Tag Archives: top cow

Review: Magdalena #1

Magdalena1Cover.pngIn Magdalena #1, writers Tini Howard and Ryan Cady, artist Christian DiBari, and colorist Mike Spicer dust off a nearly 20-year-old character from the Witchblade universe and give it a soft-ish reboot with style. Patience is a 32-year-old woman and happens to have the blood of Mary Magdalene, which allows her to wield the Spear of Destiny that pierced Jesus Christ’s side when he hung on the cross. She uses this Spear to defend the Earth from demons, but isn’t on speaking terms with the Vatican, her old employers. Except her powers have been going wonky recently, and the spear and her abilities don’t have the same effect on evil as she used to be.

Howard, Cady, and DiBari bookmark Magdalena #1 with riveting action scenes featuring freaky demons and pyrotechnics from colorist Spicer, but do an even better job fleshing out the women behind the spear. Patience has been feeling the weight of her burden as the longest serving Magdalena in history and just the persistent crush of evil and institutions that do nothing about it. Howard and Cady’s dialogue for Patience is wry action hero one-liners, but their captions for her are more vulnerable and thoughtful. She is coming to a crossroads in her life, and maybe it’s time to pass her mantle on. Di Bari’s art helps with this as well with panels of wounds on Patience’s torso that are slow to heal as she falls into Logan with even more religious imagery mode and comes to grips with her own mortality.

And this is where Maya Dos Santos aka your new favorite Goth Latina skeptic mystical MagdalenaInterior.pngweapon wielder-in-training comes in. Her first scene in Magdalena #1 is an argument with her mother about religion and not going to Mass. However, Tini Howard and Ryan Cady don’t writer her like a Reddit/Bill Maher atheist and give her a nuanced view of religion. Maya wishes she could believe in a higher power, but sadly can’t. Maya has strong emotions and her passion as a character makes her endearing from the get-go as her long-suffering friend Shilpa deals with her from wanting to have fun at the club to pining for a boy and then back to feeling sad. They have an easy, self-aware banter with Shilpa being the more responsible one while still having fun.

His faces and inking style reminds me a lot of fellow Top Cow artist Stepjan Sejic (This is a compliment.), but Christian DiBari’s work in Magdalena #1 stands out when he indulges his taste for devilish horror. For example, Maya’s problematic crush Greg, who happens to be the host for the demon Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies, starts retching and then his neck snaps when the demon takes over his body. The neck snap, and the gruesomely green vomit from DiBari and Spicer crosses the book from urban fantasy into horror territory and provides Maya with a rude awakening into the world of being a Magdalena as she must learn her new abilities while one of the most powerful demons is on the loose. I look forward to more slicing, dicing action from DiBari and Spicer like the first time Maya wields the Spear of Destiny and gets a surge of energy that almost pops up in the page.

Tini Howard, Ryan Cady, Christian DiBari, and Mike Spicer successfully reimagine a popular 90s character in Magdalena #1 by giving their two protagonist relatable feelings and personal issues to go along with the demon ass kicking. Maya is 19 and trying to become her own person when she gets drawn into a world of Christian symbolism and demons while Patience is having a midlife crisis on a cosmic level.

Patience and Maya’s doubts and flaws along with their grit and determination plus some cool action, demon designs, and general gore make Magdalena #1 worth picking up even if you’re like me and only knew Magdalena from a lyric from “I Wanna Live in a World Full of Heroes” by nerd rock band Kirby Krackle.

Story: Tini Howard and Ryan Cady Art: Christian DiBari Colors: Mike Spicer
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics/Top Cow provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Samaritan, From Matt Hawkins and Atilio Rojo in May

Fan-favorite writer Matt Hawkins and artist Atilio Rojo team up for an all-new, action-packed thriller from Top Cow/Image Comics in Samaritan. The new series is set to launch this May.

In Samaritan, a woman with a vendetta decides she’s going to take down the largest military contractor in the world and has the means and a plan that just might work. How do you bankrupt one of the richest, most technologically advanced and successful companies in the world? You steal all their research and give it away to everyone. Can she survive long enough to pull it off with the entire US government trying to kill her?

Samaritan #1 (Diamond Code MAR170694) hits stores on Wednesday, May 24th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, May 1st.

Erotic Rom-Com Sunstone Gets Collected in Hardcover in March

Fan-favorite creator Stjepan Šejić will release the very first hardcover collection of his charmingly disarming BDSM romance series Sunstone this March from Image Comics/Top Cow Productions.

