Tag Archives: sbi press

Preview: Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted #5

GRYFFEN: GALAXY’S MOST WANTED #5 (of 12)

Ben Kahn (Writer), Bruno Hidalgo (Art and Color), Sal Cipriano (Letters)
Jul7 17, 15p, 99¢, Digital-First

Gryffen unbound! To save Telika’s planet, the crew of the Al-Haytham have put together a plan so crazy it just might work: use the mind of the galaxy’s smartest man to terraform the world, while Gryffen themself mounts a ground campaign against the Reach! Meanwhile, Admiral Hunter watches and plans…

GRYFFEN: GALAXY’S MOST WANTED #5 (of 12)

Ben Kahn writes Gryffen Galaxy’s Most Wanted and Heavenly Blues and is on Graphic Policy Radio!

Ben’s not writing a dystopia, they’re writing a catharisis! “Like the Hulk!” but with a pink queer undercut. 

Ben Kahn is a comic book writer based in New York. Their latest series, Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted, is their third collaboration with artist Bruno Hidalgo after Shaman and Heavenly Blues.

Gryffen is a genderqueer, anti-fascist space opera published by SBI Press exclusively on comiXology

Heavenly Blues sees a ragtag group of deceased thieves condemned Hell team up to pull the ultimate heist on Heaven. Art also by Bruno Hidalgo. 

Follow Ben on twitter at https://twitter.com/BenTheKahn

Review: Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted #1

Gryffen: Galaxy's Most Wanted #1

Ben Kahn, Bruno Hidalgo, and coloring assistant James Penafiel are back with some yummy, fun, and ultraviolent sci-fi as Captain Lyla Gryffen busts out of the prison hold of genocidal space fascists with the help of Elf and resistance fighter Telika and scientific genius/fuck buddy Elliot Dao. It’s space pulp adventures retrofitted for our era of hypercapitalism and white supremacy like Rick and Morty if it had a social conscience filled with equal takedowns of oppressive systems and shit blowing up.

The first page narration sets Lyla Gryffen as some legendary figure, and Kahn and Hidalgo ensure they live up to the legend by making Gryffen #1 all about cleverly breaking out of prisons and laying out their ideals about the world via quippy, eminently quotable dialogue about Bourbons, Bonapartes, the Industrial Revolution, and green Jello. Even though Gryffen is an action adventure narrative, it’s all about finding away to disrupt hegemonic systems instead of just the usual rebel alliance/blow up the small moon sized space station nonsense. Lyla wants to create a world where Admiral Thrawn, clones of the Emperor, and/or Yuuzhan Vong couldn’t rise to power after the second death Star through the power of science. But, also, violence.

Speaking of violence, Bruno Hidalgo’s art hits fever pitch when Lyla is kicking ass up and down the prison with Ben Kahn supplying them with one-liners about a no killing policy. Hidalgo and James Penafiel uses a red color palette to add intensity to the prison riot sequence, and Hidalgo’s uses big poses to draw attention to each action beat. The use of some old school motion lines are great for Lyla’s quick dodges and jabs and also builds up to a mad scientist’s wet dream of conclusion that oddly made me want to revisit the Halo franchise.

Other than the action with a side of political satire and emphatic artwork, Gryffen is a fun comic because of the interactions and chemistry between the three crew members, Lyla, Telika, and Dao. It’s a hotbox of cynicism meets idealism plus the fierce sexual attraction between Telika and Dao. Plus they love science a lot and think it’s the solution to everything, which leads to ingenious solutions, but also has bad side effects like the death cult that Dao influenced back in the day. The ideological clashes and riffing between Lyla, Telika, and Dao keeps the story going between fights, escapes, and chase sequences, and I look forward to learning more about cool scientists and seeing Lyla roast more 21st century Earth politicians.

Gryffen #1 is a sci-fi comic that is both immensely entertaining and sociopolitically relevant. Lyla Gryffen has plenty of attitude, and it seems like Ben Kahn is having the time of their life writing them. Throw in Bruno Hidalgo’s in-your-face colors and pulpy, gory artwork, and this is the summer punk rock sci-fi spectacular that you wish Hollywood had the balls to make.

Story: Ben Kahn Art: Bruno Hidalgo
Color Assists: James Penafiel Letters: Sal Cipriano
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Starburn Industries Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Starburns Presents Previews Key Titles for 2019

On Free Comic Book Day 2019, SBI Press delivers their next installment of Starburns Presents. This year’s edition will include special previews of Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia, Nasquatch, Hellicious Presents: Pick Your Perdition, Gryffen, B-Squad, and A Whole New Set of Problems by 30 Rock‘s Josh Fadem!

Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia

Written by Ed Kuehnel & Matt Entin
Art by Dan Schkade
Colors by Marissa Louise

SBI Press will publish the no-holds-barred, action-comedy sci-fi series from writers Matt Entin and Ed Kuehnel (Valiant HeartsMario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Lumberjack Man), artist Dan Schkade (Will Eisner’s The SpiritBattlestar Galactica: Gods & Monsters), colorist Marissa Louise (Spell on WheelsMystery Girl) and letterer Dave Lanphear (Shirtless Bear-Fighter, Quantum & Woody).

Inspired by the colorful days of 1980s pro-wrestling, the six-issue mini-series kicks off when disgruntled professional wrestler “Rock ‘n Roll” Rory Landell declares himself “galactic champion of the universe”, which a hostile planet of wrestling aliens takes as a declaration of war from Planet Earth.

Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia

Nasquatch

Written by CW Cooke and Kelly Williams
Art by Kelly Williams

Nasquatch is the story of Nas and Denny, two disparate souls brought together by racing, cars, and a love of the outdoors. Also, Nas is a sasquatch who is an unbelievable driver and Denny lives in a trailer park and just wants a better life.

Nasquatch will be a digital-first comic book series launching in 2019, first appearing in the pages of the Starburns Presents Free Comic Book Day issue from SBI Press and going from there digitally and eventually seeing print in trade paperback format.

Nasquatch

B-Squad

Written by Eben Burgoon
Art by Michael Calero

Following the missions of a squad of misfit mercenaries that range from pop-culture riffs to cut from whole cloth oddity — the expendable mercs just never seem to catch a break and face the Thanksgiving leftovers of upper-tier mercenary groups. The debut effort revisits Burgoon’s story made with artist Lauren Monardo which was originally released in early 2013. “Conspiracy in Cambodia” sees B-Squad head to Cambodia as they are tasked with protecting free-range cadre of “mugwai” from a group of radicalized hipsters poaching the furry critters for unknown gain.

Each “mission” of B-Squad will be released in a giant-size format and feature a Saturday Morning Cereal style collection of “tangent comics” including Burgoon’s newest series “Tiny Wizards” and Michael Calero’s “Monster Safari” as well as expansive activities, games, and magazine content that will remind people of dentist-office staples like Highlights magazine and ZooBooks.

B-Squad

Hellicious Presents: Pick Your Perdition

Written by A.C. Medina and Mina Elwell
Art by Kit Wallis and Trevor Richardson

Continuing Hellicious with its first spin off book, Pick Your Perdition #1: Seeking Briggy, will be an interactive comic set in the world of Hellicious. Following the untimely demise of goth rocker, Briggy Bundy, his surviving band has been left with a great big iconic lead singer-sized hole in their lives which they desperately need to fill. You, the reader, will become  the new frontman of Briggy Bundy’s band, but the fans aren’t interested in change and will only accept the original Briggy. To succeed, you will need the help of Briggy himself and all the supernatural powers to intercede on your behalf.

Hellicious Presents: Pick Your Perdition

FCBD 2019’s edition of “Starburns Presents” will also feature an excerpt of the upcoming digital first series, Gryffen, written by Ben Kahn and illustrated by Bruno Hidalgo, of Heavenly Blues fame and Josh Fadem of 30 Rock will present a sneak peek of his book A Whole New Set of Problems. Fadem’s book will be a collection of humor shorts in the style of Shel Silverstein, but more in line with the offbeat humor of Starburns Industries Press. In Gryffen, humanity has taken to the stars, and crushed it in an iron fist. The most powerful and tyrannical faction of humans call themselves the Sovereign Reach. But one captain has had enough, and they’re willing to burn down the universe to destroy their own kind. Cpt. Lyla Gryffen, driven insane and branded a traitor, recruits a crew of mad scientists and rogue officers to steal a ship and achieve their singular philosophy: introduce rapid, unchecked technological progress with the explicit aim of destabilizing the entire galactic society. Chasing Gryffen is Admiral Rosalind Hunter, a ruthless soldier who will protect the Reach’s stability at any cost. It’s a race to the edge of the universe as these iron wills clash. 

Eric Esquivel is Now Off Nightwing and Tweets a New Statement Addressing Accusations of Abuse

In early December, comic creator Eric M. Esquivel was accused of abuse, both physical and mental, by a former co-worker. Since then numerous other accusations have surfaced, his series Border Town was cancelled, and he was dropped by SBI Press. Now, he’s off DC ComicsNightwing.

DC Comics has informed retailers that Esquivel will no longer be co-writing Nightwing #58 which is to come out in March. He hadn’t yet been announced on the issue, as March’s solicitations are just being released. While his name will appear in the January DC Previews, he will no longer be involved. DC hasn’t update the credits though, so it’s unknown as to who will be taking over. The issue was thought to be a try-out for Esquivel on the series which he would then take over. That is likely not happening either.

While DC didn’t say why they made it’s change, it’s the latest fallout surrounding the accusations. Accusations that Esquivel addressed again December 19 after releasing an initial statement on December 14.

You can read his new statement from Twitter below:

Well-meaning entities in my life have discouraged me from saying anything in public. I’ve been told that the best strategy right now is to “hold tight, until this all blows over”…But I don’t want this to “blow over”. Either in my own life, or in Culture-at-large.

What I want, is to apologize. To serve as a cautionary tale to others. And to change.

Hearing my past behavior described to me this week has been the most surreal experience of my life. My perception of events, relationships, and personal dynamics are so far removed from the way they’ve been recounted, my knee-jerk reaction is to deny them outright…

…Both publicly, and to myself.

But the sources of these accusations are women who I not only respect, but who I genuinely love.

These are people whose presence in my life has changed me for the better, and who I am infinitely grateful to have known. People who I’ve kept in intimate contact with since the years we’ve been apart.

So it doesn’t make sense that they’d simply be making things up. They have nothing to gain, and everything to lose.

The odds suggest that I have a problem. Or, rather, that I AM a problem.

And, honestly, that’s something I’ve been at least peripherally aware of for some time. Everything I’ve ever written has been about a young man, operating at a deficit because he grew up without a father, trying his damndest to figure out what it means to be a “man”.

And that’s because I was pulling from my own experience. I grew up without any male role models. So I looked to Pop Culture for instructions. A lot of what I learned was useful: the sobriety I reverse-engineered from Batman, the compassion for animals that I aped from Aquaman,etc

But the stuff I learned about male sexuality– from James Bond, Arthur Fonzarelli, Gene Simmons, etc– were completely inappropriate.

(To be clear: I’m not blaming Pop Culture for my actions. If I didn’t grow up behind a library, I would’ve found other archetypes to emulate. Possibly even shittier ones)

I was, and continue to be, insecure in my masculinity.

In my twenties, I tried to combat that by doing everything I could to muster up external validation: getting into fistfights, pursuing the spotlight, and behaving extraordinarily promiscuously. Especially with other men’s wives and girlfriends.

It kills me that I have to say this, but: I never engaged with anyone who was unwilling. Not only is that downright evil, it wouldn’t have accomplished what I was trying to accomplish: which is to feel wanted and appreciated.

I became conscious of my own toxic behavior about two years ago, after a close female friend suggested that I examine myself from that perspective.

I’ve attempted to change the way I’ve lived since then. I’ve volunteered at various community-oriented charities, taught writing classes to formerly-incarcerated youth, used my platform in The Arts to amplify the voices of disadvantaged creators…

… but I never reached out to the women from my past, to make sure that I hadn’t unknowingly harmed them. Mostly because I am a coward, and feared hearing that the answer was “Yes, of course”.

I don’t know what to say about that. I don’t know how to make things okay. I don’t know how I can be of use to culture, going forward.

Is it by encouraging other men to examine themselves, and their behavior? Is it by documenting my recovery from sex addiction in public, to show that it’s possible? Is it by fucking off into the night forever, so nobody has to deal with me ever again?

Honestly, I hope it’s that last one. Because that’s the easy way out. &, as I’ve mentioned, I’m a coward.

…But I suspect that it’s not. I suspect that I’m not operating on a level of awareness that allows me to see the answer yet. But I’m going to try to get there. I promise.

Nasquatch Delivers Sasquatches, Fast Cars, and Trailer Parks

What’s that howling in the distance? Somewhere lurking between Arkansas and Kansas…a guttural call of a creature long thought mythical…calling out from deep within the…trailer park? Comic creators Kelly Williams and CW Cooke chronicle the exploits of Nasquatch, a comic series to be published by Starburns Industries Press!

Nasquatch is the story of Nas and Denny, two disparate souls brought together by racing, cars, and a love of the outdoors. Also, Nas is a sasquatch who is an unbelievable driver and Denny lives in a trailer park and just wants a better life.

