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First Comics News - Mon, 01/27/2020 - 21:42

NEW CLASSIC-STYLE STORY: When Mr. Weatherbee gives Archie and Jug the option of community service over detention, the boys volunteer with Riverdale’s Wildlife Control Dept. just in time for a rogue bear to take up residence in Pickens Park! A trap is set–and so is the stage! What could POSSIBLY go wrong?!
Script: Jack Morelli
Art: Pat and Tim Kennedy, Bob Smith, Glenn Whitmore, Jack Morelli
Cover: Bill Galvan, Ben Galvan, Rosario “Tito” Peña
On Sale Date: 1/29
192-page, full color comic
$7.99 U.S.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Talislanta: In Zandu

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 01/27/2020 - 12:00
Art by P.D. Breeding-Black
The land Zandu and it's people are relatives of the Aamanians, but the opposite side of the coin. Tamerlin tells us they are "eccentric and uninhibited" and "enhance their features with vividly colored pigments, adorn their hair with silver bands and dress in flamboyant apparel" to express their individuality. Where Aamanian society is uniform except for class, several factions of Zandir are described.

The entries on Zandu are no help with the Aamanian skin-color dilemma, however. The archetype descriptions across most editions say they have "topaz skin" (as they do for the Aamanians), but the setting text only says they "bear a marked physical resemblance to the Aamanians, both being descended from the copper-skinned Phaedrans." As mentioned before, the 4th edition attempts to resolve this by given the Zandir "copper or cinnabar" skin, and the 5th edition just says copper for everybody."I respond to three questions," stated the augur. "For twenty terces I phrase the answer in clear and actionable language; for ten I use the language of cant, which occasionally admits of ambiguity; for five, I speak a parable which you must interpret as you will; and for one terce, I babble in an unknown tongue." - The Dying Earth, Jack VancePerhaps the most interesting aspect of Zandu is its state religion, Paradoxism (or Paradoxy, as Tamerlin would have it). The Paradoxists  "profess to be mystified by their own existence." The central text  of the faith is "The Great Mysteries (author unknown), a lengthy book filled with over 100,000 questions, and no answers." The Paradoxist writ is named The Book of Mysteries from the Cyclopedia vol. 4 on. There are no Paradoxist priests, but wizards serve as seers for the faith. Outside of Zandu, these wizards "are largely thought of as frauds and impostors."
French Talislanta artParadoxy gets most detail in CTv4. It may contradict Tamerlin's original account by naming the founder of the philosophy as Zand, though this is ambiguous. I suppose he might not have been the author of the foundational text. While Paradoxy has no central deity or Pantheon, CTv4 introduces the idea of the Ten Thousand, which is the poetic name (there number is unspecified and ever changing) of the syncretized "saints, heroes, and deities" incorporated into Paradoxist practice.
"No fear of that. Cath has no laws, only customs, which seems to suit the Yao well enough."
- Servants of the Wankh, Jack VanceAll of that is the good stuff in the noncanonical CTv4, but it also has a tendency to present Zandu as the good guys with Aaman as the villains. There are hints of this in other Talislanta products, but it is the most present here. I think this is a mistake. Zandu is certainly more into personal freedom than Aaman, but it's ruled be an absolute despot and a capricious one to boot! It's a place where disagreements are often handled with duels.

I think Zandu works best if it is as frightening as Aaman in its own way. The culture of the Yao as presented in Vance's Planet of Adventure series would certainly be a strong inspiration. The libertarian, but baroque culture bound society of Sirene in Vance's "The Moon Moth" would be an influence here, too.

Paradoxy is, in many ways, more interesting than Orthodoxy, because it seems like it could come in so many flavors from absurd ascetism (not very popular) to lampoon's of New Age-y faddishness. I imagine variants of Paradoxy rise and fall like gods in Lankhmar (see "Lean Times in Lankhmar.") As to its seers being charlatans, well, I mostly take that to mean they have no more spiritual connection than anybody else, but their wizardry is likely real.

RICH REVIEWS: Betty and Veronica Friends Forever # 1: What If…?

First Comics News - Mon, 01/27/2020 - 04:26

Title: Betty and Veronica Friends Forever # 1: What If…?
Publisher: Archie Comics
Stories: Bill Golliher
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Rich Koslowski
Letters: Jack Morelli
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Cover: Dan Parent
Price: $ 2.99 US
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Comments: “What if…Jughead was the one the girl’s where after?!” Jughead’s position and Archie’s are reversed here. Betty and Veronica are after Jughead. Well, Jughead still has his appetite. Poor Archie is now a secondary character. Things are off that way and the Universe does work in mysterious ways so one thing leads to another and things seem so much better.
“What if…Betty and Veronica had Magical Powers?” The two girls Betty and Veronica may have powers yet they use them only to win Archie. They may have powers but if they do, do others too? Sabrina makes a short guest appearance.
“What if…Betty was the rich one?” Betty is rich and Veronica poor here. The universe does have a way of balancing out. Betty does make for a nicer rich snob than Veronica ever did.
“What if…Archie had an Identical Twin?” His twin now is his twin so with a little prodding they become twins in not only looks but personality. Well almost, Bart may be a better Archie than Archie.
This comic is a fun take on what if something was different in Riverdale. They offer fun glimpses into things that could be.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

The Combined Best Comics & Graphic Novels of 2019!

First Comics News - Mon, 01/27/2020 - 04:24
Over the last few months there have been many, many websites with “Best of 2019” lists concerning comic books, manga and graphic novels. If you’ve looked at a few, you may have noticed some of the same books on different lists and seen some unique to only that list.

I went through over 208 different URLs with “Best Of” Lists regarding comics and combined them into a spreadsheet. There are almost 3,200 different listings of books from these websites. I should note that I’ve included books that were given honorable mentions. In short, if somebody thought it was a good book that you should check out, it’s on here. Pivot tables have been created to show which books appeared on the number of lists. Here are the books with 5 mentions or more:

