Tag Archives: breath of bones: a tale of the golem

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

WKE_Cv6_previews_ikd7i9cxxu__527d5ffaed0b43.28413751It’s a packed week of comics, with a lot of solid choices coming out from numerous publishers. So, to help you out , some of the Graphic Policy team has compiled our picks of the comics we’re looking forward to this week.


Top Pick: The Wake #6 (Vertigo) – It’s back. Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy’s merfolk horror story jumps 200 years in the future. I liken the break in this series with The Walking Dead’s mid-season hiatus, it’s been WAY too long.

King Conan The Conqueror #1 (Dark Horse) – This is the second part of Tim Truman’s adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s novel The Hour of the Dragon…and its start is just as fantastic as last year’s run. I can’t envision Conan any other way than this.

Pariah #1 (Dark Horse) – Genetically engineered geniuses known as “vitros” must band together and create a plan to get back to Earth before their failing satellite turns into a deathtrap. After watching Gravity, this series looks interesting.

Vandroid #1 (Dark Horse) – Tommy Lee Edwards and Noah Smith resurrect an early 80s grindhouse film script that was nearly lost in a studio fire. A rich playboy and a drugged out genius engineer create a humanoid entity that takes matters into his own hands. The cover of this issue alone deserves awards.

Trade Paperback/Graphic Novel: Breath of Bones A Tale of the Golem HC (Dark Horse) – This rounds out Dark Horse’s near sweep of my top picks this week. Steve Niles creates a poignant, gorgeous story of a Jewish boy’s stand against the Nazis…and the monster under his bed that helped him.


Top Pick: The Wake #6 (Vertigo) – It’s been too long since this series hit shelves, but boy am I ready to dive into the second part of writer Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy’s horror/sci-fi/apocalyptic story. He said to expect a twist at the end of the first volume and he was right. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us.

Black Science #4 (Image Comics) – This series from Image mixes crazy science fiction with an almost Jules Verne vibe about it all. The action is awesome, science fun, and art fantastic.

Furious #2 (Dark Horse) – It’s celebrity meets superherodom. The second issue continues the fantastic story of a superhero in today’s age of 24 hour news and social media.

Hacktivist #2 (Archaia/BOOM! Studios) – The comic that focuses on online activism continues as the government and CIA make an offer to our keyboard jockeys.

Tomb Raider #1 (Dark Horse) – Writer Gail Simone takes on the recently rebooted video gamer heroine. Should be a great combination, and while I haven’t read the issue yet, it’s high on my anticipation list for the week.

Trade Paperback/Graphic Novel: Megagogo Vol. 1 (Oni Press) – A new ongoing graphic novel that lets us know what happens when you put a washed up loser, an awkward teen going through puberty, and an immortal being into a giant robot. Monsters have returned to wreak havoc on the South, and while the team must defend Atlanta, they must first get past the KKK! How does this not sound awesome?

FanExpo Canada 2013: Dark Horse Announces Schedule!

This weekend, Dark Horse Comics is headed to Toronto for the second largest pop culture convention in North America – FanExpo! Stop by Booth #856 to pick up FREE giveaways—lanyards, window clings, buttons, and posters.  You can also buy copies of your favorite comics, books, and products, including an exclusive Fan Expo Canada variant cover of Halo: Initiation (10 per person per day). All giveaways, exclusives, and items for sale are available while supplies last.

Signings at the Dark Horse Booth

Lines may be capped as needed.

Friday, August 23


Vivek J. Tiwary (creator/writer)

*FREE The Fifth Beatle print!

5:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. ORCHID

Scott Hepburn (artist)

*FREE Orchid comic!

Saturday, August 24

11:00 a.m. –12:00 p.m. BREATH OF BONES and CRIMINAL MACABRE

Steve Niles (creator/writer) and Justin Erickson (cover artist, Criminal Macabre)

*FREE Breath of Bones poster and Criminal Macabre: The Eyes of Frankenstein print!


Vivek J. Tiwary (creator/writer)

*FREE The Fifth Beatle print!

2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m. MIGNOLAVERSE (Hellboy, B.P.R.D., Abe Sapien, Baltimore, Witchfinder, and more!)

Mike Mignola (creator/writer/artist)

*FREE Hellboy poster, Itty Bitty Hellboy window clings, and more!

