Tag Archives: Comics

DollFace #1 Sells Out At Diamond, Second Printing Coming Soon

With a combined print run of over 20,000 units across multiple covers, DollFace has struck a chord with fans and retailers alike. DollFace is the story of Lila, a 17th-century witch hunter whose soul is brought forward in time into the body of a ball-jointed, 3-D printed doll.

With only a few remaining copies of DollFace #1 trickling into the market, Action Lab has announced a second printing of the over-sized book, and offer their partnership to comic retailers with limited edition retailer exclusive variants.

Orders for the second printing will be available through Diamond soon.

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Preview: Zombie Tramp #32

ZOMBIE TRAMP #32

Writer(s): Jason Martin, Dan Mendoza
Artist Name(s): Celor
Cover Artist(s): Celor (cover A – regular, B), Dan Mendoza (cover C-D)
Cover B – Risqué (limited to 2500): Celor
Cover C – variant (limited to 2000): Dan Mendoza
Cover D – risqué variant (limited to 2500): Dan Mendoza
Cover E – artist variant (limited to 2000): Winston Young
Cover F – artist risqué variant (limited to 2500): Winston Young
32 pgs./ M / FC
$3.99 (reg.), $4.99 (var.)

It’s zombie witches vs monster truckers as Zombie Tramp’s road saga comes to a furious conclusion! Also, Vampblade’s along for the ride!!!

Features 3 regular and risqué variants, including a pair of variants by series creator Dan Mendoza (DollFace)!

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Preview: Peter David’s Artful #3

PETER DAVID’S ARTFUL #3

Writer:  Adapted by Nicole D’Andria from the Peter David novel
Artist Name: Laura Neubert
Cover Artist(s): Laura Neubert
32 pgs./ A / FC
$3.99 (reg.), $4.99 (var.)

The adaptation of award winning author and comics legend Peter David’s novel Artful continues! This issue of the Oliver Twist spin-off has a princess, a wax museum and vampires. Dodger and Bram must rescue Drina from Fagin and his horde of vampires. Will they succeed? With a little help from a surprise source, they just might…

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Review: Voracious: Feeding Time #3

PrintMy first reaction upon reading this issue was, and I quote, Bloody Hell, Markisan. Bloody fucking Hell.

When was the last time you read a genuinely amazing comic that made your jaw drop so fast it nearly dislocated? For me it was ten minutes ago when I opened the PDF review copy of creators Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr’s Voracious: Feeding Time #3. It was an issue that I have been looking forward to for some time, and yet despite my high expectations, I was utterly blown away. I just…  it’s just so bloody awesome.

Markisan Naso has got to be one of the most exciting comic book writers to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), and this is his second miniseries. He has an uncanny ability to convey so much emotion through his narration and dialogue, and you feel like you’ve known his characters all your life when you hear them speak, but watching them come alive with Jason Muhr’s artwork is astonishing. As much as the writing gets you into the characters, it’s Muhr’s layouts, and the way he composes his pages that elevate this comic into pure brilliance. I’m aware I’m sounding overly hyperbolic here, but Naso and Muhr have created a wonder comic here; Voracious: Feeding Time #3 is like a man who has been eating gas station beef jerky finally gets to eat a fillet mignon.

These are men you need to keep your eyes on.

Out of respect for the creators, joined again by colourist Andrei Tabacaru, I won’t spoil any thing about the issue. But it’s easily the best single issue I have read in a long time, with more nuances and subtle hints than you’d ever expect in a comic book. You often hear people say that something is the culmination of everything that came before it, and that has never been more accurate than with Feeding Time #3; if you’ve read the other issues of Voracious and Voracious: Feeding Time, then you’re going to thoroughly thoroughly enjoy every page of this issue.

It’s only February, and I’m pretty sure this will be the best single issue I’ll read all year; the bar has been set pretty fucking high from here on out. Having said that, if you intend on  reading this comic based entirely on this review without reading any of the previous issues, then you’ll be doing yourself, and the story, a huge disservice. This issue is a complete and utter work of art, and one of the most astonishing comics I’ve read in some time, but without reading at least the first two issues of this series then you’ll think I’m touched if read Feeding Time #3. It’s a phenomenal comic, but it’s not the best jumping on point. There’s not enough of you reading this series, and you’re all missing out.

