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Robert Wilson IV Joins Barbaric for Harvest Blades

Vault has announced that legendary artist Robert Wilson IV has come on board as artist for the Barbaric one-shot, Barbaric: The Harvest Blades

Robert Wilson IV is the co-creator and artist of Heartthrob with writer Christopher Sebela and colorist Nick Filardi. He also co-created Knuckleheads with Brian Winkeler and Like A Virus with Ken Lowery. Additionally, he was the artist for Bitch Planet #3. He is also active in the poster community making concert posters for bands such as Metallica, The Mountain Goats, Death from Above 1979, and The Sword, among others.

Barbaric: The Harvest Blades will hit store shelves on June 29th. It is written by Michael Moreci, drawn by Robert Wilson IV, colored by Addison Duke, lettered by Jim Campbell, and designed by Tim Daniel.

Like a punch in the privates, BARBARIC is back! Bloodier and more irreverent than ever. In this one-shot, Owen, the barbarian cursed to do good, is forced out of hiding and back to his old B.S.! A whole bunch of violence, ethically approved, of course, by his moral compass, the talking Axe! Find out for yourself why Entertainment Weekly, Thrillist, Screen Rant, and a whole bunch of other people called BARBARIC one of the best comics of 2021.

The first of many one-shots that further explore the world of Barbaric, whose second arc, Axe To Grind, arrives in July!

Brett’s Favorite Comics of 2021 and a Reflection on the Past Year

The Recount #1

Much like 2021, It feels weird writing a “best of” list for the past year since it’s been so difficult for so many. Comics, and entertainment as a whole, continued to be an escape from the rough reality of the year that was. Things struggled to get back to normal, whether you think it was too soon or not.

Comics have been an escape for me as I myself remained holed up at home, forgoing movie theaters and generally the public as a whole.

To pick one that stood out above all the rest doesn’t quite feel right as there was so much that was fun and entertaining.

The comic industry continued to shift in massive ways as creators figured out new ways to become independent or were lured by the promise of big paydays by venture capital. Publishers got bought out and some struggled to stay open. Stores opened. Stores closed. Distribution continues to shift. The industry continues to be disrupted in many ways. Some ways for the better. Some for the worse.

Things shifted for everyone.

Publishers canceled projects, shifted schedules, and continued to look to go directly to the consumer. Publishers faced distribution issues as ports backedd up and printing issues as paper became scarce. Creators looked for new ways to earn money and also go directly to the consumer. Consumers had more choices than ever before that made it easier to escape the world burning around them and find enjoyment in make-believe worlds where justice prevails in the end.

In the end, though 2021 continued to look bleak, it left the comic industry as a whole stronger than ever before with many challenges ahead and many answers yet to come.

It feels weird doing this “best of” but at the same time I feel like I want to “honor” and spotlight the comics that got me through the year and had me excited to read the next issues. This is what I’ve read so if you don’t see something mentioned it’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, I just might not have read it. Sorry, I can’t read everything (there was a massive glut in webcomics but more manga for me).

All of these are listed in no particular order (hell it’ll probably just be in alphabetical). Enough with the rambling… lets get on with some comics!

The comics that had me excited in 2021 and have me excited for 2022. It turns out maybe I enjoy horror more than I know?

