Tag Archives: shadowline

Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett Return this April to Section Zero

The award winning team of writer Karl Kesel and artist Tom Grummett return to their fan-favorite, critically acclaimed series, Section Zero. The science-fiction adventure is set to launch from Image Comics and Shadowline Comics this April. 

Section Zero kicks off with Part One: “Ground Zero,” where readers meet a team of fearless adventurers. Together the crew uncovers the secrets behind UFOs, monsters, and lost civilizations in a story that can best be described as, “Jack Kirby does The X-Files.” 

Section Zero will feature alternate covers by super-star artists including Walter Simonson, George Perez, Adam Hughes, Dave Gibbons, Mike Wieringo, and many more! 

Section Zero #1 by Cover A by Kesel & Grummett (Diamond Code FEB190024), Cover B by Walter Simonson (Diamond Code FEB190025), and Cover C by Jerry Ordway (Diamond Code FEB190026).

Section Zero #1 Cover A
Section Zero #1 Cover B
Section Zero #1 Cover C

Rat Queens Get a Special with Neon Static

Fans will experience a cyberpunk take on the Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Will Kirkby from Image Comics and Shadowline this July in an electrically thrilling one-shot, Rat Queens Special: Neon Static.

Readers will need to strap themselves in for a ride to an alternate and futuristic world, where the Rat Queens take to the neon streets of Palisade as an elite team of shadow operatives. An anonymous fiend creeps through the dark web, stealing identities and blackmailing innocent civilians for cold, hard Goldyen—and only the Queens can stop him!

Rat Queens Special: Neon Static one-shot (Diamond Code MAY180047) hits stores on Wednesday, July 18th. The final order cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, June 25th.

From Sh*t My President Says to Memoirs of a Very Stable Genius

New Yorker cartoonist and multiple Eisner Award-winner Shannon Wheeler debuts Memoirs of a Very Stable Genius this July from Image Comics and Shadowline Comics.

Memoirs of a Very Stable Genius is an irreverent book of personal short stories and gags featuring Shannon Wheeler’s critically acclaimed humor, pathos, and honesty—including a 40-page full-color section!

Memoirs of a Very Stable Genius TP (Diamond code: MAY180071, ISBN: 978-1-5343-0966-1) hits comic book stores Wednesday, July 11th and bookstores Tuesday, July 17th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, June 4th.

Rat Queens Vol. 2 #1 Heads Back to Print

Image Comics and Shadowline have announced that Rat Queens #1 written by Kurtis Wiebe with art by Owen Gieni is being rushed back to print. The Rat Queens #1 #1, 2nd printing and Rat Queens #2 of the highly anticipated reboot will hit stores on Wednesday, April 12th.

The Rat Queens reboot begins with “Cat Kings and Other Garys,” Part One. The Rat Queens are back! Betty, Violet, Dee, Braga, and Hannah return! Palisade is still a rat-infested troll’s ass, and everyone still hates Gary. It’s been awhile since the Queens have done a good slaughter, so join them as they get back to the basics of killing monsters and drinking away the profits!

Fans won’t want to miss out on this brawling, foul-mouthed fun with a fresh artistic spin and new adventures on the horizon.

The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers for Rat Queens, Vol. 2 #1, 2nd printing (Diamond Code JAN178754), Rat Queens, Vol. 2 #2 Cover A by Gieni (Diamond Code FEB170671), and Cover B (Diamond Code JAN178755) is Monday, March 20th.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 5/1/16

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

TEMPLARS_2_Cover A_Chris Thornley4001 A.D. #1 (Valiant) – Valiant’s Summer Event technically kicks off with this issue, but 4001AD #1 is a direct continuation of the events from the last couple of issues of Rai’s solo series. While you don’t need to read them to enjoy this issue (there is a stunning recap page or three) it certainly doesn’t hurt matters. Despite the possibility that some readers may not be as familiar with the characters here, this is a beautiful comic book – or at least it was on my iPhone screen – and I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy (expect a bigger review next week). If you’re Valiant fan, this should be on your pull list, and if you’re not it’s still well worth a read. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Smosh #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) – Was… kinda interesting, but not really my cup of tea. I’ll probably read the next issue or two, but I can’t justify recommending it yet. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Read it if you’re curious, but it’s more of a Pass

Kings Quest #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) – Despite being labelled as a first issue I felt like there was more of a back story than was explained (and I don’t think it’s a case of Just Wait Ad All Will Be REVEALED!), but other than that this was a good diversion for ten minutes. There’s some moments that made me laugh, and that almost made up for my disorientation when reading the issue. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Assassin’s Creed: Templars #1 (Titan Comics) – I honestly never expected I’d be rooting for a Templar in the Assassin’s Creed universe, but with this series I find that I am absolutely doing that. Templars is a solid comic; the artwork is appropriately dark and swathed in shadows, deliberately obscuring the Black Cross at times. It’s a nice touch, and one that helps the character come off as the boogeyman that he’s supposed to be. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy if you an Assassins Creed fan, Read it anyway if you’re not.

