Tag Archives: featured

Review: Secret Weapons #3

SW_003_COVER-A_ALLEN“Class is in session, and Amanda McKee – the machine-wielding hero codenamed Livewire – is here to show her unconventional class of recruits what it really takes to master power. And lesson number-one is…teamwork! But as these once-abandoned psiot castaways put their pain behind them to become a fully functioning unit, an even deadlier set of challenges will soon rise to meet them…”

If you haven’t read the first two issues in this four issue miniseries, and you’re thinking of starting here, don’t. I mean, you could, but why bother? Eric Heisserer has written such a compelling story that it would be a shame to start here.

Secret Weapons feels like an updated version of the X-Men, a comic that truly focuses on the trials and tribulations of a group of young misfits with some almost useless powers, only they’re not called mutants here, but psiots; one can talk to birds, one can conjure things (with no control over what he conjures) and one can turn into pure marble. Only he can’t move when he does so. The series thus far has gone from strength to strength as we’ve been introduced to the misfit central characters, had a cameo or two from the wider Valiant universe (which you don’t need to  be familiar with to enjoy the series), as well as slowly introducing the villain proper last issue.
SW_003_005This issue sees Avichal Malakar, the statue powered psiot, trying to live his life way from the others only to face hostility from the public – not because as a Sikh he wears a turban, but because he’s a psiot. Without giving too much regarding the content of the comic away, things turn from bad to worse for Avi in a reflection of some of the recent real world issues without ever slapping you in the face with the comparison. Heisserer is a newcomer to comics, but you wouldn’t think it reading this issue – it is quite simply one of the best issues I’ve read all year, and incredibly relevant.

The art, by Raul Allen with Patricia Martin (who also letters the comic), is visually arresting. Allen’s use of the grid shows a level of visual story telling that perfectly complements the writing. I am a huge fan of Allen and Martin’s work, even though I was only introduced to their art with Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior (I say “they” because I’m not quite sure where one’s contribution ends and the other begins with the art. Ultimately, when it looks this good, I’m not as worried as I should be), and to get to see them firing on all cylinders with this issue is a complete treat.

I honestly thought that the best comic I’d read all week would be Divinity #0. I am happy to say that I was wrong in thinking that. Heisserer, Allen and Martin are one issue away from giving us a multi layered story that will stand among the best of the year.

This is where I add a cliched “if you’re not reading this…” statement where I try and push you into reading Valiant comics. But honestly? You don’t need to be familiar with Valiant to appreciate just how good this is. Don’t ignore this series – it’s absolutely fantastic.

Story: Eric Heissera Art: Raul Allen with Patricia Martin
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommedation: Buy

Although Valiant provided a FREE copy to review, I read the issue I picked up from my LCS.

Exclusive Preview: Suicide Squad #24

Suicide Squad #24

Written by: Rob Williams
Art by: Agustin Padilla
Cover by: Eber Ferreira, Eddy Barrows
Variant cover by: Whilce Portacio
U.S. Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: August 23, 2017

“KILL YOUR DARLINGS” part four! This is it! The moment SUICIDE SQUAD has been building to since the start of Rebirth! International Suicide Squads descend upon metahuman populations around the world at Amanda Waller’s command! As the People’s astonishing endgame is laid bare, only the original Task Force X’s most dysfunctional members are left to save the world from their own dark imitators.

Weekly Graphic Novel Review: WWE Vol. 1 Redesign. Rebuild. Reclaim.

This Tuesday saw a release of a new trade from BOOM! Studios. We’re discussing the first volume of BOOM! Studios’ WWE comic series.

WWE Vol. 1 Redesign. Rebuild. Reclaim. collects issues #1-4 and the WWE: Then. Now. Forever. special by writer Dennis Hopeless, artist Serge Acuña, and cover artist Dan Mora.

The comic is in comic book stores and book stores today.

Get your copy now. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

WWE Vol. 1 Redesign. Rebuild. Reclaim.
Amazon or TFW

 

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies 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.

DC Weekly Graphic Novel Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 3 Quest for Hope collects issues #14-21 by Robert Venditti, Ethan Van Sciver, V Kenneth Marion, Dexter Vines, Rafael Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona.

