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Preview: Jim Henson’s Tale Of Sand SC

Jim Henson’s Tale Of Sand SC

Publisher: Archaia, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writers:  Jim Henson, Jerry Juhl 
Artist: Ramon Perez
Colorist: Ian Herring
Letterer: Deron Bennet
Cover Artist: Ramon Perez
Price: $24.99

Tale of Sand is an Eisner Award-winning original graphic novel adaptation of an unproduced, feature-length screenplay written by Jim Henson and his frequent writing partner, Jerry Juhl. 

Tale of Sand follows scruffy everyman, Mac, who wakes up in an unfamiliar town, and is chased across the desert of the American Southwest by all manners of man and beast of unimaginable proportions. Produced with the blessing of the Henson family, Tale of Sand will allow Henson fans to recognize some of the inspirations and set pieces that appeared in later Henson Company productions.

Preview: Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand: The Illustrated Screenplay HC

JIM HENSON’S TALE OF SAND: THE ILLUSTRATED SCREENPLAY HC

Retail Price: $24.99
Authors: Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl
Artist: Ramón K. Pérez
Cover Artist:  Ramón K. Pérez

If you love the imagination of Jim Henson, are an aspiring artist, or just a fan of the creative process, the final draft of this unproduced screenplay is a must-have. Plus, nine all new black-and-white pages illustrated by Ramón K Pérez that were cut, 19 original inked pages, 16 pages of layouts, and never-before-seen drawings, hand-written notes, and artifacts created from the Jim Henson Archives.

Adapted by Archaia into an award-winning graphic novel, this is the final 1974 draft of TALE OF SAND with Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl’s handwritten edits, as well as layouts and inked pages from the adaptation in gorgeous black-and-white, and never-before-seen sequences that were cut during the production of the graphic novel, newly illustrated by Ramón K. Pérez.

The Archaia team are process junkies and love sharing this incredible and unfiltered look behind the curtain at how Ramón K. Pérez took Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl’s original screenplay and turned it into one of the most critically acclaimed graphic novels of the last decade.

Tale_of_Sand_Illustrated_Screenplay_cover

Exclusive: Archaia Reveals Covers to Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand: The Illustrated Screenplay & new Slipcased Box Set

In July, Archaia, and imprint of BOOM! Studios, has two releases for fans on Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand. Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand: The Illustrated Screenplay, will include the full screenplay that the publisher used to adapt the graphic novel. It features handwritten annotations by Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl, and several new pieces of art by Ramón Pérez, including a new cover.

In addition, Archaia is offering a slipcased box set that includes the Tale of Sand graphic novel and this new Illustrated Screenplay. Ramón created a new cover for this as well. Below are the solicits for the two releases including an exclusive early look at the covers!

JIM HENSON’S TALE OF SAND: THE ILLUSTRATED SCREENPLAY HC

Retail Price: $24.99
Authors: Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl
Artist: Ramón K. Pérez
Cover Artist:  Ramón K. Pérez

If you love the imagination of Jim Henson, are an aspiring artist, or just a fan of the creative process, the final draft of this unproduced screenplay is a must-have. Plus, nine all new black-and-white pages illustrated by Ramón K Pérez that were cut, 19 original inked pages, 16 pages of layouts, and never-before-seen drawings, hand-written notes, and artifacts created from the Jim Henson Archives.

Adapted by Archaia into an award-winning graphic novel, this is the final 1974 draft of TALE OF SAND with Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl’s handwritten edits, as well as layouts and inked pages from the adaptation in gorgeous black-and-white, and never-before-seen sequences that were cut during the production of the graphic novel, newly illustrated by Ramón K. Pérez.

The Archaia team are process junkies and love sharing this incredible and unfiltered look behind the curtain at how Ramón K. Pérez took Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl’s original screenplay and turned it into one of the most critically acclaimed graphic novels of the last decade.

Tale of Sand Illustrated Screenplay Casewrap

JIM HENSON’S TALE OF SAND BOX

Retail Price: $49.99
Authors:  Jim Henson, Jerry Juhl
Artist:  Ramón K Pérez
Cover Artist: Ramón K Pérez

This is the definitive way to experience the groundbreaking JIM HENSON’S TALE OF SAND graphic novel. Featuring an all-new, wrap-around illustration by Ramón K. Pérez, this beautiful slipcase box includes the Eisner and Harvey Award-winning graphic novel adaptation of the lost Jim Henson screenplay and the new JIM HENSON’S TALE OF SAND: THE ILLUSTRATED SCREENPLAY hardcover.

