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AEW and The Owen Hart Foundation Enter Into A Relationship to Honor World Renowned Wrestler Owen Hart’s Legacy

First Comics News - Mon, 09/20/2021 - 18:22

September 20, 2021 – All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and The Owen Hart Foundation (OHF), a nonprofit charity which provides a vast range of assistance and opportunities to individuals in-need across the world, are collaborating to honor the legacy of late wrestler Owen Hart, a beloved figure in the professional wrestling community and beyond. This collaboration includes launching the annual Owen Hart Cup Tournament within AEW, which will see the winner receive a Cup known as “The Owen,” as well as the production and distribution of unique and original Owen Hart merchandise, including specified retail goods as well as the upcoming AEW console video game.

This alliance incorporates opportunities to develop Owen Hart action figures via AEW’s partnership with Jazwares, apparel, posters, and additional collectable merchandise. Owen Hart is survived by his wife, Dr. Martha Hart, who spearheads The Owen Hart Foundation with a mission of providing global aid to at-risk communities (e.g., scholarships, housing, various forms international assistance, food drives, backpack giveaways and Christmas projects).

“AEW’s relationship with the Hart family dates back to our inaugural pay-per-view event, Double or Nothing in 2019, and Owen’s influence is still felt today,” said Tony Khan, AEW CEO, GM and Head of Creative. “To extend his memory and his legacy even further through this agreement is a powerful and meaningful moment for the entire wrestling community.”

“The Owen Hart Foundation is extremely pleased to partner with AEW in this wonderful joint venture to honor Owen’s substantial international wrestling career and the lasting influence he and his craft has had in the sport. AEW’s Owen Hart Cup Tournament serves as a tremendous tribute to Owen and provides an incredible way for professional wrestling enthusiasts to celebrate his work in a most fitting way. We trust that Tony Khan and his amazing AEW team will do a brilliant job with this highly anticipated project. This OHF/AEW partnership is my special gift to all of Owen’s magnificent loyal fans who forever remember him and his inspiring repertoire of talents,” said Dr. Martha Hart.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

ABLAZE Details New Artbook & Manga Releases For December

First Comics News - Mon, 09/20/2021 - 18:05

THE DRAGON UNIVERSE, by Olivier Ledroit and Laurent Souillé · MSRP: $29.99 ·

Release Date: December 22nd

Dragons. They reign above the eternal snows or in the depths of the abyss… They are marvelous, magical, malicious creatures… But where do these winged creatures with sparkling scales and fearsome claws come from?

 

This collection of illustrations on the theme of dragons brings together acclaimed illustrators and comic book authors from around the world: French, English, Danish, Spanish, Italian, American, Canadian… From John Howe, designer of The Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia, to Todd Lockwood, illustrator of Dungeons & Dragons, and Olivier Ledroit, creator of the Chronicles of the Black Moon, and Adrian Smith, one of the authors of Warhammer, and more… They’ve pooled their talents in a Tolkien-style universe where dragons coexist, fight Dwarves, Orcs, Elves and Humans…

THE FAIRY UNIVERSE, by Various Artists ·

MSRP: $24.99 · Release Date: December 22nd

Our world is inhabited by mysterious and elusive spirits: the Elves and the Faes. Once we accept this evidence, we still must recognize them, approach them, and sometimes be wary of them… Illustrator Olivier Ledroit used all his skill to approach them, sketch them, and deliver this comprehensive guide to the most remarkable Faes and Elves.

 

The result is this illustrated encyclopedia, which combines an extraordinary history of dragons, with gorgeous, full-color art, that captures every majestic and fearsome detail of these wonderful scaly behemoths. The Fairy Universe offers readers the keys to a magical and poetic world through hundreds of drawings by Ledroit, spread over double pages in stunning watercolor and pencil, with illuminating words by Ledroit and writer/colleague Laurent Souillé.

CAGASTER VOLS. 1-6 BOX SET, by Kachou Hasimoto ·

MSRP: $29.99 · Release Date: December 22nd

It’s the year 2125, and a strange plague called “Cagaster” appears. One-in-a-thousand people is infected by this disease, which turns humans into monstrous cannibalistic insects. Two-thirds of humanity is decimated… 30 years later, young expert bug exterminator and mercenary adventurer Kidow and newfound friend Ilie struggle to survive in this brutal new world, while delving into the mysteries of the plague and its causes.

 

Kidow is tasked with finding Ilie’s mother, after being entrusted with her by her dying father. Meanwhile, the battle continues to rage against the mutated population of Earth, with the code possibly being cracked to finally end the nightmare. Cagaster is a thrilling shonen adventure into a strange apocalyptic universe, somewhere between Mad Max and Attack on Titan.

 

Published by Tokuma Shoten in Japan, Cagaster has been adapted into an anime series by Gonzo Animation called Cagaster of an Insect Cage under the direction of Koichi Chigira (Tokyo Babylon, Full Metal Panic!, Last Exile) and is streaming now on Netflix!

