Tag Archives: charlie adlard

Review: The Walking Dead #158

the-walking-dead-158The Whisper War” part two ups the action and balances a hell of a lot in this tension-filled issue from writer Robert Kirkman, artist Charlie Adlard, with inks by Stefano Gaudiano, and Cliff Rathburn on gray tones.

The Walking Dead #158 is the first massive clash between Rick and the Whisperers with bodies piling up and things looking really grim for every side. I say every side because this issue really sets up a lot of sides as help is sent and not sent by Rick’s various allies.

The issue is one bit battle interspersed with cut scenes at what’s happening outside of the battle back in the various camps/towns, the politicking occurring by the various groups. Those scenes are key as they up the tension leaving you wondering if those battling will see help come or if they’ll be overrun by the hoard of walkers and Whisperers.

Then there’s Negan.

In some ways you could call this “All Out War 2: Electric Boogaloo” as the issue revolves a lot around Negan’s actions. Will he betray Dwight and his team? Is he really on board “Team Rick?” Is he still out for himself and doing what he wants? We expect him to turn at any moment and that’s part of the fantastic tension of the issue. Will he or won’t he? Kirkman keeps us guessing until the very end.

The action is brutal and Adlard, Gaudiano, and Rathburn don’t hold back as intestines fall to the ground, heads are lopped off, and folks are stabbed. There’s lots of stabbing. They also do an excellent job of using the walkers/Whisperer shots to enhance the chaos of not knowing who’s human and who’s not. The art drives that part really well and as a reader I caught myself looking into crowd shots trying to figure that out.

The issue is a solid one packed with action and tension and most importantly has me wanting to see what happens next.

Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard Ink: Stefano Gaudiano Gray Tones: Cliff Rathburn
Story: 8 Art: 8.45 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

The Walking Dead—Excited Whispers Spread Among Fans

Image/Skybound Entertainment has announced that The Walking Dead #157 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard will be fast-tracked to a second printing in order to keep up with the overwhelming customer demand.

The mind-blowing new story arc to the New York Times bestselling series and pop culture phenomenon—The Whisperer War—launched to much fan buzz and featured the first in a sequence of connecting covers by Arthur Adams with colors by Nathan Fairbairn. Fans of The Walking Dead and comics collectors flocked to stores for an opportunity to get their hands on the hot new issue.

In The Walking Dead #157 the time has come. The forces are aligning. The war has begun! Has Rick brought about the demise of everything he’s built? Or will he triumph once again? Know this… there will be a cost.

The Walking Dead #157 , 2nd printing Cover A (Diamond Code JUN169197) and Cover B by Arthur Adams with colors by Nathan Fairbairn (Diamond Code JUN169198) will be available in stores on Wednesday, September 7th.

THE WALKING DEAD #158 2nd printing A THE WALKING DEAD #158 2nd printing B

Review: The Walking Dead #156

TheWalkingDead156_coverIt’s “Queen and King” in The Walking Dead #156 which focuses on Negan’s experience with the Whisperers. Like the recent comics that have run in Image Comics Image+ magazine, this single issue gives us so much depth as far as Negan and also Alpha, the leader of the Whisperers. And the comic re-emphasizes that The Walking Dead is about the living people, not the shambling hoards.

The issue is all about Negan as he’s integrated into the world of the Whisperers. Through each segment, we learn more about the rules of the Whisperers and how they structure their society. It’s a fascinating peek behind the curtain. We’ve gotten some hints up to this point, but with this issue, it’s all laid out so there’s no confusion at all.

While we learn more about the Whisperers, we also learn more about Negan himself. The man has a code and here it’s clear what that code and philosophy is. It’s very clear after this issue.

Writer Robert Kirkman lays all of that out while giving us a lot of humor. Let’s face it, motormouth Negan dealing with a group of people who don’t talk is going to be entertaining. But it’s not all humor, there’s some heart too as Alpha is given her “scene” and we learn there’s more to her than the stern leader.

