Tag Archives: carlos granda

SDCC 2018: Calexit: All Systems San Diego Raises Money for Immigrant Families

As the lines between fictional dystopias and our actual reality continue to blur, critically acclaimed comic book Calexit is making a difference for real families at the Mexican border. Profits from the brand new Calexit: All Systems San Diego #1 will be donated to San Diego Rapid Response Network, an organization dedicated to aiding immigrants and their families in the San Diego border region. Writer Matteo Pizzolo teamed with artist Carlos Granda, colorist Lauren Affe, and cover artists Ben Templesmith and Tyler Boss to create the new Calexit story, which goes on sale this week at San Diego Comic Con. The comic book, a story within the Calexit world, features all new characters in a San Diego-based adventure.

Review: Geek Girl #1

As a fan of comics ever since I can remember, I can recall when certain heroes were never adequate. Every major hero in comics has undergone some personal crisis where they cannot do their job anymore. Instead, they recoil and become embedded in their problems. The most memorable one in my mind, is Tony Starks Iron Man. His crisis which was only alluded to in the comics but was far more illustrative in the comics was the arc, “Demon In the Bottle”.

Starks went on a binger as Obadiah’s actions lost this father’s company, money, and foreign contracts, which sent Tony to relapse into Alcoholism, after he was defeated by Magma. This made Rhodie having to step up, and don the Iron Man suit, and defeat the treacherous villain and this was before he became War Machine. Of Course, would not be the last, as this became a recurring arc over the years throughout different comic books, as sometimes it is the person who you last expect, can be the greatest hero. In the first issue of Geek Girl one such hero steps up where her friend could not anymore and becomes even greater than she was.

We catch up with Summer James, who took on the mantle of Geek Girl, after her roommate, Ruby Kaye, the previous Geek-Girl is utterly decimated after defeating the villain, Lightning Storm. We meet her as she stops a robbery in its midst but unfortunately creates collateral damage, which is the whole reason she is being mentored by another hero, Pitbull. We also find Ruby as she is recovering form her fight, as visitor after visitor talk to her in hopes she will come out of a coma. Unfortunate for Summer, her learning curve is at an accelerated pace, as new villains emerge, The League of Larcenists, who are looking to rob every bank in Maine. By Issue’s end, although Summer is feeling insecure about her abilities , her support system lets her know she is more than capable as she will have her hands full with these new villains.

Overall, a fun take on the superhero genre, that is both tongue in cheek and a serious addition to the superhero mythos. The story by Sam Johnson is action packed and well developed. The art by Carlos Granda is breathtaking. Altogether, an excellent introduction to a new superhero.

Story: Sam Johnson Art: Carlos Granda
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

New Publisher Offers Readers the Chance to Buy Comics for Local Libraries

Heroes of Homeroom C is one week into their Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign and they have reached the 25% funded mark! That means almost $4,000 of their stated $15,000 CDN goal (approx. $11,500 USD) has already been raised. The book, by Aristocrats Comics, is set to be the first of many such comic books from the newly-formed publishing company that promotes ethnic diversity in both its characters and its creators.

Heroes of Homeroom C tells the story of Albert and Nicola Hathaway, twin 12-year-old African-American superheroes who lose their powers and are sent back to public school to try and have a “normal life.”  But even seventh grade can’t stop our heroes from getting wrapped up in action and excitement.

Created by Aristocrats publisher Anthony Ruttgaizer, a Toronto-based writer of mixed Caribbean and European descent, with art by Carlos Granda, a native of Colombia, Heroes of Homeroom C is a 74-page, all-original graphic novel. Funds raised via the Kickstarter campaign will go towards printing and shipping the book, the crowdfunding website’s processing fees and paying the art team of Granda and letterer/colorist Fred C. Stresing for their hard work.

For $65 CDN (approx. $50 USD), “backers” will receive a copy of Heroes of Homeroom C for themselves while TWO copies will be donated to local libraries in their name. At the end of the campaign, supporters will have the chance to choose a library to receive this gift.

Kickstarter’s “all-or-nothing” funding model means that Aristocrats Comics MUST raise their stated goal of $15,000 CDN by March 2nd or they will receive nothing.


Can You Escape From Monster Island?

Writer Joe Tyler and prominent artist Carlos Granda come together with Zenescope Entertainment to deliver an action-packed adventure into the most dangerous place in the world: Monster Island.

