Tag Archives: top cow

Tidewater Comicon 2016: Interview with Writer Tini Howard

tinihoward

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.

PoseidonIX1

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.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/2/16

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

elasticator 1.jpgElasticator #1 (Scout Comics) I was pleasantly surprised by this comic, which may sound good, but I didn’t expect much, honestly. That being said what is here has me interested enough to come back for the next issue; issue #1 takes the shape of an interrogation of Elasticator that enables the telling of an origin story combined with some exposition without either feeling forced. A good start to a new series. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Judge Dredd #4 (IDW) Despite really enjoying this series, I don’t have much to say about it other than if you’re a fan of Judge Dredd go read it! Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Godzilla: Oblivion #1 (IDW) Nothing stunningly original here, but if you’re a fan of giant monsters then this brilliantly illustrated comic should be right up your alley. I’m typically not a fan of big monsters, but I still enjoyed it. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

 

Ryan C

Black Science #21 (Image)**: Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera wrap up their five-part “Godhead” storyline with a more “dialed-down” conclusion than we’re used to seeing from this title in terms of its scale, but its impact? As jarring as ever, and then some. Apparently some major upheavals are coming our way in the next arc, but shit — major upheavals have been this series’ stock in trade from day one. 50 miles of bad road in every issue, at minimum. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy.

Suiciders+Kings+of+HELL 1Suiciders: Kings Of HelL.A. #1 (DC/Vertigo)**: I found the first arc of Lee Bermejo’s “Suiciders” to be a lot more enjoyable than I expected it to be. Clearly he’s seen flicks like Joe D’Amato’s “Endgame” and “2020 Texas Gladiators” more than once, but what the heck? Dystopian-future bloodsports worked like a charm at the Italian box office in the early 1980’s, and if I’m not mistaken that’s where (and when) Bermejo grew up.New artist Alessandro Vitti brings something of a sketchier, more loose-flowing style to this second series, and while it’s nice enough in its own right, it feels like a step back from what we’re used to — as does the story, as we move from the arena to the streets for a so-far -pretty -standard post-apocalyptic street gang story. Whaddya know, I guess our guy Lee has seen “1990 : The Bronx Warriors” and “The New Barbarians,” as well. I guess I can give it one more issue, but it’ll need to show me a lot more than this one did to keep me around after that. Overall: 5. Recommendation: Read —for now, I guess.

Postal #11 (Top Cow/Image)**: Keeping up the darker and more character-focused storytelling that’s been in evidence since Bryan Hill took over as solo writer on this title a few months back, the fucked-up tension in this issue is nearly off the charts as postman Mark finds himself sucked ever deeper into the web of a new “friend” who’s anything but. He knows it, and it’s not even that he can’t help himself — it’s more like, if he does decide to do the smart thing and get away from his femme fatale, everyone he knows, loves, and cares about will be dead. It seems someone hasn’t read “How To Win Friends And Influence People.” Isaac Goodhart’s art continues to look like the very best of 1980s indie comics, which means that I love it. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy.

The Omega Men #10 (DC)**: The final shape of Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda’s intricate cosmic puzzle begins to take shape, and could it really be so simple as — Kyle Rayner and his new allies/”friends” being played for suckers by an irresistible alien woman? Wheel out William Shatner if you wanna go any further down that well-worn road, Mr. King. Still, the art’s great, and there are still two issues left to prove it was always about something more than this. Overal: 6. Recommendation: Buy if you’re following the series, pass if you’re not.

 

Shean

LanternCity-001-A-Main-415d3Lantern City Volume 1 (Archaia): Steampunk is a genre that has berthed several alternate versions of our favorite properties including Battlestar Gallactica and Green Hornet and have created interesting heroes of their own, such as Lady Mechanika.Another original property is Lantern City , which already had a huge following online, and from this first volume , one can definitely see why so many readers are entranced by this premise. Within the steampunk world of Lantern City, we are introduced to Sander Jorve, who lives in the depressing lower section , where only the underprivileged dwell, as his brother in law, Kendal , convinces him to infiltrate the police force better known as the Guard. By the end of the first volume, the stakes have never been higher, as the issue of class has never been examined better in dystopian fiction than in Lantern City. Art: 9 Story: 9 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write.

