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Preview: Knock Em Dead #1


Writer: Eliot Rahal 
Artist: Mattia Monaco 
Colorist: Matt Milla 
Letterer: Taylor Esposito 
Cover: Andy Clarke with Jose Villarrubia 
Incentive Cover: TBD
$4.99 / 32 pages / Color / On Sale DECEMBER 2  

Sometimes you kill. Sometimes you get killed. But no matter what, everyone dies the first time they go on stage.  

Pryor Brice has always wanted to be funny. And now, he’s taken the plunge and started doing stand-up comedy. Unfortunately, his older sister – Ronan – wants her brother to stop daydreaming and focus on his future.  

Pryor is determined to succeed…the only problem is: He totally sucks at stand-up. That is…until an accident changes everything, leading both Pryor and Ronan to discover comedy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

KNOCK ‘EM DEAD is a supernatural horror about comedy, brought to you by writer Eliot Rahal (MIDNIGHT VISTA, HOT LUNCH SPECIAL) and artist Mattia Monaco. 

Knock Em Dead #1

Review: Black Widow #4

Black Widow #4

Black Widow #4 continues what is a hell of a series. Each issue has built on the last to deliver an action-packed thriller whose twists, turns, and actions entertain. We get a better sense as to what has gone on as Black Widow’s memory comes back and she does what she does best, kick ass.

Writer Kelly Thompson just ups everything and delivers the outlandish story in a way that works. We now know where Natasha’s kid came from and a better sense of her husband. We also are delivered a real connection between them all upping the stakes of everything.

Thompson also makes sure to keep things fun. Whether it’s Clint and Bucky’s back and forth or the villains realizing how screwed they are, there’s some laughs keeping the overall tone light. This is an action packed story with a smile and a wink.

It also has a hell of a style. Elena Casagrande and Carlos Gómez split the art duties between the past and present. Jordie Bellaire and Federcio Blee split the color in the same way. There’s clearly a lot of coordination and work being down between the teams as sequences mirror each other in some ways. The use of panels really emphasizes the flow of the action. There’s also a solid amount of detail when it comes to faces and body language to really make the emotions pop. The colors too really differentiate between the two time periods of the comic.

Black Widow #4 continues what is a fantastic series. It really brings a lot of fun and action. Each issue delivers laughs and cool moments. This is one of the best debuts for the character in years. If you’ve missed out, it’s not too late to catch up and see the quality you’ve been missing.

Story: Kelly Thompson Art: Elena Casagrande, Carlos Gómez
Color: Jordie Bellaire, Federico Blee Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Review: The Union #1

The Union #1

I read The Union #1 before King in Black #1 which actually helped the experience in some ways. Focused on a new team bringing together heroes from around the United Kingdom, the story is an introduction as it dives directly into an event tie-in.

Written by Paul Grist, The Union #1 is both good and bad. As far as an introduction to the team and their goal, there’s things that work. The issue revolves a lot around the team being introduced to the nation as an example of its unity. The use of the media and morning television smells of a realism and interesting aspect. The team is being introduced to the nation as well as to the reader. But, it also shows that the team is as much as public relations move as it is one of national security. It forces the reader to question why members have been chosen and if it’s due to their abilities or because they fit some aspect the PR team deemed important.

There’s a lot there to build off of as it shows some cracks already in the team and you wonder how it’ll play to the actual reality Britain and the region is going through. That’s touched upon but not really enough. That’s part of the bad of the issue as well. It touches upon reality and uses it to some extent but it mostly is just a line or two instead of a real discussion.

What really works is the tie-in to King in Black. The team is unaware as to what’s going to happen and if read before the main event issue (also out this week) it acts as a greater surprise to the reader. Like them, we’re surprised at the event unfolding before them and us. Reading the two issues in the reverse order, that surprise and sense of “what the hell” is lost. We the reader are no longer surprised, we have knowledge the comic characters don’t.

