Tag Archives: dead reckoning

Dead Reckoning Announces New Graphic Novels for Spring 2019

Dead Reckoning, the new graphic novel imprint of Naval Institute Press, has announced new comics they’re releasing in Spring 2019.

Things kick off in March 2019 with The Night Witches by Garth Ennis, Russ Braun, Tony Avina, and Simon Bowland as well as Katusha: Girl Soldier of the Great Patriotic War by Wayne Vansant.

April 2019 sees the release of Riff Reb’s Men at Sea which is translated by Joe Johnson.

Stalingrad: Letters from the Volga by Antonio Gil and Daniel Ortega with a translation by Jeff Whitman is out May 2019.

June 2019 sees the graphic novel adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque‘s All Quiet on the Western Front by Wayne Vansant.

Check out below for the full descriptions.

The Night Witches

by Russ Braun, Garth Ennis

As the German Army smashes deep into Soviet Russia and the defenders of the Motherland retreat in disarray, a new squadron arrives at a Russian forward airbase. Like all night bomber units, they will risk fiery death flying obsolete biplanes against the invader—but unlike the rest, these pilots and navigators are women. In the lethal skies above the Eastern front, they will become a legend—known to friend and foe alike as the Night Witches.

With casualties mounting and the conflict devouring more and more of her comrades, Lieutenant Anna Kharkova quickly grows from a naive teenager to a hardened combat veteran. The Nazi foe is bad enough, but the terrifying power of her country’s secret police makes death in battle almost preferable. Badly wounded and exiled from her own people, Anna begins an odyssey that will take her from the killing fields of World War II to the horrific Soviet punishment camps—and at the top of the world, high above the freezing Arctic Ocean, the Night Witch finds she has one last card to play.

Katusha: Girl Soldier of the Great Patriotic War

by Wayne Vansant

On Sunday, June 22, 1941, the morning after Katusha’s graduation, the Germans invade the Soviet Union. As enemy forces occupy Kiev, Ukraine, Katusha and her family learn the Nazis are not there to liberate them from harsh communist rule, but to conquer. They discover there is a special danger for the Jews, and in saving her friend Zhenya Gersteinfeld, Katusha finds her whole family in danger.

During the next four years, Katusha experiences the war on the Eastern Front with all its ferocity and hardship: first as a partisan, then as a Red Army tank driver and commander. From Barbarossa to Babi Yar, from Stalingrad to Kursk, from the Dnipro to Berlin, follow the footprints and tanks tracks of Katusha’s journey through a time of death, hopelessness, victory, glory, and even love.

Seen through the eyes of a Ukrainian teenage girl, Katusha is both a coming-of-age story and a carefully researched account of one of the most turbulent and important periods of the twentieth century, where women served in the hundreds of thousands, and Russians died by the millions.

Men at Sea

by Riff Reb’s

Men at Sea is an opus of eight spectacularly drawn dark, poetic stories adapted by Riff Reb’s.

This collection offers:

  • “A Smile of Fortune,” from Joseph Conrad
  • “The Sea Horses” and “The Shamraken Homeward Bound,” from William Hope Hodgson
  • “The Galley Slaves” and “The Far South,” from Pierre Mac Orlan
  • “A Descent into the Maelstrom,” from Edgar Allan Poe
  • “The Three Customs Officers,” from Marcel Schwob
  • “The Shipwreck,” from Robert Louis Stevenson

These eight tales, themselves interspersed by seven double-page spreads dedicated to extracts from illustrated classics, deliver a rich, poetic, and masterfully crafted work of life and death on the sea.

Stalingrad: Letters from the Volga

by Antonio Gil, Daniel Ortega

Stalingrad. From August 1942 to February 1943 this model industrial city, bathed by the waters of the Volga, was home to the bloodiest battle of World War II. Stalingrad: Letters from the Volga offers a fast-paced depiction of this titanic struggle: explicit, crude, and without concessions—just as the war and the memory of all those involved demands.

The battle rendered devastating results. Almost two million human beings were marked forever in its crosshairs, a frightening figure comprised of the dead, injured, sick, captured, and missing. Military and civilians alike paid with their lives for the personal fight between Stalin and Hitler, which materialized in long months of primitive conflict among the smoking ruins of Stalingrad and its surroundings.

