Month: July 2009

Video of Dig Comics Q&A panel from Comic-Con

The illegal bootlegger and hardened criminal DaneInLA has posted two more videos to his YouTube account. The two videos capture the entire Q&A panel that immediately followed the screening of Dig Comics at Comic-Con International: Independent Film Festival this past weekend.

So now thanks to modern technology, it’s almost like you were there! Except with poor sound quality and a small yet erratic earthquake no one else but you seems to notice.

The panel consisted of Miguel Cima (host/writer/director), Scott Shaw! (animator and interviewee) and myself (associate producer). Also seen is producer and editor Dirk Van Fleet.

And in case you missed it, here’s the introduction from the panel with a special appearance by Edward James Olmos:

Dig Comics wins Best Documentary at Comic-Con Film Festival

Yesterday’s Comic-Con Film Festival Awards were passed out. Dig Comics won for Best Documentary!

ScreenCrave.com live-blogged the awards show and has a picture of host/creator/writer Miguel Cima giving his acceptance speech. Behind him is Tiina Teal (who played the challenging role of Miguel’s “actual girlfriend” in the movie) and my cybernetic eye.

Edward James Olmos makes special appearance at Dig Comics screening

The screening of Dig Comics was a big success! Thank you to everyone who attended!

We had a special surprise for those that made it*. Edward James Olmos helped us introduce the film. Our friend and audience member Dane Hill was there with his fancy flip camera to record the excitement. So here’s some endorsed bootleg video for you:

If you haven’t heard, Edward James Olmos’ Olmos Productions is partnering with us to expand this into a long-form piece. So, his appearance wasn’t entirely random.

In case you’re among the few that have never heard of him, Edward James Olmos is mostly known for being an incredible actor. Most people know him either from the recent “Battlestar Galactica” TV series on the Sci-Fi Channel or from the classic Blade Runner movie. He’s been nothing but immensely supportive and enthusiastic about Miguel Cima (our host/creator of Dig Comics) and our work.

More about Dig Comics.

*Well, OK we ended up having 2 surprises. Stan Lee (spokesman for Marvel Comics and co-creator of Spider-Man) strolled by with a huge mob behind him just minutes before our start time.

New to Comics? New Comics for You! 7/22/09

[UPDATE: It looks like Citizen Rex #1 did not ship this week and is late. Sorry if you went looking for it. I haven’t heard when it will show up but I assume in the next week or so.]

[Comic-Con officially starts tomorrow, so there’s tons of stuff coming out this week to take advantage of the mobs.]

Never read a graphic novel before? Haven’t read a comic book in years?

Here’s some brand new stuff coming out this week that I think is worth a look-see for someone with little to no history with comics. That means you should be able to pick any of these up cold without having read anything else. So take a look and see if something doesn’t grab your fancy. If so, follow the publisher links or Amazon.com links to buy yourself a copy. Or, head to your local friendly comic book shop.

Disclaimer: While it may seem like it, I do not live in the future. For the most part, I have not read these yet, so I can’t vouch for their quality. But, from what I’ve heard and seen, odds are good they just might appeal to you.

The Weasel Patrol – $9.99
By Ken Macklin & Lela Dowling
104 pages; published by About Comics; available at Amazon.com

13 short, rambunctious tales about The Weasel Patrol, an unlikely and all-weaselly force of intergalactic troopers. These stories, fun enough for kids and funny enough for adults, originally appearing in anthologies, where they built a loyal fan base. The first time in book form, it contains such tales as “The Intergalactic Crimefighters Convention”, “Big Boba’s Eat & Fill”, and “Roboweasel”.

Wacky weasels and their hairy hijinks! It’s goofy fun for all ages! Yes, it’s a comic book that’s actually comic-y. Go figure. Here’s a PDF file to sample the silly.

Awakening Volume One – $19.95
By Nick Tapalansky & Alex Eckman-Lawn
144 pages; published by Archaia Studios Press; available at Amazon.com

The once peaceful city of Park Falls has been tainted by a series of gruesome murders and missing persons. Cynthia Ford, known as the town crazy, finds retired police detective Derrick Peters and relates to him her belief about what’s going on in town. Her explanation – Zombies! Unable to ignore Cynthia’s information, though not sharing her beliefs, Derrick and others in the town explore the mystery as weeks turn to months and the death toll rises. Follow the first half of Park Falls’ year-long struggle for answers in this collected edition of the first five issues of the Archaia existential horror series.

