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Review: Kismet, Man of Fate

Kismet, Man of Fate

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has closed its latest chapter and introduced probably its most powerful superhero, Captain Marvel. As we said goodbye to Iron Man and Black Widow, we were introduced to Carol Danvers.  By the time she showed up in Avengers: Endgame, she had been gone from Earth for at least two decades.

Heroes like Danvers are truly one in a million as their inherent goodness makes her, and Captain America, magnetic to so many fans In a world where bigotry, hate, and greed have become the new normal, it’s almost hard to believe that anyone can actually be good at their core. Even more so, religious freedom is being challenged all the time, where normal people are scared to practice their religion in fear of persecution. In the latest offering from A Wave Blue World, we find a long-dormant hero from World War II, who just so happens to be Muslim, in Kismet, Man Of Fate.

We meet Kismet, an ordinary civilian, as he soon learns about the tragedy at Pulse Nightclub. He wonders what he could have done. We are taken to Boston where an old foe has unleashed a plan to kill a ballroom full of people the same night Trump gets elected to President, leaving one of Kismet’s compatriots’ brother dead. The pain of the loss has made Kismet a recluse while his sister, Rabia and friend Deena attempts to coax him out of his funk to do some good in the world, but instead decides to retire. In his heart, he feels he can do no more good in the world. He decides to start a nonprofit organization that actually helps people, who has faced bigotry since Trump was elected, this is where Kismet finds internal conflict. His apparent retirement coupled with his celebrity has made him a target.

We also get three bonus stories, the first one being “The Fiction Of Free Will.” In it we find Kismet in 1944 France, inside of enemy territory, where he discovers a traitor on the Allied side. In “My First Act Of Free Will,” Qadar and Kismet have their own “Freaky Friday,” In the last bonus story, “Moving Through This World is Supposed to Feel Like Free Will,” Kismet tells viewers worldwide how it was after the war and what has kept him fighting.

Overall, an exhilarating story with a long-forgotten hero. Much like the Green Turtle he needs to be revived in our lost times. The story by A. David Lewis is smart, layered, and well developed. The art by Noel Tuazon and color by Rob Croonenborghs is sophisticated. Altogether, a hero that everyone can get behind especially in this world where intolerance is at the forefront and hope has become a precious commodity.

Story: A. David Lewis
Art: Noel Tuazon Color: Rob Croonenborghs
Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Broken Frontier Anthology

The overused term, “rules are made to be broken,” has been said repeatedly when it is thought that someone has gone against convention. As the world slowly embraces the diversity that surrounds it, so has popular media. Comics have always challenged type but has mostly been monochromatic. It has only recently been proactive about being diverse in not only race and sexuality, but also ability. Wave Blue World‘s Broken Frontier offers up stories where they do just that, break the rules.

In “Phantom Limb Ghost Puncher,” a police officer who loses his arm during a rescue, magically receives a mystical weapon which changes his life instantly. In “Stranger Than Fiction,” a clairvoyant helps out a murder suspect, by revisiting the day of the crime through his unconscious mind. In “Dark Dark World,” young imaginative writer plays out a scene for a story, all in her father’s work shed. In “The Wall,” set in a dystopian future, societies’ fortunes are separated only by allegiance.

In “Flyer,”  a elderly man, gives a prep talk to his adolescent granddaughter, as she prepares to engage in a dogfight by way of rocketpack. “In The Night, Mountains Grew,” a ranger’s gross miscalculation proves fatal for those she protects. In “The Beard,” a young woman uncontrollably grows a facial hair at a unusually rapid rate, something befuddles her day after day, until she realizes her greater destiny, one that would change her life forever. In “Purgatory,” a woman falls into a coma, and gets transported to a different world, where she gets to be her true self.

In “The Trip,” a rather routine start of a morning for a man and his daughter, becomes a lesson in realizing every day is precious. In “Its About Time,” a scientist uses his considerable powers to time travel before his wife died, but what he finds out changes his whole outlook on her. In “Inside Outside,” a woman coming off her meds is constantly irritated by “cute squishy monsters.” In “Last dance at Omega Point,” as a rocket heads to its firing point, a woman’s life unpacks in alternate reality.

