Leave Your Spandex @t the Door 28.06.06 First look reviews and Indy News!

Welcome to the 21st 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!

Because of last week’s posting mixup, I have an overload of reviews for you this week, covering both last week’s crop as well as the stuff shipping today, and one title shipping next week! Never say I didn’t look out for you, dear reader!

This week: Dead women out of refrigerators, dead runaways, dead exiles, grave-robbing angels, robot bears, robot concubines, cross-dressing robots, cross-dressing sidekicks, cross-dressing Jimmy Olsen, cross-dressing Wolverine, and some other stuff that doesn’t involve necrophilia, transvestites or robots, so they’re not worth summarising really.

Sidekick #1
Image Comics
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Chris Moreno

Review Content: Eddie Edison is not having a good week. His day job as a pizza delivery boy sucks, and his night endeavors as ‘Superman’s sidekick Hyper-Lad pay even less! When banging his hero’s wife behind his back doesn’t help ease the tension, Eddie decides to apply for sidekick to the city’s other big heroes: ‘Batman’, ‘Wonder-woman’ and ‘Token angry black hero’ (dressed in the corresponding costumes and drag of course) to earn a better paycheck. But what happens when they all accept him?

Paul Jenkins tries his hand at some slapstick comedy, taking a break from his wordy and angsty superhero work. From the preview art I had seen, I didn’t expect to like this book, but it pushed all the right buttons and became my favourite book of the week!

Eddie’s everyday Joe cynicism and logic provide the ideal counterbalance for the flashy, corny and dodgy realm Superman operates in, leading to hilarious circumstances. It’s like casting Jason Lee as the Robin to Adam West’s Batman.

Grade: A

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #6
Marvel Comics
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Stuart Immonen

Review Content: Nextwave took its sweet time to grow on me, but now that I’m tuned to its unique vibe I can’t get enough of this hyper-active, bright pastel, epilepsy epidemic, high-octane, ridiculous thrill ride!

This issue: Monica gets crabs! Machineman wears a bra! Elsa still kicks ass with a shovel! Tabitha can’t count! The Captain farts! And did we mention Machineman wears a bra?

Buy! Buy! Buy!

Grade: A

Ion #3
DC Comics
Writer: Ron Marz
Artists: Greg Tocchini

Review Content: Hey! It seems my ongoing ‘staring at crap until it grows flowers’ experiment (codename: Ion) is finally starting to yield positive results! After the excruciatingly bland first two issues, something (mildly interesting) happens! Kyle has been trapped into some weird Green Lantern Eden which I hope will sound familiar to actual Lantern fans, unless I misread the exposition. In this Eden Kyle meets up with his three dead girlfriends (Refrigerator Girl, not-so-dead-Troy and Jade) who each help him realize the changes he has undergone. We also get an explanation of the new powers and an inkling of how Ion may be different from the core GL title.
Greg Tocchini has also improved from the first issue, as he now exhibits a more distinctive line style, that sets a fitting mood for this issue

Grade: D

Exiles #83
Marvel Comics
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artists: Casey Jones

Review Content: The post-World Tour team roster is a very exciting one, with a more diverse set of characters, and a great chill factor as Morph has been replaced by an amnesiac Proteus who has taken Morp’s place and memories. Although Proteus himself is unaware of this, the rest of the Exiles know very well, and have to be careful not to trigger the resurfacing of their deadly enemy and team-mate. The new roster includes: AOA Blink, AOA Sabretooth, Proteus, Squadron Supreme’s Power Princess, Spiderman 2099, Mojoworld’s Longshot and the black Heather Douglas version of Sasquatch from the first year of the series.

It’s another of those fun-for-all funeral issues! In the aftermath of the status quo-shattering World Tour arc, the Exiles finally get around to sending their deceased members (and there’s a lot of them) to their respective realities for burial. Bedard of course focuses on the one corpse that stings the most for Blink: the founding Exiles member Mimic. Blink’s decision to ‘keep’ Mimic from his reality so she can bury him somewhere only she can visit causes friction in the team, while Morph/Proteus (Morteus Morpheus?) is trying to wrong a universal imbalance by teaching Spidey 2099 how to quip and evil Exile Tony Stark has another go at freedom.

