The New Deal Review

My once voracious comics reading habit has been decreasing in the last few months, especially in terms of superhero stuff. Now I look for my sequential art fix in non-spandex corners from publishers other than Marvel and DC and really, we are tremendously blessed in that regard. There’s so much diversity out there, such as the delightful new tale from writer/artist Jonathan Case (The Green River Killer, Bandette).

The New Deal is a wonderfully entertaining 96 page OGN from Dark Horse Comics. It’s available now, and you should grab it.

Opens with bustling city streets of New York in 1936 and the setting doesn’t stray too far from the Waldorf Astoria hotel. Despite that lack of variety, Chase creates an intriguing drama filled with rich characters. It almost has the feel of an old-timey radio play or something from the ouvre of Agatha Christie or Alfred Hitchcock, but without the piling up of bodies.

Bellhop Frank O’Malley is the star, but he has some competition from the characters whose lives he orbits. His friendly demenaour soon crumbles when he realises a loan shark who he’s indebted to is now staying at his hotel, and with the arrival of the elegant and oh-so-confident Nina Booth, his world changes. Frank’s burgeoning friendship with Theresa, a new cleaner who moonlights as a theatre actress (for Orson Welles’ Macbeth, no less) is filled with spot on rapport. Chase gives Frank a slightly more exaggerated approach to his facial expressions, which coupled with his harried and hopeful dialogue inform the character as an eager to please, somewhat flighty man who wants more from life than serving ungrateful, rich hotel guests.

Every page here is filled with elegant lines and clean expressions, befitting the classiness of the Waldorf Astoria of the era. Expressions are animated yet realistic, which is difficult to achieve but Case gives Kevin Maguire a run for his money. It’s more than just spot on expressions though, that sell a character and with a complex tale like this one, the story demands more. Case brings all the players in at the right time and the right way to give them a memorable impact to the narrative, as well as making the reader curious as to how they’ll all fit in to the larger story being told.

One flick through the pages or the online preview and you’ll soon realise that The New Deal is a beautiful, beautiful book. It’s obvious Chase has thought about how to fill every space. There’s no blank backgrounds here. Every page has a superb sense of design and space; snowy streetscapes, sunlight pouring through windows. Its black and white setting reminds me of a mix between Frank Miller’s Sin City stark atmospherics but with something akin to Lee Week’s clean approach, but really, it’s in a world of its own, and he uses silent panels and pages to great effect. It’s one of those books that you’ll want to look at more than once just to admire the craftmasnship on display.

It’s rare to see something like this in the world of comics. It’s so…real and refined. Chase could easily have turned this in to a melodramatic and unapproachable period piece, or an obvious jokefest with zany characters and hijinks, but his restraint and minimalism is admirable. The plot involves a Seinfeldesque combination of a missing dog collar, the opening of a new museum exhibit, a mysteriously covered birdcage and the wonderful characters who hold their own surprises. The plot and prettiness work wonderfully in tandem to create a surprisingly enchanting story.

The New Deal Cover

The New Deal p7

Read a preview here.

Blackout #1 Preview

Releasing on March 26 is the debut issue of Blackout from Dark Horse Comics. Here’s a sci-fi-tastic preview.

Blackout1

Furious #2 Review

Furious 2 CvrThe latest instalment from Mice Templar creators Bryan J.L. Glass, and Victor Santos hits shelves, and it hits hard. Those who read last month’s debut will be aware that this new mini-series about the melding of fame and superpowers is a mature take on superheroics, and this issue dials it up even more.

The first two pages here serve as a strong indication of what’s coming. With Furious, the world’s first super-hero questioned and praised at every turn, something’s got to give.

Here, we get a greater look at Furious’ past from a survivor of a family tragedy to a rising child star to an unexpected superhero. Throughout those stages of her life however, the bitterness and anger remain, and the unexpected superpowers don’t erase them.

As for those superpowers, there is a lot we don’t know about them. There is an almost dismissive mention of the titular hero waking up on the ceiling upon discovering her abilities, and using kinetic energy, but the focus is on the characters, not the origin, and that’s a smart move. Or, rather the focus is on the character, that being Cadence Lark, the alter ego of Furious. It’s interesting to note that we never see Cadence in her civilian guise, apart from the flashbacks. Perhaps Cadence is finding comfort in the colours of a skintight costume as Furious, (or Beacon as he prefers to be called, but never is). Maybe it’s a coping mechanism of Cadence’s traumatic past, or maybe she sees the life of a superhero as just another role to play. It’s testament to Glass’ strengths as a storyteller that this series can be examined and enjoyed from more than one angle. Furious has noble intentions, and certainly makes strides towards peace in her community, but she is a controversial figure; equally declared as awesome or dangerous, and with the local trigger happy police, she begins to comprehend the scope of her powers.