I have no idea how Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr will top this, but I can’t wait to find out.

Story: Markisan Naso Art: Jason Muhr Colours: Andrei Tabacaru
Story: 11 Art: 10 Overall: 11 (that’s not a typo, this review goes to eleven) Recommendation: Buy

Graphic Policy was provided a FREE copy for review. I’m also buying a print copy when the comic is released because the art looks so much better on the paper than my laptop screen.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

super-sonsWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Joe

Top Pick: Animosity #5 (Aftershock) – This is one of the best comics to come out in the last year. It’s consistent, interesting, emotional, and just everything I want in a story. I never know where the series is headed next and that is what keeps me coming back.

The Wild Storm #1 (DC Comics) – WildStorm returns! And Warren Ellis returns with it. I am excited to see what Ellis does with this grittier new and seemingly more grounded approach to some of my favorite characters. It sounds perfect for fans, both old and new.

Super Sons #1 (DC Comics) – Holy cow, it feels like I’ve been waiting forever for this! Robin and Superboy go on wild adventures in what I can imagine as fun, action packed, and nostalgic to be everything a teen superhero book should be.

God Country #2 (Image) – What an awesome comic. A comic that takes the idea behind Thor and has some fun with it. This revolves around an old man with Alzheimer’s who remembers everything when he touches a magical sword. There’s also gods and demons, so there’s that.

Batman #17 (DC Comics) – The end of the last issue was intense, even if it was just symbolic. What will Bane do? What will Batman do? This has been coming to a head and I expect the doors to be blown off everything as these two collide. Tom King’s series is really getting some legs and I expect all of the slower issues to pay off soon with the excellent building up to this pressure cooker story.

 

Alex

Top Pick I: Savage #4 (Valiant) – Usually by the time I’m writing this I’ve already read Valiant’s offerings for the week, but in a strange twist I actually haven’t opened the review copy just yet and I’m debating just waiting for the print copy from my LCS to read, but we’re expecting a bout of weather early in the week that may impact the postal service… anyway. Savage has been a really interesting series so far, and I’m really excited to see whether this issue will tie the character into the rest of the Valiant Universe or not. Plus it has some of the best art I’ve seen in a long time.

Top Pick II: Voracious: Feeding Time #3 (Action Lab Entertainment) – So… I’ve actually already read this issue, and it’s frigging phenomenal. Why am I excited to pick it up? Because are some visual sequences that I need to see in print.

God Country #2 (and #1) (Image) – I somehow missed the first issue of this series, and would have missed this were it not for the fact that it’s being written by Donny Cates, one of the authors behind The Paybacks, which is al the reason I need to go find these issues on Wednesday.

Old Man Logan #18 (Marvel) – The Aliens vibe of the recent arc has been fantastic. Jeff Lemire’s ability to capture the isolation of outer space, as well as the desolation of the waste lands of Old Man Logan’s past is stunning.

Super Sons #1 (DC Comics) – If you put Damian Wayne in a comic, I’m going to read it.

 

Paul

Top Pick: The Mighty Thor #16 (Marvel) – The Shi’ar and their royal guard have invaded Asgard, bested some of their greatest warriors and have managed to kidnap Thor, to bring her face to face with their gods. I am pumped to see the Shi’ar and their royal guard back in action and curious to see what their beef with Asgard and Thor is all about.

Old Man Logan #18 (Marvel) – This a series that has not disappointed.  I’m not Wolverine’s biggest fan, and I have never read the original Old Man Logan story this book is named after. But I have consistently been enjoying this book and recommend it. This story arc in particular has been pretty trippy. Logan is trying to save Alpha Flight from the Brood; but also in the Wastelands trying to rescue the Cage baby and both are happening at the same time? A great story that comes to a close with this issue; you don’t want to miss it.

Uncanny Inhumans #19 (Marvel) – Maximus has the secret to create Terrigen crystals. This cannot be good for the X-Men or mutants as a whole. Or can it? The tie-ins for the Inhumans vs. X-Men event have worked very well in telling the smaller stories outside of the main battle issues, but I think Maximus’ plan will have larger consequences that will bring an end to the fighting, one way or another.