 

Shean

The Paybacks Vol 1Paybacks Volume 1 (Dark Horse Comics) – When it comes to superhero parodies, Mystery Men, The Tick, and Kick Ass , come to mind , and a few forgettable ones, all come to mind , as they mostly make fun of the genre, with only a few actually honoring it, enter the Paybacks. Just like the Watchmen, touched on the realities of being a superhero, so does this book in rollicking fashion. As we meet a cast of characters, who resemble a few of your favorites much like the way Image’s Sex does, they go about repossessing different superheroes properties as they default on their loans. Within this first story arc, a killer is on the loose, and clues through the story lead the reader right to who it is. Story: 9 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

 

Ryan

Jacked #6 (DC Comics/Vertigo)* – A very satisfying if thoroughly unsurprising conclusion to what’s been, all told, an excellent little series that’s largely flown under the radar. Eric Kripke’s story has combined super-hero revisionism and mid-life regrets in a manner both seamless and painfully, joyously human, while John Higgins’ art has been a “warts-and-all” feast for the eyes. I’ll miss having this on my monthly pull, and while it’s set up nicely for a sequel that will probably never come to pass, it stands just fine (and then some) on its own. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #4 (DC Comics)*  – Only this series could give you an issue where Superman fucking dies (whoops! Spoilers!) and somehow make it feel like a complete waste of time. The story plods along as Carrie Kelly assumes another new identity (this time that of Batgirl), and the former inhabitants of Kandor continue their bog-standard takeover techniques. Brian Azzarello achieves the dubious honor of somehow making a contemporary Frank Miller script even worse via his contributions, while Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson keep on keepin’ on approximating the original “Dark Knight Returns” look to the best of their ability — a task which, at this point, is just getting sad. Overall : 3 Recommendation: Pass

PowerLines02_CoverPower Lines #2 (Image/Shadowline)**  – Jimmie Robinson’s topical exploration of how superpowers (could) affect the urban/suburban and black/white divide certainly continues to be interesting, but while his art remains gorgeous to look at, this issue’s story is perhaps a bit too earnest for its own good, devolving into outright preachiness on many occasions and reducing characters that seemed reasonably fleshed out last time around into mouthpieces for various points of view. Also, no mention whatsoever of the intriguing Native American mythologically-based origins of these powers is anywhere to be found. The whole comic feels like it could’ve benefited from some tighter editing. Still intrigued enough to keep going, but this was a big step back from an excellent debut. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Read

Batman #51 (DC Comics) – So, the Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo era comes to a close with an issue that can best be described as an epilogue, but at least it seems a reasonably heartfelt good-bye. There’s no real “threat” on offer here — one is hinted at, but you know it ain’t gonna amount to squat — but as a 22-page victory lap for a couple of creators who’ve had a good run, I can’t fault this book in the least. And it’s nice to see them bid farewell not just to Batman, but to all of Gotham. You’re not going to get choked up or anything, but you’ll probably think to yourself “that was a nice way to go out.” I certainly did. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write.

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Faster Than Light Brightens Skydance TV

Skydance TelevisionImage/Shadowline Comics is pleased to announce that the hit sci-fi series Faster Than Light by Brian Haberlin will be developed for television by Skydance Entertainment.

The Faster Than Light series sets itself apart by pairing with an augmented reality app created by Haberlin’s Anomaly Productions, allowing readers to experience the story in 3D.

Tomorrow we discover the key to faster than light travel and our world will never be the same. In Faster Than Light Captain William Forest and those under his storied command are in a race against time, and he’s one of the few on board who knows it. A lethal first contact and a planet-eating lifeform are just the tip of the celestial iceberg of Discovery’s quest: Save Earth and all her people from the mysterious forces coming to destroy her. Features Anomaly’s free cutting-edge Augmented Reality app, which makes it look like interactive holograms are coming out of the book.

Faster Than Light, Vol. 1 is available now for $9.99. Faster Than Light #6 hits stores on May 11. Faster Than Light #7 hits stores on June 8.

Faster Than Light

Image Comics Announces 20 Comics and More at Image Expo

Today at the Showbox Market Theater in Seattle, Washington, Image Comics kicked-off Emerald City Comicon with Image Expo and a slew of exciting creator-owned announcements.

They also announced a new initiative Creators for Creators as well.

Image Comics revealed the following creator-owned projects set to launch in the coming year and beyond.

AFAR by Leila del Duca & Kit Seaton

Critically-acclaimed, Russ Manning nominated SHUTTER artist Leila Del Duca teams up as co-creator and writer alongside artist, colorist, and letterer Kit Seaton (THE BLACK BULL OF NORROWAY, EVE OF ALL SAINTS) for an original graphic novel, AFAR.