Tale of Sand Box Casewrap

Archaia Announces Reprints of Four, Sold-Out Backlist Titles

Award-winning publisher Archaia Entertainment has announced that four of its sold-out backlist titles are now or will soon be back in print, ready for fans that missed out the first time to grab their copies! The Eisner Award-winning New York Times bestseller Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 1 was back in stock as of July 17, and sleeper hits Cursed Pirate Girl (a 2013 Harvey Award nominee) and Iron: Or, the War After were back in print as of July 24, so be sure to ask your local comic shop to order them for you! In addition, copies of the Eisner Award-winning Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand will be back for sale in comic book shops as of Sept. 11. The reprints come on the heels of Archaia’s acquisition by BOOM! Studios in June.

Getting some of Archaia’s top titles back in print and the marketplace was a priority of BOOM! Studios after its recent acquisition of Archaia. These four books are the first of many more to come.

Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 1 ($19.95, hardcover, 144 pages, full color, 8” x 8”, ISBN: 978-1-932386-94-3) is a collection of short stories set in the world of David Petersen’s bestselling Mouse Guard series, with each story written and illustrated by creators he hand-picked himself, including Jeremy Bastian (Cursed Pirate Girl), Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise), and Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin).

Cursed Pirate Girl ($24.95, hardcover, 152 pages, black and white, 6.625” x 10.25”, ISBN: 978-1-936393-60-2) is a whimsical, swashbuckling tale of a young girl who sets out to find her lost father, illustrated with the most excruciating detail by Bastian that it has to be seen to be believed. Illustrated in beautiful watercolor.

Iron: Or, the War After ($24.95, hardcover, 152 pages, full color, 6” x 9”, ISBN: 978-1-936393-28-2) is the critically acclaimed, anthropomorphic story of the rabbit Hardin, an intelligence spy for The Resistance, who steals secret documents that sets off a chain of events that will change the status quo.

Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand ($29.95, hardcover, 152 pages, full color, 8.25” x 11.5”, ISBN: 978-1-936393-09-1), which won the 2012 Eisner Award for Best New Graphic Album, is based on an unproduced screenplay by Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl and gorgeously illustrated by Ramón Pérez (Wolverine & The X-Men).

SDCC 2012 – Archaia’s Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand Wins Three Eisner Awards

Archaia was another big winner at the 24th Annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. The publisher, which we’ve named “Best Publisher” two years running, was honored with three awards for its original graphic novel hardcover, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand. An amazing adaptation of a Jim Henson movie script that’s an absolute must read.

The awards won were:

Best Graphic Album – New
Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, adapted by Ramón K. Pérez

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
Ramón K. Pérez, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand

Best Publication Design
Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, designed by Eric Skillman

This is the second straight year that Archaia has won the top prize of Best Graphic Album – New. It previously won in 2011 for Best Graphic Album – New for Return of the Dapper Men. Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand was also honored with nominations for Best Lettering and Best Coloring.

Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, written by Henson and his frequent writing partner, Jerry Juhl, is based on a dark, existential feature-length screenplay that built off of ideas Jim Henson had been developing around the time he produced his Academy Award-nominated short film “Timepiece.”

It tells the story of a young man who hears, “Run, boy… run!” as he is kicked out of a dusty town in the middle of the desert. There’s nothing but sand in every direction, but run he does, with only a rucksack of odds-and-ends to his name, as he embarks on an oddball journey. Under the supervision of The Henson Company CEO Lisa Henson, team Archaia and artist Ramón K. Pérez adapted the screenplay into a colorful, marvelous tribute to one of the most creative minds who ever lived.

 

Around the Tubes

The weekend is here!  Yay!  What’s everyone’s plans?

Around the Blogs:

Kotaku – Why the Internet Gave This Man $1 Million. In a Single Day.2012 is the year of disruption….

The Beat – Steve Niles’ views on piracy are “evolving” – Interesting….

 

Around the Tubes Reviews:

Spandexless – Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand

CBR – Thief of Thieves #1

CBR – Wolverine & The X-Men #5

IGN – Comic Book Reviews for 2/8/12

Kotaku – The Darkness II: The Kotaku Review

Best Comics of 2011

It’s the first day of a new year and so that means we’re doing our “best of” listing of the top comic books for 2011. Generally these are comic books that came out in 2010, though some are from earlier times and we got around to reading them. Keep in mind, this is what I have read.  If it’s not on here, I just might not have read it.

