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Around the Tubes

It’s the new comic day part 1! What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news and a review from around the web.

Deadline – Former Marvel TV Exec Mark Ambrose Joins BOOM! Studios As Head Of Television – Interesting.

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: Why did Harry & Meghan leave their royal life? Find out in THE GREAT ESCAPE – Free comics!


The Beat – I Don’t Know How to Give Birth

I Don't Know How to Give Birth

Matt Smith Introduces A New Slayer in Buffy the Vampire Slayer #3

BOOM! Studios has unveiled one of the main covers to Buffy the Vampire Slayer #3 by artist Matt Smith, featuring the first appearance of an all new Slayer from times past.The next chapter of the hotly-anticipated series will debut in-stores March 13th, 2019, in partnership with 20th Century Fox Consumer Products.

The reimagining of Joss Whedon’s groundbreaking series reaches the penultimate chapter of the first arc as Buffy and the Scooby Gang (the name was Xander’s idea, he’s workshopping it, it probably won’t stick) delve deeper into the heart of Sunnydale’s underbelly—and make a shocking discovery about the true nature of the Hellmouth. Meanwhile, Drusilla – AKA THE MISTRESS – and Spike make the next moves in their deadly plan for the Slayer and the life of one the people closest to her!

Welcome back to the Hellmouth, as Eisner Award-nominated writer Jordie Bellaire and Russ Manning Award-winning artist Dan Mora, along with series creator and story consultant Joss Whedon, reimagine the groundbreaking pop culture phenomenon from the very beginning.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #3 features main covers by fan favorite artist Kevin Wada and acclaimed Mondo illustrator Matthew Taylor, along with a variant cover by horror illustrator Scott Buoncristiano and is out March 13th, 2019.

Review: Hard Place #1

After five years in prison, AJ Gurney, a legendary wheelman in Detroit, has decided it’s time to go straight. He returns home to work in his father’s garage and disappear into anonymity.

But during a visit to the bank, AJ is recognized by two violent bank robbers, and they demand AJ be their getaway driver. To ensure his compliance, they take a young female hostage; unfortunately, she happens to be the daughter of a Russian crime lord. AJ now finds himself pursued by a bitter police department and hunted by every asset of the Russian mob. Without a doubt, he’s in a very hard place.

I’m a sucker for this story. If there were a target audience, it’d absolutely be me. So, it’s not surprising how much I enjoyed Hard Place #1 a new noir/crime comic that feels like it’s well timed with the release of the movie Baby Driver not too long ago.

Written by Doug Wagner, the story is a solid addition to the genre as we’re introduced to AJ, a criminal whose release from jail gives him an opportunity to start over. Unfortunately stories like this aren’t built on happiness. Wagner spends the issue setting up AJ taking us into his world and intelligently takes his time getting to the real action. Wagner knows this type of story’s success hinges not on the action, but us readers caring about AJ and by taking us through his acclimation back into society we’re given numerous reasons to find sympathy and begin to cheer for him. This is someone I want to see succeed and not get sucked back into a life of crime. We all know that’s not going to be the case.

The art by Nic Rummel and Charlie Kirchoff is solid taking us into the world and helping to build an atmosphere that when the action eventually goes down, it’s shocking in a way. Their art helps perpetuate the calm before the storm and each character is delivered in a style all their own that creates a uniqueness about them all. It’s a great mix of storytelling and art.

I loved the first issue to the point I’m already wanting a big screen adaptation. Wagner and the team create a sympathetic main character who I really feel like is being dragged into a crappy situation. That also has me actually caring about what happens to him and also the ability to enjoy more than just the action. A solid debut that understands action isn’t everything.

Story: Doug Wagner Art: Nic Rummel, Charlie Kirchoff Cover Art: Brian Stelfreeze
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.50 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Scout Comics Announces Shiver Bureau

This week, Scout has announced Shiver Bureau, the debut monthly comic book by future superstar Walter Ostlie!

In Shiver Bureau, a formidable detective is forced into a partnership with a wise-cracking, hotshot inspector to save London from being overrun by ghosts and monsters. Racing through the city to solve a case of missing orphans, they run into gangs, ghosts, dockside mafia, and a giant monster, all while trying not to kill each other. 

Walter Ostlie is a self-taught writer and artist born on a South Korean US Army base. From there he moved around from place to place, finally settling in Florida. There he spends his days working, drawing comics, and attempting to skateboard without breaking too many bones. Walter’s other sequential work includes Cubicles, Webway Comics’ Is’nana, and Studio Doggebi’s The Legendary Sisters of the Laughing Doggebi.

