Leave Your Spandex @t the Door: Indy News and Reviews 14.06.06

Welcome to the 19th instalment of the new Leave Your Spandex @t the Door!

Wednesday is Comic Book Day in the U.S., and LYS@D is here again with this week’s Early Bird Reviews, so you can catch up on what rocks and what flops this week before you head to your local LCS! I’d like to thank Travelling Man Manchester for providing me with the advance look copies for review!

This week: jumping teenagers, washed-up freaks and demon-snogging Popes. Yeah, it’s a quiet one.

Civil War #2
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Steve McNiven

Review Content: I have no idea how to start this review. I’ve just finished reading the second issue of Marvel’s big summer event and I’m still feeling underwhelmed. I had read other advance reviews out there which continued to be endlessly dithyrambic of this mess/trainwreck. They mentioned two impressive cinematic fight scenes in the vein of Ultimates and great character moments. I wonder if they had gotten their hands on the same copy. There’s certainly one scene that’s ‘homaged’ straight out of Ultimates vol 1, but Patriot is no Black Widow and a simple cross-building jump does not a fight scene make. Neither does a 2-page car chase.

For a big event, it’s certainly missing in scope. There’s certainly a lot of ‘titillating’ politics, and an agonising press conference that does or does not take place after Civil War Frontline 1 (Iron-man looooves the podium!), but nothing in the way of actual plot progression. Superheroes have taken sides, Cap has gone underground with some other superheroes you can barely make out with a magnifying lens in one panel, and the Young Avengers are being bombed at for daring to foil a robbery.

Everything is just page-filler until that last ‘shocke’ page that I can’t discuss just yet. You’ll all hear about it one way or another. It will indeed tear the internet in half, and I’m not joking. This is Marvel at its truly lowest, destroying Spiderman’s character and status quo for all the following generations of readers, just to add more punch and fake resonance to their botched attempt at a decent crossover. I’m talking ‘Clone Saga’ bad here. The roundtable gang have already started taking bets about how soon Marvel is going to reach for the reset button. I give them a year or two max. This move may provide the platform for some great stories right now, but it amputates future writers who won’t be able to write the stories they want using a ‘state X’ Spider-man. And to think Joe Q spent months debating what a bad move marrying Peter off was in the 70s. Oy vey

Deep breaths. Deeeep breaths.


-say something nice, don’t give it an F, don’t give it an F again-

“¦the art was good this time around. No weird colouring on the faces, a lot of moody shadowing, an impressive showing from McNiven in terms of facial expressions and action setting. His panels during the short action sequences have a cinematic over-the-top dynamic.

Now after the pleasant break, let’s get back to the plot. Mark Millar has been pulling his titties off in interviews online trying to convince everyone that this is a valid dichognomy, and the reader is not meant to root for any of the two camps. Riiiiight. Although the pro-registration heroes actually make valid statements that would make registration a no-brainer, they then go ahead and make clandestine plans about concentration camps they can’t talk to their wives about, they psychologically manipulate their fellow heroes into compromising situations and they throw bombs at teenage kids. I’m forced to side with the poor kid who spends the whole issue dodging bullets from shadowy army goons for some reason.

I tried to control myself with the grading this month, but DAMMIT, this is for spidey:

Grade: F (with a sad spidey face: )

Battle Pope #8
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Matthew Robers and Tony Moore

Review Content: The series reprints one of Robert Kirkman’s first comics work, now in full-colour. A gun-totting Pope enlist a retarded hippie Jesus and several assorted supporting characters and goes demon-hunting, demon-blowing and demon-snogging. It’s crude, it’s vulgar and it’s only funny at parts. I can see some of the Robert Kirkman flair I’m enjoying every month in Ultimate X-Men, Marvel Team-up and so on, but it lacks the polish of his current work. I’m getting this guy is wearing a Pope outfit and his sidekick looks like Jesus, but it’s not enough to elicit a response from me, although I’m normally a prime audience for religious satire done right (Preacher, Dogma, etc). I’d be interested to see what Kirkman circa 2006 would do with this concept once the reprints finish and the new series starts.

Grade: F

X-Isle #1
Boom Studios
Writer: Andrew Crosby
Artists: Greg Scott

Review Content: Another week, another successful horror comic launch from Boom Studios! This is getting a tad predictable! Following the recipe of Tag and Talent, shipping this week and the last, respectively, X-Isle is a new take on an established thriller movie genre. The book’s structure is flawlessly cinematic, from the opening scene that provides the transition between the real world and the unreal element of a prehistoric whale-monster washing up on shore, to the methodical introduction of the cast who could have just as well had ‘cannon fodde’ sprawled across their chests, and the ensuing characterisation bits that set up the stage for next issue’s grand screamfest.

I’m getting ahead of myself; the plot is simple and catchy: a scientist gathers a couple of bickering colleagues, an eccentric/wacky professor, a hunky assistant, his estranged daughter, a ‘war-torn’ captain and his enigmatic first mate, and they set off on a boating expedition to investigate the aforementioned ancient whale carcass. A lightning storm later and they’re washing up on a mysterious uncharted island, where the fauna has taken a cue from the Monster Island textbook. It’s ‘Jurassic Park meets Lost meets Survivo’ (Told you there was a catchphrase”¦). X-Isle is the ultimate summer blockbuster thriller, only on paper. The first issue is only the pilot/setup issue but it still delivers a solid promise through its dialogue and foreshadowing. Pick up some microwave popcorn, sit back on your recliner and enjoy your read.

X-Isle ships next Wednesday.

