Tag Archives: f.j. desanto

Review: The Reason for Dragons, The Dark Crystal Creation Myths Vol. II, Cyborg 009, Rubicon

The Reason for Dragons

Front Cover-The Reason for DragonsWendell lives a lonely, suburban existence, losing himself in books in order to avoid his motorcycle-driving stepfather, Ted. When the school bullies convince Wendell to venture into the forest around their neighborhood and explore the long-abandoned Renaissance Fair grounds they all believe to be haunted, Wendell is surprised to find a man living in the barn—and even more surprised by the man himself. Believing himself to be a medieval knight named Sir Habaersham tasked with the duty of slaying the dragon he insists is wandering the woods, Wendell’s new acquaintance seems the definition of crackpot. But when Wendell starts hearing rumblings—and listening to Habaersham’s stories—he starts to wonder if perhaps it could all be true. In a heartfelt coming-of-age story, Wendell must defy logic in order to follow his heart…and face the dragon of the forest!

Released the same week of San Diego Comic-Con, The Reason for Dragons is an excellent graphic novel was drowned out by the noise from the convention. What people missed is an excellent coming of age story in a fantasy world.

The first thing to enjoy about this graphic novel is the main character Wendell and what he deals with. Bullies at school, a stepfather he can’t relate to, these are things many people experience every day. That makes Wendell’s reactions and struggles all the easier to relate to.

And the fantasy setting makes those issues fun to deal with in a way. The fantasy like setting is great, allowing us to escape into a world where knights and dragons might exist. Chris Northtrop‘s writing keeps us guessing in that department. It’s not until the last act do we have an idea of what is fantasy and what’s real.

In addition to Northrop’s solid writing is Stokely’s art which is a perfect fit. The style adds to the fantastical feel of it all and his style is a true find.

Overall, The Reasons for Dragons is an excellent graphic novel taking on issues many children face with. It’s a great read for the entire family.

Story: Chris Northrop Art: Jeff Stokely
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Dark Crystal Creation Myths Vol. II

Dark Crystal Creation Myths v2 GN CoverThe Great Conjunction is at hand in this dramatic second volume of Archaia and The Jim Henson Company’s prequel graphic novels that tell the origin of the Dark Crystal. Aughra, the beloved guardian of Thra, has gone into hiding, while her son, Raunip, leads a team of emissaries to the Crystal Castle. There they will bear witness as the visiting Urskeks attempt to use the Conjunction to power their voyage home. But pain and mistrust fostered by the group leads to events that will corrupt the world to its very core and transform the Urskeks into two distinct races: the gentle urRu and the terrifying Skeksis. Brian Froud, legendary fantasy artist and conceptual designer of Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal film, returns to oversee this crucial chapter that reveals the tragic events that caused the Bright Crystal to darken and shatter. This book also includes an Afterword written by David Odell, never-before-seen production stills from the film, and a Brian Froud concept sketch gallery!

The Dark Crystal is a movie I remember from my childhood, a movie that scared the crap out of me. But, other than the fact I was a bit terrified of the film and it’s amazing visuals, that’s about it.

This second volume continues the “origin” story continuing to introduce us to this world and the events that lead up to the world of the film. It again made me want to re-watch the film.

If you’re a fan of the film and world, this is an absolute buy like the first volume. It’s a great point to get kids interested in the world and reading and has a nice factor of nostalgia for those of us who remember this from our childhoods.

Story: Joshua Dysart Art: Alex Sheikman and Lizzy John
Story: 7.25 Art: 7.25 Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Read

Cyborg 009

Cyborg_009_GN_CoverAwakening in a futurist military installation with no memory of who he is or how he got there, a young man known only as Cyborg 009 has been stripped by his captors of not only his freedom but also his humanity. His body augmented by cybernetic technology, Cyborg 009 joins forces with 8 other men and women, Cyborg 001-008, and sets off on a journey to learn the truth of why they were turned into weapons of mass destruction, and to prevent a conflict that could very well be the start of World War III.

I didn’t know a whole lot about the series until recently. After reading this graphic novel, I want to go back and find out what I missed! This graphic novel continues on from the zero issues Archaia teased us with in may.