Book Title Count Writer Artist Publisher House of X/Powers of X 61 Jonathan Hickman Pepe Larraz, R.B. Silva, Marte Gracia Marvel Comics Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me 55 Mariko Tamaki Rosemary Valero-O’Connell First Second The Immortal Hulk 42 Al Ewing Joe Bennet Marvel Comics The Hard Tomorrow 34 Eleanor Davis Eleanor Davis Drawn & Quarterly They Called Us Enemy 31 George Takei, Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott Harmony Becker Top Shelf Productions Die 31 Kieron Gillen Stephanie Hans Image Comics Rusty Brown 28 Chris Ware Chris Ware Pantheon Guts 28 Raina Telgemeier Raina Telgemeier Graphix These Savage Shores 26 Ram V Sumit Kumar Vault Comics Little Bird 25 Darcy Van Poelgeest Ian Bertram Image Comics New Kid 24 Jerry Craft Jerry Craft Quill Tree Books DCeased 24 Tom Taylor Trevor Hairsine, Neil Edwards DC Comics Are You Listening? 23 Tillie Walden Tillie Walden First Second When I Arrived At The Castle 22 Emily Carroll Emily Carroll Koyama Press The River at Night 22 Kevin Huizenga Kevin Huizenga Drawn & Quarterly Once & Future 21 Kieron Gillen Dan Mora, Tamra Bonvillain BOOM! Studios Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen 20 Matt Fraction Steve Lieber DC Comics Clyde Fans 20 Seth Seth Drawn & Quarterly Spider-Man: Life Story 19 Chip Zdarsky Mark Bagley Marvel Comics Daredevil 19 Chip Zdarsky Marco Checchetto, Lalit Kumar Sharma, & Jorge Fornes Marvel Comics Criminal 19 Ed Brubaker Sean Phillips Image Comics Stargazing 19 Jen Wang Jen Wang First Second Green Lantern 18 Grant Morrison Liam Sharp DC Comics Hot Comb 18 Ebony Flowers Ebony Flowers Drawn & Quarterly Bloom 18 Kevin Panetta Savanna Ganucheau First Second Is This How You See Me? 17 Jaime Hernandez Jaime Hernandez Fantagraphics Gender Queer 17 Maia Kobabe Maia Kobabe Lion Forge BTTM FDRS 17 Ezra Claytan Daniels Ben Passmore Fantagraphics Silver Surfer: Black 16 Donny Cates Tradd Moore & Dave Stewart Marvel Comics Middlewest 16 Skottie Young Jorge Corona Image Comics Gideon Falls 16 Jeff Lemire Andrea Sorrentino Image Comics Kid Gloves 16 Lucy Knisley Lucy Knisley Fantagraphics This Was Our Pact 16 Ryan Andrews Ryan Andrews First Second Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations 15 Mira Jacob Mira Jacob One World Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass 15 Mariko Tamaki Steve Pugh DC Comics Naomi 14 Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker Jamal Campbell DC Comics Pumpkinheads 14 Rainbow Rowell Faith Erin Hicks First Second Queen of the Sea 14 Dylan Meconis Dylan Meconis Walker Books Bitter Root 14 David F. Walker, Chuck Brown Sanford Greene Image Comics Crowded 14 Christopher Sebela Ro Stein, Ted Brandt Image Comics Mister Miracle 13 Tom King Mitch Gerads DC Comics Making Comics 12 Lynda Barry Lynda Barry Drawn & Quarterly Batman: Last Knight On Earth 12 Scott Snyder Greg Capullo DC Comics The Wicked + The Divine 12 Kieron Gillen Jamie Mckelvie, Matt Wilson Image Comics Invisible Kingdom 11 G. Willow Wilson Christian Ward, Christian Ward Dark Horse Comics Pittsburgh 11 Frank Santoro Frank Santoro New York Review Books Paper Girls 11 Brian K. Vaughan Cliff Chiang, Matthew Wilson Image Comics Best Friends 11 Shannon Hale LeUyen Pham First Second Witch Hat Atelier 11 Kamome Shirahama Kamome Shirahama Kodansha Comics Giant Days 11 John Allison Max Sarin BOOM! Studios Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man 10 Tom Taylor Juan Cabal Marvel Comics Lois Lane 10 Greg Rucka Mike Perkin DC Comics Something Is Killing the Children 10 James Tynion IV Werther Dell’edera, Miquel Muerto BOOM! Studios Assassin Nation 10 Kyle Starks Erica Henderson Image Comics Superman Smashes The Klan 10 Gene Luen Yang Gurihiru DC Comics Murder Falcon 10 Daniel Warren Johnson Daniel Warren Johnson Image Comics X-Men 9 Jonathan Hickman Leinil Francis Yu Marvel Comics Batman: Curse of the White Knight 9 Sean Murphy Sean Murphy DC Comics Second Coming 9 Mark Russell Cayetano Valenzuela, Richard Pace Ahoy Comics This Woman’s Work 9 Julie Delporte Julie Delporte Drawn & Quarterly White Bird 9 R.J. Palacio R.J. Palacio Knopf Books for Young Readers Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt 9 Kieron Gillen Caspar Wijngaard Dynamite Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare 9 Yuhki Kamatani Yuhki Kamatani Seven Seas Entertainment Blackbird 9 Sam Humphries Jen Bartel Image Comics The Plot 9 Tim Daniel, Michael Moreci Joshua Hixson Vault Comics The White Trees 9 Chip Zdarsky Kris Anka Image Comics Kiss Number 8 9 Colleen AF Venable Ellen T. Crenshaw First Second Doomsday Clock 9 Geoff Johns Gary Frank, Brad Anderson DC Comics I Was Their American Dream 9 Malaka Gharib Malaka Gharib Clarkson Potter Coda 9 Simon Spurrier Matias Bergara BOOM! Studios Nancy: A Comic Collection 8 Olivia James Olivia James Andrews McMeel Publishing Absolute Carnage 8 Donny Cates Ryan Stegman Marvel Comics Mooncakes 8 Suzanne Walker Wendy Xu Oni Press Clue: Candlestick 8 Dash Shaw Dash Shaw IDW Publishing Leaving Richard’s Valley 8 Michael DeForge Michael DeForge Drawn & Quarterly Captain Marvel 8 Kelly Thompson Lee Garbett, Carmen Carnero, James Stokoe, Annapaola Martello Marvel Comics Ascender 8 Jeff Lemire Dustin Nguyen Image Comics Ice Cream Man 8 W. Maxwell Prince Martin Morazzo Image Comics Batman 8 Tom King Various DC Comics Blank Canvas: My So-Called Artist’s Journey 8 Akiko Higashimura Akiko Higashimura Seven Seas Entertainment Cats Of The Louvre 8 Taiyo Matsumoto Taiyo Matsumoto VIZ Media The Okay Witch 8 Emma Steinkellner Emma Steinkellner Aladdin Books Grass 8 Keum Suk Gendry-Kim Keum Suk Gendry-Kim Drawn & Quarterly Bad Gateway 8 Simon Hanselmann Simon Hanselmann Fantagraphics Buffy the Vampire Slayer 7 Jordie Bellaire Dan Mora, Raul Angulo BOOM! Studios Harleen 7 Stjepan Sejic Stjepan Sejic DC Comics Marauders 7 Gerry Duggan Matteo Lolli Marvel Comics Road of Bones 7 Rich Douek Alex Cormack IDW Publishing Sentient 7 Jeff Lemire Gabriel Walta TKO Studios Frogcatchers 7 Jeff Lemire Jeff Lemire Gallery 13 Runaways 7 Rainbow Rowell Various Marvel Comics Conan the Barbarian 7 Jason Aaron Mahmud Asrar, Gerrardo Zaffino and Garry Brown Marvel Comics A Fire Story 7 Brian Fies Brian Fies Harry N. Abrams The Handmaid’s Tale 7 Margaret Atwood Renée Nault Nan A. Talese Dial H for Hero 7 Sam Humphries Arist Devn, Joe Quinones DC Comics Sobek 7 James Stokoe James Stokoe Shortbox Venom 7 Donny Cates Ryan Stegman, Mark Bagley, Iban Coello Marvel Comics Justice League 7 Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV Jorge Jimenez, Francis Manapul DC Comics In Waves 7 A.J. Dungo A.J. Dungo Nobrow Waves 7 Ingrid Chabbert Carole Maurel Archaia Komi Can’t Communicate 6 Tomohito Oda Tomohito Oda VIZ Media Ironheart 6 Eve Ewing Lucian Vecchio Marvel Comics The Batman Who Laughs 6 Scott Snyder Jock, David Baron DC Comics Money Shot 6 Tim Seeley, Sarah Beattie Rebekah Isaacs Vault Comics King Thor 6 Jason Aaron Esad Ribić, Ive Svorcina Marvel Comics Snow, Glass, Apples 6 Neil Gaiman Colleen Doran Dark Horse Comics Sabrina the Teenage Witch 6 Kelly Thompson Veronica Fish Archie Comics Cannabis: The Illegalization of Weed in America 6 Box Brown Box Brown First Second Bradley of Him 6 Connor Willumsen Connor Willumsen Koyama Press The War of the Realms 6 Jason Aaron Russell Dauterman Marvel Comics Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel 6 Rey Terciero Bre Indigo Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Fearscape 6 Ryan O’Sullivan Andrea Mutti Vault Comics Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 6 Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz Various IDW Publishing East of West 6 Jonathan Hickman Nick Dragotta Image Comics Thor 6 Jason Aaron Mike del Mundo Marvel Comics The Walking Dead 6 Robert Kirkman Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn Image Comics Off Season 6 James Sturm James Sturm Drawn & Quarterly Copra 6 Michel Fiffe Michel Fiffe Image Comics Sara 6 Garth Ennis Steve Epting, Elizabeth Breitweiser TKO Studios The Drifting Classroom HC 5 Kazuo Umezz Kazuo Umezz VIZ Media Outer Darkness 5 John Layman Afu Chan Image Comics Angel 5 Bryan Edward Hill Gleb Melnikov, Gabriel Cassata BOOM! Studios Internet Crusader 5 George Wylesol George Wylesol Avery Hill Publishing X-Force 5 Benjamin Percy Joshua Cassara Marvel Comics Far Sector 5 N.K. Jemisin Jamal Campbell DC Comics Commute: An Illustrated Memoir of Female Shame 5 Erin Williams Erin Williams Harry N. Abrams For Real 5 James Romberger James Romberger Uncivilized Books Bezimena 5 Nina Bunjevac Nina Bunjevac Fantagraphics How I Tried To Be A Good Person 5 Ulli Lust Ulli Lust Fantagraphics Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Crisis in a Half Shell #6 5 James Tynion IV Freddie E. Williams I, Jeremy Colwell, Kevin Eastman IDW Publishing Meet the Skrulls 5 Robbie Thompson Marcos Martin Marvel Comics Kramer’s Ergot #10 5 Various Various Fantagraphics Faithless 5 Brian Azzarello Maria Llovet BOOM! Studios Bury the Lede 5 Gaby Dunn Claire Roe BOOM! Studios Excellence 5 Brandon Thomas Khary Randolph, Emilio Lopez Image Comics Drawing Power: Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival 5 Various Various Harry N. Abrams The Unstoppable Wasp 5 Jeremy Whitley Gurihiru Marvel Comics Cannonball 5 Kelsey Wroten Kelsey Wroten Uncivilized Books Usagi Yojimbo 5 Stan Sakai Stan Sakai IDW Publishing The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol 4: The Tempest 5 Alan Moore Kevin O’Neill Top Shelf Productions Amazing Spider-Man 5 Nick Spencer, Clay Chapman, Zeb Wells, Keaton Patti Various Marvel Comics Reincarnation Stories 5 Kim Deitch Kim Deitch Fantagraphics Penny Nichols 5 M.K. Reed, Greg Means Matt Wiegle Top Shelf Productions Grip 5 Lale Westvind Lale Westvind Perfectly Acceptable Press Wasted Space 5 Michael Moreci Hayden Sherman Vault Comics I Know What I Am: The Life and Times of Artemisia Gentileschi 5 Gina Siciliano Gina Siciliano Fantagraphics American Carnage 5 Bryan Hill Leandro Fernandez DC Comics Beastars 5 Paru Itagaki Paru Itagaki VIZ Media Alienation 5 Inés Estrada Inés Estrada Fantagraphics Swimming In Darkness 5 Lucas Harari Lucas Harari Arsenal Pulp Press Monstress 5 Marjorie Liu Sana Takeda Image Comics Operatic 5 Kyo Maclear Byron Eggenschwiler Groundwood Books Skip 5 Molly Mendoza Molly Mendoza Nobrow Creation 5 Sylvia Nickerson Sylvia Nickerson Drawn & Quarterly Pilu of the Woods 5 Mai K. Nguyen Mai K. Nguyen Oni Press Black Hammer: Age of Doom 5 Jeff Lemire Dean Ormston, Dave Stewart Dark Horse Comics King of King Court 5 Travis Dandro Travis Dandro Drawn & Quarterly Cosmoknights 5 Hannah Templer Hannah Templer Top Shelf Productions Marvel Comics #1000 5 Various Various Marvel Comics Friendo 5 Alex Paknadel Martin Simmonds Vault Comics The Wild Storm 5 Warren Ellis Jon Davis Hunt DC Comics Canto 5 David M. Booher Drew Zucker IDW Publishing

