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The Annual Glyph Comics Awards (GCA) Celebrates Excellence in the Industry

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 14:34

FREE

Reception & Awards Programs at Tech-Freire

 

Philadelphia, PA – May 18, 2018 – “The City of Firsts” – has long been recognized as a place that has provided fertile ground for a number of artistic efforts, including music, dance, mural-making, storytelling and comic book creation. In fact, the first Black comic book was created here in Philadelphia in 1947 by brothers Orrin and George Evans: All-Negro Comics #1. ECBACC, the first full-service Comic Book Convention and the model for community-based comic book conventions, diversi-cons and ethno-cons, has successfully cultivated balanced images of Black superheroes, and has served as a nexus, conduit and catalyst for Black comic book creators, their colleagues and fans since 2002. For the past 17 years, ECBACC has paid tribute to this important legacy, promoted the work of veteran as well as up-and-coming artists, and served as a wellspring of collaborative efforts among comic book creators. “The place to meet and network with Black comic book publishers, artists, writers, their colleagues and their fans is at ECBACC,” says ECBACC, Inc. Vice-President and Event Coordinator Akinşeye Brown. “…ECBACC is the place to be.”

 

The 13th Annual Glyph Comics Awards (GCA), the nation’s first international award of its kind, will be hosted on Friday evening, May 18, 2018, from 6:30p.m. – 9p.m., at Tech-Freire Charter School / 2221 N. Broad St. The Glyphs has been hosted annually by The East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention (ECBACC, Inc.) since 2006. The Glyphs recognizes the best in Black-themed comic books, comic strips, web-comics and graphic novels. Categories include: Best Artist, Best Writer, Best Cover, Best Comic Strip or Web-Comic, Best Female Character, Best Male Character, Rising Star, Best Reprint Publication, Story of the Year, and Fan Award for Best Comic. While it is not exclusive to Black creators, it does strive to honor those who have made the greatest contributions to the comic book medium in terms of both critical and commercial impact.

 

Who will take home a GCA this year? Join us at Tech-Freire Charter H.S. / 2221 N. Broad St. on Friday evening, May 18, 2018, at 6:30p.m. to find out.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

The 17th Annual East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 14:33

Philadelphia, PA – May 18 & 19, 2018 – The East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention (ECBACC), which sponsors Philadelphia’s premiere Black comic book convention, will celebrate the myriad worlds of quantum sci-fi & superheroes in May, 2018. ECBACC kicks off the celebration on Friday, May 18th / 6:30p.m. – 9p.m., with The Glyphs, a FREE reception and awards ceremony, at Tech-Freire Charter School / 2221 N. Broad St. The Convention culminates on Saturday, May 19th / 11a.m. – 7p.m., at Tech-Freire Charter School with a spectacular day of networking, panel discussions, film screenings, a comic book marketplace and youth / adult workshops. Admission is FREE. Youth age 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. ECBACC, founded by Philly Ambassador Mr. Yumy Odom, is a pioneering initiative, giving Black heroes, super-powered characters, their creators, and fans a voice in the comic book industry.

 

ECBACC returns to North Philly and turns its spotlights on an array of the best and brightest, pioneers, veterans and emerging creators, writers, illustrators, filmmakers, publishers, and visionaries, among them: Eric Battle (Marvel, DC, Milestone Media, Dark Horse Comics), Regine Sawyer (Founder of the Women in Comics Convention – NYC), Tony Isabella (DC – Creator of Black Lightning and Marvel – Creator of Misty Knight & Black Goliath), Mshindo Kuumba (Artist Extraordinaire / BlackOps), Richard G. Tyler II aka Bro. Uraeus (BlackOps / BHM), Sheeba Maya (Digital Artistry), N. Steven Harris (Watson & Holmes / Ajala / The Fringe), Robert Garrett (Xmoor Studios / Galto), Naseed Gifted (Founder of Khem Comic Festival – Newark, NJ), William H. Foster III (Celebrated Comic Book Historian), and an amazing array of vendors… On tap for Saturday, May 20th: The Kids’ Library Zone and the Superhero Learning Zone, which will feature comic book-themed activities open to all young people who attend the Convention and offer children a chance to learn arts & crafts, music, storytelling and how to take their own ideas and create superheroes and comic books; ECBACC Professional Workshops and Panels, including screenings of new and award-winning film-shorts, and another surprise innovation of the ECBACC Board to be unveiled; ECBACC Marketplace, one of the largest gatherings of rare and collectible comics and memorabilia on the East Coast; and AfriCoz: The very first costume and cosplay contest celebrating Black Age and Africana characters in comic books, sci-fi, fantasy and film.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

ART OF WRESTLING ROAD DIARIES #2. Korakuen Hall

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 07:19

Guests: Joey Ryan, Ethan Page, Mike Bailey, Rekka, Haku, American Balloon. While still in Japan, Colt and the rest of the tour will be wrestling at the world famous Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. Listen to how wrestlers waste time in the far east along with an inside look at life on tour.

Sponsors:
www.ForHims.com (Code: COLT)

Music:
superfunyeahyeahrocketship.com

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

TPub Comics Launches Stan Lee’s Lucky Man – The Bracelet Chronicles

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 03:53

-New title celebrates third run of one of Sky One’s highest-rated original drama series-

London, March 2018: To support the third season launch of one of Sky One’s highest-rated drama series, TPub Comics is launching Stan Lee’s Lucky Man – The Bracelet Chronicles. The limited run comic book series expands on the storylines of the hugely popular Stan Lee’s Lucky Man and explores the history of the mysterious bracelet and the never-ending battle between good and bad luck.

Stan Lee’s Lucky Man – The Bracelet Chronicles is the result of a partnership with the show’s creators: Carnival Films and Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment.

Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment created the original story and art for the comic before it was adapted by writers Neil Gibson (“Twisted Dark”) and Michael Gordon (“Transdimensional”) and artwork team comprising of Atula Siriwardane (“The Theory”) on pencils/inks, Ellie Wright (Swordquest) on colours and Jim Campbell on letters. The first comic will be released in the summer. The story continues with Rich Clayton (Stephen Hagan) and his brother DI Harry Clayton (James Nesbitt) investigating a mysterious lucky bracelet, which through their research reveals the huge impact that the bracelet has had on not only history but those who have worn it.

The third run of the ten-part TV drama, set to launch on Sky One this year, takes Detective Inspector Clayton (James Nesbitt) to Hong Kong for another instalment of the supernatural hit.

Richard Fell, Executive Producer, Stan Lee’s Lucky Man said: “We’re looking forward to building on Stan Lee’s legacy and extending the Lucky Man brand further into the comic book realm. The show has an incredibly strong fan base, which continues to return season-on-season, and we’re looking forward to giving them another authentic platform through which to further enjoy Harry’s story.”

Shane Duffy, CEO of Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment said: “We are excited to work with TPub Comics to expand Stan Lee’s Lucky Man universe. We are very thankful for all the talented artists and writers who worked very closely with our team on this project and we know that the fans will appreciate it. We can’t wait to share it with everyone.”

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH INTERVIEWS: Davi Leon Dias Artist for Aberrant

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 03:48

First Comics News: Why did you want to illustrate “Aberrant”?

Davi Leon Dias: After the conclusion of the Circle of Death book, created by Rylend Grant, he offered me the opportunity to work on this new project called Aberrant. One of the reasons why I accepted was because I really like the how Rylend creates and develops the story and the script. The scripts always have so many details and references and those kind of things are really helpful in the process of creating the pages of the book. The other reason was because he showed me the first issue of Aberrant and I loved the story. The richness of details of each character and their roles called my attention. I always liked comic books and stories with superpowers, investigation, and lots of action and this project has all of that. The art made by Zsombro Huszka in the first issue is amazing and takes the audience right into the story. I accepted taking part of the project immediately but I must confess that I got a little nervous with the responsibility of giving continuity to such fantastic story, but everything went really well and I’m pleased with the results.