Santos’ art is not filled with beauty. That’s not to say it isn’t pretty to look at. It is, but rather than reveal the glitz and glamour of the high life of the young Cadence as a film star, he chooses to match the darkness and ugliness of what that life can bring, matching Glass’ thematic explorations. The flashbacks of Cadence’s youth, as she struggles with losing the entirety of her family besides her increasingly erratic father, are sad, dark and real. Cadence becomes a sympathetic character during those looks at her past, and the familiar struggles we’ve seen before with many immature celebrities are brought to the fore. Using broken mirrors as a framing device is clever, as is using the same pose with a mysterious new threat that we saw on Furious’ debut. It appears this dangerous, costumed woman has something personal against Furious and is about to make her mark on her world. Up until this point, Furious’ greatest enemy has been herself, or rather how she is perceived, so an external threat will bring the story to dangerous new places.

Glass and Santos are building a mystery with Furious, and it’s an intriguing one. They’ve been throwing crumbs since the first issue, with more surprises surely to come.

Ace Cop: American Choppers

No, it’s not a crazy tie-in with that reality TV show about a family of motorcycle builders.

AXE COP RETURNS WITH AMERICAN CHOPPERS!

Critically Acclaimed Nicolle Brothers Deliver Killer Miniseries!

Fresh off their television debut on FOX’s Animation Domination High-Def, Ethan and Malachai Nicolle return with a three-part miniseries chock full of action in Axe Cop: American Choppers!

Axe Cop is comics taken straight back to their source — to a child’s unharnessed imagination. And there’s also axes.” said Axe Cop voice actor Patton Oswalt.

President of the World Axe Cop reunites with Super Axe (an old friend from college), and the two decide to start a superteam of axe-wielding heroes to defend America—the American Choppers. They are joined by Captain Axe, Axe Girl, Axe Woman, Axe Dog, and other axe-wielding heroes. The only problem is that there are no bad guys left, but that all changes when mysterious giant creatures attack the city!

Praise for Axe Cop:

“The brilliance is precisely a function of its incongruity.”

Pop Matters

Axe Cop emerges as a wacked-out, irreverent hoot, full of colorful absurdities.”

Variety

“It’s a nonsensical but inventive and purely entertaining takeoff on superhero tales.”—New York Times

“So engaging that you can’t help but read this book all in one sitting.”

—IGN

Watch episodes of Axe Cop on Animation Domination High-Def!

Axe Cop: American Choppers #1 debuts May 21 in comic shops everywhere! Catch up with Axe Cop Volumes 1–5!

Malachai Nicolle was a five year old kid when he and his brother created Axe Cop together.  He is from rural Washington and he loves Dinosaurs, Ben 10, video games of all kinds, and anything involving bad guys getting destroyed.

Ethan Nicolle is 29 years old when he created Axe Cop with his brother.  He is a comic artist/writer living in Los Angeles. He is the writer/artist/creator of the Eisner Award nominated Chumble Spuzz (SLG Publishing). He currently has a couple of shows optioned at Cartoon Network and is working on the Axe Cop TV show at FOX ADHD, as well as his other web comic, Bearmageddon.

AxeCopAmericanChoppers

AXECOPAC #1 PG 05

Buffy Season 10 #1 Preview

Buffy’s back in the official continuation of the much-loved TV series. The first issue of the new season goes on sale on March 19.

BuffyS10n1

Free Eve: True Stories Comic

Free comics! Based on actual player driven stories from the huge EVE game, EVE: True Stories is certainly a novel concept, and now you can read the first issue for free.

Issue #1 of CCP Game’s Anticipated EVE: True Stories Graphic Novel

Available Now for Free Download via Dark Horse Digital 

CCP Games, the world’s leading independent developer of massively multiplayer games and creators of EVE Online, along with Dark Horse, are pleased to announce that the first issue of EVE: True Stories, “Thieves Among Us,” is now available as a free download from Dark Horse Digital or via the Dark Horse Android and iOS apps.

Issue #1 of the EVE: True Stories graphic novel dramatizes the opening throes of one of the greatest gaming stories of the last decade – the fall of the player alliance known as the Band of Brothers. Filled with action and intrigue, “Thieves Among Us” is inspired by actual player-driven events. Issue #1 is written by legendary writer Daniel Way (Wolverine: OriginsDeadpool) and features the artwork of Tomm Coker (Daredevil NoirNear Death) with cover art by David Palumbo (ALIENS, Heavy Metal). 

