Tag Archives: emma rios

Blacking Out Takes You on a Dark Noir Ride

Blacking Out

Comics industry veteran Chip Mosher and legendary artist Peter Krause have launched the Kickstarter for Blacking Out, a 56-page graphic novel presented in the hardcover European album format. Colorist Giulia Brusco, letterer Ed Dukeshire, and designer Tom Muller join the pair in this sucker-punch tale of a disgraced ex-cop, Conrad, unraveling an unsolved murder during Southern California’s fire season. 

In Blacking Out, Conrad follows a lone clue—a discarded crucifix—to unravel the death of Karen Littleton, whose body was found amid a blaze that scorched 10,000 acres. Conrad’s search leads him to clash with the victim’s father and prime suspect, Robert Littleton, as well as hostile former colleagues on the local police force. All the while, Conrad combats his alcoholism and fading faculties. 

Though known most in the comics industry for his work in marketing, publishing, and editorial, Mosher has been developing Blacking Out for years. In late 2016, Mosher recruited Krause to bring these self-immolating characters to life in a tight one-and-done graphic novel. The finished book will include gorgeous endpapers and spot gloss on the case wrap, making Muller’s weathered logo pop against the inferno consuming the SoCal horizon, as illustrated by Peter Krause. 

A print set of 11 cinematic lobby cards featuring characters from Blacking Out will be offered as rewards. These lobby cards are illustrated by acclaimed artists Francesco Francavilla, Eduardo Risso, Mirka Andolfo, Dan Panosian, Emma Ríos, Jacob Phillips, Patric Reynolds, Ryan Kelly, Jamal Igle, and Elise McCall.

Other rewards include an original drawing from Peter Krause, with the top-tier reward being a tour of L.A.’s most notorious crime sites with Mosher. The Kickstarter campaign lasts until June 24, 2020

Pretty Deadly: The Rat Gets a Trailer

Announced in June, Pretty Deadly returns to comic book stores on September 4th, 2019 with Pretty Deadly Volume 3: The Rat.

Clara Fields, a pretty young filmmaker, has died in Los Angeles. Her death appears a suicide. Her uncle, known as The Conjure-Man, enlists Deathface Ginny from across the veil to help him investigate. Their first clue is an unfinished film, a tale of monsters; of fame, addiction and obsession.

Pretty Deadly Returns this September with a New Story Arc “The Rat”

Image Comics has announced the return of the critically-acclaimed Pretty Deadly series by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Ríos this September. This new installment in the popular, mythic fantasy series is titled The Rat and will be set during the classic Hollywood golden era. 

This new story arc will be the midway point in the Pretty Deadly series, with the following volumes four and five’s themes already planned out.

In the announcement, DeConnick said:

The Rat tells a story of art, addiction, and loss, against a backdrop of an emerging Hollywood. Arc 4, The Butterfly, will look backward to reveal Alice’s origins, and Arc 5 will push the series to its conclusion in the Great Depression. I am so grateful to have this book, and Emma’s partnership, back at the forefront of my life.

Ríos added:

I’d never do it justice, but The Rat is a love letter dedicated to the fascinating work done by Lotte Reiniger, Svankmajer and the Brothers Quay. The book is steering me from raw violence to subtle horror, and I’m feeling it.

Pretty Deadly: The Rat #1 (Diamond Code JUL190083) will be available on Wednesday, September 4. The final order cutoff for retailers is Monday, August 12. 

Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1: The Shrike (ISBN: 978-1607069621) and Pretty Deadly, Vol. 2: The Bear (ISBN: 978-1632156945) are available now at local comic shops, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Indiebound, and Indigo.

Pretty Deadly: The Rat #1

Preview: Hexed Omnibus SC

Hexed Omnibus SC

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer:  Michael Alan Nelson
Artists: Emma Rios, Dan Mora
Colorists: Cris Peter, Gabriel Cassata
Letterers: Marshall Dillon, Ed Dukeshire
Cover Artist: Dan Mora
Price: $29.99

Luci Jennifer Inacio Das Neves (most people just call her “Lucifer”) is a supernatural thief­ for­ hire, stealing wondrous objects from the dark denizens of the netherworld for her mentor/mother figure, Val Brisendine. From possessed teddy bears to haunted paintings to ancient otherworldly demons, Lucifer will need to use every trick up her sleeve to protect her surrogate family and combat the monsters of her seedy city.

