Batman: Arkham Asylum Trailer

In our first issue of Extra Sequential, we had some great pics of the upcoming Batman: Arkham Asylum game for next-gen consoles. Coming this year from Rocksteady Studios and Eidos Intercative, the game set in Gotham’s best (or worst) asylum looks fantastic, and should be a relief for DC fans who are still waiting for a good game starring their favourite characters. The new trailer is out now, and gives the impression of a blockbuster film. Can’t wait.

Mike S. Miller Interview

I became familiar with writer Mike S. Miller’s work a couple of years ago through his Deal with the Devil series, as well as The Imaginaries, which is simply a great concept. He’s done work for every major publisher (either as writer or artist) and is most famous for his work on the adaptation of novelist George R.R. Martin’s Hedge Knight series, with writer/artist Ben Avery. He’s a creator that is able to change genres with ease however, and has also written Zondervan’s excellent The Hand of the Morningstar as well as the fantasy, Lullaby. The Imaginaries launched from Image four years ago, before moving to Abacus, Miller’s own publishing company. The series is back, and now with Bluewater Productions. 


imaginariesaFor those that came in late, are you able to tell us a little about the world of The Imaginaries?
The world the Imaginaries inhabit is called ‘the imagined nation’, and it’s where all the loved creations brought to life by the powerful minds and hearts of children around the globe end up when those same children ‘grow up’ and forget about them.  So it’s a harsh reality for those creations, but an incredible world they now inhabit apart from their creators.
Are any of your childhood imaginary friends written in to the series?
Not this story, like most comic book artist types, my imaginary friends were the kind I’d write stories about and create on paper.  Just like Superhero G is to Tanner.  But I have to admit, mine at that age were nowhere near as cool as Superhero G is.  Though I may have to toss some of mine into the background here or there.  🙂
You’ve managed to work with almost every comic publisher out there, so how did you end up choosing Bluewater over all the others?
Darren Davis (Bluewater’s President – Kris) has been a friend for a decade now, we were just chatting on the phone and the issue came up of what I was going to do with Imaginaries.  I was just too busy to self-publish as I had originally planned.  I just thought it would be a great fit, and Darren agreed, so the plan was set into motion.
411cii749nl_ss500_How many books have you worked with Ben Avery on?
Hmm… Let’s see.  Imaginaries, Lullaby, Hedge Knight, Sworn Sword, and the Oz/Wonderland Chronicles.  That have been published anyway.  We have a couple other projects we’ve developed together that haven’t quite gotten off the ground yet.
And how does that history help your creative partnership?
Ben and I work well together.  We respect each others ideas and sense of how things work, as well as a shared world view.  So it seems the more we work together, the better we get at it.  lol.
How did Nikos Koutsis come to arrive on the title and how will he be working with you and Ben?
Nikos sent in a sample package to Alias when I was over there, and I picked him up for Imaginaries right away.  I’d been searching for an artist for the title for… seems like years actually.  Nikos was perfect, and is just about the only guy I could see working on the title right now.  He’s lent his storytelling preferences to our writing, opening up larger scenes and panels for him to stretch his wings and make this an artistic showplace for himself.  It’s great working with him, I hope to do so for years to come!
A lot of the books you’ve written could be considered all-ages. Is that your goal in creating comics?
Actually, only about half of them have been all-ages titles.  Imaginaries, Lullaby, and Hand of the Morningstar.  Sixgun Samurai, Devil’s Keeper, and the one that’s been optioned by Lionsgate, Deal with the Devil are all more mature in theme.  Not to say they’re rated ‘R’ or anything, but they aren’t really ‘all ages’ per se.  I’m a diverse creator, and actually trying to keep myself from ever being pigeonholed into one genre. 

imagainaries21Going from A to Z, can you let us know what’s happening with your work at Abacus Comics and Zondervan?
Haha… cute.  Well, with Abacus, I’m trying to find ways to leverage the existing inventory to continue a residual revenue stream.  That means exploring digital comics, as well as shopping the properties in Hollywood.  Like I mentioned, Deal with the Devil has been the first to sell, and I’m hoping more will follow suit.  I’m also developing new properties that I’ll be shopping directly to Hollywood, if any of those get picked up, I’ll develop the comics for them as well.  As for Zondervan, I’m out of the picture there.  In the split with Alias, I let my former partner take the Zondervan contract in total.  And I don’t believe Zondervan is starting any new projects anyhow.  I am currently working on a book for the iPhone with another company, but I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed to talk about that publicly.

After all the unforeseen moments that you’ve experienced during your career how do you still maintain a love for this medium?
I guess I’m a geek.  Happy to be, though.  
The Imaginaries #1 is out now, and next month’s issue features a 22 page bonus story based on the classic sci-fi film, Missile to the Moon.

