Tag Archives: drew zucker

Canto is Clockwork Fantasy Beginning this June

IDW Publishing has announced Canto, a surreal six-issue journey beginning in June. Created by writer David M. Booher and artist Drew Zucker and featuring the talents of colorist Vittorio Astone and letterer Deron Bennett, this all-ages comic book miniseries explores a strange and fantastic world in search of the greatest prize of all: a heart!

Enslaved for generations, Canto’s people once had hearts. Now they have clocks. When slavers damage a little tin girl’s clock beyond repair, Canto must brave the darkest corners of his hostile world to bring back her heart. Can he overcome the dangers that await to save the one he loves?

Canto #1 features a regular cover by Zucker and a special variant by Nick Robles.

Canto #1

Advance Review: The Collected The House

In their Comixology Submit (And soon to be published in physical format.)  The House, writer Phillip Sevy, artist Drew Zucker, and colorist Jen Hickman whip up tasty and gory blend of the war and horror genres as Allied soldiers in Luxembourg find themselves in a haunted house while taking a German prisoner of war back to camp. What begins as a sanctuary from a winter storm captured in its all its fury with blistering white space from Zucker and Hickman turns into a Hammer horror haunted house flick. This team of soldiers is used to making a plan, taking orders, and executed it, but it turns all topsy turvy in the primal evil of The House.

Sevy and Zucker set up the almost cosmic stakes of The House in a riveting cold open of mostly silent sequences of The House juxtaposed with the diary of a man named Ethan Wilde, which was discovered in 1976. There’s a montage of panels ranging from prehistoric time to the Middle Ages and finally the 20th Century. The House wisely doesn’t use its World War II setting to tell a simplistic “Allies are good, Nazis are evil” story and goes for a more psychological approach with flashbacks of Allied officers shooting prisoners, and the medic character King continually being wracked by the responsibility for his brother’s automobile accident death. Zucker and Hickman bring a pretty epic and widescreen approach to guilt with pages that simulate a descent into Hell for him. As a medic, King feels a great responsibility to keep the men alive and takes each accidental gunshot wound or death personally.

This is a slight negative, but The House works better as a adrenaline ride thriller than a character piece even though the scenes of characters being haunted by the ghosts of civilians they gunned down are a chilling reminder of how terrible war is. Sevy uses these “big picture” moments sparingly as a kind of raw commentary after an extended chase sequence and as a reminder that even the “good guys” did morally reprehensible things. Most of The House is a roller coaster ride that rarely lets up and even has a few “false endings” like when a group of soldiers think they are back to being stranded in the cold, but then a door suddenly appears, and the tension continues. Its film influences are The Shining (The snow, outbursts violence, and blurred lines between real and supernatural.) and classic haunted house films like The House That Dripped Blood. However, the immersive nature of The House with its page turn reveals and plot structure of ghostly specters eventually evolving into a more solid blood red opponent reminded me of horror video games. The comic starts out as Wolfenstein or possibly Medal of Honor with its more straightforward action and then transforms into classic Resident Evil when it was pure haunted house survival horror for the PS1.

The soldiers’ attempts to get out of “the House” are an exercise in futility as everything from foolhardy shooting up the study or at windows to more sensible using a rope to keep track of their path all fail because this place is pure evil. Sometimes, Phillip Sevy’s plot seems padded to keep the soldiers trapped, but then he and Drew Zucker cook up new terrors like ghosts wandering without a bullet chunk out of their head or feral children that render a grid layout all, but useless. Jen Hickman is always there with the traditional horror reds and black and sometimes an even more unsettling blue tone that she transfers from certain characters’ eyes to their surroundings. It adds that extra freaky factor to Zucker’s choppy figures, ever shifting landscapes, and occasional EC Horror homages like a full page spread featuring an eyeball close-up.

