Tag Archives: tom muller

We Take a Ride with Chip Mosher to Talk Blacking Out

Blacking Out

Comics industry veteran Chip Mosher and legendary artist Peter Krause have launched the Kickstarter for Blacking Out, a 56-page graphic novel presented in the hardcover European album format. Colorist Giulia Brusco, letterer Ed Dukeshire, and designer Tom Muller join the pair in this sucker-punch tale of a disgraced ex-cop, Conrad, unraveling an unsolved murder during Southern California’s fire season. 

In Blacking Out, Conrad follows a lone clue—a discarded crucifix—to unravel the death of Karen Littleton, whose body was found amid a blaze that scorched 10,000 acres. Conrad’s search leads him to clash with the victim’s father and prime suspect, Robert Littleton, as well as hostile former colleagues on the local police force. All the while, Conrad combats his alcoholism and fading faculties. 

We got a chance to talk to Mosher about the comic, how his career influenced the release, and how you need to trust your collaborators. You have about one day to back the Kickstarter.

Graphic Policy: The comic has been worked on for four years, since 2016…

Chip Mosher: Yeah, the final version of it.

GP: I know you’re a fan of noir and crime stories but where did the idea for this comic come from?

CM: When I moved to California, about 20 years ago, I was struck by a lot of different things. The difference between growing up in Texas, where you have hurricanes and tornadoes. Everyone was freaking out at how I was going to deal with the earthquakes. I moved out and there was a 6.0 earthquake and I looked out at the palm trees swaying and the pool waves. Then I moved out here and the real thing is the fire season. Being a crime fan, there’s no real great story about crime and fire. I wanted to do something with that. There was a fire on 5, so I got in my car and took my camera to take some pictures. I wanted to take photos of the post-apocalyptic beauty. After a few hours of doing that, much longer than I should have, the story hit me like a ton of bricks and it went from there.

Blacking Out

GP: The town that it takes place in is a small town and it reminds me more of small town middle America than California…

CM: The thing about growing up in Texas, especially Houston, there are more miles of freeways in Houston than there is in Los Angeles. I grew up loving to drive and exploring. There are tons of towns like Edendale around the greater LA area and San Diego. I envision it like that area with a bunch of small towns with long stretches of nothing in between.

GP: The town and the town are characters in a lot of ways. When you designed the story, how much of that is that you, and how much is the art team?

CM: The script that Peter Krause worked from initially is fairly descriptive of the places and the car. But, the photography I did, there’s a photobook at the $15 level, it’s a bunch of collages I did. I drove around Southern California. One of the characters is a mechanic the garage, so I took photos of that. Anita’s house, the bar, the liquor store, photos of the car, the look at feel is a great alchemy of my work going into Peter’s head and it coming out on the page. Some of it is what I envirioned and some of it different but very cool. I gave Peter a lot of freedom the freedom of the storytelling and the look and feel of the book.

GP: Is there anything about that particualr car that stood out or mattered? I read it and I can’t picture any other car being used. It just wouldn’t feel right.

CM: That’s a testament to Pete’s style. Pete has a love of old advertisements. I was looking through some files he shared. He found an old 70s ad for the car. I think the testament that you can’t imagine the story with any other car is Pete and Giulia Brusco who helped sell it.

GP: How did the team come together?

CM: Pete was the first domino to fall. When I decided to pull the trigger on this, I really wanted to work with someone in the deepest way. A really collaborative nature. I finally convinced Pete, he thought the story it’s way too dark for him. I approached Tom Mueller really early on and get the feel of what we were doing. I contacted Tom once Pete started working on it and I’d send Tom things periodically. Giulia is someone I’ve been a fan of for a long time. I was a fan of her work on Scalped. So I pulled her in. Ed Dukeshire is amazing. Ed was my ride or die at BOOM! Letterers these days don’t get any time to do their work.

Blacking Out

GP: You’ve been on all sides of the business.

CM: I have.

GP: Did that influence you at all? How did the story change? The presentation?

CM: I’m a little bit long in my career, though the least prolific comic creator the world has ever seen. I wanted a book I could pull off the shelf in 30 and 40 years and say “that’s great.” I’ve been lucky enough in my day job to got to France and fell in love with that European 40-page format and knew it’s what I wanted to emulate. The storytelling is different. The panels are longer the pages taller. More a widescreen format. I think I have the confidence to work with people who have great track records and tell them to take their time. I didn’t give anyone a deadline. My deadline was how long would it take? They’re professionals who deliver all the time. So I had honest conversations and being in the place I am in my life and career and have the faith it’d show in these products.

