Tag Archives: alex de campi

Twisted Romance: Valentine’s Day special with Alex de Campi, Alejandra Gutierrez, Katie Skelly & Trungels. Listen on Demand

Critically acclaimed writer Alex de Campi teams up with some of comics’ most distinctive talent to create tales of love gone wrong, right, and everywhere in between. A new issue of Twisted Romance is released by Image Comics each week in February.

Joining us on the podcast:

Alex de Campi: an Eisner nominated writer for her graphic novel Smoke and beloved by GP for her series like GrindhouseMaydayNo Mercy, and Archie Vs the Predator.

Alejandra Gutierrez: a “human” woman from Colombia who makes comics, usually sexy ones, sometimes sad ones, and sometimes both. Her page with Emma Houxbois in the Eisner winning Love is Love anthology is Elana’s favorite.

Katie Skelly: an award winning cartoonist whose work includes My Pretty VampireNurse NurseOperation Margarine, and Agent 8 for Slutist.com.

Trungles (Trung Le Nguyen): a comic book artist and illustrator whose work includes Adventure Time: Marshall Lee Spectacular, the highly adult coloring book Fauns and Flora, and Beauties in Fresh Romance.

Twisted Romance: Valentine’s Day special with Alex de Campi, Alejandra Gutierrez, Katie Skelly & Trungels

Critically acclaimed writer Alex de Campi teams up with some of comics’ most distinctive talent to create tales of love gone wrong, right, and everywhere in between. A new issue of Twisted Romance is released by Image Comics each week in February.

Listen in when the show airs LIVE this Monday at 10pm ET.

Joining us on the podcast are:

Alex de Campi: an Eisner nominated writer for her graphic novel Smoke and beloved by GP for her series like GrindhouseMaydayNo Mercy, and Archie Vs the Predator.

Alejandra Gutierrez: a “human” woman from Colombia who makes comics, usually sexy ones, sometimes sad ones, and sometimes both. Her page with Emma Houxbois in the Eisner winning Love is Love anthology is Elana’s favorite.

Katie Skelly: an award winning cartoonist whose work includes My Pretty VampireNurse NurseOperation Margarine, and Agent 8 for Slutist.com.

Trungles (Trung Le Nguyen): a comic book artist and illustrator whose work includes Adventure Time: Marshall Lee Spectacular, the highly adult coloring book Fauns and Flora, and Beauties in Fresh Romance.

Alex de Campi Takes Us on a Twisted Romance

Critically acclaimed writer Alex de Campi teams up with some of comics’ hottest artists for Twisted Romance, a four-issue weekly anthology miniseries with tales of love—love gone right, wrong, and everything in between.

Each issue of this month-long romance event will feature 48 pages of content: a main comic story, a backup comic story, and a backup prose story. Within the pages of Twisted Romance, you can expect to find a wide variety of themes, including the commoditization of breakups, the love of a shy girl and a wildly famous guy, forbidden love on an intergalactic dreadnought, and the deceptive lure of childhood as seen by a princess who’s afraid to grow up. Exclusive sneak-peeks can be found throughout December and January at participating sites; see below for details.

Twisted Romance #1: “Old Flames” (Diamond code: DEC170607) arrives February 7th, featuring art from Katie Skelly, a backup comic from Sarah Horrocks, and a prose story by Magen Cubed. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, January 15th.

Twisted Romance #2: “Twinkle and the Star” (Diamond code: DEC170608) hits shelves February 14th, with art from Alejandra Gutiérrez, a backup comic from Meredith McClaren, and a prose story by Vita Ayala. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, January 22nd.

Twisted Romance #3: “Invincible Heart” (Diamond code: DEC170609) will be available February 21st, with art from Carla Speed McNeil, a backup comic from Margaret Trauth, and a prose story by Jess Bradley. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, January 29th.

Twisted Romance #4: “Treasured” (Diamond code: DEC170610) hits stores February 28th, with art from Trungles, a backup comic from Sarah Winifred Searle, and a prose story by Naomi Salman. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, February 5th.

Joe Illidge Talks Lion Forge Comics’ Astonisher

The most dangerous corners of the universe live inside the nightmares of super-powered people.

Magnus Atitarn, heir to the Atitarn Satellite Corp., tried to save the world with his experimental one-man spaceship — and ended up a broken man. Now a celebrity joke suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Magnus has the power to travel inside the mind of super-powered people, where he discovers nightmares which threaten the entire human race.

Astonisher is the latest series to debut as part of Lion Forge Comics’ Catalyst Prime universe. Written by Alex De Campi with art by Pop Mhan the series is an intriguing entry to the comic line.

