Comics

Comic books and graphic novels

Tue
28
Sep

Going Inside Antarctic Press's RAGS with Brian Ball

RAGS

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

Tue
28
Sep

5 Best Comics Released Over the Last 5 Years

Best 5 Comics in Last 5 Years

Maybe you haven't read comics, but you certainly saw a few movies based on them. Why not try something new? Here are the five best comics to read.

Sat
25
Sep

Kesel and Hahn Deliver the Impossible: A Comic Book that's Fun

Impossible Team-Up A: Impossible Jones and Holly Daze

I've heard the argument (heck, I've made the argument) repeatedly that crowdfunding platforms are the new go-to source to find good, entertaining comic book material.

Never have I felt more vindicated in this regard than with my recent acquisition of Impossible Team-Up "A": Impossible Jones & Holly Daze. From the first page splash to the page-turning reveal of the situation, this book is the right mix of light-hearted fun with serious action and adventure.

Thu
26
Aug

CRoM Con Europe 2 Launches Online August 28, 29

CRoM Con Europe 2

CRoM Con, the online convention for independent comic creators to show off their projects (and sell them) kicks off again this August, and this time the focus will be on comics created outside the United States.

This is the second CRoM Con Europe, and each day will have intermissions for art auctions for various charities. 

The live online event will be broadcast simultaneously to the following outlets:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CRoMadness

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MadnessComic

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/ComicTalkWithPopsVanZant

Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/thepopsvanzant

Fri
20
Aug

Yipes! Swipes? Indie Comics Artists Seeing Their Work in Unexpected Places

Swipes Thumbnail

Swipes. It's a slang term that can sometimes mean 'homage' and sometimes mean 'plagiarism.' In the comic book industry, it generally refers to an image, most frequently the cover image, where the artist relies on a previously published work as a reference. Most times this is done without the intention of hiding anything -- artists appreciate other artists, and they will usually sign their name to the finished piece with "after Other Artist" to pay their respect. And sometimes, and more rarely, it's just done for expediency, without attribution just so the job gets done. Comic artist Greg Land gets discussed a lot when the comic shop conversation turns to swipes, having frequently used published photos of models and even other artist's works (like this ALIENS piece discussed here).

Usually, the swipe is obvious, and often it's from another well-known (or at least mainstream) peer in the industry.

Wed
18
Aug

Yo Ho! Pirate Queen Brings Comic Book Booty to Crowdfund Backers

Pirate Queen #1 Cover B

Pirate Queen, written by Mandy Summers and illustrated by Clint Hilinski, is sixty-pages of sexy interstellar satire and parody. Independently published through an Indiegogo campaign, Pirate Queen is one of the very few books I've received where I was not pulled out of the story by some niggling (or, occasionally, glaring) editing mistake. The book credits the editor as Valentino, so kudos on a job successfully done there!

Wed
18
Aug

Here Comes the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss: Kickstarter's New Comics Consultant Comes Pre-Blocked to Indy Creators

Jamila Rowser tweet

For the past few years, Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been more than just competing platforms for crowdfunding comic book projects. The division of choice between the two has ranged from preference of user interfaces to the different ways they collect funds from backers. For some, the choice is one of almost a religious fervor, with creators recalling how Kickstarter removed certain projects in the past with perceived capriciousness. It's a sentiment that lingers to such a degree that independent comics professional Jon Malin ruffled many feathers recently by announcing he would not be very open to hosting creators on his podcast if the creators were using Kickstarter as their platform.

Tue
17
Aug

Good Things Come in Small Packages: CB Zane's The Mighty Mite

The Mighty Mite #1

Hurtling out of its successful Kickstarter campaign comes this tiny titan, this petite powerhouse of pulchritude -- The Mighty Mite!

Mite is the creation of C.B. Zane, and published through Outpost 426 Studios, and her debut issue packs three complete stories into 40 pages -- no small accomplishment in an era where any single story spans issues of double-digits.

Tue
17
Aug

Why are More Creators Choosing Crowdfunding Over Mainstream?

