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Preview: Shahrazad #5

SHAHRAZAD #5

Kim Hutchison; Kari Castor – Story / Mike Krome – Art / Nei Ruffino – Colors

The epic first volume reaches its thrilling conclusion!

The Sirens have returned for revenge against the captor, Janus, and unfortunately for Shahrazad and her crew—they’re all caught in the middle! Don’t miss the thrilling end to this first chapter in this tale of adventure and danger!

SHAHRAZAD #5 is in stores August 5th, 2015!

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We Talk Shahrazad with Mike Krome

krome001Mike Krome is relatively new to the field of comics but he has already made his mark.  Working for a variety of companies he has proven his ability to make stunning covers, but perhaps his best work yet was on the visually impressive Shahrazad.  Originally from Big Dog Ink, this series was republished by Aspen after having purchased the rights.  This gave Mike’s art a second chance to shine.  We got a chance to talk with him about the series.

Graphic Policy:  Can you tell us your inspirations for comic book art?

Mike Krome:  They come from everywhere…mainly other great comic books I grew up with, but also just the infinity of fantastic art being pumped out all over the world in the form of graphic novels, game art, concept art, fantasy illustrations, etc. It’s hard to spend 5 minutes on a social network of other artists and not be inspired.

GP:  In the case of Shahrazad, the character is one based off of a variety of genres. How did you come up with the idea for her appearance with everything that she is associated with?

MK:  A lot of that was already planned out by the writers and creators, with the exception of some costume ideas. For that, you just sort of play around with the genre you’ve chosen until you have something that looks good, and also that you can easily draw multiple times.

krome003GP:  When you are drawing an already established character, what do you do to put your own spin on them? And is it easier to start with a pre-established character or to create a brand new character?

MK:  Both are fun…I enjoy creating stories and characters from scratch, but it’s a enjoyable challenge to bring someone else’s world and concept to life, too. That’s mainly what you’ll be doing anyway, when starting off in comics. I don’t really give much thought to “my own spin”…I just try to make the illustrations look as good as possible, and within that, like with most artists, eventually a recognizable uniqueness comes through.

GP:  Some of your female character could be said to be a bit over-the-top, but what do you do to make sure that you have not gone too far with them?

MK:  Ha, depends on what I’m working on, or who it’s for. Be it Pin-up, Erotica, Book covers, or Posters, there’s not really any generic “female character”, but you do have to use your head and think about what it’s going to be used for and who you’re targeting. You get much more savvy at this as you go, learning to diversify your work too, because much as I enjoy them, everything cant be a curvaceous pin up. Aesthetically, I’m still very much learning too, so feedback from other artists and friends is valuable.

krome002GP:  You are also known for creating some eye catching covers. How do you approach cover design considering the story inside?

MK:  It doesn’t always relate to the story, but I prefer it when they do. I’ll generally get a loose description from the editor, and then come up with a bunch of thumbnail ideas. The ideas aren’t the hard part but picking one out of half a dozen definitely can be. I try to think of what would make me stop and have a second look if I saw that cover in a row of others.

GP:  If you know that you are designing a variant cover, does it give you more freedom in your choices?

MK:  Sometimes. Again, I’ll often get a loose description, as usual, but when the words “do whatever you like” are used, that can be fun.

GP:  Are there any characters that you would like to get a chance to draw?

MK:  Characters like Dejah Thoris and Red Sonja are a lot of fun to draw, and I’d love to do some cover work for them some day!

Preview: Shahrazad #4

SHAHRAZAD #4

Kim Hutchison; Kari Castor – Story / Mike Krome – Art / Nei Ruffino – Colors

The first re-mastered debut from Aspen’s Big Dog Ink imprint concludes!

Shahrazad finds herself in a life-or-death battle for the ages, as she must not only prove that she can survive—but, also, that she can kill!

SHAHRAZAD #4 is in stores July 1st, 2015!

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Review: Shahrazad #3

shahrazad003The Aspen relaunch of the BDI label continues as Shahrazad is released once again to a wider market.  The series was one of the last ones that was published by BDI before the rights to its works was purchased by Aspen, and while its concept was an attractive one which presumably was meant to draw in new readers and give a boost to the former company’s profits, it never really fully coalesced into something meaningful.  The series features the titular Shahrazad as something more than the famous narrator of the the Thousand and One Arabian Nights.  Instead of describing the action she takes part in it, as an immortal character that lives a multitude of adventures across a variety of genres.

