Tag Archives: iron circus comics

Preview: Softies

Softies

WRITER: Kyle Smeallie
ILLUSTRATOR: Kyle Smeallie
AGE RANGE: Middle Grade (10-12)
GENRE: Science Fiction / Humor
SRP: $15
PAGE COUNT: 200
PUB DATE: October 20, 2020
PUBLISHER: Iron Circus Comics

Earth has exploded! Here’s what happens next.

When planet Earth just kind of blows up without warning, 13-year-old Kay becomes the world’s youngest chunk of space debris. She’s inadvertently rescued from the vacuum by Arizona, an alien space-waste collector, and Euclid, his erudite cybernetic pet, and from there this unlikely trio blasts off for the most outlandish, hilarious, and occasionally bureaucratic adventure of their lives!

As Arizona tries to keep their ship on course and show Kay the ways of the wider universe, her new role as Earth’s sole survivor slowly comes into focus through each increasingly silly stop on their wild intergalactic road trip. The fledgling team is on a search for the next big score and a loose concept called “home,” both answered by the eternal question: “Where to next?”

Softies

Preview: Penultimate Quest

Penultimate Quest

WRITER: Lars Brown 
ILLUSTRATORS: 
Lars Brown, Bex Glendining
AGE RANGE: Teen+
GENRE: Fantasy / Philosophy
SRP: $25
PAGE COUNT: 340
PUB DATE: October 6, 2020
PUBLISHER: Iron Circus Comics

Far across the Western Ocean on a mist-shrouded island guarded by giant sea monsters, heroes come to explore the mysterious dungeons that lie below the surface. None have yet to reach the bottom and return to tell the tale. Each party gathers daily for a new round of potion-making, sword-sharpening, armor-buying, and dungeon-crawling, and after hours of leveling up in dangerous battles with monstrous creatures from the depths, they rest and try again the next day when everything repeats. That is, until one adventurer stops to ask why. Is it endlessly exciting, or simply endless?

In a witty, genre-defying tale of magic, mystery, and philosophy, brave warriors must learn the difference between diversion and escape as they try to break the cycle of a penultimate quest in which the final fantasy never arrives.

Penultimate Quest

Preview: Student Ambassador: The Missing Dragon

Student Ambassador: The Missing Dragon

WRITER: Ryan Estrada 
ILLUSTRATOR: 
Axur Eneas
TRIM: 6″ × 9″
AGE RANGE: Middle Grade (8-12)
GENRE: Action / Mystery
SRP: $15
FORMAT: Trade Paperback
PAGE COUNT: 150
PUB DATE: September 22, 20200

When eight-year-old student ambassador Joseph Bazan wins a photo op with the President of the United States, he doesn’t quite know what to expect, but it certainly isn’t hanging out with the leader of the free world in a secret compartment inside the resolute desk! Joseph’s pluck and kid logic not only charm the president, but they soon help resolve a thorny trade dispute. This gives POTUS an idea. Across the ocean, eight-year-old boy king Nang Nukatau III has taken his father’s crown and clumsily stumbled into an international incident, and now Joseph’s got a pressing mission: talk the tiny dictator back from the brink of war!

The diplomatic slumber party soon goes from awkward to scary as the castle is stormed and the boys are lost across South Korea and Japan where they have to outrun bad guys, learn to read Hangul, unravel the riddle of Gyeongbok Palace, break out of an abandoned bathhouse, befriend an army of snow monkeys, and crack the Case of the Missing Dragon, all while showing Nang how to live in a world where everyone doesn’t always bow to you. Can a kid with a C+ in social studies solve the mystery and teach a king to be a kid?

Student Ambassador is a globe-trotting action-adventure set in the real world where dangers mount, the stakes are high, and smarts save the day!

Student Ambassador: The Missing Dragon

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Atlas at War

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) 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!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

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

Atlas at War (Dead Reckoning) – The graphic novel collects fifty hard to find war stories published by Marvel between 1951 and 1960.

Cyberpunk 2077 Trauma Team #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – The highly anticipated video game comes to comics.