Written by lauded horror author Michael Alan Nelson (Day Men, 28 Days Later), Hexed is a lyrical horror adventure series featuring the debut American comics work by superstar illustrators Emma Rios (Pretty Deadly) and Dan Mora (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Collects all 16 issues of the original Hexed limited series and its sequel series Hexed: The Harlot and the Thief.

Hexed Omnibus SC

Small Press Expo Announces Julie Doucet, Emma Ríos, Max de Radiguès, Liv Strömquist, Jérémie Royer, Fiona Smyth, and Kelly Kwang

Small Press Expo has announced more International Guests for SPX 2018. The festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, September 15-16, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center and will have over 650 creators, 280 exhibitor tables and 22 programming slots to introduce attendees to the amazing world of independent and small press comics. Additional Special Guests will be announced shortly.

SPX 2018 is honored to have the following creators as International Special Guests to this year’s show:

Julie Doucet

Julie Doucet was born near Montreal in 1965 and is best known for her frank, funny, and sometimes shocking comic book series Dirty Plotte, which changed the landscape of alternative cartooning. In the 1990s, Doucet moved between New York, Seattle, Berlin, and Montreal, publishing the graphic novels My New York Diary, Lift Your Leg, My Fish is Dead!, My Most Secret Desire, and The Madame Paul Affair. In 2000, she quit comics to concentrate on other art forms. From these experiments emerged the collection of engravings and prints Long Time Relationship; her one-year visual journal, 365 Days; and sassy collages from fumetto comics, Carpet Sweeper Tales. Her post-comics artwork includes silkscreened artist’s books, text-based collages, sculpture, and animation films.

Julie Doucet arrived in comics in the 1990s as a fully formed cartoonist. The Complete Dirty Plotte collects the revolutionary and medium-defining comics of a legendary cartoonist.

Emma Ríos

Emma Ríos is a cartoonist based in Spain. She shifted her focus to a mix of both architecture and work with small press publishers until she started working on comics full-time in 2007. Having worked for BOOM! Studios and for Marvel Entertainment (Doctor Strange, Amazing Spider-man), she returned to creator-owned comics in 2013, thanks to Image Comics; where she recently published I.D., a solo graphic novel. She currently co-creates Pretty Deadly with Kelly Sue DeConnick and Mirror with Hwei Lim.

Max de Radiguès

Max de Radiguès (b. 1982) is a cartoonist from Belgium who also runs the publishing house L’Employé du Moi. His previous work has been translated in English by Conundrum and One Percent Press. His books in English include Moose, Weegee (with Wauter Mannaert), and Bastard. He lives in Brussels.

In his Fantagraphics debut, Bastard traces the deadly escape of May and Eugene as they crisscross the United States, encountering mysterious truckers, ambitious bandits, and senior citizens living off the grid in the Southwest. Both bloody and tender, de Radiguès focuses on the familial relationship as much as the exhilarating plot elements, and his clear-lined style adds depth to the brutality as well as the moments of maternal love.

Liv Strömquist

Liv Strömquist was born in Sweden and lives in Malmö. She is a radio host with a degree in political science. An activist, her left-leaning, award-winning comics have been published in zines and magazines. Her feminist graphic novel Fruit of Knowledge has sold 40,000 copies in Sweden and has since been published worldwide.

From Adam and Eve to pussy hats, people have punished, praised, pathologized, and politicized vulvas, vaginas, clitorises, and menstruation. In her feminist graphic novel, Fruit of Knowledge, Swedish cartoonist Liv Strömquist calls out how genitalia-obsessed men have stigmatized women’s bodies, denied their sexuality, created a dubious gender binary, and much more. Her biting, informed commentary explores history and taboos from the darkest chapters (the Salem witch trials) to the lightest (when menstrual blood was used as a love potion).

Jérémie Royer

Jérémie Royer is a French illustrator and designer. He grew up in Nice surrounded by the sea and the mountains. After studying art there for 2 years, he specialised in comic book art and illustration at the École Supérieure des Arts Saint-Luc in Brussels and is now based in Brussels.

Audubon, On the Wings of the World by Fabien Grolleau and Jérémie Royer is about John James Audubon’s epic ornithological quest across America, with nothing but his artist’s materials, an assistant, a gun and an all-consuming passion for birds.

Fiona Smyth

Fiona Smyth is a Toronto based painter, educator, illustrator, and cartoonist. Her feminist artwork has exhibited internationally. Fiona collaborated with writer and sex educator Cory Silverberg on the kids’ series What Makes A Baby in 2013, and Sex Is A Funny Word in 2015, published by Seven Stories Press.

