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R.L. Stine Takes You Just Beyond on Free Comic Book Day 2021

BOOM! Studios has announced the Just Beyond: Monstrosity 2021 FCBD Special, a free special issue from R.L. Stine, the award-winning, bestselling author of Goosebumps and Fear Street, artist Irene Flores, colorist Joana LaFuente, and letterer Mike Fiorentino, set in the world of the highly acclaimed middle-grade horror series Just Beyond, soon to be a television show on Disney+.

Just Beyond: Monstrosity 2021 FCBD Special featuring a cover by Julian Totino Tedesco, arrives in comic shops worldwide on Free Comic Book Day, August 14, 2021.

THERE’S NO BUSINESS LIKE HORROR BUSINESS! Ruthie and Ezra Dillon’s dad and uncle just bought an old Hollywood movie studio. And while the family has plans for reviving it to make scary movies for a modern audience, the monsters hiding in the backlot have other ideas. Ruthie and Ezra are eager to star in their family’s films, but they’ll soon find themselves in a real horror show with Wolfenscreem, the Lagoonatics, and the Wasp-Keeper…who are all ready for their revival with a vengeance!

Just Beyond: Monstrosity 2021 FCBD Special

Preview: Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O! OGN SC

Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O! OGN SC

Publisher: BOOM! Box, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer:  Carly Usdin
Artists: 
     Pencils by: Nina Vakueva
    Inks by: Irene Flores with Leo Caballero
Colorist: Natalia Nesterenko
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Cover Artist: Nina Vakueva
Price: $14.99

It’s 1999 and Chris is living her dream: working at Vinyl Destination by day and fighting for (musical) justice by night in the world’s coolest teen girl vigilante fight club, and playing in a band during her free time.

When the girls enter a Battle of The Bands, they learn that the shadowy corporate masters of the music industry plan to destroy the fledgling world of digital music and blame it on Y2K.

The critically-acclaimed team of writer Carly Usdin (The Avant-Guards) and Russ Manning Award-nominated artist Nina Vakueva (League of Legends: Ashe) reunite for a follow-up to Heavy Vinyl: Riot on The Radio.

Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O! OGN SC

BOOM! Studios Reveals a New Look at Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O!

BOOM! Studios has revealed a brand new look at Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O! This original graphic novel, available in stores March 2020, reunites the acclaimed team of filmmaker and writer Carly Usdin, artist Nina Vakueva, inker Irene Flores, colorist Natalia Nesterenko, and letterer Jim Campbell for a brand-new adventure with the music store crew—and secret fight club—of HEAVY VINYL.

Your favorite girl gang is back and on the brink of a new millennium! It’s the summer of 1999, and while the staff of Vinyl Destination is dealing with growing up and getting out into the world, the tension over Y2K is mounting into an all-out panic! Can this group of music-loving vigilantes balance their work lives with their dating lives, prevent the total collapse of modern society, AND save the world in time to celebrate the new millennium?! Only one way to find out!

Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O! will be available on March 25, 2020 at local comic book shops and on March 31, 2020 at bookstores.

Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O!

Preview: Labyrinth: Coronation Vol. 3 HC

Labyrinth: Coronation Vol. 3 HC

Publisher: Archaia, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer:  Simon Spurrier, Ryan Ferrier
Artist: Daniel Bayliss, Irene Flores
Cover Artist: Fiona Staples
Colorist: Joana Lafuente
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Price: $24.99

THE UNTOLD ORIGIN OF THE GOBLIN KING

Time is running out. War rages at the Owl King’s castle as the goblin rebellion spins out of control. While Skubbin, Tangle, and Cible try to hold off the enemy hordes, Maria must face the King and the cost of protecting her boy from a life of misery. Up until the clock strikes 13, Maria holds onto the one truth she’s learned while facing the trials of the maze: in the Labyrinth, nothing is as it seems.

Written by Simon Spurrier (Jim Henson’s The Power of the Dark Crystal) and Ryan Ferrier (Kong on the Planet of the Apes) and illustrated by Daniel Bayliss (Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Dragons)and Irene Flores (Heavy Vinyl), Labyrinth: Coronation Volume Three brings the critically acclaimed prequel of Jim Henson’s beloved film to its stunning conclusion.

Collects issues #9-12

Labyrinth: Coronation Vol. 3 HC

Preview: Labyrinth: Coronation Vol. 2 HC

Labyrinth: Coronation Vol. 2 HC

Publisher: Archaia, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer:  Simon Spurrier, Ryan Ferrier
Artist: Daniel Bayliss, Irene Flores
Colorist: Dan Jackson and Joana Lafuente
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Cover Artist: Fiona Staples
Price: $24.99

As the clock ticks ever closer to the thirteenth hour, Maria struggles through the canals of the Labyrinth alongside her peculiar band of companions, wishing desperately to be reunited with her son. While she may be no closer to the Owl King’s castle, Maria begins to uncover the secrets of the Labyrinth and her own power within the walls of this magical domain. But from deep in the shadows, the Owl King watches her every move, plotting and waiting to bring her demise by any means necessary.