The trade is in comic stores today August 16 and book stores August 22.

Get your copy now. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 3 Quest for Hope
Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFW

 

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies 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.

Weekly Graphic Novel Review: Sh*t My President Says

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump by Shannon Wheeler.

The comic is in comic book stories today.

Get your copy now. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump
Amazon or Kindle or comiXology or TFAW

 

 

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: The Sandman Special #1

SandmanSpecialCoverBetween the Sandman with the gas mask and gun and the Gothic, critically acclaimed one, there was the red and yellow superhero suit wearing Sandman created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in 1974. In a pair of stories, DC Comics creators both old and new show the imaginative potential of this superhero and his unwilling, monstrous assistants Brute and Glob. First, Dan Jurgens, Jon Bogdanove, and Madpencil tell a heartwarming story with a great twist ending about a young boy whose vivid dreams of monsters and superheroes threaten to break out of the dream world and into reality. Then, there is Steve Orlando, Rick Leonardi, Dan Green, and Steve Buccelato’s slightly wilder tale of the now adult Jed Walker, a supporting character in Sandman, battling his childhood nightmares with a cameo from basically the Grim Reaper. The comic is rounded out by a collection of two page “Strange Stories of the DNA Project” from Jack Kirby’s Fourth World stories.

What initially drew me to The Sandman Special was Jon Bogdanove’s uncanny ability to make his art look like Jack Kirby’s while using modern techniques like photo collages to show the surrealness of the young boy’s dream world.  I wish DC Comics put him on more projects. There is weight to Sandman’s throws and punches, and Madpencil cooks up an old school color palette straight out of the 1970s, like a smooth orange take on the classic Kirby krackle. Even though it has banter, punching, a sick team-up move from Sandman and Brute, and a tentacle monster that gets handily defeated, Jurgens and Bogdanove’s story is more metafictional than a straight up superhero adventure ending in a final panel that may make you cry.

Sandmaninterior

Through action and a couple heart rending Jurgens monologues towards the end, The Sandman Special looks at the important of embracing our fears and weaknesses through the dream monsters and then facing and defeating them as symbolized by the young boy’s superhero, who is an amalgamation of Kirby’s takes on Thor, Orion, and a little bit of Captain America. The battle between Sandman and the young boy’s nightmare monsters is also a wonderful tribute to Jack Kirby’s career where he would switch from drawing superheroes to monsters and vice versa from his first work at DC and Marvel in the early 1940s to his later work in the 1970s and 1980s. And sometimes monsters could be heroes, like the ever loving blue eyed Thing, which is why it’s nice to see Bogdanove homage Fantastic Four #1 in one of his panels and have the monster that Sandman fights talk and have feelings.

Unlike the lead story, which quickly establishes Sandman’s kooky status quo with a double page spread, Orlando, Leonardi, and Green rely on previous knowledge of the character of Jed Walker and his grandfather Ezra from Kirby’s Sandman. I vaguely remember Jed from the “Game of You” arc from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, but luckily the story kicks up a notch when Sandman, Brute, and Glob end up fighting the angel of death in cowboy form Psychopomp on train while looking for a dream about Jed’s grandfather to scare away his now adult nightmares.

Orlando doesn’t really establish Jed as a character except his constant nightmares and that he left his unwelcoming hometown and only returned for his grandfather’s funeral so the big emotional moment isn’t as powerful as it could be. But he does make a human connection to Jed’s nightmares, which are about the fact that he didn’t spend enough time with his grandfather while he was alive. On a more fun note, the banter between Sandman, Brute, and Glob keeps the story from getting too doom and gloom as they sneak and mess around with Psychopomp. Also, I liked that Dan Green used a grittier, inking style for Jed in the “real world” and his feelings of guilt and a cleaner one for Sandman and his more traditional punching and magic whistle blowing heroism. The design for Psychopomp is also a perfect bridge from Jack Kirby’s Sandman to Neil Gaiman’s.

