Comics

Comic books and graphic novels

Fri
29
May

False Statements, Lies Pressure Alterna Into Releasing Police Reports on 2019 Swatting

Tweeted Accusations

In February of 2019, Alterna Comics publisher Peter Simeti was on a live stream broadcast from his apartment, when a knock at the door drew him away from his microphone. The stream was left running, and viewers could clearly hear the police enter the apartment and question Simeti, in response to a 911 call about a violent domestic disturbance.

The violence did not happen. The call was faked -- what is termed a "SWATting" in which the perpetrator calls the police pretending to be in distress or emotional turmoil, specifically the kind that would urge police to enter with weapons drawn. The obvious intent is that the person targeted would thus be harmed by the police.

Thu
21
May

Emerging from the Comics COVID Crisis: Retailers Speak Out

LCS Round Table 20200520

This week saw the return of New Comic Book Day -- kind of. DC Comics, which has been ahead of the distribution game since Diamond Comics Distributors closed their doors for the coronavirus outbreak, is putting comic books out, while Marvel is still waiting a later production date. Our team of comic shop retailers from around the country -- Michael Tierney of Arkansas, Dave Dyer of Illinois, Uel Carter of California, Ryan Seymore of Ohio, and @ComicPerch of Washington -- talk about why this is going to be a powerful negotiating tool for DC when signing creators in the future.

Also discussed is the first shipment from Diamond since the reopening -- and whether the comeback is truly bigger than the setback with Diamond's #BackTheComeback hashtag campaign. Plus -- opinions on Ruby Rose leaving Batwoman, Brec Bessinger debuting in Stargirl, and HBO Max releasing the mythologically legendary Snyder Cut of the Justice League movie.

Mon
18
May

Broadsword Comics Celebrates 20 Years

Broadsword 20th

At the auspicious rolling of the celestial odometer -- also known as the year 2000 AD -- Jim Balent, who had come to stardom through his work on DC Comics' CATWOMAN series, took a foolhardy leap into the realm of independent publishing. He didn't have the backing of a Kickstarter or an Indiegogo; it was just him and fellow artist and spouse Holly Golightly, and a dream. That dream coalesced in the form of TAROT, WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE, where the team's pin-up style and background in magick could have expression.

Twenty years later, TAROT is still going strong, and the company has celebrated with a successful Kickstarter campaign to cap off two decades with a limited edition trade paperback (plus other goodies).

Wed
13
May

Spirit Reckoning: How the Wild West is Still in Fashion

Wild Wild West

While superheroes and intergalactic mercenaries take over popular entertainment, some old-school themes still linger. They may be less in demand than in the past, but cowboys pop up now and then in movies, video games and even comics to take us back to the grit of the wild west. Not only that, but current projects under development, like Spirit Reckoning, enjoy mixing up old and modern trends to create unique stories that will resonate with today’s audiences. You can find such originality throughout the entertainment industry, each sector often inspiring others. But, first, a bit more detail on this upcoming horror western.

Spirit Reckoning Update

Tue
12
May

Wizards of a New Oz: Zeb Hatfield and Eric Weathers on Battle Brick Road

Battle Brick Road

Some classics lend themselves to modern exploration. Lewis Carroll's ALICE IN WONDERLAND has been exploited in films such Disney's iconic animated masterpiece, to books like Frank Beddor's LOOKING-GLASS WARS. James Barrie's PETER PAN has been a mainstay of musical production for decades while going through dark reimaginings like Brom's THE CHILD THIEF.

Similarly, L. Frank Baum's WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ has been interpreted and reinterpreted over the past century in television mini-series, animated cartoons, and comic books, either in adaptive retellings or wholly imagined variations.

Mon
11
May

Comics Retailers Weigh In on Changes in Distribution Paradigm

After the Great Disaster

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Critical Blast has been meeting regularly with comic shop owners through online roundtable meetings to discuss how they are finding ways to stay afloat. Some stores are in states where business closures have been mandated. Others are in states where they are open but without new product because the sole distributor for comic books, Diamond Comics Distribution, closed down, leaving those stores essentially closed as well.

With new distributors entering the game, thanks to intervention on behalf of DC Comics, we meet once again with Dave Dyer of Cosmic Comics in Belleville, Illinois, Michael Tierney of Collector's Edition in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Uel Carter of Fantastic Comics in Berkeley, California to catch up on how the latest shifts in this new and untamed business landscape have affected them.

Wed
06
May

Martina Markota's Long Road to Bring Lady Alchemy to Comics

Lady Alchemy

There are so many different crowdfunded comics popping up these days of varying degrees of quality. And with the mainstream comics market in a state of flux, the projects at Kickstarter and Indiegogo are poised to reap the benefits of the comics distribution shutdown.