Uncanny X-Men #18 (Marvel) – So last issue was a little slower, focusing on some character development between Storm and Forge. It was an alright issue that saw the X-Men’s plan to take care of the Terrigen cloud literally blow up in their faces. This issue says Magneto will be deploying his team of secret mutant sleeper agents to aid in the fight against the Inhumans. Secret sleepers you say? That alone has me anxious to read this issue.

 

Shay

Gamora #3 (Marvel) – Gamora racks up enemies like nobodies business, she also unearths some secrets that might rock her world.

Batwoman Rebirth #1 (DC Comics) – The issue is a prologue of epic proportions and I’m here for the backstory.

Harley Quinn #14 (DC Comics) – It’s fun with some serious shade to the current political climate and some serious girl power thrown in for good measure.

 

Brett

Top Pick: The Killer Vol. 5 (Archaia/BOOM! Studios) – For those who are unfamiliar with Matz and Luc Jacamon’s epic story the short version is Frank, aka “The Killer” is James Bond for the Third World. Evil political dealings involving oil, assassinations, IMF, political jockeying, imperialism, for a political geek like me, this series has cool and depth. This is the fifth and final installment, and I can’t wait to see how it all wraps up. Will Frank find happiness? Will he go out in a blaze of bullets? How Matz and Jacamon finish the series will be interesting and I can’t wait to see what they have to “say” when it’s over.

Dead Inside #3 (Dark Horse) – A murder inside a prison… sounds like an easy case, right? Nope! The last issue ended with a shocker and this southern noir-ish crime comic has me engrossed.

The Rift #2 (Red 5 Comics) – The first and second issue feel like a classic Amazing Stories or Twilight Zone story. Entertaining and just plain fun. Like comics should be.

Super Sons #1 (DC Comics) – The team-up we’ve seen so far of Jonathan Kent and Damian Wayne in Superman has been amazing and for them to get their own series… well, I’m super excited. Having read the first issue, it’s everything I was hoping for with an energy and enthusiasm that perfectly fits it’s two young leads.

The Wild Storm #1 (DC Comics) – I’m not the biggest Warren Ellis fan (he’s hit and miss for me), but I’m intrigued to see what will happen in this re-imagining of the classic universe. The first issue is a solid start that reminds me a lot of the third volume of Wildcats. In today’s world, that’s exactly what I was hoping for.

Cougar and Cub Goes Digital Plus an Exclusive Look at Issue 2’s Backup Story

cougar-and-cub-2January saw the debut of Cougar and Cub, the new series from writer Nick Marino and Daniel Arruda Massa, the creators of guilt pleasure Holy F*ck, and published by Action Lab Entertainment mature imprint Action Lab: Danger Zone. The series also features backup stories from Rosie Knight with art by Massa. While the first issue saw a release in both print and digital, the second issue is getting a stealth cancellation of sorts and will only see a digital release for the remaining issues through comiXology and Kindle.

There is a chance the series will be released as a trade collecting all five issues in September but to make sure that happens, buy the comic digitally!

The series is a comedic superhero series that follows Cougar and Cub, Megaville’s ferocious feline fighters who after tussling with their rogues also tussle with each other. What happens when a superhero has sex with their sidekick?

We asked writer Nick Marino about the change which he said:

Daniel, Rosie, and I have worked our butts off to make Cougar and Cub a comic book that both roasts and toasts superheroes with equal vigor! We hope everyone who picked up the first issue in comic shops will continue to follow the series on comiXology as we continue to deliver tons of humor, action, and drama with this five issue tale.

So, show your support for indie comics! You can get the first issue now and second issue digitally when it’s released this Wednesday.

Until then, check out this exclusive of the backup story from Cougar and Cub #2 written by Rosie Knight with art by Daniel Arruda Massa.

Review: Infinite 7 #1

i7_1_cvr-a-regFor centuries, a secret world government has employed the INFINITE SEVEN, the world’s greatest assassins to do their dirty work. The only way to become one of their members is to prove your worth by killing one of their members. But what happens when Anthony Zane, a teenage boy from the suburbs does just that? Action hero archetypes are re-imagined in what is sure to be the blockbuster series of the year!