In AFAR, Boetema suddenly develops the ability to astrally project to other worlds, unintentionally possessing the bodies of people light years away. Inotu, her inquisitive brother with a pension for trouble, finds himself on the run after he’s caught eavesdropping on an illegal business deal between small town business tycoons and their cyborg bodyguard. When Boetema accidentally gets someone hurt while in another girl’s body, the siblings are forced to work together to solve the problems they’ve created on their planet and others.

AFAR hits shelves this Fall 2016.

afar

BLACK CLOUD by Jason Latour, Ivan Brandon, Greg Hinkle, Matt Wilson, Aditya Bidikar, Tom Muller, edited by Maria Ludwig
Co-creators Jason Latour (SOUTHERN BASTARDS, Spider-Gwen), Ivan Brandon (DRIFTER, VIKING) and Greg Hinkle (AIRBOY, THE RATTLER), team up with colorist Matt Wilson (THE WICKED + THE DIVINE), letterer Aditya Bidikar, designer Tom Muller, and editor Maria Ludwig for an all-new series called, BLACK CLOUD.

Once upon a time…They built a world where dreams come true… And those dreams went to war. In BLACK CLOUD, we meet Zelda: exiled to Earth, her dreams of revolution are gone, but she still holds the key to the world she left behind. And it’s for sale.

BLACK CLOUD is set to launch in Fall 2016.

black cloud

THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS by Jonathan Hickman & Tomm Coker 
All hail god money! From Jonathan Hickman (EAST OF WEST, Secret Wars, Avengers) and Tomm Coker (Undying Love) comes a mythical reinterpretation of modern global economics.

THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS is classic occult indoctrination where the secret schools of magic are actually clandestine banking cartels who control all of society—a hidden world where vampire Russian oligarchs, Black Popes, enchanted American aristocrats, and hitmen from the International Monetary Fund work together to keep ALL OF US in our rightful place.

Each issue contains world-expanding bonus content like maps, corporate organization charts, decoded apocrypha, and stock tips to die for.

THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS is a brand new, crypto-noir series about dirty, filthy, money… and what kind of people you can buy with it. Set to launch in Fall 2016.

the black monday murders

THE DIVIDED STATES OF HYSTERIA by Howard Chaykin
Howard Chaykin (SATELLITE SAM, BLACK KISS, AMERICAN FLAGG!) with the able assistance of Jesus Aburto on coloring, and Ken Bruzenak on lettering, unleashes THE DIVIDED STATES OF HYSTERIA.

THE DIVIDED STATES OF HYSTERIA is set in the aftermath of a dirty bomb that wipes New York City off the map, as what will come to be known as the Second American Civil War shatters the domestic landscape in isolated pustules of violence…and a team of five private contractors is charged with stemming this tide of rage and bringing the bombers to justice.

THE DIVIDED STATES OF HYSTERIA launches in Winter 2016.

the divided states of hysteria

GLITTERBOMB by Jim Zub & Djibril Morissette-Phan & K. Michael Russell & Marshall Dillon
Fan-favorite writer Jim Zub and newcomer Djibril Morissette-Phan come together with colorist K. Michael Russell and letterer Marshall Dillon for GLITTERBOMB.

“Probably the only thing I love more than comics is cinema,” said Morissette-Phan. “Which makes Glitterbomb a dream project since it’s a perfect blend of both.”

Set in Hollywood, GLITTERBOMB is a horror story about failed fame and blood-soaked revenge.

GLITTERBOMB is set to launch in late Summer 2016.

glitterbomb

HORIZON, by Brandon Thomas, Juan Gedeon & Frank Martin (Skybound)
Writer Brandon Thomas, artist Juan Gedeon, and colorist Frank Martin team up for an all-new series from Image/Skybound titled, HORIZON.

In HORIZON, Zhia Malen thought she’d fought her very last war, until she learned her planet was targeted for occupation…by a desperate world called Earth. The people of Earth will be told that her arrival on our planet means invasion. These are lies. This is retaliation, and Horizon explores what happens when our planet finally runs out of second chances. And when we meet an alien race just as committed to survival as we are…

HORIZON is set to launch from Image/Skybound in July 13, 2016.

horizon

THE HUNT by Colin Lorimer, Jim Campbell, and Joana Lafuente (Shadowline Comics)
Critically acclaimed writer/artist Colin Lorimer (Harvest) teams up with letterer Jim Campbell and colorist Joana Lafuente for THE HUNT.

At her father’s deathbed, Orlaigh Roche came face to face with the age-old myth of The Slaugh; a group of soul-stealing spirits so evil that not even hell would take them. Years later, and with the belief that her father’s soul is still trapped in some form of the netherworld, she goes looking for answers—beginning a journey that leads her down a path to discover what really happens to us after we die.

