Spawn #196

The countdown for February’s Spawn #200 is on and according to the teaser in November’s Previews catalogue features a host of talent, including the gentlemen mentioned below, but also David Finch, Marc Silvestri, Robert Kirkman and Jim Lee. That’s a star studded roster right there. Press release below regarding this month’s Spawn #196.

TODD MCFARLANE TEAMS UP WITH IMAGE FOUNDER AND YOUNGBLOOD CREATOR ROB LIEFELD ON SPAWN #196!

Image Comics founders and IMAGE UNITED collaborators join forces on the highly anticipated finale to SPAWN: ENDGAME!

Spawn #196For the past year, SPAWN: ENDGAME has riveted readers with its game-changing story line featuring the death of Al Simmons and Todd McFarlane’s return to illustrating his seminal creation. In November’s SPAWN #196, ENDGAME concludes with a bang as McFarlane shares art duties with fellow Image Comics founder Rob Liefeld.

“I was looking for good artistic help, and remembered inking over Rob on his New Mutant covers back in the Marvel days, and most recently a little bit of IMAGE UNITED,” McFarlane said. “I thought it would be a fun experiment to see what Capullo layouts, Liefeld pencils and my inks looked like together on a handful of pages.”

In the conclusion of SPAWN: ENDGAME, reporter Marc Rosen connects the miracle patient stories to the new SPAWN, Jim Downing, as detectives Sam, Twitch and Rowand discover the association between Downing’s awakening, Bill Winston’s suicide and the Nortego crime syndicate.

SPAWN #196 (JUL090355), a 32-page full color comic book for $2.95, will be in-stores November 25th, 2009.

Newsarama And Image Talent Search

The headline below says it all, but here’s the lowdown on a unique opportunity for budding comic artists.

FRANK CHO AND DOUG MURRAY TEAM UP WITH IMAGE COMICS AND NEWSARAMA TO FIND THE NEXT COMIC SUPERSTAR WITH 50-GIRLS-50!

LIBERTY MEADOWS’ Frank Cho and THE NAM legend Doug Murray announce talent search with Newsarama!

Frank Cho Character DesignsAs announced at this year’s San Diego Comic Con, LIBERTY MEADOWS creator Frank Cho and THE ‘NAM writer Doug Murray are teaming up with Newsarama to seek out new talent for their upcoming Image Comics project, 50-GIRLS-50!

“When creating 50-GIRLS-50, Doug and I knew we wanted to go with a very different look than we’ve had on any previous collaboration,” Cho said. “Given the immense wealth of talent online, we decided an open call would be the best way to find someone. We’re open to seeing all styles for our prospective illustrator and look forward to the results.”

50-GIRLS-50 will be a science fiction, action adventure miniseries conceived and written by Cho and Murray with the artist working off Cho’s designs. Newsarama and Image Comics will keep contenders updated on their respective sites, with Newsarama giving you an exclusive inside look at the process and Image Comics’ brand-new 50-GIRLS-50 message board playing host to the submissions. Artists will also have the opportunity to get one-on-one feedback from Murray at this year’s Baltimore Comic Con, October 10th & 11th.

Murray added, “I can’t say we have a definitive style in mind, which is what makes this whole process all the more exciting. We’re eager to see what the emerging artists of the world have to offer.”

For full details and rules on The 50-GIRLS-50 Talent Search please go to Newsarama and Image Comics.

Ramblings For Early July

Some random thoughts that need escaping from my mind to my keyboard.

Bad Kids Go To Hell #1I read Antarctic Press’s Bad Kids Go To Hell #1 on the train today. It was the name that caught my eye when I saw it in Previews 2 months ago. AP are a great little publisher and with titles like David Huthchison’s Biowulf and Rod Espinosa’s excellent Prince of Heroes they deserve to be noticed. Bad Kids is not of the same ilk, but it’s good to see AP branch out from their manga flavoured digests. It’s written by Matt Spradlin (or Spadlin according to the intro) with art by Anthony Vargas. The premise is The Breakfast Club meets Buffy’s Hellmouth. A construction crew opens up a portal of some sort and then 3 years later the Crestview Library opens on that spot. Six students are brought in on a Saturday morning for detention. It’s an extra-sized debut but there’s no real smattering of the horror to come just yet, and all of the students are somewhat stereotypical (jock, goth, nerd,etc) but when they’re not swearing and talking about sex the dialogue’s not bad. 4 issues should pretty much say all there is to say with the concept and Vargas’ work is realistic enough in this context.