The story is solid full of excitement, never a dull moment at all. This is going full throttle with an interesting mix of characters and moments that is beyond entertaining. It’s everything I want in a story and more!

Then there’s the art, which is amazing. There’s an updated look to these classic characters, an East meets West manga style that’s just beautiful to look at. The use of panels, the flow, everything is spot on and had me lingering checking out each page.

That art is enhanced with a beautiful presentation. Archaia is known for that but the cover has an acetate dust jacket and layered cover art revealing the inner workings of the cyborg in peel-away layers! That alone will catch folks’ eyes and become a topic of conversation.

I’m hoping this is just the first of a long line of releases. The first volume has me hooked and wanting more…. now!

Story: F.J. Desanto and Bradley Cramp Art: Marcus To
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Rubicon

Rubicon-GN-CoverFive paramilitary Navy SEAL operators defend the residents of a remote mountain farming village in Afghanistan from attacks by marauding Taliban. Led by the war-weary Hector, the operators and villagers form mutual bonds of honor and respect leading up to a climactic battle where the “Lions of Panjshir” are desperately outnumbered.

Written by Mark Long from an idea by Christopher McQuarrie and story by Dan Capel, Rubicon is basically Seven Samurai set in Afghanistan.

The story is straightforward and not all that complicated. The characters are cookie cutter and what I’d expect from this type of tale. What really drew me in was the interaction between all of those characters. It gives a bit of an insight into the mindset of them all and a glimpse of what mentally goes into being a Navy SEAL.

This tale is about brotherhood and honor and doing what’s right no matter the odds. It doesn’t go into the political hotbed that is the war in Afghanistan and how it’s being fought, instead it’s focus is the men that are fighting it.

There’s also an interesting twist in that it brings us into the tactics that might be deployed in this sort of battle. It’s fascinating to me to see what might be done and how things would be handled. The fact this was put together by military men makes it even more interesting.

The art by Mario Stilla is solid and fits the grizzled feel of the story. It’s a cool look that almost has a bit of an anime vibe about it.

The graphic novel also Includes an envelope of printed artifacts from inside the story world, expanding the narrative experience, again showing off the excellence in packaging Archaia is known for.

Rubicon is a fantastic read for anyone that enjoys a good war story or fans of the classic movie Seven Samurai.

Story: Mark Long Art: Mario Stilla
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Archaia provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

Review: Cyborg 009 #000

Cyborg 009 Chapter 000 CoverAn epic re-imagining of Shotaro Ishinomori’s manga classic Cyborg 009, Cyborg 009: Chapter 000 is a specially priced sneak peek at the Archaia original graphic novel coming this summer. When a young man known only by the numerical designation “009” discovers his body has been cybernetically augmented and “improved” against his will, he must break free from the clutches of The Black Ghost, a secret society hell-bent on turning humans into cybernetic weapons of mass destruction for sale to the highest bidder.

I don’t know a whole lot about this series (or manga in general) but after talking to writer F.J. DeSanto at last year’s San Diego Comic Con, it was hard to not walk away excited about this project.

This steal of a book is a tease of what we can expect this summer when the full graphic novel is released. At just $1, the comic is packed with a solid story, an interview and some great pin-up art. It’s the best deal on the stands this week (other than those free comics this weekend).

The story is solid full of excitement, never a dull moment at all. We basically get the action scene before the opening credits of a movie. It’s engaging and fast paced. It sucked me in, I wanted more!

Then there’s the art, which is amazing. There’s an updated look to these classic characters, an East meets West manga style that’s just beautiful to look at. The use of panels, the flow, everything is spot on and had me lingering checking out each page.

The worst part is, we have to wait until July to get the full graphic novel. This is that fun and entertaining, I want to read it now! I might not know much about Cyborg 009, but this has me wanting to check out the classics that I’ve missed.

Even if the story and art weren’t so cool, I’d still recommend the book, it’s just $1, there’s no excuse to not get it. But luckily, we get one of the most entertaining comics of the week, for one of the lowest prices. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up.

