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Review: Old Haunts #1

Old Haunts #1

I’m a big fan of mob films. I can watch films like The Godfather, Goodfellas, New Jack City, and Casino, over and over. What you rarely is that genre mashed up with others. There have been attempts at comedy or romance but most films are pretty siloed in style. Old Haunts #1 is an interesting spin on the mob story as it attempts to deliver something new, a mob story with a horror twist.

Written by Ollie Masters and Rob Williams, Old Haunts #1 introduces us to three mobsters who have a literal pile of bodies underneath them. They have decided to get out of the business and move on. But, their past crime doesn’t want them to. It’s a take on the concept of one’s past coming back to haunt you.

The result is pretty decent, enough that I really want to see where it goes.

The story delivers a few cliches from the genre and Old Haunts #1 is mostly set up but there’s enough there to want to see more. The issue is, our three main characters are generally forgettable. They each have some minor things to set them apart but they generally blend away after reading. Not long after I’ve read the first issue and each character’s name is already forgotten.

It’s the character types that really stand out and that plays into the horror aspect. Instead of the “slut” we have one character who pays for sex. We still have the tough guy who’s surely going to die. Then there’s the nice guy who’s probably supposed to be the protagonist that we cheer for in hopes they survive and are happy. It’s not bad but you can see there’s a bit plug and play going on. Still, it works as a start setting up what’s to come.

The art by Laurence Campbell is pretty solid. With color by Lee Loughridge and lettering by Sal Cipriano, it relies heavily on shadows delivering a style that fits the noir/crime genre. Blues, reds, yellows, and purples, with a heavy dose of black pepper the panels giving the comic a very interesting look that befits the story. The characters are definitely different in their look and style, but run into that issue that they also don’t stand out. It’s not bad but also a comic that you’ll remember liking but nothing specific you can really pinpoint. The horror aspects though absolutely deliver a creepy vibe and go in a solid direction I want to see more of.

As an introduction, Old Haunts #1 is interesting and entertaining. It brings together two genres you don’t see mashed up often. It’s a good introduction that as a piece of the bigger story will be fine but on its own falls a little short. It lacks that little bit something special that really puts it over the top. But, like a horror film, that’s also not the point. This is the lull before the storm and we really want to see the scares from here. As a set up to that, it works quite well.

Story: Ollie Masters, Rob Williams Art: Laurence Campbell
Color: Lee Loughridge Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

AWA Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

AWA Studios Releases a Trailer for Old Haunts

AWA Studios has released the official trailer for the supernatural crime thriller, Old Haunts, written by Ollie Masters and Rob Williams, art by Laurence Campbell, colors by Lee Loughridge, and lettering by Sal Cipriano. Old Haunts has an updated release date of June 10, 2020.

Three Made Men, standing at the brink of retirement, find their unbreakable bond put to the ultimate test when they are suddenly assaulted by the ghosts of their past. Confronted by decades of buried secrets – resentments, affairs, double-crosses, and murders – the three friends have no choice but to unearth the deepest, darkest sin from their past and pray they don’t find an empty grave.

Review: Upshot Now #0

Upshot Now #0 kicks off AWA’s upcoming titles with black and white first issues of three series along with previews of five other comics!

Story: J. Michael Straczynski, Michael Moreci, Jason Starr, Frank Cho, John Lees, Benjamin Percy, Ollie Masters, Rob Williams
Art: Mike Deodato, Jr., C.P. Smith, Will Conrad, Dalibor Talajić, Ramon Rosanas, Laurence Campbell, Bretn Schoonover
Color: Sabine Rich
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Covers: Rahzzah, Jeff Dekal, Tim Bradstreet, Kaare Andrews

Get your copy 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.

Midtown Comics

AWA provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know #1


Writer: Mike Mignola, Scott Allie
Artist: Laurence Campbell
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Duncan Fegredo
Genre: Horror
Publication Date: July 26, 2017

Before they were vanquished by the BPRD, Lovecraftian monsters created a Hell on Earth. Now Liz Sherman leads a crew through monster-infested ruins on the most important rescue mission of her life. As society tries to rebuild, strange cults vie for influence, and a demon emerges to lead the way . .

