Tag Archives: r.g. llarena

Incendium Launches Opus Comics into the Direct Market. Get an Exclusive look at Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer covers

Opus Comics

There’s a new comic line to keep an eye on. Incendium has announced its publishing arm, Opus Comics, will be releasing comic books in the direct market, distributed by Diamond Comic Distributors.

Opus and Diamond also announced that the publisher will implement a new Final Order Cut-Off (FOC) program, effective with products scheduled to go on sale on May 4 and now carrying an FOC Date of Monday, April 11.

Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer #1 and Disturbed: Dark Messiah #1 are the first titles from the new publisher, making its retail debut in May. With a scheduled on sale date of Wednesday, May 4, Death Dealer #1 will carry an FOC Date of Monday, April 11. With a scheduled on sale date of Wednesday, May 18, Disturbed: Dark Messiah #1 will carry an FOC Date of Monday, April 25.

The first titles in the lineup, hitting shelves in May and June 2022, include the new Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer comic series and the Bill & Ted Roll the Dice miniseries, plus the music-based titles Disturbed: Dark Messiah and Joe Satriani’s Crystal Planet.

This marks a new stage for the production company, which has been selling comics, toys, games, and collectibles for 15 years, with an emphasis on creating merchandise for the heavy metal music scene. Driven by the company motto of “Myths, Monsters, and Metal,” the brand embraces ’80s and ’90s counterculture with a contemporary twist.

Incendium was founded in 2006 and initially established as a creative service business for the music industry, with clients including Iron Maiden, for which it produced comics, music videos, toys, and more. Incendium grew into a multifaceted production company, remaining independently owned. The company moved into comics with Eternal Descent in 2010, an original series that explores a radical take on the heavy metal music genre with axe-wielding metal masters in a dark fantasy world.

Over the years, the company has been involved in many unique productions, creating video games, animation, comics, music, and more. Incendium also moved into physical manufacturing of toys and collectibles for a number of clients and developed a pipeline for a line of 5” fully articulated “Figbiz” action figures, an homage to the ’90s toys Leon collected as a child.

During the pandemic, Opus Comics started working more with bands as tours and releases were delayed and musicians had more time and opportunity to explore narratives based on their music IP. This led to collaborations with popular metal and rock bands like Evanescence, Exodus, Cradle of Filth, Disturbed, and many more making their comic medium debut with Incendium. In this vein, the team behind Opus Comics always looks to push boundaries with stories exploring genre fiction, especially fantasy, horror, and sci-fi, be it with existing legendary properties or original ideas.

CEO Llexi Leon is joined at Opus Comics by Executive Editor Denton J. Tipton, who spent the past decade rising through the editorial ranks at IDW Publishing, most recently in the position of Managing Editor. R.G. Llarena has also come aboard as International Editor for Opus Publishing. He spent several years working as a freelance writer for both the American and Mexican comic book markets.

Opus Comics will be debuting Bill & Ted Roll the Dice #1 on June 14th, 2022, a four-issue miniseries set after the events of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. The series is written by James Asmus with art by Wayne Nichols, and will also have a backup story featuring the origin of villain Chuck De Nomolos, written by John Barber with art by Andrew Currie. In addition to putting new Bill & Ted comics on the racks every month from June, Incendium also makes official Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey merchandise, including FIGBIZ toys and playsets, art prints, apparel, and accessories.

The first issue of Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer debuts May 4, embarking on a brand-new adventure through the worlds of Frazetta, introducing readers to extraordinary characters and places envisioned by the “Godfather” of fantasy art. This first title, authored by animation writer Mitch Iverson and illustrated by celebrated artist Stefano Martino, begins a major launch of comic books building towards an entire multiverse of stories inspired by Frazetta’s most famous creations. This is the start of a decade-long partnership between Frazetta Girls and Incendium, spanning comics, toys, games, and more across physical and digital collectibles.

Other high-profile titles in Opus Comics’ lineup include direct market releases of the Disturbed: Dark Messiah comic book series, written by Tim Seeley, and Joe Satriani’s Crystal Planet series. Incendium is also releasing collectible FIGBIZ action figures for every project related to the bands and their comic book storylines.

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin Director’s Cut #1

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin Director’s Cut #1

As a kid who grew up in the 1980s and a fair amount into the 90s, I saw where cartoons evolved and newer ones launched making a splash. I grew up in a time when shows like He-Man and The Masters Of The Universe was everywhere and everything to kids. I remembered asking my parents to go to Toys R Us back then to pick up my favorite character’s action figures. This was also true for shows like G.I. Joe and Robotech. They gripped my imagination in ways that they still d. Eventually, those shows faded into memory and newer shows would take their place.

We went from watching shows like those mentioned on Saturdays to watching after school every day. One of my favorites being Gargoyles and the another being Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I found out The Turtles’ stories were much darker in the comics and actually were a precursor for Marvel MAX in so many ways. The creators of these beloved characters return in a story that only they can put together. Now, the hit debut gets a “director’s cut” in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin Director’s Cut #1.