THE HUNT begins in 2016 from Image/Shadowline Comics.

the hunt

ISOLA by Brenden Fletcher & Karl Kerschl 
Bestselling creators Brenden Fletcher (Batgirl of Burnside, Gotham Academy) and Karl Kerschl (Gotham Academy, The Abominable Charles Christopher) re-team for ISOLA—an epic fantasy adventure series with the scope of Game of Thrones and the spirit of Princess Mononoke.

ISOLA is set in a mystical land where the queen’s brother enacts a treacherous plot to transform her into a tiger. The captain of the guard, a woman of great skill, brings swift and lethal vengeance, unaware the wicked prince alone has the power to reverse the spell. The two women—one on two legs, one on four—must undertake a perilous journey halfway across the globe to the fabled island of ISOLA, gateway to the underworld, where they hope to find the spirit of the queen’s late brother and return her to human form.

ISOLA is set to launch in Spring 2017.

isola

KILL OR BE KILLED by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Elizabeth Breitweiser
Bestselling writer Ed Brubaker (THE FADE OUT, FATALE), artist Sean Phillips (THE FADE OUT, FATALE), and colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser (THE FADE OUT, FATALE, OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA) reunite for KILL OR BE KILLED, the ultimate pulp crime comic.

KILL OR BE KILLED is the story of a troubled young man who is compelled to kill bad people, and how he struggles to keep his secret, as it slowly begins to ruin his life and the lives of his friends and loved ones.

Both a thriller and a deconstruction of vigilantism, KILL OR BE KILLED is unlike anything Brubaker and Phillips have done together in their long partnership.

KILL OR BE KILLED is set to launch in Summer 2016.

kill or be killed

LAKE OF FIRE by Nathan Fairbairn & Matt Smith
Co-creators Nathan Fairbairn (Scott Pilgrim, Batman Incorporated) and Matt Smith (Barbarian Lord) come together for an all-new series titled LAKE OF FIRE.

In LAKE OF FIRE it is 1220 AD, and the gears of the Albigensian Crusade grind on. When an alien mining craft infested with legions of bloodthirsty predators crash-lands in the remote wilderness of the French Pyrenees, a small band of crusaders and a Cathar heretic are all that stands between God’s Kingdom and Hell on Earth.

LAKE OF FIRE is set to launch in Summer 2016.

lake of fire

MOONSHINE by Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso, edited by Will Dennis
From Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso—the Eisner award-winning creative team behind the crime classic, 100 Bullets—comes the brutal new series, MOONSHINE.

MOONSHINE is set during the Prohibition Era, deep in the backwoods of Appalachia and tells the story of Lou Pirlo, a city-slick “torpedo” sent from New York City to negotiate a deal with the best moonshiner in West Virginia, one Hiram Holt. Lou figures it for milk run—how hard could it be to set-up moonshine shipments from a few ass-backward hillbillies? What Lou doesn’t figure on is that Holt is just as cunning as ruthless as any NYC crime boss and Lou is in way over his pin-striped head. Because not only will Holt do anything to protect his illicit booze operation, he’ll stop at nothing to protect a much darker family secret…a bloody, supernatural secret that must never see the light of day… or better still, the light of the full moon.

MOONSHINE #1 will hit stores in Fall 2016 and marks the first time Azzarello and Risso have worked together with Image Comics and reunites the acclaimed creative team that defined modern crime comics with 100 Bullets… and now puts a horror-twist on a classic gangster tale.

moonshine

MOTOR CRUSH by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, & Babs Tarr
From the creative team behind the popular, New York Times bestselling Batgirl of Burnside—Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr—comes MOTOR CRUSH—is a stylish, neon-soaked, revved up science-fiction action series.

By day, a Domino Swift competes for fame and fortune in a worldwide motorcycle racing league. By night, she cracks helmets of rival gangs in brutal, illegal bike wars on the city streets to gain possession of a rare and valuable contraband: an engine-boosting “machine narcotic” known as MOTOR CRUSH. But the origins—and ultimate purpose—of this mysterious substance are unknown, and could put her on a collision course with danger…

MOTOR CRUSH rides into town this December 2016.

motor crush

PRIMA by Jen Van Meter, Rick Burchett, Eric Newsom, edited by Jeanine Schaefer
Spies.
Thieves.
Ballerinas.
PRIMA.
You don’t always see who’s standing in the spotlight.

Creators Jen Van Meter and artist Rick Burchett team up to tell an all-new story about a dance company—comprised entirely of former spies—righting the wrongs of the Cold War in a series called, PRIMA.

PRIMA follows Sophia Forais and Pauline French are the soloist and Managing Director of a dance company that once served as a front for a Resistance cell in France. Engaged for a long run in New York, the dancers have turned their attention and unique skills to aiding a veteran of the Romanian underground now being blackmailed by her American husband. The small operation should prove simple, but Sophia, Paulina and their colleagues will quickly learn that the war has not really ended, and the world is no less ruthless than it was when they were smuggling information and refugees during the Occupation.