  • Barbaric (Vault Comics) – The series caught me off guard with a classic fantasy barbarian story with a twist. I don’t want to go into it too much but if you haven’t read this one, definitely check it out. I can’t wait for more to come.
  • Black Panther (Marvel) – John Ridley taking over Black Panther, nuff said. The series has grounded the character in political paranoia and assassination attempts on undercover agents.
  • Blue, Barry & Pancakes (First Second) – I’ve been loving the releases focused on kids and this series about a trio of friends is one I enjoy reading each release over and over with my daughter. They’re goofy fun.
  • BRZRKR (BOOM! Studios) – I’ll admit I went into this series rolling my eyes as it felt like a pitch for a movie/television series for Keanu Reeves. But, while the series has a lot of action its focus on its main character of B and what makes him tick has been a welcome surprise. It’s surprisingly deep and more about the character than the action.
  • Dark Ages (Marvel) – In a year with so many “alternate takes” on classic characters this one of a world where technology is nerfed and the heroes and villains must bring it together is an interesting one. Here’s hoping we get more of these stand-alone miniseries from Marvel as this works so well.
  • DC vs. Vampires (DC Comics) – The premise of vampires rising up and attacking the DC Universe sounds simple enough. But, the series so far has eschewed simple fights instead going for paranoia where you don’t know who is a vampire and who will get killed.
  • Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? (Albatross Funnybooks) – The true story about Eddie Gein is haunting with art that walks the line of crossing over to gross out levels.
  • Fear State (DC Comics) – I wasn’t the biggest fan of the start of James Tynion IV’s run on Batman but when “Fear State” got rolling things quickly shifted. The story was intense and did an amazing job of folding in “Future State” as well. Speaking of which…
  • Fist of the North Star (VIZ Media) – The classic manga is back and being reprinted in beautiful hardback versions as part of VIZ Signature. Yeah, it’s martial arts Mad Max but it’s so good.
  • Future State (DC Comics) – A two-month event that took us to a possible future DC, the comics were mostly great with the glimpses of the future being used when the series returned. It was a great use of an event to breathe new life into a line and drive the narrative for months to come.
  • Glamorella’s Daughter (Literati Press) – A fun series about the daughter of the world’s superhero that has such a great sense of itself with great humor and fun characters.
  • Impossible Jones (Scout Comics) – A blast in every way introducing us to a new world of superheroes and villains and leaves us wanting more.
  • Karate Survivor in Another World (Seven Seas) – In a year that felt like every other manga was about someone getting killed and reincarnated in another world with some hook, this one stood out. With a grounded premise, the story is about Nozaki Hitoshi who is sent to another world where his only skill is karate. But, there’s a twist that’s teased out and works so well.
  • Kraken Me Up (Holiday House Publishing) – In a year where I read lots of comics geared towards kids I loved the art in this one and it had such a cute story about a pet Kraken and the girl who loved it.
  • Maniac of New York (AfterShock) – I’m not a fan of horror films but this take on the slasher genre had me hooked as it felt like an homage to the genre and something all its own.
  • The Other History of the DC Universe (DC Comics) – John Ridley delivers a blunt history lesson about DC from the perspective of characters who rarely get the spotlight. Amazing art added to the enjoyment in what felt like a college course in comics.
  • Robin & Batman (DC Comics) – Dick Grayson’s early years as Robin is explored with beautiful artwork.
  • The Recount (Scout Comics) – Talk about a series that was too close to home. The series focused on a nation split due to a corrupt government and an uprising after the assassination of the President. Coming out around January 6 made the first issue hit even more.
  • Serial (Abstract Studio) – The series has gotten better and better with every issue with a serial killer at the center of it all. It’s really done an amazing job of serialized storytelling and has my on the edge of my seat more and more to see what happens next.
  • Shadow Doctor (AfterShock) – The true story about a African American Doctor who can’t get money to open a practice and has to turn to Al Capone for funding. The story is just a great mob story but the fact it’s true makes it all the more amazing.
  • Solo Leveling (Yen Press) – 2021 saw me getting more into manga and manhwa and this series saw three volumes released. It’s about a world where dungeon crawling is an actual profession and the world’s worst, who actually has something a bit special about him. It’s just a great mix of comics and video game nostalgia with solid art.
  • Stray Dogs (Image Comics) – The miniseries was a murder mystery from the perspective of dogs. Did their master kill their former owners? Will the dogs make it to safety? Mix in amazing art and this was a miniseries that had everyone talking.
  • Task Force Z (DC Comics) – Red Hood has to lead zombie versions of Batman villains in a Suicide Squad like team. The concept is silly but works so well with a focus on the ethical aspect of it all and an amazing team dynamic. Mr. Bloom? Really!?
  • Timeless #1 (Marvel) – When it comes to end of year one-shots, Timeless is the best Marvel has put out. Its focus on a character and a real focus on him as a person. There’s some solid teases of what’s to come but it’s the story of Kang front and center that’s the real draw. It might be a tease of what’s to come but beside that, it’s a good one-shot anyway.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar (Marvel) – The series shook up the character’s history in major ways and as a fan of Warhammer 40K I was all into it. It definitely pissed off “fans”, so bonus?
  • We Live (AfterShock) – The series has been an amazing apocalyptic adventure as kids attempt to make it to get to a ship to get off the planet. The series was a gut punch over and over and had me in tears.
  • Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons #1 (DC Comics) – We just got one issue from Kelly Sue Deconnick and Phil Jimenez but this look at the history of the Amazons is amazing. The art was jaw dropping with the only flaw being the pages having a middle seam.
  • Yasmeen (Scout Comics) – The comic series about horrible events in Iraq and a young girl’s experience was an emotional punch with every issue. It shows the power of comics.