Grade: C

Runaways #17
Marvel Comics
Writer: Brian K Vaughan
Artist: Adrian Alphona

Review Content: This issue”¦ someone dies!!

“¦

Well, at least, someone is shot, and it’s not who you’d think. I still expect a curveball next issue, X-Force/X-Statix style before the final victim is revealed.

BKV bides even more time before the final confrontation between the Pride and the Runaways, as he reintroduces Caroline and her Super-Skrull boy/girl/friend into the team and resolves the recent threesome friction. Molly is still kidnapped but continues to shine through her opening panel cry: I have been kidnapped by an evil black man from the 80s. It’s funny cos it’s true.

Grade: B

X-Men #187
Marvel Comics
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Salvador Larroca

Review Content: This is Pete Milligan’s swansong X-Men issue. Milligan started on the title with great expectations from the fans of his earlier X-work on X-Force and X-Statix, but it soon became evident that he wouldn’t be given the same freedom to cut loose with these mutants as he had in the past. Although he had chosen a cast of ‘short sticks’ in terms of popularity, he still wasn’t given enough leeway to cut loose with the Vertigo-esque charm he helped establish. After the initial Golgotha arc, only the most recent ‘Blood of Apocalypse’ arc showed some promise of greatness and scope, but it was again squandered because of editorially forced guest-stars and sentinel ONE references and zero support in-house. Although several x-Men underwent startling transformations, it is evident they won’t stick for more than a few weeks; even Polaris who was the worst affected is now up and running again just in time for Brubake’s Uncanny X-Men run next month.

So, what happens in this issue? Milligan gathers all his toys and puts everything neatly back into the big toyboX for Brubaker and Carey. Sunfire is trying to deprogram Gambit from Apocalypse’s transformation (although the reason behind Gambit’s defection and the results of the transformation in his physiology have yet to be fully explained) and ‘rescue’ their fellow Horseman (horsemaid?) Polaris from the X-Men.

To give away a minor spoiler, Polaris regains a semblance of her powers this issue, making her the fourth X-Man to repower after House of M in just under a year (we’ve already seen Iceman, the Angel ruse, Magneto, and Quicksilver recently, and soon Chamber). Depowered is depowered, but only if you’re not an X-Man, as there’s currently no depowered X-Men left. Way to shatter the status quo, Marvel.

Looking back, Milligan offered a meaty run on the X-men, writing an x-book following the x-book rules with a little help from his editors. I guess what I was expecting was more of the brilliance that was X-Statix, which is the real answer to ‘what if Milligan was writing the X-Men, uninhibited’.

Grade: B

Last week:

Casanova #1
Image
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Gabriel Bά

Review Content: Super spies, funky acronym agencies, alternate realities, clones, flying casinos, big mutant brains, robot sex, incest, double agents, pulp fiction trappings, over-the-top comic book dialogue, irreverent character commentary interludes, sexy women and sexy men! Casanova has everything you crave! And it’s under two bucks?

Image comics follows up on the success of Fell, with a new reduced price ongoing series. The first issue is ‘can’t resist’ double-sized at normal price to win over even the most skeptic new readers out there. Pick it up, you will fall in love!

Casanova Quinn is the son of E.M.P.I.R.E.’s director, the largest international peace-keeping task-force. Unlike his sister Zephyr, he has turned his back on the agency and pursues a high-trill life as a freelance art thief, gigolo, spy, gambler and all-around rogue scoundrel. After his siste’s funeral, a device he uncovers on his person will lead him on a spy-tastic chase around the world and across realities. His encounter with the enigmatic and exposition-prone Newman Xeno and the revelation of the truth behind his siste’s death will set him against daddy and his agency as a double agent.

Gabriel Ba (sorry, I can’t type the Portuguese accent mark properly) is a revelation here, bringing the taste of Brazilian comics in the American mainstream. The world of Casanova Quinn is filed with sassy voluptuous femme fatales, gruntish government agents and monstrous pulp adversaries, while Casanova himself is rendered as a charming devil with a piercing gaze. Although this world contains many contrasting elements, Gabriel’s art sews everything together seamlessly.

As can be seen from the previews below the art is coloured with the monochrome technique, using only a muddy shade of green over the inkwork. Here is my only complaint about this opening issue, as the choice of colours detracts from the feel of the issue. The monochrome technique does work on Ba’s art style, this much is evident from the stunning cover and back cover, but a different colour choice, or even a two-colour contrast palette would enhance the art.

