Tag Archives: graphic novel

Preview: Spiral-Bound


Aaron Renier (w & a & c)

With an ensemble cast straight from a box of Animal Crackers, this delightful tale of ambition, morality, and self-discovery is an all-ages classic. Drawn in a decidedly beautiful fashion, reminiscent of Richard Scarry and Lewis Trondheim, Aaron Renier gives us a fully-realized and compellingly adventurous narrative, at once both achingly naive and profoundly worldly. This tightly crafted, graphic novel is the real deal, and will charm your socks off.

TPB • B&W • $14.95 • 184 pages • 9.75” x 7.5”  • ISBN: 978-1-89183-050-1


Preview: From Hell HC

From Hell HC

Alan Moore (w) • Eddie Campbell (a & c)

Two of the greatest creators in the history of comics. Eleven unsolved murders. One sprawling conspiracy, one metropolis on the brink of the twentieth century, and one bloody-minded Ripper ushering London into the modern age of terror. From Hell, often ranked among the greatest graphic novels of all time, is now available in a handsome hardcover edition, with a brand new cover.

HC • B&W • $39.99 • 560 pages • 7.625” x 10”  • ISBN: 978-1-60309-397-2


Review: Prison Island: A Graphic Memoir

prison-islandMcNeil Island in Washington state was the home of the last prison island in the United States, accessible only by air or sea. It was also home to about fifty families, including Colleen Frake’s. Her parents—like nearly everyone else on the island—both worked in the prison, where her father was the prison’s captain and her mother worked in security. In this engaging graphic memoir, a Xeric and Ignatz Award-winning comics artist, Colleen Frakes, tells the story of a typical girl growing up in atypical circumstances.

Prison Island: A Graphic Memoir is a fun, somewhat quirky, graphic novel recounting Frakes’ rather unique life. Within the first ten pages I found myself laughing at this oddly endearing take on what it’s like to not just live on a prison island, but also to have prison staff as your parents.

The humor of the graphic novel is partially due to what should be simple tasks that are far from it. Escaped inmates, trying to get pizza delivered to an island, just living on the island period, it all creates a very intriguing life that is beyond interesting to find out more about.

The narrative of the graphic novel revolves around returning to the island for an event and touring for nostalgia with her family. The direction of this storytelling helps us learn even more about Frakes’ childhood, through her family interaction. The combination of flashbacks with the present day tour creates an understanding of a lot of Frakes’ experiences. It enriches the experience by giving the characters even more depth and moves the story away from simply being a series of quirky stories.

Frakes art is fantastic giving just enough detail to make the art something you linger over for details, but also it has a fun sense about it that enhances to vibe of the overall graphic novel.

This is a fantastic graphic memoir that brings us into a world none of us will ever experience. Full of humor, this is one to get and one of the most entertaining graphic novels I’ve read in some time.

Story: Colleen Frakes Art: Colleen Frakes
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Shame Trilogy

shametrilogycoverThe Shame hardcover collects all three parts of writer Lovern Kindzierski (Tarzan), artist John Bolton (Books of Magic), and letterer Todd Klein’s (Sandman) fantasy saga featuring archetypical characters such as Virtue, Shame, and Slur. It is a beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy story (Apologies to Mr. West.) and a true showcase of Bolton’s talents as a watercolor artist even if its gender politics are of an older age with plenty of gratuitous ass shots and creating kind of a virgin/whore dichotomy between Shame, who enjoys sex, and Virtue, who is innocent and “pure”. The three graphic novels  tell a tale as old as time about the battle between light and darkness with a messed up family dynamic caught in between. Think Electra complex as Shame transforms her mother Virtue from a happy nun into the receptacle of her demon spawn child.

Even if I didn’t really connect with the characters in the Shame trilogy, the world that Kindzierski and Bolton have created is quite captivating as they combine elements of Grimm Fairy tales, old Red Sonja comics, Heavy Metal Magazine, and C.S. Lewis/George MacDonald type allegories to craft a unique world of beautiful nymphs, creepy rhyming shadows, and constantly perturbed peasant population. Bolton is skilled at showing both the beautiful and the grotesque as the nymphs that Virtue sends to protect her daughter Shame from her evil father Slur and his minions have a celestial, Pre-Raphaelite vibe with spring colors following through their bodies. But eventually, as Shame begins to grow into her evil birthright, they become twisted like Slur and his minions. The first volume “Conceptions'” color palette also gets progressively darker and sexier as Shame seduces an Incubus to get human semen and have her mother Virtue reborn as a child so she can imprison her like Virtue did to her as a child. Again, the family dynamics of this comic are quite messed up.