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Around the Tubes

PowerLines01_CoverIt’s new comic book day! What’s everyone excited for? What can’t you wait to read? Sound off in the comments!

While you await your shops to open, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

Comics Alliance – Fox Delays Channing Tatum’s ‘Gambit’ Movie – Better to get it right than rush it and get it wrong.

The Beat – Robinson and Barajas join Top Cow – Congrats!

CBR – Flash Crossover Helps “Supergirl” Ratings Soar to New Heights – Not really a surprise.

GamePolitics – Rights groups urge FCC to stop ‘zero rating’ – This could be a big deal.

Jalopnik – This Is The Only Batmobile That Makes Any Sense – Yup, it does make sense.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

ICv2 – Fate/Zero Vol. 1

Newsarama – Best Shots Advance Reviews: TMNT – Deviations #1, Power Lines #1, House of Penance #1

The Ballad of Destiny Ajaye: The Full Tilt of “Genius”

destiny 1When art imitates life, it often draws comparisons, that no one saw coming, it usually lives in metaphor and allegory, but in most scenarios, never in direct comparison. So with what has come to the surface in the last two years on the national news, and the reemergence of Marc Bernardin’s, Adam Freeman’s and Afua Richardson’s Genius, a comic from Image Comic and Top Cow’s highly touted Pilot Season, from 2008, I saw it as just a matter of time, as the overt and institutional racism that people of a deeper melanin have faced and continued to face in the world , especially in America, the world and the media could no longer turn a blind eye to.

As the names of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and many others have flooded the public consciousness, police killings and brutality and institutional racism against black people and other minorities as well as barriers of economic disadvantage can no longer be ignored, and is taken to another level in Genius.

destiny 4I must admit when I first read about the book’s premise, I immediately made instant comparisons to Sam Greenlee’s seminal classic The Spook who Sat by the Door, but by the time finished reading the first issue, I found myself comparing it to not only that but also to Ender’s Game, as I found an anti hero, that was not only the best hope for her neighborhood but for her people.

There are several touchstones throughout the book that not only raised my eyes but had me cheering for Destiny by the end of the book although her plan did yield the much desired results. The first thing that Destiny does to change the narrative of how things have been in her neighborhood, is to realize that the system , in which she has been marginalized, has never been in her favor, nor will ever work for her as the great Bell Hooks, once said,” being oppressed means the absence of choices,” as the reader soon finds out just how the system that surrounds Destiny and most people of color, is an unjust one, as the reader is introduced to the events in Destiny’s life, has lead her to this point, as she was just a powder keg, waiting to go off.

destiny 5This is why the Black Lives Matter movement in America, has touched so many people all over the world, regardless of race, age and economic standing, as it is difficult to ignore the disparities, as many politicians often run on it, but many mostly never affect it. This is why Bruce Lee’s film classic, Fists of Fury, still resonates today, as the way the Chinese were treated by the Japanese on their own soil, to say at the very least, despicable. Reading those panels , actually gave me flashbacks, to things I experienced growing up, to times and events, that has shaped how I view people, how I interact with people who are different from me and how I deal with racism.

Unfortunately for my daughters, they had to find out just how different it is for them as well versus other kids of their same age, with more advantages, as they ran into roadblocks at an early age, actually when they were 7, which forced them to mature faster, than I would have liked, instead of having a normal childhood, much like what Destiny experienced, minus the gang life. Destiny, decides that her neighborhood, was no longer America, that in order for the system to work for her people was to secede from America, it was the three blocks of her neighborhood, and the gangs that inhabit the neighborhood, which she unites, something that actually happened in Baltimore. Something I don’t know if it would actually work, which immediately brought me to the militia occupation of a wildlife reserve in Oregon, as the question has been posed, if the militia members were black, would it be as peaceful? In fact, I think it might have gone the way of the way of the Wounded Knee Incident. This also reminded me of the series finale of Dark Angel, which if it continued on for another season, I think would turn out just like Genius.

destiny 7The other touchstone that affected me while reading it, is that she openly started a war against the police, in fact, shooting LAPD in broad daylight, something that is very much incendiary in real life, but reminded me of King of New York , in which the character, Frank White, starts a war against the NYPD, something that becomes fatal for Frank but becomes revolutionary for Destiny, where she sees that violence is the only way to affect change.