We got a chance to talk to Senior Editor Joe Illidge about the series.

Graphic Policy: Where did the concept for Astonisher come from? It’s interesting in how it fits in with the other series that have come out so far.

Joe Illidge: The CEO, David Steward II, came up with a basic premise for the title and certain ideas he wanted to explore in the Catalyst Prime universe. When I thought about it, it seemed like the kind of book that traditionally in superhero comics you would expect a man to write with a white American male lead character. I thought “ok, I’m tired of seeing a male perspective on men, I want to see a woman’s perspective.” When I thought about who was one of the most unique and talented female writers out there, Alex De Campi was on the short list. I went to her and told her to take this nugget and expand upon that.

She’s the one that took it to the next level in terms of making it what she called the more “Steve Ditko/Grant Morrison” corner of the Catalyst Prime universe.

GP: The vibe I got from the comic is that it shares a lot with some of the other rich male characters out there. It’s the brash, full of ego, into technology. Is that the right take on it?

JI: Absolutely. When Dave Steward II conceived it, he really thought about the convergence between Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Richard Branson in the Catalyst Prime world and where those paths meet in terms of bravura, youth, Silicon Valley, wealth culture. That’s the nucleus of where Astonisher came from.

What Alex did was expand it in terms of the family dynamic that would surround a person like that and how people treat each other in social circles. The main character Magnus became a character that we could use to examine wealth culture through his entire family.

GP: After reading the first issue, this feels like the first comic you’ve put out where I’m struggling to find a character I really like. They’re assholes each in their own special way. It’s interesting that there’s not the sympathetic character at all. Still, I found myself wanting to go along with the ride to see where it goes.

JI: It’s interesting when you say that. I was a big fan of the show Six Feet Under, created by Alan Ball. I remember that’s what someone said to me about Six Feet Under. The core of Astonisher is Magnus, who has a good core to him, but that good core has been warped by his social status, fame, vanity, but even the kind of ego it took for him to take his ship and go out into space and think he would as one man save the world. But suffering and coming back from that with PTSD, losing his level of celebrity, and how that keys into his sense of self, I found all the characters interesting. While they may not be immediately likeable, they are all characters that are human and believable. I think that is at the core of the Catalyst Prime universe, stories about characters.

You can see in various ways how this family represents the influential architecture of the Catalyst Prime Universe. When you think about it Magnus is the center of that, that opens up a lot of dramatic possibilities. We’re so used to getting superhero stories where we first meet them and they’re people that we like. They’re people to whom we’d already apply the term “heroic.” What we’re doing here is a story of a character’s journey towards heroism. That’s why we’re starting where Magnus is now because we’re going to take you on that journey. What we pride ourselves on in the Catalyst Prime Universe is that the readers will be able to go on the narrative journey with the characters at the same time.

GP: What’s interesting and stood out is that even though he’s unlikeable, it’s not a negative thing. It’s rather interesting because he’s not coming from an altruistic starter. Let’s be realistic: Tony Stark wouldn’t be altruistic. He’d be driven by ego and profit and because he thinks he knows best from a privileged place. That’s where this seems to be coming from, in a good way.

When Magnus created an app, it wasn’t what it did, it was how much he made. Now he has these powers, it’s about how he can make money off of them. This isn’t something you usually see in a superhero comic.

JI: Absolutely, the thing of it is, when you look at someone like Magnus, he comes from a position of entitlement right off the bat. His perspective on life, his perspective on doing good is going to be warped and in an interesting way parallels some of the things we see in real life. Part of what it does, it speaks to the true variety of the Catalyst Prime line, when we talk about inclusivity, when we talk about diversity, we’re showing people from different backgrounds and walks of life. The character of Magnus and his family in Astonisher speaks to a specific corner and perspective of the Catalyst Prime Universe. The name Astonisher is going to be apropos. We’re going to surprise you in different ways with this character as the story goes forward.

GP: Something that sticks out to me, through the various series that have come out, you have the Foresight Corporation, which is playing a huge role. Here you have Magnus and another corporation. My gut says that we’re going to see two corporations clash at some point.

JI: Basically, the same way you can look at our world and see titans like Google, Microsoft, Apple, you can look at the Catalyst Prime Universe and over time we’ll reveal the superstructure. The social, the financial. So, the company Magnus is the heir to which was founded by his mother and known as the Attarian Satellite Corporation, otherwise known as ATISAT. ATISAT is a major player in what’s going on in the world. The relationship between ATISAT and the Foresight Corporation is something that will slowly be revealed and in terms of a conflict of companies…when we get there it’ll be natural and make sense. It won’t be forced. It’ll be closer to a true world dynamic. What companies of wealth consider combat is different than what we consider combat. What they consider as competition, at that level, it’s a different point of view. That’s you at the top of the mountain look down, whereas most people are not coming from a position from wealth so they’re only looking up and their perspective is skewed as a result. It’ll be interesting over time the perspective that these families have of each other.

