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Review: Broken Frontier Anthology

The overused term, “rules are made to be broken,” has been said repeatedly when it is thought that someone has gone against convention. As the world slowly embraces the diversity that surrounds it, so has popular media. Comics have always challenged type but has mostly been monochromatic. It has only recently been proactive about being diverse in not only race and sexuality, but also ability. Wave Blue World‘s Broken Frontier offers up stories where they do just that, break the rules.

In “Phantom Limb Ghost Puncher,” a police officer who loses his arm during a rescue, magically receives a mystical weapon which changes his life instantly. In “Stranger Than Fiction,” a clairvoyant helps out a murder suspect, by revisiting the day of the crime through his unconscious mind. In “Dark Dark World,” young imaginative writer plays out a scene for a story, all in her father’s work shed. In “The Wall,” set in a dystopian future, societies’ fortunes are separated only by allegiance.

In “Flyer,”  a elderly man, gives a prep talk to his adolescent granddaughter, as she prepares to engage in a dogfight by way of rocketpack. “In The Night, Mountains Grew,” a ranger’s gross miscalculation proves fatal for those she protects. In “The Beard,” a young woman uncontrollably grows a facial hair at a unusually rapid rate, something befuddles her day after day, until she realizes her greater destiny, one that would change her life forever. In “Purgatory,” a woman falls into a coma, and gets transported to a different world, where she gets to be her true self.

In “The Trip,” a rather routine start of a morning for a man and his daughter, becomes a lesson in realizing every day is precious. In “Its About Time,” a scientist uses his considerable powers to time travel before his wife died, but what he finds out changes his whole outlook on her. In “Inside Outside,” a woman coming off her meds is constantly irritated by “cute squishy monsters.” In “Last dance at Omega Point,” as a rocket heads to its firing point, a woman’s life unpacks in alternate reality.

Overall, an excellent comic anthology which explores what can be or what will be. The stories by all the writers pluck the emotions of the reader in the best way possible. The art by the creators are all beautiful. Altogether, a plus sized comic treat which entertains on every page and you will wish was longer.

Story: Greg Pak, Tyler Chin-Tanner,Cullen Bunn, Phil Hester, Robert Dammelin, Justin Zimmerman, A. David Lewis, Fred Van Lente, Carla Berrocal, Jamie Coe, Edie OP, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Merguerite Bennett,Frederik Hautain, Kurt Belcher,  Adam Egypt Mortimer, Karrie Fransman, David Hine, Noah Van Sciver, Sean Wang, Salgood Sam, Box Brown,  PJ Holden, Scott Ferguson, INJ Culbard, Steve Orlando, Steve Bryant
Art: Steve Bryant, INJ Culbard, Yaroslav Astapeev, PJ Holden, Salgood Sam, Sean Wang, Box Brown, Noah Van Sciver, Mark Stafford, Karrie Fransman, Jeff McComsey, Facundo Percio, Rob Croonenborghs, Varga Tomi, Ryan Kelly, Edie OP, Toby Cypress, Jamie Coe, Robert Sammelin, Carla Berrocal, Daniel Warren Johnson, Nathan Fox, Alison Sampson, Noel Tuazon, Aysegul Sinav, Mike Lawrence, Tom Raney, Simon Bowland, Taylor Esposito, Gina Going, Jason Wordie
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

WonderCon 2016: American Gothic Press’ Announcements

At their first ever WonderCon panel, American Gothic Press took the stage and talked about their first year they’ve had with titles like Gunsuits, Broken Moon, Project Nemesis, Monster World, and the more recent success in Irwin Allen’s Lost in Space: The Lost Adventures.

The discussion then focused on the upcoming action title Killbox, with writer Tom Riordan and artist Nathan Gooden on hand to talk about the process and the decision to keep the comic in black and white. They revealed the cover of the upcoming third issue (see below). The comic drops April 20, 2016.

KILLBOX

After Killbox, the conversation switched to Lost in Space, with discussion of both the current story arc “The Curious Galactics” and the upcoming “Malice in Wonderland” (LOST IN SPACE #4-6). It was announced that colorist and cover artist Patrick McEvoy will be taking over art duties for the second arc.

Lost in Space

The discussion then focused on the upcoming Tales From the Ackermansion Kickstarter launching in May. To celebrate Forrest J Ackerman’s 100th birthday later this year, Famous Monsters of Filmland is putting together a graphic anthology to honor their founder. The list of contributors so far includes Kirk Hammett, Ray Fawkes, John 5, Richard Christian Matheson, Dan DiDio, Matt Frank, Christian DiBari, Charlie Benante, Juan Ferreyra, Darick Robertson, Bob Eggleton, Ben Meares, David Weiner, Holly Interlandi, Joe Moe, Adam Egypt Mortimer, Travis Williams, Dave Kelly, Trevor Goring, Buzz Dixon, Mark L. Miller, Jim Terry, Jonathan La Mantia, Lara Antal, Victoria Lau, and Patrick McEvoy.

TALES FROM THE ACKERMANSION

Looking towards the future, the cover for Island 731 by Jeremy Robinson and Kane Gilmour was debuted, illustrated by Jeff Zornow. The first issue solicits in May 2016.

ISLAND 731

Gunsuits will return later this year with Gunsuits: Alix, a one-shot with Philip Kim, Holly Interlandi, and Dennis Calero as the creative team.

GUNSUITS

Finally, it was announced that Broken Moon will also be returning, with Nat Jones returning on art duties. The cover was shown, featuring a sinister looking Gill-Creature.

