Broken Frontier Awards 2009

The results from Broken Frontier’s annual awards are now up, with handy articles on each of the winners. Details below.

Broken Frontier Awards 2009: The Winners

Broken Frontier announces winners of its sixth annual awards.

Broken Frontier ( proudly presents the winners of its sixth annual Broken Frontier Awards!

For its 2009 edition, BF opened up its voting process to fans, creators and industry professionals after our staff had compiled four nominees each over a series of ten categories.

As such, the creators and projects that came out on top are the winners as determined by our voting public. The winners are:

1.    Best Writer – Mainstream: Geoff Johns
2.    Best Writer – Independent: Terry Moore
3.    Best Artist – Mainstream: Steve McNiven
4.    Best Artist – Independent: Gabriel Bá
5.    Best Publisher: Dark Horse
6.    Best Ongoing Series: Walking Dead
7.    Best Limited Series: The Umbrella Academy: Dallas
8.    Best Debut Book: Batman & Robin
9.    Best Original Graphic Novel: The Hunter
10.  Best Webcomic: Girl Genius

Check Broken Frontier for spotlight articles on each of the award winners.

Arcana #1 Preview

Arcana #1, the new full colour quarterly mag that’s a print extension of the Extra Sequential on-line mag I co-created, goes on sale at comic book shops on January 27. Here’s a preview of our 96 page first issue! You can also see it here.

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David Mack Interview Preview

The fine folks at have a preview of our 8 page David Mack interview from next month’s Arcana #1 magazine. Go here and click on the pics to see them nice and large.

Pre-order Changing Ways

In next month’s debut issue of the Arcana magazine we have a preview of Changing Ways from Perth publisher Gestalt. Created by Justin Randall, the pages look awesome and the OGN is on sale now, with the rest of their items, including the new Rombies one-shot.

Go here to pre-order Changing Ways and other goodies from Gestalt and go here for a well designed Ways website that offers a few clues.

The Year Of The Spider

It’s been a while since we’ve had any cryptic pics from Marvel, so here we go. The below pic came simply with the text, “The Year of Spider-Man is 2010.” So it appears that Peter Parker will have another big year next year. In the puzzling picture (from left to right) is Parker in his Iron Spider duds when he was briefly on Tony Stark’s side during the Civil War, the young female hero Arana, seldom seen aide Madame Web and of course, the symbiote costume. Whatever happens it appears as if it will be in the Amazing Spider-Man title.

and this new pic shows an unmasked Spidey, and it appears to be from artist Pasqual Ferry (Ender’s Game, Ultimate Fantastic Four).

Evergreen: Hal Jordan Turns 50

Green Lantern Hal Jordan is 50, although since he got rid of the grey hair, you can’t really tell. Embodying the welcome return of superheroes in comics, after years of western and romance titles, Hal was the first of many re-imagined DC characters that came to define the Silver Age and entice a new generation eager to be raised on a steady diet of spandex. Spurred on by the success of Barry Allen as the new Flash, editor Julius Schwartz thought the Green Lantern concept was also due a facelift. In the 1950s nothing was cooler than pilots and Elvis, but Elvis already had a costume. So, whereas Hal’s predecessor Alan Scott was the bearer of a ring made from mystical green flame, Hal was basically an intergalactic cop, charged by the Guardians of the Universe (who resembled the Smurfs’ ancestors) with the ultimate hi-tech weapon – a power ring. His creators, John Broome and Gil Kane gave pop culture a great leading man in his debut in 1959’s Showcase #22. Hal is effectively the springboard for a literal universe of engrossing concepts, like the centre of a creative brainstorming session. The Green Lantern Corps, the Lanterns of different hues, G’Nort -it’s all there, and it all started with an eager man without fear, years before a certain blind lawyer would claim the title.

I’ve always had an affinity for Hal, rather than Alan. Not surprisingly because I grew up with him as the Green Lantern. He has one of the coolest costume designs of any superhero, and he has a ring that’s powered by sheer will. The other standard tropes of flight, a secret identity and being a member of a superhero club are all just icing on the emerald cake.

Recently a nerdy associate and myself were discussing which group was cooler – the Green Lantern Corps or the Jedi. Both use willpower to combat evil, both have simple uniforms (green spandex vs robes) and strange weapons (power rings vs lightsabers) and both are effectively galaxy spanning peace keepers that have existed for millennia, embodied by a wide variety of strange alien races. I can’t deny that the Jedi are cool (which self-respecting nerd ever could?) but I must say that the GL Corps beat them hands down; not merely because they existed first, but because they are emotional beings, as opposed to the stoic Jedis. Because of their human, or alien, failings and triumphs, space and now emotion itself has become the stage for some of comics’ greatest dramas, all with Hal as the central figure, and Jordan is the poster boy for the GL Corps with good reason – he was the first human recruit and he’s the best there is at what he does (sorry Wolvie!).