The full spreadsheet with pivot tables for books, writers, artists, publishers and more is available here.

Regarding Publishers:

This year DC Comics was the most popular publisher with 97 different titles.

Marvel was 2nd place with 83 different titles.

Image dropped to 3rd with 78 different titles.

Dark Horse had 43 different titles.

Fantagraphics  had 41 different titles.

55 Self-Published books made the list too.


One thing I tried be more consistent with this year was using the imprint name with publishers. In the past I would put EG Raina Telgemeier’s books under the umbrella company name Scholastic instead of it’s imprint name Graphix, then I would put First Second books under imprint name First Second and not their umbrella company name of Macmillan. Now they are all under the imprint name and that applies to comic book publishers as well.

Where a reviewer/writer wrote ‘best of’ lists for multiple websites, I’ve cross referenced their lists and removed books that were named twice. I did not think it would be fair if those writers could tip the popularity scale by naming the same book(s) over and over again on multiple websites. Sadly, there was an increase of websites publishing lists with no credit to who (or whom) created the list. In those cases I marked them as Unknown but the practice of not crediting writers is a shameful one.

If a writer wrote for multiple sites, but one of those sites picks was a group effort, I did not remove books that are listed twice.

I generally did not include lists that were a mixed of prose books and graphic novels unless there were a significant number of graphic novels on the list.

I did not use lists where the website was not in English and the books appeared to be translated versions.

With inkers and colourists I often, but not always included them within the Artist section. Where there were multiple (usually more than 5) involved in a book, or in the title’s run over the course of the year, various was used instead of listing them all. In some cases I combined those involved even if they worked on the title for different issues.

For simplicity sake, if a list named a specific comic book issue or specific volume of a graphic novel, I removed those specifics and just listed the series title, with rare exceptions. The same goes with issue #s. The vast majority of reviewers listed House of X and Powers of X as one series. There were a few odd cases of a reviewer picking a single issue or only one of those series, I’ve listed them as the combined House of X/Powers of X. Also, 4 people chose Bad Weekend: Criminal – I changed it to just Criminal as that’s what most reviewers picked. My apologies to the reviewers of those books.

Some reviewers included books that were published in 2018 or earlier. Normally the amount of times these books were mentioned isn’t significant but this year one book is. Mister Miracle which was popular on last years list (when it was running as a comic book) is also popular on this years list when it was collected and published as a graphic novel.

Most of the lists were general ‘best/favourite books’ of 2019, but I also included lists dedicated to young readers, manga, LGBTQ+, etc… What type list is noted on column B in the spreadsheet.

A small number of lists also had rankings and those are included in Column C.

This list of websites this list is compiled from:

411 Mania Adventures In Poor Taste Advocate Affino–stefan/best-of-entertainment-for-2019—albums-songs-movies-tv-and-graphic-novels Already has another list? Amazon Animo Apps Animo Apps Animo Apps Animo Apps Animo Apps Animo Apps Animo Apps Austin Texas Library AutoStraddle AV Club Berkeley Place Big Comic Page Big Comics Page Big Shiny Robot Black Sci-Fi Booklist Booklist Bookriot Borg Broken Frontier Brooklyn Public Library But Why Tho? But Why Tho? CBC Chicago Public Library Comic Attack Comic Attack Comic Book Herald Comic Book Lounge Comic Book Revolution Comic Front Line Comic Frontline Comic Frontline Comic Frontline Comicbook ComicBooked Comicon Comicon Comicon Comicon Comics and More Comics Bookcase Comics Bookcase Comics Bookcase Comics Bookcase Comics Bookcase Comics Bookcase Comics Bookcase Comics Bulletin Comics Bulletin Comics The Gathering ComicsBeat Cosmic Comics Cybils Den of Geek Denver Library Doom Rocket Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore Entertainment Weekly Entropy Fantagraphics Folio Forbes Four Color Apocalypse Four Color Apocalypse Four Color Apocalypse Four Color Apocalypse Four Color Apocalypse Four Color Apocalypse Fox Force Five News Free Library of Philadelphia Fully Booked Gamespot Geek Cast Radio Geek Hard Show Geekade Gizmodo Glaad Good Reads Gosh! Gosh! Graphic Novel Resources Graphic Policy Grovel Heroic Girls Hipinion Hipinion Hollywood Reporter Horror DNA Horror News Network Horror News Network Horror News Network Horror News Network Huffington Post India Hyperallergic IGN IGN IGN Imagination Soup Imagination Soup Inside Pulse Iowa City Public Library Jenn Haines Picks John Lees Kinder Comics Kirkus Levelup Entertainment Library Journal Los Angeles Public Library Manga Worth Reading Monkeys Fighting Robots Multiversity Comics Multiversity Comics Multiversity Comics Multiversity Comics Multiversity Comics Multiversity Comics Multiversity Comics Multiversity Comics Multiversity Comics Multiversity Comics Multiversity Comics Multnomah County Library Nerdy Book Club New Retro Wave New York Public Library New York Times New York Times Newsarama Nijomu NPR Omaha Public Library Outright Geekery Outright Geekery Panel Patter Panel Patter Panel Patter Panel Patter Panel Patter Panel Patter Paste Paul’s Picks Pipe Dream Comics Pipeline Comics Polygon Pop Matters Pop Matters Powells Publisher’s Weekly Publisher’s Weekly Publisher’s Weekly Rad Raptor Rad Raptor Rad Raptor Rad Raptor Ranker Read Brightly Reading with a flight ring Readings Ready Steady Cut Salon Sam Noir Picks School Library Journal School Library Journal School Library Journal Screen Rant Screen Rant Screen Rant Shortlist Skokie Library Sliver of Ice Soda and Telepaths SyFy Syfy Texas Library Association Texas Library Association The Comics Journal The Globe and Mail (paywall) The Good Men Project The Guardian The Guardian The Herald The Herald The Irish Times The London Free Press The Oklamian The Oklamian The Quietus The Strand The Turnaround Blog Thrillist Villain Media Waking Brain Cells Washington Post What Culture Why So Blu? Wired YA Book Nerd YALSA YALSA Yuricon
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

WWE Royal Rumble 2020 results

First Comics News - Mon, 01/27/2020 - 04:18
Royal Rumble 2020

Sheamus def. Shorty G

United States Championship

Andrade (c) def. Humberto Carrillo

Falls count anywhere match

Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin

Women’s Royal Rumble match

Winner: Charlotte Flair

SmackDown Women’s Championship

Bayley (c) def. Lacey Evans

Universal Championship – Strap match

“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) def. Daniel Bryan

Raw Women’s Championship

Becky Lynch (c) def. Asuka

Men’s Royal Rumble match

Winner: Drew McIntyre

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Talislanta: The Iron of Arim

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 12:00
"...a suspicious folk, who flourish their knives at a harsh word. At night they strike without provocation."
- The Dirdir, Jack VanceArim in the West of Talislanta is described in The Chronicles as "a grey and windy realm" of "rough and irregular hills." The Handbook (1987) tells us it's people are: "a dour and moody folk who find no joy in song, dance or revelry. They drink heavily, favoring chakos, a bitter and metallic tasting liquor." They're neither lookers nor snappy dressers, as Tamerlin observes:
They are swarthy of complexion, with long black hair and dark, deep-set eyes. The men tend to be gaunt and wiry, with glaring countenances and hatchet-like features; the women, heavy-set and lacking in charm. The customary mode of dress in this region defies all concept of fashion, and consists primarily of sackcloth garments, animal hide boots, bulky fur vests, and wristbands, knives, and ear-rings made of dull, black iron.This description is largely ignored in later editions where they tend to present Arimites as well-muscled, relatively attractive folk.

