Tag Archives: mark russell

Logan’s Favorite Comics of 2019

2019 was an interesting year for me comics-wise as I did not get to read as widely or deeply as I liked because of a variety of factors, including my final two semesters of graduate school, working two library jobs (Where ordering and promoting comics were part of my duties.), and an impending move. Also, I decided to catch up on some “classic” comics like Miracleman, Ghost in the Shell, Junji Ito‘s Tomie, and most of Brian Michael Bendis‘ and Michael Oeming‘s Powers, and Gail Simone‘s run on Secret Six.

However, I did have the opportunity to read some fantastic comics in 2019 as two of my favorite series of all time reached their conclusion. I also branched out a little bit, and this is the first time my year-end list has featured books from Ahoy and Harper Collins as well as a self-published comic.

Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion

10. Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion (Dark Horse)

Gerard Way, Gabriel Bá, and Nick Filardi‘s Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion is as wild and anarchic as the Netflix show was tame and Muggle-friendly. Hotel Oblivion is a love letter to Silver Age supervillains while actually taking time to deal with the relationships between the Hargreaves siblings. Bá and Filardi’s visuals are a chaos magic-shaped bullet to the head and especially sings in the world and city-rending set pieces towards the end of the miniseries that I read in trade paperback format.

Dreamers of the Day

9. Dreamers of the Day (Self-published)

Beth Barnett‘s self-published graphic memoir-meets-historical biography Dreamers of the Day is one of the most unique comics I’ve read in recent years. It chronicles the author’s trip to England as she conducts research on a graphic biography about T.E. Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia and is educational while being emotionally compelling. If there’s one word to describe this comic, it is “enthusiastic” as Barnett’s passion for making art, studying history, and making it relevant to contemporary readers shines through in her iconic, Herge-esque art style and accessible prose.

Winter Soldier

8. Winter Soldier #2-5 (Marvel)

Kyle Higgins and Rod Reis create a redemptive narrative for the sidekick-turned assassin-turned superhero and occasional black ops agent, Bucky Barnes in their Winter Soldier miniseries. The comic’s beating heart is the flawed relationship between Bucky and RJ, a child assassin, that Bucky sees a lot of himself in. There is both humor and tragedy in their interactions. Reis’ lush pencils to color art style works for both the emotional breakdowns and action beatdowns.

Steeple

7. Steeple #1-4 (Dark Horse)

The fantastic John Allison (Giant Days) both writes and draws this miniseries about an Anglican priest in training named Billie, who is assigned to a parish in the kooky village of Tredregyn, Cornwall. Steeple has an “anything but the kitchen sink” tone as its plots include fights against sea monsters, a charismatic Christian cult connected to windmills, and an ongoing conflict against the Church of Satan. (Billie also strikes up an unlikely friendship with the Satanic priestess, Maggie.) Allison mines a lot of humor out of the idiosyncrasies of different religions and small town life as well as the melodrama of good versus evil, and his art is expressive as always with the help of colorist Sarah Stern.

Second Coming

6. Second Coming #1-5 (Ahoy)

Speaking of religious satire, Mark Russell, Richard Pace, Leonard Kirk, and Andy Troy do an excellent job of showing how the historical figure Jesus would be received in the modern world with the twist of having an “edgy” superhero named Sunstar as a roommate. Beginning with a retelling of the creation of the world, Russell and Pace walk a tightrope between reverence and irreverence touching on a variety of issues, including megachurches, homophobia, and Pauline theology. Another enjoyable part of Second Coming is Leonard Kirk’s inking when the story decides to be a traditional superhero comic for a second, or there’s a flashback to Satan tempting Jesus as he plays a complex role in the narrative.

Once and Future

5. Once and Future #1-5 (BOOM! Studios)

I knew Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, and Tamra Bonvillain‘s Once and Future would be my cup of tea when it featured Arthurian legends and the town of Bath where I studied abroad in summer 2014 as plot points as well as having a complicated relationship between a grandmother and grandson at its core. Once and Future is action-packed read steeped in Arthurian lore with dynamic art from Mora and a mystical color palette from Bonvillain. It’s a straightforward adventure/dysfunctional family/romance comic that also plays with the symbols (Excalibur, Holy Grail etc.) and tropes of these kinds of stories, and I’m glad that it’s an ongoing and not just a mini.

Giant Days

4. Giant Days #46-54, As Time Goes By (BOOM! Studios)

Esther, Daisy, and Susan finally go their separate ways in the final issues of John Allison, Max Sarin, and Whitney Cogar‘s Giant Days plus a reunion one-shot where Daisy and Susan tag-team and rescue Esther from the clutches of Type A London publishing types. The final year of Giant Days had a lot of pathos to go with its usual comedy with several issues focusing on the strained relationship between Susan’s boyfriend McGraw and his father and his reaction to his sudden death. There is also all the usual college shenanigans with moments of reflection to show that these women have come a long way from randomly sharing a room back in far off 2015.