Even though it has a smidgen of spooky worldbuilding, The House is a solid standalone thriller that melds the horror and war genres. Sevy, Zucker, and Hickman turn what is usually the creepy, yet cozy home of horror comic prologues into the antagonist and a kind of conduit that reminds humanity of the worst inside of them. The tone of the comic runs from subtle to bombastic, but all in all, it’s a reminder that comics can be frightening sometimes, and some of the guilt inducing ghouls that Drew Zucker will be seared in my brain for at least a few days.

Story: Phillip Sevy Art: Drew Zucker Colors: Jen Hickman
Story: 7.9 Art: 8.3 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy 

Sucker Productions provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Esposito Keeps Writing Comics Through Adversity

When Joey Esposito receives a rejection from a publisher after pitching a comic, he’ll re-write and try again, with a multitude of publishers on the table. He acknowledges his flaws, laughs off the unpleasant feelings, and resolves to get better. For him, it’s another day on the job of writing comics.

Ex-IGN Comics Editor Joey Esposito spends his days doing what he loves: creating all sorts of comic books through amiable relationships with artists and other creators.

“I love spending my days writing… but it’s hard,” said Esposito via Skype interview.

joey1After spending a few years at IGN doing reporting and criticism of almost entirely comic books, Esposito delved into comic book writing, dropping his former career completely in October of 2013. Before leaving IGN, Joey had already made a bit of a name for himself in the realm of comic book creation with work like the first volume of Footprints, a detective comic starring Big Foot along with other cryptozoology creatures, and Captain Ultimate, an ongoing all-ages superhero comic.

He is happy with this decision and has experienced nothing but total support from friends and family, he said.

“[My father] will pitch my books to anyone who will listen!” he said, laughing.

Those comics are primed to receive continuations. Footprints: Bad Luck Charm is a double-sized one-shot that features two stories, one a prequel and the other a sequel to the first volume. This comic was successively funded on Kickstarter, receiving $7,410 by June 1.

The book is in color, as opposed to the black and white presentation of past Footprints work; this is because Esposito couldn’t imagine the setting of Las Vegas being portrayed without color, he said. He was prepared when asked what excited him most about working on more of Footprints.

“I just love these characters,” said Esposito, referring to creations such as a seductive Loch Ness Monster and a sleuthing Big Foot.

Multiple new issues of Captain Ultimate are completely done, but the creative team is waiting for the right moment to release them, said Esposito.

Boy Akkerman, the artist for the series, finds Esposito a joy to work with, he said via Skype interview. “He doesn’t detail every part of the page,” which “gives a lot of leeway.” Large armies and groups of people are especially enjoyable for Akkerman to draw, which he says there are a lot of within coming issues.

Issue #1 of this series, which is published digitally from publisher Monkeybrain on ComiXology for $0.99, released in July of 2013, followed by #2 in September, #3 and #4 in October, #5 in March of 2014 and #6 in August, representing an odd release schedule. This was identified as a problem when I spoke with Esposito, who explained a new strategy to get the book on track.

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Although the creative team has “some issues in the can,” their primary focus at the moment is getting the first six collected into a physical copy, said Esposito. Once that is taken care of, the team plans to put out issues digitally on a regular schedule, get those published physically, and so on and so forth.

“I think it’s important to get it in front of kids at book stores,” said Esposito.

It hasn’t been easy for Esposito to find a publisher; in fact, the pitching process is one of his biggest struggles as a creator, he said. He has pitched work to all sorts of publishers, all of which want their pitches done a certain, unique way, he explained.

Two upcoming projects he is writing pitches for are Ends of Olympus and Speakeasy. The first is a superhero comic inspired by Superman and his friend Jimmy Olson, predicated on the following scenario: What if Olson abused his friendship with Superman and became a greedy reality star obsessed with fame? An official description as well as a black-and-white preview is available here.

“This is the mature, gritty side of superheroes I love,” said Esposito,

The artist on the book, Drew Zucker, had nothing but good things to say about the project and Esposito.

“Joey pretty much gives me the freedom to do what I need to do visually,” said Zucker via Skype interview.

