Writer: Tim Seeley Artist: Freddie E. Williams II Colorist: Jeremy Colwell Letterer: Marshall Dillon Cover: Freddie E. Williams II w/ Jeremy Colwell Incentive cover: Tyler Walpole $4.99 / 32 Pages / Color / On Sale 3.17.2021
Welcome to the high fantasy world of Tangea! A land where wizards and warriors battle dragons in dark dank dungeons! Where thieves pillage ancient ruins and priests answer the audible words of their great gods!
Welcome to Chicago, Illinois! Where the magical items from Tangea are being traded on the black market and are messing everything up.
Now, a group of Tangea adventurers must go undercover in our modern world to stop artifacts and monsters from falling into the wrong hands. But how will they fare in a world without wizards and warriors? A world without heroes?
From Tim Seeley (DARK RED, BRILLIANT TRASH) and Freddie E. Williams II (HeMan/Thundercats, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) comes BEQUEST, a real-world fantasy tale.
Each issue of BEQUEST has 24 pages of story and art and cardboard stock covers!
Twelve Reasons to Die acts as the source material for the 2013 concept album of the same title by Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah, and the record’s producer/composer Adrian Younge and executive producer RZA even get story and writer credits respectively on this comic, which is finally being released as a collected edition.A pre-4 Kids Walk Into A Bank/Marvel Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon handle the brunt of the scripting though. The comic is a multi-generational crime saga in the mold of such classics like The Godfather Part II, Goodfellas, and Once Upon A Time in America with a horror spin. With the exception of the final one, each issue tells two parallel stories. The first is about the rise of African-American gangster Tony Starks (One of Ghostface Killah’s aliases.) from muscle for the DeLuca family to a kingpin in his own right, and it is drawn predominantly by artist Breno Tamura. Gus Storms handles the other story which features “crate digger” Michael Migdal looking for 9 rare records for Lucraze, the don of the DeLuca crime family, because he feels like they’re cursed and wants to destroy them.
The parallel structure of Twelve Reasons to Die allows Rosenberg, Kindlon, RZA, Tamura, Storm, colorist Jean-Paul Csuka, and the various guest artists to play with different genres, art styles, and palettes like Younge and Ghostface Killah play with different beats, instrumentation, samples, and deliveries on the album. Starks’ story is a crime saga while Migdal’s story is more horror, and both use elements from the blaxploitation genre. This really shows up in the artwork with Tamura’s work being looser with scratchy inks and Bronze Age era Ben-Day Dots while Storms’ art is softer and more grotesque with the mysterious “Ghostface Killer” lurking around the edges like something out of a bad dream waiting for the needle to drop and to bring vengeance.
The different guest artists, like Nate Powell, Joelle Jones, Edwin Huang, and Riley Rossmo, meld well with Storms and Tamura while bringing extra flair to key scenes like Starks torturing a racist DeLuca made man and framing him for having an affair with the boss’ wife, Logan (Who Starks is actually sleeping with.) or several night club and murder sequences. Csuka’s colors really tie everything together and control the mood of each sequence whether that’s the sleazy red and blue of the strip club where Starks gets his first assignment from the DeLuca (and later runs) to the pop art pink of a “masqua-rave” that Migdal goes to get one of the records from a DJ, who decides to play the record and gets devoured by ravers turned into insects. It’s a Kafka-esque acid trip that shows the decadence of the DeLuca “social club” (They’ve filed off the serial numbers of their criminal enterprises.), and of course, there’s a panel where Migdal vomits.
Twelve Reasons to Die doesn’t shy away from showing the racism that Tony Starks faces from his employers, the Delucas, who bar him from becoming a made man because of the color of his skin and hurl slurs and stereotypes at him throughout the entire comic. Starks gets passed over for the mob equivalent of a promotion even though he has killed, tortured, and general gone above and beyond the call of duty because of the color of his skin. Eventually, this causes him to band together with his colleagues from the Black community to take over the DeLucas’ turf and even have some DeLuca foot soldiers work for him. There’s a dark, cathartic glee to watching him topple an empire in twelve months that had been established 30+ years ago. (See the prologue featuring Mussolini, mainland Italy vs. Sicily, and double page map spreads.) Starks’ ruthlessness is magnetic, yet frightening as he goes from possibly negotiating with one of the DeLuca’s made men to pistol whipping him in an alley and then tying his neck to the back of a car and having him dragged. This comic definitely uses torture creatively a la “Method Man” from Wu-Tang Clan’s classic album, 36 Chambers.