While it is a concept which sounds promising – imagine a character that has lived as a version of Maximus, Elizabeth Swan and Furiosa – it ends up being far too confusing.  She does play the pirate here, except it is never really made clear where or why the giant bats come from.  She is also a gladiator, but the means by which she is thrust into combat is poorly explained, nor is the reason for her to do battle.  This shuffles back and forth with the steampunk pirates who have now found an airplane, which is an anachronism of one kind or another.  Then back to the arena, then back to the pirate island where there is a giant rhinoceros/crab hybrid, and then back to the arena again.  There is a bit of a narrative to hold it together, but it is evidently confusing.

While this might have been the series that could have saved BDI, it is a strange choice for Aspen to republish.  The visuals here are fascinating, with an engaging heroine (though maybe a bit too much of the obvious) and with creatures and settings that are full of lush imagery.  The problem is that the story never really catches up to it and furthermore almost seems to sacrifice itself in the name of the visual treats.  If Aspen really wanted to do well by this series, they would let the creative team have another round of writing it and perhaps give them some guidance, because as it is, this series is lost in its own concept.

Story: Kim Hutchison and Kari Castor Art: Mike Krome
Story: 4.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Preview: Shahrazad #3

SHAHRAZAD #3

Kim Hutchison; Kari Castor – Story / Mike Krome – Art / Nei Ruffino – Colors

The first re-mastered debut from Aspen’s Big Dog Ink imprint continues!

It seems everyone is out for Shahrazad’s head, yet there is one who finds her life intriguing enough to keep her alive. Janus sends Shahrazad to the arena to see if he can create an ending for this woman who’s future is as uncertain as her life!

SHAHRAZAD #3 is in stores June 3th, 2015!

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Review: Shahrazad #2

shahrazad002aAspen’s rollout of the previously printed Big Dog Ink materials continues with this second issue of Shahrazad.  Earlier this year Aspen acquired the rights to the entire range of BDI characters, and in a bit of a surprise move decided to lead the way with this series that left a lot of readers a bit confused.  After the story of Shahrazad as told by BDI was a short one and one that was confusing at times as opposed to other BDI properties like Legends of Oz or Penny for Your Soul.  Shahrazad might have been the last big push by BDI to establish a mainstream character but based on the first issues it evidently didn’t really work.

As much can be seen from the plot in this story.  It is somewhat incongruous as the titular character is taken through a sequence of almost non sequitur events, some of which transpire in the past and some of which occur at present (whenever that present it?)  The underlying concept behind this series is a fascinating one, that the narrator of the One Thousand and One Nights became an immortal and lived not only her own stories, but the stories of many others, across multiple genres and time frames.  As shown here the majority of that focus is on her time as a pirate, even if this is poorly explained as it deals both with mermaids and giant flying bats among other parts of its story.

The underlying concept behind this series is also where it gets lost.  The character and setting are never really explained and thus as numerous flashbacks are shown to other times and places it is hard to put together the story of the overall narrative as the mixing of genres and inspirations is hard to keep track of.  If there is one thing to be said for this issue it is the artwork, which is unfortunately far more enticing than the story.  For instance, the second page tells a story in itself through a relatively simple presentation of the main character.  Interestingly enough, there is also one scene which is fairly exploitative, but the writer addresses this in the comments at the back.  The art ends up being the best part of this issue, which is a shame because of the story was a bit more logical is its approach, the art might compensate for the muddied approach.  As it stands though, this ends up being confusing, and raises again the question why Aspen led with this particular BDI property.

Story: Kim Hutchison and Kari Castor Art: Mike Krome
Story: 6.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 6.7 Recommendation: Pass

 

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

the_uncanny_inhumansWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

Top Pick: Southern Bastards #8 (Image Comics) – Have you been reading this series? This is the final chapter in the story how the worst football play rose to become “Coach Boss.” The second story arc of the southern crime series has been as amazing as the first, and cements the series as one of the best out there right now.

Lady Killer #4 (Dark Horse) – The series follows a housewife who’s also a contract killer. The last issue shook things up a bunch, so it’ll be interesting to see where things go from there. I’ve been dying to find out what happens next.

No Mercy #1 (Image Comics) – Alex de Campi and Carla Speed Mcneil’s series about privileged US teens having to make their way home after an accident in Central America sounds very different, and very interesting.

Space Riders #1 (Black Mask Studios) – From the galactic core to the outer quadrants, one name strikes terror in the hearts of evil beings everywhere: the Space Riders! Sailing the cosmos in the Skullship Santa Muerte, Capitan Peligro and his fearless crew deal harsh justice to the scum of the galaxy and in trippy visuals. It’s just too awesome to not give a plug.