GP: Did you change anything at all with digital? It’s become a greater thing in the industry and I’ve been fascinated to see how that impacts the creative process.

CM: I find reading digital comics so easy and there are so many different ways to approach it. I’m a comiXology Guided View partisan but I don’t think there were any changes because someone was going to read it digitally.

GP: I’ve read European format and haven’t really thought if there’s a difference between that and American styles being formatted digitally. Nothing jumps out about the experience.

CM: It just works. There’s different pros and cons on the approaches and certainly optimize for digital reading but first and foremost but it’s an oversized BD book.

GP: The color reminds me a lot of 70s noir film. Did you have input?

CM: My approach is hire the right people and get out of the way. You have to trust people. If you pick the right people, it’s easy to get out of the way and let them do their best work.

Blacking Out

GP: The discarded curcifix stands out to me in the comic. It not just ties into the death of Karen but the fall of Conrad from grace. Are these things you think of as a writer?

CM: All of that is in there. I don’t want to spoil it. I picked her last name subconsciously. Her last name is Littleton, which is a reference to the Colorado town. There’s a lot of that.

GP: Same with the name of the town?

CM: Edendale was the name of Hollywood before it was called Hollywood.

GP: I don’t know that.

CM: You’re giving away my moves. There’s some subtext with the town being what Hollywood was named…

GP: Is there anything with the population of the town? Is it a random number?

CM: I forget. I might have pulled that from somewhere. There’s a bar I like in Silver Lake called Edendale. It was known as the home of the most major movie studios. I don’t want to give too much away. When I’m picking character names and titles, I always have double and triple meanings. Spoiler, if you read Left on Mission, the main character is Emma and if you listen to the Hot Chocolate song, it’ll spoil the whole story for you. Recorded by Sisters of Mercy.

GP: I don’t think I know that song.

CM: It’s a great song.

GP: I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for chatting and looking forward to getting the book in my hands.

Review: Cable #1

Dawn of X” is upon us and other than figuring out his relationship with his father, what’s Cable up to in this new status quo? That begins in Cable #1!

Story: Gerry Duggan
Art: Phil Noto
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Design: Tom Muller

Get your copy in comic shops! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle/comiXology
TFAW
Zeus Comics

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Wolverine #1

He’s the best there is at what he does and what he does isn’t pretty. Wolverine is back in a solo title that kicks off with this very oversized issue!

Story: Benjamin Percy
Art: Adam Kubert, Viktor Bogdanovic
Color: Frank Martin, Matthew Wilson
Lettering: Cory Petit
Design: Tom Muller

Get your copy in comic shops! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle/comiXology
TFAW
Zeus Comics

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: New Mutants #2

New Mutants #2

New Mutants #2 shifts the focus of the series a bit. The team is still busted by the Shi’ar but it feels less like a team comic. Instead, it feels like Roberto da Costa and the New Mutants. Much of the issue is told from his perspective. It makes sense as the mission of the New Mutants is focused on Roberto getting back his best friend in Sam Guthrie.

The comic is the Roberto show as Jonathan Hickman dives into the character and his relationship with his team. We get the loveable and entertaining arrogance on full display as he brags about his lawyers, homes, and how good looking he is. There’s a charm in Hickman’s writing which is good since it’d be so easy to make the character so unlikeable.

But, Hickman has time for other characters as well. Many of them get their moments, much of it full of humor. Out of all of the Dawn of X series, this one displays the most fun and carefree attitude of the bunch. There’s a youthful fun about it all that makes it stand out. That fun extends off the page as it’s hard to not enjoy reading the comic. The flow, style, humor, the whole package deliver an entertaining read.

The art by Rod Reis is great. With lettering by Travis Lanham, the comic features Reis’ unique style that’s hard to describe. It’s almost painted in a way and gives the series a unique design. There’s not quite as much detail as other artists but the style has a flair about it and fits a space adventure like this quite well.

New Mutants #2 continues the fun adventure. While the focus shifts a little, the comic is still all about the team and character interactions. There’s a lot of humor to the comic and everything is with a wink, smile, and a nod. There’s a charm about this series that’s infectious and makes it stand out.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Rod Reis
Letterer: Travis Lanham Design: Tom Muller
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: X-Force #2

X-Force #2

While the first issue didn’t impress me too much, X-Force #2 makes up for it with tight storytelling and addressing issues I’ve been having with Hickman’s X-vision.