The first issue of Infinite 7 is an interesting one, playing off of action film stereotypes with characters that we’ve seen before (especially if you grew up in the 80s). There’s the Schwarzenegger-esque character, the take on Bruce Lee complete with Enter the Dragon outfit, a version of Snake Plissken, and more. And just seeing that alone made the comic enjoyable and fun. If that’s all writer Dave Dwonch was planning, it’d be entertaining. But, Dwonch gives us a twist at the end that I’m not ruining that here. And that twist is where the comic goes from lampooning a decade of films to doing something a bit different, and what that is we’ll see in the second issue.

Dwonch throws in Anthony Zane and as the story builds you’re not quite sure how he fits in. I did my best to ignore the descriptor text, so I wasn’t sure what to expect in how he fits in the comic. As we move along, you get a bit better of an idea until the end and when you think it’ll all go one way, the story veers in another, and with that I was hooked.

Infinite 7 #1 is a fun action comic at times sending up the archetypes we’ve seen before and at the same time celebrating them in a way. It both makes fun of and revels in it all too. And weirdly it had me excited to see what familiar things we’d see in future issues, it feels like part of the fun.

The pencils by Arturo Mesa and colors by Geraldo Filho drive home that fun and excitement in a way by recognizing the silliness of it all and exaggerating the scenes and actions much like the characters are exaggerations. It’s clear Mesa and Filho are in on the fun as they channel what made 80s action movies great with testosterone-fueled scenes and action sequences that can only be described as over the top. The fun story translates into fun art and vice versa.

I didn’t quite know what to expect with Infinite 7 and while I thought the series was going to go one way, it surprises me and goes another keeping me on my toes and bringing something new to this type of story. The one bad thing about an early review is I have to wait that much longer for the second issue, but that also gives me more time to think about where it’s all going and then be proven wrong and surprised, much like this first issue.

If you’re a fan of 80s action films like Commando, Escape From New York, or its recent incarnation in The Expendables, then this is a comic for you.

Story: Dave Dwonch Art: Arturo Mesa Colors: Geraldo Filho
Story: 8.35 Art: 8.35 Overall: 8.35 Recommendation: Buy

Action Lab Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

David Pepose and Jorge Santiago, Jr. Talk Spencer & Locke

SpencerAndLocke_001_000USETHISONEWhen his grade-school sweetheart is found dead, there’s only one friend Detective Locke can trust to help solve her murder — his childhood imaginary panther, Spencer. But when they face both a vicious crime syndicate and memories from Locke’s traumatic youth, can this unlikely pair survive long enough to find the truth?

Spencer & Locke is the brand new series from writer by David Pepose, artist Jorge Santiago, Jr. with colors by Jasen Smith, and covers by Santiago and Maan House. The first issue is a fun noir/crime comic with a Fight Club/Calvin & Hobbes twist to it all.

I got a chance to talk to David and Jorge about the series, its influences, and combining comedy with a dark crime story.

You can preorder the comic now. The code for the $3.99 main cover is FEB171049, and the $4.99 variants are FEB171048 and FEB171049!

Graphic Policy: Where’d the idea for Spencer & Locke come from?

David Pepose: Honestly, Spencer & Locke first got started as kind of a thought experiment — I think so often these days, comics are written as just storyboards for a film or TV adaptation, but I wanted to write something that really played to comics’ unique strengths as a medium, things like page turns, panels and pacing, shifting art style, that theatrical use of visuals, you know? I wanted to write something that would specifically tap into comics’ unique bag of storytelling tricks.

To that end, I had wanted to try to age up a children’s property, to see what kind of grounded twist we could put on things — and one day, I saw a remixed version of a Calvin and Hobbes strip where Calvin had been put on medication, and now he had no use for Hobbes anymore. That idea made me laugh, but then it made me think — what kind of upbringing must this kid have to turn what we’d consider a pathology into his own best friend? As an old-school Frank Miller fan, suddenly this image clicked in my head — this sort of Sin City bruiser, beat-up, bandaged and grinning maniacally in the rain, holding a stuffed animal in his hand. That image really brought Spencer & Locke into being — I needed to see that image come to life.

SpencerAndLocke_002_000GP: How long have you been working on the series?

DP: I wrote the treatment and the first issue of Spencer & Locke way back in the summer of 2014, actually, so this book has been a long time coming! Once Jorge and I connected, it took a few months for us to get our pitch together — our biggest challenge was to find the right colorist for the project, but once Jasen Smith joined the team everything started to click.

