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Heavy Metal and Floyd Mayweather Team for Undefeated

Heavy Metal has announced a new Floyd Mayweather comic that will be co-produced with Herø Projects. Undefeated, a 22-page one-shot comic, highlights the life and success of Floyd Mayweather, the iconic American boxer, winner of fifteen major world championships, and Olympic medalist.

Undefeated is written by Matthew Medney and Morgan Rosenblum, who co-created the comic with Voodoo Bownz and Jonny Handler, with illustrations by Rodrigo Lorenzo.

Undefeated will be exclusively available this fall to anyone who buys one of the 11,000+ Floyd Mayweather NFTs from floydNFT.com. Each Floyd NFT feeds 15 people and grants access to “Floyd’s world.”

Undefeated

Review: The Red #1

The Red #1

There was a time I worked in advocacy for video games fighting against censorship and fighting for policies that benefited creators and players. During that time, there was a lot of talk of censorship and video games as free speech. One of the projects I contemplated was an alternate reality game taking place in a world where video games were banned and only played in speakeasies breaking the prohibition. The Red #1 is a similar concept expanding the prohibition to anything that can elicit an emotion. It’s also a hell of a start to the series.

Taking place in a distant future, a nuclear war has ravaged humanity. A single government entity now presides over what’s left of the world and prohibits certain content that is deemed emotionally dangerous, or “red,” in an attempt to maintain order and keep society working. The Red takes us into that underground world where musicians let their talent flow flaunting the control of a totalitarian government.

Written by Morgan Rosenblum, The Red‘s story is by Matthew Medney, Voodoo Bownz, Jonny Handler, and Rosenblum. Together they’ve created a world that feels familiar and characters we can easily relate to and understand. This is a comic that’s easy to slide into and enjoy. The concept isn’t out there and the world itself familiar.

And that’s a good thing as it allowed me to easily sink into the story and focus on the characters. And it’s the characters that stand out. Though they all fill their niche, there’s something also very charming about them all. This is a story and characters that you could easily see on tv and while not yet memorable they’re also very entertaining. There’s an almost musical quality about them where their personalities are all larger than life and they all stand out in their own way. With a “small cast” when each takes the stage the spotlight is immediately on them.

The art helps the cool factor of it all with beautiful visuals that are broken up by propaganda posters from the totalitarian rulers. Jon Lam provides the art with Voodoo Bownz lettering and there’s such a great style to it all. There’s clearly a lot of thought put into how this world is depicted, especially when it comes to colors. The dreary emotionless world is bathed in browns and yellows. The underground world of free music features purples and pinks. The in-between features reds. You can almost tell where individuals are locations stand based on the color palette chosen.

The Red #1 delivers a solid start into a familiar concept and world but down with splash and style. You can almost hear the music played in scenes. I awaited each character having the spotlight shined on them with a monologue ala Chorus Line. I liked it all and was sucked in quickly. What’s presented isn’t groundbreaking but it’s all done really well. The Red #1 introduces us to a world that while dystopian, still has a cool factor that makes me want to visit.

Story: Morgan Rosenblum, Matthew Medney, Voodoo Bownz, Jonny Handler Writer: Morgan Rosenblum
Art: Jon Lam Ink: Jon Lam Color: Jon Lam Letterer: Voodoo Bownz
Story: Art: Overall: Recommendation: Buy

Heavy Metal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyHeavy Metal

Enter the Fantasy World of Winds of Numa Sera

In 2015, graphic novelist Morgan Rosenblum burst onto the sci-fi scene with a runaway success. His comic book debut, Treadwater Volume 1, delivered complex characters fighting an unwinnable battle in a pre-apocalyptic scenario. Then, in 2017, the long-anticipated Treadwater sequel was released to even greater acclaim, topping Diamond’s ‘Indie Bestseller’ list and bringing sales to over 10,000 copies.

Now, Rosenblum is back, along with co-creator Jonny Handler, with Winds of Numa Sera, a medieval fantasy graphic novel series. The first volume in the series is currently on Kickstarter looking to raise $15,100. The campaign ends on November 23. The series features art by Eduardo Mello, color by Valentina Taddeo, lettering by Voodoo Bownz, character concept design by Andrea De Dominicis, environments/sigil/lore/logo design by Bark Bark Studio, and map design by Luigi Aime.

