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Whistle: a New Gotham City Hero. writer E. Lockhart

DC comics new Jewish teen girl superhero and activist is fighting to save a VERY Lower East Side Gotham neighborhood from gentrification. Of course I had to have the co-creator of this new character, Whistle, on my podcast– New York Times Best Selling author E. Lockhart!

Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero, is a young adult graphic novel from DC written by New York Times best-selling author E. Lockhart (Genuine Fraud, We Were Liars) with art by Manuel Preitano (The Oracle Code). Featuring the debut and origin story of a brand new hero, Whistle takes a closer look at the daily life of Gotham teen Willow Zimmerman and her dog Lebowitz in the unexplored neighborhood of Down River.

Follow E. Lockhart on Twitter  and her website

Preview: Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero

Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero

Written by: E. Lockhart
Illustrator: Manuel Preitano

From New York Times bestselling author E. Lockhart (Genuine FraudWe Were Liars) and artist Manuel Preitano (The Oracle Code) comes a new Gotham City superhero in this exciting YA graphic novel.

Sixteen-year-old Willow Zimmerman has something to say. When she’s not on the streets advocating for her community, she’s volunteering at the local pet shelter. She seeks to help all those in need, even the stray dog she’s named Lebowitz that follows her around. But as much as she does for the world around her, she struggles closer to home—taking care of her mother, recently diagnosed with cancer. Her job as an adjunct professor of Jewish studies does not provide adequate health insurance—and Willow can see that time is running out. 

When in desperation she reconnects with her estranged “uncle” Edward, he opens the door to an easier life. Through simple jobs, such as hosting his private poker nights with Gotham City’s elites, she is able to keep her family afloat—and afford critical medical treatments for her mother. 

Willow’s family life quickly improves through the income provided by these jobs, but it comes at the cost of distancing herself from the people she truly cares about. Her time is now spent on new connections, such as biologist and teacher Pammie Isley. And when Willow and Lebowitz collide with the monstrous Killer Croc outside the local synagogue, they are both injured, only to wake up being able to understand each other. And there are other developments, too…strange ways in which they’ve become stronger together. Willow’s activism kicks into high gear—with these powers, she can really save the world!

But when Willow discovers that Edward and his friends are actually some of Gotham’s most corrupt criminals, she must make a choice: remain loyal to the man who kept her family together, or use her new powers to be a voice for her community.

Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero

Destiny, NY is Coming from Black Mask Studios

What if there was a magical prophecy that you were destined to save the world, and you fulfilled it so young you don’t know what to do with the rest of your life?    

That’s the problem facing Logan McBride in Destiny, NY, the ongoing comic book series launching in March 2021 from Black Mask Studios. Together, writer Pat Shand, artist Manuel Preitano, and cover artists Elisa Romboli and Rosi Kämpe have created a grounded story about the magic of young adulthood, star-crossed modern romance, delayed coming of age, and finding your place in a world too busy to notice you.

In Destiny, NY, Logan grew up a “prophecy kid” attending the elite NYC boarding school DESTINY, NY for children with magical prophecies. At twelve years old, she faced down a cataclysmic crisis and rescued the entire planet… but hardly anyone even knows what she did, and since then she’s been directionless. There’s no prophecy for what Logan is supposed to do with the rest of her life… she’s having a midlife crisis despite being in her 20s. But when Logan falls for Lilith, the estranged daughter of a mystical crime family, their new love puts the entire school in jeopardy.

Destiny, NY #1 is a special double-sized issue and will feature a special, limited edition cover by Terry Moore.

Review: Cinderella Annual: Bloody X-Mas

Cinderella Annual: Bloody X-Mas

One of my favorite things about being a part of the team here at Graphic Policy is that I get the chance to review the titles published by Zenescope Entertainment. Honestly, getting to read Zenescope’s comics has been one of my highlights during this train-wreck of a year. I love that their comics fracture fairy tales while adding in science-fiction or horror elements. In Cinderella Annual: Bloody X-Mas, characters from folklore and horror elements are combined with Christmas to create a holiday adventure.