Review: Crosswind #1

 I had to fight every urge in my body to not scream, “It’s here. It’s finally here!” when I settled in to check out Crosswind #1, the long awaited collaboration between writer Gail Simone and artist Cat Staggs. I went into this one with a healthy amount of excitement and dread. When you find out two of the people in your top ten are joining forces on what seemed like a super secret comic book creation mission, if you’re anything like me, you’re expecting either one of the best darn comic books you’ve ever read or you find yourself panicked that their forces combined might result in a hot trash fire. A colossal hot mess of epic proportions only seen in Ghostbusters when the streams crossed.

I am hella happy to report that the music anticipated Crosswind #1 is amazing. The story starts off with a perfectly staged snowy backdrop scene, beautifully and ominously crafted by Staggs. Simone provides just enough words on the first characterless page to draw us in proper before introducing us to the story’s major players. The story jumps back and forth seamlessly between Case’s back story and Juniper’s. The flawless transitions are a testament to Simon’s brilliant writing. Stagg’s artwork never misses a beat while she creates a beautiful universe on the pages for our solemn characters to exist in.

Simone writes characters that you form an attachment to. Her writing allows you to feel very real feelings for imaginary people. She creates characters that you can sympathize with even if you can’t identify with them, her portrayal of Juniper’s isolation, perceived unworthiness, objectification, and feelings of uselessness are realistic and ring true and her portrayal of Case’s regret, confusion, and ominous brooding are placed front and center. Simone carefully crafts the mistreatment and entitlement of the men in Juniper’s life, down to the cliched but relevant boys will be boys line just as honestly as she shows Case’s compassion in the face of chaos and destruction as he helps out a homeless man.

Staggs keeps up with Simone’s pace and provides complementary art styles throughout the first issue that are subtly different enough to make it easy to tell who’s story you are in but similar enough in style that one persons story flows swiftly and easily into the others. Her art creates a well-crafted symbiotic universe for these amazing characters to live and exist. There’s a neutral gaze to Staggs’ style that I appreciate. Despite the “sexiness” of Juniper there is no lingering over her figure. We read about her being objectified but the panels never objectify her they do however show the effects of her objectification and harassment. We see every facial contortion, pained glance, broken down spirit laden tear that her mere existence as a woman in male spaces gives her. Staggs makes it easy to commiserate with Juniper and feel her pain because she draws her in a way that makes her seem real.

This is a stellar debut issue and it has me longing for July so I can see what shakes out between the two main characters. Overall this was a great read, quick, but containing moment of questioning and genuine interests. I also think having the dialogue boxes be different colors for different characters was brilliant and added an extra level to the storytelling. The issue doesn’t go on any longer than it needs to, it gets us hooked and then cuts us off at just the right moment to insure that we are invested and ready to take things to the next level. By the time you get to the last page you feel intrigued not, cheated, they even throw in more info about the characters and some nifty art work to hold you over until issue two drops. I also liked that they didn’t try and squeeze too much into the first issue and , left us wanting more. I’m super interested to see how things shake out after this issues tail end big reveal, which you’ll have to pick up your own copy and read for yourself, because, I think that if the initial twist at the end is any kind of preview, I think I’m going to love how they handle the gender aspect of things going forward.

Story: Gail Simone Art: Cat Staggs
Story: 9.6 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comincs provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Frank Gogol Talks Comics, Kickstarter, and Grief

GriefIt’s not likely that Frank Gogol (The Comic Jam) is very different than you. He loves comic books, he’s known his share of tragedy in life. Like many of us, he has a love for writing, too. However, unlike many of us, Gogol has taken the numerous sorrows of his past and put them into comics. His new book Grief deals with the tragedy and loss he’s experienced in a relatively short life in ways that are fresh, varied and engaging.

In an effort to further pursue his dream, he launched a Kickstarter this week that you can view by click here. He took a moment to discuss the writing process, his inspiration and what has guided him during this time.

Graphic Policy: Grief draws a great deal from your personal tragedies in life. How long have you been writing these stories?

Frank Gogol: I feel like I’ve been writing these stories all my life, but the truth is I finished the first script, which was for the story “Embrace” in March of last year. I’ve always wanted to write comics, and had a few false starts over the years, but at the end of the 2015 I had to tell myself to commit or move on. So, I committed and signed up for the Intro to Comic Book Writing course with Comics Experience under the guidance of former Marvel and IDW editor Andy Schmidt. And it was like that class unlocked something in me. After that, the stories started to pour out and I wrote all of the stories in Grief in about six months.

grief 002GP: The stories in Grief are extremely varied in their content. Would you say this is a reflection of dealing with your singular emotional conflict in various ways? Or are each of these a catharsis of their own memories?