UFOlogy #1 (BOOM! Studios) – Writer James Tynion IV has been on a role lately, and with this series he’s joined by Noah J. Yuenkel. The series is about a girl who just wanted to be a normal high school student but after being marked by an alien’s touch stumbles upon a mystery. It seems a bit like Tynion’s other BOOM! series The Woods, but that’s so good, I’m ok with it.

 

Edward

Top Pick: Wonder Woman #40 (DC Comics) – The long teased at battle between Diana and Donna is apparently here, and it may or may not be able to save interest in the Finch’s run on this title.

Jungle Book Fall of the Wild #4 (Zenescope) – This has been a fun series that has managed to capture some of the same spark as the original.

Lady Killer #4 (Dark Horse) – This series almost simultaneously lost and found its soul, but after this issue, it looks as though it is headed for a memorable conclusion.

Shahrazad #1 (Aspen Comics/Big Dog Ink) – The Aspen relaunch of BDI titles begins here with this title that was full of potential although low on promise. If it finishes its run will it get the change to realize it?

Uncanny Inhumans #0 (Marvel) – Its just over a month until the Avengers comes out, and Marvel hopes to capitalize on the Inhumans even more. It will be interesting to see what comes from this series.

 

Elana

Top Pick: Elric the Eternal Champion: The Michael Moorecock Library Volume 1 (Titan Comics) –  Moorecock changed science fiction and fantasy writing forever when he began writing tales of Elric of Melniboné for the Science Fantasy magazine in 1961. His stories were sex, drugs and a dark and troubled sorcerer warrior anti-hero before it was a cliche because he was the first to bring all that to the sword and sorcery genre. We are so lucky to have this creative team retelling Elric stories back in print again. Originally these were published in the 80s but they feel really 70s in the best way possible. If you like sword and sorcery books or hold a place in your heart for psychedelic genre comics you need this book.

Adventure Time Graphic Novel “Grables Shmaybles” (BOOM! Studios/KaBOOM!) –  I love Adventure Time. I think its one of the most important new fictional worlds. I don’t like “slice of life, humorous comic strips” and yet, when I started ready Danielle Corsetto’s slice of life humorous comic strip “Girls With Slingshots” (at Alyssa Rosenberg’s recommendation) I was immediately hooked. It was cute and I was desperate to know what would happen next. If Danielle can get me reading completely outside my genre I can’t wait to see what she does in a fictional world that I love.

Gotham Academy Endgame (DC Comics) – This comic gets better and better and I may be falling in love with it. A fun combination of soap-y and mystery. Charming art and lovable kid characters. The feeling is youthful but with enough ties to the Batman world to keep geeks guessing.

Spider-Gwen #1 2nd Printing (Marvel) – I need to catch up on this series and issue 1 is in a new printing. This looks about as Riot Grrl as a Spider-book can get. That’s a good thing.

Uncanny Inhumans #0 (Marvel) – I’ve been a fan of the Inhumans as characters for years, but I admit most of their appeal for me has been the Kirby costumes and visually interesting power sets. I haven’t really read many of their contemporary adventures– they never quite made the list. But with their new status at the center of the Marvel U and with a team this skillful I’m going to give it a go!

 

Aspen Comics in June 2015

FATHOM BLUE #1

Vince Hernandez – Story / Claudio Avella – Art / Colors – Erick Arciniega

An unlikely team of BLUE rise in this BRAND NEW Fathom series!

They have all risen from beneath the surface. Each for a different purpose yet united in their exile from their homelands below. Looking to blend in—out of sight–amongst humans unaware of their true potential. However, one man, who has spent the better part of his life hunting the Blue, is keenly aware of their presence—and he will stop at nothing to use these Blue as weapons against their own, even if it means killing them in the process!

The first all new Fathom series to make its debut since Michael Turner introduced you to his incredible underwater adventure over 15 years ago, is ready to take you on the ride of your life and explore the world of Fathom as you’ve never seen it before!

FATHOM BLUE #1 is in stores June 17th, 2015!

FC 32 pages $3.99

RETAILER NOTE: FATHOM BLUE #1 will ship with two different covers by series artist Claudio Avella and Paolo Pantalena. Each cover is available to order separately, with no quantity limitation or restrictions.

FATHOM BLUE #1 RETAILER INCENTIVE:

For every 12 copies of FATHOM BLUE #1 ordered, retailers will receive one (1) FREE copy of the alternate FATHOM BLUE #1 cover by artist Marcus To, with the option to purchase up to three (3) additional Marcus To alternate FATHOM BLUE #1 covers at net $4 each.

