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Review: Enormous Vol. 2 #1

en01This is the seventh issue published in this series, but the first in this volume. Enormous is structured in seasons, much like the way television feeds us our yearly schedule, and as such it is an excellent jumping on point for new readers. Although only released on the 22nd, the first issue has already sold out. But fear not, as a second printing is on it’s way! Set in a world where giant monsters have pushed humanity from the top of the food chain, leaving cities and towns in ruins, a scant few survivors try to stay alive amidst the monsters – both the giant ones and the human ones.

Enormous Vol. 2 #1 is probably one of the best looking comics I’ve read in a long time due largely to the fantastic colouring work of artist Mehdi Cheggour. The colours are smooth, and feel very Alex Ross like; a beautiful tableau against which this post apocalyptic tale is set. Tim Daniel deserves high praise for understanding when less is definitely more; while there are narrative driven pages, he also allows Mehdi Cheggour to tell the story through the comics’ art work. The lack of text in many panels both encourages you to follow the story at the pace that the scenes demand while simultaneously allowing you to stop and focus on the beautifully illustrated panel.

The cover to the second printing.The story told in this comic takes place over a relatively short period of time, and although there isn’t much back story given, the recap page brings us up to speed enough to be able to enjoy this comic for the thrill ride it is.

Whether you’re a fan of giant monsters and post apocalyptic tales or not, publisher 215 Ink has something special on their hands here. Don’t let it pass you by.

Story: Tim Daniel Art: Mehdi Cheggour
Story: 8 Art: 9.75 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

215 Ink provided Graphic Policy a FREE copy for review.

Review: Southern Dog #1

SouthernDog_issue1_cover_solicitI first read Southern Dog when it debuted at New York Comic Con back in 2012. Now being published by Action Lab: Danger Zone the story takes on racism in the South, a touchy subject that caused numerous publishers to pass on the project, it’s finally seeing the light of day. Inspired by such films as Teen Wolf and Ginger Snaps, Southern Dog examines the unique complexities of race, love, and what it truly means to be a family in the Deep South.

The comic just dives into that controversy right away with scenes of the KKK and a lynching and then backs up a bit to find out what lead up to that point. Racism abounds though, while it’s clear the KKK and “Southern pride” are a big part of it, black students have issues with a white guy dating a black girl. Those dynamics are set up and explored in the first issue. I can’t wait to see what the next issues hold because of that.

Like writer Jeremy Holt‘s series Cobble Hill, the first issue sets up a solid mystery and places it in a familiar world. He’s researched this comic thoroughly and looked into the rise of hate groups in recent years. There’s a political tinge to this one, but it’s subtle.

Alex Diotto‘s art is solid with a gritty look to it. Again, it’s a great match of writer and artist.

Southern Dog #1 sets up a lot, with a very touchy subject. It’ll be interesting to see the growth in this series, especially compared to the series above. It’s an absolute recommended buy and well worth checking out.

Story: Jeremy Holt Art: Alex Diotto
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Action Lab provided a FREE copy of both to Graphic Policy for review.

Preview: Southern Dog #1 (of 4)

SOUTHERN DOG #1 (of 4)

Writer(s): Jeremy Holt
Artist Name(s): Alex Diotto
Cover Artist(s): Riley Rossmo
Limited variant cover (limited to 1500): Mehdi Cheggour
32 pgs./ Mature Readers / FC
$3.99/ $4.99 Variant

When awkward high school teen Jasper Dixon conceals an injury sustained during a hunting excursion with his family, his infected wolf bite combined with the hormonal changes of puberty triggers a disturbing physical transformation. Now he’s forced to confront his Deep South upbringing and monsters far worse than what he’s become!



An Enormous interview with Tim Daniel

Enormous_CVR_1This June, 215 Ink gets Enormous onto comic book stands. The comic, which was previously a one-shot, is now a monthly ongoing series courtesy of writer Tim Daniel and artist Mehdi Cheggour.

In the midst of a planetary crisis for food and fuel, a vast ecological cataclysm has spawned ‘The Enormous,’ massive beasts unlike anything ever witnessed. Humankind struggles to stave off extinction– seek shelter!

What’s cooler is the comic has a companion new live-action web series from Machinima!

We got a chance to chat with Tim about the series, both comic and live action, and what we can expect!

Graphic Policy: So for those that don’t know what is Enormous?

