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SDCC 2019: Spell on Wheels Returns Just to Get to You!

Your favorite witches are back on the road as powerhouse creators Kate Leth, Megan Levens, Marissa Louise, and letterer Rachel Deering come together to bring you another chapter in the Spell on Wheels saga, Spell on Wheels: Just to Get to You!

Andy, Claire, and Jolene hit the highway once again! A dark presence in the west possesses Claire and they’re determined to discover who and why.

As they follow the I-10 towards danger unknown, paranormal problems grow alongside personal ones and the witches grapple with phantoms, family drama, cryptids, crushes and everything in between. 

Spell on Wheels: Just to Get to You #1 (of 5) arrives in comic shops October 9, 2019.

Spell on Wheels: Just to Get to You #1

Review: Grumble #6

Grumble #6

What the Hell are we doing in New Jersey? Eddie and Tala barrel full-force into the Garden State in search of the one man who can turn Eddie human again. But standing in their way are some small-time mobsters, a crew of inter-dimensional bounty hunters, and an army of toothless grannies! Oh, and Eddie summons The Devil! New arc! A perfect jumping on point!

It’s rare that I find a comic I enjoy as much as Grumble, and yet have so little to say about it. The series stays on the fantasy side of things, in a world where the supernatural and interdimensional could easily be one and the same, where talking dogs aren’t as out of the ordinary as you’d think (though in fairness this could be because Tala is making people forget/not notice that Eddie is a bipedal pug). Regardless of the reasoning, it makes for a fantastic comic.

Rafer Roberts and Mike Norton have created a comic that is effortlessly entertaining and funny without sacrificing the strength of the story. More importantly, they’re very consistent with each comic – there’s something with each issue that hooks you in and pulls you further into the world as one of the main characters does something that leaves the other speechless (usually Eddie) that hasn’t failed to leave me entertained.

After the revelations of the previous issue, Grumble #6 eases up a little and allows you to digest what you know, and allows you to adjust your perspectives a little as the comic goes on. The pacing of this issue after the last is perfect – Roberts allows you to breath and digest the emotional impact of issue five while keeping the story moving with his customary wit and charm. Norton, once again, is also brilliant. His page construction, the facial expressions and body language often made me smile as much as the words upon the page.

Truly one of my favourite series on the racks right now… one could easily say it’s a magical experience.

…I’ll stop talking now.

Story: Rafer Roberts Art: Mike Norton
 Colours: Marissa Louise Letters: Crank 
Story: 9.4 Art: 8.9 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Albatross Funnybooks provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Starburns Industries Press Goes Digital, Launches Three Digital-First Comedy Series on May 1

Starburns Industries Press’ summer season begins May 1, with the debuts of three digital-first series from some of comics’ rising stars! Spanning three genres, Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most WantedInvasion from Planet Wrestletopia, and Long Ago and Far Away are united by SBI’s mandate of “Funny. Strange. Sad. Beautiful.” Each limited series will later be collected in paperback, but fans can read them early on comiXology and preview them in Starburns Presents, SBI’s 2019 Free Comic Book Day offering.

Gryffen is being serialized in half-length issues for 99¢ each, while Wrestletopia and Long Ago and Far Away are serialized in full-length—and some extra-length—issues for $1.99 each, passing the savings from print costs on to readers. Schedules range from weekly for Long Ago and Far Away to monthly for Wrestletopia, but it all starts May 1!

The three series available May 1 include:

GRYFFEN: GALAXY’S MOST WANTED

Script: Ben Kahn (Heavenly Blues)
Art and color: Bruno Hidalgo (Once Upon a Time Machine)
Letters: Sal Cipriano (The Batman Who Laughs)

Ben Kahn and Bruno Hidalgo follow up their acclaimed Heavenly Blues with Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted, a genderqueer space opera following Captain Lyla Gryffen’s campaign against the fascist Sovereign Reach. Once pride of the Reach, Gryffen disappeared six months ago at the edge of the galaxy, only to return one week ago—deeply pissed off. Building a crew from a hostage Reach soldier and the imprisoned smartest man in the universe, Gryffen is out to put a stop to the Reach’s exploitation of worlds, the stagnation of science, and the tyranny of green Jell-O!

Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted will run twelve 12-page issues for 99¢ each. Issue #2 will release on May 15, with subsequent issues released every three weeks.

Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted

INVASION FROM PLANET WRESTLETOPIA

Script: Ed Kuehnel & Matt Entin (Lumberjack Man)
Art: Dan Schkade (The Spirit), Kendall Goode (WWE)
Color: Marissa Louise (Hex Wives)
Letters: A Larger World (Ninja•K)

Creators Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin bring their cult classic to SBI Press, where the story will be completed for the first time! “Boy Scout” Bob Schultz! Cousin Orville! Mini Macho! Kodiak Jack! Spanish Rose! Don Fong Wong! These are the megastars of 1984’s AWF. “Rock ’n’ Roll” Rory Landell isn’t getting the respect he thinks he deserves, so one crazy night he ups the game, declaring himself the Galactic Champion of the Universe. But it turns out AWF fans aren’t the only ones listening, and the denizens of planet Wrestletopia aren’t going to take a challenge like that sitting down! Soon the Earth is enclosed in a metal cage, and true Galactic Champion Manifest Destiny is on the hunt for Rory, who may or may not be passed out drunk somewhere.

Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia will run six extra-sized issues for $1.99 each. Issue #2 will release on May 15, with subsequent issues released monthly.

INVASION FROM PLANET WRESTLETOPIA

LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY

Script: Chris Mancini (Comedy Film Nerds)
Art and Color: Fernando Pinto (Monarchs)
Letters: Troy Peteri (KISS)

Comedian and Comedy Film Nerds cohost Chris Mancini breathes new life into fantasy realms with adept humor artist Fernando Pinto! Decades ago, Jason saved the world of Elvenwood from the witch queen Nexis as the Child Knight. Today, he’s an unhappy manager of a comics store, where his disbelieving coworkers have to hear his ridiculous tale over and over. When the denizens of Elvenwood return to seek Jason’s help again, it turns out it’s all true, but will Jason be the hero he once was? Or will he just make things worse because he grew up to be a complete jackass?

Long Ago and Far Away will run eight standard-length issues for $1.99 each. The series will be released weekly.

LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY

The first issue of each series is available exclusively on ComiXology May 1, and Gryffen and Wrestletopia are also previewed in Starburns Presents Free Comic Book Day #2 on May 4! The issue includes an excerpt from Wrestletopia #1 and the complete first chapter of Gryffen, along with a prologue for C.W. Cooke and Kelly Williams’s upcoming digital-first Nasquatch, an excerpt from the next chapter of A.C. Medina, Mina Elwell, and Kit Wallis’s Hellicious, an original story from the world of Eben Burgoon’s B-Squad, and a taste of comedian Josh Fadem’s A Whole New Set of ProblemsStarburns Presents #2 features an original cover by Kelly Williams mashing up the characters from all of the issue’s stories!

Fairlady #1 Gets a Second Printing

Writer Brian Schirmer, artist Claudia Balboni, and colorist Marissa Louise’s new whodunit fantasy series Fairlady launched with a West Coast signing tour and early fan support. Fairlady #1 will be rushed back to print in order to keep up with the enthusiasm for the new series.

This debut issue and each following issue will feature a complete 30-page story and blends the procedural case-solving of Magnum, P.I. and Fables, with a Rat Queens-like high-fantasy aesthetic.

In Fairlady, after posing as a man to join the army, Jenner Faulds returns home to The Feld for a new start as a “Fairman”—a specially licensed private investigator. But sexism didn’t end on the battlefield, and as the only “Fairlady,” Jenner gets stuck with the cases nobody else wants. Hitting the streets to solve The Feld’s overlooked mysteries, Jenner finds that the smallest cases hide the biggest secrets.

Fairlady #1, second printing (Diamond Code MAR198112) will be available on Wednesday, May 15. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, April 22.

Fairlady #1, second printing

Review: Grumble #5

Eddie and Tala have narrowly escaped the forces of good and evil, but now they face the ultimate danger: each other!

