Kabuki Collected

 

kabuki_thealchemy_hcCreator David Mack is an innovative guy. His work looks like nothing else on the stands. He owns the page in his work like Daredevil and his own creation, Kabuki. Now you can grab Kabuki: The Alchemy which collects some of his best work. Official press release below, and check out more Mack art here.

Eisner-nominated superstar writer/artist David Mack presents a groundbreaking collection of his acclaimed work in Kabuki: The Alchemy HC.  Collecting all nine issues of the critically-lauded, Eisner Award-nominated KABUKI: THE ALCHEMY series from Marvel’s creator-owned Icon imprint – for the first time ever!—this is an unprecedented look at Mack’s work! This hardcover is chock full of bonus material including original scripts, a “best of fan letters” section, never before seen art and new story pages, including updated versions of previously published scenes! If that’s not enough, acclaimed Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk provides a powerful introduction to one of comics’ most acclaimed series and a special afterword from Mack himself!

“I think The Alchemy represents the best and most evolved example of my work in comics as a writer and as an artist,” says David Mack.

Plus, don’t miss the Kabuki: The Alchemy Limited Edition HC, packaged with a signed and numbered original brush & ink sketch on parchment paper! Both Kabuki: The Alchemy HC and The Kabuki: Alchemy Limited Edition HC feature an embossed cover and spine; watermark design on the interior pages; and a special bookmark!

Spider-Girl Goes Digital

spectacularspidergirlIn our second issue of Extra Sequential (it’s only days away, and even more action packed than our first issue) we have an interview with Tom DeFalco, the writer behind Spider-Girl. In related news, Mayday Parker’s title has ended, but her adventures continue digitally. Official press release below.

At first, she was just SPIDER-GIRL. Then she became the AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL. Now, Mayday Parker, the future daughter of Spider-Man goes digital in the all-new THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-GIRL #1! Marvel is pleased to announce that Spider-Girl will return in an all new series, exclusive to the groundbreaking Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, beginning April 15th! Written by co-creator, Tom DeFalco, drawn by co-creator, Ron Frenz, and inked by Sal Buscema, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-GIRL #1 debuts on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited as part of the subscription service’s exclusive digital comics program. The story will appear in print two weeks later in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN FAMILY #5 on sale Wednesday, April 29th.

 Spider-Girl fans can gear up for THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-GIRL’s digital debut by reading FREE Spider-Girl digital comics right now.

Wolverine Art Appreciation Month

Logan will bask in Marvel’s love and respect in April when Wolverine celebrates his 35th anniversary with classic paintings re-imagined by top comic artists of today. This is a great idea I reckon. Press release below.

Marvel is proud to announce that in honor of Wolverine’s 35th anniversary, numerous Marvel titles will feature Wolverine Art Appreciation Variant Covers in April, as part of Wolverine Art Appreciation Month. In the tradition of Marvel’s previous variant cover programs, featuring everything from villains to zombies to monkeys, select Marvel titles will feature variant covers spotlighting the most popular X-Man through a unique lens! Inspired by some of the world’s greatest artists, these variant covers depict Wolverine like you’ve never seen him before, in styles reminiscent of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol and more!

Captain Britain and MII3 #2 Edward Gory Style

Captain Britain and MII3 #2 Edward Gory Style

“This is a huge year for Wolverine as he proves why he’s arguably one of the most popular characters in the world,” explained Joe Quesada, Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief. “He’s not just popular with fans but also with artists, as evidenced by how many of today’s top comic artists jockey for a chance to draw him. This got us thinking: what if Wolverine had been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years? What great, classic artists would want a crack at drawing a Wolverine cover?”

Keep checking back with http://www.marvel.com for a complete listing of titles featuring the Wolverine Art Appreciation Variant Covers and a first look at these landmark covers!