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

VALIANT CELEBRATES THE HARBINGER #1 WITH A 1/250 METAL COVER & HARBINGER GIFT BUNDLE FOR RETAILERS

First Comics News - Mon, 09/20/2021 - 17:59

September 20th, 2021 — Ahead of the release of THE HARBINGER #1 on October 27th, Valiant Entertainment presents a first look at the special Metal Variant Cover and THE HARBINGER Gift Bundle.

From the mind of Valiant’s Director of Design and Production Travis Escarfullery, THE HARBINGER #1 Metal Cover breathes new life into Robbi Rodriguez’s eye-catching artwork that appears on the debut issue’s primary cover. Featuring a four color print over metal, the vibrant cover is available exclusively to participating retailers who will obtain one metal cover for every 250 copies they order of THE HARBINGER #1.

In addition to receiving the limited metal cover for ordering 250 copies of THE HARBINGER #1, comic book shops will also get an exclusive THE HARBINGER Gift Bundle. This limited gift bundle includes one THE HARBINGER slipcase box set, one THE HARBINGER pin, four THE HARBINGER postcards, one THE HARBINGER poster, and one THE HARBINGER bookplate signed by co-writers Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing. Aside from THE HARBINGER pin, these items will only be available with the Gift Bundle.


Pre-order THE HARBINGER #1 at your local comic store by October 4th. THE HARBINGER #1 goes on sale October 27th. Contact your local comic book store for more information about ordering.

THE HARBINGER #1 is co-written by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing, illustrated by Robbi Rodriguez, colored by Rico Renzi, and lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. Read the first issue below – no embargo on coverage!

 

THE HARBINGER #1
Written by 
COLLIN KELLY, JACKSON LANZING
Art by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ
Colors by RICO RENZI
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ
Cover B by ROD REIS
Cover C by CRIS DELARA
Pre-order Cover by DAMION SCOTT
Blank Cover also available
1/250 Metal Variant by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ, TRAVIS ESCARFULLERY

Can you make the world better if you can’t be better?

A telepath with no memory. A city of superpowered teenagers suppressed.

Redemption. Destruction. Rebirth. A new era of HARBINGER begins here.

On sale OCTOBER 27th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+ | Pre-order deadline is October 4th 

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Dark Sun: The Sand Raiders

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 09/20/2021 - 11:00


I've run two sessions now of Dark Sun using Forbidden Lands (and the Burning Sands Dark Sun adaptation you can find online). To keep it easy as we were getting used to the system, I decided to run the short adventure in the 4e Dark Sun book.

At the caravanserai of Dur-Taruk, the party (Eowen, Elf Ranger; Insam, Ranger; and Keeb-Raa, Thri-Kreen druid) accept a job from a dwarf factor named Urum ath Wo of the merchant house Zawir. It seems a Zawir caravan arrived with one wagon missing and with it its cargo of grain, wine, and wood. Fifty silver was offered for clear directions to the cargo or its return, and the party is eager for the coin.

The party is able to pick up the trail of the lost wagon and track it to a place it was set upon by saurian silt runners.  In fact, some of the silt runners are still there, and the party engages them in combat, ultimately emerging victorious. The bodies have attracted the attention of a pack of kruthiks. The party has to kill them before they can follow the tracks showing where the silt runners too the cargo. They lead to the ruins of an ancient tower.

Stealthily approaching the tower, the party finds a vault where the silt runners and their leader have taken the cargo and the still-living wagon crew. The leader is a largely reptilian creature who has a dagger coated with some greenish ichor. He doesn't get a chance to use it because Insam puts an arrow through a gap in his carapace and kills him.

In the battle that follows, one silt runner escapes but the others are slain. The party decides the cargo is too much trouble for them to carry back, but they free the crew, and after making camp for the night in the vault, they return to Dur-Taruk in the morning for their payment.

The Dwarf Folk of the Wilderness

Sorcerer's Skull - Sun, 09/19/2021 - 14:30
Art by Jason Sholtis
Another Antediluvian people of the Wilderness are often called names that would translate as some variation of "dwarf." They arrived as the retainers of the First Folk lords who called them simply "the smiths." They were, and often still are, forgers of implements of bronze and iron, and cunning artificers.
They are clearly cousins to mortal humankind, but are shorter in stature, more powerfully built, and courser featured. One of the first human tribes to meet them in the new world called them "hairy ones" in their tongue, a name adopted by later arrivers in a mangled form as goohagatch. These latter folk believed the dwarf people to be cursed to wander, but also protected from harm by the True God. This has not always sparred them violence from their human neighbors, and they have mostly moved away from encroaching settlements.
There are some dwarf folk who have adapted to a greater extent to humans ways, and perhaps even interbred with humans. They are sometimes called "civilized dwarfs" but just as often "petty dwarfs."

Final Cards Have Arrived

The Splintered Realm - Sat, 09/18/2021 - 17:25


It took about two weeks, but the third draft of the deck of Shakespeare Deathmatch came in - and the cards are perfect! I'm so happy with the printing, and I finally banished all of the little layout gremlins that were messing with the cards. I'm going to go through to dot I's and cross T's on the DriveThru site, and the cards should be up for sale in a few hours. I can't wait for people to start playing this game. 

By the way, I recommend the hard plastic box for an extra dollar - totally worth it.

