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Preview: Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth

Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth

(W) Joshua Hale Fialkov
(W/A) Tony Fleecs
(C) Luigi Anderson
(CA) Tony Fleecs with Luigi Anderson
Age Rating: Mature Themes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Humor
Price: $19.99
Page Count: 176

Have you ever wondered what could have been if Kevin Smith directed Men in Black? Us either because that’s kind of a dumb thing to wonder. Besides, why obsess about “What ifs?” when you could be reading the defining sci-fi-rom-com-dram-actioner of our time! From the writer of THE BUNKER and the artist of MY LITTLE PONY–wait, really? Okay, I guess we’ll go with it–comes an alien invasion the likes of which have never before been seen by human eyes. The space invaders are real. They’re here. They’re mean. And they’re standing in judgement over the citizens of Earth. The human race’s final exam. They’ve chosen a single champion to test and, unfortunately for us, it’s none other than Jeff Steinberg. Romantically challenged idiot, video store clerk, constipated, confused, distractible. In other words, the planet is totally doomed.

Preview: Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth #6


(W) Joshua Hale Fialkov and Tony Fleecs
(A) Tony Fleecs
(C) Luigi Anderson
(CA) Tony Fleecs with Luigi Anderson
GENRE: Humor, Sci-fi
PRICE: $3.99

Earth needed a champion. It got a video store clerk (that’s still a thing?!) with a bathroom problem. So far, Jeff Steinberg has risen to the occasion like the water level in a toilet bowl after an epic flush! Will he be able to fend off the next round of intergalactic feces flung his way or is the planet’s future about to be sent down the drain?

Preview: Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth #5


(W) Joshua Hale Fialkov and Tony Fleecs
(A/CA) Tony Fleecs
(CA) Luigi Anderson
AGE RANGE: Ages 16+
GENRE: Humor, Sci-fi
PRICE: $3.99

The penultimate issue of Jeff Steinberg’s first series! Do you think Jeff even knows what the word “penultimate” means? Yeah, us either. It’s the second to last issue of Jeff’s first intergalactic adventure and our hero… Wait, “hero”? It’s not like he got chosen because he was saving kittens from trees or anything—he was just trying to poop… Anyway, it’s almost over! Jeff’s survived thus far, maybe he won’t actually screw everything up! (unlikely)


Preview: Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth #4


(W) Joshua Hale Fialkov and Tony Fleecs
(A/CA) Tony Fleecs
(C) Luigi Anderson
AGE RANGE: 15 and up
GENRE: Humor, Sci-fi
PRICE: $3.99

It’s time for a training montage as Jeff explores his mech suit’s powers under the harsh tutelage of alien badass Cleompa. But despite a solid 20 minutes of hard(ish) work, Cleo questions Jeff’s commitment and ability to handle himself in intergalactic battle, which it turns out is a lot more important than anyone previously thought. Turns out Captain Dave and Reopsolom are really just ready to take over Earth and its valuable resources—the good stuff like fossil fuels, gold, middle-management—and Jeff serving as Earth’s champion is nothing more than a thin charade designed to fail immediately. The moment finally arrives for Jeff to take on his first challenge, God help us all.


Preview: Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth #3


(W) Joshua Hale Fialkov
(W/A/CA) Tony Fleecs
(C) Luigi Anderson
AGE RANGE: 15 and up
GENRE: Humor, Sci-fi
PRICE: $3.99

The Jeff Steinberg situation (or Operation Brighter Tomorrow, as Obama calls it [or Operation Bummer Tomorrow as everyone else calls it]) is in full swing with Jeff back on the space station, heart freshly broken by Shelley, ready to think about maybe trying to possibly save Earth… if he can. But he pretty much has to, according to Captain Dave of the Intergalactic Council of Planetary Relations, otherwise something terrible (or nothing terrible at all?) might befall the planet. But whatever, time for Jeff to climb into his mech suit and give this Champion of Earth thing the old college try. Wait… did Jeff go to college?


Preview: Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth #2


(W) Joshua Hale Fialkov and Tony Fleecs
(A/CA) Tony Fleecs
(C) Luigi Anderson
AGE RANGE: 15 and up
GENRE: Humor, Sci-fi
PRICE: $3.99

It’s time for Jeff Steinberg to knuckle down and learn how to be Champion of Earth—except his head’s not really in the game. Sure, his new Voltron-style mech suit is pretty sweet, and he gets his own alien badass trainer to teach him the ropes, and he’s in outer space! But he’s still hung up on his responsibilities—and girlfriend, Shelley—back on Earth. But hold up, now that all of Earth has seen their “great” Champion (and his not-so-impressive, uh, assets), are they even happy to welcome Jeff back?


