Tag Archives: joey esposito

Review: New Talent Showcase 2018

This year’s showcase of some of the next generation’s talented creators is here with a wide range of stories in both characters and those crafting them.

New Talent Showcase 2018 features Philip Kennedy Johnson, Joey Esposito, Sanya Anwar, Ryan Cady, Magdalene Visaggio, Robert Jeffrey II, Amancay Nahuelpan, Priscilla Petraites, Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Max Raynor, Isaac Goodhart, and Aneke.

Get your copy in comic shops now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/comiXology/Kindle

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Preview: New Talent Showcase 2018 #1

New Talent Showcase 2018 #1

(W) Philip Kennedy Johnson, Joey Esposito, Sanya Anwar, Ryan Cady, Magdalene Visaggio, Robert Jeffrey II (A) Amancay Nahuelpan, Priscilla Petraites, Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Max Raynor, Isaac Goodhart, Aneke
In Shops: Dec 12, 2018
SRP: $7.99

The latest graduates from the DC Talent Development Workshops show off their skills by telling stories about some of DC’s greatest characters including Batman, Catwoman, John Constantine, Wonder Woman, Zatanna and more!

DC Announces the 2017 Writers Workshop Class

DC Comics is ushering in a new class of up-and-coming comic talent with the launch of the 2017 Writers Workshop program, led once again by bestselling writer Scott Snyder. The DC Talent Development team fielded more than a thousand entries again this year, selecting the bst of the best among aspiring writers.

Members of the class of 2017 participating in the 13-week program include Sanya Anwar, Ryan Cady, Joey Esposito, Robert Jeffrey, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, and Magdalene Visaggio.

This is the third year of the program.

DC’s Talent Development Workshop began with a pilot session in 2015, and since then the program has resulted in several participants receiving new assignments from DC editorial. The latest edition of DC’s New Talent Showcase will be released in November and will feature stories from graduates of past DC Writers and Artists Workshops.

Exclusive Preview: Pawn Shop

PAWN SHOP

Written by: Joey Esposito
Art by: Sean Von Gorman
Release: November 7th
Z2 Comics

PAWN SHOP presents the story of four people, in a city of eight million, whose lives unknowingly intersect through a Manhattan pawn shop. A widower. A nurse. A punk. A Long Island Railroad employee. New York City is an ecosystem where everybody is connected, if only by the streets they walk on. PAWN SHOP explores the big things that separate us and the little moments that inexplicably unite us.

Z2 Comics Announces Fall Graphic Novels including Ashes, Pawn Shop, The Abaddon, and Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland

ASHESZ2 Comics announced today their fall 2015 graphic novel slate, including a reprint of one of Harvey Pekar’s final graphic novels and three graphic novels. The biggest surprise of the bunch is a new printing of Pekar’s Cleveland, one of his last graphic novels, and a love letter to his home town. It was originally published by Top Shelf in April 2012.

Check out below for the full slate of graphic novels being released.

Ashes: A Firefighter’s Tale written by Mario Candelaria with art by Karl Slominski.

(September 22, 2015; $19.99; 120 pages; black and white)

Matt always had an easygoing life. Girls liked him, his friends were more like family, and being a firefighter came naturally. Then the accident happened. Now, after the loss of his leg, Matt struggles to cope with his new handicap as he attempts to rebuild his shattered family and once budding career. A riveting tale about perseverance, hard work, and overcoming the odds, Ashes is a gripping tale told in stunning black and white.

PAWN SHOPPawn Shop written by Joey Esposito with art by Sean Von Gorman

(September 22, 2015; $19.99; 120 pages; full color)

A widower. A nurse. A punk. A Long Island Railroad employee. New York City is an ecosystem where everybody is connected, if only by the streets they walk on. This original graphic novel is the story of four people, in a city of eight million, whose lives unknowingly intersect through a Manhattan pawn shop.

Written by Joey Esposito (Footprints) and illustrated with a gorgeous mixture of watercolor and digital elements by Sean Von Gorman (Toe Tag Riot), Pawn Shop explores the big things that separate us and the little moments that inexplicably unite us.

