Read Letter 44 #1 For Free

A new series from Oni Press and writer Charles Soule and artist Alberto Jiminez Alburquerque entitled Letter 44 is now available to read for free. Well, the entire first issue anyway. The second issue is out now. io9 describe it thusly: the newest president is taken aback when he reads the letter from the man who preceded him — a man who seemed to tank the economy and embroil the nation in needless wars — but was actually secretly preparing America for an imminent alien invasion.

Letter 44 #1

Holliday Interview

At Broken Frontier here, you can read my interview with writer Nate Bowden and artist Doug Dabbs. They are the creators of Holliday, an OGN that is released later this month, and is an entertaining crime tale that re-imagines Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp and other Wild West gunslingers in the 21st century.

The Sixth Gun Sale

Until Thursday you can get issues 2 to 17 of the hugely popular supernatural western series, The Sixth Gun for only 99c each from ComiXology. Plus, the first issue of the Oni Press series is free, so for newbies to the title, now’s the time to see what all the fuss is about.

Skullkickers And The Sixth Gun

The two co-creators behind two successful new series talk to each other about breaking into comics and all manner of things. It’s a very insightful discussion between writers Jim Zubkavich (Image’s Skullkickers) and Cullen Bunn (Oni Press’  The Sixth Gun). It’s a must read for aspiring writers and is quite encouraging.

Zub: Time management is everything. I looked at these opportunities and said to myself, “I want to do all these things. They mean so much to me.” Constantly thinking, “This is what I want to do and if I don’t do them will I regret it?” The answer has always been “yes,” so that drives me when I work.

I’m not perfect about organizing or productivity, but when this all started I looked at what I was spending the majority of my free time doing — watching TV, playing video games or whatever. Social time with friends and family is important but even looking at that I realized what was important and what needed to be prioritized in order to get the work done. I guess I’m just obsessive-compulsive.

Cullen: No, I think that’s a good point. I talk to a lot of people who want to break in and they don’t know how to do it while making ends meet, and I was right there with them for many years — trying to write fiction, short stories and novels. It wasn’t until I started really treating this like a job that I was able to make any headway whatsoever.

Zub: I think people look at this and they say, “Well, it’s just comics” or “Hey, I’ve got a cool idea,” but everyone has ideas. Are you going to develop it, work on it, make it into something and really push yourself? That’s the difference between an idea and completing something worthwhile.

Cullen: Folks always say, “I just don’t have time to do it,” but when they sit down in front of the TV watching shows they don’t even enjoy, some sit-com they don’t even laugh at -– there’s 30 minutes right there. You have to make the time.

Awesome, right? Check the whole thing out here and part two of the chat here.

Free Oni Press Mixtape

Nerdcore rapper Adam Warrock has teamed up with indie publisher Oni Press to create some funky new tunes. What a grand idea. Official info and track list below, and if you want more geek centred music, check out the excellent Kirby Krackle.

The internet’s foremost comic book nerdcore rapper and the comic industries creator-owned publishing powerhouse unveil twenty tracks inspired by Oni Press creators and their work.

The ONI PRESS MIXTAPE features master lyricist Adam WarRock giving his spin to Oni comics including: Queen & Country, Super Pro KO, Possessions, The Sixth Gun, Hopeless Savages, Wasteland, Salt Water Taffy, Guerillas, The Crogan Adventures, and Stumptown. The album also features interlude tracks with creators Antony Jonston, Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt, Greg Rucka, Jarrett Williams, and Jen Van Meter!

The best part about it? It’s F. R. E. E. So go grab yourself the ONI PRESS MIXTAPE at his website!

http://www.adamwarrock.com/

Tracklist and credits:

1. “Intro”
Beat used: RJD2 “Things Go Better”
Samples: Grosse Point Blank, Henry Rollins interview

2. “Japanese Demons”
Beat used: David Byrne & Brian Eno “Strange Overtones”

3. “Super Pro K.O.”
Beat Used: The Last Emperor “Here We Are”

4. Jarrett Williams Interlude

5. “Guerillas”
Beat used: PJ Harvey “Meet Ze Monsta”

6. “Queen & Country” featuring Tribe One
Beat used: Soul Position “Run”

7. “The Sixth Gun”
Beat Used: Julian Casablancas “The Tourist”

8. Cullen Bunn & Brian Hurtt Interlude

9. “Crogan’s Vengeance” by Tribe One
Beat used: The Zutons “Pressure”

10. “Salt Water Taffy”
Beat Used; The Bees “Who Cares What the Question Is”

11. Jen Van Meter Interlude

12. “Hopeless Savages”
Beat Used: The Thermals “Now We Can See”

13. “The Damned”
Beat used: Squirrel Nut Zippers “Hell”

14. Greg Rucka Interlude

15. “Stumptown”
Beat Used: Infamous MC “Y’all Not Ready”

16. “Possessions”
Beat used: Mountain Goats “Romans 10:9″

17. Antony Johnston Interlude

18. “Wasteland”
Beat Used: Passion Pit “Swimming In the Flood”

19. “D.I.Y” (Outro)
Beat Used: Spoon “Don’t You Evah”

20. “Stumptown (Portlandia Remix)”
Beat Used: Washed Out “Feel It All Around”

Scott Pilgrim vs The World Movie Review

Man, oh man, what a great film. I’ve been a fan of the great series of graphic novels by creator Bryan Lee O’Malley since I picked up Volume 1 last year. Since 2004 there have been 6 of the enchanting black and white digests, with the final volume, entitled, Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, having just been released.

