Comic Book Feeds

Sentinels Comics RPG Session 3: "Demons from Never"

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 05/03/2021 - 11:00

Roll Call:
Blur: Amnesiac Speedster!Fibbit: Manic Pixie Extradimensional Dream Girl!Infranaut: IR-Powered Celebrity Hero!Il Masso: The Rock-Solid Hero of Little Italy!

Supporting Characters: Moonshadow

Villains: demons from Never (first appearance); Dark Duplicates (cameo)

Synopsis: Fearing another attack on Zauber, Action Jack accompanies him to the hospital while his companions stay behind to try to sort out why this happened. Fibit appears with a speedster in tow, confident she's found their missing teammate. The others don't remember a missing teammate clearly, but don't think that teammate was Blur if there was one. Blur doesn't know why she's here or where here is, but she goes with it.

Fibit tries to read the mysterious book and discovers it isn't really a book at all. It's a multidimensional object whose 4D cross section looks like a book. In any case, she senses it won't help them at this time. They decide to investigate the air gallery/museum further only to see an apparition of a woman.

It turns out this is a thought-projection of Moonshadow who was looking for Zauber. She asks for the team's help in protecting a family in suburban Ravenwood who is beset by demonic entities from a place called the Never--a realm outside of time of conceptions never realized. She uses her power to transport them.

In the house, they find reality warped in the master bedroom. A couple and their young daughter are sleeping, obviously to the demonic creatures that attack the mental shields Moonshadow has erected. Moonshadow explains the girl is her younger self and that she is from a parallel world.

The group destroys the demons, but Moonshadow tells them more will return. There is something malignant in the Never, and it appears drawn to the psychic potential of her younger duplicate. She believes it may be related to Anachronus somehow.

The team agrees to enter the portal and find the source of the malevolence. This find a strange maelstrom of floating shapes, and half-real ideas.

Suddenly, I blast strikes near them from a floating asteroid overhead. They look out to see five sinister looking superhumans.

"Anachronus sends his regards, " one of them sneers.

DC, June 1980 (part 1)

Sorcerer's Skull - Sun, 05/02/2021 - 14:30
I'm reading DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! This week, I'm looking at the comics at newsstands on the week of my 7th birthday in February 1980.

Batman #323: Cat-Man puts Batman and Catwoman in an almost 60s TV show death trap, which they escape. Cat-Man's potentially magical cloak seems to heal Catwoman's fatal-at-any-moment illness no one ever seemed to name. Weak sauce, Wein and Novick! Nice Aparo cover, though.
DC Comics Presents #21: In a story by Barr and Dillin, we get an appearance by Captain Comet, comics' first identified mutant superhero (as far as I know). Another mutant tries to steal Captain Comet's powers out of jealousy in an elaborate plot.
Flash #283: This issue is like a Silver Age throwback complete with a title page and a silly villain like the Rainbow Raider. The Flash triumphs by using his power creatively, though, which is kind of cool.
Ghosts #86: Three sort of novel ghostly stories of revenge. These stories drive home how much the ghost story (at least as DC does it) often involves the murderer dying in the same way as their victim. The Kashdan/Yeates story "The Phantom's Last Act" has the twist of the killer acknowledging the ghost's existence, but not being afraid of it due to its incorporeality, then panicking when it threatens to reveal his secret in a halogram display, and getting himself killed.

G.I. Combat #220: One thing I've noticed about these Haunted Tank stories: the ghost of J.E.B. Stuart shows up less than you might think from the name of the strip. In these 3 stories written by Kanigher and grittily rendered by Glanzman, the crew play host to a no-nonsense Soviet Major who happens to be a woman, they are forced to haul a big gun for the Germans to keep Belgian hostages safe, and they run into Rock and Easy Company on the way to Bastogne. There are a lot of cameos in these war books. In other tales, Kanigher puts a plug in for the indigenous people of a Pacific Island (if with a cringeworthy portrayal) as a warrior gets the better of both the Japanese and American invaders, and Haney and Caliva tell the life story of a G.I. canteen.
Jonah Hex #34: Fleisher gives us another story of Hex's Civil war past, this one revealing how he was the one that killed Stonewall Jackson in a friendly fire incident at Chancellorsville. The only problem is Fleisher told us a couple of issues ago that Hex left the Confederate Army right after the Emancipation Proclamation, and so shouldn't have even been there.
Justice League of America #179: Conway's creation, Firestorm, gets to join the JLA. He immediately gets into trouble crossing a disco super-model vampire, the Satin Satan!

Secrets of Haunted House #25: A criminal and a vampire (who apparently doesn't know how her powers work in some crucial ways) try to make it across some really hostile wilderness in a weird story by Catherine Barrett Andrews, Stuart Hopen, and artist June Lofamia. The second story was written by famous letterer Todd Klein and has art by von Eeden. It's one of those typical "trying to escape Destiny only leads you to do the exact thing you were supposed to do" yarns.
Superman #348: Conway and Swan deliver a pretty nonsensical tale of an old Native American who summons an extradimensional storm monsters with some sort of alien artifact. Neither the monster or the artifact are ever explained, but hey, Superman tosses them both into another dimension where they're somebody else's problem, I guess, and gives the old guy a regular rock as a replacement. Problem solved!
Weird War Tales #88: Fleisher and Ocampo deliver a problematic story about the Seminole Wars where the U.S. can't defeat the tribe because they have the fountain of youth to keep their people young and healthy. It all ends in tears though as a would-be white savior you turned on his unit gets killed by his commander who then destroys the sacred waters, dooming the Seminole. Alligators get him in the end, though.
Wonder Woman #268: Animal Man is still guest staring, but now they're in France fighting some ridiculous assassins. 