Best Super Hero Comic – Daredevil

Daredevil #1 CoverDaredevil has had an interesting 2011, we started with Shadowland and then got Matt Murdock finding himself and then a relaunched back to basic series written by Mark Waid with art by Paolo RiveraShadowland wasn’t too bad, a bit uneven, but as a whole Marvel had issues with this year’s events.  Seeing Murdock corrupt and the emotion from his friends was an interesting read.  After you had Murdock wandering the country in short mini-series followed up by the relaunch.

It’s that relaunch that makes Daredevil stick out in my mind.  It’s a comic I look forward to reading each month.  Waid has given it a pulp action feel like classic Green Hornet or the Shadow and Rivera’s art is fantastic.  The comic is just fun to read.  On top of Waid’s take, Daredevil is now an Avenger and each of his brief appearances so far has enhanced that series.  When you show up in an ensemble comic and steal the show, that says something.

Waid has set up a lot going into 2012, can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Runner Ups – Moon Knight, Uncanny X-Force, Aquaman

Best Non-Super Hero Comic –DMZ

DMZ 50Is there a more politically relevant comic book series out there? Every month we’re given something to think about as we follow Matty Roth through Manhattan which is now a DMZ in the middle of the second American Civil War.

Writer Brian Wood is able to pivot and comment on what’s currently happening in politics and the world challenging our perceptions and not seem preachy at the same time.

With some single issues that stand as some of the best of the year and numerous holy shit moments, this isn’t just one of the most relevant comics out there, but some of the best political commentary of any entertainment medium.  Fittingly, this final week also brought us the final issue of the series, a perfect way to end the year.

Runner Ups – American Vampire, Chew, The Walking Dead

Best Limited Series or One Shot – Criminal: The Last Of The Innocent

Criminal: The Last Of The Innocent #1Really, just sign me up for whatever Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips have in store.  This latest volume of their crime/noir series from Marvel/Icon gave us a shit-head of a main character and kept us on our toes as to what to expect.  Sean Philips also showed us something new by changing up the art style every so often.

These two are one of the best teams in comic books today.  Early 2012 brings us Fatale from them to be published by Image which is more horror/noir.  Hopefully we’ll be seeing another volume of this series as well.

I’m a huge fan up pulp/noir comics, and this is the gold standard by which all others are judged.  Just fantastic.

Runner Ups – Critical Millennium, Severed, 27: Second Set

Best Single Issue – Transformers #22 and #23

Transformers #23 CoverTechnically it’s two issues, but the story is spread out between the two issues and either stands out as the best.  On top of that Transformers: The Death of Optimus Prime reflects on what’s discussed in these issues as well.  Megatron is captured and the two issues reflect on his and Optimus’ past and how they became who they are.  Flash forward to the present and the two leaders debate politics and motives.  It’s an adult discussion coming from two giant robots.

DMZ might have been “the” political discussion of the year, but these two issues I just didn’t expect it from.  Absolutely fantastic and enough to give me pause and make me think.

What’s the difference between a terrorist and freedom fighter?  Find out in these issues.

Worst Single Issue of the Year – Holy Terror

Just a holy piece of crap.  This is up there as one of the worst things I’ve ever read.  The graphic novel by legend Frank miller is racist, xenophobic, sexist and horribly written.  Can’t believe we’ve waited so long to read it.

Runner Ups The Infinite (any issue)

Best Graphic Novel/Trade Paperback – Green River Killer

Green River Killer A True Detective StoryDark Horse’s Green River Killer is a true-crime story focused on the Green River serial killings.  The writer was close to the subject, as his father was one of the lead detectives.  The story has multiple layers, looking at how families were affected, the struggles the police went through and at the end, why the killer did what he did.

The graphic novel is haunting.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it for many days it was that disturbing and unsettling.  The art is good, but it’s the story that gets you.  The whole time you’re wondering how they’re going to solve this, but also why is this happening.

Add in the fact this is a true story.  It’s a disturbing true story.  Being able to get some of the behind the scenes to a story I only know from newspapers and the nightly news, just adds more to it all.

Runner Ups Any Empire, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand

Best Event of the Year – Uncanny X-Force: The Dark Angel Saga

Uncanny X-Force #18 Teaser 1I’m counting this as an event, though it’s really a long story arc.  Rick Remender has put together the best “X” book put out by Marvel.  This event which saw the rise of a new Apocalypse in the form of Archangel and X-Force is all that stands in the way between him and world destruction.

Diving into “X” lore with trips to the Age of Apocalypse universe, this was a story for the hard core “X” fans.  But, more than that, everything was thrown into it.  You had no idea what was going to come next and what to expect.

