Tag Archives: gutter magic

Preview: Gutter Magic

Gutter Magic

Rich Douek (w) • Brett Barkley (a & c)

It’s magic and mayhem in Manhattan, as Gutter Magic follows the story of Cinder Byrnes, who should be heir to a magical legacy, but can’t cast a spell to save his life. When he finally tracks down a spell that can help him, he must figure out how to cast it before the necromantic crime lord he stole it from tracks him down. An epic, gritty urban fantasy adventure that takes place in an alternate-history New York, where long ago, World War II was fought with magic.

TPB • FC • $19.99 • 120 pages • ISBN: 978-1-63140-659-1


Preview: Gutter Magic #4 (of 4)

Gutter Magic #4 (of 4)

Rich Douek (w) • Brett Barkley (a & c)

It’s all come down to this – as Cinder stands on the cusp of achieving wizardly powers, the Morgue steps in to put an end to his ambitions. How much will Cinder risk to overcome her, and grasp the power he desires? Find out in the explosive conclusion to Gutter Magic!

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

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Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Dept H #1 CoverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.


Top Pick: Dept. H #1 (Dark Horse) – Matt Kindt’s work would be enjoyable even if they published the book with all the words spelled backwards. His visual storytelling inspires the mind and the inner artist. His new direction with this book is very exciting.

All-New Hawkeye #4 (Marvel) – Do you ever feel like people who read Hawkeye hit you over the head with how good it is? That they just don’t shut up about? Because if you’re not reading Hawkeye, somebody SHOULD be hitting you over the head until you are. Notify me and I’ll get someone on that. I’ve been very happy with this Lemire’s work following Faction’s run.

BEK: Black-Eyed Kids #1 (Aftershock) – I have really been enjoying Aftershock each month. Their new book will hopefully be as creepy and unnerving as the cover.

Clean Room #7 (Vertigo) – There’s something about Clean Room, something about it’s grotesque imagery yet clean visuals that allows this horror story to really stand out. I enjoyed the first arc and I really feel like Gail Simone has built a strong foundation to build upon.

Tokyo Ghost #6 (Image) – If Sean Murphy keyed my car once a month, I would still look forward to seeing it. If Rick Remender was telling him what to do with the key, I would not only continue to pay $4 a month to see how it had turned out, I would gladly explain it all to Hyundai when my lease was up.



Top Pick: Divinity II #1 (Valiant) – I’ve only just finished the first Divinity, and it was phenomenal. I can’t wait to get started on this. Cannot bloody wait.

Bloodshot Reborn #12 (Valiant) – The current story arc, The Analog Man, features some of the best looking artwork out there. It’s also a cool story with a very Mad Max aesthetic.

Howard The Duck #6 (Marvel) – Always a treat to read this series; Zdarsky’s humour is right up my alley.

Huck #6 (Image) – The first of two Superman like characters on this list, Huck is one of the better Millar books of recent times (of course I haven’t read the Jupiter series yet). Even though this s the final issue, I have no idea how it’ll all wrap up, especially because it feels like it’s only just about begun.

Hyperion #2 (Marvel) – Is here for the same reason it was last month. Hyperion may hit someone with a transfer truck swung like a baseball bat.



Top Pick: Extraordinary X-Men #9 (Marvel) – I have been really enjoying this book from the get go, and I’ll admit when I heard time travel in the story, I rolled my eyes. HOWEVER, I am really looking forward to see the X-Men in the future, joined by their teacher, facing off against Apocalypse and his horsemen; I always enjoy seeing new mutants imagined as horsemen and how they fit the roles of war, famine, pestilence and death.  I’m sure we won’t be disappointed.

Captain Marvel #4 (Marvel) – I’m a huge fan of Carol, and Abigail Brand is always a welcome addition to any title…but to be honest, my biggest draw to this book is Alpha Flight!  Well the three members we have; Aurora, Sasquatch and Puck have been out of the pages for far too long.  All the reboots and re-launches going on, why hasn’t anyone taken a look at Alpha Flight?  There is major potential there…just saying.