Wednesday Comics: Who's Who Omnibus

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 04/28/2021 - 12:13


I was sick all last weekend, so my reading on June 1980 cover date DC got slowed down. So while you wait on that, you should check out the gorgeous tome that is the DC Who's Who Omnibus vol 1. It's got all of the pre-loose leaf Who's Who entry in it (well, except Atari Force characters they no longer had the rights to) and it looks great.

Here's an image on an interior spread:



Sentinel Comics Role-playing Game

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 04/23/2021 - 11:00

The Sentinel Comics rpg
is based off of a superhero card game. Presumably like the card game, it has the conceit of being based on a comic book universe. Mock covers are shown and issue numbers thrown around, etc. It's art is a bit cartoony, which seems to be kind of a trend in supers rpgs (ICONS is the same way).
The game is best characterized as a somewhat narrativist, superhero combat simulator. "Somewhat narrativist" meaning that it is built to emulate superhero stories not model a world which has superheroes, and that some things that might be specified in other games are left loose, or a lot of different fictional descriptions might fit the same basic mechanics. I say "combat simulator" meaning that it, like 4e D&D, seems geared toward combats. Almost all of it's abilities are aimed in that direction and it's bells and whistles for players to engage with are combat oriented. Unlike 4e, combat really isn't tackle; their is no strict movements or battle maps. I guess you could say combat most reflects its card game roots.
I find a lot of things about the system compelling. In many ways, it seems a refinement of some of the concepts in Marvel Heroic Roleplaying (at least one of the same designers worked on both). It's basic mechanic is make a dice pool from a Power, Quality, and their status (more on this soon), and take the middle number. It's pretty easy and quick.
Status follows a color-coded system called GYRO (Green, Yellow, Red, and Out). Advancing from one color to the next "unlocks" new abilities specific to your character. I think this models pretty well something seen in comics, where Spider-Man does usually seem to have the proportional strength of a spider until he really needs to have the proportional strength of a spider. The Hulk gets angrier and stronger the longer he fights, etc. 
All actions are subsumed into four categories: Attack, Overcome, Boost/Hinder, Defend. Overcome is probably the broadest of these. It's used for most sorts of story obstacles from finding information to disarming a bomb. It's also the main one that gets leaned on in none combat situations. Success at it is graded with narrative consequences: twists of the major or minor variety, than are similar to 2d20 system Complications. Sentinel Comics only having subsystems for combat is one of its deficits for me, though admittedly the Overcome action works in a more "cinematic" (or comic book) way than a bunch of skill challenges or the like.
My biggest complaint with it is character creation. It's kind of a mini-game onto itself and can be done Guided (random die roll), Constructed (choosing the options you could have rolled), or then for modelling characters, just picking and choosing individual abilities, which would be the hardest of the three. Every step gives you certain options and dice types to distribute to those options. It takes a longer time than I would like and requires a lot of flipping back and forth in the book, without even giving you the freedom that other "complicated character generation" supers games like Champions or Mutants & Masterminds. It's easier to tolerate an extended character generation to get exactly the sort of character you want, but Sentinel Comics rpg is an exercise in making compromises, some of which seem arbitrary.
Ending on my big complaint perhaps makes my review seem more negative than I intend. With two sessions in, I feel like the game plays pretty well at the table. It would be great for pregens and a con game. I'm less sold on it, as yet, for a longterm campaign.

Wednesday Comics: DC, May 1980 (part 2)

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 04/21/2021 - 11:00
My mission: read DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! This week, I'm looking at the comics at newsstands around January 24, 1980.
Action Comics #507: Jonathan Kent appears to have returned from the grave. Meanwhile, a hippy with the power to make anyone follow his suggestions (including Superman!). It's an odd story, but I feel like Bates and Swan are going somewhere with it.

Adventure Comics #471: Plastic Man takes on the (Chester) Gouldian villain, Brickface, in a tale by Pasko, Staton, and Smith. We also meet I.Q. Small, alias Lowbrow. The Levitz/Ditko Starman has him taking on the alien Captain Krydd and featuring high quality dialog like: "That's right--Starman--and right now, that's spelled: F-U-R-I-O-U-S!"
Brave & the Bold #162: Kelley and Aparo present a tale of "the original" Batman (the Golden Age version. You could say the Earth-2 Batman, but Sgt. Rock is typically considered an Earth-1 character, so that doesn't fight exactly, either) and Sgt. Rock in World War II. It's a fun, if lightweight, story with the Iron Major as the villain.
Detective Comics #490: Only two of these stories are in any way interesting to me. The O'Neil/Newton lead feature sees Batman finally catching up with the Sensei for the death of Kathy Kane, but it's not really all that exciting in the end. The Robin story by Harris and Saviuk is amusing. Robin takes down a cheating ring that caused his girlfriend to have to retake a test. The masked ringleader is called the Answer Man!
Green Lantern #128: Wein and Cockrum take over from the usual team for a encounter with Hector Hammond, who (somehow) appears to be working for the Qwardian general who--in a shocking twist appears now as a teenage kid from some reason. Interestingly, this story asserts that GL's ring doesn't actually talk, but it's just Jordan projecting his subconscious thoughts. This runs counter to the portrayal in Morrison's recent run, at least.