Collects issues #5-8

Labyrinth: Coronation Vol. 2 HC

Preview: Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation #9

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation #9

Publisher: Archaia, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer: Simon Spurrier and Ryan Ferrier
Artist: Daniel Bayliss with Irene Flores
Colorist: Joana Lafuente
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Cover Artist:
    Main Cover:
Fiona Staples
    Preorder Cover: Cory Godbey
Price: $3.99

Maria finds herself in a stunning, masquerade ball of her dreams, reunited with her husband at long last. But like all things in the Labyrinth…everything is not what it seems.

Preview: Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation Vol. 1 HC

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation Vol. 1 HC

Publisher: Archaia, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Daniel Bayliss, Irene Flores, Mattia Di Meo, Matt Smith, Michael Dialynas
Colorist: Dan Jackson
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Cover Artist: Fiona Staples
Price: $24.99

Simon Spurrier (Godshaper, The Power of the Dark Crystal) and Daniel Bayliss (Jim Henson’s Storyteller: Dragons, Kennel Block Blues) present a magical look into the world of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth.

Before Sarah braved the Labyrinth to save her brother, another young woman sought to save a young boy named Jareth from the clutches of the Goblins.

Set in 18th-century Venice, Italy, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation is a striking look into the history of the Labyrinth itself, and what happens to the little boys who don’t get rescued.

This is the untold history of the Goblin King.

Collects issues #1-4.

Review: Heavy Vinyl

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got Empire Records meets Fight Club!

Heavy Vinyl features the four issues by Carly Usdin, Nina Vakueva, Irene Flores, Rebecca Nalty, Kieran Quigley, Walter Baiamonte, and Jim Campbell.

Get your copy in comic shops and in book stores today. 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.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

 

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Review: Heavy Vinyl #4

HeavyVinyl4Cover“Have I ever really helped anybody but myself/To believe in the power of songs/To believe in the power of girls?”- Metric, “Dreams So Real”

Heavy Vinyl #4 (The comic formerly known as Hi-Fi Fight Club.) cements its legacy as one of the cutest, gayest, and riot grrl-est comics ever in this miniseries finale from writer Carly Usdin, artists Nina Vakueva and Irene Flores, and colorists Rebecca Nalty, Kieran Quigley, and Walter Baiamonte. The comic plays with the most delightful of tropes, including scrappy underdogs fighting shady corporate overlords, the adorable saying goodbye to family montage, and of course, the big damn kiss. Vakueva panel layouts are also very lively and slanted for maximum fierceness even if this comic isn’t a beat ’em up battle royale story. It rocks though.

Even though she has to wrap up the first Heavy Vinyl storyline as well as set up some threads for future stories, Usdin doesn’t skimp on character development, and Vakueva and Flores use visuals to give a glimpse into each member of the Vinyl Mayhem fight club’s personal life. Of course, the manager/team leader Irene has an adorable dog and girlfriend, and Kennedy enjoys hot chocolate with her boyfriend Logan, who has become the Chris Hemsworth to their Ghostbusters and a solid source of comic relief throughout the series. Of course, Maggie has two doting dads, who spoil her with pancakes and fresh squeezed orange juice, and Chris is just trying to keep things together as she freaks out every time her parents say “action” with some manga-influenced sweat lines.

HeavyVinyl4interior

My personal favorite intro was Dolores, who is Puerto Rican, and has a close relationship with her family to go with her computer knowledge and Goth aesthetic. Nalty uses plenty of shadows in her room and just a glimpse of sunshine to show that she’s a complex character and not just a sullen Goth. I also like how Vakueva lays out her room and uses body language to show that Dolores feels a little bit of tension in balancing work and school as well as going out of state. Even though the spotlight has mainly been on Chris and Maggie, Usdin has given her a mini arc throughout Heavy Vinyl, and she plays a big, take charge role in the final big reveal with her no-nonsense attitude and technical knowledge. However, she has a softer side too as is revealed in an epilogue that made this 90s geek kid smile.

Even if it’s extraneous to the missing rock star/mind control overarching plot of  Heavy Vinyl, the hella awkward and hella cute slow burn romance between Chris and Maggie is the book’s beating heart. And there’s plenty of pay off in Heavy Vinyl #4 beginning with the complete adorableness that is Maggie falling asleep on Chris’ shoulder during the bus ride to New York. Palty emphasizes the blue sky outside their window, which creates a hopeful vibe while Vakueva and Flores draw one of the happiest faces of all time as Chris looks out the window. They and Usdin channel these intense feelings throughout the second half of the comic culminating in the reddest blush ever when Maggie tells Chris that she obviously knows about her crush. In general, these Maggie/Chris scenes show off the tightrope of romance and humor that Heavy Vinyl ably walks.\

But Heavy Vinyl #4 isn’t all longing glances, sweet montages, and kick ass tunes. Carly Usdin, Nina Vakueva, and Irene Flores do a lot of world-building and other big picture things like making the plot of this miniseries just the tip of the iceberg for a conspiracy storyline that is similar to Josie and the Pussycats, but trades out the camp for indie rock earnestness.  Some of the lines about this plot development are super on-the-nose, but Usdin is a smart and has Chris say most of them like “Music is about expression.” Chris’ intense love for the band Stegosaur and hunger  for finding and learning about new music as part of developing her identity as a young woman is a big part of her character arc so the lines really work. Also, the first in-person appearance of Rosie Riot is quite breathtaking.