Josh Fialkov and Tony Fleecs Discuss Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth

JEFF STEINBERG #1 1INVASION! Aliens are real. They’re here, they’re mean and they’re standing in judgement over the citizens of Earth. Final countdown. Representing humanity (by some fluke) is your boy Jeff Steinberg. Romantically challenged idiot, video store clerk, constipated, confused, distractible. In other words, the planet is totally doomed. Also, robots!

Kicking off with a double sized issue, Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth is a solid entry into the slacker comedy genre. From the rather hilarious inclusion of Steinberg as a video store clerk, to some solid visual jokes, the first issue had me laughing and kept the smile on my face throughout.

At San Diego Comic-Con I got to speak to the team behind the series, Joshua Hale Fialkov and Tony Fleecs and got pressing questions answered like why a video store clerk?

Graphic Policy: Where did the idea for Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth come from?

Tony Fleecs: Where did it come from? You had the idea…

Josh Hale Fialkov: It was me. I like the slacker genre and I think a lot of it is about Tony. I’m going to tell a Tony story. Tony and I were friends and Tony is crazy talented and smart. When I first met him, he wanted to draw comics. He was working on his first book. But, he wasn’t doing tons of other stuff. A lot of our conversations was me pushing him because I knew there was greatness in Tony. From there the idea of doing a book about a guy who has greatness inside him and needs the entire world to cave in around him for it to come out seemed like it’d work. So I was working on it, and I’d talk to Tony about ideas and jokes until I realized that Tony could not only draw the book, but write it as well. Which is good because he’s way funnier than I am, so it worked out.

JSTEIN-#1-MARKETING_Preview-5GP: The first issue has these aliens of all shapes and sizes. How much is that Josh’s writing and how much of that is your art Tony?

TF: The design of the aliens?

GP: Yeah…

TF: I’m pretty sure I came up with them. There was no real description.

JHF: Just take credit for everything Tony. It’s ok.

TF: Yeah, its pretty simple. There’s crab like aliens and robot type aliens and squid type aliens. I guess they’re all under the sea, Sebastian the Crab situations.

JHF: It’s all Little Mermaid. It’s a Little Mermaid mash-up.

TF: Yeah, you’ve got to see that blow fish blow. Yeah I designed the characters and aliens. It was fun to do my take on stuff. I’m obviously a dork. I loved Star Wars since I was born. So, to come up with what our aliens would be has been fun. I’m excited to do more of them. And there are robots too. So I got to design our versions of robots.

GP: How much of the world have you designed. Do you know where all of these aliens are from and what they do? Or are you making it up on the fly.

TF: It’s a little of both. Some of it I’m making up on the fly. Some I’m doing on the page. Some, there’s an aesthetic they fit in to. So, it’s a little bit of both. I work fast enough that some of it has to be on the fly.

JSTEIN-#1-MARKETING_Preview-9GP: Do you know everything that’s coming to Earth as far as this invasion?

JHF: … yes? We know what the story is. Part of the fun has been figuring out the universe and how the rules of it works. Tony’s so good at empathy in his characters that seeing how the characters evolve helps define the story and define the world in an interesting and concrete way. That’s the best part of comics, the jam sessions part of it. We know what the story is. How we get there and how we go through it, depends on what makes us laugh and what makes it feel so special and different.

GP: The main character works in a video store. Since they don’t really exist anymore, why’d you choose that setting?

JHF: I’ll let Tony handle that one.

TF: Like you said earlier, early in my career I was sort of a fuck up and we’ve been working on this for six years. So when we started working on this, video stores….

JHF: I have a daughter who is in the first grade. I did not have a daughter when we started this. The book is older than my daughter. Thanks Tony.

TF: So when we started working on it, video stores was a funny place to work because they hardly existed, now it’s a ridiculous place to work. So bizarre.

JHF: Our book went from comedy to broad slapstick because of it. Thanks to Tony.

TF: It’s more surrealist I think. They work there and act like it’s important that they’re there. But they do make reference how nobody is there.

