Tag Archives: tamra bonvillain

Review: Flavor #1

Within a strange walled city, an unlicensed chef discovers a mystery that threatens to end it all. Flavor is a culinary epic adventure-FLAVOR-where chefs are the ultimate celebrity and food is the most valued commodity. The high-stakes competition of Hunger Games collides with the lush in this delectable new ongoing series featuring culinary consulting and bonus content by Ali Bouzari, renowned food scientist and author of the IACP Award-winning cookbook Ingredient: Unveiling the Essential Elements of Food.

Flavor #1 feels like the opening sequence of an adorable animated film by Hayao Miyazaki. The series focuses on Xoo, a young girl with her dog Buster who are basically living on their own while her parents are incapacitated. Writer Joseph Keatinge and artist Wook Jin Clark, the two co-created the series, open the issue in a way that allows us to focus on a fully realized city. It’s an action sequence that’s a feast for the eyes, teaches you about the city in which it takes place, and allows you to get a feel about the characters.

It’s all adorable and cute in that kids animated movie sort of way.

What Keatinge and Clark set up is beyond interesting as the issue continues and layers are added to the story. There’s Xoo attempting to run her family’s business. The introduction of her absent Uncle who is called in to help her. And then there’s the twist ending which adds a new layer and shows there’s so much more to this world than just a girl attempting to live and take care of her parents. It’s a mystery that’s unexpected and makes it all more interesting.

Clark is joined on art by Tamra Bonvillain who helps add to the animated feel of it all with the coloring chosen and the way it’s presented. It at times looks like animated cells on a page. It’s just wonderful and full of life and while the city itself seems pretty well off all of it together but the small details makes it also look lived in and slightly dirty. The lettering by Ariana Maher also adds a whimsical sense of it and the overall sense of fun for the issue.

I loved this first issue and it’s an entertaining comic that at first seems like it’d be great for kids and adults alike and then you get to the end… and I’m rethinking that aspect. I have no idea where this is going, I just know I want to read it and find out.

Story: Joseph Keatinge Art: Wook Jin Clark
Color: Tamra Bonvillain Lettering: Ariana Maher
Culinary Consultant: Ali Bouzari
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Black Panther: World of Wakanda Wins a GLAAD Media Award

Black Panther: World of Wakanda has won the GLAAD Media Award for comic books. It was one of ten nominees in the comic category for the 29th annual award. Two other Marvel books, America and Iceman, were also nominated.

The award celebrates inclusivity in pop culture.

Recognized for the book was the creative team of Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Yona Harvey, Rembert Browne, Alitha E. Martinez, Manny Mederos, Joe Bennett, Afua Richardson, Roberto Poggi, Tamra Bonvillain, Rachelle Rosenberg, Virtual Calligraphy, and Joe Sabino.

Other nominees included the Backstagers, Batwoman, Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love, Goldie Vance, Lumberjanes, The Woods, and Quantum Teens are Go.

Margaret Atwood’s Animal Kingdom Expands at Dark Horse

Dark Horse has purrfect additions for Margaret Atwood fans’ bookshelves! From the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Handmaid’s Tale, comes War Bears, a historical fiction comic series that traces the Golden Age of comic books, and The Complete Angel Catbird, a trade collection of the #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel.

War Bears is Margaret Atwood’s latest foray into the graphic novel medium alongside visual storyteller Ken Steacy. Steacy is an Eisner and Inkpot Award-winning creator and Canadian Comic Book Hall of Fame Inductee. War Bears follows comic book creator Al Zurakowski, who dreams of making it big in the early world of Canadian comics publishing. Al creates Oursonette, a fictional Nazi-fighting superheroine, at the peak of World War II. This three-issue miniseries explores the early days of comics in Toronto, a brutal war that greatly strains Al personally and professionally, and how the rise of post-war American comics put an end to his dreams.