The art by Grist and Andrea Di Vito is pretty good. There’s a nice focus on the characters and their interactions that emphasizes the team dynamics. It doesn’t go over the top with the action but still delivers some solid designs and use of panels. Drew Geraci, Le Beau Underwood, and Grist provide the ink while Nolan Woodard handle colors. As the story progresses and the attack begins the art and color shift a bit to better show off the darkness coming. It never fully falls into darkness though and sticks to its lighter visuals.

The Union #1 is a rare debut tie-in that works really well. The issue plays off the attack quite well while building up an interesting dynamic for the team. The building blocks are here for what could potentially be a very entertaining story. It’s just a question to see what it does with the seeds its sown.

Story: Paul Grist Art: Andrea Di Vito, Paul Grist
Ink: Drew Geraci, Le Beau Underwood, Paul Grist Color: Nolan Woodard Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Review: Red Atlantis #2

It’s election day and individuals have decided to attack each other for unknown reasons. Was it an attack by a foreign country? Was it something else? Red Atlantis #2 reveals some of the mystery while opening up so many more questions.

Story: Stephanie Phillips
Art: Robert Carey
Color: Rosh
Letterer: Troy Peteri

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

Zeus Comics

AfterShock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Review: M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games #1

M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games #1

M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games #1 had me rolling with laughter. Multiple times. The debut is kinetic, mad, insane, and completely hilarious.

Written by Jordan Blum and Patton Oswalt, the comic has M.O.D.O.K. suffering from visions of a family and life he doesn’t know. All the while, M.O.D.O.K. must also deal with other members of A.I.M. who are having issues with his distractions and wants him decommissioned.

Oswalt and Blum are the duo behind the upcoming Hulu series Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. which takes a similar concept of M.O.D.O.K. with a family. If the comic is any indication, that show will be amazing.

What M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games #1 delivers is laughs as he boasts and schemes in his over the top way. The situations are over the top absurd. The comic delivers kinetic energy where everything is exaggerated and to an extreme. A simple battle is done in such a way that it’s hard to not laugh at how over the top everything is. Every situation and detail are laid out in such a way that things are an extreme. While M.O.D.O.K. is being chastized for his failure, he’s also manipulating an over the top plan to raise money for A.I.M. It’s a Rube Goldberg type plan taking 20 steps instead of 4. It’s that sort of thing that helps deliver the laughs.

Scott Hepburn handles the art with Carlos Lopez on color and Travis Lanham on lettering. M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games #1 is great to look at with blasts and character designs and movements that match the tone of the writing. Everything is to an extreme. It’s not 5 bad guys, it’s 50. It’s not one or two weapons, it’s two dozen. There’s always been a bit of a joke when it comes to M.O.D.O.K. and his design and the team nails it with the look of the comic.

M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games #1 is just funny. It’s hard to not get to the end and smile and want more. It’s a comic that doesn’t take itself seriously and instead takes a goofy concept and villain and works with it. This is a comedy and knows it’s a comedy taking what we love about superhero comics and upping it to 11.

Story: Jordan Blum, Patton Oswalt Art: Scott Hepburn
Color: Carlos Lopez Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Review: Kill a Man

Kill a Man

I’ve been a fan of MMA for quite some time. While my enthusiasm has waned in recent years, I still enjoy turning on the tv and catching the occasional fight. The sport, much like comics, has had a rocky relationship with the “outside” world. Both have been seen as juvenile and corrupting at various times. Both have also been accepted to become drivers in entertainment (ironically, also dominated by a few brands). Kill a Man is the latest comic to bring the world of MMA to the page. Unlike previous attempts, the focus isn’t so much about the punches and grappling but the fighters themselves. It delivers depth in character we haven’t really seen up to this point.

Written by Steve Orlando and Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Kill a Man takes us through a new generation of fighter, James Bellyi, impacted by the in-ring death of his father. James is also gay and not out. In a world of machismo, sexuality is still a touchy subject and when James is outed, his world is turned upside down.

