Comic Book Feeds

DARK HORSE COMICS JOINS FORCES WITH A VISIONARY NEW CREATOR FOR EPIC SPACE OPERA “LIGHSTEP”

First Comics News - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 08:58

You Can’t Outrun Relativity—Or Your Destiny!

MILWAUKIE, Ore., (August 16, 2018)—Dark Horse Comics invites you to explore writer-artist Miloš Slavković’s science fiction romp Lightstep. Alien worlds, a star-spanning empire, and technology about which we can only dream, combine to tell a story of secrets hidden in the transmissions of a radio drama from Earth thousands of years ago, and a woman whose date with destiny is about to send a ripple through the cosmos.

The galaxy is controlled by a race of elevated beings who live out their lives on accelerated “Lightsepped” planets—where a single day spans a lifetime on other worlds. Lightstep follows January Lee, a woman of royal descent, whose “divine illness” reveals to her the lies of her ancestors who founded the empire. Banished from her home into the void, an unexpected rescue sets January on a course to redeem her heritage and change the galaxy forever.

Lightstep #1 (of five) goes on sale November 21, 2018, and is available for pre-order at your local comic shop.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

DAZZLING BENGAL COVER FOR THE WEATHERMAN REVEALED

First Comics News - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 08:55

PORTLAND, OR, 08/16/2018 — Image Comics is pleased to unveil a stunning, limited THE WEATHERMAN #4 cover featuring eye-catching artwork by Bengal (DEATH OR GLORY).

In THE WEATHERMAN #4, every human left alive wants a piece of Nathan Bright—but there’s only so much of him to go around. Enter the Pearl, a crime lord in the business of making revenge as sweet as possible… and death last forever.

THE WEATHERMAN #4 hits stores on Wednesday, September 12th. The final order cutoff for comics retailers is Monday, August 20th.
WEATHERMAN #4 Cover A by Fox – JUL180393
WEATHERMAN #4 Cover B by Martin – JUL180394
WEATHERMAN #4 Cover C by Bengal (Limited) – JUL188356

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

How to Paint Characters the Marvel Studios Way!

First Comics News - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 08:52

Celebrating the Marvel Studios Visual Development Team in April 2019

New York, NY—August 16, 2018—Black Panther. Thor. Captain America. You’ve seen them fight on the big screen—now, you can paint them yourself! While celebrating the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel invites fans of all ages to learn the tips and tricks of painting your favorite super heroes from the masters themselves…with a brand-new book called How to Paint Characters the Marvel Studios Way!

In this beautiful hardcover, you’ll discover insights from some of the industry’s leading concept artists. Ryan Meinerding, Charlie Wen, Andy Park, Jackson Sze, Rodney Fuentebella, Anthony Francisco and more of the artists behind The Marvel Studios Visual Development team will share their method behind creating iconic designs for all your favorite characters, from Captain America to Black Panther!

Within the stunning pages of this keepsake book, readers will learn these artists’ favorite tools of the trade, their tips for visual character development, their process of collaborating with filmmakers and other artists on the team, and the costume and props departments—and how it all comes together to create seamless film designs! Each five-ten page “character study” will take readers on a step-by-step journey through the artist’s approach to bringing a specific hero or villain to life. Not only will readers get a sense of how each artist works, from their tools to their process, they’ll also get to see how a character’s design was created—from blank page to a final approval!

Don’t miss How to Paint Characters the Marvel Studios Way, coming this spring!

How To Paint Characters the Marvel Studios Way

ISBN: 978-1-302-91314-4

On Sale 4/17/2019

Cover art by Ryan Meinerding, Andy Park, Jackson Sze, Anthony Francisco & Rodney Fuentebella (cover not final)

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Grave Danger preview

First Comics News - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 18:45

Grave Danger

Written by Tim Seeley with art by Mike Norton

She is Grave Danger, agent of Headstone, a joint clandestine espionage organization that handles all unspeakable crime! [Unspeakable Crime- Illegal acts committed by paranormal entities such as vampires, witches, demons, and Frankensteins.] Agent Danger leaps into action from the suborbital Mourning Angel base, afraid of nothing! [Except getting her sneakers dirty. And heights.] [Also, her past.]. The first release from Daniel Alter and Jeff Forsyth’s new company Comix AF.