The Complete Angel Catbird is a beautiful trade collection of the New York Times bestselling Angel Catbird graphic novel series. Artist Johnnie Christmas and colorist Tamra Bonvillain joined Margaret Atwood on the critically acclaimed three-volume series. Dark Horse published Angel Catbird in tandem with Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives, an initiative led by Nature Canada, the oldest conservation charity in Canada. Angel Catbird follows the adventures of a genetic engineer caught in the middle of a chemical accident as he discovers new superhuman abilities. With these new powers, he takes on the identity of Angel Catbird and gets caught in the middle of a war between animal/human hybrids. What follows is a humorous, action-driven, educational, and pulp-inspired superhero adventure—with a lot of cat puns.

The first issue of War Bears goes on sale September 5, 2018 for $4.99 soon.

The Complete Angel Catbird goes on sale October 03, 2018. The 320-page trade collection retails for $24.99.

Review: Doom Patrol/JLA Special #1

JLADPA_Cv1It’s safe to say that Doom Patrol/JLA Special is the best comic ever to feature superheroes inflated like beachballs saving the day. Writers Gerard Way and Steve Orlando, artists Dale Eaglesham and Nick Derington, and colorists Marissa Louise and Tamra Bonvillain deliver a story that is action packed, emotion filled, and cerebral too. Orlando and Way steep the book in DC history, like the collected works of Grant Morrison, the first appearance of Doom Patrol in My Greatest Adventure #80, and even Keith Giffen “Bwahaha” era of Justice LeagueHowever, they aren’t overwhelmed by history and/or nostalgia and craft a satisfying ending to the battle against the Retconn corporation that has real consequences for both the DC Universe and Young Animal world going forward.

Along with the stained glass psychedelic passion play that is the return of Doom Patrol founding member Rita Farr aka , the relationship between Casey Brinke and her son Milkman. Way, Orlando, and Eaglesham could just use him as a strawman representation of corporate comics, but they give the tabula rasa turned moralizing pitchman a human side. Much of Eaglesham’s work in Doom Patrol/JLA is bombastic with splash pages and topsy turvy layouts, but the scenes with Casey and Milkman showcase his skill with interpersonal drama.

Up to this point, Milkman has been a punch/(misogynist) insult machine, but Casey, who is more EMT than superhero, takes him away from the fight, clasps his hand, and says it’s okay that he’s a little screwed up. This is because all of Doom Patrol is a little weird. In a few pages, Way, Orlando, Eaglesham, and Bonvillain and Louise’s warm color palette create a beautiful mother/son relationship that is stripped away in a moment that could be a “put the toys back in the box” plot device moment, but really resonates. Derington even adds a grace note at the end with Casey thinking about Milkman while having a “Good job, rookie superhero” chat with Wonder Woman.

CaseyFeels

Like all good final crossover issues, JLA/Doom Patrol has some great superhero battles beginning with the first double page splash of the entire JLA and Doom Patrol plus special friends Mother Panic and Shade jumping out of Cave Carson’s cybernetic eye. However, the story shows the futility of fisticuffs and the power of healing and, of course, hope to save the world. There’s the aforementioned conversation between Casey and Milkman as well as dialogue from Vixen about the power of the Red (Contained in her ancestral totem) to heal, their plan to save reality as a “defebrillation” and finally Flex Mentallo’s big damn monologue.

It’s quite amusing to see the super serious Batman speaking about “muscle mystery”, and Gerard Way and Steve Orlando take a page out of the Grant Morrison Batman handbook and make him comfortable with the absurd. You can definitely see him dressing up in a rainbow suit to confuse bad guys. It’s also just plain clever to make the most metafictional character of the bunch literally reset the reboot button while getting an assist from the rest of the teams. It also dovetails nicely with the Rita storyline, which goes from gaudy and religious to primal and minimalist while also kind of reminding me of the video for “Take On Me” as Elastigirl leaves her fictional television world for the real to her, sadly fictional to us world of the DC Universe literally entering the panels of JLA/Doom Patrol Special. She faces the literal comic of her origin story as a victim of circumstance and re-enters the world as a formidable character and charter Doom Patrol member. Retcons can be pretty great some time, and I think Grant Morrison would be proud at this use of comic book as magic spell that calls back to Multiversity and the letters page of The Invisibles. (Think wankathon…)

