Things are ramping up and we’ve got some interviews coming at you over the next few days, reviews, and so much more! While you wait for that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.
For fans who can’t get enough of the White Wolf, CD Projekt Red and Dark Horse Comics are teaming up again to bring you a brand-new story set in the world of the smash hit game series! Penned by Bartosz Sztybor and illustrated by Amad Mir, with a cover by Evan Cagle, The Witcher: Fading Memories follows the further adventures of Geralt of Rivia.
Geralt has become impoverished and dejected since monster threats have seemingly vanished. Times have always been hard for Witchers—but without continual work, his situation has worsened. As Geralt explores new possibilities for his life path, he receives a request from the Mayor of Towitz, a small town where children are being kidnapped by Foglets…but something feels off about this new threat.
The Witcher: Fading Memories #1 (of four) goes on sale June 17, 2020.
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: The Witcher Omnibus.
I often wonder how to start a column when the focus is an adaptation of other media – especially when the other media is an adaptation of something else. Such as it is with Dark Horse’s The Witcher Omnibus. The book collects four five issue miniseries mostly written by Paul Tobin, with two being based on the books and two seemingly based on the video games that were also based on the books judging by Geralt’s armour and the appearance of certain characters in the final story.
As someone who has grown to love the The Witcher over the last 18 months, getting a chance to experience the stories in a different format was an exciting opportunity. I loved the books, and thoroughly enjoyed The Witcher III: Wild Hunt on PlayStation 4. The eight episodes of the Netflix adaptation wasn’t even close to being enough for me, and I can’t wait to experience more when the second season hits. For some reason, despite being a comic guy, I had never actually read the comics until my parents sent me the omnibus for my birthday (it hasn’t happened yet – I just have no patience when it comes to opening gifts for my birthday), and I read the 200 odd pages in two sittings interrupted only by an exhausted sleep.
The book was a fantastic read, and I really enjoyed seeing how the a short story from one of the first two books translated to comic book form (I’d be more specific which book it was from, but I read them back to back and often get which short stories are in which book mixed up), just as it was fun to see a story set after the events of one of the game’s endings. Thankfully, it was the ending I had gotten when playing through, so it could be confusing if you only went through the game once and got a different outcome.
That’s honestly the only downside I can think of to the omnibus. That you may need to know pieces from the other adaptations to enjoy one of the stories within (even though the game isn’t specifically referenced so the story won’t spoil your enjoyment of Wild Hunt), but if you’re somebody like me who has gone all in of Andrej Sapkowski’s creation then you’ll not notice it. Or if you’re willing to accept that certain things have happened that don’t impact the story then you’ll still be able to enjoy the final story.
All in all, it’s a minor complaint.
The art is varied within the omnibus, with the first two tales taking on a more Hellboy-esque look and feel which suits the world of Geralt just fine, and the latter two taking inspiration from the imagery gamers are more familiar with. Either way, I had absolutely no complaints with how the book looked, how it read nor how Tobin and the rest of the creative team handled Geralt of Rivia.
The book will set you back between roughly $25-30 depending which side of the Canadian border you’re on, and it was worth each and every penny for me. If you’re curious about who Geralt is beyond the events in the Netflix show and you haven’t read the books yet, then this is a great introduction. The nature of his long life and many adventures lend themselves well to short pointed stories within a five issue miniseries, which is what makes this book stand out so well; there isn’t an epic story told over hundred of pages, but rather a selection of Geralt’s contracts, his adventures and his stories. So toss a coin to you witcher comic shop and grab this book. You won’t be disappointed
Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.
Now that 2019 is in the history books, it’s time to have a look back at some of the comics, movies and events that really stood out for me during the year. Now this is all based on what I’ve read, and if your favourite comic isn’t here, it may be because I may not have read it, not because I didn’t like it.