The Abaddon written and illustrated by Koren Shadmi

(November 10, 2015; $24.99; 240 pages; full color)

cover_updatedLoosely based on Jean-Paul Sartre’s play No Exit, The Abaddon is the story of a young man who finds himself trapped in a bizarre apartment with a group of ill-matched roommates. He discovers that his new home doesn’t adhere to any rational laws of nature and comes to realize that everyone living in the apartment is missing crucial parts of their memories and identities.

Cleveland by Harvey Pekar and Joseph Remnant

(November DATE TK; Price TK; 128; black and white)

A lifelong resident of Cleveland, Ohio, Harvey Pekar (1939-2010) pioneered autobiographical comics, mining the mundane for magic since 1976 in his critically acclaimed series American Splendor. Legendary comic book writer Harvey Pekar’s collaboration with artist Joseph Remnant, titled Cleveland, was originally published by Top Shelf Shelf Comics and Zip Comics in 2012 and includes an introduction by Alan Moore. The book presents key moments and characters from the city’s history, intertwined with Harvey’s own ups and downs, as relayed to us by Our Man and meticulously researched and rendered by artist Joseph Remnant. At once a history of Cleveland and a portrait of Harvey, it’s a tribute to the ordinary greatness of both.

Esposito Keeps Writing Comics Through Adversity

When Joey Esposito receives a rejection from a publisher after pitching a comic, he’ll re-write and try again, with a multitude of publishers on the table. He acknowledges his flaws, laughs off the unpleasant feelings, and resolves to get better. For him, it’s another day on the job of writing comics.

Ex-IGN Comics Editor Joey Esposito spends his days doing what he loves: creating all sorts of comic books through amiable relationships with artists and other creators.

“I love spending my days writing… but it’s hard,” said Esposito via Skype interview.

joey1After spending a few years at IGN doing reporting and criticism of almost entirely comic books, Esposito delved into comic book writing, dropping his former career completely in October of 2013. Before leaving IGN, Joey had already made a bit of a name for himself in the realm of comic book creation with work like the first volume of Footprints, a detective comic starring Big Foot along with other cryptozoology creatures, and Captain Ultimate, an ongoing all-ages superhero comic.

He is happy with this decision and has experienced nothing but total support from friends and family, he said.

“[My father] will pitch my books to anyone who will listen!” he said, laughing.

Those comics are primed to receive continuations. Footprints: Bad Luck Charm is a double-sized one-shot that features two stories, one a prequel and the other a sequel to the first volume. This comic was successively funded on Kickstarter, receiving $7,410 by June 1.

The book is in color, as opposed to the black and white presentation of past Footprints work; this is because Esposito couldn’t imagine the setting of Las Vegas being portrayed without color, he said. He was prepared when asked what excited him most about working on more of Footprints.

“I just love these characters,” said Esposito, referring to creations such as a seductive Loch Ness Monster and a sleuthing Big Foot.

Multiple new issues of Captain Ultimate are completely done, but the creative team is waiting for the right moment to release them, said Esposito.

Boy Akkerman, the artist for the series, finds Esposito a joy to work with, he said via Skype interview. “He doesn’t detail every part of the page,” which “gives a lot of leeway.” Large armies and groups of people are especially enjoyable for Akkerman to draw, which he says there are a lot of within coming issues.

Issue #1 of this series, which is published digitally from publisher Monkeybrain on ComiXology for $0.99, released in July of 2013, followed by #2 in September, #3 and #4 in October, #5 in March of 2014 and #6 in August, representing an odd release schedule. This was identified as a problem when I spoke with Esposito, who explained a new strategy to get the book on track.

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Although the creative team has “some issues in the can,” their primary focus at the moment is getting the first six collected into a physical copy, said Esposito. Once that is taken care of, the team plans to put out issues digitally on a regular schedule, get those published physically, and so on and so forth.

“I think it’s important to get it in front of kids at book stores,” said Esposito.

It hasn’t been easy for Esposito to find a publisher; in fact, the pitching process is one of his biggest struggles as a creator, he said. He has pitched work to all sorts of publishers, all of which want their pitches done a certain, unique way, he explained.

Two upcoming projects he is writing pitches for are Ends of Olympus and Speakeasy. The first is a superhero comic inspired by Superman and his friend Jimmy Olson, predicated on the following scenario: What if Olson abused his friendship with Superman and became a greedy reality star obsessed with fame? An official description as well as a black-and-white preview is available here.

