Tag Archives: andy belanger

Review: Pound for Pound

Pound for Pound

Syfy is one of those networks which has gradually become a one-stop-shop for genre fans. The network has had its share of so-so fair like the inconsistent but ultimately becoming better than its source material, Dominion. Then there are those shows that found that sweet balance between comedy and fantasy like Warehouse 13 and Eureka. Then there are those shows that last one season and leave a hefty impression on viewers like The Dresden Files.

Much like the Paul Blackthorn lead series, the other show on the network that felt like it was gone too son, is the one and done Blood Drive Which was a show which surrounded a televised race where the cars thrived on blood and a cop and woman searching for her sister gets pulled into the competition for different reasons. The most intriguing part of the show was the melodrama between the female racer and her search for her sister, which we find out by series end, is more complicated than we had come to believe. In Natalie Chaidez’s, Andy Belanger’s and Daniela Miwa’s Pound For Pound, we find one protagonist much like the SyFy show, whose love for family will see her go to the ends of the earth to save them.

We meet Dani Libra, an underground MMA fighter in the midst of a heated fight that doesn’t go as planned and she inadvertently wins. This angers the local crime lord whose money shot lost and whose debt she now finds herself. From there, the story turns into a grindhouse tale of revenge and pure action as Dani must figure out what to do when her sister is kidnapped as insurance due to the money she owes.

Overall, a story that is a gritty story that combines elements of Drive Angry and Lucha Underground. The story by Chaidez is action-packed contemplative, and well characterized. The art by the creative team is breathtaking. Altogether, a story that shows that family is always what matters most.

Story: Natalie Chaidez
Art: Andy Belanger, Daniela Miwa, and Serge LaPointe
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

TKO’s Second Wave of Comics is Now Available

TKO Studios burst upon the comic book scene last December with a bold new strategy to binge-release entire miniseries in both collectors box sets and trade paperbacks. Their first wave of books included series by some of comics’ best writers and artists.

TKO has released their second wave of books. The titles include:

SENTIENT

Written by Jeff Lemire (Black Hammer) and drawn by Gabriel Walta (The Vision)

When a separatist attack kills every adult on board a colony ship in deep space, it is up to VALERIE, the on-board A.I., to help the ship’s children survive. But as they are pursued by dangerous forces, can Valerie become more than what she was programmed to be — a savior to these children? 

SENTIENT

THE BANKS

Written by Roxane Gay (Black Panther: World of Wakanda), drawn by Ming Doyle (The Kitchen), and colored by Jordie Bellaire (Redlands)

Chicago, Southside. For fifty years the women of the Banks family have been the most successful thieves in the city by following one simple rule: Get in. Get away. Get paid. Never get greedy.

THE BANKS

POUND FOR POUND

Written by Natalie Chaidez (Queen of the South), drawn by Andy Belanger (Southern Cross), and Daniela Miwa (The Fearsome Doctor Fang)

MMA fighter Dani Libra fears nothing… except for her recurring blackouts and fractured memories that obscure a bloody past. When her sister is kidnapped, Dani must shine a light on the darkness in her own mind. But can she keep her own demons at bay for long enough to save her sister?

POUND FOR POUND

EVE OF EXTINCTION

Written by Sal and Steven Simeone, drawn by Nik Virella (Deadpool) and Isaac Goodhart (Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale), and Ruth Redmond (Amazing Spider-Man)

The rain brought something. Something that changed the men. In order to reach their stranded daughter, two mothers must survive the hurricane, and the horrors it unleashed. But can they work together long enough to save their daughter in a world where all men have become monsters?

EVE OF EXTINCTION

 Each first issue of every mini-series is free to read at TKOpresents.com.