Image Comics has provided the Nexus with a 5-page preview of the first issue of Casanova! Please note again that the first issue has a special price of $1.99 only, in the proud tradition of Fell, only with double the page count!

Grade: B

Ursa Minors #1
SLG publishing
Writer: Neil Kleid
Artists: Fernando Pinto

Review Content: Ursa Minors could have been one of those indy comics you hear so much about on message boards, the diamonds in the rough whosempopularity grows with word of mouth through reviews and message boards, like Demo and Scott Pilgrim!

Or, it could just be a mood-mixing inconsistent and nonsensical look at guys running around in bear armour suits. I couldn’t make heads or tails of the main story in this issue; It starts off really grim and gritty with some moody noir monologue, but then abruptly jumps the shark into bright and slapstick with a completely different set of characters. I don’t know if it was supposed to be a world-establishing scene or an intended joke that flew over my head, but it makes for a jarring start to the book. The rest of the story includes some obvious message board jokes, a diminutive German villain in search of love in the wrong places, an internet dating service mix-up and the obligatory fight-scene between bear armours and silly ninjas.

As much as I didn’t enjoy the first story, I wasn’t disappointed with this issue. The back-up story “Rabbi Ninja” by the same creative team more than makes up for the first half’s shortcomings. The superposition of the Rabbi and ninja attributes on one character is good humour fodder on its own, but it becomes genius when Kleid introduces the familiar ‘two dates in one restaurant’ sitcom scenario but featuring a hot jewish date and an assassination target instead, as our Rabbi Ninja must constantly shift between the two during his night out.

Now who do I have to write to get a Rabbi Ninja ongoing?

Grade: C
Fallen Angel #6
IDW Comics
Writer: Peter David
Artist: J K Woodward

Review Content: Peter David continues the origin of the Fallen Angel. The story this issue picks up after Liandra’s ‘fall’ to earth, into a segregated village community who welcome the Fallen Angel as the reincarnation of their long-lost ancient tribe ancestor. David plays up to the contrast between the Angel’s loss of faith that lead to her fall, and these people’s dependence on their faith as the only guiding light through their tragedy. By the end of this issue, Liandra will be one step closer to becoming the recogniseable Fallen Angel from the first series in a very surprising and gratifying last page reveal.

Grade: A

Ex Machina #21
Wildstorm
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Tony Harris

Review Content: I hadn’t checked in on BKV’s superhero-mayor TV drama since the ending of the first year, but I found this issue a very easy jumping-on point. The plot recipe remains the same, with a flashback from the Mayo’s superhero past which connects to trouble in the present as the press has uncovered statements from him admitting to drug use during college. The mayor, as always, opts for a liberal idealistic approach to the matter and this leads to an ominous cliffhanger linking the current hot topic with a self-combusting suicide. Although Ex Machina remains formulaic in its ingenuity, but entertaining nonetheless!

Grade: C

Flash #1
DC Comics
Writer:
Artist: Ken Lashley

Review Content: Eugh. They cancelled Johns’ Flash for this? This is the most disappointing relaunch OYL so far, as the team of TV writers are still struggling with comic book pacing and plotting, while Ken Lashly has gone past his prime 10 years ago and is struggling to be appealing but to no avail. Commence countdown to next creative team”¦ 3″¦2″¦1″¦

The new Flash seems to be indeed the now adult Bart Allen, but I’m doubting he can hold the mantle without a proper supporting cast other than his grandpa. I was seriously hoping the recent resurfacing of a young Jay Garrick in Outsiders would have impact on this title, but there’s no mention of those events here yet.

Grade: F

All-star Superman #4
DC Comics
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Frank Quitely

Review Content: Noone could have convinced me two years ago that I would be so impatiently waiting for the newest issue of a Superman comic! Morrison and Quitely have captured that irreverent camp old Superman charm with a modern sensibility, and it’s addictive!

This issue is a ‘Jimmy Olsen Superman’s pal’ homage. When Superman is exposed to Black Kryptonite he becomes Bizarro Superman and goes on an evil rampage. Only Jimmy Olsen in his rainbow long coat can put a stop to it by using his resources as head of P.R.O.J.E.C.T. for a day to transform into”¦ Doomsday? This issue literally has everything, from Bizarro to Doomsday, to a transvestite Jimmy Olsen and Moon graphitti! All star!