Mark Waid-O-Rama

IRRDBLE001AI’ll be honest, Mark Waid and Peter David are the two writers that really showed me what comics were capable of. When I dove head long into this lovely medium in the early 90s, these two gentlemen were at the height of their powers and popularity. Not that that’s changed of course! Well, now that Mark Waid is the head honcho of BOOM! Studios, he still manages to put out some great work, such as the Potter’s Field series, and March’s The Incredibles mini-series, as part of BOOM!’s new rights acquisition, which also includes Car and The Muppets. Now, coming in April is Waid’s Irredeemable series, a new monthly that has fun with the superhero style that Waid is so familiar with. Now we know where that mysterious Mark Waid Is Evil website came from! Preview pages, plus a handy order form below. And if that’s not enough from the writer of Kingdom Come, then how’s about this? His own website, filled with writing tips and pop culture tales.

Brace yourselves for a comic industry event: BOOM! Studios presents a new monthly ongoing superhero series from Mark Waid – IRREDEEMABLE!

With IRREDEEMABLE, Mark Waid dares to ask the question: what if the world’s greatest hero decided to become the world’s greatest villain? IRREDEEMABLE is a “twilight of the superheroes”-style story from the writer of KINGDOM COME and EMPIRE!

irredeemable_001cIRREDEEMABLE #1 will feature variant covers by John Cassaday (ASTONISHING X-MEN, PLANETARY) and Barry Kitson (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) in a 75/25 split. The first twelve issues of the series will feature incentive covers by hot newcomer Jeffrey Spokes that will spell out I-R-R-E-D-E-E-M-A-B-L-E! The first issue incentive cover will be a special 1-in-50 rarity with every copy signed by Mark Waid. IRREDEEMABLE issue #1 will also feature a special afterword by Grant Morrison.

Peter (POWER OF SHAZAM) Krause has committed to doing the interiors for the first twelve issues.

“In superhero comics, pretty much everyone who’s called upon to put on a cape is, at heart, emotionally equipped for the job. I reject that premise,” said series writer and BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Mark Waid. “IRREDEEMABLE is, in a way, my third and most complex chapter on the cost of superheroics – a pulp adventure tale of horror exploring how the lessons we learn about right and wrong as children can become warped and twisted when challenged by the realities of the adult world. ”

“IRREDEEMABLE is a fresh start, a way to enjoy superhero comics without forty to eighty years of back story and following dozens of titles,” said BOOM! Studios managing editor Matt Gagnon. “It’s the superhero book fans have been waiting for!”





Perty Pics

Here’s a look at a few covers courtesy of Marvel that are going on sale tomorrow. There’s Captain America #46, Skaar: Son of Hulk #7, Avengers: The Initiative #21, Daredevil #115 and Incredible Hercules #125. Click under the pics to see Marvel’s entire list.






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Blue Dream Studios’ Sale


dreamlandbothn1I reviewed Blue Dream’s Hyperactive book yesterday, and noticed that they currently have a huge sale on until the end of January. Of course, I couldn’t help myself and bought something. You might like to as well. Their main book, The Dreamland Chronicles from Scott Christian Sava has an impressive following and you can pick up the first two trades from the web-comic series, and some nice toys. Go here to check out the goodies.

Superman/Batman Annual #3 Review

smbm_ann_3_0001-cvThis has been one of my favourite titles since it began with the great creative pairing of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness.  Then Supergirl was fantastically (re) introduced into the DC Comics Universe, with late, great penciller Michael Turner. It’s been a while since it’s hit these former heights though. And this Annual doesn’t help. I will say one thing for it though – it’s a great place to start for comic book newbies.

Written by Wolverine creator Len Wein, with beautifully fluid art by Chris Batista, this stand alone tale is set in the past of the DCU. The problem with this extra-sized issue is that the dialogue seems straight out of an issue from 20 years ago. It just appears staid and corny, and Batman is largely out of character. There’s no sense of menace or danger about him, nor is there any hint of his typically antagonistic relationship with Superman. However, it does introduce readers to Superman, Batman (of course) Lois Lane, the third Robin and baddies Professor Ivo,  Metallo, Mr. Freeze, Atomic Skull and Firefly, sporting his recent animated look from The Batman carton. There’s also a nice cameo of sorts that hints at the ‘future’ of the DCU, with a newspaper headline declaring Martian Manhunter’s capture of the Human Flame. Loyal DC fans know that late last year, Human Flame was instrumental in Manhunter’s death.

So, what is this Annual about? With a nice twist on the silver Age concept of a composite Superman/Batman, this modern take presents a similar being, with powers and costumes of both heroes unsurprisingly suffering a maddening identity crisis. He kidnaps Lois and Robin and eventually understands that being one hero is tough enough, let alone two. So he decides to rip himself in half.

