Comic books and graphic novels


Marvel & DC Comics Writer Gives Proceeds from Comic to Help Police, Families

Thin Blue Line B

Thrilled By Outpouring of Police Support, Eisner Winner Mike Baron Donates Thousands to Law Enforcement Programs and Charities before National Police Week 

After quickly raising the needed funds to self-publish his latest comic 'Thin Blue Line,' a police-focused graphic novel coming out next month, Eisner-winning writer Mike Baron and his creative team wanted to give back to law enforcement and remind his readers about this week's National Police Week. 

Among comic book readers, Mike Baron is best known for writing The Flash, Nexus, Star Wars, and The Punisher for Marvel Comics, but this graphic novel is one of the only comics he's written that will not be available at comic shops, chiefly because every publisher Baron submitted it to responded that making street cops the heroes did not align with their business model. 


The Lucent a Bright Spot on the Indie Comics Scene

The Lucent, Michael Bancroft

The Lucent, written and drawn by Michael Bancroft, takes readers on a compelling journey not just into the life of the main character, Ella Forsythe, but also the invisible world around her. It's our world, and yet it's occupied by the otherworldly.

When we first meet Ella, she's a mere six-years-old. A fearsome hunter, seemingly human but perhaps much more, pursues her, but settles for her father when the girl is mystically hidden.


Pitt Returns: Creator Dale Keown Announces Phillip Diaz as New Series Writer

Pitt Returns

When the Image Revolution of the 90s took place, it spawned (pun fully intended) a plethora of titles, many of which were flashes in the pan or team books that were indistinguishable from each other, only to note they all vaguely looked like Marvel's X-Men. But there were a handful of standout characters that made a greater impact with readers and the entertainment industry: Todd McFarlane's Spawn, Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon, Sam Keith's The Maxx, and Dale Keown's Pitt. Pitt saw a 20 issue run which ended on a cliffhanger and right as all the series' foreshadowing seemed to be coming to a payoff.

When Keown came back to the independent comics scene, he joined up with Ethan Van Sciver's All Caps Comics to distribute a new run of the popular comic. But details of how that would happen were still kept under wraps.


Dark Wonderland: Alice Ever After from Boom! Studios

Alice Ever After #1

In the arena of all things Alice, I consider myself something of, if not an expert (although I've had published one researched book in that subgenre), then at least an experienced connoisseur. And I can be quite judgmental as to whether things strike the right chords for me, or if they miss the mark entirely. I have a number of printings of the books, Dodgson's own published letters, and a selection of interesting spinoffs such as Jeff Noon's Automated Alice and Frank Beddor's The Looking Glass Wars; and I will forever hold fond E. Nelson Bridwell's comic miniseries Captain Carrot and The Oz-Wonderland War.

So when I saw pictures from Boom! Studios' Alice Ever After, I was intrigued. Enough so that it sent me to my local comics shop for the first time in a number of months just because of this book.

The book has been found, held, and read. So now comes the judgment.


Pow! Best Comics Artist of 2021 Scores with Perfect 10

Pow Rodrix Best Comics Artist 2021

Critical Blast wraps up it's Best of 2021 awards announcements with the Best Comics Artist of 2021. (But we're not completely done -- we still have our Bombshell of the Year to announce later!)

Among the notable nominees this year, David Hahn brought in 4.35% of the vote for his work on Impossible 2 with Karl Kesel. Marco Maccagni stepped up with 7.25% of the vote for Monster M.D. while Clint Hilinski took 8.70% percent with Pirate Queen, and Tim Lim garnered 11.59% for Kamen America.

Which brings us to the top three artists among this year's awards. In third place, we have Brian Balondo with 14.49% of the tally for his work on Bad Bug Media's Pocus Hocus. Just ahead of him, it's Alexia Veldhuisen in second place with 18.84% of the vote for her work on anthropomorphic samurai squirrel epic, 47 Furious Tails.


Entrepreneurs Dominate Best Comics Writer Category, Led by Perfect 10's Dave Brink

Perfect 10's Dave Brink

The 21st century indie comics renaissance has introduced readers to a plethora of writers and artists that, were it not for the self-publishing opportunities afforded by the technologies of digital printing and online crowdfunding, might have otherwise gone unnoticed. The response to this year's Best Comics Writer poll -- and indeed all the comic book related categories this year -- speaks to a hunger in the market for new material by fresh voices.

Tonic Mole, with his Ghostworld-like comic, Saving the World, is the first to break onto the chart with 4.35% of all ballots cast. Ahead of him is comics veteran Karl Kesel, for his work on Impossible 2, the team-up book between his characters Impossible Jones and Holly Daze.

Monster M.D.'s Von Klaus tied with Pirate Queen's Mandy Summers, with each garnering 8.70% of all votes cast.


Crowdfunders Squeeze Out Mainstream Comics in Best of 2021 Competition

Perfect 10

The nominees for Best Comic of 2021 was a lengthy list, and picking through it to pick the best of the best was a lot like being asked to name your favorite child. But in the end, there were winners and losers and, for the first time in the history of Critical Blast, DC Comics had no position in the rankings.