It wasn’t until I finally read the last issue that I know the ending, that’s how much of a big question mark Remender gave us.  The follow as well was fantastic as why characters did what they did and a new status-quo and direction were set.

Runner Ups Artifacts, Flashpoint

Best Genre of the Year – Horror

Horror was where it was at this year with DC folding in some Vertigo books and some great limited series like Severed.  Animal Man, Swamp Thing, I, Vampire, B.P.R.D. and more lead the way to dethroning last year’s winner, a bunch of shuffling zombies (though that’s also horror in a way).  I’ve never been creeped out more and enjoyed it as much.

Runner Up – Steampunk, Zombie

Best Comic Tie-In of the Year – Batman: Arkham City

I enjoy a video game or two (dozen).  One of the best video games of the year, not just comic book tie-ins was Batman: Arkham City which just brought more of the brawler game.  There’s a reason many are naming this as one of the best video games of the year and it’s sold so well.  It’s that damn good.

The downloadable material which seems to be coming as a steady flow, the fact you can play as so many characters, that all adds up to a comic book experience you can control.  Add in amazing graphics, game play and there you have it, it’s a must buy video game.

Runner Up – Marvel Universe toys, DC Universe Super Heroes Legos

Best Comic Book Related Movie – Thor

Marvel Studios Thor PosterThis year’s crop of comic book related movies wasn’t as amazing as I’d hope, but it’s a solid bunch.  Marvel’s batch as what stood out and all three really deserve to share the honors.  Each was excellent and flawed in their own ways, but out of the three Thor holds up best.

The story is pretty standard, didn’t really challenge me at all, but the visuals and Chris Hemsworth’s acting is what really makes it all stand out.  The flaws also are the least of the bunch with only the final fight between Thor and the Destroyer really bothering me.

Out of the bunch, this was also the highest grossing, showing it wasn’t just me that liked it.

Runner Ups – Captain America: The First Avenger, X-Men: First Class

Best Surprise of the Year – DC New 52

DC ComicsThis is a mixed one as DC’s relaunch is also a disappointment, but I’ll address it all here.  DC made a bold move this year to shake up their sagging line of comic books by starting from the beginning and relaunching the entire line.  It was gutsy.  On top of that, their digital initiative was bold.

The story that lead up to it all, Flashpoint, was pretty damn good and what came out of it as well.  I took a chance on all fifty-two issues and came away with giving half of them a chance for the second issue.  From there, I made further cuts, but today, I’m reading more comics from DC than I ever have and their higher volumes they’re selling that the initiative has worked for the short term.

The disappointing part is that they didn’t go far enough.  The comics were pretty standard and we didn’t get anything out of the box.  There also was a clear audience, adolescent males (or men stuck in their adolescence).  While we saw more advertising to the general public, we haven’t seen a sustained campaign.  For all their gains in 2011, I think we’ll see a good chunk of it erode in 2012.

Biggest Disappointment of the Year – Marvel Events

Marvel ComicsFear Itself and it’s follow up were and are bad.  X-Men: Schism was ok, but much better than what was before.  Shadowland was uneven.  Marvel has been having some issues when it comes to their events.  I won’t call it overall event fatigue in the industry as others have put out quality and showed what works.

Too many tie-ins, stories not thought out and gimmicky tricks paved the way to a substandard experience.

Marvel relied on the tired gimmick of death, killing the Ultimate Spider-Man, Bucky, the Human Torch and more, that all made headlines but some of it is already undone.  There’s only so many times you can call death before the masses catch on and shrugs their shoulders.

Already we’re heading into more events at Marvel in 2012, here’s hoping there’s some improvement.

Runner Up – Green Lantern (movie), DCnU

Best Character – Moon Knight

Moon Knight #1 CoverMoon Knight has always been a character that’s intrigued me.  Brian Michael Bendis, along with amazing art by Alex Maleev, have given us a new series that really looks at the many personalities of Marc Spector.  The new series really has fun with the idea having Moon Knight drawing upon his personalities at different points.

Moon Knight is the psychotic Batman, a super hero struggling with mental illness.  But is he really suffering from it?  And should it be this much enjoyable to read?

Publisher of the Year – Archaia

ArchaiaArchaia received the honor last year as well, so let me really explain my logic here.  Lets start with the big two, Marvel and DC.  Marvel’s line has suffered in 2011, they’re out.  DC made a bold choice, but four months letter, it all feels empty.  There’s quality, but there’s also a lot that just doesn’t excite.

