Tag Archives: Comics

Read The Resistance #1 by J. Michael Straczynski and Mike Deodato Jr. for FREE

AWA Studios is a new comic publisher with the first issue of a few of their series dropping in the last month. With COVID-19 spreading, AWA sped up their digital release of their comics with the first issues being free to read.

In The Resistance, J. Michael Straczynski returns to comics teaming with Mike Deodato Jr. Together they plant the flag for a new universe of heroes and villains. A global disaster leaves hundreds of millions dead in its wake. Shortly after, a few thousand suddenly manifest superhuman powers. Are they harbingers of more perils to come…or Earth’s last hope?

You can read the first issue below, for free.

Around the Tubes

Sentient

It’s a new week and even though the future of comics, and many things, is unknown, it doesn’t mean we’re slowing down or stopping. Kick off your day with some comic news and reviews from around the web.

CBLDF – Register Now: Government Relief Loans for Comics Businesses Webinar – For those in the industry that need help.

How to Love Comics – The Legend of Korra Graphic Novel Reading Order Guide – For those that are interested.

How to Love Comics – 80+ Comic Book Reading Recommendations For While You’re Stuck At Home – What would you recommend?

Kotaku – Cosplayers Can’t Go To Cons, So They Had One On The Internet – This is very cool to see. Could we finally see “virtual conventions” coming into their own?

Flickering Myth – Chicago’s Mainframe Comic Con going forward virtually with celebrity interviews and more all for charity – This sounds like an interesting, and great, idea.

Reviews

Comic Attack – Batman: Curse of the White Knight #8
Atomic Junk Shop – Over My Dead Body
Talking Comics – Sentient
Comic Attack – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #104

Diamond Announces their 2019 Gem Award Winners

Diamond Gem Awards

While the industry was burning, Diamond Comic Distributors announced the winners of the 2019 Gem Awards. The awards recognize and honors sales success.

DC earned four awards, while Marvel, Image, and BOOM! received three each. IDW and Dark Horse each took home an award. Also recognized were VIZ Media and Funko.

Check out below for the complete list of honorees.