FATHOM BLUE #1 EXPANDED RETAILER INCENTIVE:

For every 24 copies of FATHOM BLUE #1 ordered, retailers will receive one (1) FREE copy of the Michael Turner FATHOM BLUE #1 Cover, with the option to purchase up to three (3) additional Turner FATHOM BLUE #1 Covers at net $8 each.

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PSYCHO BONKERS #2

Vince Hernandez – Story / Adam Archer – Art / Colors – Federico Blee

Crack the speed barrier wide open in this thrilling new adventure that redefines what it means to go full throttle!

Following the tragic events of issue one, Shine must come to grips with the fact that, besides her Bonk Racer and Gabbo, she is now alone. However, in the present, and a crucial leg of the Super Bonk Rally, the team discovers that having company around can actually be far worse!

Told in a series of five legs within the race of all races—the Super Bonk Rally, this five issue mini-series will span amazing landscapes and death-defying terrain, as these racers go completely Psycho Bonkers!

PSYCHO BONKERS #2 is in stores June 24th, 2015!

FC 32 pages $3.99

RETAILER NOTE: PSYCHO BONKERS #2 will ship with two different covers by series artist Adam Archer and Mike Bowden. Each cover is available to order separately, with no quantity limitation or restrictions.

PSYCHO BONKERS #2 RETAILER INCENTIVE:

For every 10 copies of PSYCHO BONKERS #2 ordered, retailers will receive one (1) FREE copy of the alternate PSYCHO BONKERS #2 cover by artist Peter Steigerwald, with the option to purchase up to three (3) additional Steigerwald alternate PSYCHO BONKERS #2 covers at net $4 each.

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FOUR POINTS #3

Scott Lobdell – Story / Jordan Gunderson – Art / Valentina Pinto – Colors

Deadly secrets are exposed, as Gia’s origin finally comes to light and the true history of her “powers” are disclosed! Yet, the most shocking truth will reveal itself as the ladies investigate an international weapons manufacturer, and learn—perhaps too late—that they may be in far over their heads!

Aspen welcomes back acclaimed writer Scott Lobdell to introduce to you this years most exciting new series, FOUR POINTS!

FOUR POINTS #3 is in stores June 17th, 2015!

FC 32 pages $3.99

RETAILER NOTE: FOUR POINTS #3 will ship with two different covers by series artist Jordan Gunderson and artist Khary Randolph. Each cover is available to order separately, with no quantity limitation or restrictions.

FOUR POINTS #3 RETAILER INCENTIVE:

For every 10 copies of FOUR POINTS #3 ordered, retailers will receive one (1) FREE copy of the alternate FOUR POINTS #3 cover by series artist Jordan Gunderson, with the option to purchase up to three (3) additional Gunderson alternate FOUR POINTS #3 covers at net $4 each.

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SHAHRAZAD #3

Kim Hutchison; Kari Castor – Story / Mike Krome – Art / Nei Ruffino – Colors

The first re-mastered debut from Aspen’s Big Dog Ink imprint continues!

It seems everyone is out for Shahrazad’s head, yet there is one who finds her life intriguing enough to keep her alive. Janus sends Shahrazad to the arena to see if he can create an ending for this woman who’s future is as uncertain as her life!

SHAHRAZAD #3 is in stores June 10th, 2015!

FC 32 pages $2.99

RETAILER NOTE: SHAHRAZAD #3 will ship with two different covers by series artist Mike Krome and artist Elizabeth Torque. Each cover is available to order separately, with no quantity limitation or restrictions.

SHAHRAZAD #3 RETAILER INCENTIVE:

For every 8 copies of SHAHRAZAD #3 ordered, retailers will receive one (1) FREE copy of the re-mastered SHAHRAZAD #3 cover by artist J. Scott Campbell and colorist Peter Steigerwald, with the option to purchase up to three (3) additional re-mastered Campbell/Steigerwald SHAHRAZAD #3 covers at net $4 each.

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LOLA XOXO: WASTELAND MADAM #4

Vince Hernandez – Story / Siya Oum – Art

The action-packed climactic ending sees Madeline fighting for the survival of not only her group of rebels, but also any hope for a future! As the battle for the airport surges to its bloodiest apex, the Wasteland Madam must make a critical choice of whether love is more important than survival—and no matter what choice she makes, someone will pay the price!

LOLA XOXO: WASTELAND MADAM #4 is in stores June 24th, 2015!

