Tag Archives: paul dini

Preview: Jingle Belle: The Homemades’ Tale

Jingle Belle: The Homemades’ Tale

Paul Dini (w) • Nicoletta Baldari (a) • Stephanie Buscema (c)

We all know that Santa arrives on Christmas Eve bearing bright, shiny new toys for happy kids everywhere. But what happens to the humble homespun holiday gifts often passed over in the rush—the grandmother-made sock animals, or the paste and cardboard unicorns given from little sisters to older brothers? Quite often they wind up shoved aside, ignored or tossed in the trash with the wrapping paper—until the night after Christmas, when they are rescued and magically brought to life by the mysterious Queen of Toys.

A strange being both kindly and vengeful, the Queen is amassing an army of abandoned toys, “The Homemades,” for the sole purpose of vanquishing the Kringle family and seizing the holiday season for herself. Only Jingle Belle and an odd assortment of her friends stand a chance of foiling the Queen’s plans. But first, Jingle must unravel the mystery behind the Queen’s origins and confront a heartbreaking secret from a Christmas long past.

FC • 36 pages • $4.99

Preview: DC’s Nuclear Winter Special #1

DC’s Nuclear Winter Special #1

(W) Paul Dini, Steve Orlando, Phil Hester, Mark Russell, Mairghread Scott, Others (A) Cully Hamner, Phil Hester, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Yasmine Putri, Others (CA) Yanick Paquette
In Shops: Nov 28, 2018
SRP: $9.99

The holidays are tough enough as it is, but when you’re living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland (or, you know, 2018) the world can seem bleaker than ever. So do yourself a favor this holiday season, break out your best eggnog and enjoy 10 all-new stories featuring the World’s Greatest Heroes, including looks at the futures of Batman, Superman and the Flash, as well as many more denizens of the DC Universe.

Preview: Batgirl #25

Batgirl #25

(W) Marguerite Bennett, Mairghread Scott, Paul Dini (A) Dan Panosian, Paul Pelletier, Emanuela Lupacchino, Tom Derenick (CA) Rafael Albuquerque
In Shops: Aug 15, 2018
SRP: $4.99

On her return to Gotham, Barbara must come to terms with her complicated feelings about the city that made her Batgirl and turns to her friend, Dick Grayson for help. Does Dick have time for a heart-to-heart while subbing as Batman when Bruce Wayne is out of action? This extra-sized anniversary issue also offers a look at the next arc of the series by Mairghread Scott and Paul Pelletier as the monstrous villain Grotesque returns to murder wealthy art owners and defile their bodies to create his own “art.” And since this is the issue that keeps on giving, also look for a special backup story by Harley Quinn co-creator Paul Dini and artist Emanuela Lupacchino.

Review: DC’s Beach Blanket Bad Guys Summer Special

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got a summer special!

DC’s Beach Blanket Bad Guys Summer Special is by:

“WORST FINEST“
A JOKER/BIZARRO STORY
Lee Bermejo – Writer
Francesco Mattina – Artist
Tom Napolitano – Letters

“HELP“
A LEX LUTHOR STORY
Jeff Loveness – Writer
David Williams – Artist
Steve Buccellato – Colors
Carlos Mangual – Letters

“CLOSE SHAVE“
A MR. FREEZE STORY
Paul Dini – Writer
John Paul Leon – Artist
Deron Bennett – Letters

“FALSE IDOLS“
A CHEETAH STORY
Vita Ayala – Writer
Amancay Nahuelpan – Artist
June Chung – Colors
Clayton Cowles – Letters

“ICY EMBRACE“
A BLACK MANTA STORY
Gabriel Hardman & Corinna Bechko – Writers
Gabriel Hardman – Artist
Matthew Wilson – Colors
Deron Bennett – Letters

“GIGANTA STRONG“
A GIGANTA STORY
Michael Moreci – Writer
Max Raynor – Artist
Paul Mounts – Colors
Dave Sharpe – Letters

“CRUEL SUMMER“
A GORILLA GRODD STORY
Tim Seeley – Writer
Minkyu Jung – Artist
John Kalisz – Colors
Tom Napolitano – Letters