However, Rosenberg, Kindlon, and RZA also take time to develop Tony Starks’ softer and more vulnerable side through his relationship with Logan, who he genuinely cares about and basically uses as a spy for the DeLucas (Although she betrays him because femme fatale trope.) and especially for his love of records. There’s a touching scene where Starks says that his only dream is to get his hands on the most “hype” records, and he uses his organized crime money to build a factory where he can press his own wax. This is why his demise in that same factory is so tragic, and his vengeance via the drop of a needle is so satisfying as the Ghostface Killer slays the men who betrayed him in new and fucked up ways, or just a single page beheading. (I guess that’s pretty messed up though.) The exception is the noble fencer Batiato, who gets an epic sword fight complete with Ghostface in samurai armor and some fun, blocky cartooning from Edwin Huang.
I haven’t really touched much about Migdal in this review, and initially he seems quite distant from sex, violence, and racism-tinged world of Tony Starks and the DeLucas. He’s just a guy with a sarcastic sense of humor, who you’d see digging through the crates at your local record store, probably every day. However, as he continues to be treated like shit by the aging DeLuca crime bosses and see more horrific things, Migdal seems more attuned to this grindhouse movie of a world even though he doesn’t lose his innocence making the high energy Chris Hunt-drawn finale have a tinge of sadness. He really just wants to get paid so he can buy more records.
Even though it has an entire restaurant of chefs in its proverbial kitchen, Twelve Reasons to Die is a damn good fusion of the crime and horror genre with a charismatic protagonist and a social conscience in the midst of all the schlock. However, it never gets preachy. For three decades, Ghostface Killah has been one of hip hop’s best storytellers, and his vision translates really well to the comic book page thanks to Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon, RZA, Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Chris Hunt, Jean-Paul Csuka, and the guest artists that are the visual equivalent of that perfect drum sound or soul sample that raises a track from skippable to total earworm. Finally, and it goes without saying, but this comic pairs really well with the 12 Reasons to Die album.
Story: Ghostface Killah, Adrian Younge, C.E. Garcia Story/Script: Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon with RZA Art: Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Chris Hunt Guest Art: Kyle Strahm, Joe Infurnari, Tim Seeley, Nate Powell, Tyler Crook, Toby Cypress, Joelle Jones, Edwin Huang, Russell Roehling, Ryan Kelly, Riley Rossmo Colors: Jean-Paul Csuka Letters: Jim Campbell and Nic J. Shaw Story: 8.0 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy
Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Steve Niles and Shannon Eric Denton have launched Monster Forge Productions, a new company focusing on horror properties. Joining them as a creative consultant is Dan Evans a former vp, creative affairs for DC Entertainment. Niles is the co-creator of the 30 Days of Night franchise and Denton is an artist and animator.
The company is a multi-platform production division that brings together Niles and Denton’s longstanding work and creator relationships focused on film, television, interactive entertainment, gaming, and merchandising. Material will be for adults and kids.
Monster Forge will parter with artists and writers to build franchises across media and appeal to audiences of all ages.
The company already has an impressive roster of talent to work with including Star Trek: Picard supervising producer Marc Bernardin, legendary toy designer James Groman (Madballs), N.W.A. co-founder Arabian Prince, BOOM! Studios co-founder and Hellboy screenwriter Andrew Cosby, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman, The Grudge 3 screenwriter Brad Keene, Hack/Slash creator Tim Seeley and the estate of legendary horror illustrator Bernie Wrightson, among others.
Created by: Ghostface Killah / Executive Produced by: RZA Written by: Matthew Rosenberg & Patrick Kindlon Illustrated by: Ronald Wimberly, Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Kyle Strahm, Joe Infurnari, Christopher Mitten, Jim Mahfood, Tim Seeley, Nate Powell, Ben Templesmith, Tyler Crook, Toby Cypress, Juan Doe, Joelle Jones, Edwin Huang, Johnnie Christmas, Russel Roehling, Ryan Kelly, Michael Walsh, Chris Hunt, Riley Rossmo, David Murdoch, Garry Brown, Johnny Ryan, Shaky Kane, Benjamin Marra, and Brian Level Colored by: Jean-Paul Csuka Lettered by: Jim Campbell, Nic J. Shaw Mature / $24.99 / 180 pages
Guns. Sex. Vinyl. Revenge. Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah and RZA teamed with then young-gun writers Matthew Rosenberg (Uncanny X-Men, 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank) & Patrick Kindlon (Survival Fetish, Nobody Is In Control) for this brutal tale of a dangerous crime lord’s rise and fall.
Take part in the 1st annual Baltimore Comic-Con Live, a FREE ONLINE EVENT streaming the weekend of October 23-25, 2020! Come check out retailers, exhibitors, artists alley, programming, and the Ringo Awards live! If you love art, you won’t want to miss some amazing opportunities to see its creation in action!