Arimites are mostly miners, but this is usually only mentioned in passing to get to the more interesting stuff: Arimites' fame as skilled knife-fighters and their secret Revenant cult. The Chronicle describes the Revenants  as "members of a secret society who specialize in carrying out acts of vengeance for their clients." Tamerlin reports that they have subspecialties in various "forms of revenge from delivering insults and threats to arson, coercion, muggings and murder-for-hire." Later editions tend to emphasize their roll as assassins, implying that that's all they do.

The deuterocanonical Cyclopedia Talislanta vol. IV gives information on the structure of Revenant Cult's cells and mentions a mysterious High Revenant that rules them all. Third edition says this leader is an assassin-mage who lives in a mountain top sanctum, which seems unlikely given the preponderance of evidence indicating the Arimites are poor mages. All editions agree that the Revenants are the de facto rulers of Arim, in that the nominal ruler, the Exarch, refuses to leave the Forbidden City of Ahrazahd out of fear of them. The Exarch, for what it's worth, is not very popular among his people.

The Cyclopedia holds that Arimites worship or perhaps revere Destiny, or have a few of cults that do. Fourth edition says they are agnostics.

The Arimites have the gloomy environment of Robert E. Howard's Cimmerians and elements of a number of hill or mountain folk. They've got a thing for knives like the Afghans of pulp tradition with their Khyber knives, though the Arimites mostly use throwing knives. They're miners, and prone to feuding and substance abuse, traits often associated with Appalachian folk. I say play up that stuff and add a bit from the Khors of Vance's Tshcai--see the quote at the start, and here's another: "they consider garrulity a crime against nature."

The Revenants at times seem to be trying to draw on the Persian Order of Assassins and maybe even the ninja. I'm okay with that, as long as a hillbilly element is played up. I also like the Vancian absurdity of them doing acts of vengeance besides murdering people.

Exarch as the title of Arim's ruler is interesting. Since it's a Byzantine title for a governor of a territory, it suggests to me that the earliest exarchs were perhaps barbarian stoogies of the Phaedran Empire. A "Forbidden City" is an odd detail for hillfolk, but I assume it's more a fortified town and the Exarch is more a chieftain or tribal leader with delusions of grandeur.

Powers Squared #8 out this Wednesday

First Comics News - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 01:18

Powers Squared #8

Written by: David Hankins, Paul Hankins
Edited by: Paul Hankins
Lettered by: Trevor Hankins
Pencils: Rachel Wells
Art by: Rachel Wells
Inks: Rachel Wells
Colored by: Nina Gaillard
Price: $1.99

Mathemagical – Part 1
Marty and Eli Powers confront a new villain, Dr. Patricia Theorem, who has powers they have never encountered before. Dr. Atlas, with Instructor Miller at his side, makes his return!

Buy now on comiXology!

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 00:19

Harrow County Writer and NYC Mech Artist Team Up On a Brand New Slice of Horror Tinged Science Fiction This April

 PORTLAND, OR: Cullen Bunn, who debuted some of his earliest work with Oni Press, and creator of such modern critical successes as Harrow County,

“Rogue Planet is a book I’ve been working on for quite a while, a sci-fi horror story that really digs into my roots as a horror fan” says co-creator and writer, Cullen Bunn. “I remember where I was sitting when I first wrote the title down–I was having coffee with my pal and frequent collaborator Brian Hurtt at Powell’s Books–and I couldn’t stop thinking about the possibilities. I spent a while kicking ideas around, and I came up with a chilling notion that I absolutely loved. It took a while to find the right artist, and I was so thrilled when Andy came on board to draw this title. I’ve been a fan of his work for so long. He really sold the hostility of the setting, the ghastliness of the horrors our intrepid heroes encounter. And then Nick took Andy’s pages and told stories with the colors. I cannot wait for readers to see this book. There are terrors to be discovered and mysteries to be revealed, if you have the stomach for it.”

Salvage vessel Cortes tracks the Lonely Orphan, a planet with no star system to call its own. Somewhere on this hostile rock is a payload fit for a king. To attain it, though, the crew of the Cortes must brave razor rock, poisonous vapors, treacherous footing, and… the most mind-numbing horrors imaginable. Something nightmarish is at work on Lonely Orphan. Something cruel. Something hungry.

Artist Andy MacDonald adds“Rogue Planet was an amazing opportunity for me to work with comic greats Cullen Bunn and Nick Filardi in the sci-fi horror genre that I truly love! It’s also the most difficult project to work on due to bouts of mind-bending fright-paralysis induced from the countless horrors Cullen’s spectacularly chilling script commanded I confront and draw. Stalwart champion of color and fearless comics comrade, Nick Filardi was there to bring beautiful and horrifyingly-vivid color to a project that I was too full of panicked dread to draw without peaking through one shaking hand!”

Rogue Planet #1 arrives in finer comic shops everywhere on April 1, 2020, and is currently available for order in the February dated Diamond PREVIEWS catalog. Reserve your copy with your local retailer now.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Brian Azzarello & Maria Llovet’s Hit Series FAITHLESS Returns From BOOM! Studios in April

First Comics News - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 00:16

Discover a Brand New Series from the Highly Acclaimed Creators of the Most
Controversial Series of 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA (January 22, 2020) – BOOM! Studios today announced that the critically acclaimed team of writer Brian Azzarello (Batman: Damned) and artist Maria Llovet (Heartbeat) will return to the world of their bestelling erotic series, FAITHLESS, with a brand new six-issue sequel series, where Faith and her lovers, Louis (AKA The Devil) and Poppy (his daughter), bring magic and chaos to the streets of Italy.

Turin, known as the epicenter of black magic, is also a place of high fashion, art, and literature. Now, Faith is in the center of it all and with that, her own power grows. But any power comes with a price. Faith has only just begun to pay for hers.

FAITHLESS II #1 features main cover art by series artist Llovet and the first in a series of erotic variant connecting covers by acclaimed artist Tula Lotay (Black Widow) that will be polybagged and not publicly previewed due to sexually explicit material. Each erotic variant cover will be limited to its initial print run and will not be reprinted or collected in any subsequent formats. All issues of FAITHLESS II will continue this variant cover program with similar content, limited release, and packaging.

Brian Azzarello is the Harvey and Eisner Award-winning co-creator (with artist Eduardo Risso) of 100 Bullets, along with Loveless and Moonshine.  The New York Times bestselling author’s work for DC Comics includes the titles Hellblazer, Superman, Joker, Luthor, Before Watchmen, Wonder Woman, and Dark Knight III with Frank Miller. Most recently he and artist Lee Bermejo launched DC’s groundbreaking Mature Readers imprint Black Label with the controversial and critically acclaimed Batman: Damned.

“I’m excited to dive back into FAITHLESS with Maria. When we last saw Faith, it appeared she’d gotten all that she’d wished for, but at what cost? Well, since the devil is involved it shouldn’t be too hard to guess the price,” said Azzarello. “We’re going to take Faith from the heady downtown art scene and move her to Turin, a city steeped in both black and white magic.”

Maria Llovet is a multidisciplinary artist from Barcelona, who has published four graphic novels, including Heartbeat with BOOM! Studios, There’s Nothing There, and Loud. Her illustration has been characterized by a great cinematographic influence in its visual narrative, with sex and death as central themes permeating her work.

“It was truly fantastic working with this team on Faith’s initial journey,” said Llovet. “I’m so glad to be back to these characters and thrilled to plunge deeper into the world of FAITHLESS!”

FAITHLESS II is the newest release from BOOM! Studios’ eponymous imprint, home to critically acclaimed original series, including Once & Future by Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora; Something is Killing the Children by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera;  Abbott by Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivelä; Bury the Lede by Gaby Dunn and Claire Roe; Klaus by Grant Morrison and Dan Mora; Folklords by Matt Kindt and Matt Smith; The Red Mother by Jeremy Haun and Danny Luckert; and the upcoming Alienated by Simon Spurrier and Chris Wildgoose and King of Nowhere by W. Maxwell Prince and Tyler Jenkins.

