Tag Archives: alison sampson

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

Winnebago Graveyard Scares Up a Second Printing

Image Comics has announced that Winnebago Graveyard by Steve Niles and Alison Sampson will be sent back to print in order to keep up with the increasing level of customer demand. The second printing will feature a wrap-around cover with artwork by Katie Skelly.

In Winnebago Graveyard, an American family traveling on vacation finds themselves stranded in a small town with a sinister secret. The series promises to take readers on a plot-twisting road trip filled with mystery and intrigue as they encounter creepy fairgrounds, nefarious characters, seedy conspiracies, towns full of satanists, and a teenager. What else could possibly go wrong?

Winnebago Graveyard #1, 2nd printing (Diamond Code MAY178160) and Winnebago Graveyard #2 Cover A Sampson (Diamond Code MAY170741) and Winnebago Graveyard #2 Cover B Rubin (Diamond Code MAY170742) hit stores on Wednesday, July 19th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, June 26th.

Review: Winnebago Graveyard #1

Winnebago Graveyard #1 is a freaky as fuck. I don’t know why I decided to wait until almost 11 PM the night before it came out to read and review it. I haven’t been this terrified by a comic book since Scott Snyder and Jock’s Wytches. Steve Niles, Alison Sampson, and Stephane Paitreau open the book in a crescendo of flame, gore, and ritual cultist nudity, switch over to domestic drama for a second, and then conclude by invoking one of the scariest settings of all: the old roadside amusement park. The setup of the comic is pretty simple: a father is taking his first vacation together with his wife and stepson and instead of going to one of the Disneys, Six Flags, or a solid, corporately branded theme park, they and their RV stop by the decrepit ruins of a carnival. And the dad makes them leave their phones in the car because he is a complete and utter dumbass. (Or connected to the cult in the cold open, who knows?)

The opening few pages are a master class in using pacing and especially color to set the mood of a comic, and the final few pages are a similar master class in how to do suspense. Niles and Sampson avoid jump scares and sink us deeper and deeper into this Southwestern wasteland. One thing that helps with Winnebago Graveyard”s overall tenseness is that the characters look and act like ordinary human beings. Sampson’s figures are photo-realistic, but not stiff. I darkly laughed at all the faces that the mother, Christie, was pulling as her husband decided to stop at the park and especially her reaction to her son brandishing a stick as they wandered far from civilization with no phones or transportation. Niles writes her as the consummate voice of reason while her husband is definitely the new stepdad trying to overcompensate by showing his stepson a whimsical, or creepy good time. It’s a relatable situation thrown into an environment that starts out as fantastical, but could just be another rural desert area in Texas, Arizona, or New Mexico. 

Stephane Paitreau’s color palette truly matches gradual increase in the intensity of Steve Niles’ plot while also subverting some readers’ expectations. For example, it might seem like the carnival in Winnebago Graveyard could be like the infuriating (in difficulty) late-90s arcade game CarnEvil where all kinds of ghosts and ghouls chase you in an abandoned Midwest amused and be the epicenter of the horror in the book. No, Paitreau’s colors are neutral and faded like the glory days of the park. But when the family leaves the park in search of a phone or some form of civilization, his palette turns gloomy. Mountains and Joshua trees that would usually be in the background of nature selfies become just as freaky as a dark wood in a more on the nose horror story in Simpson and Paitreau’s hands.

PaitreWinnebago Graveyard #1 made me never want to leave an urban adjacent area and have my cellphone permanently glued to my hand. Steve Niles, Alison Sampson, and Stephane au are masters of gory and atmospheric horror storytelling, and your heart will feel like the creepy naked guy’s heart in the first few pages when you reach the final page cliffhanger.

Story: Steve Niles Art: Alison Sampson Colors: Stephane Paitreau
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Early Review: Winnebago Graveyard #1

In Winnebago Graveyard #1, an American family traveling on vacation finds themselves stranded in a small town with a sinister secret. This horror-adventure story about a family stuck on a road trip gone terribly awry is filled with creepy fairgrounds, nefarious characters, seedy conspiracies, towns full of satanists, and a teenager. What else could possibly go wrong?

I’m rather mixed on horror stories with them being rather hit and miss for me. I couldn’t say exactly what I enjoy, I just know I enjoy it. Winnebago Graveyard is the type of horror I enjoy with a solid build up in a first issue that’s full of creepiness and enough to make me squirm and be full of lots of questions. In other words, I really want to see what happens next.

Written by Steve Niles, Winnebago Graveyard reminds me a lot of classic horror films especially that of the 70s but infused with a somewhat modern take playing off the uneasiness that pervades America. Niles is a master storyteller, especially when it comes to horror, and everything presented is done so in a way that it adds to the story or cuts off the usual tropes and traps we see in this sort of tale.  But, what Niles does especially well is set the mood that gave me an uneasy feeling throughout the story.

That’s helped by Alison Sampson‘s art which is helped by Stephane Paitreau‘s colors. The art enhances the mood, especially giving us the 70s throwback meets modern time mix that works so well. Sampson’s art enhances the uneasiness throughout the story with things never being quite perfect and slightly off. Whether done on purpose or just Sampson’s style it works so well for this story helping keep the reader off balance and upping the creep factor.

