Atomic Robo and Billy Tucci

Red 5’s Atomic Robo: The Ghost of Station X #2 is out now and as usual is an all-ages fun fest. Check out my review right here.

Also at Broken Frontier is an exclusive preview of Billy Tucci’s (Shi, Sgt Rock: The Lost Batallion) much anticipated Christmas one-shot, A Child is Born. It’s released on November 23.

Eye Witness Wins

A huge congrats to writer/artist Robert Luedke for his well deserved win for his great Eye Witness series of OGNs. Details below.

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Graphic Novel Series Takes Home Reader’s Choice Award

Head Press Publishing received notification this week that author/illustrator, Robert James Luedke’s, Collected Eye Witness Slipcase Set, was chosen as the winner in the catagory of comics & graphic novels in Family Fiction Magazine’s, 2011 Reader’s Choice Awards!  The awards, given in multiple genres of publishing and the media, were announced in the May/June issue of the publication (available for online viewing).

The Eye Witness series has attracted a tremendous amount of media and reader attention over the years due to it’s unique combination of a modern day action thriller with a Biblical adaptation (spanning from Jesus’ Passion story through the Book of Acts).  Unlike most graphic novels, the series not only sells well in comic specialty and secular book stores, but also has done well in Christian bookstores and church libraries.

Since it’s premier in 2004Luedke’s Eye Witness series has been honored with five indy book awards and been named a finalist in four others.  “The project started out as my answering a calling to create a single graphic novel that could do a bit more than just entertain,” explains Luedke, “and it ended up becoming a mission that basically consumed the better part of a decade of my life!”

Unknown God Is A Book Of The Year Finalist

Robert Luedke’s great Eye Witness series of OGNs continue to get the praise they deserve. Press release below.

Head Press Publishing received notification today that the fourth book in our Eye Witness series, Unknown God, has been named a finalist for the 2010 Fore Word Reviews, Book of the Year Awards!

According to ForeWord, “The finalists were drawn from more than 350 publishers and were selected from 1400 entries in 56 categories. These books are examples of independent publishing at its finest.”

Eye Witness: Unknown God is a finalist for the 2010 Awards in the graphic novel category.  “Given the quality of the titles and creators also named in this year’s finals, I’m quite humbled and honored,” stated Eye Witness author/illustrator Robert Luedke.   Here is a list of the graphic novel finalists:

■Beasts of Burden by Evan Dorkin

■Binky to the Rescue by Ashley Spires■Blacksad by Juan Daz Canales

■Book of Hours by George A Walker

■Days Missing Vol. 1 by Ian Edginton, Phil Hester, David Hine and Matz

Eye Witness by Robert James Luedke

■Gunnerkrigg Court Vol. 2 by Tom Siddell

■Return of the Dapper Men by Jim McCann

■Tumor by Joshua Hale Fialkov

■Wanderlust by Megan Speers

Eye Witness: Unknown God, is the final book in the Eye Witness tetraology and it features a unique and fast paced combination of a modern-day action thriller with an adaptation of the Biblical book of Acts.

Since it’s premier in 2004, Luedke’s Eye Witness series has garnered four indy book awards and been named a finalist in four others.  Besides the ForeWord honor,Unknown God has already been named the winning graphic novel in the 2010 USABookNews.com, book of the year awards and listed as a finalist in the catagory of “Young Adult” literature in this year’s Christian Small Press Publisher, Book of the Year Awards.
ForeWord Reviews’ Book of the Year Awards program was established to help publishers shine an additional spotlight on their best titles and bring increased attention to librarians and booksellers of the literary and graphic achievements of independent publishers and their authors.  ForeWord is the only review trade journal devoted exclusively to books from independent houses.Winners will be determined by a panel of librarians and booksellers selected from the ForeWord 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 the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans this June.

Heaven Forbid! Volume 1 Review

The quality and quantity of Christian comics has been steadily increasing over the last few years, and this little gem can be added to the growing list.

Heaven Forbid Volume 1: Not Getting Religion is a collection of writer/artist Dan Conner’s web comics which poke fun at the day to day adventures of average Christians, and let’s face it, if there’s one thing we don’t do enough of at times, it’s look at ourselves through humorous eyes. Collected from his Crazy Good Comics which Conner updates with new material every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

This volume begins with a guy and girl discussing an upcoming church potluck dinner and although it’s not necessarily a hilarious introduction, it does ease the reader into the narrative flow. The storytelling is very charming and smooth, making the whole volume easy to digest all in one sitting. There are cute asides that reveal what the characters are really thinking, and although in the potluck dinner, we don’t get proper introductions until about a third of the way in, it does work well as a realistic representation of formal gatherings. The dialogue is never mean, but is youthful, sometimes thought provoking, and often humorous.

As one of the men says in perhaps the book’s funniest line, he’s a bachelor who lives by himself, so he “shouldn’t have the same expectations as everybody else.”

At times the dialogue and zany conversations even reminded me of nerdy sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. After the potluck-centered story, the next few pages are filled with mainly shorter multi-page gags that range from Christianity’s hijacking of pop culture for its own ends, as seen in the great Transfarmers: Farmers in Disguise ad for a Bible school, to a discussion of mythical creatures from Scripture to wearing merchandise of Marvel Comics superhero Thor. There’s even a strip that explains the title of this collection, plus a look at the power of forgiving a pet cat, conversations about the phrases, “Ask Jesus into your heart,” and “Jesus is my co-pilot,” the point of nativity scenes, and more. It’s a great reminder to us Christians that we sometimes do exist in our own world, and hopefully amusing reminders like Heaven Forbid, will wake us out of our occasionally insular thinking.

