Comic Book Feeds

How AI is Changing the Gaming World

First Comics News - Sun, 03/18/2018 - 09:13

If you follow the world of online gaming or even casino entertainment, then you’ll know that innovation and new technologies are critical factors that enhance player engagement and satisfaction. For example, the proliferation of smartphones and the entry of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality changed the way games are delivered and consumed. With these technologies, gaming becomes more immersive, re-shaping the concept of what games should and how these are played. Now, there’s another emerging technology that’s ready to take the gaming world to another level- Artificial Intelligence (AI). Sure, this technology is nothing new, with the first AI-powered game introduced in the 1950s, but it is through the recent improvements in AI that helped put the technology in the spotlight and started the talk among gaming insiders and players.

A quick look on AI in video games

 

The technology now well-known as AI is synonymous with video games, and have been around ever since you started playing games. In fact, if you have played just one video game in the last few months or even years, there’s a chance that you have interacted with a character that runs on AI. Whether you love the thrill that comes with racing, strategy games like SimCity 3000 or its latest reincarnation as SimCity Build It or played casual free poker online, there’s a big chance that you have encountered certain elements of AI. So what exactly is AI, and how this is changing the way we see games and the entertainment that comes with it? As used in gaming, AI refers to a technology or tool used to create adaptive, responsive and intelligent actions and behaviors for non-player characters (NPC). Artificial Intelligence is often the technology that explains and runs the characters that you normally don’t play with like the neutral merchants, enemies on the battleground and animals. Unfortunately, not everyone shares the same appreciation and passion for AI, and some individuals even suggest that AI is not reflective of ‘true intelligence’. For this set of individuals, AI is simply a marketing buzzword, something that is used to enhance the brand and excite players. Misunderstanding aside, AI is making its presence felt, and it holds a bright future for the gaming industry on a number of counts.

Next-generation AI, improved visuals

 

If one takes a look at the old games and the new ones that run on AI, it would be easy to spot the difference. With the AI-powered games, players get a chance to explore improved visuals on a variety of games, from simulated cities to Omaha High free poker games. Through the use of deep learning and easy access to data, game designers can easily tweak and improve gaming environments to come up with ultra-realistic environment and characters. In fact, thanks to these recent innovations, some are suggesting that upcoming games can improve how characters are rendered and played on the screen. Characters can become more realistic, and their actions are more natural and even human-like. For example in online casinos, when you play online poker, AI is manifested in bots that act as dealers on the table. This technology can provide poker players with a chance to enjoy a truly authentic casino experience without the need to leave home and travel for miles. The technology can also enhance the way the characters speak, act and behave, allowing them to become more believable on-screen. In short, AI is making the games more engaging by presenting truly authentic characters that players can relate to.

Personalized gaming now possible

 

Experts are also weighing the potential of a personalized play through the use of AI.  An improved AI out in the market also builds the potential for personalized play. If this technology can collect and analyze more player data and see through their likes and preferences in gaming, then video and free poker games can come up with highly specific gaming situations in-game. Through the use of AI, a number of MMORPG titles out there can direct players and enthusiasts in the direction of quests and prizes. In combat and fighting games, players will be given the chance to interact with ‘more challenging and intelligent players’ that can read combat patterns and provide more resistance. Simply put, the use of the technology can make future games more challenging, and casino titles like Texas Hold’em more like a personal environment.

 

And speaking of personalized gaming, AI can also help you train certain skills and competencies. For example, chess players in recent years have managed to take advantage of AI through Deep Blue. This is a computer machine that runs on AI which is equipped with computing skills, allowing it to pit skills and ‘intelligence’ with professional chess players. The most popular player to have played against Deep Blue is Garry Kasparov, and the program developed by IBM made history as the first one to notch a win against a human player. Although the games were tainted with some complaints, there is no denying the fact that AI changed the way chess games are played and enjoyed by players and pros alike. Today, the same technology can be found in other chess applications and related games, which helps players in their skills training and preparations. A variation of this game is Stockfish, which is designed as an open-source and free chess game. This is one of the best rated games out there, as it uses up to 512 CPU cores and depends on bit boards.

 

Artificial intelligence is the future of gaming and expected to change the way games are played and enjoyed. Whether it’s redefining the way players interact with the games, the environment, the content or even the manner in which these games are designed, it’s obvious that AI has long-term impacts on the gaming industry. It’s only a matter of time before the best games powered by AI will dominate the gaming market and convert non-believers into passionate players.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Subspecies # 1

First Comics News - Sun, 03/18/2018 - 08:31

Title: Subspecies # 1
Publisher: Action Lab Comics
Written by: Cullen Bunn & Jimmyz
Art by: Daniel J. Logan
Colors by: Yann Perrelet
Cover A: Daniel J. Logan
Cover B: Photo Cover
Price: $ 3.99 US
Rating: 2  out of 5 stars
Website: www.actionlabcomics.com
Comments: A woman and her friends went to Bucharest, Romania where they found a bloodstone and also Radu a vampire.
Michelle is a cursed woman. Her life changed when she met Radu.
The art is too pasty at times other times it is done good enough. It needs to be more in focus.
The vampires look somewhat frightening. They could be scarier though.
Radu and Michelle are opponents here. She wants him dead and he wants her as his slave. Both are shown here that they are willing to fight for what they want.
The comic moves along at a normal pace and explains what needs to be explained. It would have been nice to have something more. Yes, Michelle hates Radu but the story and art do not bring that out enough.
Radu is pure evil while Michelle is out to atone for her sins. Which will prove to better one?