Just like last year, we’re looking at comics (ongoing or miniseries) without focusing on single issues or breaking them into specific categories, I’m going for everything in one. If it came out in 2019, then it’s fair game for me. Below you’ll find Eight of them in fact, that for one reason or another rocked my socks off. Underneath that, you’ll find my list of comic book/nerd based movies and T.V. shows. Same general format as the comics, though the total number may be different.
I haven’t decided yet.
I was playing with the order of these right up until I sent it off for publication. I’ve no idea why I only allowed myself the number I did because there were far more comics I read that I wanted to include here. Comics like X-Force, Batman: Last Knight On Earth, Crecy and X-O Manowar were tough to leave off this list, but at the end of the day the books below are the ones that had me the most excited.
For me, these were the very best books (whether miniseries or ongoing) of the year in a sea of high quality comics from all publishers.
8. The Last God(DC Black Label)
Recency bias? Possibly. But over the three issues of this book that I’ve read, I have become thoroughly enamored with how the twin narratives play into and off each other. I almost missed the comic, if I’m honest. It wasn’t until a coworker at my LCS put it in my hands and told me to take it home that I actually did. I haven’t regretted buying this book for a second as I devoured the three issues one after the other. I’m not normally one for fantasy in my comics, but this year that’s almost exactly what I’ve enjoyed the most.
7. Berserker Unbound (Dark Horse)
I had picked this book up purely because it was a new Jeff Lemire book, and Lemire is an author whom I’ll give his comics a chance without knowing what the story is about because I’ve yet to read a book of his that I don’t life. The four issue story about a barbarian thrown from the realm of fantasy into New York City tackles the loneliness and loss felt by those who have nothing left, and the hope that a new friend can shine upon your life. Plus, it’s brilliantly illustrated, with Mike Deodato Jr. using a fantasy inspired high art style that’s eerily reminiscent of the Conan magazines without ever feeling tired.
6. Dead Man Logan (Marvel)
The final send off for Old Man Logan before his younger counterpart is resurrected properly, this twelve issue series always had an ending that we’d expect. There was no secret that Logan would die in the comic, but Ed Brisson was still able to make you care about the death of an alternate version of a character many consider to have been over exposed for much of the first half of this century. I couldn’t get enough of this character’s story, and to finally see an end to Logan’s story left me feeling complete.
5. The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada (Valiant)
Man oh man. I don’t have enough space to rave about how much I loved this series. It is the culmination of Joshua Dysart’s work on the character which began with Harbinger #1 in the 2012 relaunch of Valiant. This series focused on one of the most complicated men in the Valiant universe, telling the story of his life and death (it’s in the title, it isn’t a spoiler), and we’re left wondering whether Toyo Harada was really the villain he’s often portrayed as or whether he was simply a misunderstood hero whose methods rarely aligned with what the world found acceptable in his quest of Peace – at any cost.”
4. Incursion (Valiant)
Perhaps one of the more underrated of Valiant’s miniseries this year, but but had been on my radar for some time given that one of the featured characters was the Eternal Warrior – easily my favourite character in the Valiant universe (as I type this, I am wearing a custom made Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior shirt), and so I knew I’d lap this series up. I didn’t expect to be so taken with the father/daughter dynamic between Gilad and Tama as they face off against the antithesis of all life in a very private battle for the lives of billions of people – but that was only a happy coincidence for Gilad – he was determined to save the young Geomancer at any cost.
3. Once And Future (BOOM! Studios)
This book took me off guard; when my Those Two Geeks co-host Joe told me to pick it up, I was expecting a pretty decent comic (he’s never yet steered me wrong). Instead I found a re-imagining of Arthurian legend with revelations that are teased out ever so slowly as our protagonist gradually becomes aware of who he is and his place in the world. Maybe because I have an incredible soft spot for Arthurian legends, maybe because Dan Mora’s art is right up my alley, or maybe it’s something else entirely, but I love this series.