Amazing Spider-Man #590 C.M Coolidge Style

Amazing Spider-Man #590 C.M Coolidge Style

Eve Online Stuff

 

Not that I’m an on-line gamer, but I can certainly see the appeal, and I’ve seen the ads for the Eve MMORPG around the place, so that’s a good enough excuse for a press release for Eve fans, below. You can also get a free trial of the game here.

Dragonfire Laser Craft announced today that they are licensees for the worldwide phenomena MMORPG Eve Online. The first round of products, available for immediate shipping, includes dog tags representing each of the four playable races, flasks and heated coffee mugs. Other products that are ready to go include dog tags with customized logos for corporations. In March, rank insignia pins for the factional warfare will be available.

EVE Online is the critically acclaimed massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) from CCP, headquartered in Reykjavik, Iceland with additional offices in Atlanta and Shanghai. The thriving community of over a quarter of a million subscribers explores and conquers the expanses of space as starship pilots. Forming corporations and alliances is vital to survival in the vibrant, politically-charged landscape of New Eden. These groups enjoy having merchandise that lets them show their pride as fans and players.  

Eve dogtags

 “We are amazed at the response,” commented Dragonfire Laser Craft CEO Lucas Amodio. “Sales were brisk at the EVE Fanfest in Iceland last November and they received the products with open arms. We are excited to be able to offer them affordable, high-quality goods that reflect the passion they feel about their favorite game.” 

Fans can purchase EVE-related products here.

Retailers should contactlys@sphinxgroup.com for terms on carrying the Dragonfire Laser Craft line of products. To be added to the Dragonfire Laser Craft mailing list email lucas@dragonfirelaser.com. Visit the Dragonfire website at www.dragonfirelaser.com to see the full line of products available for customization.  

March Surprises

Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1This month has been pretty good, comic book wise. Image’s Killer of Demons by Christopher Yost (New X-Men) and artist Scott Wegener (Atomic Robo) had me laughing. It’s about an office worker who discovers his calling, as indicated by the title and follows, or tries to, the angel on his shoulder. Irreverent, with great timing, it reminded me of the current Super Human Resources mini-series by Ape Entertianment. If you want a laugh, pick it up.

DC has wowed me a few times this month, mainly thanks to the Bat. Batman Confidential started a new arc last issue, advertised as the paged debut of King Tut from the campy Batman TV show. Never a good idea to use that as a selling point DC! Anyway, the second part of the 3 parter continues the good work by writers Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, with gorgeous art by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. Lopez’s art isn’t seen enough on a monthly book, and Kevin Nowlan’s inks turn it into a winning combo. The story is filled with great menace and pace, and with Riddler on board as Batman’s ‘partner’ attempting to deduce the identity of the Egyptian themed killer, this series which looks at Batman’s early days has never been so inviting.

Superman/Batman #56 is another issue of a recent story arc that’s been wowing me. The team of Michael Green and Mike Johnson, with art by Rags Morales is the best team this book has had since its inception when Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness brought us the team-up title. The conclusion to the Super/Bat arc, which has the two heroes swapping powers courtesy of Silver Banshee’s magic shows their understanding of the characters very well. Batman, amped up on super powers is more driven than ever, using his new abilities to eradicate crime world-wide, while involved in the obligatory face off with the JLA.

Lastly, Tony Daniel has exceeded my (low) expectations and made Batman: Battle for the Cowl a book worth reading. Pretty much everyone in cyberspace scoffed when Daniel was announced as the writer and artist of this extremely important 3 issue mini that sets up the new Baman, after his ‘death’ in Final Crisis. Daniel’s art was very below average in his issues with Grant Morrison in Batman: R.I.P. However, he’s stepped up to the plate with far better skills this time around. He’s still not my fave artist, but his work has vastly improved. Following Morrison and Neil Gaiman as a writer is no mean feat and I’m shocked DC would give Daniel, who is still fresh-faced in the DCU, the keys to the Bat kingdom. However, maybe Dan DiDio knows what he’s doing after all. Daniel shows promise as a scribe here I must say. He handles the characters well,from Robin to Damian to Nightwing to Alfred (though his brief ‘fight’ with Dick is a little far fetched). The gun toting Batman wannabe on the last page must surely be Hush or Two-Face, but Daniel does a grand job of putting all the pieces of the puzzle in plain view, leaving no question answered. For a preview of this issue, go here.

