Tag Archives: brad simpson

Review: Join the Future #1

Join the Future #1

Aftershock Comics has been producing stories with a kind of metaphorical vision not unlike the one seen in 2000AD comics. The publisher has taken to pushing series that focus on large scale concepts, on changes and shifts that threaten to alter status quos and established orders (think Harlem Heroesor Judge Dredd). Join the Future #1 is one such comic as it contemplates and worries about a future where technology becomes even more imperialistic in scope and thirsts for utopia under the false pretenses of progress. That the comic goes about this concept in the guise of a Western makes it a series that demands attention.

Zac Kaplan and Piotr Kowalski approach Join the Future as a kind of frontier story where humanity has separated into high-tech megacities that are entirely dependent on technology and Midwestern rural communities that renounce technology altogether, living like farmers and depending on nature’s own bounty to survive. It’s a play on extremes. Tech life vs. organic life.

Owning up to the comic’s title, the story takes it time to show us just how these megacities (maybe a wink to Judge Dredd fans out there) send out representatives—or salesmen, more like—to convince people to sell their lands and integrate into their tech utopias. The idea is that rural life is insufficient when megacities have developed cures for cancer and have unlocked the secrets to limitless food supplies.

In that regard, Join the Future reminded me quite a bit of Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, where the poor live in a state of extreme poverty on Earth while the privileged social classes live in a space habitat complete with advanced med-bays that cure all kinds of diseases and illnesses. This reflection on two entirely opposite ways of life is as effective here as it was on Elysium (although Kaplan and Kowalski’s comic has a better sense of narrative).

The use of Western archetypes on a visual level elevates the narrative wonderfully as it makes the differences between the megacities and the rural communities stand out in glaring detail. Kowalski does a great job of landing an old-school take on both the cowboy aesthetics of the Midwest and the classic sci-fi look and feel of the cities. The worldbuilding is familiar but dense, doing a lot of the heavy lifting as Kaplan builds up to an eventual clash between tech followers and cowboy traditionalists.

On the book’s approach to character development, we get just enough to establish a conflict that feels like a slow burn towards a long fight against the tech utopias. We follow Clementine Libbey, daughter of the town’s Mayor and big sister to Owen Libbey. Clementine carries herself like a character that will be forced into a leadership role yet to be revealed, a voice that she’ll have no choice but to use in upcoming issues.

There’s a strong YA feel behind Clementine, akin to characters seen in books such as The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, but she’s also more mature. We get a sense our heroine will dip her toes in both the pro-tech and anti-tech worlds for some time before revealing all of her cards. I’m not entirely sure Kaplan and Kowalski want to paint Clementine as a country hero in its entirety.

On the book’s colors, Brad Simpson does an outstanding job of keeping Kowalski’s old-school Western/sci-fi approach in line with the traditions it uses as inspiration. The megacity setting is bright and crisp, looking like a brand new car straight out of the factory (which says a lot about the city’s identity). Simpson captures every building, every drone, and every surface perfectly and coats it with that high-tech shine. Conversely, the Midwestern setting offers an interesting contrast in colors, with more muted tones that make the town of Franklin and its surroundings seem past their prime. It serves the story quite well.

Join the Future is a comic in no rush to reveal all its cards. In its first issue, we get a compelling situation with several moving parts that are sure to result in some very interesting looks at what the future will be and whether it’s in our best interest to join it.

Join the Future #1 has a March 4, 2020 release date.

Script: Zack Kaplan, Art: Piotr Kowalski, Colors: Brad Simpson
Story: 10.0 Art: 10.0 Overall: 10.0 Recommendation: Buy

Aftershock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Advance Review: Join the Future #1

Join the Future #1

Aftershock Comics has been producing stories with a kind of metaphorical vision not unlike the one seen in 2000AD comics. The publisher has taken to pushing series that focus on large scale concepts, on changes and shifts that threaten to alter status quos and established orders (think Harlem Heroesor Judge Dredd). Join the Future #1 is one such comic as it contemplates and worries about a future where technology becomes even more imperialistic in scope and thirsts for utopia under the false pretenses of progress. That the comic goes about this concept in the guise of a Western makes it a series that demands attention.

