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Preview: Army of Darkness: 1979 #2

Army of Darkness: 1979 #2

writer: Rodney Barnes
artist: Tom Garcia
covers: Francesco Mattina (A), Arthur Suydam (B), Jungguen Yoon (C), Stuart Sayger (D), Arthur Suydam (F-RI/BW), Stuart Sayger (G-RI/BW), Jungeun Yoon (H-RI/BW), Jason Shawn Alexander (I-RI/BW), Arthur Suydam (J-RI/Tint), Jungeun Yoon (K-RI/Tint), Jason Shawn Alexander (L-RI/Tint)
FC | 32 pages | Horror, Action/Adventure | $3.99 | Teen+

The superstar creator of the hit Image Comics series Killadelphia brings his supernatural horror chops to one of the genre’s most (in)famous characters. Ashley Joanna Williams finds himself this time in late 70s New York City. In a less cleaned up era, that means gangs tussle for every block in the South Bronx. And these particular gangs model themselves after zombies and vampires. Things only get even more out of control when they find the one and only Necronomicon!

Barnes is joined in this horror flashback romp by artist Tom Garcia (Pathfinder, Hellraiser), colorist Dinei Ribero, and letterer Troy Peteri. This crew assembles together to guide Ash through his latest comedy horror adventure. But will he or even the creative team survive the journey..?

With his background as a screenwriter and producer in Hollywood, Barnes has contributed to The Boondocks, My Wife and Kids, Everbody Hates Chris, Marvel’s Runaways, American Gods, and is currently an executive producer/writer on HBO’s untitled drama following the 1980s “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers. With his love of film and 1970s culture, Barnes is pulling from cult classics like The Warriors on this Army of Darkness tale. Within comics, Barnes is the creator of the Eisner Award-nominated Killadelphia, and has written Falcon and Lando (Star Wars) for Marvel.

Featuring an awesome array of cover artists, including the Dynamite return of Francesco Mattina, along with Junggeun Yoon, and Stuart Sayger and the Zombie King himself — Arthur Suydam!

Army of Darkness: 1979 #2

Preview: Army of Darkness 1979 #1

Army of Darkness 1979 #1

writer: Rodney Barnes
artist: Tom Garcia
covers: Jason Shawn Alexander (A), Arthur Suydam (B), Junnguen Yoon (C), Stuart Sayger (D), Blank Authentix (E), Arthur Suydam (F-RI/BW), Stuart Sayger (G-RI/BW), Jungeun Yoon (H-RI/BW), Jason Shawn Alexander (I-RI/BW), Arthur Suydam (J-RI/Tint), Jungeun Yoon (K-RI/Tint), Jason Shawn Alexander (L-RI/Tint)
FC | 32 pages | Horror, Action/Adventure | $3.99 | Teen+

Dare we say it!?!? Yes! We Dare!

ASH IS BACK, BABY!

After his most recent appearance in Die!namite Lives, Ashley Williams is retired. Settled down. Haunted by the Deadites and the Necronomicon no more- wait, no, that ain’t right… None of that is true! In fact, not only is Ash still haunted by Deadites and the Necronomicon, but he’s haunted by the both of them in the 1970s (kids, ask your parents. Parents, ask yourselves!)! And what does he find in the South Brox of the late 70s? Gangs! And what have those gangs found? The Necronomicon. So, what does that make the gangs? Bad-Ass Mxxxerfxxxers.

Dynamite proudly presents a brand new Army of Darkness series, written by Rodney Barnes (Killadelphia), drawn by Tom Garcia and featuring an awesome array of cover artists, including the Dynamite return of Jason Shawn Alexander, along with Junggeun Yoon, and Stuart Sayger and the Zombie King himself — Arthur Suydam!

Rodney Barnes is an American screenwriter and producer. Barnes has written and produced The Boondocks, My Wife and Kids, Everybody Hates Chris, Those Who Can’t, Marvel’s Runaways, American Gods, Wu-Tang: An American Saga, and is currently an executive producer/writer on HBO’s Untitled Los Angeles Lakers drama. In comics, Barnes is the creator of the critically acclaimed Killadelphia from Image Comics, and has written Falcon and Lando (Star Wars) for Marvel Comics.

