They said fantasy roleplaying games were dangerous and they were wrong. But now? Maybe they were right to be afraid! Writer Mark Sable and artist Chris Anderson have created a Kickstarter campaign for Chaotic Neutral, an all-new 48-page comic book first issue inspired by the old school fantasy roleplaying games that worried parents and teachers alike. Chaotic Neutral delivers magic, adventure, and storytelling—with an edge.
And Chaotic Neutral is more than just a comic:
Mark Sable has written an official Chaotic Neutral Adventure Module that you can play using most old school fantasy games.
Acclaimed comics creator Ryan Browne (God Hates Astronauts; Curse Words) has created an all-new, Chick Tracts-styled comic with a very specific message: comic books and RPGs will ruin your life.
Superstar artists Max Dunbar (Dungeons & Dragons),Jeremy Haun (Haunthology), Maan House (Godkillers), Jeff Johnson (Boondocks), Tom Neely (The Humans), Dan Panosian (Slots), Jim Rugg (Mtsryr: Octobriana 1976), Tim Seeley (Money Shot) and Kyle Strahm (Spread) have created Chaotic Neutral: Monster Trading Cards. This uncut trading card sheet will feature one side with art, while the other will contain stats for a campaign.
We have an exclusive look at Tom Neely and Max Dunbar’s Chaotic Neutral: Monster Trading Card art. Check out Neely’s Night-Mare and Dunbar’s Skeleton below!
Twelve Reasons to Die acts as the source material for the 2013 concept album of the same title by Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah, and the record’s producer/composer Adrian Younge and executive producer RZA even get story and writer credits respectively on this comic, which is finally being released as a collected edition.A pre-4 Kids Walk Into A Bank/Marvel Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon handle the brunt of the scripting though. The comic is a multi-generational crime saga in the mold of such classics like The Godfather Part II, Goodfellas, and Once Upon A Time in America with a horror spin. With the exception of the final one, each issue tells two parallel stories. The first is about the rise of African-American gangster Tony Starks (One of Ghostface Killah’s aliases.) from muscle for the DeLuca family to a kingpin in his own right, and it is drawn predominantly by artist Breno Tamura. Gus Storms handles the other story which features “crate digger” Michael Migdal looking for 9 rare records for Lucraze, the don of the DeLuca crime family, because he feels like they’re cursed and wants to destroy them.
The parallel structure of Twelve Reasons to Die allows Rosenberg, Kindlon, RZA, Tamura, Storm, colorist Jean-Paul Csuka, and the various guest artists to play with different genres, art styles, and palettes like Younge and Ghostface Killah play with different beats, instrumentation, samples, and deliveries on the album. Starks’ story is a crime saga while Migdal’s story is more horror, and both use elements from the blaxploitation genre. This really shows up in the artwork with Tamura’s work being looser with scratchy inks and Bronze Age era Ben-Day Dots while Storms’ art is softer and more grotesque with the mysterious “Ghostface Killer” lurking around the edges like something out of a bad dream waiting for the needle to drop and to bring vengeance.
The different guest artists, like Nate Powell, Joelle Jones, Edwin Huang, and Riley Rossmo, meld well with Storms and Tamura while bringing extra flair to key scenes like Starks torturing a racist DeLuca made man and framing him for having an affair with the boss’ wife, Logan (Who Starks is actually sleeping with.) or several night club and murder sequences. Csuka’s colors really tie everything together and control the mood of each sequence whether that’s the sleazy red and blue of the strip club where Starks gets his first assignment from the DeLuca (and later runs) to the pop art pink of a “masqua-rave” that Migdal goes to get one of the records from a DJ, who decides to play the record and gets devoured by ravers turned into insects. It’s a Kafka-esque acid trip that shows the decadence of the DeLuca “social club” (They’ve filed off the serial numbers of their criminal enterprises.), and of course, there’s a panel where Migdal vomits.
Twelve Reasons to Die doesn’t shy away from showing the racism that Tony Starks faces from his employers, the Delucas, who bar him from becoming a made man because of the color of his skin and hurl slurs and stereotypes at him throughout the entire comic. Starks gets passed over for the mob equivalent of a promotion even though he has killed, tortured, and general gone above and beyond the call of duty because of the color of his skin. Eventually, this causes him to band together with his colleagues from the Black community to take over the DeLucas’ turf and even have some DeLuca foot soldiers work for him. There’s a dark, cathartic glee to watching him topple an empire in twelve months that had been established 30+ years ago. (See the prologue featuring Mussolini, mainland Italy vs. Sicily, and double page map spreads.) Starks’ ruthlessness is magnetic, yet frightening as he goes from possibly negotiating with one of the DeLuca’s made men to pistol whipping him in an alley and then tying his neck to the back of a car and having him dragged. This comic definitely uses torture creatively a la “Method Man” from Wu-Tang Clan’s classic album, 36 Chambers.