As I said, I’m not of a horror person and I know what I like when I see it. I really liked this first issue as it was both familiar and left me wondering where things are going and what’s happening next. This is a must for horror fans.

Winnebago Graveyard #1 is in stores June 14.

Story: Steve Niles Art: Alison Sampson
Story: 8.0 Art: 7.80 Overall: 7.95 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Mystery Miniseries Winnebago Graveyard Will Launch this June

The Winnebago Graveyard miniseries—written by Steve Niles with art by Alison Sampson and first announced at Image Expo—promises to take readers on a plot-twisting road trip filled with mystery this June.

In Winnebago Graveyard #1, an American family traveling on vacation finds themselves stranded in a small town with a sinister secret.

This horror-adventure story about a family stuck on a road trip gone terribly awry is filled with creepy fairgrounds, nefarious characters, seedy conspiracies, towns full of satanists, and a teenager. What else could possibly go wrong? Winnebago Graveyard draws heavily on 1970s horror films, pulling inspiration from America’s dark heart wherever possible.

Winnebago Graveyard #1 Cover A by Sampson (Diamond Code APR170723) and Cover B by Mingjue Helen Chen (Diamond Code APR170724) hit stores on Wednesday, June 14th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, May 22nd.

Omar Khouri Discusses Think of a City and Middle Eastern Comics

Created and managed by Alison Sampson RIBA and Ian MacEwan, Think of a City is a project that’s part architectural investigation, part international art collaboration, it’s a mass storytelling project.

The idea is that every city has a story, and this project brings the background to the forefront delving into ideas of setting.

I got a chance to talk to Omar Khouri whose contribution “Aleppo” is a deeply layered image that challenges the viewer both artistically and a reminder of the real world horror occurring there.

Graphic Policy: Lets start with an easy question. How’d you come involved with the project?

Omar Khouri: In December 2015, Alison Sampson got in touch with me via email, introduced me to the project and asked if I would like to participate. I found it very interesting, like a slow-motion collaborative stream-of-consciousness vision of the world that I would like to be part of. A little over a year later, my turn arrived to submit a drawing and here we are.

GP: For “Think of a City” you chose Aleppo. Why did you decide to choose that city for your art?

OK: I usually tend to spend my time in the imaginary, in the possibilities of what the world might or could be, rather than is. But every now and then I take a well needed visit to the “real”, in order to remind myself that the goal of imagination should ultimately be to influence the external universe around us.

What has been going on in Aleppo, not just recently but for the past few years, is only one example of the many horrors that take place constantly around the world that i feel powerless to influence, much less stop. In frustration, I make images and stories with the hope that they might positively influence the mind of someone that will one day take part in choosing the next decision makers on our planet, or, even better, someone who will take part in creating a whole new system all together. Perhaps that way these horrors and injustice would be reduced in frequency, if it is impossible to eliminate them entirely.

Balfour's Promise II (Gaza by Night 2014)

Balfour’s Promise II (Gaza by Night 2014)

GP: The piece stands out to me as it feels like a patchwork mixing in destruction with complete buildings. How do you see that reflecting what’s going on there?

OK: First, having been born into, and grown up during, a 15 year long civil war in Lebanon, I learned that what at first seems to belong to the realm of special exceptional cases, such a state of destruction, fear, and tension, has to soon shift to the realm of the norm, because life has to find some way of continuing even in terrible conditions and situations. This shift brings one’s reality to a fractured and precarious state of being that teeters on the edge between normal and exceptional, not unlike a house of cards, where one has to keep moving forward with building their life but with the constant and real external threat that it might all crumble at any moment.

Second, this mix of destruction and complete buildings, combined with some of the more futuristic and scifi inspired forms (particularly in the upper third of the image), are an attempt at an extra-temporal look at the city where one can at once observe memories of its past, life in its present, and possibilities of its future.

GP: I noticed you use stars in many locations. What’s the significance of that?

OK: I’m glad you noticed that. In truth, there is an underlying geometrical structure that I used to stitch together a number of images that create this “patchwork” drawing (see the figure 1 below). It is a device that is inspired directly from the relationship between the comic book page and the panels that divide it.

Figure 1

Figure 1

In a basic comics page, the use of panels allows you to describe a period of time that progresses from the the top left panel (past) and ends with the bottom right one (future), and you can “read” this passage of time almost as if you are watching a scene in a movie (see figure 2 below). However, and this is the magical and unique thing about comics in my opinion, it also allows you to see all the panels, i.e.  all the moments in this period of time at once, as if you are an observer outside the flow of time, and the past, present and future are happening together.