Two women deal with modern themes of sex, relationships, and fetishism in this erotic romantic comedy. So beware all who enter, because, to quote a few hundred thousand readers on DeviantArt: “I’m not into BDSM…but this story? I get it.”

Sunstone HC (Diamond code: DEC160781, ISBN: 978-1-5343-0150-4) will include the first three trade paperback volumes, plus extras. It will arrive in comic book stores on Wednesday, March 29th, and bookstores Tuesday, April 4th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, February 27th.

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Smash Hit Sci-Fi/Horror Series Eclipse Launches New Story Arc With Issue 5

Writer Zack Kaplan and artist Giovanni Timpano, joined by colorist Flavio Dispenza, will launch a new story arc in their ongoing series Eclipse this March from Image Comics and Top Cow Productions.

In a world where sunlight burns people alive, newly appointed Solarity agent David Baxter is recruited for a secret mission into the dangerous, sun-drenched wasteland. Meanwhile, a troubled Cielo decides to investigate her father’s company—and the mysterious origins of the killer who didn’t burn in the sunlight.

Eclipse #5 (Diamond code: JAN170688) hits comic book stores Wednesday, March 15th. The final order cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, February 20th.

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Image/Top Cow Launches Holy-Warrior Epic in Magdalena

Writer Tini Howard and artist Ryan Cady team up for the all-new series Magdalena, set to launch from Image/Top Cow this March.

Magdalena follows “The Magdalena” a powerful individual who has always defended the world from demonic evil, empowered by the blood of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene in her veins. But when a brush with death leaves her gravely wounded, Patience decides to seek out the next in the bloodline and train her replacement. The replacement, meanwhile, is having enough trouble with finding her purpose even without the whole holy-warrior gig.

Howard and Cady put a fresh, contemporary spin on the popular Top Cow universe superheroine—known for her early appearances in The Darkness and Witchblade series—and introduce an adventure for new readers to enjoy.

Magdalena #1 (Diamond code: JAN170667) hits comic book stores Wednesday, March 22nd. Final order cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, February 27th.

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Image and Top Cow Announce Dante: an Ink-Soaked Delight

Writer and Top Cow COO Matt Hawkins teams up with all-star artist Darick Robertson and co-writer Jason Ning for Dante, a gritty, supernatural thriller one-shot from Image Comics and Top Cow Productions this January.

Dante was a family man with a wife and a young daughter—and also a top assassin working for an international crime syndicate. For two decades, he worked hard to keep those two lives separate. Manipulated into thinking he could retire with the syndicate’s blessing, Dante is betrayed. While fighting to save himself, he accidentally kills a young Asian boy—an act which changes him forever. Cursed, and covered with otherworldly tattoos, Dante embarks on a journey to uncover the source of this supernatural affliction, and to save his family.

Dante One-Shot hits comic book stores Wednesday, January 25th.

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Around the Tubes

britannia_001_cover-a_nordThe weekend is almost here! We’ll be spending it relaxing, at the National Book Festival, and getting ready for New York Comic Con which is in just a few short weeks.

While you await for the weekend to begin, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

The Advocate – Why Queer Characters in Comic Books Matter – A good read.

CBR – Top Cow’s Postal Getting a TV Adaptation at Hulu – A great series and this one will be really interesting.

CBR – DC Universe Online Announces Game-Changing Revamp – How many of you are still playing?

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Newsarama – Britannia #1

Newsarama – Cyborg #1

Comic Attack – Horizon #3

Nothing But Comics – Karnak #5

Sell-Outs and New Printings

Check out some of this week’s announced sell-outs and new printings.

Image Comics

The highly-anticipated, genre-bending crypto-noir series The Black Monday Murders by Jonathan Hickman and Tomm Coker launched to critical-acclaim and overwhelming fan enthusiasm. Both the first and second issues are slated for third and second printing respectively in order to keep up with increasing customer demand.

The Black Monday Murders #1, 3rd printing (Diamond Code AUG168217), The Black Monday Murders #2, 2nd printing (Diamond Code AUG168218), and The Black Monday Murders #3 (Diamond Code AUG160616) will be available on Wednesday, October 12th.

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Image Comics and Top Cow Productions have announced Eclipse #1 by Zack Kaplan and Giovanni Timpano is being fast-tracked for a second printing in order to keep up with customer demand.

The second issue hits shelves October 5th and the first issue’s 2nd printing comes out October 12th.