Speaking of meta, Way, Orlando, Eaglesham, and Derington don’t just use the fourth wall breaking for jokes and jabs at superhero comics (Everything out of Shade’s mouth is comedic gold though.), but give the self-aware-that-he’s-a-comics-character Robotman some big character moments. It’s kind of adorable to see The Ray geek out on him and mention the impact that fictional superheroes had on him. This heat of battle rapport pays huge dividends in the epilogue. Let’s just say, there are hugs.

Doom Patrol/JLA Special isn’t just an entertaining comic that is filled to the brim with hopefulness, it’s a paradigm for how superhero stories can be told. Basically, Gerard Way, Steve Orlando, Dale Eaglesham, Nick Derington, Tamra Bonvillain, and Marissa Louise are saying that superhero comics are pretty damn weird, and they can embrace this strangeness, be inspirational and even funny, and not just be grist in the mill of real life Retconns aka their corporate overlords. Because of this, I’m excited to see what Young Animal does next with its Eternity GirlShade the Changing WomanMother Panic: Gotham A.D., and Cave Carson Has An Interstellar Eye comics that get short, unobtrusive teasers in Doom Patrol/JLA Special.

Story: Gerard Way and Steve Orlando Art: Dale Eaglesham and Nick Derington
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain and Marissa Louise
Story: 10 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.9 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics/Young Animal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #28

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #28

Story: Brandon Montclare Art: Natacha Bustos Cover Art: Natacha Bustos
Color: Tamra Bonvillain Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Editor: Chris Robinson Senior Editor: Mark Paniccia
Rated T
In Shops: Feb 28, 2018
SRP: $3.99

FANTASTIC THREE PART 4
• Smarter than MOON GIRL? Stronger than the THING? Hotter than the HUMAN TORCH?
• What mystery man can outmatch Marvel’s newest hero family?
• The FANTASTIC THREE are put to the test, and this is one exam LUNELLA LAFAYETTE – the Smartest There Is – might not pass (at least not with a little help)!

Review: JLA/Doom Patrol Special #1

JLA DOOM PATROL SPECIAL #1Grab a milkshake, put a cherry on top, and maybe add a shot of whiskey or two, and you’ve got JLA/Doom Patrol #1, the first chapter of the monthlong DC Comics/Young Animal “Milk Wars” crossover. Writers Gerard Way and Steve Orlando combine the surrealism and fourth wall obliterating metafiction of Doom Patrol  with the punching and personality-driven Justice League of America to create the soft serve chocolate swirl of “event” comics. It roasts these kind of stories while indulging in all the tropes, including a spread it all around your dorm room four page spread from artist Aco and colorists Tamra Bonvillain and Marissa Louise of the Doom Patrol fighting the literally homogenized version of the JLA.

It’s super entertaining, in general, to see the book go from a critique of corporate comics to a 1950s Americana small town mystery thriller, then a slugfest, and finally an unlikely team-up thanks to a couple stinger pages that put those Wolverine “post-credits” pages in inconsequential Marvel Comics to shame. The play of genre, tongue in cheek sense satire, and embrace of the strange side of superhero stories makes JLA/Doom Patrol generally fantastic. It’s the comic book equivalent of getting a tasty dessert and getting some nutritious visuals and ideas along the way.