1st: How did you become so good at drawing huge muscles and who is that muscular guy in the hood?

Davi: I believe that the goal of a comic book artist is always to evolve in the maximum artistic elements possible like perspective, storytelling, and so on. To be able to do that the artist needs to study a lot, to read anatomy books, participate in workshops, practice a lot. This way the artist starts to get more confident and also more agile when creating a massive muscular character for instance. Another interesting thing is that the style of drawing from some artists called my attention and helped me to develop and improve my studies. One of the greatest artists that I admire and who always helped me to improve artistically is the great artist and friend Eddy Barrows who works for DC Comics nowadays. I had the immense opportunity to be in one of the workshops he gave and I got invaluable lessons.

The muscular guy in the hood is the character called Rook in the Aberrant book. He is a character who went through some kind of experiment (I need to be careful to do not give spoilers, hehe) and he has a tremendous strength, being able to destroy anything that gets in his way. I consider him as one of the fundamental elements in the entire Aberrant story. Because of the great quality of details given by Rylend, throughout the story, the audience will understand the true origin of the characters and their true reasons to be what they are in the present days. I really like to draw this guy in particular.

1st: Do you prefer drawing the male or female form?

Davi: When I was studying comics and doing some test pages I had the opportunity to choose the characters that I liked the most and immediately comes to mind characters like Thor, Daredevil, Wolverine. Because of those choices and because of the great number of test pages I did, of course, it became easier to draw them. But I also like to draw female characters like Jessica Jones and Wonder Woman.

1st: What was your reaction when you learned you were the new artist on “Aberrant”?

Davi: At the beginning my excitement was huge. To be able to work with comics is my big dream. I was battling it out, studying for years to have an opportunity to work for the US comics industry because it has a massive audience and such incredible professionals. I don’t like much to compare things but, for instance, here in Brazil, the comics industry doesn’t receive the same kind of attention and investment as in the United States. So much so that when the project of Circle of Death book was finished I thought “now it’s over”, “maybe some other time I might get another call”, but I’m glad it didn’t over there. I got the invitation from Rylend to do 9 issues (from issue 2 to 10) and now I’m really pleased drawing the Aberrant book and being part of this great creative team.

1st: Why is William Dee Williams on a cover of “Aberrant” and in an ad?

Davi: I think this is a concept of the Aberrant book that Rylend developed. If you pay attention throughout the story, you will recognize a few memorable things from the 80’s. I think this is a fantastic idea and I believe that the reason why Rylend asked me to draw William was to highlight the hallmark of that epoch even more.

1st: How do you visualize the characters when you are drawing?

Davi: Well… when I receive a script, I usually read it 3 times. The first reading would be like I was reading a book in a quick sort of way, to get myself used to the acting of the characters, and to the orientation of the story. The second reading takes more time and I read it trying to visualize it like it was a movie or a TV series. I keep imagining where the camera should be, how the orientation is, the feeling the pages should convey to the reader, which part of each page should be the most impacting one, the facial and body language of the characters that are going to highlight the story and so on. The third reading comes with this mental image developed in the 2nd reading but now I think about inside the panels of the pages. This way I’m able to start visualizing the panels that need to be highlighted, more dynamics, always looking for the quality of the storytelling.

1st: In drawing David in “Aberrant” what characteristics do you try to bring out?

Davi: David is a tough guy, who went through some traumas and now he is looking for some answers. When I draw him I always remember this phrase, and to keep those characteristics in evidence is necessary to bring elements that are related to his personality. Then, like in a brainstorm, I keep thinking about how he would dress, how he would walk, talk, fight. This way I’m able to give more life to the character and I think it is a fundamental visual resource to the story.

1st: What is the main selling point of “Aberrant”?

Davi: I think one of the things that is going to call the attention is the physical and psychological traits of the characters. There are times, for instance, when you are going to think that two characters are never going to create empathy because they are really different from each other. But then you are taken by surprise. Particularly it is one of the things that I like the most about this comic book.

1st: What comic that you have not worked on would you most like to and why?

Davi: I think all the comics artists dream about drawing a well-known character, like those from Marvel or DC comics. I have friends who work for those companies and I see how those characters get awesome in their hands. The characters that I like the most to draw are the nocturnal ones like Batman and Daredevil. These characters, in particular, are involved in investigative plots and, sometimes, supernatural. And I like that kind of creative segment. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll receive an invitation to draw these characters.

1st: What was your “Night Hunters” graphic novel about and which character in it was your favorite to draw?

Davi: One of the things I had as a goal when I was studying the process of creating comics was to create my own comic book. Then I thought about what is the subject that I like the most. This was when Night Hunters came to life. It’s a story that happens in a fantasy supernatural universe where 7 guardians protect a populated island from dark and evil spiritual forces. My favorite character is Gerrat Urich who is a child in this issue, still learning the ritualistic foundations to become a guardian of the moon.

1st: “Circle of Death” why did you love working on this?

Davi: I have a special feeling for Circle of Death. First, because it’s the first comic book that I drew to be published in the United States. A dream I have for many years coming true at that moment. Second because it’s a well-explored story and reminded me of a movie that I like a lot called Snatch. There are some crazy moments and sometimes funny. Besides, I liked a lot of each and every character. I remember that sometimes I asked Rylend (the writer and creator) what was going to happen with a certain character because the character got really great in the story.

1st: What aberrant superpower would you like to have and why?

Davi: I didn’t see this aberrant superpower in the book yet, but if I have the freedom to choose and I would choose the teleportation. Like Nightcrawler from Marvel. You could know so many places in just a few seconds, you would be able to quickly rescue people from dangerous situations, and know new people. I think I would go to every comic convention in the world (laughs).

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

Davi: I like to watch movies and TV series, talk to my friends at a cool snack-bar. But what I like to do the most is to spend time with my family, especially when I’m playing with my son. The time freezes when I’m with him.

1st: Anything to say to those who love your art?

Davi: I just have to thank everyone. All of my study, dedication, and effort are to your readers. I hope you like the results of the book and please, don’t let talk with me through any social media. I’ll be really glad to know you all.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

THE BOOK CAVE: Millennium Bug By Jeff Deischer

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 01:24

WOW! That should be enough to say about any book by Jeff Deischer. I remember Jeff first showed me the start of the book and I was very excited by what I read. I knew then it would be great. Now that I’ve read the completed book, this is even better than I was expecting.

While I was reading the book, it was like I entered another world and no longer was reading but experiencing the action as it happened. I’ve only had this happen with a few writers. My respect for Jeff’s writing ability has risen greatly.

As for the characters, Dr. Ulysses Brazen is hero that had retired fifty years ago after a twenty-year career battling the forces of evil all over the world. You would think that at his advance age he would be taking it easy. Especially after leaving the spotlight fifty years ago to enjoy some quiet family time. Maybe it was too quiet.

Crimes committed by those shouldn’t be able to commit the crimes bring Dr. Brazen out of retirement when it is discovered that the men who committed the crimes, had ties to the Brazen Institute.

Dr.Brazen, accompanied by two sons of  his late aides of the past, investigate. They are soon joined by others as the action builds.

If you are wondering who is behind the scenes of “innocent” men that have become the opposite of what their friends and family know of them and why? You will be very surprised when you find out.

Join Dr. Brazen, Oz, Noble, Le Chat, Thunderbird and Henry Prevost as they battle overwhelming odds to stop an unknown criminal mastermind.