2019 Diamond Gem Award Suppliers of the Year 

2019 Comic Book Publisher of the Year – Over 3% – Marvel Comics

2019 Comic Book Publisher of the Year – Under 3% – BOOM! Studios

2019 Backlist Publisher of the Year – Image Comics

2019 Manga Publisherof the Year – VIZ Media

2019 Game Manufacturer of the Year – WizKids/NECA

2019 Toy Manufacturer of the Year – Funko


2019 Diamond Gem Award Products of the Year

2019 Comic Book of the Year – $3.99 or Under – Once & Future #1BOOM! STUDIOS

2019 Comic Book of the Year – Over $3.99 – Spawn #300IMAGE COMICS

2019 Licensed Comic of the Year – Buffy The Vampire Slayer #1BOOM! STUDIOS

2019 Magazine of the Year – Heavy MetalHEAVY METAL MAGAZINE

2019 Original GN of the Year – Teen Titans: RavenDC COMICS

2019 Reprint TP or HC of the Year – Dark Nights Metal TPDC COMICS

2019 Licensed TP or HC of the Year – Stranger Things, Vol. 1: The Other SideDARK HORSE COMICS

2019 Manga TP of the Year – Smashed: Junji Ito Story Collection HCVIZ MEDIA LLC 

2019 Anthology of the Year – Marvel Comics #1000MARVEL COMICS

2019 Indie GN of the Year – They Called Us Enemy TPIDW – TOP SHELF

2019 Trade Book of the Year – Silver Surfer Black Treasury Edition TPMARVEL COMICS

2019 Game Product of the Year – Dungeons & Dragons Stranger Things Edition Starter EditionHASBRO

2019 Toy Product of the Year – DC Prime Batman Action FigureDC COMICS

2019 Toy Line of the Year – FUNKO POP

2019 Collectible Statue of the Year – Batman Black & White Batgirl by Bruce Timm StatueDC COMICS

2019 Best Free Comic Book Day Book – FCBD 2019 Spawn #1IMAGE COMICS

2019 Best All Ages Series – Dog ManGRAPHIX

2019 Best All Ages Original/Reprint GN – Miles Morales: Spider-Man TPMARVEL COMICS

2019 Best New Comic Book Series – Once & FutureBOOM! STUDIOS

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 4/4

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Joe Hesh

Batman: The Adventures Continue (DC Digital) Ah what brave new world we have this week with solely digital releases due to the current pandemic. I am grateful that the more things change, some still stay familiar. Read this was like reuniting with an old friend. Batman The Animated Series is still my absolute favorite iteration of Batman in any form. The second I laid eyes on the first page (complete with title sequence) I was immediately transported back to yesteryear and the after school days of my youth. All that was missing was the score, which I heard in my head anyhow, The creative team of Paul Dini and Ty Templeton captured everything just right. From Gotham’s blood red sky, to Alfred’s sardonic wit, it was all there.
The dialogue was fantastic as well, especially the exchange between Bruce and Lex. Every dripping word was chock full of Kevin Conroy and Clancy Brown goodness. Truth be told those are the voices I hear when I read any of these characters anyway. Sure the beginning with the Fleischer-esque root was a bit hokey but the characters were so on model and the voices were right there it didn’t matter. 
The story whisked by too fast, which happens to be my only nit pick, as I wanted so much more. I liked the addition of classic Animated Series characters like Veronica Vreeland (DC Collectibles make a fig of her please) and loved her comment to Bruce about, don’t say you’re not the family type as you adopt all these boys and couldn’t they use a mother’s touch? Makes sense. 
Lex being Lex and Bruce being Bruce was such a joy. I look forward to reuniting with more of the Animated Bat World, and seeing new faces that we’ve been teased. With all the uncertainty in the World over the last few months, it is so nice to be able to take a few moments to come home again. Welcome back Batman Adventures. We’ve certainly missed you.
Overall: Read, read, read. Score: 9.5

Ricardo

Ignited (Humanoids- Ignition 1): Humanoids’ first foray into the world of periodical comics came with a familiar superhero story put in a completely different scenario. In IGNITED,a school shooting brings about an event that activates powers for a select few among the student survivors. From there, the comic takes on a delicate balancing act focusing on students discovering the reach of their powers while trying to make sense of the trauma of surviving a shooting. Mark Waid, Kwanza Osajyefo, and Phillipe Briones take what could’ve been another X-Men knockoff and turn it into something special, both dark and energetic at the same time. I know it’s heavy type of recommendation in times of quarantines and uncertainty, but there’s a strange form of hope in this comic that made me feel compelled to keep reading despite the anxiety that comes with life in the context of a pandemic. The art jumps off the page and dialogue is snappy enough to juggle drama and classic superhero action almost to perfection. It’s a lighter read than you might think as well, but it’s considerate and aware of the subject matter. Give it a read. I think you’ll find it as engrossing as it is aware of current problems. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy.

Action Philosophers! (Dark Horse): As a teacher, there’s nothing I appreciate more than having a comic present complex and difficult topics in a fun and engaging way. Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey’s ACTION PHILOSOPHERS! is that and so much more. The concept is simple: apply the more spectacular elements of the comics form and then color it with humor to explain old-school philosophical ideas in as easy a way to understand as possible. Don’t understand Plato? Follow him as a failed wrestler-turned-philosopher, elbow dropping his way through Greek thought. Having trouble following Marx? Perhaps seeing him dressed like Rambo and shouting I KICK ASS FOR THE PROLES might help the point across. What’s truly valuable about the book is just how well Dunlavey’s art supports the admirable accessibility of the text. It’s like the creators became co-teachers in the process, each offering valuable and essential insight in the process. I love getting deep into weighty reads when forced to stay home for prolonged periods of time. During these quarantine days, combine Philosophy and Comics and make the best of a tough situation with ACTION PHILOSOPHERS! Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Those Two Geeks Episode Fifty Nine: Diamond’s Aren’t A Nerd’s Best Friend

Alex and Joe talk about Diamond no longer shipping to comic stores, and what that means for publishers and comic shops.