Indeed, Marvel Comics only had one title bubble toward the top with King in Black, which tied with the Dave Sim crowdfunded hardcover, The Strange Death of Alex Raymond at 5.41% of all votes cast. From that point forward, the indie comics led the charge, with How to Die and Monster M.D. taking 6.76% each. 

The much acclaimed fan-favorite, Kamen America from Iconic Comics, took third place in the polls with a respectable 10.81% of the ballot, while there was a tie for second between 47 Furious Tales from Sinopa and Pocus Hocus from Bad Bug Media, each having a strong 17.57% of the vote.


Facebook Throttles, Reddit Censors References to Mike Baron Comic "Thin Blue Line"

Thin Blue Line Censored

The advent of crowdfunded comics has opened a door that had been closed to so many for so long. Now, if you wanted to make a comic, you had an opportunity -- a real opportunity -- especially if you had the talent to prove to a prospective audience that you deserved the shot.

But having a crowdfunding campaign, either on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, isn't the end of the matter. You have to market the thing so that your prospective audience knows the project exists. This is an arena where the creator runs the risk of having yet another door slammed in the face.


Marvel's 'The Punisher' Writer Giving Proceeds from New Comic to Help Police & Their Families

Thin Blue Line

Delighted By Outpouring of Police Support, Eisner Winner Mike Baron Launches Second Campaign on Kickstarter

After quickly raising more funding than needed to self-publish his police-focused graphic novel Thin Blue Line, Eisner-winning writer Mike Baron and his creative team are moving the project to Kickstarter today to give others a chance to become a backer and get involved in supporting law enforcement in the US.

Among comic book readers, Mike Baron is best known for writing Star Wars, The Flash, Nexus, and The Punisher for Marvel Comics, but this graphic novel may turn out to be one of the only comics he's ever written to not be available at comic book shops, primarily because every publisher Mike reached out to said that making street cops the hero didn't align with their business model.


Vote for the Best of 2021

Best of 2021

It's a brand new year, and no doubt there nothing anyone wants to do less than to look back at 2021, the year that looked at 2020 and said, "Hold my beer."

But in terms of entertainment options, 2021 had a better turnout than its predecessor, due in part to the reopening of movie theaters (although a good number of great stories were told through streaming services as well). Likewise, there was many good things in broadcast and streaming series to capture the attention, and a swell of wonderful stories in the comic book industry, largely bolstered by a rise in indepently produced products.

So we urge you to take a deep breath for one more last look at the year, and select the best among the nominees below to determine which ones deserve a Critical Blast Best of 2021 trophy.

This voting also includes the voting or our annual Bombshell of the Year, selecting among the twelve cosplayers who were each spotlighted in our monthly Bombshell of the Month feature.


Reasons Why You Should Finally Start Reading Comics

Reading Comics

Do you prefer books or comics? Well, you're sitting on the couch or in the armchair in the evening, you're not tired yet, but you don't want to watch TV either. A book would be good because you wanted to read more anyway. You rummage through your shelves or reading piles that are scattered around the flat. Maybe you have already started 2-3 books. They were exciting, but you still don't feel like it. And then there's that comic book. Maybe about a superhero you like. Or with an imaginative, youthful story. Or an adaptation of a fairy tale. Take it, flip through it, enjoy the great colors and drawings. 



The Best Comic Books for People Looking to Get Into the X-Men

X-Men 1

The X-Men are one of comic books most popular and beloved teams. They have had a history nearing 60 years, and have been at the top of the comic book industry on multiple occasions. They have also spawned a plethora of famous characters, who are to this day some of the most popular comic book characters of all time. The Gambit, Magneto, and of course, the ever popular Wolverine.

Throughout their sixty-year publication history, the X-Men have seen some great story arcs, but also have been subject to history erasure, retcons, and alternate realities that may make their story arcs a bit convoluted for new fans. For those looking to get into the X-Men, but are lost as to where to begin, the following are a few of the X-Men’s most popular, and beloved stories.

Trial of Gambit


Pocus Hocus Will Put a Spell on You

Pocus Hocus #2

The saga of the greatest magician the world has ever known continues in this second issue as Pocus Hocus -- his real name, not a stage name -- once more comes face to face with the very demon he once summed to bargain for the supernatural abilities he possesses and passes off as slight of hand and illusion.

The demon has a problem - and a proposition. He's an inveterate gambler (as are all demons) and he's wagered in currency he didn't possess. The currency of Hell being contracts for souls, the demon has a plan to enlist Pocus in acquiring these new souls so he can pay off his debts and avoid oblivion; Pocus, his own existence inexplicably linked to the demon's, has little choice but to acquiesce, and put a new trick into his act that will fill the demon's pockets with more copies of "The Damned Contract."


Allegations of Police Protection for Superman Artists Dubious at Best

Superman Son of Kal El

The revelation of Jon Kent's bisexuality has been a polarizing plot point among fans of the DC Comics universe of titles. And while the news was cheered by some and jeered by just as many, claims are being bandied about that the critics of the move object strongly enough to merit police protection.