JSTEIN-#1-MARKETING_Preview-11GP: So the main character’s last name is Steinberg, I’m guessing he’s Jewish? What had you go with that when so many other companies who we won’t name are hiding the Jewishness of their characters?

JHF: It’s a conspiracy. We have some Elders of Zion shit going on.

GP: (laughing uncontrollably) Was this something you wanted?

JHF: Why did he end up Jewish?

TF: I think I wanted it more than you wanted. Josh is Jewish. I’m not Jewish.

JHF: But Tony is very antisemetic so it’s really worked out.

TF: Immediately when he said he was a fuck up I said “Jew obviously.” First things first.

JHF: Cut to, Tony burned alive. This has all been an elaborate ploy to expose Tony’s anti-Jewish conspiracy beliefs.

Tony: You’re slowly drawing it out of me. I don’t think he was Jewish until we named him. Much like his real life, I wanted Josh to creep in some Jewish things, but he’s kept it pretty secular.

JHF: There’s a bunch of Baruch Atahs coming up. It’s heavy. He sings his Haftarah portion later. Just to really nail it.

GP: His statement will be I went through a Bar Mitzvah, I can do this.

TF: And his Bar Mitzvah money will be spent on anti-alien technology.

JHF: That’s not a bad bit. Don’t print that. We’re saving that.

JSTEIN-#1-MARKETING_Preview-14GP: How much of the series do you have planned out?

JHF: The first six are done. And then we have a bigger plan for the whole series and where it’s going to go. With all independent comics there’s a hope people read it long enough we get to tell the story we want to tell.

TF: For now there’s definitely six issues and the first challenges for Jeff Steinberg. If people buy it there’ll be nine more challenges for Jeff Steinberg.

GP: I read the comic. I wouldn’t call it mature…

TF: It’s immature.

GP: Yeah, it’s immature. It’s that in between. What age were you shooting for?

JHF: Teen plus, right?

TF: I think originally we were aiming for a PG rating and the more we wrote it, the more it got crasser and crasser.

JHF: A lot of dick jokes. A lot of good dick jokes.

TF: Yeah… when they started they were wiener jokes and then upon rewrite they became dick jokes.

JHF: We’re both fans of Caddyshack and Back to School. Back to School is in my top five movies of all time.

GP: I was just watching that again last week. Love that film.

JHF: It’s so good. It’s so perfect. Those movies, when we were kids they were already out. How old were you when you saw Caddyshack?

TF: I was ten years old.

JSTEIN-#1-MARKETING_Preview-16JHF: I was like six or seven. I watched Monty Python when I was in Kindergarten. I grew up with all of that stuff. Our goal was to do something that was dirty like that stuff was dirty. A kid can still read it and understand it.

TF: They just won’t get some of the jokes.

JHF: There is no scene of a ghost blowing Dan Aykroyd. We decided that would be inappropriate in our book.

GP: That’s the line?

JHF: In retrospect that might be the thing we’re missing.

TF: Don’t print that either. We’ll save that for later. But not the character of Ray Stanz. Just old actor Dan Aykroyd.

JHF: Look, I’m going to be in your Ghostbusters movie, but there’s one restriction. It was in my contract last time. It’s in my contract this time. I want to be fellated by a ghost. That’s it.

TF: Busting makes him feel good.

JHF: Yes, it does. That’s horrible. I had to explain that to my daughter. We were watching it and she’s like “This movie is great!” Then it turns into “Why is he making that face?” And I’m like “for god’s sake, thanks Dan Aykroyd. Thanks for nothing.”

GP: You all obviously love slacker comedies. What movies influenced the series?

JHF: Stripes. Caddyshack. The Bill & Ted movies. It’s the 80s stuff. We love Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow and all those too. The thing we tried to take and make a point of, despite the ridiculousness of the book, both Tony and I have a real focus on characters and the emotional journey of characters. The hope is on top of the copious dick jokes you’ll also care about the schmuck and you’ll want him to win.

GP: One issue in, and I already do. Thanks for talking!

Around the Tubes

SM_Cv4_dsIt was new comic book day yesterday. What’d folks get? What’d you like? What’d you dislike?

We’re at Gen Con which kicks off today! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get live updates from the con.

While you wait for all that to begin, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

iO9 – The Blackest Superhero Story That Marvel Comics Ever Published  – A solid read.

Nerds of Color – Being Latinx in Comics: Ignorance, Erasure, Whitewashing, Oh My! – If you read one thing this week.


Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Vine – Batman #4

Newsarama – Batman #4

ICv2 – Dog Man Book 1

Comic Attack – Ex-Mortis #7

Newsarama – Harley Quinn #1

The Beat – Harley Quinn #1

Newsarama – Invincible Iron Man #12

Comic Vine – Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth #1

Newsarama – Justice League #2

Newsarama – Marvel Tsum Tsum #1

Comic Attack – Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook #1

The Beat – Nightwing #2

The Beat – Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1

Newsarama – Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1

The Beat – Superman #4

Newsarama – Superman #4

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

killorbekilled01-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: Kill or Be Killed #1 (Image Comics) Praise the comic Gods or whomever for the beginning of another series from Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser. If you haven’t read anything by this creative team, that needs to change…now. The premise remains fairly mysterious with the focus being on an individual whose vigilante actions of killing those that have wronged others begins to affect the people he keeps around him. The creative team and collaborative efforts of Brubaker and Phillips have yet to disappoint so this is a definite must read/buy.

Paper Girls #8 (Image Comics) – Fresh from its Eisner wins for Best New Series and Best Penciller/Inker for Cliff Chiang, Paper Girls continues to be one of the best titles being released not only by Image, but any publisher period. The mystery continues to thicken with a monthly treat of Chiang’s images with Matt Wilson’s bold colours and Brian K. Vaughan’s smart, fast paced script.

Tokyo Ghost #9 (Image Comics) – It is unfortunate that this has to be the penultimate issue of Tokyo Ghost. This series has been an entertaining, thought-provoking ride that will surely set up quite the finale from the fantastic creative team of Rick Remender, Sean Gordon Murphy, and Matt Hollingsworth.

Lady Killer 2 #1 (Dark Horse) – Writer/Artist Joelle Jones is back with more Lady Killers! The first series was an absolute delight, diving into the life of Josie Schuller whom juggles between her life as a 1950s housewife and contract killer. Colourist Michelle Madsen looks to pick up the reigns of Laura Allred from the last series and looks to be in more than capable hands judging from the gorgeous, sleek preview pages.

4001 A.D. War Mother #1 (Valiant) – The most anticipated one shot from the 4001 event from Valiant was a mystery for a good portion of time. When it was revealed that it would focus on a character introduced during the Book of Death and to be written by Fred Van Lente, the level of curiosity rose. Once some preview pages revealed the mind blowing pencil work of Tomas Giorello, the attention of many was officially grabbed.



Top Pick: 4001 A.D.: War Mother #1 (Valiant) – So this is Valiant’s mystery comic that’s tying into  4001 A.D., eh? With all the hype that the publisher have been trying to build around it, I really hope it’s half as good as they seem to think it is, because if my guess is right this could be a launching point for an entirely new set of stories in the 4001 A.D. time-frame.

Dishonored #1 (Titan Comics) – I loved this game when I played it on PS3 a couple years ago, so I’m excited to see where the story has progressed to since the end of the game. I’m also expecting this to be less than excellent, but I’m always

Evil Heroes #1 (Zenescope Entertainment) – I’m not gonna lie, this is here solely because of the name. I know nothing else about the comic…Moon Knight #5 (Marvel)

Moon Knight #5 (Marvel) – Moon Knight versus Moon Knight. Just when you thought this couldn’t get any crazier…

Suicide Squad Rebirth #1 (DC Comics) – I have never read anything Suicide Squad before, so with the movie coming this week, what better place to start?



Top Pick: March Book 3 (IDW Publishing/Top Shelf) – The third and final volume of Congressman Lewis’ recounting of his time during the Civil Rights movement. The third volume is powerful on its own, but when combined with the first two volumes you have a trilogy that’s a modern classic.

Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth #1 (Oni Press) – This first issue had me laughing and this series looks like it’s going to be completely out there and enough dick jokes to make the 8 year old version of me giggling.

Kill or Be Killed #1 (Image Comics) – Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser, that alone is the reason I’m excited for this one.

Lady Killer 2 #1 (Dark Horse) – Joelle Jones is back with a new volume about our favorite housewife/killer Josie Schuller. The first issue is absolutely fantastic and has me excited to see what else is to come.

Sheriff of Babylon #9 (Vertigo) – The best comic on the stand right now. This issue as the various threads coming together and it’s done so in a way that’ll have you amped up to see what comes next and yelling at the comic in frustration of the disaster that is the US’s occupation of Iraq.

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