FG: The variety of the stories is both by design and by accident. Let me explain. When I had begun writing these stories, they were never meant to share space in any kind of collection. I had talked with Steve Orlando (Justice League of America, Supergirl) about breaking into comics, and his advice was to finish some stories, show some range, and get a portfolio in front of some editors, and so that’s what I tried to do. And it was about the time I had five or six of the stories that I started to see that, while they were incredibly different in terms of content, they did share a thematic link in that they were all about characters that were grieving. So, I ran with that and started crafting the next few stories to fit that thematic through-line.

The stories themselves, for the most part, deal with things that have happened in my or around my life. Some of them, like “Prayer” are essentially autobiographical, while others like “Cassandra” were inspired by events I witnessed and tied to stuff that was going on in my life. All of these stories, though, are cathartic. Stories and storytelling are how I’ve coped with and moved passed (mostly) my traumas.

GP: Drawing so much from experiences that are so tragic and yet unique to you, what do you think will appeal most to the average reader?

FG: What I think is so great about anthology-style books is that because there are a variety of stories, even if one story doesn’t speak to you, another might. There’s something for everyone. And I think that’s one of the virtues of Grief. If you don’t like stories that are dramas, there’s a couple of sci-fi stories in there for you. If you don’t like superhero stories, maybe the horror stories will be more your speed.

Grief is something that is universally experienced, so even if a reader doesn’t know first-hand what it’s like to raise an autistic son, they will understand how it feels to be frustrated or to feel like a failure.

grief 005GP: How has your life been changed as product of working through these stories?

FG: Truthfully, I think I’m in a much better place than I was before writing the stories. I had thought I had worked through a lot of the traumas in my life, but writing these stories really showed me how much further I had/have to go. I think certain terrible things we carry with us for the rest of our lives, but there’s definitely a healthy way to carry them, and I think that’s where I am now.

GP: Working with a wide variety of artists in this anthology series, how decide you assign them to each story? How much of the artist’s own personal trauma and tragedy were considered?

FG: One of the best and worst things about being a comic creator in the internet age is that you can work with virtually anyone anywhere on Earth. It’s great because you can find collaborators from different places and with different backgrounds. The downside is that it’s tougher to build relationships with your collaborators when you only ever communicate with them via email.

So, I don’t know for a fact that any of my collaborators incorporated any of what they’ve been through into their art, colors, or letters. But I am a firm believer that life experiences, good and bad, influence how creators make their art, so I’m sure that my collaborators’ experiences are there on the page.

GP: In the Kickstarter, Grief is an exclusively digital book. As a creator, where do you think the future of comics lies? Is a peaceful co-existence between physical and digital or will be left behind?

FG: I know that some people are concerned about digital coming in and replacing paper comics, but I don’t think that’s something to worry about. For me, each serves a similar, but different purpose. Paper comics are for reading, but also collecting and bagging and boarding. Digital comics, though, are for reading and re-reading. Over the last few years, especially as I’ve been studying comic writing craft, digital comics have just made more sense for me. I read comics, but I revisit the stories and study the art, so having them larger and on my computer screen really helps with that. I do still buy some paper comics, but it’s mostly writers I follow and my friends who are getting books printed. Otherwise, I stick to digital.

grief 001GP: Your Kickstarter looks amazing, by the way. Being your first, what help did you receive or what insight helped you to forge something as impressive as this?

FG: Thanks! I really was a labor of love.

If there is one person I am most indebted to for how the campaign page turned out, it’d have to be Tyler James from the ComixLaunch podcast. I started listening to ComixLaunch about a year ago, thinking that someday I’d run a Kickstarter, and the knowledge Tyler offers how Kickstarter is invaluable.

That said, many, many people helped me with getting this page right. I’m a part of a couple of online communities, and I reached out to the members of those communities often for feedback, and that was really helpful, too.

And, on top of all of that, it certainly didn’t hurt that by day I worked in marketing and have a background in graphic design.

GP: In terms of being promotion and getting the word out, as a new writer leading indie talent, I imagine it’s difficult to really get your project out there. What have been the keys to your success in that regard?

FG: That’s probably the biggest hurdle in front of any new creator. Those online communities I mentioned have been a big help with starting to build a following, though. Reddit communities and Facebook groups geared toward comic books are really great spots to share indie comics because they are extremely targeted to begin with. I think, for me, the key to getting people excited about my work has been interacting with them. It’s one thing to write a story and share it. It’s another, more powerful thing, to connect with a reader through a story.

GP: What advice would you offer to other people who are looking to get their own comic book project funded and developed?

FG: I’m not sure I have anything thing revelatory to offer that hasn’t been said before and often, but the piece of advice that really helped me was to start and finish a project. I started with very manageable 5-page stories, which allowed me to start and finish a project easily and learn the process. It’s got a domino-like effect. You finish one, and then you finish a second, and then a third, and it gets easier each time.

grief 003GP: Moving forward, do you feel Grief has helped you leave some of the heartache and pain behind you?

