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Review: Zindan #3

As a fan of high fantasy, there is nothing like these experts in fiction and the world they usually let the readers become part of. As the fine art of worldbuilding, is central to the believability of every story set in this genre. One of the most memorable and will be rejuvenated with a new take very soon, is the very much celebrated Lord Of The Rings. As that world is very much like ours in certain aspects as everything is not always as it seems.

The trilogy of films made by Peter Jackson, made the books more inclusive and even made the use of Olde English even more understandable to the common ear. One of my favorite parts of the movies, is when Aragorn ask the Army Of The Dead for help, as compared to their other allies, one can automatically see their alliances are only to themselves, but they help so that their debt is forgiven. Sometimes in life, you never know when you need help and from whom, and how it will show up. In the third issue of Zindan, our protagonists find themselves either walking into a haven or a wolf’s trap, only time will tell.

The brothers enter a part of the city only known as the Herat, a place neither Zain Or Timur has ever seen anyone affected with the affliction these women have. Meanwhile, the Mughals ponder on the information an informant has given them, even though it has given them Zindan, based on their information, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb is starting to become skeptical nonetheless. Also, the last of the Ansaars, are headed to Zar Pahaarh, to inform the keepers of the book that Zindan has fallen and evil has been unleashed. By issue’s end, not everyone makes it to Zar Pahaarh.

Overall, it’s an action-packed entry in this ever expanding story. The story by Omar Mirza and Khurram Mehtabdin, is fun, relatable, and exciting. The art by the creative team is gorgeous. Altogether, a fun issue that gives the reader more insight into how and who was responsible for the fall of Zindan.

Story: Omar Mirza and Khurram Mehtabdin
Art: Sajad Shah, Adelso Corona, Alonso Espinosa, and Jessica Jimerson
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Zindan #2

The term “As Rome burned,” is used mostly to describe the fallout of a major event or a disaster. This is a test most people. When disaster strikes, how they will either step up or how they will inevitably fail. This internal struggle within all of us is what makes characters in dystopian stories so interesting and can draw massive audiences and fandoms. And example is The Walking Dead series which through television reached an audience greater than the fans the comic it is based on.

Take the character of Darryl from the show, who was an original creation. As it was revealed a few seasons back, he was just following his brother before the apocalypse. If the zombie apocalypse never happened, at some point, he may have done something heroic but unlikely. These events often put people in situations where they have to step up or perish. It doesn’t have to be an event like a zombie apocalypse for someone to show their potential. In the second issue of Zindan we find Timur and Zain at a crossroads as the rest of the Ansaars dead and they must figure out what to do next.

With the legendary Zindan in ruins, unspeakable evils have been released upon this world. Bandits threaten to grab whatever riches are left of the Ansaars. Zain and Timur find themselves faced with the decision to stay in the only home they’ve ever known, or to venture out into a world that had only betrayed them as children. Will Zain and Timur risk everything to go after “The Immortal” and his deadly allies, including Khan “The Man Eater” and Tara “The Temptress”?

Overall, the issue is another interesting chapter in this ever-evolving series which carries on the tropes of this genre but with a more realistic flare. The story by the creative team is intelligent, well developed, and makes you care about the characters. The art by the creative team, though with some different artists, continues to make this book, a joy to look at. Altogether, an excellent installment that gives fans a few more reasons to following this outstanding comic series.

Story: Omar Mirza and Khurram Mehtabdin
Art: Adelso Corona, JL Straw, Pasquale Qualano, Alonso Espinoza, Jessica Jimerson and Sajad Shah
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Zindan #1

When it comes to epic fantasies, it feels like most stories center on some medieval band of friends or acquaintances somewhere in Europe or some version of it. I remember when I read Lord Of The Rings for the first time. I was entranced by the characters, the world and the journey that these characters would go. It transported the reader to places that would only be in the deep recesses of JRR Tolkien’s brilliant mind, shaped by his experience as a soldier during World War I. Like most children of color, I was left wondering if there was somebody that looked like me in this magical world?

This question would be answered in the movies. I watched the films conflicted. I enjoyed the interpretation by Peter Jackson but was also disgusted that even the movies had no one that looked like me. Fast Forward to today and these issues is being addressed and challenged with major book companies signing more writers of color. In the first issue of Zindan, we catch up with Timur and Zain as they battle evil spreading across India.