“This is the mature, gritty side of superheroes I love,” said Esposito,

The artist on the book, Drew Zucker, had nothing but good things to say about the project and Esposito.

“Joey pretty much gives me the freedom to do what I need to do visually,” said Zucker via Skype interview.

Joe Badon, the artist who does Speakeasy, said the same kind of stuff as the other artists.

“He’s a very agreeable guy and he likes to collaborate,” said Badon via Skype interview.

Speakeasy is something Esposito has only teased publicly as “Bladerunner meets Cheers,” along with the occasional panel. He is tightlipped on details despite two issues already being completely finished, because he doesn’t want to excite people for a book that doesn’t yet have a publisher, he explained.

He did provide me with these completed issues and, for what it’s worth, I found them to be very, very good. Esposito is playing with tried-and-true archetypes and clichés, but has put enough of a spin on things to make for a warm, easy read. I was initially concerned that Badon’s art wouldn’t work as sequentials, because the images Esposito teased on his Twitter seemed like the kind of well-produced, static images one usually finds on a cover. Thankfully, I found the finished work to be stupendous; the quality of art work is something I’d expect out of something from Image Comics.

Badon doesn’t like when he opens a comic to find art that looks much worse than the cover, he explained.

“I’ve always tried to make interior art as beautiful as I can,” he said.

Esposito allowed me to run some pages as a preview, which can be viewed at the bottom of this piece.

Thus far, neither book has found a publisher. These failings can frustrate Esposito, but he keeps positive.

“I think I’m gejoey4tting better. I’m working on it!” he said with a laugh.

After all, it’s not all bad. Esposito told me that his 2014 comic Pawn Shop has found a publisher, which will allow it to be sold physically in stores. This is a “slice-of-life” comic that tells the tale of four city-dwellers, all indirectly connected by a little pawn shop.

Pawn Shop is Esposito’s favorite work of his so far, even though “it’s definitely the black sheep,” he said. “It’s the kind of story that made me want to tell stories in the first place.”

Esposito seems to keep his head up and look forward. When I asked him what he’d ideally love to do, whether it be creator-owned projects or books for large publishers about established properties, he told me he “wants to do it all.”

Check out Matt’s online portfolio here

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Exclusive Speakeasy Preview: 

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Diversity in 2014 Comic Books

By Matt Petras

A crowd-funded comic book by the title of Toe Tag Riot featured zombies who attack the likes of the Westboro Baptist Church. Frequent writer for modern Batman comics James Tynion IV wrote a comic with intimate depictions of gay romance. Major publishers DC and Marvel stepped up their game on demographic representation.

The comic book industry in 2014 did not stick to telling stories about carefully chosen, lowest-denominator demographics, but various walks of life.

“Why on Earth wouldn’t we want our work to feel inclusive to more people?” said Toe Tag Riot writer Matt Miner in an email interview. “I mean, don’t we want larger audiences?  Don’t we want as many people reading comics as possible?”

Image from Black Mask

Image from Black Mask

“Toe Tag Riot” is a comic book written by Miner drawn by artist Sean Von Gorman, and now published by Black Mask that sells itself on a diverse cast of characters who attack in action-packed sequences against bigoted antagonists. It was crowd-funded on Kickstarter, raising $510 over its $19,000 goal. Andrew Hurley of the band Fall Out Boy supported this project; because of this, Hurley and the creators of Toe Tag Riot teamed up to give backers who pledged at least $50 a signed variant cover of the first issue with a zombified Hurley on the cover.

“The response to Toe Tag Riot from the LGBT community has been the most incredible and heartwarming,” said Miner.

It’s not just gay characters who make up the cast of Toe Tag Riot, but also people of different walks of life who aren’t always featured in fiction, like people of color and the disabled. “[W]e’ve been thanked by people with disabilities for creating Evie, a visibly disabled woman of color who finds empowerment in her disability,” said Miner.

In another avenue of the comic book industry, Boom! Studios has been publishing a comic book series called The Woods since May 7, 2014; it is a high school drama mixed with light-horror and fantasy. It features a cast of characters of varying ethnicities and sexual orientations. James Tynion IV, known for his work on multiple Batman series for DC Comics, writes this book along with artist Michael Dialynas.

“[The Woods] doesn’t imply stereotypes; it’s just a human story,” said Dialynas in a Skype interview.