Daredevil Noir #1 Preview

Out on April 8 is the latest series in Marvel’s re-imagining of some of their greatest characters. Daredevil Noir is a new 4 issue mini-series by writer Alexander Irvine and artist Tomm Coker, which takes familiar faces from Matt Murdock’s life and takes them back a few decades. The first issue has a variant cover from artist Dennis Calero.

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Superman/Batman Animated Film

 

Public Enemies TPBSure, Marvel may be kicking DC’s butt in the battle of the cinema, but DC are winning the animated war. Marvel’s animated films (two Ultimate Avengers, Iron Man, Dr. Strange and Hulk Vs) have been disappointing, but DC’s (Superman/Batman, Justice League: The New Frontier, Wonder Woman) have been awesome. This year, after the recently announced Green Lantern: First Flight, the next release will be Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. This is great news indeed. The film will be based on the action packed first 6 issues of DC’s team-up title, by writer Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness. The official synopsis is below. I can’t wait. Go here for a sneak peek at the comic book  inspiration.

 

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SUPERMAN/BATMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES:

United States President Lex Luthor uses the oncoming trajectory of a
kryptonite asteroid to frame Superman and declare a $1 billion bounty
on the heads of the Man of Steel and his “partner in crime” Batman.
Super heroes and super villains alike launch a relentless pursuit of
Superman and Batman, who must unite – and recruit super help – to
stave off the action-packed onslaught, stop the asteroid, and uncover
Luthor’s devious plot to take command of far more than North America.

Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead #2 Review

hotwire2_covera_pughThose Brits sure know how to make good sci-fi tales. Ridley Scott behind the lens of Blade Runner, all those crazy cats at 2000AD and now Steve Pugh with Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead. There’s something in the water that gives the English a refreshing perspective to the genre, and the perfect package that is Hotwire is the latest jewel in the crown.

When a skeletal figure shambles up to the front desk of a police station and mumbles, “I tried to check my pulse, but I must be doing it wrong,” it becomes obvious that this isn’t a standard futuristic adventure. Writer/artist Steve Pugh is the clever hand behind this tale (with early support from Warren Ellis) and his off-centre ideas are presented beautifully.

At the end of the first ish, Alice Hotwire, the unpopular but efficient detective exorcist and her new partner Mobey were facing a possessed hobo named Filthy. Here Filthy gets saved with an unusual method by Hotwire and her and Mobey try to put all the pieces together of the general craziness that’s been happening around them, which includes riots in the cities and a spate of damaged blue-light suppressor towers. All this is making Alice’s usual job a lot harder.

Alice soon meets Darrow, the new city commander of the police force who shows the pale cop their latest “resident.” The shambling skeleton from the intro explodes in his holding cell revealing a very pretty Chinese dragon electro-magnetic manifestation, and an intriguing new plot line which ends on a great cliffhanger. Next issue should be a doozy.

hotwire2_coverb_stjepan1There’s some simply amazing work in this title. It’s very accessible to the new reader and moves at a brisk pace. Hotwire is a great character – a loveable rogue, like a female Han Solo. She’s always where the action is and doesn’t concern herself with official policies when there’s citizens to be saved and “blue-lights” to be exorcised.

Pugh’s also just as adept and creating tidy visuals as he is at tightly scripted pages. He paints texture, lighting and the human form like Alex Ross at his prime. Even when Mobey and Hotwire are simply talking at her apartment the scene looks vibrant. Pugh’s obviously done his research and has created a fully realised world. Every gadget, weapon and vehicle looks like it’s a current concept design from some hi-tech company. If you’re into Ross, or anything else from Radical Publishing, you’ll lap this series up. And if you’re familiar with Pugh’s previous work on the excellent Shark-Man, you must pick up this title.