Weird Revisited: The Black Train is Coming

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 09/16/2021 - 12:25
This is a Weird Adventures related post from 2011. I don't think it made it into the book. I re-read the Manly Wade Wellman story that inspired it yesterday, so it brought it to mind...
“A black train runs some nights at midnight, they say..”

-- Manly Wade Wellman, “The Little Black Train”
Hobo-goblins, human tramps and bindlestiffs, and other Brethren of the Road, tell stories in their camps of a preternatural train that runs from this world to planes beyond. This lore is seldom shared with those outside their communities, but folklore records regular folk having chance encounters with the phantom.

The appearance of the train changes with time. It always appears old, like it has a decade or two of service behind it behind it, but otherwise stays current with locomotive technology and styles. It's not marked in any way, and has been described by observers in paradoxical ways. It’s plain and nondescript, yet powerfully commands intention. Some feel an intense unreality upon seeing it, others the cold hand of fear.

The train starts on mundane tracks, but as soon as it's "out of sight" of its observers it begins to shift into other realms. Some dreamers have seen it crossing the lunar wastes from the vantage of the parapets of the Dream Lord's castle. It is known to make stops in depots in the Hells. Planar travelers have attested to seeing rails that fade into nothingness at the mouth of the gyre at the bottom of reality.

Mostly, it seems carry certain dead to the afterlife, though why it comes for some and not others is unknown. Hell Syndicate snitches know of it, but not who operates it. Angels likewise keep a serene silence. Most who ride the train are dropped off in the waystation realm of the dead, from there to travel on to their souls' final destination.  Some, however, are taken directly to the outer planes. Others seem to ride the train for longer periods of time. They're found snoozing in couch cars, or drinking and playing cards in the dining car. Waiting, perhaps, for something. They’re sometimes inclined to conversation, though they seldom have anything useful to say.

Adventurers have sometimes used the train as a quick ride, either to the Other Side, or the Outer Planes. Hobo-goblin glyphs sometimes point the way to likely places were the train may appear. The train’s gray, nondescript, and seldom seen staff do not object to taking on new passengers, so long as they pay the fare--which varies, but is always in silver.

There's always the option, for those with fare or without, of hopping one of the train’s empty freight cars, but riding an open car through other planes is a dangerous proposition, and the boxcars are only empty of freight--not necessarily other travelers.

Wednesday Comics: DC, December 1980 (wk 1, pt 2)

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 09/15/2021 - 11:00
I'm reading DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! This week, I'm continuing my look at the comics at newsstands on the week of September 11, 1980. 

G.I. Combat #224:There are two Kanigher and Glanzman/Ayers Haunted Tank stories, as usual. In the first, the tank's crew must out think a German Panzer while on loan to the British Army in North Africa. As is often the case, the crew is mistrustful of their commander, Jeb, but he saves them in the end. In the second story, U.S. tanks keep disappearing in a secluded valley that was the site of a battle in WWI. The Haunted Tank is the last to go in, and they find themselves assaulted by poison gas. Thinking quickly, they escape and discover a WWI German unit has been improbably hiding and defending this valley since the last war ended. "You can't cheat death twice," as the title says, and these Germans and done in by the Haunted Tank team. 
"Reward for A Traitor" by Kashdan and Bercasio is a cautionary tale about trusting colonial powers if you're an indigenous person.  The son of a Pacific Island chief makes that mistake with the Japanese and gets put to work in a mine for his trouble. The O.S.S. story by Kanigher and LeRose has spies making a heroic sacrifice for the war effort, which is how these stories always go. Different here is that Control can't make the decision to shoot down their plane, even if not doing so reveals to the Germans their plans. He seems much more "all about the mission" in previous stories. The next story by Douglas and Evans is an appreciation of parachute fitters and is refreshing to the extent that its protagonist wants to be as far away from combat as possible at the end of the story, despite his heroism. The next story by Wessler and Bercasio is a short, bleak tale of a unit's practical joker who, despite being a thorn in his sergeant's side, jumps on a grenade to save him, thereby playing the ultimate joke: leaving the others "stuck with the whole lousy war."

Justice League of America #185: Conway and Perez's New Gods arc comes to an end. It's good JLA/JSA team-up storytelling, with the different sub-teams coming together in the end. Highlights include Batman and Mister Miracle comparing escape artist notes, and Wonder Woman and Big Barda tag teaming against Granny Goodness. In the end, the energy meant to destroy Earth-2 is redirected to strike Darkseid instead. Perez draws an off-model Darkseid this entire issue, but that quibble aside, I feel like this three-parter has been the best of Conway's run I've reviewed so far.

New Teen Titans #2: This issue continues to move at a pretty fast pace. Starfire doesn't yet know how to speak English (she learns it here, by kissing Robin), so how were they a functional team? Anyway,  The H.I.V.E. tries to hire Deathstroke (I didn't realize he had that name from the beginning) to take them down, but the Terminator refuses, so they decide to make their own. They get a volunteer in the form of Grant Wilson, a neighbor of the Titans who Starfire stopped from committing domestic violence. He becomes the Ravager and attacks the Titans with Terminator's reluctant help while they are Claremont X-Mening it in a fan service, pool frolic. The defeated Ravager ages pretty quick from pushing his power and dies. Deathstroke attends his burial and reveals he is Grant Wilson's father. He takes the H.I.V.E. job as revenge against the Titans, which seems to be what H.I.V.E. planned all along. 
This title doesn't yet have the character drama that would be a big part of why the Wolfman/Perez run is often praised, but it is definitely different from the other DC supers offerings (even ones written by Wolfman).