From his first appearance on the obviously homaging All Star Superman cover from Frank Quitely, Milkman Man is a fantastic villain even if the real Big Bad is the aptly named Retconn corporation. Besides being connected to a plot point in the main Doom Patrol series, Milkman Man is Superman drained of all his inspirational power, connection to social activism, and humanity. Aco might homage Action Comics #1 when he lifts Danny the Ambulance and throws it at the Doom Patrol, but this is a Superman, who punches down and stands for the status quo. With his neighborhood watch buddies, including a thoroughly neutered (and hilarious) Lobo, he’s here to make sure that outsiders stay down, and that superhero comics are just mind numbing punch outs and don’t have any real connection to people, their feelings, and the world around him.

Milkman Man is cereal mascot at best and alt right “Politics don’t belong in my white DP_JLA_1_3male spandex clad power fantasies” mascot at worst. In his first appearance, Aco goes for pure horror with inset panels of him shoving milk down the throats of an average white Middle America family.  This powerful, nearly silent scene played against an idyllic color palette from Bonvillain and Louise is a reminder that even when art claims to be apolitical, just for fun, or not have a message that it, in fact, does have a message. The Retconn Corporation wants to “homogenize” the DC Comics characters, including their classic Trinity, and turn them from powerful icons of justice into basically toys and merchandise as revealed in a couple pages that seem like a “behind the scenes” of a corporate board meeting. Milkman Man’s reaction to reading the actual Action Comics #1 (After yet another gorgeous and meta as hell double page spread from Aco, Bonvillain, and Louise.) is a reminder of how powerful Superman’s origin story is from Way and Orlando, who realize that pop culture can change the world and immigrants get the job done.

Along with having strong metaphors, a well-written villain, and some knock your skull off your body visuals, JLA/Doom Patrol succeeds because Way, Orlando, Aco, Bonvillain, and Louise realize that one thing that makes DC Comics great is that they’re pretty fucking weird. As the unflappable comic book character brought to life Casey Brinke says to Milkman Man, “Some of the best people are weirdos.” I mean, this is a universe where their most iconic hero wears his underwear on the outside and saves cats from trees while a bisexual, chain smoking, left wing British magician can have 300 straight issues of his comic and age in real time.

Way and Orlando’s understanding of the weirdness of DC Comics really comes out when the JLA and Doom Patrol interact as (Not so.) regular people and not milk drinking, mind controlled Stepford superheroes towards the end of the book. Ray and Danny the Ambulance kind of, sort of flirt, Larry Trainor the Negative Man opens up way too much to Lobo, and Killer Frost and Crazy Jane really bond over trying to do good with their vast, yet unwieldy powers. After the punching of the first 2/3 of the comic, Aco settles down into a casual hangout vibe for these scenes before going stylized with the aforementioned “stinger” sequences. It’s a reminder that some of the best superhero stories aren’t just action figure fights, but treat their larger than life characters like human beings with thoughts, motivations, and of course, flaws.

In JLA/Doom Patrol Special #1, Gerard Way, Steve Orlando, Aco, Hugo Petrus, Tamra Bonvillain, and Marissa Louise combine the best of DC Rebirth and the best of Young Animal in one beautiful, oversized package. And as a bonus, Mags Visaggio and Sonny Liew begin to tell the poetic, retro-styled origin story of Eternity Girl in a two page backup.

Story: Gerard Way and Steve Orlando Art: Aco with Hugo Petrus Colors: Tamra Bonvillain and Marissa Louise
  Backup Story: Mags Visaggio Backup Art: Sonny Liew 
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics/Young Animal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Doom Patrol #10

After a bit of a break, Doom Patrol is back and hurling full force into wackiness as the team faces Casey Brinke’s roommate Terry None’s dad Mr. Nobody in a world full of $#*!. It’s surreal, a bit meta (The kinda sorta framing narrative of “Retconn”), brightly colored by Tamra Bonvillain,  and has some decent character moments like Casey realizing that she has real feelings for Terry or the Reynolds family pleading with their distant son Lucius to stop messing with reality as the sorcerer pawn of Mr. Nobody. Sometimes, it seems like writer Gerard Way is trying too hard to be Grant Morrison or be too clever to his own good, but for the most part, he and artists Nick Derington and Tom Fowler and colorist Bonvillain craft an entertaining story with punching, chaos, and embrace the weird, loose side of corporate superhero comics with ever shifting team lineups and gimmicks like death, marriages, and capital c Crises and crossovers to sell books and keep readers engaged.