Preview: WWE: Then. Now. Forever. Vol. 4 SC

WWE: Then. Now. Forever. Vol. 4 SC

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writers:  Brent Schoonover, Derek Fridolfs, Bill Hanstock, Arune Singh, Ryan Ferrier, Kevin Panetta, Andrew Stott, Andy Belanger, Lan Pitts, 
Artists: Carlos Magno, Kendall Goode, Brent Schoonover, Hyeonjin Kim, Andy Belanger, Serg Acuña, Rodrigo Lorenzo
Colorists: Wesllei Manoel, Lee Loughridge, Doug Grabark,
Letterers: Jim Campbell, Deron Bennett, Ed Dukeshire, Serge Lapointe
Cover Artist: Felipe Massafera
Price: $16.99

Return to some of the greatest moments in WWE History from across multiple eras of sports entertainment. Featuring such titanic clashes as Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka, Ric Flair’s retirement match against Shawn Michaels, and Undertaker vs. Kane from Wrestlemania 14, this collection is truly a showstopper. 

Collects stories from WWE: Forever #1 and WWE WrestleMania 2019 Special #1.

WWE: Then. Now. Forever. Vol. 4 SC

Preview: WWE Wrestlemania 2019 Special

WWE Wrestlemania 2019 Special

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Bill Hanstock, Andrew Stott, Lan Pitts, Ryan Ferrier,
Artist: Hyeonjin Kim, Andy Belanger, Kendall Goode, Serg Acuña
Colorists: Wesdllei Manoel, Lee Loughridge, Doug Garbark
Letterers: Jim Campbell, Serge Lapointe
Cover Artists:  
    Main Cover:
Rahzzah
    Preorder Cover: Xermánico
    Incentive Cover: Marco D’Alfonso
Price: $7.99

The biggest event in Sports Entertainment returns to comics! This jam-packed special includes stories about the Kane/Undertaker clash at Wrestlemania 20, Asuka and Charlotte Flair’s battle at Wrestlemania 34, and more!

WWE Wrestlemania 2019 Special

BOOM! Studios Announces WWE Wrestlemania 2019 Special #1

BOOM! Studios has revealed a first look at WWE Wrestlemania 2019 Special #1, an oversized one-shot special that will be available beginning Wednesday, March 27, featuring some of the most iconic and action-packed moments from WWE’s annual pop-culture extravaganza.

You never know what to expect at WrestleMania, and this special is no exception!  Writer Andrew Stott and artist Andy Belanger highlight the pivotal match between the Brothers of Destruction, Undertaker and Kane fromWrestleMania 14. Writer Bill Hanstock and artist Hyeonjin Kim explore the rivalry between Charlotte Flair and Asuka leading up to their groundbreaking match at WrestleMania 34. Ryan Ferrier and Kendall Goodedive into Ric Flair’s unforgettable retirement match against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 24.

WWE Wrestlemania 2019 Special #1  features a main cover by Rahzzah, along with a preorder cover by artist Xermánico, and a variant cover by Marco D’Alfonso.

WWE Wrestlemania 2019 Special #1

BOOM! Studios Announces WWE Wrestlemania 2019 Special #1

BOOM! Studios and WWE have announced WWE Wrestlemania 2019 Special #1, an oversized one-shot special featuring action-packed stories of the most iconic moments in modern WWE history on-sale in March 27, 2019.

You never know what to expect at WrestleMania, and this special is no exception! Writer Bill Hanstock and artist Hyeonjin Kim explore groundbreaking champions Charlotte Flair and Asuka’s rivalry leading up to their match at WrestleMania 24. Andy Belanger brings to life the pivotal match between the Brothers of Destruction, Undertaker and Kane. Ryan Ferrier and Kendall Goode dive into Ric Flair’s Retirement Match against Shawn Michaels.

WWE Wrestlemania 2019 Special #1  features a main cover by Rahzzah, along with a wraparound preorder cover by artist Xermánico, and a variant cover by Marco D’Alfonso.

WWE Wrestlemania Special 2019 #1 cover by Rahzzah
WWE Wrestlemania Special 2019 #1 cover by Xermánico
WWE Wrestlemania Special 2019 #1 cover by Marco D’Alfonso

Preview: Vampirella Vol. 2: The God You Know

Vampirella Vol. 2: The God You Know

Writer: Jeremy Whitley, Paul Cornell
Art: Andy Belanger, Creees Lee, Paulo Barrios, Rapha Lobosco
Cover: Andy Belanger
Price: $19.99
Rating: Teen +

Vampirella is fresh off a mind-blowing discovery-or at least it should have been. Coming to terms with what she’s learned about herself and her past means a journey to a place far scarier than the twisted future she’s living in… her twisted mind! Prepare yourself for a Vampirella like you’ve NEVER seen before! Collects issues 7-11 of Vampirella (2017)!