“Faith’s search for magic in life, in art, and in love is far from over, and delving more deeply into her journey with Brian and Maria is entirely too much fun,” said Sierra Hahn, Executive Editor, BOOM! Studios. “More surprises await as we invite you to sink deeper into Faith’s explorations of the ‘taboo’ in FAITHLESS II.”

Print copies of FAITHLESS II will be available for sale in April 2020 at local comic book shops (use to find the nearest one) or at the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and Madefire.

For more on FAITHLESS II and other projects from BOOM! Studios, stay tuned to and follow @boomstudios on Twitter.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Study and Marvel at The Art of Luis García in New Deluxe Tome!

First Comics News - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 00:15

Dynamite Celebrates a Legendary Warren Artist

January 23, Mt. Laurel, NJ: Known to many a fan and collector for his exquisite style, Luis García’s work is fully compiled and introduced for fans both new and old in this new deluxe hardcover art book.

Luis García was among the cream of the crop within the “Spanish Invasion” which transformed Warren Publishing’s comic magazines in the 1970s. Contracting artists from the Barcelona-based art agency Selecciones Illustrada such as García, Jose Gonzalez, Esteban Maroto, José Ortiz, Auraleon brought an unparalleled new dimension to the painted covers and intricate interiors of Vampirella, Creepy and Eerie.

This new volume written and curated by artist and historian David Roach follows each stage of García’s career in a first-of-its-kind comprehensive retrospective. From his early seductive romance strips, to contributions to legendary French publication Pilote, to his pioneering autobiographical and political work in the graphic novel format. In addition to of course his horror stories for Warren and later painting.

Really bringing the package together is the commentary and notes from Luis García himself. Recounting such wide-ranging memories as modeling for romantic fotonovelas, meeting such cultural icons as Salvador Dali and John Lennon, hanging out at Studio 54 and more.

In addition to the historical writing, the 230-page book is loaded with artwork, almost entirely shot from the original pieces. Additionally, there are several complete short stories included, some never before translated and published in English.

“As a lifelong Vampirella fan I first discovered the artwork of Luis Garcia when I was very young, and it has stayed with me ever since,” said editor David Roach. “His entire life been notable for his never ending drive to push himself and evolve as an artist. I believe this book contains some of the very greatest artwork in comic history. I’m sure it will amaze and delight both old fans and new admirers.”

“García is an artist’s artist. His linework is so beautiful, he’s easily one of the best artists of his time, and has influenced many artists in the comics industry and outside,” said Nick Barrucci, Dynamite CEO/Publisher. “Our line of art books stands out, and we’re proud to add in Luis García alongside names like Alex Ross, Lucio Parrillo, George Perez, Howard Chaykin, Sean Phillips and more. I hope that this release will bring greater awareness to Luis García and his art.”

Comic art historians and aspiring artists will also want to look into Roach’s other investigations into the Warren art stable across The Art of Vampirella, The Art of Jose Gonzalez and Masters of Spanish Comic Book Art.


THE ART OF LUIS GARCÍA #1 will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors’ February 2019 Previews catalog, the premier source of merchandise for the comic book specialty market, and slated for release in April 2020. Comic book fans are encouraged to preorder copies of the issue with their local comic book retailers. It will also be available for individual customer purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Kindle, iBooks, Google Play, Dynamite Digital, ComicsPlus, and more!

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 22:42

Preorder Edition Cover by FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA
A new threat emerges from the fires of X-O’s latest battle!
Can X-O save the day, or does the world need a new kind of hero?
On sale APRIL 29 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99

Written by RAY FAWKES
Cover A by RAHZZAH
Preorder Edition Cover by JEREMY HAUN
1:25 Decoder Variant Cover by TRAVIS ESCARFULLERY
Ray Fawkes (Gotham By Midnight) and Jeremy Haun (The Red Mother) ignite a chilling new crime noir mystery.
A superpowered serial killer is terrorizing San Francisco, but they’re no Zodiac — they’re worse.
The detective, the reporter, the new superhero in town… who will be the final witness?
On sale APRIL 29 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Preorder Edition Cover by BARRY KITSON
The entire world vs. a madman… the world is going to need more heroes!
It’s the can’t-miss clash of 2020 as Hardian stands against the Valiant Universe!
On sale APRIL 22 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US

Written by TIM SEELEY
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Preorder Edition Cover by SIMON BISLEY
Unthinkable monsters are unleashing Hell on Earth!
Surrounded by enemies, who can Bloodshot trust?
On sale APRIL 8 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

QUANTUM & WOODY #4 (of 4)
Cover B by RAHZZAH
Extra Virgin Variant Cover by GURIHIRU
Home Alone, the boys are left to defend their lair against would-be bandits!
What is Woody’s dark secret? The truth is finally revealed!
On sale APRIL 22 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US |T+


THE VISITOR #5 (of 6)
Written by PAUL LEVITZ
Art by MJ KIM
Cover C by ALAN QUAH
Preorder Edition Cover by SHAWN MARTINBROUGH
With just two of The Visitor’s targets left standing, what extreme lengths will he go to in order to finish the job?
Nothing is truly as it seems…
On sale APRIL 15 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US |


RAI #6
Written by DAN ABNETT
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover B by KANO
Preorder Edition Cover by BRET BLEVINS
A brand-new arc of the critically-acclaimed series starts here!
Rai and Raijin are drafted into the positronic Roman legions to face a savage threat.
On sale APRIL 8 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Written by VITA AYALA
What is the cost of freedom?
Wanted fugitive Livewire has been on the run for months from the authorities for shutting down the country’s power in an effort to protect people gifted with powers. Will a shocking offer to go public from a renowned local politician pull Livewire into a political spotlight?
Valiant’s breakout heroine fights to clear her name in the next electrifying volume from rising stars Vita Ayala (Prisoner X) and Tana Ford (Avengers)!
Collecting LIVEWIRE #9–12.
On sale APRIL 1 | 112 pages, full color | $14.99 US | T+ | TRADE PAPERBACK | ISBN: 978-1-68215-354-3

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 22:25

ARCHIE #713: ARCHIE AND KATY KEENE part 4 (of 4)
Katy Keene is missing in New York City! After rejecting a major opportunity in the fashion biz, Katy has run off into the night. Archie and the gang search for Katy and soon find out that things are more complicated than they seem.
Script: Mariko Tamaki and Kevin Panetta
Art: Laura Braga, Matt Herms, Jack Morelli
ARCHIE #713: ARCHIE AND KATY KEENE #4 CVR B Var: Andrew Pepoy, Jason Millet
Ship Date: 4/8
On Sale Date: 4/22
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

Get ready for some hi-tech hijinks in this issue of Archie & Friends! Get hooked on the latest video game craze Forknite, meet Archie’s new, unusual pet, try to find something that was gone in a flash and hunt down some hamburgers with your very own phone in these tech-savvy stories!
Script: Francis Bonnet, Angelo DeCesare,
Art: Pat and Tim Kennedy, Bill Golliher, Jim Amash, Bob Smith Glenn Whitmore, Jack Morelli
ARCHIE & FRIENDS: GEEKS AND GAMES #1 CVR A Reg: Jeff Shultz, Rosario “Tito” Peña, Vincent Lovallo
Ship Date: 4/15
On Sale Date: 4/29
24-page, full color comic
$2.99 U.S.

BRAND NEW STORY: “Dogging the Cat Burglar!” Archie is dog-sitting his best friend Jughead’s beloved pooch Hot Dog. Will Hot Dog and Vegas become a dynamic doggy duo? Find out when these two are put to the ultimate test in canine loyalty!
Script: Bill Golliher
Art: Jeff Shultz, Bob Smith, Glenn Whitmore, Jack Morelli
Cover: Pat and Tim Kennedy, Bob Smith, Rosario “Tito” Peña
Ship Date: 4/15
On Sale Date: 4/29
192-page, full color comic
$7.99 U.S.

This issue of Archie’s Milestones Jumbo Comics Digest is all about the drama—namely dating and detention drama! Follow along with Archie on his many adventures (and misadventures) in the worlds of romance and classroom antics!
Script: Various
Art: Various
Cover: Bob Montana
Ship Date: 4/1
On Sale Date: 4/15
192-page, full color comic
$7.99 U.S.