Growing up in Perth, (the most isolated city on the planet) meant that I was very unfamiliar with comics as a child. However the upside was that I was safe from nuclear fallout. Scrounging any superhero distraction I could get meant hours sitting in front of the TV every Saturday morning foregoing all distractions, such as breakfast and blinking. Super Friends, and later Super Powers as cheesy as they could be, were nonetheless a revelation to my square eyes. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman I were already familiar with, but when new characters I’d never seen before appeared, such as The Atom, Aquaman and of course, Green Lantern I was mesmerised. It was a rich fantasy world that I wanted to inhabit as often as possible, and the week’s wait till the next sweet Saturday morn seemed like an eternity in The Phantom Zone. However, little was I to realise at the time that the glowing box in my living room was not indicative of the much grander vision being played out every month in Hal’s printed adventures.

Hal’s solo escapades in Green Lantern lasted twelve years after launching his titular series in 1960 and became the place for bold ideas at the time, including Hal’s boss, and love interest Carol Ferris, a rare strong female character and Tom Kalmaku, an Inuit mechanic and Hal’s best friend. John Stewart would arrive soon after. John was DC’s first African American superhero – an architect who became a ring wielder after being recruited by the Guardians as Hal’s backup protector of Sector 2814, or Earth, as we call it.

These creatively mature decisions proved to be indicators of the future direction of Green Lantern. When writer Denny O’Neill and artist Neal Adams (John Stewart’s creators) took over Hal’s next adventures in the 1970s he teamed up with Oliver Queen, AKA Green Arrow in the wisely named Green Lantern/Green Arrow, a truly ground breaking series. This team-up title has become known for its social relevance as the two similarly coloured superheroes traversed America battling more than just bad guys. O’Neill and Adams presented a realistic presentation (in both scripts and art) of the hard travelling heroes’ battles against racism and drug abuse, while simultaneously trying to rationalise the space operatics of superheroing with real world issues of their time (and ours).

Throughout the 80s Hal appeared in Action Comics Weekly as well as his own series, which has later re-named Green Lantern Corps, before being re-presented post-Crisis in the mini-series Emerald Dawn, but as Hal entered the next decade, he’d soon be facing a backlash from readers eager to keep the status quo.

Most fans would like to skim past the part of Hal’s history involving the 90s, but the decade isn’t all cringe inducing. Thanks to the momentous Death of Superman two years earlier, Hal was subjected to the same fate as his peers in 1994, when he received an extreme makeover, and a younger replacement. Truth be told, I loved Kyle Rayner and didn’t see him as a usurper at all. I still remember the excitement of the glow in the dark cover of GL #50 (Vol. 3) heralding a fresh approach to the mythos. Due to the fact that in my neck of the woods, comic shops started popping up for the first time, my perspective was not dimmed by Silver Age nostalgia. That’s why I’m fond of Kyle as GL and Wally West as Flash. They’re the characters I read about; the characters that introduced me to this life-long obsession with sequential art.

Seeing Hal become Parallax on a power trip, and then the wrath of God, after being redeemed as The Spectre didn’t initially make a lot of sense to me, but it was unlike anything I’d read or experienced at that time. These heroes were such a leap from their animated counterparts, they may as well been in a different language, and I loved it. Reading comics in the 90s (what I like to call ‘the best of times and the worst of times’ for the comics biz) in my teenage years was a true eye opener. I was knee deep in something mysterious, but something that spoke to my need for epic, unexpected stories. Hal’s transformations from do-gooder to social crusader to space explorer to obsessed madman to justice incarnate to well, wherever Geoff Johns takes him next, post-Blackest Night. It’s been a fascinating ride by anyone’s imagining, and an imagination is something we loyal fanboys and girls have a Mogo-sized helping of. I think that’s another reason why Hal has lasted 5 decades. He has the ability to imagine – just like us. I don’t think I’ve met a reader of comics who isn’t a creative type in some capacity themselves. Unlike films or TV, comic books demand more of the reader. We are an active participant, partaking in a unique give and take with the men and women behind the keyboard and the pencil. Like the Guardians giving a seemingly non-descript company man such as Hal Jordan the key to literal wish fulfilment, we as readers, are inspired to unlock the gates of our imagination. We see more than a soldier and leader behind Hal’s mask. We see a man with the means to combat fear and darkness. We see a dreamer, and that’s an idea we can grasp with both hands.

Amazon’s Best Comics For 2009

Just released is yet another best of list, this time from Amazon. Thankfully it’s a diverse list with only Trade Paper Backs and Original Graphic Novels included, such as All Star Superman, Asterios Polyp and more. Check it out here.

