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Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Gets a Library Edition from Dark Horse

Experience the stories of the adventuring party known as Vox Machina before the smash-hit show Critical Role started! Writers Matt Mercer, Matthew Colville, and Jody Houser, along with artist Olivia Samson, colorists Chris Northrop and MSASSYK, and letterer Ariana Maher bring to life Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Library Edition – Series I and II Collection.

 What do a flirtatious bard, a clueless barbarian, a naïve druid, a pair of stealthy twins, a holy cleric, and a vengeful gunslinger all have in common? They’re not sure either, but one day they’ll become the heroes known as Vox Machina! Follow the main characters from the smash-hit series Critical Role as they team up for the first time, facing cults and curses in the revelation of their origins and the path that will lead them to glory…eventually.

Fans of the celebrated series Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins won’t want to miss this stunning, oversized hardcover collection!

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Library Edition – Series I and II Collection collects Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Vol 1 and Vol 2. It will be in comic shops on November 11, 2020 and in bookstores on November 24, 2020. It is available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at your local comic shop. This 320-page oversized library edition will retail for $39.99.

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Library Edition - Series I and II Collection

ECCC 2019: Dark Horse Delivers More Critical Role with Comics, Collections, and Art Books

Dark Horse Comics and Critical Role have announced three new projects set to release in 2019. Based on epic tales from the world of Exandria, these new comics, art books and more will explore this universe in new and original ways! The most popular digital tabletop game in the world, Critical Role is live-streamed every week and set in Exandria. In each episode, veteran voice actor and Game Master Matthew Mercer leads his nerdy ass and wildly entertaining friends (also fellow voice actors!) on a thrill ride of turmoil and adventure. The cast includes Matthew Mercer (Overwatch, Final Fantasy XV, Fallout 4), Travis Willingham (Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Assemble, The Legend of Korra), Marisha Ray (Star Wars: Battlefront, Batgirl: Spoiled, Metal Gear: Survive), Taliesin Jaffe (Street Fighter, World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV), Ashley Johnson (Blindspot, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teen Titans Go!), Sam Riegel (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, One Punch Man, The Amazing Spiderman), Liam O’Brien (Star Wars Rebels, Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Wolverine and the X-Men), and Laura Bailey (Dragon Ball Z, Fullmetal Alchemist, Gears of War 4).

On July 10, 2019, Dark Horse and Critical Role will release Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins series II #1, which finds the unlikely heroes of Vox Machina back in action-packed yet absurdly entertaining adventures! The six-issue series will be available through Dark Horse Digital and through retail stores and continues to follow the origin stories of engaging characters, material hinted at but not fully disclosed in the live-stream. From award-nominated writer Jody Houser and first series artist Olivia Samson, with colorist MSASSYK and letterer Ariana Maher comes Critical Role: Vox Machina Originsseries II, the highly anticipated sequel to Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins series I. The beautiful first issue cover is by artist Fiona Staples. The series will be collected into a trade paperback collection in summer 2020. 

In Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins series II, familiar faces from Critical Role’s smash-hit first campaign return as their escapades in Stilben lead them towards their next adventure—and a dire threat to Grog Strongjaw, the goliath barbarian, when he goes missing in the night. Tracking him down will see the party lose one member, gain another, and reveal parts of Grog’s secret past. But first, his friends have to actually find him.

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins series II

Due to popular demand, Dark Horse and Critical Role will also release a trade paperback collection of Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins series I on October 15, 2019! Writers Matthew Mercer and Matthew Colville team with artist extraordinaire Olivia Samson and colorist and letterer Chris Northrop to tell the story of how Vox Machina first met. Originally released through Dark Horse Digital, the Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins series I paperback collection will be available for fans to purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, critrole.com, and in local comic shops! Featuring a cover by Stjepan Šejić, Critical Role fans can buy this 168-page collection for $19.99. 