One such project is LADY ALCHEMY, a magical hero's journey from Martina Markota and MONSTER M.D.'s Von Klaus. LADY ALCHEMY originally funded two years ago, but then ran into choppy waters with the original creative team. Now, with a fresh writer and artist, Markota's vision is on track to be released soon.

We talk with Klaus and Markota in the livestream below, including some exclusive first looks at the new interior artwork.

Thu
23
Apr

32 Days Without Comics: COVID-19's Crisis in Infinite Comic Shops Continues

32 Days Without Comics

With a large portion of the country locked down economically due to COVID-19 restrictions, comic shop retailers find themselves in an unusual predicament. While many shops are open in states that have not had mandatory shutdowns, they nevertheless find themselves without product due to the shutdown at Diamond Comics Distribution, the lynchpin of the entire direct market system.

Thu
16
Apr

Zenescope Co-Founder Ralph Tedesco Discusses COVID-19 Impact on Comics Publishing and Distributing

Zenescope livestream interview 2020-04-16

Critical Blast has talked a lot with retailers during the COVID-19 induced industry shutdown that has impacted the comic book supply chain nationwide, even in states where stores are not facing mandatory closures.

But while the end-user impact is important, we also want to make sure we shine a spotlight onto how the shutdown -- specifically the Diamond Distribution shutdown, which services as the bottleneck for the entire logistics model of getting comic books from publishers to consumers -- has impacted the publishers that bring us our weekly dose of fantasy, horror, action, and every other genre of four-color entertainment.

Thu
09
Apr

Crisis in Infinite Comics Shops: How the Corona Shutdown is Impacting Retailers Across the Country

No Comic Book Day

Across the country, small businesses, deemed non-essential, have been shut down. And while some states have not issued such orders due to their lack of cases of the coronavirus COVID-19, may are still feeling the pinch.

Thu
09
Apr

Kamen America: Stars and Strife

Kamen America Digital Cover

Like Linda Low in Rodgers & Hammerstein's FLOWER DRUM SONG, young Carly Vanders enjoys being a girl in an era where girls are told they should like typical girl things anymore. That's the peek we get into her mindset during an introductory scene from her childhood, before launching straight into her adult life singing and dancing for the USO. Carly's a fashion designer who loves to make her own things, and she loves to make them feminine.

Fri
27
Mar

Indie Comics Spotlight: Hero Tomorrow

Apama 1

If you're like a lot of other places in the country, you're probably "sheltered in place," either working from home or just stuck at home without work.

If you're a comics fan, you've also been hit by Diamond Distributors closing down operations for the duration, leaving your local comics store without new merchandise, meaning even the stores that were remaining open during the coronovirus outbreak will hurt. (For more about that, check out our conversation with two retailers on how they plan to cope with the situation.)

However, while the Diamond shutdown definitely impacts Marvel and DC shipments, there are a lot of independent comics creators out there who sell directly to the consumer outside of Diamond, with product that may have been crowded out by the larger lines of titles from the Big Two, and this is a good opportunity to check them out.

Mon
09
Mar

Strange Adventures, Strange Questions: Tom King Renews Interest in Earth's First Spaceman

Strange Adventures 1

You only have to go a few pages in to STRANGE ADVENTURES #1 before you know you're in a Tom King book. The traditional hallmarks are there -- the repetitive cycles of daily life that become a routine of ennui, even in the life of someone who regularly participates in the extraordinary.

Adam Strange is Earth's first spaceman. An archeologist by trade, Adam chanced upon an encounter with a Zeta Beam, a transportation ray that strikes Earth at specific times and teleports whoever it hits across the galaxy to the planet Rann, ravaged by pollution and in perpetual war with itself. Naturally, he becomes a hero, being a virile man of Earth. It's reminescent of Edgar Rice Burroughs' JOHN CARTER series in that respect.

Fri
06
Mar

Blood in the Water: Fowler Double-Scalps Murphy, TenNapel

Blood in the Water Fowler Murphy TenNapel

It's been a while since indie comics pro Tess Fowler has claimed another career in the comics industry. That dry spell may be over now, depending on how events shape up after today's astonishing announcement from DC Comics writer/artist Sean Gordon Murphy, the driving force behind the best-selling BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT franchise.

In fact, reception to the WHITE KNIGHT line has been so encouraging to DC that they gave him the reigns to his own little universe -- the Murphyverse -- with power to hire talent for issues that would appear between extended runs.