Zac Kaplan and Piotr Kowalski approach Join the Future as a kind of frontier story where humanity has separated into high-tech megacities that are entirely dependent on technology and Midwestern rural communities that renounce technology altogether, living like farmers and depending on nature’s own bounty to survive. It’s a play on extremes. Tech life vs. organic life.

Owning up to the comic’s title, the story takes it time to show us just how these megacities (maybe a wink to Judge Dredd fans out there) send out representatives—or salesmen, more like—to convince people to sell their lands and integrate into their tech utopias. The idea is that rural life is insufficient when megacities have developed cures for cancer and have unlocked the secrets to limitless food supplies.

In that regard, Join the Future reminded me quite a bit of Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, where the poor live in a state of extreme poverty on Earth while the privileged social classes live in a space habitat complete with advanced med-bays that cure all kinds of diseases and illnesses. This reflection on two entirely opposite ways of life is as effective here as it was on Elysium (although Kaplan and Kowalski’s comic has a better sense of narrative).

The use of Western archetypes on a visual level elevates the narrative wonderfully as it makes the differences between the megacities and the rural communities stand out in glaring detail. Kowalski does a great job of landing an old-school take on both the cowboy aesthetics of the Midwest and the classic sci-fi look and feel of the cities. The worldbuilding is familiar but dense, doing a lot of the heavy lifting as Kaplan builds up to an eventual clash between tech followers and cowboy traditionalists.

On the book’s approach to character development, we get just enough to establish a conflict that feels like a slow burn towards a long fight against the tech utopias. We follow Clementine Libbey, daughter of the town’s Mayor and big sister to Owen Libbey. Clementine carries herself like a character that will be forced into a leadership role yet to be revealed, a voice that she’ll have no choice but to use in upcoming issues.

There’s a strong YA feel behind Clementine, akin to characters seen in books such as The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, but she’s also more mature. We get a sense our heroine will dip her toes in both the pro-tech and anti-tech worlds for some time before revealing all of her cards. I’m not entirely sure Kaplan and Kowalski want to paint Clementine as a country hero in its entirety.

On the book’s colors, Brad Simpson does an outstanding job of keeping Kowalski’s old-school Western/sci-fi approach in line with the traditions it uses as inspiration. The megacity setting is bright and crisp, looking like a brand new car straight out of the factory (which says a lot about the city’s identity). Simpson captures every building, every drone, and every surface perfectly and coats it with that high-tech shine. Conversely, the Midwestern setting offers an interesting contrast in colors, with more muted tones that make the town of Franklin and its surroundings seem past their prime. It serves the story quite well.

Join the Future is a comic in no rush to reveal all its cards. In its first issue, we get a compelling situation with several moving parts that are sure to result in some very interesting looks at what the future will be and whether it’s in our best interest to join it.

Join the Future #1 has a March 4, 2020 release date.

Script: Zack Kaplan, Art: Piotr Kowalski, Colors: Brad Simpson
Story: 10.0 Art: 10.0 Overall: 10.0 Recommendation: Buy

Aftershock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Zack Kaplan with art from Piotr Kowalski Want You to Join the Future

Join the Future #1

Writer: Zack Kaplan
Artist: Piotr Kowalski
Colorist: Brad Simpson
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover: Piotr Kowalski & Brad Simpson
Incentive Cover: Brandon Peterson
$4.99 / 32 pages / Color / On sale 3.04.2020

The Future. Ultra-modern megacities reward millions of their citizens with a completely funded life, with nearly every need met, from food to housing to healthcare, in order to compete in an economic war amongst cities in which population is key. But when one of these cities pressures the self-reliant residents of one of the last towns in America to join up or else, the deadly conflict forces the Mayor’s daughter, Clementine Libbey, on a principled quest for revenge and resistance.

Written by Zack Kaplan (PORT OF EARTH, ECLIPSE, LOST CITY EXPLORERS) with art from Piotr Kowalski (Sex, Marvel Knights: Hulk, The Dark Tower), JOIN THE FUTURE is a sci-fi western that examines a future where everyone must ask what your values are truly worth.

