Tag Archives: kieron gillen

Six Things at C2E2 I’m Most Excited About

I love C2E2, not just because it’s located in the great city of Chicago, home of the best pizza, rappers, and (As of this writing.) basketball team in the world. C2E2 one of the few big time cons that still focuses on comic books and their creators, not just celebrities and movie trailers. It’s also the first comic book convention that I attended many moons ago in 2013 when I strode into the press lounge asking how to interview a comic book creator and frantically texting my editor. But it was a great time, and I got to see some of my heroes, including Felicia Day, comic book painter demigod Alex Ross, Kieron Gillen, and the very kind Doctor Who and Wolverine writer Paul Cornell.

I am very excited to return to C2E2 in 2017 and bask in the glow of comic book fans, creators, and publishers. Here are six things you should check out at (or after) the show, which runs from Friday, April 21 to Sunday, April 23.

  1. C2E2 Exclusive Variants/Comics

At their most primal (and capitalist) level, cons are about buying stuff that we think is cool. Whether that’s a celebrity pretending to care about us for sixty seconds, a print by our favorite artist, or a replica of Mjolnir because we have a god complex. One thing I love about comic book conventions is the opportunity to get special covers of comic books. It can be a snapshot reminder of meeting a certain creator, having an artist draw a character you like, or a bit of both like when I picked up Joe Quinones’ Serenity: Leaves of the Wind variant at Baltimore Comic Con in 2014. (Mal and Inara drawn like a pulp novel cover equals major heart eyes.)

Number one on my list of special comics to pick up at C2E2 is an exclusive early copy of Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss’ hilarious 80s period piece/crime comic Four Kids Walk Into A Bank #4, published by Black Mask Studios. There are only 66 copies of this comic, which features a cover by We Can Never Go Home so get to their booth quickly, and all proceeds to go to the anti-gun violence charity, CeaseFire Illinois. You get to read a cool comic early and help an important cause. Some other comics worth checking out are horror maestro Rafael Albuquerque’s variant for the new Alien: Dead Orbit series, Scott Hampton’s classic fantasy style cover for American Gods #1, Matt Wagner’s creepy Joker-centric cover for The Dark Knight III #1, and Mike Allred doing Flash of Two Worlds Harley Quinn #1 style.

And if you’re a huge Lord of the Rings geek and have money to burn, you could always grab an exclusive Helm of Sauron from Chicago Costume…

2. The Valiant X-O Manowar Release Party (And General Con Presence)

The resurrection of Valiant Entertainment as a publisher has been one of the great comics success stories of the past five years. And they have quite the C2E2 planned with everything from a special beer to commemorate the launch of X-O Manowar #1 by Matt Kindt and my favorite Conan artist Tomas Giorello to Bloodshot coffee mugs.

Valiant is doing a full spread of panels, including ones about X-O Manowar’s past, present, and future as their flagship book and one about the upcoming Harbinger Wars 2 crossover with never seen before art and information about this book, which will affect almost all Valiant titles, including Faith. There’s also an early look at Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universea live action webseries featuring many Valiant heroes, like Ninjak, who will be played by Jason David Frank. (The former Green Power Ranger.)

And to cap things off, there’s the X-O Manowar #1 release party held at 7 PM on Friday at the Cobra Lounge. The party is also celebrating the release of Pipeworks Brewing Company’s X-O Manowar Galactic Golden Ale and has a $5 cover charge that will be donated to the suicide prevention charity, Hope for the Day. Comics and craft  beer are an excellent combination, and maybe you’ll spot Valiant’s famous ale and wine swilling immortal, Armstrong, at the party.

I HATE FAIRYLAND

3. Image Comics Panels

Image Comics is home for some of the creative comics of the 2010s in a variety of genres from dystopian science fiction (Bitch Planet) to space opera (Saga), urban fantasy (The Wicked + the Divine), and even sex comedy (Sex Criminals) and autobiography (Self-Obsessed). And all of Image’s books are owned by their creators.

One place to see all of your favorite Image creators at one place is at various panels. The one I’m looking forward to most is  “Image Comics Presents: Storytelling Essentials”, which will be held on Saturday at 11:15 AM and is a general chat about craft, influences, and inspirations. The panel lineup is pretty stacked and includes up and coming writer Donny Cates (God Country), queen of all colorists Jordie Bellaire (Injection), artist of all the pretty people Jamie McKelvie (WicDiv), the legend Greg Rucka (The Old Guard), the artist with one of the cleanest lines in comics Declan Shalvey (Injection), and writer/artist of adorable superhero babies and demented fairy tale characters Skottie Young (I Hate Fairyland).

I can’t wait to hear the interactions between this eclectic group of creators, who demonstrate on a daily basis that comics are much more than superheroes, and artists and colorists are equal, if not superior participants to writers in the creative process.