 

Story: F.J. DeSanto and Bradley Cramp Art: Marcus To and Ian Herring
Story: 8.75 Art: 9 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Archaia provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Cyborg 009: Chapter 000

CYBORG 009: CHAPTER 000

One-Shot
Retail Price:
$1.00
Page Count: 24 pages
Format: Staple bound, 6.625” x 10.25”, full color
Genre: Superhero
On-sale Date: May 1, 2013
Written by F.J. DeSanto and Bradley Cramp
Illustrated by Marcus To and Ian Herring
Cover by Marcus To and Ian Herring
Rating: E – EVERYONE (all ages, may contain minimal violence)

An epic re-imagining of Shotaro Ishinomori’s manga classic Cyborg 009, Cyborg 009: Chapter 000 is a specially priced sneak peek at the Archaia original graphic novel coming this summer. When a young man known only by the numerical designation “009” discovers his body has been cybernetically augmented and “improved” against his will, he must break free from the clutches of The Black Ghost, a secret society hell-bent on turning humans into cybernetic weapons of mass destruction for sale to the highest bidder. Written by F.J. DeSanto (The Spirit, Insurgent) and Bradley Cramp (Gattaca, Lord of War), and stunningly illustrated by Marcus To (Batwing, Huntress, Red Robin) and Ian Herring (Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand), Archaia and Ishimori Productions are proud to present this incredible new take on one of the most famous manga titles of all time!

Cyborg 009 Chapter 000 Cover

Archaia’s Adventures in WonderCon!

Archaia will be at WonderCon Anaheim, taking place March 29-31, 2013 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California!

Many of these Archaia creators will be on hand to sign copies of their books or promotional items at the Archaia booth (#609), including:

Chris Northrop (writer: the upcoming The Reason for Dragons)
F.J. DeSanto (writer: Immortals: Gods and Heroes, the upcoming Cyborg 009)
Heather Nuhfer (writer: Fraggle Rock)
John Chandler (writer/artist: The Skrumps)
Khang Le (creator and story: HAWKEN: GENESIS)
Moro Rogers (writer/artist: City in the Desert)
Paul Morrissey (writer: Fraggle Rock)
R.J. Ryan (writer: Syndrome, the upcoming The Joyners in 3D)
Sam Humphries (writer: Fraggle Rock)
Saurav Mohapatra (writer: Mumbai Confidential)
Tom Pinchuk (writer: Hybrid Bastards!)

Fans who visit the booth will get sneak peeks of “look books” of several forthcoming Archaia titles in production, including Cyborg 009, The Reason for Dragons, and The Joyners in 3D.

In addition, a limited number of advance copies of Mumbai Confidential will be available for author Saurav Mohapatra to sign!

Promotions going on at the Archaia booth include:

  • Using FourSquare, fans have a chance to win a Henson/Archaia graphic novel prize pack containing copies of Fraggle Rock Vol. 1, Fraggle Rock Vol. 2: Tails and Tales, The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths Vol. 1, and The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths Vol. 2. Just be sure to check in at the Archaia booth through the FourSquare app on your iOS or Android phone once you’re at the show and you’re automatically entered! Winners will be contacted to receive their prize.
  • Using Instagram, fans have a chance to win an all-ages prize pack containing copies of Mouse Guard Vol. 1: Fall 1152, Rust Vol. 1, and Cursed Pirate Girl. Take creative photos of the Archaia booth at WonderCon (#609), upload it using the Instagram app on your iOS or Android phone, and use the hashtag #ArchaiaWC13. Archaia will choose the best photo and contact the winner to receive their prize! Photos will be posted on the Archaia Facebook page!
  • Customers who buy a copy of the recently released HAWKEN: GENESIS graphic novel at the Archaia booth will receive a scratch-off card containing a code they can redeem for 10,000 HAWKEN Credits in the HAWKEN video game!
  • Fans who attend Archaia’s WonderCon panel (see below) will receive a coupon they can bring to the Archaia booth to receive a free copy of Archaia’s 2012 Free Comic Book Day hardcover, Mouse Guard, Labyrinth and Other Stories.