House of Mystery #280: Both of these stories are weird. Wessler and Bulanadi present a tale of a wicked ruler who keeps the people in line with fear of monsters that come out of a magic painting he has. Except, that they are only illusions of monsters coming out of the magic painting. Until they aren't, and the ruler gets his comeuppance. The second story by Kashdan and Ayers is like something out of an Atlas/Marvel monster title from the '50s: A scientist tangles with Kharnu, the God of Lightning.
Legion of Super-Heroes #263: The parents of a handful of Legionnaires are lured to the clubhouse to be kidnapped by the Dagon the Avenger, who looks like a green, longhorned, Baron Karza. Jimmy Janes art on this Conway tale is pretty good, but the Legionnaires' parents aren't only in really good shape and fans of similar, revealing, clothing to their kids, they don't really look any older than them, either.
New Adventures of Superboy #5: This silly story about alien seeds in Ma Kent's tomatoes is interesting because it's ending has aliens offering to do something "impossible" for Jonathan Kent, and the caption at the end specifically ties it in to the storyline in Action Comics with Jonathan's return from the grave. I wasn't expecting that!
Sgt. Rock #340: If I told you that a Westpoint Lieutenant, author of a book called How to Win A War showed up to lead Easy Company, thinking he knows better than Rock, well, I'm sure you can predict what happens. The only surprise is that the Lieutenant is man enough to admit his errors. Back up stories in this issue are by Kelley and Yeates.

Super Friends #32: Scarecrow makes a forgettable appearance and Schaffenberger fills in for Fradon. He seems to be trying to follow the cartoon character designs a bit more than Fradon and gives the panels rounded borders, presumably for a TV feel. 
Unexpected #198: Two stories in this are okay. In a very EC-esque tale by Wessler and Ayers, a brilliant scientist who becomes a brain in a jar to escape the death of his body due to a medical condition, gets revenge on the assistant who tries to exploit his genius for financial gain. In "Eye on Evil" by Kashdan and Tanghal, a mix-up in a glasses prescription seals a man's doom when he is able to see the invisible lord of an evil cult.

Unknown Soldier #239: Haney and Ayers reveal a secret plot by the Germans to build a tunnel beneath the English Channel. Luckily the Unknown Soldier is there to thwart it. This story feels like it drags on to me.
Warlord #33: Warlord and Shakira meet munchkins and the hawkmen that eat them. Read more about it here
Weird Western Tales #67: A a snoozer of a morality play about greed with stiff art by Ayers and Tanghal. Maybe part two will get better, but I'm not counting on it.
This month also had two digests. Best of DC #5 is the year's best stories of 1979. I haven't read any of these. DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #2 features a number of Flash and Kid Flash stories.

Sentinel Comics RPG Session 2: "Mayhem at the Midnight Museum!"

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 04/19/2021 - 11:00

Roll Call:

Action Jack: Man of Action--Man Out of Time!
Infranaut: IR-Powered Celebrity Hero!
Il Masso: The Rock-Solid Hero of Little Italy!

Supporting Characters: Zauber the Magnificent; Fibbit

Villains: Spiderbots

Synopsis: Only moments after the revelations at the end of the last adventure, the group experiences a wave of what can only be described as jamais vu, and Space Racer is gone! Only Fibbit notices for certain he is gone, but when she points it out to the others, they agree that they vaguely remember him. Fibbit walks off into high order dimensions to investigate, promising to catch up with the guys "somewhere in the timeline."

A frantic police officer tells the heroes that a giant spiderbot has risen from the Eald River and is attacking a building in vicinity of the Gasworks. Infranaut flies himself and Action Jack to the scene. He doesn't quite stick the landing and they both come up a little off-balance. Il Masso takes a prodigious leap, but winds up crashing through a building on the way there.

They find the strange building they saw before surrounds by a shimmering field, which is in turn cover with spiderbots. The spiderbots are being steadily released by a sixteen foot tall "mothership" like a bigger version of them. There are a number of bystanders webbed up and strung around the area. Within the shield, Zauber the Magnificent seems taxed to his limit.

In a pitch battle, the heroes defeat the spiderbot, and Infranaut manages to rescue some of the bystanders. Even with the mothership disabled, the attack continues. Each hero trashes a number of spiderbots, and Infranaut throws Action Jack in the midst of them to play hell, but one manages to make it into the building.

Il Masso busts through the wall. It registers with him that the place must be a museum of some sort from the looks of it, but he doesn't have much time to look around, as he is scrambling to grab the spiderbot. It seems to be going for antique book within a plexiglas case. In their struggle they knock the display over.


Jack and Infranaut launch attacks that destroy the bot. While Infranaut and il Masso puzzle over the book, Jack helps Zauber to a waiting ambulance. They notice that Zauber has aged significantly during the fight; he now looks more like a man of his actual years.

Before Zauber is carried away he warns Jack: "We won't stop coming. If he can't get the book now, he will try in some other time."

"Who?" Jack asks.

"Anachronus, the Destroyer of Timelines," Zauber replies before falling unconscious.

Weird Revisited: Secret City

Sorcerer's Skull - Sun, 04/18/2021 - 14:30
The original version of this post appeared in 2014...
 
An email from a friend  on every Russian's favorite holiday destination (not really) of Zheleznorgorsk (it's flag is pictured above), reminded me that secret cities aren't just for hidden cultures in comic books.

Zheleznorgorsk used to be called Krasnoyarsk-26 (like all Soviet secret cities, it was designated by a post office box). This town made produced weapons-grade plutonium. All the Soviet "closed cities" were doing secret military (mostly nuclear) or space stuff. The cities didn't appear on maps and could only be accessed by special permit.

This sort of thing just didn't go on in the USSR; Oak Ridge TN was similar deal in the U.S. during the days of the Manhattan Project.

The gaming value of a secret society out to be obvious. Beyond the spy/espionage genre, what better place for a zombie outbreak to start or a legion of Soviet Man-Apes to be based? Of course, if none of that is fantastic enough for your setting, Brigadoon (or Gemelshausen)--or it's gore-splattered, redneck counterpart--is just another sort of secret city

Calvin’s Commentaries: Infinity

First Comics News - Sat, 04/17/2021 - 05:21

Miniature games come and go with near startling regularity.

While some games you quickly get the feeling may be short-lived, but even top games such as MERCs can disappear almost overnight.