Review: Barbaric #3

Barbaric #3

Barbaric doesn’t wear out its welcome and wraps up its first arc in a speedy fashion. Michael Moreci, Nathan Gooden, and Addison Duke tell a fairly heartfelt fantasy story, but with buckets of blood, limbs flying, weird magic shit, and plenty of jokes. Barbaric #3 truly shows that this comic is a sword and sorcery tale without all the boring walking and exposition bits, all killer and no filler. The opening sequence is a bit talky with Soren struggling with the expansion of her magical abilities, but it provides an opportunity for our protagonist Owen to prove that he gives a shit and also poke fun at the concept of the afterlife. After that, it’s pages upon pages for Moreci, Gooden, and Duke to pile one-liners over riveting action scenes with heads flying and a color palette that won’t quit.

Although one of its main cast members is a bloodthirsty talking axe, Barbaric has a story of redemption and friendship at its core. Reading this book is almost like having dessert before dinner because you get the insanely kinetic double page spreads filled with weapons, blood, and bodies tumbling everywhere from Nathan Gooden, and then he and Michael Moreci slow it down and show that Owen genuinely cares for Soren and vice versa. Gooden takes a break from the big, splashy layouts to use more grids and close-up’s of their faces to capture the pain, disdain, and eventually camaraderie that they feel for each other. Barbaric #3 proves once and for all that Owen actually gives a shit about people and isn’t subject to the typical barbarian box of hating witches and magic and the supernatural even though he’d rather be hitting the magical people and objects. They make a good team in the end taking out weird cultists and even learning something new about themselves in the end.

Addison Duke’s color palette is not secretly one of my favorite parts of Barbaric. He shows off a range of tones with his choices this issue from dark despair to pink rage, red ultraviolence, and green decay as Owen’s snake demon foe shows himself in all his sickening Mayor Wilkins meets Shuma Gorath glory. However, Duke’s colors are what transform a great scene into one that’s truly memorable as he floods in golds and white in a page where Owen experiences a form of paradise that’s a little more sensual than the mainline Protestant conception of Heaven. It’s a gorgeous void and complements Nathan Gooden’s lightly inked line work as Owen realizes it’s all a ruse, and that he doesn’t deserve any kind of eternal reward and needs to get back to the raw red of reality and rescue his friend. All in all, the background colors that Addison Duke uses tell their own kind of story as the issue progresses.

Moreci, Gooden, and Duke definitely stick the landing in Barbaric #3 shooting for both big character and action beats while ending things on the jokey tone that has made this series so endearing. If you want a fantasy comic that isn’t full of shit and is self-aware, violent, and makes you deeply care about its (not so) golden trio, the three issues of Barbaric are worth seeking out.

Story: Michael Moreci Art: Nathan Gooden
Colors: Addison Duke Letters: Jim Campbell

Story: 8.0 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Vault provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

King Spawn #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Action Tank #1 (Scout Comics/Scoot) – A young boy wakes to find himself on the other side of the solar system. Sounds like an interesting start to this series aimed at young readers.

Amazing Fantasy #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was fantastic with a fun start and amazing art. We’re hoping for more.

Barbaric #3 (Vault Comics) – The series has been fantastic and a great spin on classic fantasy stories featuring a certain barbarian.

Dancing Plague (Selfmadehero) – The true story of when hundreds of Strasbourg’s inhabitants were suddenly seized by the strange and unstoppable compulsion to dance.

Darkhawk #1 (Marvel) – An all-new Darkhawk? We’re intrigued.

Echolands #1 (Image Comics) – J.H. Williams III, Haden Blackman, Dave Stewart, and Todd Klein deliver a mythic epic featuring cyborg elves, gods, retro rocket ships, and more! The art so far has looked amazing.

Icon & Rocket: Season One #2 (DC Comics/Milestone) – The first issue had a great feel about it delivering some hope at the end that has us looking forward to more.

King Spawn #1 (Image Comics) – Todd McFarlane has big plans for Spawn and that includes expanding the universe with new comics. How this series will differentiate itself from the main one is unknown but we’re intrigued to see.

Ninjak #2 (Valiant) Read our early exclusive review.

Suicide Jockeys #1 (Source Point Press) – After a catastrophic mission, the leader of a monster-fighting unit must pull the team back together.

Superman ’78 #1 (DC Comics) – We love this film and are hoping it delivers a magical experience like the movie.

Superman vs. Lobo #1 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – Lets face it, these two together has potential for some comedy.

Transformers: Shattered Glass #1 (IDW Publishing) – The highly anticipated “Mirror Universe” version of the Transformers is here!

Winter Guard #1 (Marvel) – With a spotlight in Black Widow, it’s always interesting to see what Marvel does as far as tie-ins.

Review: Barbaric #2

Owen the Barbarian is a horrible person before three witches curse him… to do good!? Barbaric #2 continues the self-aware adventure as Owen gets to know his new Necromancer partner.