Overall, an excellent comic anthology which explores what can be or what will be. The stories by all the writers pluck the emotions of the reader in the best way possible. The art by the creators are all beautiful. Altogether, a plus sized comic treat which entertains on every page and you will wish was longer.

Story: Greg Pak, Tyler Chin-Tanner,Cullen Bunn, Phil Hester, Robert Dammelin, Justin Zimmerman, A. David Lewis, Fred Van Lente, Carla Berrocal, Jamie Coe, Edie OP, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Merguerite Bennett,Frederik Hautain, Kurt Belcher,  Adam Egypt Mortimer, Karrie Fransman, David Hine, Noah Van Sciver, Sean Wang, Salgood Sam, Box Brown,  PJ Holden, Scott Ferguson, INJ Culbard, Steve Orlando, Steve Bryant
Art: Steve Bryant, INJ Culbard, Yaroslav Astapeev, PJ Holden, Salgood Sam, Sean Wang, Box Brown, Noah Van Sciver, Mark Stafford, Karrie Fransman, Jeff McComsey, Facundo Percio, Rob Croonenborghs, Varga Tomi, Ryan Kelly, Edie OP, Toby Cypress, Jamie Coe, Robert Sammelin, Carla Berrocal, Daniel Warren Johnson, Nathan Fox, Alison Sampson, Noel Tuazon, Aysegul Sinav, Mike Lawrence, Tom Raney, Simon Bowland, Taylor Esposito, Gina Going, Jason Wordie
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Kismet, the First Muslim Superhero, Returns

Having debuted in 1944’s Bomber Comics #1, “Kismet, Man of Fate” never had his own fate revealed despite being comic books’ first Muslim superhero. Over seventy years passed between his last adventure fighting Nazis behind the front lines in war-time Germany and just last year when he returned as part of The Broken Frontier Anthology, a successful Kickstarter campaign from publisher A Wave Blue World (AWBW). Now, the same Eisner Award-nominated team that brought back the character is continuing his modern-day adventures in the weekly Kismet, Man of Fate online feature as part of the AWBW’s Under Current imprint.

Writer A. David Lewis and artist Noel Tuazon are joined by colorist Rob Croonenborghs and Ghost Glyph Studios in bringing Kismet to the current day. Beginning May 2nd and running two pages per week for the next year, the storyline will pit Kismet against the climate of the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign and its ensuing fallout in Boston and beyond. Additionally, the issues of LGBTQ rights, experimental science, and immigrant communities will feature prominently in the year-long storyline.

Lewis, who separately serves as the President of Comics for Youth Refugees Incorporated Collective (CYRIC), has no intention to fall into superhero conventions nor shy away from challenging, real-world conflicts. In the release, Lewis said:

Kismet was created at a moment where fascism was a real and present danger. With the political climate being what it is right now – with Islamophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and hate crimes all on the rise – there seems no better time to reengage the character.

Kismet, Man of Fate is available weekly with the initial pages already available for free viewing. The completed storyline will be available in print in 2018.

Preview: Tumor

TUMOR (HARDCOVER DELUXE EDITION)

(W) Joshua Hale Fialkov
(A) Noel Tuazon
(CA) Renee Dimalla
AGE RANGE: 15 and up
GENRE: Noir, Mystery
PRICE: $19.99
248 PAGES

Private investigator Frank Armstrong barely scrapes by in the Los Angeles underbelly until “the big one” hits his desk. Locate and retrieve the daughter of a drug kingpin, and he can finally afford more than the one-dollar meatloaf. Unfortunately, the job offer arrives just as the symptoms of his fatal, late-stage brain tumor intensify. Frank must find the target and keep her safe while time collapses, family turns into foe, and the specter of his murdered wife resurfaces in the eyes of a mobster’s daughter.

Eisner, Harvey, and Emmy nominated writer Joshua Hale Fialkov joins Harvey and Eisner nominated artist Noel Tuazon in their second thrilling collaboration about the bittersweet joy of lost love and the sharp pain of redemption.

