasonsToDie_03-cover_600pxThis horror-crime hybrid from the legendary Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Ghostface Killah is the brutal story of a vengeful soul hunting the 12 most powerful crimelords in the world. The pseudo anthology comic continues with its weird stories mixing horror and crime for its usual entertaining mix.

The third issue follows Anthony Stark working for the DeLuca family after taking out a rival family in the last issue. Now though, the head of his new employers knows his wife is cheating on him, so he sends Stark to deal with it. The story is pretty entertaining if a bit predictable in how it ends, though isn’t hurt by that.

The rest of the comic deals with the gathering of these records, in this case a club and getting a record from a DJ which leads to the more horror aspects of the comic.

What’s interesting is the series’ continued mixing of the two stories. I await them to crossover and tie together, but three issues in and it really hasn’t happened. The stories seem completely separate and disconnected, maybe I’m just waiting for more when it comes to all of that.

The strengths is the mix that you find in each of these issues. The art and story styles have a gritty independent comic feel about them, a nice change and mix from a lot of what else is out there. Overall the two stories are solid, but I’d almost rather seem them split into their own series, especially if they never converge together. I can’t imagine that’ll be the case, so I’m  more awaiting that moment.

12 Reasons to Die is an interesting comic, one that should be checked out, whether you’re a Wu-Tang Clan fan or not.

Story: Ghostface Killah, Adrian Younge, Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon, Ce Garcia Art: Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Tyler Crook, Toby Cypress, David Murdoch
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Ballistic #2

Ballistic-002_cover_600pxDarick Robertson and Adam Egypt Mortimer’s madcap, psychedelic, transreal, utterly-wacko buddy adventure about Butch and his best friend Gun, a drug-addicted, genetically-modified, foul-mouthed firearm, as they attempt to elevate Butch from air conditioner repairman to master criminal in the twisted, post-eco-apocalyptic Repo City State, a reclaimed trash island built entirely from DNA-based, living technology with bad attitudes.

The mix of speculative science, pulpy noir, and drug-addled adventure cooks up a strange brew that continues in the second issue leading to an entertaining and unique mix of a comic series that we haven’t seen in quite some time.

Lets start with the story which brings with it a manic, kinetic energy that takes you along for the ride. It throws everything at you, in a world that’s unlike anything I’ve seen. A drug fueled future where so many ideas and visions are mixed together, I wonder what drugs these two creators were on when they came up with it. This issue deals more with what’s affecting Gun, yes the gun is having some drug dependency issues. Where the comic goes from there is out there, and frankly awesome.

Robertson’s art just takes all of that craziness and puts it on the page. Somehow, he makes the crazy down to Earth and in his style, fun. The world is out there in looks as well, and these two together is an awesome team.

Ballistic is one of the freshest debuts of 2013 with a retro-style to it that harkens back to the great British comics of the 80s.

Story: Adam Egypt Mortimer Art: Darick Robertson
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Liberator #3

Liberator-iss3-cover_600pxA hard-edged vigilante series about two young heroes who avenge the torture of animals, created by writer and real-life dog rescuer Matt Miner with art by Javier Sanchez Aranda and a cover by Ben Templesmith.

At the end of the second issue the tension had ramped up with Jeanette and Damon caught by police during a break in and as a reader, I had no idea where the comic was going to go. With a solid and realistic next step the comic really dives into a discussion of good and evil.

Though our two heroes are doing good in their mind, they’re breaking the law to do so. This is in contrast with those they’re taking on who are doing some evil things to animals. Is it ok to break the law while pursuing justice? That’s really the theme of the comic series as it delves deeper and deeper into the world of animal rescue.

There’s also Damon’s spiraling actions throughout the issue, which make us the reader question his actions and motives more and more as he slips towards crossing an imaginary line of right and wrong. This comic continues to challenge us and make us think about justice and taking action through a carefully planned narrative that takes us along the ride into the world of political action.

To me, its not just those actions that stand out, but also the details such as a simple act of texting an apology. Even that kind act turns into an episode of paranoia. This comic has us not just question actions but also the mental state of both of our protagonists.

Three issues in and the comic seems to be getting better and better. It’s a solid read that mixes politics and super hero heroics with plausible real world action.

If the beautiful cover by Templesmith doesn’t draw you in…. On top of getting a solid comic to read, 30% of Liberator profits will go to animal rescue initiatives. So, you can be entertained and also help a good cause as well.

