Tag Archives: joe keatinge

Review: Evolution #1

Human evolution has taken millions of years to get to this stage. But next week, we become something new. Around the world, humanity is undergoing rapid and unpredictable changes, and only three individuals seem to notice that their world is being reborn. But what can they do about it?

Evolution #1 is credited a whole slew of writers, all talented in various ways. James Asmus, Joe Keatinge, Christopher Sebela, and Joshua Williamson have teamed together for this debut over-sized issue that feels like a sci-fi horror series partially due to the fantastic art by Joe Infurnari.

The story is a bunch of short vignettes setting up what’s going on, which appears to be rapid evolution to meet the needs of individuals or reaction to what’s going on. Why is this happening? We don’t know. How wide spread is this? We don’t know. But, the variation of everything is interesting in that we have features that feel both helpful (gills) and some not so much.

The mystery of it all is the driving factor… along with the art.

I love Infurnari’s art and this feels like a horror take on his work in The Bunker from Oni Press. I’m not quite sure how to exactly describe the style but there’s a grittiness and dirtiness about it that is perfect for both horror and science fiction. And Infurnari delivers a global cast that all look varied and unique. There’s a lot of different characters and locations and it all looks cohesive and unique at the same time. Add in each mutation that at times borders on horror. There’s a great balance of using shadows to hide it to let our imagination run wild and showing us what’s going on. The lettering for the issue too ads to that horror aspect with a style that looks shaky in a way that enhances the tone of the comic.

I have no idea where this is going but I’m on board and what’s set up is an intriguing concept. While it’s not unique it is done in a way that teases the mystery and ups the anticipation of what’s to come.

Story: James Asmus, Joe Keatinge, Christopher Sebela, Joshua Williamson Art: Joe Infurnari
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Madison’s Favorite Comics of 2016

Last year I prioritized cutting back on cape books and diversifying the publishers and stories that I read. Though many of the comics I read weren’t published in 2016 (especially ones I read during Women’s History Month) I still found it hard to narrow down the list of ongoing series I particularly loved throughout the year.

Here are ten comics I couldn’t put down in 2016:

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10. Goldie Vance by Hope Larson and Brittney Williams

This is a series I would have loved as a child. Goldie is the perfect mix of Nancy Drew and Eloise (of Plaza fame). Goldie Vance is great for a younger audience but doesn’t shy away from emotionally complex stories. Goldie and her friends are well-rounded characters with a wide range of interests who readers–young and not-young alike–will be able to relate to.

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9. Elasticator by Alan C. Medina and Kevin Shah

Elasticator is the kind of smart, political superhero comic I wish was more prevalent. The writing is fresh and interesting and Shah’s art is lively and animated with great colors from Ross A. Campbell.

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8. Snotgirl by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung

Lottie Person is just about as far away from Scott Pilgrim as you could get, though they do, at times, share a similar self-absorption. Snotgirl quickly became one of my favorite series of the year, because while not many people can say they’re successful fashion bloggers, they can likely relate to Lottie’s personal problems. Leslie Hung and Mickey Quinn provide gorgeous, vibrant visuals and the best wardrobe in comics, to boot.

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7. We(l)come Back by Christopher Sebela and Claire Roe

Reincarnation? Check. Assassins? Check. Shadowy organizations? Check. A+ fashion choices? Check. Reincarnated assassins in love running from other assassins who are trying to assassinate them? …Also check. What more can you want from a story?

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6. Shutter by Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca

Shutter is one of Image’s most underrated titles. The story follows Kate Kristopher, the daughter of legendary explorer Chris Kristopher, and her discovery of some little-known family history. The comic is consistently interesting not only because of its plot, but because del Duca and colorist Owen Gieni are constantly experimenting with narrative structure and using different techniques to influence how the story is read.

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5. Clean Room by Gail Simone and Jon Davis-Hunt

Clean Room is a creepy psychological horror comic about journalist Chloe Pierce’s investigation of self-help master Astrid Mueller, who Pierce suspects is more cult leader than anything else. Or is she? Mueller is a fascinating character, and the unknowable question of which side she’s actually on only adds to the story’s suspense.

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4. The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

What if you could be a god, but you’d die within two years? Consistently equal parts entertaining and heartbreaking with consistently incredible art and color from Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson. You’ve probably heard of this one.

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3. Mockingbird by Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, Sean Parsons, and Ibrahim Moustafa

One of the few superhero comics I read this year, Mockingbird was one of my absolute favorites. Cain writes Bobbi Morse as confident and smart, and the result was a fun mystery thriller with gorgeous art. The series also featured some of my favorite colors and covers this year, by Rachelle Rosenberg and Joelle Jones.

By the time I write my 2017 list, I might be over Mockingbird’s cancellation.

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2. Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Val DeLandro

2016 was light on Bitch Planet–only four issues were released throughout the year–but continued to provide insightful and relevant commentary in what turned out to be a period of rapid change in the real-life political landscape.

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1. Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

Monstress started strong in 2015 and only got better. The main character, Maika, is a teenage girl living with a monster inside, something she learns to live with and use to her advantage as the plot develops. Monstress is full of unrepentant female characters set in a stunningly rendered fantasy world.

