Tag Archives: jeff kline

Review: Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises

As a longtime cinephile, I have been enamored with Kung Fu movies. I remember as a kid watching Kung Fu Theatre, every Saturday afternoon, with my cousins in our house in New York. These stories with their badly paced English dubbing, usually had everything else going for it. The action, the stars, the special effects, and the story. I never really knew who any of the actors were until one of my uncles introduced us to Bruce Lee.

The very first movie, we saw of this venerable legend, was the impressive Way Of The Dragon, a slow burner at first, but as soon as Lee enters the film, his presence was magnetic. The man commanded every scene he was in and the way he beat a then unknown Chuck Norris, was a scene all of us cheered on. Of course, we went on to see the rest of his movies, and to this day, in some form or another, have some piece of his memorabilia in our houses. As much as those movies still stand up, one can only imagine what else he could have created, if he only lived a little bit longer. In Shannon Lee’s Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises, fans get to live a fantasy where he still lives.

We find Lee in a government facility where he has been asleep for forty years, as he wakes up to a world, much different than what he knew as he teaches an abusive Sensei, who favors Chuck Norris the correct way to treat his students. Soon the same shadowy organization lead by a mysterious woman known as Katya, is looking for him and a friend from the past and two kids just so happens to find hm as well, who helps him get acclimated to present day.  This leads to Lee finding out what the organization is up to and to find the father of the two kids. By book’s end, they find the kids’ father but leaves Katya even more powerful than ever.

Overall, an entertaining story that gets the reader to know who Bruce Lee the person is, in this rather fun plot. The story is relatable, funny, and fantastical. The art is striking and vivid. Altogether, a great story which will have readers looking for their old VHS copy of The Chinese Connection.

Story: Shannon Lee, Jeff Kline and Adam Beechen
Art: Brandon McKinney, Michael Montenat, Zac Atkinson, Troy Peteri, Steve Blackwell and Bernard Chang
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Bruce Lee: The Walk of the Dragon

Philosopher/teacher/real-life superhero Bruce Lee is back. And, let’s be honest, the world needs him now more than ever. Taking a brief respite from battling an otherworldly evil, Bruce Lee attempts to navigate modern-day Southern California despite still suffering from amnesia and having been “out of the loop” for over 45 years. Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a simple “lunch run” soon turns into a comedy of errors involving mistaken identity, a Film Festival,” and the pokey.  And despite never being one to initiate fisticuffs, Bruce continues to find it difficult to both hide his martial arts skills – and keep his shirt on.

I’ll admit, I have not read Darby Pop Publishing‘s previous Bruce Lee comics so came into this one-shot cold. Written by Nicole DubucBruce Lee: The Walk of the Dragon is an interesting comic. Partially because, I’m not sure what the point of it all is. Part follow up to the previous comic and maybe the lead in to what’s next the comic really is Bruce Lee back from being capture for all this time trying to get a sandwich and then a series of errors.

While the comic has its moments it also feels like it’s a chapter in something more. It doesn’t do a good job explaining the situation for new readers well into it. It also doesn’t answer any questions about Lee’s amnesia about his life. So, as a one-shot, it’s an odd duck. As an issue for an ongoing series, it’d make complete sense. Which is part of what’s frustrating and fascinating about the comic. As issue #5 or #6, it’d work as a solid transition to the next arc. But it’s not that. It’s a one-shot and with that I expect a story with a beginning, middle, and end. It has those things but none of it is really satisfying. A lot is left open. Again, it’s rather odd.

The art by Brandon McKinney and color by Zak Atkinson looks solid. There’s nothing bad about it all and at times there’s some great panels that attempt to catch the speed of Lee and actually does so in some ways. When Lee disarms a mugger particularly stands out in how it’s handled. But at other times the action is missing something like when he jumps into a moving bus. The comic too could benefit from some more dynamic panel use. It’s broken here and there but mainly sticks to boxes and rectangles. The lettering by Troy Peteri is generally good. There’s a few moments where situations called for different choices for example a mugging that’s just normal text for the victim.

There’s nothing truly bad about the comic and if you read the previous volume published by Darby Pop your opinion will vary greatly. But, as a one-shot it doesn’t do what’s expected and that’s tell a complete story. It’s a chapter of a longer story marketed as something different.