This is the claim coming out of TMZ and then parroted by PinkNews, as they claim that "the artists" (generically) of Superman have received death threats to merit enough concern on the part of DC Comics that the Los Angeles Police Department was called in to patrol and protect.


Covid. Cabin Fever. Capes? Inside Chris Waigand's Superhero Satire, Tights.

Tights on Kickstarter

In the world of TIGHTS, the world gets hit with COVID-21 right on the heels of COVID-19. Starting over from square one is more than the battered economy can take, and the combination of isolation, unemployment, and endless hours of Disney+ streaming content leads to the inevitable: people dressing up as superheroes to fight crime, save the city, and grab some justice for themselves.

What they most often do, however, is cause problems, get arrested, and clog up the court systems.

That's where Chris Waigand's protagonist enters. Judge Oliver Andrews has had enough with the constant barrage of would be crimefighters. They're the bane of his existence. But when a ghost from Oliver's past as s prosecuting attorney returns to turn his life into a nightmare, the judge may have to become the thing he hates in order to mete out justice.


Indie Comics Under the Radar: Cluster Fudge from Hero Shack

Cluster Fudge 2

Independent comic publishers have been with us for as long as the comics industry has been around. If you had a photocopier and a stapler, you could do your own thing and try to convince people to buy it (and some did so quite successfully).

Now with the advent of technologies like print-on-demand, not to mention the affordability of your average print shop, and the mass-marketing tools afforded by way of crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, truly anyone can try their hand at getting into the funny book business. The downside of that is that there are so many competing projects out there for your dollar that it's easy to go unnoticed if you don't raise your voice loud enough.


Creepsters: How Can Something This Cuddly Be So Deadly?

Creepsters is the eighth and newest campaign from writer Nasser Rabadi to be added to his ever-growing library of horror-themed novels and comics. Arguably his best work to date, Nasser assembled a creepy team of designers, artists, and toy companies (yes, that’s right, an actual toy company) to produce his idea and make it a reality.

Synopsis: While digging for buried treasure on Perdida Cove Beach, 12-year-old Max discovers a mysterious creature he names Chomper, whose friendship will lead him into a world of danger, adventure, and heroism.

When Chomper's siblings wreak havoc in Max's seaside town, only Max and his new friend can save his sister Emma (and the town!) by combining forces to fight the sinister Creepsters that wash up on the beach after an alien object splashes down into the ocean offshore.


Go Trick-or-Treating in Strangeville this Halloween


Kevin Strange, the creator of Strangeville and director of many “classic” independent films such as COCKHAMMER and the NIXON AND HOGAN film series brings to Indiegogo the newest installment to his comic library: NIXON AND HOGAN’S HORRORWEED HALLOWEEN, just in time for the spooky holiday.

If you are not familiar with Kevin’s movies, imagine Trailer Park Boys, written by 1990’s Kevin Smith, produced by the Insane Clown Posse, then directed by Lloyd Kaufman and that will give you some idea of the madness and degeneracy you will subject yourself to.

Filled with sex, violence, gore, drug use, and home-grown comedy, Kevin and his team at Hack Movies have built a small freaky empire of movies and comics that are the kind your mother warned you about as a child.

Kevin’s fifth and most recent campaign, NIXON and HOGAN’S HORRORWEED HALLOWEEN, is a return to his most popular characters and the wacky misadventures fans of his work have come to love and expect from him.


Millar's The Magic Order Returns with a Grand Entrance

Magic Order 2

Cordelia and Regan Moonstone, as well as the rest of the dysfunctional and oh-so-powerful magic users return in this follow-up to Mark Millar's enchantingly entertaining adventure, The Magic Order.

The world has been saves (apparently again) by The Magic Order, a cadre of wizards who live their days in mundane, work-a-day jobs while spending their nights protecting humanity from the things they don't believe in. Stage magician and master escapologist Cordelia has taken her father's seat as the leader of the Order, She's also been reclusive since the events of the first volume of the series, holed up in their magic castle hidden inside a painting in an art gallery in Chicago.

Yes, I wrote that correctly. And that's only the surface level of weirdness you're in for when you open the pages of The Magic Order 2


Going Inside Antarctic Press's RAGS with Brian Ball


It's my job to know what's going on in comics -- mainstream, independent, and crowdfunded. So when I noted once again that people were talking about a particular redhead, I realized there were still things not on my radar. What was this RAGS comic really about? Who was Regina Ragowski? A spitfire in a battle against zombies, or a comely spacefaring adventurer? What was this mysterious thing created by Brian Ball and Trent Luther that had fans supporting it, borrowing from it, homaging it, and giving it all this attention?

To pull back the covers from RAGS, I sat down with the one guy who had all the answers: Brian Ball. For ninety minutes, we ironed out the differences between Regina and Sailor Ragowski, as well as quashed rumors about the divide -- and if there was one -- between Antarctic Press and Ball's own company, New Age Ninja Corps


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