The main group of characters, such as the aforementioned Charles, and Chelsea and the guitar novice Carter (who joins the delightfully named band The Turkish Delights) are the focus of this book, but there are extras, such as one which focuses on Chelsea’s pet cat and mouse, Purby and McDeermid.

Conner’s art is simple, to be sure, but that’s what gives it its charm. Rendered in black and white, the faces are always expressive, and although it’s a dialogue heavy comic, the difficult comedic rhythms of sequential art are splendidly achieved in these pages. It’s real, relatable, and funny.

Seeing as this is Conner’s first solo comic, after working on Pirates vs Ninjas for Antarctic Press and Graphic Horror: Dracula and Graphic Shakespeare: The Tempest, for Abdo Books, he can only improve in his storytelling abilities.

Connor has a unique, and strong, voice and I hope to see more of it in print.

Heaven Forbid is a 112 page collection and is 3available from Lamp Post Publishing and Amazon.

Superheroes at Relevant

At Relevant Magazine’s site is a great article entitled, Why Do We Love Superheroes?, examining today’s comics from a Christian standpoint. Check it out here.

Captain Salvation Debuts

As mentioned on Bleeding Cool, where the comments have not been kind, there’s now a new Christian superhero – Captain Salvation. Created by Joshua Carpenter with art by Greg Waller (who has worked as a colourist on such hardcore Avatar series like Crossed and Black Summer) you can find out more about the hero right here. Yes, the website needs work, as the Free Resources and Character Bios are dead links, and there’s no previews.

However their Facebook page is filled with stuff, including videos. Sure, jaded fanboys may roll their eyes at this sort of stuff, but I for one I’m glad there’s increasing Christian alternatives for parents who’d understandably be concerned at today’s mature superhero offerings.

On a related topic, the Encounter radio show on Australia’s ABC Radio 810 had a recent special on comics and religion, which aired on December 19. You can listen to it and download the transcript here. The show is described like this:

This week Encounter talks to the Kuwaiti creator of 99 comic book superheroes who are endowed with an attribute of Allah. We explore the way comics in India have become regarded by some Hindus as sacred texts; find out why Torah portions that are read each week in synagogues around the world, now have a humorous comic to accompany them; and talk to a Christian theologian who thinks Superman and Jesus have a lot in common.

You can discover more Christian comics here.

Eye Witness Collected Edition

Writer/artist Robert Luedke’s excellent Eye Witness series is now available as a complete collection, from next month. That’s good news. Official details below.

This November, just in time for the holiday shopping season, Head Press Publishing will release a limited edition slipcase collection of the award-winning Eye Witness graphic novel series.  This will offer many fans of Christian fiction their first exposure to all four books in this highly acclaimed indy graphic novel series, since publicity surrounding it has grown with each subsequent release and many fans came on board a few years after the 2004 premier of the first book in the series.

In an literary format that has largely been overlooked in the Christian marketplace, Luedke’s time-hopping Biblical based action-adventure story truly stands out from the crowd!  Through years of research, Luedke, has effectively (in a fictional sense) filled in the gaps in the Biblical narrative from the Passion week through the Book of Acts and combined it with a compelling and nail biting modern day action-thriller.  “The storyline combines elements of Indiana Jones, a gripping New Testament story, time travel, espionage and dramatic scenes that rank among the best in American comic artistry,” stated Journalist, David Crumm, on his Readthespirit.com, website.
Luedke made the commitment to begin the Eye Witness series in 2002, as a way to share the spiritual, historical and dramatic nature of the Gospels, in a way that would draw the attention of teens and young adults…especially those who may have never read a Bible or attended church, but loved reading comics and graphic novels.  “I intentionally designed Eye Witness’ unique mixture of Biblical adaptation and modern day thriller to make the story of the New Testament exciting, attractive and fun for today’s readers, “states Luedke.  “My goal was treat the Book of Acts like Cecil B. DeMille treated the book of Exodus in his Ten Commandments film…by adding characterization, dramatization and connecting the dots for those not familiar with the original narrative.”
The series has generated coverage by major media from coast to coast and the praise of many religious leaders as well as comic veterans alike.  According to Paige Patterson (President Southwest Baptist Seminary), “I do not believe I have ever seen anything like it. This is a great way to present the Gospel.”
Eye Witness (Book Three): Rise of the Apostle (which was released in August 2008) was awarded a gold medal in the category of graphic novels at the 2009 National Best Book Awards, sponsored annually by USABooknews.com and was named a finalist in the FOREWORD Magazine book of the year awards.
Eye Witness (Book Two): Acts of the Spirit (released, August 2006) was honored as the best comic/graphic novel at the 2007 Hollywood Book Festival.  The book also took a silver medal at the 2007 Independent Publisher Magazine Awards, as well as being named a finalist in the FOREWORD Magazine book of the year awards.The Eye Witness slipcase collection will be available through book and comic stores nationwide the week of November 15th (as well as most major retailer’s online stores).  There will be a limited edition of 200 sets signed and numbered by Luedke and only be available at his personal appearances and through the Head Press website.  For more information, visit: www.HeadPress.info