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Preview: Proctor Valley Road #5 (of 5)

Proctor Valley Road #5 (of 5)

(W) Alex Child, Grant Morrison (A/CA) Naomi Franquiz
In Shops: Jul 21, 2021
SRP: $3.99

Will the girls be able to reform their shattered friendship with the fate of their entire town at stake?

They’ll need to band together in order to stop the ultimate evil behind the haunting of Proctor Valley Road… especially if they still want to make it to the Janis Joplin concert.

Proctor Valley Road #5 (of 5)

Review: Superman and the Authority #1

Superman and the Authority #1

Imagine a world where the Justice League failed in their mission to bring about modern Camelot on Earth, either the King Arthur one or the John F. Kennedy New Frontier one. Both fell any way. Writer Grant Morrison, artist Mikel Janin, and colorist Jordie Bellaire explore this avenue plus an ailing Superman in the first issue of their new miniseries Superman and the Authority. This comic is the perfect distillation of Otto Binder and that other British comic book writer with a beard who was a sex pest. Opening with an earnest chat between Superman and JFK and concluding with a gin-swilling British anti-hero vomiting on (a representation of) the world, Superman and the Authority brings together Silver Age and the Dark Age, but the decent Vertigo/Wildstorm stuff, not Lobdell and Nicieza on the X-Books.

Grant Morrison hits this sweet spot by focusing Superman and the Authority #1 by focusing on two characters, Superman and Manchester Black setting up the thesis for the series before the inevitable recruiting drive in next month issue’s. They bring in plenty of bells of whistles with their script, including edgy dialogue and vomit noises for Black and Silver Age deep cuts for Superman. (Kryptonian Thought-Beasts are so cool, which might be the only thing that Geoff Johns and I ever agree on.) However, what truly brings these two disparate worlds and characters together is the visuals of Janin and Bellaire. Mikel Janin’s clean line style with slight Ben-Day dot expertly conveys the nostalgia of the 1960s (Which happens to be the decade Morrison grew up in.), and his film strip layout of astronauts and Superman leaping on the moon along with JFK and Jacqueline Kennedy waving to passerbys captures an era of youth and optimism.

But this all broken up by distorted line-work from Janin and reds and blacks from Bellaire than come in any time characters are stressed and in trouble throughout Superman and the Authority from Manchester Black taking gunfire in a flurry of grid panels to Superman basically taking a life and death gambit with Phantom Zone prisoners to persuade Black to join his team. For this extended sequence, Janin works from odd angles and emphasizes the agony of a slowly depowering Superman, who can’t fly any more aka the opposite of the smiling Silver Age hero, who could breathe in space and turn a lump of coal into diamond with his bare hands. Again, there are lots of reds and repetition of the word “Die” like it’s a Misfits song or something until Manchester Black reluctantly decides to be a hero, and Jordie Bellaire pours on a bit of telekinetic blue because telepathy doesn’t work on drones. In the spirit of Hitman #34, Superman’s true power isn’t heat vision, X-Ray vision, or flight, but the ability to provide hope and inspire even the most gin-sodden anti-hero.

Speaking of hope, some fans and critics were definitely a little bit taken aback by Superman leading The Authority, a team that in past incarnations had no problem killing and doing other various terrible things in the spirit of proactive superheroing. However, Grant Morrison does a good job of making a case for a collaboration between Superman and them without shying away from action, a bit of mystery (Aka shadowy figures talking about kryptonite), and some big ideas. Even though Superman and the Authority opens with JFK and Superman smiling and laying the foundation for both the Justice League and the moon landing, the rest of the book focuses on the Man of Steel’s vulnerability. For example, instead of flying to Manchester Black’s rescue from helicopter sniper gunfire tearing across the pages, he leaps over a building in a single bound (A la New 52/Golden Age Superman), and Mikel Janin abandons his usual clean style for hazy, black lines. Morrison’s dialogue also alludes to this weakness like lines about Superman hovering over the ground for short periods as a kind of “exercise”.