HeroesCon 2018: A Tale in 3 Panels

HeroesCon felt a little different to me this year.

Maybe it was the fact the event snuck up on me as a scrambled to get ready and gave up on the idea of cosplaying as I packed for the con. Maybe it was the fact that my one usual guaranteed time of the year to see Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue Deconnick was not actually guaranteed since Fraction cancelled and Deconnick never even made it on the guest list to begin with. Maybe it was the fact that my year away from the comics community in an attempt to be a wrestling news writer sucked the life out of me and I was in the middle of a creative dry spell. Even now, I feel regret writing this up more than two months after the fact as I currently get ready for my next convention, but that’s literally how bad it was.

Still, “different” doesn’t mean “bad” and I still had a great time at HeroesCon this year. Especially getting a chance to get to hear from new creators or ones I wasn’t as familiar with.

The first panel I made it to was the Batman Family panel, which featured Cully Hamner, Joelle Jones, Lee Weeks and Ben Caldwell talking about their experiences of working on books in the Gotham universe. Moderator Adam Daughhetee tried to see if they could go the entire panel without mentioning Batman, but that only lasted about two minutes of a 60 minute panel.

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The entire panel was enlightening about what it is like to immerse yourself in Gotham as a creator and featured a lot of complimentary words on Tom King, but I walked away from this panel especially charmed by Caldwell and Jones. Caldwell because he spent a lot of the panel talking about the YA comic he’s working on with Frank Miller about Carrie Kelley, my personal favorite Robin. You could tell that his love of the character has been a genuine lifetime one since he first read The Dark Knight Returns, which he personally described as operatic and cartoony over the dark and gritty reputation it has earned over the years. He described his work with Miller as being “very carnival-esque,” keeping in line with the vibe of The Dark Knight Returns while still doing their own thing and expressed happiness that DC isn’t afraid to aim for younger readers anymore. It’s hard to imagine Miller writing for a younger audience, but Caldwell’s enthusiasm for the book has me convinced. As for Carrie Kelley, he summed up the appeal of the first girl to be Robin very succinctly: “She curses like a sailor and shoots things with a slingshot. What’s not to like?”

As for Jones, she was quietly hilarious through the panel. I had been familiar with her work through her Dark Horse Comic Lady Killer, but hearing her talk about process and Catwoman was on a whole other level. She talked about taking pressure off of herself by setting her Catwoman book in another city instead of Gotham, which had given me my first suspicion that something was going down in Batman #50. She also expressed regret over making Catwoman’s dress so complicated because she didn’t know other artists would be drawing it, let alone cosplayers attempting to make it. “I would NEVER sew that dress.”

The next day had my favorite panel of the weekend, which was about wrestling and comics. The panel included Tini Howard, Andy Belanger, and J Gonzo.

I always worry about panels about wrestling turning into real life wrestling internet, but it was actually a fascinating discussion about, and to paraphrase Howard here, the type of storytelling like comics, wrestling and drag that deals a lot with the liminal spaces between the fiction and the creator. “I really respond to wrestlers that when I look at them and I can see ‘you’re an artist!’”

Belanger especially had a lot to contribute to this discussion since on top of being a comics creator and working on wrestling comics for Boom! Studios as well as an upcoming one for Image that takes place in space, he wrestles as well under the name ‘The Animal’ Bob Anger for IWS in Montreal, which has also paid host to Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, PCO, and Vanessa Kraven, among others. He treats them as equal creative outlets, saying, “There’s zero difference between me making comics and me wrestling.”

While Gonzo didn’t have experience as a wrestler, he did talk a lot about his book La Mano Del Destino, which features luchadors fighting battles for corporate overlords, and the idea of masked luchadors being judged on actions instead of their identity. He also talked about the time he created a character named Mil Amores for a Halloween stand up comedy gig and stayed in character the entire time. Amores was a luchador who constantly gave love advice, but could never not contextualize it for wrestling. I definitely picked up La Mano Del Destino from him after the panel.