Future instalments of EVE: True Stories will arrive digitally on 5th March, 19thMarch and 2nd April 2014, via Dark Horse Digital.

The hardback prestige collected edition of EVE: True Stories, containing all four comics, will go on sale in book and comic book stores, 4th June, 2014. 

EVE TRUE STORIES 1

 

Dark Horse on YALSA List

What’s YALSA? A youth-targeted salsa? Nope. It’s the Young Adult Library Services Association. Every year they release their best comics list, as do lots of other sites and organisations. I’ve only read The Massive Volume 1 and Hellboy: Midnight Circus, but both are fantastic.

DARK HORSE TAKES HOME SIX

SPOTS ON THE 2014 YALSA

GREAT GRAPHIC NOVELS FOR TEENS LIST!

Last week, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) committee published their much-anticipated 2014 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list, adding, for the first time, a top-ten list. Not surprisingly, given the tremendous success of Dark Horse’s 2013 publishing line, the publisher landed six titles on this year’s list, with two making it into the top tenThe Adventures of Superhero Girl and MIND MGMT!

This year’s Dark Horse selections are as follows:

“Dark Horse has always considered librarians to be essential to the cause of bringing graphic novels to a broader audience, just as we feel visionary writers and artists push the boundaries of the medium,” said Dark Horse’s VP of book trade sales, Michael Martens. “With the selections of these titles to the 2014 YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens list, the boundaries will be pushed and the audience broadened! Thanks to both YALSA and our authors for making this happen!”

Dark Horse congratulates the editors, writers, and artists who worked on each of the above titles, and thanks the Young Adult Library Services Association for recognizing these works!

The Massive TPB

 

Hellboy- The Midnight Circus

Vandroid #1 Preview

Ah, the ’80s. The best music. The bets cartoons. The best fashion. Um..maybe not that last one, but it was a magical time, and on February 26 we can return.

Vandroid is a new 5 issue mini-series from Dark Horse, with the unique premise that it’s based on a lots film from the 1980s. The website is worth checking out too, with more preview pages, and a great, oh-so-80s score sample. It’s obvious this is a nostalgic, radical labour of love for the creators.

When Palm Springs Entertainment studios burned to the ground in 1984, the most definitive motion picture of a generation was lost before its time. Thirty years later, the extraordinary talents of Tommy Lee Edwards, Noah Smith, and Dan McDaid unite to resurrect this lost epic.

* Complete the Vandroid experience with the remastered soundtrack from Ed Banger Records and the unearthed 1984 movie trailer at Vandroid.com!

Vandroid1

Tomb Raider #1 Preview

I’m excited to read this new ongoing series from Dark Horse when it launches on February 26. The art by Nicolas Daniel Selma looks superb, and with writer Gail Simone on board (Batgirl, Birds of Prey), this official continuation of the recent Raider reboot game is sure to please. That game, by the way, is amazing. Bloody, to be sure, but amazing.

TombRaider1 Preview

 

 

Terminator: Enemy of my Enemy #1 Preview

Releasing from Dark Horse Comics on February 19 is the first issue of a new Terminator mini-series, called Enemy of my Enemy. It’s written by Dan Jolley (Bloodhound, Prototype 2) with art by Jamal Igle (Supergirl). Here’s the official description.

In 1984, Kyle Reese protected Sarah Connor from a cyborg that would stop at nothing to terminate her. In 1985, Skynet targets a scientist whose discoveries threaten its future, but this time there is no resistance fighter sent back to face it! With only enemies around her, what chance does Elise Fong stand against the perfect killing machine?

TerminatorEOME1

Furious #1 Review

Furious #1 CoverBryan J.L. Glass and Victor Santos’ last team-up was on Mice Templar from Image Comics. This time, they give us something completely different. Whereas Templar is epic and far reaching, Furious from Dark Horse is more contained, but no less spectacular.

Yes, the last few years have seen almost as many superhero parodies/deconstructions and re-imaginings as straightforward superhero tales themselves, but brightly coloured beings with amazing powers will always be an intriguing prism through which to examine the best and worst of humanity. Fame does the same, and when those two things are combined, you get Furious. This premiere issue is smart and thrilling, and as anyone who’s read the preview can attest, it looks great too.

The titular character describes fame as a spoiled brat which always screams for more. Two months ago she debuted, calling herself The Beacon, but a loss of cool on camera meant the media gave her a new unwanted name – Furious.

