Tag Archives: josh jensen

Toe Tag Riot Returns! The Comic Westboro Baptist Church Hates is Back!

Toe Tag Riot, the comic book series that the infamous hate group Westboro Baptist Church claimed would “split Hell wide open” is back for round 2 and on Kickstarter, with returning fan-favorite guest stars and a whole slew of new bad guys on their plate.

Cursed by a witch to become zombies whenever they play their music, Toe Tag Riot uses their “zombie superpowers” in the most ethical way possible: by murdering and eating bigots, homophobes, racists, sexists, and the like. The band broke up shortly after their mid-2000s tour, but have maintained a cult following in the punk rock scene. Their reunion tour, 15 years later, is being met with jubilation from the fans and fear from those who know they’re on the menu.

Created by writer Matt Miner and artist Sean Von Gorman, The Return of Toe Tag Riot is a 4-issue digital-first offering, with a physical trade paperback accompaniment. The campaign is seeking $19,000 to pay creators, fund rewards, and assorted fees. Rewards include copies of the books in both digital and physical formats, original art sketches, the chance to be drawn in and murdered within the pages of the comic, and a limited edition 2-song cassette single of songs recorded by the band (but really by Matt and Sean’s musician friends).

Rounding out the creative team are rising star colorist Gab Contreras and all-star letterer Taylor Esposito.

The creative team of Return of the Toe Tag Riot believe in positive and progressive values, and vehemently reject racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia in all forms.

The Return of Toe Tag Riot
Cover by Jonathan Brandon Sawyer with colors by Josh Jensen

Review: Lab Raider #1

Lab Raider #1

Lab Raider #1 returns us to the world crafted by writer Matt Miner. It’s a world that blends real-world animal activism with an over the top sense of storytelling comics can deliver.

Lab Raider picks up on the world that started in Liberator and followed up in Critical Hit. Jeanette and Sarah are still working together to liberate animals and free them from experimentation. This volume has a bit of a twist though bringing in a horror element to it all.

Lab Raider #1 continues the tense nature of previous volumes. But, unlike those, Miner uses some of the tricks he deployed in his horror series Poser. Throughout the issue, there’s a build up until the eventual reveal at the end. It creates a ride that you both want to see where it goes and don’t at the same time. The series has never shied away from violence and here that continues. Both seen and implied, this is a debut issue that has more in common with slasher horror films than it does with the message focused previous volumes.

The art by Creees Lee with color by Josh Jensen and lettering by Matt Krotzer helps build all of that tension. The art and design are fantastic but there’s still unease about it all. It doesn’t have a line heavy “dirt” look but everything is just slightly muted in a way that adds a dour look to it. The art helps create an atmosphere that builds up to the horror that awaits at the end.

While the series still has a focus on animal rights and activism, this latest volume feels a bit different. It’s not quite as in your face with its message. Instead, it focuses on its main to protagonists. We see the impact from the previous volumes on them. And, their mission this time while still political in nature results in a twist that’s much more in line with what you’d expect in a horror film. This feels like a new direction for the series and Miner is showing some massive growth in his writing bringing in previous success here. Whether you agree with animal activism or not Lab Raider #1 is a solid start and has me wanting to see where it goes next.

Story: Matt Miner Art: Creees Lee
Color: Josh Jensen Letters: Matt Krotzer
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

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

Preview: Lab Raider #1

Lab Raider #1

Written by: Matt Miner
Illustrated by: Creees Lee
Colored by: Josh Jensen
Lettered by: Matt Krotzer
$3.99 | full color | 32 pages | mature
On Sale 6.19.19

A pair of young vigilantes break into a black market laboratory where illegal tests are being run on animals. What at first seems like a simple rescue mission becomes more dangerous when they stumble on secret military experiments, discovering to their horror that the animals they sought to help have been turned into something different, something monstrous… and, once the cages are opened, the rescuers quickly become the prey of these weaponized beasts. This high-octane action comic blends vigilante heroics with sci-fi horror for a wildly new adventure.