Orlando and Johnson deliver the takedowns and knee kicks but they also focus on James’ journey of being outed and the rejection it brings. Bellyi’s father was killed in the ring as payback for homophobic slurs directed at his opponent. James himself is deeply repressed. He has hidden his sexuality from those closest to him. That’s partially due to the world of MMA that he has trained for his entire life. It’s also due to the homophobic views of his mother who blames a “gay man” for killing her husband.

The two creators have delivered a fantastic graphic novel. As the story progresses they make sure to add layers to James’ character. We get a brutal tale in both the fighting but also James’ world. As his upbringing is revealed, we’re given hints as to why he’s hidden his sexuality beyond what happened to his father.

Orlando and Kennedy don’t dive too much into the foreign language of holds and moves of the MMA world. There is more than enough for those who enjoy the matchups. There’s enough detail and focus on moves or even how to fighters compare that there’s an authenticity to it. It’s still accessible for that are not familiar or lacking depth. I don’t need to know what an armbar is. I might understand taking someone to the ground. That’s a difference between being for a wide audience and the MMA diehards.

The art by Al Morgan and lettering by Jim Campbell are fantastic. There’s a gritty dirtiness to it all that fits James’ brutal life. It’s not just the fighting, it’s his upbringing and the world around him. There’s the punch but there’s also the sex which is more carnal than about connection. That aspect of James’ life delivers visuals that make it feel as cold as the fights in the ring about the physical dance than a connection otherwise. There’s a rawness in the fighting and in James’ personal life that the visuals emphasize.

Kill a Man is amazing with aspects of what I liked about the flow of films like Rocky or Creed. Yes, there’s some formula to it but there’s a focus on James as a person that’s missing from so many other stories. It’s a graphic novel with honesty and truthfulness about James’ experience you don’t see too often. There’s a rawness to it all both in and out of the ring with emotion flowing through it all.

Story: Steve Orlando, Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art: Al Morgan Letterer: Jim Campbell

Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

AfterShock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Review: Knock Em Dead #1

Knock Em Dead #1

When it comes to comic writers, Eliot Rahal often delivers some of the funniest comics on the market. His style often acts as an homage and a send-up to the genre he writes about. So, it’d seem natural for Rahal to take on the world of stand-up comedy in his new series. Knock Em Dead #1 might seem like it’s “all laughs” but it’s so much more as it progresses.

Knock Em Dead #1 follows Pryor Brice a young man who has the want to be a stand-up comedian. The comic takes us through his beginning stumbles as he attempts to make a career out of it.

Rahal does a fantastic job of giving us a character we can relate to. Whether this is something you want to do, we’ve all had that moment where we really wanted to do something. Some of us succeeded. Some of us failed. There’s those who were in between. But, it’s an experience we’ve had in our lives. We can have sympathy and empathy for Pryor as he stumbles. Boy does he stumble. But he tries over and over. It’s someone we can cheer for in a way.

But, Rahal also gives us some depth to the character. We get to meet Brice’s sister. We find out about his parents. In one issue we get a good sense of who he is and what he’s gone through. He’s a “person” by the issue’s end. And, he’s a person we can feel sorry for in his consistently being beaten down. He’s the sad sack we can root for.

Rahal also allows us to connect with Brice by leaving the jokes in an unknown space. With letterer Taylor Esposito, the jokes are hidden through squiggles or imagery. It allows the reader to put in what they think the humor is. It allows us to fill in the blank with our own humor and in that way can both ignore a specific joke that would turn us off but hooks the reader who puts themselves in Brice’s shoes. By having the reader “make the joke” they become Brice in a way furthering the hook of the comic.

Mattia Monaco‘s art is fantastic. There’s a style to it all that’s both grounded and exaggerated. When Brice bombs, that’s what we see as the audience blows up before his, and our eyes. Along with the color of Matt Mailia, we get not just Brice the comedian but jokes in a way too. The experience on the stage becomes a highly visual one between Esposito’s lettering and Monaco and Mailia’s art. We get a full sense of Brice’s failure and eventual slight success through all of the visuals, not in the dialogue. The audience reaction. The body language. It’s key to delivering the mood and lows (and some highs) of the stand-up experience.