America’s favorite teen meets the galaxy’s fiercest hunter—again! Betty, Veronica and Predator-Archie have been left in the wreckage of their town, all their friends dead. Normally, they’d just go down Memory Lane and get home again where everything’s okay, but that’s no longer an option. It isn’t until they find an undamaged car and drive it down a different road where they can finally return to Riverdale—but their hometown feels different. And it’s made even more bizarre when they come face-to-face with a few people they’d never expect: themselves. Only different, newer versions. Little do they know, Predators on Mars are watching them—planning their next attack! Collects the full five-issue Archie vs. Predator II mini-series event.
Script: Alex de Campi
Art: Robert Hack, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Jack Morelli
Cover: Robert Hack, Kelly Fitzpatrick
$19.99 US/$22.99 CAN
6 5/8 x 10 3/16”
144 pp, Full Color
Direct Market On-Sale Date: 4/15

Archie’s first-ever original young adult graphic novel, starring everyone’s favorite BFFs Betty and Veronica! There are a number of truths in Riverdale–Archie Andrews will forever be clumsy and love-struck, Jughead Jones has an appetite that can never be satiated, Pop’s will always serve the best burgers and shakes and Betty and Veronica will be best friends no matter what comes between them. But when a career day at Riverdale High has the two BFFs examining their futures, they start to wonder just where they’ll end up—and how their lives may take very different paths. This original graphic novel explores the unbreakable bond that allows Betty and Veronica’s friendship to withstand the tests of space and time.
Script: Jamie L. Rotante
Art: Brittney Williams, Matt Herms, Jack Morelli
Cover: Brittney Williams
$14.99 US/$17.99 CAN
6 x 9”
144 pp, Full Color
Direct Market On-Sale Date: 4/22

BRAND NEW STORY: “Clothes-Minded!” Betty and Veronica are racking up community service hours sorting donated clothing at the local thrift store, but you can’t expect Veronica to be surrounded by clothing and not bring her keen fashion sense into the mix!
Script: Bill Golliher
Art: Dan Parent, Jim Amash, Glenn Whitmore, Jack Morelli
Cover: Dan Parent
Ship Date: 3/18
On Sale Date: 4/1
192-page, full color comic
$7.99 U.S.

BRAND NEW STORY: “Telethon Trouble!” Betty & Veronica have volunteered to answer phones at the local telethon. The girls are eager to do their civic duty—especially since their favorite band will be performing! But Betty and Veronica may end up doing more than just answering phones when there’s trouble at the telethon!
Script: Bill Golliher,
Art: Dan Parent, Jim Amash, Glenn Whitmore, Jack Morelli
Cover: Bill Golliher, Rosario “Tito” Peña
Ship Date: 4/8
On Sale Date: 4/22
192-page, full color comic
$7.99 U.S.

The Martian crew has been captured by the Venusian Queen Hesper and her Battle Princesses! Cosmo is faced with a difficult choice when Hesper offers him a position of power as her loyal King in exchange for the release of his friends! Will Cosmo prove himself to be the mightiest Martian?! The confrontation on Venus ends here!
Script: Ian Flynn
Art: Tracy Yardley, Matt Herms, Jack Morelli
Ship Date: 3/18
On Sale Date: 4/1
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

The original Life with Archie series was home to the wildest alternate reality takes on the Riverdale gang. From spies to superheroes, this comic showcased stories readers never dreamed of! Relive those far-out tales in this second graphic novel collection featuring select stories.
Script: Various
Art: Various
Cover: Samm Schwartz
$10.99 US/$13.99 CAN
5 1/4 x 8”
224 pp, Full Color
Direct Market On-Sale Date: 4/29

Take a trip back in time to Riverdale Middle School with The New Archies! Archie, Betty, Veronica and the whole gang were just as goofy then as they are now as high school students! Can Ms. Grundy keep her class under control? Revisit these fun tales in this graphic novel collection featuring select stories.
Script: Various
Art: Various
Cover: Henry Scarpelli, Rosario “Tito” Peña
$10.99 US/$13.99 CAN
5 1/4 x 8”
224 pp, Full Color
Direct Market On-Sale Date: 4/1

Because you demanded it: Volume Two of the critically acclaimed Sabrina the Teenage Witch series by Kelly Thompson and Veronica & Andy Fish! Sabrina saved the day—saved her friends, her family—the whole town of Greendale really, and she should be riding high. But things are never quite that simple. She’s trapped in a love triangle, she’s having trouble balancing the mortal and witch parts of herself, oh yeah, and she’s being blackmailed. As if all that wasn’t enough, while trying to help Radka and Ren with their…supernatural problem, her aunts suddenly starting to look like people she can’t trust. What’s a teen witch to do?! *Retailer orders for all covers placed by FOC date will be 100% returnable (no minimum)*
Script: Kelly Thompson
Art: Veronica Fish, Andy Fish, Jack Morelli
SABRINA: SOMETHING WICKED #1 CVR C Var: Rebekah Isaacs, Lee Loughridge
SABRINA: SOMETHING WICKED #1 CVR D Var: Marguerite Sauvage
Ship Date: 3/18
On Sale Date: 4/1
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

The clock is ticking on Veronica Lodge as she learns the terrible secrets hidden deep in her family’s history—and comes to understand that her horrifying past isn’t as distant as she’d like. Now, if she wants to keeps her family and friends safe, Veronica will face her most chilling challenge yet.
Script: Frank Tieri and Michael Moreci
Art: Audrey Mok, Matt Herms, Jack Morelli
Ship Date: 3/25
On Sale Date: 4/8
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

BRAND NEW STORY: “The CamPAIN!” Mr. Lodge is running for Riverdale City Council, and Archie is determined to help canvass. Will he help win Mr. Lodge votes, or run the entire campaign into the ground?
Script: Bill Bettwy
Art: Pat and Tim Kennedy, Bob Smith, Glenn Whitmore, Jack Morelli
Cover: Jeff Shultz, Rosario “Tito” Peña
Ship Date: 3/25
On Sale Date: 4/8
192-page, full color comic
$7.99 U.S.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

The Boys are Back in Town!

First Comics News - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 22:24

Garth Ennis Returns With New Series Before Prime’s 2nd Season

January 23, Mt. Laurel, NJ: The Boys are returning to comics, or at least what’s left of them, with their original writer and creator Garth Ennis for the sequel, Dear Becky.


Following the massive success of the comics and Prime adaptation, with over 150,000 omnibuses sold in 2019, Garth Ennis (Punisher, Preacher) returns to Wee Hughie, Billy Butcher, Vought and more in this hotly anticipated new entry. Picking up in-story 12 years after the finale of the 90 issue epic run, the marriage of Hughie and Annie (Starlight) is derailed by a mysterious document that threatens to rip open the scars of the past and reveal nightmarish truths about The Boys.

Joining Ennis on this series are some returning greats. Russ Braun (Fables, Hellstorm) picks right back up on interiors years later, after drawing a large chunk of the original series following series co-creator Darick Robertson. Robertson (Transmetropolitan, Wolverine) returns to contribute covers. For his first, Robertson once more calls back to the very first cover with The Boys looking down on something, as was also seen with #7 and #50.

“Originally I never intended to do more with The Boys at all, but for obvious reasons I’ve found myself thinking about the story and characters again over the past couple of years,” said writer Garth Ennis. “There was one aspect of the original story, and one character in particular, that I never felt got a fair shake- Becky Butcher, whose demise motivates her husband Billy to do the terrible things he does, but who only actually appears in two issues of the original book. I liked writing Becky very much, almost as much as Butcher himself, and I wanted to look in greater detail at how her relatively brief appearance cast such a long shadow.”

Darick Robertson adds, “This comic has always been close to my heart and seeing the response to the show and the new drove of readers discovering the original material, makes the timing for this series a wonderful opportunity to bring fresh material to the new readers as well as a treat for the original fans. Revisiting these characters is a nice feeling, and creating covers for the series and collaborating with Ennis again is a treat.”

Using a flashback structure, Dear Becky will flesh out both the pre-history of The Boys, call back to classic moments, and move the story forward. It’s an indispensable chapter for all fans of The Boys, going back nearly 15 years or new to the story from the show.

“We were extremely pleased with the entire Boys series, and felt that it was one of Garth and Darick’s greatest works – and that is saying something!,” said Nick Barrucci, Dynamite CEO and Publisher. “When Garth came back to with a new story, we were surprised but also excited of course. Once he clued us in, we were floored. It’s gratifying that Darick has been able to make time for the covers with his current schedule, and having Russ Braun return to draw the series too. We’re excited to bring this new yarn to fans and retailers!”

Created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, The Boys debuted in 2006 at Wildstorm, but was canceled and picked up by Dynamite. Running until 2012, the series attracted both critical praise and controversy as Ennis infused it with his trademark wit and criticisms of society and the superhero. In 2019 Amazon Studios released a television adaptation of the series to their Prime platform, developed by Erik Kripke and starring Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty and others. Out the gate, the series was a success with high user ratings and viewership, glowing reviews and viral engagement. A second season is set to release this year. To accompany the show, Dynamite recollected the entire comic series into six affordable paperback omnibus volumes, each featuring an official alternate photo cover. The series sold over 150,000 copies through 2019, rushing back to press multiple times.