In issue #7 of this series, which released in early Nov., the often-hinted upon gay tension between characters Ben and Isaac was finally revealed in a kiss. Ben is a heavy-set black boy who struggles with the common belief that he should play football when he doesn’t want to.

“They’re just two characters in the woods who happen to have a nice moment together,” said Dialynas.

The process Dialynas goes through to craft the characters of The Woods with Tynion is unique. Dialynas asked Tynion for a write-up that supplied him with the media tastes of the characters. When Dialynas was in school, the video game, movie, and music preferences of his classmates tended to say a lot about their character, he explained.

One character, for example, was given a skull on his shirt whenever Dialnyas was told the character likes metal, he further explained.

Telling stories about characters with mental illnesses has also been a part of comic books in 2014. This year saw the return of comic book series Li’l Depressed Boy, relaunched at #1 with the additional subtitle of “Supposed to be There Too.” Li’l Depressed Boy, which began being published by major comics publisher Image Comics in Feb. of 2011, is a comic written by Shaun Steven Struble and drawn by Sine Grace about a character’s struggles with romance and the clinical depression that is intertwined with it.

Image from Image Comics

Image from Image Comics

Struble suffers from clinical depression himself, Struble said in an email interview. The storylines of Li’l Depressed Boy are “thinly-veiled autobiography,” he also said.

The book has a cycle of jumping from different experiences the protagonist as with love interests, along with the symptoms of clinical depression that follow.

“The book is about relationships in general.  One of those is LDB’s relationship with his chemically imballanced brain,” Struble said.

The main character, Li’l Depressed Boy, often referred to as simply LDB by characters in the comic, is a rag doll living amongst regular human beings. Creating a sort of surreal atmosphere, this is never acknowledged in the story.

“I’m lucky that the fact that I write about ragdoll [means] lots of people can see themselves in the main character,” said Struble.

The audience for the book spans greatly across genders, races and locations, according to Struble.

“There are certain aspects of the experience [of depression] that remain the same [despite severity], and we can see each other in ourselves,” said Struble.

Children can also find themselves represented in 2014 comics, both in characters and in demographic targeting. One comic, written by former IGN Comics editor Joey Esposito and Ben Bailey, who still occasionally writes for comic book press/criticism publications, and drawn by Boy Akkerman, is the all-ages Captain Ultimate, published by digital-only Monkeybrain Comics. “All-ages” is a term in the comic book community to refer to books that appeal to every age demographic; the purpose of this term is to rid of any stigma that books that appeal to children are solely for children.

“Kids can tell if they’re being talked down to,” Esposito said in a Skype interview. The only difference between the writing process on an all-ages comic and a more adult focused story for Esposito is checking to be sure there aren’t any bad words in the script, Esposito said with a laugh.

Esposito found himself disappointed in the lack of all-ages comics, which filled him with a passion to do Captain Ultimate, he said. Captain Ultimate is a superhero comic with commentary on the contrast between the morally-wholesome and fun-filled comics of days past and the dark and gritty comics of today.

Esposito has worked on other comic books that aren’t for an “all-ages” audience, such as this year’s Pawn Shop. This comic is about a small store in a big city that unites people of different walks of life, making a statement about the interconnectivity of life. To Esposito, diversity in this cast was essential to getting across the message of the book, he said.

“I started thinking about the kind of people I know,” he said.

The big two in comics, DC and Marvel, have also done things for diversity in the industry this year.

DC Comics put a new creative team on the series Batgirl, featuring a new costume design and a female artist by the name of Babs Tarr. This new direction for the series brought in new gay and female characters.

DC also announced a string of films to release in the coming years, including Justice League films that feature characters like Cyborg, who is black, and Wonder Woman, who is female; both of those characters are also primed to receive films featuring them.

Marvel made mainstream news for shifts in their comic book stories multiple times throughout the year, including their new directions for Captain America and Thor. The person inside the costume for both characters was changed in 2014, Steve Rogers being replaced by black character Sam Wilson (who was previously a superhero named Falcon, a character featured in the 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier) as Captain America, and a new female character taking the title of Thor from the previous hero.

Marvel also started a new series called Ms. Marvel, starring a new character named Kamala Kahn. Kahn is a young, female person of color of the Muslim faith who gains powers and takes the mantle of Ms. Marvel. The book is written by G. Willow Wilson, who is also a Muslim.