Secrets of Haunted House #31: This issue features the debut of Mister E in a tale by Rozakis and Harris. He'll become a bigger deal in the Vertigo 90s. Right now, he's just a blind guy who's been stalking a vampire who's been committing murders, but he's is easily stymied by a blow to the head by the vampire's immigrant, ingenue housekeeper. Luckily, she realizes her mistake and stakes the vampire herself, otherwise this would have been Mister E's last appearance.
In "Short Road to Damnation" by Drake and Henson, a nebbish, height-challenged secretary steals a pair of Napoleon's boots and suddenly becomes a proactive and commanding guy, which includes committing two murders. The boots that gave him the ability also prove his undoing as they link him to the crime scenes, as discovered by a Detective Leba, whose name is of course an anagram for Elba. A story by Kashdan and Brozowski rounds out the issue with an escaped convict happening upon a scientist's laboratory in a swamp. The scientist is working on an antidote to the "death factor" that causes cells to die and potentially could provide immortality. The criminal takes the antidote before the scientist can explain fully and kills him in a scuffle. The criminal's caught, but he doesn't die from his gunshot wounds, and he can't be executed. Every potentially mortal wound ages him at a faster rate, however. The antidote to death was senility (though the story calls this factor "morbidity.") We end in the future time of 1999, with the criminal locked away in a futuristic prison, a wizened husk.

Superman #354: Another Silver Age-y "mystery" plot from Bates, but again a not uninteresting one. Superman takes down a group of high flying thieves led by a Mr. Alpha, who winds up escaping into the sewers, which happens to put him a good place to hear about the origins of a suit of powered armor found in the Egyptian desert. Clark Kent is there too, having responded to an invitation from senior archeologist, Thalia Tate. Tate presents the young man who was wearing the armor who claims to be a time travel from a highly advanced, prehistoric civilization. He and his beloved were separated by a time storm--and he thinks Tate's assistant Susan is actually his long lost Myyla. Supporting his story is that Susan looks like Myyla and is wearing an identical amulet to his. When she removes it, she's no longer speaking English. Susan needs some time to sort this out, but Mr. Alpha kidnaps her, forcing the visitor from the past to get in his armor and fight Superman or else.  Superman manages to keep his attacker at bay long enough to located Alpha and free Susan. He's also figured out what's really going on. It's Tate that is really the visitor from another time. Separated in the time storm, she and her beloved arrived in the future decades apart. Not wanting her beloved to have to be with an old woman, she chose an assistant that looked a lot like the younger her, did some hypnosis, gave her the amulet, etc. The truth revealed, they return to their own time with Superman's help, and Thalia/Myyla is restored to youth in the process.
The backup story is about the Superman of 2020, the grandson of the original. That has some interesting implications for when Bates thinks the first Superman's adventures take place (if it's 1980 as in the first story, you'd think Superman would have to be having his kid pretty soon), and possibly for the expected duration of heroic careers. His future is brighter than our present: 3 supermen, and no pandemic.


Wonder Woman #273: This is the first appearance of the second Cheetah, courtesy of Conway and Delbo. Wonder Woman responds to a oil tanker accident and meets a group of environmental activists led by a young woman in a bikini and a captain's hat who happens to have access to a yacht. She's Debi Domaine. After Wonder Woman gets a shower and the yacht returns to dock, Debi gets a letter from the aunt who raised her who is apparently on her death bed. Wonder Woman heads off to work and some sitcom antics as she makes dates as Diana Prince and Wonder Woman for the same evening. Debi visits her dying aunt and discovers she was once the costumed criminal, the Cheetah, and then is captured by Kobra agents. While Wonder Woman puts on her disco cape and heads out on her date, Debi is subjected to the Clockwork Orange treatment, mentally conditioning her with images of environmental devastation. She emerges as the Cheetah in an outfit similar to her aunt's except with a deep-V neck and high-heels, and is ready to become an environmental terrorist for Kobra!
 In the Huntress back-up by Levitz and Staton, Power-girl threatens the DA over a new anti-superhero vigilante rule in Gotham, which really sort of makes his point for him, I think. Huntress shows up to intervene. She and Power-Girl go to chat, and she reveals to her friend that she's been dating the DA. Meanwhile, we discover that the Thinker is behind the DA's actions, because who could be against costumed vigilantes but a super-villain, right? In the end, a sudden crimewave breaks out in Gotham at the Thinker's command.