Dark Nights: Death Metal Trinity Crisis #1 (DC Comics) – Really, this should have been part of the main series, so we’re highlighting it so you don’t dismiss it as just another one-shot tie-in.

Dog Man Vol. 9 (Graphix) – The series is huge and this latest volume is being printed in the millions. Comics aren’t dying, they’ve got a whole new generation hooked.

Dry Foot #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – It’s Miami in the 1980s and a group of kids are attempting to escape the violence and drugs of the city.

Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio (Abrams Comicarts) – A graphic novel depiction of the tragic day that reflects on the violence we see today.

Rise of Ultraman #1 (Marvel) – We’re intrigued to see how this Marvel take on the classic manga/anime character turns out.

Stargazer #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – If you like alien abduction stories, this is a great first issue of an intriguing mystery.

Student Ambassador Vol. 1 (Iron Circus Comics) – An eight-year-old wins a photo op with the President of the United States but is pulled into an international incident when another eight-year-old takes his father’s crown and stumbles into trouble.

Vampire: The Masquerade #2 (Vault Comics) – The first issue was a bit heavy on the terms from the classic roleplaying game but nailed the characters and world down.

Preview: The Harrowing of Hell

The Harrowing of Hell

WRITER: Evan Dahm 
ILLUSTRATOR: 
Evan Dahm
TRIM: 8 x 10
AGE RANGE: General Adult
GENRE: Religion / Philosophy
SRP: $15
FORMAT: Hardcover
PAGE COUNT: 128
PUB DATE: August 11, 2020

A modern reinterpretation of the apocryphal tale of Christ’s descent into Hell after his death, The Harrowing Of Hell is a densely illustrated allegorical tale of the world’s most famous political revolutionary. Evan Dahm draws upon a wide array of texts to create a brand new window into the life and death of Christ, a vision of a dying man’s revolutionary drive and fervent belief in humanity’s salvation from all manner of jailers. A richly symbolic, densely illustrated allegorical tale that echoes back to us from ancient times, this is a fascinating reinterpretation of one of the most important religious figures in history.

The Harrowing of Hell

Preview: It’s Your Funeral

It’s Your Funeral

WRITER: Emily Riesbeck 
ILLUSTRATORS: 
Ellen Kramer, Matt Krotzer
TRIM: 6 x 9
AGE RANGE: Teen
GENRE: Paranormal / Humorous / Depression
SRP: $15
FORMAT: Trade Paperback
PAGE COUNT: 200
PUB DATE: July 21, 2020
ISBN #: 9781945820526
ITEM CODE:APR201915

When we first meet our hero, Marnie, she has just departed this plane of existence, but she’s not too broken up about it; her struggles with misery in life were getting too exhausting. Her first stop is the Department of Spectral Affairs, a bureaucratic nightmare of office politics and terrible filing systems in the Great Beyond, staffed with case workers who help spirits stop lingering on Earth. But Marnie’s case worker, Xel, can’t find any deep connections or unfinished business left behind by Marnie, so she can’t diagnose the closure she needs to pass on. And that’s when she hits upon a brilliant idea: hire Marnie instead! 

The touching and hilarious cases that follow showcase a broad spectrum of humanity, the ties that bind, and the many complicated things that can keep us mired in place instead of evolving. Along the way we follow Marnie through her own dawning mental health awareness. When she first comes to the DSA she expects them to fuss over and then abandon her just like everyone had in life, but Xel isn’t giving up so easy. Marnie’s slow journey towards being accepted (and accepting that) is just as sweet and life affirming as it sounds. As interdimensional co-worker V’qttyr says at a key moment, “Look at us! We’re a hot mess, but at least we still try every day.”

It’s Your Funeral

Review: Banned Book Club

Banned Book Club

Banned Book Club is an inspiring and educational piece of graphic non-fiction from writers Kim Hyun Sook and Ryan Estrada with manhwa-influenced visuals from artists Ko Hyung-Ju. It tells the story of the 1983 student protests about South Korea’s authoritarian Fifth Republic from the perspective of Hyun Sook herself, who begins as a young, timid girl that just wants to study English literature, and ends up joining the revolution via extracurricular activities. (I will be using Kim Hyun Sook for the character and Hyun Sook for the creator.)