GP: Magnus’ powers are very different than others. They’re psionic or telepathic. When it comes to powers people can get, is there a guide as to what we’ll see in the Catalyst Prime world?

JI: We try to keep it science based and we want all the characters to have limitations. With this one, even though we’re entering a psychic landscape, that landscape and the discoveries of Magnus’ power, which connect to pieces of meteor in his body and one close to his brain, how that works with the Astonisher technology is quite science based. In terms of the logic of the powers, we wanted to take a different approach which is usually superpowers as an extension of personality. You’ve seen that successfully done in the past, but there’s something that’s more interesting if it’s random.

GP: With the meteor still embedded in Magnus’ head, I immediately think of people with bullets still in them and how that changes their life and PTSD. Is that going to be explored?

JI: It’s definitely going to be explored. Magnus is suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury. What we’re going to see is how people treat him differently. There’s your own trauma and then there’s the trauma that’s inflicted on you by other people’s perceptions of you. That’s something that Alex De Campi keys into with this character.

GP: I can see that in the first issue, definitely. How did Pop Mhan come on to the series?

JI: I’ve been a fan of Pop’s for years I loved his recent work for DC Comics on Masters of the Universe and when I thought about this comic and how it takes certain expectations and subverts them I thought Pop would be a perfect artist that would be able to give us the twisting actions and adventures as we go into the psyches of those infected by meteor exposure. And to give us personal drama which is just as dramatic and just as revealing of character, if not more so, as the battles. I really wanted to find someone that could get the balance. Someone that really could do the human expressiveness in body language, facial expressions, and Pop is one of the best out there. I was thrilled when he decided to come on board for the title. Jessica Kholinne as colorist is really doing an amazing job. She’s a true godsend to the book and her palette and approach to color and lighting is showing a level of thought and understanding that’s at the top of coloring in this business.

GP: With the series, it’s interesting that everything from Catalyst Prime fits in a silo. You have the team book, the teenager, the speedster, the loner character, and this with the arrogant tech and family dynamic. Astonisher could just be the “tech book” but that family dynamic makes it something else. When coming up with the various stories, how much of that is on your minds?

JI: Part of that comes from the different writers. Astonisher would have been a different kind of book with a different writer handling it. Because it’s Alex, her thinking is so brilliant and varied, she brought her sensibilities and self to the title and made it distinctive. Part of it, I think readers want to deal with familiar archetypes but want to deal with them in different ways. In one way Astonisher is where Batman, Iron Man, and Doctor Strange meet. In another way but he’s not like any of those characters. I feel like the readers are sophisticated and they should get stories that challenge them. Astonisher is the type of comic that can challenge expectations.

GP: Thanks for chatting!

Preview: Catalyst Prime: Astonisher #1

The most dangerous corners of the universe live inside the nightmares of super-powered people.

Magnus Atitarn, heir to the Atitarn Satellite Corp., tried to save the world with his experimental one-man spaceship — and ended up a broken man. Now a celebrity joke suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Magnus has the power to travel inside the mind of super-powered people, where he discovers nightmares which threaten the entire human race.

Lion Forge ComicsCatalyst Prime universe gets a new corner of the universe and new hero in Magnus Atitarn, a not so likeable character who thinks he can save the world and just might get a chance. Catalyst Prime: Astonisher presents a character that at first might feel familiar but as the issue progresses he winds up being so much more. A story not just about Magnus, the series explores the Atitarn family and their dynamic in an intriguing way that presents a series that lacks any character I want to cheer for. This is family drama where there’s backstabbing, lots of friction, and a deep distrust. Grab the popcorn for that.

But, again, what actually has me the most intrigued is the fact everyone are dicks. These are characters I want to punch and where and how writer Alex De Campi takes us will be the driver. The groundwork is an interesting one with some gutsy choices and De Campi deserves praise in all of that. This is a comic that really stands out from the pack due to the characters, setting, and powers presented.

Those powers are presented in some solid art by Pop Mhan who’s helped by Jessica Kholinne on colors. Mhan is given the task of taking us on a whirlwind joruney of Magnus’ in many ways with varied locations, situations, and dress and Kholinne ties it all together with coloring that jumps off of the page. It’s really good art with a lot of detail that presents the situations and settings well and gives each character some personality. What’s really interesting is Mhan and Kholinne’s depiction of the “tech” and psychic world where Magnus is presented as a knight. There’s a cool visual contrast that shifts the story in a lot of ways and adds an aspect that I hope is explored more in future issues.