Grade: A

X-Men: Fairytales #2
Marvel Comics
Writer: C.B. Cebulski
Artists: Kyle Baker

Review Content: Kyle Bake’s first venture into X-Men territory in recent years is a disappointing misinterpretationof the Xavier/Magneto relationship as a Turtle/Eagle parable. It could have worked if not for the non-poignant parallels between the two sets of characters and the choppy linework from Baker. Or maybe it was just doomed from the get-go.

Grade: F

Astonishing X-Men #15
Marvel Comics
Writers: Joss Whedon
Artists: John Cassaday

Review Content: Joss Whedon is my master now.

I resisted as much as I could. I refused to buy Astonishing X-Men when it first came out, but I would still read the book off the shelf (Byrne-stealing, kids, google it up) like a guilty habit I couldn’t kick off, until I finally gave in and bought the hardcover. The series does suffer from the huge delays, as Whedon’s arcs look disjointed and rough when six issues are read over the period of 2 years. When I reread all the issues in one sitting, I could recognise the remarkable pacing at work, the character evolution and the story build-up.

Back to the current ‘vol. 2′ issues though. After last issue Emma has shown Cyclops the light, in one of the most remarkable Cyclops stories ever, and the best use of the character in recent memory, and in effect incapacitated him, leaving the Institute rupe ground for the new Hellfire Club to make its move. Whedon is of course once more heavily homaging the original Hellfire Club storyline by Claremont and Byrne from the late 70s, right down to the one-on-one fights and the final page that will have fans of a certain young spunky mutant craving for next issue like the junkies we are!

Grade: A

Uncanny X-Men Annual #1
Marvel Comics
Writers: Chris Claremont and Tony Bedard
Artists: Clayton Henry

Review Content: While Storm lies unconscious under a building in Africa, the Uncanny team races to her rescue wrapping up a mediocre plotline from the Storm limited series and the ongoing Uncanny title.

Although the X-men’s mission in this issue is derivative and purely page-filler, I will admit that the other half of this issue is excellent, featuring Storm dream-walking through three scenarios featuring the most important people in her life: Forge, Jean and Kitty. Storm relives some memories with these friends and talks with them/her subconscious trying to decide how to respond to T’Challa’s wedding proposal. All three meetings are well-crafted, and reminded me of the good old days for the wind rider.

Although Storm is a very closed character, she connects to the reader through her interactions with others. Perhaps that is the reason she has been so, well, dull the last few years as she has been disconnected from her closest friends.

The issue closes with a revelation about Storm’s genealogy that comes off as too much of a comic book cliché, but sets up the upcoming wedding. Marvel is really pushing for this wedding to work and matter, but so far I can’t share their enthusiasm, as it feels too much like an ‘arranged wedding’, with the characters only getting together after editorial has decided they are both black and therefore should marry.

Grade: C

Indy News & Views

Ballantine Books: Flight vol. 4

As Kazu Kibuishi reports, the much anticipated third volume of Flight is currently making its way to stores, thanks to Ballantine Books.
To celebrate the release of the latest Flight anthology, Kibuishi’s provided Newsarama with a first look at Flight Vol. 4.
As for who’s signed up for the next volume? “We already have stories completed by Ben Hatke, Kean Soo, Joel Carroll, and Bannister,” Kibuishi told Newsarama. “Michel Gagné is just about finished with his new Rex installment, and this one is going over 30 pages! Along with these guys, we’ll be seeing the return of most of the ladies, including Jen Wang, Catia Chien, Clio Chiang, and Amy Kim Ganter, whose story I’ll be coloring. This is something that I’m looking forward to since the small number of females in Volume 3 really saddened me. One of the things I loved most about this project was that it was held up high by so many strong female storytellers. Seeing them come back full force brings a tear to my eye.
Read the rest of this interview and see the preview pages at Newsarama

Film: Watchmen director named!