But, the issue is really about the ending. What happens isn’t surprising at all, it’s what’s said that makes you question so many actions these past few issues. I’m not spoiling it, but it shines a different light on the motivations behind a certain someone’s actions.

Kirkman as always is helped by Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano, and Cliff Rathburn, who form like Voltron to give us fantastic visuals as always. This issue is sparse on the backgrounds and details, and even gore, but every panel is key in setting the tone, the mood, and adding to the story through a character’s stance or the look on their face.

This is a key issue that should have fans buzzing. Where the series goes from here is anyone’s bet, because while the act committed could be seen a mile away, the why is a mystery that’s yet to come.

Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano, Cliff Rathburn
Story: 8.45 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.45 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics Announces Creators for Creators

Creators for CreatorsAt Image ComicsImage Expo it wasn’t just new products that were announced, they also announced a new non-profit, Creators for Creators. The goal of the organization is to “encourage, support, and promote original works through grants and education.”

The program will be a combination of financial backing and mentorship. The plan is to give $30,000 to a single cartoonist or a wrister/artist duo to support their creation of original work of between sixty-four and one hundred pages over a single year. A committee will decide the recipient.

The mentorship mentioned will be beyond creation and will cover all aspects of the comic-creating experience to help create a firm foundation when it comes to the creative, business, legal, and financial aspects of the business.

Recipients will retain rights to their works and will not just be supported by Image, but also Iron Circus Comics. The long term goal is to also make the website a resource to educate creators.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and you have until May 1, 2016 to apply. You can learn more here.

The Creators for Creators grant was founded by Charlie Adlard, Jordie Bellaire, David Brothers, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Nick Dragotta, Leila del Duca, Matt Fraction, Kieron Gillen, Jonathan Hickman, Joe Keatinge, Robert Kirkman, Jamie McKelvie, Rick Remender, Declan Shalvey, Fiona Staples, Eric Stephenson, C. Spike Trotman, and Brian K. Vaughan.

DC Reveals Chris Daughtry, Jim Lee, and Charlie Adlard’s Variants

Back in December, DC Entertainment announced that their ongoing monthly themed variant cover program for March would showcase variants for ten of DC Comics’ most popular Batman and Superman titles. The variants are to be polybagged with a Batman v Superman theme, concealing stunning cover artwork by the comic industry’s most talented artists!

March’s Batman v Superman polybagged comics will follow a format similar to December’s Harley’s Little Black Book variant program, where three different versions of each variant were printed in equal quantity. All ten upcoming Batman v Superman comics will also have three versions printed in equal quantity, but this time they’ll be published in full color, fade and character spotlight.

What’s that look like? Two more of these top-secret images are now ready—Chris Daughtry and Jim Lee’s variant covers for Batman #50 and Charlie Adlard’s variant covers for Superman/Wonder Woman #27!

March can’t come soon enough!

For the full list of comic books that will feature these fun and collectible covers, please see below:

3/2: Detective Comics #50 (variant by Rafael Grampa)
3/9: Action Comics #50 (variant by Martin Ansin)
3/9: Batman/Superman #30 (variant by Kevin Maguire)
3/16: Robin Son of Batman #10 (variant by Ryan Ottley)
3/16: Superman #50 (variant by Kaare Andrews)
3/23: Batman #50 (variant by Chris Daughtry and Jim Lee)
3/23: Grayson #18 (variant by Stephen Platt)
3/23: Superman/Wonder Woman #27 (variant by Charlie Adlard)
3/23: Wonder Woman #50 (variant by Massimo Carnevale)
3/30: Batgirl #50 (variant by Kevin Nowlan)

Image Comics announces Previews Catalog magazine: Image+

2000px-Image_Comics_logo.svgImage Comics and Diamond Comic Distributors have announced Image+, an all-new monthly magazine which will feature Image’s upcoming releases, as well as bonus creator-owned comics content. Each issue will be distributed with Diamond’s PREVIEWS Catalog each month, with the first issue of Image+ available in May.