BOOM! made it’s case towards the end of the year with some great original series, along with some on-goings that continue to show off their quality.  Add in a lot of licensed comics and they’ve got a line that has something for everyone.  There were also some busts, but they’ve got a great line of comics.  Image Comics, for all the quality also has some major duds.  Inconsistency is the issue, but their quality is some of the best out there.

Dark Horse has some amazing comics.  A lot of big name licenses and some good original, but there’s a lot of series I read and just didn’t interest me.  Their quality though is up there.  If your a Star Wars or Buffy fan too, they put out excellent product.  Then we come to IDW Publishing.  A lot of license there too, and also a lot of original material.  Each week I see their new releases, I get excited, as a whole, I’m probably interested in more of their monthly comics percentage wise than any other publisher, and it’s all excellent.

And the big winner is Archaia.  I should start with the presentation of the books.  Beautiful covers and packaging is the first thing that sticks out.  Their entire line of graphic novels are beautiful to look at on a shelf.  Then there’s what’s in between those fancy covers.  The variety of the books and quality is unmatched.  I can find something for everyone and hand out one of their series or a graphic novel and know I’m good with my choice.  All of what I read was good to great and much challenges story telling and comic book visuals.

Licensed books, original books, it’s all here.  And it’s amazing.  There’s comics for kids and adults and books kids and adults will love together.  Books from the US and Europe, we have different styles and perspectives, it’s like the publisher goes out of it’s way to present choice and variety.  And it’s all good.

I said it last year and it still holds true this year, when I think Archaia, I think high quality and expect the best.  They continue to not let me down.

Runner Up – IDW Publishing

Archaia Reviews – Berona’s War Vol. 2, Everlast, Immortals, Tales of Sand, The Storyteller, Killing Pickman and more!

Archaia is synonymous with quality and this year, especially towards the end shows off why we named them publisher of the year in 2010.  What you see below makes the case as to why they’re in consideration this year as well.  There’s a mix of genres and something for folks of all ages.  What you don’t get when reviewing digital copies is the quality printing as well.  The books are not just great reads but also beautiful to pick up and look at.

Berona’s War Vol. 2 – Fight for Amity

I loved the first volume of this series which chronicles the battle between two races on an island.  There’s something cute and twisted about the short stories throughout the book and the types of stories varies.  Everything from descriptions of missions, journal entries, one page jokes and prose can all be found.  Also included are the expected unit and weapon breakdowns that add depth to it all.

You’ve met the characters, you’ve seen their weapons, you’ve witnessed their war. And now, you can know their stories. BERONA’S WAR VOL.2: THE FIGHT FOR AMITY brings to life the blood-hungry warriors and races of Berona and takes you deep within their individual tales. Follow the soldier as he enters his final battle. Witness the elite teams at work behind the scenes. Learn the savage ways of the Condyle warriors, and the vicious speed of the Ele-Alta Slayers. Watch as the brave struggle for glory, obtain it, then live to see it stripped from them. Will it be a glorious death, or will it be the death of a coward? The battles have just begun to rage, and the War has so much left to claim.

Like that first volume I gushed.  This world is so rich and so entertaining and I found my emotions being all over the place.  Stories will get you choked up a bit and the next will get you to laugh.  My only complaint is it’s so long between the books, I want more!  And sooner!  Absolutely fantastic and beyond entertaining fun.

Story: Anthony Coffey and Jesse Labbé Art: Anthony Coffey and Jesse Labbé

Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Everlast

Ok, I’ll admit I was a bit apprehensive of this graphic novel written by actor Chad Michael Murray.  Seeing him at New York Comic Con I giggled a bit at all of the people flipping their lids over Murray.  The list of comics written by musicians and actors that are good feel few and far between and it all seemed like a vanity trip.  Boy would I have eaten my words here.  This graphic novel is pretty damn good.

A pre-apocalyptic tale, Everlast follows Derek Everlast, a man whose destiny in life is guiding others to a place of rebirth for mankind called Haven. Following an instinct called the Nudge, bestowed on him by a higher power, Derek is guided to the next chosen human destined to survive, a little girl named Melissa. In a harrowing adventure, he must deliver her safely to Haven before the End of Days. Everlast tells a story of choice, love, friendship, and, most of all, survival. Will you be chosen? Created and written by actor Chad Michael Murray (“One Tree Hill.”)

The story is pretty cool, the whole time I was thinking how I’d like to see this as a movie or a television series.  There’s definitely an eye towards that feel, and that’s not a bad thing.  The art is cool, changing up a bit with each phase of the book.  The worst part of it all?  It ends.  I want more!  It’s clear we can expect a second volume that picks up on Everlast’s further adventures.

