Thuso Mbedu will author a one-shot comic titled Niobe: She Tribe along with Stranger Comics’ president Sebastian A. Jones. It will be part of Stranger’s “Tales of Asunda” series and will feature Niobe, the franchise’s star character, who was first introduced in The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer. Mbedu and Jones will work together in writing the Comic, set for release in spring of 2023.
Stranger Comics is known within the comic industry for its diverse heroes and championing BIPOC women including its franchise star Niobe, as creators of worlds. “Tales of Asunda” is an ongoing series in the expanding, interconnected world of Asunda, which is rich in culture and tradition with years of development. It celebrates many of its lead characters and backdrops in afro-fantasy inspired settings, but with emotional themes that resonate globally on a deeply human level.
Niobe: She Tribe will tackle the pros and cons of “tradition,” asking both character and reader if all traditions are good, to be followed as law, binding in mind, body, and spirit. If they are disputed, what are the motives? If they are flawed, how can they be resolved? And if traditions are changed, how can people accept and evolve?
When Niobe learns of a tradition that a tribal chief is decided in a fight to the death she must choose between challenging and changing an ancient custom or remaining hidden from the world and her destiny.
Prentice Penny has partnered with Stranger Comics’ Founder Sebastian A. Jones to launch a joint venture comic book entertainment company. Focused on identifying and supporting new talent within the independent comic book world, the new company will function as an incubator and development lab for BIPOC creators and their IP.
Combining Penny and Jones’ creative expertise, the company will be able to amplify its storytellers by offering inroads into publication, adaptation of the IP into other mediums of entertainment (i.e. television, film, animation, podcast, etc.). The pair has already begun identifying such creators and is currently developing two separate properties under the joint venture – Harriet Tubman Demon Slayer created by David Crownson andJaycen Wise from creator Uraeus.
Penny and Jones were inspired to launch the joint venture in the hopes of creating greater access for comic storytellers of color and to help raise up such voices within the medium in general. Along with cultivating new talent of color in the independent comic space, the company also plans to launch online mentorship programs as a way to inspire aspiring creatives.
The joint venture comes on the heels of Penny and Jones teaming to co-author the comic NIOBE & DURA: Wrath of the Ancient #1, which the pair successfully launched on Kickstarter in August. Based in the Jones-created and Stranger Comics published world of Asunda, the title raised over $127,000 on Kickstarter and marked one of the most successful launches for a Black independent comic on the platform to date. Described as a comic fable with themes that honor Black women as world creators, Niobe & Dura explores the fierce relationships between elders and the young as they pass along their history and culture to the next generation – who will carry on the tradition of being heroes. Jones and Penny first met while working to adapt Jones’ world of Asunda into a series for HBO.
Blindbox Comics is a monthly comic book subscription box that includes five regular monthly releases and one exclusive variant cover. Or, you can order just the variant. Or, you can order just the comics.
We open up and show off the latest box released, going over the comics plus a variant! Find out what’s inside!
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.
Amazing Spider-Man #21 (Marvel) I enjoyed this issue more than I expected, almost entirely because of the fact it focused primarily on Kaine – a character I’ve long been fascinated with. Other than that, though, it doesn’t really do much other than provide a bit of background on Kaine and Spider-Gwen’s actions during the second issue of Clone Conspiracy as the issue acts as a prequel to that issue. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read.
Batman #11 (DC) I’ve read worse issues of Batman, but not for a long, long time. The only saving grace is the art, which 90% of the time is great. The other 10%, a double page spread featuring Catwoman and the Ventriloquist, is a confusing mess of jumbled pipes and lettering that is less than ideal. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass.