Winds of Numa Sera is set in an elaborate fantasy world, which features an expansive cast of multi-layered and, above-all, believable characters. As their disparate backgrounds and motivations put them on a collision course with one another, the protagonists of one story become the antagonists in another. This lends the readers deeper insight into each character as they watch their seemingly separate storylines slowly weave together into a large cohesive narrative.

It is said that truth is the first casualty of war and this holds true for the Empire of Numa Sera, whose glorious founding mythology is slowly peeled apart as the protagonists discover the truth behind the legends. The grand narrative plays out over multiple generations, in which villains become heroes, history is rewritten, the mundane becomes mythical and the truly legendary becomes mere superstition.

The tone of the novel strikes a unique balance between that of a lighthearted adventure story and a ruthlessly realistic political drama, which takes place in a world rich with fascinating lore. Confronted with violence, treachery and political intrigue, the charismatic heroes of Numa Sera do what they can to survive and succeed. As they continue on their journeys, long forgotten truths are rediscovered and ancient forces are reawakened.

Owing to the breadth of its story, the depth of its characters and the splendor of its lore, a graphic novel of this scope is necessarily an ambitious undertaking. Fortunately, the novel’s illustrators, both of whom had worked for Marvel, do it complete justice. Finally, after several years of meticulous work, Rosenblum and Handler are ready to share their newest story.

You can get a PDF copy for $20 and a hard copy for $30. Other rewards include signed editions, collectors edition, and even being able to be drawn into the comic!

Review: Hymn of the Teada #1 & 2

Hymn of the Teada

Hymn of the Teada is one of the launch titles of Heavy Metal‘s Virus imprint. Maka Arakaki is just your normal 17-year-old girl living in Okinawa, Japan. Boys, homework, auditions and an overbearing single mother. But not everything is as it seems for the Arakaki family. They share a secret – a special gift that has been passed down through their bloodline for generations. With Maka coming of age, and learning to harness her gift, she now wields the power to alter history and rewrite what once was.

Created by Julia Mechler, Hymn of the Teada features a story by Mechler, Matthew Medney, Morgan Rosenblum, and Jonny Handler. The debut is an interesting read. It weaves together real-world history with a magical feel that evokes the classic films of Studio Ghibili.

What’s first striking from the comic is that it feels well researched. The story takes place in modern Okinawa and the Ryukyu Kingdom in the 1800s and opens up in its history as Japan is bearing down on the the Kingdom over relations with China. The history the comic presents is fascinating with Mechler’s knowledge of the subject matter on full display.

But, it’s the magical elements that stand out. The story progresses and it turns into one that’s familiar and mystical. The concept of time travel is brought into the mix as the series begins to focus on if it’s possible to save the Kingdom from invasion. We the reader know there are likely ripples that will be felt from that possible change in history. We have a time travel story mixed with spirits and ghosts and dragons. The story blends China and Japan’s beautiful mythologies to come together to really give the series the vibe it projects.

The art by Santa Fung with color by Julia Pinchuk and lettering by Voodoo Bownz is beautiful. What becomes more evident as the comic goes on is how much detail has gone into the comic. The segments taking place in the past are full of outfits and architecture of the time. While not an expert, it all feels authentic and the differences become very apparent as we shift to modern times. But, what’s impressive is how well the magical elements transfer between the two time periods helping to connect the two and make the two segments of the story connect in an interesting way. Two different times don’t feel out of place due to small details.

Hymn of the Teada #1 & 2 is a fascinating start to the series that had me wanting to research the history presented. To get the reader to be excited to do further reading is an impressive feet for a series and shows how engaging it is.

Creators: Julia Mechler and Hero Projects
Story: Matthew Medney, Morgan Rosenblum, Jonny Handler, and Julia Mechler
Writers: Matthew Medney, Morgan Rosenblum
Art: Santa Fung Color: Julia Pinchuck Letterer: Voodoo Bownz
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Heavy Metal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology

Julia Mechler Takes Us Through Time with Hymn of the Teada

Hymn of the Teada

Time doesn’t work the same for all. As an imminent invasion looms over old Ryukyu, the high priestesses are engaged by Ryotetsu, a court official in the old kingdom. He embarks on a mission to find the one with the power to change the course of history, and discovers it’s a 17-year-old high schooler from far away.