Tim Daniel: How is that even possible!?!  You guys!!! So, here’s how it goes…the world is starving. A consortium of nations construct and implement an agriforming technology system dubbed Alchem. Each node, there are several, is located in a tract of desert land on several continents. The intent is to turn arid land into fertile farming regions. For once, humankind has unilaterally agreed to take action to prevent a crisis much to the benefit of all. But, as is the case with tampering with nature, something goes horribly wrong. Evidence of a powerful mutagen begins to rear up over the span of the next 17 years…culminating in the arrival of the Enormous, massive beasts that strike major cities around the globe. In the aftermath of the uprising, a band of survivors lead by Ellen Grace, form up a search and rescue team that scours the rubble of Phoenix, Arizona in the hopes of locating orphaned children. But not all the survivors think alike…there are many factions with their own designs on what the future holds for humanity.

GP: How did the idea come about?

TD: On an airplane trip with my family April 2010. My daughter Elle and I were just trying to pass time and I looked down through the window and asked her what if would be like to see a truly enormous monster below.  We started imaging some scenarios…I then asked her where we could possibly live in a world filled with giant monsters and she answered very simply, “Underground, Dad.”  That did it– that was the spark right then and there and I ripped out my yellow note pad and started writing as fast as I could. Still have that page of notes…

GP: The comic was released as a one-shot a bit ago. How did it go from that to an ongoing series, even switching publishers?

TD: Enormous was previously published as a One Shot Graphic Novel in the summer of 2012. It was a 64 page, over-sized treasury edition. When it returns in June, Enormous will finally arrive in the format it was naturally conceived for and at the length it was intended to be, which is, an ongoing, monthly format with a clearly defined ending.  Hence the switch in publishers. 215 Ink agreed with the scope of my original pitch. They had the courage, faith and foresight to agree to publish Enormous.  I could not be more grateful to Andrew Del Quadro and Michael Perkins for giving us the opportunity to pursue our original goal.

GP: This March, a live-action adaptation of the comic is out via Machinima and Xbox One. How’d that come about?

TD: So cool! Yes, the live-action adaptation debuted March 20th, 2014. The process of bringing Enormous to the screen started in July 2012 when the book debuted at SDCC. Producer Adrian Askarieh approached me on the convention floor at the booth where the book was on display. We talked and several weeks later he called me with a plan. He’s a very resolute man and he sought out the talent and financing to make this happen. Adrian’s Prime Universe Films partnered with Pure Imagination Studios and fellow producer Joshua Wexler. Between the two of them, the pair recruited some startling talent both behind and in front of the camera. Director BenDavid Grabinski added another layer of talent to the cast and crew by brining aboard his team from his very successful short, Cost of Living. What they were able to achieve is nothing short of cinematic.

GP: Is the adaptation an extension of the comic or the same story, just in different form?

TD: Here’s the cool part, it’s neither! Enormous, the screen adaptation, shares some very key core elements with Enormous, the comic book. At the heart of both is a search and rescue team lead by Ellen Grace. The team is in strict pursuit of orphaned children. They in turn are being hunted not only by giant monsters but several factions of humans… some inflicted with the effects of a powerful mutagen. In effect, the adaptation is a wittier, funnier distillation of the comic book to be appreciated completely on its own merits.

GP: One of the things we discuss a lot on the site is cross promotion. Are you working to make sure to promote the comic through the web series?

TD: Absolutely, and a lot of the credit goes to Adrian Askarieh, Josh Wexler and Ian Moffitt at Machinima. Adrian and Josh put me together with Ian and he and his team very graciously allowed us to do a couple of very unique things in regards to promotion. First, we have a purchase link embedded in the film’s description. Viewers can watch Enormous, then buy the first issue instantly through an exclusive arrangement with Hastings Entertainment.  The exclusive was arranged by my good friend Sina Grace (Burn the Orphanage, Not My Bag, Self-Possessed) and James Parker at Hastings. Hastings first issue cover for Enormous uses the poster art from the film as painted by series artist Mehdi Cheggour and features lead Ceren Lee as Ellen Grace. Machinima has also made mention of Enormous the comic book at every turn; in press releases and such. Helps to that the book credit appears in the end credits of the adaptation. Hopefully, that inspires interested readers to check us out!

GP: Giant monsters destroying things seems to go in waves as far as entertainment releases and it’s back in recent years. Why do you think the resurgence is happening?

TD: No kidding! But I’m still not satisfied! Film has lead that charge– but television, novels, and comics are sorely lagging in that regard, which is perplexing to me in that you don’t need a big budget to pull of something of epic scale in a novel or comic book. All that’s required is enough information, be it written or visual to spark the imagination of the reader. Films like Monsters, The Mist, Trollhunter, The Host, Super Eight and even Cloverfield took that tact. They hint at a certain scale for the most part, rather than engage in a full blown spectacle. Each of those examples are satisfying in their own way.