However, between dodging cops, dealing with her friends being arrested, and sexual harassment from her once respected literature professor, Kim Hyun Sook finds self-actualization and also learns a little bit how the world works. I mean why would a regime ban books with fascist enemies if deep down, they didn’t see a little of themselves in these books. Banned Book Club is also a strong narrative argument for the power of literature, including fiction and nonfiction, to effect change and use things like imagery and metaphor to expose the truth about the world. In that case, maybe this comic is just a tiny bit metafictional.

Hyun Sook, Estrada, and Ko Hyung-Ju do an excellent job harmonizing the words and visuals in Banned Book Club to create a certain feel on different pages or get a point across. For example, there’s a flurry of word balloons when the members of the book club get in an argument when one of their members are jailed. On the other hand, they drop out the dialogue for more tense, action-driven scenes like when Hyun Sook takes multiple buses to deliver a package from the club to one at another university as part of her “public relations” duties.

Panel Mania: Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook, Ko Hyung-Ju, and ...

This variety in storytelling keeps Banned Book Club interesting, and I love how Hyung-Ju’s characters wear their emotions on their sleeves. He also uses shadow and differences in line thickness to show when they’re afraid, embarrassed, or more relaxed. The relaxed emotion doesn’t pop up that much in the story, but it’s on full display during the club’s 2016 class reunion when they band together to protest another authoritarian South Korean president. This epilogue adds perspective to the events of the previous chapter and also is just a damn good testimonial to the power of protest. I mean, imagine if Americans went out and protested Trump every weekend of his impeachment hearings…

Hyun Sook, Estrada, and Hyung-Ju aren’t afraid to whip up a little controversy in Banned Book Club with the club member Jihoo reading the writings of North Korea’s authoritarian dictator Kim Il-Sung under the guise of a book of love poems. (Of course, he’s the one club member who actually gets arrested.) Jihoo gets some gentle ribbing from his friends for reading “government propaganda”, but it’s a testimonial to their dedication to freedom of speech and the press that he doesn’t get censured.

The pages where he reads Kim Il-Sung’s overwrought, loaded writing shows that the freedom to read extends to books that one doesn’t agree with. But it’s also connected to the freedom to critique books. I have to give kudos to Hyun Sook, Estrada, and Hyung-Ju for using this consequence-infused scene to add ambiguity to the club’s activities. They weren’t just reading Karl Marx, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Noam Chomsky and trying to save South Korea; they were also reading North Korean propaganda to compare it to the techniques their government were using. It’s an example of the book club just wanting to have freedom of inquiry at university instead of being stuck reading, thinking, and publishing (In the case of the school newspaper.) what the government approves.

Banned Book Club has its fair share of dark and tragic material like any time a member of the club is hauled in for questioning by the government. Hyung-Ju use thick cross hatching to show the pain and stress the club members are under, which is contrasted with Hyun Sook and Estrada’s dialogue for the guard, who talks about catching “bad guys” to his son on the phone. It’s the banality of evil in action showing that authoritarianism is propagated by its yes people.

Kim Hyun Sook, Ryan Estrada, and Ko Hyung-Ju turn in the next great historical non-fiction comic in Banned Book Club as they portray a pivotal time in South Korean history from a ground-level point of view. They also explore the relationship between politics and art through three-dimensional characters with even Hyun Sook’s father getting a spotlight when he tells the backstory of why he decided to start a steak restaurant and letting his daughter know that it’s okay to have dreams that aren’t in line with societal norms. Finally, Banned Book Club is a wonderful showcase for the connection between the visual and verbal, which is what the comics medium does best.

Story: Kim Hyun Sook, Ryan Estrada Art: Ko Hyung-Ju
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.1 Recommendation: Buy

Iron Circus Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: AmazonBookshopTFAW

Advance Review: Banned Book Club

Banned Book Club

Banned Book Club is an inspiring and educational piece of graphic non-fiction from writers Kim Hyun Sook and Ryan Estrada with manhwa-influenced visuals from artists Ko Hyung-Ju. It tells the story of the 1983 student protests about South Korea’s authoritarian Fifth Republic from the perspective of Hyun Sook herself, who begins as a young, timid girl that just wants to study English literature, and ends up joining the revolution via extracurricular activities. (I will be using Kim Hyun Sook for the character and Hyun Sook for the creator.)