  • 5-issue miniseries – available monthly – $2.99 per issue on Kindle and comiXology
  • Free to read for members of Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited and comiXology Unlimited
  • Print collected edition will be available via Print-on-Demand exclusively on Amazon.com

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

SPACE IS PROFOUNDLY TERRIFYING IN JOHN LAYMAN AND AFU CHAN’SOUTER DARKNESS

First Comics News - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 18:41


PORTLAND, OR, 08/16/2018 — Eisner Award-winning writer John Layman (CHEW, LEVIATHAN) and artist Afu Chan (Immortal Iron FistsSpera) team up for OUTER DARKNESS, an all-new sci-fi/horror series coming this November from Image/Skybound Entertainment.

“Thanks to Afu Chan and Skybound, we’ve succeeded in making OUTER DARKNESS as perfect and beautiful as I’d envisioned it to be since finishing Chew,” said Layman. “I’m so unbelievably excited that OUTER DARKNESS is being announced to the world. I’m absolutely in love with this book.”

In OUTER DARKNESS, humankind has successfully colonized the galaxy. But during our interstellar travels, we discovered a terrifying secret out in the vast reaches of space…

Enter Captain Joshua Rigg and the crew of the starship Charon, who will encounter demonic possessions, hauntings, and cosmic horror as they embark on a desperate rescue mission into the Outer Darkness of space—where everything wants to kill them.

“It was scary, in good way, working with John Layman and Skybound, especially on a comic filled with monsters and in space where nobody can hear you,” said Chan. “I am always on the edge of my seat while drawing these pages, and I can’t wait for people to experience the ride when reading OUTER DARKNESS. It is the best work I’ve done yet.”

OUTER DARKNESS #1 will hit stores on Wednesday, November 7th.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

BLACK BETTY VOLUME 2: A Musical Interlude with the Monster Hunter for Hire!

First Comics News - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 18:34


BLACK BETTY VOLUME 2
Writer(s): Shawn Gabborin
Artist Name(s): Rafael Dantas (art), Rosa “Rosakaz” Rantila (colors)
Cover Artist(s): Rafael Dantas
128 pgs./ M / FC
$14.99

After the murder of his grandfather, a small boy offers his money to monster hunter Black Betty if she can find the killer creature he’s convinced hides in his seemingly idyllic town. Will Black Betty find this mysterious creature? She’s certainly going to try when there’s money on the line!

BLACK BETTY is part of the Danger Doll Universe, which features the lethal likes of DollFace, Vampblade and Zombie Tramp. Outright Geekery says “If you’ve ever been a fan of shows like Supernatural, Hemlock Grove, Penny Dreadful, Grimm, American Horror Story, or Constantine you’ll love this book.” Writer Shawn Gabborin (PUPPET MASTER, FRACTURE) has crafted a story with “Plenty of action, adventure, and horror”. Readers won’t want to miss this horrifying addition to the Danger Doll Universe!

BLACK BETTY VOLUME 2 collects the “Musical Interlude” story from issues 5-8 of the series. It will be available in a comic book store near you on October 3, 2018. Preorder it using the Diamond item code AUG181435. Review copies from the series are available upon request.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Riverdale goes to war in this early preview of ARCHIE 1941 #1!

First Comics News - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 18:26


ARCHIE 1941 #1 (OF 5)
FINAL ORDERS DUE 8/20
ON SALE 9/12










ARCHIE 1941 #1 (OF 5)

THE HISTORIC, GROUND-BREAKING MINI-SERIES STARTS HERE! Archie has been around for over 75 years and has been through many significant moments in time, but never before have we seen the characters take on real-world events as they unfold. WWII is looming and Archie and many young men from Riverdale are close to enlistment age. If you’re a Riverdale teen, how would you cope with a looming world-changing event? Join the writing team of MARK WAID and BRIAN AUGUSTYN along with artist PETER KRAUSE for the all-new mini-series that is sure to have everyone talking!

Script: Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn
Art: Peter Krause, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Jack Morelli
Cover: Peter Krause
Variant Covers: Sanya Anwar, Francesco Francavilla, Dave Johnson, Aaron Lopresti
On Sale Date: 9/12
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Preview: NINJA-K #11 Vaults Headfirst into a New Mission on September 12th!