New Avengers #10 (Marvel) – Even with the American Kaiju and the New Avenger’s Power Rangers inspired mecha robot *yawn*, this title has definitely picked up steam with the tie in to Pleasant Hill.  These Avengers are fighting in the name of A.I.M., we should be rooting for them, right?  Lines are being drawn, not just with the team, but all the Avengers, and it’s a pleasant surprise to see this title stepping up.

Uncanny Inhumans #7 (Marvel) – I’m really liking the idea of Black Bolt’s ‘Quiet Room’, and really enjoyed that last issue showing the various Inhumans helping him keep the piece in his club.  And now there is an investigation under way…and the Capo., thought dead, is making a play to regain his power.  Never a dull moment for ol’ Black Bolt.



Top Pick: Clean Room #7 (Vertigo) – I only read it with the lights on. This sure to be disturbing issue is an Astrid stand alone story.

East of West #25 (Image) – Year two comes to an end after three years. Wait that does’t sound right. Double-checked, it’s an accurate statement. Hickman and Dragotta get a pass because it is damn good apocalyptic storytelling.

Gutter Magic #4 (IDW Publishing) – The end to another good story. Only four issues of this epic sci-fi/fantasy alternative history epic. I got my fingers crosses for future arcs.

Karnak #3 (Marvel) – If you are going to make me wait for like five months, then it better be good. This new philosophically bent Karnak is a blast to read—that is when an issue finally makes it to market.



Top Pick: Superman: American Alien #6/Superman: Lois and Clark #7 (DC Comics) – The best two Superman comics DC has going right now. Both in their own ways are great explorations of the characters and both show off what makes him great.

Captain Canuck #8 (Chapter House Comics) – Every issue is fun and entertaining. Great superhero comics without the gritty grim.

Carver: Paris Story #3 (Z2 Comics) – Just awesome gritty noir.

Dept H #1 (Dark Horse) – Matt Kindt’s new series? Done! Did you read his Mind MGMT from Dark Horse? It’s excellent. This first issue is excellent. An absolutely must buy.

Divinity II #1 (Valiant) – The first volume was absolutely amazing and this is a series I’ve been looking forward to since its announcement. I’m expecting nothing but excellence here.

Preview: Gutter Magic #3 (of 4)

Gutter Magic #3 (of 4)

Rich Douek (w) • Brett Barkley (a & c)

It’s mayhem in the skies of Manhattan as Cinder and Blacktooth steal an airship to track down the elusive Oppenheimer. The only thing in their way is a vengeful sorceress, her legion of minions, and a rampaging dragon!

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 20/2/2016

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Kennel_Block_Blues_001_A_MainKennel Block Blues #1 (Boom!) Was a pretty odd comic about an anthromorphic dog living in a state of  half hallucinated reality as he enters prison. It’s good, and  it is worth looking into, but likely more a “wait for the trade” kind of book. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

The Last Contract #2 (Boom!) A comic about a retired hitman getting back into the game long after his retirement, The Last Contract has been a fantastic ride so far, with the eighty-plus year old killer taking no shit from anybody. Well aware of his physical limits, he’s a refreshing change from protagonists that can take on the world with their hands behind their back. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Gutter Magic #2 (IDW) This has got to be one of the most entertaining comics I’ve read in a long time. The art is fantastically detailed without being overly cluttered, and the characters are inhabiting a rich and vibrant world that feels fully formed before you turn the page. Highly, highly recommended. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Deluge #2 Is an indie comic set during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. After reading the first issue, I’d actually thought it was just a one shot comic until I saw this. I actually found that the second issue was more enjoyable than the first, and I liked the first issue’s story about an undercover FBI agent infiltrating the New Orleans underworld amidst a layer of corruption from the local police. It’s a solid book that deserves a wider audience than it’ll end up getting. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Will Eisner’s The Spirit #8 (Dynamite) I have nothing to say here that hasn’t already been said. A solid comic book that’s well written, well drawn, and above all it’s very, very fun. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Huck04_CvrBHuck #4 (Image) I just… wow. Just wow. Overall: 9.75 Recommendation: Buy it now, or buy the trade. You need to own this.