Grumble #3 is what far too few comics are lately; fun. And funny, without ever coming off as forced; nor is it the main focus of the comic as Grumble is naturally funny whilst telling a really enjoyable story.” I quote that paragraph because aside from updating the issue number, the same can be said quite perfectly about Grumble #5. Rafer Roberts and Mike Norton have created a comic that is remarkably entertaining and funny without sacrificing the strength of the story.

That probably sounds familiar, right? It should. It’s the opening from my last review of Grumble #4, and the same is just as true now as it was. Roberts and Norton are nothing if not consistent, which is great news for fans of this series.

This issue sees us taking a bit of a look back at the events leading up to the first issue as we learn a little about Tala and her back story – and the revelation in this issue will hit you harder than a freight train. I’m not going to tell you want it is, but you will go back and reread the previous four issues in an entirely new light.

I’m not going to lie to you friends, there’s really not a lot I can talk about here without revealing too much of the comic itself; Roberts does reveal a little more about the world at large, hinting toward a conflict in the recent past and revealing more about the force driving Tala in the series that until now we really haven’t seen or read much of (unless… well, maybe we have and I didn’t notice it initially). Grumble #5 will change your perceptions on the series, and while we now have a bit more light shed on the tale’s direction, we’ve also got a lot of questions that need answers.

No, I won’t ask them here. Spoilers, and all.

I’ve praised the series before, and rightly so, but this issue is a huge payoff for those having read the previous ones. It’s a brilliant comic because of how Roberts and Norton build upon everything in the series so far and present a fully formed story that we’re only now beginning to figure out.

I need the sixth issue now.

Story: Rafer Roberts Art: Mike Norton
 Colours: Marissa Louise Letters: Crank 
Story: 9.4 Art: 8.9 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Albatross Funnybooks provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Grumble #4

Grumble #4

Eddie and Tala are getting the hell out of Baltimore, but Baltimore isn’t through with them yet! Can our heroes survive a breakneck car chase through the city, pursued by fascist inter-dimensional warlocks, gun-toting maniac mobsters, and a trio of mystical bounty hunters? Buckle up, Grumble fans, and get ready for the most magically destructive ride of your life!

Grumble #3 is what far too few comics are lately; fun. And funny, without ever coming off as forced; nor is it the main focus of the comic as Grumble is naturally funny whilst telling a really enjoyable story.” I quote that paragraph because aside from updating the issue number, the same can be said quite perfectly about Grumble #4. Rafer Roberts and Mike Norton have created a comic that is remarkably entertaining and funny without sacrificing the strength of the story.

At this point I should probably talk a little about the actual contents of the book, but there’s a recap up above that gives you the gist of the book, and unless I start diving too deeply into spoiler territory there’s not much else I want to reveal just now (especially if you haven’t read the first three issues). What I will say, however, is that there’s no forced chemistry between the two leads, nor any illusions about the cowardly and near criminal nature of one; there’s an effortless connection between the two, and Roberts’ dialogue is utterly captivating. The characters are neither overtly good nor evil, but live in the moral grey areas that all great comics tend to touch on every once in awhile. That they are the protagonists means we’re cheering for them, but Roberts has developed the world in such a way that if the focus of the comic were on the mysterious bounty hunter and not her prey, then the two leads could easily be seen as the antagonists.

Hot damn, but do I love this series. The writing and the art combine to give you the perfect blend of Hellblazer and Howard the Duck with a side of the Dresden Files, making Grumble  one of the series to keep your eye on as the year progresses. If your shop didn’t get this series in, then correct that; it’s still available from Diamond (or it was when my LCS ordered a couple copies in), and it’s such a good read.

Story: Rafer Roberts Art: Mike Norton
 Colours: Marissa Louise Letters: Crank 
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Albatross Funnybooks provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Fairlady is Epic Fantasy When the War is Over

Writer Brian Schirmer, artist Claudia Balboni, and colorist Marissa Louise team up for Fairlady—an all-new fantasy series from Image Comics this April. 