Black Hammer #5 (Dark Horse) You’re either going to love or hate the direction of this issue (well, that may be a bit strong; you’ll either love it or you won’t, let’s say). I enjoyed it quite a bit, as we finally got to see an entirely different side to Colonel Weird, as Jeff Lemire asks the question of whether the character is as crazy as we’ve been led to believe. An intriguing character study that doesn’t really move the plot along too much, but is worth picking up if you’re into the series. Overall: 8 Recommedation: Read
Kill Or Be Killed #3 & #4 (Image) Somehow I missed the third issue untill I saw the fourth was out this week (or forgot I read it and reread it this morning, which basically amounts to the same thing, right?). It didn’t take me long to remember why this is such a gripping comic – the Deal With A Devil angle is well done, and while said deal hangs over Dylan, he – and by extension we – is/are never quite sure whether it actually happened, or if he’s gradually losing his mind. You’re not going to find a better comic from Image right now. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Old Man Logan #13 (Marvel) A decent conclusion to a solid story. This would be a read for the story alone, but the artwork is absolutely phenomenal and worth buying the comic for on it’s own. The layouts are intricate, simple and so gut punchingly effective that your jaw will hit the proverbial floor – that’s not hyperbole… I actually turned a page and just tared for a full minute before rereading the page before. This is probably one of the best series that Jeff Lemire is writing right now, and that’s largely down to Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Mialo’s artwork. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Superman #11 (DC) On the surface, a story about Damian Wayne and Jon Kent learning to work together, but there’s a subplot here of Batman and Superman learning, through their sons, to trust each other again. This is a great conclusion to a two issue arc that has one of the best interpretations of the Son Of Batman that we’ve seen in awhile. Overall: 8.5 Recommendtion: Buy
Thanos #1 (Marvel) A well written, beautifully illustrated opening chapter. Although I have no idea where this is going, I’m curious to see where Jeff Lemire takes the Mad Titan. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read
Vampire Hunter D: Message From Mars #1 (Stranger Comics) This is far from my normal style of comic (Mars colonization and vampires), but I enjoyed it quite a bit nonetheless. I have no idea how this stacks up if you’re a Vampire Hunter D fan, but as a person ignorant of his 33 year history, I thought this was a great read. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Mother Panic #1 (DC/Young Animal): The last thing i was looking for was another comic about a millionaire turned vigilante– especially not in Gotham. But Jody Houser is too smart a writer to leave it at that so I just had to take a look at her new Young Animal series.
Look at that costume– real armor! Creating artist Tommy Lee Edwards designed the Mother Panic outfit to look more like a decorative architectural element on the exterior of one of Gotham’s famous Art Deco skyscrapers than a standard female hero in a cape book. It is refreshing to see a female lead who isn’t portrayed as a sex object by any measure– unless your sexual orientation is Chrysler Building and you like getting your head bashed in. And a terrifying tiny white skyscraper fighting really twisted art crimes makes sense thematically. This story is very Gotham.
We don’t learn much in issue 1 but with highly kinetic gothy art and an intriguingly menacing tone I am definitely reading issue 2. I keep getting The Invisibles vibes too and that is usually a good sign. Suggested soundtrack Iggy Pop’s The Idiot. Recommendation: Read
Thanos #1 (Marvel) – Thanos is a badass. That’s an understatement. In many ways, he’s similar to Darth Vader. He’s a cool villain that you love to hate. He’s very confident. And his power, even without the Infinity Gauntlet, is off the charts. Not only do we get Thanos, but we get a cast of characters that have all been big parts of past stories with the Mad Titan. I enjoyed this book, and it gave me what I was looking for in this series. Thanos destroys a ton of people (and a tank), and we see a group of others band against him, and then we get a big twist at the end. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Black Hammer #5 (Dark Horse) – I am so glad to finally get a Colonel Weird issue. Yes all of our characters are weird in this series, but some how the Colonel makes them look normal. It was nice to see the Para-Zone that he mentions in his ramblings and get a glimpse at how it works. Like most of our cast, he is a tragic character that you really feel for, and you can see he wants to do the right thing. It will be interesting to see how the Para-Zone plays into our story and them being stuck on the farm going forward. This book just keeps getting better, and it is one of the most consistent comics coming out every month. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
Briggs Land #4 (Dark Horse) – This issue focuses on Caleb Briggs, Grace’s oldest son and a white supremacist. We see him bully a local business owner into selling, and learn a lot more about his character. Long story short, Caleb is scary. We also get more of Grace, and what she is doing to move quicker than her husband who is trying to stop her from inside prison. This series moves slow, but that isn’t bad. You can see why AMC optioned it, as it would work perfect for their network, and the Walking Dead crowd who are used to a slow burn that builds to chaos. That is most certainly where I expect this story to go after this issue, and I can’t wait. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