Figure 2

Figure 2

Now if we use a pattern such as Figure 1 to divide a page, there is no imposed temporal hierarchy to the resulting panels created and you can no longer “read” the passage of time from panel to panel, from past to future, as you could in figure 2 or any other narrative comics page. As a result, you are left with an image that represents a place in the 4 dimensions of Space/Time without the imposition of the a story that limits it to a specific timeline. Instead I am implying that multiple readings of the past and multiple possibilities of the future are simultaneously required for a better understanding of a place in the present. I also often use this same technique in my paintings of people for similar effect (see figure 3, entitled “Alpha Betti”).

figure_03

Furthermore, the fact that these structures I use, whether in Aleppo (i.e. figure 1), Alpha Betti, or a number of other pieces, are traditional Arabic geometric patterns is a deliberate choice with conceptual implications as well. First, it externalizes one side of my cultural background, in the same way as the presence of an influence from Cubism and the reference to a style of cityscape drawing in Manga imply two more. Second, I use only the most basic unit of the pattern which can in theory be repeated in all directions infinitely, and all the information needed to derive this infinite pattern is already contained within the most basic unit, like a pearl of Indra’s net in Buddhist philosophy. This implies that every unit is both at the center of the universe, as well as just another normal unit exactly the same as all others. So, it is a way of looking at a specific instance while never losing sight of the fact that it is intrinsically connected to everything else, and that ultimately the goal of trying to understand one thing only has meaning if it serves to better understand everything. When we look at Aleppo, we are also trying to understand Beirut, Baghdad, Sana’a, Gaza, London, Lagos, Kyoto, Baltimore…

GP: How are comics addressing the shifting world of the Middle East? How have you seen the comic industry change over the years?

OK: The Middle East is not really shifting at all. It has been this way for decades, if not centuries. This place is, and always has been, a politically and economically significant strategic location that connects three major continents, while containing one of the most economically valuable resources on the planet. The shift is actually happening in the view and understanding of the rest of the world towards this troubled area because of the spread of the internet, media, and terrorism, which are reaching beyond our borders.

In order to discuss the role of comics in this, as well as how its role has changed over time, let us take my case as an example. When I founded Samandal Comics magazine in Beirut in 2006, Lebanon was going through a particularly tumultuous time of unrest after the start of political assassinations in 2005 and the Israeli war in 2006. Censorship had reached new heights because people feared that addressing any of the sensitive issues at hand would quickly plunge the country back into the civil war that devastated it for 15 years. At that time I was working on a dystopian story that focusses on many of these issues, and wanted a space were I can freely and continuously express my ideas and engage in dialogue with others like myself, both within and outside of the country, that have similar concerns that lie outside the allowable discourse. I decided to turn to comics for a number of reasons, one of which was that there was no comics industry at the time in Lebanon and the Arab world, which meant that the watchful eye of censorship could not yet consider it a threat to be scrutinized. In order to maintain this underground aspect of comics for as long as possible, the magazine had to also be self-published, because going through any publishing house would bring it back into the field of vision of the censor.

Cover of Samandal issue 6

Cover of Samandal issue 6

With that in mind, I gathered a small group of like-minded individuals, and together we began to not only publish a periodical called Samandal, but also created an association by the same name in order to reach out to others around the country and the Arab region – through workshops, comics jams, lecture, artist residencies and more – that wish to create, read and interact through the medium of comics and foster a continuing underground industry that can progress and evolve. Sure enough, we began finding such people all over that were interested in engaging and publishing their work with us, some of whom eventually established their own collectives and publications, such as Tok Tok in Egypt, or Skefkef in Morocco. Yet even today, with the current unprecedented boom in the industry here, we remain a pan-Arab community that is still founded on collaboration and interaction.

Unfortunately, with the spread and growth of the industry in this way, it can not remain “under the radar” for too long, and the powers that enforce the status quo begin to feel its threat. As a result, for example, Samandal was sued by the government for breach of censorship laws and the “intent to create unrest between the different religions and communities” in Lebanon. The court case lasted 5 years, until we finally lost in 2015 and had to pay an exorbitant fine or spend 3 years in prison. This and other incidents like it around the region have two particular consequences. On one hand, the mainstream both inside and outside the country begin to be aware of comics and their power, so more people take interest in the medium, prompting a boom in consumption, production and analysis of it. On the other hand, this leads to the institutionalization and regulation of this art form, through the establishment of university courses, centers for comics research and archiving, more specific censorship laws, etc… so that the freedom of expression once found in it becomes gradually more and more limited. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we should in anyway self-censor in order to avoid trouble: the last anthology published  in November 2016 by Samandal (subtitled Behind Closed Doors) focuses on the theme of Sexuality, which is still one of the major taboos of discussion here, and quite a high priority for the censors.

Another major and obvious turning point in the comic book industry of the middle east is the series of events that are collectively dubbed “The Arab Spring”. One of the very few positive outcomes of that is the attention of the outside world that it attracts, not only to the horrors that are occurring, but also to the art scene and cultural production, thus injecting money and possibilities of wider exposure into these industries.

GP: Thank you so much for chatting. You definitely taught me a lot, it’s much appreciated.