Rapture #2 from Dark Horse is great. The first issue was a splendid intro and Mike Avon Oeming and Taki Soma’s tale of separated lovers in the apocalypse works well. It could just as well work without Evelyn’s calling and her mystical spear and guide, but the emotion really comes through. Oeming is always a master of the page and with this series he looks to be trying different styles throughout the issues, and it works a treat.

Scott Pilgrim Volume 1The Definitive Edition of Codeflesh from Image is far too expensive. $40 for a Hard Cover on flimsy paper? Nah. It’s an OK tale, by writer Joe Casey and artist Charlie Adlard and it’s good to see the series not suffer from its sporadic publication. The tale of a masked bail bondsman chasing jail skipping freaks is a grand idea and Adlard’s art is dark but not jaw dropping.

Alex Robinson’s black and white digest Too Cool To Be Forgotten from Top Shelf. It’s a slow start and the plot is almost straight out of a Disney film, but Robinson takes the tale of a middle-aged man who gets hypnotised to stop smoking and relives his high school years instead a realistic and un-corny tale. It goes beyond the simple art to poke the heart, kinda like that Adam Sandler film, Click.

I read the first two digest sized volumes of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series from Oni Press in quick succession. Girlfriends with names like Bond girls, a healthy respect for comedic timing, retro video games and a dose of fantasy. I can’t wait to see how all this translates to film. If Kevin Smith was a comics creator instead of a film maker, he’d be making books like Scott Pilgrim.

Viking #2 Review

Viking #2The first issue of this rather special 9th century crime series from Image sold out, which was no surprise. This follow-up is not a suitable jumping on point for newcomers to the title, as they’ll be scratching their heads over what exactly is going on. Even regular readers may be too, with its bi-monthly release schedule. Saying that, this was almost as enjoyable as the debut ish. A lot less actually happens, and there is very little dialogue in the first half of the book, but that serves the desolation of not only the environment but also Egil’s loneliness well.

After the butchering last issue, Egil finds himself in a virtual battlefield surrounded by corpses and begins to make his way to his grandfather’s house, where his brother Finn also resides. Egil seeks forgiveness and acceptance but instead receives a beating. In between these events, half of the story is devoted to a king, his adventurous, yet almost imprisoned daughter and a humiliated servant. How this family mixes up with the viking brothers is yet to be seen, but as happiness seems to go unclaimed for characters in this series, I can’t imagine a prosperous future beckons.

Ivan Brandon’s dialogue is great here. He really knows how to create empathy and he does a superb job of capturing the inner turmoil of every character in this issue without being too wordy. That’s a rare skill for a writer. That means that Viking is not a mere blood soaked tale of revenge and redemption that we’ve all seen before. Brandon manages to make the past come alive with a rich world and fully rounded, believable men and women.

Nic Klein’s art is as jaw dropping as it was last issue. He makes full use of the larger format pages and mixes his painted and pencilled styles beautifully. His lighting choices must be mentioned too. With camp fires and torches, I could almost hear the crackle and feel the warmth of the embers. It all seems so – earthy. This isn’t the sort of tale I’d normally buy (even though it’s quite cheap for its size) but I’m glad I took a chance on it.

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Invincible #63 Might Be Awesome

If only all press releases were this amusing. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, Image’s marketing team hits the internet with this little beauty, fresh from the taste of Marvel’s Captain America returns hyped mega-event still in our mouths. This is great timing and if there’s any justice, this bold PR move will pay off. 

Invincible #63PRESS RELEASE – NEW ISSUE OF INVINCIBLE TO BE SUPER POPULAR AND BELOVED FOR VAGUE, CRYPTIC REASONS!
Something might be happening in INVINCIBLE #63 and whatever it is will quite possibly be rather amazing!

In an unprecedented move, writer Robert Kirkman and illustrator Ryan Ottley have made a cryptic, semi-confident promise that INVINCIBLE #63 might be kind of a big deal for reasons they wouldn’t say and plan to back it up with a special Wednesday shipment direct to comic shops!

