Rombies and The Example Now Available

Writer Tom Taylor has been getting deserved attention for his work on his DC/Wildstorm (The Authority) and Dark Horse (Star Wars: Invasion) books, but his work on indie publisher Gestalt’s books are also available to the wider world. Us Australian readers have been privvy to Gestalt’s fine work for a while now, but as of tomorrow these two works will be available at a comic shop near you.

Both are written by Taylor, with art on Rombies by Skye Ogden and The Example by his Invasion artist Colin Wilson. Rombies, which is set to become a new ongoing, is about Roman zombies and is as awesome as it sounds. Think Spartacus by George Romero.

The Example is based on Taylor’s play and centres on the only two people waiting at a train station with their curious and fearful eyes on a lonely suitcase.

If you happen to see these two books at your LCS this week, pick them up. They’re cheap, done-in-one tales that won’t disappoint.

Star Wars: Knight Errant and New Invasion

Press release from Dark Horse below about a new Star Wars series from writer John Jackson Miller (Knights of the Old Republic), and under that – solicitation info regarding Tom Taylor’s and Colin Wilson’s continuing Invasion series which kicks off in May. Yay!



Coming off the heels of penning the breakout hit Mass Effect: Redemption and the gripping finale of Knights of the Old Republic, writer John Jackson Miller introduces us to Kerra Holt, a young Jedi who’s about to realize that her role in the galaxy is far more important, and vastly different, than she could have ever imagined.

Set one thousand years before Episode I, in a time referred to as the “Dark Age of the Republic,” this story takes place in an era when the Sith were legion and the Republic was strained to the breaking point, leaving large swaths of the galaxy with no one to turn to. This pivotal time in the history of Star Wars has been largely unexplored, until now.

Additionally, for the first time ever, the writer of this new comics series will also be authoring a novel for Del Rey Books, set in the same era and involving the same cast of characters in an all-new adventure. It’s going to be a unique event for Star Wars, and one that will give fans a whole new perspective on the galaxy.

“There’s such wonderful chaos going on in the galaxy in this period,” said writer John Jackson Miller. “More than a generation before Darth Bane introduced the Rule of Two, Sith Lords are colliding not just with the Republic, but with each other. Kerra’s going to find that good intentions just may not be enough in a galaxy gone mad! This is a wide-open area to explore, and I’m thrilled that Dark Horse and Del Rey have given me this opportunity to do so.”

“With John writing both the comics and the novel, Knight Errant will be a Star Wars story on a scale we’ve never undertaken before,” said comic-series editor Dave Marshall. “This will be a first-of-its-kind opportunity to introduce the Expanded Universe of the Dark Horse comics to the fans of the Del Rey novels and vice versa!”

With more news in the coming months, look for Star Wars: Knight Errant to arrive on shelves later this fall!

Tom Taylor (W), Colin Wilson (A), Wes Dzioba (C), and Jo Chen (Cover)
On sale May 26
FC, 40 pages

The Yuuzhan Vong invasion spreads death and destruction across the galaxy, leaving behind ravaged worlds with little hope of survival . . . Artorias, the homeworld of the Galfridian family lay in the path of the Yuuzhan Vong armada—and now, though separated, Finn, Kaye, Nina, and Caled work to fight the invaders with the hope that one day they will again be together on their peaceful planet.
Finn studies at the Jedi temple with Luke Skywalker and the grown Jedi children of Han Solo and Princess Leia! Kaye and Nina use a Yuuzhan Vong slave ship to attack their former captors! Caled raises forces on Artorias—not knowing the danger from one of his trusted allies!
• A new era in Star Wars comics!
Luke Skywalker’s galaxy under siege!

This Week’s Winners

Sweet Tooth #1 CoverJeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth#1. Worth much more than the $1 cover price, this debut ish from Vertigo is equal amounts enchanting and intriguing. Writer/artist Lemire mentions in the On The Ledge column that a friend of his described it as “Bambi meets Mad Max.” That’s not a bad way of putting it, though it’s still too early to see those references yet. Lemire is one of the new wave of indie creators making a splash and getting noticed. His Essex County trilogy from Top Shelf chronicled various inhabitants of a small town with great realism and warmth. He brings that same edge to Sweet Tooth, but with more fantasy than his usual work. We are introduced to Gus, a boy with antlers living with his dying father. Gus has never left his home and the area around it and knows no-one but his ailing Dad. Gus is one of the last few human/animal hybrids who came into existence after a mysterious pandemic 10 years ago. This is an ongoing series and Lemire has plenty of time to build upon this premise. It hooked me more than I thought it would. Lemire’s art seems slightly more refined here. The thick, black sketchy style of his previous work is still obvious, but there are rare places where faces appear odd. Jose Villarrubia’s colours sit slightly uneasily, but maybe that’s because I’m not used to seeing Lemire’s work in colour. There’s also a 7 page preview of October’s Peter and Max Fables novel from Bill Willingham. Sweet Tooth, like The Unwritten before it is yet another bold move from Vertigo, and Lemire is conducting a unique promo for the series.

Justice League: Cry For Justice #3. There’s still a few issues with this series, namely writer James Robinson’s occasional missteps with out of character dialogue, particulary with Hal Jordan, but with the build up towards the team’s formation, and the big reveal of the baddie, ie, Prometheus, it ticks a few boxes. Prometheus was always one of the great JLA baddies when Grant Morrison reinvigorated the JLA over a decade ago. Mauro Cascioli’s art is splendid and his ferocious depictions of action, such as Starman’s and Congorilla’s aerial assault are the highlights. Robinson’s extra pages on the origin of Prometheus and why he chose the “anti-Batman” give fanboys great insights too.