Story: Matt Miner Art: Javier Sanchez Aranda
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

Around the Tubes

So what did everyone pick up at the comic shop (if you went)? If you didn’t go, what are you planning on picking up?

Around the Tubes

Kotaku – Superhero Crossovers Aren’t Going Away. Can They Please Get Better? – Thoughts?

Around the Tubes Reviews

Bleeding Cool – 12 Reasons To Die #3

Comic Vine – Aquaman #23.1

Comic Vine – Archer and Armstrong #13

Comic Vine – Avengers #19

ICv2 – Bad Break HC

CBR – Batman #23.2

Comic Vine – Batman #23.2

Comic Vine – Batman and Robin #23.2

Comic Vine – Brain Boy #1

Comic Vine – Captain America #11

Comic Vine – Clone #10

Comic Vine – Detective Comics #23.2

Comic Vine – Eternal Warrior #1

Comic Vine – Fantastic Four #12

Comic Vine – The Flash #23.2

Comic Vine – Ghosted #3

Comic Vine – Mars Attacks Judge Dredd #1

Comic Vine – Mighty Avengers #1

The Beat – Reviewed! Every Issue of Villains Month, Week Two

Week in Review: July 8-14, 2013

Another great week in comics, with the beginning of DC’s Trinity War, the debut of Titan Comics’ Chronos Commandos, plenty of great superhero and pulp books, and even a review of Guillermo del Toro’s summer blockbuster. Check out what we’ve been up to at Graphic Policy this past week:

Graphic Policy Radio
July 9, 2013–a discussion with Emma Houboix about Sailor Moon, manga, FF, Matt Fraction on Hawkeye, and group representation in comics.

Comic Reviews
Hellheim #5–Oni Press’ Scandinavian monster mythology continues to great applause by Andrew.

Miss Fury #4–Dynamite’s time-travelling Nazi-fighter gets mixed reviews.

East of West #4–sci-fi/western continues with great art and emotional storytelling.

Pathfinder #8, TMNT New Animated Adventures #1–Sean gives us a tour of the first in a new TMNT series, and Pathfinder makes a splash for RPGers.

Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #2–Andrew gives us the details on the lauded second issue of one of Dark Horse’s most touching books.

Black Beetle #4–Francavilla’s pulpy pulp superhero…how have I not picked this up myself?! Seriously, it seems you can’t miss this book; don’t skip Andrew’s review, either.

Star Wars #7, Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #2–Wood’s incredible Original Trilogy era saga continues, with a more emotional look at the Rebel heroes.

Eerie #3–Sean takes a tour of Cousin Eerie’s assorted offerings from Dark Horse’s weird horror/sci-fi anthology, with high marks.

A1 #2, Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol #1–Brett gives us a tour of Titan Comics new line, including dinosaur fighters and an unstoppable anthology of weirdos.

Occupy Comics #2, 12 Reasons to Die #2, Ballistic #1–Brett reviews the political Kickstarter comic, a horror-crime comic of gangsters and soul hunters, and a very strange buddy adventure book.

Ghosted #1–Scott introduces us to Image’s incredibly violent, noir thriller…

Sheltered #1–…and to their new apocalyptic comic, with mixed reviews.

Justice League #22, Daredevil #28, Batman #22–Sean brings us up to date on two amazing comics from the Big Two, and fills us in on the Trinity War’s first shots.

Movie Review
Pacific Rim–Guillermo del Torro’s Kaiju-and-robots movie of the summer is here, but is it any good? Brett’s got some opinions on the matter; feel free to share yours in our comments section!

Book Review
Father Gaetano’s Puppet Catechism: A Novella–explore post-war Sicily, where puppets come to life at an orphanage…nothing could go wrong with that plot, right? Check out Sean’s review of Mike Mignola (HellboyB.P.R.D., etc.) and Christopher Golden’s chilling novella.

Classics Revisited
Watchmen–this new monthly column, Classics Revisited, hits the ground running, as we take a look at Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s truly incredibly 12-part graphic novel, Watchmen.

That’ll do it for this week folks, but make sure to stay tuned to Graphic Policy for news and reviews of what’s going on in the comic book industry and Geekdom at large.