There’s also something cool about the world.  It’s not quite clearly heaven and hell existing in our world and we just don’t notice.  There’s more to it, as this is all just before the apocalypse.  With that aspect there’s a clock ticking pacing to it all.  I was surprised when I finished up reading it and the worst thing I can say is, I wanted to read more.

Story: Chad Michael Murray Art: Trevor Hairsine, Andrew Huerta, Robbi Rodriguez,

J.K. Woodward and Danijel Zezelj

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Immortals: Gods and Heroes

I had no interest in seeing this movie at all.  I saw the ads and thought, well the visuals are cool, but I saw it all when it was called 300.  So, with that I went into reading this with some hurtles to get over.  On top of that, it’s a comic based on a movie, something else against it (I just think like comics written by actors and musicians, there’s more flops than successes).  Again, I walked away impressed.

Spinning from the upcoming epic 3-D film Immortals from visionary director Tarsem Singh (The Fall, The Cell) and starring Mickey Rourke and Henry Cavill comes Immortals: Gods and Heroes, a stunning hardcover featuring ALL-NEW tales of Greek myths as you’ve never seen them before! Featuring incredible untold tales by Brian Clevinger (Atomic Robo), Dennis Calero (X-Men Noir), Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti (Jonah Hex), Jock (Detective Comics, The Losers), Ben McCool (Captain America, Memoir), Ron Marz (Witchblade, Green Lantern), Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night) and more!

The graphic novel is a series of short stories all building up to the movie and fleshing out the background of the world.  It’s all familiar with gods and titans doing battle, but there’s also just enough that’s different to make it pretty unique and keep you on your toes.

The stories are varied but all are at least good, some are great.  The art is similar and varies from good to great.  But, by the time I got to the end of reading this, I actually wanted to see the movie.  There was enough here to get me interested and want to spend money to see more.

If you dug the movie, absolutely buy this.  If you like battles like Spartacus, Gladiator, 300 or Clash of the Titans, you’ll probably dig this as well.  It’s swords and sandals and really damn entertaining.

Story: Brian Clevinger, F.J. DeSanto, David Gallaher, Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, Jock, Ron Marz, Jim McCann, Ben McCool, Jeff Parker and Paul Tobin Art: Dennis Calero, Kevin Colden, Steve Ellis, Trevor Hairsine, Scott Hampton, Phil Hester, Jock, Rafael Kayanan, Patrick Scherberger and Ben Templesmith Cover: David Mack

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Inanna’s Tears

Inanna's Tears CoverInanna’s Tears is an interesting graphic novel mixing religion, politics a love story all together in an Egyptian like society.  The story pits two people, those outside the temple and those that rule within.  All with an art style you just don’t see a lot.

In Sumer, before the rise of the kingship, the prosperous city of Birith is known throughout the land for its devotion to the goddess Inanna. But after a thousand years of plenty, the city is in danger of being overrun by the nomadic refugees that swell in number outside of its walls. Even as her high priest makes plans to preside over his final ritual to Inanna and name a successor, powerful interests outside of the city begin to question the wisdom of continuing to submit to the Temple’s authority. When the role of consort is passed unexpectedly to a woman named Entika, she must overcome not only the prejudices of her own people but a cunning enemy backed by the rising tide of history. Collects and completes the INANNA’S TEARS series, a proto-historical romantic tragedy in five acts, 5,000 years in the making.

Overall, I’m kind of torn on this one.  It’s very unique, but felt a bit like a choir to get through.  It’s not bad in any way, I think it just wasn’t for me.  I felt a bit like I was in Sunday School hearing an extended story.  It’s definitely different, both in it’s pacing, subject and art style.  For that it gets points, but I can’t enthusiastically get behind it.  Might be for you, just not for me.

Story: Rob Vollmar Art: mpMann

Story: 7 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Read

Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand

Think Jim Henson was all happy and kids stuff?  Think again.  Tale of Sand is a play on visuals and time.  Really, I’m pretty sure it was written on acid, it’s that out there.  But when it was over, I loved it.

Join us as we explore this missing piece of Jim Henson’s career in a celebration of his creative process. Discovered in the Archives of The Jim Henson Company, Tale of Sand is an original graphic novel adaptation of an unproduced, feature-length screenplay written by Jim Henson and his frequent writing partner, Jerry Juhl. Tale of Sand follows scruffy everyman, Mac, who wakes up in an unfamiliar town, and is chased across the desert of the American Southwest by all manners of man and beast of unimaginable proportions. Produced with the complete supervision of Jim’s daughter, Lisa Henson, Tale of Sand will allow Henson fans to recognize some of the inspirations and set pieces that appeared in later Henson Company productions.