The idea of Nasquatch was won by Kelly Williams in an arm wrestling match against a chupacabra. Kelly decimated the 3 ft 4 inch malnourished cryptid and then approached CW to assist in telling this tale. A tale so wonderfully insane it would take 10 people to tell, but they decided to settle on doing the best they could between themselves so they didn’t have to split the money 10 ways!

Nasquatch will be a digital-first comic book series launching in 2019, first appearing in the pages of the Starburns Presents Free Comic Book Day issue from SBI Press and going from there digitally and eventually seeing print in trade paperback format.

Starburns Presents Free Comic Book Day
Nasquatch

SBI Press Part Ways with Eric Esquivel Over Accusations

This week, comic creator Eric Esquivel was accused of physical and emotional abuse by another creator. You can read about that here. At the time of the initial article, we reached out to publishers he currently works with to see if they had a statement. Tonight we heard from SBI Press for which Esquivel writes the series Fantasmagoria.

So sorry to not get back to you sooner. We’ve been understandably distraught over what has happened and what we have learned. In light of what we have learned we are halting publication on Fantasmagoria and are not working with Eric Esquivel on any publications or in any capacity going forward. 

– SBI Press official statement

While we had heard that the publisher would be parting ways with Esquivel and had just been awaiting an official word.

We’ve heard there will be a statement coming from DC Comics whose imprint Vertigo Esquivel publishes Border Town. Two of his collaborators on that comic have announced they would be parting ways from the project.

Comic Creator Accused of Sexual Assault and Emotional Abuse (Updatex4)

A new allegation about a comic creator was laid out a few days ago. Cynthia Naugle took to her blog to discuss the abuse, both physical and mental, she experienced by a comic creator while they both worked at a comic book shop.

You can read about her experience and the allegations (warning it is traumatic). The creator is accused of sexual assault and emotional abuse while the two worked together.

She doesn’t name her abuser (and our debate on how to proceed to cover this due to that caused the delay in an article) but it’s easy to figure out exactly who she is referring to:

  • He was a guest at Tuscon Comic Con 2018
  • He’s from Tuscon
  • He recently had a series launched at Vertigo

You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out who the individual is, Eric Esquivel, the writer of Border Town for Vertigo and series like Fantasmagoria and Gregory Graves for SBI Press.

Since Naugle has come forward, others have recounted their negative experiences including incidents at Heroescon and accusations of unsolicited text messages. Naugle’s own post hints at multiple others that she has spoken to.

We’ve reached out to DC and SBI for comment and will follow up with updates. Esquivel has not made a statement. He’s deleted his social media presence other than his Twitter account which is now private.

Update: Though no official statement has been made yet, an employee of SBI has said they will be parting ways with Esquivel saying the “behavior described is reprehensible.” The official statement by SBI.

Update: Ramon Villalobos and Tamra Bonvillain have announced they are leaving the comic.

Update: DC Comics has announced Border Town is cancelled and the released issues are now returnable.

Update: Esquivel has released a statement.

Review: ¡Fantasmagoría! #1

HBO has had a history of delivering excellent shows with amazing talent that pushes boundaries. The network often told stories that most mainstream outlets rarely touched or even cared to. They wanted to introduce a new standard of prestige television and it did exactly that. One of its most memorable features was the Hudlin Brothers’ Cosmic Slop as it touched on subject matter affecting persons of color. Since then, not much content has came out that resembled anything near to the impact that feature had. In SBI Press’ newest book ¡Fantasmagoría!, we get an echo of yesteryear with a Latinx twist in what horror fans can relish.

In “El Corazon Negro,” one veteran Lucha Libre has an epic brawl with Death himself, but not everything goes as planned. In “The Flying Coffin,” one man makes a deal with devil only to be outsmarted by Hell’s Angel himself. In “Put A Little Chile In It,” one woman consults a witch for a love potion only to leave the object of her desire, literally in flames. By issue’s end, each story has the reader on the edge of their seat and leaves them little creeped out.

Overall, it’s an excellent first issue in what is landmark series that gives the world a series of horror vignettes that will both entertain and scare. The stories by Eric M. Esquivel and James A. Fino reminds me of how episodes from Tales From The Crypt used to make me feel. The art by the creative team more than compliments each story. Altogether, it’s an astonishing debut that will both thrill and frighten in the same breath.

Story: Eric M. Esquivel and James A. Fino
Art: Julieta Colas, Victor Moura, Fernando Pinto, Trevor Richardson, Beli De La Torre, Kote Carvajal, Henry Barajas
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

« Older Entries