“DOG DAYS OF SUMMER“
A DEATHSTROKE STORY
Shea Fontana – Writer
Carlos D’Anda – Artist
Luis Guerrero – Colors
Carlos Mangual – Letters

“PERFECT GENTLEMAN“
A PENGUIN STORY
Daniel Kibblesmith – Writer
Laura Braga – Artist
Arif Prianto – Colors
Dave Sharpe – Letters

“INDEPENDENCE“
A CRIME SYNDICATE STORY
Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing – Writers
Giuseppe Camuncoli – Pencils
Cam Smith – Inks
Tomeu Morey – Colors
Clayton Cowles – Letters

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Preview: DC’s Beach Blanket Bad Guy Summer Special

DC’s Beach Blanket Bad Guy Summer Special

(W) Paul Dini, Lee Bermejo, Gabriel Hardman, Corinna Bechko, Tim Seeley, Rod Fontana (A) Carlos D’Anda, Gabriel Hardman, David Williams, Otto Schmidt
In Shops: Jul 25, 2018
SRP: $9.99

It’s summertime in the DCU and the bad guys are taking over! Beat the heat with 10 all-new stories by top comics talent starring DC’s most spectacular super-villains! In this issue, find out what Mr. Freeze does on the hottest day of the Gotham City summer! Learn what made Grodd such a bad gorilla! Then, while in a small beach town, Deathstroke gets hired for murder by the last person he’d expect! And The Joker and Bizarro team up for a truly weird summer bromance!

The Sandman is Getting 30th Anniversary Editions Courtesy of Vertigo

Vertigo is celebrating of The Sandman‘s 30th anniversary with brand-new collected editions of Neil Gaiman’s seminal story. Following the announcement of a new Gaiman-curated imprint called the Sandman Universe, launching this August, Gaiman’s original series will be rereleased monthly beginning in October.

The anniversary editions will include special introductions from legendary creators including best-selling authors Patrick Rothfuss, Kelly Sue DeConnick, writer/producer Paul Dini, author/comedian/actor Patton Oswalt and more. Each collection will also feature new, original covers from the original Sandman cover artist, Dave McKean.

Gaiman’s new imprint will launch on August 8, 2018 with The Sandman Universe #1, followed by four new titles: The Dreaming, House of Whispers, Lucifer, and Books of Magic. For those who want to discover the origins of these new stories, they can start at the beginning with these anniversary editions.

The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Noctures 30th Anniversary Edition collects issues #1-8, written by Gaiman with art by Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, and Malcolm Jones III. It will also feature an introduction from Patrick Rothfuss, best-selling author of The Kingkiller Chronicles, and will be available in comics shops on October 24, and everywhere books are sold on October 30.

Preview: Harley Loves Joker #2

Harley Loves Joker #2

(W) Paul Dini (A) Bret Blevins (CA) Amanda Conner
In Shops: May 16, 2018
SRP: $3.99

And in the second and final issue in this two-issue miniseries, the Harley/Joker crime spree reaches an explosive crescendo – literally! Everything blows up – including, perhaps, their relationship…?

Preview: Harley Loves Joker #1

Harley Loves Joker #1

(W) Paul Dini (A) Bret Blevins (CA) Amanda Conner
In Shops: May 02, 2018
SRP: $3.99

Paul Dini returns to the character he co-created to deliver the incredible two-issue wrap-up of the “Harley Loves Joker” flashback tale that ran as a backup in HARLEY QUINN last year! As far as The Joker’s concerned, the new headquarters Harley built for them is absolutely perfect…but only she knows the whole place is rigged to come crashing down around them-and she doesn’t know how to stop it!

DC Entertainments Gets a New Line of Novels Courtesy of Titan Books

Titan Books has announced a brand new collaboration project with Warner Bros. Consumer Products on behalf of DC Entertainment, to produce a high-end range of inspired novels and novelizations featuring some of DC’s most popular concepts and characters: Harley Quinn, The Joker, Batman, and The Court of Owls.