Created by: Shannon Lee, Jeff Kline Story: Nicole Dubuc
Art: Brandon McKinney Color: Zak Atkinson
Letterer: A Larger World Studios’ Troy Peteri Design: Steve Blackwell
Story: 6.5 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.65 Recommendation: Pass

Darby Pop Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises #1

Bruce Lee_CoverHow does one define “action hero” and not include the iconic Bruce Lee as he not only defined this title he embodied it. His contributions to the popular culture, is as numerous as they are impactful, and one can only imagine if he had lived how prolific his career would have been. His movies stand as testament to his legacy but also as a standard for all martial arts movies. As the late David Carradine, said many times during different interviews throughout the years, as it is well known that his show, Kung Fu, was originally Lee’s idea, he had the most accurate comparison of this legend, “the James Dean of Kung Fu.”

Biographical comic books are an enigma within the comics’ medium, at times coming off much like Jean Claude Van Damme’s movie, JCVD, much like a caricature, of the titular real life person.  A comic that reminds me of that is Get Jiro, which was an excellent version, of stories surrounding the famous Sushi chef, but definitely a fantasy in many respects. Then there are times, when they are pretty much dead on, like the movie, Ray, often bottling the spirit of the person they are portraying, but giving a glimpse into a life not known to the public. The one that impressed me the most was Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven, which was not only accurate, but also heartfelt.

The first “autobiographical” comic from Darby Pop Publishing, just so happens to be Bruce Lee: Dragon Rises, as his story has seen the big screen a few times, both as documentary and semi autobiographical film, they have tackled not only a beloved subject, but one whose life every red blooded action fan worships, which is why Shannon Lee, has helped write it.  Within this story , the Bruce Lee the world knows, has been in a cryogenic sleep for 40 years, as he wakes up to a world where the customs and culture has changed dramatically. Soon, an old friend finds him, reminds him of whom he is and Bruce finds out soon enough, why he was put in that chamber in the first place. By issue’s end, there is a bigger mystery which ties everything between him, his friend, the shadowy organization who has had him on ice, and the kids who helped hi, who lost their father.

Overall, I would definitely say this; while the comic is more on the fantastical end, it definitely captures the spirit of this great man. The story by Shannon Lee and Jeff Kline shines in the best way possible, definitely keeping it tongue-in-cheek while remembering to tell a good story. The art by Troy Peteri is smooth and beautiful, as the illustrations seem to be so vivacious. It can rival the best Saturday morning cartoons.

Altogether, a strong issue, that reminds me of a cross between the Boondocks episode where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came back from the dead and Encino Man.

Story: Shannon Lee and Jeff Kline Art: Troy Peteri
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Darby Pop Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Shannon Lee Talks about her father, Bruce Lee, and Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises #1

Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises chronicles the return of the beloved actor, philosopher, teacher and — of course — martial artist in a present-day, all-ages comedy/action/adventure comic book co-written by Bruce’s own daughter, Shannon Lee, and Jeff Kline (founder of Darby Pop Publishing, writer of Indestructible comic book series, and Award-winning Hollywood writer-producer). The specially-priced, double-sized first issue hits shelves on April 6, 2016 from Darby Pop Publishing and Bruce Lee Enterprises.

Bruce Lee never died. And he hasn’t aged. But, he has no idea who he is, what’s happened in the world in the past 40+ years, or why so many “thugs” want a piece of him. With the help of a fly BFF from the ’70s — Joe Toomey, P.I. — and a pair of precocious Teens, Bruce will piece together a mystery more insidious than ever imagined, and find himself forced to do battle with both an enigmatic Villain and his very own conscience. The Dragon rises…and “walks on” once more!

Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises on Free Comic Book Day 2016!

Bruce_Lee_01_CvrFree Comic Book Day (FCBD), the comic industry’s most high-profile annual event, will feature the highly-anticipated Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises as one of the thirty-eight Silver Sponsors’ books available on Saturday, May 7th, 2016, at participating comic book shops worldwide.

Retailers on the FCBD Selection Committee chose 50 titles overall, 12 Gold Sponsor and 38 Silver Sponsor books, to provide fans with a wide range of stories to choose from as well as new genres and publishers to discover. Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises is an adventure-comedy for readers of all ages from Darby Pop Publishing and Bruce Lee Enterprises.

It’s 2016, and Bruce Lee never died. And he hasn’t aged. But, he has no idea who he is, what’s happened in the world in the past 40+ years, or why so many “thugs” want a piece of him. With the help of a fly BFF from the ’70s – Joe Toomey, P.I. – and pair of precocious teens, Bruce will piece together a mystery more insidious than ever imagined, and find himself forced to do battle with both an enigmatic Villain and his very own conscience. The Dragon rises… and “walks on” once more! Co-written by Bruce’s daughter, Shannon Lee, and Jeff Kline!  Art by Brandon McKinney. Colors by Zac Atkinson. Cover art by Bernard Chang.

Darby Pop and Bruce Lee Entertainment announce new comic!