Lab Raider #1

Enter the House of Fear in May 2019

Horror isn’t just for grown-ups! With House of Fear: Attack of the Killer Snowmen and Other Spooky Stories, Dark Horse is chilled and thrilled to present these spine-tingling tales of terror for kids in the vein of Goosebumps and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

It’s kids vs. monsters in this collection of scary comics for young readers! Settle in as Boyle, the creepy caretaker, presents five frightening tales featuring rampaging snow giants destroying a local park and anyone who stands in their way, a mean and frosty old ghost out to finish an age-old quarrel once and for all, a wickedly evil tooth fairy with plans to vanquish two quick-witted siblings, a pile of leaves that poses a far more sinister threat than interrupting playtime, and a swamp monster that threatens to turn a group of young campers into a midnight snack!

House of Fear: Attack of the Killer Snowmen and Other Spooky Stories is written by James Powell, with art by Jethro Morales, Adrián Bago González, and James Hislope, inks by Mike Erandio, colors by Josh Jensen, and letters by Matt Krotzer

House of Fear: Attack of the Killer Snowmen and Other Spooky Stories TPB goes on sale May 1, 2019, featuring 144-pages for only $12.99. Devour these terrifying tales if you dare!

 House of Fear: Attack of the Killer Snowmen and Other Spooky Stories

Review: All We Ever Wanted

When it comes to how the future will look, most creators these days only show us how worse the world can get. This direction may be attributed to the decline of the environment and the primal predilection of man. Things don’t exactly look all that great for us. The stories usually involves zombies like The Walking Dead or the widening of the gap between the poor and rich like The Hunger Games. Rarely do they involve utopias as dystopias create the more interesting conflicts that drives our entertainment.

The thing is there was a time and place where we looked to the stars and though of the possibilities. This is why Back to The Future II was one of the most indelible movies of 1980s and probably most talked about out of that franchise. It gave us hope of what the world could be. Utopias for some reason seem out of reach to the modern imagination. In the latest anthology form A Wave Blue World, All We Ever Wanted, we get several different visions of life in the future where life can be better.

In “The Pilot,” a pilot controls a ship her VR glasses only to encounter an alien queen and her earthbound ally. In “The Weight of Time,” one scientist uses time travel to try and wipe out anti LGBTQ backlash but instead realizes the problem is actually ahead. In “Una,” an alien wins the hearts and minds of the citizens she protects, eventually becoming a citizen because of it. In “Seventeen Souls,” one hero risks it all to save one girl from certain death. In “It Looked like Our Dreams,” two siblings wonder about a future where humanity does save itself. In “Gaea,” mother nature and technology defeat an alien invader in which one protagonist uses to her advantage.  In “Bombs Away,” a world is imagined where violence no longer leads to advantages or problem solving but unity as it was always intended.  In “And The Rest Was Magic,” one woman finds out how it is when one doesn’t buy into the propaganda of a dire future. In “Everything I Own,” one self-admitted pariah slowly builds a community around herself while at the same time, evolving. In “The Inventor’s Daughter,” one woman reunites with her mother after death and returns her to the essence. In “Blackstar,” one man helps people see their future for a cost. In “Life’s A Devil’s Bargain,” one woman shows how hate is more of a choice than one realizes. In “Chat Room,” one awkward girl finds solace with a friend that met online. In “Can you See it Now,” one couple finds out an evil corporation is behind a friend’s death. In “Just Like Heaven,” one young man’s defiance leads to him finding out the secret to the utopia he is living in. In “Alternica,” a man wakes up from being frozen to a world where money doesn’t exist. In “Owning Up To The Past,” one man admits to his daughter, the unjust violence he committed. In “Good Time,” one man’s wish is to see his daughter years after he is released from jail. In “Day At The Park,” a young girl teaches a robot how to fly a kite. In “Choice,” one man designed a robot to have the power of free will, to only regret his decision immediately. In “Seeds,” the grim reaper reminds a retired superhero that there is more to life than regrets.  In “Two Left Feet,” two thieves steal for the love of dance.

Overall, the anthology is an excellent collection of stories that shows that the future can be bright and we all should wear shades. The stories are as diverse and extraordinary as each contributor showing off a wide range of voices and visions. The art by each creator is magnetic, alluring, and vivid. Altogether, the world needs more visions of utopias and this book more than proves it.