The first three pages of Doom Patrol #10 are a wonderful representation of the creative madness of the Brotherhood of Dada (Of which Mr. Nobody was a member.) with Derington and Fowler drawing Terry None tap dancing while seemingly regular humans transform after eating $#*! There are all kinds of gross pollen things floating around to her smooth dance moves with Bonvillain giving this world the sickly sweet palette of a garishly colored kid’s bedroom or one of those overly nostalgic documentary about old toys and how much they cost now. Derington, Fowler, and Bonvillain take a break from the stimulus to draw a close-up of Casey Brinke slowing coming to as she comes to grips with her roommate/possible lover being the daughter of a bad guy as well as trying to learn the rules of yet another rule bending and breaking dreamy world. Even though Doom Patrol is assembled, Way and company still use Casey as an entry point to the title despite her being non-existent according to the wannabe wise mentor Niles Caulder.

The overall narrative structure of Doom Patrol #10 is basically “$#*! continues to escalate until the entire comic book medium collapses in the end”, but Way buoys his script with hilarious and ass-kicking moments between the head scratching ones. Instead of being a metafictional comment on the different eras of superhero comics like in the 1996 Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely miniseries, Flex Mentallo continues to embrace his roots as a Charles Atlas parody and spout off facts about having a well-balanced diet and exercising at inopportune times. He is a fantastic source of comic relief, and the fact that his vast “Hero of the Beach” powers can’t save the day shows Mr. Nobody’s strength as a villain.

Even though they’re not Doom Patrol team members technically, I love the interactions between Sam (Casey’s old EMT partner) and his ex-cult member wife Valerie Reynolds and their son Lucius, who has become an edgy, manipulated teen sorcerer. In an eight and nine panel grid, Way, Derington, and Fowler create a heartfelt family reunion where Valerie (Who had previously been mind controlled by a personality of Crazy Jane.) empathizes with the fact that Lucius is facing forces beyond his control. They almost get a nice family reunion, but the arc isn’t over yet, and the big moment is interrupted by a red and yellow Bonvillain palette and magic critters.

In Doom Patrol #10, Gerard Way, Nick Derington, Tom Fowler, and Tamra Bonvillain embrace the sheer, often candy colored ridiculousness of superhero comics from fight scene that takes place in a sort of supermarket and features Flex Mentallo chasing a headless pair of legs, gym socks, and tight whiteys to an “Animal Man meets his maker” for the binge watching age. That second bit is still in the setup, but hopefully Way and company stick the landing after the filling the final pages of the issues with pure negative space probably representing all the contradictory continuity they have to sift through while making a Doom Patrol book.

At times, Doom Patrol seems to be Morrisonian for the sake of being Morrisonian, but Way’s writing has sly humor and bits of sweet humanity and Derington, Fowler, and Bonvillain’s art has a manic, sugar high rush that makes it stand out from DC’s more “traditional” books. Plus Robotman punching things a lot is always a good time.

Story: Gerard Way Pencils: Nick Derington Inks: Tom Fowler Colors: Tamra Bonvillain
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics/Young Animal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Johnnie Christmas’ Firebug is Collected this March

Johnnie Christmas and superstar colorist Tamra Bonvillain will release a trade paperback collection of Firebug, the explosive mythological tale that first debuted in Island.

A volcano goddess named Keegan is loose in the world, and the prophecies are unclear whether her coming will bring humanity’s destruction or its salvation.

In the shadow of a sacred volcano from which Keegan derives her powers, lies the ancient city of Azar. To unravel the mysteries of her past, Keegan and her friends must get to Azar before it is overrun by a horde of forest monsters. Meanwhile, the nefarious Cult of the Goddess has plans to summon forces as old as time to extinguish Keegan’s flame permanently.