FG: Yes, definitely. I don’t hold it as an absolute truth, but I do think that a lot of people write because they have stuff to work through. It’s definitely true for me. Like I said earlier, some stuff we carry with us forever, but we can learn to carry it in a healthy way, and writing Grief helped me to do that with some of my traumas.

GP: What story are you working on next?

FG: I’ve got a couple of scripts ready to go right now. I’m always trying to do or learn something new when I write, so no two are the same, either. One story is Silence of the Lambs meets superheroes. Another is an all-ages story that deals with what it’s like to be adopted. There’s a third script about artificial intelligence and guilt. I’m not sure which will be next just yet, but I do know I have a lot of stories to tell still. Right now, I’m focusing on making sure the Grief Kickstarter campaign is a success and offers backers a lot of value.


You can check out the Grief Kickstarter here.

Patrick Healy is a writer/artist who makes pins and chews bubble gum. He has ample amounts of both. But you can find his pins here.

Preview: Wonder Woman #19

Wonder Woman #19

(W) Greg Rucka (A/CA) Liam Sharp
In Shops: Mar 22, 2017
SRP: $2.99

“The Truth” part three! Diana, Steve and Etta come face-to-face with their newest foes – the deadly group known as Poison! But what do they have to do with the plot to unravel Wonder Woman’s life?

From the Comics to the Streets: Join #PopPoliticsChat Weds 8:30pm EDT

Fans and activists are alike in that we’re all advocates. We promote characters who’ve empowered us and recruit people to join our causes. Sometimes that effort is one and the same.

When a tyrant comes to power by dehumanizing Muslims and Latinx people, telling stories with Muslim and Latinx heroes is essential.

While Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, and Ms. America, America Chavez are punching Hitler and stretching the boundaries of whose superpowered stories are told, real life Muslim women, latinas, and other Queer People of Color are leading mass mobilizations in their communities.

What makes this imagery so powerful? How are these stories both real and imagined changing pop culture and politics?

On Wednesday, March 22, we’re inviting twitter users to dive in and discuss, 8:30 EDT to  9:30pm by visiting #PopPoliticsChat on Twitter.

#PopPoliticsChat, is a hosted online conversation series between pop culture fans/influencers and social movement leaders discussing a topical theme in pop culture and politics.

Our first topic is Marvel ComicsMs. Marvel series, and the newly released America comic, starring former Young Avenger and leader of The Ultimates, America Chavez. Kamala Khan and America Chavez’s powers make them immune to border walls and bathroom laws. Both characters are explicitly American and heroic in their stories, and useful vehicles for considering what patriotism and heroism means when Muslims, immigrants, and LGBTQ people are being targeted by the government (and when Captain America Steve Rogers is revealed to be a Nazi Hydra Agent).

We’ll also discuss how to engage in Marvel fandom while remaining critical of problematic issues, including Marvel/Disney’s participation in Trump’s Economic Advisory board, and a lack of support for creators of color and women.

Our goals are to bring together pop culture fans, social movement community members, creatives, and more in a fun and inspiring conversation, and to connect them to new ideas and opportunities to take action. We hope you’ll spread the word about the event and participate with us!

Go to Twitter, visit #PopPoliticsChat and join our featured tweeters for the conversation:

  • Desiree Rodriguez (@boricuadesiree) is a columnist and Editorial Assistant for Lion Forge Comics’ Catalyst Prime. Desiree also writes for The Nerds of Color and Women Write About Comics.
  • Nelini Stamp (@NelStamp) National Membership Director @WorkingFamilies. Lover of sci-fi & wizards. Troublemaker with @ResistHere, #ResistTrumpTuesdays.
  • Ardo Omer (@ArdoOmer)  is a senior editor at Women Write About Comics and a contributing writer at Book Riot. She has bylines at Comics Bulletin, Hyperallergic and Slate. Batman goes to her for advice.

And I, @elana_brooklyn will be moderating the conversation, coming to this from the perspective of someone who is a comics fan and critic, but also works for an immigrant-lead community organization whose members and leaders are leading the resistance against immigration raids, over-policing, and other forms of systemic oppression (and have been since long before Trump).

See you then! And if you are Tumblr share it there!

Cultural Pulse (an initiative of the Culture Lab) connects social justice movements to pop culture stories, trends and fan organizing efforts to help them more deeply engage with the stories and people that are changing hearts and minds.

Preview: Warlords of Appalachia #4 (of 4)

Warlords of Appalachia #4 (of 4)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Jonas Scharf
Cover Artist: Robert Sammelin
Price: $3.99

Final issue! The rebel assault on the government base in Red Rock is finally underway, with Kade leading his rag-tag forces against overwhelming odds.


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