Years ago, unbeknownst to the public, the U.S. government built a walled city on an abandoned island in the Pacific Ocean. The purpose of this city was to house an experimental testing facility for a multitude of monsters that had been captured over the years. But in 2012, disaster struck and the island was evacuated; it is now overrun by a bevy of terrifying creatures and beings. Yet something extremely valuable was left behind and now some very rich people want it.

Escape From Monster Island launches in January.


Actuality Press previews long-awaited mini-series for Geek-Girl and Cabra Cini: Voodoo Junkie Hitwoman!

Now on the third printing of its #0 issue, Sam Johnson‘s Geek-Girl – a.k.a. Ruby Kaye, a college ‘It’ Girl who lands a pair of super-tech glasses – has been building the character’s audience ahead of her full color mini-series’ release. The mini’s launch is on the horizon now and creator/writer Johnson felt this was the right time to unveil a preview of it.

For those unfamiliar with Ruby Kaye’s story…

In Geek-Girl #0, Ruby kind of conned brainiac college geek Trevor Goldstein out of the glasses he’d invented [with the intention of using the super powers they endow its wearer with to win over a waitress he’d been crushing on]. She won them in a game of Strip Poker with Trevor and his buddy Jeff, after she and her friend Stacey got them drunk…

Ruby decided she wanted the glasses on a whim, and Ruby Kaye gets what Ruby Kaye wants. What she wasn’t bargaining on, though, is that the glasses’ tech has a glitch. A glitch that’s going to mess with her head and affect her in ways she may not even realize are happening; and this, along with the fact that her best friend Summer is encouraging her to use her powers to become a super-hero, is going to put her in a very dangerous place.

Ruby’s cooler-than-thou clique aren’t too impressed with ‘Geek-Girl’ – but this may turn out to be the least of her worries as she’s forced to step up when her home town of Maine’s big-gun super-heroine, Neon Girl, is hospitalized – right in front of Ruby – by an enigmatic new female super-villain the media christen ‘Lightning Storm’.

As well as Geek-Girl, Actuality Press #1 features preview pages for the already-available The Almighties #1 – which sees the enigmatic White Out amassing a comedic team of heroes: comprising the arrogant, armored Maxi-Tron; former-downtrodden-housewife-turned-swingin’-super-heroine Ms. F; borderline-psychopath/former-Black-Ops-agent Mason; cocky British punk rocker/werewolf Nite Fang; and takeout owner Stefanos(!).

Written by Johnson and illustrated by Carlos Granda, Nathan Ramirez and Eleonora Kortsarz, published by Actuality Press, Actuality Press #1 is out now and available FREE at www.actualitypress.com


Review: Pirouette #2

pir 2 covIf there can be said to be such a thing as sub-genre within comics of female clown characters, then already by this second issue has Pirouette stolen everything of use from Harley Quinn and moved on to better things.  After the first issue, we were left with some ambiguity about where this series could be headed.  Of course it was headed back to Lima, Ohio, but aside from that it was not really clear if this series was meant to be a horror, a drama, a comedy, an adventure, a crime noir or a mix of all of them.  By the end of the second issue things are moving in a more defined direction, but it is not the story that moves this so much as the instantly lovable main character, Pirouette.  In essence she channels a lot of what has made a lot of other comic book characters so popular (like most of the X-Men and Spider-Man) by being an outsider, unable to fit in, except she is doing so inside of a circus, the very place where people that can’t fit in are supposed to run away to.

The story telling here is nothing short of fantastic.  Interspersed with the crime of the clowns and the technical and historical aspects of the circus is that of Pirouette.  Seeing as she has had a small rebellion and lost in the previous issue, she figures here that it is time to get on board with the other clowns, at least until she can get what she wants.  Given the first opportunity she runs away from the circus eager to find the family that left her all those years ago, and the reader is taken along step-by-step on the journey.

There is little to complain about in this issue, nor in this series so far.  Its pace is frenetic, meeting that of the attitude of its main character, and similar to the work being done on Gotham Academy, the reader explores the world of Pirouette in an organic and logical way, through her own eyes, without it feeling forced.  There are for sure other secrets hiding within this circus, but Pirouette seems like she will have an answer for all of them and the reader will be treated to the experience.