Archaia will put on an exciting, entertaining panel for aspiring comic book writers at the show:

Archaia Presents: Writing for Comics
Saturday, March 30, 11:30am – 12:30pm, Room 208AB
Writing a script for comic books and graphic novels is not unlike writing one for a film or TV show, but there are marked differences. Telling an artist to “go crazy” on a panel isn’t always the best option. What are some of the things aspiring comic book writers should know, and what are some resources they have available to them? Join a lively discussion with Archaia graphic novelists R.J. Ryan (Syndrome, The Joyners in 3D), Chris Northrop (The Reason for Dragons), Saurav Mohapatra (Mumbai Confidential, Devi), F.J. DeSanto (Immortals: Gods and Heroes, Cyborg 009), Mike Kennedy (Bleedout, Star Wars), and Tom Pinchuk (Hybrid Bastards!) as they talk about their experiences and give their advice on how you can write a really great comic script!

See you at WonderCon!

The World’s First Truly Digital Variant Cover

Archaia Entertainment has teamed up with Ishinomori Production Inc. and comiXology to deliver the first “truly digital” variant comic book cover! The cover to Cyborg 009: Chapter 000 celebrates the 75th birthday of legendary manga creator Shotaro Ishinomori, known the world over for creating Go Rangers (the precursor to Power Rangers), Cyborg 009, Kamen Rider (a.k.a. Masked Rider), Kikaider, and Skull Man.

Cyborg 009: Chapter 000 previews Archaia’s full-length hardcover graphic novel, featuring a contemporary take on Ishinomori’s classic Cyborg 009 characters. It will debut at Comic-Con International in San Diego this July. Written by F.J. DeSanto and Bradley Cramp, illustrated by Marcus To, and colored by Eisner Award Nominee Ian Herring. Cyborg 009: Chapter 000 is available today exclusively on comiXology.

Cyborg 009: Chapter 000 features the first 17 pages of the forthcoming Cyborg 009 graphic novel from Archaia, as well as the first 61 pages of the original Cyborg 009 Volume 1 manga, which, along with other works by Ishinomori, are also available for purchase on comiXology. The cover was conceptualized and brought to life by Marcus To, Ian Herring, Eisner Award-nominated designer Jon Adams, Eisner Award-winning editor Stephen Christy, and comiXology co-founder John D. Roberts.

The original Cyborg 009 manga has sold over 250,000,000 copies worldwide. A new animated movie adaptation produced by Production I.G was released this past October in Japan. We had a chance to speak to F.J. DeSanto about Cyborg 009 and got a first look found no where else!CYBORG-009-TrulyDigital-Variant

SDCC 2012 – The Scoop on Archaia’s Cyborg 009 With a First Look Found Nowhere Else

Comic book publisher Archaia had numerous announcements coming out of San Diego Comic-Con. The one that caught my eye was their bringing Cyborg 009 to western audiences in a new series guided and written by F.J. DeSanto, co-written by Bradley Cramp, and illustrated by artist Marcus To. Trevor Hairsine was originally attached to the series but had to bow out at which point Marcus came on board.

I got a chance to talk to DeSanto on the floor of the convention. Not much knowing much about the series I got some inside scoops on what to expect in the series as well as a preview you won’t find anywhere else. But first, some background.

Cyborg 009 follows nine normal humans kidnapped from around the world to become unwilling test subjects by The Black Ghost Organization, a secret society that provides weapons of mass destruction to the highest bidder. The nine victims are put through a series of extreme experiments that transform each one into a unique super-powered weapon. With the help of a compassionate project scientist, these living weapons rebel from their captors and set off on a mission to stop Black Ghost from plunging the world into a perpetual state of war.

Created in 1964, Cyborg 009 was Japan’s first and most popular super-team, quickly becoming one of the most influential manga series of all time. The original manga has been published in over 250,000,000 copies of weekly comics and comic books worldwide. Being around since 1964 puts the series as a contemporary of other popular comics like Spider-Man, the Avengers, Fantastic Four and X-Men, but unlike those books, the series remains relatively unknown to western readers.

But Desanto wants to change that by introducing the series and characters to those outside of Japan. A long time fan of the series, he decided to reach out to the rights holders, Ishimori Productions and work with them to bring the series he loved as a good to a new audience. Archaia was part of the reason we’re seeing this actually happen. Desanto explained the quality of product they produce is partially what sold Ishimori Productions and helped lead to the deal and in their eyes, it matched the quality of the original product.