Special Event

Saturday, August 24


Room 716

Since his first introduction in 1994, Mike Mignola’s Hellboy has gone on to achieve a status in comics typically reserved for characters created 40 years before him. Following up on the first arc of Hellboy in Hell (one of his most popular miniseries to date), an all-new Abe Sapien ongoing series, and the continuing adventures of the supporting cast of the B.P.R.D., we offer you a rare opportunity to enter one of the most intriguing minds of the industry today! Join Bloody Disgusting’s James Wright for a live interview with creator Mike Mignola, along with a chance to ask your own questions about your favorite cast of characters.


Pick(s) of the Week: Infinity #1 and a Whole Bunch More

Infinity_1_CoverAfter months of build up this week kicks off a new Marvel event Infinity. While the Avengers head into space to deal with a threat, Thanos takes advantage and attacks Earth. This has been a long time coming with seeds being laid for years now. Jonathan Hickman, Jim Cheung, Jerome Opena and Dustin Weaver are tasked with putting together this event and bring back the Marvel universe to a time when the threats were of a galactic nature.

It’ll be a tough task with recent events not living up to the hype, but this is a big release, so that’s why it comes out on top as our “pick.”

Check out below for the rest of the team’s top picks in alphabetical order:


Top Pick: Breath of Bones: Tale of the Golem #3 (Dark Horse) – Steve Nile’s amazing World War II mini series comes to an end. It is a powerful and moving finale.

Batman #23 (DC) – Doesn’t the cover alone make you want to read it? It will never get old watching Bruce Wayne become Batman.

Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol #2 (Titan Comics) – A gun-toting Albert Einstein blasts time traveling nazis, need I say more? Titan’s best series, hands down.

East of West #5 (Image) – There are still loose ends that need to be tied and roads that need to be traveled in this post apocalyptic sci-fi western. I have a feeling that we’ll start getting answers soon.

Star Wars #8 (Dark Horse) – Once you sort through the unending Star Wars literature, Brian Wood’s series stands out as a diamond in the rough. It takes place after the events of Episode IV and carries a wonderfully nostalgic feeling of the original trilogy.


A1 #3 (Titan Comics) – One of the best anthologies on the market. Each issue leaves me with wanting more. Read my review.

Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol #2 (Titan Comics) – Nazi’s, time travel and dinosaurs. Do I really need to say more as to why you should be reading this? Read my review.

Fubar: By the Sword #1 (Fubar Press) – With multiple volumes under their belt. This small press phenomenon is out with a two issue series featuring the writing of Chuck Dixon taking on some alternate history.

Infinity #1 (Marvel) – Marvel kicks off their next major event. It’ll have long-term impact that’ll last until the next major event.

It Came! #1 (Titan Comics) – 50’s B-movie fun in comic form. Read my review.

TPB/Graphic Novel of the Week: March Book One (Top Shelf) – The life of Congressman Lewis, this is the first release in a three-part trilogy chronicling his involvement in the Civil Rights movement. This isn’t just a story, this is history and a graphic novel that should be in every school room. Read my review.


Top Pick: Saga #13 (Image) – It’s back, baby! Need I say more?

Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #3 (Dark Horse) – This fantastic black-and-white story of faith and war in the Jewish context is a heroic story unlike any other. Much too short-lived, but fantastic nonetheless.

Batgirl #23 (DC) – Simone has been blowing Batgirl out of the water lately. This issue begins the story of Commissioner Gordon looking to get revenge on Batgirl—his daughter!

Infinity #1 (Marvel) – I have to say I’m not so much looking forward to Infinity, but this is a must-get because of its centrality in Marvel’s current storyline.

Justice League of America #7 (DC) – Trinity War continues here: we’ll hopefully find out who the Secret Society of Super-Villains is, and maybe who their spy in the Justice Leagues is…

TPB/Graphic Novel of the Week: The First X-Men (Marvel) – Neal Adams and Christos Gage write the ‘secret’ history of the X-Men before Xavier’s school. This collects the five-issue mini-series from last August.