BROKEN MOON

Liberator teams up with HC Punk band Earth Crisis and More!

With its debut slate of comics wrapping up, Black Mask Studios, is teasing what we can expect in March 2014, with the full line-up being announced next month. The creator-supporting comics publisher was founded by Matt Pizzolo, Brett Gurewitz,and Steve Niles.

One of the more interesting debuts from the publisher in 2013 was 12 Reasons to Die. The transmedia story integrated a comic and album release, not shocking since two people behind it were RZA and Ghostface Killah. Black Mask Studios is continuing this collaborative and interesting effort in 2014 with their announced team-up of the legendary animal rights hardcore punk band Earth Crisis with the animal-avenging vigilante story Liberator for Liverator/Earth Crisis: Salvation of Innocents. Black Mask revealed that the 12 Reasons To Die comic book sold nearly as many copies in record stores as it did in comic book stores, demonstrating how effective this multi-pronged distribution approach can be at finding new readers for comic book creators.

Black Mask’s primary goal is to support comics creators, and part of that is by cultivating a space where creators can feel safe to support one another. The March debuting Liberator Volume 1 collected book reflects this mission’s success so far, with the book featuring 40 brand new, previously unreleased comic stories taking place in the world of Liberator written by a range of creators including Tim Seeley, Ales Kot, Ed Brisson , Alex de Campi, Frank Barbiere, Fabian Rangel Jr, Megan Hutchison, Matt Pizzolo, Matthew Rosenberg, and Adam Egypt Mortimer.

Check what you can expect Liberator related in March 2014 below!


LIBERATOR/EARTH CRISIS: Salvation of Innocents #1

Creator: Matt Miner
Producer: Matt Pizzolo
Writers: Matt Miner, Earth Crisis
Illustrators: Javier Aranda (pencils/inks), Joaquin Pereyra (colors).
Cover A: Menton3
Cover B: Rod Reis
32 pages / T+ / Full-color / $3.99
Comic book street date: March 5
Album street date: March 4 (Candlelight Records)

“Earth Crisis has wanted to have a comic that went along with an album’s lyrical concept for a while, but we didn’t think one existed that shared the same vision of the band, until now! Liberator and Matt Miner are just what we’ve been waiting for, and we are honored to have him help us tell the story!” -Earth Crisis

“Working with EARTH CRISIS on the comic book side of Salvation of Innocents has been a dream project for me.  Our styles, ethics, and ideologies are a fitting match and I’m super excited for folks to read the story.” -Matt Miner, creator Liberator

“It’s crazy to me that it took twenty years for comics to produce a set of animal-minded vigilantes strong enough to roll with EARTH CRISIS. It’s probably the most perfectly aligned superhero team-up ever.” -Matt Pizzolo, Black Mask Studios

Hardcore punk legends Earth Crisis join forces with Liberator for this unique comics & music collaboration, telling the story of a young janitor in an animal testing lab who stumbles on a dark conspiracy and is inspired to rescue the animals.

Different sides of the same story are told in the simultaneously released comic book and concept album.

When Sarah Mann takes a crappy custodial job at a cosmetics lab, she discovers cold-blooded scientist Dr. Elena Reznik’s secret facility where illegal vivisections are performed on live, conscious animals. Inspired by the stories of Jeanette and Damon’s animal liberations, Sarah pulls on her own mask and sets out to rescue the tortured animals.

liberator earth crisis Liberator Earth Crisis #1 cover by Rod Reis
LIBERATOR Vol .1 Rage Ignition

Creator/Writer: Matt Miner
Illustrators:
Javier Aranda (pencils/inks), Joaquin Pereyra (colors)
Cover: Tim Seeley

New Stories:

“This Is You”
Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Tim Seeley (pencils/inks), K. Michael Russell (colors)

“Liber”
Written by Ales Kot
Illustrated by Morgan Jeske

“Broken”
Written by Ed Brisson
Illustrated by Brian Level

“Politics”
Written by Alex de Campi
Illustrated by Sally Jane Thompson (pencils/inks), Jenn Manley Lee (colors)

“What’s a hero, anyway?”
Written by Frank Barbiere
Illustrated by Matthew Marks

“Liberation”
Written & Illustrated by Megan Hutchison

“Anchor Point”
Written by Matt Miner
Illustrated by Tess Fowler

“Unlocking”
Written by Fabian Rangel, Jr.
Illustrated by Jonathan Brandon Sawyer (pencils/inks), Doug Garbark (colors)

“Untouchable”
Written by Matt Pizzolo

“We Are What We Are”
Written by Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon
Illustrated by Ariela Rie Kristantina

“Rage”
Written by Adam Egypt Mortimer
Illustrated by Ryan Lee
144 pages / T+ / Full-color / $14.99

Acclaimed from the establishment media of the NY Post to the activist trenches of Earth First, Liberator brings real-world vigilante-heroism to comics for the first time–demonstrated by its popular hook “Real heroes don’t wear capes, they wear ski-masks.”

Whether it’s vicious dog-fighting clubs or senseless lab experiments force-feeding oven cleaners to monkeys, Jeanette Francis and Damon Guerrero have had enough. Using any and all means available to them, Jeanette and Damon not only rescue the animals but also avenge them – delivering harsh retribution to the animals’ captors and tormentors.

This book collects Liberator issues 1-4 into a single volume for the first time. Collected for the first time, this 144-page volume includes 40 pages of brand-new, previously unreleased comic stories taking place in the world of Liberator.

Liberator vol. 1 collected book cover by Tim Seeley

1/3 of Liberator profits will go to animal rescue initiatives.

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

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

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