World's Finest Comics #266: Burkett and Buckler provide the Batman/Superman story where they tangle with the new super-villain, Lady Lunar who attacks a STAR Labs moon exhibit. She is actually a double bit of continuity referencing. She has the same powers (and origin basically) as Moon Man from World's Finest #98 in 1958 (in fact, this issue is the last appearance of Moon Man's alter ego), and she turns out to be an astronaut trainee from Wonder Woman's stint as an astronaut back in 1979. The Haney/von Eeden Green Arrow story is goofy, but charming. Editor George Taylor is sure Oliver Queen is Green Arrow, so he challenges him to 48 hours of flagpole sitting for charity, convinced that Queen will be unable to meet his column deadlines. With the help of Dinah send him stories via Morse code and what not, Ollie keeps writing his stories and sending them to Dinah via arrows right under Taylor's watchful eyes. 
The Red Tornado story be DeMatteis and Delbo has RT looking for an apartment and almost getting stabbed by a 13 year-old girl who's high on...something. He takes an interest in helping the girl and saves her from falling off a building, which finally gets her mother to recognize the severity of the situation. All, the time T.O. Morrow is watching. The Rozakis/Landgraf Hawkman story "Something Sinister in Sewer Seven" has the best title of the issue. The something or somethings are giant, mutant bugs. The main conflict is city bureaucrats trying to cover it up. Birdwell and Newton unleash a space armada of ships shaped like Dr. Sivana's head on Captain Marvel. This comes after Sivana and IBAC go planet to planet and have IBAC beat up planetary despots until they declare Sivana their ruler. Meanwhile, Mr. Mind intends to side with Sivana only until he has the opportunity to destroy him. I continue to enjoy this updated "Monster Society of Evil" saga.

The Fire and the Void

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 09/13/2021 - 11:00


Our Land of Azurth game continued last night with the party in the midst of exploring the strange, ruined temple beneath the Crooked Hills. The party ran afoul of a group of skeletons that they quickly dispatched. They avoided a pit trap where they also found another strange item--a vial of silvery liquid. They were disappointed to find it wasn't magical.

They came to a room with a relief of a muscular, bearded man holding a scorched brazier. The group tried burning something in it and a secret door opened. On the other side was a room with a large oven with a roaring flame inside. They discovered the flame was a fire elemental who suggested it needed to be bribed to allow them to pass through to the run beyond the oven. Dagmar gave it gold pieces, which it melt in its flames. Then it parted like a curtain to allow them to pass.

On the other said was a wide, shallow bowl with a whirling void on the inside. As the party began to investigate, a group of the sleepwalkers came in. They largely appeared to ignore the party as one took a couple of items the party took to be trinkets and dropped them into the void where they disappear. When that was done, he extended a hand expectantly to the party.

They decided to give him a trinket to see what happened. He took it and put it in the void. They kept giving him the trinkets they had, even the newly acquired silvery vial, and they all disappeared. The sleepwalkers turned and left.

When they were gone, the party investigated the room further. Waylon figured out that the void was only an illusion. Items dropped into it went down a passage. Erekose found a secret lever to open a secret door. What they found, down a short passage, was essentially a glorified closet with a number of trinkets and other items that had been dropped into the void.

Mindful of the townsfolk's warning about the trinkets exploding, they cautiously experiment with putting groups of them together in the same place, but nothing seemed to happen. Eventually, they divided up the nonbroken items and took them with them.

The First Folk of the Wilderness

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 09/10/2021 - 11:00

This is a follow-up to this post.

The First Folk were the earliest inhabitants of the Western Lands, that is certain. Their tradition holds that all people emerged from the navel of the Earth, somewhere in the far west, but that they, the Children of the Dawn, were specially loved by the gods who taught them their secrets, which the first Folks used to found the earliest civilizations in the world in the Eastern Lands.

Some human scriptures teach that the First Folk are the hybrid children of rebellious greater spirits, sometimes falsely called gods, and humans. They cite the Great Flood as the True God's punishment for the iniquities of the First Folk and their parents. This religious condemnation did not stop human tribes from studying under the First Folk and learning their craft and science. Of course, these humans, too, committed the same sins in the eyes of God, perhaps, for was not their island home destroyed in a cataclysm for their wickedness?

After the Flood, the surviving First Folk lords and their people returned to the shores of the Western Lands. There they found members of their own race, fallen in their own reckoning, living primitively in the endless forests. They sometimes met these kinsfolk in peace, sometimes in violence. They raised new cities, though perhaps not as glorious as those in the East. The barrows and ruins of these people are still found, though in the end a strange fall overcame them, so that they were only a shadow by the time the first humans came West. 

These human tribes sometimes warred with the surviving First Folk from the East, but over time became beloved of the the First Folk of the woodlands. Later human tribes would not be so receptive to the First Folk ways.

The Folk of Forests have receded ever further as human civilization has encroached upon the dark wood beyond the mountains. It is wise for travelers to abide by their rules and attempt to placate them, however, as they have be known to punish those who do not respect their ways.

The First Folk of the east were taller (perhaps as tall as 8 feet, with some of the ruling class of the great kingdoms of the East even taller) and in general, considered more beautiful than humans. Their lifespans were exceedingly long--before the Deluge they were immortal--and their physical capabilities exceeded those of man. Their eyes and sometimes their faces, were said to have a subtle radiance about them, perhaps a suggestion of their Celestial heritage. The Folk of the Forest are not as tall, and often more angular, but still strangely beautiful, possessed of a glamor, it is said.