Zombie Tramp

On Wednesday August 11, 2021 Zombie Tramp creator Dan Mendoza announced his girl will be exclusive to the platform Kickstarter under his own label, Still Ill Princess, starting in October 2021.

This announcement adds yet one more formerly mainstream property to the list of creations and creators that bucked the system and chose to sell directly to the fans themselves using such platforms as Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

Brian Pulido broke all expectations and sales records with his character, Lady Death, when he took her to the Kickstarter platform, and continues to be the dominant force in crowdfunding comics there with his brand Coffin Comics.

Ethan Van Sciver in 2018 also chose to take his character, Cyberfrog, to Indiegogo and with the second issue of the series, titled Rekt Planet, became the top selling comic on the platform at the time, grossing over a million dollars.

Fri
13
Aug

Nun Like Her: Sister Mercy #4

Sister Mercy #4

Sister Mercy is a Kickstarter book written by Corey Hardiman and drawn by Ricardo Silva. This is the fourth issue and, while I have not read anything of the first three in this series, I was delightfully not confused at all by where the story began. No, not because there was a giant wall of text telling me the entire history of the character from the week before her origin (because there was none), but because of the context of the story and the natural flow of dialogue between the characters -- which also didn't do a data dump on the readers. You're in. You see. You know. That's what a good comic book series is supposed to do, make the reader comfortable with coming into the book whether it's the first issue or the fiftieth.

Tue
10
Aug

Tim Drake Out as Bisexual: Did DC Learn from Marvel's Mishandling of Iceman?

Bobby Drake. Tim Drake.

The big news in comics fandom today comes from the revelation in Batman: Urban Legends #6 that Tim Drake -- the third juvenile to assume the Robin identity as Batman's partner -- is bisexual. The coming out had been rumored for a few months, and the actual reveal wasn't done in an abrupt or shocking manner; no male-on-male kiss or anything like that. It's simply Tim struggling with how he feels about another boy, Bernard, and ending the current storyline by accepting a date with him.

Thu
05
Aug

The Suicide Squad Shows James Gunn's Twisted Genius

The Suicide Squad opens in the US in theatres and on HBO Max on 8/5/2021.

St. Louis native James Gunn makes superhero movies the way you wished they would have when you were a kid.

Presumably raised on the traditional diet of St. Louis—too-thin pizza topped with cheese that tastes like it’s still wrapped in plastic (In My Opinion, see?), toasted ravioli, frozen custard, “Old Vienna Red Hot Riplets” potato chips and Vess soda—and stacks of comic books to read while hiding indoors from the miserable summer humidity, Gunn's body of work includes the very offbeat Super (2010) and the zany Guardians of the Galaxy films for Marvel. As brilliant as the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, the creators all know that they're free to make their film the way they want provided it meets with the overarching blueprint of visionary MCU maestro Kevin Feige.

Tue
03
Aug

Another (Successful) Case for the Littlest Umbrella

Another Case for the Littlest Umbrella

Once upon a time there was a masked YouTuber who went by the moniker of That Umbrella Guy. He broadcasted engaging livestreams about the state of the comic book industry, and one of the highlights of his shows would be when his young daughter, Elizabeth (aka Little Umbrella Girl) would join the show and tell her stories. You never knew where these were going to go, and sometimes they just ended in the middle of things. Such is the mind of a child. But it gave That Umbrella Guy -- TUG to his viewers -- the idea to merge both of these loves -- comics and his daughter -- into a project they could do together.

And so was born The Case of the Littlest Umbrella, wherein TUG would be a masked detective aided by his eldritch "Little One" to investigate supernatural events. The book was crowdfunded on Indiegogo with over $100,000 raised by fans.

Tue
03
Aug

Vincent Price Gets Overdue Comics Presence in Latest Elvira Outing

Elvira meets Vincent Price

Horror comics have tradtionally been hosted by a personality: The Crypt Keeper, Cain, Abel, The Midnight Philosopher and Ariadne. Sometimes the host is a licensed character, like Elvira, who is the front-and-center star of this comic from Dynamite, which shows us an Elvira in a somewhat more prosaic life. And by prosaic, I mean it shows her from a real-world perspective: a horror hostess pitching her horror hosting gig to networks so she can keep her career going, while at the same time encountering supernatural phenomenon complicating her life.