Each of the first twelve issues of Image+ magazine will feature an original, four-page The Walking Dead story concerning Negan’s origins, and created by New York Times bestselling team Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, for a total of 48 pages of backstory.

PREVIEWS has long served as a sales tool meant to guide retailer orders, inspire customer pre-orders with new solicitations, and provide product listings for the months to come.

Image+ will clock in at 64 pages and feature exclusive interviews, spotlight features, bonus never-before-seen preview pages, editorials from industry voices, and more in-depth, insightful and provocative comics coverage curated by David Brothers, Branding Manager at Image Comics.

Image+ will be available for free to customers who purchase a PREVIEWS Catalog each month or can be purchased separately for only $1.99.

The first issue of Image+ will appear in the PREVIEWS Catalog with July releasing solicitations and will be available in stores this May. The standard Image Comics solicitations for each month will continue to appear in PREVIEWS Catalog as usual.

Review: The Walking Dead #151

Twd151he Walking Dead no longer describes the survivors infected by a virus which will turn them into zombies when they die. The Walking Dead seems to describe characters who no longer have an interest in appearing in this book.

Rick Grimes has led the community of Alexandria to relative peace in the years following his all-out war with Negan. Tension has been growing with The Whispers, an animalistic society that wears the skins of the dead in order to coexist with the Walkers. After their leader, Alpha, butchered members of Alexandria and the neighboring communities, the call for war has come again. Rick has now begun to militarize Alexandria to prepare them for all-out war… though no one is likely to call it “all-out war”. That’s the story they just did. (Are they dragging their feet across these issues hoping we’ll forget?)

At this point, Rick has become the man dressed as Mickey Mouse in Disneyland. He’s little more than a figurehead, always present but not really what anyone came to see. Instead, you pass him by looking for the characters you haven’t begun to outgrow. In this case, we’re looking at people like Carl or Michonne. Rick himself acknowledges to the degree to which he’s no longer relevant. Of course, there’s no reason Rick couldn’t be as engaging and as interesting as he’s always been. It just feels at this point that maybe Robert Kirkman himself has grown a bit tired of him. It might explain why his best moments these days (for example, ripping people apart an attacker with his teeth last issue) are just repeats of his glory days (for example… oh, man, that was years ago, don’t make me look up the issue number).

Sadly, even the characters you’re looking for seem disinterested with the story. Michonne’s appearances are so sparse, if this were the television show you would expect she was only making the minimum appearances according to her contract. She actively wants to leave to join characters we saw briefly almost two years ago. She’s not standing with Rick or Alexandria against the Whispers. She’s literally napping on the couch. Meanwhile, other mainstays like Carl and Andrea make no appearance at all.

Dwight’s appearance in Alexandria seems to be a desperate attempt at this point try to bring new life into the series. Rick says, “You obviously have some military training…” in explaining why Dwight should be leading people in his stead. Well, does he or doesn’t he? You’ve known him for years at this point, Rick. Did you ever ask? Or do you simply not care because you’re just done with all this?

In fact, to revisit the television show analogy, it’s hard to escape that fatigued feeling you see in later seasons, just before the show goes off the air. The actors have unexplained absences while they film movies and think about the future of their careers, the writing team clearly begins to run out of ideas and every story is not just familiar, it’s directly taken from a few seasons before. Every issue since “All Out War” has just been building up to another “All Out War” scenario. The only difference is… the bad guys are different.

The bad guys are different! So, yes… The Walking Dead has a chance to breathe new life into its pages by showing us more of the Whispers and Alpha, by establishing new characters there instead of focusing on the extras in Alexandria. We’re getting training scenes with characters who either won’t die or who will die to the great indifference of the reader.

