Tag Archives: stephanie hans

Underrated: Die: Fantasy Heartbreaker

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: JDie: Fantasy Heartbreaker.


Believe it or not, I’m not the biggest reader of Kieron Gillen‘s work. The author has some critically acclaimed works that frankly I’ve never gotten around to reading – not because I’m not a fan of his work, but largely because I never make a conscious effort to hunt out the author’s work. More often than not, I end up reading Gillen’s writing as it falls into comics I would naturally gravitate toward; case in point the subject of today’s column.

According to Goodreads Die: Fantasy Heartbreaker is “a pitch-black fantasy where a group of forty-something adults have to deal with the returning, unearthly horror they only just survived as teenage role-players.” Perhaps the easiest way to describe this is as a dark version of Jumanji as six D&D players disappear for two years as they start up a special kind of game. The story takes place almost thirty years later as they’re forced back to the fantasy world as the very characters they played as initially – only this time they have lives they want too return to.

The first volume of Die is heavily influenced by D&D and roleplaying games in general – but if you’re not a fan of that type of entertainment then have no fear because you don’t need to be intimately familiar with the ins and outs of character creation (though as with anything paying homage to something, knowledge of D&D character creation will likely give you a laugh or two when the players go through the same process, but again, it’s by no means essential). The comic is set up in that if you’ve ever played any type of game where you interact with non player characters (videogames, roleplaying games, choose your own adventure type books), and have wondered what happens in the world when you turn off the game, then you’ll find something to enjoy in the premise. That’s to say nothing of Gillen’s writing or Stephanie Hans art as she brings to life the fantasy world in Gillen’s imagination.

It feels odd to highlight the work of the man partly responsible for The Wicked + The Divine, but this is one of those books that I don’t see enough people talking about. Until I picked up the first volume at my comic shop (for all of $10!), I’m fairly sure it had been on the shelf for some time – at the very least I hadn’t heard anybody asking for it in the same way as other works by creators not published by the big two. Die is a dark book, and through this Gillen explores whether we’d truly be heroes in a world of no consequence, whether we would give way to our inhibitions and become the worst versions of ourselves or whether we could rise above.

The more I thought about the book the more I enjoyed the layers Gillen had woven into it; although they were only teenagers when they first entered the game, the six players spent two years in the fantasy world – and three decades later, they’re facing the consequences of actions they took, relationships they forged and the decisions made during those two years. Some of these people are still haunted by their time in the fantasy world, and how that’ll play out across the next two volumes is something I’m super excited to find out.

You should be able to find this at your LCS, or online, easily enough.


In the meantime, Underrated will return to highlight more comic book related stuff  that either gets ignored despite it’s high quality, or maybe isn’t quite as bad as we tend to think it is.

Marvel Celebrates 80 Years of Captain America with a Giant-Sized Tribute

In March 1941, comic book legends Jack Kirby and Joe Simon introduced the world to Steve Rogers in the historic Captain America Comics #1, and a pop culture icon was born. Marvel will honor their tremendous contribution to the comic book industry with Captain America Tribute #1, a giant-sized special celebrating the character’s 80th anniversary.

Captain America Tribute #1 will feature a cadre of Marvel’s best artists redrawing and modernizing Captain America’s first appearance, Captain America Comics #1, as well as his genre-defining reintroduction to the Marvel Universe, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Avengers #4. See the Star-Spangled Avenger’s extraordinary origin, his first battle against the Red Skull, and his Silver Age debut where he emerges from suspended animation to live on as a Star-Spangled Avenger like never before as your favorite artists reimagine these classic tales for a new age. These definitive comic book stories will be presented in an all-new way in a star-studded special that will delight long-time True Believers and the current generation of Marvel fans!

