Tag Archives: jim campbell

Review: Twelve Reasons To Die TP

Twelve Reasons to Die

Twelve Reasons to Die acts as the source material for the 2013 concept album of the same title by Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah, and the record’s producer/composer Adrian Younge and executive producer RZA even get story and writer credits respectively on this comic, which is finally being released as a collected edition.A pre-4 Kids Walk Into A Bank/Marvel Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon handle the brunt of the scripting though. The comic is a multi-generational crime saga in the mold of such classics like The Godfather Part II, Goodfellas, and Once Upon A Time in America with a horror spin. With the exception of the final one, each issue tells two parallel stories. The first is about the rise of African-American gangster Tony Starks (One of Ghostface Killah’s aliases.) from muscle for the DeLuca family to a kingpin in his own right, and it is drawn predominantly by artist Breno Tamura. Gus Storms handles the other story which features “crate digger” Michael Migdal looking for 9 rare records for Lucraze, the don of the DeLuca crime family, because he feels like they’re cursed and wants to destroy them.

The parallel structure of Twelve Reasons to Die allows Rosenberg, Kindlon, RZA, Tamura, Storm, colorist Jean-Paul Csuka, and the various guest artists to play with different genres, art styles, and palettes like Younge and Ghostface Killah play with different beats, instrumentation, samples, and deliveries on the album. Starks’ story is a crime saga while Migdal’s story is more horror, and both use elements from the blaxploitation genre. This really shows up in the artwork with Tamura’s work being looser with scratchy inks and Bronze Age era Ben-Day Dots while Storms’ art is softer and more grotesque with the mysterious “Ghostface Killer” lurking around the edges like something out of a bad dream waiting for the needle to drop and to bring vengeance.

The different guest artists, like Nate Powell, Joelle Jones, Edwin Huang, and Riley Rossmo, meld well with Storms and Tamura while bringing extra flair to key scenes like Starks torturing a racist DeLuca made man and framing him for having an affair with the boss’ wife, Logan (Who Starks is actually sleeping with.) or several night club and murder sequences. Csuka’s colors really tie everything together and control the mood of each sequence whether that’s the sleazy red and blue of the strip club where Starks gets his first assignment from the DeLuca (and later runs) to the pop art pink of a “masqua-rave” that Migdal goes to get one of the records from a DJ, who decides to play the record and gets devoured by ravers turned into insects. It’s a Kafka-esque acid trip that shows the decadence of the DeLuca “social club” (They’ve filed off the serial numbers of their criminal enterprises.), and of course, there’s a panel where Migdal vomits.

Twelve Reasons to Die doesn’t shy away from showing the racism that Tony Starks faces from his employers, the Delucas, who bar him from becoming a made man because of the color of his skin and hurl slurs and stereotypes at him throughout the entire comic. Starks gets passed over for the mob equivalent of a promotion even though he has killed, tortured, and general gone above and beyond the call of duty because of the color of his skin. Eventually, this causes him to band together with his colleagues from the Black community to take over the DeLucas’ turf and even have some DeLuca foot soldiers work for him. There’s a dark, cathartic glee to watching him topple an empire in twelve months that had been established 30+ years ago. (See the prologue featuring Mussolini, mainland Italy vs. Sicily, and double page map spreads.) Starks’ ruthlessness is magnetic, yet frightening as he goes from possibly negotiating with one of the DeLuca’s made men to pistol whipping him in an alley and then tying his neck to the back of a car and having him dragged. This comic definitely uses torture creatively a la “Method Man” from Wu-Tang Clan’s classic album, 36 Chambers.

Twelve Reasons to Die

However, Rosenberg, Kindlon, and RZA also take time to develop Tony Starks’ softer and more vulnerable side through his relationship with Logan, who he genuinely cares about and basically uses as a spy for the DeLucas (Although she betrays him because femme fatale trope.) and especially for his love of records. There’s a touching scene where Starks says that his only dream is to get his hands on the most “hype” records, and he uses his organized crime money to build a factory where he can press his own wax. This is why his demise in that same factory is so tragic, and his vengeance via the drop of a needle is so satisfying as the Ghostface Killer slays the men who betrayed him in new and fucked up ways, or just a single page beheading. (I guess that’s pretty messed up though.) The exception is the noble fencer Batiato, who gets an epic sword fight complete with Ghostface in samurai armor and some fun, blocky cartooning from Edwin Huang.