I’m getting a bit burnt out on zombies but existential horror? Sign me up! Plus Archaia has a great track record of high quality productions. There are plenty of previews of the first 4 chapters right here.

Citizen Rex #1 – $3.50
By Mario & Gilbert Hernandez
24 pages; published by Dark Horse Comics

“What compels life without a soul?”

Comics legends Gilbert and Mario Hernandez join forces to present a bizarre, sexy view of the future and what it means to be human. Twenty years ago, the most famous, lifelike robot in the world was engulfed in scandal, arrested, and deactivated. Since then, an anti-robot movement has developed, while body modification is in and prosthetic limbs have become hot, black-market items.

Stories like these are the stock-in-trade of gossip columnist Sergio Bauntin, whose startling revelations earn him the constant scrutiny of both the mob and the city’s mysterious investigators, the Truth Takers. When Sergio catches wind of sightings of the long-missing robot celebrity CTZ-RX, all of these interests will collide in violence and intrigue.

It’s sci-fi adventure with beautiful women by Los Bros. Hernandez!

The Hernandez Brothers are pillars of independent comic books, a loose style classification for comics that have provided an alternative voice to the mainstream super-hero adventure comics. Their creation Love & Rockets has been immensely influential and critically praised for good reason. The series has been running since 1981. I highly recommend it. The three brothers also do side projects unrelated to that series, such as this one here. Looks good for some off-beat science fiction. [UPDATE: It looks like Citizen Rex #1 did not ship this week and is late. Sorry if you went looking for it. I haven’t heard when it will show up but I assume in the next week or so.]

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation – $16.95
By Ray Bradbury & Tim Hamilton
160 pages; published by Hill & Wang; available at Amazon.com

“Monday burn Millay, Wednesday Whitman, Friday Faulkner, burn ’em to ashes, then burn the ashes.”

For Guy Montag, a career fireman for whom kerosene is perfume, this is not just an official slogan. It is a mantra, a duty, a way of life in a tightly monitored world where thinking is dangerous and books are forbidden.

In 1953, Ray Bradbury envisioned one of the world’s most unforgettable dystopian futures, and in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, the artist Tim Hamilton translates this frightening modern masterpiece into a gorgeously imagined graphic novel. As could only occur with Bradbury’s full cooperation in this authorized adaptation, Hamilton has created a striking work of art that uniquely captures Montag’s awakening to the evil of government-controlled thought and the inestimable value of philosophy, theology, and literature.

Including an original foreword by Ray Bradbury and fully depicting the brilliance and force of his canonic and beloved masterwork, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is an exceptional, haunting work of graphic literature.

Hill & Wang (tee-hee) puts out some very good stuff. I’m kind of embarrassed to say that I’ve never read the original book. It seems like one of those things you’re supposed to have done in life. This looks like a pretty cool way to experience the story. Here’s a 13-minute video interview with Ray Bradbury about this project with images from the graphic novel. Or you can watch the shorter 2-minute version. And the Amazon page has a couple of pages.

You Have Killed Me – $19.95
By Jamie S. Rich & Joelle Jones
184 pages; published by Oni Press; available at Amazon.com

Things just can’t get any worse for Antonio Mercer. A private eye by trade, a dame from his past has re-surfaced in his life as a client along with all of the emotional baggage he thought he’d left behind forever. Of course, this unusual client doesn’t have just any case – her family is mixed up with seriously dangerous people and the body count is just starting to pile up!

Here’s a mighty fine looking preview. Two comic creators that deserve more attention because they always put out reliably high-quality stuff. These two previously collaborated on the romance 12 Reasons Why I Love Her.

Dig Comics featured on NPR affiliate KPBS

Dig Comics host and creator Miguel Cima was interviewed this morning about the documentary, comics and this year’s Comic-Con. San Diego’s NPR affiliate KPBS Radio 89.5 FM broadcast the program “These Days” hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh. The episode also includes interviews with Comic-Con’s Director of Marketing David Glanzer, film critic Beth Accomando and Prof. Rocco Versaci (author of This Book Contains Graphic Language: Comics As Literature).

You can listen to the entire interview online at KPBS.org. Miguel comes in just before the 9-minute mark.

New to Comics? New Comics for You! 7/15/09

[Getting late…]

Never read a graphic novel before? Haven’t read a comic book in years?

Here’s some brand new stuff coming out this week that I think is worth a look-see for someone with little to no history with comics. That means you should be able to pick any of these up cold without having read anything else. So take a look and see if something doesn’t grab your fancy. If so, follow the publisher links or Amazon.com links to buy yourself a copy. Or, head to your local friendly comic book shop.