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Wolverine: Weapon X Preview

wolverine_weaponx__01_coverThat Logan fella sure is greedy. Apparently there’s no limit to the number of different series Wolverine can handle. Now, we can add another one as Marvel unveils Wolverine: Weapon X on April 8, a month before his big screen adventure in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Writer Jason Aaron (Vertigo’s Scalped) and artist Ron Garney re-team, after their Get Mystique arc, for this new ongoing series. Weapon X focuses on Rooxon’s attempt to create the perfect killing machine, all tied in with Wolvie’s past and the mysterious Adamantium Men. The first issue arrives with cover variants by Adam Kubert, Alan Davis and Olivier Coipel.

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Green Arrow Stuff

I just picked up Smallville Season 6 because it was cheap. I was never a fan of the show when it first began, with its boring baddies of the week premise, but as it started to expand its mythology and bring in more DC guest stars it piqued my interest. Once the rest of the seasons become cheap I’m sure I’ll pick them up too. It was great seeing actor Justin Hartley in the Neal Adams designed costume from the comics in an episode with a fancy dress party opener, and he does Oliver Queen justice, I gotta say. The doco on the history of the character is a nice feature too. And I saw a neato episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold this morning which featured a Bats and GA (in his classic outfit) team up. AND to top of the emerald archer goodness, here’s a pic from DC’s latest wave of Classic action figures.

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Cool, huh? The others in the Mattel series are Deadshot, Black Canary, Black Adam,Mantis, Parademon, Wildcat and Classic Guardian and a build-a-figure Chemo. You can see all of them here.

Witchblade #125 Sneak Peek

The 40 page anniversary issue, Witchblade #125 is out from Top Cow on March 18. It’s another biggie in the series, and also the start of the War of the Witchblades story arc. It’s by the usual dynamic team of writer Ron Marz and artist Stjepan Sejic. Check out some pics below.

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Eye Witness Becomes a Finalist

This is good news for Robert Luedke. The writer/artist’s latest book in the Eye Witness series continues to receive attention. The interesting books present an intriguing combination of modern archaeological adventures while gazing at the beginnings of Christianity. I met Robert at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con and interviewed him here. Well done Robert!

 

EYE WITNESS: RISE OF THE APOSTLE FINALIST FOR NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
foreword finalist
 
ForeWord Magazine, just announced that the third book in Robert James Luedke’s, Eye Witness series…Rise of the Apostle….is a finalist in the category of Graphic Novels in their 2008 Book of the Year Awards.

 
This is the second industry honor to come to Luedke’s, Rise of the Apostle…which has already won The 2008 National Best Book Award (for Graphic Novels), sponsored byUSABookNews.com.
 
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More than 1,400 books were entered in 61 categories for FOREWORD MAGAZINE’S annual book awards. These were narrowed to 668 finalists from 376 publishers. These books represent some of the best work coming from today’s independent press community!
The winners will be determined by a panel of librarians and booksellers, selected from FOREWORD’S readership. Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners, as well as Editor’s Choice Prizes for Fiction and Nonfiction will be announced at a special program at BookExpo America at the Javits Center in New York City on May 29, 2009. The winners of the two Editor’s Choice Prizes will be awarded $1,500 each. The ceremony is open to all BEA attendees.

ABOUT FOREWORD MAGAZINE
 
ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Awards program was designed to discover distinctive books across a number of genres. The list of finalists is searchable by category, publisher, title, and author.

ForeWord affects the choices of booksellers and librarians across the country who weekly advise millions what to read. Their typical publication reaches an audience of 20,000. Foreword also put the magazine in the hands of agents and editors at larger houses who are looking for leads to bring into their fold from the independent press sector. All told, readership is about 85% librarians, 12% bookstores, 3% publishing professionals…and of course, parents.