Shutter #25 Crossover Event: Special Brandon Graham Variant Cover Revealed

Image Comics has revealed Brandon Graham’s special variant cover of Shutter #25, the highly anticipated crossover event in the fan-favorite series written by Joe Keatinge and illustrated by Leila del Duca.

For those that missed it, Shutter #25 will celebrate the 25 year history of Image Comics.

Shutter #25 Cover A by Leila del Duca and Owen Gieni, as well as Shutter #25 Cover B by Brandon Graham, will hit comic book stores Wednesday, December 28th. Final order cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, December 5th.

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Milestone Shutter Issue Features Rare Crossover of Legendary Image Characters

Critically-acclaimed ongoing series Shutter by Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca will feature a rare crossover event to incorporate legendary Image Comics characters from the classic series Spawn, created by Todd McFarlane; Glory, created by Rob Liefeld; Witchblade, created by Marc Silvestri, editor David Wohl, writer Brian Haberlin, and artist Michael Turner; Savage Dragon, created by Erik Larsen; Invincible, created by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker; and Shadowhawk, created by Jim Valentino.

Shutter #25 is a landmark issue for the popular pandimensional adventure series, but it will also celebrate Image Comics’ 25th anniversary with this exceptional moment in Image Comics history.

Fans dare not miss the terrifying biscuits-and-gravy secret no one will see coming in Shutter #25. Here, Shutter will kick off 2017 with these founding heroes meeting up with the cast of Shutter’s beloved character ensemble for what may prove to be one of their most delicious adventures yet.

Shutter #25 Cover A by Leila del Duca and Owen Gieni, as well as Shutter #25 Cover B by Brandon Graham, will hit comic book stores Wednesday, December 28th.

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Review: Shutter #20

shutter_20-1Shutter has taken a noticeably experimental turn, first with issue #19 and again this month with #20. Where last month’s chapter showcased three of Kate Kristopher’s siblings’ histories at once in a triptych layout, Shutter #20 develops one of Kate’s other siblings.

Once again, Kate is faced with difficult decisions as she decides how best to proceed in the fight against Prospero. Readers (and Kate herself) are still processing the information Kate’s grandfather has given her, and while it has put the brakes on the actual fighting for a while, it has given the creative team a chance to develop the characters significantly.

This arc has accomplished a lot of character development, bringing Kate’s siblings to the forefront with her, and has also given the team a chance to be more experimental in their storytelling. The experimentation isn’t necessary to make the story interesting, since the complex narrative, worldbuilding, and characters do that on their own, but it does help to strengthen the personalities of the characters. Kate is still very much at the center of the story, but the reader is also getting more of a sense of who the rest of the Kristopher siblings are through the way in which each sibling’s story is told.

Shutter #20 is still penciled by Leila del Duca, who seems to get better each issue. Each character has a unique perspective, and this part of the story, largely told in a collaborative effort between Kate and the General is illustrated simply, with minimal detail. Colorist Owen Gieni keeps the palette simple with flat, bright colors, lending the new character a history tinted with innocence and a youthfulness that hasn’t really been present elsewhere in the story. The alternative art style is somewhat reminiscent of Emi Lenox’s flashback art in Nowhere Men, a charming interlude to the story. Though different from previous issues, the art team remains consistently awesome in color, illustration, and giving the characters life and personality.

Once again, writer Joe Keatinge leaves readers with no clue as to where the story will go next. It is clear that a conflict with Prospero is drawing closer, but the back of issue #20 teases “the final three” in reference to the last of the siblings Kate doesn’t know. Other characters like Cassius and Chris Kristopher Sr. have been noticeably absent from the narrative, building a sense of intrigue regarding their whereabouts. Despite all the answers Shutter has given, it largely remains a mystery.

Story: Joe Keatinge Art: Leila del Duca
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Image Comics Announces Creators for Creators

Creators for CreatorsAt Image ComicsImage Expo it wasn’t just new products that were announced, they also announced a new non-profit, Creators for Creators. The goal of the organization is to “encourage, support, and promote original works through grants and education.”

The program will be a combination of financial backing and mentorship. The plan is to give $30,000 to a single cartoonist or a wrister/artist duo to support their creation of original work of between sixty-four and one hundred pages over a single year. A committee will decide the recipient.

The mentorship mentioned will be beyond creation and will cover all aspects of the comic-creating experience to help create a firm foundation when it comes to the creative, business, legal, and financial aspects of the business.

Recipients will retain rights to their works and will not just be supported by Image, but also Iron Circus Comics. The long term goal is to also make the website a resource to educate creators.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and you have until May 1, 2016 to apply. You can learn more here.

The Creators for Creators grant was founded by Charlie Adlard, Jordie Bellaire, David Brothers, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Nick Dragotta, Leila del Duca, Matt Fraction, Kieron Gillen, Jonathan Hickman, Joe Keatinge, Robert Kirkman, Jamie McKelvie, Rick Remender, Declan Shalvey, Fiona Staples, Eric Stephenson, C. Spike Trotman, and Brian K. Vaughan.