Does anyone care if Gabriel decides he wants to train? This is a genuine question becomes it seems any reader-interest in Gabriel died many years ago. Was anyone surprised that Eugene made contact with someone on his radio? The wide-eyed ending at someone actually responding to him via the radio is ridiculous. We know there are other people in the world, we’ve been seeing new communities show up for years. Eugene knows there are other people. And if he didn’t know it, why is he so surprised? He was clearly using the radio because he expected he could get in touch with someone.

The hardest part of the series is being one hundred and fifty-one issues in and wondering at what point to give up and walk away. Every issue is discouraging and it forces even the most die-hard fans to ask at what point are you are simply dead with no interest in coming back?

Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard
Story: 5 Art: 7 Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Walking Dead #150

The-Walking-Dead-150-Tony-MooreIssue #150 began selling out in stores across America minutes after hitting the stands. Walking Dead fans have been eagerly anticipating what waited behind the blood soaked cover. So, what heartache did they discover this time?

Rick Grimes has led the community of Alexandria to relative peace in the years following his all-out war with Negan. Tension has been growing with The Whispers, an animalistic society that wears the skins of the dead in order to coexist with the Walkers. After their leader, Alpha, butchered members of Alexandria and the neighboring communities, the call for war has come again. Rick has sought to caution a hasty response and unrest has grown because of it. This month’s issue is titled “Betrayal”.

Traditionally, Robert Kirkman saves the most seminal moments for issues like this. Moments that change the course of the comic, that reshape the cast of characters, cause dedicated readers to fear issues like #100. So #150 has been cause for great concern. Kirkman breaks from tradition in this issue. Instead, what we have plays more like a “best of…” or, more appropriately, “do you remember…?” The story fails to advance in anyway and Rick doesn’t show us anything we haven’t seen before.

Do you want a spoiler free review? This issue fails to capture the moments that propel the title’s popularity, moments which have become more and more widely dispersed as years go on. Whether Kirkman no longer has the time to dedicate to Walking Dead or whether it has become such a cash cow he is now afraid to mess with the equation is unclear. The palpable fear has for many years been on this side of the comic, from the moment the reader picked it off the stand until they closed it and began to dread what would happen next month. That palpable fear more and more seems to be coming from somewhere in Image Comics, somewhere in the creative process. The raw storytelling has burned out and the flavor of the comic seems forever spoiled.

Before discussing the issue in a way that contains spoilers, let’s just say that the book began as a small group of people living in a camper. It developed characters. The experience was personal. Now every subplot gets two or three pages at most. There are no new characters the reader can connect with. For how little investment has been made fleshing out people rather than setting, killing off members of the core cast may kill the book. Maggie, Michonne, Rick, Carl, Andrea… once they’re gone, who make this book standout from any other zombie series? Kirkman needs to start focusing on meatier stories rather than setting up big events so we can learn to love new people in the process, so we can lose some of the people we no longer believe have anything to fear, and resume wondering what will happen from week to week.

Now, for spoilers.

Rick Grimes, the closest thing to Conan the Barbarian the people of Alexandria have, is attacked by two older men who attempt to scare him and proceed to try and beat him to death. As a reader, it doesn’t resonate. Even caught off guard, we’ve seen Rick tear people to pieces. In fact, his patented go-for-the-throat approach is, yes… something we have seen before. So why did these characters think they could take him and why was this what was offered in terms of creating tension for the reader? It would be like Mario getting jumped by two goombas. There would never be a doubt what the outcome would be. This unintimidating moment is what takes center stage in place of the horror we have felt in the past watching Lori and the baby shot or Glen be beaten to death in front of Maggie.

It’s a great disappointment.