Then there are the elite games from top-drawer companies that just go on and on producing high-quality miniatures, expanding their rulesets, and simply staying fresh for their fans.

One such company is Corvus Belli and the game is Infinity.

While at its heart Infinity is a skirmish game, so a limited number of minis are required.

Infinity, which launched back in 2005, has a rather diverse range of character miniatures for the various factions, so players have tons of options.

Since Corvus Belli designs minis with as good a detail as the hobby allows, with amazing action poses, it’s hard not to want them all, even if you only need a small force to play.

Since the game has been out for some 15-years, there have been changes along the way.

There is something of a natural evolution that mini battle games and role-playing games share. A ruleset launches and once it has been in the hands of a broader audience of players, the rulebook needs to be updated as players identify flaws and make use of previously unseen loopholes.

After V.2 the game goes along for a time but as new characters are added, new rules, new factions, a V.3 is generally needed.

And, if the game lasts V.4, which is where Infinity is with the release of what it calls N4, a two-book set, one the Core Book with tonnes of background and fluff on the Infinity universe and the rulebook with the latest version of the ruleset.

So from the rulebook; “Infinity N4 is a 28 mm metal miniatures game simulating special operations and skirmishes in a high technology sci-fi universe. Infinity N4 recreates direct action operations, which are quick, lethal, and very risky. The player assumes command of a small group of elite troopers engaging in undercover and clandestine operations. Infinity N4 is an innovative game system, dynamic and entertaining, which allows all players to participate during the entire gaming sequence. It possesses a great amount of realism and flexibility, providing players with a wide variety of tactical and strategic maneuvers to employ during the game.

“Infinity N4 is a competitive game that pits two rival armies against each other in a struggle to complete a series of tactical objectives. The game lasts three rounds, or until all a player’s units are eliminated. Mission details and the different end-game modes that determine the winner are described further below.

“Once the table is set, the players start the game by deploying their miniatures and markers on the gaming table. The game is organized through a series of game rounds, and in each round, each player has their own active turn. During their active turn, each player assigns orders to the troopers to activate and play with them, moving them about the table, attacking enemy troopers and accomplishing the scenario objectives. At the same time, the opponent is also playing, by reacting to the actions made by the player who has the active turn, thanks to Automatic Reaction Orders (ARO). During the game, the rounds continue until the end-game conditions are met, which ends the game. Once the game has finished, the players check their objective points and their victory points to determine who the winner is.”

The two books are, to begin with gorgeous. They are both full colour with loads of art, photos, and graphs, all served up on glossy paper. This is as nice as rulebooks can be.

The books are softcover, but while that might seem a bit of a letdown, the two books come in a box slipcover, so they are well protected between game sessions and look great on the bookshelf too.

If you like miniature games, Infinity is about as good as it gets.

If you have always wanted to try a mini skirmish game, well N4 is an ideal jumping-in spot for Infinity, and you can be rather confident Infinity will be around for years to come.

Check it out at www.corvusbelli.com

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Wayne’s Worlds: All Too Human

First Comics News - Sat, 04/17/2021 - 00:57

The comics industry continues to deal with a difficult subject – sexual harassment among the members of the comics industry.

I won’t go into specifics of the latest controversy, but it took place in a company I respect. I’m a big fan of theirs, so that makes talking about this subject ever tougher for me.

INAPPROPRIATE ADVANCES

In order to try and talk intelligently about all this, I went to the government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) site for a definition:

It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Granted, just because someone writes, draws or edits stories about heroes doesn’t make that person heroic. But in my mind, I can’t help but hope that some of these morals would mean something to the persons involved with the characters that uphold them in the comics. We’re still all too human, but we must be considerate of others as well, especially in this industry!

I don’t know all the details, and probably never will, but whenever this rears it’s ugly head, people go online and say they refuse to ever again buy any comics at any time in the future. We don’t need that happening, especially now.

This situation doesn’t seem to be resolved even though this person has apparently undergone training to help end this kind of behavior.

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

I rarely share this part of my life, but I went through something that makes this whole event important to me.

This took place several decades ago. I had just graduated from college and was working during the summer in the Washington, D.C., area to earn money from advanced education I would start in the Fall. I signed up with an agency that put me to work entering information on paper into computer files, now referred to as data entry.

I spent a week putting in extra time and doing my best to be accurate as possible. Apparently, this caught my supervisor’s eye, but not necessarily in the best way.

She approached me after the shift on the next Monday, saying that I had done so well that they were considering sending me to other cities where I would work with her to do the same kind of labor.

I was happy to hear that, but then she noted that we would be sharing a hotel room together. She touched me in an inappropriate manner, smiling all the time.

The next morning, I called out sick. The day after, I called to say I would not be returning at all. Luckily enough for me, another agency had found me work.

A day or so after that, I received a message that the first agency wanted me to call and talk with them. I returned their call the next day, speaking with a woman in their Human Resources Department. She wanted to know what happened to me, that I was doing so well only to suddenly quit.

I hemmed and hawed, saying another agency had put me to work, but she was persistent. It was almost as if she knew what had happened. Finally, I caved and told her everything, every detail. She listened quietly, and there was a pause after I finished. She said this would not happen again, but understood why I wouldn’t be returning. She said the supervisor would be punished appropriately. I thanked her, then said goodbye. We both knew there was nothing she could say that would make we want to work with them ever again.

THE INDUSTRY NEEDS TO ADDRESS THIS NOW

It’s not only one company, either. Not too many months ago, I heard about an incident at another company that alarmed many of us. I’m not sure how that resolved since I’m sure most organizations would rather this be taken care of quietly.

As long as I’ve been reading comics, there have been rumors of people using their name recognition and place in the industry to take advantage of fans and/or people anxious to break into the business. I find this reprehensible!