As always, Alex and Joe can be found on twitter respectively @karcossa and @jcb_smark if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on twitter, or by email at ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

Underrated: Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado (Redux)

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado


bs colorado.jpg

I wanted to revisit this book, because I’ve recently reread and still don’t think it gets the attention it deserves. This originally ran in July of 2018.

Jeff Lemire has been writing Bloodshot across various series for a long time. Longer, even, than I have been reading. Two days ago, I picked up the first volume of Bloodshot Reborn as despite reading from around the eighth issue of the series on, I had never actually read the opening to the series. The blurb on the back of this book gives you a pretty good idea of the book’s plot, but what it doesn’t do is tell you that this book is so much more than your typical superhero story.

Bloodshot’s nanites made him a nearly unstoppable killing machine. His enhanced strength, speed, endurance, and healing made him the perfect weapon, and he served his masters at Project Rising Spirit — a private contractor trafficking in violence — very well. Now, Bloodshot is a shadow of his former self. He lives in self-imposed exile, reeling from the consequences of his past life and the recent events that nearly drove him mad. But when a rash of shootings by gunmen who appear to look just like Bloodshot begin, his guilt will send him on a mission to stop the killers, even if it means diving head-long into the violence that nearly destroyed him.

Picking up after the events of The Valiant (expect spoilers for that book if you haven’t read it), Colorado opens with a monologue telling you who Bloodshot was juxtaposed against images in stark contrast to who he is now. Lemire wastes no tie in showing you that a  man who was forced to kill for others has, seemingly, wasted his opportunity at a second chance for a normal life. Within a page or two, you’re hitting rock bottom with the man formerly known as Bloodshot. You can feel his guilt and shame emanating  from the paper as you turn the page, and not once do you blame him for what he’s going through.

This is a man who was broken, and who doesn’t know how to move past what he was. Who woke up from a nightmare only to understand that he was the monster, and now wears the question of whether he deserves to move on as an armour.

Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado is an origin story, of sorts, for Ray Garrison. Which means you don’t need to have read Bloodshot prior to picking up this comic (and, really, although the first series post Valiant relaunch is good, it pales in comparison to the more psychological horror take on the character that Lemire presents us with). This first volume in the series is a brilliant read; I devoured it in one sitting and immediately wanted to read more. I am a huge fan of Jeff Lemire, and think his take on the character is a vastly underrated one when looked at in the grand scheme of the comics read world.

Lemire’s take on Bloodshot is my favourite version of the character, but the opening of his story takes more from the horror genre than one would initially expect. The character’s inner turmoil is obvious and very clear to the reader as Ray Garrison struggles to discover who he is now that he’s no longer a monster; and his biggest fear, and one he must confront as the volume progresses, is that he’s nobody. Without the monster, he is a shell of a man.

Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado is a book I can’t speak highly enough of (were this a review I’d be giving it a solid 10; the art is every bit as impressive as the story), and it genuinely surprised me that I hadn’t heard much about it prior to reading it myself. Maybe that was part of the magic, that unexpected kick in the teeth, but this first volume of Bloodshot Reborn needs to find its place on your shelf – whether physical or digital.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Humanoids Releases a Statement on the passing of Juan Giménez

Juan Giménez

Comic publisher Humanoids has released the below statement on the passing of Juan Giménez due to complications from COVID-19.

Juan Giménez: 1943-2020

Legendary artist Juan Giménez passed away on April 2nd, 2020 in his home province of Mendoza, Argentina from COVID-19 complications. Giménez leaves behind an astounding legacy of story and art, notably his work with Alejandro Jodorowsky on The Metabarons starting in 1992. 

“It was the middle of a sunny day of 1991 in Paris,” Humanoids CEO Fabrice Giger recalls. “I remember clearly the sparks that suddenly appeared in Juan’s eyes, while he was listening to Jodorowsky pitching him The Metabarons. I knew then that Alejandro had won him to the cause, but I didn’t fully realize that their combined genius was about to produce the most formidable space opera ever told in comic-book form.”