Make sure and check out all of Jeff Deischer’s Author’s Page on Amazon.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

The Hey Kids Comics Radio Show – Episode 90

Sun, 04/01/2018 - 00:43
The Hey Kids Comics Radio Show – Episode 90

Sam, Dan and Marty welcome you to this Good Friday Easter Weekend episode. Not a drop of chocolate was eaten but we chat about Star Trek movies which eventually leads us to comic books based on TV & movie properties. Fantastic Four is coming back to Marvel, as everyone expected and now the speculation is on a new Uncanny X-Men series in August. Sam gives us our Luann report while Dan gives us his impressions of Shane Heron’s Morris #0. Then the show just completely unravels as Sam and Martin tell Biscuit stories from The ‘Shwa.

If you are interested in older episodes please head to http://heykidscomics.ca !

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

JUPITER JET VOLUME 1 preview

Sat, 03/31/2018 - 20:10

JUPITER JET VOLUME 1: Collect the heartwarming adventures of a teenager with a jetpack and family crises!

Writer(s): Jason Inman & Ashley Victoria Robinson
Artist Name(s): Ben Matsuya
Cover Artist(s): Ben Matsuya
128 pgs./ E / FC
$14.99

Read the series that Tom King (BATMAN, MISTER MIRACLE) says is “Pure awesome comics. From page one, I felt like I was with Jupiter Jet, soaring and smiling, eager for the next adventure.”

16-year-old Jacqueline “Jacky” Johnson inherits a jetpack with a mysterious power source. Along with her brother, Chuck, and their cat, she must protect her home from a mysterious threat that may just be from outer space!

JUPITER JET is written by Jason Inman and Ashley Victoria Robinson,  the husband and wife duo behind the podcast Geek History Lesson, and illustrated by Ben Matsuya. Jason shared some of his thoughts about the series with Shoot the Breeze Comics: “Jacky is going to through a journey like we all do when we are teenagers. Our eyes are opened wide. We think we know everything about the world and slowly we come to realize how wrong we are. Jacky is going to experience that as well, but her revelations are the weirder and darker things in her world.”

JUPITER JET is truly an all-ages story. Ashley commented to Comicosity that “Some of the best comics are all ages (Batman Adventures, Chuck Dixon’s Robin, Ms. Marvel, America), and Jupiter Jet sprung from a shared love Jason and I have for that style of storytelling.”

The first volume of JUPITER JET collects issues 1-4 and will be available in a comic book store near you on May 30, 2018. It can be preordered through Diamond with the item code MAR181025.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Powers Squared # 1

Sat, 03/31/2018 - 19:21

Title: Powers Squared # 1
Publisher: Powers Squared
Created by: David Hankins, Paul Hankins, Trevor Hankins
Written by: David Hankins and Paul Hankins
Edited by: Paul Hankins
Pencil and Inks by: Sika Murti
Coloring by: Lisa Richards
Lettering by: Trevor Hankins
Cover by: Sika Murti
Price: $ 1.99 US
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Website: www.powerssquaredcomicbook.com
Comments: Marty and Eli are twins. They do get in to some excitement. They are helping out their Uncle Brian.
The art is rough but with a cute style. The art shows off the boys and others going about their normal lives.
Then we go back a few days.  The twins do show signs of powers. We see them at their new school. Now their teacher seems up to something. She knows a Dr. Horatio Atlas who seems sinister. What is he up to, who does he work for?
A mysterious girl Mocha shows up as well. What are her intentions? She is illustrated as a cute beauty.
The twin boys do work well together. The reading each other’s thoughts is done in a way that it is not overdone but enough so you know something different is going on.
This is a good introductory issue. You get to meet the main characters and learn a little about them. There is some action and excitement. The story starts to unfold and sets up for more.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Aberrant # 5

Sat, 03/31/2018 - 19:13

Title: Aberrant # 5
Publisher: Action Lab Comics
Writer: Rylend Grant
Artist: Davi Leon Dias
Colorist: Iwan Joko Triyono
Letterer: HdE
Price: $ 3.99 US
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Website: www.actionlabcomics.com , www.halfevilcomics.com , www.risingspiritfilms.com
Comments: David in this issue is fighting to save the elephants in Chad. It is so sad they went from a million to a thousand. He sees their suffering and decides to act. He is enjoying just being able to fight on the side of good and the bad guys are clear, there are no grey areas here.
Lance gets to fight or rather run from the huge muscled guy. This guy is a monster and definitely illustrated to show that.  David is drawn as a hard man.
Little is the leader in Article 13 and we see him opening up to David. This shows just how much Little wants David on his team. These two do start to bond. They do have more in common than one might think and they are a lot alike.
David is back in the game and what that game is. is fully explained this issue. You will find that David is a guy that most people can identify with. He is your average Joe who just got a little more than average. You will like him. Just do not get on his bad side or he will kick your butt.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Aberrant # 4

Sat, 03/31/2018 - 19:13

Title: Aberrant # 4
Publisher: Action Lab Comics
Writer: Rylend Grant
Artist: Davi Leon Dias
Colorist: Iwan Joko Triyono
Letterer: HdE
Price: $ 3.99 US
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Website: www.actionlabcomics.com , www.halfevilcomics.com , www.risingspiritfilms.com
Comments: The Russian President lets the world know he now has a Aberrant military unit.
Lance Cordrey is a billionaire and former Aberrant. How the mighty have fallen. He had it all and now only has money. You might even feel a little sorry for Lance. He though is one of the main villains. He is being treated like a puppet by others only this puppet still has real teeth.
Lance decides to make a change to his situation. He does just that and does it with a bang. The excitement rockets up and you feel for him. He is doing what needs to be done. This ex super-hero turned villain is creating all kinds of excitement here.
It is great to see Lance featured he makes for a wonderful character.
The art is done beautifully as it shows off the various people.
The music throughout the comic adds a nice touch and gives you something that is so easy to follow along to.
This comic does read like a super-hero/action/drama movie. Things pick up this issue for Lance as he goes all out.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Aberrant # 3

Sat, 03/31/2018 - 19:13

Title: Aberrant # 3
Publisher: Action Lab Comics
Writer: Rylend Grant
Artist: Davi Leon Dias
Colorist: Iwan Joko Triyono
Letterer: HdE
Price: $ 3.99 US
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Website: www.actionlabcomics.com , www.halfevilcomics.com , www.risingspiritfilms.com
Comments: A prisoner escape is anything but ordinary. Their rescuer is one huge freak of a man. This guy is drawn with muscles on his muscles.
Article 13 is giving David a tour. So we see this is not just a superpowered people beating up superpowered people comic. Article 13 is like a government spy operation. Will David join? That is the question.
The art has a nice clean cut look to it. The creature from David’s past is a horrific thing to behold. This monster would scare anyone.
This issue we finally get to see David using his abilities. He really can kick some butt. Than David encounters the guy from the prisoner escape. This guy with the huge muscles shows David that he is not the only Aberrant here. The fight is one of extreme brutality.
David for all his powers we see he is still just human with human doubts. He is unsure of himself. He was a soldier but is he still?

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Fresh Monkey Fiction opens pre-orders for Amazing Heroes Wave 2 

Sat, 03/31/2018 - 16:43
Los Angeles, CA. (March 31, 2018)  – Fresh Monkey Fiction opens pre-orders for wave 2 of their retro-inspired action figure line Amazing Heroes.

The Amazing Heroes Wave 2 collection features a selection of creator owned characters: Mike Baron and Steve Rude’s Nexus and a cosmic version of Michael Allred’s Madman. Plus limited editions (100pcs) of Golden Age Heroes:  American Crusader, Captain Future, Chrometurion and the villainous Puzzler. This will be the first time many of them will become action figures.