Mignola, Roberson, Mitten, Stewart, and Campbell Team Up for Rise of the Black Flame

This September, legendary Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, iZombie co-creator Chris Roberson, Criminal Macabre and 30 Days of Night artist Christopher Mitten, award winning colorist Dave Stewart and cover artist Laurence Campbell will present Rise of the Black Flame. This five issue miniseries from Dark Horse Comics will present a dark horror story about an ancient, evil power. In Rise of the Black Flame, young girls are going missing from the cities of Siam, and the trail leads to the jungle hideout of a bloodthirsty cult– the Cult of the Black Flame.

In Rise of the Black Flame, it’s revealed that before there was a man called the Black Flame, there was an ancient cult hidden deep in the jungles of Southeast Asia known by that name. The creators plumb the depths of cruelty and ruthlessness that groups of people are capable of reaching, and explore how this cult which reaches back to prehistoric times is connected to the most dangerous villain in the history of the Hellboy book.

In addition to Rise of the Black Flame, Roberson and Mignola will be co-writing Hellboy & The BPRD: 1954 and Witchfinder: City of the Dead. Rise of the Black Flame will mark the Mignolaverse debut of artist Christopher Mitten.

Rise of the Black Flame issue 1 goes on sale from Dark Horse Comics on September 7.

Rise of the Black Flame #1 CVR

Caliber Comics Announces Their Summer Releases

Caliber Comics, one of the leading independent comic companies of the 90’s, announced its return to publishing in February of this year. Now they are announcing their schedule for the summer of 2014.

Caliber will be releasing only graphic novels initially with no timetable on releasing monthly periodicals. Here’s their announced schedule for the summer:


Talismen is a full color young adult graphic novel about a modern day soldier finding himself waking up in a fantasy land and tabbed as a returning hero.  From creators Steve Jones and Barb Jacobs.

Wayne Vansant, the noted historical artist for books such as The Civil War series from Heritage and Days of Darkness, tells the tales of the Waffen SS in Knights of the Skull which will be released in black and white.

KnightsSkullPrevCvr TalismenCvrCaliber


Hitting shelves will be a new printing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show comic collection. Adapted by Kevin Vanhook, Kevin has also gone through the pages and made some adjustments, primarily in the coloring of the pages. In addition to a new cover and some guest pinup pages, the section on the audience participation guide will be replaced with a look at Rocky Horror and what went into the comic production.

From writer Danny Boyd and artist Edi GuedesCarbon is an ecological adventure tale based on the turmoil of coal extraction in West Virginia.  Film director John Sayles provides the introduction.

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Storyville: The Prostitute Murders is an original mystery in graphic novel format. Set in early 1900 New Orleans, Storyville was the legalized red light district. In this tale, written by Gary Reed and illustrated by Wayne Reid, someone is killing the prostitutes and their clients and the lead detective is forced to work with a doctor specialized in psychotherapy in an attempt to figure out the motive for the murders.

Also by Reed is Subversives: Tales of Rebels, Spies, Schemers and Other Acts of Misdeeds.  Reed explores brief glimpses into the lives of the famous and infamous in this survey of traitors and subversives throughout history.   Some exploits are well known, or believed to be and of course, there are always a number of surprises.

Also in September is Disciples: The New Magic, a full color graphic novel collecting the Image series featuring art from Laurence Campbell, artist on Mike Mignola’s B.R.P.D. and Deadpool, Punisher, and Wolverine for Marvel.  Written by Chris Dows and Colin ClaytonDisciples are a misfit group of seers, magicians, and wielders of the Black Arts whose own internal politics pose as great a threat to their survival as any outside influence.

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With all of the books in the final stages of production and all but one have the complete art finished, Caliber publisher Gary Reed has said “These books will ship on time.”  He added that there will be other books printed but most of them are collections of previously published material which will probably not be carried by Diamond Distributors.