As the Mughals overrun India, we are introduced to Wayl al-Ahtab , also known as the Immortal  and the leader of the escaped prisoners, as he no mere mortal as he cannot be killed by swords . Soon they lay waste to what is left of the royal army as he seeks revenge against those who have imprisoned him, the Ansaars. We also catch with Timur and Zain as they bury their father figure and mentor, Khalid, as they grieve over him, they also must come to terms with what has happened to India. By issue’s end, Timur and Zain find where Wayl al -Ahtab was held while he is headed towards Bamyan for his own reckoning.

Overall, it’s an exciting chapter in this comic series which shows that these stories is not part of a tradition but the genesis of this well-traveled tradition. The story by the creative team is thrilling and well-paced. The art by the creative team is alluring. Altogether, it’s an installment which drops you in the middle of the action and leaves the reader breathless.

Story: Omar Mirza and Khurram Mehtabdin
Art: Adelso Corona, Jessica Jimerson, Mike Krome, Sabine Rich, Alonso Espinoza, and Sajad Shah
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Zindan #0

As a cinephile, I am often drawn to both stories and personalities, and usually in that order, as no matter how good an actor is at their craft, if the story is not well written it’s a waste for the audience. The material must be good and the actors must understand the material and form their own connection to it. You can see the commitment made by certain actors by how convincing they are. One of the most underrated actors of our time, is James Marsters, who played Spike in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. His portrayal was spellbinding and it was not until years later, I found out that he was not even British, he’s from California. Shows how good of an actor I think he is.

Another such portrayal is Antonio Banderas’ portrayal of the titular character in Zorro. That reinvigorated character in many fans minds including mine. I grew up watching the cartoon and the Disney live action TV show. What made me appreciate his character is how he and his brother were a pair of orphans who became bandits but only he became more than that. I wished I could have seen more of the two brothers. Their dynamic was something special and could have been so much more. In epic saga Zindan we meet two brothers, much like the two brothers in the movie, except both became more than their beginnings.

We are taken to the time of the Ansaars, 1681, a dynasty that would rule India for almost four centuries, and would turn family against each other, until the dominant came to rule. We meet two brothers, Zain and Timur, who were both orphans, as the castle that they grew up in, burns down. As they find Khalid, the man who saved them form a life of bondage, dying in Timur’s arms, they realize war was coming their way. Through a series of flashbacks, we find an emissary from the House of Alamgir, who has demanded their kingdom give up all their resources or be crushed. Soon armies from Alamgir start attacking the castle, first by raining down arrows of fire all over the kingdom. Next, they attacked by barging through the first defense with elephants. As their armies started to crumble, Alamgir’s army of Mughals descend on the fortress in full force. By issue’ end, the Mughals have penetrated through the fortress’s entrances, as the legend of the castle’s many secrets prove to be true.

Overall, this “first issue” is a sweeping fantasy tale that is more than an adventure but an exploration of what one is capable when they are pushed to the brink. The story is immersive, action packed and well developed. The art is simply gorgeous. Altogether, a tale which leaves readers invested in these characters and this world.

Story: Omar Mirza and Khurram Methabdin
Art: Adelso Corona, Jessica Jimmerson, Sajad Shah, Alonso Espinoza and Sabine Rich
Story: 10 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.9 Recommendation: Buy

Comics for Youth Refugees Delivers Comics for Refugee Children

The Syrian all-ages comic, Haawiyat, has arrived to the delight of numerous refugee children. The comic filled with well-known Syrian folktales was created to give comfort and something tangible to children who have lost everything. At just 8 pages with black and white interiors, it was a proof of concept project that has turned wildly successful. The team behind the book is now officially a 501(c)(3) non-profit known as Comics for Youth Refugees Incorporated Collective (CYRIC). Phase two has begun with a crowdfunding campaign on Razoo.

Costs of production and distribution for phase two will be the ultimate goal of the Razoo campaign.

Creators include Rob Croonenborghs, Sajad Shah, Jim Shaw, Joseba Morales, and Ursula Murray Husted. Taylor Hastings’s Ghost Glyph Studios handled the lettering and Farrah Hamza translated for phase one; both are remaining on the team for the next phase.

In the press release, project leader A. David Lewis said:

For phase one, all production and services were donated or volunteered. In phase two, we hope the expanded incarnation of the title will have more stories, be in full color, AND go out to many more deserving children!