I haven’t really touched much about Migdal in this review, and initially he seems quite distant from sex, violence, and racism-tinged world of Tony Starks and the DeLucas. He’s just a guy with a sarcastic sense of humor, who you’d see digging through the crates at your local record store, probably every day. However, as he continues to be treated like shit by the aging DeLuca crime bosses and see more horrific things, Migdal seems more attuned to this grindhouse movie of a world even though he doesn’t lose his innocence making the high energy Chris Hunt-drawn finale have a tinge of sadness. He really just wants to get paid so he can buy more records.

Even though it has an entire restaurant of chefs in its proverbial kitchen, Twelve Reasons to Die is a damn good fusion of the crime and horror genre with a charismatic protagonist and a social conscience in the midst of all the schlock. However, it never gets preachy. For three decades, Ghostface Killah has been one of hip hop’s best storytellers, and his vision translates really well to the comic book page thanks to Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon, RZA, Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Chris Hunt, Jean-Paul Csuka, and the guest artists that are the visual equivalent of that perfect drum sound or soul sample that raises a track from skippable to total earworm. Finally, and it goes without saying, but this comic pairs really well with the 12 Reasons to Die album.

Story: Ghostface Killah, Adrian Younge, C.E. Garcia
Story/Script: Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon with RZA

Art: Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Chris Hunt
Guest Art: Kyle Strahm, Joe Infurnari, Tim Seeley, Nate Powell,
Tyler Crook, Toby Cypress, Joelle Jones, Edwin Huang, Russell Roehling,
Ryan Kelly, Riley Rossmo Colors: Jean-Paul Csuka
Letters: Jim Campbell and Nic J. Shaw
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: AmazoncomiXology

Preview: Pirouette

Pirouette

Writer: M.L. Miller / Artist: Carlos Granda / Colorist: Champe Ramirez / Letterer: Jim Campbell
Mature / $16.99 / 124 pages

Raised from infancy by duplicitous clowns who entertain by day and menace by night, Pirouette dreams of washing the paint from her face and escaping to a better life far away from her cruel adoptive circus family… because when the spotlights dim and the crowd disperses, the clown princess’ big-top dreams give way to a nightmarish world of monsters with painted smiles.

M.L. Miller spins Pirouette with authentic darkness and depth of character, while Carlos Granda’s sweeping, exuberant line art evokes all the exotic charm and mysterious gloom of Pirouette’s shadowy big top.

Pirouette

Preview: 12 Reasons to Die

12 Reasons to Die

Created by: Ghostface Killah / Executive Produced by: RZA
Written by: Matthew Rosenberg & Patrick Kindlon
Illustrated by: Ronald Wimberly, Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Kyle Strahm, Joe Infurnari, Christopher Mitten, Jim Mahfood, Tim Seeley, Nate Powell, Ben Templesmith, Tyler Crook, Toby Cypress, Juan Doe, Joelle Jones, Edwin Huang, Johnnie Christmas, Russel Roehling, Ryan Kelly, Michael Walsh, Chris Hunt, Riley Rossmo, David Murdoch, Garry Brown, Johnny Ryan, Shaky Kane, Benjamin Marra, and Brian Level
Colored by: Jean-Paul Csuka
Lettered by: Jim Campbell, Nic J. Shaw
Mature / $24.99 / 180 pages

Guns. Sex. Vinyl. Revenge. Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah and RZA teamed with then young-gun writers Matthew Rosenberg (Uncanny X-Men, 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank) & Patrick Kindlon (Survival Fetish, Nobody Is In Control) for this brutal tale of a dangerous crime lord’s rise and fall.

Collects issues 1-6.

12 Reasons to Die

Get a First Look at Origins #2

BOOM! Studios has revealed a first look at Origins #2, the next issue in the limited series by acclaimed writer Clay McLeod Chapman, illustrator Jakub Rebelka, colorist Patricio Delpeche, and letterer Jim Campbell, that presents a stunning view of a future where humanity’s last hope may be the person who brought about its destruction, available in December 2020.