Wed
28
Jul

Thought Bubble Punctured After Needled by Guest

Thought bubble Zainab Akhtar Frank Miller

Frank Miller disinvited from Thought Bubble comic book event after complaints from Zainaib Akhtar that she did not feel safe around the creator of SIN CITY and 300.

Thu
08
Jul

Airith Aims for More Immersive Graphic Novel Experience

Airith Tape 2

A graphic novel, correctly done, engages both sides of the reader's brain by merging the process of reading with that of absorbing and appreciating art. It's the only medium that can do this.

But the creators of AIRITH: THE KENTILAN WAR want to take that a few steps further, and deliver a more immersive experience to the reader by adding tactile, auditory, and even olfactory components. The graphic novel, currently funding its second volume on Indiegogo,  not only delivers an embossed cover but also includes a soundtrack of Fleetwood Mac covers and an air freshener. all with the goal of taking the reader deeper into the cyberpunk / multidimensional environment of the story.

We sat down and interviewed the creator of the series to go a little deeper into this world and find out just how far things might go for the series.

Fri
02
Jul

Newest Miskatonic High Takes Teen Team on Eldritch Quantum Leap

Miskatonic High #11

Miskatonic High is the ongoing story about a group of teenagers who, voluntarily or otherwise, are participants in their school's Community Service Club. On their very first outing, they were transported through time and space to witness an arcane ritual, and their lives have never been the same since. In this issue, "Reflections out of Time," an encounter with a device that might have been designed by Jack Kirby and M.C. Escher during a three-day drinking binge once again hurtles the friends through history -- this time, however, landing in the bodies of their parents.

In each era, they encounter the device -- and the monster that apparates out of it -- with their numbers gradually dwindling as fewer of their ancestors exist in the Arkham Society, until ultimately only one remains -- in a past so distant it predates human civilization.

Fri
02
Jul

Captain America: The First 80 years

Captain America First 80 Years

2021 marks the 80th birthday of Marvel's patriotic Avenger, Captain America. The brainchild of comic legends Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, he almost became known as Super-American, until Simon nixed it in favor of what has now become a household name, due in no small part to the string of successful movies produced by Marvel Comics.

Captain America: The First 80 Years is a by-the-decade retrospective of the hero's journey, detailing his origins, his evolution and adaptation to the threats of each decade, and his retroactive continuity changes that turned him into a beloved comic book hero. The crew at Titan have gone out of their way to not only tell the story of Captain America, they've nestled it in the story of the comic book industry and American 20th century history as well, so that a full and appreciable context exists.

Sun
20
Jun

Going Ape in The 'Nam: El Krudo

El Krudo 1 - 4

EL KRUDO is a comic book you probably haven't found at your local comics shop. That's understandable if your store doesn't carry a lot of indy books, or doesn't make available titles that were created through crowdfunding campaigns; you can always get it yourself from Indiegogo, or directly from the publisher's website, ElKrudo.com.

The story is set during the Vietnam war. The focal villain is Major Deng, a sadistic warlord who distributes opium. And the hero? The hero is a special U.S. Marine trained orangutan.

Save the puns about "gorilla warfare," we've already used it.

Wed
16
Jun

Some Comic Book and Game Characters Just Love to Gamble

Gambling Penguin

Although gambling remains a largely adult form of entertainment, it can often be seen in movies, cartoons, video games, and comics too. There are many examples of gambling in Anime and Manga with one young character, Akagi, trying to take down the Yakuza, and he is only thirteen years old.

Other Anime characters who gamble include Tsunade from Naruto. Not only is she a terrible gambler but she is so irresponsible that she has the nickname ‘The Legendary Sucker’. Perhaps the writers are trying to discourage their younger audience from playing cards or mahjong.

There are many other characters from comics and video games who enjoy a bet or two. Some of them do it for entertainment, some because it is part of who they are, and others because it is how they toy with their victims.

Here are a few characters who for one reason or another enjoy cards, dice, or just tossing a coin.

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