Army of Darkness 1979 #1

Blacula Returns as a Graphic Novel from Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander

Zombie Love Studios, the comic studio and publishing imprint founded by Eisner Award nominated graphic novel creator and award-winning television writer-producer Rodney Barnes, has announced it plans to release a graphic novel adaptation of the classic 1970s film Blacula. Securing the graphic novel rights from Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), Barnes has reteamed with his Killadelphia collaborator and fellow Eisner Award nominee Jason Shawn Alexander to illustrate the property.

Expanding from the original film, Barnes’ Blacula builds a bridge from the 70’s version of the iconic bloodsucker to our present-day world and all of its complications. Under the agreement, Barnes will adapt and release the property through his Zombie Love Studios. The graphic novel is slated for a February 2022 release.

Originally released in 1972 by American International Pictures (AIP) and later acquired by MGM through the studio’s acquisition of Orion Pictures, Blacula quickly became one of the highest-grossing films of its year, landing at #24 on Variety’s list of top films. The original Blacula is widely considered one of the first depictions of a Black vampire on-screen, and has been credited with sparking a wave of Black-themed horror films that would follow. However, it is the film’s storytelling and layered subtext that sparked Barnes creative interest. Using vampirism as a metaphor for slavery’s long-term repercussions, the original film offered cultural commentary that spoke to a deeper social and psychological curse inflicted upon a whole people. This creative characteristic is one that falls very much in line with Barnes’ approach to genre and content as a whole, but also speaks directly to the inspiration and motivation for launching his own comic studio and publishing imprint.

Blacula

The Killadelphia Universe Expands with Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog

Critically acclaimed writer Rodney Barnes and fan-favorite Spawn artist Jason Shawn Alexander will expand their Eisner-nominated Killadelphia series’ universe with the terrifying new tie-in Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog. The spin-off series will launch this October from Image Comics.

Jimmy Sangster might have left Maryland for the vampire-infested city of “Killadelphia,” but there is still untold evil lurking the streets of Baltimore. The demon Corson has surfaced from the underworld to possess a once-wronged man, and his vengeance will come at the cost of humanity’s despair! But Jimmy’s former lover Nita Hawes—a woman with demons of her own—has begun a quest to root the evil out of her city. Guided by the ghost of her dead brother, she must come to terms with her own past, lest she join her brother in a state worse than death!

The series will also feature eye-popping variant covers by Well-Bee, Francesco Mattina, and Patric Reynolds.

Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog #1 will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, October 20:

  • Cover A by Well-Bee – Diamond Code AUG210034
  • Cover B by Alexander – Diamond Code AUG210035
  • Cover C by Francesco Mattina – Diamond Code AUG210036
  • Cover D by Patric Reynolds – Diamond Code AUG210037

Mike Mignola is Drawing Monsters in a New Documentary Being Kickstarted

Hellboy has appeared in countless graphic novels and comic books, prose novels and short story collections, acclaimed role-playing games and videogames, three live-action films and two animated features, and has inspired countless toys and collectibles. Now, award-winning Hellboy creator Mike Mignola is getting his turn in the spotlight in the all-new documentary Mike Mignola: Drawing Monsters, which tells the definitive story of one of the most influential and important comic book creators of all time. This feature-length film includes never-before-seen interviews conducted with the legendary creator at his studio, drawing demonstrations, behind-the-scenes footage from comic book conventions, and interviews with some of the most influential people in entertainment, including Neil Gaiman (American Gods), Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar, Victor LaValle (The Ballad Of Black Tom), artist Tara McPherson, and comic book superstars like Vita Ayala, Duncan Fegredo, Fábio Moon, and Joe Quesada. Mike Mignola: Drawing Monsters is now on Kickstarter for a month-long campaign that runs throughout March.

As one of the most successful independent comic book creators, Mignola has inspired generations of writers and artists. Mike Mignola: Drawing Monsters provides an in-depth look at his legacy, from the beginning of his career working as an inker for Marvel Comics to his success with Hellboy. The film features never-before-told revelations from Neil Gaiman about the Mignolaverse and the production of Guillermo Del Toro’s Hellboy II, and an interview with Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar discussing Mignola’s influence on her creation.