Somnambulance collects a career in comics from 1983-2017 by a joyous, feminist contemporary of Julie Doucet, Seth and Chester Brown. A comics collection by Canadian cartoonist, painter, and illustrator Fiona Smyth. Over thirty years of comics that feature Fiona’s world of sexy ladies, precocious girls, and vindictive goddesses is revealed in all its feminist glory. This is recommended reading for sleepwalkers on a female planet.

Kelly Kwang

Kelly Kwang is an illustrator and cartoonist who spends half her time in Toronto and the other half on the net. She is the proud founder of the Space Youth Cadets, and the (also proud) co-founder and lead artist of a budding games studio known as Gloam Collective.

Her current project, don’t tell me not to worry, i’ll worry all i want will be published by Czap Books this coming year.

Mirror Embarks on New Story Arc This Wednesday

The intensely collaborative creative team of Emma Ríos and Hwei Lim will launch a new story arc in their ongoing fantasy series Mirror this March.

Mirror #6 steps a half a century back from the events of the first arc. Fifty years before the human colony on Irzah took its first stumbling steps, in the utopian dreamlands of Synchronia, a young artist woke something—something that had long slept in ancient stone ruins.

Mirror #6 (Diamond code: JAN170710) arrives in stores Wednesday, March 15th.

If/Then: If You Liked Hidden Figures Then Check Out These Comics!

When it comes to suggesting comics for individuals to check out, it’s often good to start with what they like in other media like television, movies, books, or video games. Enter If/Then, where we’ll throw out suggestions for you to check out! First up, the film Hidden Figures which opens in wide release this coming weekend!

Hidden Figures is the incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)-brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.

If you enjoyed the film, or interested by the subject matter, here’s five comics for you to check out and why!

marchMarch – The celebrated and award-winning graphic novel by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell recounts Cong. Lewis’ experiences during the Civil Rights Movement. A first-hand account of pivotal history brought to life through graphic art, the graphic novels consist of three volumes taking you through the turbulent times and delivering an educational and emotional read.

Each volume seems to improve on the next not just taking you through history, but is presented in such a fashion that’ll leave you speechless as you ride through the emotional roller coaster within.

This is a prime example of the power of comics and graphic novels in helping preserve and teach history.

Buy it Now! Digitally Vol. 1 Vol. 2 Vol. 3 | Physical

shechangedcomics-1CBLDF Presents: She Changed Comics – If you want to learn some history about women in comics, check out CBLDF Presents: She Changed Comics which was put together by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

She Changed Comics is the definitive history of the women who changed free expression in comics, with profiles of more than 60 groundbreaking female professionals and interviews with the women who are changing today’s medium, including Raina Telgemeier, Noelle Stevenson, G. Willow Wilson, and more! She Changed Comics also examines the plights of women imprisoned and threatened for making comics and explores the work of women whose work is being banned here in the United States.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has also put together a web page as a resource where you can find out more about women in the comic book history.

Buy it Now! Digitally Digitally | Physical

the_unstoppable_wasp__1The Unstoppable Wasp #1 – A superhero comic might feel like an odd choice for this one, but hear me out as to why. Written by Jeremy Whitley with art by Elsa Charretier, the comic features the newest Wasp, Nadia Pym, as she attempts to find her way in the superhero world.

What makes this comic make the list is the focus on STEM, women in science, and smashing the patriarchy. The comic has Nadia finding her role and throws it out there that until recently the Marvel Universe was dominated by men (and mostly white men) until recently and it’s time to get some women recognized when it comes to the smartest people in the Marvel Universe.

What’s also great is each issue will feature real women who work in STEM fields in real life through a Q&A. The comic not only entertains but also hopefully will encourage more women to enter this world for a career.

Read our review and our ten reasons to get the first issue.

Buy it Now! Digitally Digitally | Physical Physical

cmpursuitcoverCaptain Marvel Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight – Ace pilot. Legendary Avenger. One hundred percent pure bad-^&*. Carol Danvers has a new name, a new mission – and all the power she needs to make her own life a living hell. As the new Captain Marvel, Carol is forging from a challenge from her past! It’s a firefight in the sky as the Banshee Squadron debut – but who are the Prowlers, and where has Carol seen them before? And how does secret NASA training program Mercury 13 fit in? Witness Captain Marvel in blazing battlefield action that just may change the course of history! Avengers Time Travel Protocols: engage!

Written by Kelly Sue Deconnick with art by Dexter Soy and Emma Rios, the story is fun action, but also explores the little known history of the women who attempted to join the Apollo program.