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Glitterbomb #1 by Jim Zub and Djibril Morissette-Phan is being rushed back to print in order to keep up with demand.

The explosive new series is the story of Farrah Durante, a middle-aged actress hunting for her next gig in an industry where youth trumps experience. But the shallow, celebrity-obsessed culture she’s drowning in isn’t the only problem—her frustrations are a powerful lure for something horrifying out beyond the water…something ready to strike.

The second printing comes to shelves October 12th.

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The hot new crime series Kill or Be Killed from bestselling creative team Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips continues to fly off the shelves as the body count rises in each issue. Image Comics is thrilled to announce that the first and second issues are again being fast-tracked for third and second printings in order to keep up with increasing customer demand.

Both new printings and the third issue will be out October 12th.

kill-or-be-killed-1-3rd-printing kill-or-be-killed-2-2nd-printing

Valiant

Following on the wake of 4001 A.D.’s massive conclusion, Valiant is proud to announce that 4001 A.D.: War Mother #1 – featuring the first appearance of the 41st century’s next major hero – has sold out at the distributor level and will rocket back onto store shelves everywhere on October 12th with the 4001 A.D.: War Mother #1 SECOND PRINTING! The newest groundbreaking power player starts here as writer Fred Van Lente and Valiant-exclusive superstar Tomas Giorello present War Mother’s baptism by fire with a standalone tale spiraling out of Rai’s cosmic rebellion with New Japan!

The new printing arrives October 12th.

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Image Reveals Eclipse Art Contest

Image/Top Cow is giving you the chance to see your artwork appear in an upcoming issue of Eclipse, the new sci-fi thriller from up-and-coming writer Zack Kaplan and artist Giovanni Timpano.

Participants may submit an original image inspired by the world of Eclipse, and the lucky winning artist will have their artwork appear in the pages of Eclipse #4. One grand prize winner will receive the artwork featured and published in Issue #4, as well as receive a complete set of Eclipse #1-4 signed by writer Zack Kaplan and a $100 Amazon gift card.

Original art may include:

  • Your vision of characters from the story
  • A scene or environments from the world
  • New technology, architecture, clothing or other adaptations designed to help people survive this harsh new world
  • Anything inspired by the world of ECLIPSE

For full details and contest rules, pick up Eclipse #1, on sale now, or visit zackkaps.com to find out how to enter. The contest runs September 7 through November 15, 2016. The winner will be announced upon Eclipse #4’s release.

In the world of Eclipse, the sun is deadly and society has turned nocturnal. But life continues after The Flare.

Eclipse #2 hits comic book stores on Wednesday, October 5th.eclipse-art

Tidewater Comicon 2016: Interview with Writer Tini Howard

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On Saturday, at Tidewater Comicon, I had the opportunity to do the first interview with writer Tini Howard about her upcoming espionage, sci-fi thriller Skeptics for Black Mask Studios. The comic is set to come out later this year and features art from Devaki Neogi (Curb Stomp). We also talked about how she broke into comics, her upcoming work on the Barbie: Starlight, and there’s even a surprise cameo from a Marvel character near and dear to both our hearts.

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Graphic Policy: I know you broke into comics through the 2013 Top Cow Talent Hunt. How did that come about?

Tini Howard: I was a finalist in the contest in 2013, and my Magdalena: Seventh Sacrament comic debuted in December 2014 on the same day as Secret Six and Bitch Planet. I was in the company of my heroes. Magdalena was my first work for them, and I was pitching various things for Top Cow. As everyone in the industry knows, we kiss a lot of frogs. Then, I got to do Poseidon IX in September 2015. In the meantime, I’ve been doing anthologies like Secret Loves of Geek Girls.

A friend of mine, Chris Sebela, once said, “Your first in year in comics you do one book; the second year, you do three; and in year three, you do ten.” And my third year is crazy because I’ve got a lot of comics coming out. It’s a been a slow ride. Your first book hits Previews, and you think, “Oh, I’ll be doing Batman tomorrow.”, and that’s not how it works.

TheSkeptics_Cover_1_200pxGP: So, you have The Skeptics coming out from Black Mask later this year. What can Black Mask or general comics readers expect from the series?

TH: I’ve been pitching The Skeptics as X-Men: First Class meets Project Alpha and James Randi in An Honest Liar meets Grant Morrison’s Kill Your Boyfriend. I’m a huge Grant Morrison fan and love the energy in things like Kill Your Boyfriend Sex Criminals, and Saga, and the idea that this girl and this guy are on the run together. It’s a dynamic that I love.