Personally, I can’t consider boycotting any comics-producing organization. I write a column, review books and create a podcast about the industry, and while I know this kind of behavior needs to be appropriately dealt with, I also don’t want to alienate the people at any comics company, many of whom have been so gracious and accommodating to me. If I could just stay away from a specific individual behaving this way, I’d do that. But I don’t know who else may be a part of this incident, so I don’t want to punish those NOT involved. Rightly or wrongly, that’s my point of view.

I would ask that the people at any comics company dealing with this to PLEASE resolve this matter in the best manner possible as soon as they can. We have to consider the industry and the future of comics, not to mention people who have gone through the experience of harassment!

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Nichelle Wright, The New, Black, Female, Captain America

First Comics News - Sat, 04/17/2021 - 00:38

The United States of Captain America #2 will feature a story from Mohale Mashigo and Natacha Bustos, which will introduce a new Captain America of Harrisburg named Nichelle Wright. Mashigo described Wright as a “light in a dark time” that wants to “take ownership of her community and space in America.” Bustos added Wright was one of the characters she was most proud to help create, saying she was proud of what she represents and means for her community.

The United States of Captain America by Christopher Cantwell and Dave Eaglesham will see the introduction of a number of new characters who take the role of Captain America across the country. The series will focus on Captain America’s shield being stolen and the hero – and other versions of Captain America – traveling across the United States in an effort to find it. Along the way, they’ll run into the “Captains,” who take the role of Cap as protector of their own homes and cities. The first issue will feature an all-new, gay Captain America in Aaron Fischer. The miniseries will also feature the most iconic Captain Americas, including Rogers, Sam Wilson, Bucky Barnes, and, John Walker.

The United States of Captain America #2 on sale this July.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Welcome To The World Of Flogoria! THE TRAVELER Is Coming Soon From Scout Comics!

First Comics News - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 23:50

 

After a freak work accident involving a fishing boat, a supposedly non-existent sea creature, and an interdimensional gateway, anxiety addled Harry Blandford finds himself stranded on the far off world of Flogoria. All Harry has to do now is survive long enough to find a way back home.

WRITER AND ARTIST: Sam Moore
EDITOR: Andrea Lorenzo Molinari

The Traveler is an epic, alien world-spanning adventure that’s part Mad Max road movie, part Stand by Me coming of age journey, and part otherworldly travel and food show. It’s the story of an average joe, trying to survive in a world that’s 100% not average and 150% not Earth.

We follow Harry Blandford as he attempts to navigate his way through the fantastic world of Flogoria. But the bizarre flora, fauna, and customs of his new environment aren’t the only things he has to contend with. He also has to learn to overcome the fears and anxieties of his, at times, uncooperative mind.

Whether he’s fighting off badlands bandits, trying to sneak past a nest of Snark Dragons, learning how to fire a Zarboogian Nork Rifle, or just trying to order lunch at a Flogorian restaurant, nothing is going to be easy for Harry Blandford.
The small harbor town of Lytteltoon is moderately famous for one thing: The Kangalang Harbor Monster. Ever since the first sighting in 1855, tens of people have come to the area hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive creature. Last year, young Jimmy Brongle said he saw it, but that ended up being a lazy duck sitting atop a discarded sex doll.

Harry Blandford’s boss at The Creekchurch Press is busy working on a story about an old lady and a potato that looks like Tom Jones. So Harry (the newspaper’s graphic designer) has been lumped with the task of taking some fresh photos of Jork Smithe, an old sea dog that’s been telling tales about the Kangalang for decades.

He’s not a photographer or a journalist, so Harry’s already out of his comfort zone, and Harry Blandford hates being out of his comfort zone. He just wants to get in, take some passable photos, and get out. Then he can get back to the office, so he can pretend to work, while he looks at pictures of overweight animals on the internet.
But Harry won’t be seeing any chonky raccoons or chubby marmots anytime soon. It turns out the Kangalang is very real, and he’s going to meet it in the very near future.

QUOTE FROM THE CREATOR SAM MOORE
“I’ve had the world of THE TRAVELER in my head for a long time. It’s a world that I would think of when I couldn’t sleep, a place that I would daydream about when I was supposed to be working. I would think about what would happen if I suddenly found myself on an alien world. Could I eat the food? Would the underwear fit me? Do they have karaoke? You know, all the important stuff. I can’t thank the awesome people at Scout Comics enough for helping me get this story out of my head and onto the page.”

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

HEY KIDS! COMICS!’S NEW STORY ARC REVEALS THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY’S BIGGEST SECRETS IN PROPHETS & LOSS OUT THIS MAY

First Comics News - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 23:46

PORTLAND, Ore. 04/16/2021 — Comics’ 50-year industry veteran Howard Chaykin returns for a new story arc of Hey Kids! Comics! this May titled Prophets & Loss. Image Comics is pleased to reveal an early preview from the six issue story arc which is set to hit shelves this May.

Digging deeper into the sometimes-sordid, sometimes-seedy, always-entertaining lives of the men and women who built a multi-billion-dollar industry almost by accident, Prophets & Loss traces a path through the creation of many of comics’ greatest franchises, from companies that dared to push the boundaries of least-common-denominator kid stuff—usually at their peril—to those happy just to ride the waves others took the time to create. Along the way there’s exploitation, Blaxploitation, custom toilet paper, death at the dinner table and plenty more as fans turn pro and pros turn bitter.

“Some of it never happened, but it’s all true.” That’s the conceit of Hey Kids! Comics!, Howard Chaykin’s Roman à clef about life in the trenches of comics’ formative years, when no one knew they were doing work that one day would form the foundation of the entertainment industry’s dominant engine.

“The opportunity to laud and thank the men and women who created the world that has given me a lifetime of pleasure and frustration in equal measure is a gift to this lifelong comics man,” said Chaykin.