Each retro-inspired Amazing Heroes figure stands 4.5″ tall and includes collector friendly interchangeable packaging

The pre-order is currently open and runs through May 1st, 2018.

You can pre-order the Amazing Heroes Wave 2 Retroverse figures and find special offer pricing on a few remaining Wave 1 figures at:

https://amazing-heroes-action-figures.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Introducing the 2018 Ringo Awards Jury

Sat, 03/31/2018 - 16:33

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – March 31, 2018 – The Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards is an annual celebration of the creativity, skill, and fun of comics. The awards will be presented on Saturday, September 29, 2018 as part of the fan- and pro-favorite convention, The Baltimore Comic-Con. The Ringo Awards is currently in the midst of the 2018 nomination process, which is inclusive of fans and comic book professionals alike. Please submit your nominations before voting closes at midnight on May 30, 2018.

 

The Jury

An esteemed jury of comics professionals will participate in the nomination process, selecting favorite works in over 20 categories. The 2018 jury was chosen as a representative cross-section of the comic book industry, with members representing seasoned and venerated educators, retailers, press, and creators across numerous genres. Michael Cavna is a cartoonist and creator of The Washington Post’s Eisner-nominated Comic Riffs column. He is also emcee and co-programmer of the Graphic Novel Pavilion events at the Library of Congress’s annual National Book Festival. In 2017, Cavna’s work was honored by the National Headliner Awards and the national Society for Features Journalism. A San Francisco native and UCSD alum, Cavna also wrote the Harvey Award-nominated prose for the Eisner Award-nominated anthology book Team Cul de Sac: Cartoonists Draw the Line at Parkinson’s. His viral “Wise Up” cartoon launched the #Draw4Atena campaign on behalf of the jailed Iranian artist-activist Atena Farghadani, and his updated-monthly cartoon marked the 545-day detention of American-Iranian journalist Jason Rezaian. Those cartoon campaigns were cited by the National Press Club, the Poynter Institute and the Cartoonist Rights Network International. Cavna has created artwork and features for five syndicates, including Universal Uclick/Andrews McMeel.  Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz once told Cavna at a black-tie awards dinner: “You do funny things”; to this day, he does not know for sure whether Schulz was referring to Cavna’s syndicated comic Warped or to his tragically askew cummerbund.

Marty Grosser is the Editor of Diamond Comic Distributors’ PREVIEWS catalog, and has been involved with the publication since its inception in October of 1988. Before that, he started in the comics industry in the summer of 1981 as a counterman and Assistant Manager for Northern California’s Comics & Comix retail chain. In 1986, he left C&C for comics distributor, Bud Plant, Inc., where he worked in the Customer Service department before becoming the writer of BUD PLANT’S QUICKLIST (the catalog precursor to PREVIEWS) in 1987. This position eventually lead to his move to Maryland in 1988 following the purchase of BPI’s West Coast distribution network by Diamond Comic Distributors.

Karla Marsh-Southern is the Event and Exhibitor Coordinator for Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find and the Heroes Convention located in Charlotte, NC. She has served the Heroes Convention for over 14 years, and has done so in a full-time capacity for the past six. She began attending the Heroes Convention 13 days before her actual birth in June of 1982 when her mother agreed to accompany her brother to Charlotte’s first “Comic Book Convention”. She has attended every Heroes Convention since, with this year’s show marking her 36th consecutive Heroes Convention. Learning to read using Wonder Woman and Batman comics in the early 1980’s, Karla is an avid reader of series from across all genres. She is also a life-long fan of all things Masters of the Universe and has assisted in the management of the He-Man and She-Ra-themed Convention, Power-Con based out of Los Angeles, CA.

Rob Stull is an accomplished illustrator, curator, teacher, penciler, inker, designer, and creator of comic books. In addition to working through his own studio, Ink on Paper, he has worked over two decades for every major publisher in the industry, including Marvel and DC Comics, where his projects include: Spider-Man Adventures, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Iron Man, X-Force, Wolverine, Nightwing, 52, Firestorm, and more. He was a member of the original Tellos creative team with Todd Dezago, Mike Wieringo, and Paul Mounts, and inked Mike’s pencils on the initial series run published by Image Comics. He also inked the covers for the Mike Wieringo Tellos Tribute books and drew a chapter in Volume 1. He created and curated Sequential Art: The Next Step, a 10-year traveling exhibition spotlighting the work of African American comic book artists and their contributions to the industry and popular culture, and his work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the United States. He is featured in the ground-breaking books Black Comix: African American Independent Comics, Art and Culture and The History of American Graffiti. “I have always believed that all art is relative,” says Stull. “Sequential Art is a storytelling medium, but most visual art is telling a story of some kind.” Gus Vazquez is an illustrator who has worked in nearly every field, including comic books, trading cards, storyboarding for music videos, commercials, animation and film, logo design, character and toy design, and more. He started his career in comic books working as an assistant to comic book artists Adam Pollina on X-Force, and Kevin McGuire on Trinity Angels. He got his first solo gig at Marvel Comics drawing the covers and interiors for Sunfire and Big Hero 6, the series that introduced the characters featured in Disney’s Oscar winning Big Hero 6. He has worked on such Marvel titles as Deadpool, X-Force, Spider-Man, What If? Civil War, What If? Back in Black, The Official Handbook if the Marvel Universe, and more. For DC, he has worked on such titles as Green Lantern, JLA, Blue Beetle, and most recently on Flash, Suicide Squad, and Green Arrow. Gus was the artist on several issues of Claudio Sanchez’s (of rock music group Coheed and Cambria) The Amory Wars, and was instrumental in helping bring together the creative team of his friends, David Atchison (writer) and Tony Shasteen (illustrator), and his niece, film and TV actress Rosario Dawson on 12 Gauge’s The O.C.T. Currently, Gus has been working for DC Comics on The Sasquatch Detective, a backup story which can be found in the pages of Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, as well as DMC (Daryl Makes Comics) and on La Borinqueña. He is also working on his creator-owned book, Fang.

Fan and Pro Nomination Categories

* Best Cartoonist (Writer/Artist)
* Best Writer
* Best Artist or Penciller
* Best Inker
* Best Letterer
* Best Colorist
* Best Cover Artist
* Best Series
* Best Single Issue or Story
* Best Original Graphic Novel
* Best Anthology
* Best Humor Comic
* Best Comic Strip or Panel
* Best Webcomic
* Best Non-fiction Comic Work
* Best Kids Comic or Graphic Novel * Best Presentation in Design Jury-Only Nomination (with four bonus jurors) * The Mike Wieringo Spirit Award Fan-Only Favorite Categories * Favorite Hero
* Favorite Villain
* Favorite New Series
* Favorite New Talent * Favorite Publisher Hero Initiative Award (selected by the Hero Initiative) * The Hero Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award * The Dick Giordano Humanitarian Award

“We are always going to be asking ourselves how to continue to ensure the quality of the Ringo Awards,” said Marc Nathan, Baltimore Comic-Con promoter. “We created the basic jury blueprint in our inaugural year, and we were very happy with the outcome. With that in mind, we asked this year’s jurors to participate based on their respective backgrounds in and knowledge of the industry, and we’re confident the results will be worthy of voters’ consideration.”

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Calvin’s Commentaries: 40 Thieves

Sat, 03/31/2018 - 16:19

When a game arrives in a cloth sack, and you open it to find a stack of cardboard discs with art that seems right out of Arabian Nights, you have to be intrigued.

Which is the case with 40 Thieves from Canadian publisher JackBro Playful Creation.

Now admittedly my copy is a preview one, the game is currently on Kickstarter, but appears likely to succeed as they are near 50 percent of their goal and the campaign will run until Apr. 26, but I’d guess my copy is close to what the finished product will be.