An espionage/romance adventure set in the arts world just after WWII, PRIMA is a warm-hearted series of intrigues: To Catch a Thief goes to the ballet.

On stands in FALL 2016.

prima

PRINCE OF CATS by Ron Wimberly 
PRINCE OF CATS written and drawn by Ron Wimberly, lettered by Jarred Fisher, and featuring design by Jorden Haley returns to print from Image Comics.

PRINCE OF CATS was first released from Vertigo to critical acclaim in the summer 2012. It was out of print before the following summer. After three years, it will be returning to print through Image Comics.

PRINCE OF CATS is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead meets The Warriors meets Sword of Doom. PRINCE OF CATS sets Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in an alt-universe, mid-eighties New York where dueling with live blades evolved as a cultural phenomenon alongside New York’s other street cultures; it eschews the story of the titular star-crossed lovers to follow the tragic story of Tybalt, the Prince of Cats.

PRINCE OF CATS, the definitive remastered author’s edition, is set to release in Fall 2016.

prince of cats

ROCKSTARS by Joe Harris & Megan Hutchison
Fan-favorite Joe Harris (THE X-FILES, SNOWFALL) teams up with artist Megan Hutchison for an all-new, ongoing series a la Almost Famous meets Supernatural called, ROCKSTARS.

ROCKSTARS follows a pair of young, rock ‘n roll investigators as they uncover a mystery involving a legendary band, dead groupies, human sacrifice and a supernatural undercurrent connecting so many famous—and even more undiscovered—secrets, myths and conspiracies peppering rock music throughout the ages.

When a pattern of unsolved ‘groupie’ murders dating back to the 1970s resumes in present-day Los Angeles, nobody makes the connection except for Jackie Mayer, a young rock nerd who not only knows everything about music history, trivia and its myriad secrets and factoids, but also harbors a mysterious, almost magical ability to ‘see’ what most people miss, and determine and divine what’s going unreported.

Joined by a music writer and aspiring investigative reporter named Dorothy Buell, and his loyal cat, Skydog, they soon uncover a vast mystery involving a legendary band’s exploits, their mercurial guitarist’s occult associations, demonic possession, and sacrifices to the dark gods of rock.

Each story arc will feature a case sprung from a different rock n’ roll era—British Invasion, Punk, 80s Heavy Metal, etc.—and draw on Jackie’s unique connection, knowledge, and darkly magical associations to crack them.

The series will launch in Fall 2016.

rockstars

ROMULUS by Bryan Hill & Nelson Blake II (Top Cow Productions)
Fan-favorite writer Bryan Hill (POSTAL) and Nelson Blake II come together for an all-new Image/Top Cow series in ROMULUS.

Set in the near future, ROMULUS follows the last in a line of near-mystical martial artists wages a revolutionary war against The Order of Romulus, the ancient secret society that trained her—a global organization, hidden in plain sight, that’s controlled the world since the days of Ancient Rome.

Their plan? Cull the population with genocide and rule a New World Order. Her plan? Kill them all or die angry.

Romulus launches from Top Cow/Image in Fall 2016.

romulus

SEVEN TO ETERNITY by Rick Remender & Jerome Opeña
Writer Rick Remender reteams with collaborators Jerome Opeña (Uncanny X-Force, Fear Agent) and Matt Hollingsworth (TOKYO GHOST, WYTCHES) to bring readers a modern fantasy series following Adam Osidis, a dying knight from a disgraced house, on a mission to rid his world of an insidious God who ensnared him in a Faustian deal.

Gharils Sulm, The God of Whispers is a Machiavellian warlord who holds sway everywhere in the world of Zhal. He’s spread an omnipresent paranoia to every corner of the kingdoms; one of his spies hides in every house, every family, every hall, spreading mistrust and fear.

Adam must choose between joining a hopeless band of magic users in their desperate bid to free their world of the evil God’s burden or give in to the The God of Whispers’ promises of salvation and safety.

The series is set to launch in the Fall of 2016.

seven to eternity

SURGEON X by Sara Kenney & John Watkiss, James Devlin, & Jared K. Fletcher, edited by Karen Berger 
Writer Sara Kenney and artist John Watkiss come together for an all new series, SURGEON X, and join forces with the award-winning Karen Berger, founding editor of DC’s Vertigo imprint.

Set against the backdrop of an antibiotic apocalypse in near future London. Rosa Scott, a brilliant and obsessive surgeon becomes Surgeon X, a vigilante doctor who uses experimental surgery and black market drugs to treat patients. But as Surgeon X, Rosa soon develops a godlike-complex, deciding who will live and who will die. Ultimately, she believes that to survive in this compromised world her own warped moral code is the one she must follow—even if it endangers those closest to her.