House of X and Powers of X

3. House of X #1-6, Powers of X #1-6 (Marvel)

In their ambitious twelve-issue House of X/Powers of X “event”, Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, and Pepe Larraz made the X-Men relevant again thanks to a heavy dose of speculative fiction, geopolitics, and good old fashioned superhero soap opera. Hickman gave B-list characters like Goldballs, Doug Ramsey, and of course, Moira MacTaggert and the sentient island of Krakoa pivotal roles in his story of a rise of a mutant nation as well as the usual suspects like Magneto, Professor X, the Summers family, Jean Grey, and Emma Frost. He created a fantastic sandbox for these fan-favorite characters to play in as well as leaving some intrigue open for the spinoff stories. (The whole Moira X thing, Kitty Pryde being unable to enter Krakoa, Apocalypse and Sinister’s intentions.) I haven’t been this excited to read the X-Books as a line since Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen were writing Wolverine and the X-Men and Uncanny X-Men respectively. Plus the Hickman designed diagrams add great depth to the story and area visual treat.

New Kid

2. New Kid (HarperCollins)

New Kid is a middle-grade graphic novel by cartoonist Jerry Craft that was recommended to me by my supervisor at the public library I worked at. Itis about an African-American teenager named Jordan, who transfers from a diverse public middle school to a less diverse private one. Over the course of the book, Craft fleshes out Jordan and his relationships with his old friends from his neighborhood to his new ones at the private school as he navigates playing soccer, racial microaggressions, crushes, and bonding over art and video games. The comic deftly navigates race and class issues while being an enjoyable slice of life story with Craft adding some fun visual flourishes like making the title page of each chapter a pop culture homage. New Kid‘s clear storytelling and a relatable storyline about not fitting in at a new school make it a book that I would recommend to kids and adults, comics and non-comics readers.

The Wicked + The Divine

1. The Wicked + the Divine #41-45 (Image)

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson really stuck the landing in the final arc of The Wicked + the Divine, which was titled “Okay” and followed the surviving Pantheon members as they gave up divinity and lived normal lives. Basically, they grew up, and so did I. The last issues of WicDiv are peppered with powerful moments as Gillen and McKelvie connect flashbacks of the millennia past to the Pantheon’s reality and let Ananke/Minerva be a manipulator, Luci be wicked, Baal be a protector, and Laura be human one last time. The final issue is an epilogue set in the future and filled with love and emotion with McKelvie and Wilson nailing the look of the elderly, former Pantheon members. It’s sad to see WicDiv go, but it had a beautiful ending and was my favorite comic, both of 2019 and of the decade as a whole.

Preview: Wonder Twins #10 (of 12)

Wonder Twins #10 (of 12)

(W) Mark Russell (A/CA) Stephen Byrne
In Shops: Dec 11, 2019
SRP: $3.99

Zan and Jayna and their friend Polly Math plan the heist of a lifetime-from going undercover to stealing Lex Luthor’s personal rocket, all in the name of saving Polly’s father, Filo Math, from eternal imprisonment in the Phantom Zone. But even if they manage to pull it off, are the Wonder Twins prepared to face the terrors of deep space? Meanwhile, Filo’s old sentient computer program reawakens and connects to the internet for the first time…what havoc will it wreak when it’s unleashed on the modern world?

Wonder Twins #10 (of 12)

Preview: Harley Quinn’s Villain of the Year #1

Harley Quinn’s Villain of the Year #1

(W) Mark Russell (A) Mike Norton (CA) Amanda Conner
In Shops: Dec 11, 2019
SRP: $4.99

Harley Quinn hosts “Villainy’s Biggest Night” as the DCU’s most dastardly gather at the Hall of Doom to do what they do best-congratulate themselves! But one villain has a secret plan, fueled by years of being overlooked by his peers, and the burning desire to receive the praise he so rightly deserves… Don’t miss out on a one-of-a-kind comic book experience, with the winners decided by you, the fans! Who will be crowned DC’s Villain of the Year? Go to dcvillainoftheyear.com for more information!