So what is 40 Thieves about?

“In a medina on the borders of the kingdom, thrives a dishonest merchant with excessive wealth,” details the company website at www.jackbro.com (a site that is in French but thanks to the Internet a passable translation is a keystroke away. “Gold coins, fabrics, and carpets pile up in its hidden and well-guarded landmark. In the middle of his treasure, nine bluish sapphires of great purity. Nine precious stones that make you dream. In the city, looters, thieves, and other knaves are challenging themselves: whoever steals the most of these stones by night will be crowned king of thieves.

“Will you answer the call? Will you brave the forty thieves who keep the loot?”

The game comes to us from designers Jean-Thomas Rioux and Étienne Rioux.

The game, which accommodates two to four players, is made of 40 thieves cards and 20 special cards. Each card has a colour and a symbol on the back, but only one is true. Players have to use deduction, memory and push their luck to arrange suits of symbols or colours to steal a sapphire.

The game starts with the placement of 16 cards into a 4 x 4 grid face down.

Through four phases players work to collect sapphire gems. When the last gem is taken, the game ends.

Jean-Thomas Rioux was good enough to answer a few questions regarding 40 Thieves via email, starting with the initial idea.

“Everything can get you to your creation ideas,” he said.

Rioux explained his brother is an illustrator, so a few times they start the creation process with drawings he did.

“Other times we just do brainstorming,” said Rioux. “There are no rules in game development. Ideas come from every aspect in your life; funny news, events, movies or from my three little kids.”

Rioux said games also take on a life of their own in terms of how they come together.

Vikingar, a previous game from the design team, took a couple of years to come together, said Rioux.

“But for 40 Thieves the situation was different,” he said. “The first version was really near of the final product. We had a lot of very good feedback on our first play test session. The game was already balanced.”

The biggest part of the process is being able to give up on some game ideas you initially thought to be brilliant, offered Rioux.

“The most difficult aspect is that you have to manage your emotions and be able to destroy your own ideas,” he said. “You need to be able to challenge yourself at all times.

“Another difficult aspect is not to go too fast in visuals and prototypes of qualities. These details are very expensive and often limit us in our modification.

“It is often easy to turn round corners and not to take enough time to experience a game mechanics, or the fluidity of the game.

“It is also difficult to design a game and to predict developments to limit certain costs of production.”

Rioux said they also wanted to create something as unique as possible.

“We always try at Jackbro to make games that are different and not really comparable in the market,” he said. “We also try to make strong visuals.

“We always try to make sure that our mechanics come to amplify the theme of the game.”

The game of 40 Thieves is the first game in a 1001 Knights series that Rioux said they are working on.

This is a deduction and luck game that has a fairly unique look which should appeal to people who like the process of in-game discovery by having a good memory and some good old intuition.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Calvin’s Commentaries: Get Adler

Sat, 03/31/2018 - 09:04

London, 1937 — Intelligence has discovered that Top-Secret documents are missing. So, too, is MI6 Agent Adler. The only clue is an intercepted message: “Trafalgar at seven.” MI5 Agent Gold, Inspector Sharpe of Scotland Yard, and Constable Townsend have been thrown this task: “Find and eliminate Adler.” They’ve got seven hours.

So starts the introduction to Get Adler from designer Randy Thompson and the Canadian publisher Caper Games.

Originally released in 2016, the game is getting a new edition and is on Kickstarter until April 11, but I’m sure the new edition will be available for a while as it has already reached its funding goal.

The company website (www.capergames.ca) describes the game as “a multi-player card game in which secret characters investigate each other to unmask Adler. Once the traitor is revealed, the game transforms into an action-packed race against time to eliminate Adler and to recover top-secret documents.”

So up front, you have to be a certain type of gamer for Get Adler. There are certain people who are not into the mental exercise of deduction style games, and they are not necessarily a good fit for every gaming group.

But, a good thing about Get Adler is its versatility, playing from two-to-eight players. That makes the game quite adaptable for a gaming group. Those who like deduction games can play Get Adler, the couple that doesn’t can opt to play cribbage, (never a bad alternate choice in my world).

So what is a key element in Get Adler?

For the answer, I turned to designer Thompson for the answer figuring he knows the game better than a humble reviewer like myself.

“We always seem to get at least one new innovative twist into our games,” he said via email. “With Get Adler! the interesting thing is that there are two distinct parts that work very well together. The first few rounds are all about trying to deduce who Adler is.

“But the last few rounds (after he is found out!) it’s all about trying to catch him. If you try to arrest him, he will most likely play an escape card: a motor-car, or jump on the bus, or take a bike, or take the tube or take a boat along the Thames. The good guys can match the escape card! Adler can then play another one, and then another hero can match it. “There is also a shootout and Adler can throw a bomb. So the escape and chase is the best element.”

Just as background Thomson grew up in beautiful Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. “Looking back on my childhood, I can remember inventing games,” he states in his online bio.

“At around 9 and 10 years of age, I used to sit down outside and show hockey cards to my beloved dog Spotty. I also made mini baseball games in the dirt with sticks and small pebbles. And best of all, I used to cut out those same hockey cards and play hockey at the kitchen table, with a silver ball for the puck: the foil from my mother’s cigarette package.”

As of 2017, he has designed seven games and authored two books.

But back to Get Adler; I am always fascinated with how a game comes to exist in the first place.

“My girlfriend and I were watching a few episodes of Sherlock Holmes from Britain, starring Jeremy Brett (Granada TV),” explained Thomson. “At some point around this time, the idea popped into my head. I always thank God for any new idea I get. I still remember drawing out the first four characters on cut out bristle-board: Inspector Sharpe, MI5 agent Gold, Constable Townsend and double-agent Adler. Gold was also inspired by Laura Holt from Remington Steele.”

But a few rough notes is a long way from a published game.

“We worked on Get Adler! for two years,” said Thompson. “I drew out the first characters in early 2014. I really wanted a female character in the storyline and created Sarah Gold from MI5.

“We Kickstarted the first edition of Get Adler! in January 2016. In early 2017, we Kickstarted the Premium Edition and currently, we are on Kickstarter with our Signed Edition (just raising extra funds for shipping and customs).”

There were, of course, a few bumps on the design road.

“Originally the game was designed for four players, but a distributor in Britain asked us if it would be possible to expand the game to six players,” said Thompson. “So I had to come up with two additional characters. Although characters five and six were easier for me than (eventually), characters seven and eight. Character five became Kate Collins, an accomplice for Adler. She is now essential to the game. I am so glad I was challenged to come up with more characters. Russian good-guy agent Tarasov became character six. I love them all.”

And there was, of course, the hurdle of money.

“As a small Indie publisher the biggest hurdle was raising money to manufacture,” said Thompson. “I had never done a Kickstarter before, so that was very interesting. And thankfully we funded.

“What I learned, though, is that shipping and customs can add lots of extra costs, and you have to be ready for that. You are manufacturing and shipping not only for your backers but for the rest of the games you will need to sell that year. I’m very thankful for Kickstarter.”

My first impression of the game was two-fold.

The cards look great, with a sort of ‘vintage British’ feel to them, which works perfectly.

But I have to say with Adler in the name I would have loved this to be a full-blown Holmesian game. I recognize such rights might have been nearly impossible to acquire but it would have added an extra layer of interest for me.

The greatest strength though goes back to the two to eight player option. Not many games easily accommodate such a range.

As designer Thompson remains happy with his creation now that it has been out in the hands of the gaming public.

“Love it,” he said. “We always listen to feedback and then try to improve the rules with any new edition. We did that with the Premium Edition, so I think that overall the rules and gameplay are excellent. It is our best game to this point.”