Reed said that since Caliber first announced its return, most of the effort has been to bring the Caliber library into digital format for all the various formats.  “From Transfuzion (Reed’s former publishing company that rolled into Caliber), we had some 45 graphic novels which not only have to be converted to Caliber titles but also digitized for the formats.  Plus, we’ve picked up a number of other titles, both previously published and new material.”  Reed also said that the digital formatting was nearly complete.  As for new titles, Reed said that there will be likely a short delay releasing to digital after the print version, especially for any titles that go through Diamond Comics,  but no specific time frame has been set as of yet.

Review: B.P.R.D. #109, The Strain: The Fall #1, Star Wars: Dark Times—A Spark Remains #1

21881B.P.R.D. #109 Mike Mingola, accompanied by Mignolaverse and B.P.R.D. regular John Arcudi, brings some clarity and relief to the plot that’s been developing in the Hell on Earth series, concluding the Wasteland story line by wrapping up some narratives and turning the spotlight onto new ones—the best way to keep a long-running series interesting and attention-grabbing.

With the absence of original B.P.R.D. characters, except for Johann Kraus, the book just doesn’t feel the same, but it’s a good difference that allows Mignola to explore a new aspect of the paranormal reality he’s brought to life in hundreds of comics. The apocalypse seems all around, and the last few B.P.R.D. issues have the feel of a zombie thriller in which the plague is airborne. But, as we learn, with the advent of a new character, Howards, the demon-making gas hasn’t affected everyone (or the horses). Mignola uses the child Lucas introduced in B.P.R.D. #107 as a foil to bring about a ‘final battle’ against the monsters, with a twist ending and a Conan easter egg.

Laurence Campbell, as I’ve said before, is perfect for the Hell on Earth series, since he creates a truly bleak atmosphere with disgusting monsters and a truly horrifying glimpse of deathly visages. Additionally, his art is well suited to the zombie apocalypse feel of the book. Dave Stewart brings his talented history with Mignola books to bear on Campbell’s art. Stewart plays on the sketched-lines and minimalistic facial and figure art to expand the feel of Campbell’s pencils and inks, and though he has proved his mastery of vibrant colors elsewhere, he exacerbates Campbell’s artistic atmosphere by limiting the issue’s color spectrum, the feat of a truly skilled colorist.

B.P.R.D. #109 is another fine addition to the Mignolaverse narrative, strong in horror-comic artistry and hitting home with a dead mother and a mysterious new character.

Story: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi  Art: Laurence Campbell and Dave Stewart
Story: 8  Art: 8  Overall: 8  Recommendation: Buy

19185The Strain: The Fall #1 I really wasn’t sure if David Lapham’s adaptation of Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s vampire horror novel The Strain, and continuation of the Dark Horse comics of the same name, was something I wanted to read—after all, while I may be a horror comics fan, the images Dark Horse has been using for advertisement are a bit too creepy for me. I can say now, though, if you’re like me, and you decided against The Strain: the Fall #1, you might want to rethink that decision and check this book out!

The Strain: The Fall #1 is a thrilling, complex, and innovative new take on the all-too familiar vampire mythos, blending the mystery of Mesopotamia and mystical books with city-wide epidemic paranoia and devious plotting by a Master and his pawns. Though I haven’t read del Toro of Hogan’s novel, by the end of this premiere issue I knew this is a vampire tale I was meant to fall in bloody love with!

Lapham’s script is well written, introducing plenty of main characters, several plot lines, and all of it in a well-paced package wrapped up neatly in Mike Huddleston’s apt art. (Not sure if these characters were in the previous The Strain comics, since this is my first experience therewith) There was a lot going on in this first issue, and I got lost on some of the names and their motivations, but that didn’t stop me from flipping back through the pages to re-enjoy everything and figure it out—sometimes things need a second time through; sometimes that’s bad, but this is time it’s well worth it!

Our culture is truly vampire crazed, and has been for a long time; this is the sort of stuff I study outside of comics: America’s cultural fascination with the occult and the Gothic. The Strain: The Fall is a great take on vampires because it makes them into the apex predator we believe they would be, one with a tendril tongue that infects and drinks blood, a true horror to behold, because they can strike from afar! Seriously, on a scale of Twilight to shit-my-pants, these are probably the most fear-inducing vamps I’ve come across.