Story: Matt Miner, Eric Palicki, Tyler Chin- Tanner, Lucia Fasano, Tess Fowler, Eliot Rahal, Jason Copland, Jennie Wood, Vasilis Pozios, Chris Visions, Lela Gwenn, Alex Paknadel, Chris Peterson, Alisa Kwitney, Mauricet, Josh Gorfain, Matt Lejuene, Howard Mackie, Dean Trippe, Justin Zimmerman, Wendy Chin-Tanner, Toby Cypress, Paul Allor, Jarrett Melendez, Taylor Hoffman, Jonathan Brandon Sawyer, Rich Douek, James Maddox, Gavin Smith, Nadia Shammas, Erik Burnham, Kay Honda, Maria Frohlich
Art: Dean Trippe, Danica Brine, Chris Peterson, Robbi Rodriguez, Michael Wiggam, Maria Frohlich, David Stoll, Ryan Lee, Juan Romera, Tony Gregori, Tess Fowler, Chris Visions, Ethan Claunch, Jude Vigants,  K.R.Whalen, Matt Horak, Jeff McComsey,  Gavin Smith, Ryan Cody, Liana Kangas, Anthony Marques, Jason Copland, Eryk Donovan, Micah Meyers, Josh Jensen, Nick Wentland, Taylor Esposito, Matt Krotzer, Zakk Saam
Story: 10 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

A Wave Blue World provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Advance Review: All We Ever Wanted

When it comes to how the future will look, most creators these days only show us how worse the world can get. This direction may be attributed to the decline of the environment and the primal predilection of man. Things don’t exactly look all that great for us. The stories usually involves zombies like The Walking Dead or the widening of the gap between the poor and rich like The Hunger Games. Rarely do they involve utopias as dystopias create the more interesting conflicts that drives our entertainment.

The thing is there was a time and place where we looked to the stars and though of the possibilities. This is why Back to The Future II was one of the most indelible movies of 1980s and probably most talked about out of that franchise. It gave us hope of what the world could be. Utopias for some reason seem out of reach to the modern imagination. In the latest anthology form A Wave Blue World, All We Ever Wanted, we get several different visions of life in the future where life can be better.

In “The Pilot,” a pilot controls a ship her VR glasses only to encounter an alien queen and her earthbound ally. In “The Weight of Time,” one scientist uses time travel to try and wipe out anti LGBTQ backlash but instead realizes the problem is actually ahead. In “Una,” an alien wins the hearts and minds of the citizens she protects, eventually becoming a citizen because of it. In “Seventeen Souls,” one hero risks it all to save one girl from certain death. In “It Looked like Our Dreams,” two siblings wonder about a future where humanity does save itself. In “Gaea,” mother nature and technology defeat an alien invader in which one protagonist uses to her advantage.  In “Bombs Away,” a world is imagined where violence no longer leads to advantages or problem solving but unity as it was always intended.  In “And The Rest Was Magic,” one woman finds out how it is when one doesn’t buy into the propaganda of a dire future. In “Everything I Own,” one self-admitted pariah slowly builds a community around herself while at the same time, evolving. In “The Inventor’s Daughter,” one woman reunites with her mother after death and returns her to the essence. In “Blackstar,” one man helps people see their future for a cost. In “Life’s A Devil’s Bargain,” one woman shows how hate is more of a choice than one realizes. In “Chat Room,” one awkward girl finds solace with a friend that met online. In “Can you See it Now,” one couple finds out an evil corporation is behind a friend’s death. In “Just Like Heaven,” one young man’s defiance leads to him finding out the secret to the utopia he is living in. In “Alternica,” a man wakes up from being frozen to a world where money doesn’t exist. In “Owning Up To The Past,” one man admits to his daughter, the unjust violence he committed. In “Good Time,” one man’s wish is to see his daughter years after he is released from jail. In “Day At The Park,” a young girl teaches a robot how to fly a kite. In “Choice,” one man designed a robot to have the power of free will, to only regret his decision immediately. In “Seeds,” the grim reaper reminds a retired superhero that there is more to life than regrets.  In “Two Left Feet,” two thieves steal for the love of dance.