Knock Em Dead #1 sets things up for what’s to come. It focuses on its main character to set him up before knocking him down. The second issue will be a shift from this and it’ll be interesting to see where it all goes but as a start, this is a comedy career I want to see explored and where it goes.

Story: Eliot Rahal Art: Mattia Monaco
Color: Matt Mailia Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Story: 8.35 Art: 8.35 Overall: 8.35 Recommendation: Buy

AfterShock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Review: King in Black #1

King in Black #1

Marvel’s next event kicks off with King in Black #1, the culmination of years of build-up and teases throughout the Marvel Universe. This even sees Knull, the “god of the symbiotes” attack Earth with the heroes having to make a stand before he brings complete darkness to Earth and all of existence.

Marvel has had numerous events over the recent years and while many have had their moments, for the most part these events have fallen flat. They may start off with a bang but generally fizzle. King in Black #1 definitely launches with a hell of a start. It’s a disaster film in comic form. The heroes must scramble on a grand scale while the comic also focuses in on the micro scale as well.

Writer Donny Cates nails the opening with a little something for everyone. The heroes get their stand. There’s great moments like the X-Men swooping in. But, it’s the focus on Eddie Brock and his son that delivers heart for the series.

Eddie, also known as Venom, is directly tied to Knull and Cates has been building to this event through that series for years at this point. Cates has evolved Brock from the popular anti-hero to a father with concerns for his son. We see that here as he attempts to seek shelter and protect his kid. It’s a human detail that adds so much to this beginning. King in Black #1 could easily have just been battle after battle. But, this small part adds something we can relate to as parents and children. It adds a human aspect to the larger than life event and grounds it in some ways. It also allows us to connect and really care as to what happens.

Joining Cates is artist Ryan Stegman who has worked with Cates through so much of his Venom run. Stegman’s style is very much his with imagery that pops and comes off as larger than life. It’s a look I personally love and here it works so well with such grand-scale moments. Stegman’s style has a certain exaggeration and it helps emphasize the larger than life moments. Stegman is joined by JP Mayer on ink, Frank Martin on color, and Clayton Cowles with lettering. The art could easily fall into a space that’s too dark but despite the black and red, it never gets to a point it feels like a dirge. There’s still something that jumps from the page despite the “dark” nature of it all.

King in Black #1 kicks things off with jaw-dropping moments and unexpected twists. But, it’s the heart of it all where things succeed. Eddie Brock brings a touch to the story that we can all relate to. And, more importantly, he brings a character we can empathize with and feel sorry for. He’s likely sacrificing himself to save the world and his kid and knows it. Yet, he goes through with it. King in Black #1 is the shift of Eddie Brock from anti-hero to true hero willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good. It’s the start of an event but also the next step for the character that Cates and Stegman have been adding depth to for years.

Darkness might reign but King in Black #1 shines.

Story: Donny Cates Art: Ryan Stegman
Ink: JP Mayer Color: Frank Martin Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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GlobalComix Expands to Help Creators Crowdfund

GlobalComix Crowdfinder

2020 has been an interesting year for the comic community. While there has been impact, it has also forced innovation across the board.

GlobalComix is a digital comics platform that has not only delivered a “shop” for creators but also been trying to do new things. It recently launched a new funding model that benefits creators and today they’ve announced their next release, GlobalComix Crowdfinder.

GlobalComix Crowdfinder is a suite of tools to help creators and empower their crowdfunding campaigns. It not only helps deliver deigital perks and rewards but also a way to find new backers.