To really go into the reasons why I dug this so much would ruin the story for you, but it just plays with visuals and the concept of time to create a unique story that I’ve never seen anywhere else.  Football players, cowboys, Indians, it’s all there.  And it’s perfect for the graphic novel form.  I think as a movie, it might have been horrible, but in printed form where you can linger on the art, it works perfectly.  I won’t go so far to say this is a modern classic, but it’s up there. I lingered on pages, went back and reread some to see the build up and the ending made me want to start again.  The graphic novel will throw you for a loop and it’s totally worth it.

Story: Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl Art: Ramón Pérez

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller

I swear it’s Jim Henson month between the movie and all of the comic releases.  The Storyteller is classic Henson featuring an old man telling stories to his talking dog.  You can almost picture the gentleman telling them on tv to his puppet dog.  It’s just what I’d expect and love about Henson’s creations.

The much-loved, live-action/puppet combination TV show is now a graphic novel series! Archaia and The Jim Henson Company are proud to present ALL-NEW tales of fantastic wonder and extraordinary myth, as told from the tongue of The Storyteller and his loyal canine companion! Witness worded wonderment from a cavalcade of crafty creators, including Roger Langridge (The Muppet Show Comic, Thor The Mighty Avenger), Marjorie Liu (Black Widow), Ron Marz (Green Lantern, Artifacts), Jeff Parker (Hulk, Thunderbolts), Jennifer L. Meyer (Lady Pendragon), Tom Fowler (Green Arrow, Batman), Chris Eliopoulos (Pet Avengers, Franklin Richards), Colleen Coover (Spider-Man, Pet Avengers) and more! Plus: A never-before-seen story adapted from a screenplay by The Storyteller’s original author, Academy Award Winner Anthony Minghella (The English Patient)!

A series of short stories and some work better than others, but each feels like an episode.  They’re all moral tales as Henson seemed to do and entertaining at the same time.  It’s a great read and one I’d love to sit down with my nieces and nephews and read aloud to them.  This is volume one, lets hope we see volume two and see it soon.  Reading it just made me miss Henson’s genius that you could share with the entire family.

Story: Katie Cook, Colleen Coover, Nate Cosby, Chris Eliopoulos, Roger Langridge, Marjorie Liu, Ron Marz, Jeff Parker and Paul Tobin Art: Ronan Cliquet, Katie Cook, Colleen Coover, Tom Fowler, Roger Langridge, Mike Maihack, Jennifer L. Meyer, Craig Rousseau and Evan Shaner Cover: Patrick Scherberger and Mike Maihack

Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Killing Pickman

Um, I’ll just say it aloud, this graphic novel is fucked up.  It’s twisted and made me disturbed, which has to mean it was pretty decent.  The story is part Se7en and part Silence of the Lambs mixed in with a supernatural element.  It’s messed up and really entertaining.

Homicide Detective William Zhu has just made the arrest of his career. With the apprehension of Richard Pickman he has solved over 100 missing child cases, some of which date back over 30 years. The excavation of Pickman’s basement reveals horrors beyond imagination—the bodies of children mutilated in bizarre satanic rites. Frustrated with his role of clean-up man to the detritus of the world, Zhu makes what may be a fatal mistake: He decides to kill Pickman. Fatal, for Richard Pickman is no ordinary psychopath. The rituals he performed were not the work of a madman but sacrifices made to a very real demon. A demon who has granted Pickman near immortality. Killing Pickman is going to be a lot tougher than Zhu could have imagined. It may not even be possible.

You have the cop that wants to move on and the crazy psychopath that he needs to deal with.  But, that psychopath also has made a deal with a demon.  Is that part true?  Is it all just some psychological play?  It’s twisted is what it is.  The story is creepy enough but the layout and art just add to it all.  The layout is actually brilliant really using the book to enhance the story and for that it’s all enhanced.  The use of tape like visuals, the margins, it all blends together and makes the whole more.  If you like psychological thrillers, you’ll dig this.

Story: Jason Becker Art: Jon Rea

Story: 8.75 Art: 9.25 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury

Comic books are supposed to be fun and The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury is just that.  There’s a pop adventure feel to it all that made me tear through the graphic novel and come away wanting to read more.