Dynamite will also release a promotional poster of The Boys, perfect for both retailers and fans to advertise the series or show off their fandom. Additionally, all six volumes of The Boys Omnibus are available to catch up on the original comic, as well as art books and collectibles.

THE BOYS: DEAR BECKY #1 will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors’ February 2019 Previews catalog, the premier source of merchandise for the comic book specialty market, and slated for release in April 2020. Comic book fans are encouraged to preorder copies of the issue with their local comic book retailers. It will also be available for individual customer purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Kindle, iBooks, Google Play, Dynamite Digital, ComicsPlus, and more!

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Dynamite Shows Fans With April Homage Covers! Comic Great Todd McFarlane’s Covers Tributed

First Comics News - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 22:16

January 23, Mt. Laurel, NJ: For a set of special variants on releases for April, Dynamite and Adam Gorham are tributing the endlessly influential Todd McFarlane.

Adam Gorham (New Mutants, The Violent) is joined by colorist Michael Garland on six covers using Dynamite characters to homage classics from McFarlane’s career. Releases featuring these covers honoring the Toddfather will include Dejah Thoris #5, Red Sonja #15, Vampirella #10, Vampirella/Red Sonja #8, Death to the Army of Darkness #3, and Killing Red Sonja #2. Each issue is respectively paying homage to Amazing Spider-Man #328, Spider-Man #1, 7, 12, 16 and Spawn/Batman. The Spider-Man inspired issues even include neat corner box sketches, something that McFarlane innovated.


For Adam Gorham, it’s a somewhat personal project. “Growing up in Canada in the ’90s, comics were huge and Todd McFarlane was a Canadian icon of the medium. His work was some of the first comic art I was exposed to. I’m thinking of his Amazing Spider-Man anti-drug special covers. They were practically government issued to Canadian children,” said Gorham.


Colorist Garland shared, “Todd McFarlane broke my brain at a very early age. To return to that work – and the work of some legendary colorists like Steve Oliff – and build off of it was a childhood dream come true. I tried to incorporate the spirit of the original color palettes and compositions into my reinterpretation wherever I could.”

Each of these variants homaging McFarlane will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors’ February Previews for April on-sale. Comic fans are encouraged to preorder copies with their Local Comic Shops.

“It was a really fun series of covers to draw, and challenging! Todd’s style and compositions are so bold and energetic. His Spider-Man stuff has it’s own visual language. The poses and anatomy really only make sense for that character, so making different characters fit those cover compositions and giving them a new context on top of having some connect was no easy feat,” added Adam Gorham.


Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Your First Look at THE RED MOTHER #3 From BOOM! Studios

First Comics News - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 22:09

LOS ANGELES, CA (January 23, 2020) – BOOM! Studios is proud to reveal a first look at THE RED MOTHER #3, the latest issue of an all-new original comic book series from acclaimed writer Jeremy Haun (The Beauty, The Realm), artist Danny Luckert (Regression), and letterer Ed Dukeshire, about a young woman who survives a tragedy, only to be afflicted with sudden, unexplained visions of horror and forced to deal with the terrible consequences.

The visions through Daisy’s prosthetic eye are getting stronger—and it’s getting harder every day to resist their call. When a mysterious puzzle shows up on Daisy’s doorstep, will it provide the answers she’s looking for, or only draw her deeper into the world of the Red Mother?

THE RED MOTHER #3 features main cover art by series writer Jeremy Haun and variant cover art by Qistina Khalidah (The Magicians).

You can view the trailer here: THE RED MOTHER Trailer

THE RED MOTHER is the newest release from BOOM! Studios’ eponymous imprint, home to critically acclaimed original series, including Once & Future by Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora; Something is Killing the Children by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera; Faithless by Brian Azzarello and Maria Llovet; Abbott by Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivelä; Bury The Lede by Gaby Dunn and Claire Roe; Klaus by Grant Morrison and Dan Mora; and Folklords by Matt Kindt and Matt Smith. The imprint also publishes popular licensed properties including Joss Whedon’s Firefly from Greg Pak and Dan McDaid; Buffy the Vampire Slayer from Jordie Bellaire and David López; Angel from Bryan Edward Hill and Gleb Melnikov; and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers from Ryan Parrott and Daniele Di Nicuolo.

Print copies of THE RED MOTHER #3 will be available for sale February 19, 2020 exclusively at local comic book shops (use to find the nearest one) or at the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and Madefire.

For continuing news on THE RED MOTHER and more from BOOM! Studios, stay tuned to and follow @boomstudios on Twitter. 

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 22:08

The St. Louis Based Animation Studio’s First Collaboration Nominated For Best Animated Short Film

ST LOUIS – “Hair Love,” the heartfelt animated short film about an African American father learning to do his daughter’s hair for the first time has won over audiences, critics, and Hollywood notables alike following its debut in theaters this past August. The Matthew A. Cherry-directed and Lion Forge Animation-produced short has now been nominated in the Academy Awards category of “Best Animated Short Film.”

Lion Forge Comics has established an unparalleled reputation in the publishing world since 2012 for championing underserved audiences and leading the charge for diverse content in the world of comic book storytelling. Their sister company, Lion Forge Animation brings this same ethos to the screen, challenging the industry to do better, by producing and developing authentic content from diverse creative voices.

“Hair Love” features the voice of Issa Rae (“Insecure”) as the young girl’s mother. The short is produced by Karen Rupert Toliver, Stacey Newton, Monica A. Young, Matthew A. Cherry, and Lion Forge Animation’s David Steward II and Carl Reed. Peter Ramsey (“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”) and Frank Abney (animator, “Toy Story 4”) serve as executive producers.

“’Hair Love’ embodies the spirit of our company at its core. The film exemplifies both our pursuit of honest and top quality content which represents audiences of all kinds, as well as the belief that something can grow from a humble passion to a force for change, with undeniable influence on the entertainment industry at large” says producer and Lion Forge co-founder David Steward II. “What we have been able to accomplish Matthew, Karen, and the entire team behind the film, is not only remarkable, but inspiring. We are grateful to the Academy for recognizing this film and all of the love that went into making it.”

“’Hair Love’ has been just as the title would imply, a labor of love for all involved” says Carl Reed, producer and Chief Creative Officer of Lion Forge. “We hope that others can find inspiration in what we’ve accomplished with a story that represents what many of us parents in the African American community experience in daily life and are grateful to the Academy for recognizing this very special little film.”

“Hair Love” launched as a Kickstarter campaign in 2017 with a fundraising goal of $75,000. Strong support led to the campaign amassing nearly $300,000, making it the most highly-funded short film campaign in Kickstarter history. Lion Forge Animation collaborated with Matthew A. Cherry to see the project through to its full potential, and it was picked up by Sony Pictures Animation for distribution soon after

The picture book “Hair Love” was released by Kokila Books/Penguin Random House on May 14 of last year and became a New York Times Bestseller, followed soon after by the film’s release ahead of “Angry Birds 2” on August 14, 2019.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Talislanta: The Purity of Aaman

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 01/23/2020 - 12:00
Art by P.D. Breeding-Black
In The Chronicles of Talislanta (1987), our narrator the wizard Tamerlin starts his journey across the continent with Aaman in the Westernlands. The introduction of Aaman was actually in the Talislanta Handbook published a month before. This, in summary, is what we are told about the Aamanians, and what holds true across every edition:
  • Aaman is a remnant of the Phaedran Empire and a theocracy, ruled by conservative Orthodoxist faith, worshiping Aa the Omniscient (Or Omnipotent. Or Omnificent.)
  • Aamanians are high conformist and dressing simply and conservatively, and removing all their facial and body hair. 
  • All Aamanians desire to attain mana, "so that they may rise in status and piety." 
The Aamanians' skin color is the subject of some disagreement across publications. Character archetype descriptions in the 1st-3rd editions hold that they have "topaz skin and green eyes." The text of The Chronicles, however, describes them as having "skin the color of cinnabar," as does the Talislanta Worldbook of the 2nd edition. The 4th edition is the first to be internally consistent is this regard and goes with "cinnabar." With the 5th we are back to some discrepancy, with Hotan's History saying "cinnabar" and the Player's Guide saying "copper-colored."
Art from the French edition of Talislanta
But that's a minor issue. What's more interesting is mana. The 1st edition Handbook tells us mana is accumulated by good works: "pilgrimages to officially sanctioned holy sites, donations to the church, service to the Hierophant, and so on." By gaining sufficient "mana points" one can advance in status. The Chronicles expands on this by telling us mana is "spiritual purity," and defines the hierarchy with the Hierophant with unlimited mana at the top, and the district-ruling (and mana awarding or deducting) Monitors beneath him having at least 1000 mana points. Slaves and infidels have 0 mana points, naturally, and between the extremes are ten ranks of Aspirants.  Advancement in status by this measure is a "preoccupation" of Aamanians because position in the worldly Orthodox "caste system" corresponds to position in the after life in some unspecified way.
Material wealth enters into this as we are told the easiest way to obtain mana points is to enter into the priesthood and study to become an archimage--but tuition is high. In addition to the other means mentioned in the Handbook, buying statues, medallions, and relics is also a possibility.
The 2nd edition (in the Worldbook) tells us that "aalms" are the unit of mana (presumably the mana points mentioned). Reading all the texts, I am confused as to whether mana is a state or a thing to be accumulated. I suppose like the word sin, it might be employed both ways, though the analogy isn't perfect because counted sins are discrete entities, not a continuum that needs units to measure it, like say force or electric current.
The Cyclopedia Talislanta vol. 4 (1989) is now considered "noncanonical" for reasons various and not entirely clear, but it does have some interesting, detailed information on Aaman. It emphasizes the importance of wealth in determining status, presumably indirectly by the purchase power it allows to buy aalms. (Confusingly, it calls mana "the mystical unit of a person's worth.") It notes a requirement to buy a different symbol of Aa at each level of the Hierarchy. 
The Cyclopedia is the first to address gender roles and places women as second class citizens in the hierarchy, making them always one status level below their husband or father. 
Art by Jason SholtisThe oppressive theocracy is a genre staple, though Aaman never seems to dip into the "decadent or hypocritical theocracy." Instead, it seems to go in the direction of more secular totalitarian societies in science fiction. The aalms economy and rank system is interesting, too. It seems to have parallels to Scientology as well as the obvious ones to the indulgences of the Middle Ages.