However, between dodging cops, dealing with her friends being arrested, and sexual harassment from her once respected literature professor, Kim Hyun Sook finds self-actualization and also learns a little bit how the world works. I mean why would a regime ban books with fascist enemies if deep down, they didn’t see a little of themselves in these books. Banned Book Club is also a strong narrative argument for the power of literature, including fiction and nonfiction, to effect change and use things like imagery and metaphor to expose the truth about the world. In that case, maybe this comic is just a tiny bit metafictional.

Hyun Sook, Estrada, and Ko Hyung-Ju do an excellent job harmonizing the words and visuals in Banned Book Club to create a certain feel on different pages or get a point across. For example, there’s a flurry of word balloons when the members of the book club get in an argument when one of their members are jailed. On the other hand, they drop out the dialogue for more tense, action-driven scenes like when Hyun Sook takes multiple buses to deliver a package from the club to one at another university as part of her “public relations” duties.

Panel Mania: Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook, Ko Hyung-Ju, and ...

This variety in storytelling keeps Banned Book Club interesting, and I love how Hyung-Ju’s characters wear their emotions on their sleeves. He also uses shadow and differences in line thickness to show when they’re afraid, embarrassed, or more relaxed. The relaxed emotion doesn’t pop up that much in the story, but it’s on full display during the club’s 2016 class reunion when they band together to protest another authoritarian South Korean president. This epilogue adds perspective to the events of the previous chapter and also is just a damn good testimonial to the power of protest. I mean, imagine if Americans went out and protested Trump every weekend of his impeachment hearings…

Hyun Sook, Estrada, and Hyung-Ju aren’t afraid to whip up a little controversy in Banned Book Club with the club member Jihoo reading the writings of North Korea’s authoritarian dictator Kim Il-Sung under the guise of a book of love poems. (Of course, he’s the one club member who actually gets arrested.) Jihoo gets some gentle ribbing from his friends for reading “government propaganda”, but it’s a testimonial to their dedication to freedom of speech and the press that he doesn’t get censured.

The pages where he reads Kim Il-Sung’s overwrought, loaded writing shows that the freedom to read extends to books that one doesn’t agree with. But it’s also connected to the freedom to critique books. I have to give kudos to Hyun Sook, Estrada, and Hyung-Ju for using this consequence-infused scene to add ambiguity to the club’s activities. They weren’t just reading Karl Marx, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Noam Chomsky and trying to save South Korea; they were also reading North Korean propaganda to compare it to the techniques their government were using. It’s an example of the book club just wanting to have freedom of inquiry at university instead of being stuck reading, thinking, and publishing (In the case of the school newspaper.) what the government approves.

Banned Book Club has its fair share of dark and tragic material like any time a member of the club is hauled in for questioning by the government. Hyung-Ju use thick cross hatching to show the pain and stress the club members are under, which is contrasted with Hyun Sook and Estrada’s dialogue for the guard, who talks about catching “bad guys” to his son on the phone. It’s the banality of evil in action showing that authoritarianism is propagated by its yes people.

Kim Hyun Sook, Ryan Estrada, and Ko Hyung-Ju turn in the next great historical non-fiction comic in Banned Book Club as they portray a pivotal time in South Korean history from a ground-level point of view. They also explore the relationship between politics and art through three-dimensional characters with even Hyun Sook’s father getting a spotlight when he tells the backstory of why he decided to start a steak restaurant and letting his daughter know that it’s okay to have dreams that aren’t in line with societal norms. Finally, Banned Book Club is a wonderful showcase for the connection between the visual and verbal, which is what the comics medium does best.