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins series I

In late 2019, Dark Horse and Critical Role will release Critical Role: The Chronicles of Exandria — The Mighty Nein. With a stunning cover by Matteo Scalera and Moreno Dinisio, this gorgeous hardcover art collection contains materials presented chronologically from the first few story arcs of the Mighty Nein campaign. Featuring a wide variety of illustrations from the Critical Role fan community paired with text by cast members Liam O’Brien and Taliesin Jaffe, and art direction from Lauryn Ipsum, this 200-page tome retails for $39.99.

Critical Role: The Chronicles of Exandria -- The Mighty Nein

Geek & Sundry Releases a Special Edition of Critical Role Comic Book Series with Dark Horse

Geek & Sundry has partnered with Dark Horse Comics to release a special hardcover edition of Critical Role – Vox Machina: Origins, the six-issue comic series inspired by Geek & Sundry’s long-running Dungeons & Dragons series Critical RoleCritical Role – Vox Machina: Origins#1 was the fastest- and strongest-selling comic for Dark Horse Digital making it among the top-selling issues and series in Dark Horse Digital history. This new volume brings together Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins #1–#6, which explore the enthralling origins of the Vox Machina team and provides fans with a closer look at the show’s setting, the captivating world of Exandria.

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins follows six would-be heroes as they uncover a plot to destroy the small coastal town of Stilben. The comic series is written by Matthew Colville with interior art by Olivia Samson, a member of the Critical Role fan community, and coloring and lettering by Chris Northrop. Readers of Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins can expect more than 160 pages of magical storytelling and bonus content.

Critical Role is a live multi-platform role-playing show featuring Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer and a troupe of fellow voice actors Ashley Johnson, Marisha Ray, Taliesin Jaffe, Travis Willingham, Sam Riegel, Laura Bailey, and Liam O’Brien. Each week, nearly half a million viewers tune into Critical Role, with the series racking up over 53 million total views since its launch in March 2015.

Critical Role: Vox Machina Originshardcover is offered in both limited and standard editions. The standard edition features cover art by Stjepan Šejić with a spot gloss treatment, while the limited edition comes bound in foil-stamped and burnished faux leather, along with a lithograph and cloth portfolio, housed in a faux leather, foil-stamped, and burnished slipcase. The standard edition of Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins is available for $44.99 and the deluxe edition for $99.99. Along with the stunning artwork, readers will find the complete collection of Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins#1–#6, annotated cover process pieces, preliminary character sketches, and character descriptions and stats.

Geek & Sundry Partners with Dark Horse to Bring the World of Critical Role to Comics Critical Role – Vox Machina: Origins

The world of Exandria is coming to comics. In a partnership between Dark Horse and Geek & Sundry, Critical Role, the beloved weekly web series, will be featured in a monthly six-issue digital series entitled Critical Role – Vox Machina: Origins. Exploring the enthralling origins of the Vox Machina team, the comics are written by Matthew Colville with interior art by Critter community member Olivia Samson, and coloring and lettering by Chris Northrop. Readers can expect a classic, low-magic fantasy with plenty of snappy dialog.

The first issue, with cover art by Deborah Hauber, launches today, September 20, and will be available on Dark Horse Digital, iBooks, ComiXology, Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Google Play, and other digital platforms for $3.99. Each issue will feature cover art from a different artist within the Critical Role community.

Review: Stuck In The Gutters #1


The cover design is fantastic

Several months ago I had to pack a lot of the things in my Comic Cave into moving boxes, and as is often the case when you’re packing things away, I didn’t really pay attention to what was going into the boxes. The other day, though, I was rooting around for something in one of those boxes and I came across a magazine I had brought when I was last over in England more than two years ago called Clint. Although Clint had ceased publication with the only issue I had ever brought, Clint was a comic book anthology magazine that featured text pieces such as interviews and other features as well as interviews.

Until I saw the magazine sitting in a box in my basement, I hadn’t realized that there simply wasn’t anything else like Clint (that I was aware of) out there.

That is, until Stuck In The Gutters arrived in my inbox.