Moonshine #2 (Image) – After the first set up issue, we get to the meat of the story. But then that meat gets ripped apart by a werewolf. We continue the story of a fish out of water city slicker that needs to get the best moonshine around from a family living in the sticks to his mobster boss in New York City. After things go south in the south, our main character is left in a very interesting place. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Black Hammer #5 (Dark Horse)** – In this issue, we go Weird Science for the story of Colonel Weird and his journey through the Para-Zone. As has been the case lately in this series, the plot has been a very slight pretext for what Jeff Lemire is really good at, character studies. Col. Weird being haunted by himself is very nicely done, and Dean Ormiston does a pretty good job at capturing a certain Al Williamson vibe in the science fiction part of the story (though not going nearly far enough into the Ditkosphere for the Para-Zone for my taste). The series doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere, and if that were truly the intention, then I’d be more okay with it. Overall: 7. Recommendation: Read
Lady Killer #3 (Dark Horse)** – Joëlle Jones knocks this issue out of the park. She has always been great with style and sheer drawing, but this time she lets loose with panel structure and page layouts in a really stunning way. Also: the back story of Mother Schuller and her relationship with “Uncle” Irving is a knockout. Props to colorist Michelle Madsen. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Cinema Purgatorio #7 (Avatar)** – Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill take on the Westerns in our first reel – or rather, how the idea of the Western was invented and re-created, from sordid reality to tall tale to legend to myth, as we re-enter the OK Corral over and over again. Alan Moore can do more with 8 pages than most writers can do in 80. On to Code: Pru, Garth Ennis & Raulo Caceres’s series that’s really grown on me. Pru is called in to check out a hooker at a murder scene, and of course finds out that the situation is far more monstrous than she’d thought. Ennis’ juxtaposition of the banal and the profane is, as usual, top-notch, and Caceres’ detailed b&w art is perfect for the material. I’m not actually paying much attention to any of the other three features, but it must be said that this chapter of “The Vast” is a reprint of last issue’s chapter. Overall: Cinema – 9 Pru – 9 Recommendation: read but you can also wait for both of these series to be collected, and probably not worth your $6.99
Kill or Be Killed #4 (Image) – “My imagination was being affected by all the shitty old movies I was watching.” Dylan starts to work out exactly how he’s going to take on his demonic vigilante mission, and how to live a double life. Meanwhile also trying to figure out his messed-up relationship with his roommate’s girlfriend. Meanwhile also trying to play white knight. Of course, none of these things go right. Brubaker, Phillips and Breitweiser at their best. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Black Panther #8 (Marvel)** – It may be too little, too late, but Ta-Nehisi Coates is finally starting to show signs of getting a hang on this whole comic-book writing thing — at least when it comes to relaying tales of Wakandan folklore. He still writes T’Challa as a dour, joyless, fairly lifelesss figure literally devoid of personality, but the story feels like it’s creeping back on track after some pointless guest-star-laden issues, and maybe even progressing (or at least lurching) toward a conclusion of some sort. Chris Sprouse does a pretty decent job with the art, but he’s no Stelfreeze, who’s at least on hand to deliver an absolutely amazing cover. Overall: 5. Recommendation: Might as well read it if you’ve come this far, otherwise pass.
The Hunt #4 (Image/Shadowline)** – Nobody seems to be paying much attention to Colin Lorimer’s genuinely creepy Irish horror opus, but that’s their loss. This issue delivers answers to many of the mysteries underpinning the various “big questions” that have been lurking both under the surface and in the foreground of this series, and delivers a genuinely creepy guy-punch of a cliffhanger that borders on the truly unforgettable. Amazingly well-written and even more amazingly well-drawn, this is a truly killer slice of folklore-inspired terror. Overall: 9. Recommendation: Buy.
Briggs Land #4 (Dark Horse )** – Brian Wood and Mack Chater begin the second arc of their Third-Reich-Meets-“The-Waltons” dysfunctional family drama with another issue more than ready to be adapted for the already-forthcoming TV series.Some bad shit goes down in the mega-hardware-store parking lot that could have serious repercussions for everyone, while Grace continues to play a long game only she seems to understand. Definitely fascinating stuff, even if the political implications of the series (haven’t so-called “White Nationalists” been effectively normalized enough in the age of Trump?) remain dubious at best. Overall: 6.5. Recommendation: Read
Infamous Iron Man #2 (Marvel)** – The point of this series continues to elude me, as do Victor Von Doom’s opaque-at-best reasons for putting on the suit in the first place. Another pointless fight with a second-tier villain gives way to a Ben Grim-centric cliffhanger, so I guess Brian Michael Bendis is looking at this as a way of sneaking the FF back into the Marvel Universe through the back door. We’ll see what happens — or rather, you will, since I’m out. If Alex Maleev’s art were up to his usual standard I might give it another issue or two, but as it’s not, I can’t justify shelling out for bucks a month for a poorly-executed gimmick book. Overall: 3.5. Recommendation: Pass
Uncanny Xmen Annual #1 (Marvel): Within this annual, lies two different stories , one in which we see echoes of the Phoenix Saga and the other , a spy op with an unlikely operator. In the first story, we meet a mutant named Elixir, whose power derives from the Dark Riders, Magneto enlists a few other mutants to find him . In this second story, Domino is on an operation to take out Hydra. Overall, as far as annuals go, a strong book. Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy
She-Wolf TPB (Image): when a young teenager named Gabby gets scratched by a wolf, she starts encountering nightmares. Soon they become all too real, and she finds out , that it was no ordinary wolf.What follows is a lot of teen angst with an unhealthy amount of psychedelic visuals. Truthfully, by the end of this volume, I was struggling to finish, as the alchemy between storytelling and sequential art, never seemed to coalesce. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Borrow
Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!