The documentary features Mythbusters host Adam Savage, Hellboy film actor Doug Jones and actress Vanessa Eichhotlz, novelists Christopher Golden (of the bestselling Ben Walker novels) and Victor LaValle (The Ballad Of Black Tom), Dark Horse Publisher and founder Mike Richardson, Dark Horse Editor Katii O’Brien, Marvel EVP of Creative Development Joe Quesada, comic book writers Vita Ayala (The Wilds), Chris Roberson (Hellboy & The B.P.R.D.) and Thomas Sniegoski (Young Hellboy), and award-winning cartoonist Fábio Moon (Daytripper), as well as interviews and art demonstrations with painter Jason Shawn Alexander, Duncan Fegredo (Hellboy: The Wild Hunt), Michael Avon Oeming (B.P.R.D.: The Soul Of Venice), award-winning colorist Dave Stewart and, of course, Mignola himself.

Mike Mignola: Drawing Monsters is being co-directed and produced by Jim Demonakos (founder, LightBox Expo and ECCC) and Kevin Hanna (Clockwork Girl), an American director noted for his work in feature film, animation, comic books, and television.

The Kickstarter campaign features tiers with the Mike Mignola: Drawing Monsters film digitally or on Blu-Ray, as well as a Kickstarter exclusive t-shirt, original art, a commission from Mignola himself, the opportunity to receive an executive producer credit on the film, and an incredible Hellboy Portfolio Print Set that is exclusive to the Kickstarter campaign, featuring new 9″x12″ Hellboy prints by Mignola and Dave Stewart, Laurence Campbell, Duncan Fegredo, Alex Maleev, Fábio Moon, Mike Norton, Paolo Rivera, Craig Rousseau, Tim Sale, and Ben Stenbeck. All the artists involved have previously drawn interiors for various Mignolaverse books.

Filming will continue and is scheduled to be completed in the fall/winter of 2021, with the finished film debuting by spring of 2022.

Todd McFarlane Announces Four New Titles Building His Own Shared Comic Universe

Image Comics‘ President Todd McFarlane has announced his attempt at creating his own multi-character, interconnected comic book universe. His stated goal is to establish a shared fictional universe over time in the vein of what the other comic industry giants, Marvel, and DC Comics, have accomplished with their comic book universes.

The announcement was given by McFarlane during a first look presentation at the Direct Market Retailers at the Annual ComicsPRO Conference.

The character Spawn, created by McFarlane, will be at the forefront of the initial launch of new titles, but the long-term goal is that Spawn will become but one of many characters that will succeed not only in the comics industry but in many mediums across the globe.

McFarlane will capitalize on the twenty-eight-year success story of Spawn, which has seen sales increase between 150 to 600% from pre-pandemic orders. The Spawn title currently is a top 5 monthly selling title on the Diamond Distributors Top 100 Chart. Recently, a new release of a Spawn figure on Kickstarter set a new Kickstarter record, in its category, for raising just under $3.5 million in 30 days. That figure was also recently awarded the prestigious People’s Choice 2021 Toy of The Year (TOTY) by The Toy Association, Inc.

As part of his announcement, McFarlane announced four new titles coming out in 2021, with three of them continuing as regular monthly titles, meaning that there will be an opportunity for fans of the Spawn character and his new expanding world to get their stories from it on a weekly basis instead of just twelve times a year.

In June, in what McFarlane is calling “2021 the year of Spawn,” comic retailers will be able to order Spawn’s Universe #1. This will be a book that will set the stage with a story that will then spill out into the other new monthly titles. The first title will release in August with a book called King Spawn #1. The character Spawn will now join the rare company of stalwart characters, like Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man, that will have multiple monthly books for the same title character. It will also mark the first time in twenty-eight years that anyone can buy a monthly issue #1 Spawn book. It gives McFarlane hope of reaching a new generation of readers that missed out on the initial launch of the Spawn back in 1992.

In October comes the second new monthly called Gunslinger Spawn. This title character has been a huge hit among the fanbase over the past year, and each of his appearances has garnered enthusiasm at the stores and online.