First Comics News - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 18:01

Valiant is proud to present a complete lettered preview of a brand-new jumping-on point for the publisher’s explosive super-spy series, NINJA-K #11!

Incendiary artist Roberto de la Torre (THE DEATH-DEFYING DOCTOR MIRAGE) joins acclaimed writer Christos Gage (Netflix’s Daredevil) on an immortal manhunt in part one of  “FALLOUT,” as Colin King faces off against the unmatched strength of his former teammate: the Eternal Warrior!

The Coalition may have been defeated…but the mission’s not over yet! Now, Ninjak must use all the super-spy skills at his disposal to save Gilad from the clutches of his friend’s erstwhile nemesis, the Dying One. But stopping an immortal genius – especially one armed with the full might of the Eternal Warrior – is a fight that not even MI6’s best and brightest secret agent can prepare for!

On September 12th, fist meets steel for a no-holds-barred knockout in NINJA-K #11– featuring covers by Kano (QUANTUM AND WOODY!), Leo Colapietro (Van Helsing Vs. Frankenstein), and Roberto de la Torre (Captain America)!

 

NINJA-K #11
Written by CHRISTOS GAGE
Art by ROBERTO DE LA TORRE
Colors by JOSÉ VILLARRUBIA
Letters by DAVID LANPHEAR
Cover A by KANO (JUL182270)
Cover B by LEO COLAPIETRO (JUL182271)
Ninja Programme Variant by ROBERTO DE LA TORRE (JUL182272)
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale SEPTEMBER 12th (FOC – 8/20/18)


NINJA-K #11 – Cover A by Kano


NINJA-K #11 – Cover B by Leo Colapietro


NINJA-K #11 – Interior Art by Roberto de la Torre with José Villarrubia


NINJA-K #11 – Interior Art by Roberto de la Torre with José Villarrubia


NINJA-K #11 – Interior Art by Roberto de la Torre with José Villarrubia


NINJA-K #11 – Interior Art by Roberto de la Torre with José Villarrubia


NINJA-K #11 – Interior Art by Roberto de la Torre with José Villarrubia


NINJA-K #11 – Ninja Programme Variant by Roberto de la Torre

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

DARK HORSE AND COMPULSION GAMES OFFER A PRESCRIPTION FOR JOY WITH “THE ART OF WE HAPPY FEW”

First Comics News - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 15:32

Don’t be a Downer!

MILWAUKIE, Ore., (June 20, 2018)—Dark Horse Books and Compulsion Games are filled with joy to bring audiences The Art of We Happy Few. This hardcover companion to the game offers two-hundred pages of mind-bending art and insightful creator commentary that showcases the unique retro-futuristic style of We Happy Few, a game of paranoia and survival in a drugged out, dystopian society.

The game is set in 1964 against the backdrop of an alternative timeline of events after World War II. The citizens of the fictional English city of Wellington Wells, to forget a Very Bad Thing they did, take a drug known as “Joy”—a delightful hallucinogenic antidote to their despair, with the mild side effect of making them easily controlled and morally malleable. But happiness isn’t so easily found for everyone. The Downers — awful citizens who refuse to take their Joy — are a menace to society, and as such are hunted by the police. If only they knew what was best for them! Turning their frown upside down is just a trip away!

Don’t be a Downer by missing out on this perfect companion to the psychedelic video game experience!

The Art of We Happy Few HC goes on sale November 13, 2018, and is available for preorder at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This 200-page volume retails for $39.99.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH INREVIEWS: Tiffany Smith Actress for House of Demons

First Comics News - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 15:27

First Comics News: What was your first acting job?

Tiffany Smith: My first acting job that I remember was playing a fish in a school play musical version of the Little Mermaid… not Flounder… Just a fish.

1st At “DC All Access” what have you done?

Tiffany: haha what have I done at dc all access… wayyyyyyy to many things to type out here. I have been with the show for about 5 years now. So everything and anything dc related. From hosting panels at comic con to dc film premieres, interviewing writers and artists to riding a new Joker ride at 6 flags. Fortunately, you can watch alllllll the dc fun on the DC youtube channel. 

1st  Your character Samantha in “House of Demons” what is she like?