Grade: B

Indy News & Views

This week I’m introducing a new feature to LYS@D. Although I feature press releases from indy companies every week in the column, I’m now going the way of our Marvel and DC ‘News and Views’ teams and bringing you the week’s highlights of indy news from across the internet.

Actionopolis: Gary Reed talks The spirit of the Samurai
Ninjas seem to get all the love. You’ve got Ninja Turtles; the hordes of ninjas who are deadly assassins in Marvel and DC superhero comics; and Ninjas often prove popular at Halloween. But when samurais try to get some love, they’re slaughtered in order to save Tom Cruise- what’s an honorable Samurai to do? Easy: take solace in Actionopolis’ new “Spirit Of The Samurai,” an adult young prose novel with illustrations, from noted comic book industry figure (and writer) Gary Reed and artist Rick Hoberg. With the upcoming summer release of the book, CBR News caught up with Reed, who was happy to spill the beans on his new project.
“‘Spirit of the Samurai’ is about young Katherine (‘Kat’) Anderson discovering that she is the last in a bloodline for a famed Samurai clan, the Toho clan,” explained Reed. “They were the last guardians against the Clan of the Black Rings, which were the samurai that could bring the dead warriors back to life. Kat and her brother were trained by their grandfather in the ways of the samurai but they never expected that they would have to bear the responsibility to wield the mystical swords of Toho and Hiro of the Black Rings. Kat must assume the role of bearing the sword of Toho, the mystical Heavensblade and she must stand against her brother who has joined with the other clan.

Read more at CBR

Active Images: Ian Churchill flips over Elephantmen

Acclaimed artist creates flip cover for ELEPHANTMEN #2

Los Angeles, CA — June 12, 2006 — ELEPHANTMEN #1 will be charging into stores this July courtesy of Image Comics, and with #2 following right behind in August, what better way to draw more converts than with an Ian Churchill flip cover! That’s right, Active Images has paired Churchill (of Prelude to Infinite Crisis and Supergirl fame) with HIP FLASK and Eisner-nominated artist Ladronn to provide two stunning covers.

“Can it get any better than this?” asks Richard Starkings, President & First Tiger of Active Images and the writer of ELEPHANTMEN. “Ian [Churchill] and I have been friends for years and as long time fans of HIP FLASK know, Ian has had a hand in the creation of the character since the very beginning. Ian finished this piece for us as a special favor and I couldn’t be happier. It’s the perfect complement to the interior art by Moritat and Henry Flint — this will be one beautiful book!”

Check out both covers, from pencils to colors, here:



Elephantmen: genetically engineered to be supra-human weapons of mass destruction, now they must live with the very people they were created to destroy. Hip Flask and Ebony Hide count amongst their number.

Story by Starkings, art by Henry Flint, cover by LADRÖNN. HENRY ‘JUDGE DREDD/ALIENS’ FLINT delivers eight pages of all-out action as Hip Flask takes on the Croc Elijah Delaney above and below the waters of the Los Angeles canal!

Story by Starkings, art by Moritat, flip cover by IAN CHURCHILL. Mouth Almighty Herman Strumm and his delectable sidekick, Rabbi, entertain satellite radio listeners when Elijah Delaney stops by Dogstar Radio to deliver an exclusive interview!

ELEPHANTMEN #2 — look for it in June Previews page 151 (Image Comics, $2.99, 32 pages, ongoing monthly series begins this July), for more on ELEPHANTMEN, go to HYPERLINK http://www.hipflask.com/elephantmen/

HIP FLASK: UNNATURAL SELECTION, the book that started it all, has now sold over 26,000 copies. HIP FLASK: ELEPHANTMEN and HIP FLASK: MYSTERY CITY are still available in finer comic book stores.

Active Images (www.activeimages.com) is the publishing arm of COMICRAFT, the lettering and design studio founded by President & First Tiger Richard Starkings and Secret Weapon John ‘JG’ Roshell in 1992. Active Images entered the world of print publishing in 2002 with Hip Flask: Unnatural Selection and in only a few short years became a publisher of great note, putting out a compelling and eclectic line of graphic novels featuring some of the most talented and up-and-coming creators in the industry, including: Solstice (Steven T. Seagle & Justin Norman), The Spiral Cage (Al Davison), Ballast (Joe Kelly & Ilya), Strange Embrace (David Hine), Temptation, Skidmarks, Gunpowder Girl and the Outlaw Squaw, The Fly Chronicles, and Brickman Begins. Industry legends Dave Sim, Alan Moore and Will Eisner are just a few who have sung the praises of Active Images’s lineup. Active Images’s most recent graphic novel. THE NIGHTMARIST, by Duncan Rouleau, has received high praise.