Kudos to Lapham and crew for adapting del Toro and Hogan’s story and making it into something truly incredible. Another fantastic debut from Dark Horse.

Story: David Lapham  Art: Mike Huddleston
Story: 9  Art: 9  Overall: 9  Recommendation: Buy

19794Star Wars: Dark Times—A Spark Remains #1 While Star Wars: Dark Times has always been about the pain of war and defeat, and the fate of the Jedi and their compatriots following the Clone Wars and Order 66, A Spark Remains #1 is a touching, more human look at the lives, losses, and love of what seem in the hands of Randy Stradley and Douglas Wheatley to be real people, torn by war, hunted by the Dark Side. We see Jedi, warriors, and smugglers cooking, fearing, watching the Holonet, trying to figure out how to survive.

Stradley starts this issue in media res, capturing his audience with an incredible 5-page layout that hooks us into a plot to…erm, *spoilers,* take Darth Vader’s life. We then are transported several weeks into the past, where we get to see the beginning of this storyline and a more human side of Dass Jennir and his non-human compatriots. Stradley’s writing is spotless (then again, can’t expect much less from an editor, eh?) and sophisticated, and moves along at such a pace that we get nice forays into the everyday side of life on the run from the Empire alongside (and at the same time as) rebellion and devious plots.

Wheatley proves his mettle by taking characters who would otherwise look awkward and fantastically out of place in the Star Wars universe—like the Verpine Jedi Sahdett, the Nosaurian freedom fighter Bomo Greenbark, Ratty the Rannat mechanic, and the Yarkora captain Heren, who belong to species that usually are drawn as completely unrealistic and unbelievable in their settings—and he makes them look comfortable amongst the most diverse crew to ever grace a Star Wars publication. This is a truly a great diversification of the largely (white, male) human-centric cast of much of Star Wars.

Reviewers (including myself) have said that Wood’s Star Wars ongoing is what the franchise is the saga at its finest, but Dark Times, and especially A Spark Remains, is what Star Wars has become for a new era in which the future of the film franchise is in question and the EU threatened. It’s a grown-up book recognizes that its readers expected more of the beloved franchise than just lightsaber duels and blaster shoot-outs. Stradley, editor of Dark Horse’s Star Wars Zone has made a significant contribution to the great legacy of Star Wars comics in the form of A Spark Remains #1. It’s about camaraderie, something all Star Wars fans could use these days.

Story: Randy Stradley  Art: Douglas Wheatley
Story: 8  Art: 8  Overall: 8.5  Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

Review: B.P.R.D. #108, Wasteland #2

BPRD 108

In the Mignolaverse—at least where B.P.R.D.  is concerned—apocalypse seems always over the horizon, but the Bureau folks always handle it well, if not calmly and collectedly. The on-going B.P.R.D. hasn’t been my favorite book in the Mignolaverse (look forward to a review next week of B.P.R.D. Vampire #4), but it sure packs a punch, and this latest storyline has my interest. If you like horror comics, zombies, monster fights, and the like, this is the book for you, and a great way to join the B.P.R.D. in fighting the world-saving fight.

Michael Mignola and John Arcudi bring to life a desolate Wasteland of mutant zombies, bat-faced monsters, and an infectious mist that makes the whole story arc feel like a combination of Stephen King’s The Mist, Image’s The Walking Dead, and good ole Mignolaverse fun. This issue develops character, much more than plot, and serves as a way to bring newly introduced characters to the forefront and to pull-in the results of B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Return of the Master, a 5-part mini-series set in Scotland featuring Agent Giarocco (yes, you should go back and read it!).

The issue begins with Corrigan and Director Nichayko discussing the state of the current apocalypse (which, if you don’t know, is the result of the Black Flame’s rebirth); there seems to be radio silence in most of the world’s major cities, and B.P.R.D. teams across the world haven’t been heard from. The B.P.R.D. head honchos are even more in the dark than the readers, which actually turns out to be quite suspenseful, because while we know it’s Black Flame, we’ve got no idea where Mignola and Arcudi are taking this.