However, Rosenberg, Kindlon, and RZA also take time to develop Tony Starks’ softer and more vulnerable side through his relationship with Logan, who he genuinely cares about and basically uses as a spy for the DeLucas (Although she betrays him because femme fatale trope.) and especially for his love of records. There’s a touching scene where Starks says that his only dream is to get his hands on the most “hype” records, and he uses his organized crime money to build a factory where he can press his own wax. This is why his demise in that same factory is so tragic, and his vengeance via the drop of a needle is so satisfying as the Ghostface Killer slays the men who betrayed him in new and fucked up ways, or just a single page beheading. (I guess that’s pretty messed up though.) The exception is the noble fencer Batiato, who gets an epic sword fight complete with Ghostface in samurai armor and some fun, blocky cartooning from Edwin Huang.
I haven’t really touched much about Migdal in this review, and initially he seems quite distant from sex, violence, and racism-tinged world of Tony Starks and the DeLucas. He’s just a guy with a sarcastic sense of humor, who you’d see digging through the crates at your local record store, probably every day. However, as he continues to be treated like shit by the aging DeLuca crime bosses and see more horrific things, Migdal seems more attuned to this grindhouse movie of a world even though he doesn’t lose his innocence making the high energy Chris Hunt-drawn finale have a tinge of sadness. He really just wants to get paid so he can buy more records.
Even though it has an entire restaurant of chefs in its proverbial kitchen, Twelve Reasons to Die is a damn good fusion of the crime and horror genre with a charismatic protagonist and a social conscience in the midst of all the schlock. However, it never gets preachy. For three decades, Ghostface Killah has been one of hip hop’s best storytellers, and his vision translates really well to the comic book page thanks to Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon, RZA, Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Chris Hunt, Jean-Paul Csuka, and the guest artists that are the visual equivalent of that perfect drum sound or soul sample that raises a track from skippable to total earworm. Finally, and it goes without saying, but this comic pairs really well with the 12 Reasons to Die album.
Story: Ghostface Killah, Adrian Younge, C.E. Garcia Story/Script: Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon with RZA Art: Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Chris Hunt Guest Art: Kyle Strahm, Joe Infurnari, Tim Seeley, Nate Powell, Tyler Crook, Toby Cypress, Joelle Jones, Edwin Huang, Russell Roehling, Ryan Kelly, Riley Rossmo Colors: Jean-Paul Csuka Letters: Jim Campbell and Nic J. Shaw Story: 8.0 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy
Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Created by: Ghostface Killah / Executive Produced by: RZA Written by: Matthew Rosenberg & Patrick Kindlon Illustrated by: Ronald Wimberly, Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Kyle Strahm, Joe Infurnari, Christopher Mitten, Jim Mahfood, Tim Seeley, Nate Powell, Ben Templesmith, Tyler Crook, Toby Cypress, Juan Doe, Joelle Jones, Edwin Huang, Johnnie Christmas, Russel Roehling, Ryan Kelly, Michael Walsh, Chris Hunt, Riley Rossmo, David Murdoch, Garry Brown, Johnny Ryan, Shaky Kane, Benjamin Marra, and Brian Level Colored by: Jean-Paul Csuka Lettered by: Jim Campbell, Nic J. Shaw Mature / $24.99 / 180 pages
Guns. Sex. Vinyl. Revenge. Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah and RZA teamed with then young-gun writers Matthew Rosenberg (Uncanny X-Men, 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank) & Patrick Kindlon (Survival Fetish, Nobody Is In Control) for this brutal tale of a dangerous crime lord’s rise and fall.
Cullen Bunn has revealed Unearth #1 is getting a limited edition variant cover for New York Comic Con. The cover is by James Harren and will be released Saturday during the convention at the Image Comics booth.
Unearth is by Bunn, Kyle Strahm, and Baldemar Rivas.
Release Event 11-11:45am Saturday, Oct 5th 2019 @ the Image Comics Booth New York Comic Con
Cullen Bunn, Kyle Strahm, and Baldemar Rivas’ hit new body horror series Unearth is being rushed back to print in order to keep up with customer demand for this creepy story best described as The X-Files meets HBO’s Chernobyl.
In Unearth, a flesh-warping disease ravages a remote village in Mexico and a scientific task force travels to the inhospitable area to investigate the contamination.
Tracing the source of the disease to a nearby cave system, the team discovers a bizarre, hostile ecosystem and a supernatural revelation from which they may never escape.