Black Hood #9 (Dark Circle) Is a solid comic. It’s not my favourite comic from this publisher (that honour belongs to The Fox), but it’s a very good gritty vigilante thriller with a hero who is very much just a man. A decent series that’s worth checking out. Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read



Catwoman #49 (DC)* When the Messina/Valentine creative team ended their landmark run of Catwoman as a crime boss I thought Catwoman would go down hill. And while the comic did return to its roots with a far more traditional Catwoman story it’s still a really good comic! It’s a smart, interesting story suspensefully told. The lines are almost delicate and the splash pages pack in far more visual information that you think at first glance. Selina fighting Croc in front of a Nosferatu billboard? That’s cool! And the intrigue is high. I keep reading because it’s quality comics. So should you. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read


Ryan C

American Monster #2 (Aftershock) *: Brian Azzarello and Juan Doe’s journey into the dark underbelly of America’s sleaziest small town continues with some revelations of both the major and minor variety that will serve to suck readers into the web they’re spinning ever deeper. Two issues in, I remain convinced that this has the potential to be Azzarello’s best series since “100 Bullets,” and Doe’s art, while first striking me as being a bit too “cartoonish” for the dark subject matter, is quickly starting to grow on me. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

american monster 2Lucifer #3 (Vertigo) *: The devil went to The Dreaming, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt. Oh, and a damn good story — Gaiman-esque myth-spinning anchors one of Holly Black’s two main plot threads while the other, involving a trapped demon on Earth scheming to be set free, is pure Delano-era “Hellblazer.” Combine the two with Lee Garbett’s fun-yet-appropriately-grim artwork and a guest appearance by Matthew the Raven (who just turned up in his human form in the latest issue of “Swamp Thing”) and you’ve got yourself a heck — sorry, hell — of a book here. They say everything old is new again, and after three issues this series is proving that to be absolutely true. Overall: 8  Recommendation: Buy

The Tithe #8 (Image/Top Cow) **: Not a bad extra-length issue from writer Matt Hawkins and artists Rashan Ekedal and Phillip Sevy, but not a great one, either. The problem with the whole “Islamophobia” story arc isn’t that it was poorly done, just that it only had one big revelation in store and it gave that away in the opening installment. After that, we knew exactly where events were headed, and they simply proceeded to go there. It apparently pissed off a handful of right-wing dumbfucks online, though, so points to the creators for at least raising the blood pressure of all the right people. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Read.

The Shield #2 (Dark Circle) : Normally I’d say this isn’t a half-bad little issue because, well, it isn’t, but given that the gap between numbers one and two was something like five or six months in length, it should have — perhaps even needed to — return with a big splash, and it didn’t. I’m sure Adam Christopher and Chuck Wendig’s script was “in the can” some time ago, but some tinkering around the edges to re-engage readers into the storyline more fully would have been welcome, and the art-by-committee approach with Drew Johnson and Ray Snyder doing the first half of the book and Al Barrionuevo taking over the second half is jarring and messy. Still, we’ve got a Steve Rude painted cover as one of the variants this time out, so how petty am I for bitching about anything? Dark Circle’s been plagued with delays on pretty much all of their titles barring “The Black Hood,” though, so Archie really needs to get their shit together with this line or it will die the same quick death that these characters always seem to bring upon themselves in one decade after another. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Read



Bill and Ted Go To Hell#1 (Boom!): we catch up with the Wild Stallyns shortly after their adventures in the Triumphant Return.Colonel Oats and gang of baddies are enroute to Hell , kidnapping Bill And Ted’s buddy, the Grim Reaper, with them. The boys have to call on the help of Rufus and company to rescue him. By issue’s end , there is a bigger plan in play, than either of them expected. Overall:9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write.