Cinderella is back in this Christmas themed annual, written by Dave Franchini. In a savage twist of holiday spirit, Cinderella is pitted against Krampus, the child punishing demon from Central European folklore. I’m new enough to Zenescope’s Grimm Universe that I don’t know Cinderella’s back story in this world. This annual doesn’t give the reader any details on Cinderella’s history other than a footnote of her last comic book appearance. On one hand, the reader doesn’t need to know her history to jump right into this annual. On the other hand, I spent the entire issue thinking that Cinderella is an odd choice for Uma Thurman’s character in a Kill Bill styled revenge story. Yes, this is a fractured fairy tale, but I kept thinking that Cinderella is the last princess who has a reason to be vengeful. I mean, in her fairy tale, her stepfamily gets their comeuppance and she gets to settle down with a handsome prince without all the borderline date-rapey subtext of princesses like Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. I found it odd that Cinderella would be out for revenge against anyone, let alone a Christmas themed demon.

Throughout the story in Bloody X-mas, Cinderella came across as a knock-off Harley Quinn. She spends a good chunk of the story talking to herself and making quips. Harley Quinn is one of my favorite characters and so I actually enjoyed Cinderella’s punchy dialogue, even if it was derivative of another publisher’s creation. I did enjoy the pop culture references, including the nods to Terminator, Star Wars, Charlie Brown, Gremlins, and a myriad of Christmas movies. I thought the homages to How the Grinch Stole Christmas were especially funny. At the end of the day though, the story is heavy on dialogue and light on action and these pop culture references do little to elevate it beyond nostalgia and cheap humor.

Another detail about Bloody X-mas that I found confusing was the fact that so many different artists worked on it. Seven different illustrators and two colorists contributed to this issue. For the most part, all the artists do a good job of meshing their styles together. Unless a scene is an homage to another creative property, it’s hard to tell that multiple people drew this annual. Unfortunately, there is one exception to this. The level of detail put into the characters’ faces changes noticeably, and sometimes dramatically from one page to the next. Regardless of who happens to have the art duties on any particular page, the flow of the story is always clear and the action sequences are drawn well. If I’m being honest, the artwork in this annual did not blow me away. None of it is bad, but there’s nothing impressive or nuanced about it either.

For those who have been following Cinderella’s adventures through the Grimm Universe for the last few years, you’ll probably want to pick up Bloody X-mas. For everyone else, this comic may turn out to be hit or miss. The story is dialogue-heavy and full of attempts at cleverness. For me, not all of the jokes and quips landed, but humor is subjective so individual reader experiences may vary. I enjoyed Cinderella’s character, but recognize that there are those who would quickly become annoyed by her. The artwork isn’t bad, and the various artists work well together. However, few of the pages stand out as exceptional and some might find the random switches between artists to be visually jarring. At the end of the day, Cinderella Annual: Bloody X-mas accomplishes its goal of telling a wacky Christmas story. For those who decide to read it, here’s some advice. Don’t think too hard about what you’re reading and just enjoy the ride.

Story: Dave Franchini
Art: Manuel Preitano (1, 43, 46-49), Salvatore Cuffari (2-10, 44, 45, 65), Adrián Gutiérrez (11-23), Dario Tallarico (24-32), Eduardo Garcia (33-42), Moy R. (50-58), Marc Yarza (59-64)
Color: Manuel Preitano (1,43, 46-49), Leonardo Paciarotti (2-42, 44, 45, 50-65)
Letterer: Taylor Esposito (of Ghost Glyph Studios) with Rienna Bates
Story: 5.0 Art: 5.0 Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Read

Zenescope provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

DC Reveals Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero from E. Lockhart and Manuel Preitano

Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero

DC Comics has unveiled the cover and new details for Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero from acclaimed young adult (YA) novelist E. Lockhart and illustrator Manuel PreitanoThe upcoming YA graphic novel debuts an original superhero with an ulti-“mutt” set of abilities and is a moving coming-of-age tale about perseverance, heroism, and finding your voice to make a change in your community. Joining Preitano on art is color from Gabby Metzler and lettering from Troy Peteri.

Set in a reimagined Gotham City, Whistle follows 16-year-old Willow Zimmerman as she struggles to make ends meet during her mother’s cancer treatments. A series of odd jobs leads to a life-altering accident that leaves Willow with a “sixth sense” that is as much a blessing as a curse.