Introduced in this series is Agent Gervesh, who reveals her first name as Becca in this issue to a young boy whose father was tragically mutated into a zombie and killed by the B.P.R.D. (not in a malevolent way, but in a we-need-to-survive-sorry-kid way). Becca and this young man form as close a relationship as is possible on an apocalyptic day when your dad is killed. In the end, however, the child poses the greatest mystery in this arc, as the final panel shows him walking off into Chicago alone (and why the heck doesn’t Johann Kraus stop him?!). As a side note, it would appear Chicago was conquered by a demon similar in appearance to H.G. Wells’ Martians.

This is largely a bridge story, focusing on travel, peppered with the same violent encounters seen in the last issue (nothing new), and with solid character development—it builds intrigue for this story arc, but doesn’t go very far on its own. Art by Laurence Campbell is detailed and diverse; it’s obvious he’s well suited to the gritty, noir-horror ambience of the Wasteland arc, but not my first choice for future Mignola comics. Campbell’s art is well complemented by Dave Stewart, colorist. Lately I seem to be looking more closely at colorists’ work, since they’re tasked with bringing the artist’s work to life in the same way that the artist has to interpret a script. It sounds like hard work, but Dave Stewart makes it look easy!

If you’re a B.P.R.D. fan—and you should be!—or you like zombies and horror comics, stop into your local comic shop or your online (digital) retailer, and make sure to read B.P.R.D. #108, Wasteland #2. You won’t be remiss, since B.P.R.D. is one of those series that makes Dark Horse one of my most beloved publishers.

P.S. I’m not so sure how Dave Johnson’s cover relates to the story, since that monster is nowhere to be seen…yet.

Story: Michael Mignola and John Arcudi Art: Laurence Campbell and Dave Stewart
Story: 7.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Marvel Announces Marvel Universe Vs. Wolverine!

Official Press Release


Last year, New York Times bestselling writer Jonathan Maberry blew you away with a sadistic vision of a Marvel Universe ravaged by cannibalistic heroes – and this June Maberry is back with Marvel Universe Vs. Wolverine #1 (of 4)! Joined by fan favorite artist Laurence Campbell (Punisher MAX), the two turn Wolverine into a one man slaughter machine against Earth’s Mightiest, who’ve all been infected by a lethal virus, transforming them into savage beasts.   Logan has always been the best at what he does, but does he have what it takes to eliminate the vicious hordes of crazed Marvel heroes on his own?

“Ever since we finished Marvel Universe vs. Punisher last year, I’ve wanted to return to that world and tell more of the story.  And there is so much to tell,” said Maberry.  “So many stories. And this is a great jumping-on point.”

It’s an unforgiving battle for survival as Wolverine slices and dices his way through your favorite heroes and villains in Marvel Universe Vs. Wolverine #1 (of 4), on sale this June!


Written by Jonathan Maberry

Penciled by Laurence Campbell

Cover by Michael Kaluta

Parental Advisory …$3.99

Marvel Universe Vs Wolverine #1 Cover


Take a Butcher’s at Slaughterman’s Creed in May 2011

Official Press Release

Slaughtermans Creed

Markosia Enterprises are proud to present their new graphic novel, Slaughterman’s Creed – a surreal London gangland thriller which combines the vicious intensity of British crime fiction with the structure and spirit of a Samurai revenge drama in a nightmarishly compelling urban fantasy.

The book re-unites writer Cy Dethan with artist Stephen Downey, the creators of the 2009 indie hit, Cancertown: An Inconvenient Tooth. Set in a world where an ethical knife-edge is all that separates hero from villain, the story combines a strong British crime aesthetic with mythological overtones and a distinctive noir edge.

Slaughterman’s Creed Can be ordered through the March edition of Diamond Previews in the usual way using order code MAR11 0811.

Laurence “The Punisher” Campbell recently wrote in his foreword to the trade paperback: “What you will find is a nasty, dark tale which cuts into the underbelly of gangland London. Think The Long Good Friday meets No Country For Old Men.”