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

THE BOOK CAVE: The Demon’s Prophecy by Rob Mancebo

First Comics News - Sun, 03/18/2018 - 08:30

 

This is the second book in Rob Mancebo’s Section Seven series. As soon as I started reading the book I was back in this intense world of Kane and Terri. This is not your parent’s team of X Files, but a more intriguing duo.

Unlike most series, this is not a ‘done in one’ book. Events that happened in the first book are carried over into this one. Your best bet is to buy both books to better understand and enjoy what is happening.

Kane is the leader of a special group of law enforcement that battle creatures that go bump in the night. When he is off duty, he has a very tough martial arts neighbor and a wild two-year-old roommate. Just to add to the confusion, they are not what you think they are.

Terri is your typical 19-year-old, who is a Black Belt in Karate and marked as a sacrifice for a demon. Just your everyday teenager working for the F.B.I., NOT! That is, she works for the F.B.I., sort of, but she is not a typical teenager.

Plus throw in a couple of mass murders, demons both evil and good (more or less) and more action than you would expect.

Once you start this book, you won’t want to put it down until you finished. Once finished, you will want more.

Rob Mancebo is a writer you will want to have on your list of authors to keep an eye out for. Also, make sure and check out all the writers from PulpWork Press on Amazon.

 

 

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

COSPLAY GIRL OF THE WEEK!

First Comics News - Sun, 03/18/2018 - 07:04

This week’s cosplay girl of the week Jessica Nigri

If you would like to be the Cosplay Girl of the Week!
Please send your photo to Giovanni.Aria@firstcomicsnews.com and you will be considered for inclusion in a future edition of Superhero Girls!

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

COSPLAY GUY OF THE WEEK!

First Comics News - Sun, 03/18/2018 - 07:03

This week’s Cosplay Guy of the Week

If you would like to be the Cosplay Guy of the Week!
Please send your photo to Giovanni.Aria@firstcomicsnews.com and you will be considered for inclusion in a future edition of Superhero Dudes!

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

SHIPPING THIS WEEK (…and next week too)

First Comics News - Sun, 03/18/2018 - 07:02
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Categories: Comic Book Blogs

My Next Project

The Splintered Realm - Sun, 03/18/2018 - 00:54
I've been working on a project for the last month, keeping it sort of on the down low... I am exceedingly proud of it, and I am excited to share it with you. I will tell a bit more shortly, but here's an image I drew today, an Imp Trickster.

More to come...


Kickstarters Fulfilled

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 11:00
I've had several Kickstarters I backed drop their products in the last few weeks, and though some of them had longer than expected waits, I've been pretty pleased. Here's a brief rundown:


Talislanta: The Savage Land is a "prequel" to Talislanta as we traditionally have known it, written (at least in part) by Talislanta's creator Steven Michael Sechi. It's more barbaric setting loses so of the Vancian nature of the original and the various cultures are often familiar but different which will take so getting used to, but it has the creativity I expect from a Talislanta book and probably the highest production values yet.


Paladin: Warriors of Charlemagne adapts Pendragon's rules to Charlemagne's court as depicted in the Song of Roland and related Romances. I haven't dug much into this one yet, but Pendragon has a good ruleset, and this is a setting that has always interested me.

Aquelarre is the English translation of a well-regarded Spanish rpg. It bills itself as "A Medieval Demonic Roleplaying Game" which says it all really. Just browsing it, I'm really digging the wealthy of detail on the setting, broken down in easy to digest, pretty playable pieces. There are a host of classes like Muccadim (Jewish militia in ghettos) and Goliardo (licentious, worldly young monks) (the whole chargen system reminds me a bit of WFRP at first blush) and a number of monsters from Basque and Spanish folklore.

Sea of Thieves #1 (Titan) Review – Arr, there be gold on those pages!

First Comics News - Thu, 03/15/2018 - 19:31

Talk like a pirate day may not be until September but Sea of Thieves, based on the upcoming XBox One video game, will have people breaking out the eye-patches early and calling their friends “Mateys.” I am usually not a huge fan of video game tie-in comic books as the stories often have to be shoe-horned into their video game continuity (check out Street Fighter) but Sea of Thieves has two things going for it; it is a new IP and pirates are awesome.