Tiffany: I like to think of her as someone who has lost pieces of herself throughout her life piece by piece by piece. Where we see her now, she has finally come to this place where her only goal, her only intention is to do whatever is best for Frazer. He is the only person who matters, what he says goes. So, I’d say Samantha is fiercely loyal… to a fault. Which leads her down a pretty dark path. 

1st  What was the best and worst part of making “House of Demons”?

Tiffany: What I love so much about acting is that you get to play roles and explore personalities and traits that maybe you would never experience in your own life. I mean being the right hand of a cult leader is not something I experience every day haha. And also, I love surprising people with my acting. Playing something that is so different than who I am on a day to day basis or even when I am hosting. And I say maybe I’d want to play Frazer only because he takes Samantha’s crazy and turns the nob up from 80 to 100! And that just sounds so fun!

The most challenging part of playing Samantha… hmm well, I think it was one particular scene that we shot and I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but it involved me having a lot of prosthetics and special effects make up. The application process took a bit of time but when you see the results it is all worth it! Now remove all of that fun stuff… THAT was the challenge. We were in that house later than anyone the night we shot those scenes just for hours removing bits piece by piece. 

1st  What did you learn from being in “House of Demons”?

Tiffany: One of the biggest takeaways for me on this film honestly was trust! There was one scene in particular where I have to stab a few people… Because not only did I have to take my emotions to a level where Samantha would want to stab people, but making sure my fellow actors felt connected with me in the scene and safe! What really helped was having a cast and crew that was so supportive and ready to go! As far as prep you get to do a few rehearsals then you shoot it and hope for the best.

1st  How do you improve your acting ability?

Tiffany: Just keep working, whether its watching movies, tv shows, going to acting class, just keep doing something that works that part of your brain. Right now it’s even doing theater, and producing for me. I just finished taking part in a 48-hour film festival and getting to see a project from start to finish and that was such a great learning experience for me.

1st  On “Geeking Out” what was it like working on this show?

Tiffany: Doing AMC’s Geeking Out was such an incredible experience for me. First off, having Kevin Smith suggest me for the show, in general, was something that meant so much to me. Being in the geek space is so interesting because I think still there are people who don’t think, based off of how someone looks or presents themselves, they can’t be a legit geek, but when someone who I and tons of other geek fans respect like Kevin Smith says no this is the girl, she knows her stuff! I mean I can’t even describe how that feels! And on top of that getting to know Greg who is one of the nicest guys around was icing on the cake. Being on set and talking to the 2 of them about all the stuff we love and then add in fantastic guests from the kids from Stranger Things or cast from Fear the Walking Dead, it was hard to call any day on set work!

1st  What two characters would you most like to Cosplay as?

Tiffany: I have been Miss Marvel, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Snow White, and Orc… I can’t pick two haha. Always changes, but one of my all time favorites is always Zatanna!

1st  Would you like to have Wonder Woman’s powers and abilities and what would you do with them?

Tiffany: If I had her powers all I would hope is that I could be anything close to the woman that Diana is. Loving, strong, beautiful, heroic and just true to myself. I think every woman or man anyone can connect to their inner Wonder Woman. That’s why I think that she is such an enduring character for so many.

1st  What is your outlook on life?

Tiffany: What would Wonder Woman do? hehe

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Weird Revisited: Toward A Taxonomy of Magic

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 11:00
The original verison of thie post appeared in September of 2011.


Discussion last week got me to thinking (tangentially) about different magic systems in media and how they might be categorizes. Maybe taking a closer look at these sorts of models might suggest variations for gaming systems? This analysis is in the formative stages, so bear with me here.

It seems to me that on one side we have ritual-based systems. Spells in these systems tend to be specific, discrete entities with distinct effects. Some sort of ritual (of varying levels of complexity) is involved in their production. Effects may be flashy and visual, but just as often there is no visible connection between caster and effect, other than the caster's ritual performance. Magical duels are games of "oneupmanship" with canny spell choice winning the day.  Various ritual magic systems in the real world are examples of this, as are many popular rpg systems. Card-based systems of various manga and anime (and the card games they support) would probably be a variant. Interestingly, this sort of system is otherwise not particularly common in media, though it is not new: Roger Corman's The Raven (1963) has a wizard duel of the ritual sort, though much less elaborate in terms of ritual than what would come later.