I would leave out the sexism of the Cyclopedia; Aaman should be equal opportunity in its oppression. I would play up the extreme conformity and societal control, borrowing from Vance's The Pnume, and the speaking in aphorisms and quotations of liturgy mentioned in the text, almost to a degree that resembles the Ascians of Wolfe's The Book of New Sun. While material wealth would afford some advantages in maintaining one's position Aamanian society, I figure high mana is the key to getting wealth in the first place by leading to the award of lucrative positions, titles, and contracts, and some high mana individuals might wield considerable power without a lot of wealth.

Finally, despite what is possibly implied in The Chronicles, I lean toward the idea that Orthodoxy is aniconistic with regard to its deity--other than the eye. There is no commentary literature regarding the holy Omnival. The word means what the Hierophant says it means. Doctrine does change with time, but devout Orthodoxists will not admit a revision has ever occurred, indeed they may be strongly conditioned not to see it, even it it is pointed out to them.

Wednesday Comics: Hill House

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 01/22/2020 - 12:00
Hill House is a horror imprint of DC Comics curated by horror writer, Joe Hill. He writes a number of comics himself, as well as presumably selecting the other creators. I have read at least the first issues of three of the four current titles and while it's difficult to draw definitively conclusions in this age of decompression each is off to a promising start.

The Dollhouse Family
Six year-old Alice is left a Victorian dollhouse by a great-aunt or something, and soon finds she can visit the house's inhabitants. and can even escape the domestic violence of her home to live their all the time. There's a price, I'm sure. This one is written by Mike Carey and his art by Peter Gross.

Low, Low Woods
Described as "coming of age body horror" it tells the story of two outsider teenage women in a dying mining town with a cold seam fire beneath it. There's also a mysterious plague that causes people to lose their memory and the girls already have one night they can't remember in a movie theater. Then there are the skinless bodies (undead maybe?) they show up sometimes in the woods. Unlike The Dollhouse Family, it's harder to see where this one is going. It's written by Shirley Jackson Award winner Carmen Maria Machado and features art by Dani, fresh from Coffin Bound.

Daphne Byrne
In Victoria era New York, Daphne Byrne has recently lost her father and her grief-stricken mother is an easy mark for spiritualist hucksters. In dreams, Daphne is contacted by her presence who claims to be her brother and promises help for her situation. It's writer by television writer and playright Laura Marks, and features artwork by the great Kelley Jones.

Getting Out of Rivertown

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 01/20/2020 - 12:00
Our Land of Azurth 5e game continued last night with the "Masters of Mayhem" in the midst of a robbery. Using a Blades in the Dark-esque opportunity to retcon planned events (at the price of a greater chance of a complication), the players attempt to establish that they bribed the vault guards to look the other way prior to the robbery. They are successful with the pertinent rolls and the retcon is established. The approaching guards are ready to be knocked out with a sleep spell, if necessary.

But the angry invisible stalker has not been bought off. It attacks the party again, and Bellmorae (disguised as the vault manager Wotko) is unable to get it to stand down. The party eventually kills it with magic and stolen energy weapons.
The party decides to get out while the gettings good, but their only choice is to leave their Armoire of Holding behind with the hope of regaining it later. On the way through the lobby, "Wotko" (the disguised Bell) is accousted by a customer demanding her attention. She manages to talk her way out of it and they leave the vault with Gladhand's gold.
The party becomes concerned that when the real Wotko and his associate awaken, they may well draw attention to the Armoire, leading to the heist being discovered. They figure they have to get out of town. But they also want to get the Armoire back. They make the mistake of letting Gladhand know this before negotiating for a higher fee, and he offers to both help them get out of town and retrieve the Armoire in lieu of further payment. 
Ultimately, though, they decide not to take his offer of getting them jobs and cover identities with a caravan heading across the Dragonspine Mountains to the Country of Sang. Instead, they plan to make their own way to the Sapphire City along the Wizard's Road, and from there to Virid to meet Queen Desira.

Talislanta: The Continent and Magic

Sorcerer's Skull - Sun, 01/19/2020 - 15:00
This is a follow-up to this post, and the beginning of my examination of the setting throughout its publication history. First up, the big picture.

Talislanta the setting is named for the continent which is its central focus. Though other, semi-legendary lands are mentioned in passing, The Chronicles of Talislanta (1987) makes a pitch for dropping the continent into any fantasy setting:
As to the land of Talislanta: those scholars who do not dismiss the topic out of hand disagree as to the origins of this otherwise forgotten realm. Some claim that Talislanta existed long ago, perhaps during the legendary First Age of Atlantis. Others, lending even broader scope to their imaginations, cite Tamerlin’s chronicles as proof of the existence of parallel worlds or alternate realities. Proponents of the hollow earth theory, avid readers of Charles Fort, and others of similar bent may formulate even more intriguing explanations for the Talislantan texts.This vagueness regarding the wider world doesn't last. In 1988's Sorcerer's Guide, Talislanta's world is placed on the plane of Primus within the wider Omniverse, not utterly unlike D&D's planar setup, but much less complicated. With the 2nd edition and The Talislanta Worldbook (1990), Talislanta's planet gets a name: Archaeus. Archaeus has seven continents in total:

The origin of magic in the Talislantan milieu is revealed for the first time. A tribe of "Sub-Men" (Talislanta's name for the primitive humanoid inhabitants of much of the continent) discover the wreckage of a ship of some kind and find a crystal orb that contains "the secrets of a lost and forgotten art—magic." Learning magic, these Sub-Men develop into the race known as the Archaeans (simply called "Men" in the 1st edition).

The 3rd edition largely follows the Worldbook's details, but demotes Archaeus from the center of its system to being a planet orbiting binary stars. This star system is just one of many within the material plane. The Sub-Men tribe uplifted by magic from a wrecked "strange vessel," now become known as Archaens.

Archaeus' solar system is de-emphasized in the last two editions, but the origin of the Archaens is now firmly established. In the 4th edition, Sub-Men is a derogatory term for the "Wild Folk" and the crashed ship is called out as "alien" and called an "ark." The 5th edition, affirms the ship was alien and states that it is believed to be of extra-dimensional origin. There are parts of it still in existence, recognizable by the rainbow color they emanate. The Sub-Men are again Sub-Men.

Why does the stuff about the Archaens matter? Talislanta was established from the beginning as a post-apocalyptic setting with frequent references to a Great Disaster. The Archaens were not only the ancestors of the "human" races of Talislanta, but the source of most of its magic, and also (perhaps) the cause of the destruction of their own civilization.

The idea of magic, or at least the advanced practice of magic, being alien in origin is a nice little detail to me, and one I don't think Talislanta has ever explored to its fullest. There is a lot that could be done with that in a campaign.

The vacillation between extraplanetary aliens and extradimensional ones, seems to coincide with some ambivalence about whether Archaeus is a planet in a science fiction conception or a "world" in a fantasy conception. I like a view of "outer space" more metaphysical than strictly physical, like in Medieval cosmology or pulp fiction like Howard's "Tower of the Elephant" or Lovecraft's Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, for Talislanta. I favor a more fantastic Archaeus, as well. One where you could sail across an ocean and into another world, perhaps.

Those preferences are in general. For the Sword & Planet thing I'm planning, I'm go with a much more realistic world around a realistic star.


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