One of the debut series from Heavy Metal‘s Virus imprint Hymn of the Teada was created by Julia Mechler, written by Morgan Rosenblum and Matthew Medney, featuring art by Santa Fung, color by Julia Pinchuck, and lettering by Voodoo Bownz.

We got a chance to talk to Julia about this brand new series and how much it’s based in reality.

Graphic Policy: Where did the concept for Hymn of the Teada come from?

Julia Mechler: The concept of the Hymn of the Teada, in many ways, comes from my upbringing and roots in Okinawa. It is a tiny island off the southern tips of Japan, which used to be a kingdom, just like Hawaii, before being annexed to Japan. Okinawa has a peculiar history and culture, which has not been conveyed well to the rest of the world. I wanted to make use of the creativity of today’s Okinawa (Japan) to convey Okinawa’s culture and history.

Right after I graduated from college I worked at an anime/video game company in California as a motion graphic designer. During that time I felt the representation of Japan from the anime was lacking in true colors of diversity in Japan. I saw many Samurais, Kendo, and other traditional mainland Japanese cultural themed anime, but none about Okinawa.

Since I practiced Okinawan traditional dance since my childhood, and loved hearing the mythologies of the Ryukyu Kingdom, I wanted the focus to be on traditional performing arts and the myths. In order to fully convey the uniqueness and the interesting side of them, I thought it will make sense to show the history of Okinawa, when it used to be the Ryukyu Kingdom. I didn’t want the story to be just about the history, so I decided the characters who are living in the current world will need to travel back in time to make it more relatable and interesting.

Hymn of the Teada

GP: The story is steeped in Japanese and Chinese mythology and history. How much research went into the series?

JM: I think that history and mythology is a tremendously rich resource for creativity. A lot of research was put into them as I was forming the concept. When I just moved back to Okinawa to start this project, I needed to get a job on the island. I thought, if I had to work, might as well work at a place where I can fully research the history of Okinawa. So I worked with the foundation that managed all the history/art museums and the old castle from the Ryukyu Kingdom (Shurijo Castle). There I worked with the Research team where I was able to get hands on with the ancient artifacts, scripts, scrolls, art pieces, and even saw the excavation sites where archeologists were unearthing the ancient coins and jewelries. I also spoke with history professors to get the facts correctly with the timeline of the history of the Ryukyu Kingdom.

GP: Was there anything about this time period that surprised you?

JM: Along the research, there were lots of surprises. According to the account written by Basil Hall, a captain of the Navy from the UK who visited the Ryukyu Kingdom in the 1800s, people of the Ryukyus possessed no weapons nor army. They strictly relied on diplomacy. When he reported to Napoleon, he did not believe such country could exist.  In addition to that, as I read through the journal of the last king of the Ryukyu (King Sho-Tai 1843-1901), the king described in details how his court officials have warned him that the Japanese Imperial Army was going to come to the Ryukyus to take over and conquer the island. Instead of arming for defense, he ordered everybody to go to the prayer sites to pray to God. That really surprised me as it is difficult to understand the concept of being completely disarmed and choosing a path without war in such situation. As a result of him not fighting back, the lives of the Ryukyuan people were saved as the Japanese Imperial Army only had to take the king away and occupy the castle.

Hymn of the Teada

GP: How did the team come together for the comic?

JM: I am truly grateful for having been able to put together a truly global, diverse, and talented team thanks to this project. I have to thank Matt (CEO of HERO and Heavy Metal) for introducing me to his wonderful production team. Matt and Morgan (creator of Treadwater and CCO of HERO Projects) brought the concept I had to a beautiful script, and that became the foundation of Hymn of the Teada. The artists visualized what I had in mind beyond my expectations. The characters became alive and the Shurijo Castle which has burned down from last year’s fire was revived.

GP: The comic is one of the debut series from Heavy Metal’s Virus imprint. What drew you to Virus and how does it feel to be one of the launch titles for something that’s so new?