The releases kick off on September 25, 2018 with Batman: The Killing Joke by Christa Faust and Gary Phillips, the novelization of the famous Alan Moore and Brian Bolland graphic novel which explores the nature of Batman’s conflict with his most infamous nemesis: The Joker. Originally published in 1988 The Killing Joke continues to be one of the most talked about graphic novels released by an American-publisher, and now to mark the anniversary of its 30th year. The official novelization will explore ,expand, and adapt this classic story once again, bringing new insight for both fans of the original comic and those discovering this story for the first time.

Batman: The Killing Joke will be followed by Batman: The Court of Owls by Greg Cox on November 13th 2018. The original novel pits Gotham City’s greatest detective against a secret society of the wealthy elite that has controlled the city for centuries through influence, money and murder. Originally created by Scott Snyder, the Court of Owls are an intriguing and deadly organization who employ the force of assassins known as Talons. When a series of murders in the modern day pits them against the Dark Knight, he seeks to end their reign of terror before it claims even more victims.

Finally, Titan Books and DC will be publishing the first original novel to feature one of the franchise’s mosnotable fan favorites. Harley Quinn: Mad Love by Hugo award-winning author Pat Cadigan will release on February 12th 2019 and offers an expansion of the Harley Quinn storyline. The book is fully outlined by Paul Dini exclusively for the novel, who first created the character alongside Bruce Timm for 1992’s Batman: The Animated Series. It’s inspired by the 1994 Eisner Award-winning comic Mad Love by Dini and Timm, this brand new novel will reveal new secrets of the iconic Harley Quinn as she even now seeks to kill Batman.

The DC Novels will all publish in beautiful hardback editions featuring cover designs by Titan Books’ Natasha Mackenzie. The books are being created with a focus on being a perfect jumping on point for those looking to discover this world as well as long time fans.

Review: Action Comics #1000 Captures Superman’s Inspirational Power

In Action Comics #1000, an all-star team of writers, artists, and colorists try and for the most part succeed at getting to the heart of Superman. Some stories touch on different eras of history from his time in the 1930s as a non-flying, slumlord buster and the Mort Weisinger Silver Age sci-fi kookiness to classic comics like Kingdom Come. Others look at his relationships with his parents, wife/co-worker Lois Lane, and his arch-nemesis Lex Luthor. One story even looks far in the future of the DC Universe while another acts as a semi-controversial prologue to Brian Michael Bendis’ upcoming Man of Steel miniseries and his runs on Action Comics and Superman.

To give each story the attention it needs, I will do a short review of each one and score it at the end of the paragraph. A final aggregated score  will conclude this (hopefully not that long) “80 page giant” review.

Action Comics #1000 opens with one hell of a curtain call from writer/penciler Dan Jurgens, inker Norm Rapmund, and colorist Hi-Fi that acts as a victory lap for Jurgens’ DC Rebirth run on Action Comics and his tireless work turning Superman from the edgy, armor wearing New 52 version to his classic role as a heroic hope bringer and a family man too. The story is simple. Metropolis is holding a Superman celebration day, but Superman doesn’t want their praise and adulation and wants to keep saving the day. However, through a little trickery from Lois and the Justice League, he ends up getting his moment in the sun. Jurgens’ writing cuts to the core of Superman and his positivity with a small-time Metropolis criminal named Benning talking about how he got him a job after prison so he wouldn’t keep relapsing and running with different supervillains. His art is a little old school, but that’s not a bad thing, and Rapmund’s inking helps make the crowd shots sharp in a story that shows Superman’s bond with the citizens of Metropolis and the superhero community while not neglecting the family elements that have been a big part of the Rebirth era of Superman. There really wouldn’t be a superhero genre without him.

Story: 9.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.8

The next story “Neverending Battle” from the Superman creative team of Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, and Alejandro Sanchez is a tiny bit philosophical, somewhat historical, and definitely epic as a story only done in full page spreads. It’s about Vandal Savage weaponizing Hypertime to trap Superman in his own history so he can’t get back to Jon and Lois to celebrate his birthday. Tomasi’s writing is a little corny at times with adages like “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and “History repeats itself”, but Gleason and Sanchez’s glorious visuals and the through-line of Superman consistently overcoming great odds wins out just like Superman over Vandal Savage. The first spreads are the most iconic with Golden Age Era Superman punching out gangsters, stopping locomotives, and throwing tanks around with Tomasi commentating on the simplistic, good vs. evil nature of these early stories. But he and Gleason aren’t afraid to get vulnerable with a poignant homage to the scene in The Dark Knight Returns where Superman is weakened after stopping a nuclear explosion that blocks out the sun or a page where he’s trapped in the Phantom Zone. However, despite cunning and powerful enemies and occasionally death itself, nothing will stop Superman from being a hero or spending time with his loved ones on his birthday. Gleason has a strong handle on the moral clarity and goodness behind Superman’s strength and I look forward to his upcoming work as the main Action Comics artist.