This first issue sets up the Sea of Thieves’s pirate world with its supernatural elements but wisely ties the story line to the more grounded focus of family, specifically the children of the greatest pirate ever to live, DeMarco and Lesedi Singh. They are returning to their missing fathers bar to meet and old associate who was tasked with giving the pair the secret to finding and navigating the Devil’s Shroud which hides the legendary Sea of Thieves from the outside world.

DeMarco and Lesedi are competing with each other to find the lost sea and the treasure it promises, each with their own crew which is limited to four, just like the video game. The writing by Jeremy Whitley is fast and a lot happens in the first issue but the set up pays off by the final panel, all killer and no filler. The artwork by Rhoald Marcellius is great with easy to follow action, expressive faces and characters that pop off the page.

As a promotional piece to the upcoming game, it succeeds in getting the reader vested in the games universe and actually made me even more excited to finally set sail in the game when it is released next week. Even if you aren’t a gamer you will find a lot to like with this one, the world needs more pirate comics and this one fits the bill perfectly.

Sea of Thieves #1
Titan Comics – $3.99

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Announcing “Sword Daughter”, a New Ongoing Comic Book Series From Dark Horse Comics

First Comics News - Thu, 03/15/2018 - 18:03

A Visually Stunning, Emotionally Poignant Tribute to Family, Redemption and Samurai Cinema, from the Co-Creators of BRIGGS LAND

MILWAUKIE, Ore., (March 15, 2018)—This summer, writer Brian Wood, artist Mack Chater and Dark Horse Comics will unleash the new ongoing comic book series Sword Daughter, a Viking revenge saga unlike any other. The co-creators of the acclaimed Briggs Land, along with colorist Jose Villarubia, letterer Nate Piekos, and cover artist Greg Smallwood, are creating a raw and violent story that is a testament to the power of redemption and the resiliency of family, and a visually stunning tribute to samurai cinema.

In Sword Daughter, the Forty Swords arrive at night and, under the cover of darkness, murder an entire village. Only two people survive the slaughter: the infant Elsbeth and her grief-stricken father, Dag. Setting off on a revenge quest that will span the width of Viking Age Europe, they find the key to repairing their damaged relationship lies in the swords they carry.

“I find endless inspiration in history, and specifically Norse history, the struggle of men and women to survive amidst violence and forbidding landscapes,” said Wood, who previously wrote and co-created the acclaimed Viking comic book Northlanders. “In Sword Daughter, Mack and I are bringing in very relatable themes of protecting your kids, preparing them for survival in an uncaring world, and the guilt that comes with knowing there’s only so much you can do. The father, Dag, has effectively abandoned his infant daughter for ten years, and now that he’s back he’s realizing that his daughter had gotten along without him, despite him. Having a place in her life and in her heart is not automatic. He has to atone for his past and earn her trust.”

“I’ve always loved European comics, Bande Dessinee,” said Chater, the acclaimed graphic novel artist and former video game art director. “I grew up reading them and loved how they used the visual narrative of a book to tell a story. The colour palette could reflect both the landscape and the tonal feel of the book, to elicit an emotional response from the reader. As soon as Brian and I started talking about Sword Daughter, we both realised that we had similar loves, from those classic Bande Dessinee to the old samurai movies like Sanjuro or Harakiri, and that this would be the perfect book to show these influences and loves visually.”

“The influence of Samurai cinema is evident in the structure of the story, the classic revenge-quest narrative, and the overt nods to things like Lone Wolf & Cub, Red Sun, and Lady Snowblood,” said Wood. “And each issue is eight pages longer than the standard monthly comic, so we can linger on locations and let moments land properly.”

Each oversized issue of the first story arc of Sword Daughter by Wood, Chater, colorist Jose Villarubia and letterer Nate Piekos features 28 story pages, covers by Greg Smallwood and variant covers by co-creator Chater. Sword Daughter #1 debuts on June 6, 2018.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

UDON ENTERTAINMENT TAKES A THIRD JOURNEY INTO THE CHILLING ART OF DARK SOULS

First Comics News - Thu, 03/15/2018 - 18:01

UDON to publish DARK SOULS III: DESIGN WORKS

TORONTO, ONTARIO – March. 15, 2018 –  Drenched in atmosphere and crawling with unimaginable horrors, DARK SOULS III is a brutal and challenging video game experience for fans of the now-legendary series. UDON Entertainment is bringing the stunning imagery of the final chapter in the Dark Souls trilogy to the printed page with an expansive new art book – DARK SOULS III: DESIGN WORKS.

DARK SOULS III: DESIGN WORKS collects the gritty and hair-raising artwork behind the critically-acclaimed game in a prestigious hardcover book. This epic 336-page tome is UDON’s biggest Dark Souls art book yet, featuring armor and weapon designs, character concepts, enemies, bosses, environments, DLC artwork, and more.