Complied by Leo JohnsonStuck In The Gutters is a brand new bimonthly digital magazine much like Clint that features more than fifty pages of original content that ranges between short comics and text pieces that cover various different subjects within the scope of comics. The magazine can perhaps best be described as part comic magazine, part comics journalism, Stuck In The Gutters is scratching an itch that I didn’t know I had.

The first issue of Stuck In The Gutters is available now from Gumroad under a pay what you want model. What that means is, essentially, you can name your own price for the magazine, and any profits the magazine makes are shared among the contributors.

If that sounds good to you, then it should. The first issue of this magazine is really quite brilliant; there is literally a comic in the magazine for almost all types of comic fan, from a quick pun on a well loved character to a more in depth exploration about the rights of clowns. The comics included in this issue vary in style and scope, with the art work in some looking like it could be taken right from one of the large comic book publishers, and in other comics the art work is a fun, almost simplistic style – that isn’t a criticism, far from it, but hopefully it helps to illustrate (pun half intended) the difference in art style between strips. Yes, there is a difference, and yes it absolutely works.  As different as the comics included are, not one of them is bad, and each comic within Stuck In The Gutters is worth reading.

Spacing out the comics are the text pieces, and it’s these that elevate the magazine to more than just an anthology magazine. There’s a very interesting piece by Jeremy Holt on his experiences trying to get a comic published, an accurate opinion piece on the shared universes that our favourite character inhabit by Jideobi Odunze, and a very personal account of the hope we derive from comic books  by Josh Flynn to name only three (note that just because I didn’t mention the others doesn’t mean they’re of lesser quality, as all the pieces are worth your time to read, no instead I just picked three stories at random). There are other fantastic articles space between this comics in this first issue of Stuck In The Gutters, and I encourage you to read them, indeed, I hope you read them all.

Stuck In The Gutters is, hands down, a brilliant read.

It has been a long time since I’ve read anything like this magazine, in fact the last comic book magazine I read, Comic Heroes, was cancelled last year, and I didn’t realize just how much I missed the format. This magazine scratches the itch I had, and it does it so very well.  What I find mot impressive about the way the magazine has been compiled is that while there are numerous contributions from more than twenty writers and artists from four different countries with differing styles, Leo Johnson has put together the first issue of Stuck In The Gutters in such a way that the magazine feels like it has an identity all of its own.

And that cover, drawn by Alberto Muriel? Brilliant.

Stuck In The Gutters is a great read, and I’ve found myself going back to it several times since it arrived in my inbox a couple of days ago, and I hope that the magazine sticks around for a long time to come, and I hope you give it a read. In case you missed it earlier, you can download it from Gumroad here.

Story: Stu Perrins, Josh Flynn, Rudy Trevizo, Frank Santoro, Jeremy Holt, J. Luke Pham, Jess Camacho, Alex Mansfield, Tyler Hallstrom, Jideobi Odunze, Dan Hill, Ryan K Lindsay, Marc Jackson, Chris Northrop, Josh Trujillo
Art: Brian Burke, Robert Simpson, Marc Jackson, Benjamin Anthony, Gareth Cowlin, Alex Ditto, Jordan Kroeger, Paul Jeter, Bobby Simpson, Kelly Williams
Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Leo Johnson sent Graphic Policy a FREE copy for review.

If you are interested in submitting anything for Stuck In The Gutters #2, then email Leo Johnson at leoflj91@gmail.com with the subject “Submissions.” Bear in mind that the deadline for the second issue is the first week in September, with the second issue due for October. Stuck In The Gutters website can be found here, if you wish to check it out.

Review: Apollo IX #1

ApollolX_01-1I remembered when Image Comics first came on the scene, more than 20 years ago, and what seems like a millennia, but yet seems just like yesterday, which I guess is another symptom of getting older. It seemed as though the whole world turned upside down, as comics’ readers all over the world, including myself, was finally reading comics which they not only enjoyed but finally identified with. These characters felt as though they jumped off the page and gave readers, heroes, that seemed more human and logical than the” Big 2” had given readers to this point.