The comic is an intriguing one where I found myself cheering against almost every character but at the same time, I want to read more. For a comic to do that is impressive.

Story: Alex De Campi Art: Pop Mhan
Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Lion Forge Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Around the Tubes

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opens tonight! Who’s going to see it? We’ll have our review later today and while you wait for that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

NBC News – Through Comic Books, Latino Kids From Immigrant Families Send Message to Pres. Trump – Very cool to see.

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: Read No Mercy #9 by De Campi, McNeil and Lee for free – Free comics! Go read it folks.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Newsarama – Black Bolt #1

Comic Attack – Secret Weapons #1

ECCC 2017: New Alex De Campi and ChrisCross Make a Bankshot at Dark Horse

Dark Horse has announced a new creator-owned project from Grindhouse and Archie vs Predator writer Alex de Campi: Bankshot. Action king ChrisCross lends his high-octane line art to the new series, while Snakebite makes the art pop with his beautiful colors.

Bankshot tells the story of the man known as Marcus King. To some, this enigmatic billionaire is a modern-day Robin Hood. To others, he’s a terrorist and a deserter. The truth lies somewhere in between. When Marcus is hired by the Russian government to take back an old KGB laboratory in the Ukraine, he comes face to face with a specter from his past who knows all Marcus’ carefully-buried truths. With everything on the line, Marcus needs to become for real the man he has always pretended to be. He also needs to punch a shitload of dudes and blow a lot of stuff up.

The first issue of Bankshot (of five) goes on sale June 28, 2017.

bankshot

Wednesday Comic Rally: Mayday #3

mayday-3It feels like all too often we’re lamenting how our favorite comic series got canceled due to lack of sales and interest. That’s where Wednesday Comic Rally comes in. The point is to spotlight comics that we as a community should be rallying around and most importantly purchasing to make sure they’re here for quite some time.


Three issues in, it’s not too late to check out Mayday by writer Alex De Campi and artist Tony Parker.

A Cold War action-thriller like no other. It’s 1971, and two young Soviet operatives are sent to California to kill a defector and recover top-secret information. As the mission falls apart into a mess of good sex, bad drugs, and ugly violence, the young Russians are faced with a dilemma: they need to rely on each other to escape America, but they must betray each other to survive Russia.

Mayday isn’t just a slick Cold War comics, it’s also a period piece in a time that you just don’t see too many modern comics set. That creates a unique experience that’s currently like no other monthly comic on the market. Parker’s art is fantastic as well giving us at times trippy visuals that nail the vibe and feel of the time period.

It’s a combination that comes together for a fun time and entertaining read that you won’t find anywhere else.


This is where you come in. You can buy Mayday #3 now! It’s available at local comic shops and you can find yours. For those without a local shop you can buy it digitally through comiXology, Kindle, or physical copy at Things From Another World.

Have a comic you think we should be rallying around? Send us a message and maybe it’ll be featured in an upcoming post.

 

 

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

Review: Mayday #1 and #2

mayday_01-1Blistering action grounded in a historical setting that’s under explored in comics and suddenly feels more timely than ever: the Cold War geopolitics of 1971.

The new Mayday series from writer/letterer/DJ Alex de Campi and artist/visual drug dealer Tony Parker is an exciting and original comic set in the Cold War conflict centered between the US and USSR. Its themes are on the tip of everyone’s tongue once again.

De Campi has described the series as being her “anti-James Bond”, a comic that asks readers how we feel about our spy protagonist when he’s Soviet, not British, when he wears a dingey T-shirt and isn’t a Ken-doll movie star. This is a question that goes largely unanswered in popular espionage stories. How often do we even see Russian protagonists?

De Campi is a serious researcher, a student of the era’s history, the Eastern Bloc and a world traveler herself. This is the experience she brings to this series along with her trademarked levels of earned, intelligent brutality and dark humor.

Between her sharp writing and Tony Parker’s art, Mayday’s pacing is meticulous and riveting no matter how many or how few words are in the frame. You can hear the phone off the hook when they want you to and smell the gasoline.

Parker knows his way around an action sequence. His work is detailed, with realistic anatomy and naturalistic compositions. His style reminds me of the British artists on the legendary 2000AD comics, like Judge Dredd era Brian Bolland. His characters’ faces are individualized, realistically lined and creased and always in motion.