FC 32 pages $3.99

RETAILER NOTE: LOLA XOXO: WASTELAND MADAM #4 will ship with two different covers by series artist and creator Siya Oum and artist Lori Hanson. Each cover is available to order separately, with no quantity limitation or restrictions.

LOLA XOXO: WASTELAND MADAM #4 RETAILER INCENTIVE:

For every 10 copies of LOLA XOXO: WASTELAND MADAM #4 ordered, retailers will receive one (1) FREE copy of the alternate Dawn McTeigue LOLA XOXO: WASTELAND MADAM #4 cover, with the option to purchase up to three (3) additional McTeigue LOLA XOXO: WASTELAND MADAM #4 Covers at net $4 each.

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Preview: Shahrazad #1

SHAHRAZAD #1

Kim Hutchison; Kari Castor – Story / Mike Krome – Art / Nei Ruffino – Colors

The first re-mastered debut from Aspen’s Big Dog Ink imprint!

A new heroine rises from the legends of the ancient world! Shahrazad was known for her amazing tales of 1001 Arabian Nights, but now it is time to tell her story! She lives a life unlike anything you could possibly imagine–an existence that spans generations as well as genres!

Featuring re-mastered content, an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the making of Shahrazad, creator commentary and more! Don’t miss out on the start of Aspen’s all new BDI launch with the premiere of SHAHRAZAD #1!

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Aspen Comics in May 2015

PSYCHO BONKERS #1

Vince Hernandez – Story / Adam Archer – Art / Colors – Federico Blee

Crack the speed barrier wide open in this thrilling new adventure that redefines what it means to go full throttle!

Join Shine, a young but unyielding teenage girl, as she races to find the true story behind the tragedy that wrecked her family, and shattered the sport of Bonk Racing to its core. Along with her trusted technician, Gabbo, and her sentient Bonk Racer, Shiza, she will discover that learning the truth about her future is as dangerous as the tragic past she is trying to forget!

Told in a series of five legs within the race of all races—the Super Bonk Rally, this five issue mini-series will span amazing landscapes and death-defying terrain, as these racers go Psycho Bonkers!

PSYCHO BONKERS #1 is in stores May 20th, 2015!

PSYCHOBONKERS-01a-Archer-Aspen PSYCHOBONKERS-01b-Bowden-Aspen PSYCHOBONKERS-01c-Steigerwald-Aspen PSYCHOBONKERS-01d-Garza-Aspen

THE FOUR POINTS #2

Scott Lobdell – Story / Jordan Gunderson – Art / Valentina Pinto – Colors

Something dark is coming…

Tensions rise as Gia attempts to enlist the most powerful potential recruit to the group’s cause, however early talks lead to a much more “physical” confrontation than they were hoping for. Meanwhile, a much more pressing matter threatens not only the group’s existence, but that of mankind as well.

Aspen welcomes back acclaimed writer Scott Lobdell to introduce to you this years most exciting new series, FOUR POINTS!

THE FOUR POINTS #2 is in stores May 13th, 2015!

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SHAHRAZAD #2

Kim Hutchison; Kari Castor – Story / Mike Krome – Art / Nei Ruffino – Colors

The first re-mastered debut from Aspen’s Big Dog Ink imprint continues!

The Sirens of legend have been mercilessly held against their will for centuries on end with no respite! However, will Shahrazad decide to rescue them in their time of need–or leave them to their own tragic fate?

SHAHRAZAD #2 is in stores May 6th, 2015!

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LOLA XOXO: WASTELAND MADAM #3

Vince Hernandez – Story / Siya Oum – Art

Siya Oum’s apocalyptic Wasteland expands in this all new spinoff mini-series!

Thoughts of mutiny begin to spoil the group’s plans for any type of future as one, as Madeline finds that holding a band of people together is much more difficult than keeping them alive. Yet, her greatest challenge will come in the sacrifice she may need to make, in order to ensure her own survival at the hands of the mercenaries attempting to takeover the airstrip.

LOLA XOXO: WASTELAND MADAM #3 is in stores May 27th, 2015!

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FATHOM: KIANI vol 4 #4

Vince Hernandez – Story / Giuseppe Cafaro – Art

The climactic finale to this volume’s epic storyline finds Kiani and Anika in a fight for their lives against the machinations of the U.S. Navy’s hellbent Admiral Hoover, and his catastrophic covert plot on American soil. Yet, the pair find out that stopping the world’s greatest military does not guarantee the end of the bloodshed.

FATHOM: KIANI vol 4 #4 is in stores May 20th, 2015!

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