As for Howard, along with her discussions of the cross sections of wrestling and comics and even calling me out for the story of when I met Diamond Dallas Page’s daughter, she  summed up the experience of being a newer wrestling fan who is not immersed in decades worth of history and childhood feelings in one sentence that I have borrowed shamelessly since the con: “I don’t have a 20 year hate boner for Stephanie McMahon.”

Finally, the Sunday panel titled “Dotted Lines” was another very affirming moment of the weekend as it featured creators talking about queer representation in comics and included Howard, Dan Parent, Yoshi Yoshitani, Tamra Bonvillain, Sarah Stern and Eryk Donovan.

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As many panels with queer creators start, early influences and first encounters with queerness in media came up. Yoshitani and Donovan talked some about Ranma ½ and Yoshitani, who identifies as genderfluid, went further to mention the persistent trope of a woman disguising herself as a man and having the man fall in love with her. Howard, unsurprisingly, mentioned Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and how she mentally imagined herself turning Alicia Silverstone into a vampire and living in a Barbie Dreamhouse together.

Of course, it wasn’t all laughs as Bonvillain brought up the first time she ever saw a trans woman on screen: the scene in Crocodile Dundee where he assaults a transwoman. She admits that it sucks a lot and served as a reminder that not a whole lot has changed since the 80s.

While the panel bounced back and forth about queer coding, tokenism as a creator and with characters, and one hilarious discussion about Kimberly in Power Rangers being a bright and peppy murder machine, I think what stuck with me the most was Parent talking about the creation of Kevin Keller for Archie Comics. He admitted that when working on the creation of Keller, he wanted to be sure it didn’t come across as some sort of publicity stunt or an after school special, but have Kevin be a likeable character in his own right. “In my head, Kevin was supposed to be the gay version of Archie.”

Kevin has gone in many different directions since his introduction, including the version on Riverdale that cruises in the woods and the bit more mature version in Life With Kevin, but Parent admits that the initial pushback he got with Kevin was not because he was gay. Rather, it was because Kevin’s coming out story didn’t include harassment and hatred. Parent admitted that maybe that was true, but for Kevin, it worked. “This is Archie Comics. This is what a coming out story is SUPPOSED to be like.”

Stern followed up that there is, can, and should be room in comics for coming out stories like Kevin’s, but also stories of complicated queer people who may not fit in the idyllic world of Riverdale. “There’s value to Archie and there’s value to ‘Oh no, I shouldn’t have done that.’”

HeroesCon felt different this year for me, but I think in a weird way, I needed it to be. By shaking my comfort zones with the con, I was able to spend time appreciating creators I was not as familiar with personally, finding new stories to lose myself in and coming to appreciate the thought process behind characters I thought I knew. It was a good way to hit a reset button mentally and think about how I want to tackle my next set of stories.

Preview: WWE: Attitude Era 2018 Special #1

WWE: Attitude Era 2018 Special #1

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Ryan Ferrier, Andy Belanger, Aaron Gillespie, Julian May
Artist: Michel Mulipola, Andy Belanger, Hyeonjin Kim, Kendall Goode
Cover Artists:
Main Cover: Rahzzah
Incentive Cover: Will Robson (colors by Jeremy Lawson)
Colorists: Doug Garbark, Jeremy Lawson
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Price: $7.99

ARE YOU READY? The most iconic time in Sports Entertainment history comes to life in untold stories of the WWE. This anthology includes stories looking at Stone Cold Steve Austin, the rivalry between the Brothers of Destruction, Undertaker and Kane, and DX’s infamous invasion of a certain wrestling program “down South”…

Preview: WWE #19

WWE #19

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writers: Dennis Hopeless
Artists: Serg Acuña
Cover Artists:
Main Cover: Dan Mora
Action Figure Variant Cover: Adam Riches
RAW Connecting Cover: Brent Schoonover
Incentive Variant Cover: Andy Belanger
Price: $3.99

Sami Zayn has made his decision to stand with Kevin Owens. Together, they plot their course to take over Smackdown Live…and no one will stand in their way!

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