And when the story doesn’t call for realism at all because someone is having an acid-fuelled freak-out?

Well, I’m a lifelong connoisseur of psychedelic art (Yellow Submarine is a perfectly appropriate movie for all ages, I’ll have you know) and I’m a pretty tough critic to please when it comes to contemporary comics artists trying their hand at psychedelia. So many attempts these days go for computer derived effects over aesthetics. I.e. lots of new psychedelic art just isn’t very attractive– compare the new Dr. Strange black light posters to the classic 70s ones with art by Gene Colan, Steve Ditko and Tom Palmer? Realism and computers aren’t necessarily your friends.mayday-2

But Parker’s detailed and highly animated style looks fantastic when he sets it wild while drawing the comic’s key psychedelic sequences. It’s a skill he also used to great effect when drawing his recent This Damned Band series with writer Paul Cornell. Bodies are distorted, polarities reversed, color and lines swirl into a vortex and Blond’s colors really get a chance to pulse with psychedelic energy.

Parker has also clearly been looking at the right concert posters and album art as reference points. Organic forms derived from Art Nouveau (beloved by hippie era artists) smack up against Soviet Constructivist geometric motifs in a major splash page for the ages.

Mayday uses visual representations of music as a form of heightened reality, not just in the acid freakout but in multiple scenes. Careful letters work the song names into the page. The result is hearing and seeing the song on the page in everything from the far-out lettering to the backgrounds.

The series also uses music as a play-along soundtrack (get it on Spotify!) that cements the story in time. This is not an idealized look back at the music that was popular in 1971 filtered through the eyes of a modern critic who knows what’s “good,” only playing classics that stand the test of time. Where’s the realism in that?! De Campi’s playlists feature the popular music of the period that’s aged poorly too. Because they can’t all be Alice Cooper classics, can they?…. To quote issue 1’s back matter “Kieron Gillen includes music because he loves you, I include music because fuck you”.

mayday

Often when art is set in a specific historic era the artist will depend on visual signifiers of the times that call attention to themselves like they were just placed there to tell you the year, yet the clothes and settings will be all wrong– they just haven’t done their homework. You can’t draw a lava lamp and call it a day. The historical setting here feels lived in and researched. This creative team has done that research right down to the clothes the architecture and especially the Kremlin.

There are other details of importance on the pages, like the acknowledgment of brutality directed at bystanders. These often overlooked moments are important to the humanity of the story– like a child standing off-center in the middle of a road after a trucking accident. His or her parent’s dismissed by the CIA agents as “Mexicans” and not worth mentioning. The child is just left there alone on the road as the action passes by.

Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Mayday #1

mayday01_coveraThe mere existence of spies has always captured the public’s imagination. As these people who hide in the shadows do the things, that they believe are for “the greater good”. From shows like Mission Impossible to Man from UNCLE, the spy has always been glamorized as a smooth operator, who always wear a sharp suit and always a lady’s man. I would be remiss, without mentioning what the British brings to the genre, with the iconic James Bond and the long forgotten Carpetbaggers.

With the public’s growing skepticism of movie magic, both TV shows and movies started to scale back on what kept the genre both unbelievable and magical. As the standard of realism started to pervade everything that is entertainment, what would be considered entertainment in the spy genre, became a cross between hardboiled detective and analytical spies. This brought on thinking man heroes like Jack Ryan and Piper Perabo ’s character in Covert Affairs. Then FX, brought some nostalgia and good ole spy craft to the game, with The Americans, combining what everyone loves about the spy genre with some realism sprinkled as they dealt with day to day family issues and the general stress from living dual lives.

This world is recaptured in Alex De Campi’s latest effort at Image, Mayday, it is 1971, and the Cold War, has America and Russia, on edge, wondering what will be the next move of their adversaries, which may very well include sending sleeper agents. We are introduced to Felix and Rose, a deadly duo who have more than assimilated to American life, much like the main characters in The Americans. Their mission is to kill a defector, who was cooperating with the CIA, but a pair of CIA agents are hot on their trail. This is where their youthful indiscretions intrude, they find a group of hippies which get them off track and it seems it will be a matter of time before they are caught.

Overall, a strong effort by the creative team, and I can reveal that a key scene has some influences from both Gaiman and Morrison. The story from De Campi, packs a punch and makes you laugh at the same time, which shows how talented a writer Alex is. The art by Tony Parker and Blond, is striking and lucid, which definitely serves a story that takes place in the 70s. Altogether, a fresh take on a spy caper that will keep the reader yearning for more.

Story: Alex De Campi Art: Tony Parker and Blond
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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