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Preview: Gutter Magic #2 (of 4)

Gutter Magic #2 (of 4)

Rick Douek (w) • Brett Barkley (a & c)

A showdown at the Goblin Market puts Cinder and Blacktooth on the path to tracking down their quarry – but the necromantic sorceress known as the Morgue wants Cinder’s head, even if she has to threaten his family to get it. Fans of Harry Potter and Sin City will love this genre-bending caper that brings magic down to the gritty streets of New York!

FC • 32 pages • $3.99


Rich Douek Talks About Gutter Magic, His New Comic Series

GUTTER MAGIC_01_COVER_A_FINAL_CREDITS LOGOSGutter Magic is a four part miniseries written by Rich Douek and superbly illustrated by Brett Barkley, and set in a world where World War II was fought with magic instead of technology. The comic is a interesting take on a magical fantasy set in an alternate version of our world, and one that we at Graphic Policy have been enjoying quite a bit. Alex had a chat with the comic’s writer Rich Douek about where the idea for the comic came from and, among other things, just how he envisioned a certain page in the script.

Graphic Policy: Firstly, thank you very much for your time. The first issue of Gutter Magic is fantastic; where did the inspiration strike you for the series?

Rich Douek: I’ve been a longtime fan of fantasy in all it’s forms, and I wanted to write your typical “fantasy epic”, but I think one of the problems I was running into was not having things ring true in terms of the emotional content, and issues I wanted to address within that context – so I decided to look at what it would be like telling the tale someplace closer to home, like New York, where I’ve lived my whole life. I don’t know exactly when or where it happened, but I got that picture in my head, of the building split in two and hovering in the air, and things just started clicking from there.

GutterMagic_01-pr_page7_image4GP: In terms of setting the story in New York, what made you decide to set the tale in an alternate history, which personally I think is a great choice, as opposed to “our” world with magic elements? 

RD: One of the reasons I set the story in NYC is because it’s my hometown. I know it’s not exactly virgin territory when it comes to comic settings, but it’s in my bones, so to speak.

The reason I went with an alternate history is because I wanted magic out in the open, an everyday fact of life. A lot of urban fantasy has it all going on secretly, and I do love stories like that, but I wanted to do something different. And I wanted a reason for it all to be out in the open – so looking back through history I thought WWII would make a great incident, so to speak, to allow magic to come to the forefront and create a very different world from the one we live in.

GP: One of the things I enjoyed about the first issue is that the world already feels pretty fleshed out, even if the audience may not know too much about the world (yet). You must have delved into the world building in planning the series, do you have any plans of a prequel type story based around the war (or is there more to come on that in the following three issues)?

RD: Thanks! Fleshing the world out was a huge part of the way I approached the series both in writing and talking to the rest of the creative team. I joke around that it was kind of like writing a D&D sourcebook or something – but all that work really shows through with the way Brett rendered the world – we wanted it to feel huge, immensely detailed, and fully formed – like you could pick a random background character and follow them on their own adventure.

In terms of further stories fleshing out the background, yes, there is quite a bit that gets revealed in this series, and plenty more for potential future series – a prequel set in World War 2 is something we were definitely considering – but any and all of that will come out down the road. It was a choice of mine, not to reveal everything about why things are the way they are all up front – it’s something I’d like to reveal bit by bit as I work on stories set within the world – I’m not a huge fan of info-dump expositions that just lay it all out there. I try to instill a sense of discovery, of this wonderful world unfolding as you delve into it.

GutterMagic_01-pr_page7_image5GP: I think the sense of discovery you mentioned is definitely a strong point here. Obviously we’ve only read the first issue so far, and so you may not want to answer this, but with any potential sequel or prequel, are there plans to follow a back ground character around in place of Cinder and Blacktooth?

RD: Well, one of the things that has been so amazing for me during the writing process is finding all these characters and plot threads I want to explore. I can’t promise that anything is in the works right now, but no matter what happens with the book’s release, this is a world I want to tell stories in for a long, long time.