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 (**).
Stranger Comics has announced that Diamond Comics expects to sell out of Vampire Hunter D #1 by this weekend. Demand for the book has been strong and feedback from many retailers indicates that the title was under ordered. The 2nd printing will be available to order from Diamond Comics next week with an expected in store date of December 14th. The artwork for the 2nd printing will be an inked version of Jae Lee’s variant cover which has already been released in a color retail version and a penciled retailer incentive.
Written by Brandon Easton with artwork by Michael Broussard, Vampire Hunter D: Message from Mars is based on a previously unpublished story by franchise creator Hideyuki Kikuchi. It represents the first ever western style comic adaptation of the long-running Japanese novel series. The comic series is being produced in partnership with Unified Pictures and Digital Frontier, producers of the upcoming animated series, a US and Japanese co-production.
Wednesdays 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.
Top Pick: We Stand On Guard #5 (Image Comics) – The six issue series is heading to it’s conclusion, and it’s been one hell of ride so far. I’ve had this on my top picks ever since it debuted back in July.
Extraordinary X-Men #1 (Marvel) – It’s been a LONG time since I read an X-Men book, and I really enjoyed seeing Old Man Logan interact with the characters during his Secret Wars mini series.
Hercules #1 (Marvel) – The whole idea that Hercules is trying to remind people who he is seems so very meta to me, as I think that’s what Marvel are doing, too. I wouldn’t be surprised if he turns up in the MCU at some point.
Howard The Duck # 1 (Marvel) – This was one of my favourite comics before Secret Wars launched, the off beat humour was right up my alley, and I can’t wait to see where Mr. T Duck ends up now.
Johnny Red #1 (Titan Comics) – I was fortunate enough to have already read and reviewed this comic, but what I’m most looking forward too is getting my hands on this comic and seeing those double page spreads.
Klaus #1 (BOOM! Studios) – Grant Morrison reinvents Santa Claus. ’nuff said.
Top Pick: Citizen Jack #1 (Image Comics) – Wow is there a lot of great comics this week. This horror-comedy for anyone who hates politics! This Presidential candidate worships the devil. Hopefully this is as smart satire as it can be.
James Bond #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) – I’m a huge James Bond fan and so excited for this new series.
Klaus #1 (BOOM! Studios) – A new take on Santa Claus which is a bit more Conan, and the art is amazing. Such a great first issue.
Monstress #1 (Image Comics) – Marjorie Liu’s new series that’s a beautiful fantasy series and a fantastic story.
Unfollow #1 (Vertigo) – A new series from Vertigo? That alone will get me to check out the series.
Top Pick: Monstress #1 (Image Comics) – Marjorie Liu’s new creator owned fantasy series is “a dark fantastic adventure set in an alternate 1900s Asia.” This is a series concept that is all new and much needed from an excellent writer (her Black Widow series was The Best) and the art looks pitch perfect and stunning.
Howard the Duck #1 (Marvel) – The relaunch looks funny (it’s by one of the funniest writers in the business) and Howard’s scene with Doctor Strange in the park seems oddly touching. Give the new series a shot!
Velvet #12 (Image Comics) – Brubaker writes the best noir mystery thrillers. period. This one has an awesome older woman in the lead and you need it. Kenny
Top Pick: Klaus #1 (BOOM! Studios) – I had no idea I ever wanted to know Santa Claus’ origin until I saw this comic. The fact its based on ideas of Viking lore also speaks to the inner history buff in me. Oh, and Grant Morrison. I cannot wait to read this just to see how strange it gets.
Drax #1 (Marvel) – Honestly, this pick is more out of curiosity than pure excitement. Former WWE wrestler CM Punk makes his big debut at Marvel with my favorite character from the Guardians of the Galaxy. This could be a fun action packed adventure or pure disappointment. Either way, I have to know how it turns out.
Uncanny X-Men #600 (Marvel) – I’m a sucker for milestone issues. I’ve been a fan of Brian Michael Bendis for a long time too. So, anytime one of his great runs ends, I am always excited to check it out.