Ape Comics: Athena Voltaire: 22 page preview
Lost cities. Occult horror. Evil foes. Globetrotting adventure. Dens of scum and villainy.
Welcome to the world of ATHENA VOLTAIRE, Ape Comics’ thrilling high adventure series debuting in August.
ATHENA VOLTAIRE: FLIGHT OF THE FALCON is the debut miniseries from Paul Daly (co-writer), Steve Bryant (artist/co-writer) and Chad Fidler (colorist). In it’s previous incarnation as a webcomic, Warren Ellis described ATHENA VOLTAIRE as “if the likes of THE MUMMY and VAN HELSING were actually, you know, good.”
“We want ATHENA VOLTAIRE to rekindle that sense of wonder in fiction, where the world truly seemed to be a big, exotic, mysterious place,” says Bryant. “We’re telling the kinds of stories that we want to read. The action is fast-paced and we’re really trying to play up the locations as an important supporting character.”
ATHENA VOLTAIRE: FLIGHT OF THE FALCON follows the titular aviatrix from South America to the U.S. to Hong Kong, Burma and eventually the Middle East as she attempts to keep a mystical artifact out of the hands of Hitler’s occult forces. Action and adventure ensue.
“It is an absolute pleasure to be working with the creative team behind Athena Voltaire; the series is absolutely amazing with an intriguing story and breathtaking art.” said Ape Entertainment’s Director of Marketing Brent E. Erwin.
The series launched in February but was a casualty of Speakeasy’s implosion. Only one issue was released before the company folded. To relaunch the series, Ape Comics is releasing a double-sized first issue that includes all of the sold-out first issue from Speakeasy as well as the never-released second issue for an introductory price of $4.50. Subsequent issues of the four-issue series will be 32 pages with a cover price of $2.99.
ATHENA VOLTAIRE: FLIGHT OF THE FALCON #1 is available for preorder in the June issue of PREVIEWS and will arrive in stores in August. The order code is JUN06 2854. For downloadable posters, flyers and shelf-talkers, please contact AthenaVoltaireComic@gmail.com
Newsarama has a 22-page preview of the 1st issue

Beckett Comics: The Cobbler’s Monster: A Tale of Gepetto’s Frankenstein 16-page preview

Beckett Comics has provided Newsarama with a 16 page preview of their The Cobbler’s Monster: A Tale of Gepetto’s Frankenstein OGN by Jeff Amano, Craig Rousseau, Wayne Faucher and Giulia Brusco.
The solicitation for the 128 page graphic novel reads:
Grieving over the death of his only son, Gepetto mixes the new science of DNA with the age-old magic of the golem to resurrect his son. But in truth, he was never very close to Victor. And the anger that burns within the heart of the monster he birthed and created, destroys everything and everyone around him. Now, Gepetto must hunt his own son. The story of a man and a monster who through unspeakable horror find their way to becoming father and son for the very first time.
The Cobbler’s Monster is due in stores on July 12th, and will carry a $14.99 cover price. Beckett Comics are released under the Image banner

Boom Studios: Universal picks up Boom’s Talent

Its run as a comic has just begun, and already, Boom! Studios’ Talent has been picked up by Universal Pictures after a bidding war, this according to both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. According to the trades, five studios were involved in the bidding, including DreamWorks and Warner Bros.

The comic, written by Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski and drawn by Paul Azaceta, follows a college professor, the sole survivor of a plane crash. As the story unfolds, he discoveres that he has acquired the talents and abilities of the people who’ve died, which he learns is both a blessing and a curse. Mysterious forces then start to hunt him, and he has to put the talents to use to survive.

Marc Platt will produce the film, along with Boom!’s Ross Richie and Andrew Cosby via the Boom Entertainment Inc. banner.

Newsrama has the full story.

Dark Horse Comics: Dwight T. Albatross on the Goon noir

Dark Horse Comics Celebrating 20 years 1986 – 2006

The worlds of film, television, comedy, and comics collide in this new three issue Goon anthology series!

A few of the more notable names in comedic film and television join
forces with comics’ best and brightest to bring you a hilarious new perspective on the world of Eric Powell’s The Goon, in this new three-part, black-and-white anthology series.

When asked what possessed him to turn over the reins to one of comics’ most rapidly growing series, Eric Powell says, “Dwight Albatross said he wanted to do a Goon anthology just to show how many people could do the Goon better than me. I threatened to smack him in the face with a cast-iron skillet but then he said he already had Mike Ploog and Kevin Nolan interested. Seeing those guys draw the Goon sounded like a good idea, even from Dwight.”

In the first issue, humor expert Patton Oswalt (Comedy Central’s Comedians of Comedy and Mr. Show) who’s no stranger to comics (Bizarro Comics, JLA), scribes a short story of Goon’s sidekick Franky, while legendary artist Mike Ploog (Werewolf by Night, Ghost Rider) provides the art.

And that’s just fer starters! Also included is a gooey helping of other short stories by the likes of Steve Niles and Ryan Sook, Bongo Comics’ own Bill Morrison, and the first in a string of serialized shorts from series creator Eric Powell and frequent co-conspirators Tom Sniegoski and Mark Farmer.

Other upcoming creators include: Brian Posehn, Tony Moore, Hilary Barta, Arvid Nelson, Guy Davis, Thomas Lennon, Tom Sniegoski, Mark Farmer, Roger Langridge, and more!

That’s right kids, akters from the tee vee box and all yer favorite funny book creators! It’s The Goon like you’ve never seen it!

The first issue of Dwight T. Albatross’s The Goon Noir arrives on sale September 20 carrying a $2.99 price tag.

Dynamite entertainment: Risso’s collected Borderline hits in September

Dynamite Entertainment announced today that they have rescheduled the first TPB release of Eduardo Risso’s Borderline. The first trade collection (of a projected four total trades) will now be available in September. Fans and retailers can pre-order now from their local retailer!

“The work is so very, very powerful that we absolutely have to get it just right,” explained Dynamite Spokesperson J. Allen. “That being said, our first attempt to get it out the door didn’t come together, so we rescheduled, brought in an additional writer (translator/scriptor) to help out and editor just for the project, and BAM! – look out September!”

For the first volume, Dynamite has secured the services of creator Ivan Brandon to provide the translation and script inspired by the original language version of Trillo and Risso. Brandon also serves as editor of the series, working closely with Risso to insure that this English-language version remains true to the original.

“We’re lucky to have Ivan on board and hope his schedule allows us to work with him on future volumes,” comment Allen. “He’s able to seamlessly work in the original Spanish language of the text and pull out the necessary grit to make this thing sing in English.”