And just as a hint of what might come next.

“We are just finishing up our playtesting for Vertium – a strategic game of space colonization,” said Thomson. “We have a teacher in the USA who is playtesting it at the moment. We have tested it and developed it a lot. There are two phases in this game also. The first part is all about competing with other factions as you try to colonize the planets of Coper in Quadrant 1 of the Milky Way. The second phase is all about battling for those planets. We have an excellent new mechanic that has to do with moons, but you will have to wait for the Kickstarter to see that.”

 

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

The Inkwell Awards Voting Open From April 1-15

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 08:00

(New Bedford, MA/USA—March 29, 2018) Who’s your favorite inker? The Inkwell Awards, a non-profit organization devoted to public education and promotion of the art of comic book inking, invites all to vote for the industry’s best of the year. The official public ballot will be available on the Inkwells’ homepage from April 1 through April 15.

Voting is open to fans and professionals alike. In addition to “Favorite Inker,” categories include “Most Adaptable,” “PROPS” (inkers deserving more attention), the “S.P.A.M.I.” (Small Press And Mainstream/Independent) and “All-In-One” for pencilers who ink their own work.

As a courtesy, also listed on the ballot are the nominees for the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame (“HoF”), a lifetime achievement honor for an outstanding inking career of 25 or more years in American comics, whose winners are chosen by an internal committee (to avoid a “popularity contest” where recent names have more influence than past masters). Two nominees are awarded each year.

Also to be chosen internally is the Special Recognition Award. This lifetime achievement honor differs from the HoF award due to one or more factors such as the artist being out of the “public eye,” having limited name-recognition due to semi- or full retirement or death, limited-yet-influential output, social barriers such as gender/race, or other factors that might otherwise limit them from being nominated for a traditional HoF award. The SRA nominees are not listed on the ballot but will be discussed at the awards ceremony. As announced at last year’s ceremony, the award has been renamed the Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Award (SASRA) in honor of the longtime member of the non-profit who succumbed to cancer a year ago after a 10-year battle.

“We’re as excited as ever for this event, where the best of the best ink artists and their work get the recognition they deserve,” said Bob Almond, founder, and director of The Inkwell Awards. “Though inkers have their own fans and followers, many often go unnoticed or are glossed over by most awards events. Ours caters specifically to ink artists and allows them to be recognized and appreciated in various categories. We encourage everyone who appreciates good work to participate; the more voters, the better.”

Once voting ends after April 15, the winners will be announced at the live awards ceremony at Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC on Friday, June 15th.

The Inkwell Awards is the only existing official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the public and promote the art form of comic-book inking, as well as annually recognize the best ink artists and their work. Now celebrating its 10-year anniversary, the organization is overseen by a committee of industry professionals and assisted by various professional ambassadors and contributors from within the comics community. They sponsor the Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Fund for the Kubert School and host the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award.

THE INKWELL AWARDS are for 2017 cover-dated

interior American comic-book material.

Favorite Inker: Favorite ink artist over the pencil work of another artist.

A) John Dell: The Clone Conspiracy (Marvel)
B) John Floyd: Wonder Woman/Tasmanian Devil (DC)
C) Jonathan Glapion: Action Comics, Dark Nights Metal (DC); Reborn (Image)
D) Mick Gray: Superman/Justice League (DC)
E) Dan Green: The Sandman Special (DC)
F) Scott Hanna: All-New Wolverine, Black Panther, Black Panther & The Crew, Great Lakes Avengers, Ultimates 2, X-men Blue (Marvel); Booster Gold/The Flintstones Special, DC Holiday Special, Justice League Of America, Legion of Super-Heroes/Bugs Bunny Special, Superman, Trinity (DC)
G) Seth Mann: Batman, Trinity (DC)
H) Bill Sienkiewicz: Batman, Black Racer, And Shilo Norman Special, Deathstroke (DC)

Most-adaptable: Artist showing exceptional ink style versatility over other pencil artists. (Every nominee must have at least two sources cited.)

A) Jonathan Glapion: Action Comics, Dark Nights Metal (DC); Reborn (Image)
B) Scott Hanna: Booster Gold & Flintstones Special, DC Holiday Special, Justice League Of America, Legion of Super-Heroes/Bugs Bunny Special, Superman, Trinity (DC); All-New Wolverine, Black Panther, Black Panther & The Crew, Great Lakes Avengers, Ultimates 2, X-men Blue (Marvel)
C) Jay Leisten: Green Lantern, Suicide Squad (DC); Incredible Hulk, Monsters Unleashed, Secret Empire, Weapon X, X-men Gold (Marvel)
D) Mark Morales: Aquaman, Deathstroke, Suicide Squad/Banana Splits Special (DC); Immortal Brothers: The Tale Of The Green Knight (Image); Astonishing X-men, Spider-Man/Deadpool (Marvel)
E) Dexter Vines: Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 11 (Dark Horse), Batman Beyond, Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps, (DC); Invincible, The Wild Storm (Image); Black Panther (Marvel)
F) Walden Wong: All-New X-Men, Astonishing X-men, Black Panther, Inhumans, Kingpin, Star Lord, Venom X-Men Blue (Marvel); Harbinger: Renegade (Valiant)

Props award: Ink artist deserving of more attention for their work over other pencil artists.

A) Marc Deering: All-New Wolverine, Black Panther, Star Wars: Dr. Aphra (Marvel)
B) Michelle Delecki: Catwoman: Election Night, The New Gods Special (DC)
C) Daniel Henriques: Green Lanterns, Justice League, Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, Supergirl (DC)
D) Tony Kordos: Batman & Robin Eternal, Cyborg, Flash, Justice League: Darkseid War (DC)
E) Jason Paz: Deathstroke, Justice League, Wonder Woman (DC)
F) Joe Prado: Justice League Of America: Rebirth, Green Lanterns, Superman (DC)

The S.P.A.M.I: Favorite Small Press And Mainstream/Independent ink work over another pencil artist (non-Marvel or DC work).

A) Sal Buscema: Rom (IDW)
B) Irene Flores: Hi-Fi Fight Club/Heavy Vinyl (Boom Studios)
C) Stefano Gaudiano: Manifest Destiny, Walking Dead (Image)
D) Mark Morales: Immortal Brothers: The Tale Of The Green Knight (Image)
E) Rodney Ramos: Normandy Gold (Titan Comics)
F) Robin Riggs: Black (Black Mask Comics)
G) Ryan Winn: Eternity, Divinity III (Valiant)

All-in-one award: Favorite artist known for inking his/her own pencil work.

A) Mitch Gerads: Mister Miracle (DC)
B) Joelle Jones: Lady Killer 2 (Dark Horse); Batman (DC)
C) David Marquez: Civil War 2, The Defenders, (Marvel)
D) Terry Moore: Motor Girl (Abstract Studios)
E) Dan Panosian: Slots (Image)
F) Stan Sakai: Usagi Yojimbo (Dark Horse)
G) Liam Sharp: Justice League, Wonder Woman (DC)
H) Mico Suayan: Bloodshot Salvation (Valiant)

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH INTERVIEWS: Rylend Grant Creator/Writer for Aberrant 

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 07:24

First Comics News: So why did you decide to make “Aberrant?”

Rylend Grant: I’m a screenwriter by trade. I’ve been paid handsomely to write poppy Hollywood action movies for about 12 years. I’ve penned scripts for folks like Ridley Scott, Justin Lin, F. Gary Gray, John Woo, and Luke Besson. I’ve rewritten some stuff you’ve seen, I have a ton of projects in the pipe/in development but I don’t actually have my name on anything yet.