Review: Civil War II: Choosing Sides #6

choosingsides6coverIn the final installment of this anthology tie-in series, Civil War II: Choosing Sides #6 offers up three distinct perspectives on the conflict between Captain Marvel’s predictive justice side and Iron Man’s conventional justice faction. There is a Jessica Jones story from writer Chelsea Cain (Mockingbird), artist Alison Sampson (Genesis), and colorist Jordie Bellaire as the superpowered P.I. looks into the precog Inhuman Ulysses’ life before his powers. It is followed by a story featuring White Fox, a South Korean secret agent and superhero from Al Ewing’s Contest of Champions, written by Christina Strain (Runaways colorist) and drawn by Sana Takeda (Monstress). The final story in the comic is this conclusion of Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire’s Nick Fury Jr. saga.

Chelsea Cain, Alison Sampson, and Jordie Bellaire’s Jessica Jones story is the kind of story fans have been waiting for since Alias wraps as Jessica hits the road to get some background info on Ulysses. Cain really gets Jessica’s trademark sarcasm and cynicism as she is convinced that Ulysses is hiding something beneath his average college freshman posters and books. The comic is really funny too, and Sampson nails the disdain on Jessica’s face when she has to interact with Ulysses’ Civil War reenactor parents. (They named him after Ulysses S. Grant and are tour guides at his birthplace in Ohio.)

choosingsidesjess

Sampson also puts her own visual stamp on Jessica Jones using Post-It Notes in her layouts to follow Jessica’s investigation of Ulysses’ bedroom. (And porn stash.) She uses a lot of close-up shots of toads, dragonflies, and other critters to show how out of sorts the Hell’s Kitchen based P.I. is in the rural Midwest. The small town setting gives Bellaire a chance to work with an idiosyncratic color palette, like a disgusting green when a dragonfly flies into Jessica’s windshield or an equally disgusting pink when she runs over the toad. The interiors of Ulysses’ childhood home are muted and mundane showing his utterly average nature. This story is an anti-mystery mystery as Ulysses is just a normal kid with no dark secrets and even got a friend to hide his porn stash in case he went missing. This absolute normalcy causes Jessica to conclude that maybe Captain Marvel was right to trust his visions. Without her appearing or a mention of Carol’s friendship with Jessica, this story makes the world cop, borderline fascistic Captain Marvel seem slightly sympathetic.

If the Jessica Jones story made Captain Marvel a tiny bit sympathetic, the White Fox story is the complete opposite as Christina Strain and Sana Takeda combine Korean mythology with espionage in a story that goes completely against Captain Marvel and her predictive justice. Strain also connects this to American interventionism as White Fox tells off Abigail Brand by saying that South Korean delegates weren’t even allowed in the room when the Korean War armistice was signed. To go with this anti-imperialism, Strain and Takeda also make White Fox a part of the kumiho stories where a nine tailed fox can transform into a woman and seduce and kill men. Except White Fox’s grandmother could control her powers and so can she.

choosingsideswhitefox

In eight pages, Strain and Takeda craft a smart, savvy, and fiercely independent heroine, who definitely deserves her own miniseries. The climax of the story is a sparring session between White Fox and Abigail Brand, which is fluidly choreographed by Takeda as she switches angles and uses speed lines to show both character’s agility and competence culminating in one powerful strike. The comic ends in a poster worthy image of White Fox with her bird familiar soaring above her defiantly saying that she and South Korea will make their own choices about being involved in Civil War II. And hopefully, we’ll see more of her soon.

The final chapter of Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire’s Nick Fury arc is more reflective than action packed, but truly sets Nick Fury Jr apart from his father as he burns the rogue LMD of Nick Fury and sets aside the eye patch for his own look and unique role in the Marvel Universe. The combination of burning and walking away wearing sunglasses reminded me a lot of Nick Fury’s final scene in Captain America: Winter Soldier, but Shalvey and Bellaire make this iconic scene their own as Fury Jr is returning to SHIELD and not going on the run as a fugitive.

choosingsidesfury

Nick Fury Jr is part of SHIELD, but he only trusts himself after Maria Hill sent him on a suicide mission after one of Ulysses’ visions said that killing Nick Fury would save SHIELD. This individualism in the midst of a twisted system has kind of defined what Nick Fury is for better or worse, and over six chapters, Shalvey and Bellaire have built Fury Jr up as a viable solo threat and not just lipservice to the Marvel movies.

Also, each chapter has been a masterclass in comics storytelling, and Choosing Sides #6 is no exception. Red is the most prominent color in Bellaire’s palette, and she brings it to bear as Shalvey slows down time and spends a page having Fury ponder his next move. This kind of decompression doesn’t feel like padding, but lets the reader into Fury’s head as he struggles with returning to SHIELD when he could pull a James Bond in Skyfall and relax far away from the world of HYDRA, spy games, and superheroes. Ultimately, the comic ends with a close-up on a pair of sunglasses and a one-liner as Shalvey and Bellaire have returned Nick Fury to his proper place as the coolest, cold blooded spy in the Marvel Universe.

Choosing Sides #6 has three solid stories from three talented creative teams that fall all across the Civil War II “ideological” spectrum. They also fit in three different genres: small town mystery, a superhero story grounded in both spy stories and Korean mythology, and a straight up espionage thriller.

Choosing Sides #6 is a testament to the range of stories that can be set in the Marvel Universe. Hint: they don’t all have to be superhero slugfests.