Pre-Order your copy today from your local comics shop and look for Borderline Volume 1 in September!

BORDERLINE VOLUME I TPB (JUN063028) — By Eduardo Risso and Carlos Trilo; w/Ivan Brandon!

Pulp noir in the tradition of Sin City and 100 Bullets from creator/artist Eduardo Risso!

Known for his moody powerful artwork Eduardo Risso has commanded a legion of fans from his work on 100 Bullets (with writer Brian Azzarello who also provides and exclusive intro to this collection) and Batman among others.

But until now fans have never experienced the raw power and vision of Borderline (with writer Carlos Trillo)!

Borderline, originally published in Italy, is a 600-page epic created by Risso and Trillo with whom the artist has previously worked on a slate of other projects. This powerful piece of graphic fiction has never before been available in the United States in English

Now Borderline — described by Harvey and Eisner Award winning creator Risso as a sci-fi post-apocalyptic story that openly shows the miseries and kindness of Humankind — is available in English for the first time from Dynamite Entertainment.

Volume 1 weighs in at an impressive 160 pages filled with Risso’s gorgeous artwork and Trillo’s fantastic ideas – plus a script translation overseen by Risso and creator Ivan Brandon! This is a must-have for every fan of comics and art!

Dynamite plans to support this release with house ads, online ads through Newsarama, and prints ads in Comic Shop News!

For art and more information, please visit this website

Eureka Productions: Graphic Classics: Edgar Allan Poe returns to Graphic Novel format

Eureka Productions is pleased to announce the publication of the revised
third edition of GRAPHIC CLASSICS: EDGAR ALLAN POE, the flagship volume in
the GRAPHIC CLASSICS series of comics adaptations of great literature.

GRAPHIC CLASSICS: EDGAR ALLAN POE is completely revised, with over forty
pages of new material. New to this edition are comics adaptations of “King
Pest” illustrated by Anton Emdin, “The Imp of the Perverse” by Lance Tooks,
and “The Premature Burial” by Joe Ollman. Plus a newly-illustrated version
of “The Raven” by ten great artists. Returning from the previous edition are
“The Tell-Tale Heart” by Rick Geary, “The Fall of the House of Usher” by
Matt Howarth and six more thrilling stories. With a dramatic cover painting
by Dutch artist Marcel De Jong.

GRAPHIC CLASSICS: EDGAR ALLAN POE is available in bookstores, comics shops,
or direct from the publisher


Edited by Tom Pomplun
Published June 2006, Eureka Productions
Distributed by Diamond Book Distributors
(ISBN13/978-0-9746648-7-3) (ISBN-10/0-9746648-7-1)
144 pgs, 7 x 10″, paperback, b&w, 4c cover, $11.95


The Graphic Classics series:
HORROR CLASSICS: Graphic Classics Volume Ten (ISBN 0-9746648-1-2)
ADVENTURE CLASSICS: Graphic Classics Volume Twelve (ISBN 0-9746648-4-7)

Friends of Lulu awards nominations

The nominations are:

Phoebe Glockner (The Diary of a Teenage Girl)
Roberta Gregory (Naughty Bits, Artistic Licentiousness)
Linda Medley (Castle Waiting)
Rose O’Neill (Creator, Kewpie Dolls)
Jill Thompson (Scary Godmother)
Carol Tyler (The Job Thing, Late Bloomer)

(Recognizing those whose work best exemplifies Friends of Lulu’s mission of promoting diversity in comics.)

Gail Simone (Writer: Birds of Prey)
Lisa Jonte (Girlamatic Editor)
Zeus Comics/CAPE (Retailer/Comics and Pop Culture Expo)
Jen Contino (Comicon.com/pulse, contributor)
SCHOLASTIC/GRAPHIX (Publisher: Babysitters Club, Queen Bee, Breaking Up)

(For new/emerging talent deserving wider recognition. The award is named for comics writer Kim Yale, a founding Lulu member who passed away in 1997.)

Hope Larson (www.hopelarson.com)
Leigh Dragoon (www.bythewayside.net)
Clio Chang (www.cliochang.com)
Liz Prince (comicnrrd.livejournal.com)
MK Reed (www.mkreed.com)

(Honoring women in the comic book industry in non-creator roles [editors, publishers, retailers].)

Karen Berger (Editor, DC/Vertigo)
Jackie Estrada (Exhibit A Press, Administrator Eisner Awards)
Francoise Mouly (Art Director, The New Yorker)
Ronee Garcia Bougeious (Comics News Editor and columnist, PopCultureShock.com)
Diana Shutz (Editor, Dark Horse)

Location of the event to be announced soon. In the meantime, use our online
ballot for quick and easy voting!

You must be a member in good standing (dues paid up to date) in order to vote. If you are unsure whether you are up to date, please contact Shannon Crane, our membership secretary, at
shannon@friends-lulu.org prior to sending in your vote.

IDW publishing: Eric Shanower returns to Oz

Comic creator Eric Shanower discovered Oz when he was just six-years-old and it got under his skin and in his blood. Years later, he wrote his own series of graphic novels about the land L. Frank Baum created and the Oz graphic novels came out through First Comics. Now, IDW is republishing a remastered version of the series, Adventures In Oz, with some all-new content. Shanower tells us how this all came about and gives us an update on his award winning series Age of Bronze as well.

THE PULSE: When you first began working on Oz in 1986, what was the comics scene like? What made you want to tackle something like L. Frank Baum’s creations?

ERIC SHANOWER: I discovered the Oz books when I was six years old, and soon decided I wanted to write and draw my own Oz books when I grew up. As a teenager, I decided to become a professional cartoonist. Eventually combining Oz and cartooning seemed a logical outcome of both those goals.