Week in Review: July 8-14, 2013

Another great week in comics, with the beginning of DC’s Trinity War, the debut of Titan Comics’ Chronos Commandos, plenty of great superhero and pulp books, and even a review of Guillermo del Toro’s summer blockbuster. Check out what we’ve been up to at Graphic Policy this past week:

Graphic Policy Radio
July 9, 2013–a discussion with Emma Houboix about Sailor Moon, manga, FF, Matt Fraction on Hawkeye, and group representation in comics.

Comic Reviews
Hellheim #5–Oni Press’ Scandinavian monster mythology continues to great applause by Andrew.

Miss Fury #4–Dynamite’s time-travelling Nazi-fighter gets mixed reviews.

East of West #4–sci-fi/western continues with great art and emotional storytelling.

Pathfinder #8, TMNT New Animated Adventures #1–Sean gives us a tour of the first in a new TMNT series, and Pathfinder makes a splash for RPGers.

Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #2–Andrew gives us the details on the lauded second issue of one of Dark Horse’s most touching books.

Black Beetle #4–Francavilla’s pulpy pulp superhero…how have I not picked this up myself?! Seriously, it seems you can’t miss this book; don’t skip Andrew’s review, either.

Star Wars #7, Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #2–Wood’s incredible Original Trilogy era saga continues, with a more emotional look at the Rebel heroes.

Eerie #3–Sean takes a tour of Cousin Eerie’s assorted offerings from Dark Horse’s weird horror/sci-fi anthology, with high marks.

A1 #2, Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol #1–Brett gives us a tour of Titan Comics new line, including dinosaur fighters and an unstoppable anthology of weirdos.

Occupy Comics #2, 12 Reasons to Die #2, Ballistic #1–Brett reviews the political Kickstarter comic, a horror-crime comic of gangsters and soul hunters, and a very strange buddy adventure book.

Ghosted #1–Scott introduces us to Image’s incredibly violent, noir thriller…

Sheltered #1–…and to their new apocalyptic comic, with mixed reviews.

Justice League #22, Daredevil #28, Batman #22–Sean brings us up to date on two amazing comics from the Big Two, and fills us in on the Trinity War’s first shots.

Movie Review
Pacific Rim–Guillermo del Torro’s Kaiju-and-robots movie of the summer is here, but is it any good? Brett’s got some opinions on the matter; feel free to share yours in our comments section!

Book Review
Father Gaetano’s Puppet Catechism: A Novella–explore post-war Sicily, where puppets come to life at an orphanage…nothing could go wrong with that plot, right? Check out Sean’s review of Mike Mignola (HellboyB.P.R.D., etc.) and Christopher Golden’s chilling novella.

Classics Revisited
Watchmen–this new monthly column, Classics Revisited, hits the ground running, as we take a look at Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s truly incredibly 12-part graphic novel, Watchmen.

That’ll do it for this week folks, but make sure to stay tuned to Graphic Policy for news and reviews of what’s going on in the comic book industry and Geekdom at large.

Review: Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #2

20130709-211557.jpgSteve Niles strayed far from his horror comfort zone to scribe this wonderful three part World War II fable. After rescuing the pilot of a downed allied aircraft, the residents are torn between saving his life and risking theirs or turning him away for the good of the village. After a divided decision to keep him, led by the grandfather of Noah, the boy who found the plane, they race to keep him hidden. It is all in vain though. A Nazi search party discovers his location and scrambles out of the town to alert the forces. The grandfather decides it is time to make believers out of a Jewish folk tale and awaken the golem.

Niles smartly sticks to a tight script, and lets Dave Wachter‘s simple, yet elegant black and white pencils do an equal amount of talking. The single best decision this team makes is the slow burn reveal of the beast. The first issue didn’t even hint at it until the final frames, and this latest builds on that tension as the townspeople use mud in imaginative ways. Therein also lies my biggest complaint…the covers. So much time and care was spent on the slow reveal, yet the covers have a full fledged golem head butting tanks and chucking Nazis like frisbees. I have to believe this was a marketing decision, because there is an inside credits page that shows two cupped hands holding a golem figurine that would have made a beautiful cover.

As I await the third and final issue of Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem, I have no doubt I will be left wanting a monthly run. But, as with folklore, some of the best stories aren’t necessarily the longest. Battling the Third Reich is good versus evil of the highest order and, along with Niles’ exceptional miniseries, will never get old.