We are taken to the not distant future, where NYC is deeply polluted, and human survival is pretty scarce, where we find Michaelangelo, without his brothers and Master Splinter, who all have died because of some mysterious circumstances. As Michaelangelo makes his way through what used to be his home, the sewers, he is met by fully integrated robotic security, as a man named Oroku Hiroto, the master of The Foot Clan, who now rules what used to be known as New York City. As Michaelangelo dismantles the security every step of the way, he gets closer to Hiroto’s lair, as Hiroto uses every contingency to delay Michaelangelo’s progress. By the issue’s end, before Michaelangelo can get any further, he gets badly injured, by Hiroto’s security, and gets aided by an old friend.

The comic is an expanded first issue. It not only comes with the excellent story but now also features notes about the comic itself. Expanded material features script information, sketches for characters, and rough page layouts. They add to the depth and excitement of the series.

Overall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin Director’s Cut #1 is a timely yet worthy story added to TMNT’s canon, while this edition, gives fans a peak into the creative teams’ process, and more than elevates the franchise. The story by the creative team is harrowing and powerful. The art by the creative team is beautiful. Altogether, probably one of the best books of 2020, and with this edition, gets the Criterion Collection treatment for comic books.

Story:  Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz Script: Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman
Layouts: Kevin Eastman Pencils/inks: Esau Escorza, Isaac Escorza Page 39 art: Ben Bishop
Colors: Luis Antonio Delgado Color Assistance: Samuel Plata Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow Additional Editorial coordination: R.G. Llarena
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.8 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: Zeus Comics

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1

Spoiler warning: This review contains mild spoilers for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1

Sometime in the future, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are no more! Decimated by a third-generation foe, one turtle has survived and seeks his revenge. This is the tale of The Last Ronin, who travels a futuristic New York and stops at nothing and no one to avenge his fallen family. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1 is the highly-anticipated reunion of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. You might have seen this reunion hinted at on Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us. I know I was excited about this book.  I have very few complaints about The Last Ronin. Let’s get the good stuff out of the way first.

It’s an exciting story, fast-paced, gritty, and heavy on the action. We don’t know yet how Splinter and the Turtles died and it’s not necessary for the first issue to show all of its cards yet. Instead, this issue focuses on our survivor and how there are not many obstacles that will stop his justice. It’s a bit difficult to get too much into who the Ninja Turtle is but I figured it out really quick and I feel like the reader will, too. And in saying that, there’s a tiny amount of hardship in talking about this book without taking away the surprise from those experiencing it. I was very happy that the one I wanted to be the surviving Turtle was the one who stars in it and it ends up feeling like the best-case scenario. And no lie: it’s great to know that Eastman and Laird were able to both come back for another TMNT project. Eastman has always been here but both creators have history, maybe had too much, but it’s good to see them going all-out with this project.

Stories like this always run the risk of being pretty much worthless and just throwing a ton of future versions of legacy characters at the hero. I don’t know what the next few issues are going to be like but I don’t see new versions of all of the big bads being represented. Visually, I think it looks great for a TMNT book. Not knocking previous artists who have worked on the various Ninja Turtles books, but Eastman and Co.’s art style fits perfectly with the story. The colors are on-point and the lettering isn’t blocking anything critical. I liked the art more than the writing, but not by much.

My negatives would be that it’s so action-packed that it almost feels like a fight for nearly the entire issue. Having read this issue twice, I’m just not sure how to feel about it. It just seems like at some point in The Last Ronin that one issue is going to have the burden of explaining a lot about what went down. Another thing is that there’s a feeling that I’ve seen this play out before in other books. It doesn’t reek of 100% originality. The Last Ronin really feels like the Turtles are back to their original inspirations and it has a bit of a Dark Knight Returns feel to it. I’m actually trying hard to be overly critical because of how I felt about this. Maybe I’m being nit-picky.

Point blank reaction: I enjoyed the hell out of this book. I’ve started reading through IDW Publishing’s TMNT books and while I haven’t read it all, The Last Ronin reads like one hell of a sendoff. I do wonder how hard this will be to actually get. Word is the print run was cut short and some shops think their full orders won’t be filled. There are also around 70 variants out there for this book. This is definitely a read but I think it’s good enough to purchase. I feel like a lifetime of enjoying the various incarnations of the TMNT, whether it’s been comics, cartoons, or movies, has prepared me for this moment where they are down to one against all the evil in the world. Maybe it’s cliche but The Last Ronin is an absolute blast.

Story:  Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz Script: Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman
Layouts: Kevin Eastman Pencils/inks: Esau
Escorza, Isaac Escorza Page 39 art: Ben Bishop
Colors: Luis Antonio Delgado Color Assistance: Samuel Plata Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow Additional Editorial coordination: R.G. Llarena
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyKindle