Tag Archives: wildstorm

Brian Augustyn’s epic vampire comic CRIMSON will make you want to read more comics


The passing of any great creator always prompts a revisiting of the works they leave behind. Upon hearing about the unexpected death of author and editor Brian Augustyn (the writer of the classic Gotham by Gaslight) at the age of 67, I was immediately reminded of one of the first series I ever followed as a kid: Crimson.

Crimson is a vampire book steeped in lore and guided by a deep love for the vamp movies and TV series of the late 1980s, The Lost Boys and Near Dark (both released in 1987) chief among them, along with a bit of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer (1997) and Kindred: The Embrace (1996) added for flavoring.

The series follows a newly turned vampire called Alex Elder as he learns to live as a new fanged creature while also struggling with the prospect of being some kind of chosen one. The first three issues run on pure vengeance and denial. Alex wants to find the vampires that killed his friends on the same night they also turned him against his will, but he goes about this resisting his new reality. After that matter is settled, though, the story veers into vampire politicians, a centuries old war between the original vampires and angels, and what it means to be a vampire in New York City.

Crimson ran from 1998 to 2001, with the first seven issues originally published by Image and the remaining 17 by DC/Wildstorm. The story concept was developed by Humberto Ramos, Oscar Pinto, and Francisco Haghenbeck. Ramos served as the series’ artist. Augustyn was brought in to script the story.

The comic is a visual marvel. Ramos illustrates a dangerous and unhinged version of New York governed by a laissez-faire attitude that still manages to capture the brightness of its nightlife and the seediness of its darkest corners. Knowing vampires roam the city at night serves to remind us of the amount of chaos each street can dole out at any given moment, and how deadly walking them at night could be.

Augustyn’s scripts made sure all that chaos had some well-developed characters at the center of it. Alex Elder starts out as an angsty teen that would’ve fit in perfectly in any Nirvana music video, but he’s never allowed to be static. Augustyn keeps his character in a constant state of evolution, forcing him to grow up fast without sacrificing any of the growing pains that come with the process.

Alex’s place in the coming struggle against all vampires moves at a breakneck pace as well. Once the doors to the world of undeath are opened, you’re not so much ushered in as you’re kicked in with the expectation you hit the ground running. This goes for the comic’s grand sense of mythology.

The very first issue of the series starts with an extensive and detailed explanation of the creation of humanity and how vampires came out of it in defiance of that process. It’s quite indulgent and does ask for a bit of patience in getting through the initial lore dump, but the narration is never dull and, once it wraps up, readers are left with a sense of big things to come. From that point on, Augustyn and Ramos flex their storytelling muscles in every way imaginable to produce a world that lives and breathes magic, culture, and violence.

While the story does possess many classic horror elements, the overall narrative finds a larger piece of its identity in the realm of fantasy. Augustyn’s approach to this sprawling world of magic and blood sucking creatures is more interested in how a potential war between different factions of vampire hunters, angelic forces, werewolves, and vamps will come about rather than staying on the more intimate aspects of the characters’ lives one expects from classic horror stories.

Augustyn’s character work shines in this regard, especially with Alex’s core unit: a Mexican Indian vampire called Joe who acts as his street mentor and guide, a vampire hunter called Scarlet, and an ancient vampire (who is also the source of all vampirism) called Ekimus. They each form a vital part of what can essentially be called of fellowship, complete with their own roles to play in the final confrontation.

Joe is a particularly well written character that helps readers understand the world and its rules. In a way, Joe is Sam to Alex’s Frodo, if Sam were wiser and with a more adventurous thirst for life. Their exchanges are a highlight and remain fresh throughout the series.

Having come across Crimson when I was kid, I can’t think of another vampire comic that pulled me into the medium as completely as this one did. Ramos’ art and Augustyn’s words were a perfect storm then and, upon rereading the series for this piece, they’re a perfect storm still.

I’d still recommend Crimson to anyone who asks what makes comics so special. Not many creators get to leave a book behind with such a strong gravitational pull. Brian Augustyn has Crimson, and now is as good a time as ever to give it a read.

Warren Ellis says “Wildcats isn’t coming out”


In May, DC Comics announced a new Wildcats series written by Warren Ellis and featuring art by Ramon Villalobos, and color by Tamra Bonvillain. Now, that project “isn’t coming out” according to Ellis.

The series solicitations were recently canceled leading speculation of a delay but Ellis in his most recent newsletter writes something a bit more dire with blame seeming to focus on Villalobos’ schedule and missed deadlines.

From the newsletter:

Oh. yeah.  WILDCATS isn’t coming out.  There is hope that it will be resolicited at a later date, but, for right now, it’s cancelled.  As you know, I was two scripts into it, with chunks of other parts done and a full and lengthy treatment for six issues, so it’s kind of frustrating for me too. (RIP my bills.)  But, here’s DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee:

So there’s hope for the future of the title.  Maybe someone will want to draw my tired old man shit, who knows.

Villalobos Tweeted:

So, there’s hope we’ll eventually see the series with the original creative team attached. Better than a few issues out and long delays between issues.

Preview: The Wild Storm #24

The Wild Storm #24

(W) Warren Ellis (A/CA) Jon Davis-Hunt
In Shops: Jul 03, 2019
SRP: $3.99

The final issue. The final act. IO has betrayed the world, and Skywatch wants to burn it. The only people in the middle are Jenny Mei Sparks’ ragtag team of wounded orphans of the secret world. The storm has hit. This is how it ends.

The Wild Storm #24

Preview: The Wild Storm #23

The Wild Storm #23

(W) Warren Ellis (A/CA) Jon Davis-Hunt
In Shops: May 29, 2019
SRP: $3.99

The storm of accidents, deaths, mistakes, confusion and anger has led to this. Miles Craven has lost his grip and Henry Bendix has lost his mind. Angie Spica’s journey is ending. And so is life on Earth.

Warren Ellis, Ramon Villalobos, and Tamra Bonvillain Team for Wildcats

Wildcats are back this August! Warren Ellis, artist Ramon Villalobos, and colorist Tamra Bonvillain team up for a new action-packed era. Ellis continues his reintroduction of the Wildstorm Universe and is taking the covert team on an all-new adventure in a six-issue miniseries. The first issue is out August 28.

“Saving the human race from the human race.”

-Warren Ellis

That’s the concept Ellis is working with as he puts together a team made up of people who have seen the worst in everybody and everything and yet still put themselves in jeopardy to do the right thing.

From the pages of The Wild Storm, the piratical covert team are here to stop humanity from destroying itself. The black-ops team features Grifter, Savant, John Colt, and Adrianna Tereshkova. They have discovered that the secret space program Skywatch has been performing medical experiments on abducted innocents for decades. Now, one of those experiments is about to explode—revealing a new threat and level of danger that no one could have prepared for. The covert team may have thought the world was strange before, but they had no idea. The stakes might just be too high!

Wildcats from Ellis and Villalobos builds on Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt’s 24-issue series The Wild Storm. That series debuted in 2016. The miniseries will channel the same breakneck energy and imagination, creating a thrilling new story for fans of WildStorm.

Wildcats #1 Main Cover by Jim Cheung and Tomeu Morey
Main Cover by Jim Cheung and Tomeu Morey
Wildcats #1 Variant Cover by Chris Burnham and Nathan Fairbairn
Variant Cover by Chris Burnham and Nathan Fairbairn

NYCC 2018: The Boys Gets a Teaser, “Vought is Here For You”

In a world where superheroes embrace the darker side of their massive celebrity and fame, The Boys centers on a group of vigilantes known informally as “The Boys,” who set out to take down corrupt superheroes with no more than their blue-collar grit and a willingness to fight dirty. The Boys is a fun and irreverent take on what happens when superheroes – who are as popular as celebrities, as influential as politicians and as revered as Gods – abuse their superpowers rather than use them for good. It’s the powerless against the super powerful as The Boys embark on a heroic quest to expose the truth about “The Seven,” and Vought – the multi-billion dollar conglomerate that manages these superheroes.

The Boys is based on the comic series from writer Garth Ennis who co-created the series with Darick Robertson. It was originally published by Wildstorm and eventually moved to Dynamite Entertainment. Debuting in 2006 it wan for 72 issues and ended in November 2012.

The Boys is scheduled for a 2019 release by Amazon.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/15

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.

Ryan C

CemetaryBeach_01-1Wildstorm: Michael Cray #11 (DC/Wildstorm)** – This series has been an up-and-down ride, but with one issue to go, writer Bryan Hill and artist N. Steven Harris (with assists from Nelson Blake II) are ramping up toward what should at least be an interesting conclusion, as the Cthulhu-esque entity that’s been “sharing” protagonist Cray’s mind makes its presence fully felt. The finale will determine whether or not sticking with this one all the way through was a smart move, but for the time being it looks like it may just prove to be. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Cemetery Beach #1 (Image)** – The “Trees” team of Warren Ellis and Jason Howard re-unites for this sci-fi mystery thriller, and while I’m hesitant to get too wrapped up in this series given that their last one was essentially abandoned at the midway point, I have to admit that everything you want in a first issue is here : an inventive premise, strong characterization, crisp and dynamic art, plenty of action, and even some laughs. If they see this one through,who knows? This might just be something special. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

MCMLXXV #1 (Image)** – Blaxploitation meets kung-fu/ninja hijinks in this wildly fun debut from Joe Casey and Ian MacEwan, and while slowing down to think about what’s happening here reveals plenty of holes in the book’s internal logic, the good news is that the fluid, action-packed story — complete with some seriously great fight scenes — doesn’t give you a chance to even catch your breath, much less exercise your gray matter. A fantastic protagonist and an authentic mid-’70s New Tork “vibe” round out this impressive opening shot across the bow from two consistently-interesting creators. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

The Wicked + The Divine #39 (Image)** – I’d been really cool toward this arc in Kieran Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s long-running series, feeling that it marked the point at which style finally overtook substance in the proceedings, but the last two issues — particularly this one — represent a complete 180 as surprises and consequential events aplenty are thrown at us fast and furious. Suddenly, I can’t wait for the final chapter in this saga, and everything going on between the comic’s covers feels new, fresh, and important all over again. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy


catwoman_3_5b993db5572f27.31025934.jpgCatwoman #3 (DC)– In Catwoman #3, Joelle Jones and guest flashback artist Fernando Blanco spend a little time on the backstory of the series’ villain, Raina Creel, who runs the town of Villa Hermosa. It’s tragic and filled with sex, lies, and power as Raina is a great counterpoint to Selina using her status as a “trophy wife” to run the town behind her husband’s back. The rest of the comic shows Selina pushing herself to the limit falling through broken glass onto a sports car and then still being able to prance on rooftops to make a mysterious appointment after a quick dip in the tub. Jones’ art continues to be the real draw of the series, and she can convey strength, weakness, or innocence (I think Selina’s host Carlos has a little crush on her.) through a glance, facial line, or body twitch. There’s something about Catwoman and crime thrillers that is just exciting, enjoyable, and a little tragic. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Cemetery Beach #1 (Image)– Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s new series Cemetery Beach is all action and no bullshit as a fast talking, should be faster running pathfinder and his badass assassin companion are on the run from a secret offworld colony’s goons and guards. Howard’s cartooning is splotchy and dynamic, and Ellis lets him cut loose with all kinds of shoot outs, explosions, and vehicular chases. There’s a bit of worldbuilding via witty banter at the beginning, but this is minimalist action storytelling at its most bombastic. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy


Mage: The Hero Denied #12 (Image)** – As the series progresses, I find myself zeroing in on just what it is that isn’t working for me, and it’s this: Kevin Matchstick doesn’t know MageTheHeroDenied_12-1what he wants to fight for. If what he really wanted was to have a quiet life as a family man, he’d completely ignore the Questing Beast and say that a King doesn’t Quest. If what he really wanted was to save his family, he would be tracking down his wife and kid with unstoppable relentlessness, marshalling every iota of power at his command. If he really was a King, he would be moving heaven and earth to save his kingdom and his family and his people. I would hope, after the end of this issue, that the powers that be will smack Matt Wagner upside the head with a copy of The Hero With A Thousand Faces and get this book on some kind of track. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip

Proxima Centauri #3 (Image)** – After the last page of last issue, I was ready for Farel Dalrymple to go deep. Alas, I was sorely disappointed with the ease with which Parasol and Sherwood dispatched of the little blue bots. And just when I thought that the kind of slacker vibe of this series was going to take a turn into something more interesting and powerful. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Skip