Story: 8.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.3

The third story “An Enemy Within” with a script from Marv Wolfman, Butch Guice and Kurt Schaffenberger inking over recently discovered Curt Swan, and colors by Hi-Fi straddles a thin line between optimism and naivete and definitely falls on the naive side. Superman is too busy fighting Brainiac in Japan so he relies on Maggie Sawyer and the Metropolis PD to take out a mind controlled teacher, who is holding his students hostage. There is an opportunity to address social issues, like school shooting, gun control, police violence, and even homelessness in a scene towards the end, but Wolfman, Swan, and Guice gloss over these issues with a simplistic “humanity is good and will save themselves” mantra and use the mind control plot device to cover their asses. Honestly, your enjoyment of this story will depend on how much you believe in the idea of original sin or your tolerance level for after school specials. Guice’s inks bring an interesting grit to Swan’s usually clean, bright pencils, and honestly, the best part of the story is a solemn Superman pinup at the end inked by the late Schaffenberger.

Story: 4.5 Art: 6.5 Overall: 5.5

Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Olivier Coipel, and Alejandro Sanchez turn in a stoic, 1930s era Superman story about a small time crook named Butch who gets his car beat up when trying to fight Superman. It’s probably the car from the cover of Action Comics #1. Johns and Donner’s take on Superman is a little rougher and little more stern, but he has a solid moral compass and cares for humanity as shown by his empathy towards Butch, who lost his dad in combat during World War I. Coipel’s art is wonderfully rough hewn and is like Norman Rockwell’s work without the sentimentality, and he even plays the “It’s a bird, it’s a plane…” line for sardonic, silent comedy. His Superman commands the page and is someone who you would listen to and definitely take seriously. He doesn’t smile either. But the ending of “The Car” has an earned happiness and is a little spark of light in a cynical world. Johns and Donner really get that heroism is about the little things and not flying the world backwards or time travel shenanigans.

Story: 9.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.8

Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, and Dave McCaig tell a quiet, yet time spanning story about the relationship between Superman and Lex Luthor, and how Superman chooses to see the good even in his worst enemy. The story starts intense with shadow wreathed art and dark colors from Albuquerque and McCaig as Luthor has assembled some powerful MacGuffins to take out Superman. But he’s actually just star gazing at the Smallville Planetarium? Albuquerque’s art is sharper and sadder after that with a nostalgic orange palette from McCaig as Lex tells Superman that the planetarium was an escape from bad weather and his abusive parents. They seamlessly blend past and present as it’s revealed that a young Clark Kent gave Lex’s space laser a little boost and saved his life. Snyder uses this anecdote/flashback sequence to hold out hope for a time when “maybe” the cycle of hero and villain will be broken between Superman and Lex Luthor as the story fades to black.

Story: 9.6 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.7

Tom King makes a case for winning back to back Eisners for Best Short Story in his, Clay Mann, and Jordie Bellaire’s contribution to Action #1000, “Of Tomorrow”. It’s a tone poem about Superman’s last day on Earth as he says goodbye to Ma and Pa Kent one last time as the Earth is engulfed in the sun with flames and winds that are reminiscent of the last days of Krypton. King writes Superman as an old man wrestling with his past and legacy, wishing he could save more people, and being supremely proud of his wife and son. And it gets deep at the end when he reflects on his father’s blend of science and faith. Mann captures each tiny, beautiful moment in his artwork as he makes art with his strength, tears, and freeze breath: a frozen statuette of Jonathan and Martha Kent like the one of Jor-El and Lara-El in the Fortress of Solitude. Bellaire goes for Earth tones in her colors as Superman immerses himself in his adopted planet before flying off forever. He loves his parents, he loves Earth, but he realizes that all planets die and all story ends. (Except for his comic book for now.)