Finally, there will be a new #1 team book, which will band five characters together to fight against forces too big for any of them to take on alone. That book is titled The Scorched. Spawn, Redeemer, Gunslinger, Medieval Spawn, and She-Spawn begins the group’s adventures. However, McFarlane promises a rotating cast of heroes over the coming months to keep the roster of heroes fresh. He also said that he would be bringing in new major villains into the fold, too.

To lend a creative hand on some of this expanding list of titles, McFarlane has recruited an all-star list of comic book creators such as Art Adams, Jason Shawn Alexander, Carlo Barberi, Brett Booth, J. Scott Campbell, Greg Capullo, Donny Cates, Jim Cheung, Mike del Mundo, Javier Fernandez, David Finch, Jonathan Glapion, Kevin Keane, Aleš Kot, Puppeteer Lee, Sean Lewis, Sean Gordon Murphy, Ben Oliver, Stephen Segovia, Paulo Siqueira, Marc Silvestri, Marcio Takara, and Frank Quitely, as well as others he will be announcing in the coming months.

Killadelphia #12 Gets a Reprint

Killadelphia #12 by award-winning writer/producer Rodney Barnes and artist Jason Shawn Alexander has staked its claim on readers’ hearts and sold out at the distributor level. Image Comics will sire a second printing in order to keep up with feverish fan hunger.

Killadelphia #12 provides readers with a hair-raising conclusion to the second story arc. Jupiter and Abigail have decimated the city of brotherly love, and as their reign of terror reaches its climax, things look bleak for our heroes. If Philadelphia stands any chance of survival, James Sangster Sr. and son will have to reach out to the one person they’d never ally themselves with, or else no one will survive the night. But will that be enough to save them, or will the casualties continue?

The 40-page issue also includes part five of the horrifying werewolf back-up story “Elysium Gardens,” with art contribution by the legendary Bill Sienkiewicz!

Killadelphia #12 (Diamond Code DEC208924) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, February 24.

Killadelphia #12 2nd printing

Review: Killadelphia #4

KILLADELPHIA #4

Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander’s Killadelphia has been setting its sights high since the very first issue. It established conflicting racial politics and creates a history that dates back to early independent America. A time when the Founding Fathers still roamed the land. One of them turns out to be a vampire looking to start a revolution of his own in present times. A vampire revolution. Killadelphia #4 is where that revolution starts, where we hear the first shot of the vampire uprising. It’s loud enough to become the new ‘shot heard around the world.’

Father and son James and Jim Sangster along with chief medical examiner Jose Padilla have stumbled across several big pieces of the larger puzzle, namely that President John Adams is patient zero of the vampire virus and that some of Philadelphia’s poorer neighborhoods have become his personal vampiric breeding grounds. Our merry group of novice vampire hunters is worried about the conquest-level amounts of bloodsuckers that are awaiting their orders, but they still don’t know when it’s all going to go down. This fourth issue is when everything starts.

Barnes’ script and Shawn Alexander’s art never waste an opportunity to comment on the fact that most of Adams’ vampire army is composed of black people. This is interesting because Adams is widely regarded as one of the few Founding Father to have not owned slaves. The actual facts behind this are somewhat muddy as the President did hire white and free black servants but also rented out slaves from slave owners, paying a service fee for their employment.

On top of that, Adams tolerated slavery and was very much a man of his time, meaning he might not hold up in a court of public opinion in today’s political climate (or perhaps he would’ve, given the state of things). This might say something about the drive behind his vampire revolution, especially in terms of how traditional or nuanced his perceived villainy will end up being.

It doesn’t seem like Barnes and Shawn Alexander are looking to frame Adams as a mere ‘white bad guy’ type of character for Killadelphia. The next two issues should reveal a lot more about the agendas pushed forward by the second President of the United States. The race dynamic between the white leader and the black vampires speaks volumes, but just exactly what it’s truly meant to represent is still up for debate.

I will say, while I am completely invested in the series and have loved how dense each entry has been, I did feel the revolution started a bit early. I could’ve done with two more issues of world building and perhaps more exploration of the vampires themselves. Issue #4 takes a plunge into big story developments and, while exciting, it does feel a bit rushed.