In fact, up to this point, no comic book character had been killed, by any disease, before the death of Shadowhawk. No character had been an effective anti-hero, at least not realistically, before Spawn. No character, had dealt with dementia, and how it would be to have in alternate realities, before Maxx.No character, had not dealt with the long lasting effects of amnesia, before Savage Dragon and Aphrodite IX.

Aphrodite IX, is one of Image’s best comics, and for the un-initiated reader, it is about is a female android who suffers from amnesia after being sent on undercover missions, which leads to ongoing confusion about what she does and for whom, but she becomes aware that she is an assassin and begins to have dreams and desires much like a human and soon set out find out why, where she discovers a conspiracy involving a secret organization of cyborgs attempting to disenfranchise the governmental structure. What Image has set out to do over the last few months is to tell the story of other eight heirs of the IXth Generation. This story centers on Apollo IX, who is obsessed with his newest research project, a material transporter, which is experiencing multiple failures, resulting in the death of his latest head of research, which causes Apollo to hire a new cyborg, Psyche, which actually furthers, his latest venture. Ultimately, he is betrayed, and his nature as a member of the IXth Generation, comes to the surface.

This collaboration, is more than equal to the one shots, which have been released up to this point, and in fact, excels in certain aspects. The story by Ashley Victoria Robinson is much a character study as it is fable on trust. The art by Fernando Argosino and Chris Northrop lives up to the stylized renderings that Top Cow, is more than famous for. Overall, a great one shot, that for fans of Aphrodite IX, will be more than satisfied.

Story: Ashley Victoria Robinson Art: Fernando Argosino and Chris Northrop
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Magnetic Press Announces a Wave of New Titles

First-year, Eisner-nominated publishing company Magnetic Press recently completed its second successful appearance at the annual San Diego Comic-Con International, with their first star-studded panel featuring award-winning artists and creators, as well as a peek at new titles slated for release in Year Two. Following a first-year slate that contained twelve books, forty-four digital releases, an original comic series, and two Eisner-nominations, the publisher has no plans to rest on its initial success.

A deeper look at each title, including release dates, will be offered individually in the coming weeks.


Illustrated & written by LRNZ

Set in a future, post-Eurozone Italy, entrenched in a bizarre form of hyper-capitalism, GOLEM follows a young boy who is kidnapped during a political protest gone sour, who learns that he has the power to not only change the city, but reality itself. This intensely imaginative political-sci-fi graphic novel is a visual tour de force, created by contemporary design icon Lorenzo Ceccotti, better known as “LRNZ,” whose design-influenced illustration is a lush, fluid blend of manga masters like KATSUHIRO OTOMO with western comic icons like JOSH MIDDLETON, creating a style that is wholly unique and absolutely breathtaking.





Illustrated by Joel Jurion and written by Antoine Ozenam

Teenager Angel Tomassini has been hiding a dark and scary secret: when threatened he involuntarily turns into a violent and vicious Weretiger. He doesn’t know why, how, or what to do, because when he transforms, he loses control and people end up badly hurt. As if this isn’t enough for a kid to deal with, Angel is slowly learning his father is one of the biggest organized crime leaders in the city. And are there more like him? Are there… different creatures too?

This wildly world-popular comic series about secret wars between clans of ancient, mythic were-animals comes to the US for the first time in a new hardcover edition collecting the entire first cycle of the series in a single gorgeous volume.



Illustrated by Federico Bertolucci and written by Frederic Brremaud

The second volume in the award winning, lushly illustrated, wordless graphic novel series, LOVE: THE FOX follows a spry, intrepid, one-eyed fox during an average day of foraging when a natural disaster erupts.  Readers are taken on a thrillride as animals of all shapes and sizes react to the danger, but the fox inexplicably runs towards the fire, braving daunting obstacles and even larger predators to reach a desperate location in the heart of the storm. LOVE: THE FOX is a gorgeously rendered and ultimately heartwarming story that is also a monument to modern sequential narrative.  It is like a beautiful and exciting nature documentary in illustrated form.