This brings me back to the character of Destiny, a very influential one, with excellent supporting characters, and an antagonist, Detective Reginald Grey, equal in wits, within this power play, who very much reminds me of Fox Mulder in X-Files. Destiny Ajaiye is equal parts Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, but a good part Hannibal as well.

She is also very much a villain, as she very much believes that what she is doing is right, much like Dexter, who rationalizes his killings, as he kills only bad people, the same way Destiny, only kills those who she believes are harming her people. Another aspect of Destiny that I admired was that she is a natural born leader, one who inspires, as she brought a whole neighborhood and all the gangs in LA together, something I quite cannot say Batman has ever done, or could do, as she is something missing today, that past generations have had, a leader who attempts to speak for marginalized voices, something that Spike Lee sought to contextualize in the character of Lysistrata in Chiraq . I lastly undeniably must compare her to Malcolm X, not only the real life figure, but the one that Denzel Washington portrayed in celluloid, which brings me to that scene in the movie, where Malcolm visits that one man in the hospital, while the Fruit of Islam, stands outside in formation, in front of the police station:

destiny 10

The one where the the police chief , played by late great Peter Boyle, said:

That’s too much power for one man to have

But I remember watching an interview with Spike Lee, during the making of the movie, where he said he should rewritten that line to read:

That’s too much power for a black man to have.

That would had more of an impact, as Genius absolutely has had one me and other readers, as I believe it is definitely one the best books, not only comic book, but book, period, to speak of this turmoil that is part of the fabric of our country’s soul, as it is no mistake that from the initial issue in 2008, and the continuation of the story, in 2015, seven years later, the message and the issues contained within the story are still the same…. progress needs to actually happen.

Love sparks a revolution in Symmetry, Vol. 1

Matt Hawkins and artist Raffaele Ienco team up for a sci-fi story aimed at disrupting the status quo in Symmetry, Vol.1, set to release from Top Cow/Image Comics this May.

In Symmetry, Vol.1, Utopia is here. Hunger, sickness, work… they’re all relics of a long forgotten past. All individuality, creativity, and negative emotions have been genetically bred out and medically suppressed. The population is limited to segregated areas.

But when a natural disaster rips the carefully organized society asunder, Michael and Maricela—two people from two different worlds—meet and fall in love, their relationship sparks a revolution. Will their love bring about the salvation or the destruction of mankind?

Symmetry, Vol.1 (ISBN: 978-1-63215-699-0) collects the first story arc, issues 1-4, and will be available for $9.99. It hits comic book stores on Wednesday, May 25th and bookstores on Tuesday, May 31st.

SYMMETRY, VOL. 1

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 20/2/2016

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

Kennel_Block_Blues_001_A_MainKennel Block Blues #1 (Boom!) Was a pretty odd comic about an anthromorphic dog living in a state of  half hallucinated reality as he enters prison. It’s good, and  it is worth looking into, but likely more a “wait for the trade” kind of book. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