Story: Steve Niles Art: Dave Wachter
Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Star Wars #7, Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #2

Star Wars #7

SW7Brian Wood’s Original Trilogy era Star Wars comic continues with Star Wars #7, the start of a whole new arc for the heroes of the Rebellion, with pencils by Ryan Kelly, inks by Dan Parsons, and solid color work by Gabe Eltaeb, a Star Wars comics regular. I once read a review of the first issue of this series which said that this series is exactly what Star Wars is supposed to be (can’t remember where I saw that…), and I have to say that reviewer nailed it square on the head. It’s a complex but easy-going, multi-plot comic with the atmosphere of the first three films and their space fantasy ingenuity. Star Wars #7 does not disappoint.

Wood’s story takes an interesting turn in this issue, including Darth Vader revealing a side of him that hasn’t been seen often, a side that has him plotting his own means to gain power within the Empire under Palpatine’s nose (at the expense of Colonel Bircher). Meanwhile, Luke points out something that, as fans of his heroic exploits, I think many of us forgot: to the Empire, Luke is completely anonymous, absolutely no one knows who he is. Well, duh! Why didn’t I think of that? We also see a more emotional side of Luke and Leia, bonding over the death of Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen on a return to Tatooine, and Leia’s loss of Alderaan, which we’ve never seen her grieve for. On the Core Worlds, Han and Chewie continue their attempt to escape Coruscant in a classically unusual and garbage-related manner.

While Wood’s writing is not spectacular, his narrative continues to be a great addition to the Star Wars universe’s great galactic history. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of the transition that’s been made to artist Ryan Kelly; I much preferred Carlos D’Anda, who drew the first six issues. Kelly is great with the long-shots and capturing the Star Wars menagerie of ships and galactic background—however, there are perhaps too many half-page and full-page panels—but his illustrations of faces suffer from awkwardness, and the one image of Chewbacca looks like a photograph of someone wearing a Chewbacca costume, including the costume lines and all (I’m not sure if that’s misplaced skill or just failure to capture Chewie for comics). This is the difficult thing about franchise art: either you get the character’s faces to a T, or you make it abstract so as to be beyond reproach (e.g. the Buffy comics). Despite these shortcomings, Eltaeb wraps everything neatly in his colors, making the transition to the new artist almost unnoticeable. Almost.

On the whole, Star Wars #7 is an intriguing comic that continues the post-Battle of Yavin saga of the Rebellion and Darth Vader’s attempt to rebuild his standing in the eyes of the Emperor, despite the issue suffering slightly from awkward illustrations.

Story: Brian Wood  Art: Ryan Kelly, Dan Parsons, Gabe Eltaeb
Story: 7.5  Art: 6.5  Overall: 7.5  Recommendation: Read

Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #2

BB2Writer Steve Niles’ and talented illustrator Dave Wachter’s Dark Horse mini-series about a boy and his golem continues in Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #2. I found myself moved by the story, and was so caught up in the suspense of a coming German invasion that I didn’t realize I’d already reached the last page! That’s a pretty strong indication that this comic is worth the buy, and overall a solid and well-orchestrated follow-up to the premiere issue.

Niles’ writing is once again eloquent, telling a story that is both new and old on many levels. Content wise, it’s a story about Ashkenazim (Eastern European Jews) using faith and community to stand up to moral and political wrongs. In a way, it’s sort of timeless—the protagonists aren’t ever labeled ‘Jews,’ and the enemies aren’t called ‘Nazis,’ just “Germans.” But the iconography is unmistakable, replete with iron crosses, starched stormtrooper uniforms, the garb and donnings of poor Eastern European villagers, and, most importantly, the golem. Perhaps it’s the silent presentation of place and time that make the narrative seem timeless, allowing the reader to put her own thoughts and emotions into the story, creating a much more personal reading experience.

Wachter’s artistry helps build the nostalgic milieu of this bleak landscape: a community faced with destruction, a dying grandfather, and a child learning what it means to trust in faith. Emotions come to life on character’s faces, and Wachter truly captures the terror of grayed Nazi uniforms and all that the traumatic historical baggage therewith. Last but not least, we get to see the communal construction of the golem—truly a wonder of artistry—and Wachter brings animates the mythological monster in the last, full-page panel.

