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Review: Stargazer TPB

Stargazer

Missing person or alien abduction? This is the question Shae must answer in Stargazer. Written by Anthony Cleveland, Stargazer is part mystery and part science-fiction thriller. Published by Mad Cave Studios, this six issue series is due for release as a trade paperback on April 28th. When they were kids, Shae and her brother Kenny witnessed something unexplainable. As the siblings grew up, each sought to explain what they saw in their own ways. Shae chose the path of science while Kenny seemed to dive deep into delusions about what happened that night. Years later, Kenny disappears, and Shae must reunite with their old group of friends to track him down and discover the truth of what they saw when they were children.

Stargazer has a great balance of scenes set in the past and scenes set in the present. Cleveland mixes the two together well, combining them into a straightforward narrative. The story moves at a brisk pace with emotional beats and tense moments sprinkled in all the right places. Like any good mystery or sci-fi thriller, there’s more happening beneath the surface of the narrative than meets the eye. The plot has a lot of moving pieces, but Cleveland does a nice job of fitting them all together.

Antonio Fuso’s artwork is a bit uneven from one panel to the next, but I like how expressively he draws the characters’ faces. The character designs are clear enough for the reader to tell each character apart while being distinct enough to distinguish scenes set in the past from those set in the present. As a result, it’s always easy to visually follow the events of story. Each issue collected in this trade paperback features distinct page layouts. Fuso plays around with the frames of each panel, giving each page a dynamic look. I really enjoyed seeing characters “break the fourth wall,” in a manner of speaking, as they reached past or through the framing of each panel.

Stargazer is an emotionally charged and thrilling science-fiction adventure. I try not to use this phrase, but this graphic novel warrants an exception: once you start reading, you won’t be able to put this book down. It’s a fast paced read with as many loud action beats as it has quiet emotional moments. The artwork is unique, even though the quality of the linework varies in spots. Fans of sci-fi comics will want to add this book to their collections.

Story: Anthony Cleveland Art: Antonio Fuso
Color: Stefano Simeone Letterer Justin Birch
Story: 9.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

Mad Cave Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonTFAW

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Atlas at War

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) 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!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

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

Atlas at War (Dead Reckoning) – The graphic novel collects fifty hard to find war stories published by Marvel between 1951 and 1960.

Cyberpunk 2077 Trauma Team #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – The highly anticipated video game comes to comics.

Dark Nights: Death Metal Trinity Crisis #1 (DC Comics) – Really, this should have been part of the main series, so we’re highlighting it so you don’t dismiss it as just another one-shot tie-in.

Dog Man Vol. 9 (Graphix) – The series is huge and this latest volume is being printed in the millions. Comics aren’t dying, they’ve got a whole new generation hooked.

Dry Foot #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – It’s Miami in the 1980s and a group of kids are attempting to escape the violence and drugs of the city.

Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio (Abrams Comicarts) – A graphic novel depiction of the tragic day that reflects on the violence we see today.

Rise of Ultraman #1 (Marvel) – We’re intrigued to see how this Marvel take on the classic manga/anime character turns out.

Stargazer #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – If you like alien abduction stories, this is a great first issue of an intriguing mystery.

Student Ambassador Vol. 1 (Iron Circus Comics) – An eight-year-old wins a photo op with the President of the United States but is pulled into an international incident when another eight-year-old takes his father’s crown and stumbles into trouble.

Vampire: The Masquerade #2 (Vault Comics) – The first issue was a bit heavy on the terms from the classic roleplaying game but nailed the characters and world down.

It’s Alien Abductions and 80’s Neon Lights with Mad Cave’s Stagazer and Dryfoot

This September, Mad Cave Studios is launching two whole new series, Stargazer, written by Anthony Cleveland with art by Antonio Fuso, and Dry Foot by upcoming writer Jarred Lujan with art by Orlando Caicedo!

Stargazer #1

(W) Anthony Cleveland(A/CA) Antonio Fuso (CO) Stefano Simeone (L) Justin Birch
September 2nd

What if four children were abducted by a UFO and implanted with stolen technology capable of destroying an ancient alien race? What if twenty years later those same aliens want what was taken from them? Find out in Mad Cave’s intergalactic new series: Stargazer.

Stargazer #1

Dry Foot #1

(W) Jarred Lujan (A/CA) Orlando Caicedo (CO) Warnia Sahadewa (L) Justin Birch
September 9th

Diego Gomez is tired of the drugs and violence that surround him. He wants nothing more than to escape west and leave the neon lights of 1980s Miami behind him. With the help of three friends, Diego hatches a plan to rob the most dangerous gang in the city, Los Marielitos. Filled with Latin-American influences, Dry Foot is a coming-of age-tale that deals with family, friendship, trust, and adversity. Many would kill to live in the Magic City. Others would die to leave it behind.

Dry Foot #1

Mad Cave Studios Delays Two Titles Due to COVID-19

Mad Cave Studios

With concerns being raised in the comic industry, publishers are stepping up to do what they can to help the situation.

Mad Cave Studios has announced they’re delaying two upcoming titles that were to debut soon. Stargazer #1 will debut in August and Dry Foot #1 will debut in September.

Read Mad Cave’s Publisher Chris Fernandez‘s letter to retailers and fans below.

Dear comic book retailers and fans,

Mad Cave Studios recognizes how important each of you are to the industry. We have been keeping an eye on the current situation with COVID-19 and working closely with our partners to see how we can adjust in order to help the community in any way we can.