It’s a far cry from a smiling figure flying into the sun, and it’s why Superman has recruited anti-heroes like Manchester to replace his lost powers and strike from the shadows and the margins because trying to change the world from out in the open leads to the assassination of JFK or MLK or RFK, who are all alluded to in Superman and the Authority #1 along with traditional Superman comic book opponents Intergang, Darkseid, and Doomsday. These baddies’ names evoke corruption, pure evil, and the ultimate defeat as Doomsday was solely created to kill Superman. (And boost sales!) They could definitely kick the current Superman’s ass as evidenced by his struggles with some drones from the Phantom Zone, which is where the new incarnation of the Authority comes in. Superman shows Black a literal Round Table when making his sales pitch, but Manchester Black’s vomiting and the overt mention of anti-heroes in Grant Morrison’s dialogue show that this team is going to be the polar opposite of their JLA.

Superman and the Authority #1 finds a balance of hope and cynicism through the characters of real time aged Superman and Manchester Black. Grant Morrison, Mikel Janin, and Jordie Bellaire give Black a true arc in this issue as evidenced by inset panels showing him walk away from the Fortress of Solitude and eventually slowly turning back to help him. Although Morrison makes cracks at traditional superheroes like the X-Men and JLA, their writing comes across as healthy skepticism more so than grimdark for the sake of grimdark. This is what Superman and the Authority the natural next step in their take on superhero team books as it captures the spirit of an age where racism, inequality, and senseless suffering continue with an added bonus of a climate crisis despite the social reforms of the 1960s.

To sum it all up, Superman and the Authority #1 is about the failure of the supposed Age of Aquarius as Morrison, Janin, and Bellaire turn from smiling, well-hewn Superman to a half-naked Manchester Black surrounded by detritus and targeted by the mooks of American imperialism. But there’s always hope even the more commercially successful superhero team failed in their mission to make the world a better place.

Story: Grant Morrison Art: Mikel Janin
Colors: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Steve Wands
Story: 8.8 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.1 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Superman and the Authority #1

Superman and the Authority #1

Written by: Grant Morrison
Art by: Mikel Janin

Sometimes even Superman finds a task almost impossible. Sometimes even the Last Son of Krypton needs to enlist help. Some tasks require methods and heroes that don’t scream “Justice League.” So Clark Kent, the Metropolis Marvel, seeks out Manchester Black, the most dastardly of rogues, to form an all-new Authority tasked with taking care of some business on the sly. Not only will Black know the right candidates for the team, but if Superman can make him behave himself and act in service of the greater good, then he’ll prove literally anyone can be a hero! They’ll have to move quickly, however, as the Ultra-Humanite forms his own team to take out the Man of Steel.

This new limited series helps launch an all-new Superman status quo, setting up story elements that reverberate across both Action Comics and Superman: Son of Kal-El in the months to come. And not only is Superman putting together a superstar team, but it takes superstars to tell the tale: Grant Morrison (The Green Lantern, All-Star Superman) and Mikel Janín (Batman, Future State: Superman: Worlds of War)!

Superman and the Authority #1

Friendships Shattered in Your First Look at the Finale of Proctor Valley Road

BOOM! Studios has revealed a first look at Proctor Valley Road #5, the final issue of the star-studded horror limited series from visionary writer Grant Morrison, Alex Child, Naomi Franquiz, colorist Tamra Bonvillain and letterer Jim Campbell about the mysterious monsters that haunt Proctor Valley Road – and the four misfit teenagers who must stop them. Proctor Valley Road #5 is available on July 21, 2021.

Will the girls be able to reform their shattered friendship with the fate of their entire town at stake? They’ll need to band together in order to stop the ultimate evil behind the haunting of Proctor Valley Road… especially if they still want to make it to the Janis Joplin concert.

Proctor Valley Road #5 features main cover art by Franquiz, along with variant covers from superstars Chris Wildgoose, Christian Ward, and Eduardo Risso.

Proctor Valley Road #5

Preview: Proctor Valley Road #4 (of 5)

Proctor Valley Road #4 (of 5)

(W) Alex Child, Grant Morrison (A/CA) Naomi Franquiz
In Shops: Jun 09, 2021
SRP: $3.99

Plagued by day terrors and visions of a drenched woman, the girls search for answers about Proctor Valley Road at another haunted spot, the abandoned Haven Bakery.

Their inquiries into the spirit world will lead them to the local tribal reservation, but not before Rylee and August’s feelings for the same boy threaten to tear the group apart…

Proctor Valley Road #4 (of 5)

Z2 Comics and Anthrax’s Among the Living is Out in July

Since the first announcement of the upcoming graphic novel inspired by the titans of thrash metal’s landmark 1987 album, the project has remained one of the most anticipated releases of the year. It’s been announced that the Among the Living graphic novel will be released in stores everywhere on July 6! In an effort to support the comic book specialty market, which had been hardest by the COVID-19 health crisis of the past year, Anthrax and Z2 shipped a surprise limited number of copies early, with stores able to put out for sale this week!