She’s the greatest adventurer in this, or any other galaxy, the kind of old-fashioned, classic science-fiction heroine that can successfully defeat The Time Raiders of Xaxium, brave the wonders of The Glass Planet, survive The Perils of Yor, and battle The Infinity Class to a veritable standstill! All while facing the one enemy that perhaps even she cannot defeat, a microscopic poison rushing through her veins, courtesy of her greatest adversary, Cyrus Vega. With only one year left to live, Miranda Mercury will have her morality tested and values shaken to see her life’s mission completed.

I like the pulp stories like Flash Gordon and this has that feel to it all, showing off crazy worlds and crazier villains.  It also stars a kick-ass woman which just makes it even more of a treasure, since that seems to be lacking.  It’s a space adventure that’s perfect for kids and gives little girls a heroine to look up to.

The stories, art, it all just comes together to create a pulp world that makes me just want to read more.

Story: Brandon Thomas Art: Lee Ferguson

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Mouse Guard: Black Axe #2 and #3

Mouse Guard: The Black Axe #2 CoverI love, love, love Mouse Guard.  The Black Axe is the latest series that features this magical fantasy world featuring mice.  I really have no idea what to say to get people to pick it up, other than the various volumes are absolutely modern classics.

The new volume of the Eisner Award-winning MOUSE GUARD series continues! On an unmapped island, Celanawe and Em discover the land of Ilder ruled by a ferret king. Shipwrecked and with no sign of their ship’s captain Conrad, they become the audience of Ilder’s imposing sovereign and hear of his hunger, his power and his fear—all while a mythic weapon dangles just out of reach preventing destiny from marching forward for the bloodline of Farrer, forger of the Black Axe.

The story is great, feeling like the best that fantasy has to offer.  My only complaint is it feels so long between issues.  But, overall, I’ve gushed over Mouse Guard in the past and it’s a comic I’d put in anyone’s hands, especially when it comes to a comic the entire family can enjoy.  Much like previous volumes, this one is an instant classic.

Story: David Petersen Art: David Petersen

Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

The Sigh

Marjane Satrapi is internationally known for her classic Persepolis, which was utterly brilliant.  The Sigh is an illustrated prose book that reads like a night time story you’d read your kids before putting them to bed.

Rose is one of three daughters of a rich merchant who always brings gifts for his girls from the market. One day Rose asks for the seed of a blue bean, but he fails to find one for her. She lets out a sigh in resignation, and her sigh attracts the Sigh, a mysterious being that brings the seed she desired to the merchant. But every debt has to be paid, and every gift has a price, and the Sigh returns a year later to take the merchant’s daughter to a secret and distant palace. Written and illustrated by Marjane Satrapi, author of the award-winning Persepolis.

I’m not the biggest fan of prose, and an illustrated story isn’t really for me.  I’m not the audience for the book, and I recognize that.  So for me, it’s a meh, not like her previous work at all, this is a kids fairy tale, not a story of political repression.  But, if I had kids, especially daughters, this would be one of the first things I’d be reading to them.  The story is cute and entertaining, great for kids.  So, if you’re looking for something to read to your kids, you can’t go wrong with this.

Story: Marjane Satrapi Art: Marjane Satrapi

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Archaia provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

Around the Tubes

The weekend is here, yay!!!!

Around the Blogs:

Kotaku – Kicking Faces With HORI’s Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 StickStill need to get this game.

Kotaku – Should You Buy Marvel Pinball: Vengeance and Virtue? Yes.I am a pinball fan.

Kotaku – This is How You Customize Characters in Gotham City Impostors – I can’t wait for this game.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews:

CBR – Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand #1

Preview – Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand

JIM HENSON’S TALE OF SAND

Original Graphic Novel Hardcover
Retail Price: $29.95 U.S.
Page Count: 160 pages
Format: hardcover (paper over board), 8.25” x 11.5”, full color
ISBN-13: 978-1-936393-09-1
Written by Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl
Illustrated by Ramón Pérez
Cover by Ramón Pérez

Join us as we explore this missing piece of Jim Henson’s career in a celebration of his creative process. Discovered in the Archives of The Jim Henson Company, Tale of Sand is an original graphic novel adaptation of an unproduced, feature-length screenplay written by Jim Henson and his frequent writing partner, Jerry Juhl. Tale of Sand follows scruffy everyman, Mac, who wakes up in an unfamiliar town, and is chased across the desert of the American Southwest by all manners of man and beast of unimaginable proportions. Produced with the complete supervision of Jim’s daughter, Lisa Henson, Tale of Sand will allow Henson fans to recognize some of the inspirations and set pieces that appeared in later Henson Company productions.

T – TEEN (12 and up, may contain mild violence or mild profanity)

Zeismic
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