It’s funny, because after taking nine months for us to get the pitch packet ready, Dave Dwonch over at Action Lab emailed me back to ask our timetable… maybe an hour after I sent our submission in? We signed right around Christmas in 2015, and wrapped on all four issues on Halloween of last year. In certain ways, it felt like we spent much longer on the book, but in other regards, it feels like it went by in just a blink!

GP: How did Jorge Santiago, Jr. come on to the project?

DP: Justin Jordan talks a lot about his process, and how he and Tradd Moore connected to create The Strange Talent of Luther Strode, but to boil it down quickly, Justin had said that he had found Tradd’s work online, and that he was a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design. I had known the school had a sequential art program, but seeing Tradd in action made me realize that there were plenty of other young, talented artists who were just one book away from making their big break.

With that in mind, I went online and looked up portfolios from as many SCAD graduates as I could find, and I remember being immediately struck by Jorge’s website, where he said he made comics with “stupid amounts of passion.” At the end of the day, it’s that kind of passion that’s going to make the difference between success and failure for a comic book project, and I knew right away just from that — on top of the expressiveness and energy and thoughtfulness Jorge brought to his pages — that this was the guy I wanted to work with.

spencer_and_locke_1_preview-2GP: For the design of the characters themselves (and the comic as a whole). How much was that you David and how much was you Jorge?

Jorge Santiago, Jr.: When we started working on the pitch, David gave me character descriptions, which were more like histories, really. I tried to use that when I was sketching to imply the character’s upbringing and mood in a character design that didn’t give away too much. David was really specific about the moods that the scenes were to invoke so there was a lot of back and forth between us on the best way to convey each and every issue. The longest stage of the entire process was working out the plans for the pages.

GP: There’s a balance of humor and darker noir. As an artist, how do you balance that, especially in the scenes where the comedic elements really stand out?

JS: The two things I use to vary up drama and comedy are expressions and angles. I will choose a more direct, straight on angle for comedy and use the character’s expressions to do the heavy lifting of the comedy. When I’m doing noir, I want the camera and paneling to be a character as well, and I’ll place them where I can best convey the drama of the situation and the mood of the character. When the two mix, like doing an action angle for a comedy scene or a straight on scene for something dramatic, it can end up losing impact in the drama side, or making the joke seem serious in the humor side.

GP: The concept is really creative and lots of fun. There’s some aspect of Calvin & Hobbes and a good noir story it too. The two are totally different genres. How was it bringing the two together for one story?

DP: I found the two played off each other really smoothly. The thing is, even the most casual comics fan knows who Calvin and Hobbes are — and so there’s this iconography that you immediately know and recognize just from cultural osmosis, which we were able to play with and subvert in lots of different ways, like turning the red wagon into a red Challenger, or turning the bratty girl next door into a murdered former flame.

But the thing that I think both Calvin and Hobbes and Sin City have in common, that I think Spencer & Locke really plays into nicely, is that they both have these unique, subversive voices that are just clearly unmistakable — and that kind of pedigree works for Spencer & Locke, whose entire premise rests on this kind of subversion from literally our first page on.

The other thing is, because we’re able to play off this action-packed detective noir story off of the story of one child’s harrowing childhood, I think we’re able to really tell a human story here — yes, people might be interested in Spencer & Locke just based on the shock value of “what if Calvin and Hobbes grew up in Sin City,” but once you get into the narrative, we actually delve deeply into trauma, depression and mental illness. Sort of this question of the lengths the mind will go to protect itself, you know? And I think it’s that story of Locke’s redemption upon returning home — upon facing down the demons of his past — that I think will pull on people’s heartstrings in a way they might not expect.

spencer_and_locke_1_preview-3GP: There’s clearly influences here of Calvin & Hobbes and Sin City. What else was the series inspired by?

DP: Oh, man. I had a ton of influences that came together in the blender for Spencer & Locke. Movies like Memento, Fight Club, everything from Quentin Tarantino. True Detective. ‘90s Batman, particularly the work of Devin Grayson. Ed Brubaker’s Criminal. Afterlife with Archie. Tradd Moore’s Ghost Rider. Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns and Dan Slott. Darwyn Cooke. And absolutely, definitively the voice of Frank Miller, whose Daredevil: The Man Without Fear made my eight-year-old self-realize real people write these books. And Bill Watterson, whose mastery as a cartoonist is just unparalleled. He is truly (and obviously) an aspirational figure for me.

