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Fables Returns with Fables #151 and Batman vs. Bigby! A Wolf in Gotham

Once upon a time, fans met the characters of Fabletown, the hidden city populated by legendary heroes and villains of fairy tales and folklore. Now, in celebration of its upcoming 20th anniversary, the bestselling series Fables is picking up where it left off—and expanding into the DC Universe. To celebrate 20 years, two new releases featuring the Fables world has been announced.

First, on sale in September, Batman vs. Bigby! A Wolf in Gotham sees Fables’s infamous sleuth Bigby Wolf go head-to-head with the world’s greatest detective, Batman, in this six-issue spinoff miniseries from DC Black Label. Written by Bill Willingham with pencils by Brian Level, inks by Jay Leisten, and colors by Lee Loughridge, this crossover detective story will delight fans of both Batman and Fables—or fans who just love a good noir mystery.

Then, on sale the first week of May 2022, the main story line continues with Fables #151—just in time for the 20th anniversary of Fables #1. Fables #151 is the first installment of “The Black Forest,” a 12-issue arc that picks up where the story left off in Fables #150, and is also a perfect jumping-on point for new readers. The series also reunites the core creative team, with pencils by Mark Buckingham, inks by Steve Leialoha, colors by Lee Loughridge, and letters by Todd Klein.

Bill Willingham’s return to DC will also include Cursemas, a 48-page standalone holiday special featuring the Justice League.

The Good Asian comic with creators Pornsak Pichetshote and Alexandre Tefenkgi

Policing and the model minority myth are deconstructed through a noir genre lens in this hardboiled detective series created by today’s guests, Pornsak Pichetshote and Alexandre Tefenkgi.

A new Image Comics series, The Good Asian stars detective Edison Hark—a haunted Chinese-American detective—on the trail of a killer in 1936 San Francisco’s Chinatown. The series explores Chinese American identity, US immigration policy and the brutal contradictions inherent in being the first Chinese American cop when the target of his policing is inevitably his own community. It’s also a beautifully drawn piece of historical fiction and an exciting mystery.

My guests are:

Pornsak Pichetshote is a writer for comics and TV. He wrote the critically acclaimed horror comic hit INFIDEL that was featured on NPR’s best horror stories of all time. In TV, he’s written for the shows Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, Light as a Feather, and Two Sentence Horror Stories.

Alexandre Tefenkgi is the acclaimed artist of European comics and graphic albums as well as the critically acclaimed Skybound book Outpost Zero by Sean McKeever. Born in Africa and raised in France, he’s an artist of Vietnamese descent.

The series’ colorist is Lee Loughridge and letterer is Jeff Powell.

Learn more here

Review: The Good Asian #1

The Good Asian #1

The Good Asian introduces readers to main character Edison Hark—a haunted, self-loathing Chinese-American detective—on the trail of a killer in 1936 Chinatown. The Good Asian #1 brilliantly mixes a noir detective story with real-world history involving immigration bans and the rampant racism that plagued the time.

I personally love pulp detective stories. There’s a great balance of cheese, tropes, action, mystery, and sexy when done right. A great story will often feel like something is spiraling out of control as the detective gets dragged further into the mystery. The Good Asian #1 is just one issue but writer Pornsak Pichetshote does a fantastic job of touching upon a lot of those things and gets us the expected spiral.

But what Pichetshote does even better is work in real world history.

The Good Asian #1 is an amazing start in how “authentic” it is. It uses American history to help shape and drive the narrative. It uses that real history to present the issues facing the Asian-American community at that time. The issue reminds us of the blatant racism practiced out in the open and with acceptance. It’s a hard issue to read. The words used made me cringe. But it’s reality. Grant Din helped shape that realism as the historical consultant on the series.

The laws were real. The racism was rampant. Places like Angel Island existed. The comic even uses real transcripts from Angel Island as part of its dialogue. This is a comic that not only wants to deliver a solid detective story but wants to do so in an authentic way. It takes the rather troubling history of Asian crimesolvers and updates it with a more historically accurate take. The racism isn’t in the characters, it’s what’s said to those characters and how they’re treated. But, it doesn’t forget at its heart the comic is about a mystery that needs to be solved and all that comes with the investigation.

Alexandre Tefenkgi handles the art with Lee Loughridge on color and Jeff Powell on lettering. It does a great job in that respect with nailing the gritty look I’d expect in this sort of detective story. The colors are kept to a minimal with blues, orangers, purples, and reds used to emphasize the world. It’s a beautiful look and perfect style to match the story. The lettering is done so well as the characters slip between English and Chinese. A simple shape of the speech bubble differentiates between the two and is such a simple way to handle what could be an overwhelming thing if done other ways.