This unparalleled undertaking will include artwork by John Cassaday, Marguerite Sauvage, David Lapham, Declan Shalvey, Pere Pérez, Salvador Larroca, Leinil Francis Yu, Valerio Schiti, Carlos Pacheco, Inhyuk Lee, Kei Zama, Sara Pichelli, Jesús Saiz, Kim Jacinto, Adam Kubert, Federico Vicentini, Mahmud Asrar, Jim Cheung, Terry Dodson, Joe Bennett, Alex Ross, Steve Epting, Adam Hughes, Stephanie Hans, Javier Garrón, Alitha E. Martinez, Elena Casagrande, Paco Medina, Daniel Acuña, Chris Samnee, Butch Guice, Rachael Stott, Pepe Larraz, Greg Smallwood, Greg Land, Ray-Anthony Height, Mark Bagley, and Marvel’s Stormbreakers including Peach Momoko, Juann Cabal, Carmen Carnero, R.B. Silva, Joshua Cassara, Natacha Bustos, Iban Coello, and Patrick Gleason! And with a cover by Steve McNiven.

For 80 years, Captain America’s adventures have entertained fans of all ages around the world. Don’t miss today’s top talent pay homage to Captain America’s most legendary stories when Captain America Tribute #1 hits stands this coming March!

Captain America Tribute #1

Die #11 Kicks Off a New Arc and Gets a New Printing

Die #11, from bestselling writer Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, is being rushed back to print by Image Comics in order to keep up with overwhelming demand. This issue kicks off the third story arc in the wildly popular, dark fantasy series.

Half the party is ruling a whole empire. The other half is on the run. Neither has it easy. There is nothing easy in this game, especially when the stakes get shockingly real. The most epic arc of Die begins as it means to go on: messily.

Die #11, second printing will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, July 29.

Die #11, second printing

Check out the Hugo Award’s “Best Graphic Story or Comic” Nominees

Hugo Awards

The nominees for “Best Graphic Story or Comic” for this year’s Hugo Awards have been announced. Normally, the winners are announced at Worldcon but with the event this year canceled due to COVID-19, it’s unknown when the winners will be announced.

The nominees were announced on April 8 and were decided from 1,584 valid nominating ballots with a total of 27,033 nominations. Members nominated up to five works/people in each category, and the top six works/people in each category were shortlisted as finalists.

Check out all of the Hugo nominees and the comic nominees below:

  • Die, Volume 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker, by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, letters by Clayton Cowles (Image)

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXologyTFAWZeus Comics

  • LaGuardia, written by Nnedi Okorafor, art by Tana Ford, colors by James Devlin (Berger Books; Dark Horse)

Purchase: AmazonKindle – comiXologyTFAW

  • Monstress, Volume 4: The Chosen, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image)

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXologyTFAW

  • Mooncakes, by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker, letters by Joamette Gil (Oni Press; Lion Forge)

Purchase: AmazonTFAW

  • Paper Girls, Volume 6, written by Brian K. Vaughan, drawn by Cliff Chiang, colors by Matt Wilson, letters by Jared K. Fletcher (Image)

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXologyTFAWZeus Comics

  • The Wicked + The Divine, Volume 9: “Okay”, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, colors by Matt Wilson, letters by Clayton Cowles (Image)

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXologyTFAWZeus Comics

On top of the comics above, Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel are nominated in “Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form,” and Watchmen: “A God Walks into Abar” and Watchmen: “This Extraordinary Being” are nominated in “Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.”


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Preview: Robert E. Howard’s Dark Agnes #2 (of 5)

Robert E. Howard’s Dark Agnes #2 (of 5)

(W) Becky Cloonan (A) Luca Pizzari (CA) Stephanie Hans
Parental Advisory
In Shops: Mar 04, 2020
SRP: $3.99

MAYHEM, A MASKED BALL, AND MURDER MOST FOUL!

AGNES and ETIENNE enter the lair of the beast-sneaking into the palace of DUKE D’ALENCON, even as his agents hunt for them!

But when a murder victim turns up in the court, will they escape notice or be drawn deeper into the labyrinth of disaster forming around them?
All this and the return of a ghost from Agnes’ past!

Robert E. Howard's Dark Agnes #2 (of 5)

Preview: Dark Agnes #1 (of 5)

Dark Agnes #1 (of 5)

(W) Becky Cloonan (A) Luca Pizzari (CA) Stephanie Hans
Parental Advisory
In Shops: Feb 05, 2020
SRP: $3.99

HER FIRST SOLO COMIC SERIES!