Skeptics focuses on that and features two teenagers in Washington DC in the 1960s. There are Russian reports of superpowered individuals, and two teenagers are selected to appear as an American superpowered equivalent in order to prove that the Russian threat is also false. It doesn’t go that way, and hijinks ensue.

Our two main characters are named Max and Mary, and they’re from very different worlds. Mary is a hardworking academic and an American girl while Max is a British criminal. He’s very skilled with sleight of hand and fast talking, and Mary is incredibly intelligent and often underestimated because she’s an African American student in the 1960s. She uses that to her advantage. But it’s cool because she’s very much a good girl. It’s like Kill Your Boyfriend where she’s learning how to be bad and be unafraid to get one up on people. This is while Max is learning to be a better person. They work with a professor of theirs to hopefully disprove the Russian threat.

GP: Your lead character is an African American female scientist in the 1960s. Did you have any real life scientists you were inspired by when creating Mary?

TH: There are actually two female scientists in the series. There is Dr. Santaclara, who is South American, and she is inspired by a family member of mine and also Sophia Loren. We end up with a lot of sexy scientists, like Tony Stark, but there aren’t a lot of women like that in comics, and that’s what we have with Dr. Santaclara, their professor.

And then we have Mary, who is a psych student, and I did a lot of research into academia in the 1960s. You watch a lot of things like Mad Men, and there’s an assumption that a lot of non-white people were relegated to background roles or tragedy stories. In my research, I found out Harvard had its first African American female graduate in the 19th century. It’s stuff you don’t know. I come from a super white background, and my history books didn’t teach me that. The research taught me about women in academia, who were working hard (And I don’t want to say were included in academia because they were pushed out a lot.) back then, and you don’t see them in these kind of stories.

I didn’t want to tell this super aggressive Civil Rights story because I don’t feel like it’s my place. I feel that there are people, who are way more suited to tell that story than me, but, at the same time, I wanted to tell a story about someone who was doing her best, was an intellectual, and was a real person.

NeogiCurbStompGP: I’m a big fan of Devaki Neogi and really enjoyed her work on Curb Stomp. Why was she the perfect artist for this project?

TH: She was my first and only pick, and I got her. I had been friends with her on social media for a while and saw she had some availability. I loved her work on Curb Stomp, and her beautiful covers for another Black Mask book, Kim and Kim that I can’t wait for Mags [Visaggio] to share. Devaki also has a background in fashion illustration, and The Skeptics is a book that isn’t high action. It’s not a superhero book. There’s a lot of quiet tension and not a lot of punching and flying.

I wanted an artist, who was really good at depicting tension, expression, and fashion. Because I love the period, and the mod and preppy styles of the time. Mary is gorgeous with A-line skirts and big curls. Max has all these mod suits, and Dr. Santaclara is this Sophia Loren fabulous woman. Devaki and I have a Pinterest where I pin all these Sixties fashion photos. We get really excited about it.

Devaki was the only artist I had in mind while developing the series, and Matt [Pizzolo] got her because he knew her from some work she had done at Black Mask before. I am excited to work with her. Her style can be this classic comics illustrative style, and it looks just like I dreamed it would.

GP: About Black Mask, why were they the perfect publisher for The Skeptics?

TH: So, I developed The Skeptics not knowing where I wanted it to go. I instantly realized that it didn’t have what a lot of publishers wanted because it’s weird, tense, and historical instead of being a high action, sci-fi book that they’re interested in.

Black Mask is different. I’m a huge fan of a lot of their books, like We Can Never Go Home, which has a lot of quiet moments. I submitted via the open submissions policy and was very lucky. Matt was able to look at my pitch from the slush pile and got back to me very quickly about publishing it. It was a slush pile success story.

GP: What elements of the 1960s are you going to focus on in the themes, designs etc of The Skeptics?

TH: Well, it’s a Cold War story, for one. I’m very interested in academia. I’m originally from DC so that setting is important to me, and the first issue features certain DC landmarks like Ben’s Chili Bowl. It’s big for DC people, but a lot of people might not know it. There’s some influence from Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys with the mystery solving. Our main characters are always creeping around solving mysteries. The Skeptics has that 1960s pulp paperback feel.

I teasingly have called the year in press materials “1960X” because it is an alternate history book. The president is Nelson Rockefeller. I did an alternate history for a lot of reasons. I didn’t want people to say, “That couldn’t have happened, but still wanted it rooted in reality so I went that route. It’s definitely set in the early 60s; more early seasons of Mad Men than the later seasons.

