Tag Archives: brian azzarello

The Swamp Thing Halloween Horror Special Delivers Scares at Walmart this October

Fans of the Walmart 100-Page Giant comics will be treated to an extra dose of fright this Halloween, as DC’s line of successful anthology comics will now include a special horror-themed one-shot, Swamp Thing Halloween Horror Special. This 100-page, $4.99 comic book includes an all-new story featuring the “Protector of the Green,” Swamp Thing.

“Hollow” is a 12-page story written by Brian Azzarello, with art by fan-favorite artist Greg Capullo. Children can’t help but be curious about what lurks in the woods at the edge of town on Halloween night…and unfortunately for them, this group of trick-or-treaters has crossed paths with a mysterious witch who has her own tale to tell about where curiosity leads—directly into the path of the creature known only as Swamp Thing! Can they escape her clutches? Or is there something much worse out there that they should REALLY fear?

This 100-Page Giant sells for $4.99 and includes several classic fright-filled stories from DC’s history, led by the iconic House of Secrets #92 from 1971, which features Swamp Thing’s very first appearance, written and drawn by co-creators Len Wein (writer) and Bernie Wrightson (artist). 1971’s “Night of the Reaper,” from Batman #237, features two more giants of superhero storytelling, writer Denny O’Neil and artist Neal Adams, telling a Halloween tale of revenge and the search for a Nazi war criminal.

2007’s DC Infinity Halloween Special also contributes to this issue, with stories featuring DC heroes Superman (“Strange Cargo”), Blue Devil and Enchantress (“The Pumpkin Sinister”) and Zatanna (“Kcirt ro Taert”). The book also reprints a Batman tale from the 2008 DC Infinity Halloween Special, “The Ballad of Jonathan Crane,” as well as “Night Gods” from 2010’s The Brave and the Bold, starring Aquaman and the Demon.

The Swamp Thing Halloween Horror Special ships to stores today and should arrive in participating Walmart stores throughout North America by Sunday, October 7.

Review: Batman: Damned #1 Has Gorgeous Visuals, Overwrought Narration

Batman: Damned #1 is 50 pages of glorious and sometimes creepy Lee Bermejo as well as 50 pages of John Constantine yapping about theology, heaven and hell, religious things, and the like and occasionally displaying his snarky wit courtesy of writer Brian Azzarello, who returns to the character almost two decades after being the first American to write Hellblazer in 2000. Batman: Damned has the tailor made for an elevator pitch premise of the Joker mysteriously being wounded, and Batman mysteriously having no idea what happened to him and teaming up with John Constantine to get to the bottom of things. It’s equally parts gritty and Gothic thanks to Bermejo’s art and works best when it’s reveling in its spookiness and disorienting atmosphere instead of trying to be deep or give Bruce Wayne a screwed up childhood before his parents were murdered.

At times, Azzarello and Bermejo seem to be working at counter purposes in Batman: Damned #1. The comic is filled with brilliant and sometimes shocking imagery from Bermejo and then kind of ruined with the overwrought narration from Azzarello. Brian Azzarello definitely is having a fun time writing Constantine narration, and the lettering has a nice storybook flow to it, but it undercuts the art sometimes by describing what is on the page instead of creating an interesting juxtaposition or adding layers to characterization like in Watchmen or Kingdom Come, for example. Azzarello and Bermejo do nail Constantine’s character in a single panel when he’s smoking and refers to himself as “the unreliable narrator”, which fits the non-linear, yet non-confusing nature of Batman: Damned’s plot whose supernatural elements keep it from being a cut and dried “What If Batman killed the Joker” story.

Honestly, the most unsettling part of Batman: Damned #1 are the flashbacks to Bruce’s childhood that go beyond the typical Zorro, pearls, Crime Alley, Waynes getting shot, and I’m not talking about Lee Bermejo’s creepy girl from The Ring take on The Enchantress. There’s a scene where young Bruce is out with his father Thomas and his mistress and entertaining himself by spitting off a tall building and counting, and he almost falls off the building when his dad throws a penny for his spit to “race”. A lot of orphan superhero’s parents were at least some kind of moral paragon, like Uncle Ben or Battlin’ Jack Murdock refusing to take a dive for a mob boss, but despite being super rich, Thomas Wayne doesn’t come across as a great dad or husband. Having a near death experience while your dad is cheating on your mom is definitely traumatic and adds more tragedy to the Batman mythos.