DARK SOULS III: DESIGN WORKS arrives in stores everywhere August 2018. The new title joins two previous art books in UDON’s DARK SOULS: DESIGN WORKS series.
DARK SOULS III: DESIGN WORKS
DETAILS: 336 pg, 8.25 x 11.75”, Full Color, Hardcover
MSRP: $49.99 USD
RELEASE DATE: August 2018
ISBN: 978-1772940640

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH INTERVIEWS: Jermaine Christmas Creator/Writer/Artist Forecast, Co-Writer Power Company

First Comics News - Thu, 03/15/2018 - 17:56

First Comics News: What part does Forecast play in Power Company? 

Jermaine Christmas: To me I see Forecast playing a role like Thor in the Power Company, A Power Player.

1st: Can you tell us what Forecast’s powers and abilities are? 

Jermaine: Forecast has the power to manipulate the weather, can sense, create, shape and manipulate weather, i.e. the meteorological patterns, creating rain, wind, hail, lightning, snow, sleet, fog and temperature changes. This includes the ability to generate various natural phenomena or control the intensity of the weather in highly concentrated (inside room) or vastly extended (continental) areas.

1st: What is the one thing that stands out the most about Forecast? 

Jermaine: Really, I think it’s his costume, plus the great way a lot of artists has portrayed him.

1st: Which one member of Power Company Would Forecast work best within a team-up? 

Jermaine: Oh that would be Metalmorph, they seem like they would have a blast

1st: Who does Forecast battle in “Power Company” or will he in “Power Company # 2”? 

Jermaine: Forecast will be toe to toe with Overcast.

1st: What is Kringlistic Comix and how was it formed? 

Jermaine: Kringlistic Comix is a dream that became a vision to become a reality. Back when I was in the Navy I was putting together some ideas for a superhero team (Category Seven) but had no name for my company, well my last name is Christmas, and in the military, we go by last name. My nickname Chris Kringle came from that. So my friend said Kringlistic Comix, and it was a warp.

1st: Has Forecast been in his own comic yet or will he be? 

Jermaine: No he has not been in his own book. But I am working on his book now. Hopefully, it will be out by the end of this year.

1st: Would Forecast make a good character for a TV series and why? 

Jermaine: Yeah I think he would be a great T.V. series. Just to bring such a great character to the media, something new and a good twist on what I call Global Warning.

1st: What type of person is Forecast? 

Jermaine: To tell you the truth he is relaxed, peaceful, and very quiet. The phlegmatic type.

1st: Do you have any other ideas for Kringlistic Comix? 

Jermaine: Well yes I do. Of course Forecast’s own book, and then you will also be able to see him team up with Category Seven. Other projects are in the development too. D.E.C. 25, Security, Ms. America, Chicken Hawk and Pigeon, RECALL, Evening Star, and Rush Hour are some of the major titles that I want to come out and then there is Power Jam, a title where a lot of my crossovers will begin, and also use it to introduce other charters. 

1st: If you had Forecast’s power and abilities how would you use them? 

Jermaine: To protect and defend the planet.

1st: How do you think Power Company would fare against the JLA or Avengers?

Jermaine: I know they can take the JLA and the Avengers, we have the power set to match them.

1st: How do you spend any free time you have? 

Jermaine: Lot with my kids, working on my universe, and designing my dream house.

1st: Any last words for the fans of your work?

Jermaine: Thank you all for the support for Forecast and all my ideas, and be on the lookout for Forecast issue #1 Bad Weather, and Category Seven #0 The book of Revelation.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

BLACK SABLE #5 preview

First Comics News - Thu, 03/15/2018 - 17:51



BLACK SABLE #5
One hundred years in the future the “age of pirates” has returned as mankind reaches out for the stars. Schooners have been replaced by star ships and these pirates wield space age weaponry, but they are as bloodthirsty and ruthless as their predecessors were centuries before them. Experience a new universe of swashbuckling action and adventure in the vast reaches of space!

Release Date: 3/28/18

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

QUANTUM AND WOODY! # 4 preview

First Comics News - Thu, 03/15/2018 - 17:47

QUANTUM AND WOODY! (2017) # 4
Written by DANIEL KIBBLESMITH
Art by KANO
Cover A by JULIAN TOTINO TEDESCO (JAN182020)
Cover B (Extreme Ultra-Foil) by GEOFF SHAW (JAN182021)
Extreme Ultra-Foil Chase Variant by GEOFF SHAW (JAN182022)
Q&W Icon Variant by FRED HEMBECK (JAN182023)
Pre-Order Edition by NICK PITARRA (OCT171909)

There are bad dads. And then there’s Rutherford Van Chelton…

They went looking for Woody’s birth father…and they’re about to wish they didn’t! Woody’s pop has left a long trail of broken promises and broken bottles behind him across the decades. Now, Quantum and Woody – the world’s worst superhero team, currently estranged – are thousands of miles from home, riding shotgun across Australia with the human dive bar that forever changed the course of both their lives. Will the senior Van Chelton convert his long-lost son to his hard-traveling ways? And can Quantum take on an older, smarter, and slightly more inebriated version of his unpredictable partner?