On the other end of the spectrum are energy-based systems. These portray magic as some force to be manipulated and wielded. Effects tend be very visible. There may be talk of spells or “cants” or “weaves,” but these tend to be portrayed more like maneuvers or techniques rather than strict formula. Magical duels are marked by a concern with the comparative "power levels" of the participant, not in the advantageousness or disadvantageousness of the spells they choose to employ.  Most comic book mages (outside of John Constantine) wield this kind of magic--and so does Green Lantern, for that matter. Many literary mages are off this type: The Aes Sedai in the Wheel of Time series, the Schoolmen in R. Scott Bakker’s Three Seas novels, and the Warren-tapping mages of Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series are all examples.

Of course, it’s a spectrum with many systems showing some elements of both. For example, Harry Potter magic has ritual, but the power level of individual mages is very important. Also, what characters say about there system is often not completely congruent with how they appear to work; Doctor Strange mentions a lot of spells and rituals, but the appearance of his magic tends to be energy manipulation.

Still, I haven’t been been able to think of one so far that does seem to fit. Obviously, there are other parameters to consider--external versus internal power source, for instances--but I think this divide is the most generalizable.

Wednesday Comics: Seven Soldiers

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 08/15/2018 - 11:00

The "metaseries" Seven Soldiers by Grant Morrison and various artists in getting the omnibus treatment later this month. You might want to go ahead and pre-order that. If you haven't read it, I think you will enjoy it. Morrison sort of re-imagines several DC characters (a preponderance of Kirby characters, but not all) and makes them a team that never actually teams up (once you read it that will make sense). The art by the likes of J.H. Williams III, Ryan Sook, and Frazier Irving (and that's not all) is really good.

If the omnibus format doesn't grab you, you can still get it as two hardcovers or paperbacks.

The Giant and the Rock

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:00
Our Land of Azurth 5e game continued last night, with the crew of the yellow submarine (which included the PCs) still trying to find their way to the Land of Under-Sea. Captain Cog has been stymied from getting their bearing by a tempest that drove them deep. When it lifted, they rose to the surface and found discovered a floating rock outcropping, like a asteroid in the atmosphere overhead. Even stranger, they were hailed from it by an imprisoned giant:


Calibrax (the giant) alleges that his flying island, Yufo, was stolen, and he was unjustly imprisoned here by a wizard named Phosphoro. Calibrax wishes to enlist the party's help in freeing him from the wizard's chains. When the party seems reluctant, he suggests they take the secret passage on the underside of the island to the wizard's sanctum and discover his villainy for themselves. That, the party agrees to do.

Using Kairon's broom of flying, they fly up and open the hatch. They discover a passageway where they are weightless and a brass whistle floating inside. The bard Kully manages to find the right note to have them whisked into a strange, spherical structure, divided up into rooms. They explore the rooms and discovered several magic items before trying to open a door with a jewel encrusted design.


Waylon the frogling touches the design and finds himself in a maze, being hunted by a bronze minotaur. He must touch the gem stones found across the maze in the right order to escape. With the help of his friends, he manages to do that. The puzzle solved and the door opens to a banquet hall.

Strange music beguiles half the party and a blue-skinned woman shows up to taunt and threaten them. She is the wizards servant, Ariella. Before she can decided what to do with them, she is summoned away. Next they are greeted by the wizard's daughter, Randa. She reveals her father was ruler of a distant world, but his throne was usurped. They have been traveling "by circuitous, subconscious routes," never approaches their home by the direct path, so as not to be detected. They have been returning for "eons." Randa says Calibrax's crime was aggressively seeking her hand.


She offers to take the party to her quarters where they can rest away from Ariella's tricks, and they agree.

Indiana Jones Judge's Survival Pack

Sorcerer's Skull - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 14:00

When I did my retro-review of the TSR Indiana Jones role-playing game, I mentioned the much cited fact that it doesn't have character generation rules, but noted that it did in its first supplement. It's worth taking a look at that supplement, because it has some other interesting stuff there.

The Indiana Jones Judge's Survival Pack (IJAC1) is a slim supplement (16 pages), but all contains a "supplemental" Judge's Screen with repeated information on old and new weapons, and stats for common animals and vehicles. Then there's the making of a cardboard device to allow to show the results a various sorts of checks, which seems more trouble to put together than it's probably worth.