Amazing Spider-Man #3 (Marvel Comics) – Seeing Peter Parker take his friendly neighborhood crusade on a grand scale has been an absolute joy to watch. I didn’t think Slott and Co. could go higher after Superior Spider-Man but they did. It’s a new and exciting take on Peter Parker and having Hobie Brown and his cast join Parker Industries has been awesome. Plus how can you not be excited about Spidey and the Human Torch meeting again! One of the longstanding great on again off again friendships in comics, gets another chapter. No doubt things will be heated. Flame on!
Green Lantern #46 (DC Comics) – Hal teaming with the Black Hand? Color me interested. A must see for me for sure!
Justice League Darkseid War: Superman #1 (DC Comics) – I absolutely enjoyed the Batman tie in last week and I’m anxious to see what they can pull off with Big Blue. The design looks great and anytime Lex Luthor is the voice of reason, you get a fun tale out of it. Hopefully the momentum continues here.
Top Pick: Extraordinary X-Men #1 (Marvel) – I am excited that the X-Men are back! I am excited for this team line up (Colossus and Magik together? Yes please!) However, I am not excited with the prospect of the mutants facing yet another extinction level threat. Haven’t they been through enough? Just when the world was seeing new mutants again, a new threat wants to wipe them out; and now they will be pitted against the Inhumans. Very curious to see how this plays out..but a little leary about another extinction looming over our merry mutants.
Uncanny X-Men #600 (Marvel) – This series started out with such an interesting premise….Cyclops, leading a revolution for mutants, ushering in a new era. To be honest, we haven’t seen that pan out…all the fanfare, but nothing to show for it. Nor have I been a huge fan of Bendis’ work on this book *coughresearchyourcharacterscough*. I have liked the new mutants assembled at Cyclops’ school; Emma Frost is always reason enough for me to read a book she’s in and there have been a few bright points in this book that kept me coming back (Eva Bell and Dazzler especially). So yes, I will include this as a ‘top pick’…at least to see how it concludes..and hope Bendis doesn’t muck it up.
Uncanny X-Men #600 (Marvel) – Well we’ve gotten a tributary re-numbering, marking the end of an era. Whether you loved or hated Bendis’ run on the core x-titles this issue is bound to be essential reading for any X-Fan moving forward. For myself personally I am itching to see how the transition to the new status quo for the X-Men is undertaken, and I am really dying to see the final verdict on Scott Summers “Revolution” It will also be nice to see Hank McCoy held to account for his actions as well.
Unfollow #1 (DC Comics) – When I first read the plot for this story, it sounded to me like an experiment put together by Arcade from Marvel, with Phillip Zimbardo and Stanley Milgram. I really enjoy a good social commentary and what better social commentary than our Faustian addiction to social media? This dark and hunger games-esque story detailing what happens when a network of random strangers must kill each other to procure a cash prize is sure to be water-cooler talk for some time. I’m here for it.
Based on the graphic novel, Stranger Comics has posted a pitch animatic done by Film Roman for The Untamed Animated TV series. The piece is not final animation, but a rough sketch which gives an idea of the cinematic mood that the series will have and it features voiceover by actor Sean Bean. The story, a dark vengeance saga set within a brutal fantasy world is about a dead man who makes a deal with the devil to harvest the seven souls of his betrayers, and is based on the seven issue comic book series by Stranger Comics president Sebastian A. Jones and illustrated by Peter Bergting.
The show will be directed by Alex Soto and produced by Film Roman’s general manger Dana Booton alongside Lloyd Levin and Andrew Cosby with Andrew Sugerman and creator Jones. Tomm Coker provided the concept art for the show, which can be seen in the animatic, keeping the gritty “Frazetta Western” mood and tone of the comic series.
Bean always seems to die in brilliant fashion, in this series he actually gets a chance to come back and settle the score.
For those unfamiliar with the story:
Would you damn yourself to save the ones you love? Hidden within the Desert of the Dying Tree lies a town run by ruthless killers, a growing cancer upon the vast and volatile fantasy world of Asunda. Some say it’s a watering hole for the devil. For one man, it’s a second chance at revenge… and a last chance at redemption.
A man with no name has returned to the brutal Town of Oasis. A mysterious Stranger whose violent past haunts his every footstep. It’s been ten years since his wife and child were on the verge of turning him from wickedness, but they were murdered and so was he. Now, the Stranger has been released from Hell to reap the seven souls responsible. But having little recollection of his former life, the Stranger is lost in a sea of faded memories, glimpses of the life that was taken from him coming back in broken shards as he leaves a bloody trail.
Conflict arises when lust for his lover steers him from his path of vengeance, and hate is tempered by the young orphan Niobe, who reminds him of his daughter. She acts as his conscience and ultimately his only hope for salvation.