Shawn Alexander’s art continues to impress. It really digs into the grittiness of the setting, but it also plays with realism in a way that keeps the more fantastical elements of the story grounded. It heightens the horror and continues to produce some nasty-looking vampires.

Luis NCT’s colors, on the other hand, do a fantastic job of helping the art maintain a balance between its fantasy and its realism. They have a way of accentuating the more visceral sequences while also setting the tone for the moments that need an additional dose of darkness to really be effective. Visually, this comic is a well-oiled machine. The script wraps itself around this beautifully.

Killadelphia #4 speeds things up quite a bit—perhaps a bit too quickly—but the quality of the storytelling hasn’t dipped not one bit. There are traces of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend here, and even a bit of Candyman in terms of ambiance. I’m eager to see what else gets thrown in the ring, because we got a vampire revolution firing up and it looks like it’s about to get real bloody.

Story: Rodney Barnes Art: Jason Shawn Alexander Colors: Luis NCT
Story: 8.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9.0
Recommendation: Buy, and then make sure it’s in your pull list

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Killadelphia #2 and #3 Get Second Printings

Supply of Killadelphia #2 and #3 by award winning writer/producer Rodney Barnes and artist Jason Shawn Alexander has been sucked dry at the distributor level and Image Comics has fast-tracked reprints for both issues in order to keep up with feverish demand for the hot new horror title.

In Killadelphia #2, Jimmy’s horrifying discoveries regarding his father’s murder lead him to seek police coroner Jose Padilla’s help. But when they discover the force behind Philadelphia’s vampire outbreak is none other than former U.S. President John Adams, will Jimmy’s investigation reveal a way to save the city, or is he just dragging Jose to hell with him?

In Killadelphia #3, founding father John Adams has stepped out of the shadows to reveal himself as the undead source of Philadelphia’s vampire outbreak. With a legion at his command, he makes plans to cut the rot from America’s core. Meanwhile, Jimmy and Jose must fight for their lives at the city morgue as the dead rise off their slabs.

Killadelphia #3, second printing (Diamond Code DEC198681) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, February 26.

Killadelphia #2, second printing (Diamond Code DEC198680) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, February 26.

Killadelphia #1 (Diamond Code SEP190042) is available at comic book shops now.

Killadelphia #2, second printing
Killadelphia #3, second printing

Review: Killadelphia #1

Killadelphia #1

In Killadelphia #1, when a small-town beat cop comes home to bury his murdered father—the revered Philadelphia detective James Sangster Sr.—he begins to unravel a mystery. That leads him down a path of horrors that will shake his beliefs to their core. The city that was once the symbol of liberty and freedom has fallen prey to corruption, poverty, unemployment, brutality… and vampires. Welcome to Killadelphia.

The most interesting thing about this comic was also the most distracting. Jason Shawn Alexander‘s artwork is utterly fantastic. It can be easy to miss the narration because you’ll be more interested in just looking at the art. Consequently, I ended up reading the comic twice; once just to look at the art and once to actually read it.

Between Alexander and colorist Luis Nct, the book has a very unique visual style. It pulls from classic art and horror imagery to give us a comic that doesn’t look like a comic but rather like the inside of a nightmare. It’s a backdrop that highlights Rodney Barnes story with remarkable efficiency when you actually read the book.

It’s easy to forget this book is more than your typical police detective story when it begins, indeed it wasn’t until the second reading that I really grasped what I was seeing on the pages. The story is somewhat subtle despite knowing where it’ was going, it still caught me off guard (I don’t know what that says about me).

My only concerns were that at times the story was slightly difficult to follow purely because I couldn’t quite read the words on the page – the font used for the handwriting in characters journals wasn’t as intuitive to follow, though this is in part probably because I don’t read handwriting anymore and partly the settings on my laptop. The physical comic, or a dedicated app, will likely have a better result displaying the text.

Killadelphia #1 was a…. well not exactly pleasant, but it was certainly a nice surprise to read this week. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy an urban fantasy comic as much as I did. Certainly worth checking out if you’re curious about an urban fantasy style horror comic.

Story: Rodney Barnes Art: Jason Shawn Alexander
Colors: Luis Nct Letters: Marshall Dillon

Story: 8.5 Art: 9.2 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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