Review: Occupy Comics #2, 12 Reasons to Die #2 and Ballistic #1

Occupy Comics #2

occThe Kickstarter phenomenon is in it’s second issue and it shows no sign of diminishing in quality. Occupy Comics #2 continues the thought provoking anthology with more strips, prose and in general contributions that actually makes you think. The second issue continues to show that comics and politics do mix. The comics boast an impressive line-up of creators like Alan Moore, David Lloyd, Charlie Adlard, Art Spiegelman, Molly Crabapple, Matt Bors, Mike Allred, Ben Templesmith, J.M. DeMatteis, Tyler Crook, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Joe Infurnari, Ales Kot, Dean Haspiel, Joshua Dysart and Matt Pizzolo.

This issue continues to impress with thought-provoking contributions. Again, it’s pretty non-partisan and numerous entries border on graphic journalism, and might be creating a whole new genre of graphic social commentary. This is a perfect marriage of comics and politics, of course I dug it. Continue to ignore that word “occupy” and don’t let it taint your willingness to give this series a chance. You’ll be surprised, though shouldn’t be considering the talent behind it.

But on top of the political message and commentary, the series continues to be entertaining. The stories contained within are smartly written and beautifully illustrated, making this a package that has depth in message as well as presentation, an awesome combination. It’s a perfect connection between emotion, facts and art. The stories have depth and are well thought out, their intelligence shows.

Despite some pretty heavy hitter names, Matt Miner’s contribution about his experience with Occupy Sandy during Hurricane Sandy is especially emotional. It really opens up your eyes as to what occurred during that storm and clean up after and the travesty that was relief efforts by the government.

I’m a political nerd. I’m a comic geek. Lets occupy some comics!

Story and art: Alan Moore, David Lloyd, Charlie Adlard, Art Spiegelman, Molly Crabapple, Matt Bors, Mike Allred, Ben Templesmith, J.M. DeMatteis, Tyler Crook, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Joe Infurnari, Ales Kot, Dean Haspiel, Joshua Dysart and Matt Pizzolo
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

12 Reasons to Die #2

APR130921_mThis horror-crime hybrid is the latest comic book from the legendary Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Ghostface Killah. A brutal tale of gangsters, betrayal, and one vengeful soul hunting the 12 most powerful crimelords in the world.

Two issues in and I’m still pretty entertained by the series which mixes horror and crime. Overall though, this second issue isn’t quite as polished as the first and I wonder if the limited series might be better read in one sitting or as a trade paperback.

Again the comic comes off as disjointed stories, with an attempt to weave them together. That weaving isn’t quite as tight as the first one, and that might be where my issue comes into this. The stories don’t fit as quite nicely together as that first issue, jumping around in the subjects and characters and the art at times differing either too much or not much causing delineation between the chapters to be more difficult.

And that’s where I struggle with the comic. Take each of the stories by themselves and they’d be great. But, together there’s an issue for me and the flow between them is part of it. Breaking each section up, even with a page that just says “chapter 1,” etc. might have helped. It could also be the fact I’m reading it digitally, which makes that more difficult.

I’m also at the point I’d like more information about these records and the bigger picture around them. If they’re just a story device, that’s fine, but I’d like that a bit more clearer.

The series is an example of a multi-platform, transmedia concept project with a storyline that spans from the comic book to the new Ghostface Killah album released simultaneously by RZA’s Soul Temple Records. So, you have a soundtrack to check out while reading the comic.

Overall, this is an entertaining example of cross-media entertainment, but the series needs to pick up a bit for me.

Story: Adrian Younge, Ce Garcia, Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon Art: Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Tim Seeley, Nate Powell, Brian Level, Dave Murdoch
Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Ballistic #1

Ballistic-001_600pxWelcome to Repo City State, where everyone’s an asshole… even the air conditioners.

Darick Robertson and Adam Egypt Mortimer’s madcap, psychedelic, transreal, utterly-wacko buddy adventure about Butch and his best friend Gun, a drug-addicted, genetically-modified, foul-mouthed firearm, as they attempt to elevate Butch from air conditioner repairman to master criminal in the twisted, post-eco-apocalyptic Repo City State, a reclaimed trash island built entirely from DNA-based, living technology with bad attitudes.

Ballistic marks Darick Robertson’s return to the hard sci-fi worldbuilding of his classic Transmetropolitan but mixed with The Boys’ ultra-violence and the lunacy of Happy. Mortimer’s mix of speculative science, pulpy noire, and drug-addled adventure cooks up a strange brew of Lethal Weapon by way of Cronenberg meets Dr. Who if written by Odd Future.