The comic is informed by hundreds of conversations with scientists, physicians, historians, economists, ethicists & philosophers to create this deeply disturbing, yet authentic future world.

SURGEON X was funded by a Society Award from Wellcome Trust, an independent global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. They support bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine.

SURGEON X will launch in Fall 2016.

surgeon x

VS by Ivan Brandon, Esad Ribić, Ive Svorcina, Aditya Bidikar, Tom Muller, edited by Sebastian Girner 
Writer Ivan Brandon (DRIFTER) and Esad Ribić (Secret Wars) team up with colorist Ive Svorcina, letterer Aditya Bidikar, designer Tom Muller, and editor Sebastian Girner for a futurist drama in, VS.

VS follows the rise and fall of Satta Flynn, a wildly popular soldier in a time when War has been privatized and is a form of entertainment.

Armies financed and equipped by super-corporations. War medics that double as Pit Mechanics. Satta’s every move is LIVE on TV. And for the first time, Satta finds out what it’s like to lose.

VS is set to launch in Fall 2016.

vs

WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD by Steve Niles & Alison Sampson
Writer Steve Niles teams up with artist Alison Sampson, colorist Stéphane Paitreau, and letterer Clem Robins in WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD.

Sampson used 1970s horror films for inspiration on the artwork and described the book’s overall look as: “about 70% Americana, slightly heightened, like True Blood, and about 30% ripping off of heads.”

A horror-adventure story, WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD follows a family with a teenage son and what happens when their road-trip goes wrong and they find themselves stuck in a town full of satanists.

WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD is set to launch in Fall 2017.

winnebago graveyard

Review : Power Lines #1

5130345-01

Writer/artist/colorist/letterer Jimmie Robinson is a one-man wrecking crew with talent to spare, but in the past your humble critic here has felt like a number of his projects start off well enough, but seem to get sidetracked along the way and fizzle out a bit before — or, perhaps more accurately, instead of— reaching their full potential. With his new Shadowline series Power Lines (published by Image Comics — and full disclosure compels me to inform you that I purchased a copy even though I was also furnished with a digital “freebie,” so hey, the book must be pretty good, right?), my earnest hope is that he’ll buck this trend and give us a series — however long it may last — that exploits its solid-as-hell premise to its fullest and wraps things up in a satisfactory manner when the time comes.

Ya know what, though? I’m in no real rush for that to happen because Power Lines #1 was some seriously good stuff, and this is a story that I’d really like to see take its time developing its characters, fleshing out the nature of their abilities (yes, there are super-powers involved here), and tying together its mythological and contemporary elements into a truly cohesive whole.

Plus, goddamnit, at a time when cops are shooting black kids for no other reason than “he seemed kinda scary to me and his pants were hanging low” (and grand juries are acquitting them for it) and the front-runners for America’s major-party presidential nominations are either tweeting bogus, racist “black-on-black crime” statistics that they got from (I’m not making this up) Nazi websites or trying to back-track on their comments referring to urban youth as “super-predators,” a book about a low-level “gang banger”-type who goes by the street “handle” of “D-Trick” trying to navigate a difficult path through both adolescence and his new quasi-magical abilities strikes me as being an important one, as well.

Toss in the fact that the one other person he encounters who appears to be similarly “blessed” is a racist 48-year-old white widow straight out of Fox “news” central casting, and you begin to see how things could get very interesting very quickly around these parts.

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Shadowline is plugging this one as being “a bold step forward for diversity in comics,” and while Marvel is getting all kinds of credit for the new Ta-Nehisi Coates-written Black Panther series that’s hitting the shelves next week, it should be noted that Robinson has been pounding away in the trenches for a long time and is more than “qualified” to tackle issues of race, class, prejudice, the urban/suburban divide, and related issues given that he’s a veteran, “fifty-something” black creator in a depressingly monochromatic industry. When “D-Trick” and his Oakland-based “crew” hit the all-white suburbs (ostensibly on a “tagging” mission, although one of them appears to have some petty theft on his mind, as well) there’s a palpable sense of tension even before the pigs show up, but the shit doesn’t start to really hit the fan until our protagonist flies away when confronted by the bullies in blue. Things don’t get any easier for him the next day, either, when that racist lady we just mentioned, one Sarah Bellingham, uses an app to track her stolen phone and ventures into Oaktown (do they still call it that?) with her more level-headed ex-Marine son, Kevin, to retrieve her purloined property — only to get “zapped” by a surge of mystical energy herself.

The idea of lines of magical power criss-crossing the globe is a common one in many cultures (the Brits call them “ley lines,” for instance, while the Chinese refer to them as “dragon lines”), but this being California and all, it’s the Native American take on these titular “power lines” that’s at the fore, and a mysterious Shamanistic character, who seems to be able to view events from both afar and up close, is waiting in the wings throughout this issue. So far he appears to be operating strictly in an observer’s role, but you just know that sharing ancient wisdom is his real gig, and  Robinson’s challenge with this so-far-nameless guy going forward will be to both impart some sense of accuracy and authenticity with him as well as to eschew the “info-dumping” that such characters are so often relegated to.  Sure, he’s got a lotta ‘splainin to dooooooo, but let’s hope he does so in a way that doesn’t involve four or five pages of text-heavy “listen, and I’ll tell you a story”-style flashback narration.