Hollywoodreporter.com “¦ reports that Jack Snyder has been named as the director of the upcoming Watchmen movie adaptation:

Zach Snyder has come aboard to develop and direct “Watchmen,” the seminal DC Comics limited series created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, for Warner Bros. Pictures. Alex Tse is writing the script of the long-gestating project, which is being produced by Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin. “Watchmen” has a development history almost as epic as the story the comic tells. The project has seen such studios as Fox, Universal and Paramount come and go and has seduced and vexed such filmmakers as Terry Gilliam, Darren Aronofsky, Paul Greengrass and screenwriter David Hayter. Sources say Snyder has impressed Warners with “300,” an adaptation of a Frank Miller graphic novel that he directed and co-wrote. Snyder shot the movie — a Greek epic about the battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. — on soundstages in Montreal using partial sets and greenscreens, similar in technique to Robert Rodriguez’s “Sin City.” (Borys Kit)

Boom Studios: Enigma Cypher

Secrets. What are they good for? Sure, if you know the wrong thing about the right person you might be able to blackmail them into somehow enhancing your life, but that’s just plain mean. And if you have secrets of your own, you’re always worried about people finding out, which invariably happens. Still, it could be worse: you could be a grad student named Casey and stumble upon ancient Nazi experiments, containing secrets that could mean the end of the world. Hey Casey, no pressure! In a five-part mini-series from Boom! Studios, this very story unfolds in “Enigma Cipher” by writers Andrew Cosby & Michael Alan Nelson and artist Greg Scott. CBR News caught up with Nelson (who also recently spoke to CBR News about other projects) to discuss the August-shipping series. So what’s it all about?
“The simple answer is easy: secrets,” explained Nelson. “And it’s about the trouble a young grad student finds herself in when she stumbles across those secrets. The Enigma machine was a device used during most of the first half of the Twentieth Century to encrypt and decrypt messages, most famously during World War II. So when our young grad student decides to decrypt a recently discovered Enigma message for her dissertation, she sets off a calamitous chain of events.”
Read the rest of the interview at CBR

Graphitti Designs: Southland Tales 13-page preview

This past March, CBR News brought you an interview with writer/director Richard Kelly (“Donnie Darko”) and artist Brett Weldele who discussed the “Southland Tales” graphic novels coming from Graphitti Designs. The three issue series serves as a prequel to the upcoming film of the same name, written and directed by Kelly and slated for release later this year (the film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, but a wide release date has not yet been announced). Kelly described “Southland Tales” as a melding of genres, being a science-fiction/thriller first, with doses of political satire and even musical stylings. It’s an ensemble piece set in a futuristic landscape of Los Angeles as it stands on the brink of social, economic and environmental disaster. The film stars a wide range of acting talent, which includes The Rock, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sean William Scott, John Larroquette and many others.
The first volume of “Southland Tales” ships to comic shops today, Wednesday, June 28th. Graphitti Designs has provided CBR News with 13 pages from the first volume.

IDW Publishing: Adventures in Oz collected

Adventures in Oz by award-winning cartoonist Eric Shanower hits stores in July 2006. This project from IDW Publishing collects Shanowe’s five Oz graphic novels, along with new features, into one 256-page volume.

As a child Eric Shanower avidly read all the Oz books written by series creator L. Frank Baum, beginning with the classic story The Wizard of Oz. Shanower decided that some day he would write and illustrate his own Oz stories. After becoming a professional cartoonist as an adult, he proceeded to fulfill this goal. He wrote and drew a series of Oz graphic novels, using the characters and concepts from the Oz books he’d read as a child, while developing new characters and stories in the spirit of the originals.

From 1986 to 1992 Shanowe’s five Oz graphic novels were published by First Comics and Dark Horse Comics. These graphic novels garnered high critical praise, received the Parents’ Choice Award, and earned Shanower the Russ Manning Award. But by the late 1990s, the Oz graphic novels were out of print. Now, after ten years IDW Publishing is bringing them back in a one-volume edition titled Adventures in Oz.

Shanower and IDW Publishing have taken great pains with the production of the new book. The original art for all five Oz graphic novels has been newly scanned, both the black-and-white and the color artwork, which Shanower produced separately to accommodate printing techniques of the 1980s. Scanning of color art in the 1980s wasn’t as exacting as it is today, and the color reproduction in the original printings of these books was sometimes different than what Shanower painted.