The project pulls together a who’s who of names from around comics and music for a track-by-track storyline inspired by one of heavy metal’s most iconic albums with all four members of the classic Anthrax lineup contributing!

An anthology narrated by longtime mascot “The Not Man” newly designed by Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead) and written by Jimmy Palmiotti (Harley Quinn, Blondie: Against the Odds) and illustrated by classic Aliens artist Nelson; Among the Living unites bandmembers Joey BelladonnaFrank BelloCharlie Benante, and Scott Ian, with writers, artists, and other rock legends in a tribute to their landmark 1987 album, featuring covers by JG JonesEric Powell, and a preorder variant from Charlie Benante. Additional interior art and chapter breaks by SawbladeBrian Ewing, and Josh Bernstein.

Scott Ian will contribute an original story inspired by the fan favorite anthem “I Am the Law,” featuring the legendary comic book antihero Judge Dredd, in partnership with 2000 AD. This will make official the decades long connection between the character and the band, rewarding comic book fans and metalheads alike, and features art by longtime Dredd artist Chris Weston.

The full lineup can be found below:
1- Among the Living 
Writer: Brian Posehn
Artist: Scott Koblish and Alladin Collar

2- Caught in a Mosh 
Writer: Gerard and Mikey Way
Artist: Darick RobertsonPhillip Sevy and Alladin Collar

3- I Am the Law (featuring Judge Dredd)
Writer: Scott Ian
Artist: Chris Weston and Alladin Collar

4- Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
Writer: Rick Remender and Joe Trohman
Artist: Roland Boschi and Dan Brown

5- A Skeleton in the Closet 
Writer: Corey Taylor
Artist: Maan House

6- Indians 
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Freddie Williams II and Andrew Dalhouse

7- One World  
Writer: Frank Bello
Artist: Andy Belanger and Tatto Caballero

8- A.D.I./Horror of It All
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Dave Johnson

9- Imitation of Life
Writer: Rob Zombie
Artist: Erik Rodriguez and Steve Chanks

Underrated: The Bill Schelly Reader

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet-pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: The Bill Schelly Reader.


I’ve never been shy about my interest in comic book history, and it was when I was searching for some new books to scratch the itch, I came across The Bill Schelly Reader, a book by Bill Schelly that collects some of his finest prose work on the early history of comics and fandom.

Borrowing the text from the back of the book, because that’ll give you a better synopsis than anything I’ll write:

Bill Schelly has been writing about comics and fandom since 1965. In over 50 years one can do a lot of writing, and The Bill Schelly Reader includes some of the author’s best work on subjects ranging from the golden age of comic fandom to James Bond.

Schelly takes us back to the very beginnings of comic fandom with such articles as:

  • “Batmania”: a short history of the early 1960s fanzine (the first fanzine Bill Schelly ever read) credited for a resurgence of interest in Batman comics during a time of dwindling sales
  • “The First Comicons”: a retrospective on the first conventions organized by comics fans, from the Alley Tally Party to larger events in major cities like New York and Chicago
  • “It Started on Yancy Street”: an issue-by-issue look at the first fanzine devoted entirely to Marvel Comics, and why an unwelcome decision by Marvel led to its demise

In addition, book includes articles about the Silver Age Batman, Hawkman by Joe Kubert, the James Bond books by Ian Fleming, and an interview with the author. With dozens of vintage photos and images!

I’d never knowingly read one of Schelly’s essays before, though that’s mostly because I never got much of an opportunity to read Alter Ego where a lot of his essays were published. Over the course of The Bill Schelly Reader, Schelly dives into the early stages of comic fandom in the 1960’s, exploring the emergence of fanzines and the very first conventions. His essays are deep and incredibly interesting for those of us who want to learn more. A lot of the information that Schelly presents, while by no means the definitive history, paints enough of a picture so that you grasp what those days were like for fans. Remember this was long before any websites or even widely published magazine like Wizard, and so fanzines often had circulation numbers running at less than a thousand issues – and were put together by folks who also had other jobs (not unlike a lot of comics websites, but we don’t need to worry about publishing, printing and distribution of our content).