4. Weta Workshop Awesomeness

Before I got into comics, I was a huge (and still am) J.R.R. Tolkien and Lord of the Rings nerd. They weren’t splashed on the covers of Entertainment Weekly and People, like the trilogy’s stars and Academy Award winning director Peter Jackson, but the visual effects and makeup team at Wellington, New Zealand’s Weta Workshop truly brought the denizens of Middle Earth to life in both Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Plus they’re named after a prehistoric, resilient cricket that only lives in New Zealand.

Weta is also responsible for crafting the worlds of Narnia, the Planet of the Apes, Mad Max Fury Road, and the upcoming Thor Ragnarok and excels at both practical effects and CGI. One thing that they are especially known for is creating large scale miniatures, like the ones of Minas Tirith, Helm’s Deep, and the dark fortress of Barad-Dur in Lord of the Rings as well as the Great Wall of China in the recent 2017 Matt Damon film with the same name.

And lucky for fans of science fiction and fantasy, they have booth and panel at C2E2 where you can geek out over Gollum, King Kong, Elven blades, or Power Ranger suits and check out the company’s portfolio and history. As icing on the cake, you can see a live makeup “transformation” featuring Warren Dion-Smith. Basically, you will see how flesh and blood human beings become orcs live and in person. The panel is at 2:30 PM on Sunday.

5. Mike Colter Panel

Marvel Studios is bringing several of the actors from their TV shows to C2E2, including Iain de Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge, who play the adorable, quirky British agents in Agents of SHIELD, the Kingpin of crime himself Vincen D’Onofrio, and finally, Mike Colter, who played Luke Cage in Jessica Jones and Luke Cage and will reprise his role in the upcoming Netflix series, The Defenders. Before playing the hero formerly known as Power Man, Colter was a crime lord in CBS’ The Good Wife and had roles in The Following and American Horror Story: Coven.

Colter’s appearance at C2E2 is almost perfectly timed as a bulletproof, black superhero is a powerful image for the United States in 2017. We currently have an Attorney General in Jeff Sessions, who has disparaged the NAACP and was considered by Coretta Scott King to be too racist for a federal judge and is one of many cabinet members and high ranking racist, xenophobic (usually) men that run this country. By standing up for his community of Harlem against corruption, Luke Cage is a symbol of hope in this dark time, and Mike Colter embodies him perfectly by playing him with a wonderful mix of physical presence, understated politeness, and a touch of rage in the middle of battle.

And, on a pure fan level, it will be interesting to see how much (or little) Mike Colter is allowed to say about Defenders, which is coming out in about four months. I am intrigued to see if he has anything to say about working with Finn Jones’ Iron Fist, and if they had any of the chemistry that Luke Cage and Danny Rand had in the comics. Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Luke Cage were all enjoyable shows, and the environment in this panel room is bound to electric with anticipation for their team-up in Defenders with the audience hanging on every crumb of information Colter doles out about the upcoming show.

6. WicDiv Panel and Exclusive Merchandise

If you have read my work at all, you know that I wouldn’t end an article about a comic convention without bumping The Wicked + the Divine, which is my favorite current comic. Writer Kieron Gillen is making his first appearance at C2E2 since 2013, which was the glory days of Young Avengers, and artist Jamie McKelvie is going to his first C2E2 ever. They are bringing some exclusive merch, including pins of a death skull and Persephone’s hand and a very metal Baphomet t-shirt. Wearing this shirt instantly gives you the superpowers of ripped abs, Andrew Eldritch sunglasses, and fire swords.

And it’s kind of fitting that the WicDiv panel is being held on Sunday as fellow fans, er, worshipers of the Pantheon can join together and air out our feelings about the bittersweet ending to the “Imperial Phase” arc and get ready for the WicDiv #455 featuring the gods of ancient Rome. The panel is at 2:30 PM and will most likely have some glorious cosplay.

And that is my highly subjective list of the six coolest things to do at C2E2. Remember to stay hydrated, pack a portable phone charger, and take plenty of selfies with your favorite comic book creators and fans of general awesome things.

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Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel #1 – A First Look At The New Epic Crossover!

Two of the biggest comics in the industry collide as Star Wars and Star Wars: Doctor Aphra cross over for the first time! Today, Marvel has released a first look inside Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel #1 – the first chapter in a blockbuster five-part story kicking off May 10th! Superstar writers Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen join forces once again to combine their two hit series for an epic crossover in the mighty Marvel manner!