I began work on the Oz graphic novels in 1984, after First Comics showed interest in publishing the series. At that time in the American comics market lots of new publishers were springing up, publishing lots of things besides superheroes or funny animals. There was a place for just about anything. My original proposal was for an Oz comic book series, but First Comics wanted to publish my Oz stories as graphic novels. I was a little resistant to the idea at the beginning. Graphic novels were still pretty new then, but a lot of people saw graphic novels as the next leap forward in the comics field. In a way that was correct—it just took twenty years to make the leap

Read the rest of the interview at the Pulse

IDW publishing: a Children of the Grave teaser

In August, IDW Publishing will be putting out a special “Director’s Cut” trade paperback collection of the highly acclaimed indy war/horror mini-series, CHILDREN OF THE GRAVE. The story, which was originally published by Shooting Star Comics in 2005, was written by Tom Waltz and illustrated by Casey Maloney. Following is the official solicitation:

Children of the Grave TPB
Tom Waltz (w), Casey Maloney (a); Dan Brereton (c)
Team Orphan, a U.S. Special Forces team made up of three hardened soldiers, has been tasked with assassinating a maniacal terrorist guilty of genocide on a massive scale. In their desperate quest to rid the world of the rogue terrorist, Team Orphan will soon learn they are not the only ones seeking his death. The terrorist’s many small victims-the children he has destroyed-have returned from the dead, bent on revenge. Team Orphan is caught in the middle, wondering who they should fear most: the terrorist, themselves or the Children of the Grave? The artwork for the entire miniseries collected here has been given new greytone shading from artist Casey Maloney, and this special collection will also feature an all-new cover from artist Dan Brereton!

TPB * B&W * 120 pages * $14.99 * ISBN: 1-933239-93-X * Diamond ordering code JUNE063212

Waltz and Maloney have provided the Pulse
with exclusive images from the IDW trade

IDW Punlishing: Supermarket #3 5-page preview

IDW Publishing has provided Newsarama with a five page preview of Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson’s Supermarket #3, due in stores this week.
The solicitation for the issue reads:

Supermarket #3 (of 4)
Brian Wood (w), Kristian Donaldson (a & c)
With her new friends in tow and a greater knowledge of the city aka the Supermarket, Pella’s come to grips with her status in the criminal underworld, realizing her power and potential. Additional clues in the encrypted email hint at why the Yakuza and Porno Swedes want her dead, as well as a possible solution to it all. The secret to a mythical underworld money stash is at stake here, and Pella Suzuki, criminal heiress-at-large, just might be holding all the cards. Diamond Code: MAR063282
FC “¢ 32 pages “¢ $3.99

Image Comics: Bomb Queen / Blacklight
It’s good vs. bad. Girls.
Shadowline founder Jim Valentino says, “We wanted to see what happens when Shadowline’s resident good girl, Blacklight, faces down Bomb Queen, whose mini-series placed her at the top spot for baddest woman in comics. Scott and Jimmie found a story that will have everyone howling, and begging for more.” Behind a cover that has nothing to do with the story, the serious Blacklight enters the humorous world of Bomb Queen in an August-shipping one shot. To sort all this out, Scott Wherler and Jimmie Robinson talked with Newsarama about their respective women.
Newsarama: Lets start at the beginning, for those readers that haven’t followed either Bomb Queen or Blacklight, who are they?
Scott Wherler: Blacklight is just about the polar opposite of Bomb Queen. Somewhat reserved, not entirely confident with herself or her relatively new powers, afraid of heights. She could be the most powerful person on the planet if she weren’t so green.
Jimmie Robinson: Bomb Queen is a super villain who rules as a dictator over New Port City. Her job is to keep the city void of super heroes. It’s not an ordinary town. The citizens are just as bad, if not worse, than Bomb Queen. She’s basically an icon for all that’s “wrong” in her town. The leadership they got is the government they deserve. This reversal of the super hero concept creates an over-the-top satire with Bomb Queen, and likewise makes her a top villain in comics.
Visit the link above for the rest of the interview and a 4-page preview.

Image comics Shadowline: Sam Noir: Samurai Detective 4-page preview

Some may know them for the online comic www.pandaxpress.com >Panda Xpress, and in September, more will know the named Manny Trembley and Eric A. Anderson, as their three-issue series Sam Noir: Samurai Detective debuts at Image, under Jim Valentino’s Shadowline imprint.

The series, marking the duo’s first move into print comics blends classic detective fiction with the bushido code of a samurai – along with humor – to produce a unique take on a hybrid genre. “The idea for Sam Noir was created approximately 6 years ago,” Trembley said. “Publishing a comic has been a dream for 15 years and realizing this character in print is a geeky dream come true. This book is my kind of perfect balance between art that I love to make and goofy humor that appeals to me. Telling this story is extremely satisfying, and we’re very proud to be a part of Shadowline!”

The series also marks Shadowline’s first black and white title, which makes it something special, Jim Valentino, Shadowline President said. “We wanted something different for our first black-and-white book and Sam Noir: Samurai Detective definitely is. Gorgeous art mixed with a fun and engaging story that combines several genres in a way never quite seen before.”

Issue #1 is due in September from Image.

See the 4 preview pages in Newsarama

Jay Nitz: Assasinauts

It’s like a case of now you see it, now you don’t.

Xeric winner and Stoker Award winner Jai Nitz’s Assassinauts was originally listed for pre-orders in the Diamond Previews catalog, and due in stores in July. However, Newsarama.com has learned that the new series that promises “action, adventure, thrills, chills and kills” is no longer coming out from Narwain Publishing.