Disclaimer: While it may seem like it, I do not live in the future. For the most part, I have not read these yet, so I can’t vouch for their quality. But, from what I’ve heard and seen, odds are good they just might appeal to you.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep #1 – $3.99
By Philip K. Dick & Tony Parker
32 pages; published by Boom! Studios

THE BOOK THAT INSPIRED THE FILM BLADE RUNNER COMES TO BOOM with backmatter by Warren Ellis!
Worldwide best-selling sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick’s award-winning DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? has been called “a masterpiece ahead of its time, even today” and served as the basis for the film BLADE RUNNER. BOOM! Studios is honored to present the complete novel transplanted into the comic book medium, mixing all new panel-to-panel continuity with the actual text from the novel in an innovative, ground-breaking 24-issue maxi-series experiment!

San Francisco lies under a cloud of radioactive dust. The World War has killed millions, driving entire species to extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn’t afford one, companies built incredibly realistic fakes: horses, birds, cats, sheep… even humans. Rick Deckard is an officially sanctioned bounty hunter tasked to find six rogue androids — they’re machines, but look, sound, and think like humans – clever, and most of all, dangerous humans. Rick Deckard, Pris, The Voight-Kampff Test, Nexus 6 androids, the Tyrell Corporation: join us for the publishing event of the year!

Oh and the by the way, this story inspired the movie Blade Runner.

Interesting idea. Usually when something is adapted to comic book, there’s a writer to re-work the source material. But this comic is apparently taking the original novel word-for-word and having an artist illustrate it out. Here’s a preview, so you can get a feel of what this will be like in execution. I’m not completely sold on the concept but I like that it’s something different, and it’s worth noting. And I’m sure sci-fi fans will want to check this out.

Creepy Comics #1 – $4.99
By a bunch of people
48 pages; published by Dark Horse Comics

What’s black and white and clawing its way onto your reading list? It’s the newly resurrected Creepy, of course! Now, don’t fret, my putrid pets — these new terror tales are cut from the same cursed cloth as the outlandish originals, telling contemporary horror stories with gorgeously ghoulish art from a lineup that’ll make you lose your head!

Original Creepy artist Angelo Torres teams up with devilish Dan Braun on “Hell Hound Blues”; Michael Woods and artist Saskia Gutekunst serve up a dose of “Chemical 13”; Neil Kleid and Brian Churilla provide “All the Help You Need” at a weird weight-loss camp; and jaundiced Jason Shawn Alexander brings his phenomenal painting skills to Joe Harris’s “The Curse”! Plus Bernie Wrightson, the return of “Loathsome Lore,” and more. All this, plus one classic story from Uncle Creepy’s dank dungeon, and you’ve got 48 freakish pages of terror to bring home to mummy!

In 1964, Creepy magazine resurrected the horror genre (huge in the ’50s) using a massively talented collection of artists and writers. Dark Horse is now resurrecting that resurrection. A bit derivative? Maybe. But modern comics have a host of very talented individuals who have injected new life into today’s horror stories in comics. Here’s a preview.

Parker: The Hunter – $24.99
By Darwyn Cooke
144 pages; published by IDW Publishing; available at Amazon.com

The Hunter, the first book in the Parker series, is the story of a man who hits New York head-on like a shotgun blast to the chest. Betrayed by the woman he loved and double-crossed by his partner in crime, Parker makes his way cross-country with only one thought burning in his mind—to coldly exact his revenge and reclaim what was taken from him!

Darwyn Cooke, the Eisner-Award-winning writer/artist of such classics as DC: The New Frontier, Selina’s Big Score, and The Spirit, now sets his artistic sights on bringing to life one of the true classics of crime fiction: Richard Stark’s Parker. Stark was a pseudonym used by the revered and multi-award-winning author, Donald Westlake.

Darwyn Cooke is fantastic. Here’s a preview. Classic hard-boiled crime. I can’t wait to get this.

Franklin Richards: School’s Out – $3.99
By Chris Eliopoulos
32 pages; published by Marvel Comics

Enough of the pencils, enough of the books, enough of teacher’s dirty looks! It’s summertime and school is out of session which gives Franklin more time to get into trouble. Join Franklin, his robot nanny, H.E.R.B.I.E., his teleporting dog, Puppy, in more adventures and laughs. Put on your shorts and come out and play!

This fun all-ages read is like if Calvin & Hobbes took place in the super-hero filled Marvel Universe. Lots of fun yet smart enough for older readers too.

That’s it for this week.

What Lurks Within Lockers

The Magic Meathands present a blood-curdling picto-tale of horror and suspense!

Starring (in order of appearance) Shane Boroomand, Nikki Turner, Corey Blake and Eric Ho.
Pics by Cindy Julia (and Corey’s iPhone).

Epilogue:

New to Comics? New Comics for You! 7/8/09

Never read a graphic novel before? Haven’t read a comic book in years?

Here’s some brand new stuff coming out this week that I think is worth a look-see for someone with little to no history with comics. That means you should be able to pick any of these up cold without having read anything else. So take a look and see if something doesn’t grab your fancy. If so, follow the publisher links or Amazon.com links to buy yourself a copy. Or, head to your local friendly comic book shop.

Disclaimer: While it may seem like it, I do not live in the future. For the most part, I have not read these yet, so I can’t vouch for their quality. But, from what I’ve heard and seen, odds are good they just might appeal to you.

Pixu: The Mark of Evil – $17.95
By Gabriel Ba, Becky Cloonan, Vasilis Lolos & Fabio Moon
128 pages; published by Dark Horse Comics; available at Amazon.com

This gripping tale of urban horror follows the lives of five lonely tenants — strangers — whose lives become intertwined when they discover a dark mark scrawled on the walls of their building. The horror sprouts quite innocently from a small seed and finds life as something otherworldly, damaged, full of love, hate, fear, and power. As the walls come alive, everyone is slowly driven mad — defenseless against the evil in the building, stripped of free will, leaving only confusion, chaos, and eventual death.

Originally self-published as a two-volume book, this groundbreaking work receives a deluxe presentation in a hardcover edition with a sketchbook section.

* The 2008 Eisner Award-winning team for Best Anthology — Gabriel Bá (The Umbrella Academy), Becky Cloonan (American Virgin), Vasilis Lolos (The Last Call), and Fábio Moon (Sugarshock) — return with their latest collaboration, Pixu: The Mark of Evil.

“The story telling here is beautiful, creating a real sense of dread and supernatural menace. Smart, subtle and genuinely disturbing.” -Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy

A very generous 17-page preview for you. I met Becky Cloonan last year during Comic-Con for my Barbie photo-blog. She’s already incredibly talented, so there’s really no need to be that cool. I wish someone would set her straight. Anyway, this a creepy thing filled with psychological horror.

Sinfest Volume 1 – $14.95
By Tatsuya Ishida
208 pages; published by Dark Horse Comics; available at Amazon.com

AT LAST! “The webcomic to end all webcomics” has landed at Dark Horse, and we’re starting the collections at the beginning! Sinfest is one of the most-read and longest-running webcomics out there, and explores religion, advertising, sex, and politics in a way fleen.com calls “both brutally funny and devastatingly on-target.” In an era when most syndicated newspaper strips are watered down and uninspired, creator Tatsuya Ishida draws on influences ranging fromCalvin and Hobbes and Peanuts to manga and pop culture to bring us a breath of fresh air. If your comic-strip craving hasn’t been satisfied since the nineties, deliverance is finally at hand.

* The first volume of Sinfest collects the first six hundred Sinfest strips, introducing the full cast of characters and the opening installments of Ninja Theatre, beat poetry, calligraphy lessons, and the irresistible Pooch & Percival strips.

* Web traffic on Sinfest.net averages 1.7 million unique visitors per month and 300,000 page hits per day.

* “After seven years and counting, Tatsuya Ishida shows every indication of maturing into a cartoonist on the level of Bill Watterson and Walt Kelly.” –The Comics Journal, “50 Excellent Comics from 2007”

* “The best webcomic out there.” -comicsworthreading.com

* ” . . . Sinfest offers many laughs; it may be brutally funny, but it is dead honest and refreshing.” –Publisher’s Weekly

Running since January 17, 2000, the Sinfest webcomic launched and has been running daily ever since. That’s a pretty impressive run. You can go sample the entire run right there at Sinfest.net, so who cares how I describe it? Go check it out!

The Nobody – $19.99
By Jeff Lemire
144 pages; published by DC Comics’ Vertigo; available at Amazon.com

“Lemire handles the stuff of a Willa Cather novel with equal poetry . . . He renders emotion and temperment in a cartoon face with breathtaking, masterful economy.” 
— Booklist on The Essex County Trilogy

The tiny, isolated fishing village of Large Mouth never saw much excitement — until the arrival of the stranger, that is. Wrapped from head to toe in bandages and wearing weird goggles, he quietly took up residence in the sleepy town’s motel. Driven by curiosity, the townfolk quickly learn the tragic story of his past, and of the terrible accident that left him horribly disfigured. Eventually, the town embraces the stranger as one of their own — but do his bandages hide more than just scars?