Story: Kim Hyun Sook, Ryan Estrada Art: Ko Hyung-Ju
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.1 Recommendation: Buy

Banned Book Club is out May 19, 2020, Preorder: AmazonBookshop
Iron Circus Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Banned Book Club

Banned Book Club

WRITERS: Kim Hyun Sook, Ryan Estrada
ILLUSTRATOR: Ko Hyung-Ju
AGE RANGE: Teen
GENRE: YA / Memoir
SRP: $15
PAGE COUNT: 198
PUB DATE: May 19, 2020
ISBN #:  9781945820427
PUBLISHER: Iron Circus Comics

When Kim Hyun Sook started college in 1983 she was ready for her world to open up. After acing her exams and sort-of convincing her traditional mother that it was a good idea for a woman to go to college, she looked forward to soaking up the ideas of Western Literature far from the drudgery she was promised at her family’s restaurant. But literature class would prove to be just the start of a massive turning point, still focused on reading but with life-or-death stakes she never could have imagined.

This was during South Korea’s Fifth Republic, a military regime that entrenched its power through censorship, torture, and the murder of protestors. In this charged political climate, with Molotov cocktails flying and fellow students disappearing for hours and returning with bruises, Hyun Sook sought refuge in the comfort of books. When the handsome young editor of the school newspaper invited her to his reading group, she expected to pop into the cafeteria to talk about Moby Dick, Hamlet, and The Scarlet Letter. Instead she found herself hiding in a basement as the youngest member of an underground banned book club. And as Hyun Sook soon discovered, in a totalitarian regime, the delights of discovering great works of illicit literature are quickly overshadowed by fear and violence as the walls close in.

In BANNED BOOK CLUB, Hyun Sook shares a dramatic true story of political division, fear-mongering, anti-intellectualism, the death of democratic institutions, and the relentless rebellion of reading.

Banned Book Club

Iron Circus Kickstarts Webcomic Lackadaisy into an Original Animated Short

Iron Circus Comics Publisher Spike Trotman, cartoonist Tracy Butler, and director Fable Siegel are partnering for an ambitious multimedia crowdfunding campaign to adapt Butler’s webcomic phenomenon Lackadaisy into an original animated short, along with a new collection of art and never before published mini-comics, The Lackadaisy Essentials.

The 32-day campaign is the first ever multimedia undertaking for Iron Circus Comics. The trailblazing comics publisher that has funded more
than 20 graphic novels and raised close to $1.5 million in funding on Kickstarter.

Set in St. Louis, Missouri during the days of Prohibition, Tracy Butler’s Eisner Award-nominated webcomic Lackadaisy features the Lackadaisy, a speakeasy tucked away in a cave beneath the Little Daisy Cafe, where flashing the club symbol from a deck of cards grants every cat in-the-know access to more moonshine than they could ever drink. The joint’s packed full of tough dames, crooked cops, rum-runners, and wide-eyed ingenues. And they are, literally, all cool cats. The jazzy, sepia-toned crime story features action and adventure, comedy and crime, and a colorful cast of cats, including the Lackadaisy proprietors Atlas and Mitzi May, rumrunner Rocky Rickaby, and the sharp-tongued heiress to the quickly-dwindling Lackadaisy fortune, Ivy Pepper.

As the creator of the comic, Tracy will play a role as co-director on the animated short, overseeing art direction. Voice actors include:

  • Michael Kovach  (@kovox) as Rocky Rickaby! 
  •  Belsheber Rusape (@BelRusapeVO) as Calvin “Freckle” McMurray! 
  •  Lisa Reimold (@lisareimold)  as Ivy Pepper! 
  •  Ashe Wagner (@TheQueenViking)  as Mitzi May! 
  • and SungWon Cho (@ProZD) as Mordecai Heller! 

Pledges for Lackadaisy range from The Lackadaisy Essentials eBook to The Complete Lackadaisy Goodie Bag (featuring the Lackadaisy Essentials art book, volumes one and two of the Lackadaisy comic collections in ebook form, a digital wallpaper set, the completed film as an HD digital download, and a download of the soundtrack and storyboards). Lackadaisy even includes a pledge level to receive an Associate Producer credit on the Lackadaisy Animated Short.

If funded through Kickstarter, pledges will be delivered to backers this fall. Lackadaisy is live as of March 16, 2020 and runs for 32 days.

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