New computer programs along with personal attention have solved the scanning problems. Shanower explains: “For the IDW book, John Uhrich has scanned every page, composited the black-and-white line art with the painted color art, and painstakingly gone over every single panel. This was an immense job and took over a year for him to complete. 99.99% of Uhric’s efforts were in line with my intentions, I’m pleased to say. That’s very rare in comics publishing, rare in most aspects of life. I’m very pleased with the look of Adventures in Oz.”

IDW has given Shanower approval over every aspect of Adventures in Oz. As a result, this book could be called the directo’s cut. “There were mistakes made in the original printings from First Comics and Dark Horse Comics,” Shanower said. “I’m making sure these aren’t repeated. And I’ve made some minor changes in text and art, although I’m trying not to tinker too much, trying to just accept the work for what I did at the time. However, some of the faces I drew back then were a little awkward, so I’ve made small adjustments.”

For Adventures in Oz Shanower has painted a brand new cover, written a new introduction, and provided several new interior illustrations in color. A map of Oz will also be included, showing locations from the Oz graphic novels as well as locations from the original Oz books.

The five Oz graphic novels collected into Adventures in Oz are The Enchanted Apples of Oz, The Secret Island of Oz, The Ice King of Oz, The Forgotten Forest of Oz, and The Blue Witch of Oz.

IDW Publishing gives hints of what Shanowe’s Oz stories are about: In the marvelous Land of Oz, magic is always around the next corner. Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and their many Oz friends can’t stop plunging into one adventure after another. Come journey over the rainbow to help save Oz from the Wicked Witch of the South, ride an enchanted whirlpool that leads to a hidden island, explore the spooky Great Gray Gillikin Swamp, prevent a war between dragons and wood-nymphs, and soar in an emerald unicorn to the frozen land of the mysterious Ice King. Wonder and magic abound in five full-color stories by two-time Eisner Award-winning cartoonist Eric Shanower, collected here for the first time in one volume. L. Frank Baum’s Land of Oz lives again in stories that Booklist calls “well-written” and “charming” by “the superbly talented Shanower.”

In addition to the regular 256-page edition of Adventures in Oz, there will be a signed limited edition of 300 copies in hardcover that will include a 70-page bonus section. Shanower says, “I’m really excited about the extras in the limited edition. I’ve written an essay about how the Oz graphic novels came to be and my process in creating them. People will be able to see Oz artwork I’ve done throughout my life, starting when I was seven years old all the way up to now.”

Features in the bonus section include: artwork from Shanowe’s original proposal for the series, unused endings from two of the Oz graphic novels, prototype comics stories that developed into the finished books, design sketches for characters and costumes, advertising art, plus short Oz comics stories and various unpublished and little-seen Oz illustrations from the past 25 years of Shanowe’s career as cartoonist and illustrator.

In July IDW Publishing will release Adventures in Oz by Eric Shanower to bookstores and comic book shops everywhere.

Image Comics: True Story Swear To God

According to Chicago-born creator and California resident Tom Beland, it’s true that his autobiographical comic book, True Story, Swear To God, is moving to Image Comics this September.

The first TSSTG strip debuted in 1995 and Beland’s self-published the comics through Clib’s Boy Comics. “I was beginning to experience some burnout, as far as all the business sides of publishing TSSTG and I was curious if [Image] would be interested in publishing the title, so I sent the Erics [Erik Larsen and Eric Stephenson] copies of my work and asked them if they’d like to carry it. It took a bit of time, but then they called and told me they’d like to do so and, well, after I got up off the floor, we began talks,” Beland explained to Newsarama about the move to Image.

“They’re really easy to talk to, really laid back and when you go to their offices, it’s quite a welcome feeling there. The talks went back and forth and I kept waiting for them to say “oh, that Tom Beland… no, we can’t use him…” but they never did. It was very cool.”

For those who’ve been missing out on the series, Beland provided a Cliff’s Note version of the story so far. “I met a woman [Lily Garcia] at a bus stop in Disneyworld. She was from Puerto Rico and I was from Napa Valley. We hit it off and began a long-distance relationship for a year, with a category-5 hurricane thrown into the mix. I moved to the island to live with her and she’s convinced me to try to make my own comics. That’s pretty much where the story is right now.