In Fairlady, after posing as a man to join the army, Jenner Faulds returns home to The Feld for a new start as a “Fairman”—a specially licensed private investigator. But sexism didn’t end on the battlefield, and as the only “Fairlady,” Jenner gets stuck with the cases nobody else wants. Hitting the streets to solve The Feld’s overlooked mysteries, Jenner finds that the smallest cases hide the biggest secrets.

Fairlady blends the procedural case-solving of Magnum, P.I. and Fables, but is set in a vibrant, Rat Queens-like high fantasy world. This debut issue and each following issue will feature a complete 30-page story.

Fairlady #1 Cover A by Balboni and Louise (Diamond Code FEB190020) andFairlady #1 Cover B by Tula Lotay (Diamond Code FEB190021) will be available on Wednesday, April 10. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, March 18.

Fairlady #1

Review: Grumble #3

Grumble #3

The cat’s outta the bag… and out for blood! Eddie and Tala are on the verge of escaping Baltimore once and for all, but Simon, the feline hitman, stands in their way. Will our heroes be able to defeat Simon, steal back their car, and skip town in one piece? Or will Eddie do something stupid and get everyone killed? 

Grumble #3 is what far too few comics are lately; fun. And funny, without ever coming off as forced; nor is it the main focus of the comic as Grumble is naturally funny whilst telling a really enjoyable story. It’s easy to see that Rafer Roberts is having a blast writing this book, which makes it an easy sell when talking to people at my local comic shop. Mike Norton‘s visuals are perfectly suited to the style of this comic – of course, one of the characters being a pug is also right up his alley (this is the guy who created Battlepug, after all).

At this point I should probably talk a little about the actual contents of the book, but there’s a recap up above that gives you the gist of the book, and unless I start diving too deeply into spoiler territory there’s not much else I want to reveal just now (especially if you haven’t read the first two issues). What I will say, however, is that there’s no forced chemistry between the two leads, nor any illusions about the cowardly and near criminal nature of one. The characters are neither overtly good nor evil, but live in the moral grey areas that all great comics tend to touch on every once in awhile. That they are the protagonists means we’re cheering for them, but Roberts has developed the world in such a way that if the focus of the comic were on the mysterious bounty hunter and not her prey, then the two leads could easily be seen as the antagonists.

Hot damn, but do I love this series. The writing and the art combine to give you the perfect blend of Hellblazer and Howard the Duck with a side of the Dresden Files, making Grumble  one of the series to keep your eye on as the year progresses. If your shop didn’t get this series in, then correct that; it’s still available from Diamond (or it was when my LCS ordered a couple copies in), and it’s such a good read.

Writer: Rafer Roberts Art: Mike Norton
 Colours: Marissa Louise Letters: Crank 
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Albatross Funny Books provided a FREE copy for review

Starburns Presents Previews Key Titles for 2019

On Free Comic Book Day 2019, SBI Press delivers their next installment of Starburns Presents. This year’s edition will include special previews of Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia, Nasquatch, Hellicious Presents: Pick Your Perdition, Gryffen, B-Squad, and A Whole New Set of Problems by 30 Rock‘s Josh Fadem!

Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia

Written by Ed Kuehnel & Matt Entin
Art by Dan Schkade
Colors by Marissa Louise

SBI Press will publish the no-holds-barred, action-comedy sci-fi series from writers Matt Entin and Ed Kuehnel (Valiant HeartsMario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Lumberjack Man), artist Dan Schkade (Will Eisner’s The SpiritBattlestar Galactica: Gods & Monsters), colorist Marissa Louise (Spell on WheelsMystery Girl) and letterer Dave Lanphear (Shirtless Bear-Fighter, Quantum & Woody).

Inspired by the colorful days of 1980s pro-wrestling, the six-issue mini-series kicks off when disgruntled professional wrestler “Rock ‘n Roll” Rory Landell declares himself “galactic champion of the universe”, which a hostile planet of wrestling aliens takes as a declaration of war from Planet Earth.

Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia

Nasquatch

Written by CW Cooke and Kelly Williams
Art by Kelly Williams

Nasquatch is the story of Nas and Denny, two disparate souls brought together by racing, cars, and a love of the outdoors. Also, Nas is a sasquatch who is an unbelievable driver and Denny lives in a trailer park and just wants a better life.

Nasquatch will be a digital-first comic book series launching in 2019, first appearing in the pages of the Starburns Presents Free Comic Book Day issue from SBI Press and going from there digitally and eventually seeing print in trade paperback format.

Nasquatch

B-Squad

Written by Eben Burgoon
Art by Michael Calero

Following the missions of a squad of misfit mercenaries that range from pop-culture riffs to cut from whole cloth oddity — the expendable mercs just never seem to catch a break and face the Thanksgiving leftovers of upper-tier mercenary groups. The debut effort revisits Burgoon’s story made with artist Lauren Monardo which was originally released in early 2013. “Conspiracy in Cambodia” sees B-Squad head to Cambodia as they are tasked with protecting free-range cadre of “mugwai” from a group of radicalized hipsters poaching the furry critters for unknown gain.

Each “mission” of B-Squad will be released in a giant-size format and feature a Saturday Morning Cereal style collection of “tangent comics” including Burgoon’s newest series “Tiny Wizards” and Michael Calero’s “Monster Safari” as well as expansive activities, games, and magazine content that will remind people of dentist-office staples like Highlights magazine and ZooBooks.

B-Squad

Hellicious Presents: Pick Your Perdition

Written by A.C. Medina and Mina Elwell
Art by Kit Wallis and Trevor Richardson

Continuing Hellicious with its first spin off book, Pick Your Perdition #1: Seeking Briggy, will be an interactive comic set in the world of Hellicious. Following the untimely demise of goth rocker, Briggy Bundy, his surviving band has been left with a great big iconic lead singer-sized hole in their lives which they desperately need to fill. You, the reader, will become  the new frontman of Briggy Bundy’s band, but the fans aren’t interested in change and will only accept the original Briggy. To succeed, you will need the help of Briggy himself and all the supernatural powers to intercede on your behalf.

Hellicious Presents: Pick Your Perdition

FCBD 2019’s edition of “Starburns Presents” will also feature an excerpt of the upcoming digital first series, Gryffen, written by Ben Kahn and illustrated by Bruno Hidalgo, of Heavenly Blues fame and Josh Fadem of 30 Rock will present a sneak peek of his book A Whole New Set of Problems. Fadem’s book will be a collection of humor shorts in the style of Shel Silverstein, but more in line with the offbeat humor of Starburns Industries Press. In Gryffen, humanity has taken to the stars, and crushed it in an iron fist. The most powerful and tyrannical faction of humans call themselves the Sovereign Reach. But one captain has had enough, and they’re willing to burn down the universe to destroy their own kind. Cpt. Lyla Gryffen, driven insane and branded a traitor, recruits a crew of mad scientists and rogue officers to steal a ship and achieve their singular philosophy: introduce rapid, unchecked technological progress with the explicit aim of destabilizing the entire galactic society. Chasing Gryffen is Admiral Rosalind Hunter, a ruthless soldier who will protect the Reach’s stability at any cost. It’s a race to the edge of the universe as these iron wills clash. 

Preview: Merry Men Trade Paperback

Merry Men Trade Paperback

(W) Robert Rodi, (A) Jackie Lewis, (C) Marissa Louise and Shari Chankhamma, (CA) Jackie Lewis with Marissa Louise
Age Rating: Mature Audiences
Genre: Action/Adventure—Price: $19.99—Page Count: 152

Thirteenth-century England. Robert Godwinson, former lover of King Richard, lives with his band of Merry Men in Sherwood Forest, away from the watchful eye of Prince John, who has outlawed homosexuality. Though isolated, the men live in peace—that is, until a stranger enters their camp seeking aid for a nearby town besieged by the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robert, nicknamed Robin, is reluctant to help, but equally eager to be rid of this perplexing stranger… and to put his formidable bow-and-arrow to use. It’s Robin Hood like you’ve never seen him before, based on scholarly speculation about what’s really behind the outlaw’s legend.

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