Why the recent resurgence, I think that speaks to the pliability of the horror genre. A monster of any variety or scale can embody all manner of our fears. Imbue a beast or creature with even the slightest hint of our contemporary societal concerns and you’ve potentially crafted a powerful allegory. And that tradition dates back to Frankenstein and carried through to the nuclear age with Godzilla and through the present with the zombies of The Walking Dead. At the heart of Enormous is our preoccupation with over-population, resource scarcity and genetically modified organisms. Not to mention what affect those things will have upon future generations.

GP: With all of the destruction in the first issue, it’s also clear you wanted to focus on the characters and particularly Ellen and Megan’s relationship. The comic has lead LGBTQ characters, not a common thing in comics or most entertainment. What got you to go that route?

TD: Wonderful that people are picking up on that already, but there’s also a part of me that wished no one noticed. Ellen is a person, a human being with the same concerns we all share. Who we love, who loves us—when Mehdi first saw that in the script I think he was pleasantly surprised as well. My reply to him was, Ellen is Ellen, she’ll tell us who she is if that’s what she decides within the framework of the story. There was no preconception, Ellen’s partner Megan materialized on the page the same way say the apex predator did…just because there was white space in front of the cursor. Much like Laney Griffin, the protagonist of Curse, from the Boom series Mike Moreci and I co-wrote. Someone recently pointed out to us that they never even noticed he was an African-American protagonist in a horror story until the second or third issue…and we were both gratified that really no one has taken note of that.  I’m pointing this all out here because the moment we no longer notice who our heroes are, but what they stand for is being the most important aspect of their plight, then we’ll have finally turned a corner.

GP: How did artist Mehdi Cheggour get involved with the book?

TD: Way back in late 2010 I discovered his work through Facebook.  He was posting fan art of Morning Glories. I followed his name to deviant art and elsewhere. Seeing his work popping up on various forums. I messaged him on Facebook and asked him if he had any current projects and what he most enjoyed drawing. When he responded with something to the effect of ‘big sprawling sci-fi’ I asked if that entailed giant monsters and shared a short pitch with him for Enormous. Within a couple of hours I was staring at the first sketch of Ellen Grace.

GP: Other than Enormous, what else do you have coming out?

TD: Right now I’m wrapping up the first 6 issue arc of Enormous. Curse from BOOM! will be wrapping it’s 4 issue run next month. I’m really very happy to have been a part of that creative team; Moreci, Riley Rossmo and Colin Lorimer. I got to be Ringo for a while and it was way cool. After that Skinned with co-writer Jeremy Holt and artist Joshua Gowdy debuts from an unannounced publisher, Throwback with artist Anthony Gregori and colorist Mike Spicer…and a new project with Michael Moreci.

Preview: Morning Glories #28

Morning Glories #28

Story by: Nick Spencer
Art By: Joe Eisma
Cover By: Rodin Esquejo
Variant Cover by: Mehdi Cheggour, Joe Eisma, Scott Forbes, Frazer Irving, Riley Rossmo, Charles Paul Wilson III, Tradd Moore
Price: $3.99

“… And There Is No End.”

The double-sized conclusion to the Season 2 Premiere!



Giant beasts top food chain in July graphic novella

In ENORMOUS, a new Image Comics/Shadowline graphic novella by Tim Daniel and Mehdi Cheggour (Heavy Metal) to be published in July, a cataclysmic ecological event has spawned colossal beasts that overrun human civilization. Cities are reduced to ruins where survivors must scratch out a desperate existence, evading the giant creatures that hunt them.

In the midst of this struggle against annihilation, a young woman who has lost everything, Ellen Grace, braves the rubble-strewn streets to find lost children and bring them to a safe place. However, she soon finds that there is another enemy just as dangerous as the megafauna: other humans.

“By the time we enter the world of Enormous, being at the bottom of the food-chain is something humans have been experiencing for a while,” said Daniel in an April interview with Comic Book Resources. “As a result, there is no consensus around how we’re going to survive as a species.

“There are a few human factions, each operating with a fairly distinct agenda, the motivations of which may well be far beyond their understanding,” he added. “Regardless of what might prove to be the driving force for each character, the law of the land is simple: hunt or be hunted.”

Drawn in terrifying and haunting detail by Cheggour, a Morroccan artist whose MORNING GLORIES fan art caught Daniel’s attention, ENORMOUS is a 64-page saddle-stitched graphic novella in an oversized “treasury” format (10 x 13.5″).

Published under Image’s Shadowline imprint, ENORMOUS can be pre-ordered from the May issue of Previews (MAY120519) and is scheduled to be in stores on July 5. It has been supported by a campaign of “teasers” that appeared on top comic book sites such as Comic Book ResourcesiFanboy, and Multiversity, a “prequel” and article published at USA Today, and a preview at the Gawker site io9.

Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, Skybound and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit www.imagecomics.com.

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