Anyway, the first topic tackled in the main book is character generation, and it runs only one page. You roll ability score on percentile die, improve them with 30 points to spread around (but nothing can be increased above 70, though you obviously can roll over 70). Then, you determine your broad background (Education, Soldiering, and Real World), then select skills. Interestingly, the Education and Real World skills are on a chart with no dice rolls next to it, suggesting you choose them, while Soldiering does have dice rolls. Since the directions are identical, I assume this was an oversight.

The next section would be of particular interest to old school procedure-lovers: Random Ruins. It has tables that determine basic history, some architectural features, items of interest, creatures or hazards encountered, and tables of "dungeonmorphs" for room and hallway configurations. It's compact but flavorful, and might be useful for GMs in other genres, at least for some random inspiration building.

Next, the chase rules from the main book are expanded. The chase rules are a set of procedures often cited as one of the interesting thing about the game. This adds new location flowcharts (including rooftop chase for foot chases), and adds some flow stunt rules for really aggressive driving or things like trapeze swings and vaulting for foot chases.

The last couple of pages were probably interesting or somewhat useful in the pre-internet days, but all now just filler. There's chart of ancient scripts including cunieform, hieroglyphics, and runes, then a page of small maps of real life ruins/site maps.

The Judge's Survival Pack would have been an essential aid for a referee actually running Indiana Jones. Gamers playing other games still might find its random ruins or chase rules usual, the the latter would also require the basic game.

Impish Misadventures

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 08/10/2018 - 11:00

I've had this idea for a game for a while, but haven't done anything with it yet, but I thought writing it down would insure I don't forget it.

The high concept would be: "C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters meets GURPS Goblins." It would be an infernal Horatio Alger story (or parody thereof) where young imps try to get ahead in Hell's hierarchy by misadventure, toadying, and blind luck. They would be abused and give out abuse and probably come to comedically horrible ends--only to be respawned in the larvae pools and start their Sisyphean climb to archdevil-hood once again.

The rules would need to be simple, but (like GURPS Goblins) flavorful, and I imagine gameplay as something like (GURPS Goblins) with a bit of Paranoia and D&D with a pinch of Planescape.

Armchair Planet Who's Who Update

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 11:00
Art by Agus Calcagno
There's been a bit of a lull in the posting on the Armchair Planet Who's Who superhero supplement, but work proceeds. Here are a couple of new pieces of art to prove it! Since designer's notes seem to be the new hip thing (at least according to G+ discussion), I wanted to say a bit about my approach to the writing of it, beyond the game stats side of things.

Like Strange Stars, the Who's Who is meant to suggest a world rather than completely describe it. Unlike Strange Stars, it does it almost entirely through characters, and specifically the presentation of character like the DC Who's Who or similar to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. This means there might be more detail on a given character (maybe) than you need at the table, but you can always flip the page and go straight to the game stats. Or, you can read the text and get hints of the superhero universe the characters inhabit, and perhaps a sort of meta view of the different "ages" f the fictional comic book company that published them. (We won't dwell on the hypothetical Armchair Planet Comics. The only textual appearance of it will be in the "first appearances" of characters, which can be easily ignored if you find such conceits too precious.)

So you might read about the Abhumans making their home in an abandoned city of the ancient Hyperboreans or learn that Thunderhawk once teamed up with those motorcycle-riding, crimefighting ladies, the Avenging Angels, but you won't find entries for either Avenging Angels or Hyperboreans, or for the teen-humor-comic-refugee band, The Tomorrows, that Futura shares a house with. Context will hopefully be enough to get your creative juices flowing and you don't need me over-specifying homages to various fictional entities you're already aware of. If your version is substantially different than the one I came up with, well that's just fine.

Also, the characters themselves, while all fitting a late Bronze Age DC mold have hints of the eras they were likely "born" in built into them. Some have origins that clearly saw their earliest versions in the Golden Age (like Champion), while others (like Damselfly) show telltale signs of (multiple) later eras. My goal was less a consistent comics universe than a naturalistic one, though like any good handbook of the mid-80s, I've smoothed over the incongruities to make it look coherent. Which is to say, I wrote it like incongruities were being smoothed over.