Matching DC, Marvel announced movies starring more diverse characters and cast members. Two scheduled films are Black Panther, which stars Chadwick Boseman of 42 fame, and Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel stars a female character that is confirmed to be based off the newest Captain Marvel storylines in the comics, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick.

“A woman creator took a woman character and made fans SO passionate about her that the studio couldn’t help but notice. So wonderful,” said popular feminist comic book critic and former editor for DC Comcis Janelle Asselin.

Despite any kind of progress there are still noteworthy important problems in the industry, according to Asselin.

Among her critiques is a lack of hiring female creators from Marvel and further sexual objectification of women, she said. On Apr. 11, 2014, Asselin penned a guest piece for leading comics site Comic Book Resources harshly critiquing the cover of the first issue of this year’s Teen Titans relaunch, largely for objectifying an underage girl front-and-center.

One big news story in the industry this year was the controversial variant cover for the new Spiderwoman series, featuring the titular character donning an extremely tightly-fitting costume in a sexually suggestive pose with exaggerated body parts.

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Image from Marvel Comics

“[This] cover was a problem, in my opinion, not because it was a sexy cover at all, but because it was an objectifying cover for a book that Marvel had been touting as a book for women and starring a strong female character,” said Asselin.

There were other events this year that casted a negative outlook for diverse representation in comics, including reviews criticizing the new direction of writer Meredith Finch and husband David Finch on art, on the Wonder Woman comic series. Despite being written by female writer Meredith Finch, comic book critics like Jesse Schedeen have criticized the depiction of the protagonist in this new direction. “Diana comes across as weak, whiny, and childish – basically everything she wasn’t under [the previous writer’s] hand,” he said in a review for IGN.

Noting issues with something doesn’t completely demonize it. “Overall, it was a year of positive change,” said Asselin.

Fiction provides creative people with the opportunity to tell stories that represent whatever kinds of people they want to see represented.

“Anything that you want to see that you don’t, make it,” said Esposito.

Preview: Archer & Armstrong #25

ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #25 (ANNIVERSARY HULLABALOO!)

Written by FRED VAN LENTE, JOHN LAYMAN, RAY FAWKES, JUSTIN JORDAN, DONNY CATES & ELIOT RAHAL, and JOEY ESPOSITO
Art by CLAYTON HENRY, RAMON VILLALOBOS, ANDY KUHN, KHARI EVANS, RAFER ROBERTS, JOE EISMA, and BARRY KITSON
Cover A by CLAYTON HENRY (AUG141720)
Cover B by SHAWN CRYSTAL (AUG141721)
Variant Cover by PERE PEREZ (AUG141722)
Throwback Variant by JIM CALAFIORE (AUG141723)
Variant Cover by MICHAEL WALSH (AUG141724)
$4.99 | T+ | 48 pgs. | On sale OCTOBER 29th

IT ALL ENDS HERE…SERIOUSLY…THIS TIME IT LITERALLY ALL ENDS HERE. (MAYBE?!)

Be here front and center as the original creative team of Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry lead off a 48-page A&A hollapalooza honoring Valiant’s most dysfunctional duo! Plus: Armstrong’s first drink! And much more! Featuring a who’s who of funnybook madcappery with all-new stories and shenanigans from John Layman (Chew), Ray Fawkes (Batman Eternal), Justin Jordan (Dead Body Road), Donny Cates (Buzzkill) & Eliot Rahal (Dark Horse Presents), and many, many more!

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Preview: Captain Ultimate #6

Captain Ultimate #6

Writers: Benjamin Bailey, Joey Esposito
Artist: Boy “Boykoesh” Akkerman
Colorist: Ed Ryzowski
Price: $0.99
Pages: 23
Rating: 9+

It’s Christmas in July! Find out the TRUE story of last Christmas as good ol’ Kris Kringle crash lands on Christmas Eve and turns to Captain Ultimate and Milo for help! Plus: Trouble in the Super Revenging Society?!

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Preview: Pawn Shop #4

PAWN SHOP #4

Written by Joey Esposito
Pencils, Inks, and Cover by Sean Von Gorman
Colors by Jonathan Moore
Letters by Adam O. Pruett
Price: 99 cents

A city worker tries to balance mounting bills and the hunt for happiness while caring for her sick brother.

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