With co-writer Bradley Cramp, Desanto is on a mission to figure out how to introduce the heroes to a modern audience.  Desanto explained that growing up he was a fan of manga and anime and living in New York City he was able to get copies of the comics. The “positivity” and “stressing of teamwork” is what stood out to the writer. Something he plans to keep and emphasize in the comic. Though they may be weapons of war, they’re working to do good, a theme and plot he feels resonates in today’s world, just as it did then.

With a launch in the 1960’s the series was published during the height of the Cold War, the world feared destruction at the tip of nuclear annihilation. Much like then, today we’re also presented with a sense of unease from unknown terrorists threats to the dread of an economic meltdown. Situations are similar, allowing for an easy modernization of the series and a “good franchise for today’s audience.” Much like Marvel did with their relaunch of Iron Man, DeSanto plans to keep the feel of the original, but update the surroundings of the series without losing it’s core spirit.

The plan is to have the new series ready to launch for San Diego Comic-Con 2013 as well as bring the original work to the digital realm on comiXology.

DeSanto hopes today’s modern audience will dig the series and is making sure that fans of the original will enjoy the winks, nods and Easter eggs he’s included throughout it.

A new 3D CGI animated theatrical feature film, 009 RE:CYBORG, produced by Production I.G, will be released in Japan this October. DeSanto is currently attached to produce a live-action feature film version of the property.

Hairsine original sketches:

Marcus To Design:

Old Team Vs. New Team:

Original series art:

 

SDCC 2012 – New Cyborg 009 Graphic Novel From Archaia

Archaia has announced a partnership with Ishimori Production Inc. to produce CYBORG 009, a modern adaptation of the classic manga series created by the legendary Shotaro Ishinomori. This deluxe hardcover graphic novel will feature the classic characters and origin story from the original series, re-imagined for a new worldwide audience. The new edition will be written by F.J. DeSanto and Bradley Cramp, and illustrated by artist Marcus To.

The story follows nine normal humans kidnapped from around the world to become unwilling test subjects by The Black Ghost Organization, a secret society that provides weapons of mass destruction to the highest bidder. The nine victims are put through a series of extreme experiments that transform each one into a unique super-powered weapon. With the help of a compassionate project scientist, these living weapons rebel from their captors and set off on a mission to stop Black Ghost from plunging the world into a perpetual state of war.

Created in 1964, CYBORG 009 was Japan’s first and most popular super-team, quickly becoming one of the most influential manga series of all time. The original manga has been published in over 250,000,000 copies of weekly comics and comic books worldwide.

The original graphic novel will debut both digitally and in print in 2013 as part of an ongoing campaign of CYBORG 009 offerings being produced by Ishimori Productions around the world. A new 3D CGI animated theatrical feature film, 009 RE:CYBORG, produced by Production I.G, will be released in Japan this October. DeSanto is currently attached to produce a live-action feature film version of the property.

Preview – Immortals: Gods and Heroes

IMMORTALS: GODS AND HEROES
Original Graphic Novel Hardcover

Retail Price: $19.95 U.S.
Page Count: 112 pages
Format: hardcover with dust jacket, 6.625” x 10.25”, full color
Pub date: Oct. 12, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1-936393-32-9

Written by Brian Clevinger, F.J. DeSanto, David Gallaher, Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, Jock, Ron Marz, Jim McCann, Ben McCool, Jeff Parker and Paul Tobin
Illustrated by Dennis Calero, Kevin Colden, Steve Ellis, Trevor Hairsine, Scott Hampton, Phil Hester, Jock, Rafael Kayanan, Patrick Scherberger and Ben Templesmith
Cover by David Mack

Spinning from the upcoming epic 3-D film Immortals from visionary director Tarsem Singh (The Fall, The Cell) and starring Mickey Rourke and Henry Cavill comes Immortals: Gods and Heroes, a stunning hardcover featuring ALL-NEW tales of Greek myths as you’ve never seen them before! Featuring incredible untold tales by Brian Clevinger (Atomic Robo), Dennis Calero (X-Men Noir), Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti (Jonah Hex), Jock (Detective Comics, The Losers), Ben McCool (Captain America, Memoir), Ron Marz (Witchblade, Green Lantern), Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night) and more!

Mature Readers (series contains Adult Content, Nudity and Graphic Violence)

Recent Entries »