Story: Mark L. Miller Art: Carlos Granda
Story: 9.2 Art: 8.6 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Black Mask provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review.

Mark L. Miller Discusses His New Series Pirouette

pirouette 1 featuredThe circus is the Greatest Show On Earth, unless you’re the attraction. Raised from infancy by duplicitous clowns who entertain by day and menace by night, Pirouette dreams of washing the paint from her face and escaping to a better life far away from her cruel adoptive circus family… because when the spotlights dim and the crowd disperses, the clown princess’ big-top dreams give way to a nightmarish world of monsters with painted smiles.

Black Mask Studios has been on a role with three new series launched in the past two weeks as the company launches its phase two of comics. Out this week is Pirouette from writer Mark L. Miller and artist Carlos Granda, and while it might seem like a horror tale in a circus, you’ll quickly realize there’s much more below all the make-up.

We got a chance to talk to Miller about the new series and some of its deeper themes.

Graphic Policy: Where did the idea for Pirouette come from?

Mark L. Miller: Pirouette comes from my love of circuses and sideshows that go back all the way to my childhood. It was one of the best memories of my life as it was filled with so many strange and amazing things. I really wanted to capture that feel for the book, as if it is some kind of alien place that is so different from the towns the circus tours through. As I was tooling around with ideas to work with artist Carlos Granda on, I mentioned I had an idea about a young clown who wanted to something more than circus life and Granda loved it, so we ran with it. And over the last year we worked hard to develop the whole circus world that you see in the first issue.

GP: When it comes to circuses, stories often have to deal with people running away, and joining one, this seems like it’s the reverse of that.

MLM: Yeah, one of the things I try to do with any property is try to come up with—especially one in such a specific genre, is to go against convention. I didn’t want to tell a typical story. I wanted to highlight the circus itself as both a way of life and its own sort of microcosm that had its own hierarchy and social class levels. I wanted to show the behind the spectacle and bright lights and loud colors, there are real people. And while it is a place where it seems like anything can happen, sometimes bad things can happen there too. It’s fun building a place filled with so many possibilities and tossing a character into that environment.

GP: This also comes at the same time that the television show American Horror Story will take place at a circus and freak show. What is it about that setting that has story tellers keeping come back to it?

MLM: I don’t want to disparage any of the modern circuses, but I think the circuses of the past are a place of complete mystery and there’s a draw to that. It’s a place that lured in many weird and eccentric characters from all across the world and then jammed all of those characters together and sent them on the road across America. That’s some great potential for a lot of story right there. Starting on with Pirouette, I didn’t know that American Horror Story was going to go the Freak Show route. It’s some kind of weird coincidence that the first issue of Pirouette and the premiere of the TV show is happening on the same date.

GP: Why do you think that setting also opens itself up to a horror tale so easily?

MLM: Again, it’s that mystery and wonder that goes hand in hand with the circus. When you go to a circus, it’s a place where you are constantly wondering if what is happening in front of you is real or not. “You won’t believe your eyes!” to quote the sideshow barker. It prompts one to ask questions and plays with the great unknown and that’s what horror is all about too. What’s in that dark closet in the bedroom or the shadowy space between the bed and the floor? So I think circus and horror go together so well since both make the mind wonder; the circus to the dream-like kind of wonder and horror to the darker nightmarish flip side.

GP: How did Carlos Granda come on to the series?

MLM: I met Carlos while working on The Jungle Book a few years ago. He was so amazing that I kept tabs on him and we pinged back and forth on Facebook and email. I was pittering around with a few ideas and thought his style would match the circus theme perfectly, so we reconnected last year at the New York Comic Con and that’s where we started to get the ball rolling with Pirouette. First was the design of the character, which we took a lot of time with. Then on to the rest of the circus.

GP: When it comes to the art, there’s a lot of double page spreads and interesting panel layout. It all adds to the crazy whirlwind that is a circus. Whose decision was it to go with that visually?

MLM: That was me writing to Carlos’ strengths. Knowing how detailed Carlos could go with his imagery, I knew he wouldn’t be intimidated by a detailed description of tons of things going on at once. That’s what the circus is all about. Clowns over here, tigers over there, people twirling on the trapeze above. It’s that immersion into the circus that I wanted to capture and knew Carlos could do. Again, since we worked together before and already had a good rapport, there was less “gettin’ to know you” time that I’ve found in some other books I’ve worked on.   It made the writing process all the easier for me, knowing that Granda would be able to get what I’m talking about right from page one.