Read the rest of this interview at Newsarama

Oni Press: Scott Pilgrim annotated

Over at his blog, Bryan Lee O’Malley has begun posting the annotations for his popular Scott Pilgrim series

Olympian Publishing: Nocturnals

NOCTURNALS RELAUNCHED!!!

Yes, you read it right.

This October, Art Nouveau dealers and San Diego favorite Century Guild enter the world of graphic novel publishing with the first of three oversized hardcovers documenting the first twelve years of everyone’s favorite spooky superheroes, the Nocturnals, under the imprint Olympian Publishing.

“The world of the Nocturnals is undoubtably one of the coolest universes in comic books, and I know that I want to live there. I just couldn’t wait any longer for more Nocturnals stories, and at WonderCon earlier this year Dan Brereton and I came up with a plan that will make every single Nocturnals fan beside themselves with excitement.”
-Thomas Negovan, publisher

The three volumes feature all-new stories and framing sequences, making them the definitive collection and the ultimate preparation for the ALL NEW Nocturnals series in Fall 2007, titled NOCTURNALS: THE SINISTER PATH.

There are special surprises planned for San Diego this year to celebrate the relaunch of Dan Brereton’s Nocturnals. Make sure to visit us at the Century Guild booth!

Dan Brereton’s Nocturnals Vol. 1: The Black Planet and Other Stories, Oversized hardcover available this fall. 224 pp hardcover, $29.99

Silent Devil: Antigone

Silent Devil presents a new take on the Greek classic Antigone

Silent Devil presents Antigone, a 32-page black and white one-shot by writer David Hopkins and artist Tom Kurzanski. The creative team won accolades for last year’s mini-series Karma Incorporated, published by Viper Comics.

Antigone is based directly off Sophocles’ play of the same title. In the story, Antigone stands against King Creon for the right to bury her dead brother. This new version of the Oedipus trilogy is a Goth fantasy, mixing ancient and modern — a dark, twisted, and distorted perspective, playfully obscure.

“My previous works, Karma Incorporated and Emily Edison, all dealt with the same theme of dysfunctional families,” explains David Hopkins. “Antigone would be the epitome of this subject matter. I’m really interested in the ‘house drama’ as the starting
point for all my stories.”

Antigone will feature an epilogue by Aaron Thomas Nelson, an expert on Ancient Greek Literature. The book will be available for pre-order in the August edition of Diamond Previews and will hit store shelves this fall. Please visit www.silentdevil.com and www.antiherocomics.com for more details.

Top Cow: Freshmen II

A new semester will bring all-new experiences for freshmen everywhere-and all-new adventures for Freese College’s The Freshmen.

Top Cow Productions is reuniting with co-creators Seth Green and Hugh Sterbakov for a new Freshmen comic series in November, 2006. The six-issue series will hit stores as the highly anticipated sequel to Freshmen, Top Cow’s 2005 smash hit about a group of incoming college freshmen who acquire amazing-and sometimes hilarious-superpowers. Art chores on the new series will be handled by Will Conrad (Buffy, The Vampire Slayer). Uproarious humor will still be the order of the day in Freshmen II: Fundamentals of Fear, but new elements will be introduced as well.

“Freshmen II is going to be darker and scarier than our first series. We have a great new villain in Mr. Fiddlesticks, a character from a series of childrens’ books, who is haunting our heroes, and a couple new romances to stir things up,” said series writer Hugh Sterbakov. “There’s a great twisting mystery at the heart of this series, which will further explore some of the threads we set-up in the original, like Annalee’s father’s interest in the Ax-Cell-Erator, the device that created our team. Also, some characters who were in the background of the original series come to the fore, like the Green Thumb and the Drama Twins. I looked to one of my favorite sequels of all time, The Empire Strikes Back, for inspiration, and Rodolfo Migliari’s fantastic cover reflects the direction of the next series perfectly. I can’t wait for November!”

Co-creator and Buffy and Austin Powers actor Seth Green is similarly jazzed. “In the midst of trying to absorb the overwhelming response to the first series, Hugh pitched me the plot and secrets for Freshmen II,” Green said. “After I collected myself from the knockout punches, I called Top Cow and begged and screamed until they promised to let you guys read it. They said I could stop calling, because they already agreed to do it. And here it is: Fundamentals of Fear! Stuff blowing up! Hearts getting broken! Abuse of powers! And a talking Beaver! Are you seriously not reading this book yet?