Stalingrad: Letters from the Volga presents the battle, beginning to end, through the eyes of Russian and German soldiers. Take a chronological tour of the massacre, relive the fights, and feel the drama of trying to survive in a relentless hell of ice and snow.

All Quiet on the Western Front

by Wayne Vansant

Hailed by many as the greatest war novel of all time and publicly burned by the Nazis for being “degenerate,” Erich Maria Remarque’s masterpiece, All Quiet on the Western Front, is an elegant statement on a generation of men destroyed by war.

Caught up by a romantic sense of patriotism and encouraged to enlist by authority figures who would not risk their lives to do the same, Paul Bäumer and his classmates join the fighting in the trenches of the Western Front in World War I. He is soon disenchanted by the constant bombardments and ruthless struggle to survive. Through years in battle, Paul and those he serves with become men defined by the violence around them, desperate to stay as decent as they can while growing more and more distant from the society for which they are fighting.

This graphic novel recreates the classic story in vivid detail through meticulous research. The accurate depictions of uniforms, weapons, trenches, and death brings the horrors of the Western Front to life in a bold new way.

Review: Trench Dogs

Inspired from assorted first-hand accounts, this fictional story of World War I is a sweeping look across the war and the soldiers who experienced the horrors of the front lines and high seas. The nightmares of World War I and the fallout after are often overlooked, this book asks the reader to look again and remember the dead, to weigh their number against those that would choose war. Conceived as a long, continuous camera pan through the trenches and beyond, the reader is soon buried in mud, corpses, and ruin, emerging on the other side with blurred recollections of lost comrades and a nagging sense of pointless destruction.

Trench Dogs by Ian Densford is an ambitious graphic novel whose focus on visuals is both a strength and bigger weakness. Trench Dogs is an attempt to pull off a single tracking shot in comic form and while that’s achieved, the specifics of the story are a detriment to that concept.

Densford’s story wakes place in the nightmarish World War I with each nationality represented by a unique animal a concept we’ve seen before in the likes of Maus. But, this is war with scenes packed with individuals, so many it’s hard to keep track as to who to care about. There’s so much packed in, it’s hard to focus in on anything while taking in everything. The lack of dialogue too makes it difficult to focus in an who we’re supposed to care about as each sequence hands off to the next in a Tarantino like way.

The art is detailed and impressive. Densford’s talent there isn’t in question at all. But, while putting in so much detail, so much packed in on every panel and page, the art is a detriment to the story. It’s beautiful to look at but without enough visual clues as to the focus, it’s hard to connect with anything present. The horror becomes a panel the death just another image and detail.

This is an impressive attempt to do something different in the comics medium and in so many ways it succeeds. With a little bit of pulling back and more of a focus on a few stories that interconnect the overall package might have been stronger. Still, as far as a debut for a publisher, this is a hell of a start that shows Dead Reckoning is a publisher that is willing to try different things and Densford is a creator to keep your eye on.

Story: Ian Densford Art: Ian Densford
Story: 4.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Read

Dead Reckoning provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Machete Squad

It’s Tuesday so that means it’s “Trade Tuesday!” We’re reviewing one of the debut graphic novels from new comic publisher Dead Reckoning that’s coming out this September! Dead Reckoning is the graphic novel imprint from the Naval Institute Press.

Machete Squad recounts some of the experience of Brent Dulak while serving in Afghanistan. It’s an honest first hand account of war that few of us see. The graphic novel is by Dulak, Kevin Knodell, Per Berg, and David Axe.

You can order your copy now and it will be released September 15th. You can also order it through Amazon.

 

Dead Reckoning provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Trench Dogs

It’s Tuesday so that means it’s “Trade Tuesday!” We’re reviewing one of the debut graphic novels from new comic publisher Dead Reckoning that’s coming out this September! Dead Reckoning is the graphic novel imprint from the Naval Institute Press.

Trench Dogs is inspired by first hand accounts of World War I and is a sweeping look at the war from Ian Densford who brings the concept of a continuous camera pan to the comics page.

You can order your copy now and it will be released September 15th. You can also order it through Amazon.

 

Dead Reckoning provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler is Getting a Graphic Bio from Dead Reckoning and Jeff McComsey

Dead Reckoning launches in September and is already announcing new graphic novels being added to its line-up. Writer Jeff McComsey will be telling the story of U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler who was twice awarded the Medal of Honor and had a storied career participating in the Boxer Rebellion as well as actions in Vera Cruz, Haiti. After service, Butler became a veterans activist. The graphic novel is set against the backdrop of the Bonus Army protests that took place in Washington, DC. The protest took place July 28, 1932 and featured 43,000 marchers of which 17,000 were U.S. World War I veterans.