The books, from publisher Oni Press, centre on slacker Scott Pilgrim, who in his own words remarks,”I don’t need fun to have a good time.” Basically the story is like a manic soap opera that wears its much loved influences boldly on its sleeve. Those influences include pop culture, from comics to video games and classic TV series, and O’Malley manages to weave all that and more in his seemingly rambling, but not really, tale of Scott and his numerous friends as he must defeat the 7 evil exes of the new love of his life, Romana Flowers. Perhaps the trailer can explain it better than I can.

There couldn’t be a better director for the film version than Edgar Wright. The British director has proved his love of pop culture is as evident as O’Malley’s in his TV series Spaced, and showed that he knows how to combine heartfelt drama, comedy and wild action with his first two films, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

This was always going to be a hard film to make, not merely because there’s over 1000 pages of source material, but also because it’s not a straight forward tale, with its ever growing cast of characters and a concept that may be hard to grasp for some. As a loyal reader, I can honestly say that the movie exceeded my expectations. Michael Cera (TV’s Arrested Development, Juno) was the only logical choice for the confused, yet dedicated man-boy that is Scott Pilgrim, while Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Die Hard 4) lays on quiet charm and beauty as the object of his affection and relative newcomer Ellen Wong is great as Knives Chau, the immature teenager that Scott is dating at the film’s beginning, and who is also a huge fan of Scott’s average band Sex Bob-Omb.

The evil exes don’t appear for long, as there are seven to get through after all, but thankfully they are played very well and the battles that are sprinkled throughout the film are unique and visually remarkable. Comic book fans have more reason to see this film, as Chris Evans, who has played The Human Torch in Fantastic Four and is currently acting as Captain America in next year’s film shows up as ex-skateboarder/current hammy action star Lucas Lee, while Superman Returns’ Brandon Routh is a mindreading Vegan and Jason Schwatrzman arrives at the climax as mastermind Gideon Graves, the man behind the League of Evil Exes. Thomas Jane (The Punisher) and Clifton Collins Jr. (Star Trek) also show up as Vegan cops.

With its cast of sometimes selfish friends and a world charmingly placed in fantasy land, in which fights resemble something from a frantic video game, it won’t be for everybody, and the first half is more concerned with hilarious jokes and visual gags, while issues of love and maturity are the focus of the second half.

You’ll get more out of it if you’ve read the comics, and don’t mind going with the rich and hypnotic world in which Pilgrim is set. This is not a film for those who like cinema to reflect reality. However, it does have a surprisingly emotional centre (more so than even the comics) and an unashamed sense of child-like, and often childish, fun. Filled with a hectic pace, yet never seeming rushed, it explodes onto the screen like a multicoloured volcano and entices you to pay attention lest you miss a joke. There are plenty of those here, whether it be a running gag about Pilgrim’s haircut or a scene complete with the Seinfeld theme and a laugh track. Yep, charming nonsense has a new name and it is Scott Pilgrim.

Oh, and this is what I’d look like in Scott Pilgrim’s world. See yourself right here.

New Oni Press Website

Publisher Oni Press have wisely made the most out of the attention they’ve been getting with the Scott Pilgrim film and Bryan Lee O’Malley’s last volume in the excellent series, both of which I’m hoping to enjoy tomorrow.

I just noticed that they’ve also relaunched their site, with a bunch of features, including a Twitter feed from its talented creators and a host of classy previews. Check it out here and an interview with Oni publisher Joe Nozemack about translating their comics for the cinema screen here.

As a bonus, here’s a short trailer for the nostalgic side-scrolling Scott Pilgrim game, now with a code for zombie fun!

Lucas Lee Film Posters

It’s good to see these props up close. From the film adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim comic (which opens next week!) comes this little treasure trove; 5 fake posters from the movies of pro skateboarder turned film star Lucas Lee, the 2nd evil ex-boyfriend that Pilgrim must fight. Chris Evans has played The Human Torch and is currently wearing Captain America’s suit for next year’s The First Avenger film, so it’s good to see he still has a sense of humour about being an action man. After having read the excellent, Showgirls, Teen Wolves and Astro Zombies about bad movies, I kinda want to see these made. They look like real straight to DVD films from 1996. You gotta love Evan’s best Zoolander impression and great slogans. Go Action Doctor!

Under the posters (all of which unsurprisingly have the same credits BTW) is a clip showing Pilgrim vs Lee.

Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6 Release Party

I discovered sadly last week that the final volume of the fun Scott Pilgrim series from Oni Press will not be available in Australia! Man, frustrating. The reason? The movie. Yep, because the long awaited film is due out next month, licensing has changed, meaning not only can Aussie comic shops not order the final Pilgrim volume, they can’t even get the previous volumes. As I can imagine, it must be a real let down to not only Oni but also Oz LCSs. I don’t know if other countries suffer the same fate, but the same thing also happened to the Kick-Ass comics, leading some Oz shops to order multiple copies of the Kick-Ass HC online.

Oni will undoubtedly get a lot of mileage from the film of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s great comic, but us international fans want more! To Amazon, it is then. For those who are in America, you might want to head out to Atomic Comics tomorrow night for an early release. Details below for keen fans.

Second Scott Pilgrim Trailer

Scott Pilrim vs The World, based on the excellent and offbeat series from Oni Press hits cinema screens with its zany tale of love, battles with ex-boyfriends and gaming on August 13. The brand new second trailer is below. That is all.

Death and the Frenemy’s Claw

Here’s a quick look at some new indie series.

Death Ship from IDW is a 4 issue mini-series based on an untold story from Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula. Behind Cliff Nielsen’s spooky cover I was pleasantly surprised to some equally moody art. Being printed on slightly rougher paper, with muted colours by Dom Regan, means that Death Ship will carry you to its 1897 setting with ease. Stuart Sayger’s artwork is like a more refined Bill Sienkiewicz or Klaus Janson. His work is suitably sketchy, yet equally enchanting and fits beautifully within the old world setting, which is filled with tough as nails sailors with manly beards. Sayger knows when to fill the pages with simplicity, which adds great tension to Gary Gerani’s script. The first few pages initially seem like a bland tale of sailors vs the sea; the kind of film you catch in black and white on a lazy Sunday arvo on TV, but it soon reveals itself to be something more, as a sinister force lurks about their vessel. There’s a boy, a tough veteran, a wise captain and a scared priest, but it all works well, plus the art is awesome. I’m thankful for comic moments like this, when I pick something by blind faith and it proves to be better than expected.

The Claw and the Fang. This new series has great covers, and that’s what intrigued me. That, plus the preview art looked unusual – in a good way. Bluewater Productions have become known as of late for their bio comics on stars of the moment, but that’s not all that they produce. This issue begins with Justin, a hardcore gamer losing his job before crossing to Outer Mongolia where a witch summons a huge, hooded demon to serve her. From then on it moves quickly, as Justin gets fed up with the MMORPG he’s invested his life in, and the supernatural world and his dull existence collide. There’s a slight awkwardness, as this hurriedly takes place and it would’ve benefitted from an extra few pages, but this debut ish has laid enough seeds to hopefully bear fruit in the remaining issues. Michael Kutcher’s script is filled with great captions that carry the tale without revealing too much just yet, and Matias Basla’s angular art lends a refreshing design to the pages. The sparse use of colour is a great addition to the mainly earthen look too.

Frenemy of the State has its Hollywood tongue planted firmly in its cheek and is an unashamedly fun adventure. It’s written by actress Rashida Jones (The Office, Parks and Recreation), Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis and comes to us from Oni Press. Opening with a quick account of protagonist Ariana Von Holmberg’s life in the spotlight (via Twitter snapshots) as she attends an Alice in Wonderland theme party, we soon learn that she’s not just a dumb heiress, but a well educated woman. She also seems to know her way around hi-tech security systems, but with all those skills, she’s still not above seeking revenge on a cheating lover. The script is rather obvious from that point on, as she becomes a C.I.A recruit. The odd flashback transition comes from nowhere, when all that’s needed was a simple caption, but otherwise, the issue is fine. It’s not a remarkable debut, but the central concept leaves a lot of room for story possibilities. Jeff Wamester’s art is light, with a slight Kevin Nowlan approach and the simple feel adds to the bubbliness of the story. It’s not hilarious by any means, but fans of pop culture with an awareness of celebrity obsessed media will find this likeable enough.

Read The Sixth Gun #1 For Free

From what I’ve seen, this is looking to be a great series. I didn’t get a copy of the full debut issue from Oni Press’ Free Comic Book Day offering, but they’ve kindly put it on-line for free anyway. Thanks Oni! Here you go.

Cullen Bunn Interview

Now at Broken Frontier (which is new and improved) you can find my interview with writer Cullen Bunn (what a great name!). His new series The Sixth Gun debuts on May 1 in the Free Comic Book Day issue from Oni Press. You can see a few preview pages from the intriguing Western/horror series right here.

Joe Harris Interview

I have an interview at Broken Frontier with writer Joe Harris about his career as a screenwriter of horror films, his stint at Marvel a few years ago and his new series, Ghost Projekt from Oni Press. Ghost Projekt debuted recently and is a great thrilling series. Steve Rolston’s art is equally creepy, and Dean Trippe’s colours just give a suitably eerie feel to the pages. Go and grab it now.

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