“All I’m saying is INVINCIBLE #63 reorders should be double or triple over all retailer’s orders combined plus fifty thousand,” Kirkman stated. “I even heard President Barack Obama might call a press conference to discuss the contents of this very special issue, because there may be something of national interest in there. Also, every newspaper ever could possibly make it a front page story. Who knows?! All I can say for sure is every single human being on the planet, regardless of whether they read comics or even know what they are, will definitely be extremely interested in this issue, maybe even enough to buy a copy!”

 INVINCIBLE #63 might even possibly be the biggest comic book event of all time, up there with The Death of Superman, The Death of Captain America, The Entirety of the Early Nineties and Action Comics #1! The only certainty is everyone must place a ridiculously massive order for a non-returnable product they may or may not make a profit on sometime in the near future. Or never. Don’t ask – just buy it! You trust us, right?


Added Image Comics Publisher ericstephenson, “There’s a chance this could very possibly an event of undetermined importance, both for comics fans and people of all walks of life, with only the most passing familiarity with comic books, or even books, period. We can’t really say what happens in this issue, but trust, something does happen. And it might even be something interesting. Best not to jinx it, though, so let’s just go with, ‘Something happens.’ It’s somewhat likely a number of people we have yet to identify will want one. “

INVINCIBLE #63 (APR090384), a 32-page full color comic book easily worth around $500, but costing only $2.99, will be in stores June 17th, 2009.

Olympus #2 Preview

I was pretty impressed by Image’s debut of Olympus, a new series by Nathan Edmondson and Christian Ward. The second issue hits stands on June 17. Below are 5 pages from that issue of the unique Greek mythology/action blend.

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Dynamo 5 #21 Review

Dynamo 5 #21 Image’s Dynamo 5 first appeared in 2007, created by writer Jay Faerber and artist Mahmud A. Asrar. Like Faerber’s other superhero family title, Noble Causes, Dynamo 5 focuses on a mixed team of heroes and the complications that come from being siblings and world savers. The tag-line, “Strangers bound by fate, and a father they never knew,” sums it up pretty well.  The intriguing premise is that the world’s foremost superhero Captain Dynamo, wasn’t such a great husband, and sired at least 5 illegitimate children. Now he’s dead, and his widow, Maddie Warner, rounds up these kids, all of whom have inherited one of their Dad’s powers, and shapes them into a team – Dynamo 5. That’s a great launching point for any series.

This issue begins in an unusual place for an ATM – a park, as several drooling people rip it open and toss bystanders aside. Cops on horseback arrive, but the situation doesn’t get resolved until Dynamo 5 land and disperse the madmen (and women). The thankful cops blame the outpouring of a new drug called Flex onto the streets of Tower City for this rampant violence, as it increases strength while lowering inhibitions. The 5 siblings disperse, dedicated to launching their own investigation, but not before 2 of them go on dates, because balance is important in a busy superhero’s life. Visionary, otherwise known as Hector Chang, proves he’s the romantic by bringing flowers to the door of Firebird, otherwise known as Emily Reed. At the same time, Scrap, AKA Bridget Flynn, feels uncertainty as she waits for her on-line date to arrive at a coffee shop. Her fears seem to be erased as Nate turns up and the pair discuss their mutual disgust for poor grammar. Sounds like my kinda gal. After some inappropriate wordplay, the pair’s discussions are interrupted by…yep, a mouth frother demanding cash. Bridget rolls her eyes and is about to pounce on the thief, superhero style, but is beaten to it by Nate, who handles himself rather well with a gumball machine.

At the same time, Hector and Emily find the park too boring so suit up and blast things in the Shark Tank – the underwater workout area in the 5’s HQ. Beating up robots is far more bonding than looking at trees.

Meanwhile, the remaining 3 members of the team (Myriad, Scatterbrain and Slingshot) discuss the recent revelation of Maddie’s past. The issue ends on 3 different cliff-hangers, which is pretty impressive in itself. They’d mean more to a long-time reader, and I can’t say if they’re true to how the characters have been portrayed thus far, but they’re interesting surprises nonetheless and give Faerber a lot to play with in future issues.