Star Wars: Invasion #3 CoverStar Wars: Invasion #3. The thing that’s immediately apparent from this new SW mini-series is Colin Wilson’s art. It’s the kind that you don’t really see in mainstream American comics, and it fits with the high drama and action of Star Wars beautifully. Tom Taylor keeps things fresh, knowing that it’s probably a mix of fans of the New Jedi Order series of novels and people who want to see Luke Skywalker do his thing again that are reading this title. Anyone who has read the books in which the alien species known as Yuuzhan Vong come to conquer will be relieved that they translate so well to sequential art. Taylor gives enough info about the Vong for curious readers, and starts to make serious strides in showcasing the menace of the creepy race. Plus, in the few pages that reveal Skywalker’s relationship with the apprentice Finn Galfridian, Taylor lays hints that he’s going slightly beyond the typical SW mentor/protege arc that we’ve seen many times before. Hopefully the characters shown here will continue in some form with Dark Horse after Invasion wraps.

SW: Invasion #3

Star Wars: Invasion #1 Review

Star Wars: Invasion #1Now I’ve probably read less than forty novels in my life, but my younger brother is a huge Star Wars fan and for the last few years has made a point to read every SW novel he can get his hands on. I too share his enthusiasm for George Lucas’ greatest work, but haven’t delved as deeply in to the Expanded Universe that broadens the scope of events seen in the films. I have read a few of the novels which centre on the vile Yuzzhan Vong however and have loved them. This alien race which despises technology and is immune to the ways of the Force is one of the best creations in the Star Wars world. It’s not easy to create credible enemies for the powerful Jedi, but as I read of the Vong I was instantly scared and sickened. I always thought they’d make an awesome enemy in a film, game or comic adaptation. And here we are. Dark Horse knows how to handle licensed properties like no-one else. They’ve taken Star Wars in to bold new places and this latest mini-series looks to continue that tradition. As editor Randy Stradley mentions in the afteword, now is the time for this comic.

Written by fellow Aussie, and playwright Tom Taylor Invasion is a five issue mini that follows the Yuuzhan Vong as they focus their horrific marauding ways upon the peaceful Artorian people. Obviously, the Artorians have no idea what’s in store for them, and no real defence when the attack comes. Most are carried away as terrified captives by the brutal scaly creatures, while the king (a veteran of the Battle of Hoth, as seen in The Empire Strikes Back) and his risk-taking son Finn  do their best to save their planet. The focus on this 40 pager is not the Vong. In fact they hardly appear, but when they do they look as horrific as I imagined when reading the books.

This series is set 25 years after the first Star Wars film amid the New Jedi Order era, in which an older Luke Skywalker is gathering fresh Jedi recruits. He appears here and reminds all that he is one bad dude when he wants to be. So far it doesn’t appear to tie in to any of the Vong novels so I’m curious as to where Taylor and artist  Colin Wilson (2000 AD) take this. The desperation is laid on thick with the quick battle on Artoria and Skywalker shows interest in training Finn as a Jedi, which is something that holds promise.

Wilson’s art is detailed, with a flair for costume design and page design, particularly in the numerous fights. There have been so many alien races and planets seen in SW over the decades, but Wilson does an admirable job in the few pages he’s given to flesh out the people of Artoria with a Middle Eastern flavour. Wes Dzioba’s colours add a great richness and depth to Wilson’s pencils, making the pages pop with  variety.

It’s an intriguing set up and I hope to see more of the Vong’s harsh religion and culture in the following issues, as that’s one of the things that make them so unique. With the novels, there’s some great source material to mine from. I look forward to this being a dark and ominous series, and hopefully the rest of the Skywalker clan will show up at some point.

You can see a preview of this ish here. There’s also an original 16 page preview on by the same creative team set before this first issue.

Star Wars: Invasion #1 p8

The Example Review

The-Example-Cover-Final-1I discovered this snappy little book from local publisher Gestalt Publishing (well local to me in Perth, Western Australia anyway) when I read about it in an article in The Australian newspaper. Written by Tom Taylor, and based on his award winning play, with art by 200AD’s Colin Wilson, this is a prime example of how to create something intense with a surprisingly simple premise. Two people, strangers actually, are waiting for a slow train to arrive. As a man (that we never see) leaves the station, he also leaves behind the hook behind this tale – a suitcase.

The young, bespectacled girl Sam and the older, more distinguished Chris soon break the ice while wondering what exactly the suitcase is and what they should do about it. To say any more than that would be to ruin what’s a truly engrossing short story, including the origin of the title. For anyone new to comics, this is a great entry. For any wannabe writers, this is a great lesson in pacing and suspense. For wannabe artists, this is a great lesson in panel design. Like Watchmen, it uses a simple 9 panel grid on almost every page, but you won’t even notice. I mean, this is just two people talking at an empty suburban space, yet you’ll be lost in the world it creates. If you are I also recommend watching other engrossing tales with two, such as Alfred Hitchcock’s 1948 film Rope about two murderers at a dinner party, Richard Linklater’s film Tape, or the Before Sunrise, and Sunset films.

It’s obvious that Taylor and Wilson have thought long and hard about every line (created by the keyboard and the pencil) in creating this standalone drama. At only 11 pages of actual story, space had to be used wisely and is. Extras include a few more pages of character sketches by Wilson as well as musings on the creation of this project by Taylor, Wilson and publisher Wolfgang Bylsma.

The Example

You can pick up this excellent issue and their recent Flinch anthology at any good comic shop, or at Gestalt’s site.

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