The Good Asian #1 is a fantastic comic. You can enjoy it for its detective story alone. But, it’s the details that really build out the issue and series. It has an authenticity about it that feels like it props up its main story. It’s a hard comic to read at times with the racism thrown around, but that adds to the authenticity. This is a comic for fans that love a good noir story to chew on or like a little bit of history in what they read. A hell of a start.

Story: Pornsak Pichetshote Art: Alexandre Tefenkgi
Color: Lee Loughridge Letter: Jeff Powell
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Deadly Class #45

Deadly Class #45

Even though it’s been several years since his trauma-filled days as a pretentious douchebag at King’s Dominion Atelier for the Deadly Arts, Marcus Lopez Arguello is still full of shit, literally and metaphorically in Deadly Class #45. The new arc of Rick Remender, Wes Craig, and Lee Loughridge’s teen assassin comic picks up in 1991, and you can be sure that Marcus has some unsolicited opinions about grunge music that ends up taking too much of the comic’s running time. However, he meets/grooms a girl named Dawn, who deconstructs his opinions and mansplaining and of course, they end up hooking up. I’m really ready for Marcus/the comic to be put out of its misery.

However, before talking about how insufferable Marcus is, and how I smile at his shitty existence reading Matt Groening comics in a bathroom and telling uninterested girls about the difference between geek and nerd, I have something positive to say about Deadly Class #45. And that’s even though the book has gone by the wayside by deciding to focus on its very unlikable protagonist instead of a diverse ensemble cast like in its previous arc, Wes Craig and Lee Loughridge bring their A-game on the visuals.

Craig’s cut-up panels and Loughridge’s red and black against insets of Marcus’ morning routine show up his fucked up mental state, and why he ends up getting an enema. One thing I’ve loved about Wes Craig’s art on Deadly Class is how he uses different inking styles to convey different moods like lush brush strokes for Marcus and Dawn kind of to the chaotic slinging of the issue’s climax where he becomes John Wick sponsored by Pitchfork.com. Loughridge’s palette gets dirtier during this scene going from flat background colors for Marcus’ new suburban digs to something with a little more edge as befitting a protagonist covered in a blood with an enema up his ass.

Despite Craig and Loughridge firing on all cylinders, Deadly Class #45 is a slog to get through because even after 45 issues of trials and tribulations, he’s really an insufferable character. I miss when he wanted to assassinate Ronald Reagan. Unlike most real life annoying nerds/hipsters, he’s definitely had a rough life, but his treatment of women and propensity for never shutting the hell up makes him a character that I don’t want to spend a lot of time around. In past issues of Deadly Class, Rick Remender got around this by surrounding him with an interesting ensemble cast of characters. However, no one except Dawn even rates a second glance in Deadly Class #45, and they’re all kids who want to party with his drugs, an annoying boss, or people who want him dead. When Marcus was “dead” for an arc, Remender and Wes Craig did an excellent job creating a new cast of King’s Dominion students to replace him as the series’ lead, and the book could really use some of that magic now.

Because there’s so much dialogue and overwrought narrative captions, Deadly Class #45 never gets to settle into Marcus’ emotional state during the time skip. Ennui isn’t really visually interesting, but Remender only works in long one-sided conversations, broad humor, and bold action. (The third one is fine.) He’s too busy catching up readers on Marcus’ opinions of different bands and driving the point home that he’s an outsider even though he likes Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man. Throughout Deadly Class, Remender and Craig have used bands and fashion as a kind of verbal and visual shorthand to introduce characters before really getting to know them via their choices, schemes, and how they interact with others. But Marcus is the protagonist so maybe we should have gone beyond that. His interactions with Dawn and general apathy has shown that he hasn’t grown much as a character and honestly regressed since the early days of Deadly Class.

Although Wes Craig and Lee Loughridge continue to bring the stylish visuals that drew me to Deadly Class way back in 2014, Deadly Class #45 is basically mansplaining the comic and squanders its new setting and status quo. It’s definitely not a good jumping on point and made me realize I’m only following the title because of sunk cost fallacy.