Spanning eight books released through 2003, The Metabarons expands the mythos of the titular character from the pages of Jodorowsky and Mœbius’ The Incal, introducing a legacy of near-immortal galactic warriors. Harmonizing with Jodorowsky, Giménez brought a profound weight and emotional realism through his lush, expansive art. No concept—from cybernetic implants to sprawling planets made of marble—fell outside of his master vision. His uncanny talent of contrasting dense machinery and mammoth ships against lost souls navigating immense conflicts cemented Giménez as an internationally beloved figure.

Giménez began his journey in Argentina drawing for such comic book publishers as Colomba and Record before segueing to Spanish magazines Zona 84 and Comix International. His first French release, 1979’s Leo Roa (also published under the title The Starr Conspiracy), detailed the comedic adventures of a planet-hopping journalist. A year later he served as a creative designer on the film Heavy Metal, working on the segment “Harry Canyon.” He would spend the next decade contributing to the French genre magazine Métal  Hurlant as well as the Italian publication L’Eternauta among others. 

His 1991 work, The Fourth Power, foreshadowed The Metabarons with a teeming, violent universe, following a military pilot as she discovers her identity throughout a cosmic war and betrayal. More recently, Giménez collaborated with authors including Carlos Trillo, Emilio Balcarce, and Roberto Dal Prà.

Giménez is internationally recognized for his work, winning The Yellow Kid Award for Best Foreign Artist at the 1990 Lucca International Comic Fair as well as the Gaudia award at the Feria Internacional del Comics de Barcelone that same year. Other accolades include the 1994 Bulle D’Or.

“There are many artists who are adored by their fans, but only a select few are equally revered by their peers,” said Humanoids U.S. Publisher Mark Waid. “Juan Giménez was the latter, able to give us not only epic moments of space opera but subtle and moving moments of humanity. Worldwide, the comics community mourns for him.”

Exploring the stars will be infinitely more lonely without this luminary talent and incredible human being. Rest in peace, Juan. 

Around the Tubes

Afterlift

The weekend is almost here! Our days are starting to blend together, how are you all holding up? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for the weekday to end and the weekend to begin, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

CBR – TNT’s Snowpiercer Series Gets an Earlier Premiere Date – It’s still too far away. We’re very excited for this show.

Newsarama – Lion Forge Labs Closed, All Employees Laid Off – We wish everyone impacted luck. We’re biting out tongues otherwise.

Reviews

Newsarama – Afterlift Vol. 1
Talking Comics – Angel & Spike #10
The Beat – Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1
But Why Tho Podcast – Witchlight

Read Wolvenheart #1 for FREE!

Wolvenheart is an organization dedicated to monitoring anomalies in the space-time continuum. After the group is infiltrated and decimated, their most prolific monster slayer Sterling Cross fight his way through time and change the course of history.

Written by Mark London with art by Alejandro Giraldo, and lettering by Miguel Angel Zapata, Wolvernheart is published by Mad Cave Studios.

Read the first issue below and pick up the series to help support the publisher, creators, and comic shops!

Purchase: Mad CaveAmazon/KindlecomiXologyTFAW

Wolvenheart-1

The Creative Comics Shop: Diamond and the industry’s push for survival

Diamond Comic Distributors

The moment comic book shops started transitioning to mail orders and curbside pick-ups due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fans and owners alike have been waiting for the other shoe to drop. On March 23, 2020, the drop came in the form of a letter from Diamond’s chairman Steve Geppi. In it, we learned that the distributor would not be taking orders on new products. Anything slated for an on-sale date of April 1st would not be shipped.

Given that local comics shops rely on weekly comics sales to stay alive (although some stores have done wonders with their backlogs to make them an even more essential part of their business model), this sounded off an alarm many expected but no one wanted to hear.

The letter goes on to specify what exactly it is that this means for Diamond. Geppi spoke about how hard it was to make the decision and explained that it boiled down to the safety of his team and shop owners alike. Health in the workplace is essential and no one can fault Diamond for taking measures to ensure its workers remain safe, but the decision to stop distribution didn’t hurt any less because of it. One thing did stand out from the letter, though.