This is a mature comic, with mature language, and an intensity and desperation that floods the pages. Furious is a wonderfully nuanced character. Glass employs a delicate touch here, making certain that she is frightened and uncertain, but with noble intentions. She only wants to do good with the abilities she’s been given but she soon realizes that the old saying is true. No good deed does indeed go unpunished.

There’s more at work here than just another jaded look at “superheroes in the real world.” Glass has something interesting to say about what’s expected about those rare, skilled individuals who we so easily put on a pedestal. What does that do to the individual? What does that do to those of us expecting them to be miraculously better than us? Public meltdowns are increasingly common of course, and that just adds to the authentic and relevant approach Furious is aiming for.

Santos’ art is angular and dynamic as always and his colour choices are meaningful – well-lit and exciting when Furious is flying after a distraught mother kidnapping her child, and full of shadow during scenes of Furious’ anger and doubt.

Eagle-eyed readers will see some interesting visuals, such as the nod to Santos’ recent Polar OGN, and Glass also nods to some of his fellow talented creators in a back-up collage page showing some in-world reactions to Furious’ debut. There’s also a familiar figure in one scene that made me do a double-take and just reminded me that Glass and Santos are building an intriguing story with more layers than a lasagne.

Furious is a young woman with some standard superpowers (speed, strength, flight) and although her origin isn’t explored here, it’s not really needed. Furious brings her hurt past with her to her present decision making, and that’s make for an interesting protagonist. Underneath the bright costume and the desire to just do good, is a fragile woman who just wants acceptance, and who doesn’t want to be judged by a bad deed or two.

The remaining three issues are sure to be as dazzling and provocative as this debut. It’s obvious that the story is perched on a rickety rollercoaster track. It will all lead somewhere dangerous and exciting.

Furious #1 will be released from Dark Horse Comics on January 29 and you can even participate in a unique press conference on Twitter with the star of the comic!

furiouspressrelease

X Volume One Review

X Big BadDark Horse’s focus on bringing a few more superheroes in to their line as of late makes sense. They are not normally associated with brightly clad cape wearers, but apart from Marvel and DC Comics no publisher is really.

X is a character who debuted in the pages of Dark Horse Presents, and his solo series ran from 1994 until 1996. That was the time I was becoming fully engorged on comics, and I do recall X at the time, although I never picked up any of the character’s tales. It was also a good time for the publisher, with the success of Mask, Barb Wire and Sin City getting attention, and they’ve only eclipsed that success in the years since.

Of course, comics readers are a nostalgic bunch, so bringing back X makes sense, plus there’s already some familiarity with the hard core character.

This Trade Paperback, entitled Big Bad, collects the relaunch which began in April 2013, in particular issues #0-4, plus a few sketchbook pages of character designs. Written by Duane Swierczynski (Cable and X-Force, Punisher, for Marvel), with art by Eric Nguyen (Batman: Arkham Unhinged, based on the Arkham series of videogames), this is a good (re) introduction to X and the nasty city he inhabits.

Continue reading

Lobster Johnson: Get The Lobster #1 Preview

Being released from Dark Horse Comics on February 5 is the first issue of another mini-series focused on popular pulp hero Lobster Johnson. He has a lot of mini-series, that guy, but the quality always seems to match the quantity.

Get The Lobster is written by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola with John Arcudi, with ever gorgeous art by Tonci Zonjic.

A Manhattan sporting event goes terribly wrong as the ref is killed in front of a live audience by two crazed—and seemingly bulletproof—wrestlers. Who is behind this new reign of terror?

“The necessary thrills to justify every cent spent on this comic.”—Comic Book Resources

LJGetTheLobster1

Furious #1 Preview

Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics, below is a generous preview of Furious, the new mini-series from writer Bryan J.L. Glass (Adventures of Superman) and artist Victor Santos (Polar: Came from the Cold). The pair have collaborated previously on the excellent Mice Templar. Furious #1 is released on January 29.

Staring into a fractured mirror of her life, the world’s first superhero, Furious, seeks to atone for her past sins by doling out rage-fueled justice! But the spotlight of our celebrity-obsessed media threatens to undo her noblest efforts and expose her true identity before she can achieve redemption.

FURIO-#1-IFC-PROMO-PINUP-V1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FURIO-#1-PINUP-Hernandez

 

FuriousPreview1

 

FuriousPreview2

 

FuriousPreview3

 

FuriousPreview4

 

FuriousPreview5

 

FuriousPreview6

 

FuriousPreview7

 

 

  • Calendar

    • November 2020
      M T W T F S S
       1
      2345678
      9101112131415
      16171819202122
      23242526272829
      30  
  • Search