Story: Rick Remender Art: Wes Craig
Colors: Lee Loughridge Letters: Rus Wooton

Story: 5.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 5.8 Recommendation: Pass

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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AHOY Comics Announces Snelson: Comedy is Dying from Paul Constant, Fred Harper, Lee Loughridge, and Rob Steen

Melville Snelson was killing it. He was the talk of the stand up circuit. He had a TV sitcom in development! He even had a date with Janeane Garofalo (although, to be fair, she denies it). But that was the 1990’s — and that was a long time ago.

Welcome to Snelson: Comedy is Dying, an all-new series from AHOY Comics, written by Paul Constant, featuring art by Fred Harper, colors by Lee Loughridge, and lettering by Rob Steen. This 5-issue series chronicles the misadventures of a washed-up comedian whose career peaked when Dawson’s Creek was still on the air. Bitter because he missed his big break in the ‘90s, Snelson is struggling with the idea that he’s a victim of cancel culture or, even worse, forgotten altogether. The debut issue, featuring a collectible variant cover by legendary cartoonist Peter Bagge, will be published by AHOY Comics on August 4, 2021.

Curt Pires and comiXology Announce Lost Falls and Memoria and Youth Continues

Writer Curt Pires and comiXology have announced two new series Lost Falls and Memoria. This announcement is timed to the highly anticipated print publication of Youth Volume 1 from Dark Horse Books which coincides with the debut of Youth Season Two, the sequel to the acclaimed teen superhero drama that is exclusively available as part of the comiXology Originals line of digital content.

Both Lost Falls, a social minded mystery box thriller with art by Antonio Fuso, Pierluigi Minotti, and Lee Loughridge and Memoria, a crime thriller with art by Sunando C and Mark Dale, will be written by Curt Pires and available exclusively from comiXology Originals will be available for purchase via comiXology and Kindle and included in Prime Reading, Kindle Unlimited and comiXology Unlimited upon release.  More details and release dates will be announced in the coming months.

Written by Curt Pires and with art by Alex Diotto, co-creators of the acclaimed comic Olympia, with colors by Dee Cunniffe and letters by Micah MyersYouth is an epic superhuman saga unlike any other. Youth is currently in development as an original series with Amazon Studios with executive producer Patrick Moran.

Youth Volume 1, the print edition, collecting issues 1-4 of the digital series, arrives in paperback for the first time from Dark Horse Books in bookstores on April 6, 2021 and in comic shops on April 7, 2021. In YOUTH Volume 1 Franklin and River struggle to navigate family, friends, high school, work, drugs, and all the pressures of growing up. As a queer couple, they yearn to escape their lives in a small, bigoted Midwest town. They steal River’s stepfather’s Mustang and hit the road. Their destination? California. But along the way, the car breaks down. They meet some kids who are travelling the country, partying, and attempting to find themselves. They party some more. . . And soon everything changes.

Also on April 6, 2021, the story continues digitally with Youth Season Two issue #1.  In Youth Season Two, six months have passed since the events of the first story. Some of the kids are missing. Some of the kids are dead. Some of the kids are trying to do better. One thing is for certain: they’re not the only ones with powers anymore. A bold expansion to the smash hit first story, Youth Season Two will continue with the core cast as well as introduce new characters from all across the globe.

Part of the comiXology Originals line of exclusive digital content, Youth Season Two will be released monthly. Each of the 4-issues will be available upon release, at no additional cost, for members of Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, and comiXology Unlimited, and for purchase on the Amazon Kindle Store and comiXology. Prime Reading offers all Amazon Prime members a rotating selection of over a thousand top Kindle books, magazines, short works, comic books, children’s books, and more – all at no additional cost. Kindle Unlimited gives customers access to more than 1 million titles, including thousands of audio books, and current magazines for just $9.99 a month with a 30-day free trial. ComiXology Unlimited offers over 30,000 comics, graphic novels and manga for just $5.99 a month with a 30-day free trial.

Review: Devil’s Highway #4

Devil's Highway #4

Though we are in a pandemic, the world does not stop. How we entertain ourselves is probably the one industry where we have a plethora of choices from our home. Some season premieres of different television shows have been delayed and others have been pushed to next year. This has made way to explore and check out some new television shows, which as it was before COVID-19 been hit or miss. One of those shows is Big Sky, which deals with a sex trafficking ring in the Northwest.

The show has a few familiar faces but largely dives into an issue that has never really been addressed in television. The premise shows just how insidious something like this can be and how it can hide in plain sight. As it brings to light just how appearances alone are never a good indicator of one’s behavior. In Devil’s Highway #4, Shannon finds out just how deep this network really is.