Inspired by H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, THE NOBODY explores themes of identity, fear and paranoia in a small community from up-and-coming alternative comics creator and Xeric Award-winner Jeff Lemire (The Essex County Trilogy) in a special two-color story that’ll have you guessing until the very end.

I’m really wanting this. I could post a preview, but I’ll do y0u one better because you deserve it. Here’s a teaser trailer of The Nobody:

North 40 #1 – $2.99
By Aaron Williams & Fiona Staples
32 pages; published by DC Comics’ WildStorm

Somewhere in Midwestern America was a place called Conover County. When the old book was opened, and the runes therein used in haste and ignorance, a place of farms, simple folk, and small-town dreams became a den of monsters and nightmare. NORTH 40 is the story of those who survived and came to confront an even greater evil on the horizon – one that wouldn’t just consume their flesh, but their souls as well. Heroes arise with power to bring against the dark: Wyatt, an unwilling protector of his former tormentors; Amanda, an apprentice to forgotten arts; and Sheriff Morgan, whose bonds with Conover County go back farther than even he can remember. See where it started, and watch where it’s all going in NORTH 40 #1. 

Created by Aaron Williams (PS238, The Nodwick Chronicles) and Fiona Staples (SECRET HISTORY OF THE AUTHORITY: HAWKSMOOR).

I like the visuals on the cover. Here’s a 3-page preview. Crazy horror monster attacks middle America.

Wednesday Comics #1 – $3.99
By everyone
16 pages; published by DC Comics

In July, DC Comics gives a fresh twist to a grand comics tradition with WEDNESDAY COMICS, a new, weekly 12-issue series by some of the greatest names in comics today! 

WEDNESDAY COMICS is unique in modern comics history: Reinventing the classic weekly newspaper comics section, it is a 16-page weekly that unfolds to a sprawling 28″ x 20″ tabloid-sized reading experience bursting with mind-blowing color, action and excitement, with each feature on its own 14″ x 20″ page.

Spearheaded by DCU Editorial Art Director Mark Chiarello, whose past editing credits include BATMAN BLACK and WHITE, DC: THE NEW FRONTIER and SOLO, each page of WEDNESDAY COMICS spotlights the continuing adventures of DC heroes, including: 

• BATMAN, WEDNESDAY COMICS’ weekly cover feature, by the Eisner Award-winning 100 BULLETS team of writer Brian Azzarello and artist Eduardo Risso 
• ADAM STRANGE, by writer/artist Paul Pope (BATMAN: YEAR 100) 
• METAMORPHO, written by New York Times best-selling writer Neil Gaiman with Art by Eisner Award-winner Michael Allred (Madman) 
• THE DEMON AND CATWOMAN, written by Walter Simonson (Thor, MANHUNTER) with Art by famed DC cover artist Brian Stelfreeze 
• DEADMAN, written by Dave Bullock and Vinton Heuck, Art by Dave Bullock 
• KAMANDI, written by Dave Gibbons (WATCHMEN, GREEN LANTERN CORPS) with Art by Ryan Sook (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, ARKHAM ASYLUM: LIVING HELL) 
• SUPERMAN, written by John Arcudi (The Mask) with Art by Lee Bermejo (JOKER) 
• WONDER WOMAN, written and illustrated by Ben Caldwell (Dare Detectives) 
• GREEN LANTERN, written by Kurt Busiek (TRINITY, ASTRO CITY) with Art by Joe Quiñones (TEEN TITANS GO!) 
• TEEN TITANS, written by Eddie Berganza with Art by Sean Galloway 
• SUPERGIRL, written by Jimmy Palmiotti (JONAH HEX) with Art by Amanda Conner (POWER GIRL) 
• HAWKMAN, written and illustrated by Kyle Baker (PLASTIC MAN, Special Forces) 
• SGT. ROCK, written by Adam Kubert (SUPERMAN: LAST SON), ilustrated by legendary comics artist Joe Kubert 
• THE FLASH, written by Karl Kerschl (TEEN TITANS YEAR ONE, THE FLASH: THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE) and Brenden Fletcher, illustrated by Karl Kerschl
• METAL MEN, written by Dan DiDio with Art by Ian Churchill (SUPERGIRL) 

WEDNESDAY COMICS will arrive in stores folded twice to 7″ x 10″, with the first issue set to reach stores on July 8.