The Seeds #2 (Dark Horse/Berger Books)** – In this installment of Ann Nocenti & David Aja’s near-future SF noir, intrepid reporter Astra gets over the Wall and into the Zone to where tech isn’t allowed… except for a price. The revelation of this chapter is handled so casually that it actually enhances the creepiness of this book. Every page is like a trigger warning for people suffering from environmental collapse anxiety, and there is a panel on page 27 that almost made me burst into tears on the subway. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Hey Kids| Comics! #2 (Image)** – Howard Chaykin continues to frustrate me with his BD à clef about the American comics industry. On the one hand, as someone who, as a young writer, couldn’t square my love for comics and my disgust for the comics business, I appreciate Chaykin showing how casually and cruelly people got utterly fucked over. On the other hand, Chaykin’s scattershot approach doesn’t get us deep enough into any one character to really make these fuckings-over the kicks to the balls I want them to be. It may be that this betrays my desire for a certain kind of justice, whereas Chaykin may just be able to square (or at least tolerate) his desire for justice with his intimate knowledge of how the businesses of both comics and movies work. Either way, if Chaykin would straight up put out a book about Gil Kane, that’d be swell with me. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Leage of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest #2 (Top Shelf/Knockabout)** – Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill are not playing around. Jimmy B., the new M, hums a certain famous theme song and is everything horrible about the British Empire; Hugo Danner gets headbutted into oblivion on page 3; we get a double-page spread of Nemo’s Lincoln Island; and at the end, another casual holocaust. We are heading for a confrontation between the white supremacy of Bond and the diverse coalition of Nemo, and I can’t help but worry that the former are in the driver’s seat. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

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

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 (**).

Underrated: Thundercats (Wildstorm’s 2002 Series)

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Thundercats

thundercats cover.jpgIn another case of “Alex brought something to read just for this column” we have the Thunder Cats miniseries from Wildstorm that I found in the dollar bin at my LCS. Previous iterations of this theme in Underrated have often been a success (aside from Holy Terror which was a terrible comic, but a great column if I do say so myself), but will this one?

Well… kinda. I read the five issues of the miniseries with no context whatsoever which is par for the course when you find something in a dollar bin with no real idea when it was released (2002 is the answer to that). Assuming that you, dear reader, are like me and have some basic familiarity with the 1980’s cartoon, or one of the later iterations.

The thing is with this miniseries is that there is almost no hint given toprevious events, so if you pick this up hoping for a gentle introduction into the world of the Thundercats then you’ll be a touch disappointed. However, the story is still remarkably easy to follow because although Thundercats is a five issue miniseries it feels more like five episodes of a cartoon show with at best a slim plot that leads from the first to last issue. While this may lead some to claim that is leaves the series feeling like a vapid and disjointed mess, I’ll make the case that it invokes a powerful sense of nostalgia that allows children of the 80’s or 90’s the opportunity to easily reconnect with a treasured piece of your childhood.

I would give you a plot summary, but it basically boils down to “the Thundercats are trying to make a new home and are being opposed by villains.” Which is fine. I enjoyed the overly implistic nature of the main plot almost as much as I enjoyed the feeling that each comic was an episode of the show.

Why, then, does this make an appearance in this week’s Underrated? Because I had never heard of the series before, and made an assumption that if you found this in a dollar bin then you’dlikely pass it over as licensed tat. It isn’t tat at all, and was certainly enjoyable enough to spend a half hour or so with for a column that’s supposed to highlight unsung gems, and at best this is a moderately shiny dollar bin gem (unfortunately I had left it too late to read something else for the column so here we are).

Maybe next week I’ll find an actual gem?

Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Preview: Wildstorm: Michael Cray #11

Wildstorm: Michael Cray #11

(W) Bryan Hill (A) N. Steven Harris, Dexter Vines (CA) Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz
In Shops: Sep 12, 2018
SRP: $3.99

What is the price for keeping death inside your mind? For Michael Cray, it could be the lives of anyone who cares about him…and his sanity. As Michael is drawn closer to the truth of the consciousness living inside him, the brutal desires of Diana Prince threaten the entire world. After this long night in London, Michael Cray will either face the power inside of him, or succumb to its will.

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day tomorrow! What are things excited for? What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments below. While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

The Outhousers – Warren Ellis Claims Other Wildstorm Titles Still In Development – ….



Newsarama – Doomsday Clock #6

Talking Comics – The Immortal Hulk #3

Talking Comics – Mr. & Mrs. X #1

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