When Bolton goes grotesque, it is quite a treat. His design and Todd Klein’s lettering for Slur and the Shadows forshameinterior are reminiscent of the work of The Maxx‘s Sam Kieth as well as that artist’s early horror-tinged work on The Sandman. Kindzierski adds to the eeriness of these creatures by giving the Shadows rhyming dialogue recasting this fairy tale trope in a horror setting. Bolton makes them silhouettes, which contrasts greatly with the photorealism of his figures and the richness of his background setting whether it be the woods or a ruined castle. They twist and bend and are easily his most sequential work. Their and Slur’s pliable shape show that they are willing to do whatever it takes to rule the entire world through violent and manipulative means as their effect on Shame, Virtue, and the world around them can be felt stronger during each volume of the story.

Kindzierski and Bolton excel at beginning each volume with a strong, distinct start without piling up unnecessary exposition to explain the time gaps between each one. Sometimes, a simple costume change will suffice as Merritt, the “Chosen One”/white knight character, looking more like Louis XVI in the zenith of his decadence instead of Sir Lancelot or even Westley from Princess Bride. Or they can plunge the readers into an immersive action sequence like the start of “Pursuit” where Virtue, who is now a young woman dressed as a hybrid of Red Sonja and Leela from The Fifth Element is on the run from Shame’s goons. There is a lot of leaping and dynamism in Bolton’s art as she evades monsters and finds shelter. She represents rugged survival in the face of great evil while Shame is pure decadence in her dominatrix threads.

Except Virtue doesn’t end up saving the day. In Shame‘s third volume “Redemption”, Kindzierski and Bolton fall into the old cliches of a male chosen one character saving the day even if he has been portrayed as a naive nincompoop up to this point. Merritt makes Frodo Baggins or First Year Harry Potter look like Seal Time Six as he decides to lose his armor and warhorse before wandering into some mysterious thorns. He also completely falls for the fact that Shame says she’s oppressed by her father Slur when she’s actually in cahoots with him. In “Pursuit” and “Redemption”, it seems like Kindzierski is deconstructing these cheerful hobbit type heroes that save the day for some reason or another and will let the ultimate survivor/magical badass Virtue. Except she gets the weird pregnancy/magic light plotline while Merritt freaks out about blood and gets to wield the magic sword. Bolton excels at showing Merritt’s struggles and his doughy body compared to the beautiful forms of Shame and Virtue, but the character is heroic just for the sake of the plot and really has annoying personality and zero street or any kind of smarts. And somehow he gets to be the big damn hero.

Iffy gender politics and fantasy cliches aside, the Shame trilogy is the pinnacle of painted comics storytelling as writer Lovern Kindzierski sets artist John Bolton loose on this fantasy/horror/fairy tale landscape and uses a variety of water color and brush techniques to depict everything from beautiful women and fashionable, sexy outfits to sinister eldritch beings and creepy castles. The comic is a true testament to his captivating imagination, and the ending teases a new character with loads of potential.

Story: Lovern Kindzierski Art: John Bolton Letters: Todd Klein
Story: 6 Art: 10 Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Renegade Arts Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Squalor


Story: Stefan Petrucha
Art: Tom Sutton
Color: Paul Mounts
Cover: Jeffrey K. Potter
Release Date: Early November
Pages: 120 pages, full color
Price: $19.99
Diamond Previews, order #SEP161507

Coming in November, Caliber Comics will be releasing the first collection of the cult classic favorite comic, Squalor originally seen from First Comics.

Squalor tells the tale of Harry Keller, a genius with a double doctorate working as a library clerk who discovers A-Time.  In A-Time, the past, present and future merge together into a new existence.  Not another dimension or a parallel world but our own neighborhood bereft of linear time. Harry’s shattered consciousness leads him into a new perception of time, one that isn’t merely a reflection of our world but one that every action he takes has an effect.

Like explorers such as Christopher Columbus before him, Harry learns that his discovered new world can be a dangerous place.  And like Columbus, Harry Keller thinks he’s the first, but he is wrong.

The Bram Stoker nominated Petrucha, who would later become recognized in the comic world for his X-Files series and Nancy Drew graphic novels, is also known for his novels from Penguin, Harper-Collins, and Deadpool from Marvel Comics. The late Tom Sutton was best known for his art on Marvel’s Planet of the Apes as well as their supernatural characters and at Warren Magazine as one of the first artists on Vampirella.  He recently has had some of his work released in the collection Tom Sutton’s Creepy Things.