Nowhere is safe on the planet that David helped destroy, including the secret hideout where he was brought back to life as the last living human. When enemy AI attacks, David and his robot guardian, Chloe, must face an impossible mission in search of answers. It’s a dangerous journey but humanity’s only hope lies in the father of robotics going back to where it all started – no matter the cost.

Origins #2 features main cover art by Rebelka, will be available for sale on December 9, 2020.

Origins #2

Review: Origins #1

Origins #1

In the future, humanity has been destroyed. A baby is born who may be the only hope. His name is David and his birth is one of science and technology, a plan to right the wrongs. Origins #1 is an intriguing first issue that is full of mystery and teasing. It’s also a frustrating debut in some ways in that the teaser text explains for more as to what’s going on and I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

Origins #1 is written by Clay McLeod but the series is created by Arash Amel, Lee Krieger, and Joseph Oxford. An interesting debut, it’s steeped in mystery as the issue feels like it’s mostly driven by its visuals. Chloe through a lot of narrative, speaks to David through the years hinting at his role, who he is, and what’s going on. Very little specifics are laid out other than something wants David dead. What that is exactly is unknown other than its description as “The Network”.

And that unknown is both interesting and frustrating.

The description of Origins #1 goes into far greater detail as to the world and who David is. That information is only hinted at, and even then, barely in the first issue. It’s a comic where by the time I got to the end I’m honestly unsure if I’d have felt differently about it if I had gone in with no knowledge of what it was about.

To read Origins #1 feels like being in an open-world video game where your exact next steps are unknown and you only know the general concept of the game. As a reader, I found myself trying to figure out where things were going as an initial intro cut-scene played.

The art by Jakub Rebelka is fantastic. Joined by Patricio Delpeche and letterer Jim Campbell, the design is familiar but otherworldly. It’d be easy to riff on so much of what has come before but the design here feels very unique and thought out. There’s a beauty to much of the green and overgrown foliage that belies a menace underneath. But, it’s the small details that really jump out. What’s covered by plants and by how much. How a corpse is propped up and where. Various things about the animals that have taken over. Each tell a story and hint at the mystery we’re presented.

Origins #1 is a debut where I want to explore more of the world. It definitely feels like there’s a greater concept out there and this may have been a video game adapted for comics but the debut has me intrigued. I want to come back and learn more about David and this world he’s been born into to. This is a journey I want to go on and a mystery I want to solve. But, for many, it’ll be a frustrating debut that doesn’t hook you quickly enough. For those of us who spent hours in Myst wandering around though, it’s a start we’re more than familiar with.

Story: Clay McLeod Chapman Art: Jakub Rebelka
Created by: Arash Amel, Lee Krieger, Joseph Oxford
Color: Patricio Delpeche Letterer: Jim Campbell
Story: 7.75 Art: 8.65 Overall: 7.85 Recommendation: Buy

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


Purchase: comixologyKindleZeus Comics

Preview: Jim Henson’s the Dark Crystal Age of Resistance Vol. 2 the Ballad of Hup & Barfinnious

Jim Henson’s the Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Vol. 2 the Ballad of Hup & Barfinnious

(W) Jeffrey Addiss, Will Matthews, Adam Cesare (A) French Carlomagno (L) Jim Campbell (CA) Conor Nolan
In Shops: Oct 14, 2020
SRP: $22.99

AN OFFICIAL PREQUEL TO THE HIT NETFLIX SERIES! Return to Thra in a time before the Age of Resistance to meet Hup – the breakout star of Netflix’s hit Dark Crystal series, who’s a Podling cook dreaming of being a Paladin – and who discovers that sometimes it’s not good when your wishes come true! One day, the chivalrous bard Barfinnious comes to Hup’s village with tales of former glory and charms the Podling into leaving his small town to journey into adventure. But the longer they travel, the more Hup begins to doubt that Barfinnious is truly who he says he is… Based on a story by Jim Henson’s Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance series writers, Will Matthews & Jeff Addiss, Adam Cesare (Clown in a Cornfield) and French Carlomagno (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) present an official prequel to the next chapter of the pop culture phenomenon, now streaming on Netflix. Collects Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance #5-8.