2. Voracious: Appetite For Destruction (Action Lab: Danger Zone)
I’m surprised that this series fell to this spot in my list; Markisan Naso, Jason Muhr and Andrei Tabucaru’s masterpiece of comic book story telling was among the very best of 2019 – and considering that my expectations were sky bloody high for this series, that it was able to exceed them still blows my mind. I can’t pick one aspect or creator of this series to single out – all deserve an equal measure of praise and credit. Whether it’s Naso’s incredible writing and grasp of dialogue, Muhr’s emotionally powerful art or Tabucaru’s way of breathing life into the pages… each and every aspect of this series was spectacular.
1. Rai (Valiant)
Every once in awhile there comes a series that takes you entirely by surprise. I always hope I’ll like any comic I read because who wants to read a bad comic? But with Rai, I have been consistently shocked. Not because it’s such a marked improvement over Fallen World (which itself was utterly phenomenal and narrowly missed out on this list), but because Dan Abnett has been able to tell such an interesting story with such a simple backdrop. His way of making us question our use and abuse of technology, the loss of our privacy and our seeming inability to distance ourselves from what should be a tool is both as subtle as a butterflies kiss and a sledgehammer to the gut. I’ve never read anything like this before. (Disclaimer: this is based on having read the first three issues, even though the third issue won’t be released for at least another week at time of publication.)
The Television Shows
I didn’t expect to have so much great TV to watch this year, and I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t see it all. For that reason, given the relatively low number of TV shows to comics that were released (and that I’ve seen) I’ve gone with a list of three. If you’re wondering, I have yet to see Watchmen because I don’t have HBO.
3. The Boys (Amazon Prime)
Brutal, bloody and very well written, The Boys is a look at what happens when superheroes are as corrupt as the people they’re supposed to stop. But who stops the heroes? That’s where Billy Butcher (played spectacularly by Karl Urban) and his boys come in. Well worth checking out, but possibly not worth a long subscription to Amazon Prime to do so (unless you’re getting it for the shipping perks).
2. The Mandalorian (Disney+)
If you’re a Star Wars fan, and you haven’t seen this yet, then now is the ideal time to sign up for a free week’s trial of Disney + to get your fix in. This is one of the better live action offerings in the Star Wars canon, certainly it’s in my top two from what has been released this decade. It constantly surprised me how expressive the actor beneath the armour is when you can’t see his face (I say “the actor” because there are times when Pedro Pascal was unable to be on set due to scheduling conflicts and Brendan Wayne stepped in to fill the bounty hunters helmet), and how much emotion is conveyed in the scenes from the score, camera angles and body language.
1. The Witcher (Netflix)
I was waiting for this show ever since I first heard it was coming. 2019 was, for me at least, the year of the Witcher. It was the year I started and finished the books, and the year I invested over a hundred hours into the Playstation 4 version of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. I was ready for the live action adaptation of the books to be somewhere between average and good, but I wasn’t ready for Henry Cavill, Anya Chalotra and Joey Batey to bring the characters I envisioned to life so well. I don’t think I have ever seen somebody convey so much emotion and gravitas with a single word as Cavill does so often and so well in this series. While there are some complaints that it feels disjointed, and I understand them, my only suggestion with that is to make it to the finale. Once you do then you’ll want to rewatch the season with a new found understanding of the events that you just witnessed. I don’t remember the last time a TV show left me wanting to reread, rewatch and replay as much as I could of the universe it comes from as The Witcher has. The sooner the soundtrack is available the better.
Well… this was certainly a year for movies, eh? Whether it was arguably one of the best DC movies in their live action movie universe or some movie about a bunch of people assembling something, there’s no doubt that this year had a lot of great movies released that fell within our sphere. Now there are movies from this year that I enjoyed more than some of the ones below, but because Aladdin doesn’t really fall into the scope of this list I’ve left it and others off the list. Try as I might, I couldn’t justify putting John Wick 3 on the list either, so I shaved the arbitrary number from eight to five.
5. Star Wars: Rise Of Skywalker
I seem to be one of the minority who enjoyed The Last Jedi despite its flaws, but even I’ll admit that movie paled in comparison to the finale of the Skywalker Saga. This was everything I hoped it would be and more. I cannot wait to see it again.