Created by Cornelia Funke, written by Raul Garcia, and illustrated by Francisco Herrera

International best Selling YA author Cornelia Funke (The Inkheart Trilogy) teams up with comic book artist and character designer extraordinaire Francisco Herrera (Megamind, Venom, The Prodigies) and animated film Director Raúl García (Lion King, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Aladdin, Land Before Time) to create a wild and furry world where Hollywood werewolves are real and hiding in plain view! Entering high school is tough enough as it is, but how do you cope when you’ve also just been bitten by a Werewolf?  This beautifully illustrated, madcap all ages adventure is like a classic 2D animated feature in print!



Written and illustrated by Peter Mohrbacher and Eli Minaya

This stunning art book of mind-bending illustrations, poetry, and short stories is unlike anything you have ever imagined. Exploring the eleven angelic emanations of the Tree of Life, ANGELARIUM paints a world of sheer awe, unveiling unknowable symbolic entities that point towards an immutable ancient truth: “As above, so below.”  Fans of Wayne Barlowe’s EXPEDITION and INFERNO will find this book to be a fascinating exploration of an entirely new world of wonder.



Illustrated by various, produced by Dave Pasciuto

Leaping from the online webpages of Robot Envy, an online community of the world’s most exceptional and innovative illustrators from the film, comic, and video game industries, ROBOT ENVY: ZENITH is a lush, high-end art book that celebrates the coolest robot designs you have ever seen.  From cutesy robot mascots to giant robot war machines, the pieces in this massive collection cover a wide spectrum of visual styles, but all of them are uncategorically stunning and loads of fun.



Written by Austin Wilson and illustrated by Logan Faerber

In the future, robots have been legally granted the right to life. Their intelligence is not artificial, and it may not be the best approximation of a personality, but they reflect all the intricacies of a human mind and personality, only from within a manufactured shell, developing and learning as the rest of us do. They mirror us in all the ways we would want, but also in those ways we would wish to exclude…

Carbon Barnes is one such robot, just looking to get by with a meager job, nights out at the club with friends, maybe meet a nice girl.  But he still has a lot to learn about the world, as all of us do, starting with what to make of this weird nightly phenomenon folks call “dreaming.”  A slice-of-life story for everyone, with a robot-twist.




Illustrated by Kevin Castaniero and written by Chris Northrop

This madcap graphic novel introduces readers to the high-functioning alcoholic, middle-aged, overweight private eye, Beer-O.  He specializes in missing dog cases, but one such case turns sour, and he quickly finds himself entangled in the murder of the son of the most dangerous capo in the Burbank Mafia.  Things spiral down the drain faster than car keys in the toilet, and pretty soon, Beer-O is up to his neck in danger.

A loving, and somewhat sideways, satire on traditional noir tropes, BEER-O pays as much homage to THE MALTESE FALCON as it does to THE BIG LEBOWSKI.



Written by Russell Brettholtz and illustrated by Miguel Mendonca

The first title from the newly-announced partnership imprint Darby Pop! Richard is having a bad week. He has a secret alter-ego: Phantasm, sidekick to Mr. Marvelous (Chicago’s most beloved super-hero) who has never lets him forget his “lesser” place as a sidekick.  Richard compares notes with his sidekick colleagues, and comes to realize that all of his sidekick friends are systematically disrespected by the heroes they work with, ignored by the media, and taken wholly for granted by society. How much can these five endure before they decide that enough is enough?  And what then?  A slightly-irreverent, sarcastic look at life behind the masks



Written by Ryan Schifrin and Larry Hama, illustrated by Various.