Solar Trek Episode Guide - Updated

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 11:00

In honor of Star Trek's 55th anniversary (yesterday), it seemed like a good time to revisit my 2019 posts on Solar Trek, a solar system confined, more hard science fiction rationalized Star Trek. Here are all the posts to date, titled with the TOS episode/setting element that inspired it.
The introductory post
The Orion Syndicate
"Return of the Archons"
"That Which Survives"
"The Cloud Minders"
"The Trouble with Tribbles"
"Tholian Web""The Amok Time""The Way to Eden"


Wednesday Comics: DC, December 1980 (wk 1 pt 1)

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 09/08/2021 - 11:00
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  September 11, 1980. 

Batman #330: A gangster on death row sends assassins to make sure Batman dies before he does. Meanwhile, Batman and Robin are trying to find Lucius Fox's son, who's gotten tangled up in a plot by the crime lord Falstaff to get at Bruce Wayne. Wolfman has Batman and Robin disagreeing over how to deal with the the confused, young Fox, an extension of their disagreement over Grayson quitting college. This is consistent with Wolfman's portrayal of their relationship in New Teen Titans, but he doesn't show up outside of his stories. Talia also appears here, but doesn't do much. The last assassin, a guy with an Old West gunfighter theme is an interesting character, but I suspect he doesn't appear again.

DC Comics Presents #28: Wein and Starlin continue the story of Superman's fight against Mongul and Warworld. Here, Superman teams with his cousin, Supergirl. They are presented here as much more powerful than we typically see them portrayed today (this is sporadically true of other Silver Age heroes, like Flash, as well, in this era). The Super-cousins use "microscopic vision" to follow the trail of subatomic particles to Warworld and telescopic vision to surveil it. We get Mongul's tragic origin, which is basically that he's a former dictator kicked out by his people in favor of a dictator who was just as bad (in Mongul's opinion). The Kryptonians hold their own against what Warworld can throw at them until Mongul's brain burns out commanding the station. They finally defeat it by having Supergirl fly at superluminal speeds and smash a path straight through the station, which Superman uses to enter and reprogram its systems at super-speed. But where does Supergirl end ip?
The backup story is perhaps the first genuine "What Ever Happened to..." in the series. Tiefenbacher and Kane have the Old West hero Johnny Thunder and his sometimes competitor, Madame .44 teaming up and revealing their true identities--and true feelings--for each other. Then they get hitched! Kane's not at the top of his game here, but he still draws great Western action.

Flash #292: Either some time has passed since last issue, or Fiona Webb got over her fear that Barry Allen was trying to kill her really quickly after learning the truth, because Bates and Heck have the two on a date at a carnival. A carnival where the Mirror Master gloats over his plans to defeat the Flash. The Flash's foes seem to physically warp/transform his body a lot, and Mirror Master is no exception. He makes Flash uncoordinated by mirror-image reversing his body! The Flash figures this out and manages to save himself then Central City. He outruns a reflected "solaser" beam and has time to paint a building in silver nitrate before the beam arrives. During all this Fiona Webb is on again, off again, based on perceived slights on Barry's part due to his distraction while dealing with Mirror Master. Sometimes she has a point, but it makes her look really high maintenance! Nice to get a "done in one" story.
In the back up story, Conway and Perez have Firestorm tangle with the Hyena, who attacks a police station because they are corrupt and not doing a good enough job, I guess? Then, he heads off to stop a robbery. I had no idea the Hyena was a vicious vigilante until this story.

Ghosts #95: The first story goes back to a schtick Ghosts hasn't played up in a few issues: the idea that the stories are real, but gives it a bit of a "meta" bent has it purports to be the story of why the author (Kashdan) didn't write the story the editor assigned to him about Gurney Castle, which includes a meeting with a ghost in that castle. Clever, but there isn't much to the story beyond the conceit. "Spectral Bullets Cannot Kill!" by Wessler with that distinct Henson art I've come to appreciate is better. A mobster sends a hitman to kill a guy with a gambling debt. The man pleads his inability to pay due to his recent car accident, but the mobster has no pity. In anger, the man puts a curse on the hitman's gun. When the time comes for the deed, the bullets don't hurt him. He taunts the hitman that their "spectral" nature. The hitman returns to the mobster to admit failure to find the man already there. The mobster demands he shoot again, but when the hitman does, the bullets pass through the other man and hit the mobster. The twist: the bullets were ok, but the man was a ghost, having died in the car accident. The next Wessler yarn isn't quite as good. A man plots the murder of his friend in a cave so he can get the girl, but rainwater erases the paint trail he had left for his own exit. The only trail he can find proves to be blood leading him back to the scene of his crime.

In the last story by Kupperberg and Adams/Blasdell, Dr. Thirteen the Ghost-Breaker returns, having last been seen in 1977. This story also features an appearance by Rutland, Vermont. Thirteen has retired from the fraud-exposing business to write books and make the talk show circuit, but a mysterious man named Kowalski asks him to take a case in a Rutland community theater where unusual occurrences are being blamed on the ghost of a playwright, Tilson. Thirteen quickly discovers it's all being faked by an actress who's trying to get out of her contract, but it turns out that Kowalski was the real name of Tilson.