Rebel pilot and rogue archaeologist wander side-by-side into the darkest corners of the galaxy as Luke Skywalker reluctantly teams with Doctor Aphra! The good Doctor has an offer for this flyboy farm boy – help her, and she’ll provide him with information crucial on his quest to become a Jedi. With an offer he can’t refuse on the table, this unlikely duo finds themselves deep into the heart of the infamous Screaming Citadel! Can Luke find what he’s looking for? Can Aphra be trusted? Or will the Citadel’s Queen and the dark forces lurking within make their journey a one-way trip?!

Kicking off in this oversized one-shot, Kieron Gillen ans artist Marco Checchetto kick this epic story off in grand style! Then, the adventure continues later that month in the pages of Star Wars and Star Wars: Doctor Aphra!

Featuring covers by Marco Checchetto, Rod Reis, Chris Samnee, and Michael Walsh.

Review: The Wicked + the Divine #28

To steal a phrase from the great Hunter S. Thompson, The Wicked + the Divine #28 (and the end of the “Imperial Phase” arc) is decadent and depraved. There’s cocaine, an orgy, and even some cannibalism in store as writer Kieron Gillen, artist Jamie McKelvie, and colorist Matthew Wilson show once and for all that the members of the Pantheon are terrible people for the most part. I’ll still vouch for Dionysus and Urdr, but I’m probably being naive. Also, Urdr is kind of an asshole in this issue. The comic is centered around a party once again as Amaterasu thinks she is the actual Shinto goddess Amaterasu even though she is a white girl from England and throws a soiree for her “worshipers”. She goes from a favorite to beyond problematic in just a couple painful pages. Choosing anarchy has taken a real toll on the Pantheon, and after an incident like what happens in this issue, they won’t be much of a match for the Great Darkness.

McKelvie and Wilson’s visual stylings for WicDiv #28 are EDM meets hot lava, especially when Amaterasu gets angry at the always skeptical  Urdr, and her usual kind mannerisms turns orange and rage filled. However, the plot and tone of the issue felt a lot like the end of Brit Pop in 1997 when Oasis was focusing on cocaine and hanging out on 10 Downing Street more than music and releasing nine minute long tracks with multiple key changes that really should have been a four minute pop rock song. Their key rival band Blur was more self-aware releasing tracks like “Death of a Party” and sounding like an American alternative band and later experimenting with hip hop and world music.

Amaterasu, Sakhmet, Woden, and to a certain extent, Persephone, are Oasis in this case and have given up on fighting the Great Darkness or being artists to basically party and use mortals to make themselves feel better instead of inspiring humanity like the Pantheons supposedly did in the past. Like Oasis, they are caught making the same album over and over again and coasting on the fact that they once played a gig to 250,000 people. (Thankfully, Liam Gallagher never ate anyone.) WicDiv #28 is self-indulgence at its peak giving readers a dose of the old sex, drugs, and ultraviolence, and there is going to be one hell of a hangover once “Imperial Phase Part II” kicks off. And this decadence extends to Jamie McKelvie’s clothing choices, especially Sakhmet’s drop dead gorgeous dress, which gets a full establishing panel and sets her up for a major role in the plot of this issue.

The cast of WicDiv has been pretty well-established, but a character, who has been on the margins, ends up kicking off WicDiv #28 with some real emotions. It’s David Blake, who is a scholar of the Pantheon and Recurrences, and is revealed to be Woden’s father. McKelvie draws him as tired, yet angry as he quickly snatches a family picture out of Urdr’s hands complete with a speed line. Gillen’s dialogue for David is full of regrets even as he openly admits being proud of his son, who is at a “finishing school”. With all the battles, motorcycle rides, and non-stop hivemind parties in “Imperial Phase”, it’s nice to have a reminder than the Pantheon members are human beings with parents and families beneath their divine trappings. Also, Woden has an Oedipus complex because the Valkyries remind him of his Asian mother. It’s pathetic, really, but Gillen and McKelvie don’t make a big deal about it and “reveal” it only in a background picture in David’s flat.

WicDiv #28 is so draining that an epilogue featuring an Ananke flashback actually comes as a comfort. She writes about how difficult this particular era is, and in an age of Trump, Brexit, missile strikes on Syria, concentration camps for gay men in Chechnya, and corporate airlines physically dragging paying customers off their flights, this rings true. 2017 is scary and difficult, and Gillen, McKelvie, and Wilson reflect this in WicDiv through the metaphors of youth and divinity.

Everyone is just fucked up in WicDiv #28 as Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson show the unraveling of relationships as conversation turns to violent threats and actual violence in shades of red and black. These stylish characters have been stripped down to their ugly essences with Sakhmet’s bloodstained mouth representing most of the Pantheon, who have been utterly consumed by fame and power, that they are inspiring absolutely no one and could end up leading to the end of the world.

Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Jamie McKelvie Colors: Matthew Wilson
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy 

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #6

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #6

(W) Kieron Gillen (A) Kev Walker (CA) Karmome Shirahama
Rated T
In Shops: Apr 12, 2017
SRP: $3.99

Aphra Jr. and Sr. have stumbled upon an ancient Jedi citadel… but it appears that some form of life has survived… and they are NOT happy to be disturbed.

Preview: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #5

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #5

(W) Kieron Gillen (A) Kev Walker (CA) Karmome Shirahama
Rated T
In Shops: Mar 08, 2017
SRP: $3.99

Has Aphra actually found a lost ancient Jedi site? And if so, can she make it out with her life? And if so, will she be able to get a good price for it?

Kieron Gillen and Antonio Fuso Take on James Bond this May

Dynamite Entertainment introduces an all-new take on the icon of espionage in an upcoming oversized James Bond special, James Bond: Service, written by Kieron Gillen and drawn by Antonio Fuso!

In contemporary politics, where Britain’s world standing is often more zero than 007, an assassin plans to exterminate the “special relationship,” and lead Britain and the United States into a very dark place…especially when he does so by aiming down the sights of an ancient Enfield rifle! It’ll test Bond’s deadly talents to their limits, in order to defeat the assassin and avert certain geopolitical disaster…

James Bond: Service will be released as a 48-page special and slated for release in May.

bondservicecovamckelvie

Preview: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #4

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #4

(W) Kieron Gillen (A) Kev Walker (CA) Karmome Shirahama
Rated T
In Shops: Feb 08, 2017
SRP: $3.99

Aphra’s father has led her straight into danger – of course. Her business on Yavin 4 concluded, Aphra journeys off… in search of one of the most powerful weapons imaginable!

star_wars__doctor_aphra__4

Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel – A New Five-Part Crossover Beginning This May!

star_wars_the_screaming_citadel_1_coverTwo of the biggest comics in the industry collide as Star Wars and Star Wars: Doctor Aphra cross over for the first time! Marvel has announced Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel – a blockbuster five-part story beginning this May! Superstar writers Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen join forces once again to combine their two hit series for an epic crossover in the mighty Marvel manner!

Rebel pilot and rogue archaeologist wander side-by-side into the darkest corners of the galaxy as Luke Skywalker reluctantly teams with Doctor Aphra! The good Doctor has an offer for this flyboy farm boy – help her, and she’ll provide him with information crucial on his quest to become a Jedi. With an offer he can’t refuse on the table, this unlikely duo finds themselves deep into the heart of the infamous Screaming Citadel! Can Luke find what he’s looking for? Can Aphra be trusted? Or will the Citadel’s Queen and the dark forces lurking within make their journey a one-way trip?!

Kicking off in May’s oversized Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel #1 one-shot, the adventure continues later that month in the pages of Star Wars and Star Wars: Doctor Aphra! What secrets lie deep within the citadel’s walls?

star_wars_31_coverSTAR WARS: THE SCREAMING CITADEL #1
Part 1 of Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel
Written by KIERON GILLEN
Art & Cover by MARCO CHECCHETTO
On Sale In May!

 

STAR WARS #31
Part 2 of Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel
Written by JASON AARON
Art by SALVADOR LARROCA
Cover by MARCO CHECCHETTO
On Sale In May!

 

STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA #7
Part 3 of Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel
Written by KIERON GILLEN
Art by ANDREA BROCCARDO
Cover by MARCO CHECCHETTO
On Sale In May!

doctor_aphra_7_cover

Rue Britannia, The Singles Club, and The Immaterial Girl Collected into The Complete Phonogram Hardcover Edition this April

New York Times bestselling creative team behind The Wicked + The Divine, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, introduce a Day-glo-soaked, music-obsessed experience in the fully-colored collected hardcover edition—The Complete Phonogram. It will hit stores this April and features all three story arcs of the cult-hit series.

Collected into a single volume for the first time, the critically beloved work includes Rue Britannia, The Singles Club, and The Immaterial Girl, with Rue Britannia newly colored. The world where Music Is Magic has never looked better.

The Complete Phonogram hardcover collects Phonogram #1-6, Phonogram 2: The Singles Club #1-7, Phonogram 3: The Immaterial Girl #1-6, and previously single-exclusive B-sides.

The Complete Phonogram hardcover (ISBN: 978-1-5343-0151-1, Diamond Code: JAN170785) hits comics stores on Wednesday, April 12th and bookstores on Tuesday, April 18th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, February 27th.

the-complete-phonogram-hardcover

Preview: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #3

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #3

(W) Kieron Gillen (A) Kev Walker (CA) Karmome Shirahama
Rated T
In Shops: Jan 18, 2017
SRP: $3.99

Aphra’s hunt for the Ordu Aspectu has led to the last place she wants to be… an Imperial encampment! The good doctor, her deadly droids and her Wookiee companion are in for trouble…

star_wars__doctor_aphra__3

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