Hey Kids! Comics! Vol. 2: Prophets & Loss #1 (Diamond Code MAR210067) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, May 5.

Hey Kids! Comics! Vol. 2: Prophets & Loss #1 will also be available for purchase across many digital platforms, including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Very Gary Comics Debuts His Red Sonja Exclusive!

First Comics News - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 23:44
April 16, Mt. Laurel, NJ: Dynamite and Very Gary Comics are proud to announce an awesome joint limited edition comic book available on Indiegogo right now!

Very Gary is an esteemed longtime independent comic book retailer, always on the hunt for collections to buy and then pick for key issues to sell at conventions and via his strong followings online. He’s parlayed those experiences and expertise into one of the most informative and followed presences on YouTube for comic book collecting and speculation.

After interviewing writers Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti about their hotly anticipated new series Invincible Red Sonja, everyone was so excited to work together and took it to the next level! Artist Chris Campana joins along in drawing a breathtaking portrayal of the She-Devil With a Sword. The exclusive variant will be printed on the scintillating second issue of the blockbuster series.

“Working with Dynamite has been an absolute blast,” said Very Gary himself. “Invincible Red Sonja is the perfect title for my first Dynamite variant. The viewers of the channel are well aware of just how much I love the fantasy genre and it happens to work perfectly with Chris’s style as an artist too”

With options for every kind of collector, the comic is available with traditional trade dress, a logo-free “virgin” edition, a black & white variant to highlight Campana’s line art, and even a rare metal version! Of course for those looking to preserve the condition and value of their collectibles, Dynamite is offering CGC graded options. As well as copies signed by Gary.

Fans can back the Indiegogo campaign now and stay tuned to it, Dynamite’s emails, and social media for even more exciting updates! Very Gary is set to go live this weekend as well, with more info on the collaboration as well as an onslaught of Dynamite giveaways for his followers!

Reserve Your Copy Now!

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

THE ORIGINAL HALO GRAPHIC NOVEL IN A NEW EDITION FROM DARK HORSE COMICS

First Comics News - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 23:42

Featuring Comics All-Star Talent Simon Bisley, Ed Lee, and Moebius!

MILWAUKIE, Ore., (April 16, 2021)—Dark Horse Books is proud to present the legendary graphic novel that introduced Halo to the world of comics—back in print for the first time in over a decade! Experience Halo from some of comic’s top creators including Jay Faerber, Simon Bisley, Ed Lee, and Moebius!     

This book includes four classic Halo stories that expand the deep lore of the Halo universe. Artist Simon Bisley and writer Lee Hammock give us the central tale titled “The Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor.” Award-winning mangaka Tsutomu Nihei writes and draws a tale of Sgt. Johnson’s epic escape in “Breaking Quarantine”. Ed Lee, Andrew Robinson, and Jay Faerber team up on a story of technology in the 26th century with “Armor Testing.” Finally, Brett Lewis and the world-renowned artist Jean “Moebius” Giraud round out this one-of-a-kind Halo experience with a story that showcases humanity’s plight against the Covenant from a unique civilian perspective in “Second Sunrise Over New Mombasa.”

 The Halo Graphic Novel trade paperback will be available everywhere books are sold August 11, 2021. It is available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at your local comic shop and bookstore. The Halo Graphic Novel will retail for $19.99.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

FIRST LOOK! Jim Balent’s Tarot#129: Dirt Nap

First Comics News - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 23:40
Tarot#129: Dirt Nap!

This Collection will Include Both Editions of Cover A and Cover B, the Art Print & the photo Cover
The Cosplay Team of Erika Wiesner & Dom Hartmann have used their photo Magick abilities to bring you the sexy specter, Crypt Chick!

PLUS a Mystery Gift and a Faerie Realm Sticker!

Check Out the Specially priced Add Ons!

Pre-Order Now!

$40 Tarot#129 Bundle

art print included

Cosplayer Erika Wiesner, Photocover included in bundle

shipping Aug 2021

Grab the special Add On prices!

studio edition a $15 add on reg $19.99

Skyclad Covers A & B editions a $80 add on reg $100

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

David Petersen Returns to the World of MOUSE GUARD in THE OWLHEN CAREGIVER From BOOM! Studios

First Comics News - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 20:47

Discover a Brand New Special Issue from the Creator of the Award-Winning
Bestselling Series in July 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA (April 16, 2021) –  BOOM! Studios today announced MOUSE GUARD: THE OWLHEN CAREGIVER, a special issue that collects three poignant tales that mark creator David Petersen’s return to his beloved Eisner and Harvey Award-winning, New York Times bestselling series in this self-contained special, available in July 2021.

Which of life’s biggest lessons can be learned from the smallest amongst us? A young mouse learns that compassion and kindness are the great virtues in The Owlhen Caregiver. Meanwhile, Piper the Listener finds a brave mouse venturing into wild country to learn the tongues of other beasts. And finally, a grizzled oldfur shares the lesson of putting a whisker out too far in The Wild Wolf.

“I’m so pleased that readers get to walk back into the Mouse Territories, be accompanied by familiar Guardmice, and encounter snakes, owls, wolves, rams, otters, toads, and foxes again. Short stories are magical things. Despite their size, they are exactly the right shape to hold large messages of morality and virtue,” said Petersen. “The common themes in these stories are ones of hope and of compassion, of service and the wellbeing of others. And every world could use more of that.”

Mouse Guard is a New York Times Bestselling, Eisner & Harvey Award winning comic book series written and illustrated by David Petersen. Digging into his love of animal stories and medieval role playing games, David created a fantasy adventure world of cloaked, sword wielding mice who protect the common mouse against threats of predator, weather, & wilderness. The stories are released as a series of miniseries available as individual comic issues first, and then collected into hardcover volumes.