TUMOR-MARKETING_Preview-1

Review: Tumor

Tumor CoverNoir is in as far as genres and to find something unique is a pretty special thing. Tumor written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and art by Noel Tuazon is the story of Frank Armstrong who finds out he has an inoperable brain tumor that’s killing him. In his final days, with his body, senses, and mind failing him, he’s going to do the one thing that he’s never been able to do before—save the girl.

Originally published by Archaia, the graphic novel is back courtesy of a re-release from Oni Press. That has me excited and fantastic as it’s a graphic novel that holds up with the writing and art being as top-notch today as it was when it was released six years ago. What’s amazing is looking at this work, as well as their other collaboration recently re-released Elk’s Run, and seeing that it should be no shock at the quality both are putting out today whether it’s Fialkov’s The Bunker, Jeff Steinberg, or Tuazon’s Foster.

The brilliance of this graphic novel is the blending of what’s going on with Frank’s past. The tumor has affected his perception of time and as the series progresses the shifting of time and events grows stronger, playing with even how the reader is perceiving the comic. It ranks up there with the great mind benders as well as the best noir/crime comics.  On top of an amazing story by Fialkov is the fantastic art by Tuazon which enhances the spiral that Fialkov plots out in his story.

Tumor holds up after all of these years and continues to be a must-read. Whether or not you enjoy noir/crime stories, this tale is fantastic and heartbreaking.  Make sure to put it on your summer reading list as it’s the sort of mind trip of a graphic novel that’s fun to curl up with and devour while laying by a pool or beach.

Story: Joshua Hale Fialkov, Art: Noel Tuazon
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Elk’s Run: Tenth Anniversary Edition

Elk’s Run: Tenth Anniversary Edition

(W) Joshua Hale Fialkov
(A) Noel Tuazon with Scott Keating
(CA) Noel Tuazon

The small town of Elk’s Ridge was founded as a closed haven, dreamt up by Vietnam veterans looking to create a utopia: a home without violence, chaos, or corruption. And in the beginning, it seemed like it might actually work. However, years later, the town has become a powder keg. When a desperate bid for freedom results in the accidental death of a child, the town must decide what terrible acts they are willing to commit in order to preserve their way of life. And the youth of the sleepy town—those who never chose to live that life—must forsake all they know in order to stand up for what is right.

A vividly and viscerally illustrated tale of small town horror, Elk’s Run takes its place among the most chilling and affecting works of graphic fiction. The debut collaboration of Eisner, Harvey, and Emmy nominated writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and Harvey and Eisner nominated artist Noel Tuazon is back a decade later and even more relevant.

Elk's Run Tenth Anniversary Edition

Preview: Elk’s Run #2

Elk’s Run #2

Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Artist: Noel Tuazon with Scott Keating

DIGITAL RELEASE – COMIXOLOGY (9/1/15)

The small town of Elk’s Ridge was founded as a closed haven, dreamt up by Vietnam veterans looking to create a utopia: a home without violence, chaos, or corruption. And in the beginning, it seemed like it might actually work. However, years later, the town has become a powder keg. When a desperate bid for freedom results in the accidental death of a child, the town must decide what terrible acts they are willing to commit in order to preserve their way of life. And the youth of the sleepy town—those who never chose to live that life—must forsake all they know in order to stand up for what is right.

A vividly and viscerally illustrated tale of small town horror, Elk’s Run takes its place among the most chilling and affecting works of graphic fiction. The debut collaboration of Eisner, Harvey, and Emmy nominated writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and Harvey and Eisner nominated artist Noel Tuazon is back a decade later and even more relevant.

ELKS RUN CH2_Page_01

Preview: Elk’s Run #1

Elk’s Run #1

Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Artist: Noel Tuazon with Scott Keating

DIGITAL RELEASE – COMIXOLOGY (8/25/15)

The small town of Elk’s Ridge was founded as a closed haven, dreamt up by Vietnam veterans looking to create a utopia: a home without violence, chaos, or corruption. And in the beginning, it seemed like it might actually work. However, years later, the town has become a powder keg. When a desperate bid for freedom results in the accidental death of a child, the town must decide what terrible acts they are willing to commit in order to preserve their way of life. And the youth of the sleepy town—those who never chose to live that life—must forsake all they know in order to stand up for what is right.