Xavier lays dead and Cerebro destroyed. There’s lots of issues with this, the first being that Cerebro was a helmet apparently and not a supercomputer decentralized and backed up. Krakoa and the mutant nation are in a panic and roll into their plan to revive Xavier, resurrecting him like they’ve done so many others.

Writer Benjamin Percy delivers some pathos here. You can feel the fear and anxiety of the unknown. It almost is enough to get you to overlook the flaws presented in how Hickman has created the mutant nation. It also delivers the first real issue with the constant deus ex machina that is resurrection.

But where Percy’s story really stands out is Wolverine and Kid Omega who are on a mission to find the people responsible for Xavier’s assassination. It’s not the action or the update on the classic Reavers that’s interesting. What’s said between the two characters are. Kid Omega expresses mutant superiority of humans, saying this is Xavier’s vision. Wolverine clearly doesn’t agree and dismisses the talk at one point shuffling the philosophy to Magneto instead. It’s the first real schism and rejection of the superior of Homo Superior. It also ties back to my (controversial) interpretation that Hickman’s X-Men are one fighting for supremacy, not just survival. They see themselves as more and don’t want equality.

It’s here we’re starting to see the cracks really form in Dawn of X.

The art by Joshua Cassara is solid. Along with colors by Dean White and Joe Caramagna‘s lettering, the art style matches the morose feel of the situation. There’s also small details throughout the issue that helps build the world further or further emphasizes themes in the issue. It’s a solid combination of art of story. Add in the horror like visuals of the new threat and you’ve got a hell of mix of art and story.

X-Force #2 is a solid comic vastly improving on the first. It doesn’t tip its hand early and instead does the opposite revealing tidbits as the story moves along. It’s a solid mix of reflection on events and action. Though not the traditional team book, this is more the X-Force I was looking for.

Story: Benjamin Percy Art: Joshua Cassara
Color: Dean White Letterer: Joe Caramagna Design: Tom Muller
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Excalibur #2

Excalibur #2

Excalibur #2 continues to solidify the series as filling the fantasy genre for the new line of X-Men comics. Each series fills a niche and this one falls squarely into the world of magic.

Written by Tini Howard, the team heads to the location of the old Excalibur lighthouse. It’s a nice nostalgic nod for those who read the original series but for new readers, it’s importance is danced around. Statements are made that it’s important but the details aren’t laid out. That can be frustrating or like a lot of the comic, you just roll with it.

Howard continues to dip the series into fantastical elements. Invisible druids dot the landscape. Mermaids pose a threat. And, Apocalypse’s past is woven into this new direction as well. It’s an interesting direction as there have been hints the character has shifted from the “tech” end of things to a more mystical one.

The story itself is decent moving the adventure along and weaving an entertaining chapter that’s a nice entry for the first arc. There’s a mix of humor and action that’ll entertain readers and keeps things moving along.

The art by Marcus To is solid with some great design and small details. How scenes are set up. Character designs. The ivy of the lighthouse. They all add to bits of the story and blends in a magical setting with modern mutants. Erick Arciniega‘s color and Cory Petit‘s lettering brings things together for an interesting look that has a certain brightness to the issue that is a reminder of the “happier” nature of the previous Excalibur series.

The comic is entertaining building out the direction of this series and dancing around some interesting topics like Captain Britain’s role and the rivalry between magic and mutants. There’s also the fantasy tragedy of fairytales to get things going. Excalibur #2 is a solid comic and one that weaved with the first continues to paint a unique voice for the new direction of mutants.

Story: Tini Howard Art: Marcus To
Color: Erick Arciniega Letterer: Cory Petit Design: Tom Muller
Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Marauders #2

Marauders #2

Marauders #2 is an interesting comic. It’s very much a two-person play acted out between Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw. And we witness their chess game as pieces are moved around the board to add depth to their machinations.

Written by Gerry Duggan, the comic revolves around Frost and Shaw’s new venture as they deliver Krakoa’s medicine to the world. It’s a dance and game between the two as they use their roles for their own gain in various ways. Digs are made as to their financial status or what they’re trying to do. All of it a waltz for a final panel reveal that’s been choreographed since the first issue. None of the comic is surprising or shocking but it sets up the status-quo nicely focused on the roles, and goals, of each of these two manipulators.

The comic also continues the reverberations of the “death” of Charles Xavier and directly addresses the likelihood of his return through Krakoa’s resurrection. It also has the most realistic reaction, really any reaction, as the team goes out to get drunk and tattoos. It’s a nice moment that makes the characters gel and shows off their personalities.