Valiant’s high-energy superheroes are hitting the road for a once-in-a-lifetime family reunion as rising star Daniel Kibblesmith (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert) and eye-popping artist Kano (Daredevil) bring “KISS KISS, KLANG KLANG” south of the equator!

$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale MARCH 21st

          

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

NINJA-K #5 preview

First Comics News - Thu, 03/15/2018 - 17:45

NINJA-K #5
Written by CHRISTOS GAGE
Art by TOMÁS GIORELLO
Cover A by TREVOR HAIRSINE (JAN182012)
Cover B by LUCAS TROYA (JAN182013)
Interlocking Variant by KENNETH ROCAFORT (JAN182014)
Ninjak Icon Variant by PHILIP TAN (JAN182015)
Pre-Order Edition by TONCI ZONJIC (SEP172024)

London falling!

The murderous assault on MI-6 has spilled out of the shadows and onto the streets of Britain’s capital! With his would-be killer unmasked, can Ninjak grapple with the truth behind the bloodstained legacy of MI-6’s covert Ninja Programme…and an opponent with more experience, more precision, and more ruthless instincts than any he’s faced before?

Acclaimed writer Christos Gage (Netflix’s Daredevil) and superstar artist Tomás Giorello (X-O MANOWAR) unlock the secret of “THE NINJA FILES” as Colin King dares death onward!

$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale MARCH 21st

          

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

LION FORGE PARTNERS WITH UNITED WAY OF PUERTO RICO FOR DONATION OF PROFITS FROM PUERTO RICO STRONG ANTHOLOGY

First Comics News - Thu, 03/15/2018 - 17:43

ST. LOUIS, MO—Just under six months since Hurricane Maria plowed through Puerto Rico with a destructive force that left island residents desperate for survival or forced to flee to the U.S. mainland, the island is still struggling to rebound. Today, the St. Louis publisher announces their commitment to relief efforts in a partnership with United Way of Puerto Rico, in conjunction with the release of Puerto Rico Strong, a comics anthology from some of today’s top talent!

All Lion Forge profits from the sales of Puerto Rico Strong will go to the Early Childhood Relief program. These specific initiatives in Puerto Rico to help the children and families and provide hope include:

•Early Childhood Centers: Creation of Reading Corners

•Early Childhood Centers: Psychological Support for traumatic stress after a natural disaster

•Early Childhood Centers: Re-establishment of non-profit childcare facilities (Furniture, Materials, Equipment, Structure)

•Community Schools and Health Care Centers

In addition, Lion Forge will match $25,000 of all profits from the sales of Puerto Rico Strong, and Diamond Comic Distributors will donate 5 percent of retail sales to United Way of Puerto Rico.

“When a particular area of the world is struggling, it is everyone’s responsibility to find ways to help,” says Lion Forge founder David Steward II. “We at Lion Forge are always looking for ways to bolster diversity of content and creators, and we thought the best way to help the people of Puerto Rico would be to highlight some of the unique voices in our industry with a deep connection to Puerto Rican heritage. We are donating 100 percent of the book’s profits to the ongoing relief efforts, in addition to matching the first $25,000 raised.”

“We’re grateful to Lion Forge for their efforts to give back to Puerto Rico and help as so many people begin to rebuild their lives,” said Orv Kimbrough, president and CEO of United Way of Greater St. Louis. “It’s inspiring to see communities and sectors step up to make a positive difference, and this is exactly what the comic book industry is doing with Puerto Rico Strong.”

“Lion Forge has found a great way for the comic book community to aid a very worthy cause, and we are happy to follow their lead on making something positive happen for Puerto Rico,” says Diamond President and CEO Steve Geppi.

Puerto Rico Strong is a comics anthology that explores what it means to be Puerto Rican and the diversity that exists within that concept, from today’s most exciting Puerto Rican comics creators. All profits will go toward disaster relief and recovery programs to support Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico Strong is co-edited by Lion Forge’s own Desiree Rodriguez and Hazel Newlevant, alongside Marco Lopez, Neil Schwartz, and Derek Ruiz.

Puerto Rico Strong features art and writing by Rosa Colón (Soda Pop Comics), Vita Ayala (Bitch Planet), Naomi Franquiz (Misfit City), Javier Cruz Winnik (A Reason to Smile!), Sabrina Cintron (La Borinquena), Tristan Tarwater (Hen & Chick), Fabian Nicieza (co-creator of Deadpool), Joamette Gil (Power & Magic), and many more!

