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Review: Josie and the Pussycats in Space #1

Josie and the Pussycats in Space #1

It’s Josie and the Pussycats… in space (said in Space Ghost type way). I wasn’t sure what to expect in the comiXology Original series Josie and the Pussycats in Space #1. Launched as part of comiXology’s horror themed releases this month, I expected some sci-fi weirdness but not like this.

Written by Alex de Campi, the comic kicks off what feels a bit like an Alien-ish adventure. Josie and the Pussycats are on tour and during their travel to their latest gig, something goes wrong. de Campi does an interesting job in using horror tropes to enhance enjoyment. It winks and nods and just has fun with foreshadowing building the issue to its intriguing ending.

Josie and the Pussycats in Space #1 is filled with traditional science fiction and horror tropes. An example is the band talks about what they’re going to do when they’re done with the tour. It’s the well worn “retiring soon” plot which you know means something is going to go wrong. And that’s part of the fun in that I had no idea where things were going until those last few pages. Even with the clear hints, winks, and nods, it still keeps things a bit surprising.

The art by Devaki Neogi helps add to the atmosphere of it all. The style is in more of a traditional Archie style with a bit more of a modern look. Along with colors by Lee Loughridge and lettering by Jack Morelli the art belies the dread that’s oncoming. The last few pages emphasize this by delivering “horror moments” with a style I wouldn’t normally associate with that genre. It’s an interesting combination that creates an experience where there’s a mix of responses between the plot and art.

Josie and the Pussycats in Space #1 isn’t what I expected at all. By the end the comic felt much more of a traditional sci-fi horror story but in the expected Archie style. It’s a combination that’s fun and continues the publisher’s willingness to try new things but remain steadfast in who they are. It also keeps the reader on their toes not knowing what to expect when they see the Archie look they’ve come to know.

Story: Alex de Campi Art: Devaki Neogi
Letterer: Jack Morelli Color: Lee Loughridge
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Archie Comics/comiXology provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Josie and the Pussycats in Space #1

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS IN SPACE #1 (of 5)

Script: Alex de Campi
Art: Devaki Neogi, Lee Loughridge, Jack Morelli
Cover: Devaki Neogi
On sale date: 10/23/19
ComiXology Original

A ComiXology Original! Josie and the Pussycats are the hottest band in outer space! But with fame and fortune comes turmoil as internal conflicts are threatening to tear the group apart. But that’s nothing compared to the alien horrors they’re about to encounter as they find themselves adrift in the vastness of space! Even if the Pussycats manage to stick together as a band, will they be able to survive the horrors that await them in the final frontier?

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS IN SPACE #1 (of 5)

Celebrate the Season for Horror Comics with comiXology Originals Dracula: Son of the Dragon, Josie and the Pussycats in Space, Tremor Dose, and Afterlift

ComiXology has announced three new creator-owned comiXology Originals to be released this October, just in time for Halloween. On October 23rd, comes the original graphic novel Dracula: Son of the Dragon written by Mark Sable with art by Salgood Sam. ComiXology and Archie Comics collide to bring readers Josie and the Pussycats in Space #1 written by Alex de Campi with art by Devaki Neogi. On October 30th, comes Tremor Dose, an original graphic novel written by Michael Conrad with art by Noah Bailey. And, announced earlier this year at San Diego Comic-Con, Afterlift #1 written by Chip Zdarsky with art by Jason Loo debuts on October 30th. Each new comiXology Originals title will be available to read at no additional cost for Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, and comiXology Unlimited members and available for purchase on Kindle and comiXology.

Get chills on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 with these selections:

Dracula: Son of the Dragon

original graphic novel

Written by Mark Sable with art by Salgood Sam

Dracula: Son of the Dragon is part historical fiction, part horror fantasy and tells the blood-soaked epic of the real-life Vlad the Impaler’s transformation into the vampire Dracula.

Mark Sable and Max Douglas, aka Salgood Sam, re-unite to tell the story of Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler, Vlad Drucul), the so-called “historical Dracula”.  But how did this 15th century ruler become the world’s most notorious vampire? As an adolescent in Wallachia, young Prince Vlad learns hard lessons in politics and betrayal and is held prisoner of the Ottoman Turks after being introduced to the Dark Arts at the infamous Scholomance in Transylvania. To survive he believes he must kill in the name of God in order to serve the Holy Roman Order of The Dragon—a very secret – but very real – society both Vlad and his father were members of—but at what cost?

Dracula: Son of the Dragon

Josie and the Pussycats in Space #1

(Archie Comics)– 5-issue comic book series

Written by Alex de Campi with art by Devaki Neogi

Archie Comics’ musical group Josie and the Pussycats goes on tour for the USO…in space.

Josie and the Pussycats are the hottest band in outer space! But with fame and fortune comes turmoil as internal conflicts are threatening to tear the group apart. But that’s nothing compared to the alien horrors they’re about to encounter as they find themselves adrift in the vastness of space! Even if the Pussycats manage to stick together as a band, will they be able to survive the horrors that await them in the final frontier?