The platform features:

  • Increases Discoverability – Allows readers to find comics actively being crowdfunded and have a successful crowdfunding history.
  • Interactive Crowdfunding Previews – Comics can be previewed including tracking clickthroughs.
  • Campaign Backer Rewards – You can deliver digital rewards to backers with gift-codes and promos from single comics to all of a creator’s titles. This can be for a limited time or forever.

With the announcement of this new addition to GlobalComix, we got a chance to talk to its CEO Christopher Carter about GlobalComix, it’s new tools, and where it’s going.

GlobalComix Crowdfinder

Graphic Policy: Before we get to the announcement, let’s take a few steps back. Walk us through the GlobalComix platform and how it’s different from other digital platforms.

Christopher Carter (GlobalComix CEO): Unlike other platforms that serve up traditional comics, GlobalComix is a web first comics platform that natively integrates great mobile reading experiences and that offers up the full power of user acquisition metrics and analytics.

Our focus first and foremost has not been just “how can people sell comics online”, but more specifically “how can we provide the tools that comic owners need to be successful digitally”. This means that everything from the onboarding and upload process through to the reading experience has been carefully crafted and designed to create a delightful experience end-to-end.

GP: How do you see digital comics fitting into the comic landscape?

CC: I don’t think of those two things as separate concepts, really. Digital comics is one venue for readers to consume and enjoy stories. The biggest differences from print are that digital is not geographically challenged or restricted, and that the potential reach is much greater than what can reasonably be provided to the stores that make comics available physically.

In my mind, what digital uniquely offers up is the ability to really broaden one’s perspective and amount of stories that one reads and enjoys. Printed comics will always have a place among collectors and fans, but it is likely not the medium that will reach that broader audience beyond the niche interested.

Digital bridges that gap nicely by combining a lower barrier to entry and ease of access and much lower prices (no supply chain, physical inventory and infrastructure) with a medium in which readers can very easily share recommendations with friends and like minded folks.

GP: Digital comics have been around for quite some time and generally hit a ceiling these last few years with a recent push for them. What’s the feedback that you get from publishers and creators concerning them?

CC: I think the biggest concern folks have is the chicken-and-egg dilemma, in that historically, digital revenue for creators and publishers has been much lower than what they expected, and thus, they don’t put much (if at all) effort into building a proper digital strategy and community around their content. E.g. “why should we bother?”.

But I think that is a flawed way of thinking, because it’s not that there aren’t readers willing to pay to read stories out there, it’s that the strategy for finding and engaging with them is inherently different.

Between lack of sophistication in tooling and marketing/community building efforts, there’s a lot of education that I think the traditional comics market can learn from both other digital mediums, but also from digital native webcomic creators who understand what it means to build a following online.

GP: COVID has sped up the focus on direct to consumer marketing throughout many industries but especially comics. How does GlobalComix help with that?

CC: I think it’s first important to understand what “direct to consumer” actually means, because as mentioned, that has inherently different implications for digital as opposed to physical products. That said, on the digital side of things, GlobalComix was designed from the ground up to be both a suite of tools as well as a community building platform where brands and creators alike could not just publish comics, but also build a following, easily share their stories, and most importantly, accurately measure the impact of their marketing efforts.

Marketing without results data means you are almost constantly shooting in the dark, and that’s why we’re uniquely offering up (anonymized/aggregate) data and analytics information to every single creator and publisher on our platform.

With GlobalComix, it’s fully possible to know exactly how many people read your story from a digital advertisement on FB/Google/Etc, how many people clicked through from your email newsletter, or how many people engaged came from your blog/social/etc posts and shares. Not only that, but we also provide granular in-depth analysis of how readers consume each book, ranging from drop-off rates on a per-page basis to time spent engaging with each page.

GlobalComix Crowdfinder

GP: The big announcement is that you’ve integrated crowdfunding promotion and discovery into the platform. Where did the idea come from?

CC: For us, adding these features was a natural extension of our mission and vision, which is to help comic creators be successful. In the past 5 years, there’s been an ever growing amount of creators who are bootstrapping and financing their work through crowdfunding. What I think has been missing there is the focus on discovery from a reader’s perspective.