Buy it Now! Digitally | Physical

laika_bookcover1Laika – Laika was the abandoned puppy destined to become Earth’s first space traveler. This is her journey.

Nick Abadzis masterfully blends fiction and fact in the intertwined stories of three compelling lives. Along with Laika, there is Korolev, once a political prisoner, now a driven engineer at the top of the Soviet space program, and Yelena, the lab technician responsible for Laika’s health and life. This intense triangle is rendered with the pitch-perfect emotionality of classics like Because of Winn Dixie, Shiloh, and Old Yeller.

Abadzis gives life to a pivotal moment in modern history, casting light on the hidden moments of deep humanity behind history.

While the graphic novel isn’t perfect when it comes to the history it’s a great introduction to this part of history of space flight and great for kids who may be interested in learning about it and being entertained.

Buy it Now! Digitally | Physical

What did we miss in our suggestions? What would you suggest? Add yours in the comments!



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Preview: Hexed: The Harlot and The Thief Vol. 3 TP

Hexed: The Harlot and The Thief Vol. 3 TP

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Michael Alan Nelson
Artist: Dan Mora
Cover Artist: Emma Rios
Price: $16.99

Series conclusion! Following the shocking death in Volume 2, Lucifer has become the Keeper of Secrets and sets out to kill Madam Cymbaline once and for all. Raina and Bob aren’t going to give up on Lucifer’s humanity, though, and set out to save her with help from the most unexpected source—the now-human Harlot. Collects issues #9-12.


Review: Pretty Deadly #10

PrettyDeadly_10-1A young man dies. A war ends. The moon waxes full. And where does it all land? Well, it turns out that this ending is neither good nor bad. It just is.

Pretty Deadly #10 opens with Ginny at war with herself after being run through by Fear and War. Bones Bunny narrates to Butterfly as she comes to, watching from a distance in The World Garden. War does not keep Ginny down for long though. He just makes her angry.

Where the past couple of issues of Pretty Deadly have been all about action, this issue is about resolution. About necessary ends and times of peace. It’s easily the most emotional issue of the series so far, especially when we return to Verine and Clara by Sarah’s bedside. While it won’t last forever, the way Kelly Sue Deconnick writes this time of peace is moving and serene in a strange way. Like this is a well earned rest at the end of a hard road.

Emma Ríos and Jordie Bellaire knock it out of the park on art again, this time with less focus on brutality and more on ghostly images. The way the human reapers are drawn, dark and celestial against the soft moonlight or daylight of the trenches, is especially stark and lovely. Not as much though as when the Reaper of Courage stands with Fear and Grace to deliver Sarah to The World Garden as the sun rises. That might just be the most beautiful scene yet.

At the end of the book, Deconnick talks about how one must embrace their fear in order to be brave, and that seems like the overall arc of this particular story. It especially comes through in this issue, with the extra nail being a young nurse declaring “God bless the cowards” as she recovers the bodies of our fallen heroes. Pretty Deadly has always been a book about facing fears, but #10 is a reminder that courage does not exist without fear and to have the former, you must embrace the latter.

Between the beautiful art and the bittersweetly serene story, Pretty Deadly #10 is a masterful conclusion to a brutal and emotional arc. This final chapter of “The Bear” shows just how far the story has come and evolved, how the story has come to stand on it’s own in individual issues, and makes me even more excited for where the story will go when we meet up with Clara in the early days of Hollywood in the third arc.

Story: Kelly Sue Deconnick Art: Emma Ríos and Jordie Bellaire
Story: 9.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

‘I.D.’ is a wonderfully composed tale regarding identity

ID2Emma Rios is one of the most talented creators out there that has proven her worth at both the writing (Mirror) and illustrating (Pretty Deadly) side of the comic book world. In I.D., Rios handles both the words and art, confidently presenting a story that is thought provoking and emotional with a respectable amount of research put into it; due in additional thanks to Medical Doctor Miguel Alberte Woodward whom writes a back essay to add more into the reality of the topic at hand. I.D. is about three individuals, Noa, Charlotte and Mike, whom apply for an experimental procedure in which your brain, mental capacity and self are maintained as you are placed within a different body. Through the five chapters, originally printed in Island Magazine, the three characters discuss and question their own motives towards making this process a reality.