Jonah Hex #43: Marshall Jeremiah Hart takes a look at the body of the businessman Hex supposedly killed and something doesn't add up. Still, he sets out after the bounty hunter, only stopping to contend with the Spast Brothers who want their sibling out of jail. Instead, they wind of joining him. Meanwhile, Hex is again promising Mei Ling he'll put down his guns as son as he gets this last bounty, the man who shot the banker. On the trail, Hart gets the drop on Hex. He tells him that something about the alleged crime does add up, but he still has to take him in. Unfortunately, Apaches get a drop on them both. They bear a grudge against Hex going back to the incident where his face was scarred. Working together, they manage to escape, but then the Spast Brothers prepare to spring an ambush.

Weird War Tales #95: "The War That Time Forgot" is back for the first time since 1976. This story by Kanigher and Reyes is typical of the WTTF sort in that the dinosaurs are Godzilla-sized, far bigger than they were in reality. The Devil Dinosaur-red tyrannosaurus carries around a Sherman tank for much of the story after the tank crew rescues the native woman that was intended to be a sacrifice to him. The crew booby traps their tank and blow up the monster. This is by far the best story of the issue. 
The next by Kashdan and Ayers/Adkins has an Imperial Japanese experiment to breed a voracious insect to act as a defoliant going wrong when the insects decide to dine on their creators. The next story by DeMatteis and Forton has a wealthy businessman, Geller, hounded by people accusing him of being Nazi war criminal Geisen. A Holocaust survivor claims to recognize from the camp. That night, Geller seems to awaken in the concentration camp. He is beaten and tries to escape, then is taken to the showers. As he screams and cowers in terror, it's revealed that this all has been a bit of theater. He's been drugged and brought to a movie set by the Holocaust survivor to torture him into confessing, but--oops--his assistant comes running in with a message from Israel clearing Geller of being Geisen. He's actually the camp doctor, Reinhart, who was sympathetic to the prisoners and was tortured by his superiors for his actions. The trauma caused him amnesia. Now, the camp survivor remembers why his face was so familiar! The final story by Kanigher and Carrillo is a riff off the "Angel of Mons." Both the Brits and the Germans troops glimpse what they believe to be the flowing robes of an angel leading them to victory, but it turns out to be scythe-wielding death for all.

G-MAN COMICS STRIKES BACK! – VIDEO

First Comics News - Tue, 09/07/2021 - 07:10

The Agent is the story of FBI Agent Simon N. Kirby and the world of G-Man Comics. In his world, all superheroes are registered with the government. Under the Super Hero Registration Act, the FBI presses superheroes into service as needed to protect their country. Simon N. Kirby is the man in charge of the FBI’s superhero team, the G-Men. It operates in a “Mission Impossible” style, where he selects the right agents for the right mission.

When you support G-Man Comics, you get not one, but five great comic books.

Kickstarter.com

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

COMIC TALK with Dean Juliette

First Comics News - Tue, 09/07/2021 - 07:05

Dean Juliette is a Brazilian comic book artist and he has been working in the comics industry as an illustrator since 2008. He works in all stages of comic illustration, from the basic layouts to the finished art inked, including colors, and lettering. His work has been seen in Nazi Werewolves from Outer Space from #1 to #6 – King Tut Truck Driving Pharaoh #1 and #2 – Kung Fu Satanist #1 and #2 – Grimm Fairy Tales # 27. Dean is working on The G-Man Comics Christmas Special

First Comics News: When did you first discover comics?

Dean Juliette: At the age of eight, with Disney comics. But it was at my fourteen when things became serious and, I became a collector after I bought Spider-Man #109, which here in Brazil was a compilation of the issues #143, #144, and #145 of the Spectacular Spider-Man, and The Amazing Spider-man # 310. That book was amazing and blew my mind.

1st: What attracted you to them?

Dean: At that moment, the stories were illustrated superbly by the art of Sal Buscema and Todd Mcfarlane.

1st: Where did you study art?

Dean: Here in Brazil, our colleges of art are turned to for fashion or graphic design what was not interesting for me. So, I ended up studying the production of comics books for two years (1999-2000) in a school of illustration, currently know as Instituto HQ. There, my teachers were four Brazilians artist whose worked and still work for the American market: Luke Ross, Manny Clark, Fabio Laguna, and Klebs Junior.

1st: What was your first published work?

Dean: Despite two or three illustrations published here in Brazil by the year 2000, my first published work was Grimm Fairy Tales #27 from Zenescope.

1st: How did you get your first break, into comics?

Dean: I had this agent here in Brazil that put me in contact with Zenescope for a test, and they hired me at that moment.

1st: How did you get involved with G-Man Comics?

Dean: Rik, contacted me through Facebook for an illustration of the F.A.L.C.O.N Team.

1st: How much freedom do you have creatively with the comics?

Dean: So far, more than I expected when I started working in this market.

1st: What makes a good comic story?

Dean: For sure, after the basics, story-telling, composition, blah, blah, blah. It’s you really understand and incorporate what the writer wants to express with his text.

1st: What is it like working with Rik and Jim?

Dean: It’s amazing, nice Guys. They are really kind people. And they love what they do.