GP: There’s also a massive amount of people crammed in to some pages, and even when there’s only a few, the situation is still claustrophobic. Was some of that in the script or was that just natural art decisions?

MLM: We always talked about how the book was going to be filled with all of this excitement and detail, which meant a lot of detail, was necessary. But there are also some nicely done scenes of intimacy where it’s only Pirouette in the panel and Carlos just nails it there too. It was just Carlos doing what he does best, which is draw just about anything with an amazing sense of detail, emotion, and depth.

GP: The coloring also stands out, especially with the clown makeup. What was the thought into that detail?

MLM: The clown makeup in Pirouette was crucial as clowns are no strangers to comics. The only directions I gave Carlos was that we didn’t want anyone looking like the Joker, Harley Quinn, or Spawn’s The Violator. So Carlos just went nuts with the makeup and I sent him a lot of references of old clown photos. Some of them are terrifying. There are a lot of emails back and forth between Carlos and myself that contains tons and tons of scary clown pictures. It would horrify some folks, but we both seem to love the circus so much, it didn’t bother us.

GP: The story has glimpses of a class system, between the audience and performers, the clowns, and acrobats, the folks who clean, and more. Was this something you wanted to address in the story?

MLM: Definitely. I wanted the circus to be a metaphor of the class system we all see in life. There are those who think certain people can only be this way or that way—that someone of this type cannot do this job or achieve this level of status. We want to think we are in a day and age when this doesn’t exist, but we all live in the real world and know that’s not the case. And sometimes we find ourselves in a place where we ask ourselves “Is this all there is?” Pirouette is that spirit in us that keeps on trying and doesn’t give up despite the fact that it may be a shitty situation you find yourself in. It’s a tough and hard journey, but it’s worth fighting for. The circus is just a fantastic backdrop for that type of struggle.

GP: What else can we expect from you?

MLM: Hopefully, more Pirouette! And if you like Pirouette, be sure to tell others about it as this really is a book that will live or die by word of mouth. Tweet it, FaceBlog it, scream it from the highest mountain and from every comic book store! This is a four issue series at the moment, but Carlos and I have tons more Pirouette tales to tell, so it really is up to you!

Zenescope Entertainment Expands Reach with Digital First Titles

Zenescope Entertainment has announced plans for a line of digital-first releases that will become available in April of 2013. These digital releases will expand beyond the horror and fantasy fare the company is best known for and will include a mix of genres such as comedy, sci-fi, action and all-ages. Zenescope will also offer continuations of previous published titles that will return in a digital first format.

Said Zenescope Editor-in-Chief Ralph Tedesco, “We’ve spent several years growing the Zenescope brand but digital publishing gives us more flexibility and allows us to step outside of the horror and fantasy genres and bring some other titles we’re passionate about into the mix. And we can offer these books at a lower cost to readers.”

Zenescope is planning to offer most #1 issues of its digital first titles free of charge for one week upon release and for between $0.99 to $1.99 thereafter. Here’s a list if the planned digital first releases for 2013:

Family Pets (All Ages) – After turning sixteen, Thomasina begins to accept that her life will remain unremarkable… But when she wakes up one morning to discover that her foster family has been turned into pet animals, her ordinary life will turn into an extraordinary adventure! The series is written by Pat Shand and artwork by Sara Dill. (April release)

Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide (Action/Horror) – Set in a modern world where monsters of all types very much exist. This series centers on monster hunter, John Paul Russ as he attempts to thwart dangerous and terrifying monsters and beings of all kinds. (Summer release)

SciFi & Fantasy (Mature Fantasy/Horror) – In the same vein as classic horror series “Tales From the Darkside” and “Twilight Zone,” Zenescope offers fascinating horror and sci-fi series one-shots giving readers a frightening view of the not so distant future. (Summer release)

Guardians (Comedy) – A mature supernatural comedy written by Ralph Tedesco with artwork by Carlos Granda. More information coming later this year. (Fall release)

Suckers (Comedy) – A mature comedy about two vampires who decide to go on a killing spree after being fed up with how vamps are depicted in films and TV. Written by Pat Shand and artwork by Ian McGinty. (Fall release)

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