What immediately jumps out in terms of the visual style of the comic is Rios’s use of a contrasting palette of warm, glowing, hues of red. As much as the story digs a little bit into questions regarding the binaries of gender, whether it is intentional or not, using red instead of playing with black and white, creates a sort of neutral space for the words and images to breath out from. Rios consistently does a great job at creating a tone and atmosphere that is melancholic but also slightly unnerving and tense at the same time. Whether it’s the rain dropping outside the coffee shop where Noa, Charlotte and Mike discuss their reasons into wanting a new body or inside the apartment of Charlotte, Rios puts purpose behind the easy flow of pages. She sketches out wider, detailed frames to settle in on the three characters, utilizing the space to capture their unified journey, and closer, sometimes round panels to focus in on particular sections of dialogue or pointing at the various body parts (eyes, mouths, ears, noses, etc.) as if these are partly what makes each of them insecure.

“Well, it’s obvious none of us feel very proud of who we are.”

“I disagree. Hating your body, or your life, doesn’t mean you hate yourself.”

ID3These quotes are taken from a statement made by Mike, commented back by Charlotte. Questions of having pride in yourself can change on a day to day basis. When the pride of realizing that your true self is inside you but not reflective of your physical self cannot possibly be put into the proper amount of words unless someone identifies directly with wanting to or having gone through a physical transition or an acceptance of ones true self. And, what Charlotte responds with is something that she appears to take on as an attribute to her reasoning into wanting to make this body transplant. She is a writer and is the most cryptic into her reasoning. She continues to make remarks that appear to reveal her own insecurities regarding the nature of the transformation: “Being unhappy with what we are, or have, may sound frivolous but is inherently human. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s our restlessness.” Restlessness may be the wrong way (or perhaps right way) to describe feeling trapped in a false vessel but what these statements made by Charlotte reinforce is the strength in which Rios writes these characters as three-dimensional human beings who are far from perfect, and that is totally okay.

The fact that all three are, for the most part, sure that their true selves are not reflected on the outside is perhaps the most truly felt from Noa. She plain and simply admits that she is a man. She is upset at being weak and how her metabolism won’t allow her to be the man she really wants to be. After storming off from a heated discussion within the coffee shop, she barges into the women’s bathroom; Rios leaves a single panel to focus on the symbol on the bathroom door. These signs and symbols for gender pervade society and tend to ignore other identities that aren’t considered ‘traditional’ or a ‘patriarchal norm’. Rios doesn’t dig too deep into this conversation but her imagery and dialogue does point towards this consistently relevant topic of how and where identity can be influenced.

Another moment that shares Noa’s confidence in making the transition is when her and Mike begin questioning Charlotte’s motives towards the body transplant. The conversation goes like this:

ID4Mike: “I wonder if just being bored, or lonely, is enough to do this…”

Noa: “It’s better than suicide.”

Mike: “Perhaps…didn’t think of it that way.”

Noa: “I did.”

This establishes not only the unfortunate conclusion that many come to when it comes to people questioning their identities (as a mental illness) and Noa having gone through a potential slew of mental battles, but most importantly that Mike didn’t think of the alternative as being suicide. It is a sad realization that this thought carries over to our own reality. It’s this thought, or lack of, that doesn’t get through to people. Sometimes the mental battles become too much; whether it is the shame imposed by others, the mere costs to transition, or the hypnotizing by various institutions, these are but a few of a fair list that many individuals can come up against. What Rios really captures here is the sense of unity and togetherness from three albeit different personalities with three different reasons that confide in each other to solidify what matters most: the confidence in accepting who they really are.

This wonderfully well-crafted story by Emma Rios is also notable for its taking place during a demonstration that takes place outside one of the comic’s settings. Its presence is felt through a select few frames showing outside the coffee shop but at one moment (minor spoilers) the physical fight that takes place between a few of the demonstrators and police gets brought inside. The police threaten Noa, Mike and Charlotte, physically assaulting the three. However, instead of cowering away or witnessing one of the characters run away, the three, together, fight back and manage to escape to live another day. This moment really encapsulates a strong theme in I.D. in that what may appear as a mental, individual battle on the inside, is something that can be shared and understood to strengthen ones identity. Many battles are lost but the war is won as a collective. Just look at the support that went on behind the LGBTQ community recently through the hashtag #QueerSelfLove that trended on Twitter. As much as I.D. provides more of a futuristic setting to body transitions, there is also a comfort being addressed in finding a way to love yourself just the way you are. Judging by the phenomenal response to #QueerSelfLove, love will reign over hate.

Written and Illustrated: Emma Rios
Technical Assistance and Back Essay: Alberte Woodward MD
Flat Assists: Roque Romero
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

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