Tag Archives: dead reckoning

Garth Ennis and PJ Holden Fly Into Legend with The Stringbags from Dead Reckoning

If you do the incredible often enough, they’ll want you to do the impossible.

Writer Garth Ennis and artist PJ Holden present The Stringbags, an original graphic novel based on the true story of the Royal Navy’s Swordfish crews in early World War II.

A biplane torpedo bomber in an age of monoplanes, the Fairey Swordfish was underpowered and under-gunned; an obsolete museum piece, an embarrassment. Its crews fully expected to be shot from the skies. Instead, they flew the ancient “Stringbag” into legend. From their triumphs against the Italian Fleet at Taranto and the mighty German battleship Bismarck in the Atlantic, to the deadly challenge of the Channel Dash in the bleak winter waters of their homeland.

The Stringbags is an epic tale of young men facing death in an aircraft almost out of time. They lived as they flew, without a second to lose—and the greatest tributes to their courage would come from the enemy who strove to kill them.

The Stringbags features colors from Kelly Fitzpatrick, lettering by Rob Steen, and will be published by Dead Reckoning on May 15, 2020. The hardcover graphic novel will retail for $29.95.

The Stringbags

Dead Reckoning and Marvel Deliver Atlas at War!

Atlas at War

Dead Reckoning and Marvel are working together to release Atlas at War on June 17, 2020. The collection features fifty hard-hitting stories from Marvel’s Atlas era.

From 1951 to 1960 Atlas Comics, which later became Marvel Comics, published more war titles than ayn other comic company. The collection is edited by comics historian Dr. Michael J. Vassallo. Some of these comics are being reprinted for the first time. 4 never-reprinted classics were written and penciled by Jack Kirby.

The collection features stories from sixteen different Atlas war titles and features the artwork of artists like Russ Heath, John Severin, Bernie Krigstein, Joe Maneely, Jerry Robinson, Steve Ditko, and Kirby.

Each page has been restored from its first printing by comic art restorer Allan Harvey.

Atlas at War

In the 1950s, when these Atlas war comics were originally published, the hand-drawn artwork was photographed, and the resulting negatives used to produce the printing plates from which the final comic was printed. In the intervening sixty or seventy years the artwork, negatives, and plates have all been lost or destroyed, so, if a publisher wishes to reprint these comics, the only thing they have to use as a source is the decades-old printed comic. Over that period of time acids within the paper itself have acted to darken the paper and make it brittle; oils from countless fingers, too, may have taken their toll, making a clean reprint very difficult—without help. That’s when someone like me steps in.

As a restoration artist, I take a high-resolution scan of the printed comic page and load it into computer software [See image 1 above] where I use my skills to remove or minimize the accumulated dirt and deterioration of the ages. First, I strip out the color information, which results in a very washed-out file [See image 2 above]. I work on this extensively, manually darkening the linework and black areas, removing deterioration, dust and dirt and any problems introduced on the original printing press, such as line drop-outs, etc. This process produces a file which looks as close to how the artwork would have looked when the artist handed it to the editor back in 1950 as I can make it. [See image 3 above]

At this point I reintroduce the color information and work on that, again removing defects and smoothing out the “look” to my satisfaction, working and re-working it until I get a sharp, clean digital color file [See image 4 above], from which reprints can be made, allowing these exciting comics to be brought to a whole new generation. The time taken to complete a page varies, but, on average, a single page can be produced in around 4-6 hours.

– Allan Harvey

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Doctor Mirage #1

Wednesdays 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!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

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

Absolute Carnage #2/Absolute Carnage: Lethal Protectors #1/Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales #1/Venom #17 (Marvel) – Events often don’t live up to the hype but “Absolute Carnage” has delivered so far. There’s only been good to great so far so we’re all in until we see otherwise.

Batman/Superman #1 (DC Comics) – The Batman Who Laughs has poisoned superheroes and this classic team-up returns to deal with it. The next chapter in an epic tale.

Doctor Mirage #1 (Valiant) – How do you solve the case of your own death? That concept is too cool to not check out.

Grass (Drawn & Quarterly) – An anti-war graphic novel about a Korean girl forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.

House of X #3 (Marvel) – The big picture is finally revealed and Hickman isn’t giving us a restart of the X-Universe but delivering the next major event.

Killers #2 (Valiant) – A deeper dive into Valiants “Ninja” world. It’s been cool so far adding a lot to this intriguing corner of the universe.

Knights Temporal #2 (Aftershock) – The first issue was really intriguing with a knight transported to modern times. The details are still a mystery but it’s a mystery we’re intrigued by.