Since GlobalComix inherently focuses on giving creators tools to share their comics digitally with readers in a format that makes it easy and joyful to consume, simply embracing that creators might want to use our platform as the basis for their crowdfunding previews just made sense.

Further, by linking our discovery mechanism with filters for comic crowdfunding campaigns, we’re providing readers with a centralized location to discover new and awesome comics that they might want to back.

GP: How does crowdfunding integrate and what platforms does it work with?

CC: It’s fairly straightforward actually – as the admin of comics you have access to the backend configuration for each title. We created an interface where creators can list out their crowdfunding campaigns and some details like start and stop date, funding goals, and a link to their campaign page. The system works with any and all crowdfunding platforms.

With this information entered into our system, we’re able to contextually serve up notices and banners for readers on comic pages, creator pages, and in our reader.

On the campaign side of things, because GlobalComix is a web platform, it is extremely easy for creators to embed links and CTAs on their campaign pages where readers can read their previews directly. And since we also already offer creators tools to create promo & gift codes for access to their work, they can easily integrate this offering into their backer rewards — be it for digital access to the book being crowdfunded, or even more broader access to a creator’s other or older work. It’s up to them!

GP: What type of tools have you added to allow creators to interact with their supporters?

CC: All creators on GlobalComix get their own creator profile page, where supporters can follow them and receive updates whenever the creator publishes new content. And like Twitter/Facebook/etc, creators have the option to post status updates and posts that go into a reader’s home feed on GlobalComix. Followers can also comment on status posts and comic releases, which become publicly visible and are displayed in all the relevant locations you would expect to see.

Beyond the follow/feed/comment functionality, creators can directly communicate with their followers in 1:1 or group private conversations. We even offer up advanced options for creators to turn on discussion forums for each of their comic titles, allowing their fans a sandbox environment to discuss and engage with each other, the creator, and more.

The coolest thing about all of this, though, is that every single tooling we’ve built also has an analytics and metrics component to it. This means that during the community building journey, creators can get actionable insights into how the community is growing, where they’re coming from, and what their fans are doing to engage with them on GlobalComix.

GP: The use of data is still in its infancy in the comic industry, is that something you’re focused on?

CC: Very much so. In fact, some of the things that we really want to help comic creators and publishers answer are “how many people actually read my book”, “where are those people located”, and “how did they find out about our stories”.

But it goes beyond that. On the sales side, the print side of the industry – knowing actual sales numbers beyond what was picked up as inventory (and potentially returned) is virtually non-existent and guesstimates at best.

I truly believe that with a proper digital solution in place for getting numbers and data around these metrics, even direct to consumer marketing for print comics directly stands to benefit. Not only from identifying geo-clusters in the US, but also as market research for localization, international print distribution deals, and other merchandise. But let’s not forget animation deals – those are much easier to secure if one knows that there’s an established, growing and engaged audience out there hungry for more.

Let’s face it – I think that for the comics industry to truly succeed and expand, it needs to increase its sophistication, and business choices need to be based on actual data so that educated decisions that result in a high success rate can be made.

GlobalComix Crowdfinder

GP: Do you see the industry ever get to a full 360-degree view of their customers and readers?

CC: I think that depends on how one defines 360-degree view. Certainly it’s possible to get close to that, however, until some of the legacy parts of the industry and value-chains upgrade their data and reporting, it’s going to be hard to get 100% coverage.

But I think to get there, there needs to be a shift from a pure “if we make it, they will come, hopefully…” approach to one that marries celebration of creativity and innovation in stories with data-driven approaches to marketing, distribution, and supply-chain.

And on the production and sales side, I think that with innovation in printer technology and quality, an on-demand supply-chain might be established that can really live into that approach. Josh Blaylock over at Devil’s Due often talks about this, and I find myself very much agreeing with a lot of the perspectives he has and shares.