DRINK & DRAW: LIVE
Panelists: Dan Brereton, Becky Cloonan, Sean Forney, Sanford Greene, Megan Hutchison, Daniel Warren Johnson, Tony Parker, Tom Raney, Tim Seeley, and Ryan Stegman! Friday, October 23, 2020 – 9pm ET / 6pm PT
Sit back, grab a drink, and enjoy a LIVE sketch hang out with the top names in comics. Seats are SOLD OUT to participate in the LIVE Drink & Draw, but the event will be broadcast LIVE and FREE to view on this website.
MonsDRAWsity: Drawing Party Game
Host: Joshua Werner Saturday, October 24, 2020 – 12pm ET / 9am PT
Joshua Werner joins Source Point Press comic creators to play-test the new monster drawing party game MonsDRAWsity from Deep Water Games! Bring a marker and some paper, you can even play along from home in real time!
Panelists: Christian Gossett & Shadia Elise Sunday, October 25, 2020 – 1pm ET / 10am PT
Wanna draw like a pro? Then draw WITH the pros! Pro artists use life-drawing models, and now YOU can, too! Model Shadia Elise of GalleryGirls.com will do four poses over the course of an hour, and EVERYONE can look in and sketch along! And artist Christian Gossett will EXPLAIN what artists get out of the process! Is it batting practice? Honing old skills? Looking to try something new? What is the model doing? And why? Join in, grab a pencil, and YOU can show off your art as well!
(W) Tim Seeley (A) Ilias Kyriazis (CA) Peach Momoko In Shops: Oct 14, 2020 SRP: $17.99
Bad memories still haunt Null Narcos, but are his memories real… and does The Crow care? Null Narcos is a popular performer in the FREAK-CHIC CIRCUS SIDESHOW, able to endure horrific violence on his body without pain. But outside his nightly shows, Null is a blank slate, with only faint but disturbing memories of who he was before. When other performers begin dying mysteriously, Null is haunted by a golden-eyed stalker and begins to remember a life he’d thought long gone… a life of murder, terror, and black wings.
In a world overrun with monsters, only Bloodshot can end Hell on Earth in Bloodshot #9! What does the gripping conclusion of “Burned” mean for the future of Bloodshot?
The strength of Tim Seeley‘s Bloodshot run has often been the sense of urgency of the story, and the speed in which things happen, which when brought to life by an all-star cast of artistic talent has often had the effect of throwing you into a John Wick film. The series has been relentless. A breath of excitement borne from the action movie pace of the comic; when it’s good, it’s very good. The three-part The Burned arc has taken the action-packed formula to heart and has added in some subtle elements like Godzilla sized monsters.
Oddly, despite the grand theatrics on display, Bloodshot #9 falls flatter than previous entries in the series. There’s a lack of cohesiveness to the comic that’s most evident when it tries to pull of the grand reveal/finale only to leave you wondering what happened.
Without explicitly spoiling the comic I can’t get into specifics, so skip this paragraph if you want to go in blind. Bloodshot, his nanites and Eidolon have concocted a plan to spread his consciousness over two bodies with one being active at once to allow him to move from one place to another in a breath. While I appreciate the originality of the idea, for me it felt like it was used more as a device to cut the length of the story out of necessity rather than as an exploration of what the character is capable of (with assistance from others), and because of the lack of foreshadowing the moment came off as a deus ex machina rather than a planned story beat.
Of course, the above is purely my own feelings on the comic (much like the review as a whole, honestly), and your mileage may vary.
Whether it’s the COVID related gap between the last few issues or the abrupt ending to the current arc, Seeley has a lot to contend with as he pulls plot threads from previous issues into the finale to tie them off faster than one would expect, making this comic a harder entry point for new readers than previous issues.
Seeley is joined by artists Marc Laming and Jason Masters, inker Adelso Corona, colorist Andrew Dalhouse, and letterer Dave Sharpe. All of whom combine for an aesthetic that appeals enormously to me. The style gives me a sense of nostalgia for the comic art I read growing up; it’s dynamic, clean and yet full of life and vibrancy, though the lustre may be wearing a little thin given that there seemed to be a little less flow to what was on the page in some scenes – not every one, but some of the more chaotic fight scenes with the giant monsters were a little harder to follow than fight scenes in earlier comics in the series. Whether this is due to the size of the combatants relative to each other making it harder to choreograph the battle, or the two artists working on the comic not fully jiving together, could be up for debate if the rest of the comic did have the same issues with artistic flow that are apparent in the giant monster scenes.