New JLA: Crisis And Halo Legends Pics

Courtesy of Warner Bros. comes a nice Christmas present; brand new pictures from the latest DC animated film adaptation and the Halo anthology movie.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths features on our must-have list in next month’s debut Arcana magazine and is released on February 23. Halo Legends based on the hugely popular game franchise consists of 7 short films created by different Japanese animation studios, and arrives on February 12.

Four core members of the Justice League’s parallel world entity, the Crime Syndicate: (from left) Johnny Quick, Ultraman, Superwoman and Owlman.

The Flash … in a free fall (no, he can’t fly)

Superman wrestles with the parallel Earth’s bulked up Jimmy Olsen.

The Jester, a member of the parallel Earth’s Justice League, helps Lex Luthor break free from the Crime Syndicate.

The villain ultimately responsible for the core issues within The Duel.

The battle rages.

A prime example of the detail within the CG anime of The Package episode.

Angelus And Toy Story

Now up at Broken Frontier are two new interviews of mine. One is with writer Ron Marz (Green Lantern, Witchblade) primarily about his new mini-series from Top Cow, Angelus. The other interview is with writer Jesse Blaze Snider (Dead Romeo) about his new gig writing Toy Story for BOOM! Studios.

Also up at Broken Frontier is my review of BOOM! Studio’s Irredeemable #9.

Arcana Christmas

This is too good not too share, so here’s a little greeting card from Arcana Comics, the publisher of the new Arcana magazine I’m co-creating. It faetures Gearhead, Kade, Clockwork Girl, Koni Waves and other characters. Nice.

Changing Ways Teaser

In the first issue of Arcana magazine (out next month!) we have a preview of Changing Ways, a forthcoming OGN from Justin Randall and Gestalt Comics. Below is a just released teaser for the great looking book.

The Last Days Of American Crime #1 Review

Ever since I first heard about this project I’ve been intrigued. Seeing preview pages at Comic-Con this year made the anticipation grow even more, and now that Sam Worthington is attached to produce and star in a film adaptation, hopefully more people will see this. The concept alone is worth the price of admission.

Like a classic noir tale, it begins with a death (presumably) and then a flashback that explains what led up to it. It seems that in 2 weeks the U.S government will launch the American Peace Initiative as a, “necessary step to protect our nation from further acts of domestic terrorism.” What that means is (and this is the enticing hook of the whole story) is that a broadcast will go live across America, effectively rendering any criminal desires obsolete, and so crims nation wide have a fortnight to get all their illegal ways out of their system. Yes, it really is the last days of American crime.

As is the norm in high concept tales like this, TV news handles most of the heavy exposition (rioting across the country, a mass exodus of people to Canada, etc) but it never lets the story get bogged down. Most of that story revolves around hard man and opportunist Graham Bricke (also referred to as “Brick” in Radical’s promo materials however) as he recruits a gang of similarly minded individuals for one last job. There’s glimpses from the noir handbook, such as Graham’s voiceover describing “that broad’s” walk and the taste of her lips, but writer Rick Remender (Punisher, Fear Agent) digs deeper by making Graham a thrice married man who lives with his Mum in a trailer. Graham also works as a security guard at a large bank and wants to use his know-how to strike quickly before paper money makes way for digital transactions.

There’s a lot of profanity here and a smattering of blood, and sex but Remender is putting all these pieces together like a chess master, making us readers wait for him to strike. This first issue (of a three ish bi-monthly series) is mostly set up, like the first 30 minutes of a classic heist film, but the bulk of the groundwork has been laid. I have a feeling next issue will consist of a lot of action, betrayal and a few bad decisions.

Greg Tocchini’s art works splendidly with Remender’s well paced script. After this, he’s sure to go places. With a painterly style that is hard to compare to anyone else (I’ll say it’s like a more detailed Phil Noto, but that’s not quite right), the artist knows when to use detail and when to approach pages with more subtlety. It’s simply a beautiful book, and Tocchini makes even bathrooms and bars look mundane yet somehow magical. See a huge preview here to get a glimpse.

Also included in this 64 page issue is a sketchbook section by Tocchini and an interview with Remender. Radical prove yet again that they know how to mix good looking books with grand concepts in a delicious cocktail.

Nathan Edmondson Interview

Up now at Broken Frontier is my interview with Nathan Edmondson, writer of the excellent Image series Olympus. The TPB of the series exploring Greek mythology in the context of a modern action film is now out. Check out my interview here.

Star Wars DJs

Thanks to Geek Chic Daily for the heads up on this one. You can get some funky t-shirts combining Star Wars characters and funky music right here. Awesome.