Batman: Damned #1 is at its finest when Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo go away from the theological narration and hurl the reader forward in a story about Batman being on the ropes with a gritty, supernatural tinge to it like Zatanna being a street musician or an eerie, invasive take on the body possessing Deadman. The comic’s opening sequence is a perfect example this beginning with a nine panel grid of an EKG and cutting to a full page image of Batman bleeding out before having him beat up cops, EMTS, and random passerbys while being disoriented and falling into the open arms of Alfred, er, John Constantine. There’s a real feeling of peril like the guy who has extensive notes and solutions for each Justice League member’s weaknesses has finally screwed up and could actually die or fail. It reminds me a lot of the Batman: Arkham video games when your health is dwindling, and the world is all cloudy and blood filled.

As shown in a scene where he’s crouching naked in front of a Batsuit (A page or so after the famous full frontal nudity.), Batman is definitely in pain throughout Batman: Damned #1 as he spends the entire comic trying to retrace his steps and figure out if he’s responsible for killing the Joker. Brian Azzarello’s incessant John Constantine is both parts annoying and hilarious, insightful and overbearing, but Lee Bermejo’s gorgeous image composition and aforementioned Gothic grit make the first DC Black Label book worth a read.

Story: Brian Azzarello Art: Lee Bermejo
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher

Story: 6 Art: 9.5 Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics/Black Label provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Batman: Damned #1

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got the launch of DC Black Label with Batman Damned #1!

Batman Damned #1 is by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, Jared K. Fletcher, Steve Cook, Will Dennis, Maggie Howell, and Mark Doyle.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Preview: Batman: Damned #1

Batman Damned #1

(W) Brian Azzarello (A/CA) Lee Bermejo
In Shops: Sep 19, 2018
SRP: $6.99

DC BLACK LABEL, the highly anticipated new imprint from DC Comics, starts here!
The Joker is dead.

There is no doubt about that. But whether Batman finally snapped his scrawny neck or some other sinister force in Gotham City did the deed is still a mystery.
Problem is, Batman can’t remember… and the more he digs into this labyrinthine case, the more his mind starts to doubt everything he’s uncovering.

So who better to set him straight than… John Constantine? Problem with that is as much as John loves a good mystery, he loves messing with people’s heads even more. So with John’s “help,” the pair will delve into the sordid underbelly of Gotham as they race toward the mind-blowing truth of who murdered The Joker.

BATMAN: DAMNED is a bimonthly super-natural horror story told by two of comics’ greatest modern creators-a visceral thrill-ride that proudly puts the “black” in BLACK LABEL.

Music Icon Sting Announces Participation in the Constantine 30th Anniversary

In a special video, worldwide music icon Sting revealed he will pen the foreword to the John Constantine: Hellblazer: 30th Anniversary Celebration commemorative collection. Sting’s foreword will take on the perspective of the Golden Boy, Constantine’s alternate-universe twin, touching on his relationship with the occult detective over the years.

While wearing the iconic trenchcoat, Sting sees the resemblance between himself and the iconic comic character.

Starting with his first appearance, a debut penned by legendary writer Alan Moore, Constantine has served as an enduring and controversial pop culture character—an exorcist and demonologist, master of the dark arts, and the lead of DC Vertigo’s longest-running and most successful title.

The commemorative collection will explore the complete history of the series with four one-page essays written by Hellblazer author Rich Handley. It will also include a comprehensive timeline of Constantine’s life and three one-page stories featured in John Constantine: Hellblazer issues #1, 2 and 4. Memorable stories from Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, Brian Azzarello, Paul Jenkins, Jamie Delano and others reflect the best of the long-lasting series, including Hellblazer issues #11, 27, 41, 63, 120, 146, 229 and 240 and Saga of the Swamp Thing #37, where the character was officially introduced.

John Constantine: Hellblazer: 30th Anniversary Celebration commemorative collection will be available October 30.