And there are plenty of background characters, both from the past and present who I want to expand on and illuminate – and while talking about spinoff a might be a little premature, the material is definitely there to work with.

GP: Cinder looks like he’s a lot of fun to write, reminding me in a couple of ways of the guy that shot first in certain movie.

RD: He’s a blast, and definitely inspired partly by a certain scruffy looking nerf herder. I’ve drawn my influences from a lot of different corners of geekdom, and Cinder sits squarely in the court of (hopefully) likable scoundrel. Blacktooth is a blast, too, and one of my favorite parts of writing Gutter Magic is the banter between them, and showing these two very good friends snark on each other constantly.

GP: The brilliant market chase double spread that Brett Barkley drew; I have to ask – just how did you describe that to him?

RD: Haha, that’s actually a funny story – the first line of my panel description in the script was:  “OK. Time for something crazy.” I tried to describe what I was picturing, as sort of an MC Escher painting, ending the description with “Do 1 panel, do 100 panels, just go nuts and have fun with it.”.

Ultimately, I knew that I couldn’t be too prescriptive with it, or it could easily wind up looking disjointed or stiff. I wanted Brett to really cut loose with his imagination – so we discussed it several times over email, going over different possibilities, and having a couple of false starts – but he sent me a layout he was really happy with, and I agreed that he should run with it – and it paid off, because it’s one of the things people consistently point out as a great part of the book.

GP: Finally, one last question; aliens, pirates, cowboys or ninjas?

RD: Gotta go with the pirate life, because, let’s face it, pirates know how to party. Still, though, not a huge fan of the whole Pirates of the Carribean thing, so let’s say SPACE PIRATES!

GP: Again, I really appreciate your time! 

RD: My pleasure!

Gutter Magic #1 was released on the 14th of January. I urge you to check it out, because on top of it being a great read you need to see the double page spread we were talking about earlier. You can find the comic in your local comic shop or on ComiXology here.

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here! How are folks spending the long weekend? While you decide on that, here’s some comic book news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

Comics Alliance – Kyle Starks’ ‘Sexcastle’ Optioned By Fox, With ‘Workaholics’ Creators And Russo Brothers Attached To Direct – Interesting.

The Outhousers – ‘Fantastic Four’ Nominated for Five Razzies – Mazel Tov!


Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Doctor Who: Four Doctors

Talking Comics – Gotham Academy #14

The Outhousers – Gutter Magic #1

CBR – The Legend of Wonder Woman #1

CBR – The Mighty Thor #3

CBR – Superman: American Alien #3

Review: Gutter Magic #1

Gutter magicA wonderfully clever and creative urban fantasy story, Gutter Magic #1 is an incredible introduction to what promises to be an impressive series.

Meet an alternate future New York City, full of Goblins, Imps, Wizards and all manner of magical creatures. Opening with action, the reader finds protagonist Cinder in a spot of bother involving magic, guns and, of course, explosions. The issue remains fast paced and adventure filled as Cinder and his friend Blacktooth, search the city and the Goblin Market for help with a particular problem, only to find themselves pursued by a dangerous group who consider Cinder and Blacktooth themselves to be the problem.

Quality writing throughout this issue by Rich Douek, draws the reader in and makes this magical adventure not only believable, but one of those rare literary pieces that allows the reader to become fully submerged in the world being created. The dialogue is strong and consistent and builds up the personas of the characters to add depth throughout.

The artwork (Brett Barkley, Jules Rivera and Nic Shaw) itself is surely a creation of magic. The New York backdrop is impressive with aspects of reality and the fantastical entwined perfectly to create a setting that feels well known yet not yet discovered. The characters are drawn well and the colours are just beautiful.

If you are looking for a magical world with relatable characters and a fast paced adventure storyline, then Gutter Magic #1 is definitely a comic you should not miss.

Story: Rich Douek Penciller/Inker: Brett Barkley Colorist: Jules Rivera Letterer: Nic Shaw
Story: 10 Art:10 Overall:10 Recommendation: Buy

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