4. Captain Marvel
Part of me is surprised this movie came out in 2019. It’s hard to remember a time before Endgame changed the face of the MCU, but when I looked back I realized that not only did this film come out in 2019, but I enjoyed the shit out of it when I watched it.
I remember leaving the theater after seeing this being a little shaken. This wasn’t what I expected from a comic book movie. Much like Logan, Joker transcends the supposed limitations of comic book films and evolves into a thrilling story about one man’s descent into psychopathy. Now you and I are more than aware that comic book films are just as legitimate pieces of cinema as anybody, but for some reason Joker has pulled in critics looking to talk about Batman’s arch nemesis. While I don’t know if I’ll ever watch the movie again, I will always remember that feeling of watching something special as the credits rolled.
2. Spider-Man: Far From Home
It took me a long time to decide where to place this movie. I want to rewatch this more than any other of the movies on this list, but struggled to place it above Endgame because of what that movie represented in the culmination of the entire MCU up until that moment. But why do I want to watch this more than Endgame? Because Spider-Man: Far From Home has some fantastic acting from the entire cast, especially Tom Holland and Jake Gyllenhal, and it also feels a lot more personal than the exhaustively epic scope of Endgame. At this point, I’m comfortable saying that this is my favourite Spider-Man film yet.
1. Avengers: Endgame
Well shit. What can I really say about this movie that hasn’t already been said? When you look at it as a movie, it’s really good. The journey that Thor, Captain America and Iron Man take in the film alone could easily be the basis of solo films, likewise with Clint Barton. The finale is breathtaking in its scope, with each character getting their moment to shine amidst the madness. But when you take Endgame as a whole, as the culmination of twenty plus movies over more than ten years, it is unparalleled. I don’t honestly think I will see another film like it ever again.
Hivemind – the production company behind Sony Pictures’ upcoming Bloodshotfeature film starring Vin Diesel, Netflix’s hugely anticipated The Witcher series starring Henry Cavill, and Amazon’s acclaimed science-fiction series The Expanse – has announced that it will be hosting an in-depth panel discussion covering its current and upcoming projects at New York Comic Con 2019 (NYCC).
Beginning on Thursday, October 3rd at 1:30 pm ET in Room 1B03, members of the public and media are invited to attend “Hivemind Presents: Adapting Comics, Games & Sci-Fi for the Screen” – a roundtable panel discussion moderated by ComicBook.com Executive Editor Jim Viscardi that will detail the behind-the-scenes secrets of bringing the most beloved characters and properties in fandom to life.
Additionally, Hivemind’s panelists – including Co-Founders/Partners Dinesh Shamdasani and Jason F. Brown, VP Brand & Content Strategy Hunter Gorinson, and VP Film & Television Amanda Kruse – will also cover the company’s slate of current and upcoming projects, including:
BLOODSHOT, the upcoming Sony Pictures feature film based on the Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated comic book series starring Vin Diesel, Guy Pearce, and Eiza Gonzalez; written by Academy Award nominee Eric Heisserer; and directed by Dave Wilson
THE WITCHER, the upcoming Netflix series starring Henry Cavill and based on the iconic, internationally beloved fantasy novels that inspired the best-selling video game franchise
THE EXPANSE, the acclaimed Amazon Studios science-fiction series recently renewed for a fifth season in advance of the fourth’s debut on Prime Video
SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK, the summer’s highest grossing horror film, from director André Øvredal and co-writer/co-producer Guillermo del Toro
GIDEON FALLS, the recently announced television adaptation of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s Eisner Award-winning Image Comics series
WEIRD FANTASY, a new television series based on the subversive and internationally renowned science-fiction stories of EC Comics
FINAL FANTASY, the first live-action adaptation of the multibillion-dollar video game franchise, produced in partnership with Square Enix and Sony Pictures Television
San Diego Comic-Con 2019 is just a few weeks away and the announcements are rolling in as far as what we’ll be seeing at the convention and especially Hall H.