Newsarama caught up with the writer for an update.

NRAMA: In a nutshell, what is Assassinauts about?

JN: Assassinauts is the chronicle of soldiers in the war between Change and The Status Quo. It’s about the big picture of what is going on in the world. It’s not about conspiracies and secret societies. It’s about what people believe and how far they’ll go to fight for their beliefs. No one is good, no one is evil, and no one is innocent in the crossfire of this war. It’s about thinking differently.

NRAMA: Who’re the main characters in the story?

JN: Well, there’s the Assassinauts who are modern day Hashshashin terrorists, and there are the Templars who are immortal law officers. Between them is a guy named Aaron Newton. Aaron loses everything that matters to him in one tragic acciedent and is left to question the meaning of life. The plot focuses on both groups, but the story is really about Aaron.

Masterpiece comics: Fireblast: Adventures in the 30th Century

Masterpiece Comics proudly presents Fireblast: Adventures In The 30th Century ongoing series.

From the creative team of Ace Masters and NICHX, Fireblast is an action, adventure, detective, pulp fiction, sci-fi series set in the 30th century. It chronicles the adventures of P.I. and self-styled adventurer, Mack Fire, and his holographic assistant, Perfecta.

Set against the back drop of the 30th century, in a society filled with advanced technologies, alien races, assassins, conspirators, crime lords, haters, lovers, murderers, shadowy figures with mysterious pasts, and would-be galactic conquerors, Fireblast is rife with action, adventure and dynamic stories.

Written with adult sensibilities, Fireblast is a general audience title which can be read by anyone.

A full color ongoing series, Fireblast will begin publication in late 2006, beginning with a ZERO ISSUE introduction story, reproducing the original on-line comic. Michelle Fiorucci handles the letterering, and Barb Caffrey serves as editor for the series.

Masterpiece Comics is an independent comic book publisher, and part of the independent entertainment company Rebel Dawn Creative Forces (RebelDawnCF), based in Glendale, AZ. Masterpiece Comics began publishing on-line in January 2004 with the original on-line FIREBLAST comic, and published the graphic novel, Rushmore, in August 2005. With Fireblast and other to-be-announced titles, Masterpiece Comics is poised to launch full force into its comic book publishing endeavors.

For more information on Fireblast and Masterpiece Comics go to their website

Nat Gertler: License to Bear

Nat Gertler is always working on a half dozen or so projects at the same time, but one of the most “marketable” he’s been crafting is the Licensable BearTM. He said this story almost wrote itself. “A character who might scream ‘LICENSE ME!’ is one with a unique perspective, and it would be fun to see what a character who was aware (and happy about) his position as a licensable character would be like.”

THE PULSE: How did you come up with the idea for Licensable Bear? What made this something you had to flesh out and bring to life over any of the other passing ideas that crossed your mind?

NAT GERTLER: Licensable BearTM came all at once. I had sent an artist a proposal that I was working on, and he responded “this idea practically screams ‘license me!'” And I was writing a quick one-line reply, and had typed up to “No, that’s my other character, Licensable B” when I realized that I actually had something good. A character who might scream “LICENSE ME!” is one with a unique perspective, and it would be fun to see what a character who was aware (and happy about) his position as a licensable character would be like.

THE PULSE: Who is the Licensable Bear? How is he different from what his cute, teddy bear looking image might make people believe?

GERTLER: Licensable BearTM (the TM is silent) is a friendly, furry little marketing icon and freelance spokescritter. If you need a cartoon character to appear on a t-shirts or backpacks or yo-yos, he will gladly explain why you should license him for the position. Even if you don’t think you need a licensed character, he will still eagerly explain to you why your law firm would be better off named “The Licensable BearTM Attorney Explosion”, or why your 3-inch bolts would sell better if the nuts were shaped like his trademarked head shape rather than like a hexagon.

He’s different from what you expect from a cute teddy bear character because he’s far more -honest-. Care Bears may tell you that they’re all about loving and sunshine and other good things, but really they’re there to sell you products. Pooh may have once just been the star of a dad’s stories about his son and his playthings, but now that humble little bumbling honey-lover is the subject of massive court battles with humungous sums hanging in the balance. Those characters will never admit that appearing on products is what they’re all about. Licensable BearTM is right up front about what he is. It’s even in his name.

Read the rest of this interview at the Pulse

Oni Press: kicks off talent search

More information and scripts at: http://www.onipress.com/talentsearch

Following the rousing success of 2005’s Oni Press Talent Search, the boys and girls here at W.H.O.O.P.s (World Headquarters Of Oni Press) are at it again with an all-new storytelling challenge! With Comic-Con International just around the corner, Oni Press is pleased to announce that we are once again giving artists an opportunity to show off their skills. In order to have your portfolio reviewed by an Oni Press editor at Comic-Con you will need to illustrate one or more of the three scripts found on this page. Realizing that different artists are geared towards different subject matter, four different professional writers have developed three different five-page scripts, each one using a different genre and showcasing a different personal scripting style. The genres and authors are:

“Noir” by Jen Van Meter (JSA Classified, Hopeless Savages)
“Romance” by Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir (Past Lies, New X-Men)
“Comedy” by Jim Massey (Death Takes A Holiday)
Last yea’s Talent Search was a gi-normous success! With Oni Press examining hundreds of different artist samples, we were lucky to find several who were ready for a shot at comic book stardom. Joe Infurnari, resident of Brooklyn, NY and artist of the recently released graphic novella Borrowed Time, with writer Neal Shaffer, was one such artist who came to our attention through the talent search. Halifax, Nova Scotia’s own Mike Holmes was another. He’s collaborating with writer Ian Shaughnessy for a new graphic novel entitled Shenanigans, due out this Fall!