Review: Shutter #19

shutter_19-1The last issue of Shutter left readers on the precipice of action, with Kate ready to lead her siblings and friends into battle with Prospero. It was something of a breather for the series, which has been necessarily action heavy so far. Writer Joe Keatinge takes Shutter #19 in a different direction with an issue that has been a long time coming.

This issue can be read one of two ways, as artist Leila del Duca says in the backmatter. Readers finally learn more about the background of Kate Kristopher’s siblings. Instead of its usual structure of a varying number of panels per page, Shutter #18 sticks to a format of three-panel pages and runs with a color theme unique to this issue.

Each panel (top, middle, bottom) has a monochromatic color scheme and tells the story of a different Kristopher sibling (Chris Kristopher Jr., The Leopard, and Kalliyan Phy). Because of this, the story can be read by reading the entire page at once, or by following the top, middle, or bottom panel in order to read one character’s story at a time. Both are equally accessible, but reading one panel at a time highlights the disparities in each sibling’s upbringing. This format and subject, while answering questions, also keeps the reader guessing at why and how this came to be. The question of why Kate’s upbringing was so different from her siblings’ is partially answered, but the mystery of the series isn’t totally gone.

Colorist Owen Gieni and Leila del Duca get to experiment with art on this issue, and the cover is something of a preview for the story. The monochromatic color theme associated with each character keeps the story coherent, letting it build to a climactic finish.

Shutter‘s art is wonderfully consistent, and del Duca is a talented artist and a credit to the comic industry. The story is regaining momentum, but there’s no clear hint as to where it will go, something that Keatinge has done–and continues to do–well.

Story: Joe Keatinge Art: Leila del Duca Colors: Owen Gieni
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Shutter #18

shutter_18-1Joe Keatinge and Leila Del Duca’s Shutter returns this week in its first issue since November. The third volume was released in trade paperback form last month, and hopefully readers are all caught up because this issue isn’t one to miss.

So far, Shutter has been incredibly action-heavy, even though that action is necessary to the plot. Keatinge is a master in carrot and stick, teasing the readers with enough information to keep the story on the right side of line between “still incredibly intriguing” and “frustrating.” Until now, many, many questions have gone unanswered because the reader learns information as Kate learns it, though this changes when she “learns everything” from her grandfather. While Shutter #17 did bring the arc to a dramatic climax, the reader learned almost nothing about what Kate’s grandfather showed her. Shutter #18 doesn’t leave the reader entirely in the dark, revealing just enough to answer a few burning questions.

In terms of pace, this issue is something of a necessary pause. It slows the action enough to delve into Kate’s history, namely the unaddressed ten-year gap between her father’s “death” and the present story. Shutter #18 gives depth to the relationship between Kate and Alain and Kate and Huckleberry, and begins to explain Alain’s resentment toward Huckleberry.

Kate doesn’t back down from her decision to “end the world,” and together with the sinister turn of heart that Cassius/Alarm Cat has taken and the life-changing information Kate has learned from her grandfather, this issue gives the sense of being  the calm before the storm.

If seeing more of Kate’s past was a highlight of the issue, Leila Del Duca’s art was the other, equally awesome highlight, as she continues to totally nail the art. The characters are livened with dynamic facial expression and movement, never seeming too stiff or still on the page.

Though the beginning of the arc may seem somewhat slow, the tension in this issue has a chance to simmer and build, suggesting that Kate and company will truly have some rough storms to weather before Shutter sees its end.

Story: Joe Keatinge Art: Leila Del Duca
Story: 8 Art: 9.7 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Shutter sets out on new story arc in February

Shutter #18Writer Joe Keatinge, artist extraordinaire Leila Del Duca, and colorist Owen Gieni will launch a new story arc in their ongoing globe-trotting urban fantasy series Shutter this February.

Previously in Shutter, Kate Kristopher, once the most famous explorer of an Earth far more fantastic than the one we know, was forced to return to the adventurous life she left behind when a family secret threatened to destroy everything she spent her life protecting.

In Shutter #18, Kate knows everything—and we don’t! The first issue in a new chapter, “All Roads,” that sheds light on the past Kate (and company) tried to leave behind, and where they’re going next. 

All roads converge. Not everyone survives the trip.

Shutter #18 (Diamond code: DEC150549) hits stores Wednesday, February 3rd. Final order cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, January 11th.

Ringside Takes the Action Outside the Ring this November

The next Image Comics ongoing series from writer Joe Keatinge, Ringside, introduces artist and co-creator Nick Barber for an ensemble drama set around the world of professional wrestling. An exclusive teaser trailer featuring all-new material from Ringside #1 will debut in The Walking Dead #147 in stores on October 14th and will outline the new series’ characters and storyline for the very first time.

First announced at Image Expo in July, the noir-inflected Ringside explores the diverse relationships within professional wrestling as art conflicts with industry, fact conflicts with fiction and, overall, delves into how far people are willing to go for what they believe in, no matter how violent the result. As the series progresses perspectives will shift from the wrestlers themselves, the staff they work with, the suits in charge, and the fans cheering them all on.

Ringside #1 hits stores on Wednesday, November 25th. Final order cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, November 2nd.

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