This is not an issue for mature readers who expect more from their comics. They’ll find themselves asking, “Why hasn’t Robin picked his handcuffs?” and raising eyebrows at lines like, “Gee, I don’t know, do I look like I’ve recently lost my mind to you?”

For newbies though, this issue isn’t too bad. It looks great, has a simple story, and fans of Tim Burton’s Batman films will see a similar look to the Dark Knight and his Batmobile here. Consider this as an easy entry point to comics reading, but don’t consider it indicative of the much more dynamic offerings DC usually create.

Australia Day Superheroes

440px-gatewaySo it’s Australia Day, here in Australia. Obviously. We get the day off work, get to see fireworks and hang out with friends at the BBQ and drink beer. Apparently that’s what we’re supposed to do anyway. I’ll be stuck inside attempting to finish editing two wedding videos. Well, seeing all the Oz flags around the past few weeks got me thinking about Australian superheroes, and the lack thereof. I don’t mean Australian comics. There’s quite a few of those, and I’m very glad to see Platinum Grit being taken on board by Image. I remember reading that over a decade ago in its infant paper form. So, what about Australian superheroes? They’re aren’t any really. There’s Captain America and Captain Britain. So how about a Captain Australia? Doesn’t have the same ring to it, granted, and the sight of a beer belly wrapped in spandex is not comforting. These are the only two Aussie superheroes that immediately spring to mind – and one of them’s a supervillain!

250px-boomerangI remember reading an early X-Men Annual that introduced me to Gateway, the aboriginal teleporter that occasionally aided the X-Men. Not much has been seen of him in the last few years, but apparently he was killed by the Marauders and is the great grandfather of Bishop. Now, from Marvel to DC.

George Harkness is perhaps a more famous Aussie comics character. Nicknamed Digger, his code name of Captain Boomerang should tell you what his powers are all about. He was one of the members of Flash’s Rogues Gallery, and often called people, “mate,” to assert his Aussie-ness. He was killed as an overweight out of touch baddie, by Robin’s father during Identity Crisis. Now, his son, Owen Mercer has taken the name and a much better costume, and is acting on the opposite side of the law from his father, even befriending Robin.

These aren’t bad characters, but certainly not prominent ones. It’s time we saw another Aussie super character in the pages of today’s comics. Not all superheroes are American. Are they?

DC Is Cool

dc25finalcrisis6Here are my favourite moments from my DC reading this week, in no particular order.

From Birds of Prey #126. The artist’s name – Claude St. Aubin. If that’s his real name, that’s even cooler.

From Robin #182. The current Robin, Tim Drake, goes to visit his resurrected predecessor, Jason Todd, in Blackgate prison. Todd laments that he won’t be out for another five years. Then Tim decides to give Jason one more chance, and repeats a top secret code. “Emergency Override: M-Z-9-22-Omega. Say it at midnight. One time only. And hold your breath.” Turns out it’s a hacked code for the Justice League teleporter.

Final Crisis #6. This confusing series finally starts to be an exciting epic. In the final pages, Batman shoots Darkseid with a cosmic gun, but becomes toast himself due to Darkseid’s inescapable Omega Beams. A wrathful Superman shows up, literally tearing up the streets, with a smoldering Batman corpse in his hands. I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of him.

Superman Beyond #2. I love Doug Mahnke’s art in this Final Crisis tie-in, complete with 3-D effects! Superman uses his heat vision to engrave his future tombstone. On the last page, we see what he wrote. Tying in to the mini-series’ theme of story, Supes writes three simple but powerful words: To Be Continued. Ah, classic.

Next month will be the last issues of Birds of Prey, Robin and Nightwing, but spectacular things are about to happen with Batman and co. Stay tuned.

Harker #1 Review

issue1coverThis was a surprise. Definitely not one for the kiddies, Harker is a new series from Ariel Press which follows two unlikely English cops as they delve into a gruesome murder on the steps of a church. Take CSI, peel away all the Hollywood veneer, and throw in a dash of that loveable dry British wit and you’ll come up with this oddly charming tale.

Written by Roger Gibson with art by Vince Danks, Harker is a curiously attractive package. Sure, there’s profanity and spilling gizzards, but it does maintain a sense of quiet anarchy without coming across as pretentious. It’s a clever balance really.

It opens with a brutal stabbing, followed by the discovery of the corpse the next morning. Amidst the disgusted cops and forensics team, steps Harker and Critchley discussing cheese and pickles. They are very much at odds with their fellow police officers, with their casual banter. However, they seem to know a lot and are determined to unearth answers. A quick visit to the autopsy later, where they put the female coroner off balance, and they have enough clues to act on. This leads them to the British Museum, where their unusual social stylings put another female professional out of whack. However, this time Critchley manages to impress the librarian enough to wrangle a date out of her. The pair finally come to the conclusion that they are dealing with a satanic cult. And this new series is off and running with an impressive first salvo.