Another exciting release from DC Comics. In the early 1900’s, one comic strip would take up an entire page, instead of the compartmentalized square inches of today. Strips like Winsor McKay’s Little Nemo had an entire newspaper sheet to stretch out and experiment, still even larger than modern comic books. That expanded canvass returns here in a bit of an experimental format, which is always risky with habit-entrenched comic readers. Some huge talent has been brought in to work on these stories, all guaranteed to be completely accessible superhero adventures. Seriously, this is more like it. The only stumbling block is the price but hopefully you and others will be taken by the novelty of experiencing comics like this for the first time in decades. Heck, USA Today is excited by it, and if they like it…!

Everybody Is Stupid Except For Me and Other Astute Observations – $16.99
By Peter Bagge
112 pages; published by Fantagraphics Books; available at Amazon.com

Fans of Peter Bagge’s generation-defining, satirical fiction may not realize this, but the cartoonist doubles as an opinionated cuss, and has been contributing provocative (but still hilarious) comic-strip opinion pieces to Reason magazine for the last several years… finally collected in this volume.

Although a libertarian by inclination (hence the Reason gig), Bagge (who lives in the fuzzy-headed, liberal capital of the Northwest, Seattle) is hardly dogmatic, and many of the pieces undermine traditional party lines in favor of a rather personal, rational and informed take on hot-button issues that will force partisan Democrats and Republicans alike to rethink them. And of course, Bagge’s well-researched comic strip “essays” crackle with the same energy and wit that propelled him into the collective Gen X consciousness with his comic book series Hate.

Favorite topics include the erosion of our civil liberties (whether the post-9/11 Bush administration’s gradual erosion of the Bill of Rights, the insanity of the war on drugs, or nanny-state meddling), ongoing boondoggles of the American public (for professional sports stadiums or ineffective public transportation systems), the Iraq war (Bagge is vociferously against it), so-called art and so-called entertainment, the homeless, the mall-ification of America, politicians both in general and in particular (including the 2008 presidential race and a revelatory one-on-one with Republican not-so-hopeful Ron Paul that soured Bagge on the candidate forever), the conservative/religious war on sex and drugs, and whether citizens should be allowed to own bazookas. Each piece features the voluble Bagge himself front and center as the puzzled, indignant, or deeply conflicted everyman-on-the-street trying to make sense of this 21st Century.

And of course, every panel is delineated in Bagge’s glorious, laugh-out-loud stretchy 4-color cartoon style, making even his disquisitions on some very serious topics go down as smoothly as Buddy Bradley’s latest escapade.

“Like all good political cartoonists, Bagge can be cruel. But he’s also willing to skewer himself when he deserves it… as libertarian polemicists go, he’s a lot more fun than, say, Ayn Rand.” – The Washington Post

I don’t always agree with his position, but his exploration is always great. And hearing other opinions and positions (especially well-informed like his), is almost always worthwhile. I remember the Ron Paul incident, which even got a little bit of mainstream(-ish) press right in the middle of the Presidential debates. Here’s a 12-page preview.

New Warriors: Classic, Volume 1 – $24.99
By Fabian Nicieza & Mark Bagley
208 pages; published by Marvel Comics; available at Amazon.com

His parents dead, Dwayne Taylor — a.k.a. Night Thrasher — set out to create a new family for himself and ended up with the premier super-team of the 1990s! Marvel Boy and Firestar! Namorita and Nova! Speedball! All they want to do is change the world! Decide for yourself how well they managed it in their trials by fire against Terrax and the Juggernaut! Also featuring anti-heroes Star-Thief and Psionex! Guest-starring Thor and the Inhumans! Collecting NEW WARRIORS #1-6 and THOR #411-412.

Look, this is my website, and I’ll recommend whatever I want! OK, look I’m not immune to nostalgia. This is the first superhero comic I was seriously devoted to and it really opened up my love for comics. This isn’t the series at its peak, but here is where it all started. At 14 years old, I was thrilled by these stories, mostly because it was like a Saturday morning cartoon with the most personal and realistic characterization I had encountered up to that point. These were kids my age or a bit older with “real” problems like divorcing or abusive parents, awkward crushes, and a still-developing sense of self. And then they used their cool powers to go on fun adventures, so it wasn’t entirely consumed by teen angst. I was hooked. For years. Heck, I still am.

Asterios Polyp – $29.95
By David Mazzucchelli
344 pages; published by Pantheon Books; available at Amazon.com

The triumphant return of one of comics’ greatest talents, with an engrossing story of one man’s search for love, meaning, sanity, and perfect architectural proportions. An epic story long awaited, and well worth the wait. 