Josie and the Pussycats in Space #1

Sleep with the lights on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 with these selections:

Tremor Dose

original graphic novel

Written by Michael Conrad with art by Noah Bailey

Everyone dreams, but are these dreams our own? Who controls our thoughts when we’re sleeping? Ginn, is a young college student who has been having wildly disturbing nightmares featuring a man she has never met. When she finds a flyer with his picture and the question, “Have you dreamed this man?” she submits to an interview that begins to unravel her perceptions of reality.

Noah Bailey creates a unique look with striking black and white imagery, paint, ink, and graphite for the haunting and unusual tale.

Tremor Dose

Afterlift #1

5-issue comic book series

Written by Eisner Award and Joe Shuster Award winner, Chip Zdarsky, best known for his work on Sex Criminals and Daredevil, with art by Jason Loo, the acclaimed writer and artist of The Pitiful Human-Lizard

In Afterlift, Janice Chen is adrift. She quits her day job in finance and signs up to be a driver on a ride-sharing app. But what was at first a mundane but enjoyable way to pass the time takes a terrible turn when a mysterious passenger updates his ride with a very final destination: the afterlife!

Afterlift #1

Preview: Sweet Valley High – Academic All-Star? Original Graphic Novel

Sweet Valley High – Academic All-Star? Original Graphic Novel

writer: Katy Rex
artist: Devaki Neogi
cover: Devaki Neogi
FC | 112 pages | $14.99 | Teen+

When Jessica falls in love with her Shakespeare teacher, she begins to act like her studious twin sister Elizabeth to impress him. Now it’s up to Elizabeth to make sure that all’s well that end well – but with Jessica playing her role, will anyone be able to tell which twin is which?

The treasured series that has entertained generations and sold over 60 million books returns! Fans of the over 600 classic novels and spinoffs and the TV show will adore this charming graphic novel from rising star writer Katy Rex (Charmed Magic School, Jade Street Protection Services) and artist Devaki Neogi (The Skeptics, Curb Stomp). Sweet Valley High is also in development as a major motion picture.

Sweet Valley High – Academic All-Star? Original Graphic Novel

Sweet Valley High Adds a Graphic Novel to its Book Collection!

Dynamite will publish the first ever Sweet Valley High original graphic novel in Francine Pascal’s juggernaut all-ages soap opera franchise.

The $14.99 136-page Academic All-Star? reinvents the nostalgic saga of the Wakefield twins for a new era of readers, while paying tribute to the originals that captivated so many. Rising star writer Katy Rex enrolls in Sweet Valley with artist Devaki Neogi and colorist Pippa Mather.

Sweet Valley High debuted in 1983 from writer Francine Pascal and evolved into an incomparable success. The core series of novels has 181 installments and counting spinoffs adds up to over 400 books – amounting to hundreds of millions of copies. Fans will also remember the TV show from the 1990s which ran for four seasons starring Brittany and Cynthia Daniel.

The usually impulsive and rash Jessica develops a crush on her new Shakespeare teacher, motivating her to model herself on her regimented and sincere sister Elizabeth. Will people start mixing the two girls up? Will Jess fall back on her ways only for Liz to straighten everything out?

Sweet Valley High: Academic All-Star?

Preview: Betty and Veronica: Vixens #9 (of 10)

BETTY AND VERONICA VIXENS #9 (OF 10)

Script: Jamie Lee Rotante
Art: Eva Cabrera, Elaina Unger, Matt Herms, Rachel Deering
Cover: Sanya Anwar
Variant Covers: Paulina Ganucheau, Devaki Neogi
On Sale Date: 8/22
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

“Hunted,” Pt 4: This is it! It’s the take down of the century as the Vixens battle for the fate of all women in Riverdale—and everywhere! There’s just one problem: will the girl gang ever be allowed back in their hometown again?

Time for the take-down of the century in this early preview of Betty & Veronica: Vixens #9!

BETTY & VERONICA: VIXENS #9

Script: Jamie Lee Rotante
Art: Eva Cabrera, Elaina Unger, Matt Herms, Rachel Deering
Cover: Sanya Anwar
Variant Covers: Paulina Ganucheau, Devaki Neogi
On Sale Date: 8/22
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

“Hunted,” Pt 4: This is it! It’s the take down of the century as the Vixens battle for the fate of all women in Riverdale—and everywhere! There’s just one problem: will the girl gang ever be allowed back in their hometown again?

Review: The Skeptics #4

skeptics4coverWriter Tini Howard, artist Devaki Neogi, and colorist Jen Hickman bring their Cold War con artist alternate history romance comic to a close in Skeptics #4. Mary and Max, who don’t actually have superpowers, and Evgenia and Vasily, who actually do, have hatched an ingenious plan to stop World War III by pretending to not have them and make it one big misunderstanding. It’s a clever, bloodless plan that shows that sometimes cooperation and using one’s wits can win a battle or at the very least a skirmish against brute force, which is President Nelson Rockefeller’s nuclear option idea. Skeptics #4 abounds with love and friendship, especially for this dark time in history, but it’s all bittersweet in the end because sadly four bright young people can’t end the Cold War.