Since Diamond, the world’s foremost comics distributor, has recently raised their minimum profit for listing books, many small time publishers will struggle to get attention. This is why it’s important to take note of publishers like Ariel Press, and support them. Not wholeheartedly however. Not every independent comics company is producing great material. Ariel appears to be though. Harker fulfills the goal of the creative pair behind it, by being TV on paper. It’s structured well with a great sense of pace and distinguishable characters.

Plus this fanboy noticed the From Hell reference (Alan Moore’s Jack the Ripper epic graphic novel) and also the fact that Critchley looks like fan-fave writer Grant Morrison. Seeing as how the detective duo are slightly based on their creators, that’s a happy coincidence though.

The art has to be mentioned too. Danks does a greta job with the black and white interiors. Fans of Dave Sim’s Glamourpuss MUST get this. With it’s beautifully simple renderings the art just pops. Every charcter looks like an actual person, rather than a generic humanoid, and when Danks puts his skills to the grand English architecture, with fine detail, and wise use of greys, the environment looks just as real as anything Alex Ross does.

Within this new series (of 6 in the first volume) there’s room for further character development, rather than simply being a double act. And more than a novelty. Gibson and Danks show they have what it takes to build upon this intriguing premise though. Hopefully this series will be a consistent breath of fresh air, and carve a niche for itself as an accessible title for readers with a spandex rash, or newbies just looking for a mature, well-crafted tale.

Harker #1 is available for order now, from this month’s Previews, for a March release. Put your order in now at your local comics shop. 



Unproduced Superman Scripts

lives-costumeFor those, like me, who love Superman and believe that apart from the first film with Christopher Reeve he hasn’t been fairly represented on-screen, here’s some interesting news.

To cut a long story short, Warner Bros. have been facing legal proceedings for a while now in regards to the copyright of Superman and Superboy. You can read the article at Newsarama here. However, the interesting thing for us Supes fans is that some of the court documents presented include several unproduced Superman screenplays dating back to 1995, including the one from comic book fan/director Kevin Smith. You can check out the 13mb collection of scripts here. It’ll be fascinating reading I’m sure – all 794 pages of it.

Superman/ Batman On Your Mobile

sbheroes_handango_screenshot_1_150x200_12kI’m not much for gaming on mobile devices at all. I’d much rather play my Xbox 360 rather than suffer through a tiny screen and inferior graphics.

I can’t deny though that I’m amazed that games can now be shrunk to the size of a handheld device that only a few years ago took an entire console to mimic. One of the latest mobile games caught my eye though – Superman/Batman: Heroes United.

It has you playing the titular DC heroes, fighting in Apokolips, Metropolis and Gotham along the way, as  well as against baddies Darkseid and Metallo.

You can read a review here and here.


Watchmen Viral Video

The landmark comic maxi-series from the mid 1980s has officially become a film. Despite lawsuits between 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. over actual ownership of the rights, it’s now been legally decided that the film will get a release. Yay for that! I didn’t want to have to pick up a dodgy bootleg of the film at some convention. Released on March 6, the troubled adaptation, directed by Zack Snyder (300) will be exciting, hopefully. Below is a clever viral video (it’s all the rage these days) focusing on a 1970 NBS Nightly News broadcast celebrating the 10th anniversary of Dr. Manhattan, the only true superhero in the Watchmen world. It has a fantastic authentic feel and really helps sell the film.

WAICON Almost Here

When I went to the first Supanova event back in July last year, which was the first time in Perth, Western Australia, I was impressed with the turnout. Lots of kids running around in manga and anime costumes impressed me. So there’ll surely be more where that came from at WAICON. Perth’s major anime festival has been around for a while now and this year it’ll be held at the Perth Convention Centre on the weekend of January 31 to February 1. Some of the panels include World of Warcraft miniatures, the obligatory Cosplay, webcomics and how to draw manga. There’s also competitions, lots of stalls and new friends just waiting for you! The 2 day passes range from $25 to $40 which you can pick up at the door. For more info, go here.


Hulk Vs Concept Art

6624new_storyimage2122420_fullLike Hulk? What about Thor? How do you feel about Wolverine? If you’re fond of those three Marvel superheroes, then the Hulk Vs DVD is for you. Being released on January 27, the animated film is made up of two features, where Bruce Banner’s alter ego battles the norse god Thor and the popular X-Man Wolverine. Marvel has just released some great concept sketches of the film, including some from Jeff Matsuda, art director on the recent The Batman cartoon.

For more info on the DVD and it’s new-fan friendly features, go here, and for more art take a gander below, or go here.