Sneak Peek of Brimstone and The Borderhounds: The Animated Series


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A sneak peek of the upcoming Brimstone and The Borderhounds: The Animated Series. The series includes the voices of:

Brimstone as Himself
Jose Hernandez, Jr. (HBO’s Oz) as Dawg
Eddie Castillo as Luscious
Chris Hostile as Mr. Hostile
Sajad Shah as Detective Altar
Jacob Dixon as Chavez Raoul
Low-Ki (Former WWE & TNA Superstar) as Orgrathan
Brutus Beefcake (WWE Legend) as Txigon
Claire Unabia (America’s Next Top Model) as Sasha
Robb Demarest (SyFy Ghost Hunters International) as Himself
Greg Valentine (WWE Legend) as Zythor
and Peter Mayhew (Star Wars) as “The Architect”

also attached to voice characters:

Darra ‘Like Dat’ Boyd (VH1)
Kimberly Leemans (America’s Next Top Model)
Sarah Hartshorne (America’s Next Top Model)
Leilene Ondrade (VH1)

Barnes & Noble is ‘Hound Bound’ with Brimstone and the Borderhounds

Official Press Release

Barnes & Noble is ‘Hound Bound’ with Brimstone and the Borderhounds

Brand new celebrity driven comic book hits national book store circuit 1/11/2011

New York, New York January 2011 — Hound Comics is proud to formally announce that its flagship brand, “Brimstone and The Borderhounds” will officially be on the shelves of Barnes & Noble and Book World retail stores nationwide on Tuesday, January 11th!  On this date, the brand new comic book will be available in bookstores as well as online worldwide via Amazon.com.

Hot off the official launch signing held at Borders Books & Music (October 2010 – Westbury, NY) this past fall, the “Hounds” are excited their fans will have full access to their latest endeavor.

“Brimstone and the Borderhounds” is a comic book based on the persona of professional wrestler, Brimstone; although the book itself has nothing to do with wrestling.  The universe surrounding the Borderhounds is a combined creation of lead writer Marcello Carnevali and Brimstone, with the artistic talents of Sajad Shah, Thiago Castro and Allen Chickering.  The book as a whole has garnered a wide range of media attention and extraordinary reviews.

What is so special about this you may ask?  The Hounds have made history by becoming one of the few, if not only; independent comic creators to have its title distributed by the self-proclaimed, “Largest Book Retailer in the World.”  Not since Image Comics took a stand in the direction of creator-owned licenses has an indie company declared war on the industry by shouting, “Hey! We are here and we aren’t going anywhere!”

Hound Comics is making a major impact and taking the comic industry by storm.  “We are truly looking to raise the bar in terms of quality from the storyline right down to the printing.  This is certainly not your average comic book, we guarantee more bang for your buck!” says Brimstone, lead character of The Borderhounds.

Considering all the ‘celebrity’ driven media and product these days, it seems rare to have a celeb at the helm that is actually 110% hands on.  That being said, William ‘Brimstone’ Kucmierowski is determined to chart a path to success for his crew that rivals their counterparts who’ve cornered the market for several years.  “We are not looking to take the place of the big boys, however we’d like to eventually be considered an equal or an accepted alternative to the ‘norm’.”

Brimstone and the entire Hound Comics creative team will be hitting the road in 2011 embarking on a promotional tour with the convention kings of comics and pop-culture, Wizard World Entertainment.  “Brim has had a very long and prosperous relationship with Wizard so it would seem only natural to align ourselves with them on such a vital tour.  Wizard conventions are one of the industries best resources to personally meet and acquire direct feedback from our fans,” says Carnevali.   The first appearance for the new year will take place in Miami on February 26-27 at the Miami Airport Convention Center where Hound Comics and Floating Pear Productions will offer an exclusive world premiere sneak peek at the title sequence for “Brimstone and The Borderhounds: The Animated Series” with theme music courtesy of Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal of Guns N’ Roses.

One thing is for sure; progress.  A video game being published by SGN Games for future download on both the PS3 PlayStation Network and Xbox 360’s Xbox Live Marketplace, the ‘Brimstone’ action figure in production with Shocker Toys and animated series being produced by Floating Pear Productions.  These Hounds are obviously looking to play ball with the top dogs!