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I must confess that I’m already beyond intrigued as to how all these disparate elements are going to coalesce into a singular narrative, and that’s a sure sign that a first issue has done its job. A recent interview on the Image website where Robinson states that his goal with Sarah is to create a real, honest, multi-faceted character who just happens to have some deep-rooted flaws — and, crucially, to explain how and why she came by her “Make America Great Again” mindset — has me eager for more, as well, and shows a welcome (and frankly necessary) willingness on his part to use Power Lines as a tool for dialogue rather than diatribe that a lot of creators, as well as plenty of readers, would do well to take note of. His clean, realistic, unassuming art style further roots these proceedings in a “real world” we can all relate to, and the end result is a fresh and relevant piece of work dealing with weighty themes, weighty truths, and weighty characters in a way that is more concerned with forging an understanding —and hopefully contributing to a resolution — than it is with merely clobbering you over the head with its point of view.

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Which isn’t to say that this book doesn’t have a point of view, though. It clearly does. And while this debut installment could certainly have done with some tighter editing (Kevin is accidentally referred to as Sarah’s “son-in-law” in one panel and information is repeated in two consecutive panels on the second-to-last page), the story here is one that comics — as well as the wider world beyond them — both needs to hear and to understand. Jimmie Robinson seems willing and eager to meet his readership on their “home turf” to start that conversation and to acknowledge the beliefs and opinions of those who disagree with him. That’s both gutsy and mature. And so is the series he’s created here.

Story: Jimmie Robinson Art: Jimmie Robinson
Story : 8 Art : 7 Overall : 7.5 Recommendation : Buy

Review: Pencil Head #1

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When you were a kid, did you harbor fantasies (or should that be delusions?) of becoming a comic book freelancer? I know I did. And I know that a fair number of critics out there still cling tenaciously to the idea that they’re the next great undiscovered writing “talent.” One reason I respect the hell out of the way the powers that be here at Graphic Policy run things is because they make it crystal clear when they’ve received a free digital “copy” of a book so that you, dear reader, can decide for yourself whether or not the “generosity” of a publisher has influenced a critic’s opinion (for instance, you may want to know right off the bat here that the book I’m reviewing today, Ted McKeever‘s Pencil Head #1 from Image/Shadowline, is one that I actually purchased with $3.99 of my own hard-earned money). Other sites I won’t name don’t have the guts to do that, and frankly their legion of unpaid critics like it that way because they just plain don’t want readers to know how cheaply their consciences can be bought, but here’s the sad, simple truth of the matter — there are any number of “review” sites out there that will say something nice about a comic — any comic, no matter how shitty it is — just because they got an advance digital freebie. And what’s the payoff, you may ask, for selling your soul at this bargain-basement price? Get ready to laugh.

Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Except the ability to desperately cling to a fading dream that the “critics” in question should have damn well given up on years ago.

Allow me to (briefly, I promise) explain : when an internet critic for, say, “Great Big Comic Book Website That Really Doesn’t Give A Shit About Comics But Sure Does Care About Movies, Toys, And All That Other Garbage” posts a positive review of a lousy comic that they got to look at two or three days before anyone else for free, said critic hopes — but has no actual way of knowing — that the publisher of that lousy comic will notice the nice things they said and consider that critic to be an ally. If that critic then does this same thing repeatedly — say, 100 times, 1,000 times, or even 10,000 times — why, maybe the “suits” at the various publishing houses will even remember his or her name. And when they need a new writer for one of their low-selling titles like, I dunno, Firestorm or Squirrel Girl, maybe they’ll ask their friend the critic to make a pitch for the book. And maybe, out of all 10 or 12 people they’ve “reached out” to, the critic’s pitch will be the one they accept, and they’ll get to be the new writer on that title.

For about six months until it’s inevitably cancelled.

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If all of this sounds incredibly pathetic, that’s because it is. But let’s say, just for the sake or argument, that our “friend” the critic does manage to get his or her dream job hacking out contrived, derivative comic book scripts for “The Big Two.” Odds are beyond slim, sure, but it’s happened — once or twice. Guess what? They’re still going to be scrambling every bit as much as they were before. That’s  because they still won’t have anything like a secure job, they still won’t have health insurance, they still won’t have a 401(k) or pension, and they will still be earning poverty wages. You see, contrary to what Mr. or Ms. Critic has always believed, the simple fact of the matter is that working in comics doesn’t pay shit unless and until you become a big-time “superstar” creator — and even then you’ve gotta constantly watch your back because your editor is always on the lookout for some starry-eyed fanboy or fangirl at a convention with a promising portfolio who will do your job for half of what you’re making.