Taking everything into consideration, Mad Cave has decided to delay two upcoming titles until the crisis we are currently experiencing has subsided. This means that Stargazer #1 will be delayed until August and Dry Foot #1 will be delayed until September. We feel that this is the best decision we can make in order to not put any added pressure on comic book retailers for the time being.

Titles like Wolvenheart, Savage Bastards, Over the Ropes, Hellfighter Quin, and Battelcats: Tales of Valderia will move forward as scheduled seeing as those orders have been placed and paid for. Mad Cave will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and update everyone accordingly.

During this unprecedented time in our history, it is more important than ever that we all support each other as much as possible.

In the meantime, please be on the lookout for a major announcement from us NOT related to new comics. If you have any questions or wish to speak with us directly, please contact Manny Castellanos, Mad Cave’s Director of Sales and Retailer Relations Manager.

Sincerely,
Chris Fernandez
Publisher
Mad Cave Studios

Mad Cave Studios Announces a New Retailer Program including Returnables

Mad Cave Champions

At ComicsPRO, Mad Cave Studios announced a new retailer program that includes discounts and returnable comics. “​Mad Cave Champions​” is a new rewards initiative to provide retailers exclusive offers on all Mad Cave comics. The program offers benefits to any store that becomes a part of the program. Some of those benefits include:

  • 50% off​ any order when they visit ​www.madcavestudios.com​ online store.
  • Exclusive Bi-monthly deals.
  • Each store will also be receiving a ​ “Mad Care Package”​ which will include an assortment of Mad Cave Products as a small token of appreciation for joining.
  • Free​ Shipping on Orders of $50 or more.
  • Champion stores will also receive Exclusive First Looks for each new series.
  • Most importantly, ​ the first two issues of every new Mad Cave series​, beginning with ​Stargaze​r in May, will be returnable within 60 days of release.

Mad Cave Studios Announces Stargazer

What if four children were abducted by a UFO and implanted with stolen technology capable of destroying an ancient alien race? What if twenty years later those same aliens want what was taken from them?

Stargazer is by writer Anthony Cleveland, with art by Antonio Fuso and Stefano Simeone. Letterer Justin Birch rounds out the creative team, to deliver a heart-wrenching sci-fi drama akin to Close Encounters and E.T.

Coming to our planet May 2020.

Stargazer

Stargazer Volume Two in August Previews

Official Press Release

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (August 10, 2011) – “All ages” comics and graphic novels are stories that parents can hand to their children without worrying about what they’re reading. Unfortunately, the term “all-ages” also implies safe, dull stories that are not exciting or believable and feature characters that are not realistic. Von Allan, an Ottawa-based artist and graphic novelist, is challenging these ideas with his two part graphic novel series “Stargazer.” The concluding volume arrives in stores world-wide in October.

“In Volume 2, I really wanted to play with people’s expectations of an all-ages comic, especially one with younger girls as the protagonists,” said Allan. “I think a lot of people take all-ages to mean safe or gentle. But graphic novels and comics are flexible and I don’t think a children’s comic has to be completely tame for it to qualify as ‘kid-friendly.’ The first volume of “Stargazer” was designed to read mostly like a traditional all-ages fantasy, but the story takes a scarier turn in the second volume. It’s psychologically darker and the main characters are pushed to deal with new and more difficult events. That’s comparable to real life, though, and I think adults sometimes forget what children can handle. And how they learn to cope with day-to-day reality and tough times. The best and most enduring stories have an edge to them…it mirrors life. And, let’s face it, kids also like to be a little scared.”

“I also wanted to write a kids’ story that an adult could enjoy,” Allan added. “Kids and adults have a lot in common when it comes to enjoying fairytale-like stories. There’s an escapism and a certain enjoyment of goosebumps and wonder. Some of the most successful books are the ones that adults and kids are both reading; the Harry Potter phenomenon, for example. It’s partially because kids and adults are reading these together but it’s also that books aimed at kids can be smart, exciting and suspenseful and they don’t need to be “dumbed down.” With all that in mind, I didn’t want to pull punches with “Stargazer.” I wanted to create a riveting story with strong characters that readers of all ages could believe in. Nothing is worse than a book that talks down to or patronizes a reader regardless of their age, and I think I avoided all of that with “Stargazer.”

In the first volume of “Stargazer,” three girls, Marni, Elora, and Sophie, found themselves transported to a strange world by an ancient artifact. Faced with being on their own and far from home, the friends must rely on each other and their wits to find a way home. Under unfamiliar stars, the three girls have the kind of adventures they could only have imagined before; they flee an unseen but terrifying monster, they make a new friend, they find a new ship, and they travel through the alien landscape to a distant tower, looking for help. In the concluding volume of “Stargazer,” the girls make more discoveries, overcome some frightening circumstances, and learn how strong friendship can be. When the monster from Volume 1 returns, the girls must unite to face their fears and fight for their lives.

“Stargazer Volume Two” has an ISBN of 978-09-781237-4-1, a suggested retail price of $14.95 US and is 110 pages in length. It will arrive in stores world-wide on October 12th, 2011. Multiple companies are distributing “Stargazer Volume Two,” including Diamond Comic Distributors (item code AUG111259), the Ingram Book Company, Follett Library Resources, and the Brodart Company.

About Von Allan: Von Allan was born red-headed and freckled in Arnprior, Ontario, just in time for “Star Wars: A New Hope.” The single child of two loving but troubled parents, Von split most of his childhood between their two homes. Additional information about the graphic novel can be found at http://stargazer.vonallan.com

Almost American