I have the first Trade sitting unread on my shelf, with far too many other unopened books, but as a newbie to this title it reads well.  It’s a good jumping on point for new readers as it introduces the team members and their different powers with ease, as well as their alter egos. Asrar styles the issue fluidly, and Yildiray Cinar, the artist on Faerber’s other family/superhero series, Noble Causes pitches in too, but the shift in artists is hardly noticeable. Each of the team member’s red and blue costumes look varied enough and it’s easy to identify who’s who. The fight scenes are handled dynamically, as are the facial expressions, whether it be Emily’s nervousness or the drug user’s mania. The Flex set-up seems like it will only lead to more action and danger, while the two superhero romances surely could go anywhere.

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Popgun Preview

The 3rd volume of the much loved comics anthology, Popgun is out now from Image. Yes, now! Anthologies are the in thing now in sequential art, as it’s a pleasant and surprising distraction from superhero epics for fanboys and girls, and a great entry into the world of comics for the uninitiated. Below are a few random preview pages, but you can see a lot more of the massive 472 page (for only $30) tome at the official site. We loved Tara McPherson’s cover so much, we dedicated the back page of the new Extra Sequential #2 to it. Inside you’ll find a lot more unique art from a slew of very talented storytellers.

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Long Live Overlord

Savage Dragon fans are a loyal bunch. It’s no wonder, as creator Erik Larsen has poured his heart into the Finned Fighter’s adventures for almost 2 decades. Now, in the best recent tradition of Marvel, Image Comics offers up a teaser involving a classic foe. Something’s brewing. 

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G-Man Learns To Fly

G-ManPress release below from Image, which is good news for those who like all-ages fun and frivolity in their superhero reading.

Readers shocked by Chris Giarrusso’s departure from Mini-Marvels will be pleased to learn he’s expanding his unique take on superheroes in this May’s G-MAN, VOL. 1: LEARNING TO FLY !

“Working Mini-Marvels was cool, but G-MAN, VOL. 1: LEARNING TO FLY  is what I’ve been wanting to do for years,” Giarrusso said. “It’s the story I was wanting to write and draw the entire time doing Mini-Marvels so I’m happy those fans are psyched by the collection. G-MAN and company are going to be taking up all my attention for the foreseeable future and I aim to make the long-time Mini-Marvels readers happy!”

G-MAN, VOL. 1: LEARNING TO FLY  collects the entirety of Giarrusso’s Comic Bits strips, showcasing his entire line up of all-ages friendly superheroes including G-Man, his mean brother Great Man and friends like Billy Demon, Tan Man & Spark! These strips set the stage for this fall’s G-MAN miniseries, giving fans old and new the chance to catch up. Also included is a full-length origin story, a G-Man Christmas tale and the complete acclaimed Mean Brother/Idiot Brother series.

G-MAN, VOL. 1: LEARNING TO FLY (MAR092415), a 96-page full color digest-sized softcover for $9.99, will be in stores May 20 2009.

Perty Pics

As is Marvel’s marketing effective strategy as of late, below is a teaser image which raises more discussion. Written by Reginald Hudlin, with art by Ken Lashley, the new Black Panther’s identity is anyone’s guess. We know she’s female, and T’Challa’s wife, Storm from the X-Men would be the obvious choice. However, maybe it’s Daredevil’s female friend, Echo. Who knows? We all will when the first issue of this new series premieres on February 4.

Savage Dragon and the President Elect are getting to know each other well these days, as evidenced by Erik Larsen’s clever cover for Savage Dragon #145, which is out on February 25. This will be Obama’s first comic book appearance as official President, and what better way to celebrate than slammin’ fists with his finned homie.

Lastly, Bluewater’s arms are reaching into classic sci-fi film territory again, after Missile to the Moon, with Ed Wood’s 1959 ‘masterpiece.’ Plan 9 From Outer Space…Strike Again lands in March and is a sequel to the film that defined the term, “it’s so bad, it’s good.” The over-sized one-shot is written by Chad Helder and Darren G. Davis, with art by Giovanni P. Timpano.

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Coming Your Way

Here’s a bunch of words from various companies espousing some of their upcoming releases, namely some Vlad action from Top Cow, a creepy art book from artist Ben Templesmith and IDW, and finally, the unusual I Hate Galaxy Girl from the fine folks at Image.

Top Cow Productions, Inc. announced it will publish the first, complete story arc of William Harms’ Impaler in a new trade paperback that will debut this October, and then will launch a new series for the property in December.