Dead Reckoning is an imprint of the U.S. Naval Institute focused on graphic novels with a military focus. The initial launch includes Machete Squad, The Best of Don Winslow of the Navy, The ‘Stan, and Trench Dogs.

Review: The ‘Stan

We continue our “Trade Tuesday” reviews with a graphic novel that’s coming out this September! Dead Reckoning is the graphic novel imprint from the Naval Institute Press.

The ‘Stan is a graphic novel anthology and one of the first releases from the imprint and features stories from those who have served in the US mission in Afghanistan.

Kevin Knodell, David Axe, and Blue Delliquanti deliver a graphic novel that’s a perfect example of graphic journalism capturing the stories of the soldiers.

You can order your copy now and it will be released September 15th,

 

Dead Reckoning provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Talking Dead Reckoning, Naval Institute Press’ Graphic Novel Line Debuting in 2018

Dead Reckoning LogoNaval Institute Press is setting its sights on the comic industry with their new imprint Dead Reckoning. Announced in October 2017, the new line of comics and graphic novels will launch in the Fall 2018 with full-length original graphic novels and collections of classic comics with a special focus on military and naval history, military and naval biography, general history, and stories of the high seas.

I got to ask Assistant Acquisitions Editor/Graphic Novel Lead Gary Thompson what we can expect from this exciting new comic publisher.

Graphic Policy: Why did the Naval Institute Press decide to create a graphic novel imprint in Dead Reckoning?

Gary Thompson: For us, it just made sense. Comics and graphic novels are big business, and we think we can make a contribution to the field. Publishing graphic novels was something that I wanted and brought up in a discussion with the press director. He was game and we happened to have a pitch for a graphic novel that was sent to us years prior but withered on the vine because no one knew what to do with it. I contacted David Axe, who had submitted that original pitch, and we started talking. The idea at first was we would take on this project and try our hand at publishing a single graphic novel.

Once we opened that door, though, things began to snowball. There were a number of small factors that we discussed that helped point us in the direction of doing something larger, but seeing how it could benefit our mission and objectives really helped to drive the decision home.

GP: What was the process like coming to the decision? What did you all observe about the comics industry that you felt this was a direction to go in?

GT: Once we decided to commit to doing a single book, we started looking at publishing graphic novels on a broader scale. We discussed everything from the audience to the market to the method and questioned everything all along the way. Why publish only one book? Why would anyone carry a single book from an outlier publisher? Haven’t there been several publishers who came into the market unprepared and ignorant only to go belly-up after a book or two? What keeps us from the same fate? And so on. The more we questioned what came before and the state of the industry now, the more shape our concept started to take.

We looked at the sustained growth in the comics market and saw that there was an opportunity for mutual benefit. In general, more people are reading, and that’s a good sign. With that growing readership, there is also a broadening landscape of stories people want to read, which is also a good sign. To us, that looks like an opportunity. We work with a specific topic that happens to be underrepresented in comics when you compare it to other media. Several publishers do a military or war book here and there, which is great, but with our entrance into the market it provides a chance for us give a broad swath of good stories a logical home and, hopefully, provide an outlet for other stories who typically get no home at all.

GP: You mention having both fiction and non-fiction comics. Will you also have some focused on philosophy or strategy that aren’t narrative focused like your prose?

GT: It depends. There’s some room out there for books that explore concepts like those in a sequential way, but the marketability of the topic is key. I think it’s important that we be open to possibilities that present the right combination of topic and execution when it comes around. Off the top of my head, I don’t see a book like that happening anytime soon. But if there’s someone out there who could make something interesting, informative, and marketable? That would be a hell of a feat and I would love to see it.

GP: Where are you in the process of production? You mention an initial 5 titles then expanding to 10-12 the next year. Do you have the initial five titles already?

GT: They are all pretty much finished and have moved on to the next stages of production. We are all paying a lot of attention to this initial transition from editorial to production so we can establish and solidify a smooth process. I’m also working through the initial 2019 releases.

GP: Is it only going to be graphic novels or will there be ongoing “floppy” comics too? Will these be single volumes or multi-volume stories?