The third and fourth volumes in the quarterly graphic novel quadrilogy follow the unlikely, thieving duo of Alaric Moebius, Oxford playboy turned dashing cat-burglar, and Basil Fox, former SAS commando slumming it in the Queen’s guard, as they continue to fetch rare and exotic artifacts for the mysterious — and otherworldly — billionaire known as “The Collector.”  As The Collector’s collection grows more complete, thanks to the duo’s excellent adventuring skills, his wicked scheme starts to unfold, leaving the pair of scoundrels to question what they’ve done… and how to undo it. This epic high-adventure series will be further supplemented by more digital prose short stories by fan-favorite writers Timothy Zahn, Michael Stackpole, Greg Bear, Richard Lee Byers, and Rose Estes.


Archaia Announces Hawken: Melee

Archaia Entertainment and Meteor Entertainment, have teamed up with comiXology to debut the Digital First title Hawken: Melee, a five-part miniseries based on the online, free-to-play mech combat video game, Hawken. Featuring original stories from some of the top names in comics, the first digital issue is now live on comiXology.

The five Digital First issues will be released four weeks apart, and will be followed by the bi-weekly release of single-issue print editions starting in December. The print issues will contain additional backmatter that will appeal to gameplayers, such as mech and map schematics, combat strategies, and a peek behind the development curtain to enhance the gameplaying experience.

Following the success of Hawken: Genesis, the previously released hardcover graphic novel that established the world history for the game, Hawken: Melee focuses on high-stakes action and fast-paced combat in five standalone stories, each presented by a different creative team. The premiere issue features work by Tim Bradstreet, Dan Abnett, Federico Dallocchio, and Chris Northrop, while subsequent issues will feature work by Jim Mahfood, Jock, Nathan Fox, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Gaska, Dan Dussault, Michael O’Hare, Bagus Hutomo, Francisco Ruiz Velasco, and Bengal.

The first two print issues of Hawken: Melee will ship in December and will be available for pre-order through comic book shops starting Sept. 25.

Hawken is a free-to-play, online, multiplayer, mech combat shooter developed by Adhesive Games and published by Meteor Entertainment. It creates an intense and immersive battle experience that captures the feeling of piloting a heavy war machine while keeping the action fast-paced and strategic.


Review: The Reason for Dragons, The Dark Crystal Creation Myths Vol. II, Cyborg 009, Rubicon

The Reason for Dragons

Front Cover-The Reason for DragonsWendell lives a lonely, suburban existence, losing himself in books in order to avoid his motorcycle-driving stepfather, Ted. When the school bullies convince Wendell to venture into the forest around their neighborhood and explore the long-abandoned Renaissance Fair grounds they all believe to be haunted, Wendell is surprised to find a man living in the barn—and even more surprised by the man himself. Believing himself to be a medieval knight named Sir Habaersham tasked with the duty of slaying the dragon he insists is wandering the woods, Wendell’s new acquaintance seems the definition of crackpot. But when Wendell starts hearing rumblings—and listening to Habaersham’s stories—he starts to wonder if perhaps it could all be true. In a heartfelt coming-of-age story, Wendell must defy logic in order to follow his heart…and face the dragon of the forest!

Released the same week of San Diego Comic-Con, The Reason for Dragons is an excellent graphic novel was drowned out by the noise from the convention. What people missed is an excellent coming of age story in a fantasy world.

The first thing to enjoy about this graphic novel is the main character Wendell and what he deals with. Bullies at school, a stepfather he can’t relate to, these are things many people experience every day. That makes Wendell’s reactions and struggles all the easier to relate to.

And the fantasy setting makes those issues fun to deal with in a way. The fantasy like setting is great, allowing us to escape into a world where knights and dragons might exist. Chris Northtrop‘s writing keeps us guessing in that department. It’s not until the last act do we have an idea of what is fantasy and what’s real.

In addition to Northrop’s solid writing is Stokely’s art which is a perfect fit. The style adds to the fantastical feel of it all and his style is a true find.

Overall, The Reasons for Dragons is an excellent graphic novel taking on issues many children face with. It’s a great read for the entire family.