Harley Quinn's Villain of the Year #1

Preview: Red Sonja Vol.5 #11

Red Sonja Vol.5 #11

writer: Mark Russell
artist: Mirko Colak
covers: Amanda Conner (A), Joseph Michael Linsner (B), Khoi Pham (C), Mirko Colak (D), Cosplay Variant (E)
Andrew Pepoy “Seduction” Cover (RI), Amanda Conner (RI-B/W), Joseph Michael Linsner (RI-B/W), Khoi Pham (RI-Virgin), Pepoy “Seduction” Cover (RI-B/W)
FC | 32 pages | Sword and Sorcery | $3.99 | Teen+

The penultimate chapter in Mark Russell’s first year of Red Sonja. Dragan The Magnificent’s complete victory is assured, save for one She-Devil, incapable of dying, unwilling to cede control of a bridge…

Red Sonja Vol.5 #11

Mark Russell and Bob Q and Jae Lee Kicks Off Red Sonja Year Two in February

Starting in February, Dynamite has announced the Eisner-nominated Mark Russell is kicking off his second full year on the She-Devil with a Sword in the flagship Red Sonja, joined once more by the masterful Bob Q and the return of Jae Lee to Dynamite!

Following 12 issues and two tie-in one-shots, Red Sonja #13 starts with Sonja the Red in a an unfamiliar position. In the beginning of this epic, she was crowned Queen of Hyrkania, pitting her in battle against Dragan the Magnificent. As the two leaders pushed and pulled on the map, one must come out victorious. This glory is short-lived, as now in a time of relative peace and still on the throne of her conquered kingdom, Sonja must deal with the impossible part… ruling. With no food, infrastructure or plan, she must make some extremely difficult choices, compromises and alliances, lest her reign come to an anticlimactic end.

The absolute cherry on top is superstar Jae Lee returning to Dynamite to lead the legion of talented cover artists attached to this series. He joins the likes of Amanda Conner, Joseph Michael Linsner, Bob Q himself and others.

Preview: Second Coming #5

SECOND COMING #5

(W) Mark Russell
(A) Richard Pace, Leonard Kirk
Cover: Amanda Conner
November 27, 2019
$3.99

God and Satan get coffee. Sunstar receives a tempting offer from a brutal dictator. Jesus shares some sad, secret memories with his flock. EXTRA! A selection of short prose fiction, beautifully illustrated.

SECOND COMING #5

DC Releases a First Look at Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1

Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1

Written by Mark Russell
Art by Mike Norton
Colors by Hi-Fi
Cover by Amanda Conner
In Shops: Dec 11, 2019
Final Orders Due: Nov 18, 2019
SRP: $4.99

Who is DC’s Villain of the Year? Find out the results of YOUR votes in Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1! Harley Quinn hosts “Villainy’s Biggest Night,” as the DCU’s most dastardly gather at the Hall of Doom to do what they do best—congratulate themselves! But one villain has a secret plan, fueled by years of being overlooked by his peers, and the burning desire to receive the praise he so rightly deserves… Don’t miss out on a one-of-a-kind comic book experience, with the winners decided by you, the fans!

Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1

AHOY Comics’ Fourth Wave of Releases Has Been Revealed!

Comic book creators Mark Russell and Steve Pugh, Mariah McCourt and Soo Lee, and Tom Peyer and Alan Robinson are launching three all new series for the fourth wave of AHOY comic book magazines. The three series all tackle 21st century fears and anxieties with a heavy dose of humor. The new wave of titles from the Syracuse-based company will launch next spring.  

AHOY Comics’ fourth wave includes three all-new titles:

  • BILLIONAIRE ISLAND, a 6 issue mini-series by acclaimed writer Mark Russell (Second Coming) and artist Steve Pugh (Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass), and colorist Chris Chuckry, with lettering by Rob Steen. Issue 1 features a cover by series artist and co-creator Steve Pugh and a variant cover by bestselling artist Pia Guerra (Y The Last Man). 

Debuting in March 2020.

Welcome to Billionaire Island, where anything goes…if you can afford it. But the island’s ultra-rich inhabitants are about to learn that their ill-gotten gains come at a VERY high price. BILLIONAIRE ISLAND is a savage satire that reunites the creative team behind DC’s The Flintstones

BILLIONAIRE ISLAND tells the story of Freedom Unlimited (FU Island), a private island created and populated by billionaires hoping to wait out the end of the world,” said writer and co-creator Mark Russell. “But because they are in international waters and not subject to any law, their haven is a nightmarish police state for anyone on the island who crosses them. In a broader sense, it’s a series that asks the question: how do we save the world when all its resources are partying offshore?”

BILLIONAIRE ISLAND
  • ASH & THORN, a 5 issue mini-series by bestselling writer Mariah McCourt (True Blood, Stitched), artist Soo Lee (Mine!, Charlie’s Angels vs. the Bionic Woman), and colorist Pippa Bowland, with lettering by Rob Steen and covers by legendary artist Jill Thompson (Scary Godmother, Wonder Woman: True Amazon). 