The first three issues of the series were initially published by Top Cow parent company Image Comics in 2006-2007, but was never completed. The Impaler Vol. 1 trade paperback collects those three issues plus the final, three never-before-seen issues of the initial story arc. Top Cow was so excited by this series that it also greenlighted a new ongoing to follow the collection.

In Impaler, a derelict cargo ship is found adrift offshore during a terrible blizzard in New York City. When New York’s Finest is sent to investigate the missing crew, an unspeakable horror is unleashed that quickly spreads all over the snow-covered borough, as a vampire plague quickly moves through the city’s population. The people’s only hope lies in Vlad Tepes, the real-life historical inspiration for the vampire legend, Dracula. Vlad the Impaler arrives to defend the city from the ever-growing vampire horde, but how much can one man do against an army of thousands?

Impaler Vol. 1 boasts a stunning cover by John Paul Leon (Earth X) and features artwork by Nick Marinkovich (Nightwolf), Nick Postic (Underworld) and Francis Tsai (Marvel Comics Presents). The introduction is written by noted science fiction and horror writer F. Paul Wilson, who is responsible for the popular Repairman Jack series of novels and such horror books as The Keep, Midnight Mass and The Touch. Extras in the collection include script pages from unused scenes and bonus artwork.

In December, Top Cow will launch Impaler as an ongoing series, featuring art by British newcomer Matt Timson (Popgun).

“One of the nice things about having the break between the Image series and the new series is that it really gave me time to nail down where the story is headed,” revealed Harms. “I have the next couple arcs already plotted, and I think fans of the book will really dig where things are going.”

“William Harms has managed to put a truly unique spin on ‘the vampire story’ by taking Vlad the Impaler and making him a vampire hunter,” said Top Cow Publisher Filip Sablik. “This trade collection gives birth to this original idea but the upcoming ongoing series from Harms and Matt Timson will really keep you up at night!”

IDW Publishing will release Ben Templesmith’s Art of Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse on August 27.  The book collects all the notable art plus a large amount of sketches, unpublished ideas and never-before-seen paintings from his semi-regular, off-beat serial Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse. It includes an original Wormwood short story.

Templesmith’s visual approach, which has been described as “daring, horrific, and sometimes just plain perverse” has gained a cult following for his work in graphic novels including 30 Days of Night, Fell,  Wormwood,Gentleman Corpse and more recently Welcome to Hoxford.  He has said he is influenced by the science-fantasy cosmos of H.P. Lovecraft’s Old Ones and the work of H.R. Giger.  Templesmith’s black sense of humor, his delicate yet vigorous style, his nuanced but bold use of color, and knack for finding just the right detail to make a panel or page come to life have given Wormwood a huge fan base.

“Wormwood is really just me having fun and trying to throw in as many disgusting perversions of my old childhood influences.  I call it my riff on Doctor Who, if it were more demonologically oriented and written for very juvenile adults with a sick sense of humor”, says Templesmith.

Every underdog gets their day this November as newcomer Kat Cahill and BRAT-HALLA’s Seth Damoose take a stand in Shadowline’s newest three issue superhero mini-series, I HATE GALAXY GIRL!

“While I HATE GALAXY GIRL was originally Kat Cahill’s runner-up for our ‘Who Wants To Create a Super Heroine Contest’, Shadowline Editor Kris Simon and I loved the concept so much we had to put it on the fast track to becoming its own series,” Shadowline Publisher Jim Valentino said. “When Kat saw Seth’s upcoming work on BRAT-HALLA, she knew he was the perfect artist to capture the mood she was going for. We really can’t help but agree!”

Based on skill alone, Renee Tempete should be the new Galaxy Girl. Instead, a buxom blonde with no actual powers holds the title. As events unfold, Renee struggles not only against monsters, criminals and giant robots, but also a society that desperately wants to keep her in her place.

Cahill added, “The core of I HATE GALAXY GIRL is Renee finding the self-confidence to achieve her dreams despite constantly being told to give up. The experience is something I think just about anybody can relate to while the overall story is still a heck of a lot of fun!”

I HATE GALAXY GIRL #1, a 32-page full color mini-series for $3.50, will be available in-stores November 12th.

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