GT: I love my monthly comics, but we have no plans to enter that arena. I want our books to have a beginning, middle, and end, and I think that’s where the readership is going, too. For now, everything we have in development is single volume, but we are open to the idea of multi-volume stories.

Since we are just getting on our feet we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves and end up biting off more than we can chew. Any multi-volume series would have to be limited to two or three volumes at most.

GP: What will be the process of choosing the comics to produce? Is it open submission? Will you seek out talent?

GT: It’s a bit of everything. We have books in development where I started with an idea and reached out to people to make it happen, others are books I have solicited after talking to creators at conventions, and for the time being we have completely open submissions as well.

We only just announced the imprint in early October, but this is something I have been working on for years. Once we decided to make an imprint, I immediately I started going to conventions with the sole purpose of introducing myself, talking to people about the imprint, and soliciting pitches. That’s hard to do when no one has heard of you and there isn’t a catalog they can easily look at to reference the type of books you are interested in publishing. But the more conventions I have gone to the more the word got out, and I started getting calls from people that I had never met who got my information from someone else who I never met. The first time that happened was wild.

Going forward, I’ll keep pairing talent for certain titles and adaptations we want made, but we will have open submissions and I will encourage anyone who has an idea they think would work for us to submit.

IIlustration by Bill Reinhold from the upcoming graphic novel The Flying Column.

IIlustration by Bill Reinhold from the upcoming graphic novel The Flying Column.

GP: You have an impressive catalog of prose books, will you be adapting any of them into comics?

GT: Yes! That is something we are actively doing now. We hope to have several adaptations of our previously published books out in the future.

When we first started brainstorming what we wanted Dead Reckoning to be, adaptations were high on this list of desires. One of the biggest opportunities we have in launching this imprint is the possibility of introducing some of these stories to a new audience. Military history is rife with great stories that Hollywood has mined for decades, so why not comics? In fact, comics provides a better medium because Hollywood tends to only be interested in telling a simplified subset of military history. When you have to sink hundreds of millions of dollars into a single film, it better have the kind of appeal only a crowd-pleasing blockbuster can provide. Even though comics are expensive to make, the risk isn’t quite that high. We have more latitude to publish a different variety of stories – more honest and more nuanced.

GP: How do you see comics and its visual power adding to your goals of advancing the “professional, literary, and scientific understanding of sea power and other issues of critical global security?” What does the comic medium add that prose might not?

GT: The comics medium is exceptionally powerful for conveying information. While there is certainly nothing wrong with prose, when one of your stated goals as an institution is spreading understanding and encouraging thought, you must concern yourself with accessibility. Prose works are important and indispensable, but at some point general knowledge becomes specialized knowledge. What we typically publish is very specialized in goals and execution, but many of the building blocks of those books are not. They are the same kinds of history and personal stories that millions of people read about or discuss every day. What comics will allow us to do is to take some of those building blocks that are frequently relegated to the realm of specialized knowledge and bring them into that of general knowledge. Comics makes telling complicated and nuances stories easier and more comprehensible, and that speaks to the heart of the Institute’s mission.

GP: In your announcement you mentioned the long history of comics in telling stories about war and the military. Even Captain America’s debut was advocating for the US entry into World War II. Many of the early giants of the industry were in the military and served in some fashion. What are your thoughts on this “graphic journalism” in capturing military history? Do you all plan on spotlighting some of that history of comics through your publishing efforts or other ways?

GT: The Institute has always done what it can to honor veterans and the contributions they have made in and out of uniform. Dead Reckoning will be no different. We are still discussing some of the specifics on how we will do that, but the contributions of men and women who have both served our country and played an important role in comic’s past and present will never be far from our mind.

GP: The Government has created comics in the past for the use by the military. Any chance you might reproduce some of those for a new audience to see and study?

GT: I think there’s a possibility there that we will be keeping an eye on. Most of the comics the military has created have been very instructional, so finding a way to collect them in print isn’t a priority at the moment. But a graphical historical piece that looks at how the military has used comics — Grampaw Pettibone, Willie and Joe, maintenance manuals – could be interesting.

GP: Digital comics have risen over the years and there’s been some impressive ones taking on history like Operation Ajax which mixed real historical documents and video into the comic to teach. How does that fit into this new venture?

GT: More than anything I am most concerned with putting out quality books on paper. That isn’t to say we aren’t interested in the possibilities that new technologies bring to the table, but we have to stand before we can run.