Art Adams, Azzarello, Chin, and Russell Join Baltimore Comic-Con 2018

The Baltimore Comic-Con returns to the Inner Harbor’s Baltimore Convention Center on September 28-30, 2018. Tickets are now on sale. The Baltimore Comic-Con has announced the addition of Art Adams, Brian Azzarello, Joyce Chin, and P. Craig Russell to their 2018 event.

Arthur Adams is an award-winning artist who became an immediate fan favorite as the penciler on the critically acclaimed 1985 Longshot mini-series. His decades-spanning career has included cover and interior work on such titles as Batman, Superman, Avengers, Spider-Man, X-Men, New Mutants, Gen 13, Godzilla, The Authority, Danger Girl, Excalibur, Ultimate X, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Hulk. He’s the creator, writer and artist on Monkeyman and O’Brien. Outside of comics, Arthur has done movie, toy, and game designs, book illustrations, and provided the artwork for an X-Men-themed Spaghetti-O’s can. More recently, in addition to the covers to many of Marvel’s top books, he supplied a run of covers for Guardians of the Galaxy, and a run on covers for X-Men Blue. He’s also currently working on a creator-owned property.

Brian Azzarello has been writing comics professionally since the mid-1990s. He is the author of Spaceman, Batman: Broken City, and came to prominence with the Harvey and Eisner Award-winning hard-boiled crime series 100 Bullets, published by DC Comics’ mature-audience imprint Vertigo. The New York Times best-selling author’s other work for includes Wednesday Comics, Hellblazer, Loveless, Superman: For Tomorrow, Joker, Luthor, Before Watchmen: Rorschach, Before Watchmen: Comedian, Sgt. Rock: Between Hell and a Hard Place, DKIII: The Master Race, and Wonder Woman at DC Comics, as well as Startling Stories: Banner, Cage, and Spider-Man’s Tangled Web at Marvel.

Joyce Chin has been working in comics since 1995 when she penciled several issues of Guy Gardner: Warrior for DC Comics. Since then, she’s has gone on to work on many titles, providing interiors and some covers on stories for the Hulk, Red Sonja, Vampirella, Green Lantern, Vampirella, Xena, Spider-Man, Superman, and Witchblade with a variety of publishers. She’s also worked on book, game, and magazine and toy packaging illustrations. Currently, she’s been keeping busy penciling and inking Marvel covers for books as diverse as All-New Wolverine, America Chavez, Deadpool Duck, Iron Man, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Thor, Spider-Man, X-Men ’92, and Hellcat. She’s also currently working on a creator-owned property.

A graduate of the University of Cincinnati with a degree in painting, P. Craig Russell has run the gamut in comics. After establishing a name for himself at Marvel on Killraven and Dr. Strange, he went on to become one of the pioneers who opened new vistas for this underestimated field with, among other works, adaptations of operas by Mozart (The Magic Flute), Strauss (Salome) and Wagner (The Ring of the Nibelung). Russell is also known for his Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde series as well as his graphic novel adaptations of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: The Dream Hunters, Coraline, Murder Mysteries, and American Gods. Additionally, Craig will be debuting the “Fine Art Edition” for Salome and Other Stories at the 2018 Baltimore Comic-Con.

DC Entertainment Announces “Black Label” Including a Kelly Sue DeConnick/Phil Jimenez Wonder Woman!

DC Entertainment isn’t done announcing new comic imprints. The company has already announced two lines aimed at younger readers, DC Ink and DC Zoom, but there’s also a line curated by Brian Michael Bendis in the works. Now, the comic publisher has announced their latest, “DC Black Label,” which will pair some of the best creators with the best characters.

In the announcement, DC Entertainment co-publisher Jim Lee explained:

Many of our perennially best-selling, critically acclaimed books were produced when we unleashed our top talent on standalone, often out-of-continuity projects featuring our most iconic characters, a prime example being Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Creating DC Black Label doubles down on our commitment to working with all-star talent and trusting them to tell epic, moving stories that only they can tell with the highest levels of creative freedom.