GP: I could see that aspect being almost comedic, but the story is a serious crime comic, did you find yourself trying to downplay that comedy considering the nature of the comic?

DP: Actually, for me, it was really the opposite — yes, Spencer & Locke is this kind of pitch-black parody, but the thing is, out-and-out comedy is hard! For a drama, you just have to have the story math add up, but for a comedy, you have to do all that and be funny. So rather than add a ton of pressure to have that sitcom pace of jokes, it became apparent fairly quickly that we could use humor instead to defuse what could turn into an oppressively bleak premise.

Thankfully, the characters of Spencer and Locke have these great voices and points of view that really let the comedic moments flow naturally, in that sort of buddy-cop vein — watching them bicker and banter is part of what makes our series tick, and watching them interact as both children and adults I think really will get readers invested in their journey as detectives.

spencer_and_locke_1_preview-4GP: When it comes to Spencer & Locke, are the rules you came up with in how the two interact?

DP: I described Spencer and Locke’s real-world dynamic as something like Tyler Durden in Fight Club — Locke (and by extension, the reader) might be able to see Spencer, but that means we should all be wary that we’re following an unreliable protagonist here. Anything we see Spencer do, chances are it’s Locke’s imagination filling in the blanks for something he himself has done.

But without giving too much away, we’ll be playing with the rules more and more as the series progresses. Spencer might be a benign pathology, but he’s still a pathology, and as we test Locke physically, mentally and emotionally, we’re going to be testing our heroes’ dynamic as well.

GP: The comic is really interesting, and I don’t want to give away some of the fun twists, but interactions aren’t always what they seem. When writing those, is there a difference in how you write those versus some of the other conversations?

DP: The contrast between how Locke interacts with Spencer and how he interacts with the rest of the world is I think the central tension of Spencer & Locke — our tagline is actually “His partner’s imaginary—but the danger is all real!” And I think it’s easy for Locke to take for granted that he can see Spencer, that he always has backup, that he’s never alone.

But that means it’s also easy for Locke to have an inflated sense of security — sure, Spencer might act as his instincts and intuition as a cop, acting as the eyes in the back of Locke’s head, but at the end of the day, there’s only guy in this room who’s going to be taking a punch.

And for me, it’s been kind of fun imagining how the rest of the world might see Locke. I think casually it’s easy to miss what some weirdness in his behavior — mumbling to himself, ordering an apple juice that goes untouched, his seemingly insane leaps of logic that always seem to stick the landing —  but I think the closer you get to Locke, the scarier he gets. This is the product of a truly terrifying upbringing, and as readers will discover, Spencer’s just a big housecat when you get to know him — it’s Locke who is capable of some real viciousness.

GP: For the art, was there any influences you used? Are there art elements you feel really stick out for a “noir/crime” story?

JS: I had a lot of influences going into Spencer and Locke, I wanted to be sure I had the right ideas in mind before I even drew a panel. I had a Torpedo graphic novel next to my desk for most of the drawing of the book, and I used many modern noir sources for other inspirations: books like Last Days of American Crime, Criminal, Fatale, and Blacksad were the biggest influences on my approach. I think a noir/crime story really needs the tragedy. When I think of what makes a movie like the Godfather, or a series like Breaking Bad a great crime story is that character descent into darkness. In both those examples, and in the books I brought up before, a good character is challenged by evil, and they have to dip their toe into this underworld to either survive or find a sense of justice. My greatest challenge with the book was showing that struggle in Locke; making sure that it was clear this man was broken and was trying to do right by himself and the people he loves, but will that make him a monster in the end? That’s what makes a crime story to me, I just hope I achieved that feeling.

spencer_and_locke_1_preview-5GP: You’ve been on my side in comic journalism, how does it feel like being on the other side releasing something yourself?

DP: It’s definitely a surreal feeling — but one that I think is informed by the skills I picked up on the job. I view journalism, both comics and otherwise, as a never-ending learning experience, and I was struck both by how much comics journalism prepared me for this book, and simultaneously how little I actually knew about being on the creators’ side of the table. (And I got my start interning at DC Comics, so it’s not like I hadn’t seen a comic be produced before!)