Hollywood has changed a ton in the past few years. It’s become almost entirely IP (Intellectual Property) driven. The studios aren’t interested in original ideas anymore. Every movie that gets made needs to be based on something… a book, a video game, a comic, whatever. After a few years of pushing our original script bolder uphill, my writing partner (for the film/TV stuff) Dikran Ornekian and I came up with a whacky idea. If Hollywood wanted IP, we’d give it to them. We took an idea we’d had for years, something we’d tried unsuccessfully to sell several times as a pitch or a spec script and turned it into a short story. We got that published and then we had a bidding war for the movie rights overnight. We had Justin Lin on one side, coming off of his FAST 5 success/the largest summer opening in Universal history and Robert Deniro and Brett Ratner on the other. Folks in town thought that sale was a fluke at first, but then we did it THREE more times, setting projects up with Fast 8/Straight Outta Compton Director F. Gary Gray, Game of Thrones Director/Producer Matt Shakman, and most recently with Tony/Grammy award-winning star of Hamilton on Broadway Daveed Diggs.

Writing those short stories was really fulfilling. The success in Hollywood was great, obviously, but more than that… for the first time in a long (long enough) career, I was writing stuff that people were actually reading/experiencing.

Comics had been my first love since I was a kid. I was one of the rubes roped in by DC’s Death of Superman arc, but what really changed my whole worldview/blew my mind was that Image revolution in the 90’s. As I started exploring writing in other mediums, comics was an obvious fit. I actually almost dove into that proverbial pond in college – I wish I had, my career might be very different right now – but getting a book drawn/colored/lettered was crazy hard back then. You basically had to know an artist that lived in your town. You were dealing with physical drawings. People were coloring and lettering by hand. Basically, I tried, but I just couldn’t get the collaborators together.

Over the last few years, with digital workflow and social media (deviant art, facebook groups and the like) this stuff has just gotten SO MUCH easier. I organize/moderate GETTING YOUR FIRST COMIC PUBLISHED panels at cons a lot (most recently at WonderCon) and I preach this all the time: It has never been easier/more possible to get your comic made than it is right this second. I have four titles in the works right now. I have artists working in Brazil, Mexico, and Hungary. My go-to colorist is in Indonesia. My letterer is UK-based. We communicate almost exclusively via email. I pay them through PayPal. This wouldn’t have been possible (at least not this possible) even five years ago.

I guess that’s just a long-winded way of saying, I always wanted to make Aberrant – more than anything actually – but it never quite seemed doable until right now.

The funny thing is, I’m coming up with fewer and fewer movie ideas now. Most everything I drum up these days is better suited for comics. It’d be nice, obviously, but I just don’t care anymore if these stories ever become movies. So few films get made these days, it’s really heartbreaking… but I can write a comic script, hand it off to an artist friend, and have pages back in a day or two. It’s really fulfilling. After 12 years of writing movies that didn’t get made, I actually cried when I got the first test pages back on Aberrant… and if you know me, I’m definitely not the sort of guy that cries.

1st: Can you tell us a little about the plot in “Aberrant”?

Rylend: David, a U.S. Army Special Operations Commander, distraught after losing his entire unit to a superhuman attack, wages an absolutely brutal one-man war on the eccentric billionaire and former superhero, Lance Cordrey, whom he believes is ultimately responsible. That is until Nelson Little, the head of a clandestine paramilitary outfit called Article 13, presents David with evidence that Cordrey may be a patsy, that David’s men were killed as part of a vast and twisted government/military conspiracy. Armed with this new information, David sets out to dismantle the machine of said conspiracy piece by human piece while coming to terms with his own mysteriously emerging superpowers and wrestling with sincere doubts about Little’s trustworthiness.

1st: What is Article 13?

Rylend: Short and sweet, Article 13 is a component command of S.O.C.O.M. (United States Special Operations Command = BAD dudes) that guards the line between things human and superhuman.

The slightly longer version? Article 13 was inspired by the early days of America’s JSOC military unit (Joint Special Operations Command), the black ops force that took down Bin Laden. In the wake of 9/11, the Bush administration – specifically Dick Cheney – turned JSOC into a global capturing and killing machine. Read up on them. It’s fascinating. Even today, our (meaning the United States) entire war on terror is being fought by these guys. They aren’t subject to oversight by the Joint Chiefs or Congress like a traditional military unit. They report directly to the executive branch of our government, meaning the office of the President… and that’s all kinds of twisted and messed up.

The bleeding heart-types love to pin this whole deal on W. Bush/think of it as a Republican problem. Don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not preaching here. I’m a zealous moderate. I’m equally disgusted with people on both sides of the aisle. But the first thing Obama did after taking office was triple the size of JSOC, so both parties have dirty hands. Article 13 was born from a simple question: What would JSOC necessarily look like if our world were teeming with superpowered individuals?

1st: Why are David and Lance Cordrey enemies?

Rylend: That’s a great question, but I have to be careful how I answer it. Our story takes a number of bold twists and turns over the course of ten issues and I necessarily don’t want to give too much away. As I alluded to before, David – a Special Operations commander – loses his entire unit to a superhuman attack and he wholeheartedly believes that Lance Cordrey is responsible. It won’t take David long to find out that Cordrey isn’t quite as culpable as he initially thought. In fact, Cordrey might be getting kicked in the mouth with the same boot David is if you get my drift.

1st: What do you mean by this is a filmic tale?

Rylend: I’m a screenwriter by trade. I have an undergraduate degree in film history and I have a Masters degree in film directing from the American Film Institute Conservatory. So, I tend to approach crafting comics exactly like I would approach directing a film. In fact, I went so far as to give myself a writer/director credit in ABERRANT. There will probably be a few comic-types out there that’ll want to kick my ass over that, but screw them, I think it suits the book.

In crafting ABERRANT, I went out of my way to channel the spirit of some of my favorite paranoid spy/action thrillers from the ‘70s like THE CONVERSATION and MARATHON MAN. In fact, my go-to elevator pitch is always something along the lines of: “ABERRANT is a military-slanted THREE DAYS OF A CONDOR (the 1975 Sidney Lumet mindbender). You know… if there was a snarling superpowered badass waiting around every corner, hell-bent on stomping a mudhole in Robert Redford.” Tell me that doesn’t sound fun.

My hope is that when you read ABERRANT, you experience the same euphoric intellectual adrenaline rush I experienced watching modern CONDOR-inspired Hollywood thrillers like Tony Gilroy’s MICHAEL CLAYTON or Tony Scott’s ENEMY OF THE STATE.

There are other, more specific “filmic” touches here too. Each issue has a sort of Hollywood-movie-like company credit roll at the beginning. We’re more careful about shot selection than your average creators. It’s all standard master/coverage stuff here. We’re sticklers for the 180-degree rule (check your filmmaking 101 handbook).

The coolest bit? Each issue of ABERRANT packed with music, which is really a rarity in comics. I wanted the book to feel like a really great action movie, obviously… Well, really great action movies always have REALLY great soundtracks. It wasn’t easy to pull off. Clearing music for use in print publications is costly and time-consuming, but it was well worth it in the end. I think the music is incorporated in a really clever way here. We’ve definitely produced something that people haven’t seen before. We have hit songs from artists like Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, The Temptations, Bobby McFerrin, Wilson Phillips, and R. Kelly in the first trade and – no lie – I’m trying to get Kenny Loggins to do an original song for the 2nd series. My friends have been trying to convince me to make up a Spotify playlist.

1st: What kind of person will enjoy this comic?

Rylend: Every new FAST & FURIOUS movie makes about a billion dollars worldwide. EVERYONE sees them… and EVERYONE walks out of the theater smiling. I’ve written for the directors of 5 of those movies. I’ve got the formula down. I’d like to think that anyone who gets excited about those movies will flip for ABERRANT. Just give it a chance, huh?