Debuting in April 2020.

The apocalypse is nigh! The world needs a Champion, and the only heir to a sacred mystical lineage is…a little old lady? Meet Lottie Thorn, reluctant savior of the world, and her also-elderly trainer Lady Peruvia Ashlington-Voss. They might not look it, but these women are prepared to take on any Big Bad that comes along. But first, perhaps a nice cup of tea? 

“Everyone knows Chosen Ones are supposed to be young and extremely expendable, but even the Universe makes mistakes sometimes,” explained McCourt. “And sometimes the mistakes are big ones. Like when it taps an 80+ year old retired art teacher to be the Champion who fights the next Apocalypse. Can an octogenarian overcome age and arthritis to save the world from cosmic monsters, world eaters, and gross creepy crawlies?”

ASH & THORN
  • PENULTIMAN, a 5 issue mini-series by writer Tom Peyer (The Wrong Earth), artist Alan Robinson (Planet of the Nerds), and colorist Lee Loughridge, with lettering by Rob Steen and covers by Robinson. 

Debuting in May 2020.

Penultiman is the greatest, best-looking, and most admired superhero in the world. Penultiman is The Next-To-Last-Stage In Human Evolution. So how can he stop hating himself? Only Penultiman’s android understudy, Antepenultiman, knows the answer. Or, at least, he thinks he does!

“Penultiman, The Next-To-Last Stage in Human Evolution, is hailed as the godlike epitome of beauty, power, and compassion in the year 2020,” said Peyer. “In the far-future century he came from, however, his more advanced contemporaries saw him as a brutish evolutionary throwback and exiled him to our era. Paragon or primitive? His one chance for peace is to deny the haters and admirers alike, and discover who he really is–if he only knew how to begin.”

PENULTIMAN

AHOY Comics’ fourth wave also includes 2 trade paperback collections:

  • SECOND COMING: Volume One trade paperback by Mark Russell, artists Richard Pace and Leonard Kirk, and colorist Andy Troy, with lettering by Rob Steen and a cover by Richard Pace. The book will be released timed to Lent and will be on sale in comic shops on February 26th and in bookstores on March 10, 2020.
SECOND COMING: Volume One
  • DRAGONFLY & DRAGONFLYMAN: NIGHT & DAY trade paperback by Tom Peyer, artist Peter Krause, and colorist Andy Troy, with lettering by Rob Steen. The book will be released timed to dragonfly season on the east coast and will be on sale in comic shops on May 27th and in bookstores on June 9th, 2020. 
DRAGONFLY & DRAGONFLYMAN: NIGHT & DAY

Since its debut in September of 2018, AHOY Comics has pledged for readers to “expect more” from its line of comic book magazines and graphic novels with full length comic book stories, accompanied by “extras” including short prose fiction, the occasional recipes, and even a crossword puzzle. 

Preview: Red Sonja Vol. 1: Scorched Earth TP

Red Sonja Vol. 1: Scorched Earth TP

writers: Mark Russell
artists: Mirko Colak, Bob Q, Robert Carey, Katie O’Meara
cover: Amanda Conner & Paul Mounts
FC | 172 pages | $19.99 | Swords & Sorcery | Teen +

No man knows the place of her birth, nor where she learned to wield a sword to shame many a male. They know only that she is called The She-Devil of The Hyrkanian Steppes. That, and RED SONJA. MARK RUSSELL (The Flintstones) and MIRKO COLAK (Conan) bring a savage tale of metal and blood. A world conqueror possesses a massive army and a fatal prophecy. A bastard sorceress craves revenge. And a fearsome red-haired warrior is made wartime ruler of a homeland set for decimation. Collects Red Sonja (2019) #1-6 and the Lord of Fools one-shot issue.

Red Sonja Vol. 1: Scorched Earth TP

Preview: Edgar Allan Power’s Snifter of Terror Season Two #2

EDGAR ALLAN POE’S SNIFTER OF TERROR Season Two #2

(W) Mark Russell, Tom Peyer, Hunt Emerson
(A) Peter Snejbjerg, Greg Scott, Hunt Emerson
(C) Richard Williams
November 13, 2019
$3.99

Mark Russell (SECOND COMING) and Peter Snejbjerg return with another Cereal Monsters shocker, “The Leprechaun King!” Tom Peyer and Greg Scott desecrate “Edgar Allan Poe’s The Conqueror Worm!” Hint: contains giant worms! Hunt Emerson brings another violent round of “Poe and the Black Cat!” EXTRA! Prose, poems, pictures and/or puzzles!

Painted cover by Richard Williams (MAD).

EDGAR ALLAN POE’S SNIFTER OF TERROR Season Two #2
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