Meet Asterios Polyp: middle-aged, meagerly successful architect and teacher, aesthete and womanizer, whose life is wholly upended when his New York City apartment goes up in flames. In a tenacious daze, he leaves the city and relocates to a small town in the American heartland. But what is this “escape” really about? 

As the story unfolds, moving between the present and the past, we begin to understand this confounding yet fascinating character, and how he’s gotten to where he is. And isn’t. And we meet Hana: a sweet, smart, first-generation Japanese American artist with whom he had made a blissful life. But now she’s gone. Did Asterios do something to drive her away? What has happened to her? Is she even alive? All the questions will be answered, eventually.

In the meantime, we are enthralled by Mazzucchelli’s extraordinarily imagined world of brilliantly conceived eccentrics, sharply observed social mores, and deftly depicted asides on everything from design theory to the nature of human perception.

Asterios Polyp
is David Mazzucchelli’s masterpiece: a great American graphic novel.

This is another huge release. Maybe the biggest one here (after New Warriors Classic of course). David Mazzucchelli is a great talent whose releases are criminally few and far between. Superhero fans know him from his collaboration with Frank Miller, Batman: Year One, but that doesn’t matter next to this.

This is a great week for comics. Almost something for everyone: horror, humor, heroes. Plenty to choose from! As it should be. Enjoy!

New to Comics? New Comics for You! 7/1/09

(Little late this week, with all of the excitement.)

Never read a graphic novel before? Haven’t read a comic book in years?

Here’s some brand new stuff coming out this week that I think is worth a look-see for someone with little to no history with comics. That means you should be able to pick any of these up cold without having read anything else. So take a look and see if something doesn’t grab your fancy. If so, follow the publisher links or Amazon.com links to buy yourself a copy. Or, head to your local friendly comic book shop.

Disclaimer: While it may seem like it, I do not live in the future. For the most part, I have not read these yet, so I can’t vouch for their quality. But, from what I’ve heard and seen, odds are good they just might appeal to you.

Finding Nemo: Reef Rescue #1 – $2.99
By Marie Croall & Erica Leigh Currey
32 pages (?); published by Boom! Studios

The biggest selling DVD of all time comes to comics! Nemo, Dory and Marlin have become local heroes, and are recruited to embark on an all-new adventure. Their reef is mysteriously dying and no one knows why! Facing dangerous waters and incredible odds, Nemo travels the great blue sea to save the one thing that matters most of all–home.

Yay, comics for kids! They really DO exist… sometimes… sporadically.

Boom! Studios (yes, the exclamation point is really supposed to be there) has begun putting out comics based on the Pixar movies and the Muppets. The Muppets one in particular has been getting great reviews. They’ll soon be putting out comics starring the classic Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.

Solomon Kane Volume 1: The Castle of the Devil – $15.95
By Scott Allie & Mario Guevara
128 pages; published by Dark Horse Books; available at Amazon.com

Robert E. Howard’s vengeance-obsessed puritan begins his supernatural adventures in the haunted Black Forest of Germany in this adaptation of Howard’s “The Castle of the Devil.” When Solomon Kane stumbles upon the body of a boy hanged from a rickety gallows, he goes after the man responsible — a baron feared by the peasants from miles around. Something far worse than the devilish baron or the terrible, intelligent wolf that prowls the woods lies hidden in the ruined monastery beneath the baron’s castle, where a devil-worshiping priest died in chains centuries ago.

* This team’s debut Kane story is available for free at myspace.com/darkhorsepresents.

* “Solomon Kane is one of the toughest Robert E. Howard heroes to adapt to the comics page, but Scott Allie and Mario Guevara have done a stunning job. Unsettling, moody and eerily beautiful, their Kane is absolutely worthy of his creator.” -Kurt Busiek

* Collects the Solomon Kane five-issue miniseries.

Those wacky puritans. Always gunning people down in vengeance. OK, not really wacky, but pretty cool art, and classic pulp-style adventure comics. In case you don’t know, Robert E. Howard is the guy that created and wrote Conan the Barbarian, to give you an idea of what to expect. For an even better idea of what to expect, click on that MySpace link.