1st: Who is the artist on “Aberrant” and what do you think of their art?

Rylend: Two part answer…

Issue 1 was drawn by a Hungarian artist named Zsombor Huszka. His art is raw and unkempt in the BEST way imaginable. It’s a stiff glass of bourbon, a quick kick to the Jimmy. He is ungodly talented and wildly in demand and so he was, unfortunately (unfortunate for ABERRANT, not for him) hired away from me to draw an animated feature of his creation – a samurai-western mash up – called ORIENT CITY… something he co-directed with a really prolific pit bull of a filmmaker named Ryan Colucci (SUBURBAN COWBOY). If you haven’t seen it… OH, MY GOD… GO… GO NOW… It will blow your mind. It’s so good, so wildly inventive. If you’re interested in making comics or movies, this really is a master class on world building.

Issues 2–10 were then drawn by a very close friend of mine, a Brazilian artist named Davi Leon Dias. As I said, I have a few other books in the pipe right now and Davi has drawn some of those/really hit it out of the park. His style is a bit cleaner and more elegant than Zsombor’s (again, no slight meant to either, these are two crazy talented guys). Davi’s art is a glass of fine white wine, a romantic dance with a beautiful woman. He’s exactly what publishers are looking for these days. There is so much humor in what he draws, too. He has me roaring twice a day with some fit of craziness.

1st: Is there any chance “Aberrant” could become an animated movie or series?

Rylend: It’s funny that you say that. I don’t know that this has been made public yet, but the animation rights to the book were quickly scooped up by a legit player in the animation game, Spoke Lane Entertainment, producers of the award-winning animated films BATTLE FOR TERRA and the aforementioned ORIENT CITY. I’ll be co-directing with Zsombor. The film is being produced by Colucci. These are really smart guys. We’re full steam ahead and I’m really happy with the way things are shaping up.

1st: Which other comic book besides “Aberrant” that you worked on would you most recommend?

Rylend: I worked on a politically charged book about a rogue superhero with a pair of ass-kicking Brazilian artists (Fabio Alves – pencils/inks & Edson Ferreira – Colors) that I think will have a lot of people talking… cheering or pissing and moaning, depending on who they voted for (again, I’m a moderate. I delight in angering BOTH liberals and conservatives). I’m really hoping to see that in stores sometime next year.

And Davi and I are working on another book, a Tokusatsu joint. Tokusatsu, for the uninitiated, is the Japanese sci-fi action genre (Voltron, Ultraman, Power Rangers) that includes Kaiju (monster movies like Godzilla). I’m actually co-writing the series with a guy named Brad Warner, who – in addition to being a wildly popular author of Zen Buddhist books (read HARDCORE ZEN, it will change your life) – worked as an executive in Japan for 12+ years for a company called Tsuburaya Productions, which was founded by the guy who created Godzilla… they make all of the Ultraman shows now. That project is really shaping up nicely and will be ready to shop when we take ABERRANT to San Diego Comic Con.

1st: You wrote a novel “Bobbi” what is it all about?

Rylend: I can’t say too much here because it hasn’t been released yet (novels take years to find their ways into stores), but BOBBI is a small sci-fi thriller in the vein of EX-MACHINA or GATTACA. It’s got a great kick-you-in-the-teeth twist at the end. I think folks will really dig it.

1st: You’re a Pro Wrestling fan who are some of your favorites and why?

Rylend: As I type this, I’m actually staring at the Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and Macho Man Randy Savage LJN action figures in my office and grinning from ear to ear. I LOVE old school WWF/WCW. I’m a child of the ‘80s and still a rabid, unapologetic consumer of all of its pop culture fair.

This will sound INSANE, but I actually own the world’s largest collections of major league baseballs autographed by professional wrestlers. Macho Man, Ric Flair, Rick Rude, Brutus Beefcake, Kurt Henning, I literally have dozens more. I just started collecting them over the years because they were weird. Now, folks just give them to me.

Those guys were my favorites. They were just larger than life. Big, bold characters. Watching Saturday morning wrestling as a kid was probably my first substantial writing lesson. The stories were so engaging, so simple, so clean. When I sit down to write a screenplay now, I’m still channeling that stuff, still praying I can create characters as memorable as Vince McMahon and his troupe did back then.

Actually, one of the best days of my life was when I finally got to meet Hulk Hogan. He was just the ABSOLUTE MAN when we were kids. There was no bigger star. A mutual friend introduced us at a convention. This is going to sound completely weird, but I teach Zen meditation on the side. The temple where I teach needed a picture for their website. Most of the other teachers just handed over a generic picture of themselves in their robes. I wanted to make a splash. So, I brought my robes with me to meet Hogan. To this day, my “teacher” picture on the temple website is me, in my robes, standing next to a flexing Hulk Hogan. It’s incredible.

I also once drank WAY too many beers with a slurring, expletive-spewing Brutus Beefcake backstage at the Iron Sheik Roast at the Comedy Store in Hollywood. But that’s probably a story for another time…

1st: What superpower would you most like to have and why?

Rylend: I actually already have a superpower. I can HEAR naked people. It’s incredible and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

1st: What would you like to say to all the fans of your work?

Rylend: Aberrant – Issue 1 is currently available for preorder with the Diamond item code APR181190. You can preorder the special “William Dee Williams – Aberrant Works EVERY time” variant edition (by Issues 2-10 artist Davi Leon Dias) with Diamond item code APR181191. Preorders drive EVERYTHING, so if it sounds interesting to you, please head down to your local comic shop and tell them you want it. It’ll be in shops proper on June 27th, 2018.

 

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

PORTAL BOUND #1 preview

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 07:05

PORTAL BOUND #1

Mark Roslan; Gabe Carrasco – Story  / Alex Arizmendi – Art / Wes Hartman – Colors

 

Their Future Depends on Each Other in Aspen’s newest series!

 

The warrior world of Havos is in peril! The megalomaniac Emperor Atilus, and his bio-mechanical beasts known as the Fymiera are hell bent on a plot that spells doom for their parallel world, Earth! Enter: Sybil, a soldier princess who has come to Earth seeking aid from the only person on the planet who can help her take down the Emperor: 17-year old high school student, Elias Rivera. Teamed up with the brilliant scientist, Riley, and the quick-witted Brett, in order to save both worlds, Elias and Sybil will have to fight as one… literally.

 

Don’t miss the premiere issue to Aspen’s brand new action-adventure saga from writers Mark Roslan (BubbleGun, Broken Pieces) and newcomer Gabe Carrasco, with artist Alex Arizmendi (Edge of Venomverse: War Stories, Secret Empire: Brave New World) as they bring us a tale of two earths in need of two heroes!

 

PORTAL BOUND #1 is in stores April 4th, 2018!

FC                               32 pages                                 $3.99

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

THE AVENGERS WILL FIGHT AS ONE!

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 21:14

Introducing the all-new Avengers roster: Iron Man & Captain Marvel!

New York, NY—March 28, 2018—In the wake of NO SURRENDER, a new AVENGERS team will rise, and a brand-new, epic story by Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness will begin!

AVENGERS #1 will reunite the powerful Big Three, with Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man joining Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes), Hulk (Jennifer Walters) and Doctor Strange as they fight as one to save the world from one of their most powerful enemies yet.

Check out your first look at the new Avengers team, drawn by celebrated 2018 Young Gun Pepe Larraz! This art will be available as special character lithos starting this May, as part of Marvel’s AVENGERS #1 celebration. Retailers can find more information in this week’s Marvel Mailer.

AVENGERS #1
Written by JASON AARON
Art and Cover by ED MCGUINNESS
On Sale 5/2/18

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

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