1st: What else are you working on?

Dean: At this moment, I don’t have any other specific project. What I have is a considerable range of commissioned art waiting to be worked on.

1st: Good luck to you on the current Kickstarter, readers can find it at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/g-man-comics/g-man-comics-strikes-back

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

WORLD OF BETTY & VERONICA JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #8 preview

First Comics News - Tue, 09/07/2021 - 07:03
WORLD OF BETTY & VERONICA JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #8
NEW CLASSIC-STYLE STORY: “Riverdale, Love It or Leaf It!” Inspired by Archie and Jughead’s new leaf-blowing business, Betty decides to go into business for herself. Heading up an all-girls leaf cleaning crew! Will the Leaf Ladies give Archie and the boys a run for their money?
Script: Bill Golliher
Art: Jeff Shultz, Jim Amash, Glenn Whitmore, Jack Morelli
Cover: Bill Golliher, Rosario “Tito” Peña
On Sale Date: 9/8
192-page, full color comic
$7.99 U.S.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

BETTY & VERONICA FRIENDS FOREVER: HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR #1 preview

First Comics News - Tue, 09/07/2021 - 07:02
BETTY & VERONICA FRIENDS FOREVER: HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR #1 (ONE-SHOT)
NEW CLASSIC-STYLE STORY: Betty & Veronica are here with some spooky stories to get you into the Halloween spirit, including a BRAND-NEW story! In “Best Witches,” while out shopping for their Halloween costumes, Betty and Veronica find an old witch’s hat at a thrift store. Thinking it would be perfect for her costume, Veronica buys it and puts it on. When she wishes that Archie was there and then he magically appears, they realize the hat is magic! What will Betty and Veronica do next with this newfound power?
Script: Francis Bonnet
Art: Dan Parent, Bob Smith, Glenn Whitmore, Jack Morelli
Cover: Dan Parent
On Sale Date: 9/8
32-page, full color comic
$2.99 U.S.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Jason Momoa’s New Aquaman 2 Uniform

First Comics News - Mon, 09/06/2021 - 16:23

 

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Categories: Comic Book Blogs

COMIC TALK with Victor Raniery

First Comics News - Mon, 09/06/2021 - 16:08

Victor Raniery has been drawing since he was a child. Victor is a native of Fortaleza, Brazil and attended Lourenço Filho Faculdade e Colégio. While taking a course from Leonardo Gondim, Gondim saw his coloring and introduced him to Dan Sehn, who hired him to work at Argo Comics on Argo5. Victor has been a regular contributor to Argo5 for the past 2 years and joined G-Man Comics where he will be providing colors on G-Man United and many other titles.

First Comics News: When did you first discover comics

Victor Raniery: In an uncle’s box during my childhood.

1st: What attracted you to them?

Victor: In the box, I was interested in a very curious black cover, Superman’s death was one of the first comic books I read, and what caught my attention the most were the details of the design.

1st: Where did you study art?

Victor: I had some knowledge in design college, some small courses, and most of it was through video classes on youtube.

1st: What was your first published work?

Victor: The first job was with Argo Comics on Argo 5 #37.

1st: How did you get your first break, into comics?

Victor: I was in a drawing course with Leonardo Gondim and I colored one of his pices, he liked the result and asked if I would accept to test as a colorist.

1st: How did you get involved with G-Man Comics?

Victor: I was recommended by Dan Sehn at Argo Comics, where I met Rik Offenberger and Eric N. Bennett.

1st: How much freedom do you have creatively with the comics?

Victor: Usually, I receive references for the main characters and I’m free to choose the color of the other elements that make up the page.

1st: What makes a good comic story?

Victor: Fun, tense moments, and epic battles.

1st: What is it like working with Rik and Jim?

Victor: It’s very quiet, they’re both nice guys, willing to debate and answer questions.

1st: What else are you working on?

Victor: I’m currently coloring pages for a Lynx adventure, next I’ll be coloring a Taranis adventure, both for January’s Kickstarter.

1st: Good luck to you on the current Kickstarter, readers can find it at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/g-man-comics/g-man-comics-strikes-back

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

HAPPY ROSH HASHANAH

First Comics News - Mon, 09/06/2021 - 15:00

The staff of First Comics News wishes Shanna Tova to all our Jewish fans…

Alex Wright, Ben Herman, Bill Black, Bob Almond, Dærick Gröss Sr., Kallie Chris, Katie Salidas, Mat Kaufman, Michael Dunne, Miguel Ortiz, Paul Carberry, Tanya Tate, Tim Chizmar, Art Sippo, Chris Marshall, David Markowski, Colt Cabana, Jamie Coville, Jeff Burton, Chris Squires, Francis Sky, Grant Offenberger, Jez Ibelle,  Jim Burrows, Joeseph Simon, Martin Boruta, Peter Breau, Phil Latter, Eric N Bennett, Calvin Daniels, Francis Garbut, Frank Zanca, Giovanni Aria, Joshua Pantalleresco, Paco X Gonzalez Munoz, Ric Croxton, Thomas Bottoms, Wayne Hall, Matthew Szewczyk, Richard Vasseur, and Rik Offenberger

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

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