Mall #1 (Vault Comics) – The Mall isn’t just a bunch of stores, this consumeristic mecca is filled with tribes and name brand gangs!

Manor Black #2 (Dark Horse) – If you read the first issue, you know why this is on the list. The comic is a mix of horror and superheroes and we’re intrigued to see where it all goes.

Marvel Comics #1000 (Marvel) – We’ve read this one and it’s an intriguing celebration of Marvel’s 80 years.

Mountainhead #1

Mountainhead #1 (IDW Publishing) – A father and son are nomads who think the government is after them. A lone survivor of a climbing expedition is covered in blood. The two will collide in this intriguing debut.

Power Pack: Grow Up #1 (Marvel) – Louise Simonson and June Brigman return to the beloved characters to celebrate 80 years of Marvel.

Red Winter #2 (Scout Comics) – The first issue was solid gritty crime/noir and we’re all in for the second issue.

Stalingrad: Letters from the Volga (Dead Reckoning) – Exploring the bloodiest battle of World War II.

Tommy Gun Wizards #1 (Dark Horse) – An alternate history where Eliot Ness is after Al Capone who’s dealing in magic.

Dead Reckoning Announces Once Upon a Time in France and Smedley

Dead Reckoning is the graphic novel imprint of Naval Institute Press. Focused on the military genre, the publisher has announced two new graphic novels to be released this fall.

Once Upon a Time in France

Based on a true story, Once Upon a Time in France, written by Fabien Nury and drawn by Sylvain Valleé, follows the life of Joseph Joanovici. Joanovici was a Romanian Jew who immigrated to France in the 1920s and became one of the richest men in Europe as a scrap-metal magnate. During the German occupation of France, Joanovici worked for the Nazis and financed the resistance—all while lining his own pockets. Playing both sides, for some, he was a villain. For others, a hero.

The French graphic novel is an international bestseller winning numerous awards and selling over 1 million copies

Smedley

Jeff McComsey takes a look at the life of Smedley Butler in Smedley. Smedly, is one of the most decorated Marines of all time. Through conflicts like the Philippine-American War, the Boxer Rebellion, the Banana Wars, and the War to End All Wars, he helped define what the Marine Corps is today.

The graphic novel begins in 1932 with Butler retured from the Marines and having lost his bid for Senator of Pennsylvania. The graphic novel has him recount his stories to a group of World War I veterans before he’s to speak before the Bonus Army encampment in Washington DC.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Katusha

Wednesdays 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!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

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

Batman and the Outsiders #1 (DC Comics) – Delayed, but it’s finally here and we’re beyond excited to check out this new series, especially since writer Bryan Edward Hill and artist Dexter Soy are involved.

The Batman Who Laughs #5 (DC Comics) – The series so far has been solid but it’s also clear that this character is going to impact the entire DC Universe for some time. This is going to be an important miniseries that’s going to set off a lot.

Copra Vol. 2 (Image Comics) – If you missed this series at its previous publisher, you have no excuse now. It’s so good! Think indie Suicide Squad.

Katusha (Dead Reckoning) – Dead Reckoning has been doing awesome releasing war comics and this one focused on the German invasion of the Soviet Union through a comining-of-age story sounds really interesting.

Metalshark Bro #1 (Scout Comics) – We’ll be honest, we know little about this debut issue but the cover has a shark rocking out with a guitar. Yes please!

Monarchs (Scout Comics) – We read the first issue when it was released and enjoyed the video game/comic blend. Now we get a chance to read the entire series.

Red Sonja & Vampirella Meet Betty & Veronica #1 (Dynamite Entertainment/Archie Comics) – It sounds so out there we’re beyond excited for it.

Six Days: The Incredible Story of D-Days Lost Chapter (DC Comics/Vertigo) – A true story about World War II. We’ve read it and it’s really fantastic. If you like war stories, this is a must graphic novel.

War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #1 (Marvel) – This is going to be an important issue with lots of characters making their debut.

Waves (BOOM! Studios) – A graphic novel about the difficulties of pregnancy. An emotional read.

Gary Thompson Promoted to Director at Dead Reckoning

Dead Reckoning Logo

Dead Reckoning has announced that it has promoted Gary Thompson to Director of the publishing imprint. Thompson was previously the graphic novel lead.

Dead Reckoning is the graphic novel imprint of Naval Institute Press. the line was announced October 2017 with their first graphic novels launched in 2018.

The graphic novel line is 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.

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

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