Join the Future

Time Shopper is a Slacker Sci-Fi Comedy Epic Through History

Time Shopper is a sci-fi/comedy about a regular guy who gets a job time traveling. He’s supposed to go back in time and fix history’s biggest disasters (the sinking of the Titanic, the assassination of JFK, kill baby Hitler), but when he gets to the past he immediately gets distracted by how crazy affordable everything used to be. So… he starts shopping through time. And then obviously, hijinx ensue. There are historical celebrity cameos, killer robots, etc.

Written by Tony Fleecs, Time Shopper features art by Christian Meesey, layouts by Tone Rodriguez, colors by Brad Simpson, and a cover by Meesey.

Retailing for $14.99, the 48-page comic will be out soon and published by Action Lab Entertainment.

Time Shopper

Preview: Bloodborne #16

Bloodborne #16

Author(s): Aleš Kot
Artist(s): Piotr Kowalski, Brad Simpson
Cover Artist(s): Connor Magill (A), Yoshioka (B), Game Art (C)

The Veil, Torn Asunder (4 of 4)! Darkness falls and madness reigns, as the Great Ones awake at last! Acclaimed horror-mystery team Ales Kot and Piotr Kowalski unearth the bloody climax of this latest story, set in the world of FromSoftware and SIE’s smash hit video game – Bloodborne!

Bloodborne #16

Preview: Bloodborne #15

Bloodborne #15

Author(s): Aleš Kot
Artist(s): Piotr Kowalski, Brad Simpson
Cover Artist(s): Abigail Harding (A), Yoshioka (B), Game Art (C)
Retail Price: $3.99
Ship Date/Month: September 18, 2019

The Veil, Torn Asunder (3 of 4)! Stranded in blood-slick streets, our lone wanderer must navigate the crumbling city of Yharnam, and the broken roads of his own mind. Ales Kot and Piotr Kowalski delve deeper into the world of smash hit video game Bloodborne, in this critically acclaimed horror-mystery comic!

Bloodborne #15

Black Stars Above from Lonnie Nadler, Jenna Cha, Brad Simpson, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, and Vault Comics this November

Vault is thrilled to announce Black Stars Above, a terrifying new comic book series that is part of Vault’s annual autumnal horror imprint, Nightfall.  

A horror story that’s part The Revenant and part At the Mountains of Madness, Black Stars Above is a chilling historical cosmic horror tale of survival from the deranged minds of writer Lonnie Nadler and debut artist Jenna Cha, with colorist Brad Simpson, and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

The year is 1887 and a storm brews. A young fur trapper flees her overbearing family only to get lost in a dreamlike winter wilderness that harbours a cosmic threat. The fur trade is dead and the nation is changing. Yet, Eulalie Dubois has spent her entire life tending to her family’s trapline, isolated from the world. A chance at freedom comes in the form of a parcel that needs delivering to a nameless town north of the wilderness. Little does Eulalie know, something sinister hides in those woods and it yearns for what she has. 

Black Stars Above #1 will receive a Vault Vintage B Cover by Nathan Gooden and Tim Daniel that pays tribute to Frank Miller’s iconic cover to Whiteout, by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber (Oni Press, 1999). The Vault Vintage cover line celebrates the artistic achievements of both modern and legendary comics artists. 

Black Stars Above #1 hits store shelves on November 6th, 2019.

Black Stars Above #1

Take One Last Adventure with Crone this November

Dark Horse Comics invites you on a quest for blood and vengeance that is equal parts Unforgiven and Xena: Warrior Princess.

The Sword Saviour and Champion of Men once known as Bloody Bliss is now nothing more than a reclusive old Crone. When an old enemy returns, Bliss is once more needed to save the Three Kingdoms but does she have the strength to answer the call? Only Dennis Culver and Justin Greenwood know for sure!

Joining Dennis and Justin on this epic adventure are colorist Brad Simpson, and letterer Pat Brosseau. Together they craft a tale never seen before in the fantasy genre.

Crone #1 (of five) reawakens the fierce warrior inside us all on November 6, 2019.