We are at an interesting nexus in publishing right now where we can see so many possibilities, but knowing which ones to invest in will always be a challenge. You don’t have to look back very far to see people declaring the imminent death of print (for the Nth time) because of ebooks. Today it’s easy to see how that shook out. Ebooks are nice, but their sales aren’t going to change the industry. Instead, they are another arrow in the quiver to introduce new content to new audiences. And what we have now with digital comics and VR comics is another new horizon for the industry. Will they flourish? Will they fade? I can’t say. Both formats offer up some compelling opportunities, but I want to watch them for a little while. If they prove a valuable asset to the mission, then there’s no reason they shouldn’t be considered thoughtfully.

GP: With prose there’s a focus on getting facts down but in comics there’s the visual aspect added in. How meticulous will you be to make sure all of the visuals are accurate to reality for what you produce?

GT: That depends on the book. We certainly appreciate accuracy and readers of military history are passionate about it, but demanding a hard and fast line on accuracy is a good way to stifle creativity. So far, as we’ve been putting together our first books, I’ve gauged how accurate something should be on what kind of story it’s trying to tell. If your book is the graphic novel version of a seminal battle in military history, you bet accuracy is important. But if you are looking to tell a personal story about your internal conflicts while deployed I’m not going to be terribly concerned with how accurate your Humvees are.

GP: Do you know if the Navy currently uses comics to teach or train?

GT: Not to the best of my knowledge. I believe the Army still puts together instructional comics for things like taking care of your weapon or vehicle maintenance, but that might be it.

GP: What’s the most exciting thing you all are looking forward to with this new venture?

GT: There are so many it’s hard to say! I suppose, in a broad sense, I’m most excited about the possibilities that come with doing something new.

When talking to creators, I’ve told them that in our own small way, I hope we can play our part to make the American comic market look a bit more like the European and Japanese ones. Certainly, we have a niche, and while you will see it executed in more ways than the traditional war comic, it’s a relatively well-defined area where we can play, experiment, and try new things. So fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, science fiction, espionage, traditional comics creators, independent creators, unpublished talents, and pretty much everything between. I want Dead Reckoning to represent all facets of the comics world and, hopefully, offer up something for every type of reader, both present and future.

We all know this is a nearly limitless medium. The possibilities are staggering. But ultimately, my biggest hopes lie on two sides of the same coin: Introducing our topics to dedicated comic readers, and introducing comics to regular readers of our topics.

GP: Thanks so much for chatting and look forward to seeing what you all release!

Naval Institute Press’ Dead Reckoning Hints at Its First Graphic Novel (Updated)

Naval Institute Press is setting its sights on the comic industry with their new imprint Dead Reckoning. Announced in October, the new line of comics and graphic novels will launch in the Fall 2018 with full-length original graphic novels and collections of classic comics with a special focus on military and naval history, military and naval biography, general history, and stories of the high seas.

The new imprint will launch with an initial list of five titles and then expand to 10-12 titles per year in 2019. Subject matter ranges from infamous settings like World War I and the Vietnam War to more recent conflicts like the war in Afghanistan as well as memoirs and biographies.

Though the new imprint was announced, not much is known as to what to expect and what we might see. In honor of Veteran’s Day the publisher might have given us our first hint in an email that honored those that have served.

The comics community has faithfully portrayed men and women who have served our country with honor and distinction. Counted among its creative ranks are those who have served as well.

This and every Veterans Day, we honor our veterans, past and present, who have given so much to our country and whose stories are immortalized in comics.

The Naval Institute Press extends our gratitude for dynamically capturing the veteran experience.

Respectfully yours,

Naval Institute Press
U.S. Naval Institute

The below image and caption were included. So expect The Flying Column illustrated by Bill Reinhold some time in the future. Whether it’ll be the first released remains to be seen, but it’s the first title we know of and part of a creative team.

IIlustration by Bill Reinhold from the upcoming graphic novel The Flying Column.

Update: We’ve gotten word from writer Carl Potts that The Flying Column won’t be part of the first wave of graphic novels from Naval Institute Press but will be hopefully published “not too long after the launch of the Dead Reckoning imprint.”

The story is based on Potts’ family experiences in the Philippines during World War II. The Flying Column is the first in a two-volume story with the second volume titled Guests of the Emperor. Potts also provided an article with an overview of the events the two volumes cover.