In order to have your portfolio reviewed, you must illustrate at least one of the above stories. In addition to presenting the original art at the review session, interested parties must also bring with them photocopies of both pencilled art and inked art for Oni Press to keep as reference. Each photocopied page should include the artist’s name, phone number, and e-mail address and measure 8 ½”x11″. The samples should be submitted in a manila envelope that also includes the artist’s name and contact information. Illustrating one of these stories and following the above guidelines guarantees you an appointment time to meet with an Oni editor at Comic-Con during the convention’s posted hours.

Not attending Comic-Con? While Oni Press does not usually accept unsolicited submissions, this is a special event and non-attending artists can submit their packet, following the guidelines above. If all guidelines are followed, submitters will get an e-mail response from Oni Press in three to six months. We realize this may seem like a long time frame, but after receiving hundreds, if not thousands of submissions last year, we feel that this is a realistic estimate given our editors’ already busy schedules. The written critique may not be as valuable as a good person-to-person critique at San Diego, but thems the breaks. Packets must be postmarked no later than July 31, 2006. Packets must be sent to:

1305 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Suite A
Portland, OR 97214

While Oni Press will not be reviewing portfolios for individuals who have not followed the above guidelines, we will be accepting project proposals at the convention (but due to legal and time restrictions, not by mail). Project proposals should include all pertinent contact info and include an overview of the project, sample script, and sample sequential art if it’s available (writers can still submit without art). Proposals will not be reviewed on site, but will be taken back to the World Headquarters of Oni Press (W.H.O.O.P.s!) for review as time permits.

If you have any questions concerning your submission before you send it, you can mail thisbetterbegood@onipress.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Thank you for your interest and good luck!

James Lucas Jones
Editor in Chief
Oni Press

Scott McCloud on ‘Making Comics’

Scott McCloud’s career is something of a litmus test.
If you’re old enough to remember the black and white comics boom and bust cycle (which gave us “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” as one of the breakout successes, back when the book was a Frank Miller homage and not a kid’s cartoon), McCloud is best remembered for “Zot!” and “Destroy!!” – a pair of black and white comics with seemingly nothing in common other than a love of exclamation points.
If you’re young enough to not have remembered either when they hit stores – and to be vaguely surprised at the notion that the TMNT ever had anything to do with Frank Miller – McCloud’s the guy who thinks deep thoughts about comics for a living, beginning with “Understanding Comics” in 1993 and later with “Reinventing Comics” in 2000.
This fall, the two sides of Scott McCloud get reconciled, when he puts out his third book on comics, “Making Comics.”
“It’s closer to ‘Understanding Comics’ than ‘Reinventing Comics,’ because it’s more about the internal than the external [aspects of comics],” McCloud said earlier this month. “Except this time, I’m talking about strategies for making the comics do your bidding.
Learn more about this project in CBR

Superverse Productions: Team Zoom Suit offers free PDF of issue #1

Numerous sellouts across the nation have led the team behind the Zoom Suit comic book to offer the complete first issue online, free of charge. The online version has been reformatted to fit computer screens and hi-tech devices.

“I don’t want to do a second printing, but I do want fellow comic fans to be able to find and read Zoom Suit”, said Zoom Suit creator John Taddeo. “This solution seems like a win-win because fans that want to read it can now do so for free, while collectors won’t see their market diluted with second prints”.

The web version of Zoom Suit #1 is available for download at www.superverse.com. This will be the only comic in the series available online.

Zoom Suit #1 was released April 26, 2006. Since the release the comic is sold out at all but the most heavily stocked outlets. Copies have sprung up on eBay.com at above cover price, and Zoom Suit variant editions have sold from 2 to 50 times the regular $2.95 cover price. Meanwhile, comic Shops have reordered over 5,000 copies of Zoom Suit #2.

“I’ve read every comic book I’ve ever owned, so I’m a reader first and foremost. However, collecting is also a fun aspect of the hobby and I want to recognize that aspect”, said Taddeo. “It’s fun when you’re in on the ground floor and your comics rise in value. Collecting is an important part of our hobby.”

Zoom Suit #1 received orders of over 20,000 copies by over 1,100 direct market comic shops. To date over 2,000 comic fans have joined the Zoom Suit fan club at www.superverse.com. Emails and calls from fans that could not find a copy led to the offer of the free downloadable versions.

While the online PDF is the exact version of the comic found in stores, the Zoom Suit “webisode” takes advantage of “screen size”. Unlike many web comics which require scrolling or zooming, Zoom Suit was designed to fit the screen of many of today’s high tech devices. The animated short is also available online.

The Zoom Suit animated short has appeared in over 80 National Film Festivals and has been screened to over 1,000,000 fans worldwide. The short film has won numerous awards and is in negotiation for an animated series and big budget feature film deal.

Zoom Suit #3 arrives in comic shops July 5th featuring covers by Bill Tucci and Billy Dallas Patton. A limited edition is also available featuring a cover by Bart Sears.