Skeptics #4 has a bit of cold open set in a Washington DC night club where Max is teaching Vasily how to use his power for card tricks, and Max and Evgenia are working a similar con with two boys and their wallets. It’s all set up to make Evgenia and Vasily’s abilities look fake (The opposite of what Max and Mary did earlier in the series where they pretended to have actual powers.), but they also have a good time. Hickman’s colors are downright groovy with a continuous stream of red and yellow in the background while the stylish characters drawn by Neogi chat and listen to some “far out” tunes. But she is back to a neutral palette when the police show up for Mary and Max, who are held and detained illegally because the Rockefeller regime just cares about staying in power and not constitutional rights. (This kind of thinking can be seen in the US’ current administration and its terrible Muslim ban executive order.)

groovystyles

The meat of Skeptics #4’s plot is taken up in Evgenia and Vasily working with Dr. Santaclara to rescue Mary and Max and prevent a nuclear strike, but Howard still finds time to show that they are a hell of a romantic pairing. In the past four issues, the proper and scientific Mary and the churlish, rogue Max have rubbed off each other with Mary learning how to use trickery to get her way, and Max being open with his feelings. Neogi still gives a laidback demeanor as he smokes and relaxes while hanging on his prison bars, but then calls Mary the “loveliest person [he’s] ever met” in a payoff that is more pleasing than any elaborate prison escape scene. This shared bond can be found on a more platonic level as Evgenia and Vasily are overjoyed to strike up a friendship with Mary and Max, and the multiple hugs and little hearts over their heads show their feelings.

Skeptics has been an exciting, twisting and turning Cold War thriller, but what will make me remember it fondly are the personalities and quirks of the characters created by Tini Howard and Devaki Neogi. From Dr. Santaclara’s passion and inability to sit still to Max’s charming glimpses and flirty one-liners to Mary’s determination to break both gender and race barriers in her field and amazing fashion sense, I could have definitely spent more than a miniseries with this cast and seen more of this 1960s alternate history world, which eerily mirrors our own reality in 2017 with both times having underqualified billionaire princelings sitting in the Oval Office.

Story: Tini Howard Art: Devaki Neogi Colors: Jen Hickman
Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: The Skeptics #4

The Skeptics #4

Written by: Tini Howard
Illustrated by: Devaki Neogi
Colored by: Jen Hickman
Lettered by: Aditya Bidikar
In Stores: February 22

“GOD ONLY KNOWS.” This is it. There are fingers on red buttons on both sides of the Iron Curtain, and it’s up to our teens to save the day.

When everyone stops believing, is it truly better to live free… Or die?

the-skeptics-4-1

Review: Power and Magic: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology

power-and-magic-coverIn the world of the paranormal fiction, witches tend to be rather pretty centerpiece, as they play a major part, but rarely drive their own stories. Of course, there some notable exceptions, such as Charmed , Salem and Sabrina The Teenaged Witch, which are strong popular examples, but rarely does it prove to be scary. Then came Scott Snyder’s Wytches, which was not only scary as “small town with a big secret” scary, but bone chilling. In these examples, they rarely show any type of diversity.

I know the most classic example of diversity, is the constant popping up of Tituba, in historical records but throughout fiction dealing with the Salem Witch Trials, to include the soon ending Salem. As the question of diversity is constantly being redefined and reexamined, diversity not only includes race, but sexuality and disability. Because of the ever-changing definition, our fiction has reflected and refracted this in the most beautiful ways. A great example of this is the Power and Magic Anthology, which challenges every concept of what a witch is supposed to act and look like as well as the mythology, which makes this book, essential to all speculative fiction fans.

In Convolvere, characters share a secret, one that connects this group of friends in such an endearing fashion. In Your Heart is an Apple, tells a heartbreaking story of one would call a “muggle”, who falls in love with a witch, with a surprise twist. In After the Dust Settles, a grimoire is passed down from mother to daughter, and the love that connects this family women comes through their magic. In Te Perdi, the very question of what one would do for love, is challenged, as a witch goes literally through hell for her love. In Def Together, a battle between two witches takes center stage with sometimes hilarious results. In The Shop That never Stays, a witch has a pretty interesting “Quantum Leap” situation, which only infuriates her and entertains the reader.In As The Roots Undo, true love blooms when a witch leaves the walls she was taught never to leave. In The Songbird for a Vulture, a witch finds her coven after a terrible tragedy destroys her family.

Overall, a strong book that should be in everyone”s 2017 reading list, as it is not only engaging but truly some excellent storytelling. The stories contained shows exactly why every writer was chosen. The art although different in style by each artist, possess a synergy, which unearths the true magic contained within. Altogether, an excellent book that challenges societal norms of race, love, and mythology.

Story & Art: Aatmaja Pandya, Ann Xu, Arianne Hokoki, Coco Candalario, Fydbac, Gabrielle Robinson, Hannah Lazarte, Jema Salume, Joamette Gil, Juliette G. De M.Medina Lopez, Maria Llorens, Devaki Neogi, Naomi Franquiz, Natasha L. Barredo, Nivedita Sekar, Veronica Agarwal, Vexingly Yours
Story: 10 Art:10 Overall:10 Recommendation: BUY NOW!

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