Greek Street #1 – $1.00
By Peter Milligan & Davide Gianfelice
40 pages; published by DC Comics’ Vertigo

“Sex, death, ambition, revenge and a reminder that some stories are too true and too dangerous to ever die. GREEK STREET crackles with Promethean fire.” — Grant Morrison

You’re a boy from the hood. You’re brought up rough in a children’s home, trying to stay out of trouble but usually failing. Then at 18 you decide to track down your mother. Within hours of finding her, she’s lying naked and dead at your feet. So you run to Greek Street. And that’s when your troubles really begin…

Boasting a cast of sexy strippers, murderous gangsters, body-snatching mad women and a disturbed young girl who can see the future, GREEK STREET is Peter Milligan’s reimagining of those brutal and visceral tragedies that graced the Theater of Dionysus in Ancient Greece – bloody tales about incest, homicide, beautiful oracles, all-knowing choruses, kings, monsters and gods – played out on the mean streets of modern-day Red-Light London.

Milligan – best known for his super-smart Vertigo work like SHADE THE CHANGING MAN, HUMAN TARGET and now HELLBLAZER– joins forces with illustrator Davide Gianfelice (NORTHLANDERS) to create an epic ongoing series that’s both familiar yet completely new and always with the bloody, visceral edge that makes it a Vertigo book. Take a trip to GREEK STREET where the old stories are not through with us yet.

Come on, a brand new comic by two great creators for $1? That’s worth the risk. Easy. Remixing Ancient Greek plays? OK, you’ve got my attention. This PDF preview runs down the cast of characters and their Ancient Greece analogues.

Existence 2.0 #1 – $3.50
By Nick Spencer & Ronald Salas
32 pages; published by Image Comics

Self-absorbed physicist Sylvester Baladine finds his consciousness transferred into the body of the hitman who just killed him! Things don’t seem too bad until his daughter is kidnapped by the same people who “killed” him. Now, he’s forced to dig up his past and solve his own murder… inadvertently making himself a target once more.

I really enjoy the voice of the main character, despite him being rather unlikeable. 5-page preview.

This is one of those great weeks where there are actual comic books that I can recommend. Usually I have to stick to graphic novels for something accessible. Yay for that!

Far Arden – $19.95
By Kevin Cannon
400 pages; published by Top Shelf Productions; available at Amazon.com

Meet Army Shanks — crusty old sea dog and legendary brawler of the high Arctic seas! He’s got just one mission: to find the mythical island paradise known as Far Arden, which lies hidden (so they say) in the wintry oceans of the far North. But there’s more than just water standing between Shanks and his goal: he’ll have to contend with circus performers, adorable orphans, heinous villains, bitter ex-lovers, well-meaning undergraduates, and the full might of the Royal Canadian Arctic Navy! Not to mention he’s not so sure how to get to Far Arden in the first place…

In his first solo graphic novel, Kevin Cannon (THE STUFF OF LIFET-MINUS) proves himself a master spinner of yarns. FAR ARDEN is an epic journey through a world not quite our own, written and drawn with strokes bold and swift. As readers hurtle toward the stunning conclusion, Cannon assembles countless details, characters, and relentless plot twists into an astonishing whole far greater than the sum of its parts. Thrilling, eccentric, lusty, genuinely moving, and often hilarious (with sound effects that alone are worth the price of admission), FAR ARDEN may be the best adventure comic you’ll read all year.

Here’s a 7-page preview. This looks really funny!

Nelson Mandela: The Authorized Comic Book – $27.95
By the Nelson Mandela Foundation & Umlando Wezithombe
204 pages; published by W.W. Norton; available at Amazon.com

The fantastic, heroic life of Nelson Mandela, brought to life in this landmark graphic work.

Nelson Mandela’s memoir, Long Road to Freedom, electrified the world in 1994 with the story of a solitary man who, despite unbelievable hardships, brought down one of the most-despised regimes in the world. Fifteen years after the publication of that classic work comes this fully authorized graphic biography, which relays in picture form the life story of the world’s greatest moral and political hero—from his boyhood in a small South African village to his growing political activism with the ANC, his twenty-seven-year incarceration as prisoner 46664 on Robbens Island, his dramatic release, and his triumphant years as president of South Africa. With new interviews, firsthand accounts, and archival material that has only recently been uncovered, this visually dramatic biography promises to introduce Mandela’s gripping story to a whole new generation of readers.

“You know that you’ve become really famous the day that you discover that you have become a comic character.” —Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela will be 91 years old on July 18th. This might be the first authorized biography in comic book form of someone still living. If not, it’s certainly notable that this will contain information not present in previous non-comic biographies of Mandela. Here’s an interview by Publisher’s Weekly with Verne Harris of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Sure to be inspiring. And I love that quote.