Netflix has announced that they’re bringing The Witcher and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance to the convention. The back-to-back panels take place on Friday, June 19.
THE WITCHER: A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES
Friday, 7/19/2019; 2:15PM – 3:00PM Hall H
Based on the best-selling fantasy series of books, THE WITCHER is an epic tale of fate and family. Be among the first to get the exclusive scoop on the highly anticipated new Netflix original series centering around famed monster hunter, Geralt of Rivia. Be introduced to the world of The Continent, where humans, elves, witchers, gnomes, and monsters battle to survive and thrive, and where good and evil is not easily identified.
NETFLIX PRESENTS: THE DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE
Friday, 7/19/2019; 3:30PM – 5:15PM Hall H
Netflix presents an exclusive sneak peek at the highly-anticipated fantasy series, THE DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE, based on Jim Henson’s groundbreaking 1982 feature film, THE DARK CRYSTAL. In this stunning new prequel, three Gelfling discover the horrifying secret behind the Skeksis’ power, and set out on an epic journey to ignite the fires of rebellion and save their world. Realized using classic puppetry with cutting edge visual effects, the cast and creators discuss all of your burning questions about bringing Thra to life.
Multi-Eisner award-winning writer Paul Tobin penned a fantasy epic of the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, a witcher—one of the few remaining monster hunters from the critically acclaimed video game fantasy The Witcher by CD Projekt Red! Now you can bring home the entire story in The Witcher Omnibus featuring art by Joe Querio, Piotr Kowalski, Max Bertolini, with a bonus sketchbook section and additional art by Dave Johnson, Dan Panosian, Stan Sakai, Duncan Fegredo, Simon Bisley, and a cover by Mike Mignola. The Witcher Omnibus is a must have for fans of The Witcher franchise!
The Witcher Omnibus collects issues #1–#5 of The Witcher comic series House of Glass, Fox Children, Curse of Crows, and the Killing Monsters one-shot—and features annotations from the creators of the comics, as well as a sketchbook section.
The Witcher Omnibus goes on sale January 15, 2020, and is available for pre-order. This 440-page soft-cover collection will retail for $24.99.
Dark Horse and CD PROJEKT RED are releasing three all-new figures from The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt! Slated for a summer 2019 release, the new Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer figures will retail for $39.99.
The first new product is a sculpt of Geralt of Rivia in his Grandmaster Feline armor. Geralt is featured in this stealthy hooded armor holding his crossbow. The feline armor provides Geralt with a shadowy, mysterious look. Accompanying the new Geralt figure are all new Ciri and Yennefer figures. They are posed and outfitted in their alternate DLC costumes with more detail than ever!
Each beautifully crafted figure is modeled to the character’s likeness. These figures are intricate in costume detail, custom painted, and displayed in deluxe window packaging.
The Witcher fans rejoice! Dark Horse and CD Projekt Red are making it easier than ever for The Witcher fans to catch up on the tie-in graphic novels and comics series in The Witcher Library Edition. CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher is a dark fantasy RPG game series with a character-driven, non-linear story set in a gritty and living world. The Witcher games have collectively earned over 800 industry awards and have sold more than 33 million copies worldwide.
The Witcher Library Edition collects issues #1–#5 of the Witcher comic series House of Glass, Fox Children, Curse of Crows, and the Killing Monsters one-shot—and features annotations and a sketchbook section. Multiple Eisner Award-winning writer Paul Tobin pens a fantasy epic of the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, a witcher—one of the few remaining monster hunters. The Witcher Library Editionfeatures story art by Joe Querio, Piotr Kowalski, and Max Bertolini with colors by Carlos Badilla and Brad Simpson and lettering by Nate Piekos. This edition features a bonus sketchbook section and additional art by Dave Johnson, Dan Panosian, Stan Sakai, Duncan Fegredo, Simon Bisley, and a new cover by Mike Mignola. This 440-page tome retails for $49.99.
The Witcher Library Edition goes on sale October 24, 2018.