“It’s very exciting to return to the world of MOUSE GUARD and engage with the characters and stories that David has beautifully created and continues to expand upon,” said Bryce Carlson, Editor, BOOM! Studios. “David has an incredible talent for writing and illustrating stories that bring the reader into the richly detailed world drawn from his imagination and it’s simply a joy to spend time in this world and allow David to guide the journey.”

MOUSE GUARD is the latest release from BOOM! Studios’ ambitious Archaia imprint, home to graphic novels such as Bolivar by Sean Rubin; Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Ryan North, and Albert Monteys; The Sacrifice of Darknessby Roxane Gay, Tracy Lynne-Oliver, and Rebecca Kirby; Big Black: Stand at Atticaby Frank “Big Black” Smith, Jared Reinmuth, and Améziane, We Served the Peopleby Emei Burell, and licensed series including Lev Grossman’s The Magicians by Lilah Sturges and Pius Bak, as well as Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation.

Print copies of MOUSE GUARD: THE OWLHEN CAREGIVER, featuring cover art by Petersen, will be available for sale in July 2021 exclusively at local comic book shops (use comicshoplocator.com to find the nearest one) or at the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and Madefire.  

For continuing news on MOUSE GUARD and more from BOOM! Studios, stay tuned to www.boom-studios.com and follow @boomstudios on Twitter. 

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Your First Look at Jace’s Uncertain Fate in MAGIC #2 from BOOM! Studios

First Comics News - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 17:17

LOS ANGELES, CA (April 16, 2021) –  BOOM! Studios, under license by Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) and in partnership with Wizards of the Coast LLC, revealed today a first look at MAGIC #2, the next issue of the new original comic book series from acclaimed writer Jed MacKay (Marvel’s Black Cat), artist Ig Guara (Marvel’s Ghost-Spider), colorist Arianna Consonni, and letterer Ed Dukeshire, perfect for new readers and long time fans, available in May 2021.

With their homes rocked by an attack – and Jace Beleren’s life hanging in the balance – Planeswalkers Kaya, Ral, and Vraska must discover who is behind it all. But as they begin to suspect one of Ravnica’s most prominent Guilds is behind the attack, it becomes clear their enemy may be plotting something even more destructive…

MAGIC #2 also features main cover art by acclaimed artist Matteo Scalera (Batman: White Knight Presents Harley Quinn) as well as variant cover art by Ig Guara, Daniel Warren Johnson (Murder Falcon), Michael Walsh (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Jahnoy Lindsay (Hulk), and Kael Ngu (Spawn).

MAGIC is the newest release from BOOM! Studios’ eponymous imprint, home to critically acclaimed original series, including BRZRKR by Keanu Reeves, Matt Kindt, and Ron Garney; We Only Find Them When They’re Dead by Al Ewing and Simone Di Meo; Seven Secrets by Tom Taylor and Daniele Di Nicuolo; Something is Killing the Children by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera; Once & Future by Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora; Faithless by Brian Azzarello and Maria Llovet; Abbott from Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivelä; and Proctor Valley Road by Grant Morrison, Alex Child, and Naomi Franquiz. The imprint also publishes popular licensed properties including Dune: House Atreides by Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson, and Dev Pramanik; and Mighty Morphin and Power Rangers series from Ryan Parrott, Marco Renna, and Francesco Mortarino.

Print copies of MAGIC #2 will be available for sale on May 12, 2021 exclusively at local comic book shops (use comicshoplocator.com to find the nearest one) or at the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and Madefire.

For continuing news on MAGIC and more comic book series from BOOM! Studios, stay tuned to www.boom-studios.com and follow @boomstudios on Twitter. 

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Wednesday Comics: DC, May 1980 (part 1)

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 11:00
My mission: read DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! This week, I'm looking at the comics at newsstands on the week of my 7th birthday in February 1980.

All-Out War #5: My favorite story this issue is Kanigher's and Granidenetti's Force 3 tale about Fredric (the Polish pianist--also Jewish we find out this issue) bringing a reckoning to the Nazi tank commander who killed his wife in the taking of the Warsaw ghetto. Granidenetti's gritty and almost primitive style (at this point) is great for this sort of thing. Black Eagle has a confusing (to me at least) adventure regarding a supposedly miraculous church--with a brief cameo by the Haunted Tank. Archie Goodwin and Rico Rival provide a downer tale of the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, proving these war books aren't all American jingoism. And then there's the Viking Commando to be ridiculous, as usual.
Batman #323: Catwoman's committing crimes again--or is she? After two (and a half) issues of misdirection later, it would appear, no, it's C-lister, Cat-Man. 
DC Comics Presents #21: Elongated Man has contracted some illness--and before Superman can cure him so has everyone else in the world. Turns out its an alien attack that actually transform anyone who gets it into that alien species. Superman sciences up a cure using the Gingold extract. It seems like the hyper-competent Superman is something lost with the Byrne reboot.

Flash #283: "Featuring the Trickster," is seldom a description I associate with a great comic. He's a little bit more menacing here than usual, but it feels like mostly this issue is about Bates setting up Barry Allen's new status quo after the climatic solution to the "Who Killed Iris?" storyline. The Heck/Chiaramonte combo on art is not great this issue, either.
Ghosts #86: "The Phantom City" has Michael Golden art and is a sort of a novel tale of an architect killed by home-invading bikers who die in the titular city construct by architect's son's toys and imagination. The cover story "Harem in Hell" from Allikas and Rubeny is about a guy more in love with the ghost wives (he murdered) and only keeps his new living one around to do housework. Of course, the tables are turned in EC fashion.
Jonah Hex #34: The Confederate survivors of Ft. Charlotte capture Hex, but luckily also a saloon gal who knows him a favor--and then sacrifices her life so he can escape. which is really a bit above and beyond, I think. 