Story: Chelsea Cain, Christina Strain, Declan Shalvey Art: Alison Sampson, Sana Takeda, Declan Shalvey Colors: Sana Takeda, Jordie Bellaire
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics Announces 20 Comics and More at Image Expo

Today at the Showbox Market Theater in Seattle, Washington, Image Comics kicked-off Emerald City Comicon with Image Expo and a slew of exciting creator-owned announcements.

They also announced a new initiative Creators for Creators as well.

Image Comics revealed the following creator-owned projects set to launch in the coming year and beyond.

AFAR by Leila del Duca & Kit Seaton

Critically-acclaimed, Russ Manning nominated SHUTTER artist Leila Del Duca teams up as co-creator and writer alongside artist, colorist, and letterer Kit Seaton (THE BLACK BULL OF NORROWAY, EVE OF ALL SAINTS) for an original graphic novel, AFAR.

In AFAR, Boetema suddenly develops the ability to astrally project to other worlds, unintentionally possessing the bodies of people light years away. Inotu, her inquisitive brother with a pension for trouble, finds himself on the run after he’s caught eavesdropping on an illegal business deal between small town business tycoons and their cyborg bodyguard. When Boetema accidentally gets someone hurt while in another girl’s body, the siblings are forced to work together to solve the problems they’ve created on their planet and others.

AFAR hits shelves this Fall 2016.

afar

BLACK CLOUD by Jason Latour, Ivan Brandon, Greg Hinkle, Matt Wilson, Aditya Bidikar, Tom Muller, edited by Maria Ludwig
Co-creators Jason Latour (SOUTHERN BASTARDS, Spider-Gwen), Ivan Brandon (DRIFTER, VIKING) and Greg Hinkle (AIRBOY, THE RATTLER), team up with colorist Matt Wilson (THE WICKED + THE DIVINE), letterer Aditya Bidikar, designer Tom Muller, and editor Maria Ludwig for an all-new series called, BLACK CLOUD.

Once upon a time…They built a world where dreams come true… And those dreams went to war. In BLACK CLOUD, we meet Zelda: exiled to Earth, her dreams of revolution are gone, but she still holds the key to the world she left behind. And it’s for sale.

BLACK CLOUD is set to launch in Fall 2016.

black cloud

THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS by Jonathan Hickman & Tomm Coker 
All hail god money! From Jonathan Hickman (EAST OF WEST, Secret Wars, Avengers) and Tomm Coker (Undying Love) comes a mythical reinterpretation of modern global economics.

THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS is classic occult indoctrination where the secret schools of magic are actually clandestine banking cartels who control all of society—a hidden world where vampire Russian oligarchs, Black Popes, enchanted American aristocrats, and hitmen from the International Monetary Fund work together to keep ALL OF US in our rightful place.

Each issue contains world-expanding bonus content like maps, corporate organization charts, decoded apocrypha, and stock tips to die for.

THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS is a brand new, crypto-noir series about dirty, filthy, money… and what kind of people you can buy with it. Set to launch in Fall 2016.

the black monday murders

THE DIVIDED STATES OF HYSTERIA by Howard Chaykin
Howard Chaykin (SATELLITE SAM, BLACK KISS, AMERICAN FLAGG!) with the able assistance of Jesus Aburto on coloring, and Ken Bruzenak on lettering, unleashes THE DIVIDED STATES OF HYSTERIA.

THE DIVIDED STATES OF HYSTERIA is set in the aftermath of a dirty bomb that wipes New York City off the map, as what will come to be known as the Second American Civil War shatters the domestic landscape in isolated pustules of violence…and a team of five private contractors is charged with stemming this tide of rage and bringing the bombers to justice.

THE DIVIDED STATES OF HYSTERIA launches in Winter 2016.

the divided states of hysteria

GLITTERBOMB by Jim Zub & Djibril Morissette-Phan & K. Michael Russell & Marshall Dillon
Fan-favorite writer Jim Zub and newcomer Djibril Morissette-Phan come together with colorist K. Michael Russell and letterer Marshall Dillon for GLITTERBOMB.

“Probably the only thing I love more than comics is cinema,” said Morissette-Phan. “Which makes Glitterbomb a dream project since it’s a perfect blend of both.”

Set in Hollywood, GLITTERBOMB is a horror story about failed fame and blood-soaked revenge.

GLITTERBOMB is set to launch in late Summer 2016.

glitterbomb

HORIZON, by Brandon Thomas, Juan Gedeon & Frank Martin (Skybound)
Writer Brandon Thomas, artist Juan Gedeon, and colorist Frank Martin team up for an all-new series from Image/Skybound titled, HORIZON.

In HORIZON, Zhia Malen thought she’d fought her very last war, until she learned her planet was targeted for occupation…by a desperate world called Earth. The people of Earth will be told that her arrival on our planet means invasion. These are lies. This is retaliation, and Horizon explores what happens when our planet finally runs out of second chances. And when we meet an alien race just as committed to survival as we are…

HORIZON is set to launch from Image/Skybound in July 13, 2016.

horizon

THE HUNT by Colin Lorimer, Jim Campbell, and Joana Lafuente (Shadowline Comics)
Critically acclaimed writer/artist Colin Lorimer (Harvest) teams up with letterer Jim Campbell and colorist Joana Lafuente for THE HUNT.