A vividly and viscerally illustrated tale of small town horror, Elk’s Run takes its place among the most chilling and affecting works of graphic fiction. The debut collaboration of Eisner, Harvey, and Emmy nominated writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and Harvey and Eisner nominated artist Noel Tuazon is back a decade later and even more relevant.

Complete hardcover edition (Contains Chapters #1-8) available in stores: 11/11/15

ELKS RUN CH1_Page_01

Joshua Hale Fialkov and Noel Tuazon’s Elk’s Run Gets a Tenth Anniversary Edition from Oni

Oni Press announced today a new Tenth Anniversary Hardcover Edition of the classic Joshua Hale Fialkov title Elk’s Run. Elk’s Run will release on November 11th.

The small town of Elk’s Ridge was founded as a closed haven, dreamt up by Vietnam veterans looking to create a utopia: a home without violence, chaos, or corruption. And in the beginning, it seemed like it might actually work. However, years later, the town has become a powder keg. When a desperate bid for freedom results in the accidental death of a child, the town must decide what terrible acts they are willing to commit in order to preserve their way of life. And the youth of the sleepy town—those who never chose to live that life—must forsake all they know in order to stand up for what is right.

A vividly and viscerally illustrated tale of small town horror, Elk’s Run takes its place among the most chilling and affecting works of graphic fiction. The debut collaboration of Eisner, Harvey, and Emmy nominated writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and Harvey and Eisner nominated artist Noel Tuazon is back a decade later and even more relevant.

In a release Fialkov said:

Elk’s Run is the book that started my career and getting a chance to revisit it for this deluxe hardcover is a real gift. The work Noel, Scott, Jason [Rodriguez] and Jason [Hanley] did is a true inspiration to me and to see how much they taught me by our collaboration is heart-warming. Having had so much success with Oni Press on The Bunker and The Life After, it made sense to bring Elk’s Run too. Plus, big secret time, it was the books Oni published that inspired me to make comics in the first place.

Elks Run Cover

Interview: Brian Buccellato Discusses Foster from OSSM Comics

foster_coverProlific writer Brian Buccellato sees his creator-owned graphic novel Foster come to print courtesy of OSSM Comics in July. Joined by artist Noel Tuazon, the story follows a war vet who must protect a 6 year-old boy as they’re hunted by brutal creatures.

This is the first time the entirety of the story will be in print, as only the first five, of the planned 6-issue mini-series, were.

In leading up to the launch, we got a chance to talk to Buccellato about the series, and how writing it compares to his other high profile gigs.

Graphic Policy: For folks that don’t know, what’s Foster about?

Brian Buccellato: Here’s the catchy log line… Along the lines of WALKING DEAD meets TAXI DRIVER, FOSTER uses a hard bitten Steve McQueen-style hero and 1970’s politics as touchstones to create a neo-noir world with a frightening Jules Verne twist. The story follows haunted war vet, Eddie Foster, who finds himself the guardian of an 6 year-old boy being hunted by a shadowy race of brutal creatures, rising up from the darkness.

GP: What brought the project to OSSM Comics?

BB: Personal relationships. Omar Spahi and I have been friends for a while and he was looking for additional materials for his catalog. He’d been a huge fan of the issue of Foster that I self published in 2012 and so it was a natural fit to do the trade paperback through OSSM.

GP: I came to know artist Noel Tuazon’s work on Tumor, and I can only describe that work ashaunting. How did Noel come on to the project?

BB: Josh Fialkov (writer of Tumor) is another pal of mine, and he was nice enough to make the introduction after I had seen Noel’s work in Tumor.

GP: The project was initially released as single issues, why that format instead of a graphic novel?

BB: I financed and self-published the single issues and the costs prevented me from doing it all as one graphic novel.

GP: Does that difference in format change the story at all?

BB: Not really. It’s a complete story that I had always planned to collect it as a trade and planned for that as I was writing the individual issues.