Puerto Rico Strong was released yesterday at finer comic shops everywhere, with profits going directly to those in need.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

An Interview with Bruce Lee’s Shannon Lee & Nicole Dubuc

First Comics News - Thu, 03/15/2018 - 16:04

A few days ago I reviewed a fun, all-ages one-shot comic featuring Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee: The Walk of the Dragon reminded me of some of those great cartoon episodes that just showed a day in the life of the character. And that is just what happens in the comic, or does it?

I had the tremendous opportunity to interview the writer of Bruce Lee: The Walk of the Dragon, animation superstar Nicole Dubuc. Nicole has worked on My Little Pony, Star Wars: Rebels and Transformers: Rescue Bots so that cartoon vibe I got from the comic is well earned. But, as if I wasn’t lucky enough to just be interviewing Nicole, Bruce Lee Entertainment’s Shannon Lee also joined us as well!

Martin Boruta: Thank you both for talking with me today about Bruce Lee: The Walk of the Dragon.

Nicole Dubuc: Thanks to you and the team at First Comics News for having us.

Shannon Lee: We’re always happy to chat about our book!

Bruce Lee The Walk of the Dragon Cover

Martin: Shannon, why is this a good time to reintroduce your father, Bruce Lee, as a pop culture personality to new audiences?

Shannon: I don’t think there would ever be a bad time to introduce Bruce Lee to anyone. But now is a particularly important time, I feel, because of the conversations we are engaged in concerning inclusion, personal and community responsibility, and acceptance. My father was so ahead of his time with the way he lived his life, worked on himself as a human being, and his philosophies and teachings. I feel like we are finally at the intersection where Bruce Lee meets a growing global awareness, and my father has some great tools that we can all apply to help us through our transitions.

Martin: Why specifically a comic book for Bruce Lee?

Shannon: First of all, I’m a fan of comic books from a young age. My brother had them scattered all over the house, and I used to pick them up and read them, too. Comics are such an engaging introduction for kids to… well… anything — storytelling, characters, historical information, you name it. We try very hard to keep our books fun and to have some wisdom sprinkled in at the same time – much like my father did in his films.

Nicole: I’m new to the series, but as someone who is constantly pressing “pause” to look at the physics and cool poses involved in a movie fight sequence, a comic book feels like a fantastic way to naturally freeze-frame on Bruce Lee’s signature moves and abilities. Comics can also cover as little or as much time as you need them to, which gives us this great range to tell an epic story that would be impossible to produce, or a character side-story that might get left on the editing room floor in a film.

Martin: Tell me a bit about Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises, the five-issue series that preceded this book.

Shannon: Well, Jeff Kline and I wrote the first double issue together. We chose to bring Bruce Lee back and place him in today’s culture as a way of relating to today’s audiences and having fun with my dad. The Bruce Lee of our book arrives in the 21st Century with all his skills intact but none of his memories. He has these flashes of philosophy and imagery that pop into his mind but they are incoherent to him. We did this on purpose so that he would not only have to learn about this new world around him but also learn about himself all over again. And the reader goes on the journey with him.

Martin: What was your reaction to the fan response and positive sales of the series?

Shannon: I’ve been really happy with the response we’ve had. The reviews have been really complimentary and the fans, new and established, seem to have found our efforts really fun. The sales have been strong, too. It’s always rewarding to see a labour of love accepted and celebrated!

Martin: You chose Darby Pop to be the publishing partner. Why Darby Pop and how did that collaboration with Bruce Lee Entertainment come about?

Shannon: I was introduced to Jeff Kline through a mutual friend who I had been talking about comics with because I was lamenting that there wasn’t a legit Bruce Lee comic book out there. Jeff and I hit it off and I really liked the idea of partnering and doing it ourselves. We could have gone with a bigger company, but then there would have been a whole lot of negotiating and compromising, and I wanted to control how we spoke to our fans and have fun doing it.

Nicole: I’m lucky enough to have come onto the project after the collaboration was in place, so all I can say is that it’s a dream come true to work with Shannon and Jeff in creating new Bruce Lee stories. Jeff and I had worked together quite a bit in animation (Transformers: Prime, Transformers: Robots in Disguise) and when he reached out, I leapt.

Martin: Walk of the Dragon is a one-shot and not a full mini-series like The Dragon Rises. Was this just a fun story that needed to be told?

Shannon: We wanted to keep the comic going and knew we weren’t going to be able to get another full arc for THE DRAGON RISES done given our schedules this year, so we decided to tell more of a self-contained legacy story that spoke to my father’s impact in an entertaining way.

Nicole: I really love slice-of-life stories because when you don’t have to dedicate all your page-space to servicing a multi-issue plot, you get the opportunity for lots of humour and great character moments. Sometimes what’s revealed about someone in the day-to-day can change how you view everything that’s come before, or after. For me, doing this book as a one-shot was a chance to dig into some of Bruce’s philosophies, and write a love letter back about how he touched the world.