Preview: Adventure Time: President Bubblegum OGN TP

Adventure Time: President Bubblegum OGN TP

Publisher: KaBOOM!, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer: Josh Trujillo
Artist: Phil Murphy
Cover Artist: Scott Maynard
Price: $14.99

The King of Ooo approaches the Candy Castle and proclaims that he has discovered the long-lost ConstitOootion. When Candy Law Professor verifies the authenticity of the document, which states in one week there will be an election for Ooo’s first President, Princess Bubblegum will have to race against her enemies…and frenemies, to ensure her spot on the throne!


Preview: Richard Matheson: Master of Terror Graphic Novel Collection

Richard Matheson: Master of Terror Graphic Novel Collection

Ted Adams, Chris Ryall, Steve Niles, Ian Edginton (w) • Mark Torres, Rafa Garres, Elman Brown, Simon Fraser (a) • Sam Shearon (c)

Four of Richard Matheson’s classic tales of terror are collected in this graphic novel collection: I Am Legend (Steve Niles with Elman Brown), Hell House (Ian Edginton with Simon Frasier), Duel (Chris Ryall with Rara Garres), and The Shrinking Man (Ted Adams with Mark Torres). Matheson’s classics come to vivid life in these inspired comic book adaptations.

TPB • PC • $49.99 • 572 pages • ISBN: 978-1-63140-708-6


This Month’s Comic Bento Theme, “As Seen on TV,” and a Back to School Sale

Comic Bento is a mystery box geared towards comic fans delivering graphic novels and trade paperbacks in themed boxes each month. This month’s theme is “As Seen on TV.” Guesses as to what’s inside?

comic-bento-as-seen-on-tvAlso, Comic Bento for the first time ever is running a back to school sale with 20% to 30% off!

comic-bento-back-to-schoolSubscribe today!





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IDW’s Newest ‘It’s Alive!’ Imprint Pushes Forward with Reprints and More

Following two successful Kickstarter campaigns, and the release of several limited edition art prints, signed by Sam Glanzman, It’s Alive! has hit the ground running with plenty more on the horizon.

Red Range by Joe R. Lansdale and Sam Glanzman, the debut title to be published under the It’s Alive! imprint, raised almost $20K ($5K more than the Kickstarter goal paving the way for the stretch goal of a hardcover), and is currently in production with the addition of new colors. Estudio Haus’ colors are breathing new life into Glanzman’s Red Range pencils and inks, originally completed nearly two decades ago.

red-range-1 red-range-2

dopeDope by Trina Robbins, which raised over $12K ($2K over the Kickstarter goal, again making the stretch goal of a hardcover possible), concluded its Kickstarter less than a month ago, and will be seeing the light of day in early 2017!

It’s Alive! has also begun to release very limited edition 12 x 17 art prints, signed by Sam Glanzman and embossed with his initials. Having nearly sold out, there will be more prints coming soon from Glanzman and other creators to meet the demand.

Available prints can be found HERE.

VIZ Announces a New Edition of Super Mario Adventures

supermarioadventuresVIZ Media is bringing us the return of Super Mario Adventures as the long out-of-print graphic novel receives an October 11th release.

Fans in New York can join in the celebration by attending the Launch Party at Nintendo NY, located in Rockefeller Center on Friday, October 7th from 6PM – 8PM. The festivities will kick off with themed cupcakes for attendees, a photo-op with Mario and Luigi, an autograph and Q & A session with VIP guests from VIZ Media and more! Attendees who purchase a copy of Super Mario Adventures at the event will receive an exclusive poster as a gift with purchase, while supplies last.

Presented in full color and inspired by the bestselling Nintendo video game franchise, Super Mario Adventures is a riotous and wacky tale featuring beloved characters Mario and Luigi (and Yoshi!), with a story by Kentaro Takekuma and artwork by Charlie Nozawa. The comics originally ran in Nintendo Power magazine in 1992-93.

Super Mario Adventures collects the full series into a single-volume edition that will receive a remastered full-color print release with an MSRP of $14.99 U.S. / $17.99 CAN.

In the story, the peril-plagued Princess Toadstool is kidnapped by the diabolical deadbeat Bowser but super plumbers Mario and Luigi hatch a plan with their new friend Yoshi to rescue her. Are the Super Mario Bros.’ plans a pipe dream? Can they stop the Koopa King before he forces the Princess to be his bride?!

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