Bruce lee Cover by Bernard ChangDarby Pop Publishing and Bruce Lee Entertainment have announced that they are collaborating on a new comic book titled Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises, which will chronicle the return of the beloved actor, philosopher, teacher and – of course – martial artist in a present-day, all-ages comedy/action/adventure. The first issue is being co-written by Bruce’s daughter, Shannon Lee, and Jeff Kline with art by Brandon McKinney and cover art by Bernard Chang.

Bruce Lee never died.  And he hasn’t aged.  But, he has no idea who he is, what’s happened in the world in the past 40+ years, or why so many “thugs” want a piece of him.  With the help of a fly BFF from the ’70s – Joe Toomey, P.I. – and a pair of precocious Teens, Bruce will piece together a mystery more insidious than ever imagined, and find himself forced to do battle with both an enigmatic Villain and his very own conscience.  In other words, the Dragon rises… and “walks on” once more!

The 48-page oversized first issue, Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises, will be available in April 2016 at comic book retailers and online.  But, well in advance of that, Darby Pop Publishing and Bruce Lee Entertainment will be hosting a special signing at Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo 2015 on Saturday, October 31st at Booth #907 from 11am to 2pm with Shannon Lee, artist Brandon McKinney and cover artist Bernard Chang autographing limited-edition free posters of the #1 cover and discussing the creative process behind the new book.

Throughout the convention weekend, Darby Pop Publishing will be giving away both Bruce Lee-related and other freebies including tattoos, stickers, bookmarks, and more.  Other members of the Darby Pop “family” will be signing and chatting throughout the entire convention.

Darby Pop Publishing joins Magnetic Press

Magnetic Press is having an impressive first year. Not only was the publisher nominated for an Eisner, but it has announced an imprint partnership with Darby Pop Publishing, a creator-owned comic book studio founded by multiple-Emmy Award winning writer/producer Jeff Kline.  Kline, best known for such fan-favorite series as Transformers Prime, G.I. Joe: Renegades, and Jackie Chan Adventures, will bring a line-up of original graphic novels and series to comic shops and book stores worldwide via the Darby Pop imprint distributed under the Magnetic Press banner.

The first title to be released through the new partnership will be Side-Kicked, dropping in October 2015. Written by Russell Brettholtz and illustrated by Miguel Mendonca, this 96 page trade paperback collects the first arc of the independently published comic series about a group of superhero sidekicks who decide it’s high-time they received the respect they deserve.

Before joining Magnetic Press, Darby Pop was IDW’s first creator-owned imprint, under which they published five original series, with nearly 40 individual issues and trade paperbacks released to date. Published titles include City: The Mind in the Machine by novelist/screenwriter Eric Garcia, The 7th Sword by screenwriter John Raffo, Doberman by movie/TV writers Scott Marder, Rob Rosell, and Jack Lambert, Dead Squad by multi-hyphenates Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia, and Indestructible by Kline himself.

Sidekicked 2

Darby Pop Launches New Line of Comic Books With Jeff Kline’s Indestructible

Darby Pop Publishing in partnership with IDW launches the first in its new line of all-original comic books this December with the release of the satiric superhero tale, Indestructible.

Indestructible is the story of a not-so-heroic slacker, Greg Pincus who when he finds himself in the wrong place at the right time, thwarts a robbery with what the general public believes to be “superpowers.”

This ongoing series will explore the pitfalls of celebrity, and examine just how far an “average Joe” will go to maintain his (potentially lethal) fame and the perks that come with it.

Indestructible #1 is written by Jeff Kline, penciled by Javi Garron, inked by Salvi Garcia and colored by Alejandro Sanchez.  Jose Lopez is providing the main cover, with Bernard Chang providing a special subscription variant cover.

Jeff Kline has been responsible for more than 40 animated and live-action television series and pilots including Transformers Prime, and G.I. Joe: Renegades.  His passion for storytelling also led him to found Darby Pop Publishing in early 2013.

SDCC 2013: Darby Pop Publishing Partners with IDW

Darby Pop Publishing is pleased to announce it has entered into a publishing and distribution partnership with premier comic book publisher IDW.  The announcement was made during San Diego Comic-Con 2013.

Darby Pop Publishing was founded in 2012 by writer/ showrunner and genre geek Jeff Kline.  Editor-in-Chief is former Marvel and Top Cow Editor David Wohl.   The company’s impressive stable of talent includes both veterans of the comic book world, as well as creatives from other media (including novels, television, and feature film).

Darby Pop Publishing has three titles currently in production: Indestructible, City, and The Seventh Sword.  The first of these will become available in December ‘13; the others will roll-out in subsequent months, to be quickly followed by a second and third wave of original comic books.