Overall, the anthology is an excellent collection of stories that shows that the future can be bright and we all should wear shades. The story are as diverse and extraordinary as each contributor showing off a wide range of voices and visions. The art by each creator is magnetic, alluring, and vivid. Altogether, the world needs more visions of utopias and this book more than proves it.

Story: Matt Miner, Eric Palicki, Tyler Chin- Tanner, Lucia Fasano, Tess Fowler, Eliot Rahal, Jason Copland, Jennie Wood, Vasilis Pozios, Chris Visions, Lela Gwenn, Alex Paknadel, Chris Peterson, Alisa Kwitney, Mauricet, Josh Gorfain, Matt Lejuene, Howard Mackie, Dean Trippe, Justin Zimmerman, Wendy Chin-Tanner, Toby Cypress, Paul Allor, Jarrett Melendez, Taylor Hoffman, Jonathan Brandon Sawyer, Rich Douek, James Maddox, Gavin Smith, Nadia Shammas, Erik Burnham, Kay Honda, Maria Frohlich
Art: Dean Trippe, Danica Brine, Chris Peterson, Robbi Rodriguez, Michael Wiggam, Maria Frohlich, David Stoll, Ryan Lee, Juan Romera, Tony Gregori, Tess Fowler, Chris Visions, Ethan Claunch, Jude Vigants,  K.R.Whalen, Matt Horak, Jeff McComsey,  Gavin Smith, Ryan Cody, Liana Kangas, Anthony Marques, Jason Copland, Eryk Donovan, Micah Meyers, Josh Jensen, Nick Wentland, Taylor Esposito, Matt Krotzer, Zakk Saam
Story: 10 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

A Wave Blue World provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

House of Fear: The Grumpledowns Gang – It’s Kids vs Lovecraftian Horrors in a new, all-ages comic now on Kickstarter!

by Brandon Barrows
writer

THE House of Fear: The Grumpledowns Gang and the Case of the Mail-Order Shoggoths, published by Ten31 Publishing, is a comic I’m exceptionally proud of. You may have read my detective series Jack Hammer (Action Lab) or my horror graphic novel Mythos (Caliber Comics), or maybe not.  Those are, after all, both books targeted at specific audiences. But I’ve wanted to do something that appeals to the widest possible audience, something truly all-ages for a long time. Something anyone can pick up and enjoy, whether they’re long-time comics fans or just getting into them.

Why? Because I read a lot of all-ages comics myself, comics that are supposed to be fun and accessible to anyone. And while there are a lot of comics out there that claim to be just that, many aren’t. Too often, unfortunately, “all-ages” translates to “kids’ comics” in the minds of publishers and fans. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of what’s out there is perfectly fine for beginning readers, but kids confident in their reading and adults won’t find much to enjoy in them.

Truly all-ages books like Spongebob Comics, Mouseguard, The Stuff of Legend, and the Adventure Time comic, when it was written by Ryan North, are all-ages books that are not only that, but series I really enjoy. They’re fun, action- and story-packed comics that work on multiple levels directed at multiple audience so well that it almost seems effortless. They are also stories that meant something. They aren’t just fluff meant to fill pages and be forgotten once you’ve finished reading.

And that’s what I wanted to create, too. Targeting audiences is perfectly fine, and often a smart thing to do, but I wanted to do something different with my next project – something everyone can enjoy, regardless of age. Something an adult or a kid can read and enjoy on their own or that they can enjoy together.

When Ten31’s publisher, James W. Powell, gave me the chance to do exactly that, I had an idea, but wasn’t sure if I was up to the task of creating something on the level of what I was hoping for. Despite those misgivings, I took the idea I had and wrote a comic from it and, while it was pretty decent, James then helped me tweak and refine that script until it truly became one of the best I’ve ever written.

James then did an amazing job (seriously, he’s a fantastic editor and publisher) of finding the best artistic talent to bring it to life.

The Grumpledowns Gang are kids, but theirs is a fun story that kids or adults or anyone in between can enjoy and get their fill of scary fun and action – and maybe even take note of a little life lesson tucked in there somewhere. And the art is just amazing. It’s beautiful, but more than that, it’s incredible to me that it’s virtually exactly what I saw in my head. Artists Rafael Loureiro and Josh Jensen make a powerful team on the interior art, James Hislope’s front- and back-cover pieces are creepily gorgeous and Matt Krotzer’s letters are some of my favorite in the business.