Sixteen-year-old Willow Zimmerman has something to say. When she’s not on the streets advocating for her community, she’s volunteering at the local pet shelter. She seeks to help all those in need, even the stray dog she’s named Lebowitz that follows her around. But as much as she does for the world around her, she struggles closer to home—taking care of her mother, recently diagnosed with cancer. Her job as an adjunct professor of Jewish studies does not provide adequate health insurance—and Willow can see that time is running out. 

When in desperation she reconnects with her estranged “uncle” Edward, he opens the door to an easier life. Through simple jobs, such as hosting his private poker nights with Gotham City’s elites, she is able to keep her family afloat—and afford critical medical treatments for her mother. 

Willow’s family life quickly improves through the income provided by these jobs, but it comes at the cost of distancing herself from the people she truly cares about. Her time is now spent on new connections, such as biologist and teacher Pammie Isley. And when Willow and Lebowitz collide with the monstrous Killer Croc outside the local synagogue, they are both injured, only to wake up being able to understand each other. And there are other developments, too…strange ways in which they’ve become stronger together. Willow’s activism kicks into high gear—with these powers, she can really save the world!

But when Willow discovers that Edward and his friends are actually some of Gotham’s most corrupt criminals, she must make a choice: remain loyal to the man who kept her family together, or use her new powers to be a voice for her community.

Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero is available to preorder now and will hit stores and online retailers everywhere books are sold on May 11, 2021.

The Oracle Code Gets a Trailer

In celebration of International Wheelchair Day March 1,­­ DC revealed the official trailer for the publisher’s highly anticipated young adult (YA) graphic novel, The Oracle Code, written by Marieke Nijkamp and illustrated by Manuel Preitano. Set within a mysterious thriller, this moving coming-of-age tale follows teenager Barbara Gordon as she adapts to a new normal after a tragic accident and begins her path to becoming Oracle, one of DC’s fiercest Super Heroes.

The Oracle Code is available to preorder now and hits stores and online retailers everywhere books are sold March 10, 2020.

ALA 2019: DC Reveals a Massive Slate of Graphic Novels Geared Towards Young Adults and Middle Grade Readers Releasing Through 2021

The 2019 convention for the American Library Association (ALA) kicked off with huge news that DC was consolidating its line under three “brands.” That left many to wonder about the future of the DC Zoom and DC Ink graphic novel lines. Launched last year, the new graphic novel imprints were focused on the young adult and middle grade readers and have been hits so far. DC followed up those concerns with an announcement of a slate of graphic novel releases aimed at those young adult and middle grade readers.

These graphic novels continue the focus on stories not part of DC’s ongoing continuity making them accessible to new fans. The releases also focus on the original mandate of YA titles being about “everyday aspirations, struggles, and triumphs,” while the middle grade releases being focused on stories about “friends, family, and growing up.”

Spring 2020 Lineup

Young Adult Titles

  • Gotham High – Written by Melissa de la Cruz and illustrated by Thomas Pitilli (February 2020)
  • The Oracle Code – Written by Marieke Nijkamp and illustrated by Manuel Preitano (March 2020)

Middle Grade Titles

Batman Tales: Once Upon a Crime
Zatanna & the House of Secrets
  • Batman: Overdrive – Written by Shea Fontana and illustrated by Marcelo DiChiara (March 2020)
Batman: Overdrive
DC Super Hero Girls: Powerless
  • Anti/Hero – Written by Kate Karyus Quinn and Demitria Lunetta and illustrated by Maca Gil (April 2020)
  • ArkhaManiacs – Written by Art Baltazar and Franco and illustrated by Art Baltazar (April 2020)
ArkhaManiacs
My Video Game Ate My Homework