Unearth #1, second printing (Diamond Code MAY198071) will hit comic shops on Wednesday, August 7. The final order cutoff for comic shop retailers is Monday, July 15.
Unearth #1 throws you into the nightmarish action. With a story by Cullen Bunn and Kyle Strahm, the debut mixes together science and horror to deliver a slightly unsettling start.
A disease is ravaging a remote Mexican village which sends a scientific task force to investigate the contamination. They trace the source of the disease to a nearby cave system leading to a subterranean adventure and nightmare.
Bunn and Strahm deliver an interesting start in Unearth #1. At first, the series feels like an over the top science-focused story. It has the sense of a film like Outbreak mixing tension, mystery, and disease. But, as we learn more, the story pivots to something much more. It begins to turn into a nightmarish horror story that’ll leave you saying “wtf” more than once.
And in that sense, the debut issue is really good. It leaves the reader on their toes not knowing what to expect but with a concept that’s straightforward. We’re not immediately dumped into a mystical world but instead the issue slowly builds as things get weirder. And, we’re left in the end we’re left with something that’s more The Descent than Outbreak.
The art by Baldemar Rivas is interesting. Each character is unique and you get a sense of their personality. The art evolves like the story itself giving us a more confined space as things proceed. I’d like to have seen more of that used as the team is driven further into the cave. A visual confinement to help drag the reader into that aspect a bit more. And, as issues play out, we might see that.
The debut is a good one that sets up more than enough of a mystery to have fans of horror coming back to find out more. It’s an interesting concept so far and there’s many directions to go and like the characters themselves, that leaves the read on their toes.
The X-Files meets Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilationwith the mounting terror of a classic Stephen King novel in the forthcoming series Unearth—an all-new horror series from Cullen Bunn, Kyle Strahm, and Baldemar Rivas launching this July from Image Comics.
In Unearth, a flesh-warping disease ravages a remote village in Mexico and a scientific task force travels to the inhospitable area to investigate the contamination. Tracing the source of the disease to a nearby cave system, the team discovers a bizarre, hostile ecosystem and a supernatural revelation from which they may never escape.
Showcasing the same unsettling pacing of Michael Rutger’s The Anomaly, Unearth will provide fans with a new subterranean nightmare that they won’t want to miss.
Unearth #1 Cover A by Rivas (Diamond Code MAY190025) and Unearth #1 Cover B by Strahm (Diamond Code MAY190026) will hit comic shops on Wednesday, July 10. The final order cutoff for comic shop retailers is Monday, June 17.
writer: David Avallone artist: Fran Strukan covers: Francesco Francavilla (A), J. Bone (B), Kyle Strahm (C), Dave Acosta (D), Photo Cover (E), Francesco Francavilla (RI-Virgin), Kyle Strahm (RI-B/W), J. Bone (RI-Virgin), Dave Acosta (RI-B/W), Photo Cover (RI-Virgin) FC | 32 pages | Comedy/Horror | $3.99 | Teen+
The Mistress of the Dark lands the leading role in a touching art film about human/gill monster romance, but there’s something decidedly fishy about her costar. Is there an Oscar™ in her future, or is director Billy Bullworth interesting in spawning something more than an Academy Award-winning movie? Dive into the first issue of this special four-part miniseries, by David Avallone (ELVIRA, BETTIE PAGE).
writer: Tim Seeley artist: Rapha Lobosco covers: Tim Seeley (A), Craig Cermak (B), Kyle Strahm (C) Purgatori Seduction (RI), Lady Demon Seduction (RI), Craig Cermak (RI-Virg), Kyle Strahm (RI-B/W), Tim Seeley (RI-Virg) FC | 32 pages | Horror | $3.99 | Mature
Cassie Hack, Slasher Hunter Supreme, thought she’d gotten rid of those teenager-perforating undead menaces. But now they’re suddenly springing back to life! Cassie and Vlad are going to have to team up with megadeath dispenser Evil Ernie to stop the slaughter, putting them on a path that appears to lead through Chastity, the Chosen, and Purgatori! Tim Seeley returns to his beloved creations to pit them against the world’s greatest horror universe and brings back some of the series’ most beloved slashers!
writer: Mike Carey
artist: Kenan Yarar
covers: Eric Powell (A), Ryan Browne (B), Kyle Strahm (C), Ediano Silva (D), Kenan Yarar (E-Sub)
Eric Powell (RI-Virgin), Kyle Strahm (RI-B/W),Ryan Browne (RI-Virgin)
FC | 32 pages | $3.99 | Teen+
In the red corner: a titanic space armada with the last word in planet-busting weaponry. And facing them: the Esseverine, a peaceful people with no technology or tools at all. Nothing. Not even a pointy stick. But they do have Barbarella. Place your bets!