GP: What’s the feedback from all of these tools? The industry has been hesitant to embrace technology and data in the years I’ve been talking to individuals and publishers.

CC: I think it ranges from outright excitement and enthusiasm to confusion about “how do I even…”. There are groups of folks that have come into the comics industry, perhaps from other digital media, who are fully aware of the tooling and potential offered up to creators, and there are folks who come at this from the perspective of “I don’t really know digital, but I guess I’m supposed to be here, so I’ll upload our stuff and see”.

In some of the cases, it’s a bit like giving an UZI to a cat in terms of tooling/firepower, and expecting them to know what to do with it effectively. So that’s where we’ve started our approach to education – because I think only if we all collectively acknowledge there’s learning to be had can change happen.

I recommend creators start checking out our education program with editorial content and regular webinars and video tutorials to help catch up and understand.

GP: Any hints as to what might be next?

CC: One of the things I’m always very hesitant about doing is giving explicit timelines and roadmaps for things that are not 100% cemented, however, we’ve got both some reasonable and some lofty goals.

On the platform side of things, you can expect to see a general level of polish and improvement across the board of the tooling that we already offer. I feel like we’ve hit a great broad stroke with GlobalComix, so the next steps are not to just add more, but to button up, polish, and improve/expand what we already offer.

On the reader side of things, that means adding native mobile applications that further improve on the experience and capabilities we offer, and on the creator side of things I think it’s geared around increasing ease of use, education, onboarding, and ecosystem support for all the efforts that creators and publishers do for their fans.

GP: Thanks for chatting and excited to see what’s next.

Review: Batman #104

Batman #104

Mixing Batman with Saw sounds like an awesome concept. Batman #104 dances around diving into that combination as Batman, Harley Quinn, and Clownhunter have been captured by Ghost-Maker. The first story arc after “The Joker War” continues to stumble as the series fails to excite.

Batman #104 has the group capture by Ghost-Maker bouncing between that and Nightwing and Oracle discussing Bruce’s history with Ghost-Maker. Writer James Tynion IV dips his toes in what could be a very interesting concept and direction. Ghost-Maker forcing Batman to make a tough decision with Clownhunter and Harley Quin while trapped within a room. But, the issue focuses mostly on Bruce’s past with the mysterious Ghost-Maker. By the end, we have learned only a little more than we knew before.

Almost half of the comic is dedicated to the past of Bruce and the anti-hero, about six times as is needed. We already knew they trained together, so adding in a little more is fine but much of the issue sets up the relationship between the two to once again emphasize that Bruce/Batman cares. The focus feels like filler to some extent presenting a sequence extended far more than it needs to be.

Where things would get interesting is presenting Batman with an actual dilemma, one where he needs to make a difficult choice. We get that tease in what looks like the set of Saw. Pitting Batman, Clownhunter, and Harley Quinn together in the situation really emphasizes Ghost-Maker’s point. And while the basics are there, it never really gets to the interesting aspects. That’s teased for the next issue.

Things aren’t helped with the art on the issue which is inconsistent. Ryan Benjamin, Danny Miki, Bengal, and Guillem March all contribute to the issue and it’s noticeable that there’s so many hands in it. There’s a dip in details from segment to segment and at times page to page that’s distracting. While DC has gotten away with multiple artists where things aren’t an issue, Batman #104 features such a variation that it’s jarring at times. Not even the art can really save the issue.

Much like much of the Ghost-Maker arc so far, Batman #104 continues a story which has potential but never quite nails the interesting meat of it. The issues feel like a build-up to what will be a packed final issue that really lays things out. This seems to be Tynion’s pattern with his multiple arcs so far. The initial issues lay out some interesting concepts, dances around them, and the final issue lays out the theme and “conclusion” of the arc. It creates for issues where things don’t feel satisfying and as a reader we’re left with potential with little payoff.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Ryan Benjamin, Danny Miki, Bengal, Guillem March
Color: David Baron Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation:

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a Free copy for review

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