Heavy Vinyl #4 has it all:  deep character dives, well-developed romance, organic world building, and a passionate tone from Rebecca Nalty’s background colors to Nina Vakueva and Irene Flores’ design choices and fight formations to Carly Usdin taking time to show each main cast member with their family. Music is awesome, stories about that are by women are awesome, and Heavy Vinyl is one of the best comics of 2017.

Story: Carly Usdin Pencils: Nina Vakueva Inks: Irene Flores
Colors: Rebecca Nalty with Kieran Quigley and Walter Baiamonte
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.7 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Hi-Fi Fight Club #2

Hi-Fi Fight Club #2 is a fantastic romantic comedy in girl gang vigilante wrapping paper from writer Carly Usdin, artists Nina Vakueva and Irene Flores, and colorist Rebecca Nalty. Chris, Maggie, Kennedy, Dolores, and could be in a band, but they decide to kick injustice’s ass in various ways like stopping an all girl band from being harassed or trying to find Rosie Riot, the missing lead singer from Chris’ favorite band, Stegosaur. Usdin’s script spends some time laying out the origin of the “fight club” and digging into the Rosie Riot mystery (Especially the final few pages). However, for the most part, Hi-Fi Fight Club #2 is pure character study with Chris dealing with finding her identity as a teenager, coming to terms with her feelings for her co-worker Maggie, and also being silly and adorable along the way.

On the visual front, Hi-Fi Fight Club #2 is the cool sound effects from letterer Jim Campbell and Vakueva montage layouts issues. The comic is cut like a stylish MTV promo from the late 90s, but Nalty mostly uses a soft, suburban palette with the occasional bright background burst like when the girls are sparring. This color choice keeps the comic firmly in slice of life territory although Vakueva and Flores’ action scenes pack a wallop and are easy to follow to boot. Some other interesting visual choices, include Vakueva channeling her inner humorist and making Chris pull some crazy faces any time she interacts or is noticed by Maggie with no angsty narration needed. In contrast, Maggie has the cute, beautiful composure of a character from a shonen manga and later shows she can kick ass just like a Sailor Scout.

Usdin, Vakueva, Flores, and Nalty swing for the fences emotionally in Hi-Fi Fight Club #2 without resorting overused tropes like love triangles and or pointless in-fighting. Sure, Dolores doesn’t want Unlike the softer edges for Maggie, Flores uses a strong, stern inking line for Dolores, and she and Vakueva draw her either working the bag or commenting on how A power packed supporting cast aside, Hi-Fi Fight Club continues to be Chris’ story, and her thoughts and reactions fill the panels and caption boxes. Especially with her induction to the fight club, Vinyl Mayhem has ushered her into a “cool” new world of music, crushes, and action, and it’s a lot to process so she struggles being useful in the search for Rosie Riot.

However, she does grow closer to Maggie, but wonders if Maggie has romantic feelings for her or is just being nice to the new girl. Reading the subtext in facial expressions, pauses, and sometimes dialogue in their interactions (Especially at the diner.) is honestly the most entertaining and riveting part of the comic. Usdin, Vakueva, and Flores nail the rush of young love, especially when Chris goes from not being hungry and sulking to her room to running off to the diner and stuffing her face for cheese fries. It reminds me of this weird tic that I had for a little while in high school when I wouldn’t eat full meals in case a “dating situation” popped up, and I could still be hungry. Yeah, that was pretty much, and Usdin isn’t afraid to write Chris as insecure, vulnerable, and yes, passionate about her music, job, the fight club, and Maggie. An anecdote that she shares with the group about Rosie Riot getting ice cream in her hometown to deal with anxiety shows that she looks up to this woman as a role model and that helping find her is way high on her list of priorities.

In its second installment, Hi-Fi Fight Club plays to its strength as Carly Usdin, Nina Vakueva, Irene Flores, and Rebecca Nalty make their focus on Chris and her potential romance with Maggie the centerpiece of her story to find identity through her music fandom and nascent vigilantism. And the art and colors continue to be a treat with fluid action scenes, riot grrl poses, and plenty of longing glances and general feels whenever Vakueva and Flores draw Chris looking at Maggie.

Story: Carly Usdin Pencils: Nina Vakueva Inks: Irene Flores Colors: Rebecca Nalty
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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