He then proceeds to fill six pages with another speech about returning to old-world values of peace and morality (while he likely still has the taste of throat in his teeth). Six pages that accomplish nothing. He talks about forming an army. Well, guess what? We discussed that last issue. He talks about making the world the way it used to be. Guess what? Rick has been doing that for years. And he spared the attacker who let him go? Of course, he did! He’s the “good guy”. So while it was certainly the virtuous thing to do, it was another moment that failed to offer any surprise. Meanwhile, Alpha and the Whispers continue to be unseen. Do we care that Rick is going to militarize Alexandria? No. We have literally already seen Alexandria go to war and win. The reader doesn’t doubt it can be done because it’s already collected in various trades.

The heartache discovered in this issue seems to be the promise that the golden age of the book is gone, and the suggestion that we’re in for a repeat of the forgettable “All-Out War” storyline. “Betrayed” seems like a better description for a readership that deserved to see this issue be a return to the classic storytelling of The Walking Dead.

Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard
Story: 5 Art: 7 Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review…
….though I’ll admit I bought both the Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard covers

Review: The Walking Dead #150

THE WALKING DEAD #150 1Rick Grimes finds himself… BETRAYED.

Here it is, the big 150th issue of The Walking Dead, arguably, the most successful indie comic ever. Writer Robert Kirkman has been building up to something, lets face it he has a pattern in his storytelling.

For some time now, the series has had Rick dealing with their new nemesis the Whisperers, a group of individuals who wear walker skin and walk among them. There’s still unrest over Rick’s wavering and taking time as to what he wants to do in response. Some want war. Some want something smarter.

Last issue had Rick seeking out the advice of his rival Negan who of course is rather Machiavellian in his advice. What is Rick to do?

We have our answer here, as a decision is made, but not before he can be betrayed by some of his own people.

Saying that isn’t a spoiler at all, but what happens is pretty brutal and feels realistic. Rick has been a bit of a pacifist post Negan, and there’s absolutely been valid questions if he’s lost his edge and willingness to fight. Here we see classic Rick, badass, and a leader.

The comic isn’t as shock and awe as I expected, a much more muted experience from issue 100. But, what it does do is set up the next phase of The Walking Dead. The next phase too is new in many ways, and I’m sure will up the philosophical debate that has been occurring for some time in the series.

The art by Charlie Adlard with inks by Stefano Gaudiano, and gray tones by Cliff Rathburn is the usual solid visuals. The brutality of the fight Rick goes through, and the act he commits is captured fantastically. It’s black and white, but in your mind you can see the blood he’s drenched in.

This issue has a lot more going for it, but it’s really about the next phase of Rick’s leadership, and I’m convinced things won’t go smoothly. I’m expecting there to be debates about dictatorships, and possibly fascist leadership, we can see some of that already. Kirkman dioesn’t really gives us as many shocks as he has in the past, but he has set the series on a more mature adult path for at least a little while.

Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard Ink: Stefano Gaudiano Gray Tones: Cliff Rathburn
Story: 8.1 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

The Walking Dead Gets a 1:1000 Retailer Variant

Image Comics and Skybound is pleased to announce an exciting opportunity for any comics retailer who orders at least zero copies of The Walking Dead #150.

Participating retailers who meet the minimum of zilch orders will receive one free variant featuring art by series artist, Charlie Adlard.

This very special Retailer Appreciation variant will be a black and white version of Adlard’s Cover A and will grace the cover of the landmark, anniversary issue of The Walking Dead, which will feature 30 pages of pulse-pounding story for only $2.99. In this 150th issue, Rick Grimes finds himself… betrayed.

The Walking Dead #150, Cover A by Adlard & Stewart (Diamond Code: NOV150561*), Cover B sketch variant (Diamond Code: NOV150562*), Cover C by Latour (Diamond Code: OCT158896*), Cover D by Moore (Diamond Code: OCT158897*), Cover E by Ottley (Diamond Code: OCT158898*), and the Retailer Appreciation Cover F by Adlard (Diamond Code: NOV158259) will hit comic book stores on Wednesday, January 13th.
*This cover is fully orderable.

The Walking Dead #150 1 1000 variant

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