The Last Contract #2 (Boom!) A comic about a retired hitman getting back into the game long after his retirement, The Last Contract has been a fantastic ride so far, with the eighty-plus year old killer taking no shit from anybody. Well aware of his physical limits, he’s a refreshing change from protagonists that can take on the world with their hands behind their back. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Gutter Magic #2 (IDW) This has got to be one of the most entertaining comics I’ve read in a long time. The art is fantastically detailed without being overly cluttered, and the characters are inhabiting a rich and vibrant world that feels fully formed before you turn the page. Highly, highly recommended. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Deluge #2 Is an indie comic set during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. After reading the first issue, I’d actually thought it was just a one shot comic until I saw this. I actually found that the second issue was more enjoyable than the first, and I liked the first issue’s story about an undercover FBI agent infiltrating the New Orleans underworld amidst a layer of corruption from the local police. It’s a solid book that deserves a wider audience than it’ll end up getting. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Will Eisner’s The Spirit #8 (Dynamite) I have nothing to say here that hasn’t already been said. A solid comic book that’s well written, well drawn, and above all it’s very, very fun. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Huck04_CvrBHuck #4 (Image) I just… wow. Just wow. Overall: 9.75 Recommendation: Buy it now, or buy the trade. You need to own this.

Black Hood #9 (Dark Circle) Is a solid comic. It’s not my favourite comic from this publisher (that honour belongs to The Fox), but it’s a very good gritty vigilante thriller with a hero who is very much just a man. A decent series that’s worth checking out. Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

 

Elana

Catwoman #49 (DC)* When the Messina/Valentine creative team ended their landmark run of Catwoman as a crime boss I thought Catwoman would go down hill. And while the comic did return to its roots with a far more traditional Catwoman story it’s still a really good comic! It’s a smart, interesting story suspensefully told. The lines are almost delicate and the splash pages pack in far more visual information that you think at first glance. Selina fighting Croc in front of a Nosferatu billboard? That’s cool! And the intrigue is high. I keep reading because it’s quality comics. So should you. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

 

Ryan C

American Monster #2 (Aftershock) *: Brian Azzarello and Juan Doe’s journey into the dark underbelly of America’s sleaziest small town continues with some revelations of both the major and minor variety that will serve to suck readers into the web they’re spinning ever deeper. Two issues in, I remain convinced that this has the potential to be Azzarello’s best series since “100 Bullets,” and Doe’s art, while first striking me as being a bit too “cartoonish” for the dark subject matter, is quickly starting to grow on me. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

american monster 2Lucifer #3 (Vertigo) *: The devil went to The Dreaming, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt. Oh, and a damn good story — Gaiman-esque myth-spinning anchors one of Holly Black’s two main plot threads while the other, involving a trapped demon on Earth scheming to be set free, is pure Delano-era “Hellblazer.” Combine the two with Lee Garbett’s fun-yet-appropriately-grim artwork and a guest appearance by Matthew the Raven (who just turned up in his human form in the latest issue of “Swamp Thing”) and you’ve got yourself a heck — sorry, hell — of a book here. They say everything old is new again, and after three issues this series is proving that to be absolutely true. Overall: 8  Recommendation: Buy

The Tithe #8 (Image/Top Cow) **: Not a bad extra-length issue from writer Matt Hawkins and artists Rashan Ekedal and Phillip Sevy, but not a great one, either. The problem with the whole “Islamophobia” story arc isn’t that it was poorly done, just that it only had one big revelation in store and it gave that away in the opening installment. After that, we knew exactly where events were headed, and they simply proceeded to go there. It apparently pissed off a handful of right-wing dumbfucks online, though, so points to the creators for at least raising the blood pressure of all the right people. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Read.

The Shield #2 (Dark Circle) : Normally I’d say this isn’t a half-bad little issue because, well, it isn’t, but given that the gap between numbers one and two was something like five or six months in length, it should have — perhaps even needed to — return with a big splash, and it didn’t. I’m sure Adam Christopher and Chuck Wendig’s script was “in the can” some time ago, but some tinkering around the edges to re-engage readers into the storyline more fully would have been welcome, and the art-by-committee approach with Drew Johnson and Ray Snyder doing the first half of the book and Al Barrionuevo taking over the second half is jarring and messy. Still, we’ve got a Steve Rude painted cover as one of the variants this time out, so how petty am I for bitching about anything? Dark Circle’s been plagued with delays on pretty much all of their titles barring “The Black Hood,” though, so Archie really needs to get their shit together with this line or it will die the same quick death that these characters always seem to bring upon themselves in one decade after another. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Read