GP: You’re also working on Barbie comics. How did you get to work on Barbie: Starlight for Papercutz?barbiestarlight

TH: I got that job the way lots of things happen in comics. You have a friend, and they’re looking for someone to fill a spot. The editor, Beth Bryan, was putting together a team to do Barbie, and three people had suggested me. I was really honored because I told my first stories with Barbie. My favorite drag queen is Trixie Mattel. Barbie has also had this great reinvention lately where she’s focused being for all girls and removing a lot negativity people have towards the brand.

Barbie Starlight is great. I can’t talk too much about the plot because it ties into the upcoming Barbie Starlight movie, but it’s fun, and there are spaceships. We get to do Barbie in space. And while doing research for it, I found out some of the first Barbie comics were done by Amanda Conner. What great footsteps to be in!

GP: Amanda Conner on Barbie? I gotta track those down!

TH: I know! I saw some of the art, and it’s gorgeous. I love Barbie, and what I’m able to do with her. It’s been a lot of fun, and I watch a lot of Life in the Dreamhouse. I definitely would like to work on some of the other toylines too.

GP: What is the difference in your creative process when working on something licensed or work for hire , like Barbie or Top Cow, than on your own creator owned work?

TH: With license work, there is a licenser that licenses the comics rights to a publisher. And with work for hire, if I pitch to Top Cow, and they love it, they don’t have to get an okay from anyone else. If I write a pitch, and they accept it, I can work on it immediately.

If I write a pitch for Barbie, and my editor at Papercutz loves it, she still has to go to Mattel and see if they like it. That’s one difference in the creative process. You’re not just trying to impress an editor because I’ve had projects where the editor enjoys it, and the licenser doesn’t it. It’s a case of who you’re trying to please thematically. Often, work for hire is a little more flexible because it’s their character, and even if you give them an off the wall idea, it’s theirs to do what they wish. They’re not beholden to a licenser. So, I could do a story about cyborg mermen fighting a sea monster.

GP: I’ve seen some of your critical work for Teen Vogue and Paste. How does writing about comics help with your comics writing?

TH: One thing I’m careful to do because the line between comics journalist and comics creator is very fuzzy is that I don’t write reviews. I just vomit some of my relentless positivity about certain books. For Paste, I write about comics that look good to me, or I got to interview David Baillie from Red Thorn. 

GP: That is one sexy book. I’ve got to catch up on it.

TH: Red Thorn is fire. Half the questions I asked were about were about why everyone is so hot. Is it Meghan Hetrick’s fault, or is it yours? I get to talk about creators of the books I like. I get to make lists around theme, like my favorite Robins, or my favorite books about sex or religion.

But I’m careful not to promote work about companies that I write for. That’s something some people choose to do. It’s self-imposed and imposed by the higher-ups. It’s a conflict of interest. It’s not a fair to promote a company’s work on a website when I’m getting paid by the publisher.

My work isn’t “critical”. I’m just sharing the love. Good comics criticism is so valuable, and what you, Emma, Matt, Ashley, and the people at Comicosity do is so valid. If I were being critical of a creator owned work while I’ve got my creator owned book coming out, I think that looks shady, like, “Don’t buy theirs, buy mine.”

Occasionally, I’ll do observational pieces, like about female writers writing male characters, that got a lot of traction, such as Becky Cloonan on Punisher for Marvel. It’s something I am passionate about and want to see more of.

The only critical work I’ve done is the “boring” kind. I wrote an essay on Dick Grayson for an academic book about Robins. It’s critical work in an academic sense. But I don’t know do reviews or “comics criticism”

GP: I have one last for fun question. I’m a huge Jessica Jones fan and know you are too. For some reason, if Marvel gave you the opportunity to write Jessica Jones, what kind of story would you tell about her?

TH: I have a serious Jessica Jones pitch in my head at all times. It would be great if there was this story where Luke was feeling insecure because Jessica seems like she’s on the phone all the time, or doing something she doesn’t want him to know about. But she’s actually secretly reopening Alias Investigations. I have a dream team of who she hires, like the X-Factor Investigations crew, because that’s one of my favorite Marvel runs.

My dream book is Jessica Jones working with Monet, Rictor, and Shatterstar. And they would call Layla Miller to help because she’s in college, or maybe she’s an adult now. Either this book, or a Daughters of the Dragon comic where Dani and Danny and Misty’s daughters are all grown up. Heroes for Hire is my everything.

Find Tini on Twitter.

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