JM: I’m very excited to be part of the launch titles for Virus! I was drawn to this because I already know that whatever the CEO Matt does will be exciting and fun and also I liked the title of it. It turned the name “Virus” which can be so depressing with the current outbreak, to something positive and exciting. I was feeling down for the past few months as I work in the entertainment industry and all of my big projects in NY and Vegas has been postponed, but when I was told about the Virus, I thought it as a great opportunity for not just myself but for all creators.

Hymn of the Teada

GP: I got a bit of a Studio Ghibli vibe from reading the first two chapters. What influences were there on the story?

JM: Ghibli is always my favorite and its series have affected my creative thoughts. I love all the little creatures in Ghibli and the nostalgic feeling I get from watching Ghibli anime. I wanted to incorporate some of the elements from Ghibli such as the little Shisas in Maka’s room. In addition to that, I think it is interesting how they are able to show the social problems or political issues without describing them directly into their stories. While it is nice to be known as a popular resort destination in Asia, I wanted to shed a little light to Okinawa’s complicated history and political situation just how Ghibli does with difficult social and political issues.

GP: The story involves time travel and there’s a lot of different ways for time travel and timelines to work. Did you come up with your own? Any rules the reader should know about?

JM: During the brainstorming phase of the story, I thought about having Maka to time travel through the cave under the Shurijo Castle which was used to do religious rituals to pray and make offering to the God of the Ryukyu. After discussing with the team, we realized that the use of cave limits the location of the time traveling. Another way we came up with was using a magical stone to time travel, as many worshipping sites in Okinawa has large rock formations and stones. There is a belief that rocks or stones can emit some sort of energy. We also wanted to make it more interesting by limiting the numbers of the time travel, so Maka cannot go back and forth easily. Therefore we came up with the rule that only by breaking the stone in half you can travel in time. When you can no longer break the stone in half, you’ll no longer be able to travel in time.

Hymn of the Teada

GP: The art is fantastic and the design of the characters in the past to me feel authentic (not that I really know this history). What research went into the outfits and design of the buildings of the 1800s? Was it important to try to be accurate?

JM: I wanted to be as accurate as possible. When I worked at a foundation who managed the history museums, I was able to look at the picture scrolls, paintings, and clothing that were made during that era. The foundation also managed the castle (world heritage site) which unfortunately has burned down due to a massive fire last year. I wanted the audience to know how the castle looked like so I wanted to be as accurate as possible. Although most costumes are accurate, I made changes to the main characters’ costumes so they stand out from the rest of the characters.

GP: The real history of the region seems to be a lot of tension between China and Japan with Ryukyu caught in between. There’s still a lot of tension in the region today and I was wondering if that crossed your mind at all while creating this?

JM: The tension has definitely crossed my mind. Growing up, there were always political tensions (constant protests around the US military base, etc) on the island as it is the host to 75% of the US military bases in Japan. My father was in the US Air Force, and my mother is Okinawan. Growing up in an American Okinawan bicultural family gave me a unique perspective on the political tensions in Okinawa, which led me to study a lot about WW2, Okinawa’s history, and the relationship between Okinawa and mainland Japan. I thought Hymn of the Teada could be the “bridge” between the different cultures and countries. I wanted show how we should learn from history and think what we as individuals can do for the future, instead of repeating it. I want the readers to think what we can do for the future to solve political or social issues.

GP: The issues are coming out digitally. Did you make any changes to the series to play off of the digital aspect at all?

JM: I assumed from the beginning that this series will be distributed digitally, so I didn’t have to add any changes. I do hope to make this into an anime series someday.

GP: Any other projects coming up?

JM: Right now I’m still working on completing the Hymn of the Teada series. I’m hoping I can finish the series by next year. After Hymn of the Teada, I’m thinking of making a series completely different with a more realistic drama type of story, with the element of Okinawa in there.

Exclusive Preview: Hymn of the Teada

Hymn of the Teada

Created By: Julia Mechler
Writers: Morgan Rosenblum & Matthew Medney
Penciler/Inker: Santa Fung
Colorist: Julia Pinchuck
Letterer: Voodoo Bownz
Purchase

Time doesn’t work the same for all. As an imminent invasion looms over old Ryukyu, the high priestesses are engaged by Ryotetsu, a court official in the old kingdom. He embarks on a mission to find the one with the power to change the course of history, and discovers it’s a 17-year-old high schooler from far away.