Robert Luedke
ABOUT ROBERT LUEDKE:

 
Robert James Luedke is one of those special individuals that only come around once in a great while…a true groundbreaker!   
 

The Remnant #3 Review

The Remnant #3Writer Caleb Monroe continues his tightening of this supernatural espionage tale. The Remnant so far has managed to successfully weave in elements of different genres without any one empowering the other. Jason Bourne casts his shadow over this series, with retired CIA gent David Sacker attempting to forge a new life with his wife Sara while not being allowed to by his employers, and a new menace on the horizon.

Dropping hints about Sara’s involvement in the explosion in the first issue Monroe continues that in this penultimate issue. David is still keen to get back in the field to discover the meaning of the mysterious men around him (one of whom – John Drouin somehow saved his life), especially after disarming a bomb in his kitchen last issue. David and Sara’s disagreements reach new heights here, as David doesn’t seem to care about the danger around him, or his friend Andy, while Sara discovers a possible reason to secure the safety of their future together. As David rushes in to meet Andy, he’s met only by the ever silent Drouin and the elderly man from seen lurking in the background in the disasters of previous issues. A brief struggle ensues, showing John’s indestructibility, which looks to be questioned only moments later.

This is not a jumping on point for new readers. There’s no recap of the previous issues, but don’t let that stop you from picking up the Trade when it hits. It’s a good series, and shows BOOM!’s diversity in the market. Julian Totino Tedesco’s art is gracious, with fluidity and weight to his figures. Expressions are real and he has the best page design currently on the shelves. I’m glad BOOM! is diversifying their roster of artists, and moving away from the sketchy style they seemed to be stuck with for a while there.

It’s difficult to say much more about this title without dropping the surprises, but it’s worth paying attention to. With a great combo of spiritual themes in an action film wrapper The Remnant is a brisk mover and is paced as a one read format, rather than the typical stop and start monthly approach. Wait for the Trade and you’ll read it from cover to cover in one sitting. It’s that engrossing.

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Hexed #3 Review

Hexed #3At this point I may as well start copying and pasting my praise from my previous reviews. The penultimate issue of this mini-series retains what has made fans and critics take notice in the first place, namely tight plotting and varied visuals.

Hexed is all about Luci, a young female thief/magician who is forced to retrieve a powerful object called the carasinth for her former boss, the nasty Dietrich. Luci was successful in stealing the item last issue, in a rather gruesome, yet creative fashion and now she must face the consequences of bringing it into our reality. In this issue Luci’s current boss and mother figure, Val faces intruders in her art gallery but shows she’s far from helpless, Luci meets her ‘mother’, attempts to outrun a heap of cop cars and summons a critter from the toilet, all the while trying to stop Dietrich’s mad plans with the carasinth.

Simply put, this is a great series. Each issue has been better than the last and it’s so powerfully risen above its simple ‘sassy, yet vulnerable female magic user’ premise. Michael Alan Nelson’s skill is mostly in his great plotting. As a reader, such a thing can be easily overlooked, but in this age of decompression, where sub-plots can be stretched thin over months or years, its refreshing to see this stripped back adventure remind us how simple a comic story can be. Notice I said simple, and not basic. Hexed is an engaging series for a new reader to this glorious medium, but also jaded fanboys. You won’t find yourself struggling to remember what happened last month or trying to figure out what it all means. Characters are easily recognizable, Luci is believable and the situations are not grandiose enough so as to venture into soap opera.

With Emma Rios supplying unique art with a wild, but not distracting colour palette and organic page designs, this series is evidence of a great partnership at work. The dark humour, blood letting and action are all present and welcome, and the whole issue meshes perfectly together, with nothing appearing rushed or out of place. I look forward to the series ending next month, but hopefully it’s merely a continuation. I’m hungry for more Hexed. 

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