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10

Two veteran comics creators Louise Simonson and Jerry Ordway show they still have a lot in the tank in their “Five Minutes” story with colorist Dave McCaig that expertly intertwines Superman’s life as a superhero and Clark Kent’s life as a journalist in five minutes. Simonson’s narration shows that both Clark and Superman’s “powers” come in handy in different situation as Superman is able to dart from a train accident to a hold up and finally to save the city from an asteroid just like Clark is able to write a story and get it in under deadline. It’s a quick, zippy read with a lot of heart and a kind of cheesy “twist” ending, but Simonson and Ordway show how much passion Superman/Clark Kent has for both saving people and reporting. He is precise, efficient, and knows when to fly to next crisis just like a writer juggling different projects. Plus there’s a Bibbo Bibbowski cameo, which will be a treat for Superman fans of the 80s and 90s.

Story: 8.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.3

Paul Dini, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Kevin Nowlan, and Trish Mulvihill turn in a cheeky homage to Superman’s history, Garcia-Lopez’s ability to skillfully render almost every DC Comics hero and villain, and most of all, Mr. Mxyzptlk. Mxyzptlk has the ability to wipe out Superman from the existence in the blink of an eye, but he’s more of a prankster than a coldblooded villain and enjoys toying with him instead. Dini, Garcia-Lopez, and Nowlan also provide a little meta-commentary on how stories involving superheroes in comics never seem to end even after they’re killed off or have passed their mantle to sidekicks or legacy heroes. Probably, because they’re too much fun. This story’s kryptonite is Dini indulging his sleazy side towards the end, but the energy and humanity of Garcia-Lopez’s figures and Mulvihill’s heroic colors more than make up for it.

Story: 7.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.0

In a much darker story than the previous one, “Faster than a Speeding Bullet” happens in a very short span of time as Superman tries to stop a domestic abuser from shooting his girlfriend, Lila, in the head. Artist John Cassaday tells the story in a series of freeze frames as you can see the strain of Superman flying to stop the bullet, and the red, yellow, and blue of Laura Martin’s colors as his chances increase. Brad Meltzer starts incredibly dark in his script with Superman running calculations in his head that he won’t be able to save Lila and ends with Superman admitting that he is inspired by humanity as much as they are inspired by him. “Faster than a Speeding Bullet” is a taut, mini-thriller that also captures Superman’s essence and the strength of his and the people he inspire’s resolves.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

The final story in Action Comics #1000 is Brian Michael Bendis’ DC debut with Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair doing the art. Lee and Williams definitely put the “action” in Action Comics, and most of the story is a third act of Man of Steel fight sequence with collateral damage galore as new giant sword wielding alien conqueror villain Rogol Zaar crashes all over Metropolis and tries to kill the last two Kryptonians on Earth. Yes, Supergirl has a cameo in this comic and is there to get her ass kicked as much as Superman. Bendis’ writing is quippy as ever and doesn’t really pair well with the disaster movie feel of Lee and Williams’ art. He seems to be going for an “Avengers Disassembled” type of throughline in his approach to Superman by physically breaking him down and also taking shots at his past. Yes, the final page of Action Comics #1000 is a huge retcon for Superman’s character, and hopefully, Bendis has the reasoning and great story to back it up, or Rogol Zaar might just be a Mongul knock-off with a cooler sword.

Story: 6.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.0

 

Story: Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi, Marv Wolfman, Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Louise Simonson, Paul Dini, Brad Meltzer, Brian Michael Bendis  Art: Dan Jurgens with Norm Rapmund, Patrick Gleason, Curt Swan with Butch Guice and Kurt Schaffenberger, Olivier Coipel, Rafael Albuquerque, Clay Mann, Jerry Ordway, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez with Kevin Nowlan, John Cassaday, Jim Lee with Scott Williams  Colors:  Hi-Fi, Alejandro Sanchez, Dave McCaig, Jordie Bellaire, Trish Mulvihill, Laura Martin, Alex Sinclair
Story: 8.2 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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