Thu
05
Mar

Barbara the Barbarian Gets Solo Series from Amigo Comics

Barbara the Barbarian Issue 1 from Amigo

Bounding out of the pages of Amigo's ROGUES comes BARBARA THE BARBARIAN in this first issue, which tells the savage swordswoman's origin in flashbacks while putting her on the path to a new adventure -- with old traveling companions and old adversaries.

Accompanied by her fun-seeking partners, Blast and Clenk, Barbara sets out for a new city with plans to hide out and maintain a low profile. It's a pipe dream at best, given the impulsive nature of the two men. But it ends up being Barbara who blows their cover when she chances to encounter Hocker, a fence for stolen goods, leading to a chase that brings her back into confrontation with a trio of female warriors who she has bested in combat before.

Sun
01
Mar

Hickman's House of X Delivers Best Comics Story of 2019 to Marvel

House of X Best Comic 2019

Comics fans run both hot and cold. One of our favorite activities is kvetching about how some of the big comic stories are going in odd, strange, uncomfortable, or flat-out wrong directions. But ask us what our favorites are? Well, then we'll switch gears and tell you all why those exact same stories are captivating our attention and why you should be reading them too!

And so it that we had quite a number of votes for our nominees for Best Comics Story of 2019, starting with some independent titles who made some impressive debuts, like WHITE WIDOW (Absolute Comics) and BIGFOOT BILL (Doug TenNapel).

Fri
28
Feb

Drawn to Success: Best Comics Artist of 2019 is Ivan Reis

Ivan Reis Superman Best Comics Artist 2019

In the five years of running the Critical Blast Best Awards, we've never sweated bullets as much as we have over this year's Best Comics Artist category. Every day we peeked in on the results, the top spot would belong to someone different, and the margins were nearly microscopic! And while there was a minor skirmish going on at the lower end of the poll between independent crowdfunding publishers Doug TenNapel and Ethan Van Sciver (who won this award for 2017), the real battle was taking place between Gary Frank (DOOMSDAY CLOCK), J. Scott Campbell (BLACK CAT) and Ivan Reis (SUPERMAN).

Thu
27
Feb

2019's Best Comics Writer: Scott Snyder

Scott Snyder Justice League Best Writer 2019

Looking back over 2019, there were a number of high-profile comic arcs that caught the attention of the fans. Some of those were the annual event or non-canonical runs, like Tom Taylor's DCEASED, which brought a zombie apocalypse to the DC Universe. Geoff Johns' sequel to WATCHMEN, DOOMSDAY CLOCK crossed universes to tell it's tale, while Jonathan Hickman received critical acclaim for his remastering of Marvel's mighty mutants in HOUSE OF X. 

But there were also notable runs this past year in your ongoing series that focused our eyes on the people crafting the latest twists and turns in the lives of our favorite characters. Brian Michael Bendis stunned us by having Superman reveal his identity publicly to the world, while Donny Cates and Kelly Thompson enjoyed the increased readership on their titles, VENOM and CAPTAIN MARVEL thanks to the appearance of their characters in theatrical films.

Tue
25
Feb

Ben McKenzie Takes Best Actor in Broadcast Series in 2019 Readers' Poll

Ben McKenzie Best Series Actor 2019

It used to be that we voted on the best actor of a television series. But ever since the advent of streaming services, we've struggled for what to call the collective shows that are available many different ways. Sometimes we still catch ourselves saying "Best Actor in a TV Series" even if the show, technically, didn't get shown on a traditional television broadcast.

The past year was a surfeit of choices for pop culture fans, especially if you wanted some live action superhero drama. And while some of the streaming shows got a nod, it was still the tradional broadcast media that led the pack this year, with RIVERDALE's Cole Sprouse taking 16 percent of the votes, just trailing Jean Smart for her portrayal of Agent Laurie Blake in HBO's WATCHMEN.

Sat
22
Feb

Ten Potential Suggestions to Replace Dan DiDio at DC Comics

Dan DiDio out as Publisher at DC Comics

There's a power vacuum at the hallowed halls of DC Comics, home to supehero icons such as Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. On Friday, February 21, a late-day announcement was made that Dan DiDio was no longer the co-publisher of the stable of titles.

Speculation immediately spread throughout the fandom, wondering what this might mean for DC Comics. What was the reason for the sudden departure? Would a replacement be named? What impact would this have on DiDio's pet project, the heavily touted "5G" or "Generation 5" launch coming later in the year?

While those are questions for which we await answers with bated breath, we thought it would be a fun little exercise to look at some of the candidates in the industry that might find themselves suddenly getting a call to interview for the open position.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Comics