Forced into an arranged marriage, Agnes de Chastillon took matters into her own violent hands to free herself from the yoke of a life she never wanted. Now, the woman known as DARK AGNES, along with her mercenary partner ETIENNE VILLIERS, make their way through 16th century France as sellswords on their way to join the wars in Italy, where the real money is! But when Etienne is captured by the DUKE OF ALENCON’s forces and set for execution, it’s up to Dark Agnes to save the day! But what evil designs are being enacted on Agnes, and will she doom herself by saving Etienne?

An all-new story following up Robert E. Howard’s tales, the swashbuckling saga of DARK AGNES in Marvel Comics starts here!

Dark Agnes #1 (of 5)

Get a First Look at Amethyst #1 by Amy Reeder

Amethyst #1 (of 6)

Story and art by Amy Reeder
Covers by Amy Reeder and Stephanie Hans
Lettering by Gabriela Downie
In Shops: Feb 26, 2020

An Unforgettable Adventure Begins February 26th!

Following the character’s triumphant reintroduction in the pages of Young Justice, the new Amethyst series from DC’s Wonder Comics follows teenager Amy Winston, a.k.a. Princess Amethyst, eager to return to her magical kingdom. Instead, she finds it in ruins, her subjects vanished, and none in the realm of Gemworld still loyal to her house. To solve this mystery, restore House Amethyst, and save her family, Amy must find new allies and confront dark secrets on a deadly quest to the farthest reaches of Gemworld.

In this this six-issue mini-series launching in February, writer and artist Amy Reeder takes on a magical world tour complete with dreamy landscapes, fantastical creatures, crystalline visions, breathtaking kingdoms, and one very bad guy named Opal.

But it wouldn’t be complete without new friends to share it all with. With the help of Phoss, a four-armed warrior, and Maxixe, a stubborn prince, Amy comes to realize that what’s good and bad in Gemworld is not always crystal clear.

DC’s newest Wonder Comics title, Amethyst, arrives on February 26th by writer and artist Amy Reeder (Batwoman, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Rocketgirl)!

Amethyst #1 (of 6)

Die #6 Heads Back for a Second Printing Before the First Hits Stores

Image Comics has fast-tracked a second printing of Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans’ Die #6 a week ahead of its release.

The upcoming issue is scheduled to hit stores on Wednesday, August 7 and—due to increasing demand—will ship sold-out at the distributor level.

The popularity of the hot new series, Die, has grown at breakneck speed with multiple sell-outs and reprints of every issue.

Die is a pitch-black fantasy where a group of adults have to deal with the returning unearthly horror they barely survived as teenage role-players. The series is perhaps best described as “Goth Jumanji”—but that only captures a sliver of what you’ll find in this series where fantasy gets all too real.

Die #6, second printing (Diamond Code JUN198682) will be available on Wednesday, August 28. The final order cutoff deadline for comic shop retailers is Monday, August 5.

Die #6, second printing

Preview: Psi-Lords #2

PSI-LORDS #2

Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Art by RENATO GUEDES
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by DAVID NAKAYAMA
Cover B by CASPAR WIJNGAARD
Cover C by STEPHANIE HANS
Pre-Order Edition Cover by PAULINA GANUCHEAU
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale JULY 24th

After an explosive escape from a cosmic prison, the team of amnesiac astronauts needs to find a way home!

But where is the ship that brought them here in the first place? And just who are these Psi-Lords they keep hearing about?

It’s a deadly scavenger hunt around the Gyre in search of a way back home, but this cosmic ring of decaying ships hides many threats within its aging walls!

Die #4 is Rushed Back for a Third Printing

New York Times bestselling creator Kieron Gillen and artist Stephanie Hans’ series Die is being sent back to print yet again. This time Die #4 will be rushed back to print in order to keep up with demand.

Die is a pitch-black fantasy where a group of adults have to deal with the returning unearthly horror they barely survived as teenage role-players. The series is perhaps best described as “Goth Jumanji”—but that only captures a sliver of what you’ll find in this series where fantasy gets all too real.

Die #4, third printing (Diamond Code MAR198647) and will be available on Wednesday, May 29. The final order cutoff for retailers is Monday, May 6.

Die #4 3rd printing
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