If you’re a fan of 80s British comics, then you need to do yourself a favor and pick up this debut issue of a series that I’m sure will be making “best of” lists at the end of the year. The story is a mad rush full of adrenaline in a world so far out there and crazy, it’s hard not to be entertained.

Though it might have that “80s British” vibe, the story also feels fresh and innovative. That package also has a main character that has the snappy banter of coolness of Ash from Army of Darkness. You can take your pick as to which character I’m referring to with that one.

On top of the fun story, there’s visuals that’ll blow you away. The world can’t be described, it can only be seen and you’ll find yourself lingering on pages to catch everything and coming back to do that some more once you’re done reading.

The comic lives up to it’s name and blew me away. This one might be a sleeper, but do yourself a favor and go grab a copy!

Story: Adam Egypt Mortimer Art: Darick Robertson
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

Review: Occupy Comics #1 and 12 Reasons to Die #1

Occupy Comics #1

OccupyComics-coverA_600pxStarted off in what seems forever ago, Occupy Comics initially started off as a Kickstarter project, it is now seeing print thanks to Black Mask Studios. An anthology, the comic was as political as they come and channeled the dissatisfaction with the status-quo represented by the Occupy Movement. The comics boast an impressive line-up of creators like Alan Moore, David Lloyd, Charlie Adlard, Art Spiegelman, Molly Crabapple, Matt Bors, Mike Allred, Ben Templesmith, J.M. DeMatteis, Tyler Crook, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Joe Infurnari, Ales Kot, Dean Haspiel, Joshua Dysart and Matt Pizzolo.

Each contribution is thought-provoking and entertaining and shockingly non-partisan. This is a perfect marriage of comics and politics. While many will see that word “occupy” how the stories presented are pretty non-partisan, reflecting the realistic economic times and the political world in which we live.

But on top of that political message, the comic is also entertaining. The stories contained within are smartly written and beautifully illustrated, making this a package that has depth in message as well as presentation, an awesome combination. It’s a perfect connection between emotion, facts and art.

The stories within vary too. They’re not all straight comics, and some mix it up with different forms of storytelling. This is an anthology with a theme first and foremost, not necessarily a “comic.” But it’s all golden. Everything I read had depth and was intelligent. It just grabbed me and I wanted to read more. It made we want more of this type of voice in the more mainstream comics many of these folks write.

On top of the solid stories and art, all revenue received by organizers/creators (past hard costs) will be donated to various Occupy-related initiatives.

This is a perfect example of the marriage of comics and politics. An awesome comic that I can’t wait to see more of.

Story and art: Alan Moore, David Lloyd, Charlie Adlard, Art Spiegelman, Molly Crabapple, Matt Bors, Mike Allred, Ben Templesmith, J.M. DeMatteis, Tyler Crook, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Joe Infurnari, Ales Kot, Dean Haspiel, Joshua Dysart and Matt Pizzolo
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

12 Reasons to Die #1

12ReasonsToDie_issue1coverB_ChristopherMittenThis horror-crime hybrid is the latest comic book from the legendary Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Ghostface Killah.

A brutal tale of gangsters, betrayal, and one vengeful soul hunting the 12 most powerful crimelords in the world.

I’m a fan of crime comics. The idea of gangsters and crimelords is just entertaining to me. I tend to gravitate to those stories so this comic was right up my way. But what makes this comic and this “gangster” tale stand out is the horror part of it all. It’s a nice change to the straight up gangster story I was expecting and the type of story I was expecting when I saw that RZA and Ghostface Killah were involved.

There’s a lot going on in the comic, making it not the straightforward crime comic you’d expect. There’s different perspectives and intertwining storylines that’ll be interesting to see how they come together. This is a mystery/horror story with a gangster veneer and the first issue teases that mystery just enough to get me to want to come back and check out more.

You can tell this is a story being told the way they want to be told. It’s a high concept blending story, art and music together. Each section of the first issues is paired with the talents of an artist who does it justice and enhances the story.

What’s even cooler is this is an example of a multi-platform, transmedia concept project with a storyline that spans from the comic book to the new Ghostface Killah album released simultaneously by RZA’s Soul Temple Records. So, you have a soundtrack to check out while reading the comic.

Overall, this is an entertaining example of

Story: Adrian Younge, Ce Garcia, Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon Art: Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Kyle Strahm, Joe Infurnari
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review