GP: The story follows a Vietnam vet and takes place in the 60’s/early 70’s, why set it then as opposed to a veteran of one of today’s wars and in modern times? What is it about that time that makes it the needed setting?

BB: There are two reasons… one is practical and one is selfish. The practical reason is that I couldn’t buy the concept of dwellers in today’s social media/internet information age. But back in the analog early 70’s it felt plausible that dwellers could live among us and not be publicly acknowledged by the government. I felt it was akin to the mafia back then. I remember that people still denied the existence of the Italian mob and common folk accepted that. The other reason is that because I have a deep nostalgic love of that time and place because I was born in 1970 in New York City and grew up there.

GP: You said the story is personal to you, as you wanted to write about fatherhood, and the need to protect a child from the dangers of the world. What of your own experiences did you bring to the story?

BB: It’s mostly from an emotional standpoint. My role as a parent has been (thankfully) mundane and without major drama/trauma or tragedy. One memory that I DID pull from is my own childhood. During Christmas 1976, my eldest brother, Jack, took money from my mother and then convinced me and Steve (our middle brother) to run away from home after Mom threatened to take away all of our Christmas gifts if the culprit didn’t confess. So three kids ages 6, 8, and 11 jumped on the #7 train and ran away… to Manhattan. Being alone and fending for ourselves for about 12 hours in the big bad city inspired what happens to 6-year-old Ben in the story.

GP: I haven’t read the original release, and am really looking forward to reading this, but from what I know there’s a shadowy race of brutal creatures, rising up from the darkness. I can’t help but think there’s a metaphor in there….

BB: There certainly is. This story is about protecting you child from the monsters out there in the world… AND inside of us. The dwellers want to do only three things… eat, kill and fornicate. They are primal. They are all id. They are what we would be like if we had unchecked aggression.

GP: You also wrote The Flash and currently writing The Black Bat, and Detective Comics, among other series, what’s different in the approach writing one of those stories as opposed Foster?

BB: I always find these types of questions difficult to address. Each idea or property that I work on has it’s own world with a set of built-in rules. The differences are tonal and genre related and don’t change HOW I go about writing. My method of writing is the same no matter the subject. The real difference with this project over the others is that Foster is created owned and NOT a work for hire… so I didn’t have to answer to any other authority. When you are paid to write, it is with the understanding that someone else ultimately gets to have their say over your creative choices.

GP: Since this is an indie series, what’s the difference in working on this, as opposed to working on a publisher’s property? Is there a different relationship for you with the artist?

BB: It depends on WHICH publisher. Publishers differ in their approach and their editorial style. Some are more hands on, some are more hands off. In the case of Foster, I didn’t answer to anyone. So for better or worse, the final product is what I intended. As far as my relationship to the artist, I have been mostly fortunate in my career, and have had open dialogues with the artists I collaborate with.

GP: You already have a lot on your plate, any other projects coming up that you can talk about?

BB: I am launching a Kickstarter to crowd source funds for a transmedia project that will exist as a SHORT FILM and a COMIC BOOK. It’s a psychological thriller called Sons of the Devil. My hope is to launch the property in an ongoing fashion as a comic book series AND as a digital series. The Kickstarter will be going on for the month of June and I encourage anyone interested in my work to check it… and contribute mightily! :)

Here’s a brief synopsis for Sons of the Devil:

In 1989, the FBI raid the remote compound of deranged Cult leader DAVID DALY– only to find him comatose among the 93 murdered followers he sacrificed in a devil’s bargain. The only survivors are six infants rescued the night before the bloody massacre. Twenty-five years later we meet one of those infants…

TRAVIS, a troubled father-to-be whose rough childhood was spent in Foster Care. He struggles to cope with fear of abandonment and anger issues until a “chance meeting” leads him to his half sister, JENNIFER… and the realization that he has five brothers and sisters. Travis soon discovers that this meeting was not by chance at all… Not only is his father still alive, but he is determined to finish the devil’s work that he started 25 years ago. So Travis and Jennifer have to race against the clock to find and protect their siblings before David can sacrifice them to the devil in a crazed gambit to bring Hell on earth!

 And here’s an early preview!

 

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