At her father’s deathbed, Orlaigh Roche came face to face with the age-old myth of The Slaugh; a group of soul-stealing spirits so evil that not even hell would take them. Years later, and with the belief that her father’s soul is still trapped in some form of the netherworld, she goes looking for answers—beginning a journey that leads her down a path to discover what really happens to us after we die.

THE HUNT begins in 2016 from Image/Shadowline Comics.

the hunt

ISOLA by Brenden Fletcher & Karl Kerschl 
Bestselling creators Brenden Fletcher (Batgirl of Burnside, Gotham Academy) and Karl Kerschl (Gotham Academy, The Abominable Charles Christopher) re-team for ISOLA—an epic fantasy adventure series with the scope of Game of Thrones and the spirit of Princess Mononoke.

ISOLA is set in a mystical land where the queen’s brother enacts a treacherous plot to transform her into a tiger. The captain of the guard, a woman of great skill, brings swift and lethal vengeance, unaware the wicked prince alone has the power to reverse the spell. The two women—one on two legs, one on four—must undertake a perilous journey halfway across the globe to the fabled island of ISOLA, gateway to the underworld, where they hope to find the spirit of the queen’s late brother and return her to human form.

ISOLA is set to launch in Spring 2017.

isola

KILL OR BE KILLED by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Elizabeth Breitweiser
Bestselling writer Ed Brubaker (THE FADE OUT, FATALE), artist Sean Phillips (THE FADE OUT, FATALE), and colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser (THE FADE OUT, FATALE, OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA) reunite for KILL OR BE KILLED, the ultimate pulp crime comic.

KILL OR BE KILLED is the story of a troubled young man who is compelled to kill bad people, and how he struggles to keep his secret, as it slowly begins to ruin his life and the lives of his friends and loved ones.

Both a thriller and a deconstruction of vigilantism, KILL OR BE KILLED is unlike anything Brubaker and Phillips have done together in their long partnership.

KILL OR BE KILLED is set to launch in Summer 2016.

kill or be killed

LAKE OF FIRE by Nathan Fairbairn & Matt Smith
Co-creators Nathan Fairbairn (Scott Pilgrim, Batman Incorporated) and Matt Smith (Barbarian Lord) come together for an all-new series titled LAKE OF FIRE.

In LAKE OF FIRE it is 1220 AD, and the gears of the Albigensian Crusade grind on. When an alien mining craft infested with legions of bloodthirsty predators crash-lands in the remote wilderness of the French Pyrenees, a small band of crusaders and a Cathar heretic are all that stands between God’s Kingdom and Hell on Earth.

LAKE OF FIRE is set to launch in Summer 2016.

lake of fire

MOONSHINE by Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso, edited by Will Dennis
From Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso—the Eisner award-winning creative team behind the crime classic, 100 Bullets—comes the brutal new series, MOONSHINE.

MOONSHINE is set during the Prohibition Era, deep in the backwoods of Appalachia and tells the story of Lou Pirlo, a city-slick “torpedo” sent from New York City to negotiate a deal with the best moonshiner in West Virginia, one Hiram Holt. Lou figures it for milk run—how hard could it be to set-up moonshine shipments from a few ass-backward hillbillies? What Lou doesn’t figure on is that Holt is just as cunning as ruthless as any NYC crime boss and Lou is in way over his pin-striped head. Because not only will Holt do anything to protect his illicit booze operation, he’ll stop at nothing to protect a much darker family secret…a bloody, supernatural secret that must never see the light of day… or better still, the light of the full moon.

MOONSHINE #1 will hit stores in Fall 2016 and marks the first time Azzarello and Risso have worked together with Image Comics and reunites the acclaimed creative team that defined modern crime comics with 100 Bullets… and now puts a horror-twist on a classic gangster tale.

moonshine

MOTOR CRUSH by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, & Babs Tarr
From the creative team behind the popular, New York Times bestselling Batgirl of Burnside—Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr—comes MOTOR CRUSH—is a stylish, neon-soaked, revved up science-fiction action series.

By day, a Domino Swift competes for fame and fortune in a worldwide motorcycle racing league. By night, she cracks helmets of rival gangs in brutal, illegal bike wars on the city streets to gain possession of a rare and valuable contraband: an engine-boosting “machine narcotic” known as MOTOR CRUSH. But the origins—and ultimate purpose—of this mysterious substance are unknown, and could put her on a collision course with danger…

MOTOR CRUSH rides into town this December 2016.

motor crush

PRIMA by Jen Van Meter, Rick Burchett, Eric Newsom, edited by Jeanine Schaefer
Spies.
Thieves.
Ballerinas.
PRIMA.
You don’t always see who’s standing in the spotlight.

Creators Jen Van Meter and artist Rick Burchett team up to tell an all-new story about a dance company—comprised entirely of former spies—righting the wrongs of the Cold War in a series called, PRIMA.