Crone #1

Review: Coffin Bound #1

Coffin Bound #1

Coffin Bound #1 is either utterly pretentious or utterly sleazy. Dani and Brad Simpson‘s visuals are that of the grindhouse or carsploitation film with a touch of a Western and religious rituals. I definitely could feel a Pretty Deadly vibe from this book, but it seems sleazier. Some of that might be chalked up to Dan Watters’ writing which runs the gamut from Philosophy 101 bullshitting to terse, salt of the Earth dialogue.

Beneath all the purple prose and self-flaying strippers, Watters’ plot is a straightforward one. A girl named Isabel wants to obliterate every trace of her from her fucked up post-apocalyptic world, and a gimp mask sporting psychopomp named Earth Eater (In the literal sense). So, she goes on a road trip looking for an oracle named Cassandra, who turns out to be someone she has a warm, possibly even romantic relationship with. Her road trip buddy is a vulture, which drives home the point that, yes, this is a book about primal things like death.

Coffin Bound is a comic that I liked more for the aesthetic and general visual feel than for the contents of the issue until the very end when it maybe becomes a queer love story. Dani’s cover sets the tone for the book with a raven-haired girl slumped by a loud, yellow car with bones around her disdainfully holding a gun and cigarette like she doesn’t give a fuck. This attitude extends to the opening action scene that’s filled with equal parts humor and nihilism as Isabel struggles to put her pistol together to fight off the men who are trying to kill her for Earth Eater. A brick does the job just as well too and is maybe an homage at the original cat vs mouse comic Krazy Kat, which also had idiosyncratic use of language like this book. Later, Isabel has car problems and complains to her “manager” using florid prose, and the scene made me crack a smile because even poetic, post-apocalyptic badasses’ cars break down sometimes.

Coffin Bound is a very good comic whenever Watters and Dani focus the story on Isabel and the Earth Eater, who just shows up on a couple of pages like a good classic horror monster. However, it loses some of its momentum in the strip club sequence although Dani’s heavy inks and Simpson’s sleazy color palette and focuses on the red meat of the self-flaying stripper creates a pretty fucked up atmosphere. Watters seems to be filling in the world of Coffin Bound and the relationships that Isabel has and is trying to undo, but it hurts the comic’s pacing as a chase story. It’s like if Mad Max Fury Road cut immediately from a war rig action scene to a secondary female character working the pole for one of Immortan Joe’s lieutenant. Hopefully, it works once we get the full arc, but is a weak scene in this single unit of story.

Coffin Bound #1 is a comic that looks cool and knows it thanks to Dan Watters’ dark sense of humor, Dani’s take no prisoners visuals, and Brad Simpson’s scorched Earth color palette. It suffers a little bit when it gets away from the cat and mouse game between Isabel and Earth Eater, and sometimes the dialogue is a little bit up it’s own ass. But it’s nice to see a comic that’s not afraid to get its hands dirty in an age of house art and polished sheen.

Story: Dan Watters Art: Dani Colors: Brad Simpson
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read 

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Coffin Bound #1 Gets New Printing Ahead of Its Release

The anticipated new series Coffin Bound #1 by Dan Watters and artist Dani with colorist Brad Simpson, letterer Aditya Bidikar, and designer Emma Price, is being rushed back to print ahead of this week’s release. 

The upcoming issue is scheduled to hit shelves this Wednesday, August 7 and—due to increasing demand—will ship sold-out at the distributor level. 

Cars! Guns! Entropy! Coffin Bound follows Izzy Tyburn, who is chased by an unstoppable killer and has decided that if the world won’t have her in it, it can have nothing of her at all. She’s re-treading her life, leaving nothing but burned rubber, ash, and the sun-scorched bones of those who get in her way. 

Ride shotgun on an unforgettable road trip through blood-splattered, grindhouse action best described as Bitch Planet and Mad Max: Fury Road set in the dark, twisted fantasy world of Sandman.

Coffin Bound #1 second printing (Diamond Code JUN198336) hits stores on Wednesday, August 28. The final order cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, August 12. 

Coffin Bound #2 (Diamond Code JUL190117) hits stores on Wednesday, September 11. The final order cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, August 19. 

Coffin Bound #1 second printing

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