For more information please visit the Superverse website

Thrill-house Comics: Steve Pugh talks Shark-man

Over the last few weeks we have heard from the president of Thrill-House comics, Michael Town, and Shark-Man’s main scripter the screenplay writer, Ronald Shusett. This week we talk to the man in the hot spot, artist Steve Pugh.
Newsarama: Steve, we’ve seen your work at DC, Marvel and Dark Horse producing art for some major titles like Preacher, Animal Man, X-Men, and Superman versus Terminator, do you like the variety of subject matters they offered to you as an artist or was it collaborating with people you know that attracted you to the projects?
Steve Pugh: I think it’s most important to work with a writer who you have confidence in, and are excited by. I’ve been told that if I’m not enjoying a project then it really shows through in my art, I’ve never been able to fake my way through an uninspired script. I guess if I could bash out a page every four hours, then I wouldn’t have time to think about it, but I’ve chosen a pretty labor intensive way of working.
NRAMA: You seem to like doing short runs or mini-series rather than monthly books. Do you not want to do a monthly title or are the types of projects you’re drawn to naturally have endings or at least a story arc that you can complete and then bow out?
SP: Well, I like to go in, say what I have to say about the characters and get out, because many stories really do have a natural end, or at least a point where the story should rest for a while.
I have had longer runs on books. I spent a few years on Animal Man, and that was because the writer, Jaime Delano, was turning in beautiful scripts, the story progressed and evolved and never felt as if it was strung out just to fill pages every month. If he hadn’t left I could have easily carried on forever
Read the rest of the interview at Newsarama.

Tokyopop: Shannon Denton gets Zapt!

Shannon Denton’s newest series, Zapt!, “the story of 12-year-old who juggles homework, bullies, and intergalactic police work, all while still trying to enjoy recess” is coming soon from TOKYOPOP as a part of their Manga Chapters series. Denton’s excited to be working with collaborator Keith Giffen and artist Amand Villavert Jr.. He hopes this tale will catch on with both the young and old.

THE PULSE: For those who might not be as familiar with your work, give the highlights of your life in comics so far.

DENTON: I started off at Image in the ’90s doing grunt work as an intern. Pencil fill-ins and such. Shortly after that I got into animation working a bunch of shows at the same time but primarily all the Marvel stuff like Spider-Man, X-Men, Silver Surfer, etc. During that time I did some work on Deadpool for Marvel. It was fun except for the fact that I was doing the work when I got home from drawing all day for FoxKids and was having to do several pages a night to get the book on schedule. Looking back, I wish I had more time to draw as they don’t add a disclaimer at the beginning of the book, letting people know you had only a few weeks to do a whole book. I decided after that that if I was going to be working all night after working all day, that it’d make more sense to do my own stuff and only take on work with others, if it was something I really wanted to do. That was when I first got into doing my own comics. Antarctic Press was great about publishing a lot of my early work.

In 2000, I started Komikwerks with my buddy Patrick, and between partnering with all the talented pros in our Komikwerks anthologies: Stan Lee, Byron Preiss, and AOL over the last five years, and getting ready to launch our ACTIONOPOLIS book line, it’s been one rewarding creative experience after the other. This way I can still work on fun stuff like Teen Titans, Jimmy Neutron, etc. and still have my own playground to come home to as well.

Read the rest of this interview at the Pulse

Viper Comics: Dead@ 17 starts as ongoing in August

The Dead are rising, Evil is spreading, and the citizens of Darlington Hills are about to face their greatest trial yet, which means”¦ It’s time to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Viper Comics has announced they will release the Dead@17 ongoing series beginning with issue one this August. Written and drawn by original creator Josh Howard, the series will introduce an entire new cast of characters, though the action will continue to take place within the Dead@17 universe, and more specifically, Darlington Hills, the home of the original axe wielding heroine Nara Kilday.

Who are the Undying and what do they want? What secrets lie buried beneath the abandoned estate of Abraham Pitch? And what part will young and reckless Asia Black play in the coming conflicts between good and evil? These are just a few of the questions that will be answered when the series kicks off this summer.

Also, for those of you who missed the Dead@17 preview in Free Comic Book Day’s VIPER COMICS PRESENTS the 10 page story is now available IN FULL COLOR on the brand new Dead@17 media website: www.thewarbegins.com

“The original Dead@17 struck a chord with readers and surprised everyone in the industry by sort of coming out of nowhere,” states Viper Comics president Jessie Garza. “The question of a Dead ongoing has been one posed by fans for some time now, and while it was always in the back of our minds, we wanted to make sure the timing was right. Well, that time is now and we couldn’t be more excited to be releasing the series. Fans of the original will not be disappointed, and those unfamiliar with this universe Josh created will find it the perfect jumping on point.”

For more information on the Dead@17 ongoing, visit www.vipercomics.com
32 Pages/Color/$ 3.25
Diamond Previews Item Code: JUN06 3475

Viper Comics

Von Allan: The road to God knows where interview

In Von Allan’s Road To God Knows”¦ graphic novel, we find a teenager named Marie who has learned all to early what it means to be an adult. Although still living under the same roof as her mother Betty, the role of parent is up for grabs as they try to cope with her mother’s mental disorder. Hospital stays have occurred, and things aren’t looking any better. Although Marie has learned coping mechanisms and how to help her mother, deep in her heart she realizes that fundamentally her mother is on her own. As is Marie.

Fairly heavy stuff, huh? Allan balances the harsh realities of Marie’s life with her diversions outside of life, which sometime lead her into some jams when she overcommits herself. Partnered with her friend Kelly, their relationship and adventures offset and compliment the hard times Marie deals with at home.

Although the graphic novel isn’t scheduled for release until 2007, Von Allan has appeared at several conventions showing portions of the work and generating interest. The story of Marie and Allan’s own story as it relates to comics is provoking, and worth a read.

Read the interview at Newsarama

Aaaaand that’s a wrap for this week! I’m waiting your comments and feedback through email to Manolis@gmail.com. If you self-publish your own comics or represent an indy comics company, add me to your press release list, and I will run your news in this space every week.

Manolis Vamvounis
a.k.a. Dr. Dooplove