Story: Chris Northrop Art: Jeff Stokely
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Dark Crystal Creation Myths Vol. II

Dark Crystal Creation Myths v2 GN CoverThe Great Conjunction is at hand in this dramatic second volume of Archaia and The Jim Henson Company’s prequel graphic novels that tell the origin of the Dark Crystal. Aughra, the beloved guardian of Thra, has gone into hiding, while her son, Raunip, leads a team of emissaries to the Crystal Castle. There they will bear witness as the visiting Urskeks attempt to use the Conjunction to power their voyage home. But pain and mistrust fostered by the group leads to events that will corrupt the world to its very core and transform the Urskeks into two distinct races: the gentle urRu and the terrifying Skeksis. Brian Froud, legendary fantasy artist and conceptual designer of Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal film, returns to oversee this crucial chapter that reveals the tragic events that caused the Bright Crystal to darken and shatter. This book also includes an Afterword written by David Odell, never-before-seen production stills from the film, and a Brian Froud concept sketch gallery!

The Dark Crystal is a movie I remember from my childhood, a movie that scared the crap out of me. But, other than the fact I was a bit terrified of the film and it’s amazing visuals, that’s about it.

This second volume continues the “origin” story continuing to introduce us to this world and the events that lead up to the world of the film. It again made me want to re-watch the film.

If you’re a fan of the film and world, this is an absolute buy like the first volume. It’s a great point to get kids interested in the world and reading and has a nice factor of nostalgia for those of us who remember this from our childhoods.

Story: Joshua Dysart Art: Alex Sheikman and Lizzy John
Story: 7.25 Art: 7.25 Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Read

Cyborg 009

Cyborg_009_GN_CoverAwakening in a futurist military installation with no memory of who he is or how he got there, a young man known only as Cyborg 009 has been stripped by his captors of not only his freedom but also his humanity. His body augmented by cybernetic technology, Cyborg 009 joins forces with 8 other men and women, Cyborg 001-008, and sets off on a journey to learn the truth of why they were turned into weapons of mass destruction, and to prevent a conflict that could very well be the start of World War III.

I didn’t know a whole lot about the series until recently. After reading this graphic novel, I want to go back and find out what I missed! This graphic novel continues on from the zero issues Archaia teased us with in may.

The story is solid full of excitement, never a dull moment at all. This is going full throttle with an interesting mix of characters and moments that is beyond entertaining. It’s everything I want in a story and more!

Then there’s the art, which is amazing. There’s an updated look to these classic characters, an East meets West manga style that’s just beautiful to look at. The use of panels, the flow, everything is spot on and had me lingering checking out each page.

That art is enhanced with a beautiful presentation. Archaia is known for that but the cover has an acetate dust jacket and layered cover art revealing the inner workings of the cyborg in peel-away layers! That alone will catch folks’ eyes and become a topic of conversation.

I’m hoping this is just the first of a long line of releases. The first volume has me hooked and wanting more…. now!

Story: F.J. Desanto and Bradley Cramp Art: Marcus To
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy


Rubicon-GN-CoverFive paramilitary Navy SEAL operators defend the residents of a remote mountain farming village in Afghanistan from attacks by marauding Taliban. Led by the war-weary Hector, the operators and villagers form mutual bonds of honor and respect leading up to a climactic battle where the “Lions of Panjshir” are desperately outnumbered.

Written by Mark Long from an idea by Christopher McQuarrie and story by Dan Capel, Rubicon is basically Seven Samurai set in Afghanistan.

The story is straightforward and not all that complicated. The characters are cookie cutter and what I’d expect from this type of tale. What really drew me in was the interaction between all of those characters. It gives a bit of an insight into the mindset of them all and a glimpse of what mentally goes into being a Navy SEAL.

This tale is about brotherhood and honor and doing what’s right no matter the odds. It doesn’t go into the political hotbed that is the war in Afghanistan and how it’s being fought, instead it’s focus is the men that are fighting it.

There’s also an interesting twist in that it brings us into the tactics that might be deployed in this sort of battle. It’s fascinating to me to see what might be done and how things would be handled. The fact this was put together by military men makes it even more interesting.

The art by Mario Stilla is solid and fits the grizzled feel of the story. It’s a cool look that almost has a bit of an anime vibe about it.