Upcoming Titles Debuting in 2020 and 2021

  • Upcoming Young Adult Titles (Not all titles are final)
    • Catwoman: Soulstealer – Adapted by Louise Simonson from Sarah J. Maas’ DC Icon prose novel and illustrated by Samantha Dodge
    • Galaxy: The Prettiest Star – Written by Jadzia Axelrod and illustrated by Cait Zellers
    • House of El Book 1 – Written by Claudia Gray and illustrated by Eric Zawadzki
    • I Am Not Starfire—Written by Mariko Tamaki
    • Mister Miracle – Written by Varian Johnson
    • Nubia – Written by L.L. McKinney and illustrated by Robyn Smith
    • Swamp Thing – Written by Maggie Stiefvater and illustrated by Morgan Beem           
    • Teen Titans: Beast Boy – Written by Kami Garcia and illustrated by Gabriel Picolo
    • Victor & Nora: A Mr. Freeze Story – Written by Lauren Myracle and illustrated by Isaac Goodhart
    • Whistle – Written by E. Lockhart and illustrated by Manuel Preitano
    • Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed – Written by Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrated by Leila del Duca
    • You Brought Me the Ocean – Written by Alex Sanchez and illustrated by Julie Maroh
    • Zatanna: The Jewel of Gravesend – Written by Alys Arden and illustrated by Jacquelin De Leon
  • Upcoming Middle Grade Titles (Not all titles are final)                         
    • Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld – Written by Shannon and Dean Hale
    • Batman and Robin…and Howard – Written and illustrated by Jeffrey Brown
    • DC Super Hero Girls – Written by Amy Wolfram
    • Dear Super-Villains – Written by Michael Northrop and illustrated by Gustavo Duarte
    • Green Arrow: Stranded – Written by Brendan Deneen and illustrated by Caleb Hosalla
    • Indestructibles Book 1—Written by Ridley Pearson
    • Lois Lane – Written by Grace Ellis and illustrated by Brittney Williams
    • Metropolis Grove – Written and illustrated by Drew Brockington
    • Primer – Written by Thomas Krajewski and Jennifer Muro and illustrated by Gretel Lusky
    • Superman Smashes the Klan – Written by Gene Luen Yang and illustrated by Gurihiru
    • Super Sons Book 3: Escape to Landis – Written by Ridley Pearson and illustrated by Ile Gonzalez          
    • Teen Titans Go! to Camp – Written by Sholly Fisch
    • Teen Titans Go! Roll with It – Written by Heather Nuhfer and P.C. Morrissey 
    • The Mystery of the Meanest Teacher: A Johnny Constantine Graphic Novel – Written by Ryan North and illustrated by Derek Charm

DC Reveals New DC Ink Graphic Novels at BookCon 2019

During the DC Ink panel at BookCon 2019 with authors Kami Garcia, Danielle Paige, Lauren Myracle, and Mariko Tamaki, DC made several exciting announcements for the publisher’s upcoming YA graphic novels, revealing a new trailer and title for the highly anticipated Teen Titans series, and the artists and covers for the Spring 2020 slate.

In anticipation of its July 2, 2019, release DC debuted an official trailer for Teen Titans: Raven during the panel. Written by New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia and illustrated by fan-favorite artist Gabriel Picolo, Teen Titans: Raven follows 17-year-old Rachel Roth as she moves to New Orleans to live with her foster mother’s family after a tragic accident. Raven’s past and present collide when strange things happen during her final year of high school. Garcia’s debut graphic novel is the first book in her multi-part Teen Titans series with popular artist Gabriel Picolo.

Panel attendees were also treated to the first look at Garcia and Picolo’s next Teen Titans installment, Teen Titans: Beast Boy. Ahead of its 2020 release, a sneak preview of the book will be available in Teen Titans: Raven when the book goes on sale.

To cap off an already exciting panel, DC ended the discussion announcing the artists for previously announced YA graphic novels debuting in Spring 2020 and gave fans a first look at the covers. Full creative teams for the Spring 2020 YA graphic novel lineup are below.

THE ORACLE CODE

Writer: Marieke Nijkamp
Artist: Manuel Preitano

THE ORACLE CODE

GOTHAM HIGH

Writer: Melissa de la Cruz
Artist: Thomas Pitilli

GOTHAM HIGH

SHADOW OF THE BATGIRL

Writer: Sarah Kuhn
Artist: Nicole Goux

SHADOW OF THE BATGIRL

THE LOST CARNIVAL: A DICK GRAYSON GRAPHIC NOVEL

Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Sas Milledge

THE LOST CARNIVAL: A DICK GRAYSON GRAPHIC NOVEL

Review: Destiny, NY Vol. 2

The show The Magicians is one of the few shows on television which gives the world a whole new view of their surroundings. I wasn’t sure how the books would turn out but I was more than interested in finding out. The books came to be known as the “Magicians Trilogy” and was more than anyone including me ever expected. They took a more mature look at magic. Basically if Hogwarts was a college and everyone was having sex, much like how it happened in the fan fiction that followed the genre. The television series for the most part is pretty faithful, and more than carries the spirit of the source material. I just wished both iterations were more representative of the world. Destiny, NY also plays with the concept that magic is a real and accepted part of life taking place in New York City. In the second volume the reader finds more about the protagonists as well as the other characters.