I’m sure that all of this sounds like heresy to a good many of you, even though we all know it’s true. But don’t just take my word for it — ask Ted McKeever, who’s somehow managed to survive, against all odds, doing highly personal, idiosyncratic work for most of the major publishers (including “The Big Two”) for almost three decades. In fact, providing readers with a cold, hard dose of comic book reality is what his new five-issue series, Pencil Head, is all about — among other things.

McKeever’s stand-in protagonist for this tale is a hard-working freelance writer/artist named Poodwaddle, who’s getting a bit burned out over the fact that constant editorial interference is diluting all of his work. His publisher (Marvel’s old Epic Comics line in all but name, for whom McKeever did Metropol back in the late-’80s/early-’90s) seems to think that dumbing down his creative output will make his non-superhero-book appeal to superhero fans, and if he won’t do it himself, then they’ll do it for him — at the 11th hour, of course, right before his latest issue goes to press. Things have gotten so bad for Poodwaddle that by the time his book hits the shelves (or, in his case, his pile of freelancer “comp” copies) he can’t bear to look at it.

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What’s a hard-working, disillusioned “independent contractor” to do, then? Why, go get drunk down at the titty bar with one of his fellow creator-pals, of course! The problem is, once there, these two grown men get in a — I shit you not — food fight, and one of the strippers chokes to death on a flying chunk of hamburger meat. Poodwaddle and his buddy then, upstanding citizens that they are, choose to run like hell rather than, ya know, make sure she’s okay, hang around to give the police a statement, or anything honorable and decent like that.

Ugly truth be told, they don’t even seem particularly fazed by the whole thing and more or less laugh it off as they attempt to stay one step ahead of both the authorities — and the toothy demonic entities that seem to be on their tail that they haven’t really noticed yet. So, yeah — they’re obviously a pair of assholes, who work for assholes, and are being pursued by even bigger assholes.

I won’t kid you — if you’re new to McKeever’s work, this probably isn’t the place to start. But then, the same can be said for pretty much any of his projects. They’re all such uniquely warped hellscapes that you’re either going to find yourself saying “hey, I kinda like this even though it probably means I need psychological help” or “this just ain’t for me” within a few pages. For my part, I’ve found something to enjoy in just about all of his comics that I’ve read, and so far that pattern seems to be holding here. I like his broadly-drawn (in the literary, rather than artistic, sense) characters, his deadpan humor, his flair for the absurd, and his nightmarish view of existence. His art style changes quite a bit from project to project, to be sure, yet also remains recognizably his own, regardless of its temporary fluctuations, and so while there’s none of the rich, inky, downright gurgling blackness of his last comic, The Superannuated Man, to be found in Pencil Head, there’s still no mistaking that, yup, this is a Ted McKeever book —so if you generally like his art, you’re generally going to like this. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s an acquired taste, though, and that if I hadn’t acquired it a good many years ago, I’m not sure what I’d make of it, walking into it “uninformed,” as it were, today.

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Still — you can say much the same thing for Crumb, can’t you? Or Clowes. Or Bagge. Or Seth. Or Matt. Or Brown. Or Los Bros. Hernandez. Or Deitch. Or Doucet. Or even Ditko. My point here being — comics needs more singular, unique, creative voices. If that sort of thing isn’t your bag, fine — Marvel and DC have got your need for assembly-line, interchangeable comics covered. The fact that McKeever seems to have found a long-term “home” with Shadowline says a lot for Jim Valentino, as far as I’m concerned, and further cements the opinion many have always held of him as being the most fundamentally ethical and, frankly, classy of Image’s founding partners.

Hmmm — maybe he’ll see this and keep me in mind when Rat Queens or Shadowhawk needs a new writer.

Story : 8 Art : 7 Overall : 7.5 Recommendation : Buy

Tess Fowler and Tamra Bonvillain Join Rat Queens

One thing that Rat Queens fans know for certain is that when one of the good guys goes down in a fight, another steps forward to help swing the tide of battle back in their favor. So, as Stjepan Sejic steps down, two new artists step up to join the New York Times bestselling Rat Queens team.

Shadowline/Image Comics has announced that the wonderfully skilled artist Tess Fowler—who received critical acclaim for her work on Rat Queens: Braga Special #1—will be taking over as series artist with issue #11. Joining her will be Tamra Bonvillain the title’s first colorist! Readers may recognize Bonvillain’s name from her coloring work on Pisces, which is also written by Wiebe.

While Sejic had to cut back due to his workload and illness, he will continue to do covers for the series through issue #15.

Rat Queens #11 (Diamond Code: MAR150504) is due to hit stores on August 12th. The final order cutoff for retailers is July 20th.

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