The second story leans too much on previous reader knowledge, but Sandman Special is a fantastic tribute to the well-designed (Both Madpencil and Steve Buccelato make that red and yellow costume pop), filled to the brim with imagination Sandman of the 1970s. It also shows the literal power of dreams to craft limitless opportunities for storytelling

Story: Dan Jurgens, Steve Orlando Art: Jon Bogdanove, Rick Leonardi with Dan Green
Colors: Madpencil, Steve Buccelato

Story: 7.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Dark Nights: Metal #1

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got Dark Nights: Metal #1!

Dark Nights: Metal is by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, and FCO Plascencia.

The comic is in comic book stories today.

Get your copy now. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Dark Nights: Metal #1
Amazon or Kindle or comiXology or TFAW

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies 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: Divinity #0

DIVINITY_ZERO_COVER-A_RYP“DIVINITY, a lost Russian cosmonaut newly returned to Earth with god-like powers, has successfully restored the world to order after the reality-altering event known as the Stalinverse. But how can a man – even one with near-divine abilities – know for certain that the planet has been truly restored in full? To make sure, Divinity must bear witness to the world as it now stands – heroes, villains, gods, and all – to ensure the rightful order of the Valiant Universe!”

One of the most exciting new characters to come out of any publisher in the last few years is Valiant’s Divinity. A Russian cosmonaut, real name Abram Adams, who ended up with reality warping powers that make gods look like ants, all Divinity wants is to be left alone in peace. There have been twelve issues of Divinity released so far divided into three separate miniseries (I, II and III), with each telling a beautiful and compelling story that, for the most part stood alone in the Valiant universe up until III reimagined the world as we know it for four issues at the hands of another god like Russian cosmonaut (there were three on the initial mission).

Which brings us to Divinity #0. Written by Matt Kindt with art by Renato Guedes, the comic genuinely does provide a fantastic introduction into the Divinity story without giving too much away should you decide to pick up the collected editions if you haven’t read the previous issues, but the zero issue also provides a very interesting direction for the future, and where Kindt will be taking the story next.

Without beating around the bush, this comic is absolutely beautiful. Guedes fully painted each page, and oh boy does it pay off. I could spend three or four hundred words describing it… but why bother when I won’t do the art any justice, and Valiant have provided us with some preview images?

DIVINITY_ZERO_002See what I mean? The entire comic looks just like this, and Dave Lanphear‘s lettering brings out the very best in the art, whilst allowing Kindt’s words to flow seamlessly from the page in what has to be the finest example of a single issue comic from Valiant this year. When each page is a work of art that brings a genuinely excellent story to life you can’t ask for more from a creative team.

This is an utterly brilliant comic in every way.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Renato Guedes Letters: Dave Lanphear
Story: 9.0 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. I’ll be buying this Wednesday as well.

Shannon Wheeler Talks Sh*t My President Says

At San Diego Comic-Con there were a few releases I was super excited for. One of those was Shannon Wheeler‘s Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump which takes President Trump’s Tweets and give them a comic twist. Wheeler has drawn cartoons for the New Yorker, MAD, the Onion—he’s very, very, good, okay?

But these cartoons, plus the Tweets, it’s absolutely fantastic and a must have for anyone interested in politics and humor, or want a good laugh as the world crumbles around us.

EVERYONE is going to want this book — even the haters and losers (Sad!).

I got to talk to Shannon about the book and what he learned reading all of those Tweets.

Graphic Policy: What got you interested in even doing this? The concept alone sounds like torture.

Shannon Wheeler: I was actually going through my own cartoons trying to put together a book collection. I was sick of looking at my own art. I was complaining about it to a friend of mine. He goes “You don’t want to write your own stuff. Why don’t you just illustrate Trump’s Tweets?”

GP: You’ve gone through his entire history to figure out what to draw?

SW: Through Twitter I found a programmer who had downloaded all of them. I got them as a PDF, started reading through 30,000 Tweets. At the same time there were all these sites popping up that were archiving, a bunch that go through and organize them differently. At the same time there were all these articles about his outrageous Tweets. I’d use those as well. Whenever something would come up in his speeches or in the news and I’d Google search the keyword and his handle.

GP: Going through so much, is there anything that sticks out to you about his patterns, what he says, topics he touches upon?