This man drew The Punisher! He knows “nasty and dark” when he sees it. He goes on to say, “Cy Dethan pushes the boundaries. No, not pushes them – casually disregards them and walks right over them.”

So, it’s not a book for the squeamish.

Read a free 12-page preview of Slaughterman’s Creed.

Solicit Text

“Thine is the task of blood.
Discharge thy task with mercy.
Let thy victim feel no pain.
Let sudden blow bring death;
Such death as thou thyself would ask for.”

The Slaughterman’s Creed

“Sidney is a professional killer working for Big Lenny Addison, a London ganglord specialising in human trafficking. He is almost completely uneducated except in his family’s trade at which he is an unparalleled expert.
“When he is called upon to breach his code and bring a pregnant woman to slaughter, Sidney’s world is changed forever. Betrayed by those he has served his whole life, the Slaughterman embarks on a bloody vendetta – determined to put Addison’s entire monstrous empire to the blade.”

Carving a Name

Slaughterman’s Creed, described by writer Cy Dethan as “a story of the fall and rise of monsters” is already carving a name a name for itself on the independent comic scene.

“My plan was to take my time and read Slaughterman’s Creed over a few days, but pretty much by page five I was in for the long haul and ended up reading the whole thing in a single sitting. Cy has a way of leading the reader by the hand and letting them think they know exactly where the plot is going, and then the next thing you know he’s kicked you down the stairs, leaving you battered, bruised and with no idea where the tale will lead you next.
“Slaughterman’s Creed is a bloody gourmet, serving the reader a mixed platter of gangland politics, murder, betrayal and revenge with a large side order of body parts. It’s a tale that is dripping with great writing and art. Digest it today,”
said Barry Nugent of The Geek Syndicate.

The book gave Wayne Hall of Sci-Fi Pulse a case of the night terrors – although, strangely, he seems to have enjoyed them. He said: “If Mr. Dethan keeps delivering this kind of novel perspective on the world, I’ll have trouble sleeping at night. Yikes! But I was gripped from the first page, so please keep it up!”

“This is old school – dark story telling. This is the London gangster scene without the rose-tinted glasses. Brutal and grim,” said Michael J Nimmo on the digital comics review site 3 Million Years.

“One of the things I liked about this book was that there are no good guys in it at all. Everyone in this book could be the sole bad guy in another story,” said Richard McAuliffe of Everything Comes Back to 2000AD. “Cy Dethan’s writing is very tight and the book has a real British cinema feel to it… this is a book screaming to be made into a hard 18 certificate movie. If you like gritty underworld stories with a seriously dark edge you’ll really enjoy this book. I did.”

To wrap up the whole bloody package, here’s a final word of persuasion from Rich Clements of the Hi Ex Blog:
“So, all in all, I’d say this book is a bit of a triumph for all involved. With a strong narrative, well realised and rounded characters, strong visuals and a wonderful seam of oh-so-black humour, this deserves to be a hit for all involved. And not turning it into a movie would be nothing short of a travesty.”

Writer: Cy Dethan
Pencils & colours chapters 1-2: Stephen Downey
Inks: Andy Brown
Colours: Vicky Stonebridge
Letters: Nic Wilkinson
Cover: Ryan Brown
Foreword: Laurence Campbell

Cover, logo, character sketches and more can be found at www.slaughtermanscreed.com. These images may be used in reviews.

Slaughtermans Creed is published by Markosia Enterprises and will launch on May 14th at the Bristol Comic and Small Press Expo, as part of the Markosia Madness event, which will include signing, sketching and facepainting. A limited signed edition, costing £10 (RRP Price £12.99), is available to pre-order, which also includes entry into a draw to win a piece of original art by Stephen Downey and Vicky Stonebridge.

Pre-order details can be found at Cy Dethan’s blog: http://theraggedman.blogspot.com/2011/01/slaughtermans-creed-convention-edition.html

Slaughterman’s Creed is also available digitally on the Sony Playstation Network with audio commentary by Cy Dethan, and will be available on Comixology and Graphic.ly, with other formats to follow.

Slaughtermans Creed OGN Cover

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