Bruce Lee The Walk of the Dragon Interior Page

Martin: Tell me a little bit about the genesis of the story idea for The Walk of the Dragon.

Nicole: When you get to do a one-shot, the whole world is open to you. It’s almost harder to decide what story to tell when you have the freedom to do anything you want! Jeff suggested a bit of a riff on the movie “After Hours,” and I kept that in mind while ruminating on some of Bruce Lee’s more famous quotes. One that stood out for me was: “a goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” What better prompt for a story about a simple errand that leads to an unexpected adventure – and with it, the discovery of a greater truth?

Martin: What was it like working with the other members of the creative team on this comic?

Shannon: It’s always great. Darby Pop is just the best and everyone we have worked with has been an absolutely wonderful human being.

Nicole: The team is so talented and welcoming! I’m totally blown away by Brandon McKinney’s art, and Zac Atkinson’s work as a colourist is beautiful. Shannon and Jeff were wonderful sounding boards and collaborators during the story process. When everyone is excited about a project like this, there’s a positive energy that imbues the final product.

Martin: Was keeping the book all-ages important and was this a Darby Pop or Bruce Lee Entertainment? If I had to guess I would assume everyone started off on the same page.

Shannon: We were always on the same page. We, of course, discussed all the possibilities but from the outset, we really wanted to speak to kids and adults alike. And though all-ages books aren’t always positively acknowledged by critics or fans (though ours has been – yay!), we were more interested in introducing Bruce Lee to those who might not otherwise know about him or might not find out about him until later in life.

Nicole: Bruce Lee’s philosophies have something to teach all ages, so it felt natural that this book is for everyone. Coming from animation, I like telling stories that can be accessed by any and every audience.

Martin: Shannon, what’s next for Bruce Lee from Darby Pop?

Shannon: We are talking about what’s next in collaboration with Darby Pop and will keep you posted! As for Bruce Lee, we always have things we are working on. We have a tv series we are producing with Justin Lin for Cinemax that is shooting right now. We also have an indie film about my father as a teenager in Hong Kong that we are about to go into pre-production on and shoot later this year. We are developing and testing a new program for kids through the Bruce Lee Foundation (www.bruceleefoundation.org) this year. I’m working on a book about my father’s philosophy right now… and much, much more!

Martin: Nicole, do you have any upcoming projects we should know about?

Nicole: I recently executive produced season eight of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, which premieres this month on Discovery Family. I’m currently showrunning The Rocketeer, an animated TV series I developed for Disney Junior. And I have another Ponyville Mysteries book, “Cursed Crusaders,” that I co-wrote with Michael Vogel, coming out in April.

Martin: We here at First Comics News and myself, in particular, are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to chat with you ladies today. Thanks all around.

Shannon: Thank you, Martin. We’re truly grateful for your support and interest. Thank you for helping to keep my father’s legacy alive!

Nicole: We really appreciate the opportunity to chat with you!

Bruce Lee: The Walk of the Dragon #1 hits the shelves of your Local Comic Shops March 28th, 2018. Be sure to grab a copy. And if your shop missed ordering some in give them Diamond code JAN181591 and have some copies brought in.

Issue: Bruce Lee: The Walk of the Dragon #1 | Publisher: Darby Pop Publishing
Writer: Nicole Dubuc | Artists: Brandon McKinney & Zac Atkinson
Lettering: Troy Peteri | Editor: Renae Geerlings
Price: $3.99 – 32 pages

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Blink Returns! Your First Look at EXILES #1 from Saladin Ahmed and Javier Rodriguez!

First Comics News - Thu, 03/15/2018 - 14:48

A new creative team brings together a misfit team in this all-new story!

 

New York, NY—March 15, 2018—This April, join Blink, Khan, Iron Lad, Wolvie, and Valkyrie in a tale of misfit fun and adventure from acclaimed Black Bolt writer Saladin Ahmed, artist Javier Rodriguez (Spider-Woman), Alvaro Lopez, and Jordie Bellaire.

 

“EXILES is my take on a classic Marvel ‘misfit’ team book, powered by the endless possibilities of alternate timeline craziness. Sort of WHAT IF? meets classic X-MEN, with a bit of QUANTUM LEAP tossed in for good measure,” said Ahmed. “It’s a dream of a book to be working on for a Marvel fanboy such as myself, full of deep-cut guest stars and mind-blowing easter eggs. But it’s also the human story of a group of misfits coming together, learning to trust each other, and, if they’re lucky, saving the world(s).”

 

Get ready for a wild ride full of twists and new adventures when EXILES returns to comic shops with a brand-new story this April!

EXILES #1

Written by SALADIN AHMED

Art by JAVIER RODRIGUEZ

Covers by DAVID MARQUEZ, JAVIER RODRIGUEZ, MIKE MCKONE, & JESUS SAIZ

FOC – 3/19/18, On-Sale 4/11/18

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

DC at Marvel: Green Lantern--Most Cosmic Hero of Them All!