SW: Yeah. A lot of people have talked about his psychological makeup. The narcisim. The pettiness. The immaturity. That’s well trodden. But, what I thought was interesting was his image of himself. He thinks of himself as a stand up guy, here’s the honorable one. What he’s doing is right. And that’s why drawing him as a child made more sense. There’s a “common sense” aspect to children, “it’s snowing outside, there must be no Global Warming.” That’s the view Trump has, that “common sense” point of view of life.

GP: The end result is Trump as kid-like. Were there other versions of him that you tried to use?

SW: Yeah, I started off trying drawing him as ugly, a large brutish man with tiny hands, and whatever. And slowly there’s a petellence, and maybe that’s the word. I probably drew a hundred different versions. Until a Tweet came a long that felt like a little kid and I felt this works.

GP: Did you always envision a book?

SW: Yeah, it was a book. First I started with can I do this. Then I thought this would be much more interesting than another collection of my stupid ideas.

GP: The one thing I immediately think of is the trolls. Is that something on your mind.

SW: I’m not really good at receiving anger and such. I fully expect there to be a backlash and people attacking me. I’m trying to prepare for that.

GP: That’s what the block button is for. In the back of the book you have a really interesting observation. FDR had radio, JFK had tv, and Trump has Twitter. Do you think this is his tv and radio?

SW: I supposed so. I don’t know how people reacted at the time, but I’m sure both said radio and tv was crazy and the worst thing ever. It’s similar. It’s Trump getting himself out there and exposing himself in an unfiltered way. It’s part of his appeal, a reaction against a super guarded persona, warts and all.

GP: FDR’s chats were clearly scripted, JFK was a natural on tv. This is probably the most unfiltered we’ve ever seen a President, really any politician.

SW: Yeah, but that might be an act too, which I thought about. It could also be a thing he uses for distractions as he passes his agenda. I feel like I’m adding to the distraction, I feel a little guilty at times.

GP: He’s the perfect example of politics as entertainment and you’re doing entertainment diving into politics. Do you see him as the ultimate blending of those two things together?

SW: That’s interesting. Those two things have been blending for a long time. I think, so far. Every generation probably says that. He’s made reality television and taken that to politics. Nobody knows where it’s going to go.

GP: I don’t know if you get the sense but it feels like he’s putting on a show. He’s taking the heel concept of wrestling and as long as he gets the big pop, that’s all that matters.

SW: He does think he’s the hero and he’s putting forward the sense that fake media, the polls were fake obviously, these things that validate everyone is a liar. It’s you and me against the crazy world. He also likes the attention too. It’s a layered thing.

GP: With the number of Tweets that are in the book, how much is sitting on the table not in there?

SW: There were 30,000 Tweets and a couple hundred in there. When people cite 30,000, most of them are “buy my book” or “I’ll be talking here.” I think it’s close to 5,000 Tweets. I wanted it to be relevant, so there’s stuff about Russia and his Tweets about wanting to be Putin’s friend. Those are the one’s I pulled. As new events happen, Sessions become more relevant. I pulled one.

GP: As far as what’s in the book, how’d you choose what to include?

SW: I wanted there to be a story arc with a beginning, middle, and an end. So I’m picking them to create a narrative. We probably left about a hundred on the floor. Lots more to do.

GP: You’ll be busy… two to eight years?

SW: Hopefully not.

GP: During the Mueller hearing he was threatening to live Tweet. Then you said you were going to live sketch. When he didn’t Tweet what was going through your mind.

SW: At first I thought “oh crap this is embarrasing and really stupid.” Then I thought somebody hid his phone. So I did that as a cartoon and a series of cartoons as to where’s Trump’s phone. It’s under the couch, in a tree, an FBI agent has it.

GP: At one point did it click to do that?

SW: About 15 minutes.

GP: With the live Tweeting, I’d think most of these have multiple takes. How’d it work with the live aspect, one and done?

SW: Yup, from the hip. A lot of times I’ll do sketches and I’ll put them up on Twitter and Facebook and later rework them into something later. In a lot of ways I’ve become unfiltered, there might be a misspelling or bad drawing, I just put it up and move on to the next one.

GP: I’d think there’d be a point where you’re having fun but at the same time think this shouldn’t be happening.