In his message, Geppi offered some advice to owners that continue to operate remotely: get creative. He says:

For those retailers who remain open in various forms, I encourage you to let loose your own creativity. For the time being, you will be able to replenish your perennials from Diamond and/or Alliance, but you should also remember the stock you already have in your stores. If your doors remain open, it’s likely you will have customers who will continue to seek diversion from events of the world. Special sales, promotions, and even eBay can help you bring in cash during this trying time.

Initially, this sounded to me a bit like “you’re on your own.” To be fair, Diamond did state it will be evaluating debt accrued and credit options to help out stores affected the most by the economic pressures of the pandemic. But the stores that might receive any help from Diamond are those that would’ve already survived the pandemic’s hit on the market, in all its dimensions. This consideration made it difficult to take Geppi’s words as the rallying cry for comic shops that I think it was intended to be.

I should clarify, I’m commenting on this situation as a concerned comic book fan who buys weekly periodicals, the bread and butter of the current comics market in America. I’m standing on the outside of this, given I’m not a shop owner, but following industry developments and writing about comics has given me some insight into the workings of Diamond and just how difficult it is to rely on one major distributor of the product.

All of this led me to think about the concept of creativity in sales, which the letter alludes to. I remember thinking that shops were getting creative with their stock well before the pandemic hit and that many stores had already put certain ideas in motion to stave off closure because of economic constraints coming from many different shifts and outdated ways of thinking from multiple sides of the industry. Diamond is not the only entity to carry the blame here (lack of unions, the volatility of freelance work, and the state of print media, in general, are important factors as well).

This pandemic, though, did put the spotlight once more on one of the comic book industry’s biggest problems, market-wise: weekly periodicals cannot continue to depend almost entirely on Diamond if comics are to survive in print. We need more options.

As this pandemic has shown (and if nothing changes, it’s possible we see a repeat of this), a single comic book distributor cannot account for the survivability of an entire industry.

The comic shop owners that adjusted to the new normal—and responded in kind by fully embracing outside-the-box problem solving—have shown that creativity isn’t choice but a rule if they are keep their doors open, even before a pandemic forced them into stretching that creative streak further.

There’ve already been a lot of stores that have found that becoming more of a community-driven space (invested in creating local shop culture through reading, talks, author events, and creative discussions) results in a loyal customer base that will do most of its comic book purchases with them.

Anyone Comics in Brooklyn, for instance, has been churning out social distance events to keep its customers ‘in the store,’ if you will. They hosted a social distance signing with writer Vita Ayala on March 26, complete with Q&A and the promise of customers getting free signed books with regular orders; Midtown Comics in New York has offered generous discounts on entire purchases to motivate buyers; and Challengers Comics in Chicago has teamed with SKTCHD to give customers the chance to win a new Hoth Battle scene Star Wars sketch by Daniel Warren Johnson.

If anything, the chaos that the Coronavirus pandemic has unleashed will make many of these stores stronger once we get clear of it. But not everyone is going to survive. One of the reasons survival isn’t guaranteed lies in Diamond remaining a necessary evil for weekly periodical distribution.

Competition is key, and stores all around the country have shown they are willing to experiment in order to keep selling comics well into the future. Back issues can be made appealing again, trades can be discounted, and figures can be sold in fairly priced bundles. But having a diversified market is essential as we move forward, with a mind to prepare for any other crisis that might come our way. We can’t assume nothing like this will ever happen again.

I’m not calling for the dissolution of Diamond nor for it to close its doors to let others take over. I just think it can do better and it should focus on contingency plans that don’t require the suspension of sales in times when stores need them the most. It can be via limiting the size of orders, coordinating with shops to ship the product in strategic spots to replenish stock, or even offering more generous discounts for local comic shop owners when certain social conditions call for them.

Comic shops are doing their part, putting ideas out there to keep customers happy and satisfied. Maybe it’s time Diamond took their own advice to heart and start getting creative.

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