Joe Badon, the artist who does Speakeasy, said the same kind of stuff as the other artists.

“He’s a very agreeable guy and he likes to collaborate,” said Badon via Skype interview.

Speakeasy is something Esposito has only teased publicly as “Bladerunner meets Cheers,” along with the occasional panel. He is tightlipped on details despite two issues already being completely finished, because he doesn’t want to excite people for a book that doesn’t yet have a publisher, he explained.

He did provide me with these completed issues and, for what it’s worth, I found them to be very, very good. Esposito is playing with tried-and-true archetypes and clichés, but has put enough of a spin on things to make for a warm, easy read. I was initially concerned that Badon’s art wouldn’t work as sequentials, because the images Esposito teased on his Twitter seemed like the kind of well-produced, static images one usually finds on a cover. Thankfully, I found the finished work to be stupendous; the quality of art work is something I’d expect out of something from Image Comics.

Badon doesn’t like when he opens a comic to find art that looks much worse than the cover, he explained.

“I’ve always tried to make interior art as beautiful as I can,” he said.

Esposito allowed me to run some pages as a preview, which can be viewed at the bottom of this piece.

Thus far, neither book has found a publisher. These failings can frustrate Esposito, but he keeps positive.

“I think I’m gejoey4tting better. I’m working on it!” he said with a laugh.

After all, it’s not all bad. Esposito told me that his 2014 comic Pawn Shop has found a publisher, which will allow it to be sold physically in stores. This is a “slice-of-life” comic that tells the tale of four city-dwellers, all indirectly connected by a little pawn shop.

Pawn Shop is Esposito’s favorite work of his so far, even though “it’s definitely the black sheep,” he said. “It’s the kind of story that made me want to tell stories in the first place.”

Esposito seems to keep his head up and look forward. When I asked him what he’d ideally love to do, whether it be creator-owned projects or books for large publishers about established properties, he told me he “wants to do it all.”

Check out Matt’s online portfolio here

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Exclusive Speakeasy Preview: 

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Preview: Skybreaker #5

Skybreaker #5

Writer: Michael Moreci
Art: Drew Zucker
Letterer: Ryan Ferrier
Price: $0.99
Page Count: 23
Rating: 15+

All the violent threads come to a head in the explosive finale to this acclaimed Western. Skybreaker is forced to maintain the tenuous truce between himself, Cutter, and Tallutah—or meet a bloody fate in the process!

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Preview: Skybreaker #4

Skybreaker #4

$.99 – Ages 15+
Writer: Michael Moreci
Art: Drew Zucker
Letterer: Ryan Ferrier

Cutter and Taylor each make plays for each other’s lives, and control of the town. Meanwhile, Skybreaker and his band make a power play of their own.

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Preview: Skybreaker #3

SKYBREAKER #3

$.99 – Ages 15+

Michael Moreci, Writer
Drew Zucker, Artist
Ryan Ferrier, LettererBarek confronts Skybreaker, which leads to an uneasy alliance. Talutah, Barek, and Skybreaker band together for one mission: To kill Cutter before they turn on each other.

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Preview: Skybreaker #2

SKYBREAKER #2

$.99 – Ages 15+
Michael Moreci, Writer
Drew Zucker, Artist
Ryan Ferrier, Letterer

Nearing death, Skybreaker is brought back to the Sioux village where he recalls his troubled past. Meanwhile, at the settlement, Cutter is delivered a disturbing message and Barek confronts an old foe.

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Preview – Skybreaker #1

SKYBREAKER #1

Story: Michael Moreci
Art: Drew Zucker
Letterer: Frank Barbiere
$.99 – Ages 15+

From the creator of Image’s HOAX HUNTERS and newcomer Drew Zucker comes SKYBREAKER, a dark tale of revenge set in the Wild West. Skybreaker is a man of two worlds, half Sioux and half Christian. When these worlds clash, he is betrayed and left for dead–and now it’s time for revenge. SKYBREAKER explores the violent roots of American life, and how you can never kill your way to peace.

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