PRIMA follows Sophia Forais and Pauline French are the soloist and Managing Director of a dance company that once served as a front for a Resistance cell in France. Engaged for a long run in New York, the dancers have turned their attention and unique skills to aiding a veteran of the Romanian underground now being blackmailed by her American husband. The small operation should prove simple, but Sophia, Paulina and their colleagues will quickly learn that the war has not really ended, and the world is no less ruthless than it was when they were smuggling information and refugees during the Occupation.

An espionage/romance adventure set in the arts world just after WWII, PRIMA is a warm-hearted series of intrigues: To Catch a Thief goes to the ballet.

On stands in FALL 2016.

prima

PRINCE OF CATS by Ron Wimberly 
PRINCE OF CATS written and drawn by Ron Wimberly, lettered by Jarred Fisher, and featuring design by Jorden Haley returns to print from Image Comics.

PRINCE OF CATS was first released from Vertigo to critical acclaim in the summer 2012. It was out of print before the following summer. After three years, it will be returning to print through Image Comics.

PRINCE OF CATS is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead meets The Warriors meets Sword of Doom. PRINCE OF CATS sets Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in an alt-universe, mid-eighties New York where dueling with live blades evolved as a cultural phenomenon alongside New York’s other street cultures; it eschews the story of the titular star-crossed lovers to follow the tragic story of Tybalt, the Prince of Cats.

PRINCE OF CATS, the definitive remastered author’s edition, is set to release in Fall 2016.

prince of cats

ROCKSTARS by Joe Harris & Megan Hutchison
Fan-favorite Joe Harris (THE X-FILES, SNOWFALL) teams up with artist Megan Hutchison for an all-new, ongoing series a la Almost Famous meets Supernatural called, ROCKSTARS.

ROCKSTARS follows a pair of young, rock ‘n roll investigators as they uncover a mystery involving a legendary band, dead groupies, human sacrifice and a supernatural undercurrent connecting so many famous—and even more undiscovered—secrets, myths and conspiracies peppering rock music throughout the ages.

When a pattern of unsolved ‘groupie’ murders dating back to the 1970s resumes in present-day Los Angeles, nobody makes the connection except for Jackie Mayer, a young rock nerd who not only knows everything about music history, trivia and its myriad secrets and factoids, but also harbors a mysterious, almost magical ability to ‘see’ what most people miss, and determine and divine what’s going unreported.

Joined by a music writer and aspiring investigative reporter named Dorothy Buell, and his loyal cat, Skydog, they soon uncover a vast mystery involving a legendary band’s exploits, their mercurial guitarist’s occult associations, demonic possession, and sacrifices to the dark gods of rock.

Each story arc will feature a case sprung from a different rock n’ roll era—British Invasion, Punk, 80s Heavy Metal, etc.—and draw on Jackie’s unique connection, knowledge, and darkly magical associations to crack them.

The series will launch in Fall 2016.

rockstars

ROMULUS by Bryan Hill & Nelson Blake II (Top Cow Productions)
Fan-favorite writer Bryan Hill (POSTAL) and Nelson Blake II come together for an all-new Image/Top Cow series in ROMULUS.

Set in the near future, ROMULUS follows the last in a line of near-mystical martial artists wages a revolutionary war against The Order of Romulus, the ancient secret society that trained her—a global organization, hidden in plain sight, that’s controlled the world since the days of Ancient Rome.

Their plan? Cull the population with genocide and rule a New World Order. Her plan? Kill them all or die angry.

Romulus launches from Top Cow/Image in Fall 2016.

romulus

SEVEN TO ETERNITY by Rick Remender & Jerome Opeña
Writer Rick Remender reteams with collaborators Jerome Opeña (Uncanny X-Force, Fear Agent) and Matt Hollingsworth (TOKYO GHOST, WYTCHES) to bring readers a modern fantasy series following Adam Osidis, a dying knight from a disgraced house, on a mission to rid his world of an insidious God who ensnared him in a Faustian deal.

Gharils Sulm, The God of Whispers is a Machiavellian warlord who holds sway everywhere in the world of Zhal. He’s spread an omnipresent paranoia to every corner of the kingdoms; one of his spies hides in every house, every family, every hall, spreading mistrust and fear.

Adam must choose between joining a hopeless band of magic users in their desperate bid to free their world of the evil God’s burden or give in to the The God of Whispers’ promises of salvation and safety.

The series is set to launch in the Fall of 2016.

seven to eternity

SURGEON X by Sara Kenney & John Watkiss, James Devlin, & Jared K. Fletcher, edited by Karen Berger 
Writer Sara Kenney and artist John Watkiss come together for an all new series, SURGEON X, and join forces with the award-winning Karen Berger, founding editor of DC’s Vertigo imprint.

Set against the backdrop of an antibiotic apocalypse in near future London. Rosa Scott, a brilliant and obsessive surgeon becomes Surgeon X, a vigilante doctor who uses experimental surgery and black market drugs to treat patients. But as Surgeon X, Rosa soon develops a godlike-complex, deciding who will live and who will die. Ultimately, she believes that to survive in this compromised world her own warped moral code is the one she must follow—even if it endangers those closest to her.