We find Logan in the midst of a fever pitched dream where the death of Song still haunts her, where she wakes up next to Lilith, and find the happy couple living together for the last three months. Meanwhile. at Destiny University, we find the school is under investigation, by the Mystical Code Enforcement Agency, who are looking into the inner workings of the school, and what lead to the false prophecy in the first place, as the principal, Karen Davids, tries her best to be diplomatic. In the most improbable of times, Logan’s parents visit her and Lilith to see a woman who is quite different from the young lady they raised.  We also find Gia, not trusting her skills as a seer as she tries to find her way, while getting in trouble at school. We also find Joe having a meltdown of his own which is compounded by the fact, that there are masked men trying to neutralize students with exceptional magical abilities. As all our protagonists are being outed by someone, as Lilith suspects Arvid, Song’s assistant to be behind the doxing. Meanwhile, Logan’s ex, Bailey, is being managed by Arvid, who has plans in the works, hoping to take his revenge in the name of Lilith’s sister, Song. Arvid makes his move, kidnapping Logan in a desperate attempt to connect to Song, but Lilith comes to the rescue.

On top of that, the collection features numerous short stories set in this world.

Overall, an engrossing book that you will both love and be lost in for hours. The stories by the creative team are fast paced, engaging and action packed. The art by the creative team is gorgeous. Altogether, a stimulating chapter in this series that charms, enthralls, and shocks you at the most unexpected moments.

Story: Pat Shand, Erica Schultz, Natasha Alterici, Emily Ree, Brian Cogan, Amy Shand
Art: Rosi Kampe, Jim Campbell, Manuel Preitano, Megan Levens, Natasha Alterici, Emily Ree, Claudia Aguirre, Eve Mae, Lisa Sterle , Katie Kuffel
Editor: Shannon Lee
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Destiny, NY

We as human beings are pressed upon by society to have goals and think about our future. These things become expectations and when you don’t achieve these expectations or exceed them, then one des feel like a disappointment. There are many words to describe this path to your achievement but one usually is used, is potential. Potential in human beings are hard to assess, as no one really knows how far you can go.

Regret and Reminiscing takes place, when these don’t occur, as age only compounds the anxiety with not reaching your full potential. I bring up all these elements within the psyche of reaching your potential, to think of it within a magical world. How interesting of a story, it could have been, if Harry Potter never went to Hogwarts but still possessed magic or if Quentin Coldwater had not gone to Brakebills? A variation of this scenario is explored in Destiny, NY, where magic is real and accepted.

The readers are introduced to Logan McBride, who as a child was part of a prophecy, and just like many child stars, they are forgotten, burn out or excel, and the reader gets to find out exactly which one she is within the first few pages. What follows are characters who would otherwise be outcasts in other stories be the normal part of society in this one, a refreshing take that drives the story in beautiful twisted directions that other writers would petrified to take. We follow Logan, as  she works the class system within Destiny University’s school for Prophecy Kids and a Lilith, a hardened outcast whose family, is actually trying to kill her .By the end of the first story arc, the school is a little bit more connected than one would ever believe and as a bonus, the reader gets treated to some mini-stories involving some of the main characters.

Overall, an excellent book, which far outshines most stories with supernatural settings, and the fact that LGBTQ and includes people of color. The story by Pat Shand is complex, seamless and is by far the best fantasy storytelling I have read in a while. The art by Manuel Preitano is elegant, detailed, and lifelike. Altogether, this is type of book the world needed yesterday as this shows a world where magic and realistic relationships exist in the same world.

Story: Pat Shand Art: Manuel Preitano
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Almost American