As I write this, it all sounds a bit metatextual, but I don't think the finished product will require that level of engagement. Also, I feel like superhero role-playing is a genre that has always had a bit of metatextuality to it. If comics history easter eggs and homages can be put to use in springboarding the creation, well maybe, if used with restraint, they might serve a purpose.

Art by Chris Malgrain

Wednesday Comics: Storm: The Living Planet (part 4)

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 11:00
My exploration of the long-running euro-comic Storm, continues with his adventures in the world of Pandarve. Earlier installments can be found here.


Storm: The Living Planet (1986) (part 4)
(Dutch: De Levende Planeet)
Art by Don Lawrence; script by Martin Lodewijk

Thanks to his rescue of the daughter of the crew member, the captain agrees to let him try his plan to kill the fire worm, despite the fact he's an escaped debtor. However, Ember is held hostage and put in peril to unsure he's not playing tricks:


Storm climbs on board one of the flyers with one of the pilots and arms himself with a harpoon.  When he sends a harpoon down the creatures throat, it explodes internally, where the worm has no armor:


Their flying mount is hit by pieces of the flying worm and is going down.


The current makes the animals body rigid, and they are able to walk down its wing to rescue before it is consumed by the lava. They are greeted as heroes. Ember is set free. They are debtors no more.

Storm, as the worm's killer is offered the honor of drinking one of it's eyes. Storm demures.

The Captain now has to figure out what to do with Storm and the other freed debtors. Before they can complete the conversation, both Ember and Storm began to choke and ultimately collapse!


TO BE CONTINUED

Weird Revisited: Antediluvian Apocalyptic

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 11:00
The original version of this post appeared in November of 2015. It's an idea I revisited from a slightly different angle about a year later.
"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
                                                      - Genesis 6:5Think Carcosa is the only horrifying milieu for gonzo adventure fantasy? Ditch the mutli-colored men (maybe) and get Biblical, Old Testament style.

Before the Flood, (the book of Genesis tells us) humankind was exceedingly wicked, which is a good way for them to be for adventuring, really. And there were giants (gibborim) in the earth, and the Nephilim (either giants or fallen angels, or the children of fallen angels. Or something.), who were "mighty men or men of renown." Talking serpents from Eden were still probably around somewhere. And though the Bible doesn't mention they specifically, any good creationist will tell you there were dinosaurs. Check out this I'm sure meticulously researched timeline:

(source)It's not hard to imagine a sword and sandals (plus sorcery) or barbaric sort of world were weird Antediluvian beasts and human-angel hybrids run rampant--and apocalypse hangs over it all. It's like Afronosky's Noah meets The Road. Or Hok the Mighty meets Blood Meridian. The Aaron/Guera comic The Goddamned approaches this same era, and it has a Nephilim eat Cain in the first story arc. (It does not turn out so well for the Nephilim.)

Actually Masters of the Universe, but this fits.

Comic Book Implosion

Sorcerer's Skull - Sun, 08/05/2018 - 14:00

In 1978, DC Comics enacted a plan to compensate for problems in the newsstand market and hopefully regain market dominance from Marvel called "The DC Explosion." The plan failed in short order, leading to cancellation of a number of titles and staff layoffs and has been derisively referred to as the "DC Implosion." A new book from TwoMorrows, Comic Book Implosion, written by Keith Dallas and John Wells describes itself as an oral history of DC Comics in the era.

Comic Book Implosion chronicles the basic facts: the state of the comics industry before the Explosion and the discussions that led to it. The surprise success of Star Wars and its associated comic, interesting, is one things given a bit of discussion. We also get full coverage about what was planned for the Explosion that never happened, including what never saw print and what characters wound up at other publishers.

What might be surprising (and more interesting) are some of the conclusions. Major blizzards in the Northeast in 1977-1978 may have strangled the Explosion in its crib. No one was in a position to benefit from DC's failure; Marvel was forced to cancel about sixteen titles in the same period. Dallas and Wells argue ultimately that it was the economics of the newsstand that was killing the comics industry as it had been known. Kahn's thinking behind the Explosion was correct in many ways, but came at the wrong time and in too small a measure.


All in all, Comic Book Implosion makes for a really interesting read.


Jungian-Gygaxian Alignment

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 08/03/2018 - 12:26

I still have to do some thinking on all the implications, but mull this chart over as I do. It shows Jungian Archetypes super-imposed with the AD&D alignment axis.

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