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 03/15/2018 - 11:00
This is a follow-up to this post.
GREEN LANTERN

STATISTICS
F                 RM   (30)
A                 RM  (30)
S                 RM  (30)
E                 RM   (30)
R                 GD (10)
I                   EX   (20)
P                  IN   (40)
Health: 120
Karma: 70
Resources: GD (10)
Popularity: 20

BACKGROUND
Real Name: Harold "Hal" Hogan
Occupation: Test Pilot
Identity: Secret
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record.
Place of Birth: Riverside, Iowa
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Central City, California
Group Affiliation: the Green Lanterns; the Avengers

KNOWN POWERS
Power Bands: Green Lantern's powers are derived from the power bands he wears on his wrists. He can utilize one effect per round, but can maintain up to 3 effects with a successful Psyche FEAT roll.
Energy Blasts: Monstrous rank.
Force Field: a solidified energy shield of Monstrous rank in a single area.
Flight: Incredible air speed within atmosphere, Class 3000 in space
Life Support: A life-support field, providing breathable air and protection from the elements, as well as a Monstrous force field. This field can be sustained even if he is unconscious.
Energy Solidification: Monstrous ability to create and shape solidified energy. Power stunts include:

  • Containers of Monstrous material strength
  • Carrying Monstrous Loads
  • Acting as a limb of Monstrous Strength

Phasing: Excellent rank.
Mystic Lantern: The countainer for the Green Flame energy which powers his bands is a green lantern made of Unearthly strength material. The lantern may be invisible at Amazing rank, if Green Lantern wills it.
Limitation: The power bands must be recharged in close proximity to the lantern every 24 hrs. or they lose their powers.
Weakness: Without his power bands, Green Lantern's Strength and Endurance drop to Good and Excellent, respectively.

TALENTS
Hal Hogan has Remarkable knowledge of piloting, aeronautics, and navigation.

History: See the previous post for his origin.

After managing to survive an all-out assault by the Baron Sinestro, Blastaar, and a force of Qwardian Thunderers from the Negative Zone, the Guardians of the Universe summoned Hal Hogan to bestow upon him greater power. His ring was transformed into twin power bands, through which flowed even greater power.


Marvel Announces Exclusive Agreement with Chip Zdarsky!

First Comics News - Thu, 03/15/2018 - 06:01

The multi-talented Chip Zdarsky exclusively joins the House of Ideas and releases two new Annuals this June!

 

New York, NY—March 14, 2018—Marvel Entertainment is excited to announce that writer Chip Zdarsky will continue to bring his distinctive storytelling and ideas to Marvel in an exclusive agreement.

One of the most versatile creators in the comic industry, Zdarsky made his mark at Marvel with his series debut of Howard The Duck, featuring art by Joe Quinones. The series found sales acclaim debuting as the seventh best-selling comic in March 2015, and critical acclaim thanks to Zdarsky’s ability to create a unique new world filled with memorable and fan-favorite guest stars. Last February, Zdarsky began helming Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man with Adam Kubert, his take on the timeless character – quirky but also full of heart – propelling the series to a chart-topping debut as the best-selling comic book of June.

In 2017, a sketch from Zdarsky on the back of Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man inspired 20 “How To Draw” variant covers, each one featuring advice on how to draw some of Marvel’s most recognizable characters – all infused with Zdarsky’s trademark creativity and humor. Zdarsky continues to display his talents as the current writer of Marvel 2-In-One, where his emotional and skillfully told stories about Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm have led Vulture to claim that “history will show that the book stood on its own as a funny and empathic story about legacy, grief, and (this being Zdarsky) zingers.”

Zdarsky’s resume at Marvel includes Star-Lord as well as featured stories in books such as The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Civil War II: Choosing Sides, and Not Brand Ecch. This June, Zdarsky will continue to share new stories of classic Marvel characters, teaming up with Mike Allred for Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #1 and Declan Shalvey for Marvel 2-In-1 Annual #1. Take a first look at both covers featuring Allred’s work on Peter Parker and Zdarsky’s own handiwork on Marvel 2-In-One!

“I’m thrilled to be with Marvel,” Zdarsky shared. “This deal means I get to do whatever I want with whatever characters I want and nobody can stop me, which is great. I feel reinvigorated, like someone slapped a new #1 on me and, honestly? I couldn’t be happier.”

“What more can be said about Chip Zdarsky that he hasn’t already said about himself?” added editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski. “But seriously, in the time he’s been at Marvel, Chip’s shown us all the most amazing range of skills as a writer, from his biting humor on Howard the Duck, to the way he approaches Marvel continuity in original ways in Peter Parker, to the heart and humanity he brings to Marvel 2-in-One. We’re proud to have him as part of the Marvel family and to let him do whatever he wants with whatever characters he wants. Maybe.”

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