Firebug (Diamond code: DEC170655, ISBN: 978-1-5343-0494-9) hits comic book stores Wednesday, March 7th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, January 22nd.

Thanks to Those Speaking Out. We Support You.

Many within the comics industry are taking a stand and speaking out against harassment and the continued protection of those who engage in it. One reason individuals don’t speak out is over fear that they will be blacklisted and not supported by publishers (and fans). So, along with our vocally supporting these creators we as a community need to also show we also have their back financially.

This isn’t a complete list so please add individuals missed in the comments below.


Sophie Campbell is quoted in the recent Buzzfeed article as have turned down Supergirl due to editor Eddie Berganza. That’s beyond stand-up and shows true conviction. Check out her work on Jem and the Holograms, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Wet Moon, and more.

Joshua Hale Fialkov is a writer who worked with DC on the series I, Vampire (among others). He reportedly left the company over a disagreement about killing Green Lantern John Stewart. He’s written awesome series like The Bunker, Tumor, The Life After, and most recently Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth.

Kwanza Osajyefo is one of the creators behind the recently released in trade paperback Black. Not only is he outspoken but also a target for degenerate comic “fans” who only want to take us backwards. That hasn’t stopped him down from speaking out.

Christopher Sebela is the writer behind the upcoming Cold War from AfterShock Comics, Heartthrob, We(l)come Back, High Crimes, and more.

Tony Isabella is one of the co-creators of Black Lightning for DC Comics. Maybe grab one of his classic trades to prepare for the new CW television show or the recent Black Lighting: Cold Dead Hands #1.

Jennifer de Guzman has been one of the most outspoken individuals when it comes to harassment in the comics industry. She’s written for numerous comics (like Womanthology: Space) and prose as well as a journalist. Buy her stuff and hire her!

Lilah Sturges is a writer of comics and fantasy novels having written Jack of Fables for Vertigo. You can also check out her work on Everafter.

Jonathan H. Gray is an artist who has done work on Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Universe, Mega Man, as well as numerous work for Disney Comics.

Matthew Rosenberg is a comic writer who has published indie comics and also worked for Marvel and Archie. He was also part of the DC Writers Workshop Class of 2016. Go check out his 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank which was recently released as a trade paperback.

Kate Leth is a creator who has worked for Marvel, Dark Horse, BOOM!, Dynamite, IDW, and Image. Whatever you buy to support her, it’s going to be good.

Tamra Bonvillain is a colorist who has worked for DC, Marvel, Image and more on such titles as Doom Patrol, Wayward, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Uncanny Avengers, and more.

Colleen Doran spoke out, blew the whistle and was thrown under the bus. Lots of fantastic work including Sandman from DC Comics’ Vertigo written by…

Neil Gaiman who clearly has Doran’s back…

Tea Terry Blue is a digital project manager at King Features Syndicate, a co-editor of RAW Fanthology, and overall comic nerd. Go follow them since there’s tons of other folks speaking out too that Tea is spotlighting.

Ryan Ferrier has written comics such as D4ve, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, WWE, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and more.


That’s a lot of folks to support and I’m sure I’ve missed tons. So, please add on in the comments below and go support those wonderful folks.

Preview: Secret Warriors #5

Secret Warriors #5

(W) Matthew Rosenberg (A) Javi Garron (CA) Tradd Moore, Tamra Bonvillain
Rated T+
In Shops: Aug 09, 2017
SRP: $3.99

SECRET EMPIRE TIE-IN!
• All-out war is coming for the Secret Warriors! Are they willing to do what it takes to win?
• They’d better be – ‘cuz the fight for their future is tied to the fate of all Inhumans!
• But can they get past their personal hang-ups and secret plans long enough to put down Mister Hyde and his Hydra army?
• And even if they all survive… What’s next for a ragtag team of Inhumans who don’t trust each other?

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