The Freshmen vol. 1 paperback is currently on-sale, and available with Diamond order code: FEB061821 D*

The Comic Book Geek #4

Fellow Greek Christos N. Gage has released his newest monthly column at the Telltale Games: new Sam & Max PC Adventure!
If you were to ask a comic book fan about their favorite decade of comic books, you’d obviously get a wide variety of responses depending on when they began collecting, but “the eighties” would be high up on most collectors lists. That decade saw the rise of the “direct market” and comic book shops; a new level of maturity in comics represented by “Watchmen” and “Dark Knight Returns”; and the rise of the independent comic book market. From “Cerebus” to “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” new and innovative concepts found large audiences. Among those success stories was “Sam & Max,” which chronicled the adventure of two anthropomorphic detectives — Sam was a six foot dog who dressed like a detective, and Max was a pretty excited rabbit. The two were a unique duo and their popularity continues to this day, with a new “Sam & Max” video game on the way from Telltale Games. Series creator Steve Purcell took time out of his busy schedule to chat with CBR News about the game and to remind some younger readers why people can’t get enough of the coolest animal private investigators.
“Sam & Max call themselves Freelance Police,” Purcell explained to CBR News. “It’s like guys playing cops and robbers, but for real. They take it upon themselves to deal with wrongdoer in the most overzealous and gleeful way. The stories are always excuses for the pair to exchange colorful banter with each other, which we hope the audience finds entertaining. They cruise around in a customized ’60s Desoto painted like a rat rod squad car. The original idea grew out of comic books my kid brother and I drew when we were kids in the ’70s. I did a few comics and then had the chance to adapt the idea as a LucasArts game in 1993. They was also a top ten rated animated series on Fox Kids for a season.”
Read the rest of the interview at
CBR

Viper Comics: Emily Edison

People often fantasize about the benefits of having super powers. Imagine being able to fly through the sky, use your eyes to burn a hole in the wall, or possess super strength? It all sounds good, right?
Now imagine you piss off your super powered spouse.
Last week, CBR News spoke with David Hopkins, writer of Viper Comics’ “Emily Edison,” (arriving June 28th) a graphic novel chronicling the bitter marital relations between a super powered couple from different dimensions and their young daughter at the center of it all, Emily Edison. We caught up with artist Brock Rizy who discussed the joys of illustrating an all ages book and how he became involved with “Emily Edison.”
“I’d heard it through the grapevine that David had been doing some work in comics, so I casually mentioned to our mutual friend Steven New that I might be interested in collaborating,” Rizy explains of his involvement with “Emily Edison” when speaking with CBR News. “In the past I’d been leery of working with writers, except as co-authors. I’m a cartoonist and not just an illustrator, so I didn’t simply want an art assignment. It had to be a true collaboration, which I expressed as early as I could. David seemed to have similar ideas about the relationship between an artist and writer. He pitched me a handful of concepts and Emily made my spine tingle.”
Read the rest of the interview at CBR

Viper Comics: Daisy Kutter back to press

Slip into your chaps and holster your six shooters, outlaw turned Viper Comics superstar Daisy Kutter is back with vengeance as she returns to the marketplace with a 2nd printing of the critically acclaimed and 2006 Harvey Awards nominated graphic novel by the same name.

Originally released as a 4-issue mini series in 2004 and collected into a trade paperback thereafter, Viper Comics has announced they will release a 2nd printing of Daisy Kutter – The Last Train, featuring a brand new cover drawn by Daisy creator/artist Kazu Kibuishi.

Set in the dusty town of Middleton, a young gunfighter must learn to deal with the trials and tribulations of day-to-day life while fighting hordes of robots and a rogues’ gallery of malicious criminals. It’s simply all in a day’s work for Miss Daisy Kutter.

“Kazu’s work speaks for itself, which is why the positive reviews and word of mouth have turned this book into such a steady seller worthy of a trip back to the printer,” states Viper Comics president Jessie Garza.

For more information on Daisy Kutter, visit: http://www.vipercomics.com/features_dk.asp

192 Pages / B&W / $10.95/ ISBN: 0-9754193-2-3

TPB code: Diamond Previews:

Viper Comics
www.vipercomics.com
www.myspace.com/vipercomics

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