The comic is informed by hundreds of conversations with scientists, physicians, historians, economists, ethicists & philosophers to create this deeply disturbing, yet authentic future world.

SURGEON X was funded by a Society Award from Wellcome Trust, an independent global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. They support bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine.

SURGEON X will launch in Fall 2016.

surgeon x

VS by Ivan Brandon, Esad Ribić, Ive Svorcina, Aditya Bidikar, Tom Muller, edited by Sebastian Girner 
Writer Ivan Brandon (DRIFTER) and Esad Ribić (Secret Wars) team up with colorist Ive Svorcina, letterer Aditya Bidikar, designer Tom Muller, and editor Sebastian Girner for a futurist drama in, VS.

VS follows the rise and fall of Satta Flynn, a wildly popular soldier in a time when War has been privatized and is a form of entertainment.

Armies financed and equipped by super-corporations. War medics that double as Pit Mechanics. Satta’s every move is LIVE on TV. And for the first time, Satta finds out what it’s like to lose.

VS is set to launch in Fall 2016.

vs

WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD by Steve Niles & Alison Sampson
Writer Steve Niles teams up with artist Alison Sampson, colorist Stéphane Paitreau, and letterer Clem Robins in WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD.

Sampson used 1970s horror films for inspiration on the artwork and described the book’s overall look as: “about 70% Americana, slightly heightened, like True Blood, and about 30% ripping off of heads.”

A horror-adventure story, WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD follows a family with a teenage son and what happens when their road-trip goes wrong and they find themselves stuck in a town full of satanists.

WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD is set to launch in Fall 2017.

winnebago graveyard

Kickstarter Spotlight: The Broken Frontier Anthology

bfanthology_RRodriguezcoverby Tyler Chin-Tanner

The Broken Frontier anthology brings together some of the brightest talents in mainstream and indie comics today, to tell their own stories about pushing beyond the limits and exploring the great unknown.

All the stories in the anthology are completely creator-owned which means that writers and artists have the freedom to explore new concepts, or finally tell that one story that’s been bouncing around in their heads for years. And judging by the response we got from so many established creators, it’s pretty clear that projects like this are vital in the comics industry.

I’ve always enjoyed the freedom of independent publishing and have done my best work under those conditions. Here at Graphic Policy I was given a very positive review for my last graphic novel, American Terrorist, which was about protest and revolution in the U.S. My new story for the Broken Frontier anthology, The Wall, also has some political undertones, but they’re set in an alternate dystopian universe.

bfanthology_bookplateBut don’t worry, I won’t let politics get in the way of a good story. And I’m working with the amazing Toby Cypress (White Suits, Rodd Racer) on this and he’s known for his fast lines and dynamic artwork, so he’ll make sure we keep the pace up.

I can say with total conviction that I’m excited about each and every story in the anthology. Greg Pak and Tom Raney have a soldier with a phantom limb fighting against ghosts. David Hine and Mark Stafford are setting the scene for an existential murder mystery. Fred Van Lente and Alison Sampson are exploring some interesting cultural norms with their female superhero. Marguerite Bennett is telling a tale of folk lore with a park ranger in Alaska. And I’ve already read all of Noah Van Sciver’s story, Down In A Hole, as that one’s in the can. What a great story!

I know this is going to be an incredible book, one that really resonates with readers as something that goes beyond your typical anthology. But we need to fund this project in order to make it happen.

While we’re no longer picking crowd funding projects to spotlight on our site, we’re allowing project creators to make their case for their project on our platform. We remind individuals, we don’t endorse any of these projects, and that by supporting any crowd funding project, you’re taking any risks associated with doing so. – the Management

Tynion, Yuenkel, and Fox Bring Aliens to the Midwest with UFOlogy

James Tynion IV has taken readers deep into an otherworldly forest with The Woods and to the very end of the world with Memetic. This April, he teams up with his Thrillbent partner Noah J. Yuenkel and artist Matthew Fox for a story of growing up and dealing with aliens in the debut of UFOlogy from award-winning publisher BOOM! Studios.

Becky Finch never wanted to be special. She just wanted to be a normal high school student in the small Midwestern town of Mukawgee. Malcolm Chamber wanted something more. A destiny. An answer from the stars. When Becky is marked by an alien’s touch, she’ll stumble into a mystery she never wanted. A mystery that almost ripped apart both their parents’ lives 12 years ago. She’ll need the help of her eccentric young classmate, Malcolm, as she finds the power within herself to uncover the truth.

UFOlogy #1 arrives in comic shops on April 1st with a main cover by series artist Matthew Fox for the price of $3.99 under Diamond order code FEB151123. Also available in a limited quantity are a Jackpot Variant by Alison Sampson, a 10 Years Anniversary incentive cover by Frazer Irving, and a retailer incentive cover by Paul Maybury.

UFOlogy #1 Main Cover by Matthew Fox UFOlogy #1 Jackpot Variant Cover by Alison Sampson UFOlogy #1 Incentive Cover by Paul Maybury UFOlogy #1 10 Years Incentive Cover by Frazer Irving

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