We are taken back to Minneapolis, where Shannon is interrogating the man who had her handcuffed about his knowledge of the network, Quentin as we soon find out he was a law enforcement official who eventually got way into deep. As we find out that it had been going since 2009, and a weird Occultist group has been engaging in this sadistic ritual, and it’s tied to something even more menacing. AS she eventually ropes Quentin into taking her to one of the offloading sites, an adventure neither of them may survive. By the issue’s end, Shannon and Quentin track down one of the pimps connected to the ring, where she gets more answers.

Overall, Devil’s Highway #4 is a great penultimate issue where we see a hero rise. The story by Benjamin Percy is astounding. The art by the creative team is astounding. Altogether, a great chapter in the miniseries which ratchets up the action.

Story: Benjamin Percy Art: Brent Schoonover and Lee Loughridge,
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

AWA Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Devil’s Highway #3

DEVIL’S HIGHWAY #3

One of my favorite directors of all time is Quentin Tarantino. His body of work transcends most other filmmakers, as each film is homage to a genre. He is also one of the few directors that draws from the films of 1970s. As each of his movies are both connected and an animal all its own.

As one of my favorite movies of his is Kill Bill Volumes 1 &2. AS they were two separate movies but told one connected narrative. As every time we felt our hero in peril, she always found a way out. In the third Devil’s Highway #3 Shannon gets in a pickle and eventually fights her way out.

We’re taken to Northern Illinois where the same young woman that was abducted awakes to a pine box only to see her captor smiling back as she is helpless to escape. Shannon is in Minneapolis trying to find clues as to who killed her father. That leads her to a strip club where she meets an FBI agent who gives her the agency’s file on the network. Her trail leads to an exotic pet dealer who tries to kill her. By the issue’s end, Shannon ends up handcuffed, but soon finds a way to escape and makes her captor give her information about the network

Overall, Devil’s Highway #3 is a great issue that feels exactly like a grindhouse movie. The story by Benajmin Percy is amazing. The art by the creative team is astonishing. Altogether, Devil’s Highway #3 is an action-packed issue that adds more than a few dollops of danger.

Story: Benjamin Percy Art: Brent Schoonover and Lee Loughridge
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

AWA Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Review: Devil’s Highway #2

Devil's Highway #2

One of the most underrated movies of the 1990s was In Too Deep. It starred Omar Epps and a still new to acting, Todd Smith AKA LL Cool J, in what started out as a procedural drama and turned into a tense thriller. Epps played an undercover cop that goes into the underbelly of Cincinatti’s drug ring. Smith, in a role which he actually shined in, played a ruthless drug kingpin.

As the movie shows just how embedded one can get when pretending to be somebody else. As Epps investigation gets him to the top of the organization, unearthing a treacherous network. AS the mindset one has to deal with on that level, tests the moral compass of even strongest. In Devil’s Highway #2 Shannon gets in deeper, but not without consequences.

We are taken to Scott County, Minnesota, where a young woman who works as a street walker, gets an unexpected surprise, one that may be fatal. WE find Shannon getting an early Xmas present, and from someone she assumes is harmless, when simultaneously there is a call for a found dead body on the scanner. Shannon thinks something is fishy, and her research leads her to find out that there is an intricate network of sex traffickers. By issue’s end, Shannon , is getting closer to the truth of what happened to these women and her father.

Overall, Devil’s Highway #2 is a great second issue that is relevant and exciting. The story by Benjamin Percy is wonderful. The art by Brent Schoonover and Lee Loughridge is wonderful. Altogether, it’s a great entry in the series that puts a spotlight on a very relevant issue.

Story: Benjamin Percy Art: Brent Schoonover and Lee Loughridge
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

AWA Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Amazon KindleZeus Comics

Preview: COVID Chronicles

COVID Chronicles

(W) Ethan Sacks (A) Talajic Dalibor, Lee Loughridge (CA) Dalibor Talajic
In Shops: Dec 02, 2020
SRP: $9.99

An illustrated feature chronicling ten personal accounts of life and death from the frontlines of COVID-19. These true stories from journalist Ethan Sacks (Old Man Hawkeye) are brought to vivid life by Dalibor Talajic (Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, Hotell). Originally distributed online by NBC News, these tales of hope amidst devastation are now available in print for the first time, fully colored, with behind-the scenes features. From a man stuck in Wuhan during the initial days of the outbreak to an ICU nurse in the thick of one of the busiest hospitals in the country to an Italian opera singer who goes viral while trying to bring hope to his devastated neighborhood, this series takes you where news cameras couldn’t go.

COVID Chronicles
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