Jim Henson's the Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Vol. 2 the Ballad of Hup & Barfinnious

Abbott heads to 1973 in January from Saladin Ahmed, Sami Kivelä, Mattia Iacono, and Jim Campbell

BOOM! Studios has announced Abbott: 1973, a new series from Miles Morales: Spider-Man mastermind and Eisner Award-winning writer Saladin Ahmed and acclaimed artist Sami Kivelä, with colorist Mattia Iacono and letterer Jim Campbell. Debuting in January 2021, this new five-issue series returns to the Hugo Award-nominated world of Abbott, as the eponymous unstoppable reporter tackles a new corruption taking over Detroit in 1973 and the supernatural threat behind it.

Elena Abbott is one of Detroit’s toughest reporters—and after defeating the dark forces that murdered her husband, she’s focused on the most important election in the city’s history. But when someone uses dark magic to sabotage the campaign of the prospective first Black mayor of Detroit, it becomes clear to Abbott that the supernatural conspiracy in her city is even greater than she ever imagined. Now Abbott must exhaust all her abilities as a reporter and a supernatural savior to rescue Detroit—but at what cost to her own life?

Abbott: 1973 #1 will be available for sale in January 2021.

Get a First Look at Origins #1

BOOM! Studios has revealed a first look at the premiere issue of the science fiction comic book series, Origins. The limited series by creators Arash Amel, Joseph Oxford, and Lee Toland Krieger, with acclaimed writer Clay McLeod Chapman, illustrator Jakub Rebelka, colorist Patricio Delpeche, and letterer Jim Campbell, and producer Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, presents a stunning view of a future where humanity’s last hope may be the person who brought about its destruction, available in November 2020.

One thousand years after humans have gone extinct and artificial intelligence has taken over the world, a single man is brought back to life—David Adams, the genius whose technology was responsible for the destruction of his species, and who has been given a second chance at life in order to save mankind and undo his biggest mistake. 

But even with the help of Chloe, his first creation and the android that revived him, he may not be enough to reignite the spark of humanity or stop the AI overlords who plan to eliminate the last hope for mankind. David and Chloe must embark on the greatest journey of their lives, as he seeks to find redemption and discover if humanity can—or should—have any kind of future.

Origins #1, featuring main cover art by Rebelka, will be available for sale on November 4, 2020

ORIGINS #1

Preview: Over the Garden Wall: The Benevolent Sisters of Charity

Over the Garden Wall: The Benevolent Sisters of Charity

(W) Sam Johns (A/CA) Jim Campbell
In Shops: Oct 07, 2020
SRP: $14.99

Journey back to The Unknown as Wirt and Greg take refuge in a mysterious woodland hospital known as Benevolent Sisters in Charity Infirmary & Asylum.

However, with a no animals allowed policy, their best friend Beatrice is forced to stay outside!

Even so, the hospital seems too good to be true, with friendly nurses who seem to have nothing to do but pamper them!

But when they discover that there are no other patients in the hospital, the nurses behavior takes on an all new meaning! It’s up to Beatrice to save the day-but what is the horrible secret of the Benevolent Sisters?

Discover a new story set in the world inspired by the Emmy® Award-winning Cartoon Network animated series, Over The Garden Wall from writer Sam Johns and series storyboard artist Jim Campbell.

Over the Garden Wall: The Benevolent Sisters of Charity

The Last Witch is a Dark Fantasy that Debuts in January 2021

BOOM! Studios has announced The Last Witch from writer Conor McCreery, artist V.V. Glass, colorist Natalia Nesterenko, and letterer Jim Campbell, a young adult fantasy comic book series that shows that the greatest magic of all lies inside of us, available in January 2021.

On the day of an annual festival, young Saoirse’s father and entire village are destroyed by the vengeful Cailleach. Now, on the run with her mysterious Nan and her younger brother Brahm, Saoirse discovers that the blue-black birthmark across her shoulder that has always made her an object of teasing is actually a powerful witchmark, which allows her to resist dark magick…and take it for herself.

Nan must teach Saoirse to control her powers so that she can combat the dreaded Cailleach and her devious handmaidens, before they can release the terrifying Eater of Worlds from the faerie lands — and destroy all living things!

The Last Witch #1 comes to comic shops in January 2021.

« Older Entries