The graphic novel also Includes an envelope of printed artifacts from inside the story world, expanding the narrative experience, again showing off the excellence in packaging Archaia is known for.

Rubicon is a fantastic read for anyone that enjoys a good war story or fans of the classic movie Seven Samurai.

Story: Mark Long Art: Mario Stilla
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Archaia provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

Archaia’s Adventures in WonderCon!

Archaia will be at WonderCon Anaheim, taking place March 29-31, 2013 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California!

Many of these Archaia creators will be on hand to sign copies of their books or promotional items at the Archaia booth (#609), including:

Chris Northrop (writer: the upcoming The Reason for Dragons)
F.J. DeSanto (writer: Immortals: Gods and Heroes, the upcoming Cyborg 009)
Heather Nuhfer (writer: Fraggle Rock)
John Chandler (writer/artist: The Skrumps)
Khang Le (creator and story: HAWKEN: GENESIS)
Moro Rogers (writer/artist: City in the Desert)
Paul Morrissey (writer: Fraggle Rock)
R.J. Ryan (writer: Syndrome, the upcoming The Joyners in 3D)
Sam Humphries (writer: Fraggle Rock)
Saurav Mohapatra (writer: Mumbai Confidential)
Tom Pinchuk (writer: Hybrid Bastards!)

Fans who visit the booth will get sneak peeks of “look books” of several forthcoming Archaia titles in production, including Cyborg 009, The Reason for Dragons, and The Joyners in 3D.

In addition, a limited number of advance copies of Mumbai Confidential will be available for author Saurav Mohapatra to sign!

Promotions going on at the Archaia booth include:

  • Using FourSquare, fans have a chance to win a Henson/Archaia graphic novel prize pack containing copies of Fraggle Rock Vol. 1, Fraggle Rock Vol. 2: Tails and Tales, The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths Vol. 1, and The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths Vol. 2. Just be sure to check in at the Archaia booth through the FourSquare app on your iOS or Android phone once you’re at the show and you’re automatically entered! Winners will be contacted to receive their prize.
  • Using Instagram, fans have a chance to win an all-ages prize pack containing copies of Mouse Guard Vol. 1: Fall 1152, Rust Vol. 1, and Cursed Pirate Girl. Take creative photos of the Archaia booth at WonderCon (#609), upload it using the Instagram app on your iOS or Android phone, and use the hashtag #ArchaiaWC13. Archaia will choose the best photo and contact the winner to receive their prize! Photos will be posted on the Archaia Facebook page!
  • Customers who buy a copy of the recently released HAWKEN: GENESIS graphic novel at the Archaia booth will receive a scratch-off card containing a code they can redeem for 10,000 HAWKEN Credits in the HAWKEN video game!
  • Fans who attend Archaia’s WonderCon panel (see below) will receive a coupon they can bring to the Archaia booth to receive a free copy of Archaia’s 2012 Free Comic Book Day hardcover, Mouse Guard, Labyrinth and Other Stories.

Archaia will put on an exciting, entertaining panel for aspiring comic book writers at the show:

Archaia Presents: Writing for Comics
Saturday, March 30, 11:30am – 12:30pm, Room 208AB
Writing a script for comic books and graphic novels is not unlike writing one for a film or TV show, but there are marked differences. Telling an artist to “go crazy” on a panel isn’t always the best option. What are some of the things aspiring comic book writers should know, and what are some resources they have available to them? Join a lively discussion with Archaia graphic novelists R.J. Ryan (Syndrome, The Joyners in 3D), Chris Northrop (The Reason for Dragons), Saurav Mohapatra (Mumbai Confidential, Devi), F.J. DeSanto (Immortals: Gods and Heroes, Cyborg 009), Mike Kennedy (Bleedout, Star Wars), and Tom Pinchuk (Hybrid Bastards!) as they talk about their experiences and give their advice on how you can write a really great comic script!

See you at WonderCon!

Almost American
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