“The goodhearted need never fear failure. It is only the wicked who can fail at this task.” Niles and Wachter have created a future classic, one that tells a tale of psychological and faith-borne maturity and resistance in the face of impending doom. Niles has told a Jewish tale of WWII in which the Jews might not be victims, but their own heroes, and Wachter has brought this complex scenario to life, expressing the emotional spectrum and gravity of the situation through his black and white pencils.

Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #2 has a little bit of something for everybody, and is in general a saga to find yourself happily lost in.

Story: Steve Niles  Art: Dave Wachter
Story: 9  Art: 9  Overall: 9  Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

Review: Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #1 (of 3)

Breath Bones 1Whether you knew it before, or not—and now you know—Judaism and comics go hand in hand, especially here in America. I’m talking creators (Will Eisner, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Al Jaffee, Neil Gaiman, Jerry Robinson, and Art Spiegelman), famous comics and graphic novels (Maus), and thematic issues which can be read as metaphors for anti-Semitism (X-Men). But while Greek, Roman, Norse, and Indian mythology populate the narratives and superhero origin stories of thousands of comics and characters, Jewish mythology seems to be missing—and I think most people would ask, what is Jewish mythology?

Pick up Steve Niles’ new 3-part mini-series from Dark Horse, Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem, illustrated by Dave Wachter, and you’ll get a grand taste of one of the most famous figures in Jewish mythology: the Golem.

Of course, just about any Nerd knows what a Golem is, especially those who’ve played D&D or basically any fantasy RPG in the last 30 years (console, computer, or tabletop). Golem means ‘unshaped form’ in Classical Hebrew (a language which I have some training in, as both a Jew and a former Classics student), and stories of the Golem date back to the time of the Talmud (c.200 CE) and stretch throughout the Middle Ages and, as this comic shows, to the present. The Golem is seen as a protector, and nothing could be more of a superhero for the downtrodden, denigrated, and persecuted Jews of Eastern Europe. Effectively, the Golem might be the original superhero figure at least in theme.

Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #1 is a wonderful read, and it’s a book I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, as a Jewish comic book collector and a literary enthusiast. Steve Niles is typically a horror comics writer, one of the finest there is, and his story (co-developed with Matt Santoro) does not disappoint from a general reader’s perspective. It’s a touching, vivid portrayal of the horrors of war from the eyes of a young Jewish boy, showcasing the burden of parents in protecting their charges both physically and emotionally. It’s also a tale of a tight-knit community working together to save a man and protect themselves, knowing full-well that the onslaught of war will reach them no matter what.

As Americans, it’s truly difficult for us to imagine the fear of war-wrought devastation and the total breakdown of national security and personal/communal safety. It is my theory that, following the events of 9/11, the rise of apocalyptic scenarios in film, television, and literature is partly a result of America mentally preparing itself for what a world without order, ruled by war, would be like. We haven’t known that fear so close to home since the 1860s, and yet for most of the rest of the world’s citizens (except, perhaps Canada and Antarctica) the trauma of war and conflict is recent history or current events.

World War II may be almost 70 years in our past, but the historical and generational trauma of the event in Europe and for the Jews in particular is very much alive, especially in a world where Holocaust deniers persists and anti-Semitism continues to be a popularly held conception in many circles. Niles captures this perfectly, telling a story that is not sappy with self-pity but instead resilient and staunch in its objection to persecution and resistance against all odds.

Dave Wacther’s black-and-white prints drain the color from this bleak period in history, a time of rations and hysteria, when the sound of any engine or thump was cause for alarm. Wachter’s art is some of the most complex, detailed, and humanistic I’ve seen in a while, the comic book equivalent of Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers, busy with intensity when appropriate, calm and quiet (but not serene) when necessary. And kudos to the folks at Dark Horse for printing all of the interior advertisements in color and not disrupting the flow of the visual narrative.

If you only read superhero comics, you’re missing out; there’s so much the comics medium can achieve, and Niles and Wachter showcase just some of its breadth with eloquence and respect, bringing another Dark Horse masterpiece to market in the shape of Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #1

Story: Steve Niles and Matt Santoro  Art: Dave Wachter
Story: 9  Art: 10  Overall: 10  Recommendation: Buy