The art by Matteo Lolli is nice. Along with color by Federico Blee and lettering by Cory Petit, the style is one that differs itself from the other X comics. The body language and facial expressions of the characters really deliver the mood and personalities. There’s also some nice design work and action as the comic balances the more subtle scenes with the more active.

Also standing out in the issue is a letter concerning the naval status of the new mutant nation. It continues to dance around real world issues such as sovereignty and a threat the mutant nation is perceived as. It’s a threat that might be justified based on statements such as one Storm makes in the issue.

Marauders #2 is a solid comic adding more of a focus on the series. It plants a flag as to how it differs from the other series and teases some conflicts to come. Marauders #2 is the play to its sister series’ action flick. It’s a comic whose character interactions makes it stand out.

Story: Gerry Duggan Art: Matteo Lolli
Color: Federico Blee Letterer: Cory Petit Design: Tom Muller
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: X-Men #2

X-Men #2 cover

X-Men #2 is an interesting comic in that it feels like it’s both a continuation of what writer Jonathan Hickman has laid out and ignoring it at the same time. Charles Xavier is dead, having been assassinated in X-Force #1. So, while security is of importance this issue doesn’t feel all that different than usual. A mysterious island as emerged and Krakoa is being drawn to it. Is it an issue? Is it a threat? Cyclops takes his son Cable and daughter Prestige to investigate and see.

Hickman gives us an odd issue. The characters feel a bit off and there’s not much reflection on the death of Xavier. Instead, the focus is on the trio exploring the new island. And that feels… weird. There’s a lot of “son” and “dad” thrown around. The awkwardness of this trio just isn’t there. It feels like rather playful banter and relationship that’s rather healthy and not the muddled mess we’ve known. It could be that in this timeline this is the new standard but like so much of what Hickman has written the characterizations feel off. None if it is bad, it’s just different.

Leinil Francis Yu‘s art is solid and the quality that’s expected. Joined by Gerry Alanguilan on ink, Sunny Gho on color, and Clayton Cowles lettering, the art looks sharp. It’s a case where the art exceeds the story. The characters are solid and there’s some interesting designs and detail on the what’s presented.

The comic isn’t bad. There’s some solid humor. It also continues a concept Hickman began in House of X. What the comic feels like is a continued set up. Much like the first issue X-Men #2 is attempting to lay the groundwork for what’s to come. And those final pages makes what’s to come intriguing. First by what’s revealed and second by what’s said. Sadly, a comic isn’t made by its final pages and the lead up is awkward and head scratching. X-Men #2 has its moments but that’s not quite enough.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Leinil Francis Yu
Ink: Gerry Alanguilan Color: Sunny Gho
Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Fallen Angels #1

Fallen Angels #1

Kwannon is once again Psylocke and though the title is plural, Fallen Angels #1 feels like her solo series. Much of this debut issue revolves around the character. She’s struggling to find her place not just upon Krakoa but mutant kind and the world as a whole.

Written by Bryan Edward Hill the issue succeeds mainly on its themes that are weaved throughout. Hill plays off of some of the concepts and ideas writer Jonathan Hickman began in the X-Men reboots House of X and Powers of X.

With the introduction of a mysterious villain Apoth, we’re delivered the concept of new gods of mankind and biology vs. technology. Both of these weaved through Hickman’s restart of the line and the series stands out for running with them.

Each “Dawn of X” series has filled a niche and this one drops in a more philosophical side of the X Universe. It also attempts to fill in gaps for Psylocke and character who has failed to really find much depth since her reintroduction earlier this year.

Szymon Kudranski provides the art for Fallen Angels #1. He’s joined by Frank D’Armata and letterer Joe Sabino. The art style mixes in Eastern iconography befitting the character. The themes of biology vs. technology are extended in layout. Panels are presented with energy flickering or branches reaching out. It’s the small details like that of a planet that makes the art stand out. Along with a slight manga influence in pencils and color, it’s an art style and look that matches the series well.

Fallen Angels #1 is an interesting start. The series fills a space not covered by other X-Men series. It also begins to add depth to the character of Psylocke. There’s lots of potential there and the set up makes me want to check out what comes down the road.

Story: Bryan Edward Hill Art: Szymon Kudranski
Color: Frank D’Armata Letterer: Joe Sabino Design: Tom Muller
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.85 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: X-Force #1

X-Force is back and they’re the mutants intelligence gathering and covert unit. So what threat could get past them?

Story: Benjamin Percy
Art: Joshua Cassara
Color: Dean White
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Design: Tom Muller

Get your copy in comic shops now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle/comiXology
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

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