But I’ve said this before, and I think it really holds true — comics journalism, in a lot of ways, feels like comic book graduate school. You learn a lot about theory and you get a sense of where your politics lie, and it was particularly instructive for all the non-creative things you have to do to make a book work — finding the right caliber of creative partners to work with, learning where and how to promote your book, understanding Diamond and the preorder system. Knowing the industry landscape and knowing who the industry players are really helped Spencer & Locke hit the ground running.

But at the same time, I feel like writing a comic is like having a kid — no matter how much you read up on it or how much you think you know, you’re going to be caught completely off-guard with how challenging the work is, or how rewarding and invested you’re going to feel doing it. I think writing a comic of my own has certainly changed how I view comics journalism, and how I would look at and approach a book. The whole experience has made me appreciate even more the types of writers and artists who try to stretch themselves creatively (even if it doesn’t necessarily work out in execution), while it’s only made me more frustrated if I see an assembly-line approach. Creating comics is a privilege — don’t phone it in!

GP: What advice would you give to someone interested in releasing a comic themselves?

DP: Writing is easy — but writing well is hard. I spent a long time figuring out what I did and didn’t like about comics before I even put pen to paper, and I spent even longer churning out some truly terrible stuff that will never, ever see the light of day. So the first thing I’d recommend for new writers is to churn through their awkward first stories quickly — I remember spending a solid month just writing quick six-page scripts, just to get to a beginning, a middle, and an end. The momentum of finishing what you start is crucial.

Once you’re at that stage, you can start to build onto something bigger. Figure out why you love these characters, what moments and qualities would make you want to follow them for an issue, or an arc, or a series. And the other thing that was incredibly helpful for me as a writer? Writing with a “dessert-first” mentality — you certainly don’t have to write your story in order, and the more landmarks you flesh out, the easier it is to create the connective tissue to get there. Once you figure out where your destinations are, you can afford to take the scenic route!

The other thing is to find collaborators who you know have talent, who bring something to the table that you can’t. I’ve been really fortunate to work with Jorge, Jasen and Colin, as well as our variant artists Maan House and Joe Mulvey, and they each brought their own flavor and their own experiences to the book. But making great comics is rarely a solo act, and picking the right people to work with is absolutely crucial to making your project a success.

Action Lab’s Spencer & Locke Twists Classic Comic Strip Into Hard-Boiled Crime Saga

When his grade-school sweetheart is found dead, there’s only one friend Detective Locke can trust to help solve her murder — his childhood imaginary panther, Spencer. But when they face both a vicious crime syndicate and memories from Locke’s traumatic youth, can this unlikely pair survive long enough to find the truth?

Spencer & Locke is written by David Pepose, artist Jorge Santiago, Jr. with colors by Jasen Smith, and covers by Santiago and Maan House.

In a release writer David Pepose said:

As a lifelong comics fan, Spencer & Locke is our love letter to both classic noir stories and iconic newspaper strips. This book has it all: action, mystery, suspense, fist fights, car chases, spaceships… and that’s not even counting the six-foot-tall imaginary panther. If you’re a fan of Frank Miller, Ed Brubaker or Bill Watterson, you’re going to love the unlikely heroes of Spencer & Locke.

Spencer & Locke will be released in stores on April 26th.

SpencerAndLocke_001_000USETHISONE

Review: Vampblade #9

vampblade_issuenumber9_covere_solicitNow that Katie’s figured out she can control the appearance of the Vampblade costume, its time for an all new look inspired by one of her favorite comic books! She’s still got two blades and a thirst for TSD’s (translucent space d!@#s – aka space vampires), but now she’s rockin’ a crazy mercenary vibe too!! Features 3 regular and risqué variants showcasing the all new Vampblade costume!!

The humorous, violent, parody that is Vampblade continues. The issue brings in a new costume and a few more fourth wall breaks as things begin in what is the third story arc of this series. This issue gets to the heart of the theTSDs, as Katie tries to balance her real life and her life as Vampblade.

I will admit, I like the various costume she tries on. While the designs feel like they’re well known, they each have that Vampblade twist. Yet more TSDs appear in various forms, and shapes which also provides some variation to the design seen within. That includes a few twisted and grotesque looking creatures.

Vampblade continues to entertain with a mix of humor, action, and mixing things up.

Story: Jason Martin Art: Winston Young
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Action Lab Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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