Story: Michael Moreci
Art: Nathan Gooden
Color: Addison Duke
Letterer: Jim Campbell

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Kindle
comiXology
TFAW


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

Vault has released a surprise Barbaric #1 Foil Movie Poster Variant, Limited to 100 Copies

Vault Comics‘ sold out, smash-hit comic Barbaric is getting a hyper-limited edition variant cover featuring beautiful foil treatment printed on deluxe heavyweight paper. With cover art by series co-creator Nathan Gooden and design by Tim Daniel, this limited edition cover is a tribute to the poster for the classic 1982 film, Conan The Barbarian, which served, in part, as an inspiration for the hit comic book series. 

This very special variant is available only on the vault web storeThis limited edition of 100 copies will never be reprinted. Once they are sold out, they are gone forever.

The collectible cover ships from Vault, bagged and boarded, in a Gemini mailer. Grades are not guaranteed. Purchases will begin shipping during the week of August 2nd, 2021.

Barbaric is written by Michael Moreci, drawn by Nathan Gooden, colored by Addison Duke, lettered by Jim Campbell. The synopsis for Barbaric #1 can be read below: 

Owen the Barbarian has been cursed to do good with what remains of his life. His bloodthirsty weapon, Axe, has become his moral compass with a drinking problem. Together they wander the realm, foredoomed to help any who seek assistance. But there is one thing Owen hates more than a life with rules: Witches.

Welcome to the skull-cracking, blood-splattering, mayhem-loving comic brave enough to ask: How can a man sworn to do good do so much violence? Hah! F***ing with you. It’s just…BARBARIC.

Barbaric #1 Foil Movie Poster Variant

Review: Barbaric #2

Barbaric #2

When the first issue is so good, there’s no way the second can be as well, right? Barbaric #2 delivers the goods with a fantastic second issue full of action, laughs, and adds depth to its world. Barbaric is the story of Owen the Barbarian who is cursed to do what’s right. That at times can be difficult to figure out. So, he has Axe, a blood-thirsty… axe, to guide him as to what to do. Along comes Soren, a necromancer who Owen saves and then winds up teaming up with for a quest.

Written by Michael Moreci, Barbaric #2 has such brilliance to it that it’s hard to describe. On its surface, the comic and series as a whole is a classic fantasy quest. There’s a barbarian and a necromancer who must team up and defeat an even worse evil. It’s a concept we’ve seen so many times before. But, it’s the details that Moreci includes that makes the comic stand out.

While the setting might be a fantasy quest, the concept is more buddy-cop comedy. Owen and Soren don’t get along and mix in the sarcastic Axe, you have a duo (fine trio) that would fit into modern cop schtick. Then, there’s the subtle comments that take a rather progressive viewpoint and place them in a rather regressive world. But, even that’s done in a twisted way as Owen is forced into this role. He was a horrible human being and his curse is to do good. Guided by a blood-thirsty axe, this is a barbarian who’s struggling with his nature and inclination to do what he wants.

Barbaric #2 delivers some depth on these two, mainly focusing on Soren’s story. We find out about her powers and her history but the issue dances around Owen’s axe’s story as well. Even with all of that, the issue moves things along quite briskly putting the duo into the type of battle and dungeon crawling you’d expect from the genre.

Moreci’s fantastic story is helped by Nathan Gooden‘s art. With Addison Duke‘s color and Jim Campbell‘s lettering, the images and dialogue pops on the page. There’s such personality with each character. The art shows off such subtle aspects that are told through the body language and facial expressions of the characters. The story wouldn’t work with a more traditional fantasy style to the art. This is a case where the style really helps set and sell the tone of the series and story.

Barbaric #2 is another solid issue that continues a hell of a fun adventure. There’s something fantastic about this series in that it adds to a genre that has been around for decades while also acting as an homage and a bit of a send-up as well. There’s something for everyone here and in all of that, it’s able to keep readers on their toes. The first issue was fantastic and this follow-up is able to keep up with another amazing entry.

Story: Michael Moreci Art: Nathan Gooden
Color: Addison Duke Letterer: Jim Campbell
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Vault Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology KindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Amazing Fantasy #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Amazing Fantasy #1 (Marvel) – There’s some cachet when it comes to the title of this series so we want to see what Marvel brings to the table with this series which brings together classic versions of popular characters.

Barbaric #2 (Vault Comics) – The first issue caught us off guard. It took the classic barbarian type story and delivered a nice twist to it. Add in great art and this is a series we’re excited to read more of.

Black Beacon #1 (Heavy Metal) – An intergalactic space station sounds great to go to, it sounds like utopia. But, when Niko gets there she finds it’s anything but.