Justice League of America #178: This issue I had as a kid. I think I still may have the cover--and a great one it is by Jim Starlin. Despero is back, and up to his usual chess-playing tricks in this Conway/Dillin joint.
Secrets of Haunted House #24: A man returns from a near death experience to find he now shares his body with a spirit of a killer in a Kashdan/Carrilo story. Sutton and Nasser offer a cautionary tale about what reading too much about the meaning of dreams might get you: eaten by demonic entites, as I'm sure you guessed. Maggin and Rubeny in a nonhorror tale offer a "humorous" alternate take on Noah's ark.
Superman #347: Superman encounter's an alien "ghost." Actually kind of an old school Doctor Who sort of story in basic plot, I think. Art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, and here he gives us a real disco-era alien design.
Superman Family #201: Everything here is pretty business as usual, except for this crazy Supergirl story by Harris and Mortimer. Supergirl is fixated on this guy Peter Barton, who is in turn attracted to this fellow professor--except for the fact he erroneously believes her to be Supergirl. Supergirl challenges his male ego or something, he muses. Anyway, at a hypnotism demonstration, Supergirl's absolute infatuation leads her into accidentally super-hypnotizing Barton into becoming a super-villain. In the end, he can safely pursue the woman he's into because he believes he's somehow made it so she will never become Supergirl, and the real Supergirl has to hide herself from him, lest he get "triggered" again.

Weird War Tales #85: In the perplexing lead story, Kanigher and Castrillo have a mysterious spacecraft visiting the Earth over various eras, where we seen scenes of violence. In the end, when the surface the Earth is consumed by nuclear fire, the craft deems it time to beam Satan down to hell on Earth. Who was carrying the Devil around in a spaceship? Anyway, the second story has art by Tom Sutton. It's about a cursed, immortal warrior sowing chaos in the Hundred Years War, only to be laid low by the Black Plague.
Wonder Woman #265: Conway and Delbo have Wonder Woman teaming up with Animal Man (or "A-Man" as he says he's called here) against the Cartel. The story has A-Man calling the Mod Gorilla Boss a "publicity stunt." I wonder if this is an attempted retcon or just a dismissive way of talking about the original story? 

Star Trek Endeavour: Agents of Influence

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 11:00
A continuing campaign in Star Trek Adventures...

Episode 5:
"Agents of Influence"Player Characters: The Crew of the USS Endeavour, NCC-1895, Constitution Class Starship (refit):
Andrea as Lt. Ona Greer, Engineer 
Bob as Capt. Robert Locke
Gina as Cmdr. Isabella Hale, Helm Chief
Eric As Lt.Cmdr. Tavek, Science OfficerTug as Dr. Azala Vex, Trill Chief Medical Officer
Supporting Cast:Toshiro Mifune as Admiral Nogura
Synposis: Endeavour is summoned to Starbase 24 where they receive an unexpected visitor: Admiral Nogura. Nogura needs the ship to undertake a mission to the Ivratis Asteroid Field on the Klingon Neutral Zone ostensibly to search for debris from the recently destroyed scout vessel USS Ranger, but actually they wish to recover both the surviving Ranger crew and the 3 deep cover Starfleet agents that had recently ended their mission on the Klingon homeworld of Qo'noS.
Pretending to be smugglers, the Captain and a team enter the asteroid belt to look for the Ranger survivors. The mission is particularly urgent for Lt. Greer whose sister is captain of the Ranger!
Commentary: This adventure is based on a novel by Dayton Ward of the same name. In the novel, it is Ward's Endeavour crew that is being sought by Kirk and the Enterprise.
Nogura is mentioned in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but never seen on screen. Somebody helpfully made this image of him, though:

Our Heroic Age

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 04/09/2021 - 11:00
This post first appeared in 2015...
  Though we played a lot of fantasy games (mostly AD&D) in my middle and high school years--probably more than anything else--our longest campaigns (defined as the same characters in the same setting/situation) were in superhero games. While we'd played with Villains & Vigilantes and with the first editions of TSR's Marvel Super Heroes and Mayfair's DC Heroes, our "Heroic Age" really got started in '86 after the release of the Marvel Super Heroes Advanced Set.

Our first and longest running team was called the New Champions (taking the name from the L.A. based team of the Bronze Age and the idea of a new iteration from The New Defenders, which had just ended the year before). Our characters were street-level/near street-level characters, some of which were reformed villains. We picked the characters from the pages of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, for the most part, rather than going with well-known characters. I used Paladin, my brother, Puma, and our friend Al, Hobgoblin (the former Jack o' Lantern version). That was the core group of players and characters, but other players and other Bronze and early Modern C-listers joined the New Champions ranks at some point: White Tiger, Madcap, Shroud, and Unicorn, among others I've likely forgotten. The team had a West Coast era (borrowing from West Coast Avengers, which I had a subscription to), as well, and probably at least one "all-new, all different" period--but it was also part of the same continuity.

The second edition of DC Heroes, was probably our last gasp of superhero gaming. The Marvel games had mostly been over the summer and with a crew somewhat different than my usual gaming group, since none of us were able to drive yet and it was tough to get together when we weren't in school. By '89 though, that wasn't the case, so the DC group was largely the same as my Dungeons & Dragons and GURPS crowd. This time, we made up our own characters and our own super-hero universe. Lower key, more "realistic" superheroes were the order of the day. About half of the group (which was never named as a team, really) didn't wear costumes, and the villains were are somewhat quirky, and many of them didn't wear costumes either. I suspect the primary inspiration was the Wild Cards universe, but Thriller, the New Universe, and Doom Patrol might have been in there, too.

We played some 4th edition Champions after that and maybe some GURPS Supers, but neither of them had the ease of use of MSHRPG or DCH so they didn't last long. These two campaigns created some truly memorable characters--or at least memorable sessions.

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