Bloodshot #9 aside, reading an issue of Seeley’s Bloodshot has always been a great reminder of the excitement I used to have reading comics, and while this issue doesn’t have the same nostalgic magic that previous issues have had, it is still one that’s worth reading if you’re following the series. But it won’t be the best place to start reading the series.
Story: Tim Seeley Art: Marc Laming Ink: Adelso Corona Color: Andrew Dalhouse Letterer: Dave Sharpe Story: 7.0 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Read
Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.
In a world overrun with monsters, only Bloodshot can end Hell on Earth! Bloodshot #9 is out this week and wraps up “Burned” leaving open the future of Bloodshot!
Written by Tim Seeley, Bloodshot #9 features the art of Marc Laming and Jason Masters with colors by Andrew Dalhouse, inks by Adelso Corona, and lettering by Dave Sharpe.
We got a chance to talk to Marc Laming about the series, his “Giant Russian God Beasts” and any pressure from a series in the spotlight due to Hollywood.
Graphic Policy: How did you end up working on Bloodshot?
Marc Laming: I had previously worked for Valiant on a lot of covers and some Ninjak and Archer & Armstrong and always enjoyed working for them. I got an email from Senior Editor Lysa Hawkins when she started at Valiant asking if I would be interested in working with her and I jumped at the chance, I had no idea at the time which book it would be but Lysa had promised me action and adventure. When I eventually found out I would be doing a series of covers and then a short run on Bloodshot I was really happy as I had loved what the relaunched Valiant under Warren Simons had done with the character. I was 100% on board and with Tim Seeley writing the stories it was the icing on the cake.
GP: This Bloodshot story has given you some really interesting things to draw – how much free reign did you get when designing the looks of the characters we see at the end of Bloodshot #7?
ML: It was complete free reign as Tim only gave me “Giant Russian God Beasts” as a description of the huge Kaiju – the same with the zombie soldiers and the terrorist supermen. So, I got to just go as mad as I liked.
GP: With Wigans having a cameo in Bloodshot #9, the issue will likely get some more eyes on it and most likely become an item for collectors. Does that ever cross your mind?
ML: Hahaha it really doesn’t factor into how I approach making comics. I’m really only thinking about making the visuals and storytelling as strong as possible, anything else is a distraction.
GP: Going that route, there are probably new eyes on the series due to the film, is that something you think about as well?
ML: It really doesn’t cross my mind for the same reasons as the last question.
GP: Last time we chatted, you talked about how previous artists on the series influenced you more than the film. With this arc wrapping up, is there an aspect you hope you planted your flag with and carries on?
ML: I hope the Valiant universe gets to have a few of those Russian God Beasts I designed roaming around – I also liked the more human Bloodshot Tim gave us, I hope that I made that work and I’d like to see that continue.
GP: I know you’ve said you’d be interested in an Eternal Warrior story… is there anything you can tell us about a potential book that hasn’t been announced yet?
ML: Not as yet – sorry.
GP: The last time we spoke, you said that you do too much research on locations. Have you ever been to a place you’ve researched at a later date and imagined the comic taking place in real time?
ML: I’m currently drawing a book set in Paris and once we can all travel again I would really like to go visit the locations I’m drawing to see if I did them justice and I really like the idea that the locations I use the reader could actually visit too.
GP: What have you got in store for us in the near future after Bloodshot #9? Anything that you can tell us?
ML: I’m working on two long-form graphic novels right now – one is a sci fi story and the other is an espionage action-adventure romantic comedy and both have pages set in Paris… Other than that, it’s all very hush hush still.
Written by TIM SEELEY Art by MARC LAMING and JASON MASTERS Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE Letters by DAVE SHARPE Cover A by TYLER KIRKHAM Cover B by KAEL NGU Preorder Variant Cover by JASON METCALF On sale OCTOBER 14th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+
In a world overrun with monsters, only Bloodshot can end Hell on Earth!
What does the gripping conclusion of “BURNED” mean for the future of Bloodshot?
Get ready for rampage as the action-packed storyline “One Last Shot” begins this January in Bloodshot #10!
For the explosive final arc of Tim Seeley‘s critically-acclaimed run, the New York Times best-selling writer will be joined by industry icon Brett Booth and the amazingly talented Pedro Andreo to unleash all kinds of mayhem as Bloodshot faces retribution. The upcoming storyline will also feature two characters from Bloodshot’s blockbuster movie starring Vin Diesel: Wilfred Wigans and KT!
Seeley enjoyed building a past for Wigans, hinting that the upcoming tale introduces a familiar face for longtime Bloodshot fans.
Bloodshot #10, Part 1 of “One Last Shot”, goes on sale January 13th, 2021.