Black Widow #9 (Marvel) – The series has been a blast with every issue mixing humor and action. One of the consistently fun Marvel comics on the shelf right now.

BRZRKR #4 (BOOM! Studios) – The series has been surprisingly good so far. While it delivers bloody action, it also is a fascinating exploration of its character B and the destruction he’s delivered through his lifetimes.

Groo Meets Tarzan #1 (Dark Horse) – Groo is always entertaining and this crossover has so much potential. We’re excited to see what these two properties together are like.

I Am Not Starfire (DC Comics) – The highly anticipated graphic novel about Mandy, the superhero Starfire’s daughter.

Icon & Rocket: Season One #1 (DC Comics/Milestone) – Milestone launched with a fantastic debut and we’re excited to see more and this new take on this iconic duo.

The Last Book You’ll Ever Read #1 (Vault Comics) – Cullen Bunn’s writing so we’re interested in checking it out just for that. A hit book is being blamed for violence and bloodshed around the world and the writer is determined to conduct a book tour.

Lucy in the Sky (First Second) – Lucy discovers her father’s collection of Beatles records and is inspired to form an all-girl rock band.

Mirka Andolfo’s Sweet Paprika #1 (Image Comics) – Mirka Andolfo is one of the hot creators out there right now so any debut gets a look from us.

The Other History of the DC Universe #5 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – The series started with Jefferson Pierce so it’s fitting that it ends with a focus on his daughter Anissa Pierce.

Runes #1 (Source Point Press) – A prisoner escapes after a shipwreck and must fight for his life in hopes of revenge.

Shadow Doctor #5 (AfterShock) – The series has been amazing with every issue. It’s the true story of a Black doctor in the 1930s who has to turn to Al Capone to get his medical practice up and running.

Skybound X #4 (Image Comics/Skybound) – Each issue has been a fantastic highlight of what Skybound has to offer including debuts that are sure to make the issues sought after.

Static: Season One #2 (DC Comics/Milestone) – The first issue was fantastic and was a hell of a debut for Milestone. We loved the first issue which had a fresh youthful feel about it and we’re fascinated to see where it goes after the previous issue’s ending.

Swamp God #1 (Heavy Metal) – At the end of the Civil War, Confederate soldiers call upon ultimate evil to save the South but then must team with Union soldiers to survive the horror they’ve unleashed.

United States of Captain America #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was a bit mixed in quality but at its core is a very interesting exploration of Captain America and what the character stands for and symbolizes.

Review: Barbaric #1

Owen the Barbarian is a horrible person before three witches curse him… to do good!? Barbaric #1 kicks off a twist to the fantasy genre made popular by Conan the Barbarian. We weren’t prepared for this debut and absolutely loved it.

Story: Michael Moreci
Art: Nathan Gooden
Color: Addison Duke
Letterer: Jim Campbell

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Kindle
comiXology
Zeus Comics
TFAW


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: Barbaric #1

Barbaric #1

Barbaric #1 is the story of a total bastard of a barbarian who was cursed by witches to be good. His axe, which talks to him and loves blood, keeps him on the straight and narrow as its own little lie detector. He has a real hatred of witches, which plays right into the crux of the story, where a witch is targeted by an angry mob. There’s that tricky thing about being good that pulls him in to help the witch. Well, that and the creatures that are springing forth from the ground.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Barbaric #1. Barbaric is definitely an apt name for this book. For a book that could have easily come off as just another hack-and-slash or even a Conan rip-off, Barbaric definitely comes off as something totally different. It plays up the language and the violence a lot. It’s a brutal book, with a gleam of humor and ultimately makes for a unique fantasy comic book. Michael Moreci’s writing is on-point here. It was a nice change to have characters speak like normal characters and not drum up fantasy speak. The dialogue felt more natural.

I thought the visuals were well-suited for the story. Nathan Gooden and Addison Duke’s art totally embellishes the blood and guts and glory of Barbaric. A really gritty style of art is on display with this comic and they don’t shy away from violent depictions of an axe-wielding madman going to town on a bunch of people. Good lettering throughout by Jim Campbell.

I normally recommend the D&D books that IDW Publishing puts out but this might be the new book to recommend to people who are looking for something different and enjoyable. Barbaric #1 totally lives up to its name (but in a good way) and delivers the bloody ass-kickings you’d want from a hard-R fantasy story. A man and his talking axe make for a fine story. Personally, I’d buy this issue and continue on from there.

Story: Michael Moreci Art: Nathan Gooden
Color: Addison Duke Letterer: Jim Campbell
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Vault Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics – TFAW

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