The essays run an average of ten pages or so each with a lot of additional images that add flavour to the text, and it’s amazing how much info Schelly crams into each one. There’s the odd moment where I found my interest waning, but for the most part the book held my attention from cover to cover (though I’d only read an essay or two a night).

If you’re at all curious about the early days of comic fandom, then I’d highly suggest you take a look at this book. Schelly’s literary work often goes out of print (well, as far as I know from my fifteen minutes of research, anyway), and then inevitably the prices spike. Grab this one if you’re at all interested.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

BOOM!’s Proctor Valley Road #3 Gets a Second Printing

BOOM! Studios has announced that Proctor Valley Road #3, the latest issue of the star-studded new horror limited series from writers Grant Morrison and Alex Child, artist Naomi Franquiz, colorist Tamra Bonvillain, and letterer Jim Campbell, has sold out at the distributor level!

In response to the overwhelming support from retailers and fans, BOOM! Studios has announced Proctor Valley Road #3 Second Printing, featuring cover art by series artist Naomi Franquiz, which will be available in stores on June 23, 2021.

The girls are supposed to stay out of trouble…and away from the haunted stretch of Proctor Valley Road. But a stolen police car leads to the return of the Proctor Valley Bull and more danger than anyone could imagine…

PROCTOR VALLEY ROAD #3 SECOND PRINTING

Your First Look at Proctor Valley Road #4

BOOM! Studios has revealed a first look at Proctor Valley Road #4, the next issue of the star-studded new horror limited series from visionary writer Grant Morrison, Alex Child, Naomi Franquiz, colorist Tamra Bonvillain and letterer Jim Campbell about the mysterious monsters that haunt Proctor Valley Road – and the four misfit teenagers who must stop them. Proctor Valley Road #4, developed in partnership with USG Graphic, is available on June 9, 2021.

Plagued by day terrors and visions of a drenched woman, the girls search for answers about Proctor Valley Road at another haunted spot, the abandoned Haven Bakery. Their inquiries into the spirit world will lead them to the local tribal reservation, but not before Rylee and August’s feelings for the same boy threaten to tear the group apart… 

Proctor Valley Road #4 features main cover art by Franquiz, along with variant covers from superstars Chris Wildgoose, Christian Ward, and Frany.

Proctor Valley Road #4

Underrated: X-Men: Assault On Weapon Plus

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet-pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: X-Men: Assault On Weapon Plus


I’ve been collecting X-Men comics for the last year and a half, and while I’ve been focusing mainly on the Uncanny X-Men, I’ve also been picking up issues of X-Men (and later New X-Men), which is how I stumbled across Assault On Weapon Plus. The four issue arc originally appeared in New X-Men #142-145, and was written by Grant Morrison, penciled by Chris Bachalo, inked by Tim Townsend, coloured by Chris Chuckry and lettered by Chris Eliopoulos. The story has been collected in the last two decades, but I’ve no idea how hard those collections are, and given the price and availability of the single issues right now, it’s easy enough to pick up the floppies.

The plot picks up after Emma Frost has been shot, shattered and reassembled (though the only relevance to of that to this story is to explain why Cyclops is drowning his sorrows because Jean caught him in a psychic affair and this is sounding more like a soap opera than I thought it would). There’s a little more to it, but the recap in #142 will catch you up for what is effectively a Wolverine, Cyclops and Fantomex story. Wolverine frequently reminds Cyclops, and by extension the audience, that this isn’t an X-Men mission.

It may seem strange that I’ highlighting a Grant Morrison story, but of the man’s often incredible body of work, this four-parter isn’t one that you hear people talking about all that often (although the run in general does get praise), and the story is more accessible than some of the writer’s other work. Assault On Weapon Plus is more of a straight shooting story about a trio of mutants trying to break into the Weapon Plus program for reasons (Fantomex wants to burn everything to the ground, Wolverine wants to know who he was and Cyclops wants to watch Logan’s back).

It’s a fun story, and definitely one that spurs you from issue to issue.

The story does end on a cliffhanger though, and while the following issues aren’t expensive either, there’d probably be a bit of an annoyance if you only picked up the four issues then you’d be left a touch stranded at the end of New X-Men #145. Ultimately though, this story is so much more than it seems on the surface, as with any Grant Morrison story, but you can’t just read the four issues and stop because there’s no conclusion to the story – although it’s not a bad thing to want to keep reading into the five issue Planet X, which I’ll be doing now.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

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