 

Bill-Ted-Go-to-Hell-1Shean

Bill and Ted Go To Hell#1 (Boom!): we catch up with the Wild Stallyns shortly after their adventures in the Triumphant Return.Colonel Oats and gang of baddies are enroute to Hell , kidnapping Bill And Ted’s buddy, the Grim Reaper, with them. The boys have to call on the help of Rufus and company to rescue him. By issue’s end , there is a bigger plan in play, than either of them expected. Overall:9.3 Recommendation: Buy


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write.

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Listen to Graphic Policy Radio with guest Bryan Edward Hill on Demand

This Monday was a brand new episode of Graphic Policy Radio and we welcomed our first time guest Bryan Edward Hill to the show!

Bryan is a writer for both comics and films. He currently writes Postal for Image Comics/Top Cow Productions as well as the upcoming Romulus. He was also recently brought on board as the story editor for Top Cow.

You can listen to the show on demand here, or download it and take it on the road.

Graphic Policy Radio with guest Bryan Edward Hill this Monday at 10pm ET

GP Radio pic MondayThis Monday is a brand new episode of Graphic Policy Radio and we’re welcoming our first time guest Bryan Edward Hill to the show! The show airs LIVE this Monday at 10pm ET.

Bryan is a writer for both comics and films. He currently writes Postal for Image Comics/Top Cow Productions as well as the upcoming Romulus. He was also recently brought on board as the story editor for Top Cow. You can follow him through Tumblr or Twitter.

We want to hear what questions you have too! Tweet them to us @graphicpolicy and we’ll ask them live on the air.

You can listen in live this Monday at 10pm ET.

Witchblade Celebrates Milestone Anniversary

Top Cow’s long-running Witchblade series, first launched in 1995 and created by Marc Silvestri, David Wohl, Brian Haberlin, and Michael Turner, will celebrate its 20th Anniversary with a deluxe Witchblade 20th Anniversary “Art Of” hardcover, a Commemorative Lithograph, and will come to a jaw-dropping conclusion with Witchblade #185—the final issue.

In Witchblade #185, an era comes to a close with a double-size final issue of Sara Pezzini’s twenty-year run. Several previous Witchblade artists return to the title to send her off in style. The story resolves Sara’s return to New York, her relationship with Gleason, and her attempt to find a suitable bearer to give the Artifact to. Cover A by Michael Turner can be pre-ordered using Diamond Code AUG150499. Cover B by Keu Cha can be pre-ordered with Diamond Code AUG150500. Both will be available on October 14th.

Image/Top Cow is also pleased to release a deluxe Witchblade 20th Anniversary “Art Of” hardcover. This special, over-sized Witchblade hardcover will be a veritable who’s-who of comic artists with original content not previously seen in The Art of Witchblade. It can be pre-ordered using Diamond Code AUG150570, will hit shelves on October 28th, will be limited to 1,000 copies, and will never be reprinted.

There will also be a limited number of 11” x 17”, full-color Witchblade 20th Anniversary Commemorative Lithographs featuring art by Michael Turner available on October 28th that can be pre-ordered using Diamond Code AUG150504.

Switch—A teen girl, a mysterious gauntlet, ancient power

Bestselling cartoonist Stjepan Sejic brings to print his popular web-comic Switch. The new Top Cow series gives nod to the classic Witchblade Universe, but welcomes surprise crossover characters and—at its heart—explores the story of a teen girl trying to understand her mysterious new powers. Top Cow’s Witchblade meets New 52’s Batgirl in this fresh series told in delectable Sejic fashion and hitting stores on October 14th.

In Switch, a teenage girl must bear a mighty artifact that grants her immense powers… the catch? It’s a bit haunted!

Switch #1 (Diamond Code: AUG150506) will be available on Wednesday, October 14th. Final Order Cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, September 21st.

Switch

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