SW: Yeah, there’s a point I think it’s so stupid and I’m laughing and it slowly becomes awe crap. This is real. We can make fun of this guy for being stupid or petty or mean or vulgar or thin skin, all these things or he’s stealing money from the country. A lot of the things he criticized Hillary or Obama, I think it was jealously. When he saw them, he thought I should be doing those things. The Tweets are relevant in that sense.

GP: Was there anything that was too mean and you don’t want to touch it?

SW: We pulled one Rosie O’Donnell one in there. There was one were I thought it was a really cheap shot, it was his fragrance, everyone built an empire. I thought of him sweating and I had him on a toilet. It was a cheap shot, but I’m not above being stupid.

GP: Is there anything that’s shocked you about this?

SW: What’s shocked me is that its kind of become normal. Where I’m not shocked anymore. The one thing that has shocked me is that I can’t tell parody anymore. I read something and there like “look at this shocking Tweet” and I think “oh my god” and I think it’s parody and he really said it and I think it’s parody and he really said it. That’s weird to me.

GP: I’ve asked this to a few folks in your line of work. Things are so absurd now, does that make your life more difficult?

SW: I don’t know. What I like is the social satire and looking at myself and asking what are the hypocrises I’m living, diving in myself. That doesn’t really change. I liked The Simpsons where they had Homer buying triple chocolate and when they did it, it was such an exaggeration it was ridiculous. Now we have this as a flavor.

GP: The Simpsons had Donald Trump as President.

SW: Right.

GP: When you see what should be parody in real life, what do you think when you see that?

SW: One of the jokes I made during the Bill Clinton scandal, in the future politicians would use the scandal to their advantage. They’d sell the sex tape to fund their campaign. I’m still able to be a bit more extreme than what’s happening.

GP: Has there been any reactions to the book that has surprised you?

SW: How enthusiastic people have been. I thought there’d be some enthusiasm and a lot of people would be mad at me. We did a panel at San Diego Comic-Con and it was standing room only. They were turning people away. That kind of shocks me. There’s a hunger for this kind of pushback. It gives me some hope.

GP: You’ve already done an addendum. Will there be a book two?

SW: I hope not. I hope we look back and ask “what’s a Tweet?” where you have to explain what it is. I like to do universal and lingering. I hope this is here today and gone tomorrow, like a pet rock. It’s been piling up and there’s enough for a second book already.

GP: Thanks so much for chatting!

 

Demo-Graphics: Comic Fandom on Facebook – European Edition

Each month I run demographic data of comic “fans” based on data mined from Facebook. Due to popular demand, I have split out and launched a “European edition” that runs on the 15th of every month!

This data is compiled using key terms, “likes,” users have as part of their profiles. Primarily terms are focused on generic ones such as “comics” or “graphic novels” or publishers. I stay away from specific characters, creators or series, because this does not indicate they are a comic book fan. Over 100 terms are used for this report.

This data is important in that it shows who the potential comic audience could be. This is not purchasers, these are people who have shown an affinity for comics and are potential purchasers and those with an interest.

Also, with this being online/technology, due to laws and restrictions, those under the age of 13 are likely underrepresented. Europe also has some other data restrictions that will be discussed below.

Facebook Population: Over 9,000,000 in Europe

That number decreases (1 million) since last month. That’s still 7 million more individuals compared to what I reported for the United States in the beginning of the month. Worldwide, there’s an estimated 239,542,206 individuals interested in comics.

Gender and Age

In July women accounted for 45.00% while men accounted for 52.50%. This month things shifted a bunch. Men now account for 51.28% and women 46.15%.

Things have shifted a bunch when it comes to age as you can see as you move right. We’ll have to wait a month to see if this was a glitch or a new shift.

Relationship Status

The latter half of the data wasn’t returned so that’s left blank. It’s unknown if these terms are being abandoned and we’ll have a better idea next month.

Education

Like the relationship status, education too had some issues, so we’ll have to see if this was just a glitch in the next report.

Gender Interest

And here’s where data privacy differs. In some European nations this information can’t be reported which means either removing those countries or just not reporting on this. I chose the latter for now.

And come back next month for a new look at the data and the first comparison of just Europe!

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