Hymn of the Teada

Preview: The Red

The Red

Writers: Matthew Medney & Morgan Rosenblum
Penciler/Inker/Colorist: Jon Lam
Letterer: Voodoo Bownz
Purchase

In the distant future, after a nuclear world war, a single government entity now presides over what’s left of the world. Certain content that is deemed emotionally dangerous, or “red”, is prohibited in an attempt to maintain order. A collection of gifted musicians, who possess the rare ability to create red content, discover they are the key to overthrowing the totalitarian government.

Preview: Hymn of the Teada

Hymn of the Teada

Writers: Morgan Rosenblum & Matthew Medney
Penciler/Inker: Santa Fung
Colorist: Julia Pinchuck
Letterer: Voodoo Bownz
Purchase

Time doesn’t work the same for all. As an imminent invasion looms over old Ryukyu, the high priestesses are engaged by Ryotetsu, a court official in the old kingdom. He embarks on a mission to find the one with the power to change the course of history, and discovers it’s a 17-year-old high schooler from far away.

Hymn of the Teada

Heavy Metal #298 Heads to the Furthest Reaches with Ben Templesmith, Richard Corben, David Hine, and more!

Heavy Metal Entertainment has announced the release of Heavy Metal #298, the Furthest Reaches Special, coming March 2020. In the lead up to Heavy Metal’s landmark 300th issue, the world’s greatest illustrated science fiction mag will take readers to the edge of the cosmos and beyond with this specially curated issue.

Managing editor Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash, Halloween, Batman Eternal) helms the intergalactic Heavy Metal starship bound for Alpha Proxima 9! An amazing collection of all-new science fiction tales fills this issue. Stories so twisted they are sure to blow a circuit in that defective cybernetic implant you had inserted into your cerebellum.

In this issue:

  • “Murky World” Chapter 12, by Richard Corben, continues. In a bizarre land populated by hungry deadlings, cruel necromancers, and buxom cyclops, Tugat the warrior sets out to retrieve his lost horse Frix.
  • David Hine & Mark Stafford create bone-chilling intersections with insectoid life in Bug House.”
  • Alex Smith takes us through a Body Jack as modification reaches new frontiers.
  • Matt Emmons plumbs the robot psyche with The Incubator.”
  • Emilio Balcarce & Marcelo Perez explore “A New Life” in the collapse of a robot army.
  • James Maddox & Ben Templesmith plunge us into the Abyss of Souls with partners lost in space.
  • “Philip K Dick’s Head is Missing is based on the true story of the Android Head of sci-fi legend Philip K. Dick that went missing in 2005.  In 1980, Robert Faraday, assistant to Philip K. Dick, chronicles the author quickly losing his mind. While the author tries to explain staggering visions from space, his Android simulacrum gains a sentience of its own in the future. A shared destiny links them as events hurtle towards a singularity. By Michael David Nelsen​ and Dwayne Harris​.
  • Carlos Huante, Artist and concept designer for the Ridley Scott films Alien: Covenant and Alien: Prometheus, is featured with a gallery of previously unseen images and concept designs. Also highlighted in a gallery is futurist visionary Josan “Deathburger” Gonzalez as he discusses his post apocalyptic worlds of Robo-City Prime and New Citadel 9. Interviews by Hanna Means Shannon.
  • In Omar Estevez and FG Dr. Stain Ortiz Rivero’s “Totemic”, a couple of bandits in a ravaged world discover that sometimes it’s better not to get what you asked for.
  • “Project Z”: An earth-shattering asteroid changed the course of mankind forever. The few who survived sought to rebuild what was lost, factions of people scattered across the earth, unbeknownst to one another, fight to survive on this now desolate earth. By Matt Medney & Morgan Rosenblum.
  • “Dowser” is a short story by Dwayne Harris. In a world nearly devoid of drinkable water, a vicious gang holds sway over one of the few remaining wells in the American Southwest. When their well runs dry, they seek out a legendary figure, the Dowser, to help them find another – whether he’s willing to or not.

Heavy Metal #298 features three covers to choose from:

Cover A: “Taarna” by Esau Escorza & Carlos Villas
Cover B: “Recalculating” by Gabriel Ippoliti
Cover C: by Phil Cohen

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