There’s already numerous projects announced:

  • Superman: Year One – Written by Frank Miller with art by John Romita Jr.
  • Batman: Damned – Written by Brian Azzarello with art by Lee Bermejo
  • Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons – Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick with art by Phil Jimenez
  • The Other History of the DC Universe – Written by John Ridley
  • Batman: Last Knight on Earth – Written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo
  • Wonder Woman: Diana’s Daughter – Written by Greg Rucka

Each story will be released in a format dictated by creators and take place outside of DC Universe canon. It allows the creators to explore the characters and take full advantage. Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons tells the story of Wonder Woman’s people from their creation until the arrival of Steve Trevor on Paradise Island. Wonder Woman: Diana’s Daughter is a story set 20 years in the future.

The line will have Mark Doyle as executive editor and they’re expected to launch in August with Superman: Year One. Check out all of the synopses and art below:

SUPERMAN: YEAR ONE from Frank Miller (THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT: MASTER RACE) and John Romita Jr. (ALL-STAR BATMAN, SUPERMAN)
A groundbreaking, definitive treatment of Superman’s classic origin story in honor of his 80th anniversary. This story details new revelations that reframe the Man of Steel’s most famous milestones—from Kal-El’s frantic exile from Krypton, to Clark Kent’s childhood in Kansas, to his inevitable rise to become the most powerful and inspiring superhero of all time.

BATMAN: LAST KNIGHT ON EARTH from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, the creative team behind DARK KNIGHTS: METAL
Batman wakes up in a desert. He doesn’t know what year it is or how The Joker’s head is alive in a jar beside him, but it’s the beginning of a quest unlike anything the Dark Knight has undertaken before. In this strange future, villains are triumphant and society has liberated itself from the burden of ethical codes. Fighting to survive while in search of answers, Bruce Wayne uncovers the truth about his role in this new world—and begins the last Batman story ever told.

BATMAN: DAMNED from Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, the creative team behind JOKER
On a deserted Gotham City bridge, a body is found. Whispers spread the news: Joker is dead. But is this a dream come true or a nightmare being born? Now Batman and DC’s outlaw magician John Constantine must hunt the truth through a Gotham City hellscape. The city’s supernatural recesses are laced with hints about a killer’s identity, but the Dark Knight’s descent into horror will test his sanity and the limits of rationality, as he must face a horror that doesn’t wear a mask.

WONDER WOMAN HISTORIA: THE AMAZONS from Kelly Sue DeConnick (Bitch Planet) and Phil Jimenez (INFINITE CRISIS)
A Homeric epic of the lost history of the Amazons and Queen Hippolyta’s rise to power. Featuring monsters and myths, this three-book saga spans history from the creation of the Amazons to the moment Steve Trevor washes up on the shores of Paradise Island, changing our world forever.

WONDER WOMAN: DIANA’S DAUGHTER (working title) from Greg Rucka (WONDER WOMAN, BATWOMAN)
It’s been 20 years since the world stopped looking to the skies for hope, help, and inspiration. Now the world keeps its eyes down, and the powers that have risen have every intention of keeping things that way. Amongst a scattered, broken resistance, a young woman seeks to reclaim what has been forgotten, and on the way will learn the truth about herself, her heritage, and her destiny.

THE OTHER HISTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE from John Ridley (12 Years a Slave, THE AMERICAN WAY)
A compelling literary series analyzing iconic DC moments and charting sociopolitical gains through the perspectives of DC Super Heroes who come from traditionally disenfranchised groups, including John Stewart, Extraño, Vixen, Supergirl, Katana and Rene Montoya, among others. At its core, the story focuses on the lives of those behind the costumes, and their endeavors to overcome real-world issues. It isn’t about saving the world, it’s about having the strength to simply be who you are.

Image Reveals Four Artist Appreciation Variants

Image Comics has revealed the first four of a series of virgin editions of highly anticipated new issues—Infidel #1 by Pornsak Pichetshote and Aaron Campbell, Moonshine #8 by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso, Saga #50 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, and Gideon Falls #1 by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino—each of which will feature back cover quotes from the writers on the importance of their collaborating artists.

The front covers of these variants will be without series logo, Image logo, issue number, or price.

Gideon Falls #1 by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino will be available on Wednesday, March 7th.

Infidel#1 by Pornsak Pichetshote and Aaron Campbell will be available on Wednesday, March 14th.

Moonshine #8 by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso will be available on Wednesday, March 21st.

Saga #50 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Diamond Code JAN188081) will be available on Wednesday, March 28th. The final order cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, March 5th.

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