If you like comics, horror fiction or have a kid who likes either, if you’ve ever read any of my comics work or if you haven’t, but want to give it a shot, please check out the Kickstarter campaign Ten31 is currently running,  pledge your support and share the word. This is a very important book to me, with characters I care deeply about, and if it’s successful, I’ll do my best to bring even more of their stories into the world.

Check out the Kickstarter campaign here (including a fourteen page preview!)

And keep up with updates at www.ten31publishing.com and www.brandonbarrowscomics.com

Follow us on twitter @Ten31Publishing and @BrandonBarrows


House of Fear: The Grumpledowns Gang and the Case of the Mail-Order Shoggoths

Written by Brandon Barrows
Art by Rafael Loureiro and James Hislope
Colors by Josh Jensen
Letters by Matt Krotzer
Edited by James W. Powell
Kickstarter opened 5/16/17, closes 6/17/17. Expected to ship to backers July, 2017.

Fourth-grader Ben Grumpledowns has sent away for a package of grow-your-own monsters… just add water! But when his science teacher accidentally flushes them down the toilet, the school is overrun with huge, tentacled creatures! Ben and his friends must find a way to defeat the beasts before they destroy the school or worse – ruin the Halloween carnival! It’s kids vs. shoggoths in this all-new, all-ages, Lovecraftian horror comic!

Preview: Snarl

Snarl

Story by Kelly Bender
Art by Nathan Kelly, Josh Jensen, Micah Myers
$2.99, digital comic, one-shot, horror/crime, 15+

Something sinister is killing people in a Washington State Park. Is it animal? Is it Supernatural?  When all the evidence points to the unexplained a veteran detective will have to go against all of his training to solve the unsolvable before it’s too late!

cover

Review: Unmade

UNMADE PREVIEW - COVERAl Vacarro is a made-man, with all the honors and responsibilities that entails. But after a lifetime of violence in service of the Castella crime family, the mob no longer holds any allure for Al. For the sake of his own family and his very soul, he needs out of “the life.” But how does a man escape the only world he’s ever known? Unmade is a tale of blood and desperation, and these are the last twenty-four hours of life as Al knows it.

I’m a fan of a comic you can pick up and read the entire thing front to back without needing to know anything, one-shots feel like a rarity these days. Unmade is just that, bringing the mob to comics. Even though this type of subject is a genre that we’ve seen dozens of times on film, television, comics, and books, Unmade still feels unique and I honestly had no idea where it was going.

Writer Brandon Barrows makes the main character Al just despicable enough to feel like he fits in the world of the mob, but at the same time we kind of want him to get out of the world for his family. What I think is really impressive is even though Barrows uses a lot of what might seem common in these types of stories, how he weaves the story, and the small details feel new. He’s done the impressive thing taking a well worn genre and giving us something new.

The art by Johnnie Christmas with colors by Josh Jensen is really solid and it reminds me a lot of what I’d expect from 80s British comics. The coloring especially has a bit of a “retro” vibe to it all. The story and style have a solid mix and compliment each other well.

This was a one-shot, but I actually want more! That’s the funny part, here’s a comic I’d love to see more of, or an anthology series. There’s lots of different options here, especially the way the comic ended. Barrows is a talented writer, and this comic shows off his abilities. If you’re a fan of indie comics, or classic mob stories, this is one to absolutely check out.

Writer: Brandon Barrows Artist: Johnnie Christmas Colors: Josh Jensen
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Reasonably Priced Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Unmade

Unmade

Writer: Brandon Barrows
Artist: Johnnie Christmas
Colors: Josh Jensen
Letters: E.T. Dollman
Cover: Johnnie Christmas & Shari Chankamma
comiXology, DriveThruComics, Physical Copy

Al Vacarro is a made-man, with all the honors and responsibilities that entails. But after a lifetime of violence in service of the Castella crime family, the mob no longer holds any allure for Al. For the sake of his own family and his very soul, he needs